Does Putting Your Phone Away During Dinner Count as Sacrifice Lent No Just Plain Good Manners!

NO JUST PLAIN GOOD MANNERS! just like when one is in a meeting with others or talking to a client, its called undivided attention, indicating the importance of the moment your in.... https://twitter.com/ABCReligion/status/1115859975748947968 …

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Easter: The Last Seven Sayings of Christ Upon the Cross

Jack van Impe feature

Seven is the number of perfection and holiness, and Christ uttered seven cries from the tree that held His body in suspension between heaven and earth.

Let’s look at the seven sayings in order of their utterance and then analyze the tender compassionate heart of Christ.

We will immediately notice that even the order or progress of the seven cries is Christ like, for He begins with His enemies and ends with himself. All through His life it was others first—self last. Thus Jesus died even as He had lived.

The order is:

1. Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).

2. Today shalt thou be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43).

3. Woman, behold thy son!…Behold thy mother! (John 19:26,27).

4. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46).

5. I thirst (John 19:28).

6. It is finished (John 19:30).

7. Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit (Luke 23:46).

Oh, what love, what compassion, what heartache, and what suffering. It was all for us. Everyone at this point should repeat the latter part of Galatians 2:20, [Christ] loved me, and gave himself for me.

God’s love

Now, let’s analyze each of these statements.

#1:

The first thing: Jesus did when He got to His cross was to seek forgiveness for those who had viciously nailed Him to it. He was beginning His ministry of intercession for His enemies by virtue of His blood—already freely flowing from His veins.

This cry was not being made for His admirers and devotees, but for the rabble-rousers who had mercilessly mangled and mutilated His flesh. It was for the brutes who had used the Roman cat-o-nine-tails and shredded the skin of His chest, arms, and back. It was for the villains who had barbarously battered His face with sticks and fists and yanked His beard out by the roots (see Isaiah 50:6).

The sinners who had spit in His face ridiculing, vilifying, and disqualifying Him as the Saviour of the world were also part of His intercessory cry. Even the soldiers who had nailed His hands and feet to the tree and who dropped the cross into a hole with such vehemence and hatred that it dislocated His bones (see Psalm 22:14) were recipients of His tender supplications to His Father.

Oh, dear friend, God is love and He longs to save you, regardless of the way you have treated Him. Christ died as He had lived. Do you remember His teachings contained in the Sermon on the Mount?

Matthew 5:44-48: Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Loving our enemies

Is it possible to manifest love toward those who hate us? After all, Christ was God in human flesh and thereby different from the rest of us. Oh, but He also was tested in all points as we are and was without sin (see Hebrews 4:15).

In order to prove that it is possible to love others who hate us, we turn our minds to the first Christian martyr, Stephen. In Acts 7, we find this spiritual giant preaching one of the strongest messages ever recorded. The ungodly worldlings couldn’t take this bombardment of truth and reacted violently. Verse 54: When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. This means that they gritted their teeth and hurled every profane, immoral oath imaginable into his face.

It didn’t bother this saint in the least for he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God (verses 55,56). This raised the anger of the crowd to an unusual pitch for then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him (verses 57,58).

Now get the picture—don’t miss it—because here we find the real evidence of the Holy Spirit in a human’s life. Notice it is not in words but in actions. The great sign is not speaking in supernatural languages but love for one’s enemies, who in Stephen’s case, crushed his skull with rocks. Notice verse 55: He, being full of the Holy Ghost. The result: And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep [or he died] (verse 60). This is the evidence of the Holy Spirit’s operation in a life that a sin-riddled, hateful world wants to observe.

#2:

The second expression. Today shalt thou be with me in paradise, is closely aligned with the first, in that the Saviour forgives one individual who has shown nothing but hatred toward Him. In the Gospel accounts we find both thieves heckling Christ. Mark 15:32: They [plural] that were crucified with him reviled him.

The religious leaders said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God (Matthew 27:42.43). Now look at verse 44: The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth [or face],

Since both thieves were making these identical statements and accusations against Christ’s saving ability, what triggered the sudden change of attitude in the one convict? I believe it was love. This thief saw the hatred the world had heaped upon Christ as well as upon himself. His heart was so incensed with the brutes who nailed him to a tree next to Christ that he would have strangled his executioners with his bare hands had it been possible.

Then, as he looked at the center cross and saw Christ, he heard an unbelievable utterance falling from the Lord’s lips: Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34). The thief was startled by the love shown to such villains. It was superhuman. Because of it, he suddenly changed his mind about Christ. Soon the one who hurled infamous blasphemies at Christ called upon Him for salvation. His cry was, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom (Luke 23:42).

Did Christ really forgive this one who so hatefully slandered Him? Did Jesus mean what He prayed when He said, “Father, forgive them?” The answer is tenderly given in the second expression: Today shall thou be with me in paradise (verse 43).

Dear friend, Christ will also forgive you of any sin if you will open your mind and heart to Him. Your sin may be murder, abortion, alcoholism, drug addiction, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, blasphemy, thievery, lying, or some other enslaving vice. Hear it! First John 1:7: The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. The thief was out of Christ in the morning, in Christ at noon, and with Christ in the evening. Guilt, grace, and glory are the three stages in the spiritual biography of the thief on the cross.

#3:

The third statement ringing from the Saviour’s lips also resounds the message of love. Let’s turn from the outer circle of sin-blinded religious leaders, brutal soldiers, and hardened criminals to the inner circle of believers. The lesson unfolded now is very moving.

Mary was the instrument of God used to bring His Son into the world. This pure young lady was a virgin who had never known man in an intimate way (see Luke 1:34). She became impregnated through the miracle-working power of the Holy Spirit—a special act of creation (see Luke 1:35). Therefore Joseph had nothing to do with the birth of Christ and was only called his father because he adopted Christ. As Christ hung upon the cruel cross, dying for the sins of an entire world, Joseph was not present—all evidence suggests that he was already dead.

Jesus looked at the lonely little woman who bore Him and His tender heart was grieved. He wanted assurance that someone would take care of Mother after His departure. He looked at Mary and said, Woman, behold thy son! Then to His beloved disciple John He said, Behold thy mother! (John 19:26,27). Yes, Christ in His dying moments was concerned about the future welfare of Mary, who had borne Him and whose soul was now pierced with a sword (see Luke 2:35).

Jesus had no earthly possessions to leave His mother (see 2 Corinthians 8:9). He brought nothing into the world at His birth, and He had nothing to leave behind as He left this life. He died as poor as He had lived. All that He could leave His mother was His love. He wanted His followers to love as He loved. Jesus said in Matthew 19:19, Honour thy father and thy mother.

What a lesson there is for this thoughtless, cruel age in which we live. Thousands weep because they have been forgotten. Lord, forgive us for we know not what we do. Love is the proof of salvation—love for parents, in-laws, believers, neighbors, and for lowly sinners. Do you have the evidence?

First John 4:7,8 says, Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. John 13:35: By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. If this element of love pictured in the first three sayings of the cross is missing in your life, find out why. Are you saved? Are you filled with the Holy Spirit? Seek that love which proves salvation is real.

In closing our examination of these statements revealing God’s love, let me ask you a personal question. Would you be ready to meet Christ today if you were to die? Christ said to the repentant thief, Today shall thou be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43). It is blessed to have the assurance that one will be with Christ for all eternity. He died by the shedding of blood, was buried, and rose again for your sins. Have you accepted this truth and received Him?

God’s holiness

#4:

The fourth: cry, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46) reveals the holiness of God and the depravity of man. God is love (1 John 4:8). However, this does not mean that He sentimentally allows man’s ungodliness and debased practices to go unpunished. Perish the thought! He is also a God of holiness and wants mankind to partake of this righteous attribute. First Peter 1:16 says, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

The problem is that man is inherently wicked. Every member of the human race arrives on the scene with the nature of Adam. Romans 5:12: Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. Yes, every one of us is born with this sinful, wicked, Adamic nature. It is this sin principle with which we are born that makes us lie, cheat, swindle, curse, blaspheme, and become enslaved to every known vice that mankind creates. We do not become sinners because we commit these abominable practices, but rather we practice these wicked iniquities because we were born with a nature that hungers after sin.

Because the God of holiness cannot look upon sin, and because this God of holiness is also a God of love, we begin to understand the words of the Saviour, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? At the cross, God’s two attributes of holiness and love were made manifest—His love, in that His Son was being offered to rid mankind of sin and His holiness, as He forsook the Son He loved. Romans 8:32 says that God spared not His own Son.

The reason the Father turned His back upon His Son at Calvary, refusing to look at Him, was that Christ was covered from head to toe with every loathsome sin mankind had ever and would ever commit. Please remember that Christ was not dying for His own sin. He was the Holy One of God who did no sin (1 Peter 2:22). He…knew no sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). He was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners (Hebrews 7:26). The “good news” is that Christ died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3). He loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood (Revelation 1:5).

As Jesus hung there stained, saturated, and sin-laden, the Father refused to look at His Son. Why? Christ was bearing every vile, degrading vice that depraved human beings had ever com-mitted or would ever commit. His body and soul were completely immersed with man’s abominations. He bore the disobedience of Adam, the murderous act of Cain, the adultery of David, and the murders of the Christians by Saul of Tarsus. He bore every sin committed since the inception of history and every sin which will be committed until the world disintegrates by fire.

Christ bore adultery, anger, blasphemy, burglary, carnality, corruption, covetousness, cursing, deceit, defilement, degeneracy, dishonour, drunkenness, drug addiction, envy, extortion, filthiness, fornication, guile, hatred, harlotry, homosexuality, heresy, hypocrisy, jealousy, lasciviousness, lying, murder, nudity, perversion, profanity, rebellion, revenge, robbery, sadism, seduction, stealing, swearing, thievery, unfaithfulness, ungodliness, vileness, violence, war, whoredom, whoremongering, wickedness, and every sin that may have escaped this lengthy listing.

Never in the annals of history had so much sin been carried at one time, and it was all carried by the sinless One. It was all upon the sinless, holy, God-man, Christ Jesus, and this is why the Father turned away from the voice of His Son as Christ took our place (see Psalm 22:1). God could not look upon the scene. Truly, it was our sin, our wickedness, our transgressions, our iniquities, and our abominations that turned God’s face from the heartbreaking event.

#5:

Christ had suffered severe abuse at the hands of His tormentors. Many were His anguished cries. Psalm 22:1 tells us that He literal¬ly roared upon that cruel tree because of the excruciating pain. Naturally, His mouth became parched, pasty, and dry. Thus He cried, I thirst (John 19:28).

What a paradox that Christ, the Water of life, the One who satisfies the eternal thirst of the soul, cried for water. The blessing of these words becomes understandable when one realizes that the God-man was willing to suffer physical thirst in order that our spiritual thirst might be quenched for all eternity.

This truth is taught in John 4:13,14. Jesus, conversing with the woman at the well, said, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again. Why? Mankind must continually replenish the fluid in his body or death will ensue. But, Christ continued, whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

I personally drank of this Water many years ago, and the Lord has satisfied every desire and longing in my heart. Quit trying to quench the thirst of your spiritual being with liquor, drugs, sex, pleasure, or money. Drink of the Water of life freely. God’s invitation to you is found in the last chapter of the Bible, Revelation 22:17: Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. It is yours without money, without works, without man-made rites and ceremonies, without Lenten observations. God offers it freely. The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).

Christ finished the plan

#6:

The sixth utterance is the greatest statement ever recorded, historically. It is finished (John 19:30). The original Greek does not carry three words, but one: finished.

Friend, do you get the significance of this statement? Does it simply mean that Christ expired or died upon a tree as far as your understanding of the subject is concerned? If so, get ready for some thrilling theological truth. The terminology It is finished had to do with the eternal plan the Trinity originated in heaven before the world was created.

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit sat down in the counsels of eternity past and meticulously planned redemption’s program. They decided that the sacrifice of shed blood would be the only means of salvation for mankind. Blood would make atonement for the soul (see Leviticus 17:11). At first, animal blood would be a temporary offering— only covering sin until a permanent sacrifice could be made. Since mankind’s blood was tainted through the fall of its father, Adam, there could only be one solution. A member of the Godhead would have to go to earth, take a body with blood, and shed that blood to take away the sin that animal blood could only cover.

First Peter 1:20 proves this teaching. Who [Christ] verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world. Revelation 13:8 states that Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. When was He slain? Before and from the foundation of the world.

Christ said in Hebrews 10:4,5, For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore…a body hast thou prepared me. This prepared body had blood. It was pure, holy blood because of the virgin birth. It was not contaminated with Adam’s virus of sin. John the Baptist recognized Christ’s earthly mission and victoriously cried out in John 1:29, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. Animal blood had covered sin to this point, but soon Christ, God’s Lamb, would shed His blood and take away the sin that was hitherto covered.

When Christ shed His blood at Calvary, He cried, Finished! The programmed plan from eternity past had now come to completion. The shedding of blood was finished forever. Hebrews 9:12 says, Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. Hebrews 10:12 states that heoffered one sacrifice for sins forever. This is why it is finished. He did it once for all—and forever. This is why man’s works are useless. It is the work of Christ—and only the work of Christ—that is sufficient forever.

#7:

Into thy hands I commend my spirit (Luke 23:46). In essence, Christ was saying, “Father, You sent Me into the world (see Galatians 4:4). My work upon Calvary’s cross is finished. I have shed My blood for the sins of the world. Now I commend My Spirit unto You.”

What a beautiful example Christ sets in this last utterance from the cross. He is at perfect peace and is soon going home. The liberals and apostacized religionists of our day may laugh about heaven. They may try to insult real Christians with such phraseology as “pie in the sky when you die by and by.” Yet, death must and will come for every member of Adam’s race and there is nothing more satisfying than the assurance of eternal life. What joy and satisfaction there is when one believes the Word of God and the sayings of Jesus—especially when the night of death approaches.

Does it bother you to think about the inevitability of decease? It does not have to be this way. Death is not a sad ending but a glorious beginning for those who have trusted in Christ. He who said, Into thy hands I commend my spirit, also said in John 14:1-3, Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. Verse 6: I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. He died, was buried, and rose again for us. That’s the gospel. Where He went, you can go—if He lives in your heart. Receive Him now!

March 21, 2016
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Easter: The Importance of Christ’s Resurrection

Jack van Impe feature

The Importance of Christ’s Resurrection

On June 18, 1815, twelve miles south of Brussels and two miles from the Belgian village of Waterloo—largely through a series of mistakes and misunderstandings among his own leaders— Napoleon was soundly defeated by Arthur Wellesley, better known as the Duke of Wellington. At the time of this victory, one of the strangest events in the annals of England’s history took place.

Without our modem means of communication, the people in those days were limited to semaphore signals. The news of Wellington’s decisive victory was passed along until finally, in the last relay from a ship out in the channel, the message was passed on to receivers stationed high in the towers of Westminster Abbey. The communication stated, “Wellington defeated.”

When those two words were received, a heavy fog rolled across London and the message—just as received—was passed on to the waiting people. All of London was filled with grief and despair as strong men sobbed openly and women agonized in the streets. However, a few hours later another wind blew the fog away, and the message from the ship began again, this time adding a third word and reading, “Wellington defeated Napoleon.

What a difference! The first message said, “Wellington defeated,” and the fog stopped the third word. But later the message said, “Wellington defeated Napoleon.” Oh, the rejoicing that took place in England when they got the third word of that message.

A similar event took place at Calvary. On the day of the crucifixion, the fog of hell seemed to roll in with its message, “Christ defeated.” That day ended with a broken, bloody, dead Messiah and scattered, weeping, defeated disciples. Then, three days and three nights later, the fog was dispelled by the brightness of glory. Special archangels from heaven descended to earth and rolled back the stone from the empty tomb so that a waiting world could read the entire message, “Christ defeated Satan.” Hallelujah! Christ defeated Satan. Praise God for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

You must believe in the Resurrection

We are living in a day and age when many apostate, liberal, modernistic ministers scoff at the Resurrection.

Dr. Duncan E. Littlefair has a book entitled The Changing Religious Thought. I quote from pages 104 and 105.

Listen to this blasphemy:The resurrection is not peculiar to Christianity. Don’t you go building religion on this basis. Don’t build it on the idea that somehow or another something different happened in Christianity because Jesus was raised from the dead. It is not so. It just isn’t so. I say to you that this physical resurrection must stop being a dominant thing in our minds. We have to understand it differently. We must see it with our spiritual eyes. The virgin birth is a mythological tale.

This is a minister speaking! Well, I choose to believe God (see Acts 27:25)!

Matthew 1:23 says, Behold, a virgin shall be with child. Let’s listen to God rather than men.

Dr. Littlefair continues, “The virgin birth is a story designed to say something. It wasn’t meant to be understood physically. It was a picturesque way of telling something wonderful that couldn’t be told any other way. The resurrection story is the same.

It should not be taken physically? Wait a minute!

Let’s see what God has to say. In Luke 24:39, Jesus appeared to His disciples after the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, and He was in a body. He said, Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself [you do not believe it?]: handle me, and see [come on and touch me!]; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

Dr. Littlefair says this should not be taken literally, as far as the physical is concerned!

He further states, “Don’t take it with your crude literal hands and destroy it. A rolled away stone and some clothes left there—how trivial and insignificant.” Really?

The literal, physical Resurrection is insignificant? Oh, Dr. Littlefair, how about Romans 10:9,10 which says that if you do not believe in this literal Resurrection you cannot be saved? That if thou shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shall be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Dr. Littlefair goes on to say, “Two men sitting there announced that the body was no longer there. One of the disciples putting his finger into the wound in the side, Jesus eating a fish to show that He was physical, passing through a wall to give a miracle, and, finally, rising up with His body. If you stop to think about it you realize the absurdity of it.

Sir, the only absurdity I see is in the article you have written in your book which does away with the precious story of what the Holy Bible, God’s Word, has to say about the Resurrection.

In one paragraph, this accomplished apostate denies the virgin birth, the Resurrection, the ascension, the existence of heaven, and the integrity of the Holy Scriptures. Philippians 3:10 says, That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection. Let me tell you, when you really know Jesus—not about Jesus, but know Him with your heart—you also know the power of the Resurrection.

You know it is not just myth. You know that it is real.

In 2 Peter 1:16, the apostle says, For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. In other words, Peter says, “This is not something that we hatched up in a dream—it is something that we saw with our own eyes.”

The pages of the Holy Bible are literally saturated with Resurrection truth.

For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.

Job 19:25

In Mark 16 the angel says,

Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen.

Mark 16:6

In John 11 Jesus Christ says,

I am the resurrection, and the life.

John 11:25

Peter, preaching in Acts 5 says,

The God of our fathers raised up Jesus.

Acts 5:30

Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Romans 4:25

Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God.

Romans 8:34

Christ died for our sins…And…he was buried, and…he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.

First Corinthians 15:3,4

And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead.

First Thessalonians 1:10

Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead.

Second Timothy 2:8

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep…Make you perfect.

Hebrews 13:20,21

I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore.

Revelation 1:18

 There is one thing this Book teaches and that is the story of the Resurrection.

Our faith depends on the Resurrection

I want to show you how vain, how empty, how meaningless, and how futile the Christian religion would be without the Resurrection. I believe the greatest chapter on the subject is 1 Corinthians 15. Look at verses 1-8: 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. What is that gospel? Verses 3-4: How that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day.

Then God, through Paul, goes to the trouble of giving us the witnesses who saw Christ in His new body, for He says in verses 5-8: He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he, was seen of above [or over] five hundred brethren at once…After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also.

Does it really matter whether or not one accepts the Resurrection story? I have already quoted Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shall be saved.

You cannot be saved unless you believe the Resurrection story. Why?

Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-19: 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 is 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. Now here is the victorious note—But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept (verse 20).

There are a number of points here that we need to see.

First of all, if Christ be not risen, then our preaching is vain (verse 14). Vain means “empty” or “meaningless.” Why? We would be preaching about a deceiver.

Jesus made some startling predictions.

He said in Matthew 12:39,40, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Hear Jesus again in Matthew 16:21, From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

Jesus said in John 2:19, Destroy this temple [this body], and in three days I will raise it up. He said, in effect, “They are going to kill Me; I will be in a grave for three days, but I am coming out of that grave.” If He had not done that, all our preaching would be in vain because we would be preaching about a deceiver who predicted many things and never fulfilled them.

We would also be preaching about one who had taught erroneously. If He could not back up the teaching of the Resurrection, then He would not be able to back up the teaching of the new birth when He said in John 3:7, Ye must be born again. He would not be able to back up the teaching of heaven when He said in John 14:2, In my Father’s house are many mansions. He would not be able to back up the teaching of salvation when He said in John 14:6, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. But, praise God, He is risen and He is not a deceiver. We can believe every one of His teachings.

Second, our faith is also vain (verse 14). Why? Because one is trusting in a Saviour who could not produce what He had promised. 

He said, “I will come out of the grave the third day.” If He did not do it, He would not have kept His promises. If He could not keep that promise, He could not keep the others He made.

For instance, John 8:

I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

John 8:12

I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved.

John 10:9

I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.

John 11:25,26

I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 14:6

If He could not fulfill the promise of His resurrection, He would not be able to fulfill these other promises. Therefore, our faith would be in vain because we would be trusting in one who could not fulfill what He had promised. Praise God, Christ is risen and we can accept every promise. Because He fulfilled the first promise concerning His resurrection, He will fulfill all the rest. He will be the Light of the world to you. He will be the Door to heaven. He will be the Way. He will be your Resurrection and Life if you will let Him into your heart today.

Third, we are found false witnesses (verse 15). Why? Because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

Matthew would have lied because he recorded the Resurrection story in chapter 28. He said in verse 6, He is risen. Mark would have lied, for he recorded the same story in chapter 16. He triumphantly cried out in verse 6, He is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.

Luke also would have been a prevaricator because he described the blessed Resurrection in a narrative found in Luke 24. He said in verse 3, And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. Why? Because He was risen. John would have been untruthful because he unfolded the Resurrection scene in John 20. The Apostle Peter would have been a false witness because he said in Acts 3:15, [You] killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead.

All of these men would have been false witnesses or liars had they preached these truths, knowing that Christ’s body had been stolen. However, they were filled with the blessed Holy Spirit and integrity. The greatest proof that they believed the message they declared is the fact that they went through horrible torture and death for the message they proclaimed.

Do you think a man would give his life if he did not really believe what he was preaching? Matthew’s body was run through with a spear. Mark was dragged through the streets of Alexandria until the skin was torn off his body and his blood seeped into the sand. Then he died. Luke was hanged, and John was thrown into boiling oil. Peter was crucified, and Paul was beheaded.

These men would not have given their lives if they knew it had been a concocted message. No, praise God, let’s say it again. He is risen! That is why these men were not false witnesses and why they even gave their lives for the message they preached.

Fourth, if there be no Resurrection, then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ [those who have died in Christ] are perished (verse 18). 

If Christ perished, then we which are in Christ shall perish. If Christ had not been able to overcome death, then we who are in Christ shall certainly not be able to overcome death, because our energy, strength, and life must come from Him.

Our Saviour said in John 14:19, Because I live, ye shall live also. Let me tell you this: Because He is risen (praise God), all of our loved ones who died in Jesus are now in the presence of the Lord. Because He has eternal life in Him, He can give us this eternal life. Christ spoke the truth when He said in John 11:25 and 26, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. You can have life—eternal life—if you will come to this Jesus.

Finally, if Christ be not risen, we are of all men most miserable (verse 19). Of course! Why?

Because our preaching would be vain. Our faith would be vain. We would be false witnesses, and we would perish. Let me say it one more time. HE IS RISEN! Our preaching is not vain, and our faith is not vain. We are not found false witnesses, and we shall never perish. We shall be with Jesus for the ages of ages. Oh, let Him into your heart today!

28 March 2016

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Easter: Bunny, Egg or Cross

Easter Sunday He is Risen (02) feature

Well the time of Easter Bunny is due real soon. 

Funny how as little children the fantasy world  seems so real and our innocence  to realities allowed us to dwell in a world beyond that we could see, touch or feel. (Child like) 

Being a  believer requires child like faith. There are  at times things we must accept as true because  our Father (God) has said it is so. With the believer  the spiritual realm is one of these things we cannot  see it, but we can observe signs and consequences of its reality and that relates to good and evil alike.

The bible says that no one is Good  but God, (Mark 10:18) so one can say evil is the absence  of Goodness.  So the fruit of evil would  be  the absence  of God being involved. Because  God only does good. Therefore  one can argue  people who demonstrate  evil actions  are a life absent of God. Just as God is Light, Darkness is the absence  of Light.

The whole of creation is a mirror  into the spiritual  world which is the greater reality as its eternal by nature, whereby  our physical  reality is temporal  ( by nature  it has a beginning  and end)

Our ability  to be part of the Kingdom of God is only possible because the very things we as believers remember  during the Easter  Weekend.  

Whilst the  world’s lost in  fables of Easter  bunnies  and easter eggs, we should  take  the time to ponder on what God has done through the  Cross of Calvary for mankind  as a whole and more particularly  ourselves,  as we know we were once enemies  of God, while lost in  our Sin. However  now because  we have accepted  God’s  solution  to our problem  (sin, that made us enemies ), the embracing of God’s  solution  the work of the Cross.  (ie  that which Jesus  achieved  for us by his death  on the Cross) We are now declared  “Righteous “ (without sin and guiltless )  and now friends with  God.

Such is the enormity  of what the Calvary’s  moment  achieved for mankind  and us.

The Easter  story and taking our time out to remember  God and what  he has done for us, seems the least  we should do.  As the book of Ephesians  says , Saved by Grace through faith lest  any man should  boast.

What a sobering thought we could do not one thing not one thing to pay our sin debt  as we are bankrupt  of spiritual  currency to pay for the penalty  for sin. All we were capable  of doing  was increasing  our Sin Debt, and never able to pay it off. Truly a dilemma with far reaching levels  of  consequences for mankind and ourselves,  with finally the Lake of fire was our final  destination.

Praise God we are now friends  and with God “declared”  by God to be righteous.  

We are God’s children and his friends now. He is our Father and we belong to his Kingdom and live now life in the Kingdom  of God;   while here on this earth.

Blow the easter bunny,  give me  God and a life in the kingdom  and being a citizen of Heaven. With our eternal life lived in Heaven it self. END

by Editor 4cminews


 

easter-eggs-03a

Mind you that doesn’t  mean we don’t eat easter eggs.

It’s just chocolate  in a different  shape. After Childhood memories of Marshmallow filled Easter eggs the now Hollow Easter eggs are such a let down. 

Wow imagine  a giant  easter bunny  filled with marshmallow,  what a sugar fix that would be 

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Obama Must Apologize for Calling Christians ‘Less Than Loving,’ ‘Insulting the Christian Faith,’

Profile: Obama (01)

The American Center for Law and Justice has started a petition demanding that President Barack Obama apologize for calling some Christians “less than loving” in his remarks at Tuesday’s Easter Prayer Breakfast.

by Stoyan Zaimov
The law group argued that Obama refuses to speak out about radical Islam, but instead spews “verbal vitriol against Christians.”

The letter the ACLJ is calling on people to sign reads: “Mr. President, Christians aren’t ‘extremists.’ We aren’t unloving. We’re not on a ‘high horse’ about persecution. Every day Christians die for their faith. They sacrifice their lives for others. Your comments were wrong and hurtful. Stop maligning the Christian faith.”

U.S. President Barack Obama

During the annual White House Easter Prayer Breakfast, Obama went off-script and said:
 (Photo: Reuters/Goran Tomasevic) U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a speech in the Grand Hall of Cairo University, June 4, 2009. Obama sought a “new beginning” between the United States and the Muslim world on Thursday but offered no new initiative to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

On Easter, I do reflect on the fact that as a Christian, I am supposed to love. And I have to say that sometimes when I listen to less-than-loving expressions by Christians, I get concerned. But that’s a topic for another day.

The gathering on Tuesday included Christian leaders from a wide array of backgrounds.

With humility and with awe, we give thanks to the extraordinary sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our savior. We reflect on the brutal pain that He suffered, the scorn that He absorbed, the sins that He bore, this extraordinary gift of salvation that He gave us. And we try, as best we can, to comprehend the darkness that He endured so that we might receive God’s light.

The ACLJ’s letter is also in reference to comments Obama made earlier this year at the National Prayer Breakfast, where he compared the Crusades to the terror acts of radical Islamic extremists being carried out in the world today, such as ISIS.

Unless we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ, Obama said back in February.

The ACLJ said that the timing and nature of those comments was very wrong, considering the ongoing slaughter of Christians at the hands of ISIS and other terror groups.
At a time when Christians are being slaughtered, raped, and decapitated simply for being a Christian, or in some regimes hung simply for expressing the love of Christ to others, President Obama repeatedly puts Christians in his rhetorical crosshairs,” the law group said.

“He’s spent more time calling out Christians than acknowledging that radical Islamists are inflicting genocide,” it continued.

“It’s more than offensive to the millions of Christians across the globe who seek to live out our lives following Christ’s example of love, his statements are just plain false.”

Obama’s comments were also criticized by Bill Donohoe of The Catholic League, who argued that the Crusades, initiated by Pope Urban II in 1095, were carried out against Islamic jihad.

The president should apologize for his insulting comparison,” Donohue said. “Obama’s ignorance is astounding and his comparison is pernicious.”

Obama has told critics that the reason he does not refer to ISIS and other such groups as “Islamic” is because he does not want to give terrorists the legitimacy that they desire.

These terrorists are desperate for legitimacy. And all of us have a responsibility to refute the notion that groups like ISIL somehow represent Islam, because that is a falsehood that embraces the terrorists’ narrative,” Obama said at the State Department in another speech in February.

by Stoyan Zaimov | Christian Post Reporter | April 9, 2015 | Original Source: christianpost.com  "Obama Must Apologize for Calling Christians 'Less Than Loving,' 'Insulting the Christian Faith,' ACLJ Says."
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What is Easter Monday?

FYI For Your Interest (01) feature
"Easter monday countries". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Easter_monday_countries.PNG#/media/File:Easter_monday_countries.PNG

“Easter monday countries”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

Easter Monday, also known as:

» Bright Monday

» Renewal Monday

» Wet Monday

» Dyngus Day

… is the Monday immediately after Easter Sunday.
It is observed by many Christian groups, but primarily by the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic traditions. It marks the beginning of Easter Week (Roman Catholic) / Bright Week (Eastern Orthodox).

Different cultures observe Easter Monday very differently. For some, Easter Monday is a solemn remembrance of Christ’s death and resurrection marked by an outdoor procession. For others, there are Easter egg-rolling competitions. For still others, siblings and/or spouses wake each other up by pouring buckets of water on each other (hence the name “Wet Monday”). And others celebrate with a large gathering and a polka festival (Dingus Day).

Some of these observances have more Christian symbolism in them than others, but none of them are explicitly biblical. The Bible does not say anything about what happened on Easter Monday, the day after Jesus’ resurrection. The Bible does not instruct followers of Jesus Christ to observe Easter Monday, so there is no obligation to celebrate it. As with many holidays, there is nothing wrong with observing some cultural traditions, but it is important to not allow traditions to detract from the message of the gospel.

Easter Monday Calendar:
2015 – April 6
2016 – March 28
2017 – April 17
2018 – April 2
2019 – April 22
2020 – April 13

Original Source: gotquestions.org  "Easter Monday"
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Believing the unbelievable

Easter Sunday He is Risen (02) feature

easter-sundayReading: Luke 24:1-35

Text: Luke 24:11

And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them.

Today 5th April is Easter Sunday. 

Today we commemorate the greatest event in the history of mankind, the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

And this is a joyful occasion, and I am sure that we all mean it when we wish each other a Happy Easter. And for Christians it means the joyful victory over the suffering, and the death and darkness of Good Friday.

However, when I again read through the account of the resurrection in the four Gospels I found that the first reaction of this mighty event was not joy, but perplexity and even fear. And instead of receiving the risen Lord with joy and jubilation, the disciples and followers of Jesus were terrified and dumbfounded, and they did not believe it.

Oh they had heard Jesus telling them what would happen, and they knew that He had told them all about it, but they had not understood the message. And therefore when it really happened, when they could see with their own eyes and hear with their own ears that what Jesus had predicted had come true, they were  dumbfounded, because that was something they had not expected to happen.

They had wept at the cross and on the way to the tomb, they had been disappointed at His death, but at least they had accepted it and had come to terms with the fact that He had died. But no one in their wildest dreams had ever expected that this was the way that Almighty God was working out His plan and purpose for a fallen world.

And yet it was, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ was the culmination and the acceptance of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross of Calvary. It was in accordance with God’s plan of salvation which He made even before the foundation of the earth was laid.

And although even today many people do not believe it, even today it has become an unbelievable fact of history for millions of people, for Christian believers it has become the foundation and the central fact of Christian history on which the Church is built. Without this fact there would not have been a Christian Church today.

The apostle Paul puts it so well in his letter to the Church at Corinth in chapter 15, where he says:

And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.

If there had been no resurrection my friends, we might as well not be here today to celebrate it, because my preaching would be empty, and your faith would be empty as well. You would believe in something that did not exist, our faith would be in things that have no eternal value. If we are Christians whose only hope is that God may give us a good time while we are on this earth, if that is all there is to it in our religion, then, according to the Bible we are to be pitied. Because in that case our faith will be in vain, and my preaching will also be in vain, it will be empty.

But now Christ is risen from the dead”, the Bible goes on to say, “and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

The resurrection is true! And our faith is not in vain!

We do believe in a risen Christ, and we serve a living Saviour. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the central fact of Christian history.

It is only believing Christians who put all their hopes and faith in a God who became human, and who literally died for His people, and was raised again in power and glory to rule His Church forever. And because Christ was raised from the dead, we know that the kingdom of heaven has broken into earth’s history.

God’s mighty power is at work in destroying sin, creating new lives, and preparing us for Jesus’ second coming. It is because of the resurrection that we know that death has been conquered and that we will live with Christ forever.

It is also that it is the resurrection which gives authority to the Church’s witness in the world. Our preaching will not be empty; it will not be in vain. We have a risen Lord to proclaim, who is alive and rules His kingdom.

Christ is for real, my friends, He is not legend, and the power that brought Him back to life is available to us too, so that we can witness and live for Him in an evil world.

You know, when people hear about the resurrection for the first time, they may react in different ways. And that is something we learn from the Bible account in the Gospel of Luke and in the passage that is now before us, Luke 24.

First there were the women we read about in the last two verses of the previous chapter, and this is what it says: “And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.”

They had stood at the cross, they had heard His last cry: “It is finished”, they had seen Him bowing down His head and give up the ghost. They knew that He had died, and when Joseph of Armithea received permission to give Jesus a proper burial, they were at the funeral and made sure that they knew where and how the body was laid. And after they had observed the Sabbath rest they returned to pay their last respect.

Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

It was women who went first to the tomb to pay their last respect, and it was women who found that the tomb was empty. There was no Jesus, and when they stood there contemplating what to do next, suddenly the whole tomb was lit up, and they saw two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning.

Two heavenly beings and they spoke to them. It was angels who were the first to proclaim the Easter message:

He is not here; He has risen as He told you.

Jesus is alive, why are you looking for the living among the dead? 

You know, I can just imagine how those women must have felt when they saw those two angels instead of the body of Jesus. They were frightened, and they bowed their heads to the ground. But then they heard the message, then they heard the angels telling them that Jesus had risen from the dead.

And they lifted up their heads, and they remembered. They remembered that Jesus Himself had told them that all this was going to happen; they remembered that He also told them that on the third day He would be raised again. They remembered, and after the feelings of fear and frustration came the feeling of jubilation.

Jesus was alive; they would see Him again and hear Him again. And bubbling with excitement they must have run back to Jerusalem to tell the good news to the apostles.

Jesus is alive; He has risen from the death, exactly as He told us that He would. But then they got a shock, after all the joy and jubilation they were told: “Nonsense”.

As we can read in the words of our text: “And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them.” It sounded to them like nonsense and like idle tales.

And is it not often he same today, my friends, you preach the greatest news in the world, you tell people about the Lord Jesus Christ, preach the Gospel of salvation, and our words seemed to them like idle tales, and they do not believe us.

I am not going to preach a long sermon today, I know that you have heard it all before and that it is The Gospel truth. But I would like to mention the reaction of one man to the story of the women.

And that man was Peter of whom we read in the verse that follows our text: “But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marvelling to himself at what had happened”.

Peter did not take the story of the women for granted, but he also did not dismiss it out of hand, but he went and made sure for himself. And when he saw that what the women had told him could be true, he marvelled to himself. This was not faith in the resurrection of Jesus, but he marvelled at the possibility that it could be true.

And there are many people today who are like that, they marvel at the possibility that Christianity could be true, and that the message of salvation could be true, and who are willing to find out for themselves if this is so.

Peter did find out, but not until he met with the risen Christ, and assured Him that he did love Him, more than anything else in the world. And if anyone of us would like to make sure for themselves, they also need to meet with the living Christ, and not seek Him among the dead, but only where He can be found.

And we can find Him in prayer, or meet with Him in His house and among His people. And we can meet Him and hear Him speak to us in His Word, the Bible. That’s what Jesus did with the two disciples who were on their way to Emmaus, remember that story? You can find it in this same chapter of Luke we are dealing with at the moment.

Easter had made an impact on their lives, to such an extent that they were willing to talk about it, and to discuss it with one another. They were even willing to share it with a stranger who had joined them on the road.

But they had not understood the meaning of Easter. They had not understood that redemption can only come through sacrifice. And that forgiveness of sin can only be through the shedding of blood, they had not understood the Scriptures.

But then came Jesus to make sense out of things. Then came Jesus to explain everything and to put it all in the right perspective. And bit by little bit, He opened the Word of God to them and explained from the Scriptures why all these things had to happen in this particular way.

Jesus made sense out of the things they could not understand.

And, you know, my friends, He will do the same for us. Whenever there are situations in our life which make no sense to us, and which we can not understand, Jesus is willing to explain it to us. Whenever we are stuck for words in a spiritual conversation, Jesus will slip up beside us, and He will join that conversation, and He will explain the situation from the Word of God.

Because that is what He did with Cleopas and his friend, He joined the conversation. While they were talking and discussing with one another, Jesus came up and walked with them. Unexpected, He just slipped up beside them and joined the conversation. And they did not even recognise Him, not only because they were kept from recognising Him, as the Bible tells us, but also because they did not expect Him to be there.

For them Jesus was dead and buried and they had left the holy City completely defeated. And although the women had told them of the fact that Jesus was no longer in the grave, although they had heard about the resurrection story of the Angels, the whole situation seemed to those two men to have no explanation, their hopes and their dreams had been shattered.

And He needs to do this, my friends, because the story of Easter is the most unbelievable story in the whole world. And the cross of Jesus is still a stumbling block to many people today. And it is still foolishness to those who are perishing.

If Easter has made an impact on us, my friends, if the cross of Jesus Christ is the life giving symbol in our life, then, let’s talk about it, let’s proclaim it. Let us take this life giving message to our brothers and sisters who are living at the fringe of the Church. And, for goodness sake, my friends, let us be positive about it.

We’ve got something which they need, we have a risen Saviour to proclaim. 

For too long we have been deceiving people, by not being positive about what the Church has to offer. For too long we have flattered people with trivialities and with things that don’t matter. We have the living Word of God and the life saving Gospel of salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. And what the Church needs most of all, my friends, is dedicated members, in whose life Easter has made an impact.

It needs members who are willing to work in harmony with one another. Members who are willing to sacrifice their time and money and talents and everything else for the well-being of others. It needs members who are so convinced of the truth of the Gospel that they can not keep it for themselves, but will do everything they can to share it with others.

To convince others of the truth of it, and to challenge them for their commitment. We need to stop pussy-footing the Gospel, my friends, we can no longer afford to soften the truth of the Gospel in order to please people, there is far too much at stake. And not just the well being of the Church, but the eternal well-being of our brothers and sisters  is at stake. And we all must be filled with a loving concern and reach out to them with the only thing that can be of lasting value and benefit to them, the Gospel of salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us take this life giving message to our brothers and sisters who are living at the fringe of the Church.

You know, Jesus never softened the Gospel, He never deceived people.

When He noticed the negative way that Cleopas and his friend were talking, and when He noticed their unbelief, He rebuked them and said: “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken”. And it is about time, my friends, that our Churches will do the same.

It’s about time that we also challenge people with the truth of the Gospel, and that we make clear to them that they need the Church, and that they need Jesus, and that they need salvation. And that is a task that is laid upon each and everyone of us. And if Easter has made an impact on us, if we do believe in the risen Lord, if Christ has laid His claim upon us, then this is a task we can never get away from.

Is it so with us, my friends? Is the impact of Easter and the realisation that Jesus is alive so great that we can not contain it and that we must share it?

Then I can promise you that it will be well with us. The Christian message is never fully ours until we have shared it with someone else. And if we do share it with others, then I can promise you that it will be well with our Church, because that is what the Church is all about, sharing our faith.

We will recognise Jesus for what He is, the risen Christ, the One who conquered death and the grave and even hell itself, and only because so that we may have life, life abundant, and life everlasting.

And to Him be all the glory and the praise, now and forever.    Amen!

Pastor-Walter-PosthumaThe Lord bless you and keep you,

The Lord makes His face to shine upon you

And be gracious unto you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you

And give you peace.   Amen.

by  Pastor Walter Posthuma Th.C. (Hon.HM)

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Easter Saturday

Holy Saturday (03)

Question: “What is Holy Saturday?”

easter-friday-711-03Answer: Holy Saturday is the name given to the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Some Christians recognize Holy Saturday, the seventh day of Holy Week, as the day on which Jesus “rested” from His work of providing salvation. As Jesus died, He called out, “It is finished!” There was no further price to pay; sin had been atoned for.

After His crucifixion, Jesus was laid in a nearby tomb, and His body remained there the entirety of Holy Saturday (Matthew 27:59-60;Mark 15:46;Luke 23:53-54;John 19:39-42). Churches that celebrate Holy Saturday traditionally do so by observing a day of somber reflection as they contemplate the world of darkness that would exist without the hope of Christ’s resurrection.

Indeed, without the resurrection of Christ, we would be in dire straits. If Christ had never been raised, “your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17). The disciples had scattered when Jesus was arrested (Mark 14:50), and they spent the first Holy Saturday hiding for fear of also being arrested (John 20:19). The day between Christ’s crucifixion and His resurrection would have been a time of grief and shock as the stunned disciples tried to understand the murder of Jesus, the betrayal of Judas, and the dashing of their hopes.

The only biblical reference to what happened on Holy Saturday is found in Matthew 27:62-66. After sundown on Friday—the day of Preparation—the chief priests and Pharisees visited Pontius Pilate. This visit was on the Sabbath, since the Jews reckoned a day as starting at sundown. They asked Pilate for a guard for Jesus’ tomb. They remembered Jesus saying that He would rise again in three days (John 2:19-21) and wanted to do everything they could to prevent that. As we know, the Roman guards were inadequate to prevent the resurrection, and the women who returned to the tomb Sunday morning found it empty. The Lord had risen.

Holy Saturday Calendar:
2015 – April 4
2016 – March 26
2017 – April 15
2018 – March 31
2019 – April 20
2020 – April 11

Read more:http://www.gotquestions.org/Holy-Saturday.html#ixzz3WIaozD9v

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Easter Message to Christians

Easter Sunday He is Risen (02) feature

christian-easter-01UK: Prime Minister David Cameron

In an exclusive piece for Premier Christianity magazine this Easter, Prime Minister David Cameron speaks up on the significance of the Christian faith.

In a few days’ time, millions of people across Britain will be celebrating Easter. Just as I’ve done for the last five years, I’ll be making my belief in the importance of Christianity absolutely clear. As Prime Minister, I’m in no doubt about the matter: the values of the Christian faith are the values on which our nation was built.

I’m an unapologetic supporter of the role of faith in this country

Of course I know not everyone agrees. Many understandably feel that in this seemingly secular society, talking about faith isolates those who have no faith. Others argue that celebrating Easter somehow marginalises other religions. But I’m an unapologetic supporter of the role of faith in this country. And for me, the key point is this: the values of Easter and the Christian religion – compassion, forgiveness, kindness, hard work and responsibility – are values that we can all celebrate and share.   

Personal, not just political

I think about this as a person not just a politician. I’m hardly a model church-going, God-fearing Christian. Like so many others, I’m a bit hazy on the finer points of our faith. But even so, in the toughest of times, my faith has helped me move on and drive forward. It also gives me a gentle reminder every once in a while about what really matters and how to be a better person, father and citizen.

In the toughest of times, my faith has helped me move on and drive forward

As Prime Minister, too, I’m a big believer in the power of faith to forge a better society. And that belief boils down to two things.

First, the Christian message is the bedrock of a good society. Whether or not we’re members of the Church of England, ‘Love thy neighbour’ is a doctrine we can all apply to our lives – at school, at work, at home and with our families. A sense of compassion is the centerpiece of a good community. 

Second, and more specifically: faith is a massive inspiration for millions of people to go out and make a positive difference. Across the country, we have tens of thousands of fantastic faith-based charities. Every day they’re performing minor miracles in local communities. As Prime Minister, I’ve worked hard to stand up for these charities and give them more power and support. If my party continues in government, it’s our ambition to do even more.  

No magic wand

It’s that impulse to act which is particularly important. One of the myths we often hear at election time is the idea that governments have all the answers. It’s been the cry of every party and politician down the years: ‘put us into power and we’ll solve all your problems.’ But when I think of the truly great social changes that have helped our nation, they weren’t led or started by big governments. They were driven by individuals and activists, great businesses and charities – everyday people working to do the right thing. 

The Christian message is the bedrock of a good society

One of the biggest things I’ve tried to do as Prime Minister is banish this notion that being in government means you can somehow wave a magic wand and solve all the world’s problems. Instead, it’s about taking the right decisions, and showing the right judgment and leadership, based on clear values and beliefs. 

Leading the economy

The biggest area where leadership has been needed over the last five years is in our economy. We came into office at a time of exceptional pressure on the national finances. I am proud that despite the pressure on public spending, we made clear choices to help the poorest paid and most vulnerable in society. In the UK, we have increased NHS spending, despite the overriding need to deal with the deficit. We also raised the threshold of income tax to lift the poorest paid out of income tax altogether. If we came back into government, my party would lift the threshold again. 

More fundamentally, the core of our recovery programme – dealing with the deficit to restore confidence in our economy – is based on enduring ideas and principles: hard work, fair play, rewarding people for doing the right thing, and securing a better future for our children. 

Guided by conscience

I know that some disagree with those policies – including a number within the Church of England. But I would urge those individuals not to dismiss the people who proposed those policies as devoid of morality – or assume those policies are somehow amoral themselves. As Winston Churchill said after the death of his opponent, Neville Chamberlain, in the end we are all guided by the lights of our own reason. ‘The only guide to a man is his own conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions.’ 

Across the country, we have tens of thousands of fantastic faith-based charities

From standing up for faith schools to backing those who’ve fought foreign tyranny, helping parents and celebrating families, calling for more adoption of orphaned infants, bringing in a new bill to outlaw the appalling practice of modern slavery, and putting the protection of international development spending into law, this government has consistently taken decisions which are based on fundamental principles and beliefs.

I don’t just speak for myself, but for everyone who is part of my cabinet, when I say that the individuals I have worked with are driven not just by the daily demands of politics, but also by a commitment to making a positive difference. Just because some people have disagreed with our policies, does not mean those policies are missing in moral content. 

Lift people up rather than count people out

So I end my argument with this: I hope everyone can share in the belief of trying to lift people up rather than count people out. Those values and principles are not the exclusive preserve of one faith or religion. They are something I hope everyone in our country believes.

That after all is the heart of the Christian message. It’s the principle around which the Easter celebration is built. Easter is all about remembering the importance of change, responsibility, and doing the right thing for the good of our children. And today, that message matters more than ever. 

David Cameron, Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party

Original Source: premierchristianity.com  "David Cameron's Easter Message to Christians"
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Easter: King Jesus Will Reign

Graphic: Newspaper Good News

Isaiah 9

For to Us a Child Is Born

v1.1)Isaiah 9:1 Ch 8:23 in Hebrew But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. 2)Isaiah 9:1 Or of the Gentiles v2.3)Isaiah 9:2 Ch 9:1 in Hebrew The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. v3. You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. v4. For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. v5. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. 

v6. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon4)Isaiah 9:6 Or is upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called5)Isaiah 9:6 Or is called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.v7. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. Judgment on Arrogance and Oppression. v8. The Lord has sent a word against Jacob, and it will fall on Israel; v9. and all the people will know, Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria, who say in pride and in arrogance of heart: v10.The bricks have fallen, but we will build with dressed stones; the sycamores have been cut down, but we will put cedars in their place.

v11. But the Lord raises the adversaries of Rezin against him, and stirs up his enemies. v12. The Syrians on the east and the Philistines on the west devour Israel with open mouth. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still. v13. The people did not turn to him who struck them, nor inquire of the Lord of hosts. v14. So the Lord cut off from Israel head and tail, palm branch and reed in one day— v15. the elder and honored man is the head, and the prophet who teaches lies is the tail; v16. for those who guide this people have been leading them astray, and those who are guided by them are swallowed up.

v17. Therefore the Lord does not rejoice over their young men, and has no compassion on their fatherless and widows; for everyone is godless and an evildoer, and every mouth speaks folly.6)Isaiah 9:17 Or speaks disgraceful things For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.

v18. For wickedness burns like a fire; it consumes briers and thorns; it kindles the thickets of the forest, and they roll upward in a column of smoke. v19. Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts the land is scorched, and the people are like fuel for the fire; no one spares another. v20. They slice meat on the right, but are still hungry, and they devour on the left, but are not satisfied; each devours the flesh of his own arm, v21. Manasseh devours Ephraim, and Ephraim devours Manasseh; together they are against Judah. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.


Jesus Christ as King

However, there is a second part to this prophecy that refers to the presentation of Jesus Christ as King.

Note there are two princes in this text:
The first is Jesus, who will reign as the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). The second prince is a Roman general who invades Jerusalem. Here, we are talking about the first Prince-Jesus Christ-who will be “cut off” after seven weeks and sixty-two weeks, for a total of sixty-nine weeks, or 483 years.

Now, we take the 483 years and multiply it by the Jewish method of reckoning-which is 360 days in a year.

Do you know what 483 times 360 is? 173,880 days.

From the date that Nehemiah said, “You may go ahead and rebuild your wall and Jerusalem” (March 14, 445 B.C.) to the day that Jesus Christ rode into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey (April 6, 32 A.D.) exactly 173,880 days had passed.

Now do you believe that prophecy is right on?
If the Jews had only studied their Old Testament prophecy, they would have known that Jesus was their Messiah.

This is why Jesus said to His people, the Jews, in Luke 19:42, “If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hidden from thine eyes.

Day 173,880 was the crowning day, and Jewish minds did not grasp it-nor did they accept their Messiah. If God could prove-as we’ve just outlined-the precise arrival of Jesus into Jerusalem, is there any question that the remainder of the prophecies in the Book of Daniel will be fulfilled?

As we come to the close of this most important prophetic chapter in the Bible, we also need to deal with the content of verse Daniel 9:26 that speaks of the prince who will come to destroy the city and the sanctuary. This prince was Vespasian and his son Titus-Roman generals who in 70 A.D. marched on Jerusalem and murdered hundreds of thousands of Jews, again destroying the city.

Here we see a similarity between the treachery of this father and son and an earlier tyrant Antiochus Epiphanes, because all three are types of the Antichrist who will rise to power in the last days. But here Vespasian and Titus are highlighted because they are Roman princes.

Later, the Antichrist will come as an international leader out of a revived Roman Empire that is presently expanding and wielding influence just as Daniel predicted. For this and many more reasons-all documented by God’s Word-we are dogmatic when we say that our era of time could definitely be what Daniel called “the time of the end.”

Now what about the apparent ‘gap’ that exists between verses Daniel 9:26 and Daniel 9:27-a gap of some two thousand years?

This is an important period of time, because without it, we would be forced to see these events taking place within a limited period of 490 days, instead of 490 years. The former would be impossible.

There are skeptics who scoff that a gap between these verses is a man-made theory.
However, the Bible states emphatically that there will be a period of time-a gap-between Jesus’ first and second coming. Isaiah 9:6 says,

Unto us a child is born(the virgin birth); “unto us a Son is given and the government shall be upon his shoulder(the government was not upon His shoulder the first time He came to Jerusalem).

When Jesus Christ comes again-the second time-that’s when the government will be upon His shoulder, as He rules and reigns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords for a period of one thousand years (Revelation 20:4).

By the time we reach verse Daniel 9:27, the Antichrist is already in full power, and Daniel’s seventieth week is in effect. It begins when this evil one confirms his peace contract with Israel. This is the start of the seventieth week, and the beginning of the seven year period of Tribulation. The Antichrist deceives a gullible world by confirming the covenant with many-first with Israel- for one week, one shabua-or seven years.

The information I am about to present is vitally important.
If the first sixty-nine weeks, or shabuas, total 483 years or 173,880 days on the Jewish calendar annually, and this prophecy was fulfilled in every detail on the final day-then the final week or Hebrew shabua, the last seven-year period of 2,520 days, will also be fulfilled right up to the exact moment.

That’s why Revelation 11:2 and Revelation 13:5 mention forty-two months, and Revelation 11:3 and Revelation 12:6 cite 1,260 days as one-half of the Tribulation period.

Then in the middle of that shabua-after forty-two months- the Antichrist causes the sacrifices to cease. Antiochus Epiphanes, a predecessor and forerunner of the soon-coming global dictator, previously did this centuries ago when he stomped out the Jewish sacrifices and desecrated the Jewish temple.

The Rebuilding of the Temple

How could such an act be perpetuated in our day without the existence of a temple?
Here’s the answer. Israelites are talking about rebuilding the temple in our day. I encourage you to read your newspapers and weekly magazines with spiritual eyes in the days ahead because even now building materials are being gathered and temple utensils created for the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem.

When the new temple is erected, all will go relatively well for a while, but then, midway into the Tribulation hour, the Antichrist will sit proudly on that temple throne and claim to be the world’s god (2 Thessalonians 2:4). The false prophet will create an image in the likeness of the Antichrist (Revelation 13:15) and all mankind will be commanded to fall down and worship the beast of the revived Roman Empire mentioned in Daniel 7:8-just as Nebuchadnezzar commanded the people of Babylon to bow down and worship him.

If, during the Tribulation period, the people do not bow to the Antichrist and give him full allegiance, they will be killed (Revelation 13:15; Revelation 20:4-5).

When the pagan tyrant Antiochus Epiphanes set up his pagan deities in the place of the most high God, and put a sow on the temple altar, it was called “the abomination that maketh desolate” (Daniel 11:31; Daniel 12:11).

Now, more than two thousand years later, the Antichrist will also set up an image called “the abomination of desolation” according to the statements of Jesus in Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14.

Why? Because he is defiling God’s holy temple.

The Jews revere their holy temple-the Antichrist mocks it and them by breaking one of the Jews’ commandments concerning the placing of an idol in the temple (Exodus 20:4-5). At this point their long sought-for temple again becomes desolate because of the abominable idol therein.

The Calm before the Storm

Jesus, in Matthew 24:15-21, says:

v15. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) v16. Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: v17. Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house:

v18. Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. v19. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! v20. But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: v21. For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

Why flee?

Because Satan’s final forty-two months are about to be unleashed globally, and he’s filled with wrath (Revelation 12:12). Then Russia marches and the abomination of desolation (or image) is set up in the temple during this final three-and-one-half-year period known as the Great Tribulation (Revelation 7:14). It is the time of the end (Daniel 11:40; Daniel 12:4).

This revelation and interpretation of the vision delivered to Daniel by the angel Gabriel was a two-edged sword: one of gloom and doom; the other of hope. Gloom, because the Antichrist is about to appear.

Hope, because Christ destroys him with the brightness of His coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8).

Today, we are seeing what can only be called “the calm before the storm.

History is not yet complete, but the handwriting is on the wall for those who have eyes to see.

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

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References   [ + ]

1. Isaiah 9:1 Ch 8:23 in Hebrew
2. Isaiah 9:1 Or of the Gentiles
3. Isaiah 9:2 Ch 9:1 in Hebrew
4. Isaiah 9:6 Or is upon
5. Isaiah 9:6 Or is called
6. Isaiah 9:17 Or speaks disgraceful things