The First Resurrection (10 of 12)

Mike Connell

I want to share with you a key scripture on this, and I'm going to show you some other ones as well. Some are quite clear, some are not so clear, but they imply it. Not all Christians make the First Resurrection.

Philippians 3:8-15 – “Doubtless I count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I've suffered the loss of all things, I count them dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is by law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death, and (here it is) if, by any means, I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

Not as though I'd already attained, either were perfect, but I follow after that I may apprehend that for which I'm apprehended of Christ. Brethren, I count myself not to have apprehended, but this one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, reaching forth to the things which are before, I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Now he concludes then…)

Let us therefore as many as be perfect, think this way or be thus minded; and if anyone be other minded, God shall reveal even this to you”.

Wow, very powerful scripture! Paul has been talking prior to this, about everything he did before he was a believer - he talked about his pedigree, his training, his teaching. He said all of that is nothing. He said: it was valuable to me then; but now he says: I consider it all loss, compared to the knowing or knowledge of Christ. He said: I've given up lots of things. I've given up basically my life and my security, and I don't consider any of these things important. My goal is to win Christ.

We have talked before about running the race, and that there's a prize, so here he lays out in that brief statement, that I may win Christ; meaning that intimacy, deep fellowship, and deep relationship with Jesus is something to be won, by running our race according to the way God wants to run it.

He says: “if by any means I might attain to the ‘out-from’ resurrection, unto the resurrection of the dead, not as though I'd attained it, or were perfect yet, but I follow after, because this is what God has called me to.”

There are two things that he points out…

1) He points out the prize to be won. He identifies it as the high calling of God, and Christ Jesus. The prize is a calling - it's fulfilling a calling; and he says that it's a very high, or elevated calling. It's the calling God puts to every one of us, an invitation. A calling is an invitation.

Then he talks about the prize… I press towards the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God and Christ Jesus. I forget the things that are behind. I'm stretching out constantly. In other words, my life pursuit is this prize. This is so valuable, I have laid down everything to get this.

Then he goes on to say: I'm not even sure I'm going to get it. He says: “not that I have attained it already or even made perfect, but I follow hard, that I may obtain (or apprehend) that for which Christ has called me”.

He's saying there is a prize; and that prize is the high calling of God and Christ. That prize involves winning deep intimacy with Jesus; and he said: I have not made it - and he's writing as an apostle. He's gone through hardships, difficulties and suffering, but he still has no assurance in his heart that he will qualify for this reward.

Now right there in the middle of the passage, you'll see that what he's referring to is the resurrection of the dead. Philippians 3:11 – “If, by any means, I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”

That statement is from New King James Version, but it is not a good translation. It's a poor translation that hides what they were saying, so if you go back to the original language of Greek, the word for resurrection is ‘anastasis’. Anastasis means resurrection, calling back to life again, calling you to stand up again. Stasis, to stand; ana, again. Stand up again.