The Hope of the Return of Jesus Christ

The Hope
From an August 2004 Teaching [brackets mine]
“In the Bible, the word “hope” is always used regarding something that is not available at the present time.  Hope pertains to something in the future; believing pertains to those things which can be had immediately.”
-The Way Magazine, 2004
I Thessalonians 4:13-18  But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep [those who have died], that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [precede] them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord [Jesus] himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.Jesus Christ is returning someday!  Verse 16 says that “the dead in Christ shall rise first” – those born again believers who have died will be raised from the dead unto eternal life.  Then verse 17 states that those of us who are still alive will be “caught up together with them in the clouds…and so shall we ever be with the Lord”It is much more comforting to know this truth from the Word, than it is to believe what the world tries to tell us about those who are “asleep”  Ecclesiastes 9:5 says:  For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. – The “memory of them is forgotten” means that when their physical body dies, all of their memories go with it.  It does not mean that we forget their memory or don’t honor them.  The context of the verse is illustrating that once a person’s physical body dies, their body does not continue on living in any other form.  Once Christ returns, the “dead in Christ” [born again believers who have passed] shall rise again at that time.

I Corinthians 15:51-53: What will happen when Jesus Christ returns?

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump:  for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  For this corruptible [the born-again believers who are dead] must put on incorruption, and this mortal [the born-again believers who are alive] must put on immortality.

When Christ returns we will all be changed, and receive an eternal body.

Revelation 21:4:  Not only will we live eternally, but…

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

I Corinthians 15:26:  There’s more…

The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.  (Death will be no more.)
This verse tells us that death is an enemy, not a friend.  Life is precious and each one of our lives are valuable to God and to one another.  God wants us to live and have abundance in our lives, it is never his will for us to die.

-We have the immediate victory of Christ-In-Us when we become born again.
-We have the ultimate victory when Christ returns and death shall be destroyed.  We will live out the eternal life that God gave us when we were saved.

I Peter 3:12-15

For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.  And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?  But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;  But sanctify [set apart a special place for] the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear [respect, awe]

We have the Immediate AND the Ultimate victory in Christ. We have already won!

As we set apart a special place for the Lord in our hearts, we can give an answer to every man who asks us the reason for our HOPE, which is the promise of eternal life!

God Bless You!

Power of the Resurrection

Power of the Resurrection
From an April 2004 Teaching [brackets mine]
Matthew 28:6 – He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

[Photo: An eastern cave]

Let’s quickly review a brief overview of the events after Christ’s resurrection:

The Words: “He is risen” were spoken at the tomb of Jesus Christ.

He remained on this earth for 40 days in his resurrected body.

During this time he was seen by over 500 people.
Signs, Miracles and Wonders were done by him and by the Believers.

Thomas is reunited with the other Eleven Apostles after being absent when Jesus gave them instruction.
They tell him of Christ’s appearance in verse 25 of John 20.

John 20:24-25 – But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the LORD. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

Thomas was doubtful of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but later believes.

John 20:26-29 – And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God. 29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

This appearance was probably for the benefit of Thomas and his lack of believing.
“My Lord and my God…” means that Jesus was his Lord (Master) and represented God.

John 20:30-31 – And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

This is the purpose for these records in the Word.  They were written so that people will believe that Jesus Christ was risen, and that he is the only begotten SON OF GOD.

Let’s continue in John 21:1-3 – After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself. 2 There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. 3 Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.

[Photo: Tiberias and Sea of Galilee, Looking South]

John 21:1-3
“Sea of Tiberias” = “Sea of Galilee.”
[This Sea today is 13 miles long and 7 miles wide.]

This record takes place near the location where this photograph was taken

John 21:4-14 – But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. 5 Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. 6 And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. 7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea. 8 And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes. 9 As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. 10 Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. 11 Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. 12 Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. 14 This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead. 15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

-In the morning, Jesus, standing on the shore, instructs his disciples to cast their nets over the right side of the ship. At this point they didn’t know it was him.
-They obey, and they catch more fish than they can bring into the ship.
-One of Jesus’ disciples recognizes him and tells the rest of them.
-Peter was so excited that he didn’t wait to paddle to shore; he jumped in the water and swam to meet Jesus.
-On the shore there was a campfire, and when the rest of the disciples got there they broke bread and ate fish that Jesus had prepared
-In verses 15-17 Jesus tells Peter to “Feed My Sheep” three times establishing that he was responsible for all of God’s people as a leader, and was called to take care of the “flock” referring to the people of the congregation.

Verse 25 sums up the impact of this record beautifully.

John 21:25 –  And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. 

Several Of Christ’s other resurrection appearances are listed in:
I Corinthians 15:4-8 – He was seen of over 500, and of Paul

Jesus Christ’s ascension is recorded in the book of Acts 1:1-9

And the “Promise of the Father” from Acts 1:4 is unveiled in Acts chapter 2:

Acts 2:1-4 – And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

They received holy spirit and manifested the proof and evidence of eternal life which is speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, and word of prophecy.  There are also 6 other manifestations available which are listed in I Corinthians 12 7-11

Many Wonders and Signs were done by the Apostles in the days following:

Acts 2:38-43
 – Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call. 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.

Over Three Thousand people were born again unto eternal life in a single day!

Jesus Christ left no reason for doubt that indeed he was risen.
Signs, Miracles, and Wonders were seen and done by believers!
People were born again by the THOUSANDS!
Our God has not changed!  We can have the same impact today!

God Bless You!

Power in Discipleship

Power in Discipleship

From a February 2004 Teaching, [brackets mine]

This Teaching is about the power that we have as disciples of God and followers of the Lord, Jesus Christ.
Jesus always did the Father’s will, so he is our example.

Who is this “power of discipleship” available to?
-Anyone and everyone who desires to love God.
You cannot be a servant (disciple) of God unless you first become a child of God.

Romans 10:9-10 – That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Once you are born again, you become a child of God and can serve Him fully.
There are many people who want to serve God.  Are you one of them?  Are you willing to be a disciple for Him?

What is a Disciple?
-A disciple is a “Disciplined Follower” of Jesus Christ

How do we receive and utilize this power?
This power we have as disciples comes when we follow the Lord Jesus Christ first, and then lead by our example of humility and meekness to the Word of God.

You have to follow before you can lead.

Quote: “My weeks in Boot Camp at Parris Island taught me that you have to know how to follow before you can lead. To stretch beyond what I had previously thought were my mental and physical limits. Later, as a 2nd Lieutenant, I learned Leadership, the quintessential quality, without which no matter how great the other resources, no organization can be successful.”

-Robert A. Lutz
2001 Chairman of General Motors North America
fmr. United States Marine Corps

1 Corinthians 7:22 – “For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant [disciple, follower] is the Lord’s freeman: [free to lead, free to serve] likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. [disciple]”

As you serve, you are also leading whether you recognize it or not.

How do we lead according to God’s Word?
We lead with a humble and meek heart as noted in James chapter one

James 1:21 – Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

Philippians 2:7-9 – But [Christ] made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

When do we lead?
Right Now!

Ephesians 5:16 – Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Where is our sufficiency?

II Corinthians 3: 5 – “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves……but our sufficiency is of God.”

Our power is given to us by God as we obey his Word and discipline ourselves to it!

God Bless You!