And then what?
Have you ever left Easter worship service totally uplifted and convinced Jesus really did rise from the dead and that resurrection power was available to you? Then, only to find out a few hours later, that even though you felt good at church, real life challenges stole your Easter happy!
You're not alone. Unfortunately, this happens a lot. What if the problem wasn't Easter or Christianity for that matter. What if the problem was with how we approached our 'after' Easter story? Willerup Christians will no doubt be in awe of the work of Jesus this Easter. We are familiar with the events which most of us have put to mind, memory and heart.
Our beloved Jesus rode into Jerusalem hailed as a king, taught at the Temple that final week as he instituted his Lord’s Supper and had one last intimate connection with his disciples. It was his Last Supper! Afterward, Jesus departed for Gethsemane and while he is there was tempted by the devil, disappointed by his sleepy disciples and arrested. His arrest and subsequent trials—with Pontius Pilate, the Sanhedrin, Herod and the crowd—make us shudder with complicit guilt. The freight train carrying cargo of such great significance none could have imagined was on course. There was only one destination, Calvary.
Who among us could have journeyed with the few to see Jesus’ crucifixion and stayed until the end? Would you have knelt, covered your head, looked away, tried to stop the holy event that was on display? Maybe quietly you could have made your journey to the tomb where his body laid until the women arrived to prepare his flesh for decomposition. Holy waiting was introduced as the only invitation in need of response.
Easter Sunday, fresh dew on the grass released earthy smells of soil and sounds of early morning busy birds awakening with the rising of the sun. First there was a crack in the seals and then the sudden amazement of angels and women who came to fulfill a ritual necessary. News! He’s not there. None it made sense. No one believed. And yet, it was a Risen Christ that met them in their unbelief and wonder. We too are lined up with the disciples to see if, indeed, Jesus was raised and is still risen! Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Jesus is risen... so now what? Can you remember what John the Baptist said about being baptized with fire and power?
Here is exactly what John said, “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." (Matthew 3:11) So, what does this mean for you?
Believe Christ Jesus accomplished his work at Easter and ascended to his righteous position. We can all know the news about Jesus' resurrection...but that has little to do with our daily life. Our faith is often lackluster and powerless compared to the impactful events of Holy Week. But, what if the power that drove the events of Holy Week was available to you? What if the work of building God’s Kingdom wasn’t over and God actually provided something powerful for you AGAIN--and this time God provided with something we all really need to keep going on our personal journey of faith!
Here's the response I believe God is waiting for: a prayerful invitation from you. If John the Baptist was right, we are to be filled yet again with a holy presence. Scripture tells us we are to become holy temples. (1 Corinthians 6:19) Mine is in need of washing and cleansing, in order to be filled with the Holy Spirit's holy power. How about yours...?
Friends, Life in the Spirit is what's next. Now, you won't know what is next as much as WHO is next. WHO is He, the Holy Spirit. He is the Third Person of the Trinity. He has a personality and His promise is to ignite your spiritual life like never before...
Here are several ways the Spirit works:
The Holy Spirit provides unbelievers with the conviction of their lostness and sin. (John 16:7-14, Hebrews 4:12, 2 Timothy 3:16)
The Holy Spirit provides the miracle of new birth and adoption as sons and daughters of God. (John 3, Romans 8:14-17, 2 Corinthians 5:17))
The Christian life is under the guidance and influence of the Spirit. (John 14:26, Romans 8:14 and 26, Galatians 5:22-23)
The supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit are engaged for the building of the church. (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:8-19; 1 Peter 4:11)
The Holy Spirit provides assurance of salvation. (1 Corinthians 2:10-13, 2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 1:13)
To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to become a living image of Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:2 and 9-11; Ephesians 4:13,
We are not grieve the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 4:29-32)
We are the living temple filled with the Spirit’s presence. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
The Holy Spirit intercedes for us. (Romans 8:26-27)
We are not to quench the Holy Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 5:19)
Accept Jesus as Lord. Believe Jesus did all that He said He would do. AND believe that He sent the Holy Spirit to baptize you with fire and power. Now, consider what's next. There is so much 'after' Easter!! May He reveal what comes 'after' for you!!