Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”
3 Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. 4 So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. 5 And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. 9 For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.
11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had
lain. 13 Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”
14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”
She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).
17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her. 19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are
forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” 27 Then
He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”
28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas] because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
My wife, Cammy, was reading to our grandson, Christian. She read the story of the resurrection. As it happened, they were reading from John 20. I was walking through the family room while she was reading. The phrase came about Mary being so sad because she didn’t know where Jesus was. Mary couldn’t find Jesus, but Jesus knew where Mary was. Just as she said that, the Spirit of God cameinto our family room. I felt Him.
There are points and times, for all of us, when we just don’t know where Jesus is, but Jesus knows where we are.
As Cammy was reading the bible story, she said that Mary turned and saw Jesus, and she still didn’t perceive Him as Jesus until He said, “Mary.” And no one could say, “Mary” like Jesus said, “Mary.” He could be in a glorified
state, or in disguise as a gardener in appearance, but once He uttered her name, there was no separation. It was clear as anything. And she just grabbed Him, and clung to Him.
This morning was Sunday and I got up early. I usually get up early on Sunday mornings so I can pray, but I got up earlier this Sunday. Cammy and I both read in the paper about the blood moon that was coming and somehow we read it that it was going to be this morning.
We were sitting at the breakfast table the day before and Cammy said, “What time are you going to get up to pray?” I said, “Probably about 5:30.” And she said, “Well, it says right here….” And I had already read it, and I said, “Yeah, there is supposed to be a full eclipse of the moon at 5 so I will get up and if it’s there I’ll tell you.”
My alarm was set for 5:am. From 4 on, I was waking up and I was thinking, “Gosh, I hope You’re not waking me up to see the moon.” So about 4:55, I decided to get up to go see the blood moon. I walked down our staircase and the moon was casting this brilliant light into our living room. I look out the window and there was this glorious full moon. Again, I don’t know anything about eclipses, so I thought, “Good, I haven’t missed it.” The blood moon actually happened on the previous morning. So, you know any good thing that happens does not come from me. It comes from the King of Glory because I can’t even get my calendar dates right.
So, Cammy came down at 5 and we were both there. I said, “You go back to bed. If anything happens I’ll call you down.” I usually pray in the family room, but the living room had this perfect picture of the moon, so I pulled up a chair and knelt down started praying. Every few minutes I would look up to make sure the eclipse hadn’t started. It hadn’t. I thought a number of times of “Googling” it to find out when the eclipse was going to happen. But I have learned that when I’m with the Lord at certain times, and especially at a set appointed times, it is rude to do that to Him. I was having a conversation with Him, so I would spend time in His presence and hear from the Lord.
So I never Googled until about 6:30, when I had finished prayer. I then realized that it was yesterday. That made me laugh. But in the middle of the prayer, I saw this picture of Mary in the garden. And I saw a picture of Jesus. It now wasn’t simply this moment of history, but I heard the Lord saying to us, the church in this setting:
- We look at Christmas as the birth of the life of Christ and then we look at Easter as the fulfillment of the life of Christ.
- Christmas is just the beginning of the journey and Easter is just the beginning of resurrection. They are not the finish, just the beginning. It’s the door that opens to an incredible possibility that we have yet to fully touch on.
So all of a sudden, I saw us, the body of Jesus just clinging to Jesus. We were clinging to His feet. It was a surreal thing (again I had a full moon basking in my head and I was looking up to make sure I wasn’t missing the eclipse. So I was in a weird state of perception or receptivity. I saw Jesus saying to us, “Stop clinging to Me; let Me ascend.”
What I saw, because I meditate on this a lot, was that
- We can live with a resurrected Jesus that freshly got out of the tomb
- He is working with His disciples all the way up to Pentecost
- Then the church is birthed
- We grow up
- We then start it over in December and go again through the life.
Yet, Jesus is now
- Seated at the right hand of the Father as High Priest
- He is intercession
- He has an entirely different position before Father that He had while He walked on the earth
- He is literally the first born of a new race of people called the last Adam or the second Man
- He is the first fruits
- The rest of us who believe will be brought forth at His coming which is His drawing near.
So this picture of:
- Yes, I’ve got to let You go,
- From just being the guy that got out of the tomb
- Who forgave my sins, so thank You
Jesus, be all who You are before Father, so I can be all You have
called me to be.
So, I had been meditating on this idea of where resurrection takes you. But you have to understand that Jesus knows where we are and where we are right now. This whole picture of this event is repeated over and over, year after year, decade after decade, millennial after millennial. Not this story, but Him finding His disciples when they got separated. Mary having passion and saying, ”I can’t go on until this one thing – I’ve got to find Him.” She saw an empty tomb, formulated a cry, and repeated it to the disciples. The disciples came and found the empty tomb, just as she said. She wept at that tomb, looked inside and saw the angel. Now this supernatural experience was happening. Again they ask “Why are you weeping?” God creates our cries and our prayer. He creates questions for the opportunity to reveal Himself.
When she experienced Jesus, she was a person in utter despair. She grabbed Him and held Him. Jesus then said,
- I am on assignment.
- I have not finished My assignment.
- I completed My resurrection.
- I still have ascension.
- I’m going to bring My blood into the heavens and
- I’m going to cleanse the heavenly temple so that man is welcomed in heaven.
- I’m going to sit at the Father’s right hand and
- I’m going to send the Holy Spirit and
- I’m going to then continue My role as High Priest of the confession of My people in intercession.
But I like you Mary. And I just couldn’t stop Myself. Go now. Release that kind of faith. Go tell My brethren, I’m ascending to My Father and your Father – My God and your God.
So, I was in this experience, knowing that there is something so empowering when we encounter Jesus Christ. This is an experiential gospel. Everything in the gospels, since the day Jesus was raised from the dead and then powerfully enacted on the day of Pentecost, is that we experience God through the witness of others, who then Holy Spirit makes what they say become real to us. We then no longer go from a knowledge of something, or an idea or a creed. We come to the experience of a Person – of a resurrected Lord. This journey continues forever until its maturity.
The disciples were huddled and hiding in their little room. They were afraid, then Jesus showed up. The first thing He did was to say, “Peace.” Then He says, “Look at My hands guys. Look at My side.” He then gives them the commission that is still flooding forward today. He said,
21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” John 20:21
He breathed on them to receive the Holy Spirit, then said,
22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. John 20:22
This is incredible. There are incredible possibilities on that commission that we have not yet been able to fully reach into. The capacity to extend forgiveness, this is what remittance is.
Remittance is to:
- Just cancel and let them go
- To send them off
- To forget them
- To release them
He said we can remit any sins. He said whose ever sins we remit are remitted. However, at the same time we have no authority to do one thing if we can’t do the other thing.
So, He said whose ever sins you retain are retained. We can hold a sin in place, a person in place, a people in place or even a country in place. We can retain the sin if we choose or we can remit the sin if you want.
“I’m sending you out…” We learn from Jesus, as He went by His Father’s leading, as He only did what He saw the Father do.
- In communion
- In growth,
- Within grace,
that we start to learn to mature and become like Jesus, releasing the power of forgiveness.
Thomas showed up the next day. They told him, “Hey, we saw the Lord and we had an experience with Jesus. We saw the wounds. We saw the gaping hole in His side.
Thomas was super stuck. And he said, “Unless I put my fingers there and my hand in there, I’m not going to believe.” Thomas did not just pull that out of the air. With a breached heart, Thomas was trying to connect to a strong experiential testimony of what someone else had to say, when he said, “I’ve got to experience that for myself to believe.” Thank God, Jesus came and found him.
Some of us need to formulate the prayer of “I’m stuck.” We need to formulate, “I’m stuck and until this happens, I can’t go on.” Now, when it happens, we will be allowed to go on and we will be undone in the experience. It will be glorious because after this whole thing all he said was, “My Lord, my God.” Thomas became a glorious apostle and did many things in India.
On that Sunday, Cammy got up and came downstairs. I said, “Guess what. I checked Google. The red moon was yesterday. All we got today was a dud moon.”
I was laughing because the thing that came into my was, “That is why I know You by the Spirit because I am not really good at this other stuff.” I can’t even get the dates right. I had the same problem in 1988 when there were 88 reasons for Jesus’ return. That is just not how God meets me. I don’t learn that way. I don’t grow that way. I don’t experience God that way.
I experience Him by revelation and moments in the Spirit that effect me, wreck me, change the way I go, what I am, what I do….how I live, how I think.
There are three kinds of people in the church.
1. There are the believers that are natural. They are still in their soul, living out much of their faith through their soul. Often, the gospel gets to a point where it doesn’t work for them.
2. There’s the people that are carnal that are trying to live out their faith using the strength that they carry – their own resource, their giftedness, who they are, the way they conduct life. This takes them to a certain point. But it also causes struggle. It creates strife, confusion, and envy.
3. Then there are spiritual believers which are people that are knowing God by the Spirit and being impacted. Their spirit is the part in which they are staying connected. Their soul is sometimes screaming saying, “I don’t want to go this way. I don’t like this. I can’t stand this. I’m hurt. I’m offended. I’m angry.” Their flesh is saying, “You’ve got to do more, be more, accomplish more.”
When we are young we can do this, but the older we get, we can’t. That is the reason we start early, so we can work that part out, and on and on.
Young people, learn the bible. Learn the bible now, because when you get my age, you have to live it. It is not a good time to learn because now you are scrambling to live what you’ve learned. I’ll tell you another story.
It’s hilarious. I learn from my mistakes more than I actually learn from success. There is more glory in our death than there is our avoidance of death. So, I was saying, “Wow, that was a dud moon. Ok. I know the Lord by the Spirit.” Cause I’m just trying to sort this thing out. I was thinking that the meteorologists were wrong, does this mean we are not going into tribulation?
I had the Spirit stirring within me and I was thinking about what I was going to teach that day. I had a moment and was going to sit down with the bible. Our youngest grandson, little Noah, came over and motioned for me to sit at the bottom step of the stairs. Somehow this has become our place. We sit there. He’ll sit there and pat for me to come sit there with him. We will look outside the door or whatever we do.
This time, I was getting focused. It was Easter Sunday, and I had to get focused. I had a lot of directions I could go. What would I say; what would I teach? I already missed the red moon, so God I need help. I sat down, got my bible and said, “Ok Noah, I’ll sit with you and I’ll read my bible.” Well he saw me with my bible and he jumped up and went to grab a book, because he likes to read. He handed me Dumbo.
God was talking to me all morning long, from a dud moon to a Dumbo bible moment. He was just saying to me, “The things that I’m doing you cannot do from your resource and you cannot go where I’m taking you. In fact you have to learn that it is all about the letting go.
And Philippians chapter 3 –
Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.
2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, 4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. Philippians 3:1-6
This is the kind of guy you would like your daughter to marry. Seriously, the guy was stable, focused, moral, zealous. He said, “I got this.” He had it down.
7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ Philippians 3:7-8
We read that verse and say, “Yes, I definitely understand that.” But to live that verse is a different story. To lose and continually have to shift the loss out of, that was really important to me, to the rubbish column. How do you do that on your journey to resurrection?
See, the thing I wanted to introduce is that the apostle Paul, and the believers of the New Testament in the first century, were in agreement that there was a resurrection life that they were attaining toward. They had not yet fully received it yet, although they walked in glorious power and anointing. They were in pursuit of something that was costing them everything every day. They had to find a way in which to lighten the load, to continue the journey, because the journey was through the cross. It is often brought through a path of suffering, sometimes it was through death. In that pursuit, they were hungry to obtain that. Paul said, “Ok, I started off by releasing this loss as rubbish so that I could gain Christ.
He then goes on and talks about this beautiful picture…
9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; Philippians 3:9
Jesus is the great equalizer. No man comes to the Father but by Him; and may I add, no man stays before the Father but by Him. No one continues the journey, or completes it, but by Jesus Christ. This righteousness is by faith.
It is something all of us are on a mission to learn, must observe, and become more and more fully centered in.
But Paul went on and said,
10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, Philippians 3:10
Paul was sensing a desire for an experience. He desired the power of resurrection life, of righteousness that is not obtained through his flesh. It is through the path of conformity to death for resurrection and often, the fellowship of suffering for the release of that kind of power.
But now, listen to this verse. This one blows me away:
11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:11
Paul wasn’t looking at this as just an event that one day all of us will experience in the resurrection of the dead.
It was just like when Martha said to Jesus, “Yes I know Lazarus will be raised on the last day.” Jesus looked at Martha and,
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. John 11:25
Even there, He was trying to break out of the mindsets that we locked ourselves into of events, creeds and beliefs, rather than a personal experience that is unlimited to where we become.
Paul said, “I haven’t attained there yet,
12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Philippians 3:12
Jesus has laid hold of every one of us. Whether we believe in Him or not. He has laid hold of every human being on the planet right now. And, all He’s longing for is that “Father please reveal Jesus to that individual so that they can come alive in their faith in Christ and come forward on their journey.”
- We all have been laid hold of for a purpose
- We all have been born with a design
- We were known before the foundation of the world
- We were set on course
Paul was saying, “I haven’t attained there.” But the fact that he said, ‘I haven’t yet attained’ means that he was trying to get there. He was living with, “I haven’t attained, nor am I complete yet, but I just want to lay hold of what I was laid hold for.”
Everyone— we have been laid hold of for something! He then goes on and says something so radical:
13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, Philippians 3:13
The one thing—the secret to the resurrection life—this was Paul in the most intimate time, many believe one of his last epistles, speaking to the secret to the resurrection life. He said that he had not gotten there yet. There was a loss of flesh.
There is a journey that goes through
- Conformity of death
- Laying down our own righteousness to receive righteousness from God alone, Through faith in Christ.
- Encountering Him through the cross
- Through conformity to death all the way to the point of resurrection power
that can become evident life place of union and fellowship and joy.
He hadn’t gotten there all the way yet, but one thing he did—just ONE thing he does—He forgot yesterday and pressed forward into today. He woke up every single morning like a little kid to the unlimited future that Jesus carries and Holy Spirit communicates—The Hope that is unlimited.
There is no limitation to God. God Himself is alert to the day with expectancy. He is the God of hope. He carries hope. He is expectant because He understands that there is no limit to any one who might just have a flicker of truth, which quickens their thoughts to a new paradigm, they haven’t been able to think and turn to Him and see, the Resource of what they are considering. Then all of a sudden to be catapulted into an experience of God that others said they can’t have. Oh, the excitement that God carries over each one of us!
So Paul said, “I’m doing and I’ve got to stay on this thing. We have got to forget. We have to remit.” There it is—we have to remit! We must remit the sins of everything and everyone! Everything—we have to go. We have to clean the ledger. We have to wipe the chalkboard. We have to dismiss yesterday, the good, the bad and the ugly. Just let it go in order that we can reach forward. So we can press upward for the One thing.
14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14
Sunday, April 12, 2015, 9am: Becky Ferris will share, “Are You Part of the Sound?” The unity between God, Priest and Levite.
Sunday, 10:20am: Prayer for the Nations – Join us as we pray for the nations and Jesus’ great commission.
Sunday, 11am: Brian Rogers will share, “The Hope of Glory” through Jesus Christ.
At the end of both Sunday Services, please join us in the Family Room as vendors and merchants display their services and goods at Jacob’s Dream Fair. We look forward to seeing you.