THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
For us to understand a Scripture text fully, it is profitable to read the whole thought – that is, a few verses before and a few verses after. This is because when the Bible was originally written, it was not written in verses. It was only divided into chapters and verses in the 13th century. God does not talk in chapters and verses; these were only placed there by man so that we can have some kind of order that we can relate to.
So, let’s go back to how the Holy Spirit originally ‘moved’ Paul to write this passage; as this is the only way we can truly understand what God means by ‘‘The Power of His Resurrection’’ –
From verse 1 –
- 1. Finally, my brethren,…
At this time Paul was nearing the end of his life and Ministry and these letters he wrote to the Churches from prison in Rome were like the words of a dying father to his children and therefore every word was crucial. On top of that, Paul says here, ‘finally, my brethren’, indicating that what he is about to say is even more weighty than all he has said previously, and must not be forgotten even if they forget anything he has ever said earlier.
- 2. …rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.
In Scripture and in His communications with us, God uses repetition to reinforce those important truths He wants us to receive so that we will not forget them. That is why the Book of Deuteronomy was written – to repeat and reinforce some important truths God already said in the previous three books – Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers.
- 3. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.
Dogs = backsliders 2Pe.2:22a But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again;…
Evil workers = false brethren and false ministers
Concision = the Jews, the circumcised in the flesh but not in the heart
- 4. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
He declares that we Christians are the ones who are truly circumcised because God is no longer interested in the circumcision of the flesh but of the heart. And God has been saying this for a long, long time! Let’s look at three instances in the Old Testament –
Deut. 10:16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.
Deut. 30:6 And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.
Jer.4:4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.
Let’s continue Paul’s discourse in Phil.3 –
- 5. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
Paul now tells us that it is not because he has nothing to boast in the flesh that he is saying all this, no, he did have a lot of accomplishments in the world to boast of – his education, his religious zeal; and even the fact that he was born into a powerful, though small, tribe, which had the reputation of being formidable warriors: talking of the tribe of Benjamin. In Judges chapter 20, it is recorded how they defeated the other ten tribes in battle twice, until the ten tribes called on God with fasting and praying and burnt offerings for a whole day; and God had to fight the Benjamites for them to win the battle the next day! Remember that even the first king of Israel, Paul’s name-sake, Saul, came from the same tribe of Benjamin.
- 6. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
However, Paul tells us that ALL those things mean nothing to him because he has found that they were useless to him without Christ; and all those things were useless to him in the pursuit of his desire to reach a particular position in Christ and to attain certain goals in his service to Christ. He begins to enumerate those goals; and that brings us to our text in verse 10; reading from verses 8 to 12, he says –
- 7. 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, 9 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: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
We shall need to study these goals which Paul would rather attain after he has lost those things the world count as ‘success’; because these same goals must be crucial to us our walk with Christ too, and he exhorts us in verse 15 to have the same attitude as he has if we want to attain perfection in the things of God. He says …as many as be perfect, be thus minded… He also goes on to say that in any way that we may miss the mark, the Lord will reveal it to us… so that we can be perfected in those areas too.
Let us study what Paul would rather gain, and would have us desire to gain when we lose all things for Christ. Remember the Lord spoke along the same lines when He taught in parables about how crucial and precious and expedient we must regard the attainment of His heavenly kingdom –
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
What would Paul rather gain than all earthly riches, position and fame?
- the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord
- 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
- That I may know… the power of his resurrection
- That I may know…the fellowship of his sufferings
- being made conformable unto his death;
- I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
- that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus (or that I may take hold of that for which Christ took hold of me NIV) all underline added
He then begins to tell us how he intends to attain all that, so that we may do it the same way –
13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
Let’s dissect that too –
- I count not myself to have apprehended
- forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before
- I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
- if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
Basically, Apostle Paul is telling us here that he would never be satisfied with whatever success he attains in Ministry on earth and he will never rest on his oars till he attains that destiny for which Christ called him. This tells us that we need to know what Christ has called us to do in His kingdom and we need to be busy at it till He calls us up to be with Him in heaven, either at Rapture or in death. And we must continually seek His face to see how well He sees we are doing, by His heavenly standards, no matter the accolades we get from man. Fulfilling our destiny in life is what it means to reach perfection…
Phil.3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
The Lord Jesus puts the process of His Own perfection this way –
And He said to them, “Go, tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.’
Lu.13:32 Amplified version
And He said to them, “Go and tell that fox [that sly, cowardly man], ‘Listen carefully: I cast out demons and perform healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I reach My goal.’
The Lord Jesus tells us here that to be crucified and to resurrect the third day was His goal on earth and this was the way of His own perfection.
The Divine Path to Perfection
There is a divine pattern or pathway to perfection, Beloved. It is the same path that the Lord Jesus took and the path that God took His beloved Israel after He rescued them from Egyptian bondage and it is the same path along which He will take every child seeking true perfection in Christ. It is the path which the Lord called The Narrow Way in Matt.7:14… narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Aha! The Lord Jesus has already warned us here that only few can find it. It therefore means that we would surely need help to find it!
Let me just share with you something that God taught me in my early walk with Him when it became so glaring that God will not change His ways and His methods because of me! I just need to become broken, not just humble, before Him for Him to take me through. I wrote it down in my Bible cover on the 6th of April 2005 so that I can keep reminding myself over and over –
- The Way to the Palace is through the Prison:41:14 Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh. Our path may not involve jail-time in a government penitentiary, but it does allude to trials of life that constrain our movement or liberty; and when we are boxed into that corner, God has our total attention to put us through His Own training classes for ministry. those who did not wait for this training ALWAYS crash-land mid-way…like king Saul did!
- The Way to the Promised Land is through the Wilderness:24:5-13 – I sent Moses also and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to that which I did among them: and afterward I brought you out. 6 And I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and ye came unto the sea; and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and horsemen unto the Red sea. 7 And when they cried unto the LORD, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them, and covered them; and your eyes have seen what I have done in Egypt: and ye dwelt in the wilderness a long season. 8 And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, which dwelt on the other side Jordan; and they fought with you: and I gave them into your hand, that ye might possess their land; and I destroyed them from before you. 9 Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and warred against Israel, and sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you:10 But I would not hearken unto Balaam; therefore he blessed you still: so I delivered you out of his hand. 11 And ye went over Jordan, and came unto Jericho: and the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I delivered them into your hand. 12 And I sent the hornet before you, which drave them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; but not with thy sword, nor with thy bow. 13 And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat.
The wilderness does not always mean forests where wild animals live but any condition of life which may not be conducive to our normal comfortable standard of living. We too need to taste poverty just like Christ did to be able to minister to the poor with knowledge and compassion. Nothing crucifies the flesh faster than poverty. Would you steal or bow to beggarly powers for wealth? It is a time of great testing of our love and trust in God as our only source of supply
- The Way to the Throne is through the Cross: Lu.1:31,32; 9:23 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:.. 9: 23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (underline added for emphasis)
We no longer have to carry the wooden cross our Lord carried, but we need to place our bodies on the Altar of Sacrifice (Ro.12:1,2) and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us through the process of crucifying our carnal flesh one by one, by denying it and rejecting it with much prayer and fasting if needed. The loving Holy Spirit will then fill up the vacuum with His Fruit of the Spirit. We too shall then be able to say, like Paul in 1Cor.15:31b, I die daily. This is the only pathway to holiness, without which we cannot have the cooperation of the Holy God in our endeavours/ministry. Those who seek for beggarly powers for ministry reveal that have refused the discipline of carrying their cross because the Power of God naturally accompanies His Holiness and you can’t have one without the other…
- The Way of the Cross is the Way of POWER! By allowing that divine exchange as we carry our cross daily to crucify this flesh or that flesh and be replaced by the fruit of the Holy Spirit, that is, to make us holy, we thereby absorb His Power and Fire into our lives and ministries. It was an exchange which Christ agreed to do for Him to fulfil His earthly Ministry… Phil.2:5-11 – Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
This brings us straight to the question in every heart whenever we hear RESURRECTION POWER – how do I get that power NOW? How do i get that much needed Resurrection Power, O God?
By now, we already know the answer – THROUGH THE CROSS.
THERE IS NO OTHER WAY, Beloved. Jesus is The Way to all Godly truths and goals; He is our example. He carried and utilized the Resurrection Power in His earthly ministry but that Power further exploded and began to spread abroad from Him after His Body was broken and He gave up the ghost! We glean this by the unprecedented manifestations of resurrection power which erupted in the earth immediately and has continued in various forms in His kingdom till today! Hear this –
Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. Matt.27:51-53
The Lord had actually utilised Holy Ghost Power from the start of His Ministry when He was baptized in the Jordan and the Holy Spirit fell on Him like a dove; and He had carried His Cross from day one as He endured persecution, lived a life of poverty and constraint even though He is the Son if the King of the Universe. He had even humbled Himself right from heaven when He agreed to come to the earth as a mere Man; for He was called the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world in Rev.13:8. He came DOWN from His Throne to be a Servant in a perverse and evil world, and to carry our sins on Himself even though He was spotless! Hence it was said of Him in Acts 10:38 –
How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
It was also said of Him in Jn.3:34
For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.
So, the Lord was given all the Power needed to accomplish His task on earth without limit; but after His Body was broken in His passion and crucifixion, that Power was then freely poured out, not only to bring about the physical resurrection of His earthly Body three days later, but for the Power to baptise His Disciples and give birth to the Church; and to empower us all and enable us to continue His work of reconciling the world back to God. That was why He told the Disciples after His resurrection …but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. Lu.24:49. The work He had for them could never have been accomplished without that Power; and that still holds for us today.
The Holy Spirit and Resurrection Power
By now I am sure that we have recognised that the source of the Resurrection Power of God is the Holy Spirit. For us to be partakers of His resurrection power, we must not only be FILLED with the Holy Spirit but be CONTROLLED by Him in all our thoughts, words and actions. And we must be broken and emptied, so that He can re-mould us and fill us totally with His power, flushing out and excluding all other beggarly powers, if there be any.
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
The Workings of His Resurrection Power
When we hear ‘Resurrection Power’, we think of healings, miracles, signs and wonders; but the very first assignment that the Resurrection Power comes to do in our lives is to help us to mortify the deeds of the body like Christ and live above sin; THEN miracles, signs and wonders will be a way of life for us. We will even live in health all the time which is the original promise of God which He gave after He had delivered His People from Egyptian bondage. This promise also holds for any of us who would live the life of Christ…
And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee..
How to press toward the mark for the prize
In practical terms, how do we press toward this mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus; which is the path to our perfection? It all begins at the Cross –
- We must truly give our lives to Christ and personally receive the salvation He purchased for us at the Cross.
If you are reading this and you have not done that, or you have done so in the past but want to rededicate your life to Christ, please pray like this –
Mighty God, I need You today! Please accept me as one of Your Children now. I realise that You have loved me even when I did not know You and You sent Your precious Son, Jesus The Christ, to die a painful death for me on the cross at Calvary 2000 years ago! Forgive me all my sins (take time to mention them, please) and wash me clean from all my unrighteous ways with the Blood of Jesus. I accept Jesus Christ now as my saviour and Lord and I turn my back on Satan today with all his evil works. Holy Spirit of God, I submit to You now, take over my life and teach me how to be like Jesus and live like Him, in Jesus Name I pray. Amen. Thank You Father! I love You too!
- Next, we must be filled with the Holy Spirit so that he can empower us to live the life of Christ. There is no other way. Paul puts it this way in Gal.5:16-18:
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
Is there anyone reading this post who has not been baptised in the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in tongues? Just ask Him like this, with hands raised in surrender to heaven…
Holy Spirit of God, I yield myself to You, take me over and fill me up, baptise me fully, that I might receive the power promised by the Lord Jesus in Acts1:8, in Jesus Name. Amen.
Now wait a while, breathing in His fragrance and power until you know you have been completely filled with the Holy Spirit. This will fill you with a strange inner joy and peace. Now ask Him to give you the language of tongues which we use to worship and pray, thereby communicating mysteries to God. We also use tongues to edify ourselves and charge up our spirit much like we charge a battery. You may or may not begin to speak in the Holy Ghost but you can yearn for it by opening your mouth and let him fill it with His words. Please read more about tongues in 1Corinthians chapter 14.
- Next, we need to submit ourselves to God to be broken and changed into the image of Christ. Say to Him, ‘’Father, I submit to You and place myself on Your Altar as a living sacrifice. Please, release Your Holy Spirit fire to burn away all flesh that will stop me from walking along the Narrow Way to reach perfection and take hold of that for which Christ took hold of me, in Jesus Name, Amen.’’
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
The Holy Spirit will then begin to convict us of all those sins and unrighteousness, especially those sins which we know how to hide when we come to Church, those sins which doth so easily beset us, especially in secret when nobody is looking (Heb.12:1b). Those are sins which we cannot help committing, those sins we have tried so hard to overcome by our human effort but cannot help going back to. Paul says in Phil3:15 …if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. When He reveals them to us we go to the next stage…
- Each of them is a flesh which needs crucifixion and this is achieved by the Word of God under the supervision of the Holy Spirit. We would search out what the Word of God says about that carnal flesh, for instance, anger, pride and so on; and begin to use the Word to pray and war against that flesh, thereby nailing it to the Cross of Christ. We will bind that flesh and cast it from us, because it has come to stop us from taking hold of that for which Christ took hold of us. It has come to make our Christian walk to become empty and without focus or goals, never reaching perfection. It has come to make a mockery of Christ’s sacrifice for sin on the Cross on our behalf. We must not allow that, Beloved.
- If we note that this work of the flesh is common in our family, it may be an indication that there is a foundational curse or demonic covenant in place; and so we must break them all off using the Word of God in Gal.3:13 –
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
- As we do this, systematically taking one work of the flesh after the other to the Cross, we are emptying ourselves, and the Holy Spirit is free to replace the works of the flesh listed in Gal.5:19-21, with the fruit of the Spirit listed in Gal.5:22,23…
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
The Holy Spirit happily fills up the vacuum left by of our old sin nature with His fruit and this comes naturally with Holiness and His Resurrection Power. We are thereby enabled to press forward to attain that mark of the higher calling of God in Christ Jesus.
There is no other way, Beloved. We cannot possibly have the power of God without His Holiness and the process is by an exchange of what we are with what He is. This is the only way we get Resurrection Power to serve God and to fulfil our destiny in Christ.
Let us pray –
Song (The tune can be found on YouTube)
Come breathe on me, Breath of God
Come breathe on me, Spirit of the Lord
As I lift my hands in surrender to Your Name, Most High!
I’m yielding to Your Spirit
Am walking in Your love
Jesus, I adore Your Holy Name
Father, it is so wonderful to have You as our Father, for You are the God of love and grace. Thank You for the higher calling You have called us in Christ Jesus and for the wonderful provision You have made for us to receive Your Resurrection Power to enable us to press forward to attain that goal.
Right now, we purge our lives and our foundation with the Blood of Jesus and ask the Fire of the Holy Spirit to be released into our ancestral roots to burn off and silence any challenge to Your mandate for us to press forward and attain the highest mark in our calling in Christ, in Jesus Name.
We shall not be satisfied, Father, until we have taken hold of that for which Christ suffered and died and took hold of us and brought us to You to become Your Sons. We ask You to release Your Resurrection Power on us today afresh, and fire us for the task, in Jesus Name. Amen.
Just breathe in and out and let the Holy Spirit refill you afresh, in Jesus Name.
**Modified from a teaching given at the Easter Retreat of Christ Power and Wisdom Ministries, Ibadan on 14 March 2013.