He is Risen!

He is risen! This is the proclamation of the disciples and the early Church. Whilst this may seem like a peripheral issue to some, where they may argue that even if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead he still taught many good lessons when he was alive. Thus his life still held value even if he wasn’t resurrected. Yet the great Apostle emphatically claims that; “And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” 1 Cor 15:17-19

Our faith is futile, according to Paul, if Jesus did not rise from the dead simply because if he did not rise, then his words and teachings could not be trusted as truth, since he prophesied and proclaimed his own resurrection. And if his words are not true, then we have no hope of life with Christ after death, thereby making life futile and meaningless.

The prevailing atheistic perspective seems to be that when our life is over, we simply cease to exist. What a miserable prospect indeed. That all we have to look forward to is non-existence. What’s the point of living if that were the case? It is little wonder that people are stricken with depression and hopelessness to the point where they take their own lives because they perceive a bleak future of nothingness.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ does not only offer hope of a glorious future for his faithful followers but he affirmed, and verified, this promise of eternal life by rising from the tomb of death after three days. “Did the resurrection really happen?” is the cynical question voiced by unbelievers. I don’t have time to unpack all of the evidences but for further research, explore these basic tenets of the veracity of the resurrection of Jesus: living eye witness accounts such as the New Testament writers who were never refuted, the empty tomb where Jesus was buried and lastly, the most logical explanation for the willingness of Jesus’ disciples to lay down their own lives in martyrdom and the spread of Christianity in the face of extreme persecution.

There are many more but those three tenets are sufficiently compelling to speak to the truth of the resurrection of Jesus. We can find joy and hope knowing that what awaits us, when our life on earth is through, is the glory of his Holy presence forever! Hallelujah!

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 1 Cor 15:20

Suffering Saviour

When we consider the many attributes of God, we often think of his awesomeness and grandeur. And so we should. However, perhaps the most powerful characteristic of our God is that of a suffering saviour.

This is significant because even though we live in a world filled with suffering, pain and injustice, the God of all creation did not stand outside of the human condition to judge a lost humanity. Instead the scriptures tell us that God became a man and as a man He endured the worst that the world could impose on a person, including the torturous death of the cross.

As a man our Lord Jesus experienced that gamut of human misery; in that He was homeless (Matt 8:20), rejected by society (Isa 53:3), suffered hunger and thirst (Matt 21:18, Jn 19:28), He was falsely accused, abandoned, tempted, stressed, He was beaten and tortured (Jn 19). His suffering ultimately culminating on the malevolent, Roman instrument of killing, the Cross.

While God has not removed suffering and pain from our existence, He stands with us in our suffering with nail scarred hands and feet, and a pierced side. He lets us know that He has suffered with us and that suffering and death has brought redemption to us, that regardless of what our lot is in this life, we can live with Him in eternal joy.

He proved this by being resurrected after being dead for three days. He demonstrated that He is indeed who He said He is, the Lord of Glory, the Word made flesh. When you live your life in Christ, you too shall live again because He died for all humanity. This is God’s great love.

1 John 4:14-16 - And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

An Exciting Time

What an exciting time here at the Pentecostals of Sydney as we launch our new service format with multiple services every Sunday morning, as well as our Wednesday night midweek Bible study at Church. This is a means by which we can make more room for more people to come and be part of God’s Kingdom and help deepen their walk with God.

Underpinning all this and all that we do in this Church is the burden and great passion of God; the making of Christian disciples. This is of vital importance because if heaven is real and if hell is real, as the Bible claims, then our loving God’s primary concern is that none spend eternity in torment but in heaven. This is why He gave us the Great Commission (Matt 28:19-20) - to ensure that all people of all nations are brought into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

This great concern borne out of God’s amazing love is expressed in the method that Jesus taught through the discipleship of the whole world. This is our task and our method, we must do everything in our power, resources and time to live out this purpose.

God's amazing grace has afforded us this opportunity through the incarnation of God Himself into this world through the man Christ Jesus. As fully man He gave up His life in the horrific torture, and ultimately death, by crucifixion.

His death however paid the price for all of man's sin and His resurrection ensured the resurrection of all of His disciples. We are a month away from Easter, or Passover, in which we commemorate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Let this month be for us a journey of drawing closer to our heavenly Father as we walk in His grace and resurrection power.

Matthew 20:28 - Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.