What Paul Thought About Easter

Romans 8:35-39

What is Easter all about?

Is it simply about bunnies, baskets, and boiled eggs? Is it about families, feast and fellowship?

Is it more about the new dress, the new duds or the new doo? 

Are you the religious type? Does Easter conjure up thoughts of the church service, cantatas, or plays? 

All the Gospels record the resurrection of our Lord, hence the gospel, the good news. If Jesus just died for our sins he would be another martyr, a name amongst many who have died for a cause. What separates Jesus the Son of God from all these false gods is He rose again and is at the right hand of God making intercession for us and waiting instruction to go gather His faithful.

But what does the death and resurrection mean for us? What does it mean for you personally? How has it, or has it affected the way you live?

Turn with me to Romans 8:35-39 and look what it meant to Paul.

Paul wrote this after he had met the living Savoir. You might think what’s the big deal about that? It’s not until the Holy-Spirit of God can convict and convince you of your spiritual deception that you can grasp what Paul is writing here. 

  • Paul the prodigy 
  • Paul was a passionate, persuasive, proponent of a false religion.
    • One that started out attempting to serve God in the effort of redeeming fallen man.
    • But became part of a self-serving, self-righteous ritualistic religion that filled the lust of fallen man of serving God apart from God.
  • Paul was doing this in what he thought was the name of God. He was sold out, he was serious.
    • He was seriously wrong.
  • The book of Acts detail his encounter with the living Christ on the road to Damascus. In this recall he was struck blind, in the spiritual aspect of this; he wasn’t stuck blind but simply the true condition of his heart was revealed.
    • We keep bringing to light how we see our condition but what have you really done about it. Why do we keep doing the same things expecting it to change us?
  • Paul the perplexed.
    • One can just imagine all the things that were going through his mind, those three days he was without sight.
      • How many he had delivered to torture even to be killed because they believed that Jesus was the Christ
      • How he tried to persuade all he could that Jesus was an imposter and those who believed in Him blasphemed the very name of God.
      • Suddenly finding out he was the blasphemer
      • How his heart must have broken to learn that he was the one doing damage to the name of the very God he said he served.
      • You might ask why God didn’t just kill him? He might have asked the very same thing. Why would God not punish him for all the evil he had committed in the pretense of serving God? How could God love him after what he had done?
    • Now your starting to get a picture of what Paul was writing to the Romans
      • Ro 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
      • Who shall separate us from the love of Christ
  • Paul the purposeful
    • What the resurrection means to you and me is the same it meant to Paul;
      • Unmerited favor with God. Grace 
    • Paul knew he didn’t deserve forgiveness, what he had done was unforgivable.
      • Paul knew all too well what he did deserve; eternal damnation where the fire is not quenched and the worm dies not.
    • Paul knew also he was experiencing unbelievable, overwhelming, abundant grace and it radically affected what he believed and how he lived
      • Paul knew what the resurrection meant to him
    • Grace is where God extends His love to us even when because of our own conceited pride won’t admit He exists.
      • Grace is where God extends His love to us even when we fight against him.
      • Grace is where God extends His love to us when we create our own way of serving Him and call it right
      • Grace is where God extends His love to us even when we refuse to extend it to others.
    • Because of grace I want to serve Him, yield to Him, follow Him
      • Tithing is not an intrusion on my lifestyle.
      • Being involved in the things of His church is not burdensome.
      • Trying to learn more about Him so I can please Him is not a chore.
      • Giving to His work is not an expenditure but an investment
    • You can choose to refuse God’s grace but you cannot prevent Him from loving you.
  • What the resurrection of Jesus means to the world is the re-righting of the relationship between God and man.
    • What Paul knew about the resurrection of the Son of God radically affected what he believed and how he lived.
      • Are you having a Paul-like Easter today?
    • You could be here today and think it’s too late, no way, God can’t forgive that. I am here to tell you on the authority of God’s Holy word, He will and He wants to.
    • You might be here today and know you have received His grace but have not been living in the realization of it. That can all change by simply committing your life to Him today.

Picture credit: https://libcov.org/christ-is-risen-he-is-risen-indeed/

The Worst/Best Day Ever

Genesis 3:11-21

It would not take much thinking to come up with a list of why 2020 was such a terrible year. And let’s face it, for MANY people it was. 

  • 2020 was a year of tremendous loss for many people, the loss of loved ones, the loss of jobs, the loss of dreams, as well as the lack of ability to be with our families. 
  • When you put “the previous year” into history, it was most definitely not the worst in history.
  • When I ponder some of the worst years in history, there are many candidates; from the years war started; to the years when plagues wiped out huge portions of the world populations; to the advent of Communism, the list goes on.
  • Usually we will define a year as the worst year in our lives depending on the impact the said year had on us personally.
  • Even though we do not have an official year on the calendar for when the events of Genesis three took place, we can see that indeed, whatever the year these events happened, that year has to be the worst one in HUMAN HISTORY!
  • Life was good.
    • Life was easy, Adam and Eve walked in the garden with God himself.
      •  Life is GREAT until we get to Genesis 3.
    • In chapter 3, everything goes bad. Fatally bad, terminally bad, historically bad, inescapably bad.
      • All human beings who will ever walk on this earth are affected by what happened in the third chapter of Genesis.
    • It is the explanation of why things in this world are the way they are: why there is so much evil; why there is so much sin; why there is so much corruption; why there is disease, deformity, and death; why there is conflict, hatred, war; and why there are disasters of all kinds that fall upon man. 
      • It all comes from this third chapter.
    • Adam and Eve lived in a perfect world, in a state of innocence, free from sin, until they fell to the temptation of Satan,
      •  a temptation to call into question the integrity of God, the righteousness of God, the goodness of God, the wisdom of God.
      •  They became doubters of God. They fell, and with them the entire race fell.
      • I would say the year the events in Genesis 3 took place takes the crown for the worst year in human history.
    • We’ve all been plunged into a spiritual death. We’ve all been plunged into physical death; from the moment we are born we begin to die. 
      • We are all born dying and dead, dead spiritually and dying physically.
      •  We have no hope of life if all we have is the fall.  
      • The events that took place in Genesis 3, has affected ALL of CREATION, including ALL human beings.
    • We will see that even in the middle of the storm, even in the moment of our most epic failures, God has a plan! 
    • In verses 14 and 15, in the curse that God pronounces on Satan is the first expression of gospel hope, salvation hope, deliverance from sin and Satan; embedded in a curse is the hope of mankind.
      • This takes place AFTER Adam and Eve broke the ONE commandment that God clearly articulated to Adam NOT TO BREAK!

Genesis 3:11-21

Moses tells us here the story of sin coming into the human family; and its consequences are massive, incalculable. Adam and Eve, in fact, by their sin set in motion a spiritual avalanche that carries the whole human race down and buries them in death

  • The deed.
    • God had given Adam and his wife Eve everything in the garden and simply asked one thing back.
      • Do you see a principle of a tithe here or is it just me?
    • God told this couple all the great things He had in store for them.
      • He then told them one thing that would hurt them. That would bring a thing called death to them.
      • It had to be evident that God was clearly letting them know how devastating to them this would be. 
    • You know most of us are today? You tell a young’un not to touch that or turn this and even threaten them with bodily harm. Their mind starts wondering why it’s so special.
      • You reckon Eve walked by that tree every day wondering how it would taste, I mean it looked so good to the eye.
      • Temptation always does look good to the eye. 
      • I am sure Satan was watching this scene unfold and when the time seemed to be right when Eve appeared to him to be at her most vulnerable, Satan showed up to reap the harvest of Eve’s desires. 
    • Jas 1:14-15, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death”
  • The decision.
    • In verses 14-19 we see Divine Justice rendering a perfect sentence.
      •  Obviously there are natural consequences to sin, they’re just built into it. Whatever a man sows, he reaps.
      •  If you lie, there are inevitable consequences to your lying. If God didn’t do anything, there are built-in consequences to telling lies.
      •  If you are drunk, if you are inebriated, if you are an alcoholic, there are built-in consequences. God doesn’t have to act; that kind of behavior has its own consequences. 
      • If you take drugs, that kind of behavior has its own consequences. If you are characterized by hostility and anger, that kind of behavior has its own consequences.
      •  If you engage in homosexuality, sexual sin, if you kill people, whatever it might be, whatever sin, built into those sins is the inevitability of cause and effect results.
  • But there is a far greater reality than that, and that is the reality of divine judgment on top of natural consequences. 
    • The sentence that comes down from God on sin. And here God renders a sentence, an appropriate and just sentence, in absolute, divine justice, on the serpent, on the woman, on the man and on the deceiver himself.
  • The serpent (V14) as an animal, was cursed “above all livestock, and above every wild animal,
    • It’s a selective curse. “Of all the cattle and of all the beasts, only you are cursed.” That’s what it’s saying: “Of all the cattle and all the beasts, only you are cursed.”
    • Cattle refers to domestic animals, the beasts refer to wild animals, “So of all the animals, wild animals and domestic animals, only you are cursed, only you.” 
    • This is a selective curse. Fallout came on the cattle; they die. Fallout came on the wild animals; they die. But only the snake was selected to be cursed.
    • Whatever may have been its beauty and posture before, it would henceforth glide on its belly and be an object of dread and loathing by all.
    • It is a perpetual reminder to man of the instrument of his fall and of the final destruction of Satan himself.
    • Every slithering, dust-eating snake is a symbol of the crushing curse of God and the judgment that is come on Satan. Snakes symbolize the devil degraded and defeated. 
    • They are constant reminders to human society that Satan has been declared a defeated enemy.

When God created the tree that Adam and Eve were called to stay away from, God did so in order that Adam and Eve have freedom of choice, free will if you will, which is a necessary part of love. • God wanted Adam and Eve to obey Him because they loved Him.

When God was dealing with the serpent and the deceiver, both were cursed by God; however, Eve was not cursed, she was given consequences for what she did. God held her accountable, but He did not curse her for eternity. 

  • On the woman.(V16) Eve paid a high price for her sin. Childbearing pain was going to be intensified for women and because of her deception, the husband will be the head of the marriage and her desire was to be to her husband.
    • It is not as though there was to be no pain associated with birth prior to the Fall; instead that pain will be greatly increased. 
    • The discomfort and pain that comes from bringing forth new life is a reminder of the real cost of exchanging THE TRUTH for a lie.
    • Desire to the husband and he will rule over you. Thus started the great conflict between men and women.
    • At first it wasn’t so. Remember Eve was created from Adam’s side.
    • Now the consequence of her choice and the fallout to all who come after her, battle of the sexes.
    • When it speaks of her desire to her husband. Its best understood as to be over him. Wear the pants. 
    • Many today will be the first to tell you their husband is the head of the house. BUT THEY’RE THE NECK!

When God was dealing with Adam He, God cursed the ground, not Adam. Again God held him accountable. There are consequences he must face.

  • The man (V17-19) Adam KNEW better, God told him DIRECTLY not to mess with that tree, yet here comes Adam. Even worse, look at verse 6 of Genesis 3
    • Adam was with her the entire time, and he did nothing! 
    • I feel God sentenced Adam for being dumb and for not caring enough to stop Eve! Eze 3:18, “When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.”
    • Adam’s life was no longer going to be easy. 
    • (Gen 2:15) We know work was not part of the sentence or punishment of the fall. But now the world was introduced to TNT: Thorns and thistles.
    • Man had to draw life from it painfully and by the sweat of his brow
  • The deceiver.
    • Satan, apparently still in the form of the serpent, was standing before God and God had a plan for him
    • Satan’s thought was this: “I’ve turned Adam and Eve, the human race, against God.”
    • And God says, “I’m going to turn the human race against you.” That’s what it’s saying. Enmity. 
    • God denies Satan at the very moment when he assumed he had triumphed. God denies him what he thought he had gained. 
  • This situation is a mess which there seems to be no way out. 
    • Adam and Eve brought a curse to creation, they began the process of their own death as well as ushering in death to all. 
  • Childbirth was going to be more painful, the ground was going to be more difficult to harvest, the woman role in the home was changed, AND ON TOP OF IT ALL, THEY WERE GOING TO GET BOOTED FROM THE GARDEN! 
    • Is all lost? 
    • No, there is hope because of the grace of God, God has a plan
  • The great promise in Genesis 3:15 has long been known as the Protevangelium, promising the ultimate coming and victory of the Redeemer.
    • God will enable man, in his sinful condition, in his fallen condition, to be so totally transformed, that he will hate the serpent and love God.
    •  God has redeemed out of the human race, starting from that very incident in the garden through all of human history until the end of the age, a humanity that has been so transformed that that group of human beings, that massive group of redeemed human beings through all of human history, actually hate Satan and love God.
    • For this to happen there has to be a radical transformation of the human heart. There has to be a deep, deep change in the human heart to turn man back to God. 
    • It is so profound that the New Testament speaks of it as the new birth. There will be a humanity that will be so totally transformed that they will love God, and they will see Satan as the enemy and God as the friend.
  • God delights in mercy. 
    • Before He pronounces sentence on man and woman, before He expels them from the garden, He gives them salvation hope, hope of regeneration that they will hate Satan and see him as an enemy, and they will love God 
    • That there will come a Savior, that there will come One who will conquer Satan and therefore conquer sin.
    • Even though He in the conquering will be bruised, He will crush that deadly enemy.
  • It has already been done. His name is Jesus, do you really know Him?
  • Have you joined the redeemed?

Sunday School

Mrs. Joyce Hicks

May 17, 2020

Luke 16: 19-31

  • There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
  • And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
  • And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
  • And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
  • And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
  • And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
  • But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
  • And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
  • Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:
  • For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
  • Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
  • And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
  • And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

Once again, I’m just doing an outline of what we will be talking about.  Take the time to read the scripture and notes and then do some research before class.  Looking forward to what you find about some of the topics mentioned this week.  

Heaven or Hell? 

2 paths

Which would you rather hear a sermon on?

Do you think the average person really believes there is a hell?

Most people avoid talking about it.

Place of eternal, conscious torment 

Everlasting Fire, outer darkness, weeping and gnashing of teeth

Fire that never shall be quenched; worm dieth not

Hell, Fire and Brimstone message?

Hell – cruel? Unkind? Unfair?

Would God really send someone to hell?

Tragic truth is that most people who end up in hell will be shocked to find themselves there! 

A 2007 Gallup poll survey revealed that virtually all the people who believe in heaven also believe they will go there.

Which brings us to the lesson….There was a certain rich man

How rich was he?

Clothed in purple and fine linen

Challenge you to look up purple and fine linen and see how many times

they are in the KJV.   Read about the making of the tabernacle. 

Purple – Where did they get purple dye?

Acts 16

Mark 15:17 

Fared sumptuously every day

Fared:  perform in a specified way in a particular situation or over a               particular period of time 

Sumptuous: splendid and expensive-looking

Similar words:  lavish, luxurious, deluxe, opulent, magnificent, gorgeous, Splendid, grand, extravagant, lush, princely, rich, costly,

Expensive, impressive, imposing, plush, ritzy, swanky, 

Opposite:  humble, plain, cheap

 Fared sumptuously: “The word used for feasting is the word that is used for a gourmet feeding on exotic and costly dishes. He did this every day.” (Barclay)

Every day! Sounds pretty rich to me!

And there was a certain beggar (named Lazarus – unusual to find a person in a parable with an actual name)

What do we know about him

Was laying at the rich man’s gate

full of sores (which the dogs came and licked – yuck) and yes, I know the dog’s name was moreover

hungry – begging for food (would gladly have taken anything including the crumbs from the rich man’s table)

 Fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: “Food was eaten with the hands and, in very wealthy houses, the hands were cleaned by wiping them on hunks of bread, which were then thrown away. This is what Lazarus was waiting for.” (Barclay)

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

The following came from John MacArthur Commentary.  

The story of these two men is marked by extreme contrasts in life and shocking reversals after death.  In life, one was enormously wealthy, the other an impoverished beggar.  The rich man was inside the house, the poor man outside.  The poor man had no food, the rich man had all the food he could eat.  The poor man had needs, the rich man had none.  The poor man desired everything, the rich man desired nothing.  The poor man suffered, the rich man was satisfied.  The poor man was humiliated, the rich man was honored.  The poor man sought crumbs, the rich man feasted.  The poor man needed help, the rich man gave him none.  The poor man was a nobody, the rich man was well-known.  The poor man had no dignity in death, not even a burial, the rich man had dignity in death and a lavish funeral.  The poor man possessed no hope, the rich man possessed all hope.

After death, however, the situations of the two were completely reversed.  The rich man became poorer than the poor man had ever been, while the poor man became richer than the rich man could have ever imagined.  The poor man was on the inside (heaven), while the rich man was on the outside (hell).  The poor man enjoyed the great heavenly banquet, while the rich man was totally deprived.  The poor man needed nothing, the rich man lacked everything.  The poor man had all his desires fulfilled, while the rich man’s desires would go eternally unfulfilled.  The poor man was satisfied, while the rich man suffered.  The poor man was happy, while the rich man was tormented.  The poor man was honored, while the rich man was humiliated.  The poor man enjoyed a lavish feast, while the rich man longed for a drop of water.  The rich man desperately sought help, while the poor man was unable to provide it.  The poor man had a name, while the rich man did not.  The poor man had dignity, while the rich man had none.  All of the poor man’s hopes were realized beyond what he could have imagined, while the rich man’s hopes vanished forever.

The rich man is the main character in the story.  The poor man never speaks; his role is primarily to serve as the contrast to the rich man.  The rich man’s words give the only testimony from hell found anywhere in the Bible.

Wow.  That pretty much says it!  

Lazarus died and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom. (no burial, funeral, or earthly honor in death.  His body would have been thrown onto the dump with those of the rest of society’s outcasts….)  

Rich man died and was buried.  Notice he wasn’t carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom!) Sure he had an elaborate funeral though.

And in hell (bet he was one who was surprised to be in hell – sure he was thinking that he would be in heaven)

Father Abraham…

Have mercy on me!

Send Lazarus…..(he asked for Lazarus twice)

5 brothers

They have Moses and the Prophets – let them hear them

But if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent 

Neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. (aren’t you glad that One did rise from the dead!

So, what do we take away from the lesson today? What does this mean to me?