Tag Archives: Ressurection

Bible Open to Book of Luke

Luke – Thematic Takeaways

So, after reading through the book of Luke for Advent, I decided to summarize what my initial takeaways were from my reading. I have worked to consolidate what I have found and to narrow them down as much as possible. Again, this is not intended to be an in-depth study of the book of Luke, but rather my initial thoughts on the book. The numbers in the parenthesis indicate the chapters from which the preceding takeaways came.

  1. Jesus’ resurrection is an actual physical/bodily resurrection. (24). What is more, it serves as a further confirmation that there is a resurrection of the dead. (20)
  2. The whole of the Old Testament, the law and the prophets, remains and points to Christ. (16 and 24)
  3. Jesus’ death and resurrection open the door of forgiveness to a sinful people separated from God. (13, 22, and 24) What is more, there is nothing so wrong that it cannot be forgiven and is never too late in this life to be forgiven. (23)
  4. The world that Jesus has sent us into is a dangerous place. (10 and 22) Even the most committed followers can succumb to fear, which should not surprise us as even Jesus expressed fear of what was to come. (22) But God can give us the strength to persevere when we ask him in prayer. (21 and 22)
  5. To reach people, we cannot hide but must be involved in people’s lives. (19)
  6. Following Christ means leaving things behind, taking up your cross, laying down your life, and holding him above all others. (9 and 14)
  7. Our actions are to help the neediest, including keeping others from stumbling, and restoring those who do stumble. (14 and 17)
  8. We need to regularly and continually bring things to God in prayer. We do this by letting go of the things of this world and bathing our lives in prayer. ( 6 and 18)
  9. It is always good to what is right, and it is more important than imposed rules. (6, 13, and 14)
  10. We need to come before God in humility and with the innocence of a child. (18) What is more, we need to serve others with this same humility, making ourselves the least important. (9, 21, and 22)
  11. Faith is the key to following Christ. Even in the smallest amount, it can accomplish much. (7 and 17) With faith, we can come before God. (18) With faith, we can trust in God. (11) And with faith in Christ, we can find forgiveness. (5)
  12. Christ will come at any time and without warning. (12 and 17) But there will be signs for which we are told to be watchful. (21)
  13. The mission of Jesus was and still is to reach the lost. (15) Jesus calls people and, in turn, uses those he has called to reach others. (5) Our role, as believers, is to share the gospel with those who will listen. (8) God will give us what we need to reach others. (10, 16 and 19)
  14. Salvation is for the true children of Abraham by faith, and they will come from all corners of the earth. (3 and 13)
  15. We are not to judge people based on their past but rather rejoice with them when they come to Christ. (15)
  16. There is a cost to following Christ, and if we are not willing to make the sacrifices, we are worthless to God. (14)
  17. The only real way to resist temptation is through God’s power, and Jesus demonstrated for us that this could be found in scripture. (4)
  18. God is faithful to his promises and will see them through to fruition. (1 and 2)
  19. Christ has promised that he will never leave us. (24)
  20. We are to be zealous for the righteousness of God. (19)
  21. Jesus is fully God, having power over everything, and fully man, having faced all that we face. (2, 4 and 8)
  22. We are called to treat others the way we want to be treated. To do this, we must recognize that our neighbors are anyone in need and base our actions on the teaching of Jesus. (6 and 10)
  23. We are called to be faithful to God’s calling and, therefore, must be wary of things that harm or walk with him and be prepared for the challenges that may stand in the way of our desire for heavenly things. (4 and 12)
  24. We need to meditate on the truths of Christ that have been revealed to us so that we can embrace them and make them a genuine part of our lives. (2)

Are We To Be Pitied?

 

1 Corinthians 15:16-19 NASB

For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.

On this past Easter Sunday, as I took time to reflect on those events some 2000 years ago, I began to wonder if we truly believe.  Christians all over the world for the previous week spent time remembering the triumphant entry of a man into Jerusalem.  A man that people were ready to declare King.  They remember a man who challenged the traditions of the people.  They remember a man who spent a last meal with his closest friend.  They remember a man who was betrayed by one of those friends.  They remember a man who was tried for treason and blasphemy.  They remember a man who was tortured and beaten.  They remember a man who was killed in one of the most excruciating ways ever devised.  They remember a man who was laid in a tomb.

And if this is where the story ends they remember a fool who died for nothing.

But the story does not end here, because they remember a man who did not stay in the grave.  They remember a man whom God raised from the dead.  You see Jesus was not simply a man.  He is the Son of God.  Jesus did not simply die and rot in a grave.  He was raised again to life and is alive today.  A life that is offered to everyone who will believe.  This is what Christians remember.   This is why we celebrate Easter, Good Friday, Maunday Thursday, Holy Week and Palm Sunday. Praise God for this truth.

But far too often, as I look at churches and Christians I have to ask, “Do we really believe?”  Does this truth really permeate our lives or is it just a nice story? Do we live like Jesus is alive? Do we really believe in the ressurection? Or is Jesus still in the tomb to us?

Maybe we go to church on Sunday (or Saturday or possibly a different day depending on your tradition and circumstance) to sing songs, pray and listen to the pastor. Maybe we teach a Sunday school class or lead a small group. Maybe we preach from the Bible.

Some of us may read the Bible throughout the week. Some pray each night before we go to bed.

We are friendly with our neighbors and strangers. We are generous with those in need. We do the right thing at work and in business even if it will make our life more difficult.

In any of these cases we are living the Christian life, aren’t we. After all doesn’t the Bible tell us that we show our faith by our deeds. From the time we are children we are told that actions speak louder than words. So these actions show that we truly believe. Unfortunately, it is not that simple.

Far too often we do these deeds for the wrong reasons. We go to Church on Sunday not to worship, but because it is what is expected or because it feels comfortable. We teach or preach because we want to feel that we have a place we fit in or we want other to look up to us.

We are friendly with neighbors and strangers because it is our personality or we were taught it when we were young. We do the right thing in business because we want others to see us as virtuous or we are afraid of being caught doing otherwise.

It’s not as simple as actions speak louder than words. In the sermon on the mount Jesus declares “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:22 – 23)

Yes, our actions are important, but no matter how great they are, they are meaningless without the right backing. If we do not believe the foundation of the Christian faith, If we do not believe Jesus is the Son of the Living God, If we do not believe Jesus rose from the grave, and if we do not believe that forgiveness and eternal life can be found in him alone then our actions are meaningless and we are truly to be pitied.

My friends, if you are doing good I am certainly not saying to stop. Continue doing so and always look for more opportunities, but don’t let that be the end. Look behind the action. Ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” Are you doing it because Jesus gave us an example for this life or because you truly believe Jesus was who he said he was and your actions are a response to His incredible gift which reaches beyond this life.

 

Brian Olson is a graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and is a preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ having worked with both youth and adults.

The Doctrine of Christ


Who is Jesus of Nazareth? This question as been pondered in the minds of many for two thousand years. For the answer to this question has impact on everyone from the lowliest beggar, to the mightiest King.

So who is Jesus of Nazareth and why, is he called Christ. Let me answer the second question first. Contrary to what many may think, based on it usage, Christ is not a last name, rather is a title. It is derived from the Greek word [christos], which means anointed or chosen one. It is the same as the Hebrew word Messiah. So when you hear Jesus referred to as the Christ or as the Messiah, these are the same thing. It is calling him the anointed one of God.

Now, back to the first question, who is Jesus? Jesus was a man, born into this world (Luke 2:5-7), who lived (Luke 2:52) and died (Mark 15:43-45). However the story does not simply end there. For Jesus what not simply a man, Jesus was also God incarnate [in flesh] (John 1:1, 14). He is the eternal God, the great I am of the Old Testament (Isaiah 9:6, Micah 5:2), who existed from the very beginning in co-existence with God [the Father] (John 1:1, 17:5). He is simultaneously fully man (Luke 19:10, Galatians 4:4) and fully God.He was the true God who took on the form of a man and faced all temptations that men face, to an infinite degree (Hebrews 4:15, Philippians 2:6-8). If Jesus had been simply God, but not man his sacrifice would have been inadequate, as he could not represent man. Had he been simply man, but not God his sacrifice would have been inadequate as he would have been imperfect. Jesus was fully God and fully man and there for was the only adequate sacrifice. (Hebrews 10:1-14)

Now while Jesus was fully man, he did not have a human father, rather the Holy Spirit came upon the virgin Mary and she gave birth to a son, Jesus Christ (Luke 1:35, Matthew 1:18-25) Though Jesus Christ was fully God, when He came to earth, He voluntarily surrendered the rights that came with His being God.He did not give up His being God, but willingly set aside His position as God to become man and face all temptations that man faced.In fact, Jesus did not only lower Himself to becoming a man, but came to serve man and die in his place.(Mark 10:45, Philippians 2:5-11).

Some have questioned the whole death of Jesus, but let me be clear, Jesus death on the cross was not simply passing out or “swooning” but was a true physical death. (Matthew 27:45-54, Mark 15:33-41, Luke 23:44-49, John 19:28-30).It was necessary that it be a true physical death as His death was a sacrifice that paid the penalty for the sins [anything not up to God’s perfect standard] of man (Matthew 20:28, I Timothy 2:6).As God is perfect and just, the sins of Man are an affront to His being. Therefore, the sins of Man needed a perfect offering to satisfy a just God.Jesus, being fully God and fully man was a perfect man. He therefore was the only adequate sacrifice to pay the price.His death on the cross fulfilled the prophecies of the messiah to come found in the Old Testament (Zechariah 2:10-11, Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12).It is through His death that our sins may be forgiven for His death was a sufficient sacrifice for the entire world, but it was only efficient for those who would believe (John 1:12, Romans 3:22).

After his death on the cross, Jesus was laid in a grave for three days and on the third day the Father raised Him from the dead in the perfection of the resurrected body (John 20:11-17, 26-29, I Corinthians 15:3-8).He was the first to be resurrected and through his resurrection, the door was opened to eternal life for those who believe (I Corinthians 20:20-21).

Jesus now sits at the “right hand” [the place of honor] of the Father (Acts 2:32-34), where He sits in authority over the church (Colossians 1:18) and serves as an advocate for believers (Hebrews 4:14-16).Jesus will one day return to claim those who have proclaimed belief in Him and have been forgiven (Acts 1:11, I Thessalonians 4:16-17) At the end of time He will sit in the judgment seat as all humanity stands before Him and He will separate those whose sins have been forgiven through belief in Him from those who are the unregenerate of the world (Matthew 25:31-46).