Reaching the unseen

REACHING THE UNSEEN IN 2016

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REACHING THE WORLD FOR JESUS

May God bless the Pastors and Bible Teachers all over the world, we thank God that Sermons to the World is now reaching 148 countries and all 50 States and The District of Columbia in the U.S.

MISSION

Mission: To be a resource to Pastors and Bible teachers in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world. – Sermons to the World

VISION STATEMENT

Vision: To reach the world on the internet to fulfill the command of Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20 – “to go into all the world and teach all nations”.

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GOOD FRIDAY and EASTER SERMONS




 
LENT DAYS


"TAKE UP YOUR CROSS DAILY AND FOLLOW ME"


“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.”(Luke 9:23-26)

Jesus was talking to his disciples about his upcoming crucifixion.  They did not understand what he was talking about.  They thought he was going to set up His kingdom on Earth at that time and they would rule with Him during that time.  They did not know understand that it was going to cost them dearly to follow Him and be called a Christian.  Most of the twelve disciples were martyred for their faith and thousands of others in the early church and throughout history.  It is going to cost us something to follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Fortunately we live in a free society and we have freedom of religion.  At this point in our history it probably will not cost us our lives to publicly live for the Lord.  But there are still crosses for us to bear and self-denial that we must impose ourselves.

Some people have a cross of poor health.  Some people bear a cross of being abused as a child or as an adult, which has led to poor self-esteem and emotional problems.  Some people bear a cross of having little of this world’s economic goods.  These are crosses that either other people have put on us, or we have put on ourselves.

The spiritual application is this: Sometimes the Lord removes our crosses from us, and sometimes he helps us carry them.  Each day it may be difficult to keep going, but he wants us to “take up” our cross.

Jesus chose to endure self-denial during his time on the earth and die on the cross for you and me.  He wants us to follow His example. 

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2) 

Jesus was able to bear His cross because of what he saw in the future.  You and I have a great future.  

Jesus was able to see Heaven and His Father.  He had been with Him before the world was created and He knew he would soon be with Him again.  This is what He wants us to see.  That we will be with Him.  “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:13).

Taking up your cross does not mean that you cannot be happy.  Throughout the New Testament we are taught to “rejoice”, to think positive and to live a life of love and service.  Even though you have a cross, you keep your eyes of Jesus.  That is why He said to “follow me”.

If you are following Him, He will be in front of you and you will have the strength to make it.  He is not asking you to walk where He has not already walked.

Taking up your cross and following Jesus does mean that there is some self-denial involved.  This may take the form of service to others.  The Lord may also ask you to use some of your time, money, talents and skills to help others.  But everything you give to the Lord will be blessed and multiplied.  “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have shown toward his name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” (Hebrews 6:10).

Taking up your cross and following Jesus may require you to endure some hardships. Paul was able to heal many people and be a blessing to many others, but had  Paul had a physical illness that God did not cure, even though Paul himself requested this healing several times.  This does not mean we do not pray for healing, deliverance, or victory.  In many cases the Lord will give us the desires of our heart.  But sometimes we have to “take up our cross” and follow Him.

“For this thing I besought the Lord three times, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”   (2 Corinthians 12:8-9)

Remember after the carrying of the cross, and the crucifixion, there was a resurrection.  You and I have a resurrection and will share in Christ’s glory. “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us” (2 Timothy 2:12).





 “BEHOLD, YOUR KING COMES UNTO YOU”
Zechariah 9:9

Palm Sunday, in the Christian calendar is the Sunday before Easter and the first day of the Holy Week.  The account of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem is one of the few events that are recorded in all four Gospels.  Of the four reports given in the Gospels, only one, John, mentions palms. It has been the custom of all of the kingdoms of the Middle East to cover, in some manner, the pathway of royalty.    It was a prophecy predicted in Zechariah 9:9 “Rejoice greatly; O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, thy King comes unto you: He is just, and having salvation; lowly and riding a donkey, and upon a colt of the foal of an donkey”.  It was fulfilled in Matthew 21: 1-11.  This chapter begins that which is called the passion-week. He had said to his disciples more than once, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and there the Son of man must be betrayed. A great deal of good work He did by the way, and now at length He is come up to Jerusalem.   This passage of Christ's riding in triumph into Jerusalem, happened five days before his death. The Passover was on the fourteenth day of the month, and this was the tenth; on which day the law appointed that the paschal lamb should be taken up (Exod. xii. 3), and set apart for that service; on that day therefore Christ our Passover, who was to be sacrificed for us, was publicly shown. This was the prelude to His passion, His death, and His Resurrection. 

Palm Sunday pictures the peace-loving King who is going into Jerusalem to die to restore relationships torn by sin by establishing a new covenant in His blood.  In Revelation 19:11 there is the picture of the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” to come and destroy His enemies, Satan, and sin.

There are many applications we can draw from this event.  God uses simple material things like donkeys, to accomplish His purposes.  He said: “The Lord has need of them” (Matthew 21:3). The Lord would like to use you to meet a need in other’s lives.   He also used their cloaks to give Him the red carpet treatment.  Some offered Him their shouts of praise and worship.

 God uses what we have to glorify Him.  Don’t ever think you have nothing to offer the “King of Kings”.  “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise” (Psalms 51:17).
The poor offered Him praise and worship.  “And when He had come near, even now at the descent of the Mount of Olives, all the multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works which they had seen, saying, Blessed is the King coming in the name of the Lord! Peace in Heaven and glory in the highest! (Luke 19:37-38)

Jesus was aware that although the common people received Him, the religious leaders did not.  “And some of the Pharisees from the crowd said to Him, Teacher, rebuke your disciples. And He answered and said to them, I tell you that if these should be silent, the stones would cry out. (Luke 19:39-40).

Palm Sunday and Easter are illustrations about your worship of the “King of Kings” and your coming to the foot of the Cross.  Jesus could have marshaled the forces of nature to pound the minds of the masses into submission or taken over my creating a military force, or creating circumstances that would literally force people to follow Him.  But God wanted our relationship with Him to be personal.  Everything He did was for us to find the purpose of His love and grace.  Christ is God and can be everywhere at the same time, doing trillions of things at the same time, touching trillions of hearts at the same time.  He can do all of this in an individualized, customized, totally personalized, one-on-one way.  Most people consider Christ a great historical figure, but they have no personal relationship with Him.  God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit are about you.  Christ knew you before you were born, yet he suffered and died, and rose again so you could be apart of His Kingdom.  

There is a deep emotional work involved in getting to a full relationship with Christ.  Many people don’t want to take that deep a journey.  Their sin prevents them or blinds them to the love and grace existing for them.
Let Him be your “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords” today, and He will give you an unexplainable supernatural experience.  It is called being born again, saved, receiving eternal life, becoming a friend of Christ, and a child of the King!  He is coming again.  I hope you will offer your material things, your praises, and your lives to Him this Palm Sunday.
 

 

 Jesus’ Last Week Before the Crucifixion

(Luke 19-22)

What would you do if you were going to die within a week?  Jesus knew exactly when He was going to die; and how He was going to die.  He also knew He was going to be raised from the dead and be with His friends again.  In today’s message I would like to retrace some of the things that Jesus did during His last week.  His resurrection was going to happen, but before this He knew what He had to face.  He had to make a choice of what He would do with His life during this week.

In Chapter 19 Jesus is concerned with the spiritual and physical needs of others.  With less than a week left in his earthly life he continued the work that His Father God had given Him.  On His way to Jerusalem to be crucified, he stopped at Jericho to have supper with one of the worst sinners in that community.  Zaccheus was “chief among the publicans, and he was rich”.  Jesus told Him about heaven and about salvation.  His life was changed and he gave back all the money he had taken wrongfully from others.  Jesus changed His life and gave Him eternal life: “This day is salvation come to this house….For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost”.  There are people we need to talk to about their salvation.  He also stopped to heal blind Bartimeus: “And Jesus said to him, "What do you want me to do for you?" And the blind man said to him, "Master, let me receive my sight." And Jesus said to him, "Go your way; your faith has made you well." And immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way” (Mark 10:51-52).  We need to stop and ask others the same question:  “What do you want me to do for you?”

He wept over Jerusalem.  He could have condemned those who were going to crucify Him, but He wept over the destruction that would come to them in A.D. 70.  We need to weep over those who will not return to God and are destined to die in their sins.

Jesus cast out the money changers from the temple.  He was making His final attempt to get the religious people of His day to return to God and stop using God’s House as a “Den of Thieves”.  We should protect the “House of Prayer” from becoming a place of business.

In Chapter 20 and 21 we find Jesus teaching in the temple and preaching the gospel.  He taught about accountably, respect of government, the resurrection, His deity, giving, and signs of the end times.  We need to be teaching and preaching the gospel, and subjects that Jesus felt were important then and now.
                                                                                              
In Chapter 22 we find Jesus spending his last hours with his friends.  We see Him at the Last Supper eating and drinking his last meal with His closest friends.  We see Him giving them their last minute instructions about how to treat each other.  He teaches his disciples to love each other and serve each other.  We see our Lord and Savior in the Garden praying for you and me: “I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (John 17:20-21).

The question today is how are you going to spend the rest of your life?  We do not know how much time we have. “Boast not yourself of
tomorrow; for you know not what a day may bring forth”
(Proverbs 27:1).  Just because you have limitations like financial problems, or health issues, does not mean you cannot make a difference in the lives of others in using your time.  This is one thing you and I have control of.

 Jesus not only took time to let others minister to Him, but He used his power and gifts to minister to others.  When you have the opportunity to do good for others, you should do it: “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, "Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it" --when you have it with you” (Proverbs 3:27-28).

Jesus spent the last three years of His life in service and ministry.  Even in the last week of His life He was thinking of others.  Below is a poem by General William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army:

Lord, let me live from day to day
In such a self-forgetful way
That even when I kneel to pray,
My prayer shall be for others.
Others, Lord, yes, others;
Let this my motto be.
Help me to live for others
That I may live like Thee.

 


GOOD FRIDAY


"Seven Last Words of Christ."

Luke 23:33-34 — "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing."  He made intercession for transgressors, as was foretold (Isaiah. 53: 12)
Luke 23:43 — "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise."  Heaven is a place, and Jesus is there, and so will we one day.
John 19:25-27 — "Woman, here is your son." He tenderly provides for His mother.  God will take care of you.  
Mark 15:33-34 — "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" God cannot look on sin.  Jesus took our sin.  (Amos 8: 9), I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day;
     John 19: 28  “I Am Thirsty.”  A prophecy fulfilled – Psalm 69-21:
      “And in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink”
John 19:29-30 — "It is finished."  It is finished, that is, all the types and prophecies of the Old Testament, which pointed at the sufferings of the Messiah, were accomplished and answered.
Luke 23:46 — "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit."  He commends his spirit into his Father's hand, to be received into paradise, and returned the third day.

 
SEVEN LAST SAYINGS OF CHRIST FROM THE CROSS
BY JERRY DEPOY

Edited by Pastor Mark Taylor


  1. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” Luke 23:34 

 Here we see Jesus in his role as the intercessor of all humanity. His very purpose of coming to this earth was to redeem mankind from the curse of the law. Man’s greatest need was “forgiveness of sin.”

Jesus had told his disciples to love those that would persecute you… to turn the other cheek… to pray for those who despitefully use you. Here we see Christ exemplifying his teachings on the Mount.

The Bible says that “God is Love.” When the nails pieced the hands of Christ, love poured forth. 

Christ said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” All sin is done in ignorance. Mankind is blinded by the lies of the god of this world. Only God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit were fully aware of what was taking place on the cross. All others that stood in the midst, stood alongside in ignorance.

  1. “Woman, behold thy son… behold thy mother” 

John 19: 26, 27  Note that the first of the sayings of Christ from the Cross all were directed at “others.” Before Christ considered his own suffering, he looked upon the sufferings of others. In this text, he directed his compassion towards his Mother.

Jesus was now the “Son of God.” His purpose was to “take away the sins of the world.” Therefore, when Christ spoke to his mother, he did not refer to her as “Mother,” rather, “Woman.” Christ was positioned as the Son of God to be her Savior.

Our faith in Christ makes us one family. Although Mary was not the Mother of John the beloved, and John was not the earthly son of Mary, our faith in Christ unites us into one family.

Does Jesus still care about the grief and sorrows we bear, or that borne by a world living under the weight of sin? The words of Paul are poignant, strong and compelling: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2). In the same manner that Jesus transferred the responsibility to care for his grief stricken mother to John, he assigns responsibility to the church to help others. We become our Lord’s agents of care and love to both the church and the world.


  1. “Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise” Luke 23:43 

Christ still is hanging in the middle. The two thieves represent all of humanity. People must decide on Christ. One day, Christ will divide people to the right and to the left. Those who have received him will be on the right hand side, and those who have rejected him will be on the left hand side. On which side will you be?

Note that both thieves had prayed. I think perhaps that all men have cried out to God at one time or another. But there is a difference between the prayer of repentance and the prayer for comfort. One thief prayed, “Remove me from the Cross.” The repentant thief prayed, “Lord, remember me in your kingdom.” 

Something changed the heart of the dying repentant thief. At first both thieves were mocking on Christ. Both thieves had witnessed the same events. Both thieves were approximately the same distance from the crucified Christ, but only one repented.

4.  “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me” 
Matthew 27:46 

The sin of the world was now placed upon Christ. Jesus had become “sin for us.” The Father was of too pure eyes to behold sin. He, and all of Heaven, had to look away.

“Forsaken”, is a word that conjures up the worst of human experiences. We are reminded of tales of husbands leaving their wives, wives leaving their husbands, of children who cannot understand the absence of a parent for any reason, even death. It speaks of divorce, loneliness, rejection, and all of the hurts and pains of abandonment.

This cry from Christ from the cross exemplifies every lost man’s cry as he goes out into a Christless eternity. Those in Hell will be forsaken by God. That is what will make Hell Hell.

5. “I thirst”   John 19:28
The first thing that the rich man in hell cried for was a drop of water to cool his tongue. Christ hung on that Christ. In the suffering of his humanity he cried “I thirst.”

He who is and who gives, “the water of life”, emptied himself of this and every resource, when he died on our behalf. He was truly man. He truly died. 

Not only did Christ cry, “I thirst,” because he was thirsty. The context of the verse implies that he said the words because he wanted to be sure to fulfill the scriptures! It had been written that he would be given gall and vinegar to drink. Jesus was in total control. He knew the purpose his death. By fulfilling all of the scriptures about him, above his desire for water, Christ had a desire to please his Father.

6.  “It is finished” John 19:30     

Jesus wasn’t finished, although it looked like he was. His work was finished! The sacrifice that enabled the restoration of man to God was completed - eternally, nothing was left undone, nothing else was necessary. Complete satisfaction was made for the debt incurred by the whole human race. The word “forgiven” literally means, “remitted”, a term often used regarding the payment of an account. Full satisfaction for the debt incurred by man and his sin against God’s holy nature, was paid in full by Jesus on the cross. 

Christ had now fulfilled all that he came to this earth to do. His mission to world was complete. Mankind now had a Savior. Jesus had removed the curse of law by taking the penalty of the curse for us on the cross.

“It is finished,” could also be rendered, “Devil, you are finished!” It is true that Satan had bruised the heel of Christ, but, by means of the cross, Christ had stepped on the head the snake!

“It is finished,” could also be rendered, “Paid in full.” Jesus stood at the courts of heaven and declared that mankind’s atonement price of redemption was now paid in full.

“It is finished,” could also be rendered, “End of the Old, and the beginning of the New.” The chapter of sin and death was now over. It was now time for resurrection and life!

“It is finished,” could be rendered, “Our salvation is complete.” We are a full gospel Church! The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Our salvation is complete in Christ. We do not preach a half gospel. How sad it is to think that there are those who preach that mankind has to do something more to add to what Christ has already completed for us at the Cross!

“It is finished, ” could also be rendered, “Good bye to this world, and hello to Heaven!

7.  John 19:30 
“Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” Luke 23:46 

One of two prayers will be prayed by everyone as they enter into the door of death. Either a person will be crying out “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me.” Or a person will have the promise of this blessed prayer, “Father, into thy hands I will commend my spirit.”

Christ had fulfilled the law. He had just cried loudly, “It is finished.” Now Christ was once again reunited with his Father. He could pray “Father into thy hands I commend my spirit.”

Note that Christ had nothing left to give. His body and his blood had been completely demised. The only thing that Christ had left to give his Father was his spirit. The older we get in this life, the less body I have to give to the Lord, but God still can have our spirit!

Note that following this saying, Christ bowed his head as he died. The Greek word for the bowing indicates that this was done in full control of Christ. It was not a head simply hanging limply to the side. Christ bowed his head in reverence and in worship to his Father, even unto death.

How did the Father respond? In that very moment, the Father took the spirit of Christ into paradise. The dying thief had already announced the coming arrival. Three days later, the spirit of Christ, in a resurrected body, would walk out of the tomb!



 “FATHER FORGIVE THEM”


“Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." 
(Luke 23:34)

The subject of forgiveness is one of the central themes of the Bible.  Jesus stressed the importance of it often.  There were many reasons why our Lord went to the cross.  But everything was wrapped up in the package of forgiveness.  He went to the cross to die for our sins because He was a gift from Heaven. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  (John 3:16).  He came to pay the penalty for our sins and to give His life for us because He loved His Father.  "Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.” (John 10:17).  Even though the people who crucified Him did not ask for forgiveness, He gave it.  Forgiveness is something the Lord wants us to be able to do.  It is so important, that our Lord gives us these preconditions for our forgiveness.  "And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. "But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses." (Mark 11:25-26).

When you accept Christ as your personal Savior, you receive the Holy Spirit within you.  He is the one that gives you the power to forgive.  Forgiveness is more than saying the words “I forgive”.  It is a change of heart and attitude.   Jesus tells us that we are not going to have much success in our Christian life if we don’t learn how to forgive.  ).  He says when you become a Christian, you become a new person: 
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new”.  (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Forgiveness is a process.  Sometimes it takes years to complete it.
But it can happen in a moment if you are willing to allow the Holy Spirit to help you work through it.

One of the first steps in forgiveness is that you have to name it.  If you have anger, bitterness, or hurt, you have to identify what it is and be very specific about it.  Sometimes that takes time and even talking to someone about your issue to identify it.  It may be something that is so deeply hidden in your past that you may not be able to identify it immediately.  But it is a very important step in the process.

Secondly, make an effort to verbally communicate your forgiveness. In some cases the person you need to forgive may not still be alive or you may never have the opportunity to tell them they are forgiven.  But you can say it out loud to yourself so the Lord will hear it.  It is very possible those who have died can hear some of our communications.  In Luke 16 there is a story of those who have died and were communicating with Abraham.  At the very least, we know the Lord hears us.

Thirdly, you need to release that person from your hurt by forgiving them.  Your forgiveness is not about making the other person feel good, but it is about your healing.  It does not matter whether or not they accept your forgiveness, it is about you releasing them from your thoughts and turning them over to God.  Allow God to decide what He chooses to do with them.  If you are in a current situation that is causing you hurt and anger, you need to distance yourself from that person or situation.  God does not expect or want you to live in verbal or physical abuse. Some relationships can harm us and we need to protect ourselves by not allowing people to repeat harmful acts to us.

Remember that God loves you and accepts you just as you are.  Jesus always forgave people before He healed them.  Our time on earth is too short for us to live in misery and hurt. Forgiveness is the greatest thing you can ever do for your Spiritual, Physical, and Mental health.  One of the last things Jesus said was 
“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
 Forgive others so God can do His best work in you. Forgiveness is a demonstration of love that only you have the power to do.  God forgave you when you did not deserve it.  It is your turn.

“We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”
 (Romans 5:8). “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).




“WHY DID JESUS HAVE TO DIE?”


“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21)
The last few days of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, were not filled with healing, social ministries to the multitudes, or trying to reform religious institutions.  He did spend most of the three years of His ministry doing these things.  However, His last days were spent in giving important instructions and examples to His disciples and to you and I.

One of the last things our Lord did was to have a meal with His disciples.  We know this as the “Last Supper”.  This was a meal that all Jewish people were having called the “Passover”.  This was a meal for them to remember their deliverance from captivity from Egypt. A lamb was killed and the blood was put on the doors of all the Jewish houses to protect them from the “death angel” who would come that night to take the first born of anyone who did not have the blood on their door.  This would demonstrate the power of God to the Pharaoh and cause him to release the Jewish nation from slavery.  Jesus would become that lamb for you and me. Early in His ministry he was identified as that Lamb. “The next day John sees Jesus coming to him and says, Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).  He would deliver us from sin by shedding His blood for us.  God had this planned for you and I.  “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22). “"For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28).

Jesus both knew and was willing to die on the cross for you and me.  He was willing to shed His blood so that you and I could be forgiven of our sins and go to Heaven. His words about Himself: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up” (John 3:14).  Jesus says this about Himself: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.  This he said, signifying what death he should die” (John 12:32-33).


Some people may feel bad about the fact that Jesus had to died.   Listen to what Jesus said about His death and resurrection: “"Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. "No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father." (John 10:17-18)

We need to be grateful that God loved us so much to provide a way for us to go to Heaven and have eternal life: “"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). 

We need to understand that the important thing about this season we call “Easter” is that it was planned before the beginning of the earth:
“He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” (Hebrews 9:26-28)

Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, left his disciples and us with comforting words and a promise: “"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3).

Jesus wants you and I to understand that because He arose from the dead, you and I will continue to live after our so called death and live for ever. “Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. "And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26).  This is Jesus’ question to you.  Here is His invitation to you: “"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30).  The answer to the question “Why did Jesus have to die?” is: He loved you enough to die for you. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8).






Pastor Mark Taylor                           Friendship United Methodist Church

March 26, 2006                                    Sunday Morning Worship Service


“IF I BE LIFTED UP”

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me”. (John 12: 32)

This morning’s message comes from two passages of Scriptures.  In the Old Testament we are given an example of Moses lifting up a serpent on a pole (Numbers 21:4-9).  In the New Testament we see our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ predicting His being lifted up on a cross (John 3:14-21).

God had just delivered the children of Israel out of 400 years of bondage in Egypt.  God parted the Red Sea and allowed over two million of His people to cross over on dry land, and then drown the complete Egyptian Army.  He gave them water, bread, and meat to eat for nearly 40 years, yet they complained about everything.   He used Moses as an instrument of speaking His love and instruction.  Even after the people had seen this and the power of God, they got discouraged.  Now they were in the last days of their 40 year journey.  They began to complain again about what God had provided for them.  At this point God sent deadly serpents to bite the people and many died.  They came to Moses and said: “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against you; pray unto the LORD, that He take away the serpents from us”.  Moses forgave them and asked God to forgive them.  He was a type of Christ who interceded for his persecutors and this is a pattern for us to follow to show that we can love our enemies.  God did not take away the serpents, but provided a cure for their deadly bites.

God ordered Moses to make the representation of a fiery serpent, which he did, in brass, and set it up on a very long pole that it might be seen from all parts of the camp so that everyone that was stung with a fiery serpent was healed by looking up to this serpent of brass.  God designed the method of ransom.  He also designed the remedy for our sins by lifting up Christ on a cross for our sins.

In John 3 we see Jesus Christ coming to seek and to save the children of men from death, and give them life.  The devil is the old serpent that is mentioned in Genesis 3, Ephesians 6:16, and in Revelation 12:3.
Jesus said “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3: 14-15).
Jesus Christ came to save us by healing us spiritually as we look to Him.  It was the last miracle that passed through the hand of Moses before his death.  It was the last and best miracle that Christ performed at His death.

The serpent was lifted up that all of Israel might see it.  Christ was lifted up that the world might look upon Him to be saved.  It was God Himself that provided the ransom.  It was God who determined and designed how we could get forgiveness of our sins.  Jesus’ enemies could not have taken his life had the Father not given Him as a gift.

The way of applying this remedy is simply by believing and looking to Christ to be saved.  The offer that is made of salvation by God is for everyone.  Whoever believes in Him, without exception, will be saved.  The salvation offer is complete.  They shall not perish.  As those children of Israel looked and lived, they entered into the promise land of Canaan.  We too will enter into Heaven our promised land.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believes on Him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” 
(John 3:16-18)

Jesus did not come to condemn us, but because of our sin nature we were already condemned.  We all have a sin nature that does the same thing that the children of Israel did in the wilderness.   I hope you will choose to look to Jesus.

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
 (Hebrews 12:2)

Ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins today.  Ask Him to come into your heart and give you eternal life.  Make a commitment to give your life to Him.  He has already given His life for you.
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13)
 
 



EASTER



Coming To Jesus Early, While It’s Still Dark


“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb” (John 20:1).

The crucifixion had brought earth’s darkest day.  Even the light of the sun had been hidden from view for three hours during the middle of the day.  There was also a dark despair that swept in on the followers of Christ who had either forgotten or doubted His promise to rise from the dead.  Even Mary and other women came to His grave to bring spices and ointments to put on His dead body.  They came to do the work of an undertaker.  Instead this is what happen: “But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? "He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, "saying, 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.'" And they remembered His words” 
(Luke 24:2-8).

We ought to come to Jesus early “while it is still dark”.  We should come to Jesus early to give Him our burdens.  “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7).  David prayed this prayer in his wilderness experience: “O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water” (Psalms 63:1).  The earlier we seek Him, the sooner we will find Him.

God will meet us in dark times and bring us light. “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." (John 8:12).

God has called you out of the darkness of your burdens.  “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).  You cannot wait until the sun starts shining to come to Jesus.  You have to begin your journey while it is still dark.

We ought to come to Jesus in spite of the obstacles that confront us.  The women who came to Jesus early envisioned having to overcome powerful obstacles to get to Jesus.  “And they said among themselves, "Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?" But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away--for it was very large” 
(Mark 16:3-4).  The tomb was sealed and guarded by representatives of the Roman Empire.  The tomb had been closed by a large stone.  There are always obstacles in getting to Jesus.  These include pride, fear, selfishness, and sin.  Those who come to Jesus will find the stones in their lives will roll away.

The longer we wait, the less likely we are to come to Him. “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:12-13).

If you are waiting for an intellectual experience where you understand everything, you will never come to Christ.  Or if you are waiting until you become “good enough”, that day will never come.   Jesus said: "Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it." (Mark 10:15).

If you are waiting for the right time to come to the Lord, it is today.
For He says: "In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you." Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).  Jesus also says this to you and me:
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30).




YOUR RESURRECTION


“HOW ARE THE DEAD RAISED UP? AND WITH WHAT BODY DO THEY COME?  (I Corinthians 15: 35)

Look at a little seed that we put into the ground, or take a look at a dry looking bulb that some put into the ground.  They look withered and dead, but in the spring we see the flowers and the fruit of the new life.  How is this done?  “God gives it a body as it pleased Him, and to every seed his own body.”  That is the solution of the mystery, “How are the dead raised?”  “God gives it a body.” (I Corinthians 15:38)   Paul explains it: “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.” (I Corinthians 15:51)

Let’s look at Christ’s new body after His resurrection.  Oh, it is the old one in a sense; but it is not, it is entirely new, not subject to the laws that bound that body before.  There is no more difficulty in believing in the resurrection of the human body, than the resurrection of a seed put into the earth.  Behind the coming back of the seed and the human form, in new forms, is God.  “God gives it a body.”  

Look around and see the infinite variety in the work of God.  God has created bodies that are fitted for the skies, like birds, bodies fitted for land, like man and land animals; and bodies fitted for water, like fish and other sea creatures.  We ask What sort of body will we have?  Look out upon the variety that is foun
Paul says that there is a natural body and a spiritual body.  The physical body is governed by nature and the environment.  The spiritual or resurrected body is not controlled by any natural processes.  “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.”  (I Corinthians 15:50)

“Behold I tell you a mystery..” I tell you something that is revealed, and that man can not find out by the process of reasoning or discover by the searching of the intellect. What is this mystery?  “We shall all be changed.” (I Corinthians 15: 51)  We saw how the seed is changed; so the body will be changed.   Life is not always going to be like it is now.  We shall be changed.  Something will happen, and the something will be both a physical change and a personality change.  There are those who are with the Lord for a while without their resurrected body now, because they have experience death.  There are those who are in nursing homes and mental hospitals who at one time could express their love for the Lord, but cannot do it right now.*  “We shall all be changed.”

When will this great event happen?

“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
 (I Corinthians 15:52)

“But I would not have you to be ignorant brethren, concerning them which are asleep (physically dead, but spiritually with the Lord), that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (precede) them which are asleep.  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (I Thessalonians 4: 13-18).  Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:  We are confident, I say and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (II Corinthians 5:6,8)

There will be a time when death ends.  “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” (I Corinthians 15: 54)  We shall die no more.  We shall be changed into the new order of life: our personalities continuing in those bodies that God will prepare for us, which are supernatural.

Application:  Live a life of service and righteousness so that when you meet the Lord either through physical death or you meet Him at His return, you will have lived a life pleasing to Him.  Paul concludes the 15th chapter of I Corinthians with these encouraging words:

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”  (I Corinthians 15: 58)




 

                                    YOUR RESURRECTION

“HOW ARE THE DEAD RAISED UP? AND WITH WHAT BODY DO THEY COME?  (I Corinthians 15: 35)

Look at a little seed that we put into the ground, or take a look at a dry looking bulb that some put into the ground.  They look withered and dead, but in the spring we see the flowers and the fruit of the new life.  How is this done?  “God gives it a body as it pleased Him, and to every seed his own body.”  That is the solution of the mystery, “How are the dead raised?”  “God gives it a body.” (I Corinthians 15:38)   Paul explains it: “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.” (I Corinthians 15:51)

Let’s look at Christ’s new body after His resurrection.  Oh, it is the old one in a sense; but it is not, it is entirely new, not subject to the laws that bound that body before.  There is no more difficulty in believing in the resurrection of the human body, than the resurrection of a seed put into the earth.  Behind the coming back of the seed and the human form, in new forms, is God.  “God gives it a body.”  

Look around and see the infinite variety in the work of God.  God has created bodies that are fitted for the skies, like birds, bodies fitted for land, like man and land animals; and bodies fitted for water, like fish and other sea creatures.  We ask What sort of body will we have?  Look out upon the variety that is found in this world, and in the universe, all the work of God and though we cannot imagine that resurrection body, if we remember it is God’s work, we shall be able to believe in the fact of it.*

Paul says that there is a natural body and a spiritual body.  The physical body is governed by nature and the environment.  The spiritual or resurrected body is not controlled by any natural processes.  “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.”  (I Corinthians 15:50)

“Behold I tell you a mystery..” I tell you something that is revealed, and that man can not find out by the process of reasoning or discover by the searching of the intellect. What is this mystery?  “We shall all be changed.” (I Corinthians 15: 51)  We saw how the seed is changed; so the body will be changed.   Life is not always going to be like it is now.  We shall be changed.  Something will happen, and the something will be both a physical change and a personality change.  There are those who are with the Lord for a while without their resurrected body now, because they have experience death.  There are those who are in nursing homes and mental hospitals who at one time could express their love for the Lord, but cannot do it right now.*  “We shall all be changed.”

When will this great event happen?

“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
 (I Corinthians 15:52)

“But I would not have you to be ignorant brethren, concerning them which are asleep (physically dead, but spiritually with the Lord), that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (precede) them which are asleep.  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (I Thessalonians 4: 13-18).  Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:  We are confident, I say and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (II Corinthians 5:6,8)

There will be a time when death ends.  “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” (I Corinthians 15: 54)  We shall die no more.  We shall be changed into the new order of life: our personalities continuing in those bodies that God will prepare for us, which are supernatural.

Application:  Live a life of service and righteousness so that when you meet the Lord either through physical death or you meet Him at His return, you will have lived a life pleasing to Him.  Paul concludes the 15th chapter of I Corinthians with these encouraging words:

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”  (I Corinthians 15: 58) 

BIBLICAL PROOFS OF THE RESURRECTION

For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins.
(1 Corinthians 15:16-17)

The Resurrection, and the Virgin Birth are the two most important tenants of our faith. 

Predictions of Jesus’ Resurrection

Jesus and His apostles repeatedly claimed that Old Testament prophets had predicted His death and His resurrection.

“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.  And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shall make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand” (Isaiah 53:7-10).

“For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer your Holy One to see corruption” (Psalms 16:9-11).

“Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign show you unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spoke of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said” (John 2:18-22).

For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40).

Testimony of the Angels and the Empty Tomb

Three Bible writers describe appearances of angels who announced the resurrection to varies people.

“And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him” (Mark 16:5-6).

“And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? "He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee,” (Luke 24:4-6)

Appearances of Jesus

“He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3).

“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time” (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).

Jesus caused the dead to rise after He arose at His resurrection to show His power over death and nature.  We will also come out of the grave during the Rapture of the Church.

“Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many” (Matthew 27:51-53).
 



The “New” Jesus and The “New” You

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Before His resurrection our Lord had chosen to be a servant.  After His resurrection He had become the Lord of Lord and King of Kings.   And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19:16)   Before His resurrection He had chose to die for our sins.  After His resurrection He would never die again.  "Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. "I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hell and of Death. (Revelation 1:17-18).  Before His resurrection He suffered for you and me.  “Surely He has borne our griefs  And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”  (Isaiah 53:4-5).  After His resurrection He has promised that we will live with Him where there is no suffering.  "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful." (Revelation 21:4-5).  Before the resurrection He came to serve you and me.  “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  (Matthew 20:28).  After the resurrection all those who love Him will get to serve Him.  “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us: If we believe not, yet He abides faithful: He cannot deny Himself. (2 Timothy 2:11-13).  We have a lot to look forward to by living a righteous life for Him and a life of good works in His name.

Just like the Lord was “new” after His resurrection, we are o be “a new creation” when the Lord gives us our “new birth”.  Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. "Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' (John 3:5-7).
The “New You” should not include the following characteristics. “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, (Colossians 3:8-9). 

The “New You” should include these characteristics: “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” (Colossians 3:12-13).

The “New You” has the ability and power from the Holy Spirit to overcome sin.
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
(1 Corinthians 10:13).

The “New You” has the ability to love others. “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:8).  “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the payment for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:10-11). “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16).  “We love Him because He first loved us. If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” (1 John 4:19-21).

The “New You” will demonstrate your faith by your good works.  “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”  (Ephesians 2:10).  “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:14-17)






HE IS HERE, HE IS RISEN
“For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins.”  (1 Corinthians 15:16-17)
The resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is one of the most important doctrines of our faith.  We have many proofs that He died, was buried, and rose again after three days in the grave.  One of the greatest proofs of the resurrection I have witnessed in my life time are the people who I have met that have experienced the “new birth” and their lives have been changed.  I also have walked with Him and talked with Him and have experienced His presence for over 47 years. These two proofs give me enough faith to accept by faith all the other proofs that others have given for our Lord’s resurrection. 
We have the eyewitness testimony in the word of God from several sources.  The guards who were assigned to guard His body experience a “great earthquake” and saw “an angel of the Lord descended from heaven”  and roll away the stone. (Matthew 28:2-4).  He appeared  to Mary Magdalene in John 20:14 and in Mark 16:9.  He appeared to women returning from the tomb in Matthew 28: 9-10.  He appeared to Peter later in the day in Luke 24:34 and I Corinthians 15:5.  He appeared to the Emmaus disciples in Luke 24: 13-33.  He appeared to the disciples twice in Luke 24: 36-43 and John 20 19:29.  He appeared to seven of the disciples by the Lake of Tiberias in John 21:1-23.  He appeared to a multitude of over 500 believers on a Galilean mountain in I Corinthians 15:6.  He appeared to the eleven in Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:14-20; Luke 24: 33-52, and Acts 1:3-12.  He appeared at His ascension in Acts 1:3-12.  He appreared to Paul in Acts 9:3-6 and I Corinthians 15:8.  He appeared to Stephen in Acts 7:55.  He appeared to John on the Isle of Patmos in Revelation 1:10-19.  There is no record of the Roman soldiers, the chief priests, the Pharisees or Pilate and the Roman government disputing the resurrection.
We have the overwhelming proof of the dramatic change in the disciples after the Resurrection.  All of the disciples gave their lives as a witness of the Lord Jesus’ resurrection.  Thousands if not millions of men and women have spoke of a personal relationship with this resurrected Savior.  Their testimonies of the Holy Spirit’s presence in their lives continued to confirm the fact of our Lord’s resurrection.
On this resurrection Sunday I would like to share with you some of the proofs I have seen of His life and power today.
I have seen the lives of people who were on drugs and were alcoholics have the power to overcome their addictions. “And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him…  For Jesus said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.”    (Mark 5:14-15)
 I have seen people who were mean and hateful change into people with loving hearts.  “And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" Then the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads." So he, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" Then the Lord said to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."            (Acts 9:5-6).   “For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”  (1 Corinthians 15:9).
 I have seen people sick and dying healed through the prayers of other Christians as God’s Word promised. “Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” (James 5:13-15).
I have seen people who were full of guilt and fear be forgiven and receive grace and peace to follow God.  "And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. "And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.' "But the father said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 'And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 'for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' And they began to be merry. (Luke 15:20-24).
“HE IS HERE, HE IS RISEN” – I PRAY YOU WILL SEE HIM TODAY!!