Archive | November 2013

From the Pastor’s Pen

And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses observed where He was laid.              NKJV

How slow grief is to arrive at understanding.  Grief is ignorant and does not even care to learn.  When the grieving women observed where Jesus body was laid, did they anticipate the triumph of His coming victory over death and sin?  Did they expect anything except that Jesus was gone?  The Christ we know today came from their loss.  Countless mourning hearts have since seen resurrection in the midst of their grief, and yet these sorrowing women saw nothing except Jesus body being laid in the tomb (Luke 24:3-4, John 20:11).  What they regarded as the end of Jesus’ life was actually the preparation for His coronation.

They did not see it.  They mourned, wept, went away, and then returned again to the sepulcher, driven by their broken hearts.  And still it was only a tomb—voiceless, and drab. 

It is the same with us.  Each of us observes the tomb in our own garden and initially says, “This tragedy is irreparable.  I see no benefit in it and will take no comfort in it.”  And yet right in the midst of our deepest and worst adversities, the resurrected Jesus is there, waiting for us to take hold of the victory that He has won for us.

Our Savior is alive and victorious where our death seems to be.  At the end of our hope, we find the brightest beginning of fulfillment.  Where darkness seems the deepest, the most brilliant light is ready to emerge.  And once the experience is over, we find that our garden is not disfigured by the tomb.

Our joys are made more glorious when sorrow is in the midst of them.  And our sorrows are turned to joy through the many graces that God has planted around them.  At first the flowers of our garden may not appear to be our favorites, but we will learn that they are the flowers of our hearts.  The flowers planted at the grave deep within the Believer’s heart are love, hope, faith, joy, and peace.

`Twas by a path of sorrows drear Christ entered into rest;

            And shall I look for roses here, or think that earth is blessed?

Heaven’s whitest lilies blow from earth’s sharp crown of woe:

            Who here his cross can meekly bear, shall wear the kingly purple there.       L.B. Cowman

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From the Pastor’s Pen

Final thoughts on Mark 15:37-38

And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last. Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.                        NKJV

God performed a miracle in the tearing of the veil which was the thickness of a man’s hand and according to Josephus, the Jewish historian so strong that two teams of horses could not have torn it in half.  More than just a physical miracle, it signified a spiritual miracle as well.  The old law of ordinances was torn away and laid aside like a worn-out garment. When Jesus died on Calvary’s cross, the sacrifices were all finished, because all was fulfilled in Him.  The tearing of the veil revealed all the hidden things of the old covenant: the Ark of the Covenant and the mercy-seat could now be seen by all, and the glory of God shown forth above it. By the death of our Lord Jesus we have a clear revelation of God, for He was “not as Moses, who put a veil over his face.” (II Cor. 3:13)  Life and immortality are now brought to light, and things which have been hidden since the foundation of the world are manifest in Him. (II Tim. 1:10) The annual Day of Atonement was thus abolished forever. The atoning blood which was once every year sprinkled within the veil was now offered once for all by Christ, our great High Priest. No blood of bullocks or of lambs is needed now, for Jesus has entered within the veil with his own blood obtaining eternal redemption for us. (Heb. 9:12) Access to God is now permitted, and is the privilege of every believer in Jesus Christ. There is no small space laid open through which we may peek at the mercy-seat, but the tear reaches from the top to the bottom. We may come with boldness to the throne of the heavenly grace. (Heb. 4:6) The opening of the Holy of Holies in this wondrous way by our Lord’s expiring cry brought about the opening of the gates of paradise to all believers by virtue of His redemptive sacrifice.

Our bleeding Lord hath the key of heaven; He openeth and no man shutteth; let us enter in with Him into the heavenly places, and sit with Him there till our common enemies shall be made his footstool.             Charles H. Spurgeon

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final thoughts on Mark 15:29-30

And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself, and come down from the cross!”           NKJV

Have you ever considered how heartless the people were who callously passed by the Savior as He hung on the cross? But before we rush to judge them, let us remember that there are many still doing it today. Those who do fall into three groups.

First, there are those who want a cross without Christ. It is possible to worship a symbol without the Savior. Some may revere a cross made of wood or gold which hangs on a wall for which can be held in the hand, but that man-made emblem will never provide cleansing from even one sin. It is Jesus alone who redeems our souls with His precious blood.

Secondly, there are those who want a Christ without a cross. They want a conquering lion, but not a dying Lamb. They would cry, “Come down from the cross!” (verse 30). Many desire a good example, or a great teacher, or a triumphant king. They cling to hope of salvation by works. They despise the gospel that declares we are justified by grace through faith alone in the One who shed His blood for us on the cross.

Finally, there are those who want neither Christ nor His cross. They are untouched by His sorrow, unmoved by His suffering, and unrepentant of their sins that He bore in His own body on the cross. (I Pet. 2:24) Never have they exclaimed as did the songwriter Philip P. Bliss, “Bearing shame and scoffing rude, In my place condemned He stood—Sealed my pardon with His blood: Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Jesus took our place that we might have His peace.           Paul Van Gorder

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final thoughts on Psalm 35:3

. . . Say to my soul,“I am your salvation.”                  NKJV

It is worth noting that David had his doubts that God would deliver him, for why would he pray, “Say to my soul, I am your salvation,” if he did not sometimes experience doubts and fears? Let me, then, be cheerful, for I am not the only Christian to express a weakness of faith. If David doubted, I do not need to conclude that I am not a Christian because I have doubts. This verse reminds me that David was not content while he had doubts and fears, but he went at once to the throne of grace to pray for assurance; for he valued it as more than fine gold. I too must pursue an abiding sense of my acceptance in Christ, and must have no joy when his love is not shed abroad in my soul. While my Bridegroom is away in His Father’s house, my soul must and will fast.

We learn also that David knew where to obtain full assurance. He went to his God in prayer, crying,”Say to my soul I am your salvation.” I must be frequently alone with God if I expect to have a clear sense of Jesus’ love. If my prayers cease, my eye of faith will grow dim. To be often in prayer is to be often in heaven; to be slow in prayer is to be slow in progress.

Notice that David would not be satisfied unless his assurance had a divine source. “Say to my soul.” Lord, You say it! Nothing short of a divine testimony in the soul will ever content the true Christian. Moreover, David could not rest unless his assurance had a vivid personality about it. “Say to my soul, I am your salvation.” Lord, if You should say this to all the saints, it means nothing, unless You should say it to me.

Lord, I have sinned; I deserve not Thy smile; I scarcely dare to ask it; but oh! say to my soul, even to my soul, “I am thy salvation.” Let me have a present, personal, infallible, indisputable sense that I am Thine, and that Thou art mine.                        Charles H. Spurgeon