We have studied how it was the hope of the resurrection and the glory He was to receive which enabled Jesus to endure the cross. It has also been the truth of the resurrection that empowered all of the martyrs of every age, and it is as we behold the glory set before us that we are able to take up our crosses and “die daily.”
We must also consider, if the ultimate fear by which the enemy has kept mankind in bondage is the fear of death, and the truth of the resurrection breaks this bondage, why is the world in such darkness and bondage? It is because the church has been almost mute on this greatest of truths since the first century.
The great preacher, Charles Spurgeon, once made a remarkable statement that very few Christians believe in the resurrection. When I read this, I thought it must have been a misprint, but I felt the Spirit witness to me that it was true. It is not believing in our minds which results in righteousness, but believing in our hearts (see Romans 10:10). It is not by just believing in the doctrine of the resurrection that we are set free, but when we believe in our hearts so it changes the way that we live and view this present world. If we truly believed in the resurrection in our hearts, most of our lives would be very different than they are now. We would not be so consumed with the things that are passing away and would give ourselves wholly to that which is eternal.
The greatest freedom we can ever know on this earth is not to be bound by fear. The way we are freed from fear is by dying to this world through the cross of Jesus. What can you do to a dead man? A dead man does not fear, does not take into account wrongs suffered, etc. If we are dead to this world, there is nothing that the world can do to us, and we will therefore be the freest people on earth. This does not mean that we do not manage properly whatever this life has entrusted to us, but we do it in faith as unto the Lord, not in fear. Such fearlessness is an irresistible witness of the resurrection. Why don’t we proclaim and display this more? Because faith is not yet in our hearts.
In Acts 1:2, we see that the office of the apostle was given to be a witness of His resurrection. In Acts 4:33,we read that power was given to witness of His resurrection. In Romans 1:4, we are told that Jesus “…was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead….”
The message of the resurrection is central to true faith, and is, with the cross, the central message of Christianity. The message of the cross is of no real effect without the message of the resurrection, as Paul wrote in,1 Corinthians 15:13-14:
But if there is no resurrection of the dead,
not even Christ has been raised;
and if Christ has not been raised,
then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.
After reading Spurgeon’s statement about how there were not many Christians who believed in the resurrection, I searched my library for the messages on the resurrection written by the great saints of history. I was astonished at what I found — those whose writings included many volumes, would sometimes have only a couple of pages devoted to this most powerful truth. None seemed to give it more than lip service, or the obligatory Easter sermon. Could this be why so much of the church has lost its power? I think so. In Acts 4:1-2 we see why this great truth has fallen into such neglect:
And as they were speaking to the people,
the priests and the captain of the temple guard,
and the Sadducees, came upon them,
being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people
and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
In Acts 23:6, Paul declared before the same council that he was, “…on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead!”
It was preaching the resurrection, that incited the persecution against the church. This is the one message that the enemy cannot stand because it threatens the very root of his power over men — the fear of death.
However, we will never be an apostolic church until this central theme of the apostolic gospel is recovered, and we resolve to stand boldly for the truth of the resurrection. If we believe, we will certainly rise again. If we believe, our lives will demonstrate our faith.
~ Pastor Rick Joyner
|Pastor Rick Joyner is the founder and executive director of MorningStar Ministries and Heritage International Ministries and is the Senior Pastor of MorningStar Fellowship Church.|