Vol. 33, No. 4 April, 2009
IT’S RESURRECTION TIME!
By Dr. George Mills
“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” (1Cor 15:20)
Sunday, April 12, 2009 has been set aside as the day we observe the Wonderful, Victorious, Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Have a Great Day!
Yes, He is the Victorious Conqueror of death AND the grave. I KNOW He’s alive! I speak to Him quite frequently.
Today, let me share with you four simple points about the Resurrection of our Lord, and it’s power…
1. The WONDER of the Resurrection.
2. The WITNESSES of the Resurrection.
3. The WORKING of the Resurrection.
4. The WORDS of the Resurrection.
1. The WONDER of the Resurrection. What can I say, and where do I start?
We are amazed at the zeal of the first century Church in the Book of Acts. This small group continued to grow in spite of the opposition they faced. Disciples were added, and then multiplied. The Gospel was sent through the cities on the Mediterranean coast, and into Asia Minor, and into Europe. How did they do it? What was their secret? Or was there a secret? In the Book of Acts alone, the words “Resurrection,” “Raised,” “Rise,” “Risen,” are used some 28 times. Of course they preached the Gospel. The Gospel includes the Death (Cross) burial, AND Resurrection of Jesus Christ, (1Cor. 15:1-4). We cannot leave Him on the Cross. And we cannot preach the Cross without the Resurrection; the EMPTY TOMB. Everything we, as Christians claim, everything Christ did; His coming to earth to live among us, to die that sacrificial death on the Cross, to be buried in a borrowed tomb. Everything is VOID, and VAIN, but for that EMPTY TOMB, (1Cor. 15:13-20). God forbid that I should diminish ought from any of the above, but “If Christ be not risen, let’s just close the doors and go home. In every message we MUST present the message of the Cross, but we MUST also remind everybody that somewhere near that Cross there is an empty tomb! THANK GOD!
Our Lord’s Disciples did not understand His message, “Behold we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the Prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For He shall be delivered unto the gentiles And shall be mocked, and spitefully treated, and spitted on. And they shall scourge Him, and put Him to death, and on the third day He shall rise again. And they understood none of these things,” (Luke 18:31-34). But after the Resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit who was to “Show you things to come.” The Wonder of His Resurrection captured their hearts, and in turn, they captured the world. “Opening and alleging that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead.” “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also.” (Acts 17:3-6).
In ALL of our preaching and teaching, we MUST, with great emphasis, point out the fact of that EMPTY TOMB!
2. The WITNESSES of the Resurrection.
The Bible is careful to list the many witnesses. Let me share with you just a few…
(A). The WITNESS of the STONE. The STONE still cries out. The SILENT STONE Proclaimed the loudest message ever heard. “I’m not in your way. I’m not blocking your entrance, come and see for yourself.” No message has so affected mankind. Who moved that STONE away from the tomb that was guarded by soldiers?
This has spawned lies from the lips of unbelieving men, from that day even to this day.
The soldiers did not move the stone. They would face severe punishment for such an act.
The disciples did not move the stone. They were cowering in fear. The fact is, “The angel of the Lord descended from Heaven and came and rolled back the stone from the door.” (Lk. 28:1-2). This is God’s doing, and not man’s.
(B).The WITNESS of the SEPULCHRE. The Tomb was empty! Women came to the tomb and found it empty. The disciples came to the tomb and found it empty. The Body of our Lord was not there.
While the tomb was empty of it’s victim it was;
(a) Full of GLORY. It was just an open empty cave with a large stone beside it. A cave in a remote part of the city. No king would go there. This is a lowly place. The glory of a king would be displayed in the king’s palace with the pomp and the grand, certainly not here, but still, the Glory of a King was there. The Glory of the Eternal King was on display at that empty tomb. This tomb held the Son of God for only three days. The promise of eternal redemption depended upon that EMPTY TOMB. “Mary stooped down and looked into the sepulchre. And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.” (Jn 20:11-12). There, the open grave with to angels facing each other pictures for us the Mercy Seat. God’s Glory rested on the Mercy Seat. “There will I meet with thee.” (Ex 25:22).
(b) It was full of GRACE. Take another look inside. Empty of it’s visitor, but filled with Grace. “The unmerited favor of God. We did nothing to deserve His favor. In fact, it was our sin that placed The Saviour in that tomb. He died under the penalty of our sin. Like a mighty river, Grace flows from that empty tomb. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead thou shalt be saved.” (Ro. 10:9).
(c) It was full of GIFTS. The body of Christ was not there. His grave clothes were left behind, but He was not there. But as He left grave clothes behind, He left Gifts…
..The Gift of Salvation. Jesus paid the price for our sin on the Cross, but His work of redemption was not complete until the Resurrection and ascension. We have just read Ro.10:9. “Believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Some say, “I have trouble with this resurrection part.” Then you will have no hope. That’s a bad state to be found in. I did not say that, I am only repeating what God said
..The Gift of Faith. Faith is the Gift of God, (Eph 2:8-9). Salvation demands Faith. God gives that Faith. When we believe what the Bible says about that Empty Tomb, Faith comes alive in our heart. Some argue that it takes so great a faith to be saved and that they could never reach such demand. God only requires that we believe the message of the Gospel and He will give us that faith.
“Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” (Ro 10:17).Faith given by God through the Word always takes us to the empty tomb. He’s alive!
..The Gift of forgiveness. Man’s greatest need is forgiveness of sin. Forgiveness is there, at the empty tomb. That open tomb is as though God is opening His mouth and saying, “Forgiveness is here.” “The God of our fathers RAISED UP JESUS whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour for to GIVE REPENTENCE to Israel and forgiveness of sin.” (Acts 5:30-31).
..The Gift of Love. You clearly see God’s Love at the Cross where He gave His Son for sinners. That’s all God will ever do for sinners. What more could He do. He only asks that unsaved men will believe the message of Redemption. What more could He do? But for those of us who have believed, the LOVE of God came in and Praise and Worship, and adoration filled to overflowing because of the Cross, and the Empty Tomb.
(D) It was full of GUARANTEES. Guarantees that man cannot revoke, and Satan cannot steal
..The Guarantee of our own Resurrection. “Because I live, ye shall live also.” When a Christian dies, his body goes to a grave somewhere. His spirit goes immediately into the presence of God (2Cor 5:8) (Phil 1:23). When Christ returns for His own in the rapture, He will bring those spirits with Him. Christian dead bodies will rise from their grave first to be reunited with that spirit. Living believers will be changed instantly all together to meet the Lord in the air. (1Thess 4:13-18) Then our bodies will be fashioned like unto His Glorious Body. (Ph 3:21-22) Then we will be forever with the Lord. The Empty Tomb is our guarantee.
..The Guarantee of the Resurrection of the unsaved. “And have hope toward God which they themselves also allow that there SHALL be a resurrection of the dead, BOTH of the Just and Unjust.” (Acts 24:15). You cannot get around the fact the God will call ALL mankind to an accounting, whether you believe, or not. That changes nothing.
3. THE WORKING OF THE RESURRECTION.
Belief in the Resurrection is Christian Saving Faith, (Ro 10:9) Apart from that belief, no one is saved. A man once told me that he had decided to follow the teachings of Buddha. I simply replied, “We can visit his grave and say, here lies Buddha. But as far as Christianity is concerned, we can point to an empty tomb and say with great enthusiasm, “He is not here, for He is risen. Come see the place the Lord lay.”
There is an empty tomb. Empty of it’s former occupant, but filled with the goodness of God.
THINK ABOUT IT…The Empty Tomb, and in Empty Hearts is where God works and displays His power over sin, death and the grave. How is your heart today? Empty? There is a place in your life meant for God only. I urge you right now, “Confess with your mouth that He is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead.” The Bible guarantees your instant salvation. “For whosoever shall CALL upon the Name of the lord shall be saved.”
4. THE WORDS OF THE RESURRECTION. There is so much more, but I must close this.
Someone asked, “What is the greatest, most important single doctrine of the Christian Faith?” Some may answer, “The Inspiration of the Scripture” or “The Cross of Christ” or “Justification by Faith alone, etc. To me, I believe that should one Cardinal doctrine stand higher than others it would have to be the doctrine of the Resurrection of Christ. Some may disagree with me. That’s alright. You have the right to be wrong. As I stated at the beginning of this message, everything we have, or hope to have is conditioned on the Resurrection of Christ. If no resurrection of Christ, there is no Inspiration, no Salvation, and no Justification. Our preaching is vain and void. We have NOTHING apart from the Resurrection, (1Cor 15:12-26).
But with the Resurrection, all things, all doctrines just sorta line up. Everything fits. I praise God that Christ came to this earth by way of the Virgin Birth, that while He was here, He lived a sinless life, that He was crucified on the Cross, and suffered a vicarious death for all mankind, that He was buried. The one thing missing from that statement are the WORDS FROM THE TOMB; “And that He rose again the third day.” “Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”
God bless you. If you don’t know Him, trust Him now. He will hear your heart’s cry. We are not saved by saying words or repeating some prayer. Tell Him in your own words that you believe, and that you receive his offer of Salvation as a FREE GIFT.
If you are saved, Serve this Resurrected, Victor over death, hell, and the grave.
AND THE WORLD IS A WILDERNESS…It is no friend to the Christian.
The world views the empty tomb as a HOAX.
The Christian see the empty tomb as our only HOPE!
A College Administration Building in Downtown Jacksonville, Florida is built with visible cables wrapped around the top. These cables are designed to hold the building together, and keep the walls from falling. The Empty Tomb is like that. It holds together everything we believe in and hope for.
THE WAY I SEE IT…
By Pastor George Mills
In the battle over the Bible, what’s inspired or not inspired, to me it’s simple. Of course, for me, everything has to be simple. But here’s the way I see it…
1. God promised to PRESERVE His Word “The words of the Lord are pure words as silver tried in a furnace of earth purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD; thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” Psa 12:6-7).
2. “Holy men of God spake (or wrote) as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”(2Pet. 1:21).
3. In fulfillment of His promise, God kept His Inspired Word from generation to generation.
4. Now, since God INSPIRED that which is PRESERVED, then that which is PRESERVED is that which He INSPIRED. Now, is that complicated? Not for me!
5. Now, The “purified seven times” part comes in. There are most definitely TWO DIFFERENT TEXTS.
(A). The RECEIVED TEXT, from which we get our King James Bible.
(B). The CRITICAL, or MODERN text from which this flood of “versions” come.
Now, which of these two texts have been through the FIERY TRIALS of the centuries?
Certainly NOT the MODERN CRITICAL text. This text was born in apostasy, in Egypt and brought forth in the mid 1800’s by Tischendof. This text just waltzed on the scene in 1889. This text danced with, courted and married modernism and produced a flood of illegitimate offspring called “versions.” This text has known nothing about the FIERY FURNACE of PURIFICATION.
The RECEIVED TEXT is the text passed up from the original authors through the centuries. This is the text that men died for. This is the text for which William Tyndale was burned to death in 1536. As he was burning, he cried out, “Lord God, open the King of England’s eyes.” His prayer was answered in 1611. His text along with Beza’s 5th edition was the basis for the King James Bible. Men suffered and died. They were burned to death trying to get the Word of God to the next generation, and on to us. Oh, so much could be said. But the question is, which of these two texts have been through the FIERY FURNACE and proven to be INSPIRED and PRESERVED? Certainly NOT the modern, critical text.
What’s left? You guessed it. I hold fast to the Inspiration, Preservation of the Word of God as given in The King James Bible. You may not agree with me, but you have the right to be WRONG!
I believe that the Bible is a Gift of God,
And that every Word in it is Pure,
Although many debate it,
And others may hate it,
It is Truth that will ever endure.
So I’ll stay with the Bible, the Book Divine,
The Book that tells of Christ’s Love.
It seeks to refine,
And a new life design,
‘Til at last I’m in Heaven above.
MY HELP COMETH FROM THE LORD.
By Pastor George Mills
“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord which made Heaven and earth.” (Psa 121:1-2)
This is a Pilgrimage Psalm. Families or groups would take their journey to Jerusalem to observe Holy Days, Feast Days, etc. As they traveled, they would have to make camps of rest from time to time. At night, they would set up sentries to keep watch. A careful reading of this Psalm, I believe, reveals that the first verse proposes a question; “Whence cometh my help” The answer; “My help cometh from the Lord.”
Let me share with you three brief points from this great Psalm. Please read it all.
1. THE SECRETS OF THE HILLS
2. THE SLEEPING OF THE SENTRIES
3. THE SAFETY OF THE SHEPHERD
1. THE SECRETS OF THE HILLS. The hills may “seem” to be a place of safety. They may look like a sure refuge for the night, but they were the refuge of countless robbers, thieves, nomads that would take advantage of the unprepared. The hills were secret hiding places. Frequent travelers learned that, and they passed this information to other travelers; “Don’t trust the hills.”
As Christians, we are strangers and Pilgrims, just passing through. On our journey from here to eternity, we must be aware of the enemy, of his tricks and traps and hiding places. So many things today may “seem” to be safe and secure, but in reality are “snares of the fowler.”
“Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion walketh about seeking whom he may devour.” And “we are not ignorant of his devices.” Don’t trust the hills
2. THE SLEEPING OF THE SENTRIES.
“Behold, He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.”
Of course, as the people slept at night they would have to post sentries to keep watch. Unfortunately, some watchmen would fall asleep and the enemy would suddenly, without warning, raid their camp. They would rob and steal and kill.
On our journey from here to eternity, we must ever keep watch. Jesus said, “The thief cometh not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” (Jn 10:10). So many bad things happen when men fall asleep. Personally, I believe that the flood of new “bibles” happened because watchmen have fallen asleep. In the beginning, in the Garden of Eden, Satan used a serpent to corrupt the Word of God. In the end time, he is using the minds of educated men. Thank God that some are beginning to wake up and see that “Something is wrong here.” Jesus said; “The Kingdom of Heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field. BUT WHILE MEN SLEPT, his enemy came and sowed tares.” (Mt 13:24-25) “Wherefore he saith, AWAKE thou that sleepest and arise from the dead and Christ shall give thee LIGHT.” (Eph 5:14).Paul admonishes us, “Let us not sleep as do others, but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep, sleep in the night.” (2Thess 5:6-7). My Christian Brother or Sister, stay awake, stay alert. Don’t trust the Hills; don’t trust the sleeping sentries of our day.
3. THE SAFETY OF THE SHEPHERD.
“My help cometh from the LORD.”
As we journey from here to eternity, we have that place of safety. We will not look to the hills. Our faith must be higher than the hills. Down here we have no certain dwelling place. But we do have a watcher, a keeper, and a preserver, one who never slumbers nor sleeps. He is always on the job. God preserves in every area of our life and will lead us all the way on our journey home. Our faith must be somewhere higher than here. We trust the living Christ who said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am, there ye may be also.” (Jn 14:2-3). That’s my destination. My name is there. My trust is in the Living Christ. I hope that your trust is in Him. What a joy to meet you there one day and say together “Our Shepherd led us all the way home.” “My help cometh from the Lord”
God Bless you! Jesus Loves you!
AND THE WORLD IS A WILDERNESS…It is no friend to the Christian. The world is a place of corruption. Thank God that His Salvation is NOT of this world. And since it is not of this world, it will never see corruption. “He is able to present us FAULTLESS before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.” (Jude 24)
THINK ABOUT IT..Have you Prayed for this Ministry lately? PRAYER sends this farther than we ever imagined!
WHAT KIND OF A DAY WAS IT WHEN JESUS CHRIST AROSE FROM THE GRAVE?
By Pastor George Mills
“As it began to dawn on the FIRST DAY of the week.” (Mt. 28:1-8)
What kind of a day do you think it was,
The Morning when Jesus arose?
Did the stars shine so bright,
Through that long weary night?
Or did the earth just lie in repose?
Did multitudes come and gather around,
To witness the stone rolled away?
Did His friends gather there,
Was joy in the air?
On that great Resurrection Day?
Only a few dare to come on that morn,
Mary came while it was yet dark.
To see the stone rolled away,
And tell the tidings that day,
And that “fear not” was the Angel’s remark.
Not many to visit, not many to come,
To hear the Bright Angel declare;
To tell Mary that day,
“Come see where He lay,
And in Galilee, you’ll find Him there.”
What kind of a day did Jesus see,
When He walked from the tomb that day?
A day, of despair,
And not many to care.
He saw a day, just like today.
“And without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness. God was manifest in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into Glory.” (1Tim. 3:15).