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Leaning on The Rock of Our
Scripture: 1 Peter 2:6-10
In perilous times like these, we ought to find ourselves looking to lean on the rock of our solid foundation; that solid foundation being Jesus Christ. His death, burial and resurrection is that which the church has been built upon, it stands as the proof for our salvation. As a church, we are built upon Jesus Christ himself. We are built upon the testimony to him as crucified, risen from the dead, ascended into heaven, sitting on the right hand of the Father making intercession for us even now in these troubled times and coming back again one day to receive us into His Kingdom. We need to remember and hold on to the Rock of our salvation.
Point 1: Our duty as a church
As a church, we are defined as an assembly or a gathering of people. In the Greek, we are defined as the ekklesia, the ones who have been called out, called forth by the same God. As a church, we are identified as a visible body of believers who profess Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour and who worship Him in spirit and in truth. As a church, our personal interests should be put aside and our focus should be on that of:
Point 2: Our strong foundation, the Rock
In this metaphorical description of Jesus Christ, he is called a stone, to denote his invincible strength and everlasting duration, and to teach his servants that he is their protection and security, the foundation on which they are built, and a rock of offense to all their enemies. This is what our strong foundation; The Rock is for us also. He is the living stone, having eternal life in himself, and He is life to all His people. The reputation and respect he has with God and mankind are very different. He was rejected by his own countrymen the Jews, and by the generality of mankind; but chosen of God, separated and fore-ordained to be the foundation of the church (I Peter 1:20), a precious, most honorable choice, a worthy person in himself, in the esteem of God, and in the judgment of all who believe on him. The Rock, the solid foundation that we as the church, the body of Christ, the Bride, the ekklesia are built upon!
Jesus Christ is the very foundation-stone of all our hopes and happiness. It is He who became our Intercessor, our Mediator and gave us access to the Father (John 14:6) It is through Jesus that we are made partakers of all spiritual blessings.(Eph 1:3) This precious stone that was rejected, Jesus Christ, chosen of God, to be the Lord of the universe, the head of the church, the Saviour of his people, and the Judge of the world. Christ, our strong foundation, is a living stone who is precious to all who are faithful, building us up as Christians into lively stones, making us spiritual houses, adopting us into a holy priesthood! Our strong foundation the rock is Jesus Christ!
Point 3: Our lives as chosen people
All true Christians are a chosen generation who all make one family, a people distinct from the common world, of another spirit, principle, and practice, who could never be if we hadn’t been chosen in Christ to be such, and sanctified by his Spirit. All the true servants of Christ are a royal priesthood. We are royal in our relation to God and Christ and in our hopes and expectations. We are a royal priesthood, separated from sin and sinners, consecrated to God, and offering to God spiritual services and oblations, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
As Christians, wherever they may be, compose one holy nation. We are one nation, collected under one head, agreeing in the same manners and customs, and governed by the same Gospel; and we are a holy nation, consecrated and devoted to God, renewed and sanctified by his Holy Spirit. As Christians, a holy priesthood, a holy nation, it is an honor as servants of Christ that we are God’s peculiar people. We are the people of his acquisition, his choice, his care, and his delight. These four dignities of all genuine Christians didn’t come naturally; our first state is a state of horrid darkness, but we are effectually called out of darkness into a state of marvellous light, joy, pleasure, and prosperity, with this intent and view, that we should show forth, by words and actions, the virtues and praises of him who has called us out of darkness into a marvelous light.
A people of God, who have obtained mercy and grace. A people who have been given the privilege to Lean on The Rock of Our Salvation: Jesus Christ during these perilous times. A people of God given the opportunity to dwell in the secret place of the Most High and abide under the shadow of the Almighty. He is our refuge and our fortress! (Psalm 9:1 - 4) in these perilous times. Because as a chosen people, when we look back over our lives and think things over, if it had not been for Jesus Christ shedding His blood on Calvary’s Cross where would we be in this pandemic! We are God’s most valuable people in the world and he will take us through this test! Just trust him and wait on him, he will set our feet on a rock! (Psalm 40:1 - 2)
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Looking at our current state of affairs, we have been informed as a society, a country, a nation and worldwide that this pandemic we are currently experiencing: COVID-19could throw us into a recession. People are rapidly losing their jobs, their homes and in some cases their integrity and dignity. Many businesses, companies and financial institutions are downsizing, merging with others and shifting schedules just to stay in business while others, unfortunately, have been forced to close their doors to the public due to the lack of finding a way to keep the establishment running, in spite of. Educational and Religious institutions have had to resort to other means of communicating academic lessons and God’s Holy Word. This can all serve as a brief reminder of the Great Depression, which lasted from 1929 to 1939, when the unemployment rate peaked at 25.59% in 1933, while our current unemployment rate is nearing 18% and rising with millions of people continuing to file for unemployment.
In an attempt to reverse our country from going into a hopeless economic spiral, on March 26, 2020, the US Senate voted to approve a stimulus bill totaling $2 trillion to provide relief to individuals, families, small businesses and industries impacted by the economic slowdown caused by this COVID-19 pandemic. But how many of you know that it is all in the hands of God!
1. See The Harvest
Jesus has encountered a Samaritan woman while passing through Samaria to a town called Sychar. She offers Jesus a drink of water at His request and in return, Jesus ministers to the woman despite the fact that she is a Samaritan (as Jews and Samaritans weren’t to associate). In other words, Jesus seized the moment. He saw the harvest was ripe and took this door of opportunity to minister the Gospel to this woman who was apparently living in a hopeless situation. The disciples approached worried about Jesus’ physical food but Jesus had to quickly snap them up and prompt them to look through their spiritual eyes at the opportunity at hand! The kind of opportunity Jesus had taught them about in Luke 10:2. Jesus needed them to look beyond what was in front of them. Look beyond the devastation, Polite! See the harvest and seize the moment church! Share the love of Jesus, share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, be a gleam of hope for someone during this pandemic, make a connection with someone who has lost all hope or one who needs a helping hand.
2. Work The Harvest
Jesus has to now take a teaching moment with his disciples to convey the message to them that doing his work is like working the harvest. In other words, the Samaritan woman was a harvest that Christ saw as an opportunity to sow his Word into. In return the Samaritan woman, spread the Good News and many believed! Paul has written in 2 Corinthians 9:6-8, on the importance of sowing and reaping. Our government made a decision to sow a stimulus package into the economy which they hope will reap a harvest of some form of relief and financial recovery into our economy. In the same manner, the church should see that the harvest is plentiful and be a stimulus package to a hungry and hopeless world! Jesus did the groundwork for us. We need to do the follow-up assignment and share (sow) the Word into someone’s life during this pandemic through our words, actions and/or deeds. Be that “spiritual stimulus package” that the world needs on today!
3. Reap The Harvest
According to the Apostle Paul as written in Romans 6:22-23 and Titus 3:5-7, and I am paraphrasing, it is Not because of our works, not because we have been so good, not because of our position, status or material things, but because of His mercy and His grace that we are allowed to reap the harvest of an abundance life, of a live of holiness and of eternal life!
Aren’t you glad about it that one day Jesus saw fit to allow you to come in contact with someone who sowed the Word of salvation into your heart allowing you the benefit of an abundant life in Christ Jesus and eventually eternal life! God in His infinite wisdom has given us, the Church, an opportunity to be a Spiritual Stimulus Package To A Hungry World! Amen!
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A Devastating Beginning,
Scripture: Matthew 28: 1-10
3 Points of Focus:
1. The empty tomb: A Risen Savior
The stone was rolled away leading to that dynamic end and fulfilling the promise that Jesus spoke of to his disciples in John 14:16-20: 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[a] in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. See his disciples may not have understood what was happening at the moment but Jesus was preparing them for what was about to happen! Of course we know how the story ended, our Savior lives!
Scripture says when the women went to the tomb they found it to be empty. Two angels who were competent witnesses, who had been sent expressly from heaven with orders for his discharge assured them that Jesus had risen from the dead.
Romans 6:24 says Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
1 Corinthians 15:20-22 confirms 20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. We serve a risen Savior. One who is alive.
He can’t be found sitting up on a shelf in a box, he can’t be found in an image, in the work of men’s hands, or in material things. He can’t be found in your finest Easter outfit but he can be found in a life that has been resurrected in Him. Yes, Jesus is real!
2. It is finished: Remembering His promise
When Jesus said to his Father, “It is finished.” This was his shout of victory. Christ had completed the work on the cross to redeem mankind once and for all to restore a then lost generation and generations to come back to the Father!
The angels reminded the women to remember what Jesus told them several times in scriptures in these exact words: Luke 9:22 (NKJV) saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.”
He then repeated himself a 4th time in Luke 9:44: “That the Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men.”
The Easter story seems both appalling and astonishing: Jesus of Nazareth, the man who healed the sick, stilled storms, raised people from the dead and made the poor the center of his ministry, experienced the betrayal by one of his closest followers (Judas Iscariot), the triple denial by his best friend (Peter), the gruesome crucifixion under the orders of Pontius Pilate (at the hands of the Jews, Chief priests, and their officials) and died an agonizing death in Jerusalem. Such a brutal end to his earthly life. Then, of course, there is the stunning turnaround three days later. After three days in the tomb, he rose from the dead. Jesus did exactly what He repeatedly said that he would do. This is God’s way and we can count on it. We can count on His promises and build our lives on His promises. Why! Because God always does exactly what He says that He is going to do!
3. A committed spirit: Reaping the benefits
The rest in Scripture is history because of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, we live. Christ gave up His spirit of His own free will, upon doing this according to Matthew 27:50-52; 50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. When Christ gave up His spirit the curtain of the temple was torn from top to bottom. The barrier that had separated the people from God under the Old Testament Law was no longer. This symbolized the covenant of the New Testament allowing you and me to come into the Most Holy Place before the presence of our Almighty God. Christ offered us a new beginning at the end!
Because Jesus took my sins and your sins upon him on that old rugged cross died and rose again, we live!
Because Jesus rose again, descended down to hell and took the keys from Satan taking the sting out of death, we live!
Because Jesus died and rose again, I can live a victorious life, we live!.
Because Jesus died, rose again, and is coming back, I can have eternal life, we live!
So you see in closing, it doesn’t matter that your beginning may be devastating just know in Christ Jesus you can have a dynamic end, and your live sealed as a done deal! We live! Amen.
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Scripture: Mark 11:1-11
3 Points of Focus:
This being Palm Sunday, marks the beginning of Passion Week. This week, in which great occurrences will take place. Christ will come face to face with dying on the cross, only to rise again on the third day for each of us to reap the benefit of a victorious new life in Christ Jesus. This will mark the final week of Jesus’s earthly ministry encompassed with many emotional events. Jesus Christ will come in riding on a borrowed donkey, His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The people will initially praise Him and later curse Him at the same time. His authority will be questioned by some of his most trusted followers and his own disciples will fail him and fall short of having his back. Christ will institute the Last Supper and set the record straight in fulfilling all Scripture that was God breathed in the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament.
1. Christ came publicly
Christ made his public entry into Jerusalem, four or five days before his death an event that has been recorded through out the Gospels. Jesus came without fear not afraid of the power and malice of his enemies in Jerusalem. He did not steal into the city incognito; but, he came in full observation, cheerfully, and with
acclamations of joy. He came supported by a divine authority, His heavenly Father.
Christ, came with all the applauds and accolades but Christ came to be about His Father’s business. Malachi 3:1-3 prophesied about the Lord coming, “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.
Christ made his way and came forth publicly as our conquering King and Savior to be about His Father’s business. At a time like this, we need to come forth professing Christ as our personal Savior to a dying world and a hope that lies within that God is in control. We should be praying and openly showing the love of Christ one to another, especially at a time like this.
2. Christ came humbly
Jesus came riding on a lowly animal, a colt, in a humble fashion. A borrowed colt. As a matter of fact, when Christ went out on the water to minister to the crowds from afar, it was in a borrowed boat. When Jesus instituted and ate the passover, it was in a borrowed chamber. When Jesus died, he was buried in a borrowed tomb. Scripture says in Matthew 8:20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Yet, Jesus came and fulfilled his purpose in a most humble fashion.
As Christians we need to take what we are going through right now as a humbly experience. While people of the world are walking around still in a state of selfishness and meanness, we should show humility. Look around at the doctors, nurses, first responders, maintenance crews, police, firefighters, EMT none are above reproach. As a nation this is the time to come together to give of yourself.
Paul as an apostle of Jesus Christ at one point in his last days said, “6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:6-8)
Christ was coming to give of himself.
3. Christ came with all power
Christ came knowing what his end would be, that he was going to come face to face with death on the cross only to rise again on the third day, victoriously with all power in His hands. Scripture wraps it up best when it says, 16 “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16-17) Amen!