The Resurrection of the Dead by Pastor Don
Before I share last Friday’s Bible study I wanted to share something funny with you. As you know, Pastor Don is teaching the elementary principles of faith in Hebrews 6:1-3. Before I sat down to read the three chapters Pastor Don assigned to us, I was walking around shaking my head, imagining that the author of Hebrews thought that laying hands on a dead person and raising them from the dead was an elementary principle of faith. Then I read the chapters and realized they were also talking about Christ’s resurrection and the resurrection of the Saints in the end days, AND raising the dead. So I started thinking, realizing that, any of the gifts God has given us, we do not do in our own power, but He does through us, so for all practical purposes, He (God) who has raised the dead, can do it through us – it isn’t us, it is Him through us. God has been dealing with me about increasing my faith and believing bigger. I think that if we could just wrap our minds around faith, and let Him increase our acts of faith, a lot more is possible than we can think or imagine with our ordinary minds. Praying your day is blessed!
1 Corinthians 15:1-2 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
Hold fast to the truth of the Word of God.
1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
Paul tells us, I received it and now I am delivering it over to you. What are the Scriptures Paul is referring to? It is those in the Old Testament, for the New Testament was not yet written. There are over 300 prophecies that the Messiah was expected to fulfill in the Old Testament. Jesus fulfilled them all.
1 Corinthians 15:4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
This is what we are banking on.
1 Corinthians 15:5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.
He was SEEN. That is powerful. It wasn’t a fiction of him seen by one guy (Cephas), but by the 12, and Paul even gives Peter’s birth name, Cephas, which means pebble. He was seen, it was not a dream, a vision or an illusion.
1 Corinthians 15:6-7 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.
If Jesus was only seen by the disciples then it could have been hysteria by enthusiastic, psychotic disciples, but it is not that, he was seen at once, simultaneously, by over five hundred brethren.This could not be a plot to fool people. You cannot have a plot that holds for 500 people. And, at the writing of Corinthians, there were many who were still alive – and those people who saw Jesus could have been found and asked what they saw. When it mentions “sleep” here it is death of the physical body – not the Spirit. For to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. It is not soul sleep like some want to infer.
Notice also that James (not an apostle) but Jesus’ brother also saw the resurrected Jesus. He used to doubt Jesus – remember at one point he did not believe Jesus was the Messiah. Now James is the head of a church at Jerusalem and was well known. So Jesus did not appear to unknowns, but to people known by many.
1 Corinthians 15:8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
Me (Paul), born out of due time. He was an apostle (made an Apostle by Jesus after Jesus’ death), saw him. He did not see him at the time of the visitation of the 500 or at the time when Jesus appeared to the 12, but he saw Jesus later.
1 Corinthians 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
This is Paul’s opinion based on how he felt about himself, but it is not Christ’s opinion or the Holy Spirit’s decree about Paul. His worthiness is based on Christ, and Paul had been forgiven for his persecution of Christ. We all have issues that we transfer onto God about our feelings about ourselves and what we think God has done or not done. This is our own self-image, not how God perceives us, and we are in error. We sometimes think God thinks because of our past He cannot use us, or He remembers our past and holds back things from us. That is not true. We try to justify what is happening or not happening in our lives and put it on God, but God is not like that. God is not seeing Paul as unworthy to be called an apostle because he persecuted the church of God. God has taken that sin and unworthiness away because of the blood of Christ. Paul has a problem getting over himself. Paul probably kept seeing himself standing and watching the stoning of Stephen.
We can keep looking back, and think that we wasted 20 (30, 40 in my case, etc) years of not serving Christ and regret the wasted years. But that is not productive. We have to stop looking at the loss and look forward at the gains made through Christ. Yes, we will make mistakes, and sometimes do the same thing over and over again until we finally get it right. God will forgive us. This is our testimony, and God will use our testimony if we look forward in obedience to him.
Pastor Don told us the joke about two kids, one was an optimist and one was a pessimist. Their parent filled their kids’ rooms with manure. The pessimist said, “See I told you, life is a drag, the carpets are ruined, the clothes are ruined, all my toys are ruined, my computer is ruined…” The Optimist started digging in his room saying, “With all this manure in the room there’s got to be a pony in there somewhere.
Pastor Don told us, if the parent put the manure in the room, the parent would also be prepared to get the room cleaned and restore the damaged stuff. We have to trust God in our circumstances.
As believers, we have to drop our stuff and let God transform the difficult stuff.
Pastor Don spoke at a meeting at John Hobbs’ church. And the topic was “Take this, give me that.” We have to take those things we are holding on so tightly to and give them to God. Then God can give us what He wants for us to have. Pastor Don told us we can’t change without the law of substitution. We need to substitute a positive concept for the negative concepts we are feeling.
Some people with a pessimistic attitude think God can’t change us. We may have had a bad past, a childhood we wish hadn’t happened. The reality is we need to ask ourselves where we are in life. How old are we now? Is that past the reality of our circumstances now? What is our current situation? Why do we let our past color our outlook and attitude? If, as a young girl, someone only heard put downs, she may believe she is not capable of accomplishments, and act accordingly. But, when the negative attitudes are substituted by the truth of God, she can do far more than she believed.
(Heather’s comment. I used to bristle at a statement like what is said in the above paragraph. I grew up in a home filled with abuse and nursed the memories of the abuse for so long it colored all I saw in my present. It took a lot of work with God and with Pastor Don, sorting out attitudes and belief systems that were not of God, and replacing them. I truly have been changed by God. It was not an overnight, instantaneous process, but it is one that is necessary for real change to occur. God is patient with us though, and will keep presenting the truth to us until we realize we don’t have to be controlled by our past memories. I was being controlled by people who had died 20 years ago, kind of silly when you realize it. Yet, sadly my sister and brother still have not let go of the past and they are 15 and 16 years older than me.)
Pastor Don had us laughing when he used this expression which I am going to share with you – in fact, we kept using it when we asked him questions for the rest of the Bible study because it was soooo funny. He told us it is like, “Pissing in our own shoes.” Then putting our shoes on and walking around in them. He said it was a gross image, but that is what we do when we keep nursing our old attitudes. And he told us we all do this.
We have so much to be thankful for, we are not in a starving country looking for a bowl of rice. We have so much God has given us. When God tells us to take this, we have to give Him that (memory, thought, habit), give it up, and get the better thing from God.
If we have fallen, get up and move forward again, tell ourselves I got it once, I can get it again.
Twelve years ago someone left our church. His wife still attended, but he told Pastor Don he can’t stand one more sermon on faith. His life changed for him over time to become a living hell. Instead of choosing what could change his life, he chose something else.
Pastor Don told us to get a tape recorder and listen to what we are saying. What are we confessing with our mouths? We may find that 80% of what comes out of our mouths is negative and only 20% is positive. When we see what we are saying, we have a choice to change what we are saying. Analyze what you are doing? Then he used the expression, make sure we are not, “Shooting ourselves in the foot.” (Heather’s note, He thought he could substitute that phrase for the first one for it was a tamer expression, but not in this Bible study she says smiling).
We have to face reality and know there is work to be done. We have to change our lives with the oil of work – (not works, but we do have to apply the Word in our lives and that takes work on our part to choose to do this.) We have to speak life and our brain will change what we are thinking.
Pastor Don told us he spent years listening to teachers and the Bible (reading and on tape). When he worked he would put on tapes as he drove to his jobs, listened late at night, early in the morning. Read the Bible and filled his mind with things of God. He was cured of an incurable disease, and wanted to learn all that he could about God. He listened to Kenneth Hagin, Marilyn Hickey, Pat Robinson, Kenneth Copeland, Fred Price, Steve Parsons. And listens in the morning to the Word of Faith. Remember, “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”
Pastor Don then told us the verse that God gave him when God showed him he was going to be a pastor.
Isaiah 52:11 Depart! Depart! Go out from there, touch no unclean thing, go out from the midst of her, be clean, you who bear the vessels of the LORD.
What touched Pastor Don’s heart was the idea of being a vessel for the LORD.
We can still struggle in the spiritual and not in the natural. Pastor Don knew God called him, but he let personal stuff get in the way and tried to convince himself that he was unworthy. He was carrying around unnecessary baggage. God would not have called Him if God did not want him doing the job. So often God calls us and we disqualify ourselves. We tell ourselves we are too old, too young, too fat, not gifted enough. These are excuses that are not valid, but the devil will keep giving us excuses so we stay on the bench or avoid the stadium. There is a time for anointing, a time to speak and equip ourselves.
We hear the Voice of the Lord inside. Pastor Don spoke about vessels. Priests would go into the temple and prepare the temple. They had to be clean vessels. When we keep holding onto the past as an excuse to not do God’s will, there may be deliverance issues. We want to do what God wants us to do, and fight against the devil. We have enough Word in ourselves to know God is good/the devil is bad. We have to take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. We have to think about what we are thinking about, and if it is thoughts from the devil we have to pick which side we want to choose. Do we want to banish satan’s thoughts and embrace God’s or do we want to give into satan’s thoughts? The choice is ours. We want to live in the Word. Somebody gets the last Word, so think what would Jesus do and do as He would do. We have to stop looking for subtext. What did Jesus say? We want His opinion to permeate our present moment. We have to retrain our mind. We can have our suitcase packed for hell and at the last minute change our mind.
We need to go to the well that gave us water. Things may be harder, but we need to put our armor on before we get out of bed, and get ready for any moment of battle. If we do not go to God early in the day, the devil can get in between our ears before we have finished 1/2 cup of coffee.
Pastor Don continued on with 1 Corinthians 15. I will continue this tomorrow.
Praying your day is blessed.
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