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SPECIAL SUNDAY SERVICE WITH PASTOR (DR) MENSA OTABIL (GENERAL OVERSEER, INTERNATIONAL CENTRAL GOSPEL CHURCH (ICGC) CHRIST TEMPLE, ACCRA GHANA)
TOPIC: SEVEN (7) REASONS WHY JESUS ROSE FROM TO THE DEAD.
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BIBLE TEXT: ACTS 2:23-24
Let us rise up together as we make our “DECLARATION OF GATHERING” in this “YEAR OF GATHERING”.
Are you ready? Say with me:
I Proclaim Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. The Lord is the Shepherd of my Soul, my Shelter by Day, my Light by Night.
In His Name, we Plough our fields, by His Spirit we gather the Harvest, in His Light we seek and find.
In this Year of Gathering, the Lord of the Harvest has commanded: Launch Out into the Deep. At His Words, we cast our Nets, we gather in Souls and Substance for God’s Kingdom.
The Lord is our Reward; in this Season I received God’s Portion set aside for me: Full Measure, Pressed down, Shaking together and running over.
Nothing is Lost and Nothing is wasted in Jesus Name – Amen!
My Message today is titled: Seven (7) Reasons why Jesus rose from the Dead.
There are many things we can talk about the Resurrection – We can let it inspire us, we can let it encourage us, we can see in it our own Life, we can see our Resurrection, we can see ourselves rising above Limitations, we can see ourselves Overcoming and all of that.
But we don’t also have to obscure the real Truth – The real reason of the Resurrection. It wasn’t so that we will get all White this morning;
SEVEN (7) REASONS WHY JESUS ROSE FROM THE DEAD.
1. To Give Prove that He is the True and Only Saviour of the world.
The Resurrection is Unique to Jesus Christ and to Christianity. No one in Human History has a record of dying, resurrecting and continuing to live for over two thousand (2,000) years.
… No one in History has that Record!
The People who have died and have been resurrected from the dead, eventually they died again. But Jesus Christ is Unique because of His Death, Resurrection and continuous Living.
And this was the main trust that Peter Preached after the Resurrection.
He Preached it on the Day of Pentecost – Fifty (50) days after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
And Peter spoke the Words in the Book of Acts 2:23-24 (NKJV);
23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death;
24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.
I want you to Pay attention to the idea that Peter put forth in this Message – He says that everything that happened was done by God’s Predetermination and foreknowledge.
In other words, the Actions of Judas, the Actions of the Roman Soldiers, the Actions of Pilate, the Actions of the High Priest – Everything that happened, happened by the foreknowledge of God.
There is nothing about the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ that took God by Surprise.
We may be shocked by it, but God was not shocked by it – He had foreknowledge of it, and He Predetermined it.
And as Peter says clearly, that Jesus was crucified and put to death.
They were certain of it as this was fifty (50) days after the Event. And then he says, “God raised Him from the dead.”
And then in Acts 2:36 Peter tells us about the Uniqueness of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. He says, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you Crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
… God has made Him, both Lord and Christ.
The Resurrection is Prove that Christ is the Only and True Saviour of the world.
There is Nothing and no one compared to Him – Not in any Religion, not in Human History. It has never happened before.
It only happened to one Person,to Prove that, “if you want the Saviour of the world, this is He.” What happened to Him has never happened to anyone.
It is very interesting when you considered that Lazarus was raised from the dead – But the Disciples of Jesus never said that Lazarus is the Saviour. They never said he (Lazarus) is the Christ.
Although they saw him dead for four (4) days and resurrected; but they never ascribed to him what they ascribed to Jesus Christ because Lazarus died again!
The Uniqueness of Jesus Christ is not just that He died, not just that He rose again; but that He ever lives, never to die again! He is the Only True Saviour of the world.
If you find a comparison to this in any Religion – That is accurate, supported by first-hand Witnesses; then you can go into that Religion.
But you can search far and wide, high and low; there is Only one True Saviour who died and rose again, Who ascended bodily to Heaven, and continues to live for evermore: JESUS, the Son of the Living God.
So, that’s the first reason: to give Prove that He is the True and Only Saviour of the world.
2. To Provide the Basis for the Justification of those who trust Him.
… Jesus had to rise to give us the basis for our Justification.
The Resurrection is Prove that God’s Plan of Salvation truly worked and was successful.
Jesus died, He said He was dying for our sins: He suffered and died.
But how could we know that His work has been Successful if He had not come back from the dead?
He had to come back to Prove that what had happened was real.
In Romans 4:23-25, the Bible says: Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our Justification.
… He was raised because of our Justification!
The word ‘Justification’ means Vindication.
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ indicated His death – It’s like somebody who is going to explore an unknown land. And he says he is going to explore that Land, but he goes and never comes back.
How can we know he went?
When the first men went to the Moon, how do we know they went to the Moon?
They could have gone to somewhere and come and say, “we went to the Moon.”
But they returned! And when they returned, they came back with Moon rocks to show, “we have gone and we have come back!”
Their return is the Justification of their Journey.
And that is what Jesus did – If He had not risen from the dead, then His death would not be Justified.
But He went and came back to show us that He went – The Resurrection is the Justification.
And that is what gives us confidence that when He says we are forgiven, we are truly forgiven because He went and He returned!
It’s easy to go but not easy to return.
If your friend or brother says, “I am going to wherever they say they are going and they never return, we can never know whether they went. But if they went and they return to show us Evidence; then we can be sure that they truly went.
The Resurrection Justifies the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. And that is why He went and He had to come back.
No Human Being has gone and come back that way, except Jesus Christ.
It is to Provide the basis for the Justification of those who trust Him. That is why He has to return.
3. To Demonstrate that Jesus is Lord over both the Living and the Dead.
… And this is a very big one and a very Interesting Statement:
People are Lords of the Living. Kings, Queens, Princeses, the Rich, the Powerful: they rule in Life.
However, when they die, they are everybody else! – They do not rule over death.
It has been said that Death is the Great Leveller.
In Ghana we say, “Six (6) Feet at last!”
You know, sometimes People show Pictures of Dead People in the Mortuary and they would say, “look at them, this was so and so; he was Powerful, but he is lying down beside a poor man!”
Because, in dead he is not Lord – He was Lord in Life; a Servant in Death.
But Jesus is LORD both in Life and in Death.
Romans 14:9 says, For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the Dead and the Living.
Jesus Christ is not just Lord of the Living, He is also Lord of the Dead.
Think about all the Great People of History – The Pharaohs of Egypt, the Great Patriarchs of Judaism, Islam and Christianity; to an extent Abraham, Moses, David, Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Alexander the Great, Julius Cesar, Augustus Cesar, Charles the Great, Wiston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, etc.
So many Leaders, so many People who ruled in Life! We remembered their Great Works, but they couldn’t rule in Death.
When Death conquered them, they succumbed and they became Servants of Death.
But this one Man Jesus – He ruled in Life and He ruled in Death. He overcame Life and He overcame Death.
And that is the Uniqueness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I. That’s why He is not like some other Religious Leaders.
II. That is why He is not just a Good Man like Nelson Mandela.
III. That’s why He is not just a Good Teacher.
Because all of them ruled in Life but couldn’t rule in Death.
But Jesus Christ is Lord of the Living and Lord of the Dead.
There is only one Man Who qualifies to be that – And He is the One you have accepted as your Lord and Saviour.
That is why when you are a Christian, you are the most Privileged Human Being on Earth.
Because your Faith is anchored in this Unique Personality of History and Eternity – Jesus Christ: Ruler of Death, Ruler of Life!
That’s the third (3rd) Reason why Jesus rose from the dead – To demonstrate that He is Lord of both the Living and the Dead.
4. To ensure that the Name of Jesus is exalted above every other name.
Jesus wanted those who believe in Him to have something to use that will make Him work for them wherever they are.
It’s like a Pin or Code that will give His Followers access to Him and to the Father, no matter who they were, no matter where they were.
This Pin was His Name – JESUS. The Name of Jesus is the Pin of the Christians.
But the Pin has to work everywhere,in all Spheres.
Philippians 2:8-10 says, And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in Heaven, and of those on Earth, and of those under the Earth,
The Name of Jesus worked in Heaven – That’s where he came from. In Heaven He is Lord; in Heaven the Angels bow to Him; in Heaven His Name is Powerful.
Then He came to Earth, and His Name worked on the Earth.
But there was one Region where His Name was not known, because His Name had never entered there – It is the Region Philippians calls “Under the Earth.”
Why is it called “Under the Earth?” – It is the world of Darkness, it is the Domain of Satan and his Cohorts, Demons and other Rebellious Spirits.
They are in a different Sphere:- Light does not go there, Angels do not go there, Nobody goes there. They have total Command of that Place.
And Jesus decided – His Name must not only work in Heaven, His Name must not only work on Earth; His Name must also work Under the Earth – In the Domain of Satan.
So, He had to enter the Domain of Satan, not to stay, because if He stays, then His Name has been killed in Hell.
But He arose so that His Name would have Power in Heaven, on Earth and Under the Earth – That at the mention of the Name of Jesus, every knee shall bow: of things in Heaven, and things on Earth and things Under the Earth.
You have a Pin that gives you access to God’s Supernatural Power – It is called the Name of JESUS.
… Why don’t you shout that Name again – JESUS!!!
Don’t ever leave your PIN behind: when you are dealing with Struggles and Pains; don’t call your Pastor’s name (I know they have nice names) – it’s not going to help you.
But if you say JESUS, that’s the Pin; that’s the Password; it opens door in Heaven, opens door on Earth, opens door Under the Earth. And whatever Satan has held Captive, the Name of Jesus is able to loose it!
Jesus had to resurrect because His Name has to be exalted in all Spheres – In the Supernatural of God, in the Material in man and in the Supernatural of Satan.
Whether it’s in the Supernatural of Satan or in the Supernatural of God; the Name of Jesus is above every other name.
… That is reason No. 4. Three (3) more to go!
5. To Make way for the Holy Spirit to live within every Child of God.
After Jesus resurrected He lives among His Disciples for forty (40) days.
After that, He bodily ascended unto the Father’s Right Hand.
Jesus has earlier Promised His Disciples that when He arose and ascended, then the Holy Spirit would come.
And the reason is very Simple – When Jesus was Present on the Earth, He was “with” His Disciples, but He was not “in” them. He couldn’t be inside of them – He was ‘with’ them. “God with us” – Emmanuel.
And He says, it’s good for me to be ‘WITH’ you; but I have to be ‘IN’ you. Because even ‘with’ them, He cannot be ‘with’ them everywhere at all the time. And then if Jesus could live inside them, He could only live in one Person and then go and live in someone else.
He says, I have a better deal for you – I need to go, I have some work to do. I need to go and conquer the world then I would come back and then I would go. And when I go, I would send the Holy Spirit.
So, that’s what He Promised and that is what was Delivered.
Peter made use of that in Acts 2:33 on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came.
And this is what Peter said: Therefore being exalted to the Right Hand of God, and having received from the Father the Promise of the Holy Spirit, He Poured out this which you now see and hear.
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ and His subsequent Ascension made it Possible for the Holy Spirit to come – Not just to be ‘WITH’ us, but to be ‘IN’ us.
So, to a very large extent, we have a better deal than those who only knew Jesus Christ Physically. Because with us, He is within us through the Power of the Holy Spirit. And that is why He had to resurrect. Because if He didn’t resurrect, He couldn’t send the Holy Spirit.
Now Thank God that every Believers carries the Spirit of Christ within them wherever they go.
And we are never far away from Him – He is close to us and we are close to Him, because of the Holy Spirit.
6. To Empower those who live for Christ with Grace to Reign in Life.
Untill the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Death was the Great Master.
And Death became the Great Master because of Adam – Adam’s offense against God made us all Servants. In the Resurrection He reversed them!
Romans 5:17 says, For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)
… We will reign in Life through the One, Jesus Christ.
This is one of the most important things every Child of God must know – The Reigning of the Believer doesn’t take Place only in Heaven, it begins in this Life.
Because Jesus Christ rose from the Dead, He has given us Abundant Grace so that in Life, we would rule; we would be More Than Conquerors in Life, we would Overcome Obstacles in Life.
The Christian Life is not a life of defeat, it is a Triumphant Life – It is a Victorious Life, an Overcoming Life.
Whatever Life throws against you, you would Reign over it: because the Resurrection of Jesus Christ has given us the Grace to Reign in Life – That’s what the Christian Life is all about!
Having Jesus in our Heart is not just so that we will sit around and wait to die and go to Heaven. That’s a Promise! But that’s not all God wants us to do; He wants us, whilst we are still alive here on Earth, to also Reign in Life.
So today, whatever comes against you – it could be Sickness, Disease, Poverty, whatever it is that is coming against you, you are going to Reign over it. You are going to be aware of it and Reign over it because you see, reigning over something requires you knowing that you can Reign over it.
Otherwise, you can be Powerful and still act weak; you can be a Master and still act like a Servant; you can be the Owner of much and still act like somebody who has Nothing.
It is like the Story of a man, in those days when People used to travel to UK on Ship – There was no Airplanes to take People there. And this guy saved all his money to buy a ticket to travel for three (3) weeks to the United Kingdom.
And he was so happy that he got a ticket to be away for three (3) weeks, and he knew he had to be alive on the Ship. And he didn’t have money to buy food. So he got “Packed Garri” and want to soak it.
He hoarded his food in his cabin. He didn’t even bother about going out – Just soaking his garri to stay alive!
When the trip was over, he got out and he saw the other Passengers, they were happy and Cheerful.
They said, we didn’t know you were on the Ship. He said, I have been on the Ship for three (3) weeks.
They said, but you never came out. He said, because I had to stay in my cabin and conserve my energy and eat my food small-small.
They said, but there is Dinning Hall here and we never saw you on the Dining Hall. He said well, I didn’t have money for the fee.
They said, the Dinning Hall fee is Part of your ticket – “Ghana man, it was part of your ticket.”
He could have eaten three (3) square Meals, but he was there soaking garri, thinking he was smart! – He had it but he couldn’t enjoy it.
That’s how sometimes the Christian is – God has given us so much, that we are not enjoying it. That we are living a backward, defeating Life.
Whilst we are to Reign in Life, Reign over Demons, over Principalities, over Witches and Wizards. If they dare cross our Paths, they are in big trouble because the Master knows He is the Master.
And that’s what the Resurrection gives us – The Power to Reign in Life.
7. And finally: To Guarantee the Resurrection of all Believers and their Place in Heaven.
He rose to tell is what will happen to us. He went to show us where we will go.
1 Peter 1:3-4 says, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His Abundant Mercy has begotten us again to a Living Hope through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Dead, to an Inheritance Incorruptible and Undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in Heaven for you,
… The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the Guarantee of our Christian Hope.
– Because Jesus rose from the Dead we would rise from the Dead;
– Because He lives, we would also live;
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– Because He is in Heaven, we would also be in Heaven.
His Resurrection has Guaranteed your Future, so that one day when you leave this Earth, you’ll know exactly where you are going.
No Christian is lost in death – Every Christian is United with Christ in Death.
We have a Guarantee to Life Eternal: a life set apart for us. Reserved in Heaven for us. And that is what the Resurrection is about.
So this Morning, if you don’t have this Jesus in your Heart – You may be a Good man, but you don’t have Life.
Christianity is not just about doing Good Things, being nice and being kind. It’s good to be nice and to be kind. Jesus tells us to do that. Love your Neighbour, Love People, be kind, give to the Poor.
But you have to be Born Again.
In John 3:3-4 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is Born Again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a Second time into his Mother’s womb and be born?
Jesus says, what I am talking about is a “Spiritual Birth”, and He explains: when your sins are forgiven and the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of you, you are now a Born Again Christian. Jesus lives in you.
If you believe He is the Only True Saviour of your Soul, then He must live inside of you.
Don’t just admire Him Outside; let Him come into your Heart.
So this Morning, I just want to Pray with you – With every Head bow and every eyes closed, put your hand on your Heart and Pray this Prayer with me:
Heavenly Father, I come to You today just as I am. I am a Sinner, I cannot save myself.
I Thank You Father, that Jesus died for me on the Cross. He took away my sins and gave me His Righteousness. And today I receive the Gift of Righteousness from Christ Jesus.
I Thank You that You are my Lord. Jesus, Change me, make me Yours. And I Promise to serve You all the days of my Life.
I Thank You Father!
In Jesus’ Name – Amen and Amen!!!