THE WORD

Dear beloved in the Lord, we need from time to time to focus on Scripture without any comments, as a way of allowing the Holy Spirit to minister God’s Word into our hearts. Under the general theme, THE WORD, today we will focus on Psalm 119:1-8.
Enjoy!

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD.  Blessed are they who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their heart. They do nothing wrong; they walk in His ways. You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed. Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands. I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws. I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me.” (PSALM 119: 1-8 NIV)

 
STAY BLESSED

CALLED INTO THE WORLD

As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. – John 17:18

INTRODUCTION

Should followers of Christ withdraw from the world to set up their own exclusive communities or retreat from society into “Christian ghettos”? Not if they are to fulfill Christ’s prayer in John 17:18. Engagement, not isolation, is His desire.

Some early Christians sought refuge in the catacombs of Rome. But that practice was only temporary, and they were forced there only by the most extreme persecutions. Normally, they could be found actively participating in the society.

Actually, Scripture recognizes a tension between separation and involvement. Passages like Romans 12:2; Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will and 1 Peter 1:14-16 – As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”; urge us to pursue a distinctive, holy lifestyle. Our commitments, character, and conduct should contrast vividly with those of people who do not follow God. On the other hand, Jesus calls us to live and work side by side with those very same people. He sends us into the world to make an impact.

Naturally, that can lead to conflict. If our loyalty is given to Christ, we can expect tension with others who follow a different course.

Whether we undergo mild teasing and insults or open hostility and even violence, “normal” Christianity involves conflict with the world to which we are called. Fortunately, the New Testament gives us plenty of examples to follow:

1. JESUS.

The Lord Himself came into the world to offer a new relationship with God. He didn’t have to. He could have remained in His heavenly position. Yet He voluntarily left it all to die for us, and to deliver to a rebellious humanity God’s offer of forgiveness, love, and acceptance. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! – Philippians 2:5-8.

When Christ came into the world, His listeners showed initial interest. Yet gradually most of them turned against Him. Knowing full well the fate that awaited Him, He entered Jerusalem, ready to face persecution, arrest, and even death. His followers tried to divert Him, but He was determined to follow God’s call into the world. Isolation and safety were not options.

2. PAUL.

The church’s greatest messenger started out having anyone who followed Jesus. Yet Christ Himself stopped him in his vengeful tracks and redirected his life to become a globetrotting messenger of faith and forgiveness.

However, Paul’s first days as a Christian were spent in an isolated “retreat” in Arabia. But this withdrawal lasted only for a time, and only so that Saul could emerge as Paul, the apostle. He crisscrossed the empire, bringing the gospel to dozens of cities and towns. These encounters led to numerous misunderstandings, deportations, arrests, physical abuse and attempts on his life. Probably Paul sometimes longed for the safer, quitter days of his Arabian retreat. But once he responded to God’s call to engage the world, there was no turning back. He also challenged others to live, work, and witness among the lost.

3.PETER.

Peter struggled throughout his life to break out the separatist mentality he had grown up with. He didn’t like the prospects of suffering and rejection, and at times took steps to forestall it. He liked even less the idea of sharing God’s good news of salvation with Samaritans and Gentiles.

But Christ kept calling Peter back, to reengage the world. In the end, he learned the necessity and the value of suffering and called others to do likewise. “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.” – 1 Peter 4:1-2

4. BARNABAS.

A respected landowner, Barnabas enjoyed relatively “safe” calling as a leader of the infant church in Jerusalem. But he accepted an assignment to visit Antioch and investigate rumours of Gentile converts to the predominantly Jewish movement. Sure enough, he found that God was bringing all nations into the fellowship. So he sought on Paul, an unknown, to help him establish the new converts in the faith.

Later, they travelled to Jerusalem to defend and extend this new “worldly” thrust in the growing work of God.

CONCLUSION

Jesus didn’t ask God to take believers out of the world but instead to use them in the world. Because Jesus sends us into the world, we should not try to escape from the world, nor should we avoid all relationships with non-Christians. We are called to be salt and light: You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:13-16, and we are to do the work that God sent us to do not only in church but in our offices , and other areas of professional work.

Stay blessed!

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READY FOR HIS RETURN

We are still continuing with Christs’ Return, and which we have dubbed: Ready for His Return! Enjoy!

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “Again the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last-dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip” (Mathew 25:14-15 NLT)


The master divided the money among his servants according to their abilities. No one received more or less then he could handle. If he failed in his assignment, his excuse could not be that he was overwhelmed. Failure would indicate only laziness or hatred toward the master. The bags of silver represent any kind of resource we are given. God gives us time, gifts, and other resources according to our abilities, and he expects us to invest them wisely until He returns. We are responsible to use well what God has given us. The issue is not how much we have but how well we use what we have.

Jesus is coming back-we know this is true. Does this mean we must quit our jobs to serve God? No, it means we are to use our time, talents, and treasures diligently in order to serve God completely in whatever we do. For a few people, this may mean changing professions. For most of us, it means doing our daily work out of love for God..

 
STAY BLESSED

CAN LAITY GET THE JOB DONE?

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, He gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. – Luke 9:1-2.

INTRODUCTION

“Laity” is defined in the Cambridge dictionary as “all the people who are involved with a Church but who are not priests or the clergy”. Thus, people who are involved with a church but who do not hold official religious positions.

Are you surprised at Jesus’ choice of His leadership team? A close reading of Luke Chapter 9 suggest that the Twelve were not exactly prize recruits for new spiritual movement. They showed some frightening patterns and embarrassing traits that might cause a manager to wonder, “Who hired these people? How in the world can they possibly get the job done?”

Jesus recruited them, and He delegated real power and authority to them to get the job done, not just token responsibilities as often happens when leaders “delegate” task to their subordinates. When they reported back from their first assignment, He took them aside for a “performance review” at a private place near Bethsaida, small fishing village on the north Galilee and home town of several team members.

From that point, the Twelve made eight identifiable mistakes that we might be tempted to assume would disqualify them from leadership:

1. They acted from a short- sighted vision.  When their retreat was interrupted by a crowd eager to meet Jesus all they could see was their limited resources in a desert place.

Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.” He replied, “You give them something to eat.” They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.”  – Luke 9:12-13

2. Some of them fell asleep at a moment of great opportunity. When Jesus met with Moses and Elijah, two of the greatest leaders in Israel’s history, Peter, James and John were caught napping.

 About eight days after Jesus said this, He took Peter, John and James with Him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As He was praying, the appearance of His face changed, and His clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about His departure,which He was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. Peter and His companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him. – Luke 9:28-32.

3. They tried to preserve the status quo. Peter wanted to hang on to a good experience and build monuments to it.

As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to Him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.) While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to Him.” When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen. – Luke 9:33-36

4. They gave way to fear of the unknown. Jesus healed an epileptic boy, but then fear caused the Twelve not to ask questions when they were confused.

And they were all amazed at the greatness of God. While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did, He said to his disciples, “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.” But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask Him about it. – Luke 9:43-45.

5. They competed to see who would be top dog. The disciples argued over greatness and privilege rather than concern themselves with serving others. Contrast that with Jesus’ treatment of seekers, especially “children” and “the least”.

An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside Him. Then He said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.” – Luke 9:46-48.

6. They dallied in partisan politics. Encountering a rival teacher, the disciples tried to claim exclusive rights to God’s activity. By contrast, Jesus included any and all who were sincerely interested in serving God in His name.

“Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.” – Luke 9:49-50

7. They plotted a dirty tricks campaign. When their ethnic enemies proved inhospitable, the Twelve turned vicious. Jesus replied by issuing one of His strongest rebukes.

As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for Him; but the people there did not welcome Him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 Then He and His disciples went to another village. – Luke 9:51-56.

8. They bit off ore than they could chew. As they travelled along, Jesus’ followers overstated their commitment; in the end they failed to deliver what they promised.

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” – Luke 9:57-62

CONCLUSION

Despite these shortcomings, Jesus not only kept the Twelve on His team, He kept them as His first team! He showed that undeveloped freshmen can be developed into servant-leaders – over time. Even though they were weak, competitive, self-centered, unrealistic about themselves, and insensitive to others, He kept working with them.

The Lord’s hopes were rewarded, but only after His death and resurrection. Luke Chapter 9 is merely the beginning of the story. The outcome can be found in Acts, where Luke goes on to show that God uses empowered laypeople like the Twelve – and like us today – to do His work.

Can we as laity do the work of God? Absolutely! But as we do, we need to take a serious look at ourselves and ask God to help us purge out those mistaken attitudes that we share with Jesus’ early leaders.

Stay Blessed!

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READY FOR HIS RETURN

We are still continuing on Christ’s Return, which we have dubbed: Ready for His Return. Enjoy!

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah; or “There he is; don’t believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. See, I have warned you about this ahead of time. “. (Mathew 24:23-25NLT) 

World conditions will be so terrible that people will wonder if any relief will come, and this will give false Christ’s opportunities to deceive many. Satan is capable of performing lying wonders (2 Thes 2:9; Rev. 13:13-14). The fact that a religious leader can perform miracles is no assurance that he or she has come from God.
 Even though Jesus performed true signs in His Father’s name, some people rejected Him (John 12:37-40), and interestingly, in the last days, many will accept Satan’s miracles.
We are not told what “the sign that the Son of Man is coming” that “will appear in heavens” (Matt 24:30) is, but the people on earth at that time will recognize it. When Jesus comes for the Church, He will come in the air, and His people will be caught up to meet Him there (1 Thes 4:17). But our Lord’s second coming will be a great public event, with every eye seeing Him.

 
STAY BLESSED

READY FOR HIS RETURN

This week we will focus on Christ Return, and we have dubbed it: Ready for His Return! Enjoy!

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit upon His glorious throne.” (Mathew 25:31 NLT)

 The parables in Mathew 24:25, encourage us to love Christ’s appearing, to look for His appearing, and to labor faithfully until He comes. We should be watching, witnessing, and working. We may not be successful in many people’s eyes or even popular with others. But if we are faithful and profitable, we shall receive our reward.
No matter what view of the prophecy we take, we know that Jesus is coming again. As Christians, we must be alert and ready. We must not waste our opportunities. We may not have a great deal of ability or a great many gifts, but we can still be faithful in the calling He has given us.

THE RESURRECTION: ON THE ROAD TO EMMAUS

Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing Him.

He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”

They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked Him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

 “What things?” He asked.

“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed Him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified Him; but we had hoped that He was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”

He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter His glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.

As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if He were going farther. But they urged Him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So He went in to stay with them.

When He was at the table with them, He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and He disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” – Luke 24:13-34

INTRODUCTION

The resurrection of Christ is the supreme miracle. Let’s accept it, and we can accept all the others. It is unique, unlike all other miracles – even the raising of Jairus’s daughter, the widow’s son, and Lazarus. The evidence for the resurrection miracle here is twofold: the empty tomb and His presence with His doubting friends. The body of Jesus, though recognizable by faith, was not bound by time and space. The two travelers to Emmaus could not recognize Him immediately. He then “disappeared from their sight”. From Emmaus they returned to the Eleven in Jerusalem, and Jesus appeared suddenly in their midst. The resurrection miracle fulfilled Scripture and Jesus’s own predictions. It is the strongest evidence Jesus is the Messiah promised Israel and the Saviour given to the world.

Today we will study some of the verses of the resurrection story in Luke chapter 24:13-34.

LUKE 24:13 – The two followers returning to Emmaus at first missed the significance of history’s greatest event because they were too focused on their disappointment and problems. In fact, they didn’t recognize Jesus when He was walking beside them. To compound the problem, they were walking in the wrong direction – away from the fellowship of the believers in Jerusalem. We are likely to miss Jesus and withdraw from the strength found in other believers when we become preoccupied with our dashed hopes and frustrated plans. Only when we are looking for Jesus in our midst will we experience the power and help He can bring.

LUKE 24:21 – These followers from Emmaus had been counting on Jesus to redeem Israel, that is, to rescue the nation from its enemies. Most Jews believed that the Old Testament prophecies pointed to a military and political Messiah; they didn’t realize that the Messiah had come to redeem people from slavery to sin. When Jesus died they lost all hope. They didn’t understand that Jesus’ death offered the greatest hope possible.

LUKE 24:24 – These followers knew that the tomb was empty but didn’t understand that Jesus had risen, and they were filled with sadness. Despite the women’s witness, which was verified by some of the disciples, and despite the biblical prophecies of this very event, they still didn’t believe. Today the Resurrection still catches people by surprise. In spite of 2,000 years of evidence and witness, many people refuse to believe. What more will it take? For these disciples it took the living Jesus in their midst. For many people today, it takes the presence of alive Christians.

LUKE 24:25 – Even though these Jewish men knew the biblical prophecies well, they failed to understand that Christ’s suffering was His path to glory. They could not understand why God had not intervened to save Jesus from the cross. They were so caught up in the world’s admiration for political power and military might that they were blind to God’s kingdom values – the last will be first, and that life grows out of death. The world has not changed its values. The suffering servant is no more popular today than He was 2,000 years ago. But we have not only the witness of the Old Testament prophets; we also have the witness of the New Testament apostles and the history of the Christian church testifying to Jesus’ victory over death. Will we confront the values of our culture and put our faith in Jesus? Or will we foolishly continue to ignore this Good News.

LUKE 24:25-27 – After the two followers had explained their sadness and confusion. Jesus responded by going to scripture and applying it to His ministry. When we are puzzled by questions or problems, we too, can go to Scripture and find authoritative help.

JESUS OPENS OUR EYES 

The journey to Emmaus is both a literal and a spiritual journey. On one hand it recounts the story of two disciples who, after the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord, walk seven miles from Jerusalem to their village of Emmaus. On the other hand, it outlines for us the journey that we all take from not recognizing Jesus, to understanding what the Scripture says about Him, to recognizing Him for who He is, and finally to our giving witness of what we have experienced.

There were several reasons they did not recognize Jesus:

A. GOD DID NOT WANT THEM TO RECOGNIZE HIM

The original language conveys the sense that they were kept from recognizing Him because God had a purpose in blinding their eyes from reality. His gradual revelation of Himself allows them to learn certain lessons about trusting God’s promises. The disciples had been told about these events many times, but they had not believed.

B. EVENTS HAD NOT HAPPENED AS EXPECTED

They had a preconceived idea of who Jesus was, what He had come to do, and how He should do it. But when things did not turn out like they thought they should, they dismissed the whole thing as a mere failure, as misplaced hope and trust.

While God always has a plan, we are not always privy to that plan. When things don’t turn out like we expect, instead of giving up and admitting defeat, perhaps we would be wise to see things differently, to see if maybe God is up to something we simply do not understand.

C. THEY HAD LITTLE FAITH

They had heard the reports of the women who went to the tomb and yet they had not believed.

We need to be careful not to make the same mistake, to discount what God has done simply because we cannot explain it or understand it. While God often uses natural things to accomplish His will, He also does things we can neither explain nor understand. These two disciples knew something had happened, but it was beyond their level of faith to see things as they truly were.

Just because they knew about Jesus does not mean they knew Him. Just because they could see Him does not mean they could see who He was. Many people today know who Jesus is. They have heard about Him, read about Him, use His name, and many even claim to know Him. They would not recognized Him if they saw Him. Their eyes have not been opened. Knowing about Him and knowing Him are two different things.

CONCLUSION

God prevented these two disciples from recognizing Jesus to convey a deep truth: Even if we were to see, we might still not believe. We must trust the testimony of Scripture.

Jesus tells us that we must have the scriptural truth to understand who He is. Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.

Outside of the word of God there is no reliable witness to who Jesus really is.

The Scripture tells us the truth about Jesus.

SOURCE: Life Application Study Bible

Stay blessed!

THERE IS HOPE.

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for He is risen, as He said, Come, see the place where the Lord lay”. (Mathew 28:5b-6a KJV) 

 When every door seems to shut in our face, when the difficulties are insurmountable, when we have failed yet again, we need to remember that none of this is permanent.
Jesus was arrested, tortured, humiliated, falsely accused, and crucified. He died as a common criminal- a thief or murderer-on that dark Friday, even though He had done no wrong. However, three days later He was delivered from death and arose again! He is alive and reigns eternally! Today He makes a difference in our lives.
We shouldn’t forget that many times the sunset is only a prelude to a new and glorious morning.
For the husband or wife who has been abandoned or betrayed by a spouse; for those who have lost a mate or a child, for the family of an alcoholic, for the orphans, single mothers, prisoners, or the sick, this message can restore faith: Jesus rose from the grave! There is hope!  There is joy! Our God is alive and He guarantees that we will live with Him eternally. Because He lives, we also shall live! The same power that delivered our Lord Jesus Christ from death is available to us today.

 
STAY BLESSED

JESUS HAS RISEN

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered His words.

When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened. – Luke 24:1-12

INTRODUCTION

Jesus’s death predictions helped His followers understand Him and His mission in light of the resurrection, but the resurrection message remained meaningless even to the disciples without personal experience of the empty tomb and resurrected Christ. Without the resurrection appearance, disciples could point to Jesus only as a powerful prophet who had apparently failed to fulfill their messianic hopes. Jesus could show He was Messiah by explaining the old Testament  Scriptures correctly and by breaking bread, a symbolic reminder of the Lord’s Supper. Fellowship with the risen Christ leads to faith in the resurrection.

VERSE BY VERSE STUDY

LUKE 24:1 – The women brought spices to the tomb as we would bring flowers – as a sign of love and respect. The women went home and kept the Sabbath as the law required, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, before gathering up their spices and perfumes and returning to the tomb.

LUKE 24:1-9 – The two angels asked the women why they were looking in a tomb for someone who was alive. Often we run into people who are looking for God among the dead. They study the Bible as a mere historical document and go to church as if going to a memorial service. But Jesus is not among the dead – He lives! He reigns in the hearts of Christians, and He is the head of His church. Do we look for Jesus among the living? Do we expect Him to be active in the world and in the church? Let us look for signs of His power – they are all around us.

LUKE 24 – The angels reminded the women that Jesus had accurately predicted all that had happened to Him.

LUKE 24:6-7 – The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the central fact of Christian history. On it, the church is built; without it, there would be no Christian church today. Jesus’ resurrection is unique. Other religions have a strong ethical systems, concepts about paradise and other the afterlife, and various holy scriptures. Only Christianity has a God who became human, literally died for His people, and was raised again in power and glory to rule His church forever.

WHY IS THE RESURRECTION SO IMPORTANT?

1. Because Christ was raised from the dead, we know that the Kingdom of Heaven has broken into earth’s history. Our world is now headed for redemption, not disaster. God’s mighty power is at work destroying sin, creating new lives, and preparing us for Jesus’ second coming.

2. Because of the Resurrection, we know that death has been conquered and we, too, will be raised from the dead to live forever with Christ.

3. The Resurrection gives authority to the church’s witness in the world. Look at the early evangelistic sermons in the book of Acts: The apostles’ most important message was the proclamation that Jesus Christ had been raised from the dead!

4. The Resurrection gives meaning to the church’s sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.

5. The Resurrection helps us find meaning even in great tragedy. No matter what happens to us as we walk with the Lord, the Resurrection gives us hope for the future.

6. The Resurrection assures us that Christ is alive and ruling His kingdom. He is not a legend; He is alive and real.

7. God’s power that brought Jesus back from the dead is available to us so that we can live for Him in an evil world.

LUKE 24:11, 12 – People who hear about the Resurrection for the first time may need time before  they can comprehend this amazing story. Like the disciples, they may pass through four stages of belief:

A. At first, they may think it is a fairy tale, impossible to believe.

B. Like Peter, they may check out the facts but still be puzzled about what happened.

C. Only when they encounter Jesus personally will they be able to accept the fact of the Resurrection.

D. Then, as they commit themselves to Jesus and devote their lives to serving Him, they will begin fully to understand the reality of His presence with them.

VERSE FOR MEDITAION

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” – Matthew 7:24-27

Stay Blessed!

MUST WE KEEP ON SINNING BECAUSE OF GRACE?

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of His wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?.“–Romans 6 : 1- 2 (NLT) 

If God loves to forgive, why not give Him more to forgive? If forgiveness is guaranteed, do we have the freedom to sin as much as we want to? Paul’s forceful answer is OF COURSE NOT! Such an attitude—deciding ahead of time to take advantage of God—shows that a person does not understand the seriousness of sin.

God’s forgiveness does not make sin less serious; His Son’s death for sin shows us the dreadful seriousness of sin. Jesus paid with His life so we could be forgiven. The availability of God’s mercy must not become an excuse for careless living and moral laxness.  

 
STAY BLESSED