Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Evidence of the Resurrection

Christ’s resurrection is the most proven fact in history.  I am more certain of that fact than I am that George Washington was the  first president of the United States.

Each of the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John conclude with accounts of Christ’s resurrection.  I Corinthians 15 is the major chapter in the Bible on this subject.  The Old Testament prophesied His resurrection.  Psalm 16:10   Jesus declared He would rise from the dead.  Matthew 12:38-40,  John 2:18-22

What if it’s not true?

One thing is sure.  If Jesus did not rise from the dead in a glorified body, then He is not God, the Bible is not true and  we Christian are all deluded and living in a dream world.  I Corinthians 15:12-20   No one questions that  a man named Jesus lived 2000 years ago and that He died on a cross at the hands of Roman executioners and that He was buried in a tomb. Did Jesus actually rise from the dead in a glorified body?

Review the Evidence.

Let us briefly examine the recorded events of His resurrection; and in the events study carefully the evidence.

Three days after His crucifixion, the tomb where He had been laid to rest  was empty.  Luke 24:1-3

Read the eyewitness accounts of Mary Magdalene, Peter and John in John 20:1-18   In this account, note every detail.  What was it that Peter and John saw?  They saw the linen cloth  that had been wrapped around His corpse. They saw it lying there undisturbed with the body missing.  The napkin that covered His face was lying separately folded beside the empty cocoon type wrappings.

Follow Him on His Sunday afternoon walk to Emmaus. Luke 24:13-32

Note  the accounts of the disciples meeting the resurrected Christ that first Sunday night. Luke 24:33-48  John 20:19-25

Observe the disciples meeting Christ a week later. John 20:26-29

Read the emotional  account of breakfast by the
Sea of Galilee. John 21:1-22

See  His ascension back to Heaven.  Acts 1:1-12

Note how the enemies went to great lengths to secure the tomb of Jesus. Matthew 27:62-66

Study the plot of Jesus’ enemies to spread a lie. This is one of the strongest proofs of Christ’s resurrection.   Matthew 28:11-15

Consider the courage and sacrifice of Jesus’ apostles. Would they or would you have been willing to die for what you knew to be a fraud?

Explain to yourself  how Christ’s Church continues to grow even after over 2000 years.   Could a dead man be behind all of this?

The greatest proof of His resurrection is something you cannot know until you have put your trust in Christ.  When you know Him as your Saviour, you KNOW He is alive for sure;  for His Spirit lives in  your heart and bears witness with your spirit.

What does it matter whether Jesus rose or not?

Because Jesus arose and is alive today, four things are certain.

We have assurance that we are forgiven, justified and ready for Heaven.  Romans 4:23-25

We have His resurrection power to live victoriously over sin.  Romans 6:1-4

We have assurance of His return to take us Home to Heaven if we are Christians. I  John 3:1-3

We have assurance that He will return to judge all those who have rejected Him as Saviour. Acts 17:31-32

What is your verdict?

Now you have the evidence that demands your verdict.  Will you receive Him as your Saviour from sin and be assured of eternal salvation or will you reject Him now and face Him later as your judge and be condemned to Hell.

April 12, 2006 Posted by | Resurrection | Comments Off on Evidence of the Resurrection

Reality

Reality TV has become extremely popular in America.  Why is that?  Wouldn't you agree that most people are longing for reality in their lives.  People are tired and bored by the artificial plastic world around them. By the way, if those so-called reality TV programs are truly reality, then this world has truly gone off it's rocker.  Witness young men and women marrying one another without ever meeting before;  people chewing on raw whiskered bull's snouts.  Is that reality or has this world gone stark raving mad? 

Religion: real or phony

A lot of religion is not real either. Many churches  are led by promoters; not pastors. They use people to build their churches rather than using their churches to build their people.

How about your relationship with God?  Is it real  or are you just playing church?  You don't have to settle for artificial religion.  Yet many do spend their time and money in churches  listening to "make-me- feel-good sermons, working themselves into an emotional frenzy to try to get a feel-good experience or going to the other extreme and mumbling memorized prayers and liturgy that means nothing to them and listening to religious leaders who lack moral purity or spiritual wisdom. What good is it all if at the end of life you just die as a dog; or worse, go to hell?

Be yourself!

Only when you know God,  can you discover the reality of just being yourself. You don't have to try to prove how "cool" you are by trying to dress or look or sing like the latest star.  Preachers, we don't have to try to impress our congregations with our scholarship or with our pulpit style. Scholarship ought to take place in our study and preparation, but when we are dealing with people from the pulpit or individually, we ought to  be ourselves  and keep it simple and direct.  Christian friend, you do not need to try to impress people with your supposed "spirituality" by "drooling piety" in every word you say. Discerning people become suspicious of anyone who drools pious talk.  God wants us to be real; to be ourselves. Let's not give others the idea that Christianity is a weird disease that they want to avoid catching.

How to break free from trying to be something you're not

You can discover the reality of knowing God.  It's all based on the Bible;  a book that is either what it claims to be, the inspired Word of God; or else it is just another dry, dusty book of dead religion.  Jesus  claims to be God come down in human flesh. Either He is God or else He isn't.   You can find out the truth by reading the Gospel of John.  As you read it cry to God,  "God, I don't know whether you are there or not.  I don't know if you are real or just the product of human imagination.   But  God, the Bible tells me that Jesus is God in human flesh  and that He died to pay the penalty for my sins and that He rose from the dead so that I could live forever with Him in Heaven and escape  Hell. God, if you are there and listening to me I want you to come into my life and change me.  Make me a real Christian.  I won't settle for anything less than reality in my relationship with you.  So here I am, God.  If you are real and can make the change in me,  I am yours forever.  Please, save me."

God hears the prayer that comes to Him from your heart. He will save you right now and convince you  of His reality in your life.  Read  I John, the little book just before Revelation. Especially read  I John 5:11-13. In those three verses you will find assurance  of salvation based; not on your feelings, but on what the Bible says. Trust Christ and discover the reality of knowing and walking with Him now and forever.

April 12, 2006 Posted by | Reality | Comments Off on Reality

Priorities

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar… and the coffee.

 

A professor stood before his philosophy class with an assortment of items in front of him.  When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large, empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full.  They agreed that it was.

 

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar.  He shook the jar lightly and the pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.  He then asked the students if the jar was full.  They agreed it was.

 

The professor then picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.  Of course, the sand filled up everything else.  He asked once more if the jar was full.  The students responded with a unanimous “yes”.

 

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured it into the jar.  As it filled the empty space between the sand, the students laughed. 

 

“Now”, said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to remember the important things- your God, your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions- things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

 

“The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car.

 

“The sand is everything else- the small stuff.

 

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the golf balls. The same goes for life.  If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important.

 

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.  Play with your children.  Take time to get medical checkups.  Take your wife out to dinner.  Maybe even play another 18 holes of golf.  There’s always time to clean the house and fix the disposal.  Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter.  Set your priorities.  The rest is just sand.”

 

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.  The professor smiled, “I’m glad you asked.  It just goes to show that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”

 

This thought-provoking email came to me from a friend.    Let me add my own illustration of setting priorities.   

 

 I’ve sometimes directed my congregation to focus their attention on the cross hanging on the wall of the church behind me. I say to them, “Do you see it?  Now keep your focus on the cross. Do you see the piano to your right?   Do you see the organ to your left?   Do you see the pulpit?  Do you see me?   So it is in life.”  When the focus of our life is Christ and our desire it to glorify   Him above all else,  then all the other things of life will fall into proper perspective.  We will not ignore our families nor our homes nor anything else that matters.  

 

But if we focus on anything but Jesus,  then Jesus  will be crowded out.

 

 

 

April 12, 2006 Posted by | Priorities | Comments Off on Priorities

Pity Party

 

The wicked flourish.  There's no question about it.  We all know of  ungodly, famous wealthy people in all walks of life. They are people who have made it to the top in the business world and in the field of entertainment or sports.  We are impressed with their success and even a bit envious. 

Don't be a whiner!

In Psalm 73 David whines to God as he considers the success of the wicked.  He admits he is envious when he considers their prosperity.  They seem to escape the troubles that so many others have.  They seem to be in good health.  They seem to enjoy life to the fullest with their beautiful homes and luxury cars.  They have the best of everything the world has to offer.  Many of them mock and defy God.

 

In this Psalm we read of David's pity party.  He feels sorry for himself because he has been so righteous and God has not given him as much.  It seems to him that the devil is a more generous master than God.  He whines that it doesn't pay to live for the Lord.  He complains about the pain of living the Christian life.

 

Be a worshipper!

About this time,  David enters the sanctuary to listen to God.  As he listens He begins to get a proper perspective on things.  God wakes him from his stupor and speaks to him;  explaining the coming judgment on the wicked. He pictures them as walking in slippery places, headed for destruction.

 

As he meditates on God's Word,  he sees by way of contrast, how blest he is. "Nevertheless I am continually with Thee.  Thou hast holden me up by my right hand.  Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in Heaven but Thee? There is none upon earth that I desire besides Thee." Then David concludes, "It is good for me to draw near to God."  The pity party has changed to praise and worship of God. 

April 12, 2006 Posted by | Pity Party | Comments Off on Pity Party