The Witness

“And he said, ‘The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know His will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of His mouth.  For thou shalt be His witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.'” Acts 22:14-15  (KJB)

“And he said…” that is Ananias, the one who ministered to Saul who became known as Paul the apostle after the Damascus road encounter with the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, the Just One.

Those who have been redeemed through the death of Christ have also been freed from the power and penalty of sin, its shame, condemnation and guilt through His burial; and He is alive as evidence that all has been paid to the full.

We are witnesses as well.  We too are expected to know His will, see His face, and hear the voice of His mouth.

The following are the words of F. B. Meyer in his closing comments of Acts 22:1-16…

“We are chosen of God for three things: to know His will; to see Him; and to hear His voice, Acts_22:14.”

Let us as we go be faithful to be the witness that honors and glorifies His holy name.

Believe the Testimony

“And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, ‘Peace unto you.’ Then saith He to Thomas, ‘Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust into My side: and be not faithless, but believing.’ And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.  Jesus saith unto him, ‘Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed.’
And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name.”  John 20:26-31  (KJB)

Thomas had said, “Except I see the print of the nails in His hands, and put my fingers into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side I will not believe” (v. 25). Now Jesus appears in the midst of the disciples, and it appears that Thomas does not avail himself of that opportunity.

It does not say it in the text, but I can almost see Thomas as he said, “My Lord and my God”, bowing on his face before Jesus.  I say that because I am pretty certain that when I see the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ that will be my response.

Jesus gives a rebuke to Thomas, saying to him, “…Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed.”

Who are these folks who have not seen yet believed?

It is all those who have believed since that day following the ascension of Jesus up to the Father.  It is you.  It is me.  We have not yet seen the resurrected Jesus, but we have Believed the Testimony of the disciples/apostles, and that is because of those who were generations before us who also believed the testimony.

The testimony of Scripture.  The testimony of the Gospels.  The testimony of the apostles, and all who followed them.  Have you heard them and believed?

The Old Fox

“The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, ‘Get Thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill Thee.  And He said unto them,

‘Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third I shall be perfected.’” Luke 13:31-32  (KJB)

It seems to me from the history which Jesus has had with these Pharisees, that they are only, themselves doing the real tempter’s work (that is the devil’s); trying to get Jesus out of Jerusalem before He was to die, and run from the work He came to do.

Jesus’s response was to respond without evil intent but to really assure His tempter’s help that He was aware of Herod’s  and of their feeble attempts.

Jesus was going to continue His work of healing and ministry right on up to the time of His death on the cross.  He would continue to heal, to cast out demons; and when He died on the third day He would be  perfected – He would rise from the grave in His glory.

That is the response every man and woman of God should do.  Let us continue being faithful to God’s will and glory until our  time of death, then He will raise us up with perfect bodies.

Come to  Jesus.  He died for you.  He carried away the guilt and condemnation of your sin in His burial. He arose from the grave conquering death and the grave, and He will raise you up alive too.

When We Walk in the Light

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; for the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us; that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”  1 John 1:1-10

 

REFERENCES:  John 1:1, 9; 17:21; Acts 2:32; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 6:11; 2 Corinthians 6:14; Hebrews 9:14; 1 Kings 8:46; Proverbs 20:9; James 3:2; Psalm 32:5

On this Friday which Christians are remembering the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior let us also focus on the fact that in His suffering He won the victory over the devil whose head was crushed that day.  The victories of the cross are expressed in those seven sayings of Christ as He suffered, bled, and died.  He asked the Father to forgive us;  He told the thief “Today you will be with me in paradise; He cared for His mother;  He experienced the hell that should have been ours in the forsaking of His Father and God;  He finished the work He came to do; and lastly, He committed His spirit back to the Father.  His dying on the cross was the greatest of victories.

The devil was defeated His doom is sure.  The resurrection three days later was the proof and evidence of what took place – the victory – on Calvary.

Praise the LORD Jesus is risen.  He is alive.

When He Shall Have Delivered Up the Kingdom to God

“But now is Christ risen from the dead, become the firstfruits of them that slept.  For since by man death, by Man also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.  But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.  Then the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.  For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet.  The last enemy shall be destroyed, death.  For He has put all things under His feet. But when He says all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted, which did put all things under Him.  And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.” 1 Corinthians 15:20-28  (TKJB)

References: Acts 26:23; 1 Peter 1:3; John 11:25; Daniel 7:14; 2 Timothy 1:10; Psalm 8:6; 110:1; Hebrews 2:8; 1 Corinthians 3:23;

Letting the World Know

“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a Man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that He should be holden of it.
For David speaketh concerning Him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for He is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: because Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; Thou shalt make me full of joy with Thy countenance.
Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that His soul was not left in hell, neither His flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, until I make Thy foes Thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”  Acts 2:22-36  (KJB)

Scripture and the Resurrection

“For as yet they knew not the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.” John 20:9  (KJB)

How well do I know Scripture?  How well do I think I know Scripture?  Those are two very different questions.  I am pretty confident that I do not know Scripture as well as I ought to know them.  I think sometimes that I am pretty intelligent concerning the Bible.

It is not, however, until a trial of faith or a real life situation comes along that I understand the value of things I have learned from God and His word.

The events leading to the verse above was the death, burial, and then the bodily resurrection of Jesus.  These were not ignorant of the Scriptures teaching of the resurrection, but now all those times Jesus had spoken of His death and resurrection they had that “OH YEAH!” moment.  Peter and John entered the empty tomb, and saw it was empty – the body of Jesus was gone.

At the crucifixion Scripture was fulfilled.  In the burial Scripture was fulfilled.  In the resurrection of Jesus Scripture was fulfilled.

Read the Scriptures.  Hear them, know them, and understand.

Reconciliation and the Son

O how the race of Adam needs to be reconciled to God.  My how lost can a race of people get, and by lost I mean astray from God, His word, His Son, and His Spirit.  He did say, “My Spirit shall not always strive with man” (Genesis 6:3).  God is the one who stepped out of eternity, and limited Himself to the confines of human flesh, to pay the redemption price for our reconciliation.  Hear the words of the apostle Paul…

“For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight: if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister…” Colossians 1:19-23 (KJV)

There was never a time the Son of God who is God become flesh (John 1:14) was not with God the Father in heaven.  Father, Son [the Word] and the Holy Spirit were working as One in Creation, walking in the garden with Adam and Eve.  There was never a time when Jesus was not “…the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9).

By Him; through Him mankind, Adam kind has been reconciled to God.  We were alienated, unable on our own to reach God; but He has reached us through the cross – the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.  It is the work, the gift, the grace of God by which you can believe, and receive this wonderful gift.

You can be at peace with God by the reconciling work of Jesus Christ on the cross.  It pleased the Father to strike Him on our behalf (Isaiah 53:10), and to put away the condemnation of sin and death. By His crucifixion, we are presented to the Father holy and without blame.  He through faith is working in us to ground us, and keep us unto Himself.

Be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ the Son by His death on the cross, burial, and resurrection (Romans 5:1), by which we have peace with God – Reconciliation.

The Offense of the Cross…

“And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? Then is the offence of the cross ceased.” Galations 5:11 (KJV)

Because Jesus died for our sins He then arose from the grave; and because He lives we live eternally with Him.  The following is a sermon excerpt from a sermon preached by George Henry Morrison…

“Then is the offence of the cross ceased.” Galations 5:11

“There is a great lesson there for Christian teachers, and for all who are trying to advance Christ’s kingdom. The more earnest and eager they are to have men saved, the more willing they are to go all lengths to meet them. And that is right, for we must be all things to all men–to the Jews as a Jew, to the Romans as a Roman; but remember, there are a few great facts we cannot yield, though they run counter to the whole spirit of the age. It were better to empty the church and preach the cross, than to fill it by keeping silent like a coward. It were better to fail as Paul failed with the Jews, than to succeed by being a traitor to the cross. And that is why I look with such uncertainty on much thatthe church is trying to do today. Religion can never be a pleasant entertainment. When the offense of the cross ceases, it is lost.”
A sermon preached by George Henry Morrison who lived 1866 – 1928

Without the cross of Jesus there would not have been the resurrection from the dead.  Have a Blessed Resurrection day.

 

Christmas Day 9

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to be more verbal of the work of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; His death on the cross, His burial, and resurrection; and His coming again;  I want to share the gospel with all who will hear, so that they might come to believe Him.

“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures: and that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, He was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all He was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.” 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 (KJV)

The Burial of Christ

Many years I have heard sermons, Bible lessons, and teachings on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but it seems the Bible deals with the death, burial and resurrection; and usually in concert with one another.

Maybe I am off track on this, but I have had this on my heart and mind quite often in the past year or two; so today I write dealing with the subject of “The Burial of Christ”.  The burial of Christ proves that He was dead; not swooning or faking death.  I do believe the Roman guards knew death when they saw it.  Thus, He was buried.

Now reading in 1 Corinthians we read…

“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures…” 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (KJV)

When we read the accounts of the Gospels we read of His burial, not just His death and resurrection.  So why is it so important to remember His burial as part of the presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

It is in its very meaning a necessity of our salvation, our living now, and for eternity.

Here is one place I get my meaning for the need of the burial.  In the book of Leviticus and chapter sixteen is the ceremony on the day of Atonement, and the lesson of the scapegoat.  One goat is taken, the hands of the priest is laid on the goat representing the sins of the people placed on it, then that goat is slain, and its blood is taken and poured on the mercy seat in the tent of meeting.  We must understand that all of Scripture points to Jesus, and that all is saying that there is one way to God, and that is through the blood of His Son Jesus the Christ.

Just for note: I will not cover every detail of the scapegoat ceremony, but the scapegoat is the one which lives; chosen by lot; and then taken, and released in the wilderness, and some believe maybe slain in the desert; never to return again.

Let us for  a moment think on the death, burial and resurrection of Christ like this;  1.  The death of Christ is our past;  2.  the burial of Christ is our present;  and 3.  the resurrection of Christ is our future.

Those who believe in Him are saved from sin, and its eternal torment.  That leads us to the “burial of Christ” and the present.  When Jesus died and was buried He carried all our sins, shames, condemnations, guilt, and death on the cross, and to the grave.  He carried them away; like the scapegoat -into the wilderness; never to be seen again.

He left all that baggage of sin, shame, condemnation, guilt and death in the grave.  He came out alive.

Knowing that He carried all of that away, and left it there should cause us; the Christian; to live without that baggage in our lives – once we have asked for His cleansing and forgiveness.

Because He was buried and risen we need not live in fear of His appearing, but with joy we do look for Him.

 

Day Two Hundred Seventy and Six

What do I want for Christmas?

I want everyone to understand the true meaning of Easter; that it is about the death, burial and bodily resurrection of the Lord and Savior of all creation; that the only hope for our world is Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, eternally alive, and reigning as the King of kings, and Lord of lords.

Fear not; I am the First and the Last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” [Jesus Christ] Revelation 1:17b-18 (KJV)

Also see Isaiah 41:4 and 44:6

Day Two Hundred Eighty and Seven

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to hear my King’s shout, and His trumpet call, for all His people to gather to Him; preparing for that day when He will come to judge the world and put an end to sin.

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 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. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” 1 Corinthians 15:51-57 (KJV)

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, 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 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.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Born in a Manger Meek and Mild, But not for Long

In Christian churches every Sunday the resurrection of Christ Jesus is mentioned, He is worshipped as the risen Saviour. We can say, and do say that we are His and He is ours. He is a glorious Saviour, Lord, risen Lord, and coming King.

There is an obscure set of verses in Matthew. The event; part of the events of the resurrection of Christ; is not mentioned by any of the other three Gospel writers.

There are some who do not believe in the resurrection period who classify it as myth, or merely allegory. However, if we call this merely “Allegory”, then we call Scripture a lie; and it is not.

Hear the writing of Matthew:

“And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” Matthew 27:51-53 (KJV)

At the death of Jesus (v. 50) the veil of the temple was torn from the top to the bottom; signifying that the way to the presence and throne of God was open for all who would come through the cross of Jesus, and there was an earthquake. Notice that the graves of saints; Old Testament believers; were opened, and after the resurrection of Jesus many of these saints arose, and came out of their graves and appeared to other people.

There is much mystery in these verses. These people are mentioned nowhere else in Scripture. Let me give you a quote from the MacArthur Study Bible:

27:52 bodies of the saints…were raised. Matthew alone mentions this miracle. Nothing more is said about these people, which would be unlikely if they remained on earth for long. Evidently, these people were given glorified bodies; they appeared “to many” (v. 53), enough to establish the reality of the miracle; and then they no doubt ascended to glory– a kind of foretaste of 1 Thess. 4:16.”

These were part of the “First Fruits” of the first resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20, 23; Revelation 20:5, 6).

There is life, and joy, and peace for all who will come by faith to the crucified, buried, and risen Saviour. He is coming again soon. When He comes again for His Church it will be in the air. It will not be secret; but only the redeemed of the Lord will be going with Him.

The Redeemer Who Lives

“For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” Job 19:25-27 (KJV)

Job had been falsely charged by his friends. He also felt neglected, despised even by God; but Job still trusted the love, grace and mercy of God.

Are you beaten, battered, bruised, sick or diseased? Do you feel you have been forsaken by God, your family, your friends? Do you believe that no one cares? God does care. God does love you.

Even the righteous (those declared so by God Himself) suffer. Job is a great example of that; yet, Job’s faith went on trusting and believing in God.

Job believed that he was probably going to perish; was going to die; that his body would decay, and be eaten by the “skin worms”. Yet, he believed that his Redeemer lived, and that he would see Him stand upon the earth.

That Redeemer is none other than the One who died for the sins of mankind upon a cruel, old rugged cross, was buried, and arose bodily from the grave. He (Jesus Christ) will one day return to rule and reign as King of the earth from Jerusalem.

My Redeemer Lives….

Will You Live Again?

“If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer Thee: Thou wilt have a desire to the work of Thine hands.” Job 14:14-15 (KJV)

As I was reading Job 11 – 14 I found myself laughing. Laughing at the way Job uses sarcasm to rebuke his friends (12:2-3), and tells them that he would have been better off if they would have kept their mouths shut (13:4, 5, and 13).

Then I was brought to tears. Mostly tears of joy due to Job’s faith, as he states, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him”, and again in the above verses of our text.

It can be seen that he looks at the created order of things, and realizes that a tree can be cut down, and it sprouts again to life. Is it not amazing how God has built into the creation the hope of resurrection; living again. Job, may have very well been thinking that the tree had more hope than he did; but then, he states the above.

“All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.” What change? The change of the resurrection of the body.

The whole created order of things is a testimony of God, and His promises to fulfill all His word.

The greatest hope ever given was when Jesus became our sin on the cross; was judged for our sin, put to death; and then bodily arose from the grave to show that the cross was the place of defeat for sin, death, hell, the grave, and the devil. The Courts of heaven, by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ rules today. By His resurrection there is a resurrection to life in His presence for all eternity.

Lazarus Came Forth

“When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, and said, ‘Where have ye laid him?’ They said unto Him, Lord, come and see.  Jesus wept.  Then said the Jews, ‘Behold how He loved him!’  And some of them said, ‘Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?’  Jesus therefore again groaning in Himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.  Jesus said, ‘Take ye away the stone.’  Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto Him, ‘Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.’  Jesus saith unto her, ‘Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?’  Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, ‘Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me.  And I knew that thou hearest Me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that Thou hast sent Me.’  And when He thus had spoken, He cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth.’  And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, ‘Loose him, and let him go.’”  John 11:33-44

Heaven’s News – Just Judgment by the Son

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth Him all things that Himself doeth: and He will shew Him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent Him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; and hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. I can of Mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and My judgment is just; because I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent Me.” ~Jesus (John 5:19-30)

W4CL – Peace

“For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”  Ephesians 2:14-18 (KJV)

Many in our world are crying out for peace.  Peace between Israel and Palestine, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, etc..  Ever since I was a child I can remember people calling for “Peace”.  Not too many, however, really appreciate what “Peace” means.

Peace does not mean  the absence of conflict.    There can be conflict for the cause of peace.  The greatest peace is realized when a man, woman, boy or girl receives the peace of God.

The thing Paul speaks of in the above verses, “…Broken down the middle wall of partition…” is speaking of the wall between Jew and Gentile; the law, and heathenism.  By the death of Jesus Christ on the cross that wall has been broken down, and we are both reconciled to God.

If one does not believe in, trust in the death, burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ you are still at enmity with God.  Your heart is far from Him, and you cannot know peace.  With Christ Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior you will have the Holy Spirit and permanent access to the Father.

With this peace, even in the midst of the world’s greatest conflicts, you will be at peace.  Peace of heart and soul.  Peace of mind.  Peace with God.

W4CL – Crucified

“For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. 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. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”  Galations 2:18-21 (KJV)

As Christians we too often forget that the life we live in Christ is due to the crucifixion of Christ and His bodily resurrection.  It is imperative that we also see that we are “Crucified with Christ” (v. 20); and because we are crucified with Him we will also, one day reign with Him (Romans 8:17), because we are also, “Risen with Christ” (Colossians 3:1).

As a Christian we do not enjoy sin; we are dead to it – “Crucified with Christ”, and have been raised again by His resurrection.  Because of His resurrection we grow in love with Christ; closer to Him and His likeness, and grow further from sin and its destruction.

I am crucified with Christ. 

Words for Christian Living – Why We Live

“Now if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”  1 Corinthians 15:12-19 (KJV)

There are those who do not believe that life comes from death.  Think about this…  A farmer plants an old dried seed in the ground, and a few weeks, or months later a stalk comes forth out of the ground, and produces a harvest of corn or wheat or barley…  Life does come from death.

So how is it we can have such a hard time believing that God could raise His own dead, buried Son from death?  We live because the holy, Righteous, Son of God shed His blood on the cross of Calvary, was buried, and arose bodily from the grave.  He is alive forevermore.

God created human beings eternal beings.  The death of the body is a result of sin; transgression of God’s laws.  Yet, though the body dies the eternal being lives on, somewhere.  Hell’s fire is what we deserve.  However, God in His Holy, Righteous, Justice and Love sent His Son to die for our sins; taking the wrath that was mine and yours to bear; and bore it for us on His cross.  The bodily resurrection of Jesus is evidence of the truth of the words Jesus spoke while He lived and dwelt among us.  Trusting Jesus and His finished work on the cross is the only means of salvation.

Believe Him and live.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Words for Christian Living – Resurrection

“For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant. But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?  As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up: so man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. O that Thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that Thou wouldest keep me secret, until Thy wrath be past, that Thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer Thee: Thou wilt have a desire to the work of Thine hands.”  Job 14:7-15 (KJV)

Suffering Job was expectant of a resurrection.  He saw it in trees which might be cut down, and they sprouting back to life.  He saw in the oceans never drying up; nor the major rivers of the Middle Eastern areas.  The above is where the question is asked; yet he already knows the answer – “If a man die, shall he live again?”  and his answer is “All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.”

And all those who believe in our Lord Jesus Christ says, “AMEN!”  Amen!  (See 1 Corinthians 15).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Treasure in a Field

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.  So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”  Matthew 13:44-50 (KJV)

Jesus gave the price of His former glory, to come to purchase His treasure with His blood.  He lived glorifying His Father; died on the cross, was buried, and rose bodily from the grave and is now forever glorified at the Father’s right hand.

-T.A.

Elijah; Man of God

Those of us who have been involved in church and Christianity; and even some other religions know the term “Man of God”.  The basic idea behind the phrase is that a man is faithful to believing God, His Word and living it in His life.

We have seen where the “Man of God” confronted the king Ahab and told him of an absence of rainfall until he [Elijah] calls for it.  We know from the book of James that it was 3.5 years.  That is a drought.  We have read also where God provided for the prophet, the man of God, by sending him to a brook off the Jordon River, and God supplied him bread and meat until the brook dried up; and then he sent him to a widow woman with a young son; and he asked her to give him her last portion of food.  Because of the woman’s faith, she fed Elijah, and her barrel of meal never ran out; as the King James says, “Wasted not”, neither did her container of oil run dry.

While the man of God is present in the home of the widow and her son; the son dies; and the woman is very distraught.  She is like many of us.  Since the man of God is in the house and home, then, “How can such an evil and bad thing happen to us?”  Now before someone goes off on a tangent fit let me first explain that it does seem implied by the reading of 17:18;

“And she said unto Elijah, ‘What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?'” (KJV)

Remember in John 11 Lazarus a close friend of Jesus was on his death bed; Mary and Martha (Lazarus’s sisters) sent for Jesus, but he lingered where he was.  Jesus said,

“This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.”  John 11:4

To read the rest of the event we find that Lazarus died, was buried, and had been dead four days; and Jesus calls his name and Lazarus comes out of that tomb alive.  God receives the greater glory by the resurrection of Lazarus, then by healing him of a sickness.

The resurrection of the widows son, helped the woman see more clearly that Elijah was the man of God.  She announces in the final verse of chapter 17,

“Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth.”  1Kings 17:24 (KJV)

The man of God in today’s world may not raise anyone to life after being dead; at least in the physical sense.  However, the man of God will be able to clearly present the way to knowing God, having fellowship with Him, and how God declares one to be righteous.  That is by way of the cross of Jesus Christ; His death, burial and bodily resurrection.  Believe the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will experience resurrection.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Power On Their Lives – Mark 16:15-20

“And He said unto them, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.’
19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.”  Mark 16:15-20

Jesus gives us the Great Commission in Matthew 28 and it is longer and more detailed in its application there.  Here, however, we have a simple “Go and preach the gospel to every creature”, and then, what follows are signs, evidence that they are servants of God.  Because of the newness of this message of grace, that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again, there must of necessity have been proofs of their words being true.  The gospel is true and powerful to save, but the Scriptures [New Testament] had not yet even started to be written.  Today, we have the completed Scriptures [Old and New Testaments], and we no longer need evidence of the power of the gospel to save.

“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved…” seems like a salvation of works, but any one who comes believing in Jesus will in obedience follow the Lord in water baptism.  It is the “Public confession” of one’s faith in Jesus.   When a person comes to faith in Jesus they have a desire to obey Him in all things.  The first step of obedience, and the believer’s first call is a public testimony, and that is shown in baptism.  Baptism is the testimony of Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection, and by baptism you tell the world of your faith in Jesus and that you have died to the old life, been buried putting it all away, and have risen to new life in Him.

According to the apostle John in the gospel he wrote, “He that believeth not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).  You could  ask the question, a fearful question, “What does one have to do to go to Hell?  The answer to that is absolutely nothing.  You can be saved by grace through faith in Jesus, His finished work on the cross and the resurrection, and enjoy the glory of Jesus for all eternity.  You can do absolutely nothing and spend eternity in Hell.  The truth of the matter is we are all condemned, dying, hellbound sinners.  We are born in that condition – separated from God, hating God, loving ourselves, and seeking our own way, and not God’s way.  There are some who believe that once this life is over that is it.  There are even some professing Christians who believe only the saved will have an “Eternal life” while those who do not know God through His Son Jesus will simply go back to the dust, and their “spirits” will cease to exist.  Part of the way that God created us in His image is that He gave us an eternal soul and spirit.  Not “Eternal” in the sense that He is; like “Eternal past”, but an eternal future, and our eternity with Christ actually begins with our faith in Him.  The condemned person’s eternity without Christ begins at the death of the physical body, and it will be an eternity without light, without friends, without satisfaction of desires.  It will be an eternity of torment, or flames, heat, no water, nothing to quench your thirst.  It will be a place without God’s love, only wrath.

These were signs of authentication.  They were evidence of the power of God to save those who believe, and the resurrection of Jesus from the grave.  The first sign Jesus gives is the power to “…Cast out devils [demons]”.  There is evidence of this in Acts with a young girl who is “demon possessed”, and brings great profit to her owner, because she can “Foretell” the future.  Paul was bitten by a poisonous serpent, and without harm (Acts 28).  The apostles Peter and John, on their way to the temple, meet a man who is lame, and by their words, “Rise up and walk” he gets up and walks (Acts 3).  Paul raises a young man named Eutychus from death (Acts 20).  There are many accounts in the book of Acts of the work of the Spirit of God in the lives of the apostles, doing miracles, signs and wonders, to confirm the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is the Gospel which is being promoted not the miracles, and we must always remember that.

The changed lives of millions through the years is evidence of the power of the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Men and women who have had hate filled, murderous hearts are changed into loving, compassionate, caring individuals who reach out to others with the truth of Christ.  Men and women who have selfishly stolen from others through greed, lust, and larceny are changed into giving, unselfish individuals who love Christ and have given their all for Him.

One sign of the resurrection of Jesus is His ascension into Heaven to His Father’s right hand.  The apostles all witnessed it.  Peter, James and John, Matthew, and all the rest, except Paul for he had not yet come to faith in Jesus.  Jesus fulfilled all the Scriptures concerning the things concerning Himself and His first coming, and He will fulfill all the things concerning His Second coming.

The disciples/apostles were the ones who are responsible, by the power of the Holy Spirit, for the beginning of the Church – the Body of Christ.  Without the Holy Spirit confirming their word, there would be no church.

Can we go out in the same power of the Spirit that they did?  Most certainly, and now we have something much better than miracles, signs and wonders.  We have God’s Spirit confirming His written Word.  It is finished.  There is no more being added to it, and anyone that does add to it or take away from it will find the curses of His Word in their lives (Rev. 22:18-19).

There is nothing impossible to those who walk in the Spirit of God.  Praying for the power of the Spirit on Christian lives.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Victory

“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. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 (KJV)

Through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ we have this victory.  Thank you Jesus.

-T.A.