Summary: The Resurrection of Christ gives us the power to live for and with God, as we believe the truth I Am Accepted in Christ behind the Resurrection.
In his book, Experiencing Spiritual Breakthroughs Bruce Wilkinson tells of an experience that he and his son David had during a father/son retreat several years ago. At the end of the Friday night session Wilkinson felt that something was just not right and “I could not put my finger on it.” Saturday morning was spent getting feedback on the experience so far with answers such as “Good,” “Great,” or “Fine” “being frequently expressed.”
As Saturday progressed, noted Wilkinson, they again met to compare notes, “David agreed…with me,” he said, “something wasn’t going right.” Wilkinson went on to share that they changed their plans for Saturday night because they felt led by God to do so.
That Saturday night Wilkinson stood to speak and said, “I believe that the Lord has a different agenda this evening. I’m not released to preach the message that I’ve prepared. But I am not sure what the Lord has in mind.” After a pause he then said, “One of you men must have a major problem that you wish you could solve tonight. If you would be willing to open up and let me help you in front of everyone, then please join me up here.”
More silence ensued from the stunned crowd as Wilkinson reset the platform for the encounter. Again, he asked if there was anyone who wanted help. Finally, one man stood up and said, “It’s me!” Wilkinson goes on to share the story of the dialogue and simply put, it was the story of an adult-aged son who was “angry all the time” and who admitted to being abusive in his anger.
Wilkinson went on to ask a probing question, “Who has hurt you the most in your life?” The man blurted out, “My father. My father has never told me that he loved me. Not once in my entire life!”
Now Wilkinson was sitting with his back to the audience and the gentlemen, named Mike, was facing the audience. He noticed that every now and then Mike broke eye contact and looked out into the audience.
At one, point Wilkinson turned in the direction of Mike’s glances and saw a white haired gentlemen sitting in the seat next to Mike’s vacant seat. He asked the man if he was Mike’s father and the man stood up and said, “Yes, I am his father…”
What I notice in this gripping story is that it is of a man who most likely professed faith in Christ but was struggling with a major life issue that caused him tremendous pain and affected his relationships with his father and others. And perhaps the great joy of Easter and the Resurrection seemed to him at times to be a distant event and the Christian faith a leaking life preserver.
He was looking for relief; he was looking for help; he was looking for resolution to the problem. He began to find it when he began to admit the truth about his heart and about his situation and he wanted help.
I believe with all my heart that God wanted Mike to experience a deliverance from the pain and bondage of this situation. How was God going to do it? Well, I know of two ways already: through the power of the Resurrection and the truth of the Resurrection.
We are going to spend the next three Sundays looking at three very important truths of the Resurrection that can change our lives for the better. They are three things that all who profess a personal relationship with Jesus Christ need to remember and believe. Now I have shared these before, but we need to hear them on a regular basis and I felt led to share them at this point with Easter having just taken place.
Knowing who we are in Christ is the truth of the Resurrection that this series will focus on for as we realize who we are in Christ, and it is a significant realization, the power of God is released in some significant ways. The first truth of who we are in Christ then, is this: I Am Accepted in Christ.
Now what does this mean? Well, what does it mean to be accepted? To be accepted means to be received, welcomed by someone.
We know the pain and the anxiety when we feel “left out.” But we are accepted in Christ because of the Resurrection. Several passages of scripture prove this point to be true.
The first passage is our text of the morning, John 1:12. “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.”
John begins his gospel with a big picture summary of who Jesus is and the basic response of people to Him during His earthly ministry. He states at the very beginning the fact that Jesus was not accepted “in his own land and among his own people” as we read in verse 11.