In the afterglow of the celebration of Jesus’ victory over death we take a look at the word “resurrection” on this Easter Monday. The resurrection of Jesus, while denied and rejected by many, has a great deal of evidence to support it. 1) The resurrection is prophecied in the Old Testament and many places. Job (19:23-27) refers not only to the resurrection of Jesus, but also our resurrection on the last day. 2) Jesus Himself foretold His own resurrection (Luke 18:31-33) as well as our resurrection from death (John 14:19). 3) The tomb of Jesus was empty. If Jesus had not risen from the dead, the authorities simply would have had to produce the body of Jesus to remove all doubt. 4) The followers of Jesus boldly proclaimed the resurrection of Jesus, and many gave their lives for that truth. Who would give their life for a lie? 5) There are examples of other resurrections in the Old Testament (2 Kings 4:18-37), the Ministry of Jesus (Luke 7:11-16; Mark 5:35-42; and John 11), and in the ministry of the apostles (Acts 9:37-42; 20:9-12). God has given us plenty of evidence to see that the resurrection is true for Jesus, and for us. What hope and comfort is ours in the resurrection of Jesus who died for our sins and was raised for our justification!
On Good Friday in 2016, the movie Batman vs Superman was released and made quite a stir among Christians. Why was this movie released on Good Friday? Tune in to hear Pastors Nathanael Mayhew and Mark Tiefel discuss both the obvious and subtle religious and Christian themes throughout this movie. In the epic battle between good and evil, who makes the decisions about what is morally right and wrong? Are both characters presented to be of a Messianic type nature? What philisophical truths are being made in this film? Should the Christian even watch it? These are some of the questions that are tackled in this episode as we review the challenges the Christian faces with modern day messages in movies and medias today.
In our Bible Study today Pastors Rob Sauers and Nathanael Mayhew will be taking a closer look at the Gospel of Luke and his particular perspective of the life of Jesus during Holy Week. Luke was a Gentile who was used by the Holy Spirit to record these events for the benefit of other Gentiles in particular. One of the major themes in Luke’s Gospel is to show that Jesus was the Savior of all people, not just Jews. He shows how Jesus reaches out to the “less” of Jewish society, as well as foreigners in love and with compassion and forgiveness. In this study they will look at some of the events of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday that are unique to the Gospel of Luke and which empahasize these themes. In addition they will look at some of the resurrection appearances of Jesus and His ascensionwhich revels the theme of Jesus being the Savior of all and our joy in praising Him for His work of salvation for us. We hope you will benefit from this deeper look at the passion history of our Lord as recorded in the Gospel of Luke.
If you had to describe your approach to making decisions what would you say? Are you the type of person that goes with your gut? Do you like to plan everything out ahead of time? Do you follow the method of listing pros and cons? Decision-making often comes down to emotion and evidence. Depending on your personality you may lean one way or the other but most of us like to make decisions that are emotionally true to our hearts and also true to the evidence, to some degree at least.
Now, as tricky as the question above is to answer, here’s an even tougher one. What role does God play in your decisions? The answer may seem easy on the surface. Obviously, to the believer, God is important. But, is that actually the way you make your decisions or do you just say that? Is God the first one you turn to in moments of doubt, or do you consult a friend? Do you care more about what God says in His Word or what is posted on the internet or what comes from the talking heads on the TV? The thing is, if God is important to your decision-making process, you have to actually listen to what He says.
What most people seem to do is follow Lot’s folly? What do I mean? It comes from Genesis 13:10-13 –
Lot looked out and saw that the entire Jordan Valley as far as Zoar was well watered everywhere like the LORD’s garden and the land of Egypt. This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. 11 So Lot chose the entire Jordan Valley for himself. Then Lot journeyed eastward, and they separated from each other. 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, but Lot lived in the cities of the valley and set up his tent near Sodom. 13 Now the men of Sodom were evil, sinning greatly against the LORD.
Lot’s folly was that he blatantly ignored God when he made his decisions. He trusted himself. He gravitated toward what he wanted. He sought what was most prosperous by the world’s standards. And… he paid dearly for it. In the next chapter Lot was taken captive by a group of foreign kings. He ignored the chaotic nature of Sodom, with its rampant wickedness, and figured he’d be okay. He thought he could control the situation. In reality, it was far beyond Lot’s control and he was swept up in it. Once Abram rescued him you’d think Lot would have learned his lesson. You’d be wrong.
Lot returned to Sodom and continued to block out the Lord’s warning signs. Finally, God’s judgment could not be held back any longer and He sent two angels to get Lot out of the city (Genesis 19). What happened? The men of Sodom wanted to rape the angels and Lot offered his virgin daughters in their stead. How could one end up making such poor decisions? Answer: leave God out of it. Lot was spared that day, but his deliverance came at a cost as his wife perished in the process by disobeying the Lord’s command. Lot’s life held great promise. He had tremendous opportunities before him. It all changed the moment he chose Sodom, because their wickedness was great and they sinned against the LORD.
How does Lot’s folly continue today? It happens all the time, in many ways; whenever people think they can control situations that God warns about. A young person leaves church because they finally have freedom from their parent’s rules and they are ready to explore the world. A husband surfs around the internet trying to ignore daily stress and he is drawn to pornography, which promises excitement and acceptance. Netflix subscriptions, smart phone contracts, designer labels, food cravings, and more all make the annual budget, but offerings to church continue to decline. Consciences are acquitted by simply filling the pew yet ignored completely when it comes to loving those in need. Outcry for ivory tusks and eagles’ eggs resonates across the globe while the helpless plea of the unborn continues to fall on deaf ears. How easy is it to take God out of the decision-making process? Extremely. It happens all the time and in each case, Lot’s folly is repeated.
What are the consequences? Only time will tell for each person. But, even today we feel the weight. As Good Friday and Easter rapidly approach, we stand in unobstructed clarity at the horror of our sinful decisions; of every moment we have ignored God and bowed to our control of the situation instead.
Ye who think of sin but lightly, nor suppose the evil great.
Here may view its nature rightly, here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the sacrifice appointed, See who bears the awful load.
‘Tis the WORD, the LORD’S ANOINTED, Son of Man and Son of God (TLH 153 v.3).
Let Lot’s folly be a reminder for you – both of the importance in truly making God part of your decision-making process, and the great consequence borne by Christ because we so often don’t. You will rejoice this Easter, and into the future, with real, living joy because you have a God and Savior who does care about you.
This morning Pastor Mark Tiefel looks at the Lenten concept of “Vicarious Atonement.” The word “atonement” means to appease or to remove something. When it comes to sin, God has removed our sin thought the sacrifice of His Son. The word “vicarious” means substitute, and this points to Jesus who had taken our place and made the sacrifice needed for our sins. The Old Testament believers celebrated the Day of Atonement once every year. One goat was killed and sacrificed, the other had the sins of the people placed upon it and it was led out into the wilderness where it was left to die. These pictures point us to the sacrifice made by Jesus on Good Friday. Jesus told his disciples that He had come to set sinners “at one” with God, through His death on the cross. Jesus has become our substitute and made that sacrifice for our sin, removing it forever.