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We are raised with Him! Death is dead! Love has won! Christ has conquered! It’s a wonderful thing when we read the Bible; we learn the beginning and the end of the world. This book thrills our hearts when we read it. The more we read, the more we know about the One who is on high.
“Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee,” (Luke 24:5-6). I read from Psalm 24, a wonderful chapter which speaks about the One. David wrote a little bit about himself but also about someone else. Throughout the Bible we can see writers God would use to write about someone else – about the future. When we read it we need to see the current situation but also look ahead.
“Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.”
Psalm 24: 3-4
When we read the Bible we need to be looking at what the writer says about the current situation, but also looking ahead, to the future. In the above verses from Psalm 24 we read, ‘Who may ascend into the of the Lord?’ The writer speaks about someone who would come – none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Just think about the different hills He would climb when He came into this world, when He walked this life. He had to climb up a hill of the religious authorities, the arrogant people, the obstinate people, the people who hated Him. Finally, He ascended the hill called Calvary, where He laid down His life for you and for me.
He ascended many hills. Why was He able to do that? Because He had ‘clean hands and a pure heart.’ He did not bow down to idols. He ascended that hill, He died, He gave His life for you and for me. He is no longer dead, no longer buried. He is alive! He had to destroy death in order that he would rise in victory. 2 Corinthians 5:21 confirms the same thought, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” He was the only man who ever walked this Earth who was able to do that.
A perfect path of purest grace,
Unblemished and complete,
Was Thine, Thou spotless Nazarite,
Pure, even to the feet.
It’s wonderful, as we celebrate today and everyday of our lives. He is ascended to God, awaiting that day when we’ll come again and receive us to Himself. That is our home, where we’ll one day be because we are raised with Him. We are celebrating a risen Saviour! Even now, in our current situation, we are raised with Him. We should be living with Him. “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
Today, there are those who would say that they are Christians. They may be found in churches and chapels, but they deny that Christ ever rose from the dead. This is nothing new. The Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead. This is what the writer of Corinthians says, “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!” (1 Corinthians 15:13-17). If you don’t believe the Lord Jesus Christ has risen from the dead, you are a miserable person. That is what the Bible says.
Those of us who have trusted Him as our Saviour are not just living for this life, we are raised with Him. Christ died for our sins. He was buried and rose again. Because He lives, we should be the happiest people. The Resurrection confirmed that Jesus Christ is Lord, the Son of God. In Acts 2 Peter preached the first gospel message – Christ died for our sins, He bore our own sins. By rising from the dead, we have the proof that He is victorious over death. We see the physical demonstration of God’s power over death, over sin, over Satan.
“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” (John 10:17-18). The power that has saved you and me, given you life, comes from God Himself. Christ has risen! God’s power is over everything, including death.
“Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen! (Luke 24: 5b-6a). The scriptures are the infallible word of God, inspired by God. We must believe them. If people who struggle to appreciate Christ see us doubting the word of God, doubting the fact that He is risen from the dead, living as if our life is for this world only, then what are we preaching, what are we teaching, what are we living?
The purpose of the Resurrection is the power over sin and death. The women who followed Jesus Christ cared for Him; the fed and made sure He never went hungry. They went to take spices to embalm His body. The tomb was empty. Today, in Israel, there will be thousands of people visiting a tomb. The tomb is empty! That is evidence that Christ is not there. The angel asked the women, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” How often we forget what God has said in His word. We forget His promises. The women were so distressed. The religious people knew Jesus had said He would rise again, so they made sure the tomb was sealed. Imagine these women running to tell Peter and them all that Jesus is risen! The dour men thought it was women’s gossip. They did not believe.
Later, we read of two travelling on the Emmaus Road who were sad. Jesus joined them but they did not recognise Him. He took them back into the scriptures. I wonder if He took them back to Psalm 24? He spoke to them. They invited Him into their home. They said, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32). Wow! This is exciting. Seven miles, in the dark, on the road to Emmaus, they would run back to Jerusalem to tell the others Christ has risen, risen from the dead. This is proof of the Resurrection.
One of the truths of the Resurrection is the transformation that took place in the life of the disciples and of us today. Are you living? Are you alive? “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:4-7)
You are sitting today in Penuel Chapel, but you are also alive in glory. We are raised with Him. We are a testimony of His grace and favour to us. Do we appreciate who we are in Christ? He has resurrected us. The Resurrection power is what has occurred in your life and my life. We were dead in trespasses, in sins. We are raised with Him! He has destroyed the power of Satan. In Christ, God sees us sitting in heavenly places, raised with Him. If that doesn’t excite you, nothing will! We are raised with Him. Wow!
The Lord Jesus Christ travelled to Bethany because He was told his friend Lazarus was dead. The disciples said, ‘When you heard he wasn’t well you didn’t go, but now he’s dead you’re going.’ He met Martha, who was very sad and said, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” (John 11:21-22). Jesus replied by saying, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26). Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Do you believe it? We are raised with Him. Oh, my friends, if only we can grasp that today.
“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.” (Revelation 1:18). Wow! He is alive and we are raised with Him. If that doesn’t move your heart, nothing will. Knowing Christ is one thing, but living in the power of an endless life, living in Him, relying on Him, living in Him – amazing!
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3).
Are you ready to go with Him? He may come today.