Seven Ways the Resurrection of Jesus Christ Affects True Believers
Joseph Mattera has been in full-time ministry since 1980 and is currently the overseeing Bishop of Resurrection Church in New York.
Known as “a leader’s leader,” Joseph is also a virtuoso on the guitar. He has received formal education in Kingsborough Community College, Elohim Bible Institute, received ministerial training from The International Christian Center, and has received an honorary diploma from Zion Bible Institute. Joseph earned a Doctor of Divinity from the Christian Leadership Seminary, participated in BILD (Biblical Institute for Leadership Development), successfully completed a one-year certificate program with the Wilberforce Forum, and has earned a Doctor of Ministry from Bakke Graduate University, with a concentration in Biblical Worldview and Urban Ministry.Joseph and his wife Joyce founded Resurrection Church in 1984. A multi ethnic congregation of 40 nationalities, Resurrection Church has developed and sent out high-impact leadership and numerous non-profit corporations that have greatly impacted nations and the New York region, such as Children of the City (COC regularly ministers to more than 2,000 at-risk children with counseling, after school programs, tutoring, mentoring, and other holistic ministries) and The Ekklesia Leadership Institute (which held intensive monthly seminars and week-long summits with a focus of raising up the next generation of leadership with a Christian world and life view).Joseph also has hosted his own radio show “Light Your City” and a weekly cable television programs “The Ekklesia.” He is a regular contributor to Christian newspapers, and through the years has given numerous radio and television interviews and press conferences, including guest appearances on TBN. His first published book Ruling in the Gates was released in April 2003 and has already had international acclaim.
In recognition of his years of faithful service and significant influence, numerous local and national bishops and apostolic leaders consecrated Joseph to the Office of Bishop on April 29, 2006.
Joseph, his wife, Joyce and their five children live in Brooklyn, New York.
Often, many people view the resurrection of Christ merely as an historical event that supplies us with Christian doctrine without understanding the vast implications it has for believers. The following points will attempt to make the implications of the resurrection of Christ much more real and practical to us.
I. My New Life Gives My Life New Perspectives
When I experience the resurrection of Christ my personal values begin to change to more reflect the heart and character of God. What I once valued as a priority now becomes low priority so that eternal things can take the ascendancy. Jesus said that the things honored by man are detestable in the sight of God (Luke).
• Where once possessions possessed me, now I own nothing and steward everything.
• Where once I wanted to express my persona, now I want Christ in me to shine.
• Where once I lived for today, now I live in eternity.
• Where once I loved some people a lot, now I love all unconditionally with agape love.
• Where once I wanted to live for my purposes, now I endeavor to die to self for His purposes.
II. My New Life in Christ Gives Me a New Perspective for the World
Jesus said in John 3:3 that when we are born again we can see the kingdom of God. Seeing the kingdom has to do with noticing and understanding the personal design and rule of God in the created order. I do not see this world in a humanistic sense anymore, as people just doing their own thing by their own power, but as a place in which the ultimate power and government of this world comes from the present reign and lordship of Christ over all! This affects all that I do and how I think about this world.
• Now I view elected officials as civil magistrates called by God to represent His law on earth, instead of those merely representing the highest paying special interests and lobbyists.
• Now I view the economy as a way to confirm His covenant, instead of a way to finance lavish lifestyles or grant government entitlements.
• Now I view education as the primary responsibility of parents, instead of those who drink from the fount of John Dewey at Ivy League think tanks.
• Now I view the sciences as an opportunity to plumb the depths of God’s wisdom, instead of providing a naturalistic explanation to disprove His existence.
• Now I believe that significance is found more in service than in power, money, and titles.
III. My New Life in Christ Gives Me Another Chance Every Day to Fulfill My Potential
When Jesus rose from the dead He broke the power of Satan and death, thus giving every one of us a chance for ultimate victory in spite of our past. Every day we have a chance to make a difference and reach our potential because Christ bore our past failures on His body on the cross. He rose from the dead so we could look to a great future as we share with Him in newness of life (Romans 6:4-6).
• Now instead of believing in second chances, I believe in an irrevocable calling and election from God (Romans 11:29).
• Now instead of viewing failure as the end of my life, I view it as a necessary experience to build upon with God’s help.
• Now instead of viewing problems as obstacles, I view them as opportunities to advance His kingdom.
• Now instead of running from things that scare me, I realize they afford me the ability to grow in faith and courage.
• Now instead of focusing on what the devil is doing in people, I focus on how the Lord turns Satan’s triumphs into God’s greatest victories (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28).
• Now instead of focusing on what is wrong with my life and surroundings, I am focusing on what is right with God.
IV. My New Life in Christ Gives Me Supernatural Access to God’s Faith that Navigates the World
When Jesus was in the world He walked on water, fed thousands with a few loaves and fish, calmed a storm, and commanded departed human spirits to come back into their earthly bodies. Those of us in Christ have the ability to tap into the same kind of faith that can alter any situation obstructing the assignment God has for us to fulfill kingdom purpose. Jesus even told us in Mark 11:23 that by our faith even mountains can be moved. First Timothy 2:1-3 speaks about how intercessory prayer for civic leaders can result in bringing peace between nations. My new life in Christ enables me to walk as a king in this life under the King of all Kings, Jesus Christ.
• Truly, if a mountain is too high, then speak to it (Mark 11:23).
• If your road is too crooked, then believe that God will make it straight (Luke 3:5).
• If your valley is too low, then know that God will elevate the humble and broken (1 Peter 5:6).
• If your provision is not coming, then have a vision big enough for God to finance it.
• If there are too many problems, then God’s glory will manifest greater solutions.
• If your faith is small, then do something worth believing for (James 2:17).
V. My New Life in Christ Joins Me in Spirit to the Past, Present, and Future Community of Faith
As soon as someone becomes a believer they are instantly connected to the saints of old because we are part of the same family and use the same Scriptures they use. We also become part of the present community of faith, even if we do not want to attend a church, because God has made us all drink from the same drink, and partake of the same body (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). We also are joined to the future church because they too will experience the same blood and body of Christ, use the name of Jesus to pray, and have the same Father in heaven we have. What we are building today regarding our business, writings, teachings, friendships, family, prayers, and organizations will be those very things the saints of the future will build upon to hand over to the next generation of Christians.
The implications of this reality are vast:
• My prayers are joined together with the billions of prayers the saints have already prayed (John 17; Revelation 5:8).
• When I stand up in the arena of faith, I am surrounded by a cloud of many witnesses (Hebrews 12:1).
• When I read the Scriptures, I am reading the letters, laws, songs, and instructions of God’s covenant people both before and after the fall of Adam.
• When I drink of the Spirit, I am experiencing the same high-energy drink Peter drank (Acts 2:17).
• When I love my wife, I am mimicking Jesus who loves His church (Ephesians 5 22).
• While I may be in a small congregation, I am also part of a large church.
• While I may think I am in a large megachurch, I am really in a very small congregation.
• Instead of individual destiny, I now enjoy corporate purpose.
• Instead of making private choices of faith, I know I am affecting other members of the same Body of Christ. Thus, instead of being an individual sinner I am now a significant saint!
VI. My New Life in Christ Gives Me Access to God’s Spirit, Who Knows All Things
According to 1 Corinthians 2:10-12 God gives His Spirit to those who have a new life in Christ, so that we can make educated decisions based on God’s knowledge of the future instead of our own. This ability to know the future is only given to those who exercise faith in God and are sensitive to His Spirit.
• Truly, hindsight may be 20/20 but foresight is based on Hebrews 11:3.
• Even though I am not omniscient, I can be prescient and prudent (Proverbs 22:3).
• Because God knows all things, it behooves me to know what He desires to reveal.
• Because He knows the future, I do not have to be afraid of the present.
• Because the past, present, and future are in Him, then my present and future can be ordered by Him (Psalm 37:23).
VII. My New Life in Christ Gives Believers Internal Strength to Overcome All Temptation
As believers, we have the power of the risen Christ inside of us to prioritize His kingdom assignment and live moral and upright lives fully committed to the fidelity of God’s will. In spite of all the distractions, dissenting voices, challenges, and circumstantial obstacles around us, our new life furnishes us with more than enough ability to walk in life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3-4).
Based on this truth:
• The power of the blood of Christ is greater than the fiery darts of the enemy (Ephesians 6:10-17).
• As long as my priorities are His kingdom priorities, then my priorities will be His priorities to protect and secure (Matthew 6:9-13).
• When God’s will becomes my will, then God will strengthen me for His kingdom assignment (Philippians 4:13).
• When His voice becomes greater than my voice, then my voice will become greater than all other contrary voices (Mark 1:3).
• When I manifest His will instead of echoing my own sentiments, then He will manifest His purpose for me in spite of other people’s sentiments for or against me.
• Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).
Joseph Materra Used with Permission