Weekly Uplift - Against All Odds, I Will Arise
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Against All Odds I Will Arise

 

pastor michael

 

 

 

 

By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London 

 

 

 

Foundation Scripture: Matthew 28:1-7

Sunday 27th March 2016

 

 

On this Easter Sunday morning, I am sharing a word with you that depict the story of New Wine. Today’s message is titled ‘Against All Odds, I Will Arise’. Here is our foundation scripture, from Matthew 28:1-7, which reads: ‘Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men’. But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”

 

Our lives are anchored to the truth that Christ was raised from the dead. 1 Corinthians 15:14 put it this way: ‘And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty’. Without Christ’s resurrection, the church and our hope in God for the future would have been non-existent. The resurrection is the basis for our lives and the reason why we are alive today. It is the basis for celebrating the Christmas and this Easter Season. Christ’s resurrection gives validity to his advent. The epitaph at his tomb could be relayed thus: ‘He is not here. He is risen’. Tourists and pilgrims visit the Church of the Sepulcher, to see the empty tomb.

 

As Christians, we have a responsibility to anchor our hearts to the hope that the resurrection of Jesus gives us, right in the middle of a world full of decadence and misery. Regardless of how tough and difficult life may seem presently, we can be rest assured that if God raised Christ from the grave, He will also raise us up. Beyond being an event, resurrection is personified in Jesus. John 11:25 confirms this. ‘Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live”. From Matthew 28:5-6, we can summarise the words of the angel with these four words: crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection. Contrary to tradition, the angel did not roll back the stone in order to facilitate Jesus’ emergence from the tomb. Rather, the stone was rolled away to give visitors, visiting the tomb the opportunity to look within, to confirm the resurrection of Christ. 

 

The resurrection of Christ was created by God, from the pre-beginning of the world as a prototype for each one of us. Revelation 13:8 reads: ‘All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world’. Christ’s death preceded the events that occurred two thousand years ago. The victory over Satan had already been concluded in the mind of God. Revelation 1:18 put it this way: ‘I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen’. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death’. Christ’s life on earth was simply a replication of that which had already occurred in the realm of the Spirit. His birth, ministry, crucifixion, death and resurrection were all part of the plans of God for Christ. Conversely, there is nothing occurring in our lives that take God by surprise, or that is accidental. God concluded our lives and gave permission for it to begin to unfold. Jeremiah 29:11 reads: ‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope’. From the words of Revelation 1, we can ascertain that the keys to hell and the grave are in the hands of Jesus – and that is the hope we need to live in this world (Also see Revelation 3:7). 

 

St. Paul writes about the presentation of the gospel in Romans, in contrast to the geographical and historical facts presented by the writers of the gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Romans 4:23-25 reads: ‘Now it was not written for his sake alone (Abraham’s) that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification’. He goes further to write in Romans 5:1-2, which reads: ‘Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God’. The resurrection of Christ has given us access to justification, peace with God, grace and hope. 

 

Now, with the resurrection of Jesus, we have hope in God. There is a great future for each of us and we can be rest assured that it is not over yet. St. Paul goes on to write about his personal experiences, and the hope that kept him going despite the various problems he experienced. 1 Corinthians 1:8-11 reads: ‘We don't want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us in Asia province. It was so bad we didn't think we were going to make it. We felt like we'd been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were   forced to   trust God totally — not a bad idea since he's the God who raises the dead! And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he'll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing’ (MSG).

 

 

In rounding up, here are the key lessons to remember about resurrection, namely:

 

(a) Whatever we may be going through is not our final destination; there is hope for our future.

 

(b) We must continue exercising our faith and keep on pressing to know God – He is the one who raises the dead.

 

(c) We need to trust God totally for a turnaround; our hope ought to be in God and not in our ability.

 

 

Now Apply the Word HERE

Download the PDF of this message HERE

Weekly Uplift Archives HERE

 

 

 

As we continue the on-going series ‘Experiencing the Power of Multiplication’ today, here is a brief summary of the message: ‘Empowering the Next Generation’ from a fortnight ago. We agreed that God is generational in His thinking and deals with us from that standpoint. All God gives to us is meant to be passed on to upcoming generation. Our lives are a channel, a means by which God reaches out to our young ones.

God’s word, the bible is full of accounts of people who lived, thinking of the young and the unborn. Abraham in Genesis 17 aptly fits this description, with God reminding him of this truth. Bearing this in mind, Abraham was able to prepare adequately for Isaac’s future as we discovered from these seven points, namely: (1) He dedication Isaac to God, by circumcision (2) He celebrated Isaac (3) The bond woman and her child were sent away (4) He taught Isaac to obey God (5) He set the stage for Isaac’s future (6) He empowered Isaac (7) He sent away the children of His concubines.

Today as we examine this message, titled ‘Make Your Life Count for a Divine Purpose’, it is the crux of this series. Let me start by reminding us that it is vital that life flows from us to the next generation, and I intend to encourage us in this message to embrace a purpose beyond our personal life’s goals and aspirations. Within the timeframe that we have been given by God, it is important that we use it wisely and intentionally, serving His purpose on earth.

I have often wondered if coming to church, and engaging in the various forms of spiritual exercises – giving, praying, studying the scriptures and so forth, and having our needs met are an end in themselves? All these are good but they are simply a means to an end – and not an end in themselves. We’ve been created for a purpose bigger than the meeting of our needs. We experience healing, empowerment, and blessings for a purpose beyond us. Hence, life ought not to end with us. Ephesians 1:1 reads, ‘This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus’. Being chosen is not an end, but the choices made after the calling of God is more important. Unfortunately, the present day church has made the means, an end and disregarded the real end. Our personal victories, blessings and successes are meant to encourage us towards that end.

The essence of our faith is wrapped up in the first statement made by God to mankind in Genesis, and the last words of Jesus to his disciples before His ascension. Here they are, Genesis 1:28 reads thus: Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”  Matthew 28:18-19 reads: ‘And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’. Here is the reason why God has created us to live on earth; to make disciples of all nations. Our desires for comfort and pleasures are delightful, but they must not impede us from fulfilling God’s mandate for our lives.