Resurrection Life

I want to look at the whole idea of living differently than those who do not believe in Jesus
But, even more than that – living different than we live now – as believers in Jesus
In Paul’s letter to Timothy
Paul, an apostle mentoring a young man called Timothy who is also called to be an apostle
Paul writes and states to this young believer he is discipling and mentoring:
“He (Jesus) gave us resurrection life…” (2 Timothy 1:9a TPT)
But, to get to that point in tonight’s chat we need to go back to the start…

John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus and one of my heroes
A hero because he knew who he was and what he was called to do
A hero because he was confident in who he was and bold enough to live accordingly
A hero because he was not afraid to express himself in the way he lived and dressed
A hero because his life and his ministry were fully integrated – he was what he preached
Matthew 3:1-6 TPT “It was at this time that John the Baptizer began to preach in the desert of Judah. His message was this: “The realm of heaven’s kingdom is about to appear—so you’d better keep turning away from evil and turn back to God!”
Isaiah was referring to John when he prophesied: A thunderous voice! One will be crying out in the wilderness, “Prepare yourself for the Lord’s coming and level a straight path inside your hearts for him.”
Now, John wore clothing made from camel’s hair, tied at his waist with a leather strap, and his food consisted of dried locusts and wild honey. A steady stream of people from Jerusalem, all the surrounding countryside, and the region near the Jordan came out to the wilderness to be baptized by him. And while they were publicly confessing their sins, he would immerse them in the Jordan River.”
The MAN – John
The MESSAGE – Repent (Aramaic: return to God and leave your sins behind)
The MOTIVE – The coming of the Kingdom
The MISSION – Prepare the way for Jesus
The MANNER  – basic, non-religious, raw and rough
The MINISTRY – single-focused – confess and be baptized
He baptized people when they sincerely repented
He would not baptize those who were not looking for a Saviour
The scribes and pharisees who thought they had arrived – were acceptable
He prepared the way for Jesus who initiated the Kingdom
He spoke boldly and bluntly and his message was:
“He (Jesus) will submerge you into union with the Spirit of holiness and with a raging fire.”  (Matthew 3:11 TPT)
Think about being submerged into a raging fire … (pause)
“He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (ESV)
There are many theories about “fire baptism”
Some believe it is separate event from the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
Some believe it is one and the same – the birth of the Church in Acts 2
Some believe that it refers to being without sin as the fire in Malachi removes dross
I am not wanting to get entangled in the various guessing games that go on around the Baptism of Fire
But simply listen to the verse again (Matthew 3:11)… Let them speak to you
“He (Jesus) will submerge you into union with the Spirit of holiness and with a raging fire.”  (The Passion Translation)
“He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (ESV)
“He will ignite the Kingdom life within you, a fire within you, the Holy Spirit within you” (The Message Version)
Note:
Baptized with fire
Submerged in the fire
Ignite the Kingdom life within you… there is the first reference to this Kingdom life
The same life Paul referred to … “He (Jesus) gave us resurrection life…” (2 Timothy 1:9a TPT)
The “fire’ and the Kingdom life are linked….
In Luke 12:49 Jesus refers to this “fire”
This spiritual heartburn
This inner passion for God
His resurrection life released in us..
“I have come to set the earth on fire. And how I long for every heart to be already ablaze with this fiery passion for God!”
This is the baptism of fire…
I believe the baptism of fire is a baptism (a submersion) into God Himself
Hebrews 12:29 “…for our God is a consuming fire”
And, when we are baptized into this fire:
Our hearts are ablaze with His love
We will have a tremendous life-changing passion / love for Him
We will live with joy and in the joy of the Lord
When we are baptized in fire we are baptized (saturated – submerged) in God
We become new creatures “in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
“Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new person…” (TPT)
We are “in God” – The Greek ‘Entheos’
En – In or inside
Theos -God
“Entheos” is where we get the English word ‘enthusiasm’ from
Enthusiasm literally means ‘to be baptized in God’
The only people who can be enthusiastic in the literal Bible sense are the believers
Jesus said:
“I came to give you life, life abundant” (John 10:10)
(TPT) “I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect – life in its fullness until you overflow.”
The “overflow” is the enthusiasm element of Kingdom life
A personal thought:
We have so much to be enthusiastic about:
Saved from sin and Hell
Adopted into God’s family – children of the living God
Part of His worldwide Church family
Given guidance and direction in everything that we do
Purpose to life – such a great purpose, greater than anyone could want
Place in Heaven when you die
Walking daily with the Living God
Fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit
Empowered
Having supernatural gifts
A deep assurance of His unconditional love
A confidence in who He is and what He has done and is doing
We have been baptized in God / in love – submerged, saturated
But, God is an all-consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29) so we have been baptized in fire!
So, we are to live in the fire… live life “on fire”
Luke 12:49 “I have come to set the earth on fire. And how I long for every heart to be already ablaze with this fiery passion for God!”
Living life passionately – enthusiastically – full of life (His life) – Overflowing – enthusiastic
BUT, to be honest, for some believers the fire has gone out – living in the ashes
For others the fire is dying quickly – but it is not too late to blow on the embers
As Paul said to Timothy:
“Fan into flames…” (2 Timothy 1:6a)
As we walk with Jesus our hearts should be / must be on fire for Him – heartburn
The two disciples on the road to Emmaus as they spoke with the resurrected Jesus and did know it until He broke bread with them and then vanished…
Luke 24:32 “…Didn’t our hearts burn with the flames of holy passion while we walked beside him?”
Many believers I meet
Started a serious love relationships with God
They were passionate and on fire for the Lord
Some of these people had a powerful, life-altering encounter with Jesus
Others were genuinely saved in a quiet, unspectacular, but deep way
But life came along and beat them down
The fire they experienced in their hearts has since died down considerably
Fire = passion, enthusiasm, excitement, anticipation, expectancy, celebration
Not quite out
They have not yet “lost their first love”
But cooled in their relationships
Last week: they are walking and not running
They are in need of “fanning into flames”
The fire, for others, has completely gone out
There is no passion (fire) left
They are still going through the motions without the emotions
There is simply no joy in their
Bible reading
Praying
Serving
Fellowship with others
Worship
The fire is out
Don’t know if they can trust God any more
They made a commitment but then God failed them
They prayed and God apparently chose not to answer
They told God their deep need – urgent and important
And God failed to meet that need
God failed to meet them where they hurt and when they wanted Him
They no longer have those amazing dreams, goals, aspirations for the future
It has simply not worked and  is not working
These people now live one day at a time with no hope for a better tomorrow
Existing not living
Here is what I am saying:
The fire – the flame – the passion – the love can be dampened, even destroyed, lost
We can be born again experiencing God’s amazing and unconditional love
The fire – which is God
“Our God is an all consuming fire”
But end up living in the ashes and not in the flame
It does not happen suddenly
It is most often slow and gradual
The person simply moves away / drifts away – losing the passion and fire
“This is why it is so crucial that we be all the more engaged and attentive to the truths that we have heard so that we do not drift off course.” (Hebrews 2:1 TPT)
It is seldom intentional – faith and passion is simply whittled away slowly
From personal experience:
Here are some of the things that destroy the passion / fire
Physical exhaustion
Emotional burnout
Spiritual depletion (not feeding your faith)
Sickness
Pre-mature death of a loved one
Unrealized expectations
Unfulfilled dreams, goals, vision
Criticism – constant negatives
Friends
Neglect
Thinking you hear God – acting on it – does not happen
So, we just “live life” – exist, survive
Relationship to Jesus has cooled
Anything to do with our faith is lacking:
Passion
Enthusiasm
Excitement
Anticipation
Expectancy
Celebration
As a result we are no longer (maybe never did) live the “resurrection life” that Paul mentions to Timothy and that is available to all true believers
“He (Jesus) gave us resurrection life…” (2 Timothy 1:9a TPT)
We are no longer ministers of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17)
We are no longer “ministers who are a flame of fire” (Hebrews 1:7)
We no longer rescue people from out of the fire (Jude 1:23)
Our words, at times, are on fire with the wrong fire (James 3:5-6)
We simply have little to offer non-believers
Non-believers are not attracted to us
The fire has gone out – passion, enthusiasm
We often “make believe” and put on the Christian mask
Because we are afraid of what others might think
Strange fire – false fire
We know what should be but is not so we simply move forward in the flesh…
THE SOLUTION:
1> Obviously, first we need to recognize that this is the situation in our life – in the Church
Then look at the Holy Spirit’s comments through Paul to Timothy (and to us)
“I’m writing to encourage you to fan into a flame and rekindle the fire of the spiritual gift God imparted to you when I laid my hands upon you. For God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love, and self-control. So never be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor be embarrassed over my imprisonment, but overcome every evil by the revelation of the gospel and the power of God! He gave us resurrection life and drew us to himself by his holy calling on our lives. And it wasn’t because of any good we have done, but by his divine pleasure and marvellous grace that confirmed our union with the anointed Jesus, even before time began!”(2 Timothy 1:6-9)
The Amplified Version – verse 6
“That is why I remind you to fan into flame the gracious gift of God, [that inner fire—the special endowment] which is in you through the laying on of my hands”
2> Recognize that it is our responsibility to “fan into flames and rekindle the fire”
3> Recognize that we must “stir up” the gifts
The key gift being the supernatural ability to have a relationship with Him (Romans 6:23b; John 17:3)
As well as start to use the Gifts of the Spirit that are within us
(1 Corinthians 12:4-11)
4> Fellowship with the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:14)
5> Embrace and walk in what the Holy Spirit has given you – power, love, and self-control
6> Testify to others – tell others who Jesus is and what He is doing NOW in your life
7> Walk in the “revelation of the gospel and the power of God”
8> Close fellowship with other believers who can encourage, strengthen, and support
Hebrews 10:24 “Discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love.” (TPT)
None of this will happen unless we recognize that the fire has died down and even, in some cases, gone out…
But when we do this and embrace the solution we will see the fire and passion come back
Pray enthusiastically (with passion)
Worship enthusiastically (with passion)
Read and study enthusiastically (with passion)
Learn enthusiastically (with passion)
Witness enthusiastically (with passion)
Give enthusiastically (with passion)
Fellowship with others enthusiastically (with passion)
I believe it is time for many believers to start walking with Jesus in a new and fresh way so like the disciples on the road to Emmaus we can say “are not our hearts burning within us”
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:
Many years ago God spoke to me through a very specific verse in the Book of Romans
Romans 12:11 “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord”
The Message version:
“Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master”
1> I saw that this was my responsibility
I recognized that if the fire had died down (and at that time it had) then I was to take responsibility for both the decrease in passion as well as finding the solution
I knew that I needed to find out why the fire had died down and fix the problem
2> I saw that I needed to decide to grow and not coast or drift – be aggressive and not passive spiritually
3> I also saw that I needed to change things so that there was always ‘new fuel’ to keep the fire going
For a fire to burn it needs fuel – another log thrown on it occasionally
The fuel for me was:
All the basics we all know – Bible reading, Bible study, prayer…
Journaling – to be in touch daily with where things were at
Things in my heart – heart things
Read widely – other books in a variety of areas, especially biographies
Solitude – time alone to focus on my relationship with God
I work with people
On the road – 16-18 hours every day and then live in people’s homes
Silence – so I could hear God’s voice more clearly (inner voices)
Stillness – inside and outside
Spirit – came to really know the Holy Spirit
4> I discovered that once the fire / passion had been fueled and rekindled that I then needed to keep it burning brightly (“aflame”) – poke the fire occasionally
a> Stir up the gift of salvation and the power linked to it (Romans 1:16) and begin to tell others of this life-changing gift (witnessing)
b> Stir up the gifts of the Spirit and begin to walk in the supernatural power God has given to you (1 Corinthians 12:4-11)
c> Become more connected to other believers … more depth to relationships
d> Daily challenge myself in areas where I know I need to grow so that I am constantly changing
e> Never settle for “same old, same old” … don’t ever become “comfortable” or satisfied … always wanting more and seeking more (Divine Discontent)
God recently reminded me of this verse and added a second one to it – a reinforcement of what he spoke to me many, many years ago
The original over a decade ago:
Romans 12:11 “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord”
The Message version:
“Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master”
A more recent Word of the Lord to me personally:
1 Timothy 4:7 “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness…”
Speaks volumes if you hear it in another translation:
“Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion. Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please!” (The Message Version)
“…Take the time and trouble to keep yourself spiritually fit”
I have made a decision to recommit to do just that…..
EXTRA MATERIAL: Seven Passion Killers (on-line under that title)