The power of The Third Day
Our Easter Conference theme was “The Cause of The Cross”. Our theme for the 2018 in Faith Fellowship is “The Pursuit of God” and in this new month of April we focus on pursuing God through His “plans”. On the third day of our conference, we brought these relevant themes together in the message, "The Power of The Third Day”.
Let us start off by saying that God is a planner. Our God is meticulously detail-oriented and interested in every part of everything He has created in pursuit of His own purpose. In our text from Jeremiah 29:10-12 especially highlighting on verse 11, God stresses the point that He is interested in our daily lives as mundane, unrevealing, boring, quiet as we might perceive our lives to be.
In psalm 23:5 we catch a deeper glimpse of the Master Planner and begin to understand that scripture reveals God’s plans to us. We think of power as an ability, inherent capability or capacity or right to do something vested in “something” or “someone” i.e. 3rd day. The number three is a measure of quantity or numerical definition of the divine - biblically and symbolically. Thus each person has three days; yesterday, today and tomorrow. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is a blank check with endless possibilities. We have today to make right decisions for a better tomorrow. Why must we be focused on tomorrow? It’s our future and we will live in that future.
God’s plan is His wisdom. He sets days and nights in Gen. 1:1-5 commanding light (illumination i.e. the life of the word to come). This was central to His plan because the light was the life of the word. Light is fast, unstoppable, illuminating etc. He measures the light and rotates its function and availability to the earth by His own will and counsel. Planning is a kingdom quality & a kingdom requirement! Ps. 23:5 & John 10:10.
Please note also that a vision and a cause have differences. Vision requires planning, writing, laying out, explaining to others and getting their understanding buy in & commitment. Visions require both spiritual and physical guardians or watchdog to keep on track and bring into fulfillment (Hab. 2:4). One can lay a vision for a cause but cannot lay a cause for a vision. Causes are greater than visions. Visions are imagined or projected mental estimation of extent or magnitude for a thing desired to be accomplished. A cause is a way of life. A cause is inherent, values driven, a dream, instinctive, passionate, intellectual yet dominating every part of a you; not so a vision.
The highlights of the reel of the crucifixion story shows that causes require planning for succession. Simon of Cyrene a black man is made to carry the cross. This is a sign that all men have a part to play in cause of the cross. That Christ has accomplished His part and now expects us to do our fair share. It's instructive that Simon of Cyrene was Black. Racial and other stereotypes that try to suggest that minorities do not have a biblical part in the narrative of the Bible and plans of God for the Kingdom’s cause are certainly not accurate.
Christ became our ultimate sacrifice offering His life for our lives. His life was a seed that brings in a harvest of souls. Note also the conspiracy to ensure that He would never exit the grave. There was a conspiracy against the power of the third day i.e. a resurrection force of hope that brings all things into alignment with divine purpose and nurtures their life into fullness. By the resurrection we receive the promise of the legacy of Calvary i.e. the indwelling Christ called the Holy Ghost. Through Him, we have limitless potential and can live the abundant life John 10:10 and also have this promise “ I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Phillip 4: 13.
Jesus upon His resurrection is very busy seeking out doubters like Thomas, crestfallen and confused leaders like Peter and the rest of His disciples who have lost focus and hope. After appearing time and again to assure them of His restoration to life and His immortalized, glorified body and status; He urges Simon Peter to take care of the sheep and flock. He then instructs the entire group to go to Jerusalem and tarry there for the promise of the Holy Spirit. Now in this instruction lies the two cardinal points; firstly “wait” for the coming of the parakletos (the Holy Spirit) and secondly directives for preparation.
In waiting, we recall the word of the prophet Isaiah; “...But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint...” Isaiah 40:31. Waiting in God’s prescribed and preferred manner prepares us for a visitation. The end result will be great empowerment to walk with God all the days of our lives on the planet in confidence, expectation and hope i.e. faith! Now implicit in that command to go and wait in Jerusalem are also these directives; stay in the future (avert your minds to things that lie ahead and avoid the trap of the jail of your past). God does not judge our past when we did not know Him but He will judge our future because that future must be a witness to the finished work of Calvary.
Further the disciples must undo their pain, forgo their hurts and reconcile. They must forgive each other for whatever hurt, get over prejudice and ignorance. They must also learn to become a team that:
Love each other
Learn to break bread and share fellowship
Unite in heart, spirit, flesh for a common cause
Refresh their thoughts and thinking
Study the Word of God together
Stay in expectation of the coming of the parakletos
And in this new manner maintain a kingdom mindset.
In Acts 1:8”8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Jerusalem refers to the future
Judea (derivative of Judah- to their testimony or praise report of transitioning into or towards dominion)
Samaria refers to those that love God but are hindered spiritually from fullness of truth (John 4:4 ff)- Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well is instructive here)
And finally unto all others i.e. uttermost parts of the world, replenish and fill the earth, back to original mandate and original plan in Genesis 1.
All people everywhere must see that our lives bear witness i.e. true transition into a Christlike nature that compels them to come to Christ. We must witness in evangelism, by our lifestyle and the patent manifestation of a new person evident for all to see. As witnesses, our life’s account must corroborate the claim of Christ on the cross in John 19:30 IT IS FINISHED. Thus, the cause of the cross is to be effected by becoming witnesses and the coming of the Holy Spirit was part of a plan.
Jesus is the head and we are the body here on earth to enforce His will & purpose. The devil will oppose our living as witnesses as much as he can. But we have two advocates that plead our case; Jesus (in heaven) and the Holy Ghost (on earth). We may be accused daily like Job by the enemy but exoneration and deliverance are guaranteed. Reference to Zech.3:1-7 (is this man not a stick snatched from fire). We close with a listing of these expectations of, for and from a witness.
Provide corroboration to the evidence
Make the case of the advocate winnable
Receive protection from the “state” i.e. heaven against its enemies
Receive daily provision
Make advocates’ prayer have persuasive power & effect
Given & receive new identity by the state
Partner for truth & justice
Patience with the process- till the case being made by Advocate is won