The Resurrection...Past, Present And Future Power - The Message
02 Apr 2023

The Resurrection…Past, Present And Future Power

Lent Devotional Week Six


In his new book, A Burning Heart, which digs into 1 Corinthians, Andy Hawthorne explores how Paul’s book is a game-changer for each of us this Lent as we fix our eyes on Jesus.

Teaching


1 Corinthians 15:1-34


The Corinthian church was like Paul’s problem child. He’d surely left Corinth with a huge sense of encouragement that God had moved in this materialistic, wild-living, pagan city. He’d planted a church and it had taken root. He went off on his missionary journeys full of faith and excitement. 

But then he started to get the letters… about crazy goings-on in the church with these new believers. They were gathering for worship, having communion where some would get drunk while some would be left hungry. They were forgetting the poor. They were falling out with each other, and not just petty divisions, but lawsuits amongst believers. There was weirdness going on with spiritual gifts in their services.

Paul knew the main reason for all this stuff was that they hadn’t really understood the gospel. They’d heard Paul preach the gospel, and maybe they’d made a commitment to Christ. But they hadn’t understood it in the way they needed to. 

Sound teaching, if it’s really accepted and believed, always results in godly lifestyle. If you’re all over the place as a Christian – up and down like a yo-yo, giving in to temptation all the time, it means you don’t really understand the amazing truth of the gospel. It’s not taken root in your life.

That’s why Paul starts 1 Corinthians 15 by saying, ‘Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you … that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.’

I love that Paul gets straight to the resurrection. He says, look, Jesus rose from the dead – just go and have a chat with some of the people who met him! There were 500 in one meeting and lots of them would have still been alive. The way to prove that Jesus rose from the dead is that loads of people actually met him! And we can say the same – the way to prove Jesus is risen from the dead is that around two billion people or so on Planet Earth will tell you that they have met him.

So the question is this: if you believe what Paul says in this passage – that Jesus is Lord, that he died for our sins, that he rose again, and as a result we have eternal life … what are you doing with your life? If you really believe that Jesus is Lord of all eternity, that he left heaven and came to earth, that he lived this remarkable life, that he died a criminal’s death on a cross, that he rose again from the dead, that he conquered sin and death … what are you doing with your life? 

The way to change the world is to have the gospel absolutely front and centre, like a lamp on a stand. That’s the only message we’ve got that can change the world. This is what I tell our staff: never forget if you work for this organisation, or volunteer or are involved anywhere around the world, remember we’re called The Message. If you want a charity that does good, cares for the poor, tries to lobby government and change policies, but isn’t concerned that the gospel is front and centre, other charities are available. This one is always going to have the message of the cross and the resurrection front and centre. And you know what I’ve learned? The more we keep that gospel of Jesus Christ front and centre, the more God blesses us and the more we see lives and communities transformed by the love of Jesus.

Eternity is going to be so long. This is my one shot – it will soon be over. Everybody deserves to hear this gospel in language they can understand because it’s the power of God for salvation of anyone who believes. We have to take personal responsibility. Sometimes we can think it’s someone else’s job – it’s the preacher’s job, it’s the evangelist’s job. No, it’s our job – we’ve been commissioned. We’ve been charged to share this good news. It’s your job. It’s my job. Who else is going to tell the world? We’ve got to tell them – it needs to be on our lips and in our lives. We need to be obsessed with this glorious gospel. Let’s give it everything!

Prayer


Jesus, I pray for a people rising up all over the world with your gospel on their lips and in their lives. People who stand firm on this gospel while others are falling left and right. We’re firm on the solid rock that Jesus is Lord. He came to Earth. He left heaven and came to Earth. He died on the cross and he’s alive today and I pray as a result many, many, many will receive the resurrection power of the gospel in their own lives.

We pray God that we’ll see a move of your Spirit, a salvation movement of transformed lives transforming communities. Thank you, God, that we get to be part of that. And not just here in Manchester, but all over the world. 

Amen

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This teaching is taken from Andy’s new book, A Burning Heart, which you can order now at message.org.uk/shop