Saturday, April 4, 2015

Because He Lives ...

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, … Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had be removed from the entrance. … Mary stood outside the tomb crying. … she turned around and saw Jesus standing there. … Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward Him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). … Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” 

-- John 20: 1, 11, 14, 16, 18.

This is Easter and Passover weekend. Seldom do both celebrations fall on the same week-end. As Passover commemorates the Israelites’ protection from death and their subsequent redemption from Egyptian slavery, Passover also points to Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who provides redemption from our sins and saves us from eternal death.

On that first Passover night the blood of the sacrificial lamb saved the firstborn in each household from immediate death. However, the blood of the sacrificial Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, cleanses the sins from those who will believe on Christ. God’s Lamb conquered eternal death for all who will believe on Him. For Christians, Easter celebrates our Risen Savior. This is the most glorious and joyous of celebrations for true Christians.

Because He lives, anyone who wants the internal peace and joy that comes from knowing Christ as their Savior can have it. For Christ said, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11: 28. NIV). Through the grace and mercy of God everyone who repents of their sins and turns to Christ can have peacefulness, comfort and joy along with the assurance of living forever with God. But Salvation is more than just the assurance of eternity.

Because Christ arose from the grave and because He lives, we can have hope, strength, comfort, blessings, and a fearless life. Because He lives, we can experience love and healing. Although we may experience the most horrendous emotional or physical pain on this earth, with Christ we can handle the pain and despair that this fallen world throws at us. Christ takes our burdens away. We can be truly free! We know, too, that one day we will get to see our new home in Heaven. Because He lives, we know our future is with God. For Christ said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” – John 5: 24. NASB).

Unfortunately, many people will never experience the assurance of knowing that they will someday see Christ and that all pain and suffering will be gone. They do not know that they can be free today from the grief of heartache and loneliness, as Christ comforts and befriends them every day. Instead, many people focus on immediate gratification as they strive for momentary happiness while always seeking the next thrill. Some of these individuals even believe that there is nothing more to this life than living and dying. Sadly, they do not believe in or have the hope of an eternal future with God. They do not realize that because He lives, their life can be focused, loved, joyous, peaceful, “Saved” and so much more.

Someone has to tell others what they are missing. Someone has to tell them the Truth. As Christians we are to do more than just live our own lives for the Lord. Christ told us to go and share the Gospel with all nations and peoples (see Matthew 28: 19-20). With Christian love and graciousness, we can tell others the reason for our happiness. We can tell them of God’s glorious plan of Salvation. We can tell them of the Risen Christ.

Although we should be sharing Christ every day, we have a golden opportunity twice a year to share Christ with others and explain how blessed their lives could be because He lives. Christmas and Easter are the two times of the year that many people, who were raised around going to church, will decide to take their children and family to church. In addition, some families will get together to have a large family meal. These celebrations and meals give us opportunities to share Christ. At Christmas we can talk about the birth of Christ, and at Easter and Passover we can speak of the sacrificial actions of Christ. We must tell them that Christ came to take upon Himself the sins of the world so that mankind would not have to spend eternity in Hell.

Yes, there is a Hell. However, many people do not want to speak of Hell.  They think “Hell” sounds like people are being punished for just living. These people do not want to believe in a God that punishes, so they refuse to believe in Hell. Sadly, there will be many people who will spend eternity in Hell, and they have only themselves to blame for going there. God did not put them there. They put themselves there by refusing to believe on Christ.

Hell is that place which separates us from love; not just from God’s love, but from everyone’s love. There is no love of any kind there. Moreover, there is constant suffering and loneliness. We can put ourselves in Hell by being so prideful and self-involved that we refuse to acknowledge the One who created us, God. Worse still, we fail to acknowledge the Son of God. God sent His Son to die for our sins, so that in believing on Christ we would not have to spend an eternity in Hell. But, can it really be that simple? Yes, for Christ said, “… I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” – (John 14: 6. NASB). Only Christ’s blood can cleanse us from all our sins! But to receive that cleaning blood we have to repent of our sins and believe on Jesus Christ as our risen Lord.

This is the week-end that we can invite our neighbors to church. This is the week-end that we can invite that friend or acquaintance over for Easter dinner. This is that week-end when we can focus on Christ our Savior and tell others of the wonderful love that God has for them. Because He lives, this is the weekend to explain Christ’s death and resurrection to others.

Although, there are fun things to do around Easter, especially for our children, we should never forget the real reason for Easter and Passover. We should never forget that Christ died and arose for our sins. We should never forget to tell our children and others that God loves them, and He sent Christ to die and conquer eternal death for them. Whether you are a dedicated Christian mentor or just a loving Christian who cares, stepping forward to share the Gospel message with a non-believer is important and rewarding. Sharing Christ is a service that all Christians are to perform for the Kingdom of God.

Time is running out for this world! We cannot just ignore the lost. What if someone had not told you of Christ? Where would you be today? What kind of relationship would you have with God? Would you have the assurance of an eternity spent with God? Please take a moment to pray and ask God to help you speak into the life of just one person this weekend or week. Then determine to invite someone to church with you now or in the next few weeks. Many people would not be “Saved” today were it not for that person who invited them to church or who was willing to share the Gospel message. Just remember that no matter how scared you are that the Holy Spirit will guide you and help you find just the right words to say.  Because He lives, You can do it! You can tell others of the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior!
He is Risen!

He is Risen, Indeed!!!

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