The Knowledge of Christ, and of the Power of His Resurrection (ii)

Foresight of The Master Planner

First Begotten Son is God Part 3

Jesus The Same Today – From Humanity Back To Divinity – Man Brought Into God (A)

PLAN A2, BACK ON TRACKTransformation; The proving of Faith and The Glory of God

 

Back on Track – That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. (Eph. 1:3-12 emphasis added)

Jesus The Same, Yesterday, And Today, And Forever (Hebrews 13:8)

And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. (Romans 1:3-4)

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved); And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.(Ephesians 2:5-7)

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. (Philippians 3:10-11)

The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:21)

We will start this PLAN A2, BACK ON TRACKTransformation; The proving of Faith and The Glory of God with a look at this sermon by J.C. philpot

The Knowledge of Christ, and of the Power of His Resurrection

J.C. Philpot: Preached at Zoar Chapel, Great Alie Street, London, on Thursday Evening, July 13, 1843

PART 2: The knowledge of the power of his resurrection. – “That I might known him.”

“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection.” (Philippians 3:10)

But the apostle in the text not only desired to know Christ, but also to know “the power of his resurrection.” What does he mean by the “power of Christ’s resurrection?” In order to understand what is meant by the power, we must look a little at the nature of Christ’s resurrection.

The reason why the Scriptures speak so much of Christ’s resurrection is, because it was, so to speak, the stamp which God put upon his work upon the cross.

The visible proof that God gave that Jesus was the Son of God, was, that he raised him up from the dead. As the apostle says,

“Declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead,” (Rom. 1:4).

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the grand point which the apostles enforced in their preaching; and it makes the most prominent feature in every sermon recorded in the Acts of the Apostles.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ was the seal of his being the promised Messiah, the Christ of God.

It was the Father’s visible and undeniable testimony that he had finished the work which had been given him to do; and that being raised up by the power of God, the authority and approbation of God himself was undeniably stamped upon all that he meritoriously did and suffered.

But again. The resurrection of Christ is not merely the authoritative stamp which God set upon his work, but sets forth also the regeneration of the soul, according to those words,

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ.”

The Scriptures of the New Testament very much connect together the resurrection of Jesus with the regeneration of his people.

The Church had an eternal union with the Son of God as her Covenant Head.

She was therefore mystically crucified, buried, and raised up with Christ. The same power which raised up Christ from the dead works in her heart (Eph. 1:19-20); so, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, she is to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4); and being “risen with Christ she seeks the things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God,” (Col. 3:1). Had the Church not risen with Christ she could not have been regenerated in due time by him.

But the members virtually rising with their glorious Head, each in due season receives life out of him, as it says,

“Thy dead men shall live; together with my dead body shall they arise,” (Isa. 26:19).

Thus Christ’s resurrection is the cause of the soul’s regeneration; and regeneration is the inward proof of Christ’s resurrection, and of an interest in it.

“Because I live, ye shall live also.”

“Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear,” (Acts 2:38).
1. As the resurrection, then, of Christ was the grand, visible stamp of God’s approbation of his finished work, the decisive witness which the Father gave that he was his only-begotten Son, the promised Messiah, the Christ of God;

to know the “power of his resurrection,” is to know the power of God’s approbation of the finished work of Jesus, and to have the stamp which God puts upon his dying love and atoning blood experimentally sealed upon the conscience.

So that, in knowing the power of Christ’s resurrection, the soul not only knows that the work of redemption is finished, that the Son of God has put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, that he has “finished the transgression, made an end of sins, made reconciliation for iniquity, and brought in everlasting righteousness” (Dan. 9:24); but in knowing the approbation of God to be put upon the finished work of Christ, it is experimentally brought to feel that its sin is entirely put away, and its iniquity for ever abolished.
2. But Christ’s resurrection, I observed, is also connected with the regeneration of his people. If Christ had not risen from the dead, all his people would have eternally perished; as the Apostle says, “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished,” (1 Cor. 15:17, 18).

But when Jesus rose from the dead all his elect spiritually and mystically arose with him, and thus his risen life at the right hand of the Father becomes their quickening life, for “the last Adam is a quickening Spirit;” and “those who have been planted in the likeness of his death are also planted in the likeness of his resurrection.”

To know, then, the power of Christ’s resurrection is to know the power of his risen and endless life in the soul, and to feel the quickening energy and efficacy of his Spirit creating vital faith in the heart.

Thus, when sunk in carnality, darkness, and death, the soul longs to feel a sweet and blessed revival, it desires to know the power of Christ’s resurrection. By virtue alone of his risen life can it arise out of that miserable state of barrenness and carnality into which it is so often sunk; and did not he forever live who is our life, long ago would it have sunk to rise no more. His “visitation alone preserves our spirit;” and when the soul pleads “Wilt thou not revive us again that thy people may rejoice in thee?” it breathes forth in that petition its desire to know the power of Christ’s resurrection.

3. But Christ in rising from the dead rose triumphant over sin. He sank into the grave overwhelmed, as it were, with sin; for according to covenant engagement, God the Father, in making his soul a sacrifice for sin, caused to meet upon him the iniquities of all his redeemed; and in bearing their iniquities he poured out his soul unto death. But when Jesus rose from the dead all the sins of his church were left in the sepulcher.

The reproach of Israel was rolled away with the stone that was rolled from the tomb where the Lord lay; and he rose as a justified person, as the apostle says, “justified in the Spirit,” (1 Tim. 3:16); and therefore the Lord said in prophecy, “He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me?”

To know, then, the power of Christ’s resurrection is to be delivered from the guilt, filth, and power of sin in the conscience.

Thus the knowledge of the pardon of sin is intimately and experimentally connected with the power of Christ’s resurrection.

God the Father has connected together the justification of the Head and the members, for “Christ was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” In desiring, then, to know the power of Christ’s resurrection, the soul desires to feel and know that “by him it is justified from all things from which it could not be justified by the law of Moses.” As therefore when Jesus rose from the tomb, the sentence of justification was openly and visibly pronounced upon him,

so when his resurrection is felt in the soul, a sentence of justification is passed in the conscience; and to know this is to know “the power of his resurrection.”

4. But when Jesus rose from the dead, it was not to tarry here below. His words to his sorrowing disciples were, “It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you,” (John 16:7). And again, “I go to prepare a place for you.” Thus he rose from the dead that he might ascend to his Father and their Father, to his God and their God; and that his risen life might be their spiritual life. According to those words, “When Christ, who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory,” (Col. 3:4). And therefore the Apostle says,

“I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me, (Gal. 2:20).

To know, then, the power of Christ’s resurrection, is to know experimentally the power of that life which Christ now lives at the right hand of God for us; that he may be “our life,” working in us that which is well-pleasing in his sight, and leading our souls up to himself that we may receive out of his fulness grace, mercy, and truth.

To know, then, the power of Christ’s resurrection in this sense, is to know the communications of that grace which raises us up out of that deadness and carnality which so often seizes hold of us; and, by virtue of the inflowing of the life of Christ, to be experimentally lifted up and brought out of that pit of worldliness, carelessness, and sensuality into which we so often sink, and beneath the mud and mire of which we feel as if suffocated.

By the power of his resurrection we are kept from being altogether swallowed up and buried in the pool of our corruptions; by the power of his resurrection we are enabled to cry and sigh for deliverance; and by the power of his resurrection alone do we ever obtain it.

Jonah, the type of Christ, came out of the whale’s belly by the power of Christ’s resurrection; and never would he have issued from that dark and doleful dungeon, had not his great Anti-type already, in the mind of him “who calleth those things which be not as though they were,” risen from the dead.

5. Again. Does Death, the King of Terrors, ever alarm and terrify us? And is our mind sometimes perplexed how we shall be able to face this solemn messenger, who comes to summon us into the presence of God? To know the power of Christ’s resurrection is to know a deliverance from this King of Terrors; for Jesus has passed through his territories, and disarmed him of his sting: he has perfumed the grave for all his saints by lying in it.

Nay more; he has “abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light by the gospel.” As the Apostle says, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage,” (Heb. 2:14-15).

Thus “as by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For, as in Adam all died, even so in Christ shall all (that is, of the election of grace) be made alive.” When, then, by a blessed reception of Christ’s resurrection into the soul, the fear of death is taken away, this is to know the power of Christ’s resurrection.

6. Again. Do we backslide? Does the soul depart from its first love?

Is the heart overcharged with the cares of this life?

Have carnality, carelessness, lukewarmness, and worldliness laid hold of the mind?

To know the power of Christ’s resurrection is to know a spiritual deliverance out of this God-dishonoring state. Every touch of God’s spirit in the conscience, every look of mercy or of reproof, every going forth of the heart in secret prayer, every promise made sweet to the soul, every breathing of spiritual affection, every emotion of filial fear, every act of living faith, every sensation of godly sorrow—

in a word, every recovery out of darkness and death, springs out of Jesus’ risen life, and is therefore a knowledge of the power of his resurrection.

When we do not look to him, nor live upon him, how we faint and sink in the way. How the hands hang down, how the knees totter, how the feet limp, how the lips stammer, how the heart becomes weak as water; and how all our religion seems to have left us, and we can scarcely find a grain of godliness remaining.

Thus the strength of Christ is made perfect in weakness, and the power of a risen Jesus is as much felt in raising up the soul now as it will one day be experienced in raising up the body.

If any of you, then, are brought to that spot where the Apostle was when he breathed forth these desires, it is because you have been led experimentally and vitally into these two things

to know yourselves, and to know the Lord; to know sin, and salvation; the malady, and the remedy; your wretched, lost, and ruined state by nature, and what Christ has done for everyone who cometh unto God by him.

Those, then, whom the Holy Ghost thus teaches, and whom he brings to know Christ and the power of his resurrection, do not learn these vital truths merely in the letter of the word, but they have an inward experience of their reality and power.

But there is this peculiarity in the scholars of Christ’s school, that they never can make themselves masters of their lesson.

Unlike other pupils, they never “finish schooling;” and, after all the instruction bestowed upon them, die with their lesson but a quarter learn t. As Paul says, “We see through a glass darkly.”

Every ray of light serves but to manifest more our own darkness, and every fresh teaching convinces us more of our own ignorance.

What we have only makes us long for more; and thus all the saints can join heart and hand with the apostle, in desiring to know Jesus and his power of resurrection. And this will run through every state and stage of experience. Is the soul doubting and fearing? There will be an experimental longing to feel an interest in the blood of Jesus; and these earnest desires will vent themselves in prayer and supplication for the manifestation of mercy, peace, and pardon.

Does the conscience feel guilt, and lie as it were bleeding under the wounds made by sin?

The longing desire of the soul will be to know Jesus, in the spiritual manifestations of himself, to take this guilt away.

Does it feel darkness covering it like a pitchy cloud?

Its longing desire and panting cry will be to know Christ, and the power of his resurrection, that by the shining in of the beams of the glorious Sun of Righteousness, it may see light in his light.

Do temptations assault the mind?

The soul desires to know him who was in all points tempted like as we are, and to feel the power of his resurrection by which he rose triumphant over them all. And just in proportion as he and the power of his resurrection are experimentally known, will the soul have a testimony, sealed with his own divine power.

A few sound Scriptural sentiments or a mere tissue of doctrines in the head will never satisfy one taught of God.

He must have an experimental enjoyment of their savor and power in his conscience; he cannot live comfortably, nor die happily without it; he must have the Spirit’s own witness in his heart, and the Lord’s own presence in his soul.

Thus, while some are wise in the letter, and are perfectly satisfied with a mere doctrinal knowledge of the truth, he feels deeply and daily his wretched ignorance when not sensibly blest with divine teaching, and wants to be taught of God;

while some are gathering together, with a wonderful deal of pains, heaps of bricks and slime to build up their Babel of confusion, he is seeking after the blessed revelations of Christ in his heart as the hope of glory;

whilst others are resting their salvation upon the bare letter of the Bible, he hangs all his hope upon the finished work of Christ as experimentally made known in his heart; and

while others are doing their works to be seen of men, and living upon the breath of the creature, he, in the stillness of his chamber, and in the depths of a broken heart, is looking wholly and solely unto the Lord.

How a living man can go on continually in a profession of religion for days, months, and years, contented with a sound creed and a few dreamy hopes, without any dissatisfaction with himself, or without repeated sighs, groans, and pantings after the Lord Jesus that he would make known in his soul the secrets of his dying love, and manifest himself unto him as he does not manifest himself unto the world, is a mystery which I cannot understand. It is a secret which I do not know, nor do I wish to know.

Sooner than be such a professor as that, I would make no profession at all; rather than be such a self-deceived, hardened wretch, with a name to live whilst dead, I would be a mere moral man, and make no pretensions to spiritual religion whatever.

I am very sure Paul would have not owned such, for he was quite decided “to know not the speech of them which were puffed up, but the power.” And what a contrast does he afford in his experience, as mentioned in the text, with such notional professors.

Though he had been in the third heavens, and had seen and heard there things which it was neither lawful nor possible for a man to utter, yet he does not come forth like a mighty giant towering aloft, and looking down with pride and contempt upon the dwarfs at his feet; but he drops down into nothingness, and says,

“Unto me who am less than the least of all saints is this grace given;”

“who am not worthy to be called an Apostle;”

“the chief of sinners;”

“though I be nothing;”

“that I may know him,”

as if as yet he knew nothing as it was to be known. And why was this, but because his eyes had been spiritually opened to see the unsearchable riches of the Lord of life and glory; and one view of them had filled him with a deep sense of his own ignorance.

But what a contrast does his experience form with the state of those who are wise in the letter of truth, but despise and ridicule all experience and the work of God in the heart. And what a contrast does his childlike teachability and his humble lying at the foot of the cross, present to the dead confidence and hardened presumption of many modern professors!

I wonder how many in this congregation are in the same spot with the Apostle Paul! How many as they lie on their midnight couch are panting after a knowledge of Jesus by his own special manifestations of himself! How many find the world, and the spirit of it, embittered to them, so that they can find neither rest nor happiness in it, and therefore seek it all at the foot of the cross? How many, driven out of every false refuge and lying hope, are anchoring their eternal all on the love and blood of the Lamb! Now all God’s people are brought to this point in their experience sooner or later.

They are all brought to know their own sinfulness, ignorance, and helplessness. And when their eyes are thus anointed with eye-salve to discover their own wretchedness, the same unction from the Holy One reveals to them what Christ has done to save them from it. They learn by this sacred teaching their own iniquity, and his atoning blood; their misery, and the bliss and blessedness which is secured up in him. And when these two extremes meet in the quickened soul, it is brought in one and the same moment, while it debases itself, to exalt the Lord of life and glory. And while it thus sinks down in the depth of creature wretchedness, it learns to glory in the Lord Jesus alone, as its “all in all,” and “as God over all, blessed for evermore.” Amen.

 O Lord, we pray that You will continually bring us to know  our sinfulness, ignorance, and helplessness; that our eyes may be anointed with eye-salve to discover our own wretchedness, We pray that You will also let the Holy Spirit continually reveal to us what You have done to save us from it. open the eye of our heart to see our own iniquity, and Your atoning blood; our misery, and the bliss and blessedness which is secured up in You. Amen

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