by Stefan Paulus
The historical resurrection of Jesus, the foundation of Christianity, is under attack. Believers must have confidence in the historical accuracy of the resurrection, as well at its importance in their lives.
“I affirm resurrection, the resurrection of Jesus. God’s essence cannot be killed, buried, or kept from being alive in creation or history.... But, resurrection, including that of Jesus, does not include bodily resuscitation. God does not work this way. The issue is not the absence of God’s power, but God’s own self-limiting role of revelation in history. God works within the boundaries God has established” (emphasis added).
These are the words of a Methodist bishop speaking at the Iliff School of Theology in 2002. Further in his speech he admits that he does not know God’s boundaries, but he is certain it does not include resurrection. This is a “Christian” leader casting doubt on the bodily resurrection of Jesus with no more proof than that he believes this is not how God works. So, is our faith in Jesus’ resurrection based on no more than mere belief, and is His bodily resurrection really that important?
A helpful book, Jesus Under Fire, which defends the historical facts of Jesus, states, “Fortunately, the Christian faith does not call for us to put our minds on the shelf, to fly in the face of common sense and history, or to make a leap of faith into the dark. The rational person, fully apprised of the evidence, can confidently believe that on that first Easter morning a divine miracle took place” (emphasis added).
Sermon on 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 by Johnathan Arnold
In 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, we read the most comprehensive biblical passage on Jesus' resurrection. To be a Christian, one must believe that Jesus actually, literally, physically rose from the dead, so Paul points to eye-witnesses, most of whom were alive when Paul wrote the letter, to encourage us that there is historical proof to back up our belief. Believing in the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus is not ignorant or anti-science. In fact, we teach things in our history books that are supported with less evidence.
Now, we could spend a lot of time on that fact — and we will look at some of the specific proof that Paul offers to back up the resurrection, because it’s in the passage at hand — but since most of us already believe in the resurrection, I want us to focus on the point that Paul makes in verses 1-3: he says that the resurrection of Jesus is part of the gospel that he preached. It’s not an add-on.
by Dr. Timothy L. Cooley, Sr
Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to be there at sunrise on Easter day? Easter reflections are faithfully preserved for us in the Scriptures. The Bible tells us how three different groups of people responded to the miracle of Easter — the Resurrection of Christ, that greatest event of all history.
by Johnathan Arnold
The substitutionary, atoning death of Jesus on the cross is the hinge of human history, the crucial dogma of the Christian faith, and the turning point in the story of every believer. Good Friday reminds us to slow down, meditate, and be thankful. Here are six more reasons why Jesus died, according to the Scriptures.
Read first Why Did Jesus Die? Part 1
by Johnathan Arnold
When reading the New Testament, we are brought back to the death of Jesus again and again. There are scores of verses that tell us why Jesus died. We read phrases like, “He died so that…” or “For this reason he died….” Sometimes the reasons given for his death are noticeably connected from one verse to the next, but not always. This much is certain: Christ accomplished more in his death than we can ever imagine. On that old rugged cross, there was so much more going on than any one onlooker could have possibly pieced together.
Christians are in a school of the cross, ever seeing more deeply into the meaning of the death. The death stands at the center of our theology. If Good Friday lasted for ten or even ten thousand years, we would still have more on which to meditate.
by Johnathan Arnold
The best way to prepare our hearts for Easter is to walk with Jesus through the Scriptures from Palm Sunday to Good Friday to Resurrection Day. Reading any one of the four gospels will provide a valuable perspective on Passion Week, but no one gospel covers every detail of the story. To get a complete picture of each day, it is helpful to read selected portions.
by Jeremy Fuller
In the final book of the New Testament, John uses a powerful phrase that is not employed anywhere else in the Bible. It is nowhere in the Gospels. It is nowhere in the Acts or Epistles. And yet John uses the expression without definition, which implies that first century pastors and Christians were so familiar with the idiom that it needed no explanation. He wrote, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day” (Rev. 1:10).
Adam Clarke produced a Bible commentary over a period of forty years that would serve as a primary theological resource for more than two centuries. He identified the Lord’s Day as “the first day of the week, observed as the Christian Sabbath, because on it Jesus Christ rose from the dead; therefore, it was called the Lord’s day, and has taken place of the Jewish sabbath throughout the Christian world.”
by Charity Purdy
I can still see my sixteen-year-old self, surrounded by people my age, and yet feeling completely alone. I timidly tried to befriend one girl. Although she was very kind, I could tell I wasn’t getting anywhere. I was friendless in a room full of friends.
I decided to pray about it. A friend wasn’t too much to ask for, was it? It wasn’t a bad request. Days went by, then weeks. Then months. No friend. My prayers became more demanding. Why wasn’t God filling the need He Himself gave me?
by Johnathan Arnold
In Isaiah chapters 13-23, the prophet foretells God’s judgment on nations such as Babylon, Assyria, Philistia, Syria, Egypt, and Edom. In chapter 22, we read about Israel — specifically, Jerusalem — and, not surprisingly, their spiritual condition is similar to the rest of the world. Isaiah condemns them for partying jubilantly and eating and drinking when they should be weeping and mourning over their sins. The prophetic words are harrowing: “For the Lord God of hosts has a day.”
Notwithstanding, the harshest judgment is reserved until verses 15-25, and it is not against national Israel; it is against an obscure figure named Shebna. Isaiah declares, “Behold, the Lord will hurl you away violently, O you strong man. He will seize firm hold on you and whirl you around and around, and throw you like a ball into a wide land” (vv.17-18, ESV). The imagery is amusing: like a ball on a string, God will swing the “strong man” Shebna in circles, then pitch him into a desolate land.
Devotional by Jeremy Fuller
Read: Nehemiah 2:1-8
"Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So, I prayed to the God of heaven." (Nehemiah 2:4)
Nehemiah was a man of prayer. The first chapter of the Old Testament book that bears his name is eleven verses long. Seven of those eleven verses are an earnest prayer for his backslidden nation. A careful study of that prayer will show that he was a deeply spiritual man well versed in the theology of the Jewish religion.
His prayer in chapter two is a different kind of prayer – it was an inaudible prayer. It was a prayer that likely lasted no more than 5 or 10 seconds. And yet it was nonetheless a worthwhile prayer in the eyes and ears of Almighty God. It was an Arrow of Prayer!
Dec. 27-30: Administrative Work (Sermon prep for Sunday and Haiti Ministerial. Helped Rhoda with ministerial mailing, etc.).
Dec. 31: Shamokin: We enjoyed the New Year’s Eve service. Rev. McKenzie let each person pick a verse to a Christmas chorus and read a Christmas story. We then transitioned by preaching a message about taking Christmas with us into the New Year.
Because of Christ, we have a message of Hope, Help and Healing.
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