Baptism at Singles Retreat - 147 Baptized!!!

*******************Baptism at Singles Retreat 147 Baptized!!! ***********************

* Sharing times in the Word and looking for growth. Let's Commune Together!

Friday, March 27, 2020

Nobody’s Home! The evidence of the resurrection. Pt 3

Jn 20:1-18
He was dead! They still couldn't believe it. They saw Him raise Lazarus; he'd been dead for 4 days! Jesus raised him, they also saw Him walk on water, feed 5000, calm the storm…there wasn't anything He couldn't do. But He was dead. John saw it. He saw Him breathe His last breath, he saw the Roman guard push a long spear up into His chest. Jesus was dead.
That night was a restless one; questions and more questions. Why had it happened, could they not have stopped it? Where were they when Jesus needed them? WHAT IF?... John took Mary home with him and tried to comfort her. Peter felt like a hypocrite and did not want to see anyone. Judas was dead. The night turned into day, a day of hiding and fear, sorrow and guilt, then night came again.
It was early Sunday morning, still dark, but the sun would be peeking up very soon. The women felt numb as they walked to His tomb. There was a chill in the air, being that it was so early, but the numbness was more in their spirit than in their skin. What will it feel like to see Him again, the One who brought such life, now lifeless? Could they even take seeing Him again, knowing that He would not speak with that gentle voice, never to feel the warm touch of His loving hand?

One of the greatest pieces of evidence of the resurrection is the empty tomb! Consider how different this is from normal human behavior. We seek to be able to see or touch something that gives testimony of our dead heroes, we build monuments to them. Consider what “Churchianity” has done to Christianity. Claims of splinters from the cross…enough to build a boat! Our norm is to have someplace to go to and see, or a statue that represents our hero. From the beginning, Christians had nothing…because there is nothing. No bones, no coffin, just an empty tomb! All the world does is try to explain why it was empty. The disciples stole the body,  or Jesus only fainted on the cross, later he awoke, moved the stone and overpowered the Roman guards! Books have been written trying to explain, not deny the empty tomb!
Acts 2:22–36 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man clearly attested to you by God with powerful deeds, wonders, and miraculous signs that God performed among you through him, just as you yourselves know—this man, who was handed over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you executed by nailing him to a cross at the hands of Gentiles. But God raised him up, having released him from the pains of death, because it was not possible for him to be held in its power…“Brothers, I can speak confidently to you about our forefather David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day…This Jesus God raised up, and we are all witnesses of it.

The So What? This life is NOT it! There is an eternity…for everyone. Only two destinations, one with God and one separated from Him. Do you know which one you have chosen? It really is up to you…God has done everything, you either accept it or reject it! Don’t put it off…every plan we had just weeks ago changed overnight!

Do you desire to trust in Christ right now? This is what you need to do. Admit you are a sinner. Agree with God that your sin separates you from God; agree with God that your works can never erase your sin. Believe that Jesus Christ is the God-man, came to earth, lived a perfect life and offered that life as a payment for your sin. If you can agree with that, just pray something like this. Lord, I know I am a sinner, I cannot save myself. Thank you for Jesus dying for me, please forgive me of my sin, I now place my total trust in what Christ did on the cross to forgive my sins and offer me eternal life. Jesus, please make me a child of God and give me eternal life. I ask this in your name. Amen

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Seeing through the darkness - The evidence of the resurrection. Pt 2

I lost my mother when she was very young. Home for summer from college, she asked me about my faith. She thought she was a Christian but was now having doubts, as she read Scripture she realized not every view of God can be right…there can only be one! She prayed with me to affirm her faith. Months later she went to be with Lord. This was my first funeral. When I shared her faith and the fact that I knew I would see her again…that I did not grieve as others who have no hope, I could see in many eyes they wanted to believe, yet had no confidence.

Saying that someone went to a better place, yet not believing it, is poison to the heart!

Knowing that a better life is ahead of us takes the sting out of death, changes our perspective on every sickness that can come.

Scriptural Truth is evidence of the resurrection!

Throughout history, the testimony of responsible and honest witnesses has been considered one of the most reliable forms of evidence in a court of law. The resurrection of Christ has this evidence!

1 Corinthians 15:1–8 Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel that I preached to you…For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received—that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as though to one born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also.

Consider these witnesses:

Mary and a few women, two on the road to Emmaus.

Then Peter, who denied Christ, and the other disciples, who all abandoned Him.

To over 500 other followers.

James, one of Jesus’ brothers that did not believe in Him during His earthly ministry.

Lastly, Paul, who was not a follower but a persecutor of Christians. He was putting them to death when he met Jesus!

Two very important truths arise from this. What could make men who had been such cowards before the Crucifixion, become such bold and courageous men after?

Many have died for a lie believing it was the truth, however, how many would die…very painful deaths…if they knew it was a lie? If the disciples stole the body of Jesus, they knew the resurrection was false! Logic would dictate that at least one would break to stay alive. Not one denied the resurrection, no matter what was done to them, including the 500 that were also persecuted!

The so what: Some think seeing is believing, yet for thousands of years believers have laid down their life, have protected the weak even at the risk of their own life, because they believe, which allows them to see God! How about you? Thomas was having eye problems, then Jesus appeared to him:

John 20:28–29 Thomas replied to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are the people who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Thomas was martyred in India because of his faith in Christ!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The evidence of the resurrection. Pt 1

Once a man told his family he was dead! They called his doctor. The man heard his heart, felt his pulse…nothing worked. Exasperated, the doctor asked what would it take? The man said dead men don’t bleed. The doctor quickly stuck a pin in the man’s finger. Looking at his finger, the man exclaimed, “what do you know, dead men do bleed!”

When an individual has settled on an answer, based on an assumption, they will be committed to that assumption. So it is with the resurrection. Most do not believe it could happen, because they assume it could not happen!

Our world, at this moment, is filled with thoughts of sickness and death, understandably. What makes it so terrible is that so many believe that death is final, no hope beyond that point.

If the resurrection is true, life does exist after this mortal body dies. Consider the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. You will say, but that will require “faith.” True, so will every other explanation of what happens after death, no matter if your religious or an atheist.

Mohammed died and thousands of people visit his tomb every year to mourn his death. Those that know Christ go to a tomb that is empty and celebrate His resurrection every day.

The first evidence for the resurrection is the testimony of Scripture!

1 Cor. 15:3-4 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

Ah! But prove the resurrection scientifically, you say! That can’t be done, neither can dinosaurs, WW2 or Abraham Lincoln be proved scientifically!  Scientific proof is based on repeatable data. I can scientifically prove that a bar of soap floats if I drop it in a bucket 100 times and it floats each time, I have just proved it. 

You cannot repeat Dinosaurs, (Jurassic Park NOT!) WW2, or Lincoln. These things are proved through historical records. Fossils, pictures, and testimony.

Compared to other documents in the world, Scripture's historicity is unchallenged. Consider a small sample:

Work of Antiquity                                       Surviving Manuscripts               

o        Pliny the Younger (History)                       7
o        Plato (Tetralogies)                                    7                                
o        Caesar (Gallic Wars)                                10                              
o        Aristotle                                                  49                             
o        Homer (Iliad)                                         643                             
o        New Testament                                 24,633  

Also Proximity to when the original was written and the closet Manuscript.
Pliny  - 750 yrs, Caesar – 1000 yrs, Plato -1,200 yrs and Homer 500 yrs.
The New Testament – Matthew – Co-existent, John – 40 yrs, N.T. 150 yrs, Bible 275 yrs.

Lastly, would be the authority of fulfilled prophecy. There are 60 Prophecies made about Christ 1000-500 years before he was born. Skeptics use to claim these were written after Christ lived and died, but the Dead Sea scrolls disprove that. They were written 300-100 yrs before Christ was born and contain these prophecies.          

Consider what happened in Luke 24:13-27…especially what Jesus stated in vs. 27

The evidence of authority and reliability of the Scriptures is unmatched compared to other historical documents taught in most universities and treated as truth.

The So What: What is your evidence of what happens to us after death? If you believe other history based on documental strength, how should the overwhelming evidence of the Scriptures affect you? If Jesus did rise, and promises to raise you if you believe in Him, no matter what happens on this side of the grave compares to the eternity that awaits you!

Monday, March 23, 2020

The enemy of Fear Pt 2

I think one of the most difficult issues I wrestle with when it comes to love, grace and forgiveness, is when someone deceives a weaker person, taking advantage of them, especially done on an older person on a limited income! Multiply that issue 1000 times and that is how I feel when the deception was dealing with eternal issues. False teachers are a difficult group for me to love.

We are looking at the foundation of faith, which is the resurrection. We are examining the implications to us if the resurrection was a lie.

1st implication - if there is no resurrection of the dead Christ is not the Messiah and is still in the grave!
2nd implication - Our faith is worthless; we are still in our sins!

The 3rd implication - I am a deceived deceiver; I am leading others to believe something that is a lie and Christ is the author of that lie!!

1 Cor. 15:15 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God because we witnessed against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise if in fact the dead are not raised.

John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" 

The 4th implication - All the people you know that claimed to possess eternal life in Christ are dead and gone!

1 Cor. 15:18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 

The Truth of Thessalonians is a lie:

1 Thessalonians 4:13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.

The 5th implication - We should not be denying ourselves worldly pleasures, not drugs or evil actions, because living good has its own reward, but we should have the house, the car, and other things that make life more enjoyable because this is all we have.

1 Cor. 15:19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied

I would have been living in the USA with my family, my friends, and the comforts afforded Americans. Not living in a climate that was too hot for me, where a language is spoken I don’t know and on a very limited income. Seeing my children and grandchildren every 3 years.

The So What: Life without Faith should bring fear! Do you have evidence of the resurrection? What difference does it make if you truly believe this is not the only life? How does that impact your thoughts about a worldwide pandemic?

Next: We will look at evidence of the resurrection.