Often we enjoy Christmas more than Easter. There are many reasons, but in reality Easter is more important. True that we wouldn’t have one without the other, but here are 15 life-altering results of the resurrection (which we celebrate at Easter) from 1 Corinthians 15. We know that these results are forever valid because Jesus Christ conquered death.
Because Christ rose:
1. We know that the sharing of the Gospel is not in vain, because it is true and truly effective for all who accept it.
2. We know that our reliance and confidence in Christ for salvation from hell is not in vain.
3. We know that we do not have to live a miserable life, even in the face of bleak circumstance and trials.
4. We know that the results of Adam’s sin, such as evil, sickness, hurt, and harm, are only temporal; and the end for those who have a relationship with Jesus Christ is always victorious.
5. We know we are legally justified before the Judge of the Heavens and Earth.
6. We know that the eternal Christ is the eternal substitute who took our punishment before God the Father. Since Jesus has conquered death, there is no chance in eternity that the fact of His substitutionary punishment for us can ever change. We know that we have eternal, secure, abundant life through Jesus Christ.
7. We know that we have complete forgiveness of our sin, covering for our shame and guilt. We do not have to expect God’s wrath or punishment for our sin.
8. We know this is the one true God and Savior of mankind, since He is the only God who can claim resurrection from the grave. Although He was most certainly killed by the brutality of Roman crucifixion, since he was God, He rose up from death and lives again. He was seen by over 500 people in various places – people who, for the rest of their lives, testified to seeing the risen Christ bearing the scars of crucifixion.
9. We know that those who die with faith in Christ are not dead but alive with Him in Heaven. Those who, while living, accept the Gospel will see them again and live with them for eternity.
10. We know there is hope for victory over our temptations, sinful struggles, and spiritual death.
11. We know there is a new body awaiting us in Heaven, a body without the results of sin. This is an immortal body, one with no pain, disease, or sickness. It is a body that never dies or deteriorates.
12. We know that death, that great enemy, is defeated. It is swallowed up in victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
13. We know that, although some Christians are tortured and killed for their faith, our future hope is sure. As an alternate translation of Martin Luther’s hymn states: “And take they our life, goods, fame, child and wife, Let these all be gone, they yet have nothing won; The kingdom ours remaineth.”
14. We know that we can be steadfast and unmovable in our beliefs, conviction, and doctrine.
15. We know that we can be aggressive and encouraged with our service for the Lord, because our labor is not in vain.
Join us this Sunday at First Baptist Church in Plattsmouth, NE as we celebrate this glorious resurrection! Everyone is welcome, it starts at 11. Visit mychurchcares.com for more information.
By Pastor Wicks
It has become too often that we hear of someone who has decided to take their own life. No matter how close we are to them, we wish we could have done something to help them before that tragic event.
People are interested in this subject for different reasons. For some, this topic is an interesting theological question. Others are thinking about how they can effectively minister to hurting hearts. For some, trying to figure out the “why” is their main focus. Others are trying to figure out how to go forward after such a heartbreaking loss.
The subject of suicide should be approached with a compassionate care for all those involved. I trust these thoughts will be helpful.
1. Suicide happens for different reasons.
Loneliness, rejection, a low self-worth, guilt from sin or past failures (sometimes not even their own), self-punishment, revenge, lack of seeing purpose in their life, physical pain or fatigue, chemical imbalance, mind-altering substances, discouragement, copycatting someone else who has attempted it, desiring attention, pressures of life, and many other reasons may cause a person to want to end their own life. Sometimes a combination of difficulties overtake a person’s good judgment.
2. A person that has suicidal thoughts is not alone.
The Bible even gives examples of people, who for various reasons, wanted to end their own lives. (Elijah –1 Kings 19:4, Ahithophel –2 Samuel 17:23, Jonah –Jonah 4:3, Job –Job 6:8-10a, and Judas –Matthew 27:3-5). In some cases, Ahithophel and Judas, they did commit suicide. However, in the majority of cases in history, people have been able to get through their difficult times even if they have had suicidal thoughts at some point.
If you yourself are thinking about suicide, ask yourself “What are my reasons?”, “How would this affect others?”, “Who or what can help me to get through this?” Do not isolate yourself—ask God and the right people for help. Hope and help are available if you want them.
The body, mind, and spirit need to work together for healthy well-being. Sometimes the solution is as easy as getting rest or refreshment for the body, mind, or spirit. Many resources are available including Scripture to teach us truth, refresh our spirit, and help us with mind control. Suicidal thoughts need to leave your mind for good. Here are a few Bible verses to think on.
2 Corinthians 10:5 “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Ephesians 5:11-21 “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”
1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
John 10:10 “The thief (Evil one) cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I (Jesus) am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
3. Grieving a loss like this.
Communities and individuals grieve differently. Don’t expect everyone to react like you. How you grieve depends on many factors including your personality, your coping style, your life experiences, your faith, whom you have to help you, and the nature of the loss. The grieving process takes time. Healing happens gradually; it can’t be forced or hurried. There is no “normal” timetable for grieving.
Turn to the Lord and His Word. Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Pray. Psalm 121, Tell Him how you feel—not with a bitter or irreverent spirit but, ask for God’s help.
Turn to close friends and family —no one is completely self-sufficient.
Turn to a good Bible-believing church.
Take care of your health. For example, get enough sleep, eat right, do not entertain artificial “grief lifters” such as drugs or alcohol. Understand there will be times when grief or other emotions will be triggered. Be patient with those who are trying to comfort you. Their motive may be good but they may say the wrong things.
4. A last action should not define the totality of a person’s existence.
We are right to remember all that was good in those who have succumb to the temptation of suicide. As a relative or friend, it will be helpful to be selective with your memories of ones who have passed on. We all have moments we wish we could erase from our timeline. Think of those wonderful times you did have with the one who is now gone.
5. Suicide is a sin but not the “unpardonable” sin.
Christians for centuries have consistently viewed suicide as a violation of the sixth commandment. Self-murder is still murder. While we want to empathize with those who suffer from discouragement or disease, it is unbiblical reasoning to think that suffering is the means that justifies this end. Suicide is a sinful, sometimes selfish, choice made by an individual. This statement is neither unloving nor disrespectful. We do not help struggling folks by refusing to tell them that suicide is displeasing to God; lovingly spoken, this may be one of the means that God uses to jolt the suicidal soul back to more godly thinking.
While it is very sad for a Christian to die confused and without hope, this loss of perspective does not necessarily mean that the person was not a born again, justified, saved, Christian. We are saved if we have personally trusted the blood of Jesus Christ and His triumphant conquering of death for all our sins—not whether our last moment was triumphant or tragic. Suicide should not be taken lightly. It is painful and displeasing to God and man. True salvation forgives us of all our sins, even ones that take away our last breath. Make sure of your own salvation by calling upon Jesus and trusting in His finished work on the cross for your only hope of Heaven!
Speaker: Pastor Raymond Wicks
Reading: Judges 2:7-13
“They Forsook the Lord God of Their Fathers”
Joshua 24:15 “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
1. Fathers ought to be involved in the home.
2. Fathers ought to know the Lord personally and deeply.
3. Fathers ought to stay close to the Lord.
4. Fathers ought to pass on their faith.
5. Sons and daughters ought to know God personally.
Fathers are important in the home, so they should be involved in the home! Being involved does not mean merely going to work to provide the money to live on. To be involved in the home is to pray for them and with them, eat and talk with the family, play with them, and go on family vacations. Time spent with the family is important to show that he cares. The father’s family should be his priority in life. “How is the countenance of your wife, and the level of respect from your children?” Answering this question will determine if the father is succeeding in his home.
Fathers need to have a very close and deep relationship with God! They need to really know Him to ensure their children will know Him as their personal Saviour and Friend. Fathers need to stay close to God so that they can lead their family in a godly manner and with wisdom. Parents seem to be neglecting to pass on their love for God and faith in Him. Fathers, the leaders of their homes, need to show by example the importance of church, God, and a relationship with Him.
Watch the complete service here.
Every day we believe in the medications doctors provide for us. How much do we believe in God’s remedies for the troubles that come into our lives? Do we believe in His Word enough to share it with others? We need to get excited about it! We need to share the same responsibility like scientists who have worked countless hours to create needed medicines for the illnesses of today. It’s time to accept the duty of getting the Gospel out to everyone we can. We need to give it our all! Dr. Pete Cowling shared an illustration with us that depicted the amount of effort and importance that should be given toward giving out the Gospel:
To ensure a vital serum made it to town on time to save lives, fourteen men traveled by dog sled for 32 hours in hazardous weather ranging in the negative fifties to negative sixties. Many times they couldn’t see anything in their paths, and one man joined his dogs in pulling the sled to encourage them to continue. Another man traveled double the distance of everyone else because the next man to relieve him was fast asleep. Just as these men pushed themselves to bring the serum to town on time, we too should have the same sense of responsibility to share the Gospel with the people around us that they might one day go to be with the Lord for all of eternity!
Watch the complete service here.
There are many factors that make Christian camping a positive and valuable experience. All of these experiences are found to some extent in the local church and in other types of ministries, but they are strongly present in Christian camps.
First, in most Christian camps, there is an extensive exposure to the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the Bible is living and powerful. A typical day in a Christian camp will have some form of personal or group devotions, an evening chapel service, and a Scripture memorization program. This repeated use of the Word of God over a week’s time is very valuable in letting the Word dwell richly in the lives of the campers and staff (Colossians 3:16). God often orchestrates the various times in the Word to emphasize the same themes from different angles or to offer a variety of emphases that will meet different needs in the different individuals.
There is also the opportunity for campers to observe and learn from godly mentors (counselors, staff, and speakers). Many campers come from broken homes or grow up with less-than-ideal role models because one or both parents are unsaved or weak and immature in their faith. As Paul encouraged others to follow his example as he emulated Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1), these godly mentors are able to model loving discipline and the freedom it offers. They are also able to show unconditional love, model how a godly man or woman behaves, and display God-centered living before the campers. Commonly, it is God’s written Word that He uses most to affect and change lives, but often He also effectively uses the “Bible” bound in shoe leather—godly mentoring.
A Christian camp is typically sponsored and supported by a number of local churches. These churches commit and encourage their members to systematically pray for the campers, staff, and speakers. God promises that the fervent prayer of a righteous man (or woman) accomplishes a great deal (James 5:16). God, in His grace, works in response to these praying saints, and it is the campers (as well as the staff and speakers) that receive the benefit of these unseen labors.
Another beneficial factor is what is commonly absent at a Christian camp: TV’s, cell-phones, mp3 players, computers, video games, etc. These distractions serve to busy the mind and keep young people from focusing on the deeper questions of life such as, “Why am I here?” “What will happen to me when I die?” “Does my life have meaning?” While occupied with fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind (Ephesians 2:3), young people have little time to ponder such questions. When these mind-occupying distractions are taken away, campers have the time to ponder the Word in a much deeper way than a once-a-week church experience allows. Once distractions are removed, campers find themselves surrounded by God’s creation, an environment that turns their minds to Him and to the eternal and away from the world.
A Christian camp also provides a place for godly young people to grow in serving Christ, both behind the scenes in tasks that Amy Carmichael might have described as “holy drudgery,” but also in learning how to share the gospel, give devotions from the Bible, and pray with others about their needs. God not only works in campers’ hearts, but He is typically busy in the lives of staff and counselors as well.
Another major blessing is that Christian camping allows the broadening of one’s circle of fellowship. For many campers, new friends they meet at camp one year, and continue to see year by year, become lifelong friends that they care for, pray for, and encourage in Christ for decades. And it has happened more than once that a camper even ends up meeting his or her future godly spouse while attending or serving in a camp setting. God has greatly used Christian camping in calling out ones to be saved and to serve Him as Lord, whether as missionaries, pastors, or just as importantly, as “full-time Christians.”
This content was taken and edited from: http://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-camping.html#ixzz2YBH05r5u
Speaker: Pastor Raymond Wicks
Reading: Luke 9:37-62
“Wonderful Teaching of Jesus”
1. He was straightforward.
2. He was clear and repetitive.
2 Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God. And is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”
Isaiah 28:13 “But the Word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.”
3. He used object lessons.
4. He taught a right spirit.
5. He used his life as an example.
Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
If you’re having trouble teaching a class or your children, there’s no One better to turn to for a good example of what to do than Christ Himself! The Bible shows many examples of what each of us should do to efficiently teach someone else. When teaching, you should be straightforward. Don’t beat around the bush or be confusing! Get to the point with the fewest “rabbit trails” to distract from the point. This goes along with being clear. Be repetitive and consistent. When wishing to instill an idea in someone else you must be repetitive. The more someone hears something; the more they will remember it.
Object lessons or examples help to apply whatever principles are being taught to life situations. Things that are taught must be taught with the right spirit too, therefore, exhibit what sort of spirit one should have. The best way that Jesus taught was example. In other words: our testimony is essential to effective teaching. We are constantly told that we are always being watched by someone else.
Watch the complete service here.