Three Resurection Questions – Part 1

empty-tombOne of the things we notice about the days between the crucifixion and the resurrection is the confusion and dark cloud that seemed to hang over the disciples and the other believers.  In fact, even on the day of the resurrection there is fear and lack of direction and purpose.

While we may be tempted to criticize these early church members, I see the same general malaise in our Baptist churches today.

We that live clearly on this side of the resurrection too often have lives without purpose and joy.  Living as though there was no resurrection after all.

I believe the answer to why this is and how to get out of this sad dreary pit is addressed in the three questions posed to the believers on the Resurrection Sunday as described in the Gospel of Luke.  Let’s see if the Holy Spirit is asking the same questions of us today.

Why Seek the Living Among the Dead? (Luke 24:5)

Why? Because they were faithlessness (Luke 24:1)

Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. (Luk 24:1)

Even a cursory read of the Gospels makes it clear the Lord promised to raise again the third day, and yet the actions of these ladies show them not acting in faith.  If one of them had even the slightest faith, they would not have gone to the expense and effort to prepare the spices needed to complete the burial of the body.  They would have at least thought, “maybe we ought to go to the tomb and see first”.

Too many times we seek the abundant life we long for in the areas and ways of the dead.  We foolishly look to the world’s dead music, love relationships, and drive for ever more possessions and property for life.  We also are looking for life among the dead.

We are living faithless by tithing (or at least “trying to tithe) without really believing God will honor His promise to bless. Thus we have no joy or expectation in our giving. Or worse, we do not give at all because of our lack of faith.

Or maybe we pray and then make plans to violate God’s principles because we do not have faith He will answer or provide a means of escape from our problems.

Why? Because they were fearful (Luke 24:5)

And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? (Luk 24:5)

Fear robs us of our faith.  Their fear of the unknown and trouble brewing made them faithless.

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.(Rom 8:15)

Why? Because they were forgetful (Luke 24:6-7)

…remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. (Luk 24:6-7)

We need reminding of the Bible’s promises, principles, and commands regularly.  That is one reason we need to read, study, mediate, and hear the preaching of God’s Word daily.  Praying the promises and seeking His provisions based upon His Word will keep us mindful of God’s says.

A key to not forgetting is doing!

But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (Jas 1:25)

Do what you hear and you will not forget!

Note what happened when their hearts and heads were put aright

And they remembered his words, And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. (Luk 24:8-9)
  • They remembered  Amazing how well we can think when we are freed from the fear that grips our minds.
  • They returned – they left where faith should have told them not to be in the first place.

 

Watch for part 2 of Resurrection Questions.

Watch the entire service at  Resurrection Questions

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Praying Through

man praying
And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, (Luk 22:39-41)

When Charles Spurgeon spoke of this passage, he referred to it as walking onto Holy Ground.

How different our spirits would be, how much more effective our ministries would be, how much more Christ-like our lives would be if we could put into practice the principles seen here in the last prayer time God shares with us of the Lord Jesus.

Here are some simple, common, but needful reminders of prayer we learn from the Garden Prayer.

The Practice of Prayer

The  word “wont” refers to having a habit. For our prayer life to be effectual, it must be habitual.

The Place of Prayer

Certainly we can and should pray everywhere, but our Lord’s actions confirm that there are special places prayer warriors are pulled for those special seasons of prayer.

This garden was a known “prayer closet” of the Lord.

And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples. (Joh 18:2)

 Abraham had a special place where he spent time with God.

And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD: (Gen 19:27)

The Partners in Prayer

It is good and correct to have partners in our prayer lives.  True, most of our prayers must needs be private and personal, but there is power and support when we unite in prayer with other like-minded believers.

Jesus had His disciples.

Jesus took His disciples to the garden, although Jesus prayed alone during the most pressing prayer times.

We have the saints

Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. (Mat 18:19)

We have the Holy Spirit

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (Rom 8:26-27)

Truly The Holy Spirit is our most important prayer partner.  When we grieve and quench the Spirit of God we weakening our prayer potential.

The Prevailing in Prayer – “Praying Through”

And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (Luk 22:44)

Praying though means you earnestly and fervently pray about a particular matter until the Holy Spirit releases you and gives you confidence that it is settled. You may not have the answer yet, but the peace comes that the issue is resolved and in God’s control.

praying_man_at_altar

Some years ago it was common to greet another believer with the expression, “Have you prayed through today?”

If a person was praying about a  decision he might be asked, “have you prayed it through?”

Examples of praying through:

Jesus in this passage.  See the peace with which he approached the coming passion after prevailing in prayer.

Jacob with the angel

Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us; (Hos 12:4)

Hannah over her barrenness

And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore. (1Sa 1:10)…And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad. (1Sa 1:18)

 Let’s Pray Through!

 


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The Foci of the Church

focus-glasses1

It is easy for a church to lose its focus.  Below is a short list of some of the top priorities for the foci of the church.

As usual, I will allow the Scriptures to do most of the talking.

The Saviour

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. (Col 1:18)

Jesus must be the cornerstone of the church and be magnified, glorified, and promoted in every aspect and ministry of the church.

He, being the head, should set the direction, and as the Chief Shepherd, He must lead and give the instructions and orders for all things in the church.

The Scriptures

But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. (1Ti 3:15)
 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. (Jud 1:3)

The Bible is not only God’s love letter to Christians, it is the instruction manual for the biblechurch.  As Baptists, we have as one of our distinctives that the Bible is our sole authority and guide for all doctrine and practice.    If it is un-scriptural, we must not do or promote it. 

The Souls

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Mat 28:19-20)

The main thing for the church to focus on is reaching lost souls with the Gospel and seeking to see them Born Again.  It is the job of  each church member and pastor to work at keeping the main thing the main thing and the main thing is soul winning.

In God’s critique of the church at Ephesus in Revelation, He adjures them to return to their first love (Jesus Christ) and then to their first works, the matter of soul winning.

Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. (Rev 2:4-5)

The Saints – Training and care

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (Eph 4:11-12)

God tells us that one of the most important activities in the church is the training of His minsters, ambassadors, teachers, and workers. We are to always be equipping and being equipped for the work of the ministry through the local church.


How is the focus of our church?  Let us make sure that we are always about the work of the ministry and keeping our spiritual eyes properly focused on Christ and His priorities for the church.


Visit us online at Lighthouse Baptist of the East Bay

Financing the Church

 

offeringGiving

The Lord speaks much about money. One of the areas He address clearly is about our giving to His church. 

Here is a brief discussion of what God has to say about financing His work.  I will let the Scriptures do most of the talking. 

God observes our giving

And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living. (Mar 12:41-44) 

  • He not only observes that we DO give, but how much and with what sacrifice it is given.

  • God does not like us lying about our giving.

But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price… and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? …thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. (Act 5:1-5)

  • God does not like us stealing from Him in our givingJune-27-ddc9cec9fa962343959247c593b9b58f

Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. (Mal 3:8-9)

God orders our giving

  • What to bring – Our tithes

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house (Mal 3:10)

  • What to bring – Our offerings

Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.

  • Where to bring it – Our church

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house,

We call it storehouse tithing.  We bring the tithe into God’s storehouse for the operation of His house – The church.

We are only to give our tithe to the local church of where we attend.  We can give to other ministries and services as we desire and feel led, but the tithe belongs only in the church.

  • When to give it – Weekly 

Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. (1Co 16:2)

  • How to give it – cheerfully

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grlaughterudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. (2Co 9:7)

 

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. (Luk 6:38)

 


Visit us online at Lighthouse Baptist Church of the East Bay