Tag Archives: death

Seek God – Find Life

Seek God – Find Life

The following quotation was read by Dr. Adrian Rogers and taken from an essay by a 17 year old boy.   This boy wrote an essay on the topic of “union with Jesus Christ” as part of his school work in a Christian school.  As you read this, at first it may sound like a terrific essay:

“If we examine the history of man’s nature as an individual, we constantly observe that spark of divinity in his breast. The enthusiasm for what is good. The struggle for wisdom. The longing for truth are being smothered by the flames of desire and greed. The zeal for virtue becomes deathened by the tempting voice of sin and turns into a mockery as soon as we feel the full impact of life. Our hearts reason, history the word of Christ all call out to us loudly and convincingly to tell us that union with Him is absolutely necessary and without Him we would be rejected of God. For He alone is able to deliver us. Once a man has obtained this virtue, this union with Christ, he will awake quietly and composedly, await quietly and composedly the blows of fate. He will bravely oppose the storms of passion. And endure undaunted the rage of the wicked. For who can crush him or rob him of his Redeemer?”

“What’s the problem with all of that? Not a thing in the world, so far as truth is concerned. But if he had been writing an essay on Geography or history he would have done just as good a job because he had a brilliant mind. He knew the answers but he doesn’t know Jesus. Founded atheistic Communism. Can you imagine, a person knowing all of that truth and yet not knowing the Lord?

The person who wrote it was Karl Marx. Karl Marx, the founder of godless, atheistic Communism. The one who wrote the diabolical book, Das Kapital. The one who has caused more misery, more bloodshed, more hatred, more violence, more division, I suppose, than any other man who ever lived. Karl Marx wrote this when he was a seventeen year old boy.”  – The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection

Jesus said in Luke 12:48 For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

Graduates, purpose to hold the following principles in your daily life going forward.  These principles are taken from Amos 5:4, 6, 8, 14.  For example: Amos 5:4 says, For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live:

In fact, each of the above references say much the same thing: Seek God – Find Life.

  • You are leaving High School, but you are not leaving God.
  • Some people walk all alone in life. Israel was walking away from God and Amos warns them that they were walking alone.  Can two walk together except they be agreed?  No! They were all alone because of their sin.
  • No matter what happens in life, we must keep seeking God.

Keep seeking God.

God’s people, to whom Amos was preaching had been worshipping false gods for a long time.  They had a lot of stuff and in many ways they worshipped their material things, possessions, and money.  Read the book of Amos for more details.  Greed, stealing, and coveting was all too prominent in everyday life.  If they were living in our day and age, they would have looked a lot like us; plenty of food, too much stuff, and lots of money.  Possessions and stuff was now controlling them – much like many of us today.  If they were alive today, they would have had the best cell phones, the fastest computers, and the best-looking cars.  They had everything that mattered materially in life because God had previously blessed their fathers and forefathers.  They had enough and more than enough, but they did not have God.

Think of it this way: We do not have much of a life if we live without God.

God’s people had left God.  They were walking through life all alone.  They had stuff, money, families, jobs, land, chariots, and things – but they had left the Lord. Please note the following and examine your heart…

  1. Success Can Blur Your Vision of God.
  2. Stuff Can Weaken Your Value on God.
  3. Situations Can Lessen Your Victory in God.

Current and old chapters of life end, new chapters begin – Keep Seeking God.  Seasons go, and seasons come – keep seeking God. Changes happen in life – keep seeking God.

Follow what Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

When we seek God first – that is when we really find living.

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When Violent Death Hits Home

When Violent Death Hits Home

I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.  Amos 4:10

Could it be that when school and mass shootings take place, that it is an indicator that God is judging that nation?  It is very possible.  Please consider Amos and his warning to the Hebrew people in ancient Israel.

In Amos 4, the Lord sends Amos to give a warning.  He preaches that God would send judgment in an effort to see the people turn back to God.  Read the chapter if you like.  5 times God says: “Yet have ye not returned unto me.”  In each verse, the Lord describes various forms of judgment; taking away food, rain, sending famine, pestilence and more are warned of.  Instead of turning to the Lord, the people of Israel are said to have been led away with a hook and a fishhook in verse 2.  Like a carrot on a stick, they followed what was in front of them to satisfy their perceived need and actual greed.

When Amos ministered in Israel, the people were still very prosperous.  They had wealth.  They had money.  They had stuff.  When God started to take all that away – they kept looking for more material things.  Food, money and stuff.  They had become so “self-sufficient” that they neglected to turn back to God.

Then in our verse above we find God even begins to allow their children to be “slain with the sword.”  This indicates violent deaths for their young people in their land.  Anytime a child dies it is particularly difficult for the parents and family.  When you add uncalled for violence to the mix, it adds another level of pain. Our prayers go out for all those families who have lost children.

When God judges sin, there is collateral damage.  Just like the wind, rain, and sunshine falls on everyone, so does the judgment of God.  Not only are the people He is judging affected, but others are affected as well.  Look back at the 10 plagues that God judged Egypt with in Exodus.  Most of those judgments affected God’s people too.  In Amos 4, the seemingly natural weather events like drought impacted everyone.

Back to the school shootings.  Whenever young people die violent deaths, it could be part of God’s judgment on that nation.  Think of it this way, instead of people turning to God and training their kids to love God (who in turn teaches us to value and cherish human life) we are teaching our kids naturalism, materialism, and humanism.  Instead of telling our kids about God, we are told (as a whole) there is “no God.”  God wanted His people to turn back to Him and He used Amos to give warning, but when they did not turn back, the Lord finally sent His judgment.

It may not be that God is even judging the specific children that die in a mass shooting.  They are the sad casualties of a society that has turned its back on God.  Like the weather patterns, everyone is affected.  I have believed for years now that abortion is also part of God’s judgment on a people who have rejected Him.  Anytime humans start killing the most innocent and needy among us, we are in deep trouble.  Abortion is a violent form of killing and is another example of choosing personal (sexual) sin instead of choosing Jesus.  In abortion, the pre-born baby is paying part of the price for the parent’s sin.  It is a form of judgement on a people who are against God.

Kids are needlessly dying today.  May God help us.  We must follow the admonition of Amos 4:12 – “prepare to meet thy God.”  When homes and families begin teaching the Bible and turn to God through His Son Jesus Christ – then and only then, will lives be changed and human life valued like it should be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Funeral Parlors and Fun Parties

Funeral Parlors and Fun Parties

Tears.  Sorrow.  Raw Emotion. Real Life.  Death.  Death is the cause of so much heartache, hurts and pain.

Solomon, the wisest man to ever live wrote Ecclesiastes 7:2 as God directed him, and the emphasis is interesting; There is a priority of attending funeral services and visiting with people who just lost a loved one to the throes of death.  This singular scripture goes as far to say that it is better to go to a funeral parlor than to a fun party.

It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.

It is better to go to a funeral home.  Not fun – but needed for a proper perspective on life.  With life being devalued today, kids killing each other, and the news filled with reporting of one violent event or another – it makes me wonder – Has today’s modern child (an adults) been to enough funerals?

Probably not.  Many people avoid taking their children to the funeral home.  With good intentions of “not scarring the kids” or preventing them from seeing or hearing something disturbing, many well meaning parents, grandparents, and guardians find other places for their kids to be during funerals.  In fact – lots of adults avoid funerals as well.

Think of it this way; If a teenager has only known about death from a movie or video game – death cannot seem like real life.  He has no basis or foundation for understanding the depths of pain, the wrenching of the loss, or the changes in life that death causes for those who remain.  The seriousness of death is not something on his mind.

Since God says that it is better to go to a funeral than to go to a party – it should cause us to consider our priorities, teaching moments, and how to best place an emphasis on the value of life. Because death is in the future of every man God says being present with the corpse and with those grieving – will cause a person to “lay it to heart.”

We do not “lay it (death) to heart” enough because we avoid thinking about death.  Many don’t even talk about it.  But if a person thinks about death in a proper, Biblical way – it will cause him to make better choices in life!  When a person thinks about death – He will live better!

For example, here is a Fox News Headline from April 7, 2018: “Lakeith Smith, 18, of Montgomery, Ala., was sentenced to 65 years by Judge Sibley Reynolds for “felony murder, armed burglary, second-degree theft and third-degree theft,” FOX8 LIVE reported.”

“Smith smiled and laughed while being sentenced at the Elmore County courthouse. He had turned down a plea deal that would have recommended he spend 25 years in prison on the charges.”

‘I don’t think Mr. Smith will be smiling long when he gets to prison,’ C.J. Robinson, chief assistant district attorney, said. ‘We are very pleased with this sentence. Because the sentences are consecutive, it will be a long time before he comes up for even the possibility for parole, at least 20 to 25 years.’”

“Judge Reynolds said Smith seemed to show no remorse for his crimes during the trial and did not apologize. He also overhead the teen say, ‘I don’t have time for this.’”

Laughing.  I don’t have time for this?  What?  Here is an 18-year-old who apparently has never considered the gravity of life and death.  He is an example of the modern teen who believes life is ego centric and the purpose of living is to have a constant party – just have a good time.   Can I suggest that it would be better to take your kids to at least one funeral annually than to throw an ego centric, all out birthday party for them every year?  That is not intended to be a morbid thought.  Funerals in their proper context will help you and your child live better and make better choices.

No one likes tears.  Sharing in grief is not a fun thing or easy thing to do – but it will make you a better person.  When teaching your family about death, consider the age of your kids.  Find an age appropriate time to talk about and attend a funeral service.  Consider things like is it closed casket, a cremation, a memorial, or a graveside service?  Was this person a Christian?  What was our connection to this person?

Besides emotional “closure” and other similar benefits, going to the funerals and being present when a person’s life is summarized in a 30-minute speech will cause several good things in your life.

  1. Funerals cause us to ponder the brevity of life. James 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
  2. Funerals cause us to consider the priorities of life. Ecclesiastes 7:1 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.
  3. Funerals cause us to examine and “correct course” in future days.  Psalm 27:4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.

The Apostle Paul, not doubt attended many funerals in his lifetime for Christian’s who were persecuted and killed for their faith. As he “laid to heart” the matter of life and death he said in the last letter he wrote in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith…” The only way to run the course of life and finish well is the make right choices today.  The only way to make right choices is to have Biblical values instilled in our life.  Knowing the brevity and value of life is a major part of this plan.

Help yourself and help your kids; Develop a priceless value on human life – by considering the gravity of death by attending a funeral. 

 

 

 

 

 

More Than Death Insurance

More Than Death Insurance

“When one asked the salesman what he was selling, he said, “Life insurance.”

“That’s not life, but death insurance.”

“What do you mean?”

“You have to die to win.”

“Not always. You get your money back with big interest in 10 or 20 years if you live, but if you die your family is protected for a number of years.”

“Fine. The Bible says, ‘But if any provide not for his own, specially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel, but it’s more important to carry life insurance.”

“Say, what are you selling?”

“Life insurance. Eternal life. Nothing to pay, and you begin to get big dividends immediately, of peace, joy, contentment, and an understanding of God’s plan for your life.””  (-Knights)

What kind of insurance do you have?  Jesus came to earth to give something better than death or life “insurance.”  He came to earth to purchase eternal life.  Jesus paid the full price that our sin – death.  He died in my place.  He died for my sin.  He died in your place.  He died for your sin.  He shed His blood for our sin.  Theologians call this Substitutionary Atonement.

Romans 5:8 teaches, But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Jesus demonstrated or proved His love for us with his work and action on the cross.  He did not just say “I love you.”  He demonstrated love when He laid down His life for us.  No matter how BIG or little you perceive your sin to be, Jesus still loves you!  None of us are worthy, but He loves us anyway.

Then He rose from the dead.  The phrase: “Rose Again” in 1 Corinthians 15:4 indicates that while He was previously dead, He came back to life, and continues to be alive!”  What an incredible truth!  Jesus continues to be alive today.

As I prepared for Easter Sunday preaching, I searched out all the leaders of the worlds major religions.  Here is what I found:

Buddhism. The Buddha’s body was cremated in Kushinagar, India and the relics were placed in monuments or stupas, some of which are believed to have survived until the present. Ramabhar Stupa in Kushinagar was built over a portion of the Buddha’s ashes on the spot where he was cremated by the ancient Malla people. The Temple of the Tooth or Dalada Maligawa in Sri Lanka is the place where the right tooth relic of Buddha is kept at present.

Christian Science.  Mary Baker Eddy is buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the United States.

Confucianism. The grave of Confucius, founder of Confucianism, is in his home town of Qufu, Shandong Province, China. The grave of Confucius is located in a large cemetery where more than 100,000 of his descendants are also buried.

Islam. According to early Muslim sources, Muhammad is buried in the Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (“Mosque of the Prophet”) in the city of Medina in Saudi Arabia. The tomb of Muhammad lies within the confines of what used to be his wife Aisha’s and his house. During his lifetime it adjoined the mosque, which was expanded during the reign of Caliph al-Walid I to include his tomb.

Scientology.  Upon his death, L. Ron Hubbard was cremated and his ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean.” (Wikipedia)

Christianity: Go to the Garden Tomb at Jerusalem.  There are no bones, no ashes – nothing!  Jesus walked out of that stone tomb alive!  Jesus is alive today. 

Would you believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus?  This is called the Gospel.  Jesus is alive and calling to you for a response.  Will you accept the forgiveness of sins and receive eternal life from Jesus?  He loves you.  Believe in Him today.

Did You Think To Pray?

Did You Think To Pray?

Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee.  Psalm 88:9

We pray when we are in trouble.  It is easy to turn our thoughts to Heaven when we have a big problem or a predicament that we are in.  For most people, the first time they fervently pray is when hey are in trouble.  Affliction drove the psalmist to pray every single day.  He actively sought the Lord lifting up “holy hands” to God, begging for His deliverance, guidance, and help.

What if we learned to pray before the big problem comes?  How would an active prayer life before the trouble arises help us navigate the storms of life?  It think it would make a big difference.  Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the “Prince of preachers” said “All the Christian virtues are locked up in the word prayer.”

The daily discipline of open communication with God, asking and receiving, better known as prayer, can change your life. There are several ways prayer affects not only the situation, but the one doing the praying.

Prayer calms the soul.  Prayer creates a connection with God. Prayer confirms our relationship with God the Father through His Son Jesus.  Make it a daily practice to spend time with God in prayer.

I leave you with the words of Mary Kidder in her hymn “Did You Think to Pray?”

  1. Ere you left your room this morning,
    Did you think to pray?
    In the name of Christ our Savior,
    Did you sue for loving favor,
    As a shield today?

Refrain:
Oh, how praying rests the weary!
Prayer will change the night to day;
So when life seems dark and dreary,
Don’t forget to pray.

  1. When you met with great temptation,
    Did you think to pray?
    By His dying love and merit,
    Did you claim the Holy Spirit
    As your guide and stay? [Refrain]
  2. When your heart was filled with anger,
    Did you think to pray?
    Did you plead for grace, my brother,
    That you might forgive another
    Who had crossed your way? [Refrain]
  3. When sore trials came upon you,
    Did you think to pray?
    When your soul was bowed in sorrow,
    Balm of Gilead did you borrow
    At the gates of day?

 

 

Understanding God

Understanding God

There are some things that happen in life that we will never understand.  There are some events that God orchestrates or allows in our lives that are beyond our human comprehension and understanding.  That’s OK.  If we could understand everything about God then He would be minimized and we as humans would be elevated like God.  That would be the religion of humanism. We all fall far short of the Lord.

We have legitimate questions:

  • Why did the loved one develop cancer?
  • Why is it that you have a debilitating sickness?
  • What will you do now that a family member has died?
  • Where will I find another job?
  • Who do I turn to when relationships are strained?
  • What happened to my kid?
  • Why are there so many problems in the world?
  • Another car wreck? Really?

Job was accused and assaulted by Satan himself.  If you read Job chapters 1-2 you will find that if there was a way to suffer in life and still not die – Job suffered it.

  • Job’s oxen company was stolen by a neighboring tribe of people.
  • Job’s wool business with 7000 sheep was shut down when lightening (fire from heaven) struck, killing them instantaneously.
  • Job’s transportation enterprise with 3000 camels was closed when the camels were “carried away” by thieves.
  • Job’s 7 sons and 3 daughters were celebrating a party in one of the sons houses when a storm came knocking down the walls and killing Job’s entire family.
  • On top of the family businesses and the family dying, Job comes down with a devastating illness. His body is covered with boils from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head.  The boils ooze and he scrapes them with sharp shards of pottery while applying fire ashes to his wounds. He aches with burning pain from the inside out.  He cannot sleep at night.  He loses weight and his cloths wrap up around his body.  His condition is so bad that when friends come to see him – they cannot recognize him.
  • This pain is suffered for about 12 months. An. Entire. Year.

The young friend, Elihu, suggests in his last speech to Job that man cannot “comprehend” God.  He says in Job 37:5 “God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend.”

Very true.  All the bad things that we see, feel, and endure in life are much bigger than us. We need the Lord – even when we do not understand.  Romans 8:28 assures: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

If we cannot understand the Lord in the “bad times” what about the “good times?”

David writes in Psalm 40:5 and declares: “Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.”  

David was also no stranger to tragedy.  In this Psalm, we see him trying to count the blessings God placed on his life.  We cannot count all the blessings, but we should try.  David could not stop talking about the “wonderful works” of God.

We will still not be able to fully comprehend “why” or “how” it is that God would choose to bless us.  We do not deserve grace, goodness, or the love of God.  Go figure that.  We cannot explain the Lord!!!  Just be thankful for Who God is and what He has done in both “good” times and “bad” times.

Counting the blessings helps us in several ways.

  • Counting blessings removes our eyes from being fixated on our problems and to refocus our gaze upon the Lord.
  • Counting blessings reaffirms in our mind God’s love for us.
  • Counting blessings realigns our perspective to be thankful.
  • Counting blessings helps us realize how great, big, incredible, wonderful, amazing, loving, giving, and awesome our God is.

We will not fully comprehend all that God says, does, or allows in life.  That’s ok.  Let God be God in your life.  His way is perfect – even when we do not understand.

 

 

 

 

 

The Announcement That Changed the World

The Announcement That Changed the World

There have been many famous announcements in history.  For example, on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed a paper with 95 statements about the Catholic Church.  The “95 Theses” was an announcement that changed the world.  People began protesting the Catholic Church because it did not follow the Bible.  Historically, Baptists were never part of the Catholic Church, but this announcement of Luther started a turning back to the Bible for many people.  On July 4th, 1776 the most important human statement of political principles in the history of the world was announced.  The Declaration of Independence was signed on that day, changing the world.  In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell patented his first telephone.  This technology announcement changed the world.  English scientist Lord Kelvin called it “the most wonderful thing in America.”  In 1879 Thomas Edison announced the invention of the light bulb that forever changed the face of this planet.  What a blessing the light bulb has been to millions of people the world over.  On April 6, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson declared “the world must be safe for democracy” and declared war on Germany.  The US troops made it in time to rescue Paris from falling to the Germans.  In September 1938 President Roosevelt cabled Hitler and told him to turn from his course of war.  Again in April 1939 President Roosevelt informed Hitler and Mussolini of the American people’s desire to avoid war and promote peace.  The only message these tyrants could hear was war.  After the attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7, the next day, December 8, 1941 America declared war on Japan, three days later on Germany, and Italy.  These are some announcements that changed the world…

Only a few announcements in history changed the entire world.

  • The Angel of the Lord told Abraham in Genesis 22:18: And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
  • Moses took God’s message to Pharaoh in Egypt: “Let My People Go.”
  • The Angel of the Lord gave the birth announcement of Jesus Christ to the shepherds; what a world/eternity changer! I DO NOT KNOW how to compare the birth of Christ to the Death and resurrection of Christ.  BOTH are important.  Both announcements are needed.  Jesus was born to die.  IF He did not rise again, He would have been an ordinary person who lived and died.  That is why His resurrection is called the Announcement that Changed the World!

Here is the greatest announcement as told in the book of Matthew…

In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. 2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.  3  His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:  4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. 5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.  6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.  7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.  8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.  9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.  10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.   –  Matthew 28:1-10

His friends and family members were witnesses to His death.  What a tragic, saddening day, when the innocent Lamb of God was led away to be crucified.  “Crucify Him, Crucify Him” the people jeered.

Sin is a separator.  Sin separates us from God.  Death is the penalty for sin.  Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, gave Himself as a perfect sacrifice.  Man is not good.  We are sinners.  Titus 3:5-7 says… “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”  Jesus died in our place at the hands of hateful people and of a Holy God.  Jesus became sin for us – that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.  Man hated Him.  The Father turned His back to Him.  Jesus suffered our death and our Hell so we could be saved.

One commentator said this: “The friends of Jesus saw him and heard him only a few times after that Easter morning, but their lives were completely changed. What seemed to be the end proved to be the beginning; what seemed to be a cause for fear proved to be a cause for courage; what seemed to be defeat proved to be victory; and what seemed to be the basis for despair proved to be the basis for hope.”

The sacrifice had been given.  Christ had died and was buried, placed in the tomb.  His body was wrapped in linen and laid on a stone bed with a stone covering the tomb entrance.  The stone was sealed probably with a cord and wax attaching both the stone and the exterior cave wall.  Similar to the sealing of letters, the wax would give away if there was any tampering.  Sabbath Day had passed, by the time the ladies who came to properly and permanently bury His body with spices.  They were confronted by the Angel of the Lord at the tomb on Sunday, the first day of the week…

The Angel of the Lord had rolled back the stone and sat on it.  Then the Angel appeared, the earth shook, and the soldiers fell down and fainted in amazement.  By the time the ladies arrive it is early in the morning, sunrise.  They get to the scene and find the Roman soldiers lying on the ground, the tomb door rolled away, and an angel sitting on the stone!

This booklet is written to let the reader know:  Jesus rose from the dead!  The greatest announcement in the history of the world is that: “Jesus is alive!”  The power in the Gospel is that Jesus rose from the dead!

There are 5 points in the announcement the angel gives pertaining to Christ in this passage. 

Notice verse 6 and 7 in particular:  “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.  And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.”

“He is Not Here.”

If you were able to take a roll call of famous religious leaders of the past, if they were able to respond, what they would say.  “Buddha?”  “Here.” ”Muhammad?” “Here.”  “Joseph Smith?” “Present.”  Gandhi? “I’m Here.”  None of these men have risen from the dead.  Their bones are still in the tombs in which their body was laid at the time of their death…

Jesus was and is not in the tomb.

What a big difference in contrast to Jesus.  On the Cross Jesus cried out as John 19:30 says, “It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.  Jesus was dead, the Roman soldier verified this when he thrust the spear through the side of Christ.  Water and blood gushed out – Jesus was dead.  Jesus was buried in the tomb.  When the ladies arrived at the tomb, it was three days earlier Joseph of Arimathea had wrapped up the body of Christ and laid it in the tomb.

Jesus was not in the grave clothes. John 20:5-7, tells us what John saw: And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

We do not expect dead people to move!

The women initially thought “someone stole His body.”  The Bible records in John 20:2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. The body of Jesus was missing.  The body of Christ was not where it was laid to rest.  “He is not here” is a powerful start to this announcement.

“He is Risen.”

Jesus defeated the grave.  Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:55, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” The tomb, the grave did not have power over Christ.  Jesus rose from the grave.

Jesus Defeated Death.  Death had no power over Christ.  Jesus willingly gave His life in dying on the cross for our sins.  He took our death.  Death is the penalty for sin.  The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death.”  Jesus had no sin of His own.  He took our sin upon Himself and paid the price for our sin with His life.  Jesus rose again, victorious over death.  Believer, we need not fear death.  Sometimes Christians sorrow at the moment of the death of a loved one.  If we are believers and if the loved ones were saved, we will meet again one day.  For the believer, death is compared to sleep.  Read I Thessalonians 4:13-18 for more details of this truth.

Jesus defeated Satan. For a moment, Satan may have believed he had won.  The Son of God was dead.  Satan witnessed his destructive plan unfold and then thought that he had defeated God.  Darkness fell upon the earth, Satan celebrated.  What a blow to that old serpent when “up from the grave Christ arose!”   Hebrews 2:14-15 says, Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

The penalty of sin, including the power of the grave, of death, and the power of Satan were defeated when Christ rose from the dead!  Believer, Because Jesus is alive, we are no longer in bondage to sin.  We are no longer dominated by Satan.  We are no longer doomed to death!  Jesus is alive – He gives a new life to believers!

“Come and See the Place.”

What a beautiful sight.   This author has yet to visit the tomb, but think with me about the magnitude of the moment when the stone rolled away and Jesus walked out of the tomb.  What a big event occurred in that small place outside the city of Jerusalem.  Notice with me as we look at this place through the eyes of the witnesses who were there…

The Tomb is Empty.  Jesus was not in the tomb.  When we go to the cemetery or find a tomb, we expect to find corpses, dead people, and bones in the tombs.  As we peer along with these ladies in to the tomb, there is nothing dead in there!  This tomb is a new tomb, freshly built and given to Christ by Joseph of Arimathea. No one else had ever been buried in there.  Now after the resurrection, the only evidence that it had been used was the fact that the grave clothes were still there, but there was no-body there!

As we peer into this place we realize that Salvation’s Plan is Complete.  When Mary Magdalene goes into the tomb – She sees two angels, one on each end of the place where the body of Christ was laid.   In the OT the Lord gave a covenant to the Jewish people.  They had the Law and the Tabernacle, and the Holy of Holies, and in that place the Lord gave the “Ark of the Covenant” with the Mercy seat on top of the ark.   The High Priest would go into this place once a year on behalf of the people. Exodus 30:10 describes this by stating, “And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the LORD.”

What picture the Ark of the Covenant and the Cherubim on either side looking to the mercy seat displays.  A new covenant was convened on that day.  A new testament in action based on the blood of a perfect sacrifice, the sacrifice of God the Son, Jesus Christ.  God’s plan for salvation was complete.  For the first time in History, there was no more need for perpetual, daily sacrifices.  Christ made the sacrifice – once for all!

“Go and Tell.”

Every Resurrection Season, we see “Easter Lilies” as decorations.  The Easter Lilly is called that because it is blooming and opening up in the shape of a trumpet, as if it is announcing the resurrection of Christ.  It’s a new day on the earth! What a reminder of the need to go and tell of the resurrection of the Savior. 

Go tell other people are the instructions.  The angel tells the ladies to go and tell His disciples.  They needed to know what had happened.  Then with the fact of the resurrection in their mind, they were to go and tell others.   Jesus went to the people.  What an example Jesus is for us.

Would you take a pal to Easter worship if Jonas Brothers sang?”  is the title of a  USA Today, April 3, 2010 column which said the following  “There’s an unsettling theme in recent religion news. It’s not that U.S. Christians no longer celebrate Easter but that the evangelical spirit — defined as a drive to share this “good news” — seems to be waning. Christians, it would appear, are slacking on the job and their friends’ and families” souls are on the line, church leaders say.

A Christian Research firm, The Barna Group, has identified two key problems: First, many Christians are hazy on Jesus’ resurrection. Second, even those who know this is the core message of Easter, largely don’t share this faith with others.  David Kinnaman, president of Barna, told Baptist Press:  … those who celebrate Easter because of the resurrection of Christ are not particularly likely to invite non-churched friends to worship, suggesting that their personal beliefs about Jesus have not yet translated into a sense of urgency for having spiritual conversations with their acquaintances. Barna’s survey of 1,000 adults in February found just 42% tied the meaning of Easter to Jesus’ resurrection and only 2% called this day “the most important holiday of their faith.” Of those who identified themselves as active churchgoers, less than a third (31%) said they would invite guests to Easter worship services this year.

Maybe it would help if the Jonas Brothers were headlining the worship singing. That’s the idea Rev. Rick Warren had for his California megachurch Saddleback and now its Easter celebrations Saturday night and Sunday morning at Angels Stadium are “sold out.”’

What a tragedy is found in that reportLove and Truth go together in the Bible.  We love people – but not to the neglect of truth.  We need not compromise Biblical standards to tell people about Jesus Christ.   Just as the Apostles took the message of Christ to others, we are commanded to do the same.  Every Christian ought to be a missionary where he lives.

They told them the Gospel.  Dr. James Ray went to England to share the gospel and plant churches.  He told me about how he took an ad out in the newspaper personal section. The area of the newspaper that may read like this “Man seeks woman, etc.” His ad read: “Dear John, please call me at……..”  An answering machine at the other end said:  “John I just wanted you to know that your sin separates you from God.  John you need Jesus to be forgiven of you sin…..”   Dr. Ray received over 500 calls!  Some of those men named “John” were saved!

Years ago a man commented to DL Moody that “I do not like your way of evangelizing.” To which Mr. Moody responded: “I like my way of more than your way of not evangelizing.”

Christian friend, if Christians do not testify to the fact that Jesus is alive – who will?  If believers do not go into the world and tell the lost of Christ – who will?   What is the greatest need of the following people?  The unwed mother, the hateful teen, the jealous co-worker, the teacher of evolution, the neighbors who are constantly fighting each other, the arrogant driver, and the drunk college student?  Their greatest need is Jesus Christ!

The Gospel is the message of Salvation.  God’s love and grace caused Him to demonstrate His love by sending His only begotten Son, Jesus, to die and rise again for us!   The Resurrection is the central theme of Christianity.  The Gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ! Thank the Lord that the Gospel is available to all, but applied only to those who believe.

“I, the Angel of the Lord, Have Told You.”

The Resurrection is a Miracle of God.  No resurrection has ever happened without the power of God.  Anyone who was ever really dead and came back to life did so by the power of God.  The “touch and go” that some people claim to experience is not resurrection.  Jesus was dead, in the tomb for three days.  In a future day, Satan’s Antichrist will look like he is wounded to death in an attempt to claim resurrection power.  He will try to appear as powerful as Christ to the world who witness him.  Resurrection power however, is only of God.

The Resurrection is a Message from God.  Jesus spoke to Martha, the sister of Lazarus after Lazarus had died of sudden illness.  John 11:25-26 records, Jesus said unto her, 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. Believest thou this?

Based on the authority of the Word of God – God is extending salvation to you today.  He wants you to be saved today.  What would keep you from accepting the gift of eternal life.  Jesus paid the price for your sin, when He bled and died on the Cross.  Today you can trust Christ and receive salvation.  2 Corinthians 6:2  says, (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

Today is the day, you can believe in the resurrection.  You can receive Christ by faith, and have His eternal salvation.  The greatest announcement in the world is that Jesus Christ is alive!

I enjoy the old Gospel hymn, “He Lives!”  Around 1933, Alfred Ackley, wrote these words and put them to music…

“I serve a risen Savior
He’s in the world today.
I know that He is living,
Whatever men may say.
I see His hand of mercy;
I hear His voice of cheer;
And just the time I need Him
He’s always near.”

“In all the world around me
I see His loving care,
And though my heart grows weary,
I never will despair;
I know that He is leading,
Through all the stormy blast;
The day of His appearing
Will come at last.”

“Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian,
Lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs
To Jesus Christ the King!
The Hope of all who seek Him,
The Help of all who find,
None other is so loving,
So good and kind.”

The chorus continues, “He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.”

The power in the Gospel is that Jesus rose from the dead!  Christianity is based on the fact that Jesus rose from the dead – had He not, all the preaching of the past 2000 years would have been in vain.  All the people who died for this Gospel would have died for a lost cause.  All the lives that have been touched would have been misled.  I am glad to tell you based on the authority of the Word of God, that Jesus came up out of that tomb!  Jesus is alive!

Would you be saved today?  Admit to the Lord that you are a sinner.  Believer that Jesus died on the Cross, shedding His blood for your sins.  Receive Christ as your personal savior. 

Believer, thank the Lord for the Sacrifice Christ made for you.  Thank the Lord for the salvation He has afforded you.  Ask the Lord to help the message of the resurrection to be a constant reminder of His grace, mercy, and love for you.  Be faithful to the Lord.  Find ways to share His message with others.

May the Lord bless each reader with the wonderful announcement made on that day:  He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.  And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.”  The Resurrection of Christ is the greatest announcement ever given, and it changed the world!