Living in the Power of His Resurrection

Posted: Mar 27, 2024

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”
Philippians 3:8-11

This weekend, many will attend an Easter service.
Few will go to church for a Good Friday service, when Jesus’ death on the cross is observed. Many will go to a celebration; walking the narrow path where self is crucified is another story.

The hours and days leading up to Jesus’ sacrifice provide pictures of the way to life. We begin with Isaiah.

“I gave my back to those who strike,
and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard;
I hid not my face
from disgrace and spitting.
But the Lord God helps me;
therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like a flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame.”
Isaiah 50:6-7

“When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.”
Luke 9:51

Our Lord was determined to press forward to Golgotha, where he would die a cruel death. We need the same determination to live the crucified life.

“And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”  Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you…”
Luke 22:19-20

Immediately after Jesus instituted the sacrament of communion, the disciples responded by debating which one of them might be the greatest of all.
They missed the point.

The Christian is meant to be broken bread and poured out wine in our relationship with God, first, then others, in partnership with Jesus’ mission to set captives free.

No matter what others do, we avoid distractions and set our hearts on walking with Him and pouring our lives out until the end.

“And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him.When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray,saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him.And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.”
Luke 22:39-44

The intense spiritual battle surrounding the cross was well under way; Jesus gives His disciples just one weapon—prayer. He walks 30 yards away from them, then hits His knees in prayer with such intensity that blood seeps from his forehead. Over the next hour He will ask the Father multiple times if He can step away from the suffering ahead. The Father’s answer is “no.” Jesus works His way to surrender, then returns to the disciples…

“And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour?”
Matthew 26:40

This is where many are today. Spending an hour with God in prayer is a waste of time… they’re too busy… choked and distracted with pleasure and entertainment… in bondage to sin while doing little to nothing to break free… life is about pleasing self. They haven’t set their heart on their Golgotha where their flesh will be pinned to a cross. Going to an Easter celebration that demands nothing of them is easy; challenge them to enter their Gethsemane for an hour of agonizing, fervent prayer, and they fall asleep. Many modern churches are comatose, having removed the prayer meeting from their docket long ago.

It is in prayer where we win or lose the battle, break strongholds, bend our will in surrender to God’s, hear His voice, receive His counsel, gain His perspective and wisdom, and are filled with His strength and power to overcome the battles and sorrows we face.

Moments after Jesus chastises the disciples, all hell breaks loose. The apostles scatter in fear, Jesus is condemned to death in a kangaroo trial, beaten, mocked, scourged until His back is a gory mess, then led away to Golgotha for execution.

“And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.”
Mark 15:23

This is wine mixed with a drug to medicate the pain He was about to endure. Jesus faced and endured every drop of suffering. He didn’t run from it, complain, stuff his emotions, come apart, attempt to medicate it, get angry, or make threats. Our society, and even the church at times, attempts to medicate or do away with suffering or bad news. We medicate legitimate pain and suffering with false comforts and sin, such as lust, sexual sin, overeating, drugs, alcohol, ministry, shopping, pleasure, or entertainment. We anesthetize and sterilize the church when topics like sin, sex, spiritual warfare, and hell are removed from the pulpit. We’ve failed to teach our people the blessings that come from suffering; pain burns out pride and sin, teaches obedience, builds trust in God (if we allow it), deepens our capacity for joy, and gives wisdom. You can study the Bible all you want, but nothing fashions the soul into a shape that pleases God like suffering.

“And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots.”
Matthew 27:35

Jesus’ only possession was the clothes He wore. He was content and trusted God to provide all His needs and lead Him through every situation, no matter how difficult.

We live in a time of “More!” Buy more, get more, you need more, more screen time, I must have more. We need more movies, more porn, more sexual sin, more food, more money, more stuff, a bigger house, a new car, more electronic toys. We may be the wealthiest, most miserable people in all of history. None of those things satisfy. Contentment (or the lack of) affects all of life: our relationship with God, marriage, family, church, government. All you have to do is look at the US government’s fiscal deficit and that of the general public to know we’re bankrupt from our addiction to More. We don’t have the life of God blazing in us because we worship other things, or we have quenched His life to the point where we never hear His voice… or we rarely pray.

Massive understatement coming… when self and the flesh are crucified, God is more than enough. His love overflows and softens the hardest, most self-centered heart. His Spirit gives life, His joy feeds and revives the soul.

Remember the story of the rich young ruler who Jesus challenged to give away his possessions and follow Him (Mark 10:17-27), and the tragedy of that young man’s response. Jesus was broken bread and poured out wine until His last breath. Since we are called to suffer with Him, shall we offer Him less?

“After they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”
Acts 14:21-22

This may sound sacrilegious, but some of you need an hour, or better, a day alone with God, far more than you need an abbreviated Easter service. If your relationship with Him has faded, go after Him hard.

“After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!”  Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. so when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.”
John 19:28-30

Ultimate surrender. Acceptance of all the Father gave Him, including intense suffering. Broken bread and poured out wine for others until His last breath. Crucified self. A love impossible to fully grasp. Incredible internal strength, forged by hours of prayer. Complete contentment. Victorious in intense spiritual warfare.
This is the way to the power of His resurrection.

As a youth, she set a goal to work as a secretary in a high-level position in government, then threw herself into mastering shorthand to accomplish it. After years of training and practice, she became so good at taking shorthand notes that she could easily and accurately keep up with any speaker, no matter how fast their cadence.

She was a devoted Christian, and wanted the same in a husband. She met him in her mid-twenties. He possessed unusual intellectual prowess, deep spiritual discernment, with an intense love for God. He had no secular employment. He travelled domestically and abroad often, speaking in churches and ministries. There were many days when all the money he possessed was in his pocket. During their courtship he wrote her the following:

“I have no home to offer you. I have no money to give you. I have the great wide world and God’s commission—Go and make disciples.”

Prayer was a priority to Him; He spent an hour with God every morning and would challenge God’s people to a life of prayer when He spoke. After they were married, she permanently abandoned her goal for a government job and joined him in God’s purposes for them. They started a Bible college that rapidly grew; he did most of the teaching, still spoke in churches, and began a Bible correspondence course that hundreds participated in.

War broke out, and he volunteered to serve the army as a chaplain not far from the front lines. She accompanied him. There, in the theater of war, they set up a spiritual hospital. He travelled often in that region, leading hundreds to Christ in the process.

Then, at the age of 43, he died suddenly after surgery from an emergency appendectomy. Her heart was broken. She began to wonder if her work was finished, but God was just beginning. She had recorded hundreds of hours of her husband’s messages and sermons by shorthand and had built up a large archive. She typed his messages into articles, had them printed, and soon they were being sent all over the world.

The war ended. Like her husband, she often lived with nothing more than the change in her pocket, with little in the way of earthly possessions. She undertook a project to create a 365 day devotional with daily readings, and spent many hours piecing the book together. Some chapters would have material from multiple messages.

Prior to marriage, her name had been Gertrude Hobbs. Her husband nicknamed her “Beloved Disciple,” shortened it to B.D., then called her Biddy.

Her husband’s name was Oswald Chambers. Because Biddy Chambers partnered with her husband and lived the crucified life, the book My Utmost for His Highest was published in 1924 in England. Since then, millions of copies of My Utmost for His Highest have ministered to people all over the world. Biddy took the profits and invested them back into the “ministry of the books,” as she called it. Eventually, 30 books would bear Oswald’s name… because Biddy Chambers poured her life out until the end, in spite of the pain of losing her husband at an early age.

Have you set your mind to go to your Golgotha yet, where a cross awaits?
Do you visit Gethsemane often for prayer?

Broken bread and poured out wine, my friends.
This is the narrow path to an abundant life that counts for eternity.

“No one experiences complete sanctification without going through a “white funeral”—the burial of the old life. If there has never been this crucial moment of change through death, sanctification will never be more than an elusive dream. There must be a “white funeral,” a death with only one resurrection— a resurrection into the life of Jesus Christ. Nothing can defeat a life like this. It has oneness with God for only one purpose— to be a witness for Him.
Have you really come to your last days? You have often come to them in your mind, but have you really experienced them? You cannot die or go to your funeral in a mood of excitement. Death means you stop being. You must agree with God and stop being the intensely striving kind of Christian you have been. We avoid the cemetery and continually refuse our own death. It will not happen by striving, but by yielding to death. It is dying— being “baptized into His death” (Romans 6:3) Have you had your “white funeral,” or are you piously deceiving your own soul? Has there been a point in your life which you now mark as your last day? Is there a place in your life to which you go back in memory with humility and overwhelming gratitude, so that you can honestly proclaim, “Yes, it was then, at my ‘white funeral,’ that I made an agreement with God.”
– Oswald Chambers