by Ernest Breithaupt
It’s Sunday its time to tell the Good News, to go into all the world and teach all nations. One thing consistent from the early church to the present church is that the first day of the week is the day to declare the resurrection. Every Sunday morning a Pentecostal Church should ring with the declaration, “HE IS RISEN and resurrection power is available to you today.”
Verse 8 of the text depicts the spiritual and emotional state of the successful witness going forth to declare the resurrection. Their instruction from the previous verse had been to go quickly. A message of urgency cannot be properly conveyed unless the one proclaiming the message has the feeling of urgency. Their faith in the message of the angel was reflected in their feelings and actions:
FEAR–Any true witness to the awesome power of God must know intimately the fear of God. Salvation is achieved through this fear. Fear of God is not the paralyzing fear one would have of a sinister force. It is rather awe and reverence of His mighty acts and admission of our own mortality and dependence on Him.
GREAT JOY–These two emotions which seem so far apart in man’s normal existence mix very beautifully in the Christian experience. These ladies while being in fear of the awesome power of God were at the same moment filled with Great Joy. Any witness who ever looses his awe and joy of the work of salvation becomes a totally ineffective witness. Any Sunday School teacher go endued with Godly enthusiasm and joy as these dear ladies when they left the tomb must be a very potent force of revival.
RAN–A sense of urgency captivated them–they had to get the message to the disciples. Unless we are gripped, compelled, and thrust forward by the urgent force of our testimony–burning to be told, our witness will be lackluster. It may have been unfeminine but these ladies ran. Something was more important than their dignified composure. Satan’s greatest weapon against one who has heard the word is delay. When there is no urgency in the one with the message, there probably won’t be any in the heart of the one receiving the message.
Sunday Revival doesn’t begin on Sunday morning. God’s mighty power was moving that morning. The Lord had risen–guards had become like dead men–the stone had been rolled away. All in all you could say it was one mighty service. The important matter though was that the ones to whom the message had been sent were prepared to hear it. Jesus had preached to these disciples that he would raise his temple up. Preparation had been made so that they could receive the word with faith.
It’s a long way from the sinner’s heart and home to the altar of
repentance, but God has placed His church in the earth to bridge that Gap. A
bridge must of necessity have a foundation on each end of the span. Sunday’s
revival does not begin on the end of the span anchored in the sanctuary but it
begins in the streets and homes of the lost. Love causes the Sunday witness to
cement friendships with those who do not yet have the message. Love causes the
Sunday witness to go out on a Thursday evening or a Saturday morning with a
pocket full of balloons or candy and bend down to a child and tell him Jesus
loves you. Hearts are prepared for the Sunday Witness by the witness that
comes from the life of the one that invites them to the House of God.
It does no good to run if we do not have a message. Our message comes from being spiritually attuned to the Savior. These ladies hearts were full of sorrow for the suffering of Christ. He had done a great work in their lives especially Mary Magdalene out of whom he had cast seven devils. Their hearts yearned to minister to Him because of the ministry they had received. They had mourned and wept since the crucifixion. True witnesses water the seed they have to sow with their tears. Intercession blends the purpose of God into the heart of the intercessor. Only when we love as he loves can we really minister to the lost.
These dear ladies had made preparation before Sunday to secure the spices they would need to minister to the humanity of Christ. Bus route visitation, friendship visits, activities and fellowship that includes the person still needing the power of the resurrection minister to the social and emotional needs of the individual. All of these things are preparation for Sunday but they are much more than just that. They are powerful methods of ministry unto themselves. Our highways and by-ways are littered with broken hearts, broken homes and sin wrecked lives. They are waiting for some one with spiritual compulsion to go out and compel them to come in.
“As the first day of the week began to dawn Mary Magdalene and the
other Mary came”–what a powerful way to begin the Sunday Revival. During the
week we have wept and prayed and fasted and studied His Word and visited the
lost and prepared our lesson materials and our visuals and handouts and our
class rooms, but it is now Sunday. The Lord has descended from heaven and it
is time to touch Him. Everything needs to be prepared and ready early, because
when the ones come in that we have invited we are going to have REVIVAL.
Excitement permeates the air. Enthusiasm pounds within our breast. Resurrection power flows through the sanctuary. It is so vitally important that we have made our preparation for this glorious moment. Some people coming into a power packed service like this unprepared will not respond any better than the guards who were smitten and became
as dead, but made no response. There was no seed planted in their hearts so that faith could spring forth. They heard no word or ministry. They felt power but it only made them fear. Our goal is to get the witness and the lesson into their heart so that when they feel his power they can respond in faith and reach out and touch him.
IT’S SUNDAY! — IT’S REVIVAL! — IT’S PENTECOST! — These are synonyms for “the Lord is risen and is with us today!”