Jesus In Matthew …. The King …… March 18, 2018 Easter Sunday….. He Is Alive …… April 1, 2018

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Preparing for Easter …… March 25, 2018

     Next Sunday we will enjoy and celebrate Easter – a day equivalent to Christmas in importance to the Christian. At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus who is our only hope for salvation. For thirty-three years he lived as flesh and blood, walking upon the very earth He created. He experienced everything a person born of flesh experiences: temptation, weariness, rejection, hunger, happiness, sadness, and just fill in the blank __________. Yet in all his experiences He NEVER sinned. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15 ESV  Jesus, the only Son of God, was born to take the punishment of sin on our behalf that we might experience saving grace from God. Jesus is the perfect Lamb of God!!! John the Baptist described him like this, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29 ESV  In order to understand the seriousness of sin from God’s perspective, we read in Hebrews 9:22 (ESV), “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.”  That is why in the garden when Jesus said, “My Father , if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” Matthew 26:39 ESV” , God was silent, except perhaps to say to Jesus’s ears only, “Son, there is no other way.” Then Jesus replied, “not as I will but your will be done.” Matthew 26:39b. Then came the cross of Calvary. I need not describe the pain and agony experienced there, for you have heard and read of it many times. One fact of the cross to always remember: JESUS DIED THERE. As flesh, he experienced death, not because of his sins, but ours. For our sakes he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV  Remember the statement Jesus made just a few minutes before He died? “My God, my god, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46b. I believe at just this moment, when all the sins of the world were placed upon Jesus, God looked away; for God does not and will not have fellowship with sin. Perhaps Jesus knew for just a moment the separation that sin causes between us and God. But the cross wasn’t the end!!!! Jesus was buried, and three days later He defeated sin and death. He broke the chains that enslaved us by rising from the very grave that tried to claim Him. Imagine Satan yelling to his demons of death, “HOLD HIM!!!! HOLD HIM!!!”
     Christ arose, and we have reason to celebrate this fact, especially if you are in the family of God, being forgiven, saved, and redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb. So let us prepare to make this next Sunday a day of celebration, not just at church, but the whole day with family or fellow Christians.

Prepare Your Heart This Week:
     In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. 1 Peter 3:15 ESV

     People are hopefully more open to church at Easter and Christmas than any other time of year. Seize the moment. Be more intentional this week to prepare your heart to reach out and invite those who may not attend church. Pray that God will put in front of you people you can invite to join in this celebration. Remember you are inviting them to a celebration of life made possible by Christ alone. Be ready to share with anyone the reason for the hope of life you have in Christ Jesus.

Anticipate:
     With God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26b

     Within the world we live, there is much that seems impossible concerning spiritual matters. When evil seems to be prospering around us and things look dark, let us not grow weary. Always remember GOD IS ALWAYS AT WORK. We may not see it from a human perspective nor understand how God is working, but his is working. What seems impossible to us is always possible with God. Jesus said, “With God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26b “All things are possible for one who believes.” Mark 9:23b  I am not teaching “name it and claim it”, nor a prosperity type gospel. I am teaching that God is greater that any circumstance in life, and nothing is impossible to God. We serve a great God and we need to seek how He is working, with anticipation, in things that can only be explained by God.

Believe:
     Jesus answered them, This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” John 6:29 ESV

     There are many verses about believing, but always remember this is the most important work you can do. The reason for this is that  what you believe will determine how you live. While believing in the resurrection this week, let this belief bring you to praise and worship of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Person of the holy Spirit. Meditate upon this intentionally this week by thinking often of it and arranging things in your life to remind you of this wonderful ….. RESURRECTION DAY!!!! Celebrate it every day this week intentionally. Let your waking breath thank God for it, and then throughout the day do the same. Find a scripture that you could use to celebrate it by reading or quoting it often through the day. What you believe is important will occupy your mind. Doing this will make you more mindful of the importance of Resurrection Sunday!

     In closing, let me encourage you to do one more thing. Plan for next Sunday after church to do an intentional celebration with family or friends. Have a dinner, release balloons with scriptures attached as a witness to anyone who might later find one of them. Go online and find things you can do to celebrate this day in a special way. If you make this day that important to you, other may wonder why, which will give you opportunity to witness. For sure it will make a lasting impression upon your children, for what is important to you is what you will teach is important to them. Have a blessed coming EASTER CELEBRATION DAY!

Because of His Grace ~ Paster David

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