LIVING IN THE REALITY OF RESURRECTION POWER
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: Acts 2:22-28
Sunday 20th April 2014
Today’s message titled ‘Living In the Reality of Resurrection Power’ is a declaration celebrating the resurrection of our Lord Jesus, as we celebrate Easter Sunday today. Jesus is Alive! – This is a statement that the devil would rather keep undisclosed, as he is more comfortable when your life is devoid of the power that Christ’s resurrection affords you.
I am however here to announce that the devil has lost his grip over you; he cannot hold you in sin, sickness, poverty or oppression because the bible records ‘But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip’. (Acts 2:24 NLT). When Jesus rose up from the grave, the devil’s lost his grip on you forever!
The resurrection of Jesus is not just an event among the various bible stories, it is the main event – It is in fact the greatest event in history. It is the cornerstone of our faith, and the source of eternal life. Without the resurrection, the death of Christ will be meaningless; and if Christ was not raised from the dead, then our faith would have been worthless, and of all men we would have been the most miserable.
The resurrection is not the appendix at the end of a story but rather the zenith of Christ’s redemptive work. While the cross is the expression of His love for mankind, the resurrection demonstrates the limitless power of God. The resurrection is indeed the ultimate breakthrough, and the devil cannot stand a believer who lives in the reality of this truth; he cannot stand a Christian who knows and walks in the power of Jesus’ resurrection.
According to accounts recorded in scripture in Matthew 27:64-66 and 28:11-15, the religious leaders in Jesus’ day attempted to silence and cover up the story of Jesus resurrection. But also recorded is the proof that Jesus arose from the dead in Matthew 28:1-4. My confidence in this fact, gives me the boldness to declare that no situation in life can hold you bound, because the same God who raised Jesus from the dead will raise you up!
The resurrection of Christ is a statement by God to the entire human race saying that if He has the power to take the sting out of death, if He has power to defeat the grave, surely He can handle anything that may confront you! The powerful and amazing thing about the resurrection is that, it is not an event, it is a person; and that person is still alive today. As recorded in John 11:25 ‘Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live’. He is the life in the midst of your dry bones, the light in the midst of your darkness and hope in the midst of hopelessness. And as such, resurrection should not only be referred to as an event that occurred two thousand years ago, it must now be our daily experience.
Shortly after his death, the rumour that Jesus’ body was stolen by the disciples began gaining ground because the devil was afraid of the resurrection. But God had a better plan, as every step of the way He planted witnesses to confirm Christ’s resurrection. Let’s take a short journey recounting this:
In Mark 15:42-47, we read about the request made by Joseph of Arimathea to take down the body of Jesus from the cross for burial. After Jesus’ death was confirmed, his body was released to Joseph. The bible records that the body was placed in a tomb and a stone was rolled against the entrance of the tomb. The following day, which was a Sunday, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome came to the tomb to anoint Jesus body, as recorded in Mark 16:1-6. Their dilemma of finding someone to roll away the stone was soon forgotten, when they arrived at the entrance and realised that the stone had already been rolled away. Sitting to the right, inside the tomb, to the women’s surprise was a young man dressed in white who spoke to them, saying: ‘Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him’ (Mark 16:6). The angel told the women to inform the disciples; Peter ran to the tomb to find out for himself as the disciples did not believe the story (Luke 24: 1-12). Soon, Jesus appeared to the two men on the road to Emmaus and to the disciples all with the intention to strengthen their belief and to give us enough witnesses to the fact that the resurrection of Christ did actually take place (Luke 24:13-49).
50 days later, Apostle Peter stood up to address the crowd on the day of Pentecost as recorded in our opening text in Acts 2:22-28, more as a witness to the events that occurred during the last days of Jesus on earth. Conversely, it must be stated that you cannot experience resurrection power unless there is a witness in your spirit. Those who have moved in power in our days are people who have a witness in their spirit.
Have you ever wondered how Peter was able to address that crowd, challenging the authorities that crucified Jesus, and in one day, three thousand people were added to the church? It was simply because he spoke with uncommon conviction. The man, who had denied Jesus, watched his Master being bruised and crucified, hid away in fear, was now witnessing of Christ’s resurrection. He declared: ‘Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it’. (Acts 2:23, 24).
He was able to live out this truth because Jesus appeared to him, showing him his pierced hands and feet. We too can live this way, as we experience the power of Christ’s resurrection in our lives every day.
Peter’s boldness was further highlighted at the temple some weeks later, when he and John arrived at the Beautiful gate. The lame man, expecting to receive alms from them was addressed by Peter: “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk”. As a witness, Peter was fully aware that the name of Jesus was also a full representation of his Person. Jesus was an ‘alive Jesus’, not a dead Christ, and he was confident that Jesus will respond when addressed. This is how prophet Jeremiah puts it: ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know’ (Jeremiah 33:3).
Peter took the lame man by the hand, and lifted him up, because he knew the resurrection power was fully available. The lame man was soon ‘…leaping up, (he) stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God’ (Acts 3:8).
On their arrival in the temple, Peter and John stood up as witnesses for Christ once again, as they addressed the gathering crowd; Acts 3:13-16 reads: The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know.
Shortly after this, Peter and John were arrested and brought before the temple officials. Again, Peter stood to witness to the power of the resurrected Christ. In addressing them, he said: ‘let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole’ (Acts 4:10).
That same power that brought Jesus back to life and raised the lame man at the beautiful gate is available to change your circumstances today. If you will call upon Him, you will indeed see the power of the resurrected Christ at work in you today.
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