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The Verdict: What the Resurrection Means

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“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” – Romans 8:11. Through the resurrection, we have God’s definitive statement on the life, message and identity of Jesus Christ. To dismiss the resurrection is to dismiss not merely Jesus Christ, but God Himself.

Man’s opinion of God is fluid; God’s opinion of man is fixed. Trust and obey or rust and decay. These are the words Leonard Ravenhill wrote to me in a letter years ago. Though dead, through his words, Ravenhill lives. God’s verdict is unchanging. He made his statement on the ministry, the message and the Messianic identity of Jesus Christ with the resurrection. The resurrection and the cross join hands to make God’s definitive statement about the human condition – and His solution.

We have a problem called sin. But God handled that problem through the cross of Christ. How do we know? Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The resurrection is God’s definitive statement of approval of the ministry, message and Messianic identity of Jesus. Jesus was sent by God, is God’s sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin, and is THE way God provided for the forgiveness of sin.

Here are some Bible verses to explore, which reveal God Himself raised Jesus from the dead, and that Jesus, therefore, had the full endorsement of God:

1. John 2:19-22 2. John 10:17,18 3. Romans 1:4 4. 1 Corinthians 6:14 5. Acts 2:24 6. Acts 3:15 7. Acts 4:10 8. Acts 5:30 9. Acts 10:40 10. Acts 13-30-37 11. Galatians 1:1 12. Ephesians 1:16-20

You may ask “so what?” Let me answer that question with a few questions of my own:

1. If God raised Jesus, what statement was He making?

2. Would God resurrect someone who misrepresented Him? Why would God resurrect a liar, or a crazy man making false claims about Him? Consider 1 Corinthians 15:14-22

3. How could Jesus predict His own death and resurrection, speaking on behalf of God, if He didn’t have certainty that God would act on His behalf, and raise Him up?

It’s no small thing to dismiss the resurrection. Before you do, think deeply about the above. Consider that the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is not only the greatest event in history, but that it is also the greatest verdict, the greatest statement made by God. Through it, we understand that the message of Christ is true: repentance is necessary. Accepting Him as Messiah, Savior, is essential. Doing so, and only doing so, removes all of our sin. The verdict is in. Jesus is God’s messenger, with God’s message. It’s time to consider the verdict of the resurrection, and what it means for you.

Listen to the companion podcast, The Verdict, through iTunes or our free Godfactor App.

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About the Author: Michael Anthony is the Founder of Godfactor, the creator of the free Godfactor App (search for “Godfactor” in your app store), and the Lead Pastor of Grace Fellowship in York, Pa. He loves the resurrection of Christ, because it’s God’s verdict – that belief in the ministry, the message and the identity of Jesus as God’s Messiah, leads to the forgiveness of sin, every single time, for every single person.

Why Didn’t Jesus RUN?

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Escape was within reach. Why didn’t Jesus RUN?

We have two free, sharable resources for Good Friday and Easter. They are a sampling of some of the new, free resources we’re beginning to churn out through Godfactor.

Watch Why Didn’t Jesus RUN? by clicking here.
Or, watch it and other videos on the go with our free Godfactor App.
(Get the app in your iTunes or Google App store.)

Read The Physical Death of Jesus Christ, here

With the Godfactor App, you can also enjoy more three minute videos – and forward them to friends:

  • Enjoying Jesus.Understand how enjoying Jesus is where life starts.
  • God’s Calling On Your Life.God has plans for you. Embrace it. Live it.
  • Did Jesus Call You To Do It?Many “voices” may be calling you, pulling you, distracting you. Only One voice is important.
  • Our True Revival series shot on location in the Solomon Islands. Renew your life, your family or your congregation buy watching these brief videos on spiritual renewal.

We also want to thank our Ministry Partners who make these kinds of resources possible through their prayers and financial support. Thanks to you, we’re reaching people globally, for the glory of God. To support this ministry or learn more about being a Ministry Partner, click here.

Enjoy our resources, and enjoy Resurrection Weekend! And, if you live in or near York, Pa, come and visit us at Grace Fellowship for what we call the “Grace Awakening.” God is moving, and we are moving with Him.

The Death of Death

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With Passion Week here, I’ve decided to encourage a good listen to my most recent podcast, “The Death of Death.” You can find it in the “Recent Sermons” area of our free Godfactor App, on iTunes, or in the “Sermon” area at graceyork.com. Take some time to comprehend the death of death. Doing so could help you live.

 

You might think you understand what Jesus went through on the cross. But have you considered what He endured beforehand? And why? “The Death of Death” podcast will help you appreciate what Jesus went through, so you can soar.

I’d love to hear your comments, too. And, don’t forget to join us this Friday night (April 18), for our special Good Friday Awakening Concert at 7 pm, and again on Easter Sunday at Grace Fellowship in York, Pa.

Is This Just Chaos, or is it Demonic?

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Refusing to acknowledge the truth has no affect on the truth. Truth stands regardless of how we see it. But how we see it can definitely affect how we live. The truth is that evil spirits roam this earth – and they’re looking for someone to latch onto. You need to make yourself “greasy”, so any spirit looking to latch on can’t hold on. Here’s how . . .

[T]hree truths you need to know about demons that will most likely have a significant impact on your life:

  1. They prefer a human host.
  2. They create chaos.
  3. They are tenacious. They don’t give up easily.

You may not believe in the reality of wicked spirits, but your unbelief will not affect the truth. How do we conclude the above three things about evil spirits? Jesus, in Luke 11:24-26 explains:

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.”

Notice that the beginning of this story has the demon (an unclean spirit) inside a person. It has a human host. It then leaves the person, for whatever reason, and finds itself dissatisfied with the world at large. So, it returns to its “house”. But when it returns, it’s home is not as it was when it was there earlier. It is now “swept” and “put in order.” This is a contrast to the chaos experienced by the person when the demon was living there. Disliking the remodel, the demon demonstrates significant tenacity by finding seven other demons with worse reputations, to help it regainits territory. They simply don’t give up easily.

What about all that chaos in your life? Could it be that it isn’t merely because of your lack of management or organization skills? If we take Jesus’ words to heart, the answer is “yes.” Not all chaos is demonic, but dismissing the potential for chaos to be caused by a demonic entity is simply not biblical. Chaos can have a supernatural cause.

What should you do if chaos is the norm in your life? What should you do if you simply can’t seem to get your head above water, and you seem to be repeatedly experiencing fierce chaos? The first thing you should do is evaluate your own life and see if there are any changes you should make. Are you using your time wisely? Have you taken on more than God has asked of you? Make adjustments, accordingly. But you should also ask God to reveal the presence and influence of unclean spirits, demons. Ask God to reveal to you, in a non-hurtful way, whether the chaos is demonically caused. Praying this prayer is an important step in the process of determining the cause of the chaos engulfing you.

You also need to understand and embrace the importance of truly submitting yourself to God. The Bible tells us in James 4:7: “Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Submit. Resist. But the question is, how do we submit to God in such a way that the devil must flee? James 4:8-11 gives us a glimpse:

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”

The picture James paints is of a person truly, thoroughly repenting of sin. Repentance is humility. Notice the mourning and weeping. It’s not possible to be humble before God without repenting. And, it’s not possible to resist the devil without doing so. Spiritual warfare, in a word, can be summed up with one word: humility.

True repentance makes your life greasy. The enemy simply can’t hold on to someone who walks in repentance. If you want the devil to run with his tail between his legs, you must embrace a lifestyle of repentance. This is what it means to be humble before God. And when we are, it makes the devil shake in his boots. If he had a pair, that is . . .

How to Handle a Faith Crisis

“It happens to all of us eventually. We find ourselves dry, floating in a sea of doubt – or at least drifting toward one. What can you do? More than you think . . .”

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The circumstances of life will pound you – or rock you into a state of indifferent numbness. Sooner or later you could find yourself in a position where you just don’t have the depth of faith you wish we had. It happens to all of us eventually. We find ourselves dry, floating in a sea of doubt – or at least drifting toward one. What can you do? More than you think. Here are a few things from experience that I’ve learned can build faith, and help overcome a faith crisis:

1. REMEMBER THAT YOUR FAITH IS NOT YOUR OWN, AND THAT IS A GOOD THING.  Somebody other than you is the founder and the perfecter of your faith. His Name is Jesus Christ, and He is the original fire-starter.Hebrews 12:2 says that we are to look to Jesus, the “founder and perfecter of our faith.” If Jesus is the One who creates and matures your faith, which is what Hebrews 12:2 is saying, then the starting point of all faith is to ask Him – even if you don’t feel passionate about doing so – to intervene.

God is the original fire-starter. He can start a fire in you. You may recall the story of Elijah calling for the wood and sacrifice to be drenched with water – three times, but God still consumed the altar and the sacrifice. Here’s the story from 1 Kings 18:30-39:

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Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” And all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been thrown down. Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord came, saying, “Israel shall be your name,” and with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord. And he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two seahs of seed. And he put the wood in order and cut the bull in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.” And he said, “Do it a second time.” And they did it a second time. And he said, “Do it a third time.” And they did it a third time. And the water ran around the altar and filled the trench also with water. And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.”

In other words, there is not enough water on the planet to quench a fire God wants to start – and God wants His fire burning in you. God is the founder and perfecter of your faith. Ask Him to mature your faith, and He will light the fire. It may not be instantaneous, but it will come – because God knows how to start a fire. Your job is to simply ask Him to start it in you, and believe that eventually the embers will be rekindled and become a fire once again.

2. UNDERSTAND THAT FAITH IS KINDLED AND RE-KINDLED IN PROPORTION TO YOUR TIME IN GOD’S WORD, THE BIBLE. Did you read that right? You sure did. Your faith is a consequence and a reflection of your time spent soaking up the Bible. Romans 10:17 says this:

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

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If you want to build your faith, read the Bible. Don’t skim it. Skimming is not the same as reading. Really read it. Soak in it. If you were admitted to the hospital with a critical illness, doctors would take extreme measures to bring about a change of health. If you find yourself in a faith crisis, take measures accordingly, to reverse it. Be urgent about your spiritual health, even if that means you are not emotional about it. Faith is not about feeling spiritual, but about doing what you should do regardless of how you feel. Feelings often follow actions. It’s not the other way around.

Don’t expect a deep, rich faith from a shallow skimming of the Bible. Take serious measures if you want serious faith. Make time to immerse yourself in the Bible in the morning, afternoon and evening – and make sure you put what you are reading into practice. Approach the Bible intentionally, seriously. To do so is to take God seriously. If you take God seriously, over time God will build you up with serious faith. That’s the way it happens.

Don’t make light of the power of God’s Word to overcome a faith crisis. In my own life, I have found that oftentimes my faith is weak and frail – only to find that my time in God’s Word has been likewise. A lack of faith is often the result of biblical negligence. Neglect the Word and your faith will be affected.

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You don’t need a complex strategy to get results with God. He has made it so that He is easy to approach and easy to find. Why? Because He wants to be found by you. But you must take a step in His direction. You must call out to Him.He wants to have a true, deepening relationship with you.

Remember that God is the original fire-starter and He wants the fire of faith in Him burning in you. Remember that your faith will be built up as you soak in God’s Word, the Bible. Keep it simple. As James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”

And by “you”, God definitely means you.

I’d love to hear your comments as we sojourn together.

How to Win a Fight Every Time

“Do you like to win? If you try to fight a spiritual battle with physical weapons, you will lose – every single time. Be smart when you fight and you will win – every single time . . .”

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We’ve all done it – engaged in spiritual warfare while not being very spiritual in the process. In Italian, we call that “stunad” (pronounced stew-nod). It means “stupid.” You don’t have to understand Italian to realize that fighting a spiritual battle in the power of the flesh is not only stupid but also an exercise in futility. You’ll lose all the time. But you don’t have to be a loser. Here are a few thoughts on how you can fight like a “spiritual powerhouse” – and win a spiritual battle every single time.

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  1. BE ON THE ALERT FOR “SPIRITUAL AMNESIA.” All of us suffer from what I call “spiritual amnesia.” An event in life – life itself – knocks us so hard that we forget who we are, who God is, and how to operate as His child. The event rocks our world so hard that we literally forget, even if temporarily, how to function in ways that unleash the power of God. The way to be smart is to perpetually remember that if you are a true follower of Jesus Christ, you are engaged in an epic spiritual battle that must be fought with spiritual weapons. Paul tells us “For the weapons of your warfare are not of the flesh . . . ” (2 Corinthians 10:4). Be on guard against spiritual amnesia in yourself and those around you. Remember who you are, what God has called you to, and that it is not in any way, shape, or form, a physical battle. Remember that if you are really following God, you are by default engaged in spiritual warfare – it simply cannot be fought by natural means.
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  3. UNDERSTAND THAT WHEN YOU FIGHT GOD’S BATTLES WITH GOD’S WEAPONS, YOU WON’T WIN SOME OF THE TIME. YOU’LL WIN ALL OF THE TIME. God is not a loser. The second half of 2 Corinthians 10:4 (cited in #1, above), says the weapons God has given us have “divine power to destroy strongholds.” The imagery that Paul provides, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is total, utter destruction against the enemy. When you fight with God’s weapons, what you are really doing is allowing God to fight for you – and when God fights, He never loses. 2 Corinthians 10:4 reminds the true follower of Jesus Christ that God doesn’t wound His enemies, He destroys them. Fight God’s battles with God’s weapons and you will win, because God is the Ultimate winner. When you do things God’s way, you win.
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  5. BE CAREFUL YOU DON’T CONFUSE YOUR CONCEPT OF “WINNING” WITH GOD’S. I have seen this distract myself – and countless other people – repeatedly. I am constantly re-learning that my thoughts are not God’s thoughts, and my ways are not His ways (Isaiah 55:8). I remember kneeling in my dormitory room at Rutgers University, crying out to God, asking Him to give me something I wanted really badly. He didn’t do it – and I’m so glad! I’ve learned that man’s best often belittles God’s good. God’s plan for my life is infinitely better than I can dream or imagine – because it is based on His goodness. The goodness of God is so much better than what we can fathom, or create, that we must settle the issue in our minds and revisit it often. What we ask God for, even on our best days, is still short of what He has in store – not merely for us, but ultimately for Himself. And, isn’t this the real purpose of life, to advance the agenda and glory of God?
    You must recognize that winning may not look the way you thought it would – but if you really fight God’s battles with God’s weapons, in God’s power, you have won, and will win. Not some of the time. All of the time. It’s been said that “he who laughs last laughs best.” God is a hearty laugher, because He always laughs last. Isaiah 54:17 says “no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed.” The original Hebrew, and the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew) mean that there is literally nothing capable of success against God’s people. This comes across in the English as well, but somehow we seem to miss it. It’s not over until God says it’s over, and God will ultimately be glorified, get the last laugh and win. Align yourself with God’s vision of victory and you’ll not allow yourself to be let down.God always wins. Always means always. If you are frustrated, it could be because you have unknowingly replaced God’s vision of victory with your own. Don’t get ahead of God. Walk with Him and you will win His battles in His power, His way. 
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  7. MAKE SURE YOU ARE FIGHTING GOD’S BATTLES, NOT YOURS. When you fight your own battles, you fight alone. If you are fighting a battle God didn’t call you to fight, why are you bothering? He has bigger fish to fry – and so do you. A lethal mistake you can make in life is to waste time fighting battles that God never called you to fight. You must be extremely and perpetually careful you don’t get sucked away from the main purpose of your life which is to love Him, advance His Kingdom, and fight His battles. Enough said. Move on.
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  9. SLEEP ON IT. Memorize – and apply – potent passages of the Bible that teach you how to fight and win spiritual battles. This cannot be emphasized too much. You might be intimidated by the thought of memorizing a Bible verse or passage, but let me tell you a secret how to do this much easier. Sleep on it. Read a passage of the Bible at night, just before you go to bed. (Not in-between texting or watching television). Really read it. Meditate on it and it alone. Pay attention to the words on the page. (I recommend not using an electronic device for this, bc you will be tempted to use it for something else). Note where it is in your Bible. Feel it in your hands. Ask God to help you hide it in your heart. Do this several nights in a row and watch what happens. Your mind will work on it when you are sleeping. You will begin to feel energized – because God’s Word hits you, by design, at the core of your being. Here is a sampling of some key Bible verses you should commit to memory, as means of directing you and protecting you so that you succeed in spiritual warfare:
  • 2 Corinthians 10:4,5 – The Nature of Your Weapons
  • Ephesians 6:10-20 – The Spiritual Weapons You Have in Your Aresnal
  • Ephesians 4:17-32 – How Unresolved Sin Makes You Weak and Gives Satan Opportunity
  • 1 Peter 5:6-11 – Humility as a Primary, Potent Weapon Against Satan

The above verses are simply a start – but a potent start at that. If you really  put them into action, your whole life will dramatically change.

Do you like to win? If you try to fight a spiritual battle with physical weapons, no matter what those physical weapons are (intellect, physical strength, money, prowess), you will lose – every single time. Be smart when you fight and you will win – every single time.

I’m with you in this. But more importantly, God is with you. I guarantee you that if you fight God’s battles in God’s ways, you will win every single time. You have God’s Word on it.

Let me know your thoughts. I’m all ears . . .

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