Tag Archives: Resurrection

Heaven Can Wait, Government Can Save Us

Heaven Can Wait, Government Can Save Us

God’s Story—Our Story: The Reign of Christ—Now and Forever

Sermon by Chuck Foreman, Teaching/Missions Pastor
First Christian Church—November 11, 2012

Scriptures: Revelation 1-5; 19-22; Romans 8; 1 Thessalonians 4-5;
I Peter 2:9-17; 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Heaven can wait, Government can save us…

SALVATION & POLITICS

We’ve bought into an idea about “salvation” that is more like fire insurance than Biblical teaching. “Just give me that ticket out of hell and into heaven, and we’re good.” That kind of thinking doesn’t cause us to do anything about the combustible material in our lives that will probably burn our house down.

We think we’re heaven bound, but that we’re still trapped in an ugly, fallen world, in which we have to scrape and claw to get what WE want. We think all we really need is a government that will make it all happen for us.
Unfortunately when we think like that, there’s nothing about us or our ideas that ever changes anything or makes a difference in this world.

Our idea of heaven is more like an Escape Route or a Safe House, not a place where Christ reigns and gives us hope for restoring God’s will & reign on earth. And we think that government ought to make things better, and we hope that it will, so we whine & moan when it doesn’t, instead of rolling up our own sleeves.

The symbol for King in Chinese

The symbol for “King” in Chinese

What if we’ve missed something? What if what God really wants to do is to accomplish something revolutionary in us, thru us, among us—here, now— as we establish His Kingdom here, while we wait for the return of our King?

Illustration: Chinese character—“King” 3 horizontal lines representing heaven, man and earth, connected by a vertical line representing the one vested w/ power between heaven and earth to rule uprightly over man.

God’s Story is Our Story: Let’s review what he’s been up to and where he’s taking us…

Creation (Genesis 1-2)

The Fall of Man (Genesis 3)

A New Nation—Israel—The People of God (Genesis 12:2-3)

Israel’s Failure—Matthew 23:37-38

The Messiah—Immanuel (“God with us”—Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23)

The New Israel—The Church—The New People of God (Matthew 16:18; Acts 2:42-48)

The transformation of the politics of Paul, James and Peter…
Galatians 3:28-29 (Revolutionary for Paul!)
Acts 15:16-18 (James quotes Amos 9:11-12)
Ephesians 2:10; 3:6-11, 14, 21 (God’s mystery made known thru the Church as we do the good works we were re-created to do!)
I Timothy 2:1-4 (Pray for kings so we can live peaceful, quiet, godly, holy lives—this is ultimately what will influence people to be saved.)
I Peter 2:9-17 (The New Order)

John’s Revelation…
Revelation 1-5: Message to the 7 Churches of Asia Minor—God is going to restore all things to the way they were. You’re in on it—it matters how you live! So get your act together!

Revelation 6-18: The Cosmic Battle between God and Satan over the Church

Revelation 19: Victory! The Defeat of the Beast/Babylon/The Prostitute (Rome), The Wedding of the Lamb

Revelation 20: Satan’s Doom & the Judgment of Mankind

Revelation 21-22: The Final Act—The Reign of Christ Fully, Finally Realized

Revelation 21:1-5 God with us—Out with the old, in with the new!
(This is where we place our hope, not in the White House, not in the Stock Market!)
Revelation 21:9-10 The New Jerusalem, The Church coming down from heaven

I Thessalonians 4:13-18 Let’s go meet our King!

Revelation 22:1-3a Eden Restored

Romans 8:18-25 The Redemption of Creation

Revelation 22:3b-5 We will reign with him forever!

Jesus is Coming—perhaps soon.

Listen to his final words: Revelation 22:7 Revelation 22:12

Jesus is coming someday. On that day, every knee will bow and tongue confess that he is Lord. Are you ready? You’ll either do it willingly or not, but you will bow. Are you ready?

The question is not, Is Jesus King?. He’s King alright. The question is, Is he king of your life?

You can make him King of your life today. There’s a lot of joyful work to do in His Kingdom, as we eagerly, patiently prepare for his will to ultimately be done and his kingdom to finally come “on earth—as it is in heaven.”

Right On!

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Do not Fear Death!

Do not Fear Death!
This entry is part 10 of 10 in the series Don't Worry

“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?” ~1 Corinthians 15:55

Take care of your life; and the Lord will take care of your death ~George Whitefield

Jesus Resurrection
Jesus conquered death so we wouldn’t have to fear it.

Jesus didn’t spend much time worry about His death. Even as the Gospel story progresses and Jesus knows that His hour is approaching, He continues His mission in life. For each of us, God has a day set aside for us to face death. Why then should we worry? Until that day, let’s just spend our time doing what He did.

 

 

 

 

 Excerpt from:

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The Holy Spirit – God’s Gift to Us – After the Resurrection – part 6

The Holy Spirit – God’s Gift to Us – After the Resurrection – part 6
This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series After the Resurrection

The Holy Spirit – God’s gifts to His believers.

Read Acts 2

The phrase “filled with the Holy Spirit” congers up pictures of folks rolling down the aisles of a church speaking gibberish. That’s not what it’s about.

The Holy Spirit is a gift from God when someone becomes a believer in Jesus Christ. You can only receive the Holy Spirit by receiving Jesus Christ into your heart and being baptized.

The Holy Spirit gives believers the power to overcome temptations from the devil. The Holy Spirit also brings us special “fruits”:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.~Galatians 5:22-25.

But you don’t automatically get the fruits. The devil doesn’t like that you’re a believer and he’s going to tempt you and mess up your life every chance he can get. That’s when you call on the Holy Spirit to help you. The Holy Spirit will deliver those fruits and all you need to do is ask.

What you need to remember is that the Holy Spirit is there, inside of you 24/7. It’s how Jesus lives in you when you become a believer.

How do you become a believer? It’s easy. To have eternal life with Jesus, just pray this prayer wholeheartedly and sincerely:

Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.

Being a Christian is a journey of faith with the goal to be closer to God and live like Christ and sometimes it is a struggle for some Christians to live like Christ. It also doesn’t guarantee that life will be trouble free. God sends trials to test our faith. So we must read the Bible to grow stronger in faith.

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Soli Deo Gloria!
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The Gift of the Holy Spirit – After the Resurrection – part 5 – The Book of Acts

The Gift of the Holy Spirit – After the Resurrection – part 5 – The Book of Acts
This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series After the Resurrection

The Book of Acts (aka The Acts of the Apostles) was written by Luke as an addendum to his Gospel. He continues the historical narrative of the transition from the life of Christ to the Church.

Read Acts 1

First Jesus tells the apostles not to leave Jerusalem, that God is going to send them a “gift”.

But the apostles think that the “gift” is God taking the Romans away and giving Israel their “kingdom” that was promised long ago. (Israel didn’t become it’s own nation until 1948 – God kept His promise.)

To that Jesus replied,  ”It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.” (And people are still trying to figure out when He’s going to come back!)

Jesus continues, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Once they receive the Holy Spirit, they are to go into the world and spread the Good News of that Jesus conquered death and who ever believes in Him would also conquer death and live forever with Him in Heaven.

They were to tell everyone – even the gentiles.

Then Jesus was lifted up into the clouds and “two men dressed in white” stood beside the apostles as they stared into the sky.

Who were they? Angels? Moses and Elijah? It doesn’t matter. It’s what they said that matters, “…why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

God keeps His promises. Jesus will return soon, first he’ll summon His believers to join Him in Heaven (The Rapture), then comes the Great Tribulation and finally He’ll defeat the Antichrist (the devil) and He’ll come back to the New Earth to reign in peace. Only His believers have a room reserved there.

But even YOU can get your reservation in Heaven. It’s easy. To have eternal life with Jesus, just pray this prayer wholeheartedly and sincerely:

Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.

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Soli Deo Gloria!
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After the Resurrection – part 4 – Gospel of John – Doubting Thomas

After the Resurrection – part 4 – Gospel of John – Doubting Thomas
This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series After the Resurrection

Read John 20:19-31

I’ll believe it when I see it. That’s something you say when you’re told something rather outrageous, unbelievable or from someone who’s not exactly trustworthy.

Like when you hear about an overweight friend who’s been notoriously lazy say they’re joining a gym and planning to lose 40 pounds before Christmas. You reply, “Yeah, right – I’ll believe it when I see it.”
When Christmas rolls around and the person lost the 40 lbs. and more, you’re reaction is different, “Wow! You look great! You did it!”

If you had not seen the person, you would not have believed that they lost the weight. Or would you have taken someone else’s word for it?

Or when a politician promises something. That’s easy.

Why do you think Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”? (John 20:29)

He knew that the disciples’ upcoming challenge was getting people who did not witness His death and resurrection to believe in Him and that it really happened. We still have that problem today.
How can you believe in something you can’t see?

We do it all the time. Take gravity for instance. We can’t see it, but we know what would happen if we didn’t have it. It’s a law – no doubt about it.

I could name some other things like time, air, etc. But that’s not the point.

The Rapture is coming.
Jesus will come back for His believers and then there will 7 years of tribulation. If you say, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” sorry, Charlie, but it will be too late.

Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) That is the law of the New Testament. There’s no getting around it. And unfortunately, we also know what will happen if we didn’t have Jesus – we’d die and burn in Hell forever.

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. ~John 20:31

That’s what Faith is all about.

To have eternal life with Jesus, just pray this prayer wholeheartedly and sincerely:

Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.

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Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Christian, Award-Winning Author
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After the Resurrection – part 3 – according to Luke

After the Resurrection – part 3 – according to Luke
This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series After the Resurrection

Read Luke 24:13-53

It’s hot news. It’s the talk of the town. Everybody’s buzzing about it. Wow! Jesus was dead and his body was gone!

So, this “stranger” comes up to you and your friend and asks you what all the excitement about? You wonder, “Where’s this person been? Under a rock? How can he not know what happened?”

The two were more concerned about the spectacular nature of the event than what it truly meant.

The “stranger” then starts giving them an Old Testament lesson.

They invited him to lunch and then they recognized that it was Jesus.

They ran back to Jerusalem and told the other disciples that it was true – Jesus was really alive. Then Jesus appeared before the whole group.

A ghost? Again, initially, they didn’t believe.

They touched Him and with “joy an amazement” they ate with Him and He reminded them that “The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead” and then He promised them that a “gift” will come from God.

Then, in front of them, He rose to Heaven.

And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. ~1 Corinthians 15:14

“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” ~Romans 10:9

It’s that simple.
So, what’s stopping you?
Do you think you are unworthy? That doesn’t matter. God loves you anyway and that’s why Jesus died for you – to wipe away ALL your sins – no matter how bad they are. Wiped clean. Purified. Redeemed.

Jesus said, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” ~John 14:3-4

That’s where He is right now. In Heaven preparing your room in God’s wonderful house where there will be no more pain, we will have perfect bodies, we’ll live in constant joy – no more tears, problems or heartaches. Doesn’t that sound nice?

Jesus is coming back and it really seems like it will be soon. Don’t you want to have that one-way ticket to Heaven?

Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. ~Acts 2:38

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After the Resurrection – part 2 – according to Mark

After the Resurrection – part 2 – according to Mark
This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series After the Resurrection

Read Mark 16:1-20 

As in Matthew, the women are comforted with the words, “Don’t be alarmed.” But, Mark tells of the women seeing a “young man dressed in a white robe.” We assume the man is an angel of God because he says clearly that Jesus “has risen! He is not here.”

Then the angel tells them to go tell the disciples and Peter. Peter is singled out specifically because Peter denied that he knew Jesus 3 times.

The next section was written later and it highlights the disbelief as word spread among the disciples that Jesus was alive.

Think about it. If someone tells you that a person who you saw die was alive your first reaction would be – yeah, right, shake your head and walk away thinking they were insane.

First the women tell the men and they don’t believe. Then Jesus appears to two of the disciples who were walking in the country. The two believe, but when they tell the others, they get the same reaction – disbelief.

Then when all the eleven are together at a meal, Jesus appears to them and He scolds them for not believing.

Jesus gives them the same instructions – “go into the world and preach the good news to all creation.” Do not discriminate. Everybody is to know the good news of God’s love, of salvation and that Jesus is the only way to heaven.

Jesus tells them, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” That’s a promise.

Then they saw Jesus ascend into heaven. He sits at the right hand of God.

Jesus said, “I am going there [Heaven] to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” (John 14:3-4)

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Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Christian, Award-Winning Author
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After the Resurrection – part 1 – according to Matthew

After the Resurrection – part 1 – according to Matthew
This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series After the Resurrection

In this series, I’ll review the days right after Jesus’ Resurrection as told in each of the four Gospels and the Book of Acts (The Acts of the Apostles).

Read: Matthew 28:8-20

Remember the women were the last ones at the cross…
and the first ones at the tomb.

In Matthew, the women are running after discovering the empty tomb to tell the male members of Jesus’ followers and suddenly Jesus appears in front of them. He allows them to touch Him to prove to them that He is alive. They fall to their knees and worship Him. They are the first to see the Living Christ.

He first comforts them by saying, “Do not be afraid.” Then He tells them to tell the brothers to go to Galilee that He would see them there.

Now, the Jews knew of the prophecy that supposedly the Messiah was to be raised from the dead so to make sure that Jesus’ followers didn’t steal His body during the night and then claim that He rose, Roman guards were stationed outside the tomb.

But when Jesus really did rise from the dead, the chief Jewish priests didn’t want a riot to start or admit that Jesus was the Messiah, consequently, they bribed the guards to say that the disciples stole the body. Hence, the rumor that Jesus didn’t really rise from the dead spread through the area.

The faithful disciples went to Galilee as directed, but did they really believe the women? All they could do is trust them and do what they said. I can imagine even Peter accusing the women of making up the story. But what choice did they have? If they stayed in Jerusalem, they feared that they may prosecuted as well.

When they got to Galilee, they saw Him and still some doubted that He was really alive. Yet, they worshiped Him. At this point is when Jesus tells them to go to all nations to make disciples of them.

ALL NATIONS – Jews and Gentiles alike – everyone.

Teach them to obey everything that He has commanded. (Love one another, etc.) He tells them (us) what to do – to go to non-believers – convince them to believe, baptize them and then they become a disciple – a follower of Jesus.

Then Jesus assures them that He would be with them (us – yeah you, too) always, until the end of the the age.

It’s a promise. Believe in Jesus and He will be with you forever.

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Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century by Giselle AguiarIf you enjoyed this, you’ll love Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Christian, Award-Winning Author
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Resurrection Sunday – Jesus Lives! A walk through Holy Week part 11

Resurrection Sunday – Jesus Lives! A walk through Holy Week part 11
This entry is part 11 of 11 in the series A Walk Through Holy Week

The is the greatest day! What happened on that Sunday morning is cornerstone of Christian belief. If it weren’t for Christ’s Resurrection, nothing He said would have meant anything. He would have been just like any other human being, any other prophet, any other teacher.

He was dead – crucified then put in tomb. Since the Sabbath was approaching, His followers didn’t have enough time to properly prepare the body (anointing) for burial. So early on Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene took herbs to the tomb.

All four Gospels tell the story though they differ slightly. My favorite is John’s version.

In Matthew, Mary and two other ladies wonder how they’re going to move the large stone that covered the opening to the tomb, but to their surprise, it was open!

At first, they thought someone took Jesus’ body. Mary runs to tell Peter and the disciples and they come running to see that the tomb is indeed empty. Just the strips of burial cloth lay where they put the body 2 nights before.

Matthew also tells of an earthquake that moved the stone and that scared the Roman guards. The guards swore that no one came to take the body.

Mary was crying when a man asks her why. Thinking it’s the gardener, she asks him where has he taken her Lord.

Then Jesus says her name and she recognizes Him. He tells her to go to the brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’
Note something – the women were the last at the cross and the first at the tomb. And in those days, women were never witnesses at a trial. Women were thought inferior, yet it was to a woman that Jesus spoke to first and instructed to spread the word that He was alive.

I like the questions asked – different in each Gospel, but they are still meaningful to us today.

Who is it that you are looking for? (John 20:15)

Why do you look for the living among the dead? (Luke 24:5)

The answer is that Jesus has risen from the dead! He conquered death so that we could live – so that we could have eternity.

No other person did that for you.

Easter is not about cute bunnies and colorful eggs, it’s about Jesus being raised from the dead and what that means for us – for YOU!

My next series will cover the days after the Resurrection. Subscribe so you don’t miss out.

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Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century by Giselle AguiarIf you enjoyed this, you’ll love Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Christian, Award-Winning Author
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