Wednesday, June 28, 2017

THE SAVIOR'S RESURRECTION

The Savior died with these words, “Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit.” Luke 23:46. Thus He made eternal redemption for us, and fully paid the penalty of our sins, even death. Darkness covered the earth as the sun hid its face from that awful scene. A centurion cried out, “Certainly this was a righteous man.” Luke 23:47.

The Bible says that at the very moment of His death, “The veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.” Mark 15:38. God often uses pictures to show His truth to man. During the time of Moses, He told the Israelites to build the tabernacle, which had three parts. Later this tabernacle was replaced by the more permanent temple, which had the same construction. The first of the three parts of these buildings was the outer court, which all Israelites could enter. The second part was for the priests alone. The third part stood for the very presence of God Himself. It was separated from the rest of the tabernacle or temple by a thick curtain or veil. With this veil God showed man that sinners could not enter into His holy presence. The way into His presence was closed because of sin. Then, when Jesus died, God Himself ripped the curtain in two. The meaning is clear. The way for sinners to approach God was opened by the death of Jesus.

After His death, Jesus’ body was carried away by two of His disciples, Nicodemus and Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea. They laid the body in Joseph’s tomb, a cave that had been cut out of a rock. It was almost dark, and the setting sun marked the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath of rest. His body could not be finally prepared for burial, as the time was too short. He was wrapped in a clean sheet and placed in the cave. Then a large stone was rolled in front of the opening, thus closing the tomb.

Had death really won? Could death conquer Him who said, “I am the resurrection and the life”? IMPOSSIBLE!

Very early on the first day of the week, when the Sabbath had passed, several women came to the cave to complete the preparation for His final burial. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, and an angel descended from Heaven. He rolled the stone away from the door of the tomb, and then sat on it. In this way he showed to the women, and to all mankind in every age, that the tomb was empty. The Lord Jesus was not there! The angel said, “Why seek you the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.” Luke 24:5 & 6. This is the glorious message of Easter.

After He was raised, Jesus appeared to His disciples on many occasions. He appeared to the women who came to anoint His body, and to Mary Magdalene. Later He appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and the same night to His disciples in an upper room. Later He appeared to more than five hundred people at one time to assure all men everywhere that he is ALIVE.

Today Jesus is alive for evermore. He has defeated death for Himself, and for everyone who believes on Him. Because of His resurrection, everyone who believes can joyfully sing, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” 1 Corinthians 15:55.

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger

THE SAVIOR'S DEATH

Man is born to live, but Jesus came to die. He was the Lamb of God, who was born to be sacrificed. He was the Seed of woman who was born that His heel might be bruised. By that suffering, He would crush the serpent’s head, even Satan’s.

It was the Jewish leaders who put Jesus to death. Because of envy they had decided to kill Him. Judas, one of His disciples, had agreed to deliver Him to them for thirty pieces of silver. After this He was taken prisoner and tried. It is clear from John 18:1-12 that in reality He surrendered Himself to be taken. His sentence was crucifixion. He was taken to a hill outside the city of Jerusalem and there crucified with two thieves, one of whom later repented and believed on Him. Luke 23:39-43.

Was it a tragedy? Was His a wasted life? Was it all a mistake? A thousand times NO! He came to die. He said, “Therefore doth the Father love me because I lay down my life that I might take it again. No man takes it from me, but I lay it down of Myself.” John 10:17 & 18. He was the Lamb of God who willingly offered Himself to redeem us from sin.

The Bible says:

“Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:3.

“He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5.

“For He (God) hath made Him (Jesus) to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21.

While Jesus was hanging on the cross He spoke seven times. Two of these sayings, both of which were with a loud voice, are written below.

“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice saying, ‘Eli, Eli lama sabachthani’, that is to say, ‘My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?’” Matthew 27:46. Why did God forsake Him? It was because at that time He was bearing our sin. He was separated from God, His Father, in order that we might live together with Him forever. Our sins have separated us from God in this world, and will eternally separate us from Him in Hell forever. But Jesus paid our penalty, which is death or separation from God. By His sacrifice we can receive the gift of eternal life.

“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, ‘It is finished!’” John 19:30. These words were spoken just before He died. Their meaning is simple. Your penalty, dear reader, has been paid. Your salvation has been purchased, the devil’s work destroyed, and the door to God’s presence fully opened. Praise His Name.

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

THE SAVIOR'S WORDS

No one ever taught as Jesus did. The Bible says, “All bare Him witness and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth.” Luke 4:22. One of His disciples said to another, “Did not our hearts burn within us, while He talked with us by the way and while He opened to us the Scriptures?” Luke 24:32. We cannot go into all of Jesus’ teachings in a short writing like this, but we can quote some of His sayings. Here are seven which are concerning Himself, all of which begin with the words “I am.”

“I am the bread of life; he that comes to Me shall never hunger and he that believes on me shall never thirst.” John 6:33. Bread was the basic food in Palestine in Jesus’ day. The meaning of His saying is that, as man must have food to live, so he must have Jesus for salvation and eternal life. He alone can satisfy the hunger and thirst in man’s soul.

“I am the light of the world; he that follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12. If we wish to walk in God’s light, we must follow Jesus.

“I am the door; by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture.” John 10:9. Jesus isn’t just one of many doors. He is the only door leading to eternal life. If we truly believe on Him, His promise to us is sure. We “shall be saved.”

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” John 10:11. Here Jesus was telling us what He was going to do for us. He would die that we might be saved. The penalty for our sins is death and he paid that penalty that we might live forever. With the word “shepherd”, Jesus shows how tenderly He wants to take care of us.

“I am the resurrection and the life; he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, and whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die.” John 11:25 & 26. It is certain that we must all die. But if we believe on Jesus, that dying will have no sting. He will also raise us up again to live forever.

“I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes unto the Father but by me.” John 14:6. There is no other way to heaven. Jesus alone can save you. Apart from Him, there is no truth and no eternal life.

“I am the vine; you are the branches . . . He that abides in me and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit. Herein is my Father glorified that you bear much fruit.” John 15:5 & 8. As the branches receive daily life from the vine, so we need Jesus as our life. Abiding in Him, we can truly glorify God by bringing forth much fruit.

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger

Monday, June 26, 2017

THE SAVIOR'S LIFE

It is not our purpose in this writing to go into great detail concerning the life of Jesus. The story of His life can be read in the New Testament of the Bible. In the Bible the life story of Jesus is contained in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and john, which taken together, tell the story of His life.

Nevertheless, there are several important points which must be understood. These we would like to emphasize now. It is important that they be studied carefully.

Nearly all the information given to us concerning the life of Jesus, happened during the last three years of His life. Nearly one-fifth of these happenings occurred during the last week before His death. This shows that it is the end of His life that is most important. We can say, therefore, that it is not His life, but His death and the things connected with it that are vital. It is true that all of His life is important, but it was by His death that He redeemed us from sin. The story of His life is told to show that He lived a perfect life, free from fault and sin. The sacrifice which would be acceptable to God to cover our sin must be perfect, and Jesus’ life shows how blameless and perfect His life was.

His life was different from all other men in that He was without sin. He asked, “Which of you convicts me of sin?” No man could answer Him. The crowd said, “He hath done all things well.” Mark 7:37. Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor said, “I find no fault in the man.” Luke 23:4. The dying thief, who was crucified at the same time Jesus was, said, “This man hath done nothing amiss.” Luke 23:41. God Himself testified concerning Him, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17. Before God and man, He was perfect and without sin. Therefore, He was able to offer Himself as a perfect sacrifice to redeem us from sin.

His ministry in this world began with His baptism by John and ended three years later when He was crucified. It was a ministry filled with:

Wonderful works. He opened eyes of the blind, and healed the deaf and dumb. Those who were lame and sick were healed, and lepers cleansed by His wonderful power. Even the dead He raised on three occasions. And, best of all, those long bound by chains of sin found forgiveness and release at His feet.

Wonderful words. “No man ever spoke like this,” was the testimony given concerning Him by those that heard Him.

The stories of Jesus’ life recorded in the Bible, were carefully chosen by God for a purpose. “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and that believing you might have life through His name.” John 20:31 & 31.

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger

JESUS - EMMANUEL

We can understand the importance of the birth of Jesus, the promised Savior, by examining the two names given to Him. They are Jesus, and Emmanuel. The first, Jesus, explains why He came into the world. The second, Emmanuel, shows Who it was that came.

JESUS. In the Bible we read, “And thou shalt call His name JESUS; for He shall save His people from their sin.” Matthew 1:21. The word Jesus means Savior, and from it we learn why He came into the world. He came to save us from sin. He didn’t come merely as a great teacher or as the founder of a new religion. He came as Savior, and the main purpose of His coming was to save us from sin. Oh, that we might so emphasize this truth, that all who read these lines might allow Him to accomplish this work of salvation in their lives. How He provided salvation for us, we will speak of shortly. It is enough now to understand that everything else was secondary to Him. To die on the cross as the Lamb of God was always the main purpose of His life. His death was the perfect sacrifice for sin. Therefore, when his suffering was over, while He yet hung on the cross. He was able to cry, “It is finished!” John 19:30. His sacrifice for our sins had been offered and accepted by God.

Notice too, that God wants to save us from sin, and not just in it. “Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:13 & 14.

This is the reason He came!

EMMANUEL. The Bible says, “Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is God with us.” Matthew 1:23. This shows us who it was that came. He was not just a prophet, not just a great teacher, but GOD HIMSELF who became man. Emmanuel means just that, God with us. Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.” John 10:30. We also read, “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He not only had broken the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.” John 5:18.

It would be impossible for any man to procure salvation for other men. No angel could redeem us from our sin. Even a million angels could not do that. And so, God Himself became man to suffer, and die, that we poor sinners might have eternal life.

In fact, “great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” 1 Timothy 3:16.

My dear reader, will you not open your heart to receive the salvation which has been prepared for you by Him whose name is Emmanuel, God with us? Remember, Jesus came into the world for the express purpose of saving you!

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger

THE SAVIOR'S BIRTH

When the fullness of time came, the promised Savior appeared. The King of heaven came to earth. God became man. “In Him was life and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4. He came to become the Light of the world.

His birth took place in this way. First of all, an angel of God was sent to announce His coming birth to a virgin named Mary who lived in Nazareth, a town in north Palestine. She was told that by the power of the Holy Spirit she would bear a Son. The angel said, “And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bring forth a Son, and shalt call His name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David; and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.” Luke 1:31-33.

At that time Mary was engaged to a man named Joseph, a carpenter of Nazareth. Being a just man, he decided to break off the engagement, but while he was still trying to think of the best way to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him saying, “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee, Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” Matthew 1:20.

Afterwards, when Mary’s time to bear this Son had almost arrived, she and Joseph left Nazareth and went to Bethlehem. This journey was necessary because the Roman emperor commanded all to return each to his own home town to be registered for tax purposes. Joseph’s family was from Bethlehem. When they arrived they found the inn full and so had to spend the night in the stable.

There the King of kings was born, even He who was the promised Savior, Jesus Christ. He was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger.

That night there were shepherds watching their flocks in a field near Bethlehem. Suddenly an angel appeared to them saying, “Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11. After the angel had gone back to heaven, the shepherds went to Bethlehem, found the babe and worshiped Him.

Some weeks later the newborn Savior was visited by several wisemen from the east. After they had worshipped Him, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:11.

This is the most important moment of all history. It is so important that all time is dated either before or after Christ.

The most important moment in your life, dear reader, is that moment when this King and Savior is born in your heart. And that will take place the moment you open your heart and receive Him. This birth, which is the experience we call salvation, can be yours today. Won’t you invite Him in right now?

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger

Saturday, June 24, 2017

THE YEARS BETWEEN THE PROMISE OF GOD AND THE COMING OF THE PROMISED SAVIOR

Between the time when God made His promise and the coming of the promised Savior, there was a period of about 4000 years. Why God was so long in fulfilling His promise we do not know. We are only told that everything was in accordance with His perfect plan.

The Bible tells us a bit about the history of man during this 4000 year period. The purpose of God in placing this history in His Word is threefold:

1. To show that man is moving farther and farther away from God. The sinfulness of man reached a peak during the time of Noah. When it could no longer be turned aside, judgment came upon mankind because of this mounting sin. We read, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5. Then God destroyed the ancient world by a great flood. The Bible shows that now man’s sin is again mounting up higher and higher and finally another judgment day must come.

2. To show the change which has taken place in the lives of those who believe in every age. There have always been those who believe in the promise and truth of God, although their number has never been large. Still their lives have been as gleams of light in an ever darkening world. Because they believed in God and His way of salvation, their names are still honored. Among this number are found such names as Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Moses, David and Daniel.

3. To include in that history the prophecies concerning the coming Savior so that no one might be unsure about Who He is. These prophecies were given hundreds of years before Jesus was born, and yet they all clearly point to Him. Some of the most important of these prophecies are:

To Abraham it was promised that in his Seed (the promised Savior) all the nations of the earth would be blessed. Genesis 12:3.

About 1500 years before Jesus was born, Moses said, “The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him ye shall hearken.” Deuteronomy 18:15. And concerning this coming One, God Himself said, “And it shall come to pass that whosoever will not hearken unto My words which He shall speak in My name, I will require it of him.” Deuteronomy 18:19.

David the King also prophesied concerning the coming Savior, and testified that He would suffer (Psalm 22), die, and be raised again (Psalm 16) and afterwards reign forever. (Psalm 89).

The later prophets, Isaiah and Micah, prophesied that the coming Savior would be God Himself (Isaiah 9:5), Who would become man. His birth was to be by a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), and would take place at Bethlehem in Judea. (Micah 5:2).

From all these prophecies, you dear reader, can be sure that it was Jesus who was prophesied about, for only He fulfilled them all.

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger