Thursday
Mar262015

The promise fulfilled

Explore the Bible
April 12, 2014

Charles A. Collins
missionary
Spain

Luke 24:13-35

It goes without saying that not all promises become realities.

We have all had occasion to think, “Promises, promises, all I ever get are promises.”

Most of us have been discouraged when someone  has promised us something and that something never happened. I know I have. And probably you have too. You know how it made you feel – not very good.
The typical excuse is, “I forgot.” That sometimes happens, but not all the time.

In this passage, we find that God does not forget, nor does He renege on His promises. He does what He says.

Our Lord never made any unfilled promises. That would be the same as lying, and God does not lie. Hebrews 6:18 says that it is impossible for God to lie. The promise was made for Jesus to die and be raised again from the dead, and that promise was not a lie.

The story picks up in Luke 24:13 with some disciples on their way to Emmaus. They had reason to be sad because they had seen the One they trusted with their eternal salvation taken away and crucified. They had no reason to doubt that Jesus could and would do what He said. Someone has said, “If it is too good to be true, it is probably too good to be true.” The disciples’ eyes had seen Jesus die, and their minds said that “once dead, always dead.”

They were heading to Emmaus and preparing to pick up the pieces of their lives and start over again. Jesus came unexpected. No one recognized Him at first. Their eyes and ears were closed, but then they were opened. They saw and heard much as Job did (Job 42:5). It was then that they believed.

The promise became a reality before the disciples discovered it. That promise is still fulfilled today.
You are not alone. You are not without hope.

The risen Christ is still alive today and is there to walk with you. Just let Him.

Thursday
Mar262015

Ascended like no other

Bible Studies for Life
April 12, 2014

Daniel Johnson
minister to students
First Baptist
Dover

Acts 1:3-11

For people in the workforce, there was a time when they prepared for the vocation they now perform. Perhaps that preparation was college, vo-tech or on-the-job training, but for everyone there came a day when he or she transitioned from learning to doing and from preparing to performing.

For three years, the disciples followed Jesus. He taught them, He mentored them and He equipped them for the transition found in Acts 1:3-11. For 40 days after His resurrection, Jesus proved that He was indeed alive, giving His followers the final preparation for the commission found in Acts 1:8. Just before Jesus ascended to heaven, He instructed them to go throughout the world as witnesses for Him.

Many great leaders have come and gone, but Jesus is different. Jesus didn’t exit the world stage in death; He ascended to heaven alive, in victory. Jesus didn’t leave His disciples a manmade legacy; He left them with the keys to heaven (Matt. 16:17-19). He didn’t leave His followers to carry on without Him; He continues on with them. As Romans 8:34 says, He is interceding for Christians at the right hand of God. When Jesus transitioned to heaven and the disciples transitioned to witnesses, the Holy Spirit indwelled the disciples and empowered them to fulfill the commission of the Lord.

Christians today also have that same commission. The moment a person moves from hearing the gospel to following the gospel, the Holy Spirit indwells him or her and there is a transition from sinner to saint and from enemy (James 4:4, Col. 1:21) of God to evangelist for God. Christians follow a Leader, greater than any other, who has equipped and enabled His followers to fulfill their calling. When Jesus ascended, He left instructions: Be My witnesses. For believers, the time of learning the gospel has ended, and the time for sharing the gospel has arrived. Wherever God has planted them, through whatever relational platform – work, kids’ activities or hobbies – Christians are to be witnesses for Christ.

Thursday
Mar262015

The declaration 

Explore the Bible
April 5, 2014

Charles A. Collins
missionary
Spain

Luke 24:1-12

A declaration is a formal public statement. It is made in front of an audience. It is considered an authoritative statement issued by one having authority to do so. There have been many such statements made over time. Two of the more famous ones are the Declaration of Independence (July 8, 1776) and the Emancipation Proclamation (Jan. 1, 1863). There are many more.

Each of these statements made by men are important, but they all pale in comparison to Jesus’ declaration of victory over death. It can be found in distinct forms in all the Gospels. It says, “From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life” (Matt. 16:21). Jesus’ Resurrection Declaration is, “I will live again,” and He did.

Jesus declared His ability to conquer death. It is one thing to declare a thing, but it is another to make it happen. Matthew 9:1-8 demonstrates the fact that Jesus was able to back up His statements with actions. This is a good example of Jesus’ ability to declare and defend His declaration. Jesus forgave sin, and He healed the sinner as proof that He could forgive.

Luke 24 tells the story of Christ’s resurrection.

The early believers went to the tomb after the Crucifixion looking for a body but found  the Anointed One.

The angels were saying in effect, “He told you so. He declared that He would die but then be resurrected.”

The disciples had forgotten what Jesus had declared.

Luke 24:1-12 is a reminder of what happens in one’s spiritual life when he or she forgets what Christ has declared. Christ’s declaration was meant to inspire and encourage. The early believers were afraid and confused because they forgot. Let us remember His words lest we fall into the same situation. He is alive. His death is our victory. Never forget.

Thursday
Mar262015

Resurrected like no other

Bible Studies for Life
April 5, 2014

Daniel Johnson
minister to students
First Baptist
Dover

Matthew 28:1-10

The hearse pulls out of the church parking lot and heads to the cemetery. There, a family will grieve and say their final goodbyes to a recently deceased loved one. A lifetime of moments and memories is over and relationships are severed. It’s a dark day in the lives of any family when they lose a member to the consequence of sin: death.

God is just and punishes all sin. Physical death is a result of man’s rebellion. Beyond that, an eternity in hell is the ultimate price everyone faces for their transgressions; however, God is as equally loving as He is just. He desires to save men from His just wrath, and He sent His Son, Jesus, to suffer as a substitute in the place of sinners so that they could be extended forgiveness.

On Easter morning, a resurrection occurred (Matt. 28:1-10) like none before. While resurrections had happened previously, such as Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:41-42) and Lazarus (John 11:43-44), each of these people rose from the grave to one day return to it. Sin’s death penalty had not been removed. The resurrection of Jesus is different. Through His death, Jesus took on the punishment for sin once for all. Thus, when He came back to life, He rose never to die again.

Jesus’ resurrection stands as proof that God’s justice has been served and that all of the consequences of the Genesis 3 curse will be removed. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:20-24 that Christ is the first fruits of the Resurrection and that, like Jesus, one day all Christians will be resurrected.

When believers face death, it is not with fear. When believers are separated by death, it is not without hope. Paul proclaims in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 that just as Christians believe Jesus rose from the dead, so too believers look forward to again enjoying their lives and friendships with other believers at the Second Coming of the Lord. This Easter, celebrate the salvation made possible through the death of Jesus and enjoy the assurance of that salvation provided by His resurrection.

Thursday
Mar122015

The promised Messiah

Explore the Bible
March 29, 2014

Gayla Parker
member
Lifeway Baptist
Little Rock

Zechariah 8:1-8; 9:9-12

A few years ago, a very good friend treated me with a trip to Israel, a gift I will never be able to repay. I was one of 10 women on the trip. My role was to lead a few Bible studies along the way. The sights and sounds of Israel will forever be embedded in my memory: the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea, Capernaum, Jacob’s Well, the Jordan River – all of it was amazing. But there was something special about being inside the walls that surround the Old City of Jerusalem. Maybe it was the view of Golgotha or walking in the garden where Jesus prayed. Maybe it was the Wailing Wall or singing worship songs in the temple with perfect acoustics. Or maybe it was knowing that one day Jesus will return and enter through the Eastern Gate in His ultimate triumph.

In the midst of the wonder was heartbreak, heartbreak for God’s chosen people who were still waiting on the Messiah and working incredibly hard at following all the rules until His arrival. The hotel elevators could not “work” on the Sabbath so there was only one in service set to automatically stop on each floor. Hamburgers could not be served with buns during Passover or potatoes with sour cream and butter if they accompanied a steak at any time. Cheese and pepperoni could not be on the same pizza. I would never be able to keep up! What a relief to know I do not need to because the Messiah has come!

His arrival was prophesied in Zechariah 9:9 (ESV): “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

I was privileged to walk by the Eastern Gate that is now sealed shut, but one day it will be opened wide again.

“Thus says the Lord of hosts: Behold, I will save my people, … and I will bring them to dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness” (Zech. 8:7-8).

Amen and Amen!