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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

THIS BLOG HAS MOVED TO www.timeintheword.org

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Monday, April 30, 2007

The Power of His Might

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional
Together for Inspiration, Motivation, and Encouragement

Verse of the Day - Ephesians 6:10
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

Daily Scripture Reading - Isaiah 40

Puritan Catechism
Question #53 - What is required in the fifth commandment?

Answer - The fifth commandment requires the preserving the honour, and performing the duties belonging to every one in their various positions and relationships as superiors (Eph. 5:21-22; Eph. 6:1, 5; Rom. 13:1), inferiors (Eph. 6:9), or equals (Rom. 12:10).

Devotional Thoughts
The Bible tells us that if we are in Christ we are more than conquerors. Think about that phrase for a moment. We hear it quoted often. It seems we think of being more than conquerors in emotional terms. When we see tough times, we are facing a struggle, and we are feeling down we are reminded by well intentioned friends that we should rejoice because we are more than conquerors and as a result should be able easily to overcome these bad feelings. We just need to have a little faith, make positive confessions, and remind ourselves of this truth about who we are in Christ.

However, this verse, Romans 8:37, is seated in an immediate context that tells us that we are more than conquerors when facing death for our faith. Not struggles. Not trials. Not hard times. Death! And frankly, death makes a lot of things that happen in this life seem insignificant by comparison.

We must be reminded that Jesus conquered death and sin. His life of righteousness, imputed to us, and His obedient death, paying the penalty for our sin, has freed us. We know the Truth and the Truth indeed has made us free. Free from death. Free from the curse of the law. Free from the power of Satan. Free to overcome temptation. And free from the power of sin.

The Bible tells us that if we resist the devil he will flee from us (James 4:7), that if we walk in the Spirit we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Gal 5:16), and that have been given the Armor of God so that we might stand against the wiles of the devil (Eph 6:11).

But wait a minute - if all this is true, why do we struggle so much with sin? Why are we tempted? Why do we fall so often and fail to overcome?

It is true that we are still living in fallen bodies and that this flesh is driven by lust (James 1:14). But it is also true that we are being redeemed and that we have been given the power, desire, and ability to stand firmly against temptation and sin. We are in fact more than conquerors. So why do we feel more like cowards than the conquerors that we are?

We find our answer in Ephesians 6:10. Here at the start of a study of The Whole Armor of God we begin by seeing that we are told to “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” How? By believing what God has said in His Word - we are more than conquerors through Christ (Rom 8:37).

This little preposition is the key to answering our questions. We are more than conquerors through Christ. We can do all things through Christ (Phil 4:13). Our consolation abounds through Christ (2 Cor 1:5). We are heirs of God through Christ (Gal 4:7). And if we look closely we see in the Word of God this simple truth – Jesus says, “without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5).

It is not that we do these things with Christ or for Christ. We do them through Christ. That means that it is not our ability, our power, or our accomplishment. It is Christ’s ability. It is His power. It is what He accomplishes through us. This is why we are told to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

How powerful is God? How mighty is He? He is all-powerful. Nothing for Him is impossible (Luke 18:27). He is all-mighty, in fact we shorten that to refer to Him by His attribute as a name, the Almighty God. There is nothing too hard for Him. Jesus lived a sinless life. He conquered sin and death. He has defeated Satan. And we, if we are to stand, must stand in His power and by His might.

If we depend upon ourselves what can we accomplish? On our own, our righteousness is worthless and filthy before God. But His righteousness and power are clean and right and pure. Without Him we can do nothing, but through Him we can do all things. If we need strength to stand against temptation and sin where will that strength come from? Let us not look at our own hearts, our own ability, or our own intellect. No. Let us look to Christ. Through Him we are more than conquerors.

Remember, we have been crucified with Christ (Gal 2:20). We died with Him and we live through Him. We are a new creation created in holiness and righteousness (2 Cor 5:17; Eph 4:24). And just as we were crucified with Him yet we are still very much alive. As Paul puts it:

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

If we are to stand against the wiles of the devil then we must stand in His might and by His power. It must be His ability – and He will provide for us so that through Him we can stand firm, resisting the devil and every desire to rebel against the Word of God. He will not put on us more than we can bear and He will provide for us a way of escape in every trial. That way of escape is through Christ.

As John MacArthur writes in his New Testament Commentary on Ephesians (p. 337):

The unprepared believer becomes the defeated believer who seeks to serve the Lord in his own wisdom and power. The strength of the Christian life is dependence on God, being strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Any other strength proves impotent.

When we lose our way, when we believe a lie, when we feel as though our lives are meaningless we hear His Words - "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6). And it is through His power, His ability, and His might that we are enabled to live every day as more than conquerors.

Links for Further Study
(links to study each daily topic in more detail if you have the desire and the time)

Discourse on the Power of God by Stephen Charnock
The Question of Fear and the Answer of Faith by Charles Spurgeon

Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship


Monday, April 23, 2007

The Whole Armor of God - Eph 6:10-20


Weekly Devotional Recap Page

Ephesians 6:10 - The Power of His Might
Ephesians 6:11 - The Wiles of the Devil
Ephesians 6:12 - The Rulers of Darkness
Ephesians 6:13 - To Stand
Ephesians 6:14 - The Belt of Truth
Ephesians 6:14 - The Breastplate of Righteousness
Ephesians 6:15 - The Shoes of the Readiness of the Gospel
Ephesians 6:16 - The Shield of Faith
Ephesians 6:17 - The Helmet of Salvation
Ephesians 6:17 - The Sword of the Spirit
Ephesians 6:18 - Praying Always
Ephesians 6:19-20 - Preaching Boldly

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Friday, April 20, 2007

April 20, 1996

of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals
April 20, 1996

Evangelical churches today are increasingly dominated by the spirit of this age rather than by the Spirit of Christ. As evangelicals, we call ourselves to repent of this sin and to recover the historic Christian faith.

In the course of history words change. In our day this has happened to the word "evangelical." In the past it served as a bond of unity between Christians from a wide diversity of church traditions. Historic evangelicalism was confessional. It embraced the essential truths of Christianity as those were defined by the great ecumenical councils of the church. In addition, evangelicals also shared a common heritage in the "solas" of the sixteenth century Protestant Reformation.

Today the light of the Reformation has been significantly dimmed. The consequence is that the word "evangelical" has become so inclusive as to have lost its meaning. We face the peril of losing the unity it has taken centuries to achieve. Because of this crisis and because of our love of Christ, his gospel and his church, we endeavor to assert anew our commitment to the central truths of the Reformation and of historic evangelicalism. These truths we affirm not because of their role in our traditions, but because we believe that they are central to the Bible.

Sola Scriptura: The Erosion of Authority

Scripture alone is the inerrant rule of the church's life, but the evangelical church today has separated Scripture from its authoritative function. In practice, the church is guided, far too often, by the culture. Therapeutic technique, marketing strategies, and the beat of the entertainment world often have far more to say about what the church wants, how it functions and what it offers, than does the Word of God. Pastors have neglected their rightful oversight of worship, including the doctrinal content of the music. As biblical authority has been abandoned in practice, as its truths have faded from Christian consciousness, and as its doctrines have lost their saliency, the church has been increasingly emptied of its integrity, moral authority and direction.

Rather than adapting Christian faith to satisfy the felt needs of consumers, we must proclaim the law as the only measure of true righteousness and the gospel as the only announcement of saving truth. Biblical truth is indispensable to the church's understanding, nurture and discipline.

Scripture must take us beyond our perceived needs to our real needs and liberate us from seeing ourselves through the seductive images, cliche's, promises. and priorities of mass culture. It is only in the light of God's truth that we understand ourselves aright and see God's provision for our need. The Bible, therefore, must be taught and preached in the church. Sermons must be expositions of the Bible and its teachings, not expressions of the preachers opinions or the ideas of the age. We must settle for nothing less than what God has given.

The work of the Holy Spirit in personal experience cannot be disengaged from Scripture. The Spirit does not speak in ways that are independent of Scripture. Apart from Scripture we would never have known of God's grace in Christ. The biblical Word, rather than spiritual experience, is the test of truth.

Thesis One: Sola Scriptura

We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured.

We deny that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian's conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or contrary to what is set forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience can ever be a vehicle of revelation.

Solus Christus: The Erosion of Christ-Centered Faith

As evangelical faith becomes secularized, its interests have been blurred with those of the culture. The result is a loss of absolute values, permissive individualism, and a substitution of wholeness for holiness, recovery for repentance, intuition for truth, feeling for belief, chance for providence, and immediate gratification for enduring hope. Christ and his cross have moved from the center of our vision.

Thesis Two: Solus Christus

We reaffirm that our salvation is accomplished by the mediatorial work of the historical Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to the Father.

We deny that the gospel is preached if Christ's substitutionary work is not declared and faith in Christ and his work is not solicited.

Sola Gratia: The Erosion of the Gospel

Unwarranted confidence in human ability is a product of fallen human nature. This false confidence now fills the evangelical world; from the self-esteem gospel, to the health and wealth gospel, from those who have transformed the gospel into a product to be sold and sinners into consumers who want to buy, to others who treat Christian faith as being true simply because it works. This silences the doctrine of justification regardless of the official commitments of our churches.

God's grace in Christ is not merely necessary but is the sole efficient cause of salvation. We confess that human beings are born spiritually dead and are incapable even of cooperating with regenerating grace.

Thesis Three: Sola Gratia

We reaffirm that in salvation we are rescued from God's wrath by his grace alone. It is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ by releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life.

We deny that salvation is in any sense a human work. Human methods, techniques or strategies by themselves cannot accomplish this transformation. Faith is not produced by our unregenerated human nature.

Sola Fide: The Erosion of the Chief Article

Justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. This is the article by which the church stands or falls. Today this article is often ignored, distorted or sometimes even denied by leaders, scholars and pastors who claim to be evangelical. Although fallen human nature has always recoiled from recognizing its need for Christ's imputed righteousness, modernity greatly fuels the fires of this discontent with the biblical Gospel. We have allowed this discontent to dictate the nature of our ministry and what it is we are preaching.

Many in the church growth movement believe that sociological understanding of those in the pew is as important to the success of the gospel as is the biblical truth which is proclaimed. As a result, theological convictions are frequently divorced from the work of the ministry. The marketing orientation in many churches takes this even further, erasing the distinction between the biblical Word and the world, robbing Christ's cross of its offense, and reducing Christian faith to the principles and methods which bring success to secular corporations.

While the theology of the cross may be believed, these movements are actually emptying it of its meaning. There is no gospel except that of Christ's substitution in our place whereby God imputed to him our sin and imputed to us his righteousness. Because he bore our judgment, we now walk in his grace as those who are forever pardoned, accepted and adopted as God's children. There is no basis for our acceptance before God except in Christ's saving work, not in our patriotism, churchly devotion or moral decency. The gospel declares what God has done for us in Christ. It is not about what we can do to reach him.

Thesis Four: Sola Fide

We reaffirm that justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. In justification Christ's righteousness is imputed to us as the only possible satisfaction of God's perfect justice.

We deny that justification rests on any merit to be found in us, or upon the grounds of an infusion of Christ's righteousness in us, or that an institution claiming to be a church that denies or condemns sola fide can be recognized as a legitimate church.

Soli Deo Gloria: The Erosion of God-Centered Worship

Wherever in the church biblical authority has been lost, Christ has been displaced, the gospel has been distorted, or faith has been perverted, it has always been for one reason: our interests have displaced God's and we are doing his work in our way. The loss of God's centrality in the life of today's church is common and lamentable. It is this loss that allows us to transform worship into entertainment, gospel preaching into marketing, believing into technique, being good into feeling good about ourselves, and faithfulness into being successful. As a result, God, Christ and the Bible have come to mean too little to us and rest too inconsequentially upon us.

God does not exist to satisfy human ambitions, cravings, the appetite for consumption, or our own private spiritual interests. We must focus on God in our worship, rather than the satisfaction of our personal needs. God is sovereign in worship; we are not. Our concern must be for God's kingdom, not our own empires, popularity or success.

Thesis Five: Soli Deo Gloria

We reaffirm that because salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God, it is for God's glory and that we must glorify him always. We must live our entire lives before the face of God, under the authority of God and for his glory alone.

We deny that we can properly glorify God if our worship is confused with entertainment, if we neglect either Law or Gospel in our preaching, or if self-improvement, self-esteem or self- fulfillment are allowed to become alternatives to the gospel.

Call to Repentance and Reformation

The faithfulness of the evangelical church in the past contrasts sharply with its unfaithfulness in the present. Earlier in this century, evangelical churches sustained a remarkable missionary endeavor, and built many religious institutions to serve the cause of biblical truth and Christ's kingdom. That was a time when Christian behavior and expectations were markedly different from those in the culture. Today they often are not. The evangelical world today is losing its biblical fidelity, moral compass and missionary zeal.

We repent of our worldliness. We have been influenced by the "gospels" of our secular culture, which are no gospels. We have weakened the church by our own lack of serious repentance, our blindness to the sins in ourselves which we see so clearly in others, and our inexcusable failure adequately to tell others about God's saving work in Jesus Christ.

We also earnestly call back erring professing evangelicals who have deviated from God's Word in the matters discussed in this Declaration. This includes those who declare that there is hope of eternal life apart from explicit faith in Jesus Christ, who claim that those who reject Christ in this life will be annihilated rather than endure the just judgment of God through eternal suffering, or who claim that evangelicals and Roman Catholics are one in Jesus Christ even where the biblical doctrine of justification is not believed.

The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals asks all Christians to give consideration to implementing this Declaration in the church's worship, ministry, policies, life and evangelism. For Christ's sake. Amen.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Faced with Certain Death

Today we have paused to remember the Oklahoma City Bombing and the death of 168 people including dozens of children. Another anniversary this week finds us remembering the Columbine shooting. These anniversaries are compounded this week as we have seen a college student go on a killing spree in Virginia, killing 32 or more people and then himself.

In the past few years we have seen hurricanes that have killed hundreds, earthquakes that have killed thousands, and tsunamis that have taken innumerable multitudes of people from this earth. If we continue to think back we can all remember exactly where we were when we heard the news about the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.

Think about it - our lives are defined by death! It is these events, these "acts of God", these terrorist murders, these "natural disasters" that burn themselves into our memory and mark the passing of time.

So how are we supposed to respond? How are we to think about these things? How do we cope with death, whether natural or unnatural? How do we deal with the truth that we are all faced with certain death?

The only hope we have when facing the certainty of death is knowing the certainty of our salvation as we trust Jesus Christ to save and keep us! Is He able to save? Is He in control? If so, then how should we view the certainty of death?

I preached a message relevent to these thoughts in October of 2005 following the devastating earthquakes in Kashmir. Listen to this timely message to learn more about our view of death, and our only hope for life:

Faced with Certain Death (from 2 Samuel 22 and 1 Cor 15:50-58).


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Sunday, April 15, 2007

In Those Days

Examining the last chapter of the Book of Ecclesiastes in the morning and continuing in his series on Genesis this evening, Jonathan was able to preach the truth this Sunday about the inevitability of aging and death and the need for the grace of God. From the wisest man, Solomon, we learn about remembering our Creator while we are young, and from Genesis we learn about the world in which Noah lived.

So whether we are looking back in those days when we were young, in those days before Noah, or in those days in which we now live, we see the testimony of Scripture - men of all ages are sinful creatures who must be blessed with the grace of God if there is to be any hope!

The evangelistic message from Ecclesiastes 12 is titled "Remember Your Creator...NOW!" The great King Solomon urges us to remember our Creator while we are young, and paints a graphic picture of the inevitable ravages of old age. These things teach us the inevitability of death and judgment. How can we avoid the tragedy of growing old, and even dying, without God?

Listen or download this message here:
Remember Your Creator...NOW!

The next message from Genesis, taken from chapter 4:16 through 6:13, titled "Noah Found Grace" helps us in surveying the notable events between the account of Cain and Abel and the account of the Flood, and considering Noah, the world he lived in, and the grace God showed him. How does this all apply to us?

Listen or download this message here:
Noah Found Grace

As we look back at life in those days, let us not forget the ways that God expects and equips us to live in THESE days!

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

A New Award

As if it were not honor enough to have been King for a Week, now I have been listed as a blog wherein The Thirsty Theologian has been edified!! Those of us who blog fairly consistently are often pleased just to know people actually read what we write. But this is an honor indeed. So THANKS DAVID! Keep up the good work of keeping us all updated about the latest and greatest resources available out there on the net. And thanks for the honor. I am humbled.

Thanks again!


Monday, April 09, 2007

One Way

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional
Together for Inspiration, Motivation, and Encouragement

Verse of the Day - Matthew 7:14
Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Daily Scripture Reading - John 14-15

Puritan Catechism
Question #52 - Which is the fifth commandment?

Answer - The Fifth Commandment is, "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you" (Exodus 20:12).

Devotional Thoughts
Jesus tells us plainly that there are two ways to eternal life! It's true. There are two paths, two roads, two ways to the everlasting. As we studied the week before Easter, there is the Broad Way, and as we see in today's verse for study, there is the Narrow Way. Lest we forget, both ways do end in eternal life. The Broad Way, the wrong way, the easy way, the way centered on self fulfillment - that way leads to eternal life suffering the wrath of God for our sin. In fact, it is eternal death, the second death, always dying but never finally dead. There is no relief, no rest, no respite. Only suffering for our sin. The other way, the Narrow Way, leads as we will see today to life eternal, full of abundant blessing in the presence of God, forgiven of our sins and afforded the great opportunity to praise and worship and serve Him forever.

What is it that makes the narrow way narrow? Why does Jesus refer to it as such?

It is different than the Broad Way. It is not easy. It is not a walk in the park. It is trying, there are tests, suffering, and trials. We will be forsaken and persecuted, abandoned and ridiculed. All because the world hates Jesus Christ, and as we walk with Him and live for Him they will come to hate us too.

It is hard to find! Indeed, unless God through His Spirit draws us we would never find the Way (John 6:44). Left on our own we are dead in sin, blinded to the truth, and incapable on our own to even desire to come to Christ (1 Cor 2:14).

It is difficult to follow! This Narrow Way gives us no room for error. That is correct - for we cannot look to the right or the left (Deut 5:32) and we have nowhere to go other than forward or back. We are either pressing on (Phil 3:12, 14) or we are backsliding (Jer 3:22; 14:7).

It is found by few. You have heard the verse "Many are called but few chosen" (Matt 22:14). What does that mean? It is explained here. There are few who find the Narrow Way. Many are called in that the gospel call goes out to all men everywhere to repent of their sin and turn to Christ in faith. But few are chosen. Few are those who find the Narrow Way.

But wait, we might point out that Jesus says to us, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Further, we have heard in the verses that follow, "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt 11:29-30). See - His yoke is easy. The burden is light.

Let us check our perspective. Left on our own all we have to offer, all our own righteousness is a filthy rag in God's holy sight. So how can this Narrow, Difficult Way be the same as the easy yoke and light burden? Jesus tells us in John 15:4-5, "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." Get that? It is easy and light because we can do all things through Christ (Phil 4:13). Without Him it says we can do nothing. Not some things. Not a few things. No, without Christ we can do nothing! So the yoke is easy and the burden light because the life we now live He lives through us (Gal 2:20).

The call to walk this Narrow Way is a call to self denial (Luke 9:23), self abandonment (Matt 10:39), indeed self sacrifice (Rom 12:1-2)! It is hard. It is impossible without Christ. For He is the Only Way to the Father.

Get that? There are not two ways to God. There are not many ways to God. There is One Way Only and that Way is Jesus Christ. It is not as though God will allow any to enter in who are not coming through His Son.

As Jesus explained to His disciples, a rich man, who has all his needs provided for and sees no lack, finds salvation hard! How hard? It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle! (Matt 19:24). Upon hearing this the disciples immediately asked, "Who then can be saved?"

You see, it was not as if they believed everyone was going to heaven. Nor was it that most people were going to heaven. No. When Jesus explained the difficulty of the Way to salvation their response was one of seeing it as impossible for anyone to be saved! "Who then can be saved?" (Matt 19:25).

And the reply was that "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (Matt 19:26)

We have an impossible salvation. Not one we can buy, earn, attain, merit, or that we will ever deserve. It is, from a human standpoint an Impossible Way. That is the degree of narrowness to the gospel. Few find it indeed.

Have you found it? Have you found the One and Only Way to salvation? His name is Jesus, and He is the Living Way. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). Following Him will cost you your life. But He has given you His life in return!!

Links for Further Study
(links to study each daily topic in more detail if you have the desire and the time)

Christ, the Believer's Life by Archibald Alexander
How Shall I Go to God? by Horatius Bonar

Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Living in Light of the Resurrection

Jonathan Hunt was able to preach 2 messages today that set our focus upon the resurrection of Christ. We learn from these sermons that He is alive and that His resurrection does matter. In fact, it matters to the point that His resurrection life should influence the way we live our lives here and now.

This mornings evangelistic message is taken from 1 Corinthians 15:17 and is titled:

"Does it really matter whether Jesus rose from the dead?"

The film 'The Jesus Family Tomb' has got some surprising responses from leading Christians. Some have said that it doesn't matter if we find Jesus' bones - because his Resurrection is just a 'metaphor'. Is this true? Does it really matter whether Jesus rose from the dead?

This evenings message, part of Jonathan's Teaching series, is taken from 2 Corinthians 5:15 and is titled:

"How should we live in the light of the resurrection?"

Jesus Christ has risen. How should we, as Christians, live in the light of this? In this message we look at three aspects of living for, and to Jesus Christ - i) Living for Christ means self-denial, ii) Living for Christ means living with joy, iii) Living for Christ means living for the future.

Click on the sermon titles to download or listen for free!

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He is Risen

Today I will provide a passage of Scripture to read and a passage from a godly pastor that deals with a portion of the text that takes place on this very day in the week before Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection in A.D. 30. Here is the Biblical text from the Gospel accounts arranged chronologically to be read this week so that you might read and study what happened daily with Jesus and the disciples.

Sunday, 16th Day of Nisan, AD 30:

Matt. 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-6; Luke 24:1-11; John 20:1-8

As we celebrate today the resurrection of Christ our Lord and His victory over sin, death, and the grave, I would like to present you with a sermon from Charles Spurgeon that addresses His resurrection. Listen to the Prince of Preachers as he tells us about the Risen Christ!

The Rent Veil

And here is a devotional I wrote that asks and answers the question "Was Jesus Resurrected from the Dead?"

One last thought for the day:
Have you repented of your sin and believed on the risen Lord Jesus Christ? That after all is what "Easter" is all about. Click here to find out more - One Way to Heaven.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Low in the Grave He Lay

Today I will provide a passage of Scripture to read and a passage from a godly pastor that deals with a portion of the text that takes place on this very day in the week before Jesus' crucifixion in A.D. 30.

So where was Jesus and what did He do and say each day of the last week before His crucifixion? Here is the Biblical text from the Gospel accounts arranged chronologically to be read this week so that you might read and study what happened daily with Jesus and the disciples.

Saturday, the 15th of Nisan, AD 30:

Matt.27:62-66; Luke 23:56

Charles Spurgeon on The Tomb of Jesus

Friday, April 06, 2007

Crucify Him!

Today I will provide a passage of Scripture to read and a detailed chronological examination that deals with the text that addresses the events that take place on the day Jesus was crucified in A.D. 30.

Here is the Biblical text from the Gospel accounts arranged chronologically to be read this week so that you might read and study what happened daily with Jesus and the disciples.

Friday, the 14th Day of Nisan, A.D. 30
Matt. 27:1-61; Mark 15:1-47; Luke 22:66 - 23:55; John 18:28 - 19:42

This day was the Passover for Pharisees and Sadducees from Jerusalem, in Judea to the south. Jesus was tried before Pilate, sent to be tried before Herod, returned to Pilate for the final judgment, sent to be scourged and was then offered to be released to the crowd. A political prisoner Barabbas released to the crowd instead by the crowds demands and Jesus was sent to be put to death.

At the Crucifixion, Jesus died at the ninth hour (3 PM) which was the exact hour the Passover lambs were being sacrificed in Jerusalem for the Passover meal. He was buried in a borrowed tomb.

A Chronological Examination from the Gospels:
From the Garden of Gethsemane to the Resurrection

The Garden of Gethsemane

Time - approximately 11:30 PM to 1:00 AM
Matt. 26:36-56; Mark 14:32-52; Luke 22:39-53; John 18:1-11

Jesus departed with His disciples from the observance of the Passover meal, during which He showed the fulfillment of the Passover by instituting the Lord's Supper. As they left, singing a hymn, they went to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus was going to pray. He left all the disciples except for Peter, James, and John - those that were the closest to Him - and went to find a place to pray.

As He prayed, Jesus knew what He was facing! He knew the death that awaited Him in order that the Divine plan of salvation might be accomplished. He had been born to die and now death was near at hand. Jesus was fully God (the spirit is willing) and knew what He had to do. He was also fully man (the flesh is weak), and He did not want to die! What a fearful thing to be facing the torment of bearing the full wrath of God toward sin.

He prayed specifically, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will." Then He came and found the disciples asleep! He awoke them and asked them to watch and pray with Him, and He went back to fall on His face before the Father. He prayed again, "O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done." He knew that drinking this cup meant to do what He had come to do, to be humbled as a man and crucified on a cross. And the disciples fell aspleep again, so He left them there and returned to pray a third time, saying the same thing.

The weight of bearing the wrath of God had already begun and while Jesus prayed the blood vessels in His face began to burst due to the stress, and He began to sweat great drops of blood. His face was bruised from the weight of the cross, and He had not yet even been arrested!

Judas and the chief priests and temple guards arrived to arrest Jesus and turn Him over the Romans. The Jews had no authority to put a man to death, though they could bring him before the Romans and they would carry out the sentence. Judas kissed Jesus, a pre-arranged signal to identify the one to be arrested so that there was no mistake. Jesus asked who they were seeking, they replied, "Jesus of Nazareth." He answered, "I Am He." With that statement the Book of John records that all there were struck with the power and glory of God - the whole mob fell back away from Jesus as He was revealed as "I AM."

Then as they got up and moved to arrest Him, Peter stepped up to defend Jesus even if it meant his own life. He drew his sword and tried to strike one of the men approaching. It was Malchus, a servant of the High Priest. As Peter swung the sword and Malchus ducked out of the way the sword missed lopping his head off but did take his ear off! Jesus instructed Peter to put the sword away, for "all who live by the sword will die by the sword." This was not a statement of pacifism, as Jesus had even told His disciples to buy and carry swords for defense against wild animals and robbers. He meant in this instance that if Peter killed Malchus, Peter himself would be put to death. With that Jesus healed Malchus' ear completely! And He went to be tried as His disciples and a young man named John Mark fled and ran for their lives.

The Trial before the High Priest

Time - 3:00 AM
Matt. 26:57-68; Mark 14:53-65; Luke 22:63-71; John 18:12-27

Jesus was taken and brought before Annas and Caiphas, the High Priest, and charged with blasphemy. These men would decide the crimes to be charged against Jesus when He would stand trial before the Sanhedrin. Here they were accusing Him, complete with a list of witnesses who lied, of a crime punishable by death. They were set on killing Him.

Jesus was struck and spit upon, and at one point even blindfolded and hit in the face as those striking Him cried out, "Tell us who hit you." He was mocked and condemned.

Peter Denies Christ

Time - During the Trial before the High Priest
Matt. 26:69-74; Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:54-62

While Jesus was being questioned by the High Priest, Peter stood with John out in the courtyard. Here Peter was accused by a servant girl in the crowd of being a follower of Jesus. He denied he knew Jesus. A little while later another girl saw him and said that she had seen him with Jesus. He swore an oath that he did not know Jesus and had no idea what this girl was talking about. Then again after a time someone accused him of knowing and being with Jesus, saying he talked like he was from Galilee. At this point, the third time Peter denied Jesus, he cursed and said that he did not know the Man.

Immediately after this, the Bible records for us that Jesus saw Peter through a window. They made eye contact. And Peter remembered the prediction he had refused to believe, that he would deny Christ 3 times before dawn. And he had. He fled the courtyard and went out a wept bitterly at having denied His Lord.

The Trial before the Sanhedrin

Time - Dawn
Matt. 27:1; Luke 22:66-71

At dawn, Jesus was taken with the charges against Him from the High Priest and tried before the Sanhedrin, the highest court in Israel. They quickly found Him guilty of blasphemy, and sent Him to Pilate so that He might be put to death.

The Trials before Pilate and Herod

Time 6:30 AM to 9:00 AM
Matt. 27:2-28; Mark 15:1-20; Luke 23:1-25; John 18:28-19:15

Pilate, the Roman Governor of Palestine, representing Caesar and acting as the highest ranking military and civil officer in that area, had to approve all cases demanding the death penalty. He interviewed Jesus and declared that He was innocent! In fact, while questioning Him, Pilate determined that this was not a case for death and so the local officials, namely King Herod, could rule on the case. So Pilate sent Jesus to Herod.

King Herod Antipas, powerful but nothing more than a puppet for Rome, was the son of Herod the Great, who of course had met with the Wise Men after the birth of Christ and had ordered all the male children 2 and under to be slaughtered in an attempt to prevent the birth of a new king! He died before Joseph and Mary and Jesus returned from their flight to Egypt. Herod Antipas though was more interested in Jesus and His miracles. He was not interested in trying Jesus. He just asked Jesus to perform "tricks" for him! Herod heard the accusations against Jesus from the Jewish leaders, placed a flowing velvet robe on Him mocking Him, and sent Him back to Pilate.

Pilate still insisted He was innocent but in order to pacify the crowd and the Jewish leaders said that Jesus was to be beaten. He thought that perhaps if He was beaten and released that this would satisfy the crowd. The crowd instead cried out for Barabbas to be released - an assassin, a terrorist if you will. The elders of Israel wanted him released instead of Jesus. When Pilate asked then what to do with Jesus the crowd cried out, "Crucify Him!"

So the Roman guards took Jesus and scourged Him. They likely used a cat-of-nine-tails. It was a rod with 9 strips of leather tied to the end, and at the end of these leather strips where embedded pieces of bone, sharp rocks, and metal. This whip was used to lash prisoners. A skilled punisher could use the whip to lodge these sharp pieces into the chest of the criminal and then yank it all loose stripping off pieces of flesh from the chest and stomach all the way around to the back.

The guards crowned Jesus with a crown of thorns after this. They did not use a crown like what we see in most artwork. It was like a ball cap without a bill, a hat woven out of the branches of a short thorn bush that produces thorns an inch and a half to two inches long. This was beaten into Christ's head with a rod.

They took the robe Herod had given Him and pressed it into His bleeding back and mocked Him as a "king." As the blood from the wounds in His back dried into the thick purple robe, they ripped the robe off again, opening the wounds afresh. They spit on Jesus, ripped His beard out, and continued to hit His head with the reed.

The Place of the Skull

Time - 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Matt. 27:29-66; Mark 15:21-47; Luke 23:26-56; John 19:16-42

At this time, Jesus was already weak from the loss of blood. His face was bruised from both sweating drops of blood in the Garden and from being hit, beaten, slapped, and His beard pulled out. He was bleeding from His face, back and sides, and His head. And they took Him to the place of the skull. It was a small hill outside the city gates where people were put to death for their crimes. This hill was called "Golgotha" which means "place of the skull". It was so named because it looked like it had a skull protruding from its side with caves forming cavities.

He was forced to carry the cross beam that He would be nailed to as He was crucified. He dropped it on the way, and the most amazing thing happened. A man named Simon from Cyrene was pulled from the crowd and forced to carry the cross for Jesus. (Simon's son Rufus is later mentioned as part of the church in Rome - Rom 16:13.) Look at what is happening here. Jesus is bearing the weight of our sin and even in the midst of the full wrath of God, grace and mercy is shown in that someone else carried the cross!!

Arriving at the place to be crucified Jesus was offered pain killer but refused. He would not find any loss of His senses as He bore the pain of death for our sin. He was stripped of all clothing and nailed to the cross - His hands (through the wrist) and His feet, one over the other with the nail piercing through the top of both feet and exiting the heel into the cross.

The charge against Him was nailed to the top of the cross, identifying in 3 languages that "This is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." At noon, as He hung on the cross, the sun was hidden and everything was dark until 3:00 PM. During this time, in order to take a breathe on the cross, Jesus had to push up on the nail in His feet and pull up on the nails in His wrists, scraping His already sliced back up and down on that wooden cross. Those who died on a cross usually died of suffocation - not being able to have the continued strength to pull up and take a breath.

While hanging there between heaven and earth, bearing the penalty for our sin, Jesus spoke and said the following things:

1. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

2. "Woman, behold your son." (Spoken to Mary His mother, identifying the Apostle John as the one who would take care of her in His absence).

3. "Behold your mother." (Spoken to John about Mary).

4. "Assuredly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise." (Spoken to the theif who believed in Him and would join Him in heaven that very day).

5. "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabacthani - a scream of such pain in being separated from the Father as He bore the full brunt of the wrath of God for our sin that the people who heard Him did not even understand what He said. They thought He was calling to Elijah to save Him. He was in fact uttering the most hideous cry ever uttered by a man.)

6. "I thirst."

7. Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit." (He knew He would go to be with the Father upon His death).

8. "It is finished." (Tetelestai - PAID IN FULL - He had paid the debt we could not pay).

And He died. When He died the veil of the Temple was rent in two - now man had access through the blood of Christ directly into the presence of God. No other High Priest or sacrifices or rituals. He was the High Priest and the sacrifice, once for all.

When He died, He did not die from suffocation, or blood loss, or the beating, or the crucifixion. He willingly gave up His life. He chose the moment He would die! He died not due to the physical torments of the crucifixion. He died willingly as a result of bearing the wrath of God for our sin upon Himself. He tells us He gave up His life willingly so that He could take it up again - referring to the resurrection. He was always God! He was always in control. He chose when to die, and when to be raised from the dead. All to pay for our sin!

A guard standing by would usually break a criminals legs in order to hasten death - he could then not push up and keep breathing. But when they came to do this to Jesus He was already dead. They stuck a spear in His side to check and pierced His heart and both blood and water came out of the wound, a clear sign that He was dead.

Upon seeing Him die, the Centurion in charge of the execution believed that He was the Son of God - fulfilling the prayer, "Father, forgive them." Surely this man was the Son of God. And He gave His life willingly to pay for our sin and save us. He made of Himself a substitute.

Hebrews 12 tells us that through the pain, the torment, the abandonement, the shame, and all that He did to pay for our sin, through all of that He had one thing in mind!! Joy! Yes, joy!

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. This is how Jesus died.

He had come to seek and save that which was lost, and just as the angel told Mary before He was born, He would save His people from their sin. He had come to do this. He was born to die. And He died to save His people from their sin.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Upper Room

Today I will provide a passage of Scripture to read and a passage from a godly pastor that deals with a portion of the text that takes place on this very day in the week before Jesus' crucifixion in A.D. 30.

So where was Jesus and what did He do and say each day of the last week before His crucifixion? Here is the Biblical text from the Gospel accounts arranged chronologically to be read this week so that you might read and study what happened daily with Jesus and the disciples.

Thursday, the 13th Day of Nisan, A.D. 30
Matt. 26:17-75; Mark 14:12-72; Luke 22:7-62; John. 13:21 - 18:27

The Upper Room

Jesus washed His disciples feet, observed the Passover with them and during the meal instituted the Lord's Supper, left for the Garden of Gethsemane, was betrayed and arrested, and went through the first of three trials, this one by the Sanhedrin, the Jewish religious court.

An Exposition by Charles Spurgeon on Matt 26:26-30 and 1 Cor 11:20-34: A Question for Communicants

Additional Sermon from 1 Cor 11:17-34 by pastorway:
Instructions for the Observance of Communion

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Jesus' Last Parable

Today I will provide a passage of Scripture to read and a passage from a godly theologian that deals with a portion of the text that takes place on this very day in the week before Jesus' crucifixion in A.D. 30.

So where was Jesus and what did He do and say each day of the last week before His crucifixion? Here is the Biblical text from the Gospel accounts arranged chronologically to be read this week so that you might read and study what happened daily with Jesus and the disciples.

Wednesday, the 12th Day of Nisan, A.D. 30
Matt. 21:18 - 26:16; Mark 11:11 - 14:11; Luke 20:1 - 22:6

NOTE: Jesus was NOT crucified on Wednesday.

John Gill's Exposition on Matthew 22 and Matthew 25

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Cleansing the Temple

Today I will provide a passage of Scripture to read and a passage from a godly theologian that deals with a portion of the text that takes place on this very day in the week before Jesus' crucifixion in A.D. 30.

So where was Jesus and what did He do and say each day of the last week before His crucifixion? Here is the Biblical text from the Gospel accounts arranged chronologically to be read this week so that you might read and study what happened daily with Jesus and the disciples.

Tuesday, the 11th Day of Nisan, A.D. 30
Matt. 21:12-17; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45-46

John Calvin's Examination of the Harmony of the Gospels
Matthew 21; Mark 11; Luke 19

Monday, April 02, 2007

Triumphal Entry

Today I will provide a passage of Scripture to read and a sermon from a godly preacher that deals with a portion of the text that takes place on this very day in the week before Jesus' crucifixion in A.D. 30.

So where was Jesus and what did He do and say each day of the last week before His crucifixion? Here is the Biblical text from the Gospel accounts arranged chronologically to be read this week so that you might read and study what happened daily with Jesus and the disciples.

Monday, the 10th Day of Nisan, A.D. 30:

Matt. 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-38; John 12:12-15

Triumphal Entry

Yes it happened on Monday, not Sunday, but we celebrate it on Sunday as we gather for worship. This was the very day that the Passover Lamb was chosen by Jewish families and brought into the house. Jesus entered Jerusalem and was proclaimed by the people to be their King. They cried out “Hosanna” which means “Save Now”, and was a fulfillment of Psalm 118.

The Triumphal Entry happened TO THE DAY that it was prophesied to happen according to Zech. 9:9; Daniel 9:25; and Neh. 2:6.

Technical Note: Jews who lived in the northern part of the country, Galilee, kept time a little differently than those in the south region of Judea. As a result, in Jesus' day they celebrated the Passover a day early, on Thursday. Those to the south would celebrate on Friday. Jesus was from the north, remember that He was from Nazareth in Galilee, so He and His disciples celebrated according to the northern calendar on Thursday. But the rest of Jerusalem would be celebrating on Friday.

The Triumphal Entry by Charles Spurgeon, preached from Matthew 21:5.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The King Approaches and Approaching the King

Jonathan Hunt's messages today continue on in his series of evangelistic messages and his series from Genesis.

This morning's message, The King Leads the Way, was taken from Luke 19:28-40. A message that considers the events of the day known as 'Palm Sunday', we see the Lord Jesus Christ fulfill prophecy as He enters Jerusalem, and the crowds hail Him as King. He is facing an agonizing death, and He knows it - yet He leads the way - because He has a grand and glorious purpose to fulfill. Have we recognized Jesus Christ as our King?

This evening's message, Two Approaches to God: Cain and Abel, was taken from Genesis 4:1-16. Cain and Abel were the first children born into this world, and their different characters were illustrated when they brought offerings to God - Abel and his offering were accepted, Cain and his offering were rejected. Enraged, Cain kills Abel and is banished by God. Do we give God the very best, as Abel did? Do we heed God's warnings to Cain about the power and defeat of sin?

Listen online or download these messages for FREE by clicking on the sermon title.

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Bible Reading Plan - Palm Sunday to Easter

Bible Readings for the Week before Resurrection Sunday

When we think of celebrating Easter each year, we usually begin with the observance of Palm Sunday, a remembrance of the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem fulfilling Old Testament prophecy to the very day as He was lauded as the King and Messiah by those who lined the road. But in order to understand the true significance of these events we need a clear picture of the actual time line. A careful examination of the Gospel accounts of this last week give us a picture of what Jesus was doing and where He was each day of the week before He was crucified to redeem His people.

So where was Jesus and what did He do and say each day of the last week before His crucifixion? Here is the Biblical text from the Gospel accounts arranged chronologically to be read this week so that you might read and study what happened daily with Jesus and the disciples.

Background: The First Passover - Israel and the Exodus
Ex 12; Lev 23:4-5; Num 28:16-25; Deut 16:1-8

The month of Abib, which means "green" or "tender", was renamed Nisan, which means "first month", after the Exile in Babylon. See Nehemiah 2:1; Ezra 3:7

Abib (or Nisan) was the first month in the Jewish year and falls in March/April on our current calendar. On the Tenth Day the families selected the Passover Lamb which was brought into the home as a pet and cared for until the time of preparing the Passover meal. On the Fourteenth Day the sacrifice the lamb occurred between 3-5 pm, followed by the Passover meal where the lamb was cooked and eaten according to the regulations given in Exodus and Leviticus. On the Fifteenth to Twenty-first Days the Jews celebrated the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Eight Days
Selected Scriptures arranged chronologically from the Four Gospels with Extra Reading Material for each day of the Week

1. Sunday, Nisan 9 - Matt. 20:17-34; Mark 10:32-52; Luke 18:31-43

2. Monday, Nisan 10 - Matt. 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-38; John 12:12-15

3. Tuesday, Nisan 11 - Matt. 21:12-17; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45-46

4. Wednesday, Nisan 12 - Matt. 21:18 - 26:16; Mark 11:11 - 14:11; Luke 20:1 - 22:6

5. Thursday, Nisan 13 - Matt. 26:17-75; Mark 14:12-72; Luke 22:7-62; John. 13:21 - 18:27

6. Friday, Nisan 14 - Matt. 27:1-61; Mark 15:1-47; Luke 22:66 - 23:55; John 18:28 - 19:42

7. Saturday, Nisan 15 - Matt.27:62-66; Luke 23:56

8. Sunday, Nisan 16 - Matt. 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-6; Luke 24:1-11; John 20:1-8

Related Sermon: Passover: An Everlasting Ordinance