Understanding the Power
Jesus once said; “You are mistaken, not understanding the scriptures, or the power of God.” Mathew 22, verse 29.
The question that had been posed to Jesus, was concerning the resurrection. Now, the old testament scriptures are not silent about the resurrection. So therefore, the people that were questioning Jesus had no reason to be ignorant about it. And some of these people who were “testing” Jesus, didn’t believe in the resurrection at all! Maybe, they didn’t believe that God had the POWER to resurrect every single soul that ever lived. But Jesus said; “You don’t understand the scriptures that you’ve had for centuries, and neither do you understand the power of God, to do anything at all, that He pleases.
And think about us. WE have even more information than the Jews of Jesus’ day did, because we have the new testament scriptures also. So there’s really no excuse for any of us to be ignorant. And we certainly shouldn’t ever doubt, the power of God, to do everything that His word has said He will do.
1 Corinthians 4, verse 20 says; “For the kingdom of God does not consist of words, but in power!”
The words of the scriptures, tell us about the kingdom of God. They tell us how to be added to that kingdom, and they tell us how to conduct ourselves in the kingdom. But the kingdom isn’t the result of only words. The kingdom wouldn’t exist, if it weren’t for the power of God.
Jesus said, in Mark 9, verse 1; “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here, who shall not taste death, until they see the kingdom of God, after it has come with POWER.”
And the kingdom continues to exist, not just in words, but it continues to exist in power. When Jesus said that “the kingdom does not consist of words”, He might be referring to the fact that the kingdom actually consists of SOULS! It consists of souls that were dead, but now are alive.
That’s what Jesus said about Himself, in Revelation 1, verse 18; “..I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys to death and hades.”
The kingdom “consists” of the power of God to forgive sins, and to raise spirits, that were dead in sin.
1 Corinthians 2, verse 5 says; “..Your faith should NOT rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”
There’s a lot of men from generations ago, who were know as very powerful preachers. Do you know what makes a PREACHER powerful? Listen to these words that were written about N.B Hardeman, who preached back in the early 1900’s. “No man sticks closer to the book, nor fights harder, for the ancient order of things, than he does. No man more unreservedly condemns human creeds, doctirnes and dogmas, “and every high thing that exalteth itself against God.” That last part is a quote from 2 Corinthians 10, verse 5)
“He is one of the few men among us in these degenerate times, who seems to still have the courage, spirit, and vision, of the great pioneer preachers of the restoration movement.”
That’s what makes a PREACHER powerful. Actually, it’s not the preacher himself that’s powerful, no matter how good of a speaker he is. But it’s his message that can be powerful, IF his message is filled with the word of God.
“For the word of God, is living, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword. And piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4, verse 12.
And our faith, had better rest on the powerful word of God, or our faith will be powerless to save us.
1 Corinthians 1, verse 24 says; “..But to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ, the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”
What is the key component of the entire word of God? It’s Jesus Christ, isn’t it? Without Jesus Christ, we might as well throw the bible away, because it wouldn’t be worth a thing. And where would the power of the word be, without Jesus?
Romans 1, verse 16 says; “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for IT is the power of God for salvation, to everyone who believes, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
The gospel is the power of God, because it tells about Jesus. The death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That’s what the apostle Paul said the gospel is, in 1 Corinthians 15, verses 1 thru 4.
Paul wrote, in Philippians 3, verse 10; “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”
The apostle Paul, was willing to give up everything he had ever known, or ever possessed, in order to KNOW about Jesus.
He said in verses 7 & 8; “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss, for the sake of Christ. MORE than that, I count ALL things to be loss, in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ, and may be found IN Him. Not having a righteousness of my own, derived from law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from GOD, on the basis of faith.”
In other words, the righteousness that we are looking for, is strictly based on the power of God. And that’s where Paul says, in verse 10; “That I may KNOW Him, and the POWER of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”
Paul wanted to KNOW Christ! How do we know Christ? We know Him by knowing His word, don’t we? There is no other way to know Christ. And how do we KNOW, the fellowship of His sufferings? We can know of HIS sufferings, by reading about them in the bible. But how do we know, “the fellowship of His sufferings”? Well, the only way we can know that “fellowship”, is to experience it. Our faith, can’t consist of just words. It’s got to consist of power! And what could be a more powerful lesson, than to share, in the sufferings of Christ? Not to be nailed to a cross, but to deny ourselves, and live for God, and for others. That’s the only way to KNOW, “the fellowship of His sufferings”.
Paul said, he wanted to know, “the fellowship of His sufferings, being CONFORMED to His death.”
Remember what Paul said in Galatians 2, verse 20? “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Paul’s INNER person was changed, the “inner man” as he calls it. It takes power to change what’s inside of us. It takes God’s power!
But Paul also said that he wanted to know, “the power of His resurrection”. How is Paul ever going to know that? How are WE ever going to know “the power of His resurrection”? It’s just like knowing the fellowship of His sufferings. You won’t truly “know it”, until you experience it. We can READ about Christ’s resurrection..
Like in Romans 6, verse 4; “..In order that as Christ was raised from the dead, through the glory of the Father..”
And in Acts 2, verse 24, where it says; “And God raised him from the dead, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in it’s power.” Death has it’s own power, but it can’t compare to GOD’S power! And so Christ was raised, by the power of God.
So then we can read about Christ’s resurrection, but how can we ourselves KNOW the POWER of His resurrection? Well, to actually “know” the power of the resurrection, we’ll have to experience the power of our resurrection.
We read what Paul said about counting all things to be loss, in exchange for “knowing Christ”. He wanted to be found “In Him”. He wanted his own righteousness to come from faith in Christ. He was willing to suffer for Christ.
And Paul tells us the reason for doing all these things, in verse 11. And the reason is very simple. Paul was willing to conformed to Christ’s death; “In order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
That’s the whole point to everything that we do as Christians. The point is “In order to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” That’s when we’ll truly KNOW the power of His resurrection!
What are we willing to count as loss, in order to attain to a resurrection of eternal life? Everything? Or are there some things, that we’re just not willing to give up?
“I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that lives, but Christ lives in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith..” (that means by the power of God).. “I live by faith, in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself up for me.”
Listen to Romans 1, verses 3 & 4; “Concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God, with POWER, by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness; Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Jesus was born a human being, according to the flesh, but He was DECLARED, the Son of God, by the power of the resurrection.
Listen to what God declares through the apostle Paul, in Acts 17, verse 31; “Because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness, through a man whom He has appointed, having furnished PROOF to all men, by raising Him from the dead.”
Jesus was declared to be the Son of God, by His resurrection from the dead! And we saw from Romans 1, verse 4, that His resurrection was “according to the Spirit of holiness”. Now, “the Spirit” here, refers to the Holy Spirit. But do you know what the word “holiness” means?
“Holiness” means.. “to be of a sanctified state”, or “of a sanctified condition”. The Holy Spirit of God, is of a sanctified state of being. And Jesus Christ, is of a sanctified state. They are, by their very nature, and in their very essence, “sanctified”. Remember that sanctified means.. “to be purified, and to be set apart”.
God the Father, and God the Son, and God the Spirit, are HOLY! They are truly “pure” and “set apart” from every other thing that exists.
I want to read Romans 1, verses 3 & 4 once again. Listen closely; “Concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David, according to the flesh. Who was DECLARED the Son of GOD, by the resurrection from the dead. According to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Jesus was recognized to be a descendant of David, according to the flesh. But through the resurrection from the dead, Jesus was declared to be the Son of GOD, according to the Spirit of holiness, which was in Him all along. On the outside, Jesus looked like a descendant of David. But on the inside, he was in reality, the very Son of God! Jesus was “according”, to the Spirit that was within Him from His conception. Another way of saying that is, “He was in accordance with the Spirit of God.
The angel Gabriel, told the virgin Mary, in Luke chapter 1, verse 35; “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the POWER of the Most High will overshadow you, and for that reason, the holy offspring..” (You see how Jesus was “Holy” from His conception?).. “..The holy offspring shall be called, the Son of God.”
Now, consider yourself. Consider ourselves. We are born according to the flesh. But, when we learn the word of God, and are eventually baptized for the forgiveness of our sins, we are then DECLARED by God, to be children of God. Sometimes we sing the song called, “There’s Power in the Blood”. “There’s soul cleansing power in the blood”.
God has the power to forgive our sins, and the power to raise us out of baptism, a “new creature”.
“Therefore we have been buried with Him in baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised by the GLORY of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Romans 6, verse 4.
John wrote, in 1 John 3, verse 2; “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet, what we shall be. We KNOW, that when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is.”
You see, we can know some things now, but we won’t know other things, until Christ appears. THEN we’ll truly be able to say that we know, “the power of His resurrection”. THEN, we’ll also be “according to the Spirit of holiness. Not because we’ve always been sanctified like Jesus has, but because of the power of God, to transform us.
And then we’ll know what Jesus NOW looks like, even though it won’t be a physical image. And we’ll know what WE will shall be like. And we’ll know what heaven will be like, even though God has tried to give us many comparisons, but we can’t really comprehend that kind of beauty, and joy and peace, until we get there.
But for now, we can only try to imagine, the full power of God! Let’s pray that God will grant each one of us, the power to continue faithful unto death. We are told, by the apostle Paul; “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4, verse 13. And if he can do it, we can do it!
One more verse, Romans 15, verse 13; “Now may the God of hope, fill you with all joy and peace, in believing; That you may abound in hope by the POWER of the Holy Spirit.”