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Isaiah 60:1, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.”

New Year

The idea of newness is exhilarating. It provokes a sense of optimism. There is anticipation for the opportunity for a new start and a new beginning, to correct the bad and to renew the good.

For those focused on Christ, the thoughts of newness bring to mind the New birth, New creation, and New life. And these new things bring pure optimism and hope to the thoughtful soul.

It is like the dawning of a new day when the sunlight chases the darkness away. There is optimism, hope, and anticipation with the rising of the sun each day.

The Light of the World

There is optimism, hope, and anticipation in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is no wonder

He said of Himself in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

Jesus is the light of the world because He brings hope and life to the world. He brings the message and the understanding of how to receive eternal hope and life. In Him the darkness of deception, sin, evil, hopelessness, and eternal damnation are vanquished.

And in John 9:5, Jesus says, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

In other words, as long as Jesus is around, there is eternal hope and life. There is the vanquishing of despair, sin, and condemnation.

But Jesus left the world two thousand years ago when He was resurrected from the dead. Does that mean the light of the world is gone? Does this mean that there is no longer hope and life in the world? Does this mean that we are doomed to despair, sin, and condemnation? Of course not. But why not, if Jesus is not here?

The reason we do not despair is that Jesus left His light in the world. In Matthew 5:14 He says, “Ye are the light of the world.” He was speaking to His disciples. He was speaking to those who knew Him. He was speaking to those who believed in Him. He was speaking to us today who know the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.

Ephesians 5:8 explains, “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.”

Christ is the light that delivers us from darkness. He is the life that delivers us from death. He is the righteousness that delivers us from sin. And having delivered us from death, darkness, and sin; He expects us and commands us to shine as lights of life and righteousness. He expects us to represent Him and to shine His light through the way we live and talk in order to show others the way, the truth, and the life.

John 1:1–14 explains the shining light of Christ and the witness of His light further, saying, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

Sharing the Light

Verse 15 repeats what John the Baptist did, saying, “John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.”

In these 15 verses talking about the light of Christ, it is said three times that John the Baptist bear witness of the Light. This means he bore witness of Christ as Savior. He bore witness of the Gospel light. This is what we are expected to do. This is how we shine the light that we have been given. Like John, we need to proclaim to the world who the Messiah of God is, the Christ, the anointed Savior, Jesus Christ.

We shine the light of Christ in the world by telling others about Him. We prove He is light by living for Him.

Romans 12:1, 2 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

As I mentioned before, Ephesians 5:8 says, “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.”

Philippians 2:15 says, “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.”

In Matthew 5:14–16, Jesus says, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

We are the light of the world. And like the dawning of light, our message and our lifestyles should chase the darkness of sin and hopelessness away. We should be proclaiming and living the light of life in Christ Jesus. Goodness in words and loving righteousness in deeds should be seen dominating our lives.

For this purpose, Christ has left us here on earth. But are we sending the light? Souls have been saved. New members have been added to the Lord’s churches. New laborers have stepped up to carry the load of ministry. New ministries have begun.

It is refreshing to think about these successes because the negatives tend to prevent the light and optimism of Christ from shining as bright as it should be in our thoughts. We are not perfect, and no one claims that. But there is so much good being done.

Can more good be done?

Can the light be shined brighter and further? If so, we should do so.

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Market Research or Holy Spirit? https://lifechangingscriptures.org/market-research-or-holy-spirit/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=market-research-or-holy-spirit https://lifechangingscriptures.org/market-research-or-holy-spirit/#respond Thu, 27 Jun 2019 01:59:39 +0000 http://lifechangingscriptures.org/?p=829 Market Research or Holy Spirit? Read More »

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What should a pastor and congregation do when market research contradicts the Word of God? Obviously, anyone who seeks God’s will by spending time in prayer and ministry of the Word will choose to follow God, not market analysis.

But what about the contradiction of how the pastor prefers to do things as he feels led by the Spirit, and there is no biblical guidance to say otherwise? What about the pastor’s, or anyone’s, preference for doing things that research shows to be ineffective in communicating a message?

Here is the reason for these questions.

The head of the church is Jesus Christ. His administrator is the Holy Spirit. The pastor of each church should be given to prayer and ministry of the Word. Through prayer the pastor is listening to the Holy Spirit guide his thoughts. Through the Word the pastor is receiving instruction from God. And through ministry of the Word, there is a confirming of the Holy Spirit’s voice.

Therefore, the solution is simple. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit about when and whether to use marketing analysis to make decisions. You are not bound to follow the research, only the Spirit. 

And the Word of God does not prohibit the use of market insights into the behavior of people. Who would not want to know how to communicate more effectively and to reach more people with the Gospel? If anything, the use of market analysis is more consistent with the Biblical mandate to wisely engage in the great commission than not. 

And if the mandate is in the Bible, the Holy Spirit will confirm it to be so.

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Where is Jesus? https://lifechangingscriptures.org/where-is-jesus/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=where-is-jesus https://lifechangingscriptures.org/where-is-jesus/#respond Fri, 19 Apr 2019 21:55:00 +0000 http://lifechangingscriptures.org/?p=781 Where is Jesus? Read More »

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The morning of the resurrection of Jesus Christ had many wondering, Where is Jesus?

When Mary Magdalene was weeping at the empty tomb, John 20:13 says that the angels asked her,

“Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.”

Then, unbeknown to her at the moment, Jesus walked up to Mary Magdalene and asked her,

“Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away”  (John 20:15).

Before Mary Magdalene saw Jesus, John 20:2 says that Mary ran “…to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.” 

After hearing what Mary had to say, Peter and John then took off for the tomb as fast as they could to see for themselves whether Jesus’ tomb was empty. John 20:3–10 says, 

“Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.

“Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.” 

They too went away scratching their heads, trying to figure out what was going on.

Where is Jesus?

The four Gospel accounts of the activity at the empty tomb leave many readers scratching their heads as well. 

Women were running back and forth to the tomb; Mary was by herself sometimes; Peter and John were running back and forth; Jesus appeared to Mary individually, and then to the other women, and then to the disciples.

So where was Jesus, and how do we make sense of the Gospel accounts of resurrection morning?

The four Gospel accounts are narratives of the activities, not chronological, play by play accounts. So it is up to the reader to piece all of the accounts together to figure out how all of the activity unfolded in time. Putting the pieces together brings the satisfaction of gaining greater insight into the events, the lives touched by the resurrection of Jesus, and the significance of the empty tomb.

Following is an organization of the verses as they describe aspects of the same activities with commentary. The lesson concludes with a summary of how the events played out between the time of Jesus’ burial and the discovery of His empty tomb.

WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON, Nisan 14, between 3:00 pm and 5:59 pm

Joseph and Nicodemus wrapped and buried Jesus’ body.

Mark 15:33–45 says that Jesus died about 3:00 pm (the ninth hour) and that Joseph retrieved Jesus’ body as the evening was near.

Matthew 27:57–60 says that Joseph of Arimathaea received Jesus’ body, wrapped it, placed it in the tomb that Joseph had carved and reserved for himself, and then rolled a massive stone in front of the entrance.

Mark 15:42–46 adds that Joseph claimed Jesus’ body in the evening of the preparation, the day before the Sabbath. See Appendix for time chart of events.

Luke 23:50–54 affirms this timing. It says that Joseph wrapped Jesus’ body on the day of preparation before placing it in the tomb.

John 19:38–42 adds that Nicodemus helped Joseph wrap Jesus’ body with 100 pounds of myrrh and aloes in accordance with Jewish custom. 

Women saw Jesus in the tomb and prepared burial spices.

Luke 23:54–56 records the women’s activities. It says, 

“And that day was the preparation, and the Sabbath drew on. And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.

“And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment.” 

Mark 15:47 confirms that the women saw where Jesus was buried.

Matthew 27:61 names two of the women, saying that Mary Magdalene and the other Mary watched while Jesus was laid in the tomb.

THURSDAY, Nisan 15

High Sabbath

The high Sabbath mentioned in John 19:31 refers to the Sabbath marking the first day of the feast of unleavened bread, and the verse points out that this high Sabbath occurred the day after Jesus’ death.

A high Sabbath refers to a Sabbath day occurring on a weekday other than the regular Saturday Sabbath. This is the result of festivals celebrated on a certain day of the month rather than on a particular day of the week. From year to year, high Sabbaths occurred on different days of the week in the same way that birthdays are memorialized today.

Nisan 15 is the first day of the feast of unleavened bread and occurs the day after the day of preparation, which was the day Jesus was crucified. Because the Jewish day begins at 6:00 pm rather than 12:00 am, the Jews wanted to hasten the death of those crucified earlier in the day so that their bodies would not be hanging on the crosses during the Sabbath (John 19:31).

This is the reason Joseph and Nicodemus had to bury Christ before 5:59 pm Wednesday on the day of preparation before the high Sabbath began at 6:00 pm.

Tomb is sealed and secured.

Matthew 27:62–66 says that, the day after the preparation day, the chief priests and Pharisees requested of Pilate to seal and guard Jesus’ tomb. They said that they wanted to prevent the disciples from stealing Jesus’ body and then claiming that Jesus had been resurrected three days after His death.

This seal and the guards would also have prevented the women from getting into the tomb to finish wrapping the body until the third day after Jesus’ death. Thus, the women would have waited three days after Jesus’ death to visit the tomb with spices. This is an indication that Jesus must have died and been buried late Wednesday afternoon, which would allow for the waiting period of three days to pass before going to the tomb with the spices.

FRIDAY, Nisan 16

Spices purchased and prepared.

Mark 16:1 indicates that, after the Sabbath day, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices for the burial wrapping of Jesus’ body. This indicates that more spices were purchased the day after the high Sabbath in addition to the hundred pounds already used by Joseph and Nicodemus before the high Sabbath day began.

The narratives in Matthew, Mark, and Luke do not clarify that there are two Sabbaths, but Luke 23:56 is referring to the Saturday Sabbath of rest. The alternative consideration is that the women purchased and prepared the spices in the evening of the preparation day.

But by the time Jesus died at 3:00 pm, Joseph requested retrieval of His body, the guard confirmed that Jesus was indeed dead, Joseph removed Jesus’ body from the cross and delivered, wrapped, and buried Him—by this time it is unlikely that there would have been time left in the day for purchasing and preparing the spices before the high Sabbath began at 6:00 pm.

The Two Sabbath Days

Thus, the high Sabbath followed the day after the preparation, and the Saturday Sabbath preceded the first day of the week when the women found the tomb empty. So when reading the accounts, it is important to remember that there are two Sabbaths occurring in the same week leading up to discovering the empty tomb.

The occurrence of two Sabbaths preceding the resurrection of Jesus also shows that there must have been a day between the two Sabbaths on which the women could purchase and prepare the spices the day after the first Sabbath (Mark 16:1) but then rest on the second Sabbath after the spices were prepared (Luke 23:56).

Thus, Jesus must have been crucified no later than Wednesday to allow for the women to purchase spices after the high Sabbath and then rest on the regular Saturday Sabbath before going to the tomb early Sunday morning. This means that Jesus was crucified and buried on Wednesday; the high Sabbath was observed on Thursday; the spices were purchased and prepared by the women on Friday; the regular Saturday Sabbath was observed; and then the women went to the tomb early Sunday morning and discovered an empty tomb.

SATURDAY, Nisan 17

The Regular Saturday Sabbath

This was the day of rest observed on the regular Saturday Sabbath. The women had prepared the spices for Jesus the day before. This day also marks the third day after the death of Jesus, which means that the women could expect to be allowed to enter Jesus’ tomb on Sunday. The seal and guard of Pilate would prevent a premature entering of the tomb.

SUNDAY, Nisan 18

Summary from end of Sabbath to Sunday dawn

Matthew 28:2–4 gives a summary of events at the tomb from the time of Christ’s resurrection (at the end of the Sabbath) to the time of the women finding the tomb empty (at the dawning of the first day of the week). At the end of the Sabbath, which would have been after 5:59 pm Saturday, a major earthquake took place at the tomb, an angel descended and rolled away the stone, and the guards fainted.

At this point, there is no mention of the women encountering the guards, feeling the earthquake, or seeing the stone rolled away. In fact, Mark 16:3 says that the women were unaware that the stone had been rolled away, saying among themselves, “Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?”  So then, we can conclude that these things had already occurred by the time the women arrived at the tomb early Sunday morning. And by that time, the guards had revived and had run away to report the event to the priests before the women arrived at the tomb.

Discovering the Empty Tomb Sunday Morning

Matthew 28:1 says that, at the dawning of the first day, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to the tomb.

Mark 16:1–4 says that Mary Magdalene, Mary, and Salome brought spices early in the morning of the first day.

Luke 24:1–2 says that, early in the morning of the first day of the week, the women came with spices. Luke 24:10 names Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary and then says there were others. They saw that the stone had been rolled away and entered into the tomb.

John 20:1–2 adds that Mary Magdalene arrived at the tomb early in the morning while it was still dark. When she saw the stone moved away from the tomb, she ran to tell the disciples. She tells them that “They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.” 

This narrative indicates that Mary Magdalene had run to the disciples while the other women stayed at the tomb to look inside. This was her first report to the disciples, saying that she did not know where Jesus was.

Angelic Encounter

Luke 24:3–9 says that the women encountered two angels standing near them in the tomb. The angels tell them that Jesus is risen just as prophesied. They then begin their way back to tell the disciples.

Mark 16:5–8 points out more specifically that, when the women entered the tomb, they saw an angel to their right who appeared like a young man dressed in a long white garment. He was the angel who told the women to report to the disciples that Jesus was risen and to meet Him in Galilee.

Matthew 28:2–7 adds that the angel who talked to the women was the same one who had been sitting on the stone after he rolled the stone away from the tomb’s entrance. Thus, it would have been this same angel that the guards saw before they fainted.

Peter and John Investigate the Tomb

John 20:3–10 says that, after Mary Magdalene told the disciples about the stone being rolled away, Peter and John ran to see for themselves whether the tomb was really empty. When they looked around inside the tomb, they noticed the head napkin was wrapped and laid by itself apart from the body linen cloth. They returned home scratching their heads, wondering what to make of all this.

Encounters with Jesus

Mark 16:9–11 says that Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene. After this encounter, she returned to tell the disciples that Jesus was alive and that she had seen Him. This was her second report to the disciples, but this time she was telling them that she had seen Jesus. They did not believe her.

This indicates that Mary Magdalene was still separated from the other women and must have followed Peter and John back to the tomb. Then, after they left, she stayed at the tomb by herself, and it was during this second time at the tomb that she saw Jesus.

Meanwhile, the other women had already left the tomb earlier to find and tell the disciples about the angel’s message.

Just prior to Mary’s encounter with Jesus, while she stood outside the tomb weeping and looking in, she saw two angels (John 20:11-17). This indicates that the angels reappeared after Peter and John left. After telling the angels why she was weeping, Mary turned and saw Jesus, but she thought He was the gardener. After Jesus said her name, she realized that it was Jesus. He told her not to touch Him yet and to go tell the disciples that He was ascending to His Father.

Where was Jesus from the time of His burial to the time of His appearance to Mary?

His physical body was in the tomb for three days and three nights (Matthew 12:40). This was to leave no doubt that He was truly dead. The prophesied three days and nights also required that Jesus must have been buried Wednesday and not Friday as it is claimed by many. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights plus the full days of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday fulfill the prophecy of Matthew 12:40.

While Jesus’ physical body was in the tomb, He was with His Father in heaven spiritually. Jesus had already ascended spiritually to His Father in heaven after dying on the cross. In Luke 23:43 Jesus tells one of the thieves on the cross,

“Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” 

And in Luke 23:46 Jesus says,

“Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.” 

So the ascension Jesus was talking to Mary about is the formal presentation of His resurrected, physical body to His Father as the risen Savior of mankind to fulfill the prophecy of resurrection after three days of His body being in the tomb. This conversation with Mary clarified that Jesus was presenting Himself physically as the unblemished, holy, sacrificial Lamb of God.

Some think that Jesus spent His time in hell for three days. However, such a position contradicts His promise to the thief that they would be together in paradise that same day.

While Mary was talking to Jesus at the tomb, the other women were on their way to tell the disciples about seeing the angels and the empty tomb. Mark 16:8 explains that the women were afraid and were not talking to anyone. Their message was for the disciples.

As they hurried down the road, Jesus then leaves Mary Magdalene, ascends to the Father, and returns to meet the other women on the road. Matthew 28:8–9 says that, as the women ran to find the disciples, they met Jesus, and they held His feet. And Jesus said to them to tell His disciples to meet Him in Galilee.

Obviously, it did not take long for Jesus to present His resurrected body to His Father. This was a quick ascension between the time of seeing Mary, who was told not to touch Him, and then seeing the other women, who held His feet.

By the time the women arrived back to the house after talking to Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Peter, and John had already returned. Mary Magdalene was the first to report that she saw Jesus.

Unlike her first report when she said that she did not know where Jesus was, Mark 16:10–13 says that she told the disciples that Jesus was alive and well and that she had seen and talked to Him. But they did not believe her.

And after she told the disciples about her encounter, the other women came to the house and reported that they too had seen Him. Luke 24:9–11 says that the women told the eleven disciples and all the rest, but they did not believe.

Mark 16:12 says that two others also came to report to those remaining in the house that they saw and talked with Jesus too. But they were not believed either.

SUNDAY, Nisan 18, evening and forty days more

Jesus appears to the disciples

John 20:19–25 says that, in the evening of the first day of the week while the house doors were shut, Jesus appeared to the disciples, except for Thomas, who was not there at the time. When Thomas heard that they had seen Jesus, He refused to believe them, saying that he would have to see Jesus and His scars for himself in order to believe.

Eight days later, while Thomas was in the room with the other disciples, Jesus appeared in the room again and presented His hands and His body wound to Thomas, who then declared that He believed, saying, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).

The new, resurrected and glorified body of Jesus was so different that Mary Magdalene and the disciples did not recognize Him at first glance. Nonetheless, His voice and His wounds identified Him. Luke 24:13–16 adds that the eyes of the two who saw Jesus and talked with Him were restrained so that they did not recognize Him at all. Only after their eyes were opened did they know that it was Him (Luke 24:31).

They then returned to Jerusalem to report to the disciples that they too had seen Jesus (Luke 24:33). Luke 24:13 also adds that they were about seven miles (threescore furlongs) from Jerusalem, so they would have met up with the disciples at their house later in the day after the women had reported seeing Jesus.

Matthew 28:16–17 records the Galilean meeting of the eleven disciples with Jesus in a mountain in Galilee. Amazingly, some still doubted. A miracle had occurred that challenged the faith of some of the disciples even after they saw Jesus and had time to think about it and to discuss it. The man of miracles had been crucified and buried. How could He possibly overcome His own death? And why not rather prevent His death?

Acts 1:3 says that Jesus “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.”  There were many needing to be convinced that Jesus had truly been raised from the dead.

Summary of events after the crucifixion of Jesus

Jesus died Wednesday afternoon around 3:00pm.

Joseph received permission from Pilate to bury Jesus. While he and Nicodemus wrapped the body with a hundred pounds of spice and aloes at the tomb, the women watched. Then the high Sabbath was observed, beginning at 6:00 pm Wednesday, which is the beginning of the Jewish Thursday.

During the high Sabbath, called a high day because it was Thursday and not Saturday, the Jewish leaders convinced Pilate to seal the tomb and set up a guard for at least three days. On Friday the women purchased and prepared spices to complete the burial process, then rested on the Saturday Sabbath.

At the end of the Saturday Sabbath, 5:59 pm, which is the beginning of the Jewish Sunday, a great earthquake occurred, an angel descended to roll the stone from the tomb entrance, and the guards fainted.

Early Sunday morning just as it was dawning and still dark, the women went to the tomb and discovered that the stone was rolled away from the tomb entrance, and there were no guards on duty. Mary Magdalene immediately ran to tell the disciples that the body of Jesus was gone and that they didn’t know where He was.

In the meantime, still at the tomb, the other women talked to the angel, who gave them a message for the disciples to meet Jesus in Galilee. They leave to tell the disciples.

Back at the disciples’ house, after hearing Mary Magdalene’s report, Peter and John ran to the tomb, and Mary followed behind them. At the tomb, Peter and John saw that it was empty, and there was no indication of angels present. They returned to the disciples’ house.

Mary followed John and Peter to the tomb but stayed at the tomb weeping, where Jesus appeared first to her and talked to her. She was not allowed to touch Him.  She then went to tell the disciples that she had seen Him. Jesus ascended to the Father and then appeared to the other women before they reached the disciples house. They were allowed to hold His feet.

While the women talked to Jesus, Mary arrived at the disciples’ house, where Peter and John had already returned, and reported that she had seen Jesus, but they did not believe her.

Soon after Mary’s report, the other women arrived at the house, and they delivered Jesus’ message to go to Galilee. But the disciples still did not believe. Later in the afternoon, two others walked seven miles to come to the disciples’ house in Jerusalem to report that they had talked with Jesus. Still the disciples did not believe.

And then that evening, while the doors to the house were shut, Jesus appeared to the disciples and showed them His wounds. Thomas was not there at the time and later said that he would not believe unless he saw Jesus for himself. Eight days later, Jesus reappeared at the house, and Thomas believed. Over a period of forty days, Jesus showed Himself to many to prove that He indeed had been raised from the dead.

Turning the World Upside Down

The disciples’ lives were changed by Jesus and His resurrection. Seeing the risen Savior convinced them that death was not to be feared. They boldly proclaimed the good news to the world. Acts 17:6 says that others were saying of them that they had “turned the world upside down.”

These men suffered for their faith. They were tortured and killed for their testimony. But they could not deny the risen Savior they had seen. He is alive, and they knew where He was. They knew that He was not in the grave. He was sitting at the right hand of the Father’s throne. They no longer feared death because Jesus was their Savior, and he had conquered death.

They were willing martyrs for a true testimony of their risen Savior. And their willing martyrdom is proof that there was no deception, no stealing of the body, and no lies to be told. Had deception been the case, their deaths would be meaningless and without explanation. They would have no motivation to suffer for a lie. But having seen Jesus risen, there was no stopping them from telling the world He is alive!

Jesus’ resurrection is a testimony that He paid for all sins completely and totally. It is for this reason that death, hell, and the grave can no longer hold on to Him. His payment is complete—an infinite debt paid in full with an infinite death.

To all those who know Him, He says, Go and tell others that they too might believe. Go and make disciples so that the news will spread around the world. Go and let all men on earth know that salvation is possible through Him and that eternal life is a free gift that He offers to everyone. Go and tell others where Jesus is.

This is our duty as Christians while on earth. This is the reason Jesus leaves us here.

Are you telling others the good news of Jesus Christ’s resurrection? Are you telling them where they too can find Him?

This is our duty as Christians while on earth. This is the reason Jesus leaves us here.

Are you telling others the good news of Jesus Christ’s resurrection? Are you telling them where they too can find Him?

APPENDIX

1 Jewish days of the week begin at 6 pm.

2 Paradise or hell?

What and where is paradise?

Only three verses in the Bible refer to paradise. Luke 23:43 records Jesus telling one of the men that was crucified with Him,

“To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” 

Revelation 2:7 tells us that paradise is where the tree of life is located:

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” 

Paradise is another reference to heaven. This makes sense because Jesus completed the work of redemption on the cross, as He indicated by saying, “It is finished” (John 19:30).

And His fellowship with His Father was restored, as He indicated by commending His spirit into the hands of His Father (Luke 23:46). So going to heaven with His Father was going to paradise. It is important to note that, though Jesus was in heaven and in fellowship with His Father spiritually, His physical body was still in the tomb until the three nights and three days were complete.

Does First Peter 3:18-22 say that Jesus went to hell for three days after His crucifixion?

No. It says:

“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

“The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”

This passage does not say that Jesus spent three days and nights in prison or in hell. To use this verse to support the idea that Jesus went to hell for three days after His crucifixion contradicts Luke 23:43, which says that He was in paradise. Paradise is not in hell.

The phrase spirits in prison refers to lost souls in bondage to sin and the fear of death. Through Him there is liberation from sin and death. The same quickening Spirit that gave Him life also gives us life, and it is by this same Spirit that He preached to the spirits in prison during the days of Noah.

The message was the same then as it is today, namely, God judges sin. But He makes a way to escape. Just as the ark saved from the flood judgment, Christ is the like figure, providing the way of escape from the spiritual judgment of God. Heeding the quickening Spirit delivers from judgment.

The reference to baptism refers to being baptized into Christ, not into water. We are baptized into Christ when we believe in God for salvation. For this reason, Peter clarifies his meaning, saying,

“…not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God.”

Was Jesus’ Soul in Hell?

Psalm 16:10 says, “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” 

Acts 2:27 also says, “Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” 

These two verses refer to the resurrection victory of Jesus. He would not spend eternity in hell paying for sins. Being God, Jesus paid for all sins in full by applying an infinite payment for an infinite debt while on the cross. His time of suffering hell’s pain was fulfilled on the cross.

His separation from the Father was indicated in Matthew 27:46 by His prayer to the Father,  “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” and by the darkness that covered the land from noon to 3:00 pm. After His payment was made, He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). 

The physical depiction of His victory over death, hell, and the grave was the resurrection of His body three days and three nights after having been crucified. Jesus’ body was raised new and glorified without corruption and reunited with His soul.

Lower Parts of the Earth

Ephesians 4:9 says,

“Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?” 

This statement is a hyperbole to contrast highest ascension with lowest descension in the context of Ephesians 4:8–10. Jesus ascended victoriously to the highest level possible to accomplish anything and everything He desires to do.

He brought captivity into captivity by conquering death. He brought an end to that which conquers us. He conquered our conqueror, captured our captor, and slew our slayer. This refers to His victory over sin, death, hell, and the grave.

Paul elaborates on Christ’s achievement by contrasting the highest achievement with the lowest experience. He accomplished everything by giving up everything. Christ achieved that which required the fullest extent of loss and suffering.

He suffered the pain of separation from His Father to an infinite degree. It was the sum of all hell’s fury and suffering. It was the price required to set men free from sin and death. And Jesus experienced all of this on the cross, as indicated in Matthew 27:46, which says He cried out, 

“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” 

And when He was done paying the price for sin, He said,

“It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost” (John 19:30).

He paid for all sins by suffering the greatest of all horrors. Jesus then ascended triumphantly to be with His Father. He went from one extreme to the other. This is who our Savior is and who graciously and mercifully blesses us with good gifts.

3 Summary time line of events after the crucifixion of Jesus.

JEWISH WEDNESDAY, 3:00 pm to 5:59 pm (contemporary Wednesday, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm)

Jesus dismissed His spirit into the hands of His Father. 

The temple veil was rent in two from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51). 

Graves were opened, and resurrected saints showed themselves to others in the city (Matthew 27:52–53). 

Joseph received permission from Pilate to bury Jesus.

Joseph and Nicodemus wrapped the body with a hundred pounds of spice and aloes at the tomb while the women watched.

JEWISH THURSDAY, 6:00 pm to 5:59 pm (contemporary Wednesday, 6:00 pm to Thursday, 5:59 pm)

The high Sabbath was observed. 

The Jewish leaders convinced Pilate to seal the tomb and set up a guard for at least three days.

FRIDAY, from morning to evening while the market was open for business.

The women purchased and prepared spices to complete the burial process.

JEWISH SATURDAY, 6:00 pm to 5:59 pm (contemporary Friday, 6:00 pm to Saturday, 5:59 pm)

The regular SABBATH day of rest was observed.

JEWISH SUNDAY after 6:00 pm (contemporary Saturday, 6:00 pm to Sunday, 5:59 pm)

A great earthquake occurred. 

An angel descended to roll the stone from the tomb entrance. 

The guards fainted.

SUNDAY MORNING, just as it began to dawn (moments before sunrise)

The women went to the tomb and discovered that the stone was rolled away from the tomb entrance. 

Mary Magdalene immediately ran to tell the disciples that the body of Jesus was gone. 

The other women talked to the angel, who gave them a message for the disciples. 

They left to tell the disciples. 

Peter and John ran to the tomb, and Mary followed behind them. 

Peter and John saw that the tomb was empty. 

They returned to the disciples’ house. 

Mary stayed at the tomb weeping and talked to an angel. 

Jesus’ first appearance after His resurrection was to Mary at the tomb, and she was not allowed to touch Him.

Mary ran a second time to the disciples’ house.

Jesus ascended to the Father.

Jesus appeared to the other women before they reached the disciples’ house.

They were allowed to hold His feet.

Peter and John arrived at the disciples’ house.

Mary arrived at the disciples’ house and reported that she had seen Jesus.

The other women arrived at the disciples’ house.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON

Two others walked seven miles to come to the disciples’ house in Jerusalem to report that they talked with Jesus.

JEWISH SUNDAY EVENING near 5:59pm (contemporary Sunday evening)

Jesus appeared to the disciples and showed them His wounds.

EIGHT DAYS LATER

Jesus reappeared at the disciples’ house, and Thomas believed.

OVER A PERIOD OF FORTY DAYS

Jesus showed Himself to many to prove that He indeed had been raised from the dead.

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The Faultiness of the Old Testament https://lifechangingscriptures.org/the-faultiness-of-the-old-testament/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-faultiness-of-the-old-testament https://lifechangingscriptures.org/the-faultiness-of-the-old-testament/#respond Sat, 10 Nov 2018 22:53:04 +0000 http://lifechangingscriptures.org/?p=771 The Faultiness of the Old Testament Read More »

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The problem with the Old Testament was that it could not make those who abide by it perfect. Hebrews 8:7 says,

“For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.” 

The righteousness described by the law was not the problem. And the letter of the law was not the problem.

The problem was that the unrighteous could not be made righteous by the law. This means that no one could be saved from their sins by the law. Under the law, sinners are doomed to condemnation. Hebrews 8:8 explains,

“For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.” 

The covenant between Israel and God, known as the Old Testament, was Israel’s stumbling stone. They looked to the law for salvation rather than to God.

For some, finding fault with the law is the same as saying that the law is sin. But Paul corrects this error of thought in Romans 7:7, saying,

“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.”

The law is good. But the law is insufficient to save our souls, and this is what makes the law faulty. It is not sinful; it is insufficient.

The insufficiency of the law to save souls is what makes the statement of Romans 8:2 so significant. It says,

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” 

The Old Testament was a covenant of death. It governed Israel’s relationship with God based on law. It is no surprise then that Israel’s history in the Bible is one curse after another.

The lesson to be learned from the Old Testament is that you do not want a relationship with God based on law. You will die. This is how not to be saved.

In contrast, the New Testament (the second sought for according to Hebrews 8:7) governs one’s relationship with God based on mercy and grace. The New Testament church was designed to portray this.

Rather than stoning offenders of the law, sinners are forgiven seventy times seven.

Church discipline is practiced to protect the reputation and power of Christ’s message, but repentant prodigal sons are always welcomed back into the fold.

Thus, the fault in the Old Testament required the necessity of a New Testament’s second testament that could save the souls of sinners. That would make it much better than the first.

But the old was not without significance. It was the old that taught us to find another way. “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24).

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Five Church Sins to Avoid https://lifechangingscriptures.org/five-church-sins-to-avoid/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=five-church-sins-to-avoid https://lifechangingscriptures.org/five-church-sins-to-avoid/#respond Sat, 11 Aug 2018 21:45:00 +0000 http://lifechangingscriptures.org/?p=756 Five Church Sins to Avoid Read More »

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Of the seven churches addressed in the book of Revelation, five were rebuked for specific sins. These sins were so grievous to the Lord that the churches were in danger of losing their status as His approved and empowered churches.  

It would do us well to examine and ponder these sins, examine ourselves as a church for the presence of these sins or vulnerability to them, and resolve to implement a solution and/or prevention for these sins.

Let’s read the passages of sins:

“Thou hast left thy first love.” Revelation 2:4

“Thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. You also have them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans.“ Revelation 2:14, 15

“Thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.“ Revelation 2:20

“Thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead; I have not found thy works perfect before God.“ Revelation 3:1, 2

“Thou art neither cold nor hot: thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.“ Revelation 3:15, 17

The sins to avoid in these verses are:

  • Leaving your first love.
  • Allowing the doctrine of Balaam (sabotage) to go unanswered.
  • Tolerating the doctrine of the Nicolaitans (destroyer of people). *
  • Tolerating the membership of Jezebel (idolatry and enemy of God, prophets, and church).
  • Failing to offer perfect works before God.
  • Content to be lukewarm and self-sufficient. (They were Christians, but they lived by their wisdom and talents.)

* Who were the Nicolaitans? The hatred of the Ephesians toward the Nicolaitans in their church (Revelation 2:6) indicates that these were carnal Christians using their liberty in Christ for license. God commended the Ephesians for their adherence to sound doctrine and practice according to God’s Word. So it follows that their hatred would be focused on those who did not conform in doctrine and practice.

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The Nephilim https://lifechangingscriptures.org/the-nephilim/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-nephilim https://lifechangingscriptures.org/the-nephilim/#respond Thu, 19 Jul 2018 21:34:46 +0000 http://lifechangingscriptures.org/?p=741 The Nephilim Read More »

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Who are the Nephilim?

The Nephilim are claimed by some to be chimeras, a race of people that are human and angel. Chimeras are combined creatures of two different kinds. The word chimera derives from the transliterated Hebrew word for giants in Genesis 6:4. Some think that the giants mentioned in this verse cannot be human. However, the word is used again in Numbers 13:33, which says,

“And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”

This verse refers to giant humans. They were large human beings. There is no mention of how large these people were. But they were large enough to be called giants.

Today, there are very big people called giants, but they are humans. 

Can angels mate with humans?

Another problem with the chimera (human species blended with angel species) claim is that Genesis 1 states that God created all kinds of plants and animals to produce seed of their own kind. Kind produces kind. Plants yield seed after their own kind, fish and fowl after their own kind, cattle and creeping things after their own kind, and humans after their own kind. 

Angels and humans are not of the same kind. Angels are not human, so humans cannot mate with angels any more than with monkeys or dogs. And any attempt to do so would fail to produce offspring because each kind produces seed after its own kind. The mismatch of chromosome numbers and genetic information prevents viable offspring.

Angels do not marry.

But such consideration is moot because Matthew 22:30 clarifies that angels do not marry. It says,

“For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.”

Humans marry to reproduce more humans. Angels do not reproduce.

Who are the giants mentioned in Genesis 6:4?

The giants were humans of larger stature than most. There is genetic potential for considerable size variation in humans. Though considered abnormal, the smallest human has been measured at just over two feet, whereas the tallest human measured eight feet, eleven inches. This simply shows that enormous growth is possible in humans under the right conditions. Pro-wrestler Dalip Singh Rana and others are very large men by today’s average standards.

Who are the sons of God mentioned in Genesis 6:2-4?

Genesis 6: 2-4 says,

“That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.”

The term “sons of God” refers to saved men and to angels.

John 1:12 declares,

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”

First John 3:1 says,

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” 

And Job 1:6 indicates that angels before the throne of God in heaven are called the sons of God.

Claiming that fallen, condemned angels are sons of God contradicts the Biblical association of the title with angels in heaven and saved men. The claim that fallen angels are sons of God is not Scriptural. Angels who love and serve God would not disobey Him.

Scripture and biological facts do not support the claim that Nephalim are human-angel chimeras.

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Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ https://lifechangingscriptures.org/evidence-for-the-resurrection-of-jesus-christ/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=evidence-for-the-resurrection-of-jesus-christ https://lifechangingscriptures.org/evidence-for-the-resurrection-of-jesus-christ/#respond Sun, 15 Apr 2018 21:30:13 +0000 http://lifechangingscriptures.org/?p=726 Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ Read More »

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Jesus is alive and well!

Three days after Jesus Christ was unmercifully and shamefully crucified, He arose in triumph over death, hell, and the grave. It was a real event.

First century letter confirms miracle during Christ’s crucifixion.

Cornelius Tacitus (A.D. 52-54), a Roman historian and Governor of Asia, and son-in-law to Julius Agricola, wrote of Jesus’ trial and death.

Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time, broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also (Annals XV 44).

Pagan Samaritan historian, Thallus, in A.D. 52, tried to explain away the darkness at the time of Jesus’ death (A.D. 32) as a solar eclipse. However, Julius Africanus disputed the claim because the crucifixion took place during the time of a full moon. Unwittingly, Thallus admits that Christ was crucified and that during the crucifixion it was dark. This dispute confirms what the Bible states.

Critics admit that Jesus’ tomb was empty.

At the time when it mattered, critics were disputing what happened to Jesus’ body after His burial. The dispute was not whether Jesus’ tomb was empty but why it was empty.

To explain the empty tomb, Justin Martyr wrote in his Dialogue Against Trypho (A.D. 100) that some Jews were claiming that Jesus’ disciples had stolen His body from the grave and claiming resurrection. Likewise, Tertullian scorned in his De Spectac that Jesus’ disciples stole His body to claim resurrection (A.D. 160).

Martyrdom Proves Christ was Resurrected.

The eye witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection included those who are alleged by unbelievers to have stolen His body. However, this explanation is debunked into extreme absurdity by the martyrdom of the eye witnesses.

Consider how that people will lie and say anything in order to avoid torture and death. How much more, then, a person will tell the truth if it would save his life.

If Jesus’ disciples had stolen the body of Jesus, then they knew full well there was no resurrection and no life after death. Yet they insisted that Jesus was alive, for which they endured torture and death rather than deny their claim.

The only way to make sense out of this is to conclude that they must have been telling the truth. It is absurd to think that a group of men are going to lie in order to be tortured and killed. There is absolutely nothing to gain and everything to lose. They really did see Christ alive!

Orthodox Jewish Scholar Concedes Resurrection.

Orthodox Jew Pinchas Lapide, a non-Christian scholar living in Frankfurt, Germany, says in his book The Resurrection of Jesus that he believes that Jesus Christ was indeed resurrected.

Have you found Jesus?

Amazingly, many people are still ignorant of the claims and teachings of Jesus Christ. But once they hear the evidence of His resurrection and of His words, they want to find Him.

Have you found Jesus? Tired of anemic religion? Looking for more than nominal, mediocre Christianity? Ready to live your faith 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Ready to turn the world upside down? Come and join others like yourself. Get real for Jesus!

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Eternal Life https://lifechangingscriptures.org/eternal-life/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=eternal-life https://lifechangingscriptures.org/eternal-life/#respond Thu, 12 Oct 2017 21:23:31 +0000 http://lifechangingscriptures.org/?p=716 Eternal Life Read More »

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Eternal means that something never ends. It is forever. Any thing that comes to an end or can be terminated is not eternal.

Life according to First John 5:12 is a relationship with Jesus Christ. This verse says,

He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

This is spiritual life as opposed to physical life.

Therefore, when the Bible says that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life, it is telling you that you have a never-ending relationship with Jesus Christ.

This is eternal life, and nothing can bring this to an end.

Once saved, always saved.

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Basic Bible Facts https://lifechangingscriptures.org/basic-bible-facts/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=basic-bible-facts https://lifechangingscriptures.org/basic-bible-facts/#respond Sat, 16 Sep 2017 21:17:11 +0000 http://lifechangingscriptures.org/?p=701 Basic Bible Facts Read More »

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Here are some interesting facts about the Bible.

Books, 66

OT, 39 books / NT, 27 books

Chapters, OT 929, / NT 260, total = 1,189

Verses, 31,102 (OT 23,145 / NT 7,957)

Words, 788,258

Letters, 3,566,480

Longest book is Psalms, shortest book is 3 John for words or 2 John for verses

Longest chapter is Psalm 119, Shortest chapter is Psalm 117

Longest verse is Esther 8:9, Shortest verse John 11:35, “Jesus wept”

Longest name is Mahershalalhashbaz (Isaiah 8:1)

First book is Genesis, last book is Revelation

Last OT book is Malachi

Last NT book is Revelation

First NT book is Matthew

Middle books of 66 are Micah and Nahum

Middle chapter (of 1,189) is Psalm 117, which has only two verses

Middle verses (of 31,102) are Psalm 103:1 and 2

1, A Psalm of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

2, Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.

Middle OT book is Proverbs

Middle OT chapter is Job 20

Middle OT verses are 2 Chronicles 20:17 and 18

Middle NT book is 2 Thessalonians

Middle NT chapters are Romans 8 and 9

Middle NT verse is Acts 27:17

Last word of Bible is Amen

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Local Church in the Bible https://lifechangingscriptures.org/local-church-in-the-bible/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=local-church-in-the-bible https://lifechangingscriptures.org/local-church-in-the-bible/#respond Fri, 11 Aug 2017 21:13:19 +0000 http://lifechangingscriptures.org/?p=691 Local Church in the Bible Read More »

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The Biblical doctrine of the local church is one of the most important principles Christians can become familiar with. Satan has done all he can do to distort and obscure the teaching of the local church. Consequently, many Christians either neglect or hold lightly the importance of the church in their lives.

Many people confuse the family of God with the church of God.

The two terms are not the same. The family of God is made up of all believers. Romans 8:14-16 declares,

For as many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the Sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.

Obviously, all who have given their heart and life to Christ are called Sons of God, making God their Father. All Christians therefore, have the same spiritual Father. That makes all Christians brethren. So then all Christians make up what is called the family of God.

Other references to the family of God include Matthew 5:9, which says,

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”

John 1:12 declares,

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”

In addition, First John 3:1 says,

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”

In contrast, the Bible refers to the church as local assemblies of baptized Christians who have made a covenant with God and to each other to serve God and fulfill His purpose on earth. The Bible refers to church 112 times, and 92 of these references refer to a local church or to many local churches. The remaining references use the word church generically.

The Bible references overwhelmingly point to local churches. In addition, descriptions of church policy can take place only in local church settings. For example, Matthew 18:17 says,

“And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.”

Can you imagine taking a matter of concern to a universal, invisible church? It is impossible. Only the local church can fulfill the Biblical application.

The concept of a universal and invisible church is an attempt to blend the family of God and the church of God together. Subsequently, many Christians who have been taught to think this way have been robbed of doctrinal insights that are important for spiritual maturity and that add to one’s appreciation for Christ’s wonderful plan to fulfill the Great Commission.

Regarding the concept of the universal, invisible church, Roy Mason comments,

This theory, which plays exegetical tricks, employs specious arguments and minimizes the importance of true churches of Christ, is a theory that has been and is a curse to the cause of Christ. It is one of the most widespread and hurtful heresies of our day….” — Roy Mason, 25

What exactly is wrong with the universal, invisible church doctrine?

There are several problems.

  1. First, it is contradictory to the usage of the word ecclesia.
  2. Second, it is contrary to Biblical references to local assemblies such as the seven churches in Asia Minor.
  3. Third, it is impractical for Scriptural application.

It is important to keep in mind that the doctrine in question is the universal, invisible church, not the family of God. The family of God does exist. It includes all believers. However, to call it the universal, invisible church is a mistake. Sad to say, this false doctrine has caused a great deal of confusion, and many Christians have neglected their responsibility to join a local church. Likewise, many local churches have not thrived as they should because they are lacking the gifts and talents of members that should be there.

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