Tag Archive: EASTER


There is no middle ground in God’s universe. Too many people-even professing Christians-think that the events we celebrate at Easter are insignificant. In reality they represent the most important events in the history of mankind, and the most important truths we could ever consider…

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WE CAN BE FREE FROM THE PENALTY OF SIN

“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3).

So many efforts have been made by enemies of the true gospel to wipe this fact from history and the minds of men. Despots, communists, atheists, politicians and even large organizations purporting to be spreading the gospel have been attempting to destroy it. Why is the sacrifice of Christ so important, and why is his death so vital?

Our sin has separated us from God, because he, being perfect, cannot tolerate sin. He can’t wink at it or ignore it and live with it. Imagine a heaven in which everyone acts as they do in our world today: it would not be heaven, would it? And contrary to popular belief here in the politically-correct twenty-first century, he doesn’t change his views to suit ours. Neither do his standards evolve-they are not “fluid”.

The end product of sin, according to Old and New Testament scriptures, is death, both physical and spiritual. This fact affects us all, no matter how good we may think we are: none of us can match up to God’s standards. God has to be true to his own nature, and he can’t deny his justice any more than he can deny his love.

However, God loved his creation, fallen though it is, and had a plan to destroy sin and ultimately its outcome, death. God’s plan was to send his son to earth as a man, and to die as a perfect sacrifice for sin. Only Jesus Christ could fulfill that mission, because only he was sinless and perfect. When he died on the cross he satisfied God’s holy justice, and paid the penalty, the “price” of our sin.

This doesn’t mean we don’t sin any more, it means that there’s nothing standing between us and our creator, except our own reluctance, and  determination to continue in sin. If we turn from our sin we’re completely forgiven and in a right relationship with God. Paul said:

“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8: 1).

Other religions, denominations and organizations have piled more and more requirements, laws, regulations and commitments onto their followers, claiming that these are necessary to gain God’s acceptance, or that only commitment to the organization and its rules can ensure salvation and eternal life. According to the original gospel, which I wrote about in parts one and two, this is totally false and is really an attack on the gospel, because the death of Jesus Christ has entirely paid for our sin. It’s not possible for us or for any human go-between or organization to pay the price of our sin. It’s arrogant and futile to think that we can, and it is an insult to the sacrifice of Christ.

Jesus said “Whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11: 26). He did NOT say “whoever believes and goes to “XYZ” church and gives at least ten percent of their income…”! I’m not saying that we can live however we want to live and get away with it-we can’t. But if we turn from sin and to him we are completely forgiven.

“According to the Scriptures…”

The Old Testament scriptures foretold the sacrifice of Christ hundreds of years before it happened. As an example, read Isaiah chapter 53.  An entire copy of the book of Isaiah, known to have been written before Christ’s life on earth, was found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. There’s virtually no difference between it and what we have in our Bible today.

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OUR SIN WAS BURIED WITH CHRIST

“…He was buried…”

Jesus “became sin” for us. He was buried in a tomb, contrary to many modern attempts to write another version of his life. You don’t bury someone who isn’t dead. His disciples witnessed his death, and the Roman guard sealed and guarded the tomb, at the request of those who wanted him dead and who gloated over his death. They would have all ensured that he was dead and buried, and had the disciples attempted to claim that he was resurrected when he wasn’t, the authorities would have displayed the body for all to see.

Our sin was buried with him, and baptism is symbolic of our association with him, and with the burial of our sin and our past sinful lifestyle.

WE CAN HAVE NEW LIFE NOW, AND ETERNAL LIFE IN CHRIST

“…he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…”

The doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus has been under constant attack, even from within the church. No wonder, because it’s one of the most essential doctrines, perhaps the most essential. Without it the gospel is empty. The resurrection of Jesus demonstrates his power over death, his divine nature, and his ability and willingness to give us eternal life with him as he promised very clearly many times. It’s the resurrection which gives us hope for the future, and which puts our earthly life into its proper context and perspective. Our present physical body is very temporary and weak, but our resurrected body will be full of eternal life force. Again, his resurrection was foretold in Old Testament Scriptures (see Acts 2: 27 – 31 and 13:34 – 37, with Psalm 16:10).

HE DEMONSTRATED HIS POWER OVER DEATH

“…and that he appeared…”

Paul listed those who had seen Jesus alive after his resurrection. Paul was the last to see him. Those who went about spreading the good news had nothing to gain except persecution and death. Yes, people do give their lives to become martyrs to other religions, but no-one will die for something he knows is untrue. Neither did they kill in order to spread their beliefs or agenda. Instead they risked and in many cases lost their own lives.

For example Paul, when converted, voluntarily gave up his position of influence and power to become a hunted and hounded man. His enemies complained that he had “turned the world upside down”. There was no timid cowering in quiet corners for Paul: he wanted to tell the world, not that he had a new set of principles and rules to teach them, but that Christ had risen from the dead, and that he had seen him. He suffered multiple attacks and attempts on his life before finally being executed–such was his conviction that the gospel was true. He was prepared to die, as they all were, because they were convinced of Christ’s resurrection, and that His resurrection ensured theirs, just as Christ had promised. The promise is available to all who accept the gospel.    

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WHO KILLED JESUS CHRIST?

I killed Jesus

I killed him with my tongue when I slandered my neighbor and spread rumors about him

I killed him with my finger when I blamed someone else

I killed him with my fist, when I sought revenge on my enemy

I killed Jesus

I killed him by my neglect, when I failed to love my sister

I killed him when I failed to love my family and my friends

I killed him when I failed to love the poor and the deformed and the rejected

I killed Jesus…

I killed him when I used a woman for my own selfish desire

I killed him when I abused the body he gave me with drugs and alcohol

I killed him with my pride and arrogance

I killed him with my rejection of his perfect ways

I killed him with my ingratitude

I killed him when I turned my back on my Creator

I killed him with my feet when I ran away from him

I killed him with my heart when I ignored him

I killed Jesus

I killed him when I robbed my employer by taking money I didn’t work for

I killed him when I put my wants above the needs of others and lived in selfishness

I killed him when I thought I was better than someone else

I killed him when I hated my brother and cursed him

Jesus, forgive me and have mercy on me….

WHAT EASTER MEANS TO ME

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Here’s a little departure from my series “Jesus: Man or God-Man?” It’ s on hold, since my view count took a sudden drop to two a day and stayed there, so that I have to  wonder if I’ve been sabotaged or silenced somehow. Support didn’t answer my query. I may not write any more.

I listened to Janet Parshall’s radio show today, (“In the Market with Janet Parshall”). For two hours she interviewed authors of recent books affirming the validity of the resurrection story. One is “The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus” by Dr. Michael Licona (and someone else), and “The Jesus Family Tomb Examined”, by Rene Lopez*

The arguments are most convincing and encouraging, but I don’t really need them: I believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ without question, and I’m aware of numerous arguments in support and defense of it. However, one thing I did gain from the discussions was the sense that opposition to the resurrection has this fatal flaw, among many: the counter-claims and theories are so numerous and varied that they actually disprove each other. If these theories were anything but theories and hypotheses they would have a single and a conclusive line of reasoning backed up with evidence, but they do not.

Since the Romans and the unbelieving Jews were so anxious to snuff out the claim that Jesus had risen from the dead you would think that the first thing they would have done would be to parade his body around the streets, but they didn’t-they couldn’t.

So what does Easter mean to me?

I remember that when I was a boy I had a sub-conscious  fear of my own mortality.  More and worse than that, I feared the mortality of my parents, who had me late in life and who were already in their fifties when I was just a child. I loved them dearly, and didn’t want them to leave me, or to suffer by losing each other.

By the time I was in my teens I was very disillusioned with human nature and the world of men. Something inside me knew instinctively that life was not how it should be: that people were in some way lost and separated from the way they should be. So, to cut out a large chunk of the story, when I came to know Jesus, and about Jesus, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted from me, because I learned that his death cancelled out my sin against my Creator, and that his resurrection secured my own eternal life.

Not only do I have the assurance of eternal life, but I can have the same assurance for my loved ones. Life, the Universe and everything makes sense, knowing that there is a loving Creator, and not just some silly pond-scum-to-hopeless-man story, and that He has a master plan.

In that vein I want to quote a hymn which is probably my very favorite, although I have many favorites.

AND CAN IT BE

  • And can it be that I should gain
    An interest in the Savior’s blood?
    Died He for me, who caused His pain?
    For me, who Him to death pursued?
    Amazing love! how can it be
    That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
    Amazing love! how can it be
    That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me!
  • ’Tis mystery all! The Immortal dies!
    Who can explore His strange design?
    In vain the firstborn seraph tries
    To sound the depths of love Divine!
    ’Tis mercy all! let earth adore,
    Let angel minds inquire no more.
    ’Tis mercy all! let earth adore,
    Let angel minds inquire no more.
  • He left His Father’s throne above,
    So free, so infinite His grace;
    Emptied Himself of all but love,
    And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
    ’Tis mercy all, immense and free;
    For, O my God, it found out me.
    ’Tis mercy all, immense and free;
    For, O my God, it found out me.
  • Long my imprisoned spirit lay
    Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
    Thine eye diffused a quickening ray,
    I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
    My chains fell off, my heart was free,
    I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
    My chains fell off, my heart was free,
    I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
  • No condemnation now I dread;
    Jesus, and all in Him, is mine!
    Alive in Him, my living Head,
    And clothed in righteousness Divine,
    Bold I approach the eternal throne,
    And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
    Bold I approach the eternal throne,
    And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Words Charles Wesley, music Thomas Campbell

Source: http://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/296#ixzz2zJPVpFob

* http://www.moodyradio.org/brd_programarchive.aspx?id=100728

 

 

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My wonderful thirteen year old son suggested the subject and some of the content of this post. It fits so well with some of my recent posts.

Some people who regard themselves as being spiritual think that the Christian gospel is just too simple to bother with, or to consider that it could possibly be true. They are looking for something a lot more meaty, mystical, multifaceted, multifarious and mumbo-jumboidated. If there was a God, they reason, he would be so deep and profound that we would all have to be younglings or padawans of some great and groovy Master or combination of enlightened ones, probably for decades, in order to sufficiently learn the ways of the “man upstairs”, and even then, no-one would be able to say for sure what he, or she, or it was like: it would all just be, well, up in the air.

The apostle Paul eloquently predicted such times as these in his letter to Timothy:

“…the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:3 NIV).

Numerous philosophies, religions and pseudo-Christian cults are providing those very teachers. They are confusing, complicating, blurring, bending, and blocking the way to Life.

My son, with wisdom that many adults will never have, said that the concept of a loving Creator God fits perfectly with the concept of a simple to understand gospel: a loving God would make the way to Life easy to find. This, says my son, is another evidence of the validity of the Christian gospel.

God is not wanting to erect or sustain barriers of confusion or difficulty: he wants us to find him and to find the way to eternal life easily:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

I’m not saying that the Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient Almighty One is simple, but what I am saying is only what the Bible teaches:

“God is love” (1 John 4:8).

Bible teacher Vernon Mc Gee sometimes says that “God puts the cookies on the bottom shelf so that everyone can reach them”. Yes, that is what a loving Creator-God would do.

It’s Easter. Easter is an easy to understand love-letter from our eternal Father.

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