It All Deep Ends

April 7, 2015 at 1:03 pm | Posted in Resurrection, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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I’ll be taking a short break from blogging for the next few days while I try to negotiate a deal with a major manufacturer of incontinence products who wants to use of the name of this blog for a line of new adult swim diapers called “Deep-Ends”©.

Keeping in mind the current season, I thought I would link – for those of you who subscribe and/or read regularly (thank you very much, by the way) – to some “in-case-you-missed-it” posts which mention the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ:

1. The Power of the Resurrection and of the Holy Ghost
2. The Stones of Confirmation
3. The Great Rescuer
4. How Many Christians Really Know This? *
5. Get a Life
6. When in Rome, Preach to the Romans
7. Catechism Question 18
8. Resurrection Witnesses (Matthew 28)
9. Rising Faith (Mark 5:33-42)
10. Up from the Grave with the Knows! (I Corinthians 15)

*most-viewed post in category

Catechism Question 18

February 26, 2015 at 1:05 pm | Posted in Children's Bible Catechism, Resurrection | 9 Comments
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Question 17: How did Jesus die?
Answer: He was crucified.
Prove it.

John 19:18

Question 18: What happened to Jesus after He died?
Answer: He was buried and then rose again on the third day.
Prove it.

Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;

Acts 10:40

A child who is familiar with CPR or some kind of medical resuscitation, or who perhaps has heard of someone in a coma making a recovery, may question the validity of Jesus’s death. In other words, “Did He really die?”

This is easily resolved from the Scriptures. Chapters 5-8 of the Book of Romans, as well as Chapter 14, stress the reality of Christ’s death emphatically.

Furthermore, the Gospel accounts tell us plainly that Jesus willingly laid down his life and truly died.

A child might also ask, “How did He come back to life?” The simplest answer to this is that God the Father raised up Christ (God the Son) by His power, but this is probably a good place to explain that Jesus died only as touching His humanity. He did not die as touching His Deity, for this would be an impossibility, because God has the immutable power of self-existence, and is eternal.

Other verses to consider:

And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

I Corinthians 15:4

Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

Romans 6:9

The Stones of Confirmation

February 1, 2013 at 11:01 am | Posted in Luke, Resurrection, The Stones that Don't Cry Out | 1 Comment
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It was the first day of the week, and a group of Jesus’s followers came to the tomb where He had been buried. Before Jesus’s death, He had predicted His own resurrection, but these followers weren’t going to see if Jesus had been resurrected.

Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.

Luke 24:1

Who were these visitors to the tomb of Jesus?

It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.

Luke 24:10

They were all women, and it is almost as if this has turned out to be a prophecy of the modern church. Caring for Jesus’s body would have been a labor of love, but a very sad labor. There would be no steak dinner, no football game on a big-screen television, no exciting rock-concert-style music, no fiery emotional preaching, no motorcycle rally, no “boys’ night out” with a bunch of macho symbolism in the church fellowship hall. In other words, none of the things that are supposed to manipulate men into showing up for some of the mundane ministry tasks in the church, which usually wind up being done by women today. These women were going to be caring for the body of Christ and grieving – no fanfare, no accolades, no recognition. If you are reading this, and you are a man who belongs to a local church, are you guilty of being of being “all show and no substance?” Are you there for the “big men’s events” but not at the smaller Bible studies, the visitation times, the prayer meetings, the cleaning days? You might fool the congregation by showing up at the more “visible” events, but you are not fooling the Lord.

The women who undertook the task of visiting Jesus’s tomb to care for His body were rewarded when their grieving was turned to joy.

And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.

Luke 24:2

An earthquake and the power of God had rolled the stone away, but the stone itself did not cry out. It was God’s plan that people would deliver the good news about the risen Christ.

And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.

Luke 24:9

The stone that rolled away from the entrance to the tomb – although silent – still spoke very loudly. It was a stone that confirmed the truth of the Resurrection. It had been sealed at the entrance, so that only Roman soldiers could have broken the seal – and they never would have done so. The rolled-away stone is still silent today. It’s up to us to cry out the Good News.

The Great Rescuer

January 14, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Posted in Resurrection, Selected Psalms | 11 Comments
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Psalm 116 is about being thankful to the Lord after we have called on Him in a time of great danger and He has rescued us.

Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.

Psalm 116:7

The psalmist had been at rest, but then trouble came.

I said in my haste, All men are liars.

Psalm 116:11

Men he trusted had lied about him.

The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.

Psalm 116:3-4

They almost caused his death, but He called on the Lord, and the Lord rescued him.

I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.

Psalm 116:1-2

This Psalm is probably from a testimony given in the Sanctuary. It contains parts of Psalm 56, other Psalms, and parts of Isaiah.

Let’s identify two of four main principles found in Psalm 116:

1. God answers the prayers of His children.

I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.

Psalm 116:1

Whenever you find yourself in danger, call on the Lord. New, first-time parents will be keenly aware of this principle. Dad is at the far corner of his yard, perhaps on the top of a ladder, pruning a tree. Or mom is carrying a scalding hot pot of boiling water from the stove to the sink. Suddenly their new-born infant lets out a shriek of pain from his crib. Dad leaps from the ladder like a reckless school-boy! Mom instantly drops the pot of water! They race for the baby’s room without any regard for their own safety. Why? Because they love their child, and it sounds like the child is trouble. If wicked, sinful, intrinsically selfish, fallen mortals react this way when their child cries out in distress, how much more will our loving Heavenly Father (Who loves with a perfect love) come to the aid of His children when they – being in real danger – cry out for help?

Have you ever known of a situation where one child called on a parent for help, but the parent didn’t or couldn’t come help because he or she was already busy helping another child? This can’t happen with God. He is never “too busy” to hear or to come to the aid of one of His children. We should trust God in all types of troubles, and there are some troubles that are obviously hopeless unless we are rescued.

The Holy Spirit applied the plea of Psalm 116:3 to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in Acts 2:24.

The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.

Psalm 116:3

Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

Acts 2:24

2. God’s attributes tend toward rescue.

Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.

Psalm 116:5

Grace is when God gives us what we do not deserve. Mercy is when God withholds from us what we do deserve. Any time we are in danger, we are experiencing what we deserve. Rescue is what we do not deserve. However, God delights in grace and mercy.

The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me.

Psalm 116:6

We have a tendency to respond to God’s grace like spoiled children. First, we are amazed by grace. Then, we start to assume grace. Pretty soon, we are demanding grace. When is the last time you simply and uncritically just believed that God does what He says He will do because He is God?

Next time, we will take a look at two more principles from Psalm 116.

Get a Life

October 19, 2011 at 9:24 am | Posted in Common Expressions, Resurrection | 6 Comments
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Has anyone ever given you this strange piece of advice? Maybe you were speaking to someone about receiving Jesus as their Savior, or about their relationship with God, or about coming to church or getting involved in Sunday School. Obviously exasperated, they told you, “Get a life! Stop bugging me about all that religious stuff.”

Christians are more interested in the Life than “a life.”

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 14:6 (emphasis added)

Those who have the Life want to tell others to get the Life. When someone tells you to “get a life,” it is a snide way of saying there are many choices about how to live, and you are choosing the wrong way. But the born-again believer knows there are only two choices when it comes to eternal life. You will trust Christ and receive it or you will reject Christ and be denied it.

There are a number of ideas in the Bible which seem paradoxical from an earthly, finite point of view. For example, those who have been redeemed from slavery to sin have true freedom even though they are slaves to Jesus Christ. At the same time, those who are enslaved to sin often believe themselves to be free. It works much the same way with the concept of spiritual life and death.

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Romans 8:6 (emphasis added)

The “dead” do not know they’re dead.

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Ephesians 2:1-2 (emphasis added)

I couldn’t find the expression “get a life” in the Bible, but the Bible does talk about “finding” life and “losing” life.

He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

Matthew 10:39 (emphasis added)

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:23 (emphasis added)

The Bible says very specifically that Jesus is the way to the kind of life that is stronger than death.

And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

I John 5:11-13 (emphasis added)

Jesus is not only the way to life. He is the Life.

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

John 11:25-26 (emphasis added)

The issue is not whether you will “get a life.” The real issue is whether you will believe and receive THE Life.

When in Rome, Preach to the Romans

December 15, 2009 at 2:12 pm | Posted in Acts, Resurrection | 7 Comments
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Acts Chapter 24 tells us that Ananias followed Paul to Caesarea with his lawyer, Tertullus. There, they brought false charges against Paul under Roman law. The charges were as follows:

1. Disturbing the peace (being a pest by preaching the only way to true peace).
2. Sedition by leading an illegal religion (being a true Christian).
3. Profaning the temple (being friends with gentiles).

The Jews were afraid of a revival, but they wanted the Romans to fear a riot.

This was Paul’s summation:

Or else let these same here say, if they have found any evil doing in me, while I stood before the council, Except it be for this one voice, that I cried standing among them, Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question by you this day. And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them, and said, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter.

Acts 24:20-21

He brought up the Resurrection, which forced the Pharisees’ hand, and we see that Felix had some knowledge of “the Way.”

Paul was given certain liberties, but he was chained to a new Roman guard every six hours. Talk about a “captive congregation!” For two years he witnessed for the Lord in Caesarea as a prisoner.

He also got a chance to preach to Felix and Drusilla. Before them, he explained a fact of life that we don’t often call by its real name anymore. We tend to call it mistakes, weaknesses, tendencies, faults, errors, immaturity, or illness. But its real name is sin. Felix was convicted and he trembled, but he decided to procrastinate. Procrastination is one of Satan’s greatest tools. Felix thought Paul was his prisoner, but Felix was really the prisoner.

By Chapter 25 Felix had put the high priest, Jonathan, to death. The new high priest was Ishmael. Festus had replaced Felix as governor. Festus had to report to Marshal Dillon. (Sorry, I grew up watching Gunsmoke, and couldn’t resist!) Ishmael and the Jewish council revived the plot to kill Paul, so they wanted him returned to Jerusalem for his trial. They were going to kill him on the way there. However, Paul – as a Roman citizen – applied to Caesar Augustus (who we know as Nero), so he had to be protected and taken to Rome.

The last “King Herod” (Agrippa) shows up (possibly in an incestuous relationship with his sister, Bernice), and he and Festus decide that Herod will examine Paul. But Paul turned into the judge and proclaimed the Truth to Festus, Herod, Bernice, and everyone else in attendance. This is the longest of Paul’s sermons recorded in the Bible. It is found in Acts 25:32 – 26:32. Here is a loose outline of it:

1. Paul used to be very religious.
2. His eyes were opened by the Light.
3. His ears were opened by the Word.
4. He obeyed the Word.
5. He began his new life by seeing a vision and hearing a voice, but he had continued faithfully as a willing slave – even when things seemed impossible.

Festus accused Paul of being “beside himself,” and King Agrippa mocked him. However, we must wonder if this mocking was covering up an inside struggle when he said:

…Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.

Acts 26:28 (emphasis added)

Do you know somebody who thinks he or she is too wicked to be a Christian?

Paul was officially declared not guilty, but still had to be sent to Rome by virtue of his appeal to Caesar. Chapter 27 shows that Satan very badly wanted to keep Paul out of Rome. Paul had already survived plots to kill him, riots, arrests, two illegal trials, and now a shipwreck!

Paul advised that they wait in Fair Havens for safer sailing after the winter, but the Roman captain listened to the pilot and the owner – the “experts.” (Warren Wiersbe says that an “expert” is a regular “spurt” under pressure.) These experts were under pressure to deliver grain and make money.

Even in Acts 28, Satan is still not done – he sends a snake to bite Paul on Malta! When Paul doesn’t die, he is tempted in the area of pride by people who want to worship him. Satan is pulling out all the stops.

For two years Paul was chained to Roman soldiers in Rome, witnessing, preaching, and being used to write Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon. He was probably released, and he probably went to Spain where he was used to write I and II Timothy, and Titus. He was arrested again in A.D. 67, and tradition says he was beheaded. The Gospel he preached and lived so passionately lives on, and it always will.

The Power of the Resurrection and of the Holy Ghost

April 17, 2009 at 11:49 am | Posted in Acts, Resurrection | 17 Comments
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The period of time discussed in the Book of Acts was a time of great changes and transitions in the way the Gospel was to be proclaimed and spread throughout the world.

In Chapter One there is a focus on what, to Jesus’s Disciples and Apostles, had to be an earth-shaking and life-changing event: the Resurrection.

The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

Acts 1:1-3 (Emphasis added.)

Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

Acts 1:22 (Emphasis added.)

The Apostles now understood something about the “Kingdom of God” that they did not fully understand before Jesus’s Resurrection: that the Kingdom was not a “political” Kingdom.

When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

Acts 1:6-7

The Kingdom of God is a Kingdom where the King reigns over the hearts of believers.

Another truth which the apostles began to fully grasp in the Book of Acts was the fulfillment of the prophecy of John the Baptist.

John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:

Luke 3:16 (Note that believers are baptized with the Holy Ghost AND fire – referring to purifying and sanctifying persecution – not with the Holy Ghost IN fire, as has become a common cliche’ in Pentecostalism.)

For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

Acts 1:5

Since Luke is the human instrument which the Holy Ghost used to write both Luke and Acts, it seems as if they can be read as part one and part two of a two-volume set.

This new, living, breathing institution called the Church would receive its power from the Holy Ghost, and not from men. The power would be manifested in the act of becoming witnesses. “Witnesses” are people who tell what they have personally seen and heard – not their opinions.

The opinions of men have often become traditions, and have corrupted the transfer of Biblical truth. One example can be found in Acts 1:14: “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.” Notice that Mary was there participating in the worship – not being worshiped. Roman Catholic tradition is full of the unbiblical worship of Mary.

Acts Chapter 2 begins to highlight the unity among believers that was a key element in the success of the Church.

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

Acts 2:1 (Emphasis added.)

And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

Acts 2:46 (Emphasis added.)

The early Church was extremely successful even though it had none of the so-called advantages of churches today: no fancy buildings; no large donations of money; no political influence; and no real social standing.

There is also in Acts Chapter 2 an interesting comparison between the ceremonies of the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.

The Old was primarily Jewish. The New would be mostly rejected by the Jews, and would prosper among Gentiles. The Old had a Passover. The New had the Crucifixion. The Old brought death. The New brought life. The Old had a feast of first fruits. The New had the Resurrection. The Old had the day of Pentecost. The New had the giving of the Holy Spirit.

The giving of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost – TO THE JEWS – was a one-time non-repeatable event. It is part of salvific history – like the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. There will be no more Calvaries, and there will be no more Pentecosts.

There were signs of the Spirit coming upon a group of Jewish people. There was wind which was heard, but not felt. There were flames which were seen, and not felt.

The Bible calls them “tongues of fire.” These believers praised God in various languages. Note the symbolism of what happens in nature: Wind + fire = a mighty blaze.

Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

James 3:5-6

Our tongues can be set on fire by Heaven, or they can be set on fire of hell!

And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 2:4

The “other tongues” were different languages – not speech that was unknown anywhere – not Heavenly speech. Here we see the reversal of what happened at the Tower of Babel in Genesis Chapter 11. There, people were divided by God because of rebellion against God. Here, people are united in praise of God.

These believers were accused of being drunk, but not because of a lack of self-control. In fact, Peter preached with great logic.

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Acts 2:21

Holy Spirit-empowered sermons are still logical. Here is his logic: One, the Holy Ghost is here – in the world. Two, the same Spirit (not the same event) prophesied by Joel – the same Spirit that came upon Moses, Samson, David, the prophets – is here. Three, if He is here, God must have given Him. Four, Jesus promised this would happen (Luke 24:49). Five, if Jesus had died and not risen, He would still be dead, and could not have sent His Spirit.

THEREFORE, He is alive. He is risen!

Six, He is alive, but how could He have sent the Spirit from Heaven? Seven, He must have ascended to Heaven.

In Acts 2:23 the logical proof becomes an accusation: “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:”

The power of the Holy Ghost empowered Peter, who had denied Jesus three times, to be able to accuse others of denying Him. Peter did not preach about how good a deal salvation was: “Jesus was perfect and He died for you – you give your life to Him and He’ll save you.” First, he told them they killed their own Messiah – the greatest crime in history – the most horrible crime in history. He told them that God sent His Son to save them, and they mocked Him, beat Him, spit on Him, and killed Him. THEN He explained WHY God allowed it to happen.

Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Acts 2:36


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