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Love: The Power of Resurrection Life
By Dr. Mary Craig
Tonight weíre going to be talking about passing from death to life. Weíre going to talk about the power of resurrection. Weíre going to be talking about love as it is lived out in the practical realities of what we do daily.
We are going to hear the Word of God. There is power in Godís Word. And I want you to stand as I read 1 John 3.11-24. Read.
The message hadnít changed from Jesus to the apostles. It was the same. The commandment of Jesus Christ was and is to love one another. Jesus said, they will know you are My disciples if you have love one for another. Heís talking first and foremost about a love that will manifest among those whose common tie, whose common bond, is Jesus Christ.
What bonds you and me tonight? Many of you donít even know me. I donít know many of you. What bonds us, what we have in common, is Jesus Christ. Every true believer in Jesus Christ in this room is part of the Body of Christ, a living stone in the Temple of Christ, His Bride. Unity in the Body, in the Temple, will be manifested in our love for one another.
Now Cain and Abel were brothers, but Cain hated Abel and slew him. What happened there? Well, life was lost when Adam sinned. Adam was the Federal Head of the whole human race, and basically, he missed the mark when he turned his heart to hear and to heed another word. He perverted the ways of God, the way of life and blessing. He cut himself and his posterity (thatís us) from the Source and Sustainer of life. In Adam all die.
God breathed on Adam and he became a living soul, but with sin corrupting the system, Adam plunged humanity into sin and misery. Eve, who had consorted with the Serpent, heard the promise of a seed that would come through the woman, a Seed that would be bruised but would crush the head of the Serpent. She pressed the covenant and had Cain. She says in Genesis that she had gotten herself a manchild from the Covenant Lord. Then she also gave birth to Abel.
Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. Cain, in Genesis 4, brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. The Lord respected Abel and his offering, but not that of Cain. Cain got very angry and his countenance fell. God told him, Why are you angry? And why is your countenance fallen? If you do well, shall you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is waiting at the door, and its desire is for you, but you must master it.
Now both Cain and Abel wanted a relationship with God. Both brought offerings, seeking to draw near to God through a sacrifice.
God didnít accept Cainís efforts to draw near and establish a relationship. If Cain "did well," he would be lifted up. God would accept him. But Cain could not be glad in his heart that Abelís sacrifice was acceptable. Abel approached God through blood sacrifice. Cain made his offering "in the process of time", not from the first fruits but from the excess of his labors. Jesus called Abel "righteous," (Matthew 23.24). Cain talked with Abel. Something in Cain, however, wanted to murder Abel. That spirit that was in Cain rose up in envy to slay Abel, to destroy.
Cainís offering represents the offering of "good works," the work of oneís own hands, the way that seems right to a man but whose end is death. Abelís offering was a bloody lamb, offered in faith. Abel understood that innocent blood must be shed to atone. His lamb demonstrated a faith in the lamb (Jesus) that would come to take away sin. Cain offered works of his own righteousness, hating good. 1 John 3.12 says that Cain was of that wicked one, and slew his brother because his own works were evil, and his brotherís righteous.
John, the Apostle of love, tells us not to marvel if the world hates us. He says,
"We know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren. He that loves not his brother abides in death."
Youíre either abiding or living or dwelling or hanging out in death or in life. We all came into this world dead in trespasses and sins. Itís in Ephesians. We came into this world dead, walking according to the way or pattern of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience. We came in dead, conducting ourselves in the lusts of the flesh. We didnít desire God. We didnít desire the things of God. We didnít desire the people of God. We wanted to fulfill the desires of the flesh and of the mind.
We start out as dead men walking. Unbelievers look like they are alive, but they are really dead. They are spiritually dead, having within them no spiritual life, and they will be physically dead and suffer what the scriptures call the second death. Left in that condition they will one day resurrect only to find themselves forever separated from life, from the life of God, condemned.
Why? Because Jesus Christ came into the world, into the darkness of death, into the moral abyss, with the light of truth. And youíre either in death, in the place of the grave, where gravity and grief prevail, where things pull you down, or youíre in life. The law of sin and death operates as surely as does the law of gravity. The soul that sins will surely die (Ezekiel 18.4). Corruptionís in the system and perversion is in the heart. Things are upside down, inside out, turned away from the truth. Adam swallowed a lie, and weíve been swallowing lies ever since.
We come into this world perverted, corrupted, twisted, blind to the truth, with evil in our hearts and a bent toward it. We donít want God and we donít see our true condition. Weíre of the earth, of dust, and we bear the image of dust. We are sown in corruption, in dishonor, in weakness.
Weíre in death. But we can know that we have passed from death unto life when we have love for the brethren. How do you pass from death unto life? How do you approach a holy God and His heaven if your way doesnít cut it? How do you get out of the abyss of sin and misery?
You canít do it. Youíre dead. Youíre blind. Youíre lame. Youíre deaf. Youíre held captive. Youíre in bondage. Youíre alienated from the life of God. The umbilical cord was cut, and youíve attached yourself to anything you thought might satisfy you and supply you with ecstasy and mood elevators and warm fuzzy feelings.
You have a problem because God has nothing to do with dead things, with dead works, with things unclean, perverted, corrupt, evil. Itís foreign to Him, to His nature, and His immune system kicks in to keep sin out. God is the God of the living.
So, people, you donít need revival. You need resurrection. God has to come and resurrect you out from among the dead. He has to raise you from the dead. He has to regenerate your heart and open your eyes and open your ears. He has to grant you repentance so you can recover yourself from the snares of the devil. He has to grant you repentance so you acknowledge the truth and start desiring Him and seeking Him and crying out for Him. He has to command light to shine into your darkness so you see how you have perverted His ways and it hasnít profited you. He has to command light into your darkness so you see just how eaten up, devoured, and coming to poverty you really are.
You have to pass from death to life. You have to perceive the love of God. 1 John 3.16 says He laid down His life for us. 1 John 3.23 says we should believe on the name of Godís Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another. 1 John 3.24 says we know that Christ abides in us by the Spirit which He has given us.
So whatís going on here? God loves. God the Father loves. The call of the Father is: Look and live. Look away from those things and people that you think are the source of life and look to the true source of all life and blessing. Repent of all idolatry and believe Jesus. Embrace the rest that is salvation.
Look at Jesus. He laid down His life for us. He lived the life of perfect, personal, perpetual obedience that God requires for life. Then He gave His life. His body was bruised, ripped and torn apart. He took the wrath of the curse of the Law. He bore the punishment demanded by divine justice. His body was broken like a veil rent. True to the spirit that was in Cain, the religious court rose up to kill Jesus. The civil court rose up to have Him slain. The peopleís court cried, "Crucify Him!" There is something in that spirit that wants to murder the innocent, murder the holy, murder life, murder the Creator and take His place.
Thereís something in the heart of man, in the heart of the Serpent, in the heart of Satan, that wants to be god, that wants to circumvent the way of God, corrupt the truth of God, and counterfeit the life of God.
But thereís only one way, truth and life. It is through death to life. It is through the Blood of Jesus, the innocent Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. You canít come before a holy God any which way. You canít approach Him, a holy God, but through the Blood of Jesus. It is the Blood of Jesus that the Father accepts as atonement for your sin. It is the Blood of Jesus that the Father says covers and cleanses and cancels the debt and liability of sin.
Our access to God the Father is through the Blood. It is the Blood that carries us into the Holy of Holies. The Blood causes the Father to deliver us from judgment. The Blood defeats the accuser and closes the door on the devil.
Does this offend you? Is something stirring within you that wants to murder the Spirit within me? Because, my friends,
The call of the Son, Jesus Christ is, Come and die. Jesus calls you to a resurrection life, to a life of love, not murder. Jesus calls you to be separated form all that separates you from the life of God in Christ Jesus. Be crucified with Christ and yet live. Live by His faith, by the faith of Him who loved you and gave Himself for you. Embrace the rest that is submission.
Jesus laid down His life for us, John says, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren, for the Body. We know we have passed from death to life when we have love for the brethren.
Thatís going to take a passing from death to life. Thatís going to take a passing through death to life. Thatís going to take the Holy Spirit resurrecting you out from among the dead and then sanctifying you so that you follow Jesus Christ, really desiring to be His disciple.
Look and live. Look to Jesus and come out of the grave of sin and death and rise up to life. Take off the bindings of death and start walking in resurrection life. Jesusí life has been imputed to you. But God also wants to impart life to you. He wants you to be one with Him in Christ.
It is in union with Jesus that we come into unity with one another in Christ. The same Holy Spirit within every believer recognizes and knows Himself. We donít see people after the flesh, but we see Jesus. Is Jesus in you? I look for Jesus in you. Is the Holy Spirit in you? I look for the Holy Spirit within you.
No murderer has eternal life abiding in him. Life doesnít live with death. And love is what prevails over death. Love is stronger than death. Love, therefore, is the mark of one who walks in the life that is resurrection.
The call of the Holy Spirit is: rise and reign. Rise up and walk in the life that is resurrection. Be empowered to talk as one whose life is hidden in Christ with God, as one holy. Embrace the rest that is resurrection.
Resurrection and walking in its power manifest tangibly. Did you know that when Jesus comes in His glory to judge the nations and separate them, they will be divided according to their works. Jesus is the Judge of what is living and what is dead. We may think works are "good," like Cain did, but "good works" according to God are those born in the thought and intent of a holy heart. Good works display a love coming from God, love from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and faith unfeigned. Love manifests tangibly, but its source is God if itís truly a good work.
We put away not only our past lives but also our "selves." A "dead" person has nothing else but the grace of God, the Spirit of Grace, the God of all Grace, for any hope. In Adam all died. You died. Whatever life you have is hidden with Christ in God. The Father says, Look and live. The Son says, Come and die. The Holy Spirit says, Rise and reign.
Love manifests in tangible ways. It is a tangible anointing. It manifests in bringing life to the creation. Love bonds you to Christ as Christís love bonds you to Him and to the Father. Love is the seal of the Spirit upon you. Satan masquerades love in the counterfeit life of corrupted truth according to a way that circumvents the Blood of Christ. Satan is a murderer. He is a liar and a thief. He comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He wants to kill the Creator and take His place. He wants to destroy what is made in the image of God. He wants to dominate, exploit, manipulate, coerce, intimidate. Satan cloaks. He wears a mask. He parades. He pretends.
Resurrection is a life of love walking in truth by grace in the energy of the Holy Spirit because of the dominion of Christ. Godís love raises the dead by freeing them from the strongholds of the serpent. Start swallowing truth and start starving the Serpent, Satan.
And this, again, is the truth. Read 1 John 3.11-24.
© 2000 Mary Craig Ministries, Inc.
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