These words penned by the Holy Spirit in Paul grip my heart: "That I may lay hold of that for which Jesus Christ laid hold of me." Oh Father God, make the reality of the heart and power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ alive in us, body, soul, and spirit. Paul writes with such passion "I count all things loss for the excellency of knowing Christ Jesus." Paul's heart cries from his pen to be found in Christ, "that I might know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if by any means I may attain to the resurrection from the dead." He says, "Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected: but I press on that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me."
Paul possessed the enduring love for the Lord Jesus through his submission to the Holy Spirit dwelling within him. This love would take him through all the trials and tribulations he would face as he proclaimed the gospel wherever God sent him. The Apostle Paul endured to the end that he might be counted worthy of becoming a son of the resurrection. He laid hold of the fellowship of sufferings and the power of the resurrection to receive the prize of the high call in Christ Jesus. He will know the final redemption, to be manifested as a son of God, changed into immortality with a new glorious body fit for the new heaven and earth.
Humanly we know "eros" love, the sensual kind of love, and we know the "phileo" love that enjoys being with the people who like what you like and do what you do. While these are a part of our human nature and can be healthy under God's boundaries they have been perverted and polluted. Religion is built on man's soulish ambitions, which tends to produce only a phileo type love where there is one mold and into it all must fit. The world thrives on the "anything goes sensuality," an eros kind of love. Because these same seducing spirits are at work in the church today, it is getting more difficult to tell the difference between the church world and the secular world.
Western church we live in Laodecia (Revelation 3). We are challenged not to be rocked to sleep in comfort and become indifferent and apathetic to the eternal perspective of life. The real experience of the power of the resurrection in our lives is the heart of the gospel, but it is in danger of becoming just a theory, a concept, a tradition, new clothes, or an Easter egg hunt. We live in a lukewarm religious society, which is in desperate need of an awakening to the real enduring love of God that will know Him in the fellowship of His sufferings and the power of His resurrection. It is the agape love that will endure whatever it takes to possess the power of the gospel of the Kingdom of God in Christ Jesus.
The heart of the resurrection is the cross of Christ. The cross stands in the very center of time and eternity for all creation. Without the cross there would have been no resurrection for any of us and no redemption for our cursed world. The Christ of the cross was God's great love for the world. While we were still rebellious sinners, God watched His only begotten Son suffer beyond any man and die in the place of all mankind, paying our complete sin debt, providing our healing, and releasing us from death and hell. There would be no resurrection without the love that drove Jesus Christ all the way to the cross to endure the suffering unto death. There would be no hope of immortality, of everlasting life. He could have called 10,000 angels to his aid at any time, but He did not. It was the agape love of God in Christ that endured to the end for you and me. That same love is available to us through the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead, the HOLY SPIRIT. We have a cross to take up as well, but we also can live and move and have our very being in the power of His resurrection. Wow! What a great salvation! We must not neglect it.
Listen and really hear this; it was that same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead that was with him enabling him to endure the cross. That Spirit is the Holy Spirit that pours the agape love of God into us. It is that Spirit that dwells in you and with you if you know Christ as savior and Lord. If you go after the things of the spirit and not the things of your fallen nature then the Law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus will draw you into His love and lead you victorious through life no matter what it holds for you. The sons of God are those that are led by the spirit of God. That same Spirit will pour this incredible enduring love of God into your heart for whatever you face in life. Out of love for Jesus and others you will lay hold of that resurrection power for which Jesus laid hold of you. In every hardship, trial, distress or weakness you will know faith and patience to inherit all things the Father has to give you now and in eternity. And if that same spirit dwells mightily in you it will flow from you into this world for others.
Look at the early church that knew this love within them. They endured much for Jesus and it produced the resurrection power of God in them and through them. They turned the world upside down with the Gospel. Think how Paul surely experienced and knew this power of love as he was stoned at Lydia, knowing the sentence of death in his body, yet as the disciples prayed he arose and went back to the same city that stoned him to preach the gospel. What about Philip after he preached the gospel to the Ethiopian on the road, baptizing him and was suddenly caught away being translated 25 miles away? Do you think Stephen knew this enduring love as he was martyred for declaring how he saw the Lord and heaven open before him? Then there is John the beloved who, as history tells it, was boiled in oil, was made blind by poking out his eyes, and thrown on a rocky desolate island to die. His enduring love produced the power of the resurrection as he still saw the unveiling of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. John wrote it down as the book of Revelation. He was then released from the Island to die a natural death of old age.
The resurrection power has been given to form the sons of God on the earth, the kings of the earth and the priests of the earth. Believers, we are kings and priests in training. The whole creation waits and groans to see the manifestation of the sons of God. All creation waits anxiously for us to come into the fullness of who we really are in Christ. We as believers have been given the dominion of the earth. It was lost in the fall of Adam and Eve, but gloriously redeemed back to us in Christ Jesus. Do we know who we are and what we are to be doing on this earth? Do we experience the authority we have been given? Do we know that the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead is in us and with us every day as our divine companion? He is with us to make us the Kings and priests of the earth; the sons of God who are led by the Spirit of God. We have been so completely saved by His death, so oh how much more are we given by His resurrected life now and eternally. Selah!
See many Scriptures references below. If you are really hungry then search this out. Find Him in the word. He is there.
If you would like to hear this message in more detail, you can access the audio version of this message by clicking on this link: http://www.trumpetsofzion.org/node/105 .
Romans 5:10 – For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
Romans 8:32 – He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Revelation 1:5-6 – And from Jesus Christ the faithful and trustworthy Witness, the Firstborn of the dead [first to be brought back to life] and the Prince (Ruler) of the kings of the earth. To Him Who ever loves us and has once [for all] loosed and freed us from our sins by His own blood, And formed us into a kingdom (a royal race), priests to His God and Father–to Him be the glory and the power and the majesty and the dominion throughout the ages and forever and ever. Amen (so be it).
Revelation: 5:10 – You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth." See also I Peter 2:4-5
Galatians 3:26-28 – You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth."
Galatians 4:4-7 – But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
Philippians 3: 7-11
I Thessalonians 4:14-18
I Corinthians 15: 17-19; 15: 42-58
Hebrew 2: 1-11
Romans 4:20-25; 5:1-5; Chapter 8
Acts 7:54-59; 14:19-22; 8:26-40