Call to Worship:  1 Chronicles 16:8 “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.”
    Songs: A New Anointing (Reprise) - The ZOE Group       
    My Redeemer Lives -  Shout To The Lord 2000                                  
    Lord, I Lift Your Name on High - Petra 
    Awake My Soul (feat. Lecrae) -  Chris Tomlin
    Scripture:   Ezekiel 37:1-17
    Song:    Awake My Soul  - Hillsong Worship    
    Sermon:   “This is Not Just a Story About a Dead Man”
    Closing Song:  Jesus Is  - The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
    Benediction:   Matthew 10:1 “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”
    Sermon: “This is Not Just a Story About a Dead Man”
                This last week on our journey to Pentecost, we have been talking about words. We saw how God created the universe with words. God said, and it was. Then those words became flesh and dwelt among us. John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Then we saw the creation power at work in Jesus Matthew 8:16 “When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.” Then we saw after Pentecost those same words empower the disciples. They were told to wait to be clothed with power and they were. Acts 3:4 “Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. 6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk.” A little later they were praying and again the power of the Holy Spirit flowed among them. Acts 4:29 “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. 32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.”
                This was the beginning of the church, not the end of power. That same power is available to all who believe but the question is what has the church believed in because that same power is nowhere to be seen. As I do, I was listening to the lyrics of songs. One song that I heard was called Resurrection Power sung by Chris Tomlin. Some of the lyrics were “Now I have resurrection power living on the inside. Jesus, You have given us freedom, no longer bound by sin and darkness. Living in the light of Your goodness, You have given us freedom That I'm dressed in Your royalty Your Holy Spirit lives in me And I see my past has been redeemed The new has come!” Just because you now go to church doesn’t mean you are the church nor does it means you have the power. Most don’t have the discernment to know what they have been saved into nor do they understand the resurrection power of God that raised Jesus from the dead. Sadly this power has been equated with attending church. If that power was truly present, the gifts of the Spirit would be flowing and we would have the mind of Christ and do what He did. God’s power flowing in us is the continued proof of the resurrection. This is what the bible says and this is the power the bible states is available to those who believe.
                This week we looked at the words of man and those words are pathetic and weak compared to God’s word. Anointed words on the other hand are a whole different story. When Jesus gives you His authority and the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, salvation comes to the world. Revelation 12:9 “The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” Revelation 11:15 “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah, and He will reign for ever and ever.” Matthew 24:14 “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” This is the effect Jesus is supposed to have. Matthew 21:10 “When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” Mark 1:27 “The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.” This is the effect His disciples are supposed to have. Mark 6:7 “Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.” Matthew 10:1 “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.”
                If the church truly had resurrecting power in them, the verses I just read would be happening. Jesus showed us the church and then expected us to carry on his word in the authority of His name. By leaving us His Spirit, we then would have all we need to do as He did. John 14:12 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” The only way this will happen is by believing in Jesus, which means we believe in His word wholeheartedly. John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth.” Not only will the Holy Spirit guide you to truth, the Holy Spirit will empower you. 1 Corinthians 12:7 “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” When this is happening, we then could say we have resurrecting power within us.
                Sadly Christianity has been reduced to a gathering of people who are powerless. The church lifts high those who have done this well like and idol. But that is not how the church was meant to be. Mark 16:20 “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” The disciples did not go out and preach their own words. Power accompanied their words; these were then anointed words. Hebrews 2:4 “God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” Since the church is not seeing this, obviously it is not the gospel that is being preached but words of man that are not anointed and again you have to ask what have you been saved into? This is why we have repented and turned away. 1 Corinthians 15:1 “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” Most people in the church have believed in vain yet they refuse to repent. The true gospel is followed by power just as when Matthew 9:35 “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Notice that following this, the disciples were sent out in power. Matthew 10:1 “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.”
                Many of today’s churches appear to be powerful. Some are in stadiums, some have events in stadiums, some have incredible worship, some have silver-tongued orators, (an eloquent and persuasive speakers) while others have intellect off the charts. Still others have management / leadership skills while others have contagious charisma but what will you do in the end when you finally realize there is no power. Where there is no power, the gospel is not being preached. That means you wait until you are clothed with the power of the Holy Spirit once again. Not only is there no power, that power is spoken against so that only a form of godliness remains. The church for the most part thinks they are doing everything right and following the way. Yet Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” This is where the church is as a whole and until we turn from our wicked ways, we will remain in desolation. Jeremiah preached and warned the people about the impending doom, so they threw him in jail. Paul preached just as Jesus preached and they wanted to murder him too. The church like the Jews no longer want to hear the truth of the gospel. Deuteronomy 29:19 “When such a person hears the words of this oath and they invoke a blessing on themselves, thinking, “I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way,” they will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry.” Jeremiah 8:6 “I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. None of them repent of their wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Each pursues their own course like a horse charging into battle.” Not only is there no repentance in the church, the church itself does not want to repent.
                So it is easy to see that the church is going their own way because there is no power. The power of the gospel has been set aside for the ways of man. Jeremiah 5:31 “The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?” The end is eternal life or eternal damnation. You do not want to wait to die and find out Jesus doesn’t know who you are. Matthew 25:46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” There are only two choices. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” When we believe in Jesus, we believe in His word, as the two are not separate. You cannot say you believe in Jesus and then go your own way by changing God’s word to suit your needs better. If we believe then we obey His word and his authority and power follows. The church today teaches a powerless Jesus that is not in scripture. Deuteronomy 32:17 “They sacrificed to false gods, which are not God— gods they had not known, gods that recently appeared, gods your ancestors did not fear.” So you have each different group teaching their own distinctives and each group telling you what to believe and they have deceived you into following other gospels, which are powerless. Most people go to church and then go home and that box is checked accept for the few who volunteer. But if the Holy Spirit is present as almost every church says like the song about resurrecting power, then why are they not clothed with power. This resurrecting power is described all through scripture but not seen in the church. Power is not the ability to get people to church so they can follow your doctrines. Power is to change the hearts of those who follow wholeheartedly and are made new. It doesn’t stop there as they then go into the world clothed with the power of the Holy Spirit. This is not happening.
                Most in the church do not believe there are demons among us so obviously there is no need to cast them out. Where then did they go? Matthew 8:28 “When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 29 “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” 30 Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31 The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.” 32 He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. 33 Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.” Those demons are still possessing. They know the power of Jesus and that He is the Son of God. Do you?
                The church also has issues with a man or woman being able to heal or to have miraculous powers. Obviously we no longer need to heal the sick as the hospital are empty and there is no longer any reason to focus on our mental health. We also no longer need to Ephesians 4:12 “equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” Yet the church thinks we have all we need but is blind to the fact that truth has been thrown down and the church lies in desolation. The church does not see miracles, signs and wonders as described as normal Christianity in scripture. The church does not see evil spirits cast out. Unbelief and lack of faith in the church has become an acceptable characteristic of a Christian. Most in the church have just accepted the pathetic and empty way handed down to us from those who went before us. Normal Christianity is not Pentecost power but a message to those gathered who want their ears itched. 2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” That is not he church.
                I want to carry on with our talk from the last couple of days that was about the prayer for the resurrection of the little girl who died suddenly. For most this notion is absurd. Sadly there will be many who just don’t know this is even a possibility an there will also be those who are afraid to admit this is the kind of faith they desire but don’t have. Due to the lack of faith and knowledge in the church, we need to return to the power of the resurrection. Most people will not want to hear this but today’s church lacks faith. Luke 8:35 “While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?” 36 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” We are just going to skip right over miracles, signs and wonders even though most in the church do not have faith for even those. Today we are going to talk about those who have been resurrected in God’s word so that our faith may increase but know that satan will be present to try to dissuade you and he will be very persuasive but keep your eyes focused on Jesus and ask Him to hear and see His words. By the way resurrection power is how miracles, signs and wonders are done. So if you believe Jesus rose from the dead, which is why we celebrate at Easter, then you should have no problem with others who have died living again. Paul tells about this resurrecting power. Ephesians 1:19 “His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.” While resurrecting power does change us and make us new we are not going to focus on that part but the results that take place after a made new person is clothed with power.
                When we talk about the church, our core belief is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus himself said John 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” This gives us great hope for our future but also for our present. Acts 4:8 “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.” Paul said 2 Timothy 2:8 “Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.” If you look at Acts Paul is on trial for saying, Acts 23:6 “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.” Acts 23:11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” They then plotted to kill Paul. As he was told, Paul was given opportunity to defend himself and he shared his testimony. Acts 26:19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why some Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22 But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— 23 that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.” 24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.” 25 “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable.”
                Paul would continue as the other disciples did to testify that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Even today people will think you are out of your mind for believing the words of God but those words must be the words of scripture then it really doesn’t matter what people think. 1 Corinthians 15:1 “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.” Peter said in Acts 10:39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” Hebrews 2:1 “We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”
                Just as Jesus told his disciples, He rose on the third day. Matthew 16:21 “From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” When Jesus rose there was great power flowing. Matthew 27:50 “And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.” That must have been quite the spectacle. Now in our day most in the church will have a hard time believing this. They will say yes that was then and it was Jesus. What they won’t say is that we are no longer like Jesus and we are in desolation because of it.
                I want to look at why the resurrection of Jesus is so believable and why it is also realistic to believe that a little girl could be raised from the dead if the words were truly anointed. I am going to start with examples from Jesus. Luke 7:11 “Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” 14 Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. 16 They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” 17 This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.” Those are powerful words. Luke 8:49 “While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher anymore.” 50 Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” 51 When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52 Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.” 53 They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” 55 Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. 56 Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.” John 11:38 “Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” 40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” By the way have you heard satan’s voice yet telling you this is not possible for today. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus.
                Yes people will say that was Jesus but remember he had given the authority and power of His words to disciples to go out and do as He did. Acts 9:36 “In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor. 37 About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 38 Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!” 39 Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them. 40 Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. 41 He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive. 42 This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord.”
                Then we had Paul speaking late into the night. Acts 20:7 “On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. 9 Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. 10 Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “He’s alive!” 11 Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. 12 The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.”
                Now being raised from the dead was not new to them. I think this is one of my favorite examples. 2 Kings 13:20 “Elisha died and was buried. Now Moabite raiders used to enter the country every spring. 21 Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet.” Now in my mind I picture the group who were going to bury the man running away and then out of nowhere the man who was dead running with them. How great and powerful is our God except for most the bible is just a book of stories / myths and as Andy Stanley said the bible told me so isn’t good enough. This next quote comes right from their study questions following this sermon. “INTRODUCTION - Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so. Should we really believe something just because the bible tells us so? 2. During the message, Andy said, “If the Bible is the foundation of our faith, Christianity becomes a fragile house of cards. If the whole Bible isn’t true, Christianity isn’t true.” In what ways does this challenge or confirm your view of the Scriptures?” MOVING FORWARD- Before the Old and New Testaments were combined and called the Bible, the debate about the Christian faith centered on an event, not a book. We believe Jesus rose from the dead, but not because the Bible says so. We believe because of the testimony of eyewitnesses who gave up everything— including their lives—because of their confidence in Jesus.” If you are teaching your church not stand on the bible because it says so, your church is a whitewashed wall that will fall. If it wasn’t for God’s word you would have no idea who the witness were nor would you have any idea about the resurrections. All he did was cast doubt into all who listened. Just so you know they did have God’s word. As Paul said when in trial Acts 24:14 “However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, 15 and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.” He then said in Acts 26:22 “But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— 23 that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.” Jesus Luke 24:44 “said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” They had the word of God and then they had the spoken word and letters that were passed from church to church. Then everything together became the bible as directed by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:20 “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
                The bible does tell us everything we need to know because it is the living word of God. Can you imagine telling those in your church not to believe what the bible says? Ephesians 6:14 “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.” Psalm 119:89 “Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.” This was someone trying to make a name for themselves but in the end just looks foolish. The early church knew that people were raised from the dead because of God’s power they had already heard of. Here are a few more examples. 1 King 17:17 “Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. (This was the woman who provided Elijah food. Elijah had said, “The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.” He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. 18 She said to Elijah, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?” 19 “Give me your son,” Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. 20 Then he cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, have you brought tragedy even on this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?” 21 Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, let this boy’s life return to him!” 22 The Lord heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived. 23 Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive!” 24 Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth.” This story is amazing as not only did Elijah raise the dead, food did not run out. James tells us James 5:14 “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”
                Then we have Elisha who asked for a double portion of Elijah’s Spirit. Then we have a woman and her husband who provided room and meals for Elisha when he travelled and Elisha wanted to do something for her. In 2 Kings 4:15 “Then Elisha said, “Call her.” So he called her, and she stood in the doorway. 16 “About this time next year,” Elisha said, “you will hold a son in your arms.” “No, my lord!” she objected. “Please, man of God, don’t mislead your servant!” 17 But the woman became pregnant, and the next year about that same time she gave birth to a son, just as Elisha had told her. 18 The child grew, and one day he went out to his father, who was with the reapers. 19 He said to his father, “My head! My head!” His father told a servant, “Carry him to his mother.” 20 After the servant had lifted him up and carried him to his mother, the boy sat on her lap until noon, and then he died. 21 She went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, then shut the door and went out. 22 She called her husband and said, please send me one of the servants and a donkey so I can go to the man of God quickly and return.” 23 “Why go to him today?” he asked. “It’s not the New Moon or the Sabbath.” “That’s all right,” she said. 24 She saddled the donkey and said to her servant, “Lead on; don’t slow down for me unless I tell you.” 25 So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel. When he saw her in the distance, the man of God said to his servant Gehazi, “Look! There’s the Shunammite! 26 Run to meet her and ask her, ‘Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your child all right?’” “Everything is all right,” she said. 27 When she reached the man of God at the mountain, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi came over to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone! She is in bitter distress, but the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me why.” 28 “Did I ask you for a son, my lord?” she said. “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t raise my hopes’?” 29 Elisha said to Gehazi, “Tuck your cloak into your belt, take my staff in your hand and run. Don’t greet anyone you meet, and if anyone greets you, do not answer. Lay my staff on the boy’s face.” 30 But the child’s mother said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So he got up and followed her. 31 Gehazi went on ahead and laid the staff on the boy’s face, but there was no sound or response. So Gehazi went back to meet Elisha and told him, “The boy has not awakened.” 32 When Elisha reached the house, there was the boy lying dead on his couch. 33 He went in, shut the door on the two of them and prayed to the Lord. 34 Then he got on the bed and lay on the boy, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, hands to hands. As he stretched himself out on him, the boy’s body grew warm. 35 Elisha turned away and walked back and forth in the room and then got on the bed and stretched out on him once more. The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes. 36 Elisha summoned Gehazi and said, “Call the Shunammite.” And he did. When she came, he said, “Take your son.” 37 She came in, fell at his feet and bowed to the ground. Then she took her son and went out.”
                The bible just told us that the resurrection of the dead is possible yet most will not believe. Most will not believe miracles signs and wonders let alone the resurrection of the dead. They will say that was then this is now. We need to return to being a faithful church who truly believe what we read in the bible. These are not just stories or idle words; these are words of life and power. This is not just a story about a dead man as in other religions, which is why Christianity is the only way. Festus heard Paul’s testimony and said, Acts 25:18 “When his accusers got up to speak, they did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected. 19 Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive.” This is a story about Jesus Christ who was dead and now is alive. Revelation 1:18 “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”
                If we truly follow God’s word, Jesus said he will gives us those keys. Matthew 16:15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” But be careful, as demons know who the Son of God and that there is one God and shudder. By following God’s word the church can once again be like the apostles. Acts 4:33 “With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all.” By truly believing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can believe in the prayer that would raise a little girl from the dead. Raising a dead person is not the problem as that is easy for God. The problem is that most in the church have no idea nor do they even believe this is impossible. Most people have a hard time believing that oil would not run out as with the accounts of Elijah and Elisha raising the dead. If you believe in the resurrection of the dead brought to life, then miracles, signs and wonders are easy and should be normal Christianity.
                The power given to the disciples was just the beginning. This was not supposed to stop but to continue. Galatians 3:3 “Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?”  Romans 8:23 “Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.” James 1:18 “He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.” Then the Thessalonians listened. The disciples were the firstfruits of this power. Firstfruits means what it says. It doesn't mean last fruits, meaning the disciples would be the last to have this resurrection power. Ceasationism is a doctrine of demons. That is not what scripture says as this power was supposed to continue. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 “But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” They were the firstfruits and more was to come.
                Yes there will be those who laugh and mock at the thought of this and at the same time will say they believe in Easter. But for them Easter is a yearly event that remembers what happened long ago that really doesn’t effect us today. For most they do not connect the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ with the power available to the church. God wants to open the floodgates of His presence with us. He wants to dwell among us and empower us just as he did the early disciples. As we read earlier in Ezekiel, God wants to raise us up in power. Pentecost took place in Acts 2 and it was supposed to continue. Acts 4:31 “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” Acts 10:44 “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Acts 19:6 “When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all.” The church is supposed to be powerful in word and deed just as Jesus was as He is the Head. Pentecost was not a onetime in event.
                God is angry that His people refuse to listen to His words. 2 Kings 22:13 “Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.” Jesus said Luke 18:8 “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Matthew 17:14 “When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.” 17 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
                The bible tells us that Jesus died and now lives. Mark 16:4 “But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. 6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” We are then supposed to be clothed with power and go into all the world to preach and teach the good news so that the kingdom of God will come near. Luke 24:48 “You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Will you believe or will you be rebuked? Mark 16:14 “Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. 15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” 19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.” Luke 7:22 “So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” Acts 26:18 “to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” Mark 16:20 “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.”
                If Jesus would only appear to me like the he did with Paul. Well His word has appeared to you, but do you believe? John 20:4 “Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Luke 24:15 “As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him. 25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” 33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Luke 13:34 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 35 Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
                Are you willing to live with the laughter, the mocking, the criticism and doubt of this who think you have lost your mind of those who refuse to believe so that you will hear well done my good and faithful servant? Psalm 135:13 ”Your name, Lord, endures forever, your renown, Lord, through all generations.” Psalm 136:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. 2 Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. 3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever.”