THE RESURRECTION

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THE RESURRECTION

          Luke 24:1-12 – “Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.  2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulcher.  3 And they entered in and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.  4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: 5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?  6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, 7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.  8 And they remembered his words, 9 And returned from the sepulcher, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.  10 It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.  11 And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.  12 Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulcher; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.”

          I Corinthians 15:20-26 – “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.  21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.  22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.  23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.  24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.  25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.  26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”

          It takes faith to be a Christian.  I’m not talking about the every day, “day-in-and-day-out” faith that we must have to continue to believe anything at all in this broken world that does not make sense most of the time.  I’m talking about “threshold faith.”  It’s that “leap of faith” we must take to embrace the supernatural and believe that a virgin could conceive and that her Child is God become flesh. 

          There are no “how-to” books or “multi-step” programs to enlighten us on accepting what is impossible in the natural world.  Perhaps the answer comes to us when another supernatural thing happens and the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin and convinces us that there is only one answer to all of life’s questions and mortality’s dilemma – believe!  That leap of faith is demanded of us prerequisite to salvation because the initial step to the new birth is to believe that Jesus, being bludgeoned and nailed to a cross did, after three days in the tomb, rose from the grave (Romans 10:9,10). 

          Skeptics have always pounced on the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Even those who followed Him found it hard to believe that even this One Who walked upon the sea and turned water into wine, could escape death and the tomb.  When faithful ladies who, at the empty tomb received the glorious message that Jesus had risen, told the disciples that He was alive, the disciples accepted their testimony as if they were “idle words” (Luke 42:11).  Perhaps they thought that grief had driven them to delusion.

          Mary Magdalene had another explanation.  She thought that someone had stolen His body.  Supposing Jesus to be the caretaker, she requested Him to tell her where they had laid Jesus so she could take Him away (John 20:11-15).  It was only when He spoke her name that she realized that the One Who addressed her was her risen Lord. 

          Thomas will ever be remembered as the doubter who demanded the physical proof of His pierced hands and feet and His wounded side before he would believe (John 20:25).  A week later, he knelt at those wounded feet and declared the resurrected Jesus to be both Lord and God.  Jesus told Thomas that those who would not have the physical evidence in future generations would be blessed for their faith in the resurrection as declared by the scriptures.

          No other doctrine of the Christian faith is more central to the validity of our salvation than the resurrection.  It is also integrally connected to the future resurrection of the dead in Christ.  “If Christ is not risen, our faith is in vain and we are of all people the most miserable.” (I Corinthians 15:12-20). 

          Nineteenth-century infidel, Robert Ingersoll, declared that, if the resurrection of Christ could be disproved, then all of Christianity would fall like a house of cards.  Unbelieving men have tried to discredit the truth of the resurrection ever since it happened.  The chief priests bribed the guards to say that His disciples had stolen His body (Matthew 28:11-15).  One critic theorized that He had merely swooned on the cross and was revived by the cool environment of the tomb.  But how could He, in such a weakened state, have rolled away the stone?  Perhaps we should put all ICU units in cool, damp caves.

          Another skeptic concluded that His followers had simply gone to the wrong tomb.  Are we to believe that His body was so well hidden that He would not be found in two thousand years?  They have tried to find the bones of Jesus but they have always failed.  He took them with Him back to heaven!

          Today, we celebrate again the wondrous reality, first told to a few faithful women, that a search for Jesus in the tomb will prove fruitless.  He is not in the tomb.  HE IS RISEN JUST AS HE SAID HE WOULD!  On the day of Pentecost, Peter proclaimed that Jesus had risen, “having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that He should be holden of it” (Acts 2:24).  Your faith is affirmed again!  JESUS IS ALIVE!

THANK YOU LORD!

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During His travels in Samaria and Galilee, Jesus was confronted in one village by a group of ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19).  The disease that afflicted them had made them social outcasts.  The illness that infected them had no known earthly cure in those days.  So their helpless plight made them turn to Jesus in desperation and request mercy and healing.  In compassion, our Lord responded (as He always did) to their need and healed all ten.  We cannot imagine the impact that this healing and restoration had upon them and their families.  All ten were cleansed of the leprosy, but only one glorified God and stopped to thank the Savior.

We would all agree that ingratitude is inexcusable.  And yet, so often we are equally remiss as were the nine lepers in giving thanks to God.  Paul declared that we are to give thanks in everything and for everything that we recognize as a gift from God (I Thessalonians 5:18).  James declared that all good and perfect gifts we receive originate with God.  Too often we equate blessings with material things alone.  Then we fail to adequately thank God for the greater gifts He bestows.  Let us examine a few of those greater gifts.

First, we should thank God for the simplicity of salvation.  Men and religion have done their best to complicate God’s program of redemption.  They add to the Cross things such as church membership, baptism, good works and mysterious “second works” of grace.  But, in Acts 16:31, Paul’s response to the inquiry of the Philippian jailer was to “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved…”  That’s plain and simple and will not exclude anyone from accepting God’s precious gift.

We ought to also thank God for freedom.  For the believer, there are many avenues of freedom.  We should thank God for the freedom of life we enjoy as Americans and remember that many of our ancestors have paid for that freedom with their blood.  We should also thank God for the spiritual freedom we enjoy as believers.  We are free from the guilt of sin.  We are free from the penalty of sin.  We need not fear the past, present or future.  We are secure in Christ because His blood has cleansed us and sanctified us for God’s kingdom and purpose.  We are free from the “wage of sin” but we are also free from the “rage of sin.”  Jesus has set us free spiritually and we will enjoy His presence, peace and blessing for all eternity.

As you gather with your family and friends this Thanksgiving, amid the turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie, remember to pause and thank God for all the blessings you have received.  And even in that act of giving thanks you will be further blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

I Thessalonians 5:18 – “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

 

 

 

Time Part Two

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Ecclesiastes 3:1 – “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…”

In our last blog we proposed two opposing statements concerning time. Time is nothing! Time is everything.

Time means nothing to God. A thousand years or a day are both the same to Him. He is not affected by time. He does not change nor age. Time is nothing to God.

Time has no meaning for Christians who have died and gone to heaven. Eternal life for the believer never ends.

as the sun; We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise then when we first begun.”

To the saint in heaven, time means nothing. They will never grow tired or old. Sickness can never touch them. Tears will never stain their eyes. They are with Jesus forever.

But there is another reality. It is a terrible reality but it is true. Time means nothing to those who have perished without Christ. Time means nothing to those who have died rejecting Jesus as Savior. For the believer, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. But for the lost, death means an eternity in hell. No clocks tick away the moments till their release, because there will be no release. There are no calendars marking the day of their freedom, because there can never be freedom from the torments of the lake of fire. There is only eternal darkness without hope.

Felix, the Roman magistrate of Jerusalem, has spent 2000 years in hell. He postponed his opportunity for salvation telling Paul he would consider preparing for eternity later, in a more convenient season. It never came. Now it never will.

King Agrippa sarcastically told Paul that he was almost convinced to be saved. After two millennia in total darkness, he would gladly accept Christ today…but         too late.

A rich young nobleman remembers the time he planned to expand his warehouses and increase his goods so he could retire early. While making preparation for earth, he neglected preparing for the next life. Death ambushed him in his prime and all was lost…forever.

Today, if you are not sure of your salvation, pray and ask Jesus to become your Savior. If you are saved, and know it, look for opportunity to witness to your loved ones and family. Today there is time to change destinies. But time is running out.

Time will mean nothing in hell. No one plans to go there. But many will spend eternity there.

II Corinthians 6:2 – “When the time came, I listened to you, and when you needed help, I came to save you. That time has come. This is the day for you to be saved.” (CEV)

(TO BE CONTINUED)

 

 

Time

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Ecclesiastes 3:1 – “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted…”

Webster defines “time” as “…the measured or measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exists or continues.”

Our world is very conscious about time. We work overtime. We want time off. We punch a time clock. We waste time. We run out of time.   We never take the time to do the things we want to do. We’re on time. We need more time. We never have enough time.

The Capitalist will say, “Time is money!” The fatalist will declare, “Time is everything!”

Solomon declared, “…a time to every purpose under heaven.” The emphasis should be on the phrase “…under heaven.” Time is relevant for us only between conception and the grave. Beyond these two boundaries, time does not exist. On either side of these two boundaries there is only eternity.

Consider two extreme statements about time. Time is nothing. Time is everything.

Time is nothing to God. The apostle Peter said, “…one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” The artist depicts God as an aging grandfather with long white beard. This image suggests that God is affected by time. This image of God is not true. God is ageless. He is not wearied nor enfeebled by the passing of years. God first set the pendulum of time in motion “…in the beginning,” and He will still its course “in the end.” But He is from everlasting to everlasting. He does not die. Time is nothing to God.

Time is nothing to those who have died in Christ and now live with Him in heaven. In the “…Father’s house…” God’s redeemed people will exist in the same eternal state as God does. Eternal life begins at the moment of salvation. Physical death is not an end of being but a transition to life eternal. All the saints of God who have gone before are even now enjoying the presence of Christ. All our loved ones who have died in Christ have escaped the world of the flesh with all its sorrows and limitations. There are no calendars in heaven to tell its residents that time is about to expire because there is no time there. There is no night there because Jesus is the light of God’s capitol city. The eternal residents of heaven know only happiness and bliss forever.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

 

 

Faith Family Fellowship

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What’s in a name?  Shakespeare said, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  While that may be true of the aroma, it would not necessarily be as inviting if we called a rose a slug.

Names are important.  Ask any business.   There are businesses we immediately recognize such as Starbucks, Nike or Amazon.  These names invite us to come near and do business with them.  We learn to trust a name and the products they represent.

Recently we have gone through a name change.  We decided as a community of believers to identify ourselves as Faith Family Fellowship.  Why?

We are a community of Faith.  Without faith it is impossible to please God.  Faith is the ability to believe and trust.  It is a decision we make.  We have decided to trust the Bible as our source of what we believe and how to live.

We are a Family.  We are related through our mutual relationship with Jesus Christ.  Families members do not all look the same.  We do not agree on every thing but we agree on the common tenets of our faith and give liberty to each other in things not essential to our faith.  The governing principle is love.  Jesus said that His disciples would be identified by the love they shared and the love they expressed for others.

We are a Fellowship.  The word fellowship comes from the Greek word “koinonia.”  Christian fellowship involves relationship and mutual support.  We laugh together and at times we weep together.  But always we love one another.

If you have tried other churches and not found your niche,  come and check us out.  We welcome all into our fellowship with love and open arms.  No barriers here!  Faith Family Fellowship is our name.  Come and see.