Wisdom For The Pandemic? Ask God.

April 23, 2020

Questions

James 1:5-8 – Asking the One who has the answers.

We are continuing with our short series of messages from the book of James which was written to suffering people who had been forcibly scattered or dispersed and were enduring some very difficult trials and persecutions. We are not enduring exactly the same situations, but many at this moment are still confined to their homes, cannot work, go to school, travel or be around their loved ones as they would like to be. Another grave problem that is happening at this time is that professionals are saying that many are  presently suffering depression and other mental struggles and they foresee this as an ongoing problem we will be facing. There is also these sad reports of domestic violence on the rise as well as growing statistics about abuse of children. To complicate these times other are having difficulties finding enough food, trouble getting out to the stores and hardships with having other necessities of life. So in reality this seems to be a very hard time on many.

We have seen that James, the half brother or our Lord, writing by inspiration of the Holy Spirit addresses many of these very problems. He first tells us if we find ourselves in such trials, first we are to “count it all joy”.  That truly can be difficult pill to endure sometimes, but we will discover that joy is truly the best attitude that we can approach solutions to our difficulties.

We have also learned that we must know some (James 1:3) things like how the things we go through are a trial or testing of our faith. Friend, do you have faith to get through the struggles? And then he says these trials can be useful to bring us to a completed work in our lives with a more perfect, mature faith. It may be hard to understand but we will be better for the trials we pass through and an extra bonus, we will not lack one thing. (James 1:4)

And in our message today we can learn something more, that if we feel we cannot understand how to get through these times, if we lack wisdom we are told to “ask of God”. (James 1:5)  When we will ask we will find other truths about God that we have been learning – We can see his omnipotence, His omniscience and His omnipresence. Three great and unchangeable characteristics or attributes of our God. He is all powerful, all knowing and He is always with us.

So friends, we are to ask for wisdom from God and when we ask we learn some great truths about God for our needs.
Proverbs 2:6 “For the Lord giveth wisdom:  out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.”Proverbs 16:16. “How much better is it to get wisdom than gold!
and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!”
Psalms 90:12. “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”  This is a great verse as we advance in age. Apply your hearts to God’s word and get wisdom from Him.

Now, when we ask wisdom from God what I am about to say now will be exactly what we need to know:

1 – First the Scripture says that God gives to all who ask. Wow! God is such a great God. Wherever you are, whoever you are, Ask God.  James 1:5;  Job 28:12-13 “But where shall wisdom be found?  and where is the place of understanding? Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living.” Man does not have the wisdom, does not have the answers, but God does.
2 –  Another thing we learn in verse 5 is that He gives to liberally. He is generous. His giving is abundant.  And why not. Look at Ephesians 1:7 “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”  He gives richly.  Ephesians 2:7. “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”  Phil. 4:19  God has wisdom in abundance.  Rom. 11:33 “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”
3 – Further along in verse 5 we learn that He does not reproach us or upbraid us when we ask. We can ask in confident trust that our sovereign God will answer without chiding us. Hebrews 11  is a great and well-known chapter that comes to us with many examples of faith.  People of all walks of life are lifted up as examples for us of faith. And they find that God always gives what is wisdom and other things needed without upbraiding, rebuking or finding fault with them due their past sin or previous ingratitude.  “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
4 – We certainly must testify and acknowledge that yes! –  He gives! That is what God does. He is a giving God. Rom 8:32. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” And Mat 7:7 “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”
5 – After all this that we learn about God giving wisdom we come in James 1:6  to an important caveat:  We must ask in faith. What does that mean? It simply means don’t waver. Don’t doubt. Don’t be a hypocrite. Don’t be divided between God and the things of the world. And then James explains verses 6-8 what that type of asking is like. He creatively describes how that kind of asking is like the waves driven back and forth by the wind. Blown from one side to the other. So, we are to ask in faith without doubt or we cannot think they will get what they ask God for in prayer. To ask with doubts is to be double minded and unstable in all your ways. Doubtful asking effects us in all our areas and all walks of life.

Friend, I need wisdom every day in my life to get through our present trial or any other that may come along. We all need daily wisdom. Ask for wisdom from God. Ephesians 5:15-16.  “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”  Friend, if you are not a child of God, if you are not saved and sure of heaven, the first thing you need do is to ask God to save you. To save you on the merits and only because of the work of His Son Jesus on Calvary.  He died, was buried and is risen. He can and will save. Ask believing and you shall receive. God bless you as you seek wisdom from God to pass through the trials of life.

Frontline Hero / Essential Worker

April 19, 2020

covid-essential-workersMark 2:17-28

Today, as never before we are recognizing the great benefit and blessing of those such as our doctors, nurses, medical people, police, firefighters, emergency workers, workers in stores and more are being honored. This is right and good. They are out on the front lines of these epic times. They are the essential workers. These “heroes” are being honored in media, in front of their places of employment, by their neighbors on their way to work and with signs, banners and best wishes. I am not wanting to diminish any of this at all. I only want to remind us that in all of this we do not forget to honor the first and most important frontline hero and essential worker. In case you don’t know … may I introduce you to Jesus Christ, the Great physician and the Sustainer of all.
Mark 2:15-16 tells us that Jesus was out there on the frontlines mingling with the worst of society. He was ministering to and touching and healing the sick. When questioned about His actions we have these memorable words that He spoke in Mark 2:17. “When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” He let them know He was there to do what He to do. Luke 19:10 “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” He came as one greatly needed. The sick need a Physician. A Good One. The Best available. They need Someone to work on their behalf.

The Sick.  Let us think for a moment about the sick. What about the sick? Isa 1:5- 6 “the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.” Like Israel, many of our nations are also sick from head to foot. But not only with sicknesses and viruses of the body. We are all sick with SIN. the Bible teaches us that we are all affected by sin. None escape has escaped that pandemic. That universal plague that affects everyone of us. Romans 3:23. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” But only the Lord can take care of this sickness.  There is a balm in Gilead.  The Lord has this. Psalms 146:8; “The Lord openeth the eyes of the blind: the Lord raiseth them that are bowed down: the Lord loveth the righteous: Psalms 147:3  He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. Isa 53:5 “with his stripes we are healed”. He is here. He has the cure. You do not have to even wait in line. He is ready.
Proverbs 13:12. “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick:
but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.” Our Lord is the Great Physician. He has this plague of sin under His control.
.
The Sinful.  Friend, as we know many are dying with this Coronavirus. About 98% of those infected. That is sad and severe enough. But let me tell you this – 100% will ultimately die with this SIN plague. What we ALL have brings forth DEATH. James 1:14-15. “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
We have heard of many dying in these days But death has always been around us. This is really not something new, it is just being more loudly and pointedly announced. All will DIE. Heb 9:27 “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” You do know that at least 150,000 die every day from all reasons. 25,000 die each day from hunger. More than 3,700 die from car accidents. More than 1000 die from Cancer. And even more tragic, 125,000 babies are killed each day worldwide by abortion. DEATH IS HERE AND IS A REALITY IN ALL OF OUR LIVES. We are ALL dying. We need a physician. We need a frontline hero. We need Jesus!
We are not just dying physically, but spiritually. Rev 20:13-15 “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” We need the GREAT PHYSICIAN.

The Solution.  Jesus didn’t come just as the physician to make the sick whole. Mark 2:17, but he came as an ESSENTIAL WORKER for all times. John 10:10 “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”
Look back in our text of Mark 2:18-26 where we have several examples that will be helpful to us as we think of Jesus as the principle essential worker. Jesus had roused the ire of the religious and political crowd of his day with His ministry, messages and miracles. As they questioned him about this in verses 18-28 He had something to say about each question they raised. It is interesting that their questions were about their FUN, FOOD and FAITH. The fun in their question was about activity at a wedding. He used this example to teach about times when He (the Bridegroom) would no longer be present with them – He said it was then they would need too fast. Sometimes our FUN or activities cause us to forget we need the Lord. During this CoronaVirus many of these weddings have been closed down, delayed or canceled. It should be a time when we are being reminded – we need Jesus. Mark 2:21-22 reminds us that NOTHING can repair or replace our need for Jesus.
The next was about their FOOD. Mark 2:23-26. Food is important. They say we can survive 40 days without food, 3-4 days without water maybe 8 minutes without air – then WE DIE. But we cannot live one second without God. HE IS ESSENTIAL! He made US. He made marriage. He made food. We need FAITH in Him. Mark 2:27-28 “And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.”  He is saying, there may be many important things – BUT I AM the Maker of all of it and I am the most ESSENTIAL. Col 1:17 “And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”   Acts 17:28 “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” Jesus is the ESSENTIAL WORKER in all of it.
We NEED him. We need FAITH in Him. We need to HONOR him.
Don’t be like those in Mark 2:17. They thought they were already righteous. So they ignored Jesus. In our worry about this pandemic and in our minding other issues don’t forget about Jesus.

The Salvation.  Here is how he can help you my friend:
Admit and understand you are a sinner. You cannot save yourself. No works. No religion. No church. ONLY JESUS! Rom 3:23-24. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 5:8  “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 10:9-10 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:13  “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

The Savior.  Friend, CALL ON JESUS TODAY! Say Lord save me. Have mercy on me.
If you call on him today. Let me know. Call me at 561-818-4937 or email ronmaggard@gmail.com or message me on Facebook. If you want me to I will send you material to help you take more important steps in your new life with Christ.
God bless you! We are praying for you. Remember JESUS is our Frontline Hero and Essential Worker.

To Youth During Pandemic

April 19, 2020

Listenwise-1philippines-youth-in-sunday-school-1347318-gallery

Titus chapter 2 has much to say about our teaching and learning responsibilities.  These important lessons are good for all times, not just during a pandemic or other crisis.

Parents have a responsibility to teach. 

“And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Deuteronomy 6:7

Children have a responsibility to learn. “Come, ye children, hearken unto me:
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.” Psalm 34:11

1- They need to know they are sinners and can be forgiven.  Titus 2:11. “that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.”  Col 2:13-14  If they call upon the Lord in faith they can become a child of God.  All the children of God are forgiven– have been, and are forgiven you”: ALL God’s sons and daughters alike enjoy this privilege.

2- They need to know that God is their Father by believing. Vs 13. “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;”
Fathers are normally characterized by their knowledge. The young men by activity in conflict. The fathers, too, have conquered; but now their active service is past, and they and the children alike are characterized by knowing (the fathers know Christ, “Him that was from the beginning”; the children know the Father). The first thing that the little children can learn and realize is that God is their Father; answering in the parallel clause to “little sons… your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake,” the universal first privilege of all those really- dear sons of God.

3- Know the source of failure.Titus 2:12Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;”  1 John 2:15- 16  – Loving the world OR things in the world is what brings failure into our lives. We are all confronted by things like the lust of the flesh, lust of eyes. – seeing what the others around us have and the pride of life. Primarily speaking about our arrogant independence from God and the way He teaches us about overcoming.

4 Know they can be over-comers. Titus 2:14. “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”  1 John 5:1-4. You can have victory. In thee days when so much brings us down and we seem to have new things to worry about everyday it is good to know these things can be overcome. We will see victory. We will get through it. 2 Corinthians 2:14; Rom 8:33-37

5- Know the secret of strength. Vs 14. “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”  The great source of our strength is God Himself whom we discover in the Gospel Word – Hebrews 4:12; Ephesians 6:17  As we teach and learn, memorize and hide the word of God in your heart and mind.  Psalms 119:9. “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
With my whole heart have I sought thee:
O let me not wander from thy commandments.
Thy word have I hid in mine heart.”
that I might not sin against thee.

Let’s get God’s Word into our lives!

 

To those “vulnerable” Seniors.

April 17, 2020

Happy-Elderly-Couple

Psalm 92:14  “They shall still bring forth fruit in old age;
Even In Old Age From Psalm 92
I have been hearing and reading of all these people around that they are calling “vulnerable” and the older in our society. My wife reminded me that I am in that age group. I had to go look in the mirror. I was still skeptical but I did notice I am not as young as I used to be and I see my children are getting older too. So what can I do, what can you do “in old age”?  If you are anything like me, you certainly want to see your children and your children’s children enjoy life with the goodness and blessing of God. So what can we do to help this be a reality for them? What should we do? I was reading Psalm 92 and here are some  clear insights from that scripture.
1- Do good things that will become a part of your children’s lives. Such as: Give thanks unto the Lord. (vs 1)
2- Show them the lovingkindness and faithfulness of the Lord daily. (vs 2)
3- Be joyful for God’s work in your own life and live victoriously for Him. (vs 4)
4-Make a big deal about God and what He does. (vs 5)
5-Don’t be overwhelmed by anti-God forces. (vs 7-9)
6-Show them that strength is in knowing the Lord and walking in His ways. (vs 10-12)
7- Plant them firmly in the house of the Lord. (vs 13)
8- Don’t be afraid to show them that there is a right way and wrong way. (vs 15)
If we will do these things we can have the promise of Psalm 92:14 that even in old age they will STILL bring forth fruit and be flourishing. Yep, that is what I want for my children and their children! I know some of us are still “locked down” or maybe in a situation where we cannot have visitors but we can still do many of these things by way of a phone call, FaceTime or other forms of media. By all means, even though we may be in “old age” we can work to bless those around us, especially our own families. Look in the mirror like I did and you may see this message is for you too.

Psalm92

Saving A Marriage

April 16, 2020

Marriage-Breakdown-420x280_cGenesis 2:18 and 25 “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” and “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

In a day when all things are turned upside down many couples are seeing their marriages in serious trouble. Please take a few moments to consider these biblical thoughts about marriage.

1. It Is a Sacred Covenant in Its Origin
A. Its Institution Is Holy Gen. 2:24; Ephesians 5:31 –“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.”
B. Its Investiture Is Honored Heb. 13:4 – “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”
C. Its Indication Is Happiness Gen. 2:18 – “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”
2. It Is a Serious Commitment in Its Obligation Ecc. 5:4-5 – “When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.”
A. To Your SelfPresented Your Love
B. To Your SpousePledged Your Life
C. To Your SaviourPromised Your Loyalty
3. It Is a Steady Challenge in Its Operation  Matt. 19:3-6 – “The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
A. Because Of The Cost Involved (divorce, division, dependents, destroyed lives)the-child-after-divorcethe-child-after-divorce
B. Because Of The Care Imposed –  Eph 5:21  “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” 
C. Because Of The Course In-Front – Romans 8:28  “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
4. It Is a Special Communion in Its Oneness   Prov. 18:22 – “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord.”
A. Because Of The Bond That’s Made   Eph. 5:31 – “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.”
B. Because Of The Beauty That’s Portrayed Eph. 5:32 – “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”                                                                                                   C. Because Of The Blessing That’s Relayed   Eph. 5:33 –“Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”

If you need help with your marriage reach out to someone. If you don’t know who to speak to contact me at ronmaggard@gmail.com

 

Our Dispersion – “Stay at Home” in 2020

April 16, 2020

We are seeking wisdom from the book of James written by inspiration during another man made dispersion. Because of the current pandemic of Coronavirus we are living in interesting and in a way similar times. Their dispersion was the action or process of distributing people over a wide area by way of persecution. In our case we have been dispersed to our homes. No school. No work. No travel. No gatherings and when outside dispersed by 6 feet at least. But nevertheless dispersed into our homes!

In our lesson last week in James 1:2 we are told to “count it all joy”. It is not an easy thing to endure, much less be joyful.  But just as the birds disperse seeds that will bring forth new life, growth and beauty, God seems to use a similar process in our
dispersion that places us where He desires us in His omnipotence to be.  The Greek word diaspora, which literally means “through a sowing” is the same idea used here in James one and we have another reference in John 5:37.  We have been sown where God wants us for this moment. I wonder if we could be used where we are to bring forth new life, growth and beauty in our landing spots.

REMEMBER (from lesson one) we are where we are by God. You and I are where God wants us. So work on it. Work on the joy. Be the best and most useful right where you are this moment.

Now, for today as we read further in James 1:3-4 we come to our next inspired instruction of what to do during our dispersion and during different problems.

1. Knowing this. The Scripture says, “Knowing this …” God wants us to know something – to learn something – to gain something. This is not a completely negative situation for us, but it is a positive initiative for our benefit.

2. Also … This is a trying of our faith. The testing of our faith is to help us go on to maturity. We are all somewhere in our maturing process. Friend, where are you? What will it take to grow you to a better person? Remember, God has you where you need to be for the purpose of this process. Many times only a humbling experience that we are forced to go through will bring us to a richer relationship with the Lord and the help He offers.

But remember from our first lesson we need to have joy for this to work. Then in James 1:3-4.

3. And our third thought here – this trying works for patience. We must go through our trial to get patience. Romans 5:3-4 This is God’s perfect work for us to become perfect or mature. And beyond mature but to a place of lacking or wanting nothing. No lacking! Wow! What a promise from the word! Friend, whatever we are going through is working on us. God is working on us. It is maturing us. It is making us perfect and complete and helping us to come up with everything we need. Again, you are right where God wants you to be so that He can do this great work on you. Let Him do this work. It is for your benefit and blessing. And be joyful. Let the trial of your faith make you to be the person God wants you to be until you lack nothing.

stayathome

More next week from the letter to the dispersed.
Something to do with “Lack wisdom – ask! Ask in faith.”

Knowing the Resurrection Truth

April 14, 2020

the-power-of-jesus-resurrectionI don’t know about you, but I feel I am still glowing in the blessedness that was renewed as we celebrated Easter again this year. Though many things were different for us because of the pandemonium created by Coronavirus there is still the GREAT truth of a resurrected, ever-living Christ. O that we would meditate more upon such truths. There is possibly no other truth that will have greater power over us, when properly believed, than the truth that Christ has risen from the dead. Ephesians 1:19-20 which says, “And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.” Or Acts 4:33- “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.”

Notice several awesome facts that make this truth so powerful:

1. It is the CONFIRMATION of the Christian religion. His resurrection confirms the truth of the Christian religion, 1Cor 15:11; Our faith is built upon an empty tomb.
2. It CERTIFIES that there is a future state, and that the dead will also rise; Rom 8:11
3. It CLEARS the darkness that was around the grave, and shows us that our great interests are in the future world. The fact that Christ has risen from the dead, when fully believed, will produce a sure hope that we also shall be raised, and will animate us to bear trials for his sake, with the assurance that we shall be raised up as he was. One of the things which a Christian ought most earnestly to desire is, to feel the power of this truth on his soul–that his great Redeemer has burst the bands of death; has brought life and immortality to light, and has given us the promise that our bodies shall rise.
4. It gives us the CONFIDENCE to “KNOW” Him! (vs 10) That I may know him—experimentally. —– The aim of the “righteousness” (Phil 3:9) just mentioned. This verse resumes, and more fully explains, “the excellency of the knowledge of Christ” (Php 3:8). To know HIM is more than merely to know a doctrine about Him. Believers are brought not only to redemption, but to the Redeemer Himself.
5. It CONVINCES us of our justification —- the power of his resurrection— and raising us up spiritually with Him, by virtue of our identification with Him in this, as in all the acts of His redeeming work for us (2 Cor 4:12-14). The power of the Divine Spirit, which raised Him from literal death, is the same which raises believers from spiritual death now, and shall raise their bodies from literal death hereafter.

Do you believe it? Do you believe Him? Do you have a real relation with Him? Phil 3:10 “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”

EASTER IS OVER – WHAT NOW?

April 13, 2020

EASTER IS OVER – WHAT NOW?

We have just finished a wonderful celebration of Easter. Churches everywhere did the best they could under our Covid-19 pandemonium to celebrate the glorious resurrection of our Lord. Mostly via internet or Drive-In Services but there we were. Doing our best. Great music. Great messages. Great memories.Some say possibly more heard the messages than would have on a “normal” Easter Sunday. I don’t know.

But think with me for a moment what it must have been like after that first resurrection morning? What was going on in Jerusalem? What was happening in the streets / neighborhoods? What was happening among the disciples? Many hardly knew what had really taken place in that garden tomb?

We do know some things. We know there was some confusion. “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. And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.” Luke 24:10-11 There was some doubting. There was some fearfulness. Matthew 28:17 There was some disappointment. Luke 24:21 There was some pay-offs. There was some trying to fabricate a story-line for the disappearance of Jesus.

Yes. All of these things began to unfold. Thankfully we have a wonderful and truthful record in God’s word. But what happened next – after Easter? What makes this day, this event so special? Why do we still celebrate so many centuries later? I believe it is because of these following things and more:

1 – We have a great Miracle to remember. Matt 27:63 The soldiers. (the guard is set and the sepulcher sealed.) Matt 28:4 The seal. The stone. The slanderers. Matt 28:12 The success / victory of the resurrected Lord. Victorious over death, hell, the grave and the Devil. The sightings – 500 witnesses. 1 Corinthians 15:1-8
After that resurrection morning we have the greatest of all miracles to remember. Nothing else compares to this. Many religious leaders are remembered. Some have shrines, tombs and statues to remember. We have an EMPTY tomb and a risen Lord! A Miracle to remember!

2- We have a great Message to proclaim. Matt 28:7 He is risen! This is the Gospel! Good News. A message of great power. “And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:” Romans 1:4-5; Acts 4:33; Philippians 3:10; “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 He lives. We live! What a message of HOPE, Joy, Peace, Victory and Life everlasting.

3 – We have a great Mission to fulfill. When Easter passed only a handful knew about the resurrection. The word began to spread. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary knew. They told the disciples. Jesus met with the Emmaus disciples and later the others. During the next few weeks the word began to spread. Jerusalem was filled with the message. But that was not enough. The disciples had their commission: Go teach ALL NATIONS. Sunday the house here was full – but that is not enough. Matt 28:18-20; Acts 1:8 A message to all people. A mission to all nations.
(1) A FAITH which cannot be DESTROYED. (2) A FORGIVENESS which cannot be DENIED. (3) A FORCE by which death can be DEFEATED. (4) A FUTURE which does not end in DEATH.
The crucified, risen and living Savior is still unknown to many in our world today. Many churches were full and celebrating this past Easter but sadly many still know nothing or have an incomplete understanding. What now? The same as on those first days after Easter – Go tell!

reachingworld

 

Firsts Things On The First Easter

April 12, 2020

Easter2020John 20

Introduction: The Easter message is here in chapter twenty of John. Thank God for Easter. Looking at this beautiful resurrection picture we see a number of “firsts” in these verses. Notice what we find on that important first Easter and that first day of the week.
1. The First In Resurrection. We begin this message by first mentioning our Savior. He is the theme of this book – the Bible! He is the One who makes this story wonderful. Yes, Jesus is the One that this day we call Easter is all about.
A. He was the first born of every creature. Colossians 1:15
B. He was the first begotten of the dead. Revelation 1:5
C. He was the first fruits of those who will be raised. 1 Corinthians 15:20
2. The First In Recognition. John 20:1-8
A. Near-sighted Mary Magdalene – distant objects are not clearly seen. John 20:1
B. Far-sighted John – objects too close are not clearly seen. John 20:2-3
C. Stigma-sighted Peter – could see but vision was blurred. John 20:4-5
D. Insight of John – After closer examination there was recognition. “he saw, and                           believed” John 20:8
3. The First In Revelation. John 20:8-18 John 20:8-18
A. The Word brought revelation. John 20:9;John 20:9
B. The weeping brought revelation.  John 20:11-16
C.The wounds brought revelation. John 20:19-20 John 20:19-20
4. The First In Rejoicing.
A. The first day – began with sadness then turned joyful a time of rejoicing. John 20:1;                  Psalm 122:1
B. A fearful day – turned to peace and joy. John 20:19-20
C. A faithful friend – cause for gladness. John 20:20
5. The First In Representation. John 20:21 This is the commissioning of the disciples to represent the message of Christ. Someone must represent this message of Good News.
A. The example of representation. The Father sent Jesus. “sent me”
B. The expediencies of representation. “so send I you”
C.The empowerment for representation. John 20:22 “Receive ye the Holy Ghost”
D.The exactitude of representation. John 20:23 “Whosoever”
6. The First In Reverence. John 20:24-29 Life lessons from Thomas.
A. His dodging. “But Thomas … was not with them”
B. His doubting. John 20:25 “Except I shall see …”
C.His discovery. John 20:27 “Reach hither thy finger”
D.His declaration. John 20:28 “My Lord and my God”
7. The First In Rewards. John 20:29-31
A. The reward of believing. “blessed are they … not seen”
B. The record for believing. “these are written”
C. The renewal by believing. “life through his Name”
1. Christ’s resurrection frees us from sin.
2. Christ’s resurrection guarantees ours.
3. Christ’s resurrection empowers his present ministry.
Conclusion: There we have it – the reason for this
writing. The reason for this day, this message, for now and all time – that believing you might have life through His Name. Do you have eternal life?

Passion In The Passion Week

April 17, 2019

“Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” John 13:1

The definition of passion is as follows:

  1. strong and barely controllable emotion.  
  2. the suffering and death of Jesus.

Considering the meanings of the word passion I realize that Jesus not only showed us passion by example, but He taught it to His followers.  We are presently in the passion week. What can we remember from this important week that is necessary for our lives today?

Jesus interacted with His disciples in the days before His crucifixion (John 13:1-33).  It was nearing that hour for which He had come. He taught His followers about passion not only by His words, but by actions and in symbol. Everything about this week has given His followers and the world so much to consider about life and eternity.

I am afraid however, that many times the unforgettable images of the cross, the darkness of the tomb and even the glorious splendor of the resurrection overshadow the tremendous truth about love that Jesus taught His followers during passion week.

We must always trumpet the victory of the cross and triumph in the glorious resurrection but it must all be done in the passion of love which He commanded for HIs disciples as He traveled toward the cross. “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:34-45)

So as we approach this resurrection day do a self check about your own passion. Many are prideful to be known by their denomination, affiliation, doctrine and the like. They proudly wear their brands and think more highly of themselves for doing it. But the Savior said we were to be known by the love we have. What some idealize as as a demonstration of their passion is really foreign to the passion He taught His followers. Instead some come across as doctrinal bullies or brash and braggadocio.

This passion week let us first of all love our Lord with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength. Mark 12:30  Let us love our fellow Christian. John 15:12 Let us love strangers of all nations and all those for whom Christ died. Acts 1:8 – Let’s show some passion!

BY THIS SHALL ALL MEN KNOW THAT YOU ARE MY DISCIPLES.