Summary: To show believers the importance of the doctrine of the resurrection by answering 4 questions: when did Jesus rise again; why is the resurrection necessary; is there proof to substantiate the resurrection; how did Jesus come back to life?
PRIORITY #1 - THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST
This is resurrection Sunday, the day of the year where we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In reality, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the power behind the resurrection, is something that should be celebrated every day in the life of the believer. The Bible says that the same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead dwells inside of us. As we ponder the implications of that, it should cause us to leap for joy or do a jig because the Power that raised Christ from the dead lives inside of us! The Holy Spirit. But before I talk about the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I want to take a few minutes to lay the foundation of where we’re going in this study.
For the past month, I’ve been announcing that I feel impressed by the Holy Spirit to do a series of messages titled, “Pentecostal Priorities.” By that I mean things that should be priorities for us as Pentecostals. And over the next several weeks, I’m going to share with you what, in my opinion as I understand Scripture, those priorities should be. You say, “Pastor Jason, this sounds like it’s going to be heavy and boring. Why would you want to do a series of messages on this?”
Well, Pentecostals today are having an identity crisis. The apostles certainly knew who they were and what they had to do after the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon them in the upper room. Those men were transformed into Pentecostal people, thousands of years before there ever was a denomination.
The people who experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the Azuza Street Revival knew what it meant to be Pentecostal. That Revival sparked a worldwide movement with presently over 500,000,000 people worldwide claiming to be Pentecostal, and that number is growing.
The early fathers of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada and the Assemblies of God knew what it meant to be Pentecostal as they traveled from shore to shore planting churches and seeing the Holy Spirit descend. But today, “Pentecostal” people have no clue as to what the “Pentecostal Experience” is all about. When asked, “What makes you a Pentecostal?”, the response of the majority of people today is, because my church is PAOC Church. I believe with all my heart folks, that the power of the Early Church needs to be restored, and that will only happen when Pentecostal believers know who they are. That is the reason, by the Spirit’s prodding, that I feel a need for this kind of preaching.
All of that being said, there really is only one Pentecostal Priority. This is the foundation. All of the priorities that I am going to share with you in the coming weeks are built on this foundation. Listen carefully, because this is important.
I have taken this partly from Charles T. Crabtree’s excellent book, “The Pentecostal Priority.”
Matthew 28:18 says, “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” These words immediately precede the famous passage that we know as “The Great Commission,” where He instructed the apostles to teach all nations the truth of God by teaching people to obey God’s commandments and to baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, promising to be with them to the end of the age. Keep in mind that this takes place before His ascension, and ten days prior to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. He’s getting them ready for Pentecost.
The main purpose of these coming “Pentecostals” was the preaching of the Gospel. And that’s what happened. The apostles obeyed Christ in this commission. Mark 16:20 says, “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” What isn’t mentioned here is that between Mark 16:19 and verse 20, the Day of Pentecost took place. After they became Pentecostals, they preached everywhere and God worked through them with signs following.
This was reiterated to a group of disciples who were confused about the resurrection. You can read about that in Luke 24. Luke 24:44 says, “He said to them, ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” He saw the fearful and powerless disciples and He knew that the Great Commission would not be accomplished if they remained the way they were. That’s why in Acts 1:8 He gave them a promise of power. Something that would energize them and give them the power to accomplish this Great Commission.