Monday, October 26, 2009

The Good News- Part 3

What Evidence is there for the Resurrection?

This subject is very well treated in books by Josh McDowell, especially "Evidence that Demands a Verdict". He shows that the resurrection is a well- documented historical event. Here are some points which support the claim that Jesus rose from the dead.

1. The grave was empty. The Pharisees knew where the body was put, and they had the tomb sealed and guarded. Something happened so that they spread the story that the disciples stole the body of Jesus. They knew the tomb was empty. If they knew the body was there, they could have easily stopped the preaching of the apostles later on.

2. The disciples claimed they saw Jesus as resurrected, not just as individuals, but as a group and on more than one occasion. (Luke 24:37-43; Acts 1:1-11). "This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses." (Acts 2:32). If they knew they were lying, why would they go on to die willingly for their lie, as so many did? If they were deceived, and having mass hallucinations, then why would the grave be empty?

3. The disciples then and many disciples today through their changed lives and many miracles of healing done in the name of Jesus give us another powerful evidence that Jesus is really alive.

Some unbelieving scholars and eastern gurus have made various feeble attempts to deny the resurrection. Some say that Jesus didn't really die on the cross, that He only swooned and revived in the cool of the garden tomb. Leaving aside John's testimony of the blood and the water which demonstrate medically that Jesus' heart had failed, how would a beaten, crucified Jesus roll the stone away, get past the roman guard and convince his disciples that He was resurrected? It is amazing what kind of theories men will invent to deny the truth.

How to Be Born Again

You must accept this salvation as a gift. You cannot earn it (Eph 2:8,9). To receive a new life from God you must receive Jesus into your life. (John 1:12). He will then give you a new life and the possibility to change. To do this, you must respond to God’s Holy Spirit, who urges you to forsake your excuses and commit yourself wholeheartedly to Christ. This wholehearted commitment, this faith, this believing in Christ, brings God into your life.

Romans 10:9 declares:

“that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

This believing in Christ’s resurrection means believing from the heart, with full conviction, that God is real, and that Jesus is really alive. The Greek tense of the word “confess” in this verse tells us that our confession of Jesus as Lord needs to be an ongoing one. The idea is that we don’t deny Him as Lord. We say with our mouth before men and act with our lives as if He is Lord - our Lord. This confession will have an influence on what we say and do. Since Jesus is the Word of God, our salvation is received and maintained by an ongoing confession of what the Word of God says. Jesus said, “... by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matt. 12:37). So our confession of God’s Word is the key to our salvation.

When you repent, believe and confess the Lord Jesus Christ, God gives you a new heart (Jer. 31:33) and a new desire to please God. Out of gratitude and respect you will allow God to change you more and more and direct your life in the future. Why not put your trust in Jesus right now for this salvation and forgiveness. You can do this by praying this prayer to God right now:

O God, I come to you because I need your forgiveness. Like all others, I have been selfish and rebellious and have broken your laws for life. I confess all my sins to you (name them). I’m sorry for these sins. I want to change. I turn from my sin to You. I believe that you died on the cross to pay for my sins. I believe that you rose from the dead and are alive. Come and live in my heart, Lord Jesus. I give my whole life - including my mind and body - to you. I receive and confess you as my Lord and Saviour now and always. Wash away my sins. Give me your free forgiveness. I believe that you have made me a child of God. I thank you, Father, for new life in Christ and a new relationship with You. And Father, just as you forgive me my sins, I also forgive all those who have sinned against me. Lead me in the way I should go, fill me with the Holy Spirit and keep me from the evil one all the days of my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

If you have prayed this prayer from your heart then you have become a new person in Christ! The old has gone, the new has come! (2 Cor. 5:17). Give thanks verbally to Christ for coming into your life. Remember always that you have solemnly received Him as your Lord and Saviour. Let His Spirit and His Word guide you always, and keep your trust in Him for all the new decisions you will be making in working out the application of your new life in Christ. Please contact me if you have prayed this prayer, so we can celebrate with you and help you go on with God. The Lord bless you.

Full Salvation - from pardon to union with God

Through the death and resurrection of Christ a way has been made for us to enter into fellowship with God once again. (1 Cor. 1:9; 1Jn 1:3; Heb 10:19,20). It is not just that we may be forgiven, although this is part of it (1 Jn 1:9). We may bejustified before God (declared righteous, just as if we had never sinned) (Rom. 3:24) and thereby have peace with God. (Rom. 5:1). Of course, peace with God is not possible if we still want to be rebels against God and His word. That is one reason why repentance (change of mind and life) is necessary for us to be saved. Repentance is something we must embrace, but we know also from the Scriptures that it is a gift from God (Acts 3:26; Acts 11:18). At the time of our new birth(John 3:3) we are regenerated spiritually, we receive new life, and new hope. The old has gone, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Our full salvation includes more than this. It includes being adopted as sons of God, being reconciled to God (so that we talk to each other in loving acceptance), changed in our nature, receiving a recreated, new spirit which is perfect, and the ability to "put on Christ and put off the deeds of the flesh" (Rom 13:14; Col. 3).

Full salvation is not received at the moment we receive Christ, except as a legal inheritance. Some parts of it are received instantly, such as justification, forgiveness and the new birth, but other parts of our full salvation must be "worked out with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:13), especially our sanctification and holiness, which like everything else in salvation, is received by and through faith. The salvation of the soul (the mind, will and emotions) is a process and not an event. (1 Peter 1:9)

The other things that Jesus bought for us at the cross are also part of our full salvation. Deliverance from the curse,deliverance from demons, healing, health, prosperity, the revelation of God's love, the baptism of the Holy Spirit - all these things must be received by faith and don't usually happen at the moment we are born again. Sometimes we must be patient to receive these blessings (Hebrews 6:12), but we should never doubt that God wants us to have and enjoy them.

The pinnacle of salvation is to be united to God in spirit and soul and body. Our bodies, the temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), were made to receive God (John 1:12) and to reveal God (John 14:12; Galatians 2:20; 1 John 4:12,17). Only when we come to the place where our soul moves in absolute unity with the heart and mind of God can we say we have actually received the fulness of salvation. Legally we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) but we must appropriate it. In this state of unity and dependence, God moves with full power and authority through his trusting child who by faith is kept from all sin, and the wicked one touches him not. (1 John 5:18).

Every child of God, no matter how much of God's great salvation he actually appropriates before he dies, has the wonderful salvation promise of heaven and an eternity free from sin, evil, disease and all the wonderful blessings of God (John 14:2,3). We should therefore understand how to receive this salvation and keep hold of the hope of everlasting life with God (Hebrews 10:23). For this it will be necessary to understand more about the doctrines of repentance and faith, which are the two abiding conditions for the receiving of salvation.

Remain blessed

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