Power of His Resurrection - RR272B3
The media player is loading...
Glory be to Thee, O Christ, Who for us hast overcomed death, broken the power of sin, and opened unto us the gates of everlasting life. Glory be to Thee, O God of the Spirit, Who dost lead us into all truth in the Risen Christ. We praise Thee, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and we pray that now and always, we may live in the joy of the resurrection and the certainty of our victory in Jesus Christ our Lord. In His name we pray. Amen.
Our scripture is in Philippians, the third chapter, verses eight through eleven; Philippians 3: 8-11. “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto his death, if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”
Our subject this morning is the phrase in verse ten, “the power of His resurrection.” There are several Greek words in the New Testament, which are translated as “power.” The word used very frequently is “dunamis,” which we have in the word “dynamite.” It is found 118 times in the New Testament. Other words used unite the concepts of power and authority, and the New Testament associates both power and authority with Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, when we look at the words that are used in the New Testament applied to Jesus Christ, they bring together power and authority, dominion, lordship, freedom of action, strength, and rule; and all these terms are associated with what the resurrection does for us. [00:03:38]
The scriptures tell us that God declares that ...
The scriptures tell us that God declares that “he that sinneth against Me wrongs his own soul: all they that hate Me love death.” The plain implication is that if we are not in Christ, we are born losers. If we are in Christ, we are reborn victors. Now Paul uses this word, “dynamis” or “dunamis,” which we have as “dynamite,” when he speaks with regard to the resurrection in our text. When he says, “the power of the resurrection,” he is talking about the explosive world-changing power which the resurrection of Jesus Christ wrought. Moreover, the word that is in the Greek and is translated as “power” here means the power to live and act independently of physical or spiritual strength. It refers to an inherent, not a derived, power; that Christ has an inherent power that breaks all boundaries, all powers, destroys all restrictions. And it is this power, the power of the resurrection, which is ours in Jesus Christ. The stoics took that word and equated it with God quite logically, because they concluded that that word could not be associated with anything other than a supreme being. [00:05:42]
Paul says this power is the cause of our salvation...
Paul says this power is the cause of our salvation. This power is the power in all faithful preaching. This power is something the world does not know. The natural man, the fallen man, does not have this power, cannot please God, and cannot keep God’s Law. This power which the resurrection unleashed into the world, the Holy Spirit brings into our lives and makes us, in Christ, a new creation, a continuing power; so that we represent a force, and an authority, and a dominion in this world, which is not of this world. To be without this power of God and salvation is, in terms of the word “used” in the New Testament, to be powerless; but more literally, impotent. The person who is not in Christ is an impotent person. Whatever the plans they make for themselves and their future, there is a frustration that overtakes all their thinking, their planning, their hoping, and their dreaming, because they bear within themselves the seeds of destruction: sin and death. But the great manifestation of God’s power, the resurrection, is an authoritative expression of power, because it destroys the power of sin and death; and it reveals the true power in all creation is the Creator, Who is now also our Redeemer, the power of His resurrection. [00:08:05]
This power is a contradiction of all humanism, because...
This power is a contradiction of all humanism, because humanism believes in naturalistic powers, in the power of man, of man’s logic, of man’s planning, man’s thinking. And the whole point of Paul’s gospel is that it is the power of His resurrection which has been unleashed upon the world, and that power, alone, is efficacious; and so his goal is that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection. And this is his ministry, Paul said, and it is the heart of his preaching; and it has to be the ministry of the church. This is why Christian Reconstruction is an inescapable concept. Can you believe in such a power being unleashed on the world without changing men and nations, institutions, everything? Can such an explosive power, a word which we’ve taken over into the English almost letter for letter, “dynamite,” be unleashed upon the world, come into our lives without making us motivated with a tremendous force to go out and bring all things into captivity to Christ; to go out and undo all injustice, and to establish God’s justice, God’s righteousness, here upon earth?
The power of His resurrection is a contradiction to all humanism. The justification of Christianity is not in its social utility, its social usefulness. It can be argued that our faith is good for people—it makes life better; that it’s good for society—it makes people more law abiding and happier; it is good for the family—it promotes family life and unity; it is good for the society for the state—it provides better citizens; that it makes for better living in every realm. But, we cannot do that, because the justification is not because it does something for men. The power of His resurrection is that it serves God’s purpose, establishes His kingdom; and the welfare of man and of society is a byproduct of that. [00:11:16]
Humanism’s basic test is social utility, and that’s why humanism can justify anything—homosexuality, euthanasia, abortion—in terms of social utility. But we say God’s will must be done, and the power of His resurrection must be unleashed in history, because that transforming power, that social dynamite, must accomplish God’s purpose; and in the process of accomplishing it, the fallout is better life for us, our families, and society, at large; but the primary purpose is the kingdom of God. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things that the Gentiles seek will then be added unto you. The power of His resurrection; no religion outside of our faith knows that power. The word “religion” comes from a Latin word, meaning “to bind”; and the purpose of religions, basically, have been to provide social cement to bring people together, because without religion they fall apart. Within the state, within the society, within the family, within marriages, they fall apart; but no religion succeeds at that, except without coercion. But the power of His resurrection brings new life into people, so that this binding takes place; it takes place supernaturally. [00:13:39]
Paul in this text and these verses, which we read earlier...
Paul in this text and these verses, which we read earlier, Philippians 3: 8-11, weighs two concerns, the one against the other. On the humanistic side, the humanistic assets include a righteousness or justice of its own; and people all over the world have their own idea of what constitutes justice, and every civil government tries to enforce its idea of justice. But man’s justice is injustice in the sight of God. Out of these humanistic ideas of justice or righteousness come self-righteousness, self-salvation; an attempt, also, to use the law to be saved; but all this, Paul says, is dung. Now, the word that is translated as “dung” has two meanings: one is not a very pleasant one, and scholars are divided over which usage Paul gave to it. One usage is for human excrement, which was fed to dogs; the other was for table garbage, fed to dogs, also. Paul stresses the repulsiveness of the dung, and he says, “This, on the one side, is the world of humanism: the world of man trying to get happiness or gain wealth, or gain prosperity or gain justice on his own,” the whole realm of humanistic values Paul rejects. And against all this he sets forth God’s righteousness or justice, which is holy; and which is known only by faith, which is the gift of God unto salvation.
At the apex of God’s power, of Christ’s power, is the resurrection; linked to this by Paul is our resurrection. Again and again, Paul makes that point: because Jesus Christ rose from the dead, we are now the people of the resurrection. We have been resurrected out of the death of sin, into the life of righteousness, or justice; and we have the promise that at the end, the power of death and the grave will be mocked by the power that is in us; that we shall know a life without the limitations of this and a freedom in our service of God, and a glorious life eternally because of the power of His resurrection. Because of that, we are now, Paul says in II Corinthians 5: 17, “a new creation”; a new creature; but more literally, a new creation. We are raised with Christ, and the living power which is ours from His resurrection makes us alive and powerful, and authoritative. At the heart of the doctrine of authority is the doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We have a power, an authority, which is supernatural, which is not of this world. [00:17:56]
Some generations ago, the Anglican Bishop Moule spoke...
Some generations ago, the Anglican Bishop Moule spoke of the meaning of the term, or the phrase, rather, “the power of His resurrection”; and said it is a phrase difficult to exhaust in exposition, because its meaning is so far reaching. But he said, in part, and I quote, “The Lord’s resurrection is spiritually powerful as (a) evidencing the justification of believers, and by all means as (b) assuring them of their own bodily resurrection, and yet more as (c) being that which constituted Him actually, the life-giving Second Adam, the Giver of the Spirit, Who unites the members to Him, Who is the vital Head. This latter aspect of truth is prominent in the epistles to Ephesus and Colossi, written at nearly the same period as Saint Paul’s apostolic work; and we have here very probably a passing hint to what has unfolded there. The thought of the Lord’s resurrection is suggested here to his mind by the thought, not expressed, but implied in the previous context, of the atoning death on which it followed as the divine result. This passage indicates the great truth, and while our acceptance in Christ is always based his propitiatory work for us, our power for service and endurance in His name is vitally connected with His life, as the Risen One, and made ours by the Holy Spirit.” Thus, the power of His resurrection is the power
that then comes to us in and through the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit at work in our lives is the continuation of the power of the resurrection. The Last Adam, we are told, is made a quickening spirit or life-giving spirit—the Holy Spirit, as referred to. [00:20:33]
We are thus a new humanity in Christ...
We are thus a new humanity in Christ. It is significant that in the early church and for several centuries, thereafter, if you were a Christian, you did not say (unless you were a rather retrograde Christian) that “I am a Greek” or “I am a Roman” or “I am an Egyptian.” You said, “I belong to the Christian race, to the Christian race.” As a matter of fact, for several centuries some of the prayers of the early church, actually Sunday by Sunday, were prayers for this Christian race, because the believer saw himself separated from the old humanity of Adam, separated from the nationality and the race that he was born into; he was now a member of the Christian race, and it was taken very seriously.
Concerning the relationship of the Holy Spirit to Christ’s new human race, Calvin said, in commenting on I Corinthians 15:45, and I quote, “It must be observed, however, that Christ did also, like us, become a living soul; but, besides the soul, the Spirit of the Lord was also poured out upon Him, that by His power He might rise again from the dead and raise up others. This, therefore, must be observed, in order that no one may imagine that the Spirit was in Christ in place of His soul. And independently of this, the interpretation of this passage may be taken from the eighth chapter of Romans, where Paul the apostle declares that the body, indeed, is dead, on account of sin, and we carry in us the element of death; but that the Spirit of Christ Who raised Him up from the dead dwelleth also in us, and that He is life, to raise us also one day from the dead. From this you see that we have living souls, inasmuch as we are men, but that we have the life-giving Spirit of Christ now poured out upon us by the grace of regeneration. In short, Christ is greatly superior to the lot of the first man, because a living soul was conferred upon Adam in his own name and in that of his posterity, but Christ has procured for us the Spirit, who is life.” [00:23:43]
Therefore, the power of the resurrection is the power...
Therefore, the power of the resurrection is the power of the Spirit, as indwelling within us, as assuring us that we are children of the resurrection. The persistent goal of the human race has, from the fall of man, been power: power over others, power over things, power over the world generally. And the most common ways men have sought to gain that power is through the state and through personal force, but especially through the state. This has been the persistent goal of humanistic man. Men believe in, and they fear, and are subservient to power. Power for them is humanistic naturalistic. But our life is now grounded in a nonhuman power, so that greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world; and in Christ we are more than conquerors. Paul tells us there is nothing in life, nor in death, in heaven and in earth, that is able to separate us from the love and the care of Christ. And so the power of His resurrection is a power that overcomes the powers of this world. [00:25:48]
If you look at history, you find that statism and all...
If you look at history, you find that statism and all the attendant evils rise when men’s faith in Christ wanes. And to overthrow the powers of statism, we have only to revive Christian faith, and apply it to every sphere of life and thought. All believers have here and now the power of Christ’s resurrection in their lives through the Spirit. It is an earth-shattering, a life-shattering power, and the Easter hymns have long celebrated that power. For example, the hymn of
Charles Wesley, written in 1739, “Christ The Lord Is Risen Today” declares, in part, “Vain the stone, the watch, the seal, Allelujah! Christ has burst the gates of hell, Allelujah! Death in vain forbids His rise, Allelujah! Christ hath opened paradise, Allelujah!” Another hymn of John Mason Neal, 1854, “Lift Up, Lift Up Your Voices Now” reads in four of its verses, “Lift up, lift up your voices now; the whole, wide world rejoices now: the Lord hath triumphed gloriously,
the Lord shall reign victoriously. In vain with stone the cave they barred; in vain the watch kept watch and ward: majestic from the spoiled tomb, in pomp of triumph Christ is come. He binds in chains the ancient foe; a countless host He frees from woe, and heaven's portals open fly,
for Christ has risen, and man shall rise. And all He did, and all He bare, He gives us as our own to share; and hope and joy and peace begin, for Christ has won, and man shall win.” [00:28:13]
The power of His resurrection makes us more than conquerors...
The power of His resurrection makes us more than conquerors through Him that loved us. In that power, we are sent forth by Him, to Whom all power is given in heaven and in earth, to bring all the world into and under His salvation, His Word, and His dominion. We are sent forth, as sheep in the midst of wolves; but we are sent forth at the same time in the power of the Spirit, so that while there is and will be conflict, ours is the earth-shattering power. For Christ is risen, and the power of His resurrection is our power.
Let us pray. O Lord our God, we thank Thee for the resurrection and for the power of the resurrection. We pray, our Father, that through Thy Spirit, we may be instruments of that power, so that power may go forth into all the world, bringing men, women, and children, institutions, schools, homes, all things, civil governments, within the province of the kingdom and the power of His resurrection. Bless us to this purpose. Fill us ever with the joy of the resurrection, and make us ever mindful that we are more than conquerors in Christ our Lord. In His name we pray. Amen. [00:30:07]