I Am Coming Out of This!
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: Acts 2: 22-28; Mark 16:1-7
Sunday 31st March 2013
Today as we celebrate the resurrection and Jesus' triumph over death and the grave, the message of the resurrection is just as relevant to every situation that we may be facing and in the same way that death could not hold Jesus, we have no business remainging subject to our situations and challenges. For this reason, we can look at the situations and challenges of life head on and declare boldly, 'I'm coming out of this!'. The message of the resurrection means that things are not supposed to remain the same; resurrection means that things are supposed to experience a turn-around and get better. The same power that brought Jesus from the grave is available to you; “I declare that today, resurrection power is released into every area of your life.”
If we look closely at the account in Acts 2: 22, which represents the first sermon preached by Peter after the resurrection, we see that indeed, Jesus was taken, crucified and put to death. However, we understand that it was not possible for him to be held by death. Two days ago on Friday we understood more deeply the significance of Jesus' statement, 'It is finished' to our lives. In Mark 16:6, the angels tell Mary and the women whom had come to the tomb to anoint Jesus body "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."
On this resurrection day, we understand therefore that as a result of the divine exchange which occurred when Jesus was crucified, taking our place, we too are risen with Him. He took our place on the cross, becoming sin and bearing our punishment in order for us to obtain righteousness. Isaiah 53:5 confirms that ‘He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed.’
His gruesome death was the means by which we were able to enter into the abundant life He promised us. No doubt, when Jesus was crucified and buried, the devil was delighted, concluding that it was all over and God’s plan had been frustrated, however it is never over until God says so. In our lives too, the enemy has no entitlement to draw conclusions about our lives and destinies, regardless of the circumstances; God always has the last word in any situation. The resurrection message is that it is not over until God has said so; yes, Jesus died and yes, He was buried but that was not the end. That was Friday but Sunday was coming. Everyone experiences ‘Friday situations’ but for us as believers in Jesus Christ, there is always a Sunday morning. Friday situations are never the end; because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross, there is always a Sunday morning! We must stop, therefore, walking around as if its over for us and there is no way out. There is always a way out, regardless of what we may be facing. Jesus said, ‘I AM the Way’; for this reason, we are assured of a way out of whatever we may be facing.
Psalm 30:5 tells us, 'Weeping may endure for the night but joy comes in the morning. ' The message of the resurrection assures that despite the challenges and difficulties, which are unavoidable in this earthly journey, it is not the end. The difficulties and challenges of life do not have the power to overcome you unless you allow them to. We are assured, because of the resurrection, of a come-back after the set-back, hope after hopelessness and victory, in the face of apparent defeat. It was not possible for death to hold Jesus; it is not possible for the challenges of life to hold us. As long as we are holding on to God and His word, we win.
The resurrection of Jesus is the centrepiece of our Christian faith. We thank God for the cross and everything that was achieved for us on the cross, however without the resurrection, we would have no business being here in celebration today. The resurrection validated everything that had been accomplished for us on the cross. Had Jesus not have risen from the dead, we would have been eternally enslaved to death, hell and the grave. In Acts 2, Peter quoted David’s prophetic statement ‘My flesh also will rest in hope. For you will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will you allow your Holy One to see corruption.’ Theologians have stated that Hades was the place of departed souls awaiting final judgement in which the righteous and unrighteous were separated by a gulf which could not be crossed. Jesus, having become sin for us, was in the place for the unrighteous and was held bound by Satan and his demonic entourage on the Friday and the Saturday but on Sunday morning something shifted. Jesus collected the keys of death and Hades and He went to the place for the righteous and released them. Ephesians 4: 8-10 makes clear that when Jesus ascended to heaven, He took the righteous occupants of paradise with Him. This is confirmed from the account in Matthew 27: 52-53 which states, ‘and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many’.
Looking back at the account in Mark 16, we understand that Mary and a number of women had come to anoint the body of Jesus. They would have been contemplating and debating the challenge that confronted them. They knew a stone was rolled against the tomb where Jesus was buried; and it was a very heavy stone. They had no clue how they were going to roll the stone away in order to anoint the body of Jesus. It must have come as a great surprise to them to realise that the stone had been rolled away. The stone represents finality; I declare that every stone of finality that the enemy has positioned in your life is rolled away. The stone of affliction is rolled away! The stone of oppression is rolled away! The stone of poverty is rolled away! The stone of sickness is rolled away! Every stone is rolled away in Jesus’ Name. Every decision that is contrary to God’s will is reversed in Jesus’ Name. Had the enemy succeeded in keeping the stone intact and in place, we would be stuck and subject to our circumstances but the stone had been rolled away and therefore we are free! The Angel told the women, ‘He is not here.’ This refers to more than a geographical location. It refers to our positioning as regards our circumstances. We are delivered and set free; no longer held by our circumstances. Death could not hold Jesus and our circumstances and challenges cannot hold us. People will look for you in the location that you used to be in but you will no longer be there. You will Go Forward! As the statement, ‘He is risen’ confirms a repositioning and a shift of location; I declare a repositioning in your life.
This is the centrepiece of hope for us as Christians. Now, when you face challenges, you can bring the resurrection perspective into focus and declare in the face of negative situations, whether family problems, unemployment, immigration problems, marital problems, oppression or sickness, ‘He is risen!’It is important to understand that the resurrection does not apply simply to Easter. It is a right that Jesus has procured for us, our entitlement that is available every day of our lives. We are told in Acts 2 that God raised Jesus up and loosed the pain of death and it was not possible for death to hold him. You remember that Jesus was life and it is impossible for me, a male to give birth as it is for death to hold life. Similarly, Jesus being light could not be overwhelmed by darkness. Because you have the life of God inside you, it is impossible for you to be held down by circumstances. It is only when you are ignorant of who you are and what you are carrying that the enemy can hoodwink you.
How do you live out the resurrected life? Jesus gave us clues as to how to accomplish this. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead in John 11, He said 'Roll away the stone'. John 6:63 tells us that the words that Jesus spoke are spirit and life and further, we understand that it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks. Jesus introduced into Lazarus’ situation a release of resurrection life, and that which was dead received life and death was overthrown! The life of Christ is resident on the inside of each of us. It is for us to connect to the reservoir of that life in us with the words that we speak. Proverbs 18:21 says, that ‘death and life are in the power of the tongue’. We have the words that trigger the life of Christ by which death is overcome; we can communicate life and resurrection power. The resurrection therefore is an experience that we can each re-live every day of our lives. We have life within us but we must be aware that we also have the power of death and we must be very careful as to which we select. The power of death is what we release when we vocalise our confirmation of negative situations however, when we select and activate our words correctly, life is released.
Today and indeed every day, I release the power of the resurrection in to every area of your life!
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