Upon This Rock


Now when Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” Matthew 16:13

I just returned from Israel. On this trip, I visited Caesarea Philippi for the first time. Jesus took His disciples on a thirty mile trip north in Israel to ask them a very important question and to drive home a very important truth.

In Jesus’ day, Caesarea Philippi was an important center. Seated at the bottom of the slopes of Mount Hermon, the center was the place that one of the headwaters of the Jordan River was located. Out of the mountain flowed water which made the area lush and beautiful. Just up the slopes above the center was a pit that the ancients could not find the bottom of. The pit fascinated the Greek people of the area and the area became the center of the worship of Pan, the half man – half goat god of panic. A temple was built on the site for Pan and niches were placed in the temple to honor Echo, the nymph consort of Pan and Hermes, Pan’s father. The pit became known as a gate to the underworld; the gate of Hades into which sacrifices were thrown.

When the Romans conquered the area, Herod the Great built a temple to Augustus, the Roman Emperor next to the temple of Pan in gratefulness for giving him jurisdiction over the area. There was also a temple built there to Nemesis, the goddess of revenge, Zeus, the ruler of all the Greek gods, and a couple of places that honored sacrifices to these gods and rulers.

It was at this particular place, that Jesus chose to ask His disciples the question of His deity. Simon Peter answered the question for all of the disciples, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Now, picture the scene if you will:

Jesus and His disciples seated at the bottom of the slope of Mount Hermon. Just about forty yards above them sits the temples of Pan, Augustus, Zeus, Nemesis, and the pit to the underworld.

I believe that Jesus purposely chose this pagan place to make known to His disciples who He is. Jesus tells His disciples this in the Amplified Version:

“And I tell you that you are Peter (Petros – a large piece of rock), and on this rock (petra – a huge rock like Gibraltar) I will build My church, and the gates of Hades (the powers of the infernal regions) shall not overpower it.” Matthew 16:18

The temples to the pagan gods of Caesarea Philippi are in shambles. The church of Jesus Christ built upon people like Peter who know their God is still alive! The gates of Hades and the powers of the infernal regions of darkness shall not – cannot prevail or overpower it!

This truth is brand new to me after visiting this place for myself. I am a part of that huge rock! If you are Jesus’ disciple, then so are you! The gates of Hell will not prevail against you!

Is Hell Real?


The reality of Hell is a hotly debated topic. Many believers in Jesus do not believe in a literal “Hell” even though Jesus talked about it at length. Should we discount His words regarding Hell? If so, how can we be sure that the place called Heaven exists? Jesus referred to a place that literally existed in His time to emphasize the existence of a literal Hell. The place was called Gehenna.

What is Gehenna?

Gehenna is a place – a specific location. It is first mentioned in the book of Joshua as the boundary between the lot of land possessed by the tribe of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin. It is a valley that lies south of Jerusalem bordering the old city of Zion, heading west and runs into the Kidron Valley.

Gehenna – Ge: “valley” and henna: “Hinnom”. “Valley of Hinnom”

In Joshua 15:8, we see this valley called the “Valley of the Son of Hinnom”. Who the “Son or sons of Hinnom” are is not known for certain, but the valley carries this name to the present day.

God spoke to Jeremiah these words concerning the valley:

Jeremiah 19:1-6: Thus says the Lord: “Go and get a potter’s earthen flask, and take some of the elders of the people and some of the elders of the priests. And go out to the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, which is by the entry of the Potsherd Gate; and proclaim there the words that I will tell you, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Behold, I will bring such a catastrophe on this place, that whoever hears of it, his ears will tingle. “Because they have forsaken Me and made this an alien place, because they have burned incense in it to other gods whom neither they, their fathers, not the kings of Judah have known, and have filled this place with the blood of the innocents (they have also built the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or speak, nor did it come into My mind), therefore behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, that this place shall no more be called Tophet or the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter.”

On the southern brow, overlooking the valley at its eastern extremity Solomon erected high places for Molech, (1 Kings 11:7) whose horrid rites were revived from time to time. In the same vicinity the later idolatrous kings, Ahaz and Manasseh made their children “pass through the fire” in this valley, (2 Kings 16:32 Chronicles 28:333:6) and the fiendish custom of infant sacrifice to the fire-gods seems to have been kept up in Tophet, which was another name for this place – Tophet meaning, “the place of burning”.

Before the time of King Josiah, this valley was the place of the worship of Baal and Molech. To put an end to these abominations the place was polluted by Josiah, who renders it ceremonially unclean by spreading over it human bones and other corruptions, (2 Kings 23:10,13,142 Chronicles 34:4,5) from which time it appears to have become the common cesspool of the city, into which sewage was conducted, to be carried off by the waters of the Kidron.

It has been a common opinion that the later Jews, in imitation of Josiah, threw into this place all manner of filth, as well as the carcasses of animals and the dead bodies of malefactors; and that with reference to either the baleful idolatrous fires in the worship of Moloch, or to the fires afterwards maintained there to consume the mass of impurities that might otherwise have occasioned a pestilence, came the figurative use of the fires of Gehenna, that is, valley of Hinnom, to denote the eternal fire in which wicked men and fallen spirits shall be punished.

The prophecy of Isaiah describing the last days mentions a place of continual corruption and burning (Isaiah 66:24) to which Jesus referred when speaking of the seriousness of dealing with our sins:

Mark 9:47-48: “And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire—“where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.”

Jesus referred to hell as Gehenna at least 11 times. It was a literal place which Jesus used to illustrate a literal place of final punishment for evildoers.

Now, does Gehenna represent the heart of man or the heart of God?

Gehenna/Valley of Hinnom does not represent the will of God but the will of those who reject God and the will of heaven. The things that went on there in the worship of idols; the destruction that is depicted there does not represent the will of God. When speaking to Jeremiah, God said that things that man did in the Valley of Hinnom never entered into His mind to do. They were products of demonic influence and human activity.

God must judge evil. The removal of evil and the judgment thereof is part of justice, which is a component of love. You cannot have true love without justice for the oppressed. Judgment of evil is as sure as the reality of sin. Does sin exist? Then, so does judgment for sin.

But, God’s heart is salvation. He desires to save all who will be saved.

Does society have a problem with the existence of hell? When you look at how many people believe in a literal hell, you would think so.

God has an even bigger problem with it. He hates it more than you do. In fact, He hates it so much He gave His life to save you from it.

Hell was created for the devil and his fallen angels. They not only wronged God; they wronged you and me as well. Without the ability to choose evil, you don’t truly have free will. Without free will, you and I are not created in the image of God. For choice to exist, you must have something to choose between. That’s why there were two trees in the Garden of Eden – that’s why there are still two “trees” available for us to choose today – good or evil.

God has destroyed the power of hell. Through His Son, Jesus, God took your “hell” upon Himself. If you are a believer, this present existence is as close to hell as you will come. If you are not a believer, there is something worse than anything you can experience in this life. Give your life to Jesus. Avoid Hell. When you really think, the choice is an easy one.

 

A Kingdom of Violent People


This scripture is one of which I am very familiar. It was used a lot in the church that I was saved in. To give you some background:

The church that I was saved in was one that believed in doing things first in prayer and then in action. We saw prayer as an act of fellowship with God and one of aggression toward the enemy. We were taught to be people of the Spirit; grounded in the Word of God, led by the Spirit of God – refusing to take no for an answer when it came to the enemy’s interference in the plan of God.

I was also taught that complacency is a killer. Becoming casual in the faith was something that produced casualties. Now, when I say something like this, many hear legalistic threads in my words. They immediately think that I am saying that I had to be at church all the time or that, if I didn’t pray, God wouldn’t favor me.

The truth is actually quite contrary: I don’t feel as if I “have” to do something to secure God’s favor or salvation. I know that these things are an act of God. What I am saying is that it is very easy to justify complacency in life and when we do, we are forgetting the very nature of the faith and the place in which we live our lives.

To expound on this, let’s go back to Matthew 11.

The passage we read earlier is found in the midst of a discourse by Jesus on the times they were living in and the tools God was using in those times. Disciples of John the Baptist were sent to Jesus to ask if He was the One or should they look for another messiah. This is an interesting question. I have to ask myself what brought John to the place of confusion about Jesus.

After meeting Jesus at the river Jordan, John said these words to his disciples:

“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

“This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me. I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.” And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained on Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God. John 1:30-34

John was sure when he baptized Jesus that He was the Son of God. Why was he confused later?

In Israel, the story is told that John was raised in an Essene Jewish community. John’s parents were old when he was born. It was widely know that the Essenes took in orphans. Many believed that they were an off-shoot of the Zadokite priests. They were a desert-dwelling sect who believed in ritual cleanliness and strict adherence to the Law. They are believed to be responsible for the writing of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Was John a product of that community?

We cannot know for sure, but we do know that John, like the Essenes used water in acts of repentance. John was also one who lived ascetic lifestyle separated from the comforts of the world.

What he saw in Jesus was a miracle worker and a preacher, but Jesus lived a lifestyle that was so different from John’s. Jesus lived among people of the world – sinners. He also was a drinker of wine.

John may have been confused. Could God use a drinker of wine? One who spoke to prostitutes and ate with tax collectors?

Jesus was not a legalist and neither are the people of God, but Jesus was a warrior and so are His people! This was what John and Jesus had in common.

Jesus said that things had changed since John appeared. A new dispensation in the Spirit had arrived. From the days that John began to preach, violence became a characteristic of the kingdom people.

This is what Jesus means when He speaks of a violent people:

Violent: positive assertiveness; used of the believer living in faith (“God’s inworked persuasions”) guiding and empowering them to act forcefully – i.e. “fired up” by God to act by His revelation.

John told the people when he preached:

“Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even know the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Jesus will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Matthew 3:8-11

We are living in the period of the “ax”. God’s people are people of the “ax”. They are people of fire. Axes and fire bring change to the landscape.

Jesus’ people are warriors. They understand that spiritual enemies exist who seek to destroy the work of the Kingdom of God and its advancement comes through aggressiveness on the part of kingdom people.

The kingdom is not made up of people who sit on a cloud in a night shirt and a diaper playing a harp. The kingdom is achieving Jesus’ objectives by force. Those who are achieving growth and fulfilling their ministry in the Lord are doing so forcefully – not through complacency disguised as liberty.

Liberty can become complacency. We see it every day. Our definition of liberty has become my ability to do what I want – to be comfortable. Can we tell the difference any more between liberty and complacency? I wonder. Beware of “hitting the wall” spiritually. I’m speaking of the place where we settle short of what God has for us.

Where are you settling? What are you settling for?

There are some unsettling trends in the Body of Christ.

Why in the body of Christ are our younger believers leading the older? Why are they the most zealous? Shouldn’t it be that the longer we know Christ, the more in love with Him we fall and the more like Him we look?

Are you a “been there, done that, got the t-shirt” type of believer?

Where are the aggressors – getting new revelation from the Lord and putting that revelation into action? We are in the days of violence and kingdom people are violent people

Does this describe you?

There is a church that looks a lot like the kingdom of God. Is it Capstone? I sure want it to be. God, set me on fire!

 

 

I’m Coming Mimi!


As I was spending time in prayer this week, I felt the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit tell me to write about the return of Jesus.

While there are differences of opinion among our family members as to when Jesus’ return will happen, the key point that we must focus on is that He is coming!!!

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 1 Thess. 4:16-17

When Jesus returns, there will be a shout, and the sound of a trumpet, and the emptying of graves and the flight of the believers. No fear of heights! No need for wings! Jets will have to move out of the way to prepare a pathway to the reunion of the righteous! Get out of the way stars! Get out of the way sun and moon! The victory parade of the righteous is happening!

I grew up with people who believed in Jesus and I heard about His return all my life. My grandmother used to talk about something called, “The Rapture”. She would say, “Parkey, you have to be ready! Jesus is returning for those who are His!”

What is this “rapture”?

Rapture – the Latin word for “caught up, to seize, to carry off, to snatch away”.

My grandmother told me that we need to be busy while we are on the earth to minister to others, yet her focus was always upon this “Rapture”. Everything she did revolved around the certainty of this singular event.

Jesus talked about this event; angels talked about this event; the apostles talked about this event – the return of Jesus Christ is the central event of all Christianity!

 Jesus talked of His return over and over. In the book of Revelation, Jesus says:

And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. 22:12

Believers in Jesus need not fear hell. Jesus has taken their punishment upon Himself. Yet, a sobering and wonderful thought lies in the fact that each of His children will stand before the Lord to receive our reward. The seat of reward is called, “The Bema Seat”.

The concept of the Bema Seat comes from the ancient Olympics, where a judge would sit on the Bema Seat at the finish line. The judge’s purpose was to determine what position the runners came in-first, second, and so on-and then to give out the appropriate rewards. That is the imagery behind what is known as the Bema Seat. 

Also known as the Judgment Seat of Christ, the Bema Seat is described in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15

 “If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.”

Your gold, silver, and costly stones are works done for the glory of God, with the right motive, and in dependence upon the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Each of us who are believers will have this appointment with Christ.

The Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ are separate events.

The Rapture occurs when Jesus returns for His church. 1 Cor. 15:51-52

The Second Coming of Christ occurs when Jesus returns with His church to defeat the Antichrist and begin His Millennial Reign. Rev. 19

When will this rapture occur?

But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. Matt. 24:36

Many have tried to predict, and up to this point, all have been wrong!

People are still trying to predict the time of Jesus’ appearing. While He gave us signposts to know it is near, prediction is not to be our focus. Look at what Jesus said to His disciples upon His departure:

Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time, restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:6-8

This is a word for you and I. We are to focus on being His witnesses not trying to figure out His return. If you’re ready, you’re ready whenever He comes!

For those who are not living in view of His return, the day WILL catch them unaware.

But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 24:48-51

What are they going to say when the church is gone?

That a cataclysmic leap in evolution took place? That the “weakest” of society were suddenly destroyed to make room for the survival of the fittest? That the sky rolled back and those who were stuck in the past were abducted by aliens?

I don’t know but you don’t want to be here while they try to explain it.

But, for those who live with His return at the center of their existence:

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:

“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen!”

Then one of the elders answered saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?” And I said to him, “Sir, you know.”So he said to me, These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:9-17

Can you see yourself in that gathering? If not, how do you get there? 

I see my grandmother there! “I’m coming, Mimi, just like you told me!”

 

 

 

 

Its What Happened After Easter


A view of the resurrection of Jesus Christ through the eyes of a non believer. When a non believer looks at what happened on that day, what do they see?

The death of a good man? – a rebel? – a maniac? What else is seen? An empty tomb – the product of zealous followers? – grave robbers?

Is the story a fairy tale? A myth? A misinterpretation of facts?

The truth be told – people all through history have followed the trail of this story to find out what happened after the resurrection and, despite all of our technology and despite all of those seeking to either prove or disprove the resurrection of Jesus, no one has been able to locate evidence that proves a different story other than the one found within these pages.  

We know He was there and now, He is not.

But, factual evidence doesn’t stop there.

Soldiers commanded to guard the tomb against this exact scenario reporting a vision of an angelic being and a missing body.

A plot conceived to cover the failed attempt to keep His body in the tomb.

A group of women stating they had seen Jesus alive.

A gathering of 500 people witnessed His appearance to them within 40 days of His death.

A group of twelve men known as His disciples willing to die to stand by their story that they had personally seen Him alive.

After Jesus’ resurrection, there were 120 believers. 2000 years after this event, 2.2 billion people say that they believe that Jesus was resurrected from the dead.

That number represents those alive today. It does not take into account the great number of those who believed in His resurrection down through history who have already died.

What causes such a tidal wave of faith? How did this story cause such a “fire” that it has affected such a large number of people?

It’s what happens after the resurrection that answers the question.

Before His death, Jesus told His disciples this:

But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. John 16:5-7

Jesus said that it was to our advantage that He go away. Like most of us, I believe the disciples could not believe that they would have an advantage through Jesus’ absence.

Jesus stated that the advantage for the believers would come in the arrival of the Helper. In verse 13, Jesus called this Helper the Spirit.

After His death, even His most ardent followers were scattered abroad for fear. After His resurrection, something happened that changed everything.

And being assembled together with them, he commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, which, He said, you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Acts 1:4-5

Then Jesus elaborated on what would happen to the believers that would make them change and change everything:

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. Acts 1:8

It is one thing to know who Jesus is. It is another to have seen Him do things. It is another to have memories of Him from the past. But, what Jesus is revealing after His resurrection takes things to a whole different level.

You may know what happened after this conversation: Jesus ascends to heaven; leaving His disciples behind. But, then:

They were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:1-4

In other words, the disciples caught fire! And, it was the fire that made all the difference in the world!

This was the day that changed everything! True, it wasn’t possible until the resurrection of Jesus, but after this event – Jesus went viral!

Its after Easter. Have you experienced the “fire”?

 

I Love That Guy!


So many people seem to be able to relate to the apostle Peter. His zeal for Jesus coupled with his failures at critical times make him a beloved figure in the Bible. Everyone has experienced the “high” of Peter’s passion and the “low” of his failures making him someone who we can easily empathize with.

 

One of the things that Peter speaks about we have all experienced in life: suffering.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:3-7

Suffering and persecution can cause either growth or bitterness. The response of the individual determines the result. Since no one  is exempt from suffering or persecution, it is important for us to learn how to successfully navigate these realities. Successful navigation of suffering and persecution is the primary lesson of First Peter.

Peter begins his letter by pointing out a reality as powerful as the certainty of persecution. The reality he speaks of is important to the navigation of suffering.

First, he reminds the believers that:

  1. They are equipped to handle anything they face.

The trials of the present or those in the future have already been seen by the foreknowledge of God. Nothing catches Him off guard. God is not making plans “on the fly” but has a plan for (let’s make this personal) you that is from all eternity. God has seen every move by the enemy in advance and has already prepared His move that brings about “checkmate”. You are the elect of God. That means you are chosen for this moment. You are chosen to overcome this moment, not to be defeated by your sufferings. You have been born again which means every aspect of your character that would spell defeat for you has been broken off of you and you are being sanctified by the Spirit of Jesus. The very aspects of Jesus that brought Him through His time of trial victoriously are being worked into you at this very moment! You are covered by, washed in, and regenerated by the blood of Jesus! You are not facing what you are going through as “Parkey Cobern: sometimes ok and sometimes not”, you are going through this as a regenerated child of God under the authority of the Spirit with goodness and mercy running right beside you! You have died to what defeats you and are alive to the power of God!

  1. They are guaranteed to win!

Let’s make this personal again: Peter reminds us that we have an inheritance reserved in heaven for us that cannot be messed up by Satan or you: an inheritance that cannot lose its value over time, like some 401K weakened by bad circumstances, nor is can it just disappear on you like some of the people and things you value in life. Your victory and the accompanying spoils are kept in heaven for you, guarded by a God who has already kicked the devil out of heaven with no chance of his interference in the future!

To overcome whatever you are facing, it is essential that you remember that your victory is assured!!!!!

  1. God, not the devil is in control of how “hot” things get!

To successfully navigate persecution and suffering, you must realize that God, not the devil is in control of how “hot” things get in your life! If you believe Satan is controlling things, then you will get discouraged because you know how full of hate he is. But, if you know that God is in control of your trial, then you realize that love is actually controlling your fate and that the trial is destined, not for your destruction but to work toward your growth and the promotion of God’s glory!

Verse 5 tell us that we are “kept” by the power of God through faith for salvation to be revealed. This is an important statement. The word “kept” means that we have a military like guard around us which has been authorized to use whatever force that is necessary to ensure that the will of God is done in our lives! Do you see them? They are present and will fulfill their mission!

Verse 5 also states that our faith in God is assuring an outcome for us known as salvation. The word “salvation” means deliverance! The outcome of your situation is deliverance!

Another truth of verse 5 is that this deliverance is destined to be revealed! So, when you put this all together, you know that:

I’m equipped to handle anything I face!

My victory is guaranteed and reserved for me!

God, not the devil is in control of what is happening to me!

I am guarded by angels authorized to use whatever force necessary to fulfill the will of God!

Deliverance is my destiny!

In the perfect time, I will see the manifestation!

 

Your Resurrection Story


This week, we celebrate the powerful culmination of the first coming of Jesus! “Born to die to rise again; to crush the power of Satan’s sin.” This is the reason why we celebrate and rejoice this week!

The Creator of all things, taking on the form of His own creation – walking among them, experiencing the same difficulties they experience. The One who never sleeps or slumbers experiencing fatigue and hunger and thirst. The One whose words were rejected  and broken by His creation, breaking bread with them, saying to them, “this is My body broken for you”. The One who was present at the casting out of Lucifer and his angels from heaven, submitting willingly to the lash and the nail from Satan’s hand. The One who turned rebellious mankind away from the Garden of Eden telling a thief from His cross, “Today, you will be with Me in Paradise!”

The One who told the people to roll the stone away from Lazarus’ tomb so that He could raise him from the dead – Himself laid behind a stone on the slab of death. The One whose disciples couldn’t believe that He was alive enters their chamber of fear saying, “Touch my hands and feet. Put your hand into My side. Why are you troubled and why do doubts rise in your hearts?” The One who created the universe, Pleiades and Orion, cooks fish and prepares dinner for His disciples.

This is the reason we celebrate this Resurrection Week!

That’s a truly beautiful story but what does it have to do with me now?

That’s what I want to address today.

Jesus’ death was what we call a “substitutionary” death. He did not die for His own sins. The religious leaders and the Roman authorities tested Him over and over and could not prove that He ever did anything wrong or deserving of death. The death He died; He died as a substitute for you and I!

Isaiah 53:5 – “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.”

Look at yourself in the mirror and say, “You killed Jesus!” It was by your hand that He was put to death! Now, He is risen from the dead and each of us has to reckon with Him over what we have done!

Those who do not settle this blood debt will be found guilty of murdering Christ. But, for those who give their lives to Him in faith:

  1. Our old life is crucified and buried!

Galatians 2:20: “I am crucified with Christ!” He died our death so we died to the old life and its controlling habits. Through baptism, the old life is buried with Him. When Jesus entered the grave, so did your old way of living! A dead man stops sinning! The body controlled by sin is done away with; I am no longer a slave to sin in my life! If you live by faith in Jesus, neither are you!

  1. We are raised to walk in newness of life!

If we die with Christ, it is certain that we will be raised with Him! Jesus did not stay in the grave, He lives to the Father! The Father called Him out of the grave on the chilly Easter morning and He has called us out of our life of death! You may go home to the same house and drive the same car but you are not the same! You live a life that is now free from the control of sin and submitted to the control of the Holy Spirit of the Living Christ! Your life will take a new direction because it is not following the same path! Were you addicted? You’re not now – is Jesus addicted?

  1. We never have to fear death again!

Verses 8-11: “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise, you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The person who is free from sin does not ever have to fear death!

This is the transformation that all who are truly saved pass through:

Death to sin

Resurrection in the Spirit

New way of living evidenced by walking in Christ

We celebrate Jesus’ resurrection this week, but in doing so, we celebrate your resurrection as well!!