Persevere – Never give up!
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." 1 Corinthians 15:58
DEALING WITH DEATH AND GRAPPLING WITH GRIEF
Over a year ago, I lost my beloved wife Lenora to cancer and chemo. I have certainly cried more in the last 16 months than in the rest of my life combined. To lose your best friend and life partner is a grievous burden. The apostle Paul wrote that the last enemy to be destroyed is death. Death is our enemy. Death destroys life, beauty and potential. It is a curse from the Fall. The wages of sin is death.
The Certainty of Death
In a multitude of ways death can come to anyone, at anytime, anywhere. Vehicle accidents, crime and violence, through war and disease, through infections, viruses and medical malpractice, from adverse reactions to vaccines, from heart attacks, strokes and cancer. It can take the very young as well as the very aged.
Death and Taxes
Benjamin Franklin quoted Daniel Defoe when he said: "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."
THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Jesus Preached the Gospel of the Kingdom
The word Church occurs only three times in the Gospels. Yet the terms Kingdom and Kingdom of God occur over 120 times in the Gospels. The overwhelming emphasis of the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ was a Kingdom message. We read that our Lord Jesus Christ preached the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, yet today it is generally the Gospel of Salvation which is preached.
The Therapeutic Gospel
The Gospel of Salvation, as preached in all too many churches and through much of the mainstream Christian media is mostly about me and how I can be blessed, healed, prospered, enriched, improved, saved from all the negative consequences of my bad choices and ultimately end up in Heaven. The way the gospel is preached by all too many today, is something of a therapeutic self-help message where the emphasis is on me, with God playing a supporting role in how I can fulfill my dreams and attain my desires.
WHO KILLED JESUS?
As we are reminded again of the sufferings of Christ on the Cross, we need to consider the question: Who is responsible for the sufferings of Christ? As we read the Gospel narratives, or as we see the crucifixion of our Saviour depicted by The Passion of the Christ film, we have to ask the question: Who killed Jesus?
1. Do we blame the Roman soldiers? Certainly, they crucified Him.
2. Surely though it was the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, who was responsible? He alone had the power to enforce the death penalty, it was he who, as a magistrate of the Roman Empire, declared: "I cannot find any reason to condemn Him" John 19:4; "I find no reason to condemn Him" John 19:65; "I find no reason to condemn this Man" Luke 23:4. Yet, Pilate bowed to pressure and condemned an innocent man for political expediency and popularity.
It was a meaningless gesture for him to publicly "wash his hands" and declare: "I am innocent of the blood of this just person. You see to it" Matthew 27:24. How hypocritical! He was the Roman governor. As the highest magistrate in the land he had declared: "Having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man, concerning those things of which you accuse Him; no, neither did Herod, for I sent you back to him; and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him." Luke 23:14
"He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord." Proverbs 17:15
HOW CAN I KNOW THAT JESUS IS THE MESSIAH?
“Which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of Holiness, by the Resurrection from the dead.” Romans 1:2-4
Careful Investigation is Encouraged
There is nothing wrong with being cautious and careful when it comes to eternal matters. Indeed, there is much in the world that we should be skeptical about. We should not be gullible. There is far too much superstition and ignorance in the world. We should carefully investigate and establish what the facts are. We need to have the courage to face the facts.
Faith in Facts
Christianity does not require one to make a blind leap into the dark. False religions require blind faith. Christianity is an intelligent step into the light, in response to facts.
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