Tag Archives: resurrection

The Church and Salvation: The Teaching of God’s People

Today’s message summary of October 22, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

After the book of Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, there was a period of 400 years where there was no prophet from God on the scene, and man was left to himself as to how he would practice his faith.  During this 400 years, you would see different things occur, but the pursuit of religion was left to man’s own accord.

The Sadducees relied upon natural law and not upon any teachings or writings.  Even today, the issue is the lack of good, sound teaching of God’s Word.  We are in a society that receives very little education, especially in reasoning and understanding.

The church originally started schools for the purpose of teaching people how to read and write.  It was to help people be able to read and understand what they were reading, and it was to be able to gain something from God’s Word.

Hosea 4:6 KJV

My people perish from a lack of knowledge.

How well are we being taught?  Do we believe what we are being taught?

Teaching should not be just a repetition of what the teacher has said, but to go further into seeking the information that has been presented.

Acts 17:11

The people here were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, since they welcomed the message with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

Many people will sit in church and hear the Word, but if it is not taught and the people decide it is not to be believed or understood, then it is just a waste of time.

One of the obvious things that one can observe in a believer’s life is a lack of progression.  It is from a lack of faith.  It comes down to trusting God more than just trusting yourself.  The Word of God is to be taught to help to develop you more into the type of person that God wants you to be.

Acts 20:27

…for I did not shrink back from declaring to you the whole plan of God.

Why would one go to a doctor for advice and leave without taking it?  Paul was not holding back in any way his knowledge of God.  It is important that the people of God may grow and mature with the proper instruction of God’s Word.

What happened during those 400 years?  There were groups that emerged:

The Essenes followed Greek philosophies that existed two centuries before Christ emerged.  They were a Jewish sect.  Note that their belief in how souls were transported was void of God’s teaching.

The Scribes emerged as a continuation of the group that existed during David and Solomon’s time.  They were known for recording words and also for accounting.  They set forth and maintain order when it came to how things were to be accomplished, and yet there was no prophet that provided additional inspiration.

The Sadducees did not believe in death and resurrection of the dead, nor angels or spirits.  They only believed in the present life they were living.  (Much like those who lack belief are today.  There are many who believe that there is nothing after this life.)

Acts 23:8

For the Sadducees say there is no resurrection, and no angel or spirit, but the Pharisees affirm them all.

The Pharisees are believed to have emerged from the Maccabeans, and they kept up with the writings of Moses, but they also infused a number of new rules within their way of living that ultimately became much more important than that of God’s Word.

Matthew 15:7-9

Hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied correctly about you when he said: These people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. They worship Me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commands of men.

Luke 11:42

“But woe to you Pharisees! You give a tenth of mint, rue, and every kind of herb, and you bypass justice and love for God. These things you should have done without neglecting the others.

Luke 11:52

“Woe to you experts in the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge! You didn’t go in yourselves, and you hindered those who were going in.”

God desires for sincere worship and praise before Him.

There is something wrong with the number of churches that are existence today in that there is hardly any teaching.  Even worse, we are teaching the precepts of man rather than those from God.

The ministry of Jesus began with teaching.  Questions and answers follow this instruction.  There is learning that is taking place.

Luke 2:46

After three days, they found Him (Jesus at age 12) in the temple complex sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.

Matthew 4:17

From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!”

Luke 4:14-15

Then Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread throughout the entire vicinity. He was teaching in their synagogues, being acclaimed by everyone.

A good teacher must also be a good listener.  He or she will always listen to the students in order to know what needs to be imparted.

Note that there was a 400-year gap before Jesus was teaching the people.  Many people were hungry for His words of instruction.

The church, as a whole, must return to teaching.  Teaching will either draw your nearer to Jesus, or it will chase you away.  Either way, the truth of Jesus Christ and His Word must be shared.

Our churches should be overflowing–not because of preachers who entertain, but because God’s Word is being proclaimed.

If a person comes to church to do anything other than hear God’s Word, it becomes idolatry.

The Spirit must be present in order that the teacher can be used to advance the will of the Father.  A teacher must recognize the evidence of God’s presence in order to teach well.  Jesus’s own ministry was not independent of the Father and of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 3:16-17

After Jesus was baptized, He went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on Him. And there came a voice from heaven: This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him!

John 4:34

“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work,” Jesus told them.

John 5:19-20

Then Jesus replied, “I assure you: The Son is not able to do anything on His own, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son also does these things in the same way. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him everything He is doing, and He will show Him greater works that these so that you will be amazed.

2 John 1:9

Anyone who does not remain in Christ’s teaching but goes beyond it, does not have God. The one who remains in that teaching, this one has both the Father and the Son.

God is a teacher.  It is the very character and nature of God.

Deuteronomy 4:12-14

Then the Lord spoke to you from the fire. You kept hearing the sound of the words, but didn’t see a form; there was only a voice. He declared His covenant to you. He commanded you to follow the Ten Commandments, which He wrote on two stone tablets. At that time the Lord commanded me to teach you statutes and ordinances for you to follow in the land you are about to cross into and possess.

Isaiah 48:17

This is what the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel says: I am Yahweh your God, who teaches you for your benefit, who leads you in the way you should go.

Jeremiah 32:33

They have turned their backs to Me and not their faces. Though I taught them time and time again, they do not listen and receive discipline.

The instruction that we receive is to help us in obedience and to follow and live according to His will.  That, ultimately, is what is best for us.

Jesus’s teaching is to help us to see something far greater from His instruction than just mere words.

John 7:46

The police answered, “No man ever spoke like this!”

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What is the Gospel?

Today’s message summary of August 16, 2015 from Assistant Pastor Travis Jackson:

What is the true message of the gospel? What is the gospel?

It is the message that Paul gave to the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 15:1-4

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. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.

 

The Corinthians were practicing immorality, and Paul had to remind them of what the true gospel was in order to refute other messages or beliefs that were prevalent in the day. There were differing opinions on the resurrection of the dead, and in what to believe. The Sadducees did not believe there was a resurrection. In fact, many believed that there was spiritual truth in opening other doors and seeking one’s own way. Gnosticism is a result of this way of thinking.

Our church needs reminders of the foundational gospel of Jesus Christ. Do you remember this gospel when you are cursed at or mistreated by someone? Remember that Christ died for you and was treated much worse than you can ever imagine.

What the gospel is not…

  • It is not about good deeds (Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 3:10)
  • It is not about self help.

There is nothing in Scripture that says that self-help is in righteousness. There is nothing that one can do to save himself…it is only in righteousness from God.

  • It is not about listening to gospel music.

You do not become more holy when you sing louder. It is only the sound preaching and teaching of the gospel.

  • It is not about the preacher.

A pastor is not to be the primary focus of hearing him speak. It is about coming to church to praise the Lord and hear His Word.

This popularity contest was what drove the Corinthians to elevate the apostles and people of the church to a higher status.

1 Corinthians 1:11-13

My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul?

 

What are the implications of the gospel?

  1. Preaching of the gospel (Romans 10:14)
  1. Salvation of sinners (1 Corinthians 15:2; 1 Peter 2:24)
  1. Priority of the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1)

The gospel must become the first of all things taught within the church before anything else is taught.

So, what is the gospel?  (How this question is addressed will determine your eternal state before God.)

John 1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word,

and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God.

He was with God in the beginning.

All things were created through Him,

and apart from Him not one thing was created

that has been created.

Life was in Him,

and that life was the light of men.

That light shines in the darkness,

yet the darkness did not overcome it.

  1. The gospel is about the birth of Jesus.
  1. The gospel is about the life of Jesus.
  1. The gospel is about the death of Jesus.

1 Peter 1:18-19

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

  1. The gospel is about the resurrection of Jesus.

 

1 Corinthians 15:13-17

If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.

 

1 Corinthians 15:20-22

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.


The Significance of Jesus’ Resurrection

Today’s message summary of April 5, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is something that is not discussed often, but it is important to look at its significance to each of us.

We need to look at the resurrection of Jesus Christ as being everything about our salvation. It is the most important thing to a believer in Jesus Christ. It is everything in how a believer has a relationship with Him. Without His death, burial and resurrection, the entire scope of Christianity is meaningless.

People have asked these questions over and over:

“Is Jesus Christ truly the Son of God?”

“Is Jesus Christ alive today?”

As a believer, at some point, these questions should be definitively answered.

People who practice Christianity on a nominal basis are always on the fence when it comes to who Christ is and what it matters to them. There needs to be a true commitment in faith and trust of Jesus Christ to change this approach. Until people really understand the power of Jesus’ life, death, burial and resurrection, they are not really compelled to live in the way God had intended them to live.

Matthew 27:38-43

Then two criminals were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. Those who passed by were yelling insults at Him, shaking their heads and saying, “The One who would demolish the sanctuary and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross!” In the same way the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked Him and said, “He saved others, but He cannot save Himself! He is the King of Israel! Let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him. He has put His trust in God; let God rescue Him now–If He wants Him! For He said, ‘I am God’s Son.'”

 

Mark 16:9-13

Early on the first day of the week, after He had risen, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had driven seven demons. She went and reported to those who had been with Him, as they were mourning and weeping. Yet, when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe it. Then after this, He appeared in a different form to two of them walking on their way into the country. And they went and reported it to the rest, who did not believe them either.

 

Even those who were closest to Jesus doubted His Word in spite of His powerful testimonies of healing and restoration. They did not know what they had gained in the relationship. They had only considered what they had lost.

Jesus Christ is really living right now. What you need to be convinced or persuaded of, if you are still unsure of, is His presence today.

Luke 24:5

So the women were terrified and bowed down to the ground. “Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” asked the men.

 

God wants to touch you, heal you and provide you with the steps to live your life. He is a living God.

Luke 24:6-8

“He is not here, but He has been resurrected! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and rise on the third day’?” And they remembered His words.

 

How does God value His resurrection? He values it because it must be part of your confession when you become a believer in Jesus Christ. In order to acknowledge Jesus as your living Lord and Savior, the acknowledgment of the resurrection of Jesus must be a part of your confession.

Romans 10:9-11

If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. Now the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on Him will not be put to shame.

 

If you believe that God is alive, it will have a profound effect as to how you live your life and, consequently, live for Him.

What we speak out loud is what we really believe. Your heart will reflect your belief, and your mouth will confess it before God and before others. When you know that you have a living God who is going before you, you will want to talk about it!

You can say that “He kept me.”

You and I should be confident that you are secure in your relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He made you righteous in order to be righteous before God, and you are compelled to tell others about it!

Mark 1:1

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

 

Jesus was truly a human being. He was man and yet He was also God. The gospel of Jesus Christ is all about His life, death, burial and resurrection, and also that He is coming again–for He is not dead but indeed alive! The only way that you can believe He is coming again is to believe that He was brought forth from the tomb and that He is alive.

Romans 1:3-4

…concerning His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who was a descendant of David according to the flesh and who has been declared to be the powerful Son of God by the resurrection from the dead according to the Spirit of holiness.

 

1 Corinthians 15:3-8

For I passed on to you as most important what I also received:

that Christ died for our sins

according to the Scriptures,

that He was buried,

that He was raised on the third day

according to the Scriptures,

and that He appeared to Cephas,

then to the Twelve.

Then He appeared to over 500 brothers at one time;

most of them are still alive,

but some have fallen asleep.

Then He appeared to James,

then to all the apostles.

Last of all, as to one abnormally born,

He also appeared to me.

 

It is the power of God that raised up Jesus. It is the power of God that gives you the ability to resist evil and to seek and do what is good. That is the distinction between those who are nominal believers and those who are seeking Him and acknowledging Him as Lord and Savior.

Ephesians 2:1-10

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient.  We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! Together with Christ Jesus He also raised us up and seated us in the heavens, so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace through His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is Gods giftnot from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.

 

God does not want people just to partially believe in Him–He wants people who are totally committed to Him.

1 Corinthians 15:13-15

But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation is without foundation, and so is your faith. In addition, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified about God that He raised up Christ–whom He did not raise up if in fact the dead are not raised.

 

We surrender to Jesus Christ because we know that He can be trusted and that He is faithful–and that He is alive.

If Jesus Christ is not raised from the dead, then why are you at church? The church’s sole purpose is to proclaim Jesus Christ and to help people to see and acknowledge who He is. It is up to the individual to believe who Christ is. His resurrection is the evidence that we will have eternal life. His life is much more than just for our present way of living.  His life means that you can have an eternity with Him.

1 Corinthians 15:19-21

If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man.


Jesus’ Resurrection: How Does it Benefit Us?

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Today we are here to acknowledge that Jesus lives! He desires to draw each of us near and embrace us with His love!

He is alive! We do not believe in a myth. He lives, and He lives within us through the Holy Spirit. Paul declared that he could do nothing without Him. He is the One who enables us to live for Him.

Today is a reminder of Jesus’ resurrection. How does His resurrection benefit us? We need to understand that our atonement is based upon the grace and actions of Jesus Christ. Without the resurrection, there is no atonement for our sin. He died for your sin and my sin, and He arose. Many people have a problem with the fact that He is alive, and many question His presence today. We have to come to place to understand that Jesus Christ died for us to atone for our sin, and He rose again to prove that He is the One who saves.

1 Corinthians 15:3-8

3 For I passed on to you as most important what I also received:

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,

then to the Twelve.

6 Then He appeared to over 500 brothers at one time;

most of them are still alive,

but some have fallen asleep.

7 Then He appeared to James,

then to all the apostles.

8 Last of all, as to one abnormally born,

He also appeared to me.

 

We are to learn of the totality of Jesus’ life on earth; in fact, we are to be reminded of it, because life will take you in many different directions and will even cause you to forget where you are in the faith.

Some people will not agree that there was a resurrection:

1 Corinthians 15:12-20

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say, “There is no resurrection of the dead”? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation is without foundation, and so is your faith. 15 In addition, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified about God that He raised up Christ—whom He did not raise up if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Therefore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. 19 If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone.

 

If Jesus Christ was not raised, then our meeting and any preaching on the subject is useless. We would be bearing false witness. But thankfully, that is not the case.

1 Corinthians 15:20-22

20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

 

Jesus Christ indeed was raised from the dead. It is a demonstration of God’s power, and it is the same power that people can see in your own life–a changed life for Jesus Christ. You are the one who has heard the Word from this truth, and you live according to God’s promises because of what He has accomplished for you.

Romans 10:17

So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.

 

The resurrection declares that He is the Son of God.

Romans 1:1-4

1 Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called as an apostleand singled out for God’s good news— 2 which He promised long ago through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures— 3 concerning His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who was a descendant of Davidaccording to the flesh 4 and who has been declared to be the powerful Son of God by the resurrection from the dead according to the Spirit of holiness.

 

Because of our resurrection, He is our mediator.

1 Timothy 2:5-6

5 For there is one God

and one mediator between God and humanity,

Christ Jesus, Himself human,

6 who gave Himself—a ransom for all,

a testimony at the proper time.

 

Hebrews 9:15

Therefore, He is the mediator of a new covenant,so that those who are called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance, because a death has taken place for redemption from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.

 

Because of the resurrection, He is at the right hand of God.

Acts 2:32-33, 7:55-56

32 “God has resurrected this Jesus. We are all witnesses of this. 33 Therefore, since He has been exalted to the right hand of God and has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, He has poured out what you both see and hear.

55 But Stephen, filled by the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven. He saw God’s glory, with Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said, 56 “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”

 

Because of the resurrection, He is able to intercede for us.

Romans 8:34

Who is the one who condemns?

Christ Jesus is the One who died,

but even more, has been raised;

He also is at the right hand of God

and intercedes for us.

 

Hebrews 7:25

Therefore, He is always able to save those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them.

 

Because of the resurrection, He will judge us.

2 Corinthians 5:10

For we must all appear before the tribunal of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or worthless.

 

Because of the resurrection, He is able to heal us.

1 Peter 2:24

He Himself bore our sins

in His body on the tree,

so that, having died to sins,

we might live for righteousness;

you have been healed by His wounds.

 

Because of the resurrection, He is coming back.

John 14:3, 28

3 If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also.

28 You have heard Me tell you, ‘I am going away and I am coming to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I.

 

Acts 1:11

They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen Him going into heaven.”

 

Because of the resurrection, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Him.

Philippians 2:10-11

…10 so that at the name of Jesus

every knee will bow—

of those who are in heaven and on earth

and under the earth—

11 and every tongue should confess

that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.

 

Romans 14:11

For it is written:

 

As I live, says the Lord,

every knee will bow to Me,

and every tongue will give praise to God.

 

Because of the resurrection, we act in faith today believing that Jesus hears our prayers and is willing to touch us at our very points of need.


The Purpose of The Resurrection of Jesus

Today’s message from Pastor Gus Brown:
Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we would not have the ability to experience eternal life. It is an important part of history. Jesus taught it and gave reference to it, and it was a prelude to the beginning of today’s church. At the time he was teaching it, the words were not completely understood.
Matthew 16:21
From then on Jesus began to point out to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and be raised the third day.

The disciples only understood the present as it existed–they did not know that the death had to occur in order to bring life.

Mark 8:31
Then He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, be killed, and rise after three days.

Mark 9:31-32
31 For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is being betrayed[a] into the hands of men. They will kill Him, and after He is killed, He will rise three days later.” 32 But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask Him.

They did not understand because the Spirit of God was not dwelling within them to compel and provide understanding. There are many people today who come to church but do not understand what is being taught. The Holy Spirit must be present to provide guidance and understanding to the gospel message.

John 2:18-22
18 So the Jews replied to Him, “What sign of authority will You show us for doing these things?”

19 Jesus answered, “Destroy this sanctuary, and I will raise it up in three days.”

20 Therefore the Jews said, “This sanctuary took 46 years to build, and will You raise it up in three days?”

21 But He was speaking about the sanctuary of His body. 22 So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this. And they believed the Scripture and the statement Jesus had made.

Even those who did not believe Jesus remembered His teachings, and that is important in that His words were acknowledged.

Matthew 27:63
and said, “Sir, we remember that while this deceiver was still alive He said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’

The most important thing for a believer to do is to learn and absorb God’s Word, for Satan will provide opposition and confusion in the process:

Mark 12:18-27
18 Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and questioned Him: 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaves his wife behind, and leaves no child, his brother should take the wife and produce offspring for his brother. 20 There were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and dying, left no offspring. 21 The second also took her, and he died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise. 22 So the seven left no offspring. Last of all, the woman died too. 23 In the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife will she be, since the seven had married her?”
24 Jesus told them, “Are you not deceived because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels in heaven. 26 Now concerning the dead being raised—haven’t you read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him: I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob? 27 He is not God of the dead but of the living. You are badly deceived.”

God has a place for all believers and also for those who do not believe. The resurrection allows for fellowship with Him because we have been made righteous. Note the addition instruction of who Jesus proclaimed to be before many witnesses:

John 11:17-27
17 When Jesus arrived, He found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem (about two miles away). 19 Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother. 20 As soon as Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him. But Mary remained seated in the house.
21 Then Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. 22 Yet even now I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You.”

23 “Your brother will rise again,” Jesus told her.

24 Martha said, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. 26 Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die—ever. Do you believe this?”

27 “Yes, Lord,” she told Him, “I believe You are the Messiah, the Son of God, who comes into the world.”

John 11:38-46
38 Then Jesus, angry in Himself again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39 “Remove the stone,” Jesus said.
Martha, the dead man’s sister, told Him, “Lord, he’s already decaying. It’s been four days.”

40 Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”

41 So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You heard Me. 42 I know that You always hear Me, but because of the crowd standing here I said this, so they may believe You sent Me.” 43 After He said this, He shouted with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out bound hand and foot with linen strips and with his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him and let him go.”

45 Therefore, many of the Jews who came to Mary and saw what He did believed in Him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.

The purpose of the resurrection:

Romans 1:3-4
3 concerning His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who was a descendant of David according to the flesh 4 and who has been declared to be the powerful Son of God by the resurrection from the dead according to the Spirit of holiness.

Paul declares, as a witness of Christ’s teaching and His miracles, that Jesus Christ is the true Son of God. If we seek Him in all fervor, He will reveal Himself to you and what you are to do in service for Him.

John 20:21-23
21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 After saying this, He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Jesus had commissioned the disciples to go forth and proclaim the gospel. While the disciples were still learning from Jesus at that very moment, He gave each of them the authority to proclaim the gospel on His behalf.

The resurrection was proof that Jesus did return from the dead and that He is alive! We are to remember that all of Scripture, beginning with the Old Testament, proclaims that Christ is the One to follow–and in believing Him, you will have eternal life.

John 20:27-29
27 Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and observe My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Don’t be an unbeliever, but a believer.”

28 Thomas responded to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Jesus said, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Those who believe without seeing are blessed.”

Luke 24:13-35
13 Now that same day two of them were on their way to a village called Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 Together they were discussing everything that had taken place. 15 And while they were discussing and arguing, Jesus Himself came near and began to walk along with them. 16 But they were prevented from recognizing Him. 17 Then He asked them, “What is this dispute that you’re having with each other as you are walking?” And they stopped walking and looked discouraged.
18 The one named Cleopas answered Him, “Are You the only visitor in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that happened there in these days?”

19 “What things?” He asked them.

So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus the Nazarene, who was a Prophet powerful in action and speech before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed Him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping that He was the One who was about to redeem Israel. Besides all this, it’s the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women from our group astounded us. They arrived early at the tomb, 23 and when they didn’t find His body, they came and reported that they had seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they didn’t see Him.”

25 He said to them, “How unwise and slow you are to believe in your hearts all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Didn’t the Messiah have to suffer these things and enter into His glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted for them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

28 They came near the village where they were going, and He gave the impression that He was going farther. 29 But they urged Him: “Stay with us, because it’s almost evening, and now the day is almost over.” So He went in to stay with them.

30 It was as He reclined at the table with them that He took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him, but He disappeared from their sight. 32 So they said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts ablaze within us while He was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us?” 33 That very hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem. They found the Eleven and those with them gathered together, 34 who said, “The Lord has certainly been raised, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they began to describe what had happened on the road and how He was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Romans 4:23-25
23 Now it was credited to him was not written for Abraham alone, 24 but also for us. It will be credited to us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

The purpose of the resurrection is for believers to experience in the newness of life and to live in Christ today. It requires dying to self and living for Jesus.

Philippians 3:10
My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.

How does this apply to us today? How does a believer demonstrate this association with Jesus Christ visibly to others?

Romans 6:1-11
1 What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? 2 Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or are you unaware that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life. 5 For if we have been joined with Him in the likeness of His death, we will certainly also be in the likeness of His resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, 7 since a person who has died is freed from sin’s claims. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him, 9 because we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over Him. 10 For in light of the fact that He died, He died to sin once for all; but in light of the fact that He lives, He lives to God. 11 So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

The power of the resurrection is seen each time we have communion that there are people who recognize that Jesus Christ died for our sins and proclaims that He is the Son of God. The acknowledgment of Jesus in asking forgiveness of sin expresses that Christ is the authority that will return for His people.

Romans 7:4
Therefore, my brothers, you also were put to death in relation to the law through the crucified body of the Messiah, so that you may belong to another—to Him who was raised from the dead—that we may bear fruit for God.

The resurrection is for the saints who love God and do His work to be fully equipped and empowered to demonstrate the love of Christ to everyone who sees them. Jesus Christ is indeed alive, and He lives with a burning fire in every believer for the glory of God. Amen.


Do You Believe in the Resurrection?

“Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Were you there when they nailed Him to a tree? Were you there when they laid Him in a tomb? Were you there when He rose up from the dead?” (Lyrics from African American spiritual ‘Were You There?’)
None of us were actually there for these events, yet the events of Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection all occurred for our benefit. If it were not for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, an essential part of the gospel, we would not be the beneficiaries of His swing grace because of His sacrifice in atonement for our sins. His resurrection means that we can live in Christ and fellowship with Him for all eternity if we believe in Him.
In today’s world, there are many that still question whether or not Jesus Christ rose from the dead. It is in this central area where there is a struggle not only in this area, but in the ability to live strong in their faith. If the people who were present with Christ had difficulty understanding the resurrection (Luke 24:1-49), it is not hard to believe that there would be questions even today about it. Yet, Jesus declared on several occasions to His disciples that He would be killed and would be raised on the third day.

Matthew 16:21
“From then on Jesus began to point out to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and be raised the third day.”

The disciples had received the information, but it did not really kick in until all of the events of the crucifixion and the resurrection had taken place AND when God revealed to them His Word once more, and it was captured within their hearts (Luke 24:7, 32, 44-49) They had the knowledge, but now there was complete understanding.

Despite the efforts of the chief priests of the Pharisees, there was a great effort to make sure that the tomb where Jesus was buried was to remain secure (Matthew 27:62-66), but, in spite of all of this, Mary Magdalene and Mary discovered that the stone was removed (Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-5). He was no longer in the tomb. The women had to conclude that either Christ rose from the dead, or someone else had moved Him, as the soldiers who were guarding the tomb were bribed to have many others believe that He was stolen out of the grave (Matthew 28:11-15).

The angels, and Jesus Himself, had to inform Mary Magdalene that Jesus was not taken from the tomb, but that He had emerged from the tomb Himself. She, too, had heard what Jesus had declared about the fact that He had to die and that He would be raised again on the third day, but it was not until she saw Him and heard His voice (John 20:16-18) that she realized the truth of the words that she had heard for herself. She had gone to the tomb with the full expectation of anointing Jesus’ body. It was His presence that reassured her that His words had meaning. After that encounter, Jesus was present after the resurrection to more than five hundred people in a 40-day period prior to His ascension into heaven (1 Corinthians 15:5-8).

We have to note that the resurrection is unlike any other event throughout history. Lazarus had emerged from his own tomb at the prompting of Jesus. There are other instances in Scripture where persons were revived after death (1 Kings 17:21; Acts 9:40, 20:9-10). Jesus had no one visibly there for His resurrection.

It is not hard to see why the disciples had trouble with this event. There was a lack of faith (Mark 16:11, 14), or the idea of Christ rising from the dead was deemed to be nonsense (Luke 24:11), or because they were afraid of what would happen to them (John 20:18-19).

In the same way, we may have doubt as to how Jesus has an impact in our life. Sometimes, it takes an event of such magnitude, no matter what you have heard or have been taught, when you realize that Jesus Christ is truly alive! It is then that you know, without a shadow of a doubt, that He is truly present in your life. It is our true faith in what we have been taught and when we no longer pay attention to what out friends think about us where we can be best used by God to proclaim His Word in our lives. It changes for us when we see God, through Jesus Christ, working in our lives (Matthew 28:17; Mark 16:14; Luke 24:31, 36, 45; John 20:19, 26; 21:1).

The resurrection of Jesus Christ allows for the life of Jesus to be imputed into the life of the believer. Jesus sends into the believer the Holy Spirit for guidance (Luke 24:49; John 20:22), and the believer receives power to overcome any doubt that may crop up (Acts 1:8), and it is the Spirit that gives us life (2 Corinthians 3:6). In the book of Acts, we see how the power of God through the Spirit reaches people for Jesus Christ and adds to the numbers of believers wherever the gospel is proclaimed.

Please note, however, that God will not make you do something that you do not want to do…you must have the desire to love the Lord by being obedient to His Word. You have the ability to suppress, or quench, the Holy Spirit, by living in opposition to what God’s Word would have you to do. It is your choices that guide how you live your life. It is only when you recognize everything that Christ has done for you when you can truly understand loving Him and what loving others for Christ truly means. It all goes back to the importance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and what it means to you.

Praise the Lord that we have a living Savior that is worth living for! You have available to you a relationship with a living God today if you turn away from your sins and trust that Jesus Christ died for you, and make Him your personal Savior. Amen.


Easter and Knowing Truth

Easter is a time of reflection that is not just about Jesus Christ and His resurrection–it is also about who we are…and not only about who we are, but who we are in Christ and the truths that come with this knowledge and understanding. Knowing that Christ died and was resurrected is the foundation of all truth that is relevant to our salvation, and it also represents the necessity for us to put off our old self and emerge into a new life… a life where we are living for Jesus.
Let’s look at a person who was an important part of Christ’s crucifixion. Caiaphas, the high priest, was approached to address the false charges brought against Him.

Matthew 26:57-64

 57 Those who had arrested Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had convened. 58Meanwhile, Peter was following Him at a distance right to the high priest’s courtyard. He went in and was sitting with the temple police to see the outcome.

    59 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false testimony against Jesus so they could put Him to death. 60 But they could not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward. Finally, two who came forward 61 stated, “This man said, ‘I can demolish God’s sanctuary and rebuild it in three days.’ “

    62 The high priest then stood up and said to Him, “Don’t You have an answer to what these men are testifying against You?” 63 But Jesus kept silent. Then the high priest said to Him, “By the living God I place You under oath: tell us if You are the Messiah, the Son of God!”

    64 “You have said it,” Jesus told him. “But I tell you, in the future you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Jesus answered truthfully; yet Caiaphas could not handle the truth that Jesus is the Messiah.

Acts 4:6-12

6 with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John and Alexander, and all the members of the high-priestly family. 7After they had Peter and John stand before them, they asked the question: “By what power or in what name have you done this?”

    8 Then Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders: 9 If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a disabled man—by what means he was healed— 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—whom you crucified and whom God raised from the dead—by Him this man is standing here before you healthy. 11 This [Jesus] is

    The stone despised by you builders,

    who has become the cornerstone.

    12 There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.”

Caiaphas had to still deal with the truth that Jesus was still present even though He was crucified. In the same way, people today want to deny that Jesus is a living God and that He is present. The truth about Christ is that He is always present and desires to have a relationship with everyone. It is up to the person to accept this truth and acknowledge Christ’s death on the cross for their sins and accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

Acts 5:17-24

17 Then the high priest took action. He and all his colleagues, those who belonged to the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18 So they arrested the apostles and put them in the city jail. 19 But an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail during the night, brought them out, and said, 20 “Go and stand in the temple complex, and tell the people all about this life.” 21In obedience to this, they entered the temple complex at daybreak and began to teach.  When the high priest and those who were with him arrived, they convened the Sanhedrin—the full Senate of the sons of Israel—and sent [orders] to the jail to have them brought. 22 But when the temple police got there, they did not find them in the jail, so they returned and reported, 23 “We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing in front of the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside!” 24 As the captain of the temple police and the chief priests heard these things, they were baffled about them, as to what could come of this.

In the process of denying the ministry of God and those who profess belief in Jesus Christ, do you find ways to suppress the gospel? While there has been success by many in the efforts to remove Him from schools and from society, He is still present and is working through those persons dedicated to proclaiming the gospel. Having the knowledge of truth and surrendering oneself to biblical truth are two different things. If your heart is not in living for Christ, you are far from Him, and your life will be evident of this. Peter also had the truth but needed to surrender to it.

Matthew 26:31-35

31Then Jesus said to them, “Tonight all of you will run away because of Me, for it is written:

    I will strike the shepherd,

    and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.

    32 But after I have been resurrected, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.”

    33 Peter told Him, “Even if everyone runs away because of You, I will never run away!”

    34 ” I assure you,” Jesus said to him, “tonight—before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times!”

    35 “Even if I have to die with You,” Peter told Him, “I will never deny You!” And all the disciples said the same thing.

John 13:37-38

37 “Lord,” Peter asked, “why can’t I follow You now? I will lay down my life for You!”

    38 Jesus replied, “Will you lay down your life for Me? I assure you: A rooster will not crow until you have denied Me three times.

God knows the heart of every man (1 Samuel 16:7; Matthew 6:21).

Peter now will face the real truth in his failure.

Matthew 26:69-75

 69Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant approached him and she said, “You were with Jesus the Galilean too.”

    70 But he denied it in front of everyone: “I don’t know what you’re talking about!”

    71 When he had gone out to the gateway, another woman saw him and told those who were there, “This man was with Jesus the Nazarene!”

    72 And again he denied it with an oath, “I don’t know the man!”

    73 After a little while those standing there approached and said to Peter, “You certainly are one of them, since even your accent gives you away.”

    74 Then he started to curse and to swear with an oath, “I do not know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed, 75 and Peter remembered the words Jesus had spoken, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.

In this failure, Peter now learns a lesson about the real truth, which he not truly acknowledged until that moment. When you deny God through a lack of obedience to Him and to His Word, it will ultimately condemn you. Peter’s failure in this situation would lead to his actually recognizing and receiving the truth about Jesus Christ. A transformation in Peter’s life had taken place.

Acts 4:1-12

1 Now as they were speaking to the people, the priests, the commander of the temple guard, and the Sadducees confronted them, 2 because they were provoked that they were teaching the people and proclaiming in the person of Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3 So they seized them and put them in custody until the next day, since it was already evening. 4But many of those who heard the message believed, and the number of the men came to about 5,000.

5 The next day, their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem 6 with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John and Alexander, and all the members of the high-priestly family. 7After they had Peter and John stand before them, they asked the question: “By what power or in what name have you done this?”

    8 Then Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders: 9 If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a disabled man—by what means he was healed— 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—whom you crucified and whom God raised from the dead—by Him this man is standing here before you healthy. 11 This [Jesus] is

    The stone despised by you builders,

    who has become the cornerstone.

    12 There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.”

Notice that Peter is no longer fearful of facing others through his adversity and willingly testifies about Jesus Christ. He even faced jail time over the proclamation of the gospel, and it did not matter to him at all. He accepted the truth about Christ, who He is, and what He means to us.

The two thieves were also a contrast in their understanding about truth.

Luke 23:39-43

39 Then one of the criminals hanging there began to yell insults at Him: “Aren’t You the Messiah? Save Yourself and us!”

    40 But the other answered, rebuking him: “Don’t you even fear God, since you are undergoing the same punishment? 41 We are punished justly, because we’re getting back what we deserve for the things we did, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!”

    43 And He said to him, ” I assure you: Today you will be with Me in paradise.”

The problem with the first man is that he wants to be saved from the consequences of his sin, but he does not want to live for Christ. The other criminal, however, understood the truth and acknowledged the truth. He declared that they (the criminals) were deserving of punishment, but knew that Jesus had done nothing wrong. Jesus knew the hearts of both men, and saw that the one criminal was repentant over his actions. He saw the importance of wanting to be with Jesus and the kingdom of God, and asked Christ to remember him. He acknowledged and understood the truth about Jesus Christ.

It is all about living for His Word…it feeds us, keeps us and protects us. To understand his Word is one thing, but to live in it is another. We are to live out the Word in our understanding of it. Because of the resurrection of Christ, you have eternal life, and you live in this hope through His Word of truth.

Please remember the importance of the resurrection of Christ as we celebrate not just Jesus, but our lives in Christ for what He has done for us.