Friday, April 28, 2017

And Sits at the Right Hand of God the Father Almighty

It is Christ Jesus that died, yea rather, that was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God.” Romans 8:34 ASV
Many people of think of sitting as a restful activity. Office workers who sit at a computer terminal all day would probably disagree. I am an author and I sit most of the day, when not walking my dog, producing books and blogs and seminar notes. Sitting does not mean idleness. Like millions of people who sit to work, Christ is also at work.
What is He doing? In John 14 He told His disciples that He was going to prepare a place for them. That is one thing He does. In Romans 8 it tells us that He is making intercession for us. We sin and we need an advocate to plead our case before God. Jesus is that Advocate interceding for our sins. In Ephesians 4 we are told that He is giving gifts to Church leaders to equip the Church for His glory. At the same time, in the manifest power of the risen Christ, He is accompanying His Church in their witness to the world and protecting His Church from the gates of hell. Christ is not resting as He awaits His return. He is ever loving and caring for His bride the Church.

Almighty God, We thank you that Christ is ever active in our behalf. Amen.


  The Friday Benediction
Until Monday, my friends, may the good God envelop you with His grace; may you prove the common confession of faith, “I believe in the holy Christian church and in the fellowship of the saints”, and may you be enriched with joy and hope as you exercise that confession this weekend.  Amen
 


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Thursday, April 27, 2017

He Ascended into Heaven

Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.” Acts 1:9 NKJV
On the Thursday ten days before Pentecost it was customary for the church to celebrate this important event – the ascension of Christ into heaven. It was a time for the church to focus on the final command that Christ had given before His ascension and to celebrate the wonderful work Christ does for His Church since His ascension. Just prior to ascending into heaven Christ commissioned the church to be His witnesses in all the world. He commanded them to make disciples and baptize them. He promised that He, with His power and authority as the ascended Christ, would always go with them.
Today the world still waits for us to fulfill that Great Commission given us by Christ. It is estimated that of the nearly seven billion people on earth about half of them have never even heard of Christ. Billions more have heard of Him only as a great teacher or prophet. We have the joy today to still be part of that great cloud of witnesses that will testify to a world dying in sin that there is hope and forgiveness and eternal life in Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God. 

Almighty God, We thank You that at Christ’s ascension He gave us work to do that can give us joy and bring others hope. Amen. 


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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Third Day He Rose Again from the Dead

And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected, and be killed, and after three days rise again.” Mark 8:31 NKJV
While we must preach Christ crucified, we must never leave out Christ resurrected. We don’t serve a dead leader. We don’t serve an unfortunate martyr. We don’t serve a mythological symbolism of Spring. We serve the Risen Savior. Christ arose – Hallelujah! We serve the Son of God who bodily rose again from the dead, left hell defeated in His wake and lives forever to sustain His people.  
What does it mean to us, day to day in our ordinary lives, that Jesus rose again. In short, it means everything. It means that He is alive to give us aid and comfort in every need. It means that we are never alone. We are not dependent on the simple memory of a dead man; we have the daily blessed fellowship with our risen Savior. We cannot face something He didn’t already face and now, He who conquered every foe on earth can stand beside us to also win the victory each day. But not only in this life are we blessed. Because He lives, death is defeated and we can pass from life unto life forevermore.

Almighty God, Thank You for the resurrection and its blessings to me each day. Amen. 


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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

He Descended into Hell

Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?” Eph. 4:9 KJV
In the beautiful old hymn, “Open Wide, Ye Doors” we find this simple line, “He has wrested Satan’s throne”. This is the victory of Christ’s descent into hell; He rose again. By descending and ascending Christ destroyed Satan’s power of the fear of death that he had wielded over mankind since the Garden. Christ was able to declare to all those bound by death that the door of heaven was open to all who had believed God’s promise of sending the Savior.
Paul illuminates this point by adding in Ephesians that Christ “led captivity captive”. In the game “Capture the Flag” one goal is to capture your opponent’s players and put them in your “jail”. The opponents must them try to free them and return them to their rightful territory. Essentially they lead captivity captive to the safety of home. Christ descended and ascended with those who had died in faith and took them “home”. Praise God that Christ has broken Satan’s power, wrested Satan’s throne and now will take all who believe in Him “Home” forever. Death has lost its sting.

Almighty God, We thank You that Christ has won the victory over Satan for us. Amen. 


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Monday, April 24, 2017

Christ Crucified - Part 2

But we preach Christ crucified”1 Cor. 1:23 NKJV
The crucifixion of Christ is not simply a verification of Scripture. It is the means of salvation for all mankind. Jesus said to Nicodemus, “The Son of Man must be lifted up”. He likened His being lifted up to Moses raising up the bronze serpent in the Wilderness so that all who looked at it could be saved from the plague of snakes. Then Jesus said again later to His disciples, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me”.  By this statement He signified both the style of His death and His offer to all mankind to come to Him for salvation.
If we preach Christ without preaching Him crucified for our sins, we have missed the point of preaching altogether. It is the message of the Cross that offers forgiveness of sins through the shed blood of the Son of God. As Scripture says, “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission (forgiveness of sin)”. It is the Cross that gives us daily hope that we can offer confession for sins and that God, through the blood of His Son, will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Almighty God, Thank You that You let Your Son be crucified for me. Amen.


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Friday, April 21, 2017

Who Suffered Under Pontius Pilate, Was Crucified, Dead, and Buried

That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried” I Corinthians 15:3-4 NKJV
Was the death of Jesus Christ a surprise, an unexpected event of history that intruded itself in an untimely way on a good and decent man? Not at all. Certainly it came as a shock to His disciples who apparently hadn’t paid much attention to the things He had told them for the last year and a half of His earthly ministry. To those who followed Him for the wrong reasons like nationalism or social security, it came as a disappointment. But to God the Father and to the Son it came about just as prophesied and planned for eternity.
His death had been prophesied and pictured repeatedly in Genesis, Exodus and Leviticus. They were prophesied repeatedly in the Psalms and the prophets. The entire Scriptures are replete with the absolute declaration that the Son of God would die as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of man. The Apostles’ Creed declares with utmost certainty that the Christian believes the words of the Scriptures to be inspired and true. Believers base their faith on the revealed integrity of Almighty God who could both plan and finish that plan for the salvation of His creation.

Almighty God, Thank you for Your sure and certain word, our Bible. Amen.


  The Friday Benediction
Until Monday, my friends, may the good God envelop you with His grace; may you prove the common confession of faith, “I believe in the holy Christian church and in the fellowship of the saints”, and may you be enriched with joy and hope as you exercise that confession this weekend.  Amen
 


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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Who Was Conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son” Isa. 7:14 NKJV
For those who want to discredit the Bible, the miracles that are performed all through the pages of Scripture are their favorite target. Of course to deny them means that they must deny the contemporary accounts, or original sources, and they must deny the multiple eye witnesses who verify every miracle. But if you want to deny things you can simply say they didn’t happen, say it loudly and often and hope no one notices you offer no proof of your claim. The miracle of the Virgin birth is one they really hate because it would mean that Jesus wasn’t just a man.
But God insists on this very point. Jesus is not just a man. He was conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of a virgin. In Genesis chapter 3 God said the deliverer would come from the seed of the woman. That is specific. In Isaiah God said it would be a virgin woman. By the birth of Isaac in Genesis God clarified that the promised seed would come by an impossible miraculous birth. The New Testament puts its stamp on that truth. Thank God for the miracle of Jesus’ birth.

Almighty God, You are the God of might and miracles. Thank you for the Virgin birth of our Savior. Amen


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