Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Paradox of the Flesh and Blood Religion

Definition of "paradox" - something that seems contradictory, but is not

I have discovered in my lifelong learning experience, that there are 4 types of reality: scientific, mathematical, historical and [divine] revelation reality.

Divine revelation as set forth in the Scriptures, relates the birth, life, death, burial and historical Resurrection of Christ that “spawned” the Christian Religion, which, through the centuries, has been (sorry to say), the high-jacking subject of error, heresy and misapplication of practice. But through it all, the one common denominator, has been the documents – the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures and the historic Creeds that help us to focus on the thrust of Christ’s message.

This Christian Religion is, indeed, a very “Flesh and Blood Religion.” Its pinnacle message is, the once for all sacrificial [bodily] gift of Christ crucified [and resurrected] for all of humanity. This free gift of a Savior from sin - that same sin, that damns the soul from a holy God and His perfect heaven, is offered to all, as the principled means to effect forgiveness of sin (s) –- without which, there would be no peace with God, and (heavenly) paradise to come.

Now, just because God has provided His free gift of forgiveness of sin and future presence with Him in heaven, - that does not mean to say, that everyone will benefit. Just because there is a cookie jar, it does not always translate into cookies being present, within that jar. God provided the means to assuage and wipe away personal damning sin, but not all, will, in the end, be positively affected. Did not Christ say:?

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:13-14

It Takes More Than Surface Recognition to Benefit from God’s Action Gift of Christ, the Savior

The New Testament Scripture of James 2:19 states: “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe – and tremble.” Pure recognition does not “cut it,” with God. It will not change a person’s state of existence nor his final destination. This is where, “divine revelation reality,” must “kick in.”

I am always suspicious of a type of “Christian crusade endeavor,” which will end with, “All heads bowed and every eye closed,” and a step by step (how to) prayer, that (supposedly) whisks the emotionally struck individual from a sinner state, to that of a saint. Being Christ’s true child and His disciple, is more than subscribing to some formula prayer. It is more than being emotionally distraught over one's damning sins. It is more than the simple act of “claiming for oneself” and “grabbing” (“accepting”) Christ, to escape God’s holy eternal judgment for personal sin!

One of the most misunderstood of all Scriptures, is the Scripture of Christ’s Words to the one religious leader, who came under the cover of darkness, to secretly visit Christ. [John 3:1f] No [language] translation of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures can take the place of serious Bible study. Illustrated in the case of the Gospel of John 3:3, is the reason that one cannot be without an enquiring and searching mind after God's truth.

How often have you heard the phrase: “Born again,” referring directly to the King James translation (of the New Testament Greek), of Jesus’ Words to Nicodemus? [Gospel of John 3:3] However, the more correct and accurate rendering, (in the original Greek) for, “again,” is, rather, “from above.” [ἄνωθεν] This puts a whole new light on Christ's words. It is God’s action that precedes human action, which initiates and appropriates personal belief into the actions of repentance and living a whole new life, patterned after the Lord, Christ.

Too often the Christian Religion is showcased and burdened with the likes of evangelists and preachers who convey the Gospel Message of Christ, as if it were something to be acquired by one’s own efforts and, or, abilities! On the contrary – that same Gospel makes it clear, that “receiving Christ” is initially and wholly dependent upon Divine action:

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right [authority] to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13
The Gospel Paradox

After Christ, the Messiah suffered, died and rose from the dead; His disciples still hadn’t fully “seen the light.” Before Christ traveled the last time to Jerusalem, Christ asked His disciples who the public thought He was. The disciples readily answered Christ that the people perceived Him to be some sort of prophet, like John the Baptist, Elijah or Jeremiah. But then Christ asked His own immediate disciples who they thought Him to be. Peter piped up and stated: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” [Matthew 16:16] To that, Christ responded with the following:

Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. Gospel of Matthew 16:17

Then, shortly after all this, Christ was crucified and all His disciples fled and were scattered, -- and, were in hiding. It wasn’t until after that, the Resurrected Christ illuminated their minds -- and they truly and more completely became aware of their relationship with Christ; their identity, purpose and mission. Luke 24:36-49 – especially Luke 24:45

The “Gospel Paradox” is that, the (sinless) flesh and blood, Christ, came to earth, “....born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, died and was buried....” [Wording from the Apostle’s Creed] However, Christ, was, a very authentic “flesh and blood man!” But so much more! Christ was the sinless “Son of God,” who then, after having been crucified, rose from the dead. [1 Corinthians 15:1f] And, then, Christ, in His resurrected body, appeared again, in the flesh before many witnesses, before ascending into heaven.

Here we have it folks -- a “Flesh and Blood Religion”

The Christian Religion is a "flesh and blood religion" to the core - from the God accepted animal sacrifice that finally preceeded the supreme sin sacrifice of the prophesied Messiah Christ! [Hebrews 10:1f]

However, though - and, (paradoxically), God has so designed it that no “flesh and blood” person can inherit the “kingdom of God.” [N.T. Matthew 25:34] No flesh and blood can even “accept Christ and believe in Him,” unless it [that acceptance and belief] be, by the Grace and Mercy of God and operation of God’s Holy Spirit – for the sake of Christ, the Savior! Titus 3:3-7 ; Ephesians 2:1-10

No “Salvation” Formula for You (from me)

Finally, I have no 4 or 5 “self help” steps with which, to direct you, or even to help you spell out a certain prayer formula. That is -- if you, who are reading and, or listening to this message, are not one of God’s own children. But I can tell you that you had better be very concerned and serious about your sinful relationship before a holy and just God. Sin cannot live with Him. If you desire a peaceful existence after you breathe your last, you cannot rest, here on earth, until you have been “born from above.” John 3:3

You need not drown in your sins, by struggling with them as a non-swimmer thrashes about attempting to stay afloat. Realize that you can do nothing to effect your eternal state of affairs. Realize that you are a damnable sinner, in need of the Savior, Christ! Don’t deceive yourself and attempt to make excuses, or even latch onto some "self help" forumulas.

You can’t receive (on your own) Christ and His Blessings of a forgiven life and heaven “to boot.” Do not delude yourself into thinking that you can manufacture for yourself all the necessary ingredients to make your “Peace with God,” and be “saved.”

You can, rather, as the Scriptures state, seek after wisdom. [Proverbs 1:1f] Realize your pitiful sinful condition, like the thief on Cross, next to the crucified Christ – Luke 23:39-43] and cry out to the Savior. And then believe in Christ. Believe in Him, for who He truly is. This is the one “work,” which God requires. [John 6:29] Not “works,” but the “work,” of “Faith.” "Without faith it is impossible to please God." — [Hebrews 11:6 ; Romans 3:28] And, most importantly, read and study the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. That same Scripture itself, says: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. “ N.T. Romans 10:17

Amen.

Please note: 2 past topical messages that help to accent this (aforementioned) message

It’s the Object of Worship – not the sincerity of worship that must be first and foremost

The often overlooked important aspects of the “New Birth”

Related Scriptures [below] -- Intended to be utilized in a simple worship format:

Also: For a couple of other (more formal) worship formats:

The Order of Morning Service
The Order of Matins


Old Testament:

O.T. Isaiah 53:1f – Christ, the Messiah – prophesied hundreds of years before His birth

New Testament:

Gospel of John 1:1-13 and John 3:1-21 – God’s initiating (under girding) action in the “Salvation” process

Luke 24:36-53 – The Resurrected Lord’s Divine Revelation

Romans 5:1f – Christ, God’s effectual gift

______________________

Of Whom Does the Prophet Speak" -- by Victor Buksbazen -- Isaiah 53:1-12 -- an in-depth view of and the prophecy of Christ, hundred of years before his birth. Isaiah 53:1-12 underscores the truthfulness of Divine Revelation as exemplified in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.
______________________________________

Pastor (emeritus) Nathan Bickel

Please also note:

The "Words in Season" topical messages and related worship format are not intended to discourage or replace the Christian worship and assembly of Christians at their particular places of church worship. As this website's author, it is my prayer and hope, that many souls will find the topical messages, related worship format and other material, a useful and valuable Christian resource.

The Christian Faith: Parts 1-3




Sunday, August 21, 2011

Evil - The age old question: “If there is a God and he is good – why does he allow evil?”

Word War II Nazi leader, Adolph Hitler is generally
depicted as a model of evil. Under his political
leadership he plunged Germany into a world war
which resulted in tens of millions being killed. He
also masterminded with his goose stepping military
officers, the planned and systematized murders of
some 6 million Jews, using the assistance of
concentration camps, gas chambers and
crematoriums.
One reality of life is impossible to avoid – and, that is, “Evil.” Some people in their effort to avoid bad news will attempt to insulate themselves from hearing nasty tidings. They will go to great lengths, avoiding the daily newspaper, TV and radio and online news.

But there is no fool proof way to avoid tragedy. We live in a world of tragedy. Police and fire engine sirens are constant reminders of an imperfect world of accidents, crime and death. Life is full of unwanted surprises. Life is abundant with unknowns. It is replete with bad happenings. There is no perfection – at least on this side of eternity's heaven.

People mistakenly blame God for an imperfect world, failing to realize that they, and their (sinful) humanity are a huge part of the problem


People will say, “If God is suppose to be all that Christians and their Holy Book say, then why doesn’t this God of love rid the world of evil?” Let’s suppose God would, do, just that. And then let us suppose that God, [since he is almighty] could do it by the end of today. Then, ask yourself: “Which of us would be left to witness God Almighty’s purge of evil?” If we are honest with ourselves, we would have to answer: “None of us!”

Evil is not a neutral “thing” – it is not “something” that can be eliminated at the wish of the proverbial genie’s wand


The Bible relates that all people born, carry with
them [inbred] "original sin." Human souls are
corrupted with not only original sin but actual
 sin, they commit against God's Ten Commandments
during their lives. Sin results not only in physical
death; but, eternal death. Only through the Savior
 Christ, can a human soul be rescued from the
present and eternal ravages of sin.
I find it interesting and somewhat pathetic, that some of the very people who criticize and rail against God, – they are the same ones who will accuse God for being responsible for an evil world and everyday tragedies. Yet, they fail to examine their own lives and admit that they are “sinners” – a great part of that “evil,” complex mix! Ecclesiastes 7:20 ; Romans 3:23 ; 1John 1:8

This emeritus Christian pastor will not apologize for bringing up the “nasty” word, “Sin.” I refuse to philosophize on the subject of “Evil,” and why [supposedly] “good” people go wrong; - and, also, to analyze why "normal," everyday people do bad things.

Why do we have to read or hear in the news about an innocent father-law of a US Olympic coach, being stabbed to death by a Chinese man who shortly thereafter, took his own life? Why does a bus full of church members, blow a tire and run off the road, resulting in the death of many of those passengers? Why does a 5 year old daughter of a popular Christian music artist become the innocent victim of the family vehicle, backing out the driveway, by her older brother? Why did this emeritus Christian pastor never meet his paternal grandfather? Why did he have to die of a freak accident at the age of 50, seven years before I was born?

All of us can ask similar questions, about others, and, about those loved family members whom we have lost, throughout the years. We can continually ask, “Why?” And, there is no end to asking that question.



Some of Christ’s teaching on tragedy and unexpected evil


Christ taught that the sinful corruption of humans,
emanated from the corruption of one's sinful self.
He did not call for the government weapon control
of daggers and swords. Matthew 15:18-19 ; Mark 7:21
During one of Christ’s ministry travels with His 12 disciples, there was brought to Him some news of a tragedy:

>>>>>>>>> ......... There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” <<<<<<< Luke 13:1-5

Christ's emphasis was not to explain away tragedy
which resulted in loss of human life. Rather, His
teaching projected beyond all that mystery. His
focus was on the living; that they would recognize
the need for their precious souls to acknowledge
their personal sin and turn from that sin [repent]
and place faith in Him as the Savior. See
1 Timothy 1:15. Also, please note Christ's
Parable of the Lost Son and Loving Father.
Luke 15:1:f
Christ never attempted to explain to the people in His presence, at the time, - “Why?” Christ rather, went on to proclaim that all [except Himself] were sinners – and that sinners need to “repent.”

Ah, yes, I forgot, that, – that word, “repent,” along, with “sin,” is a very "nasty" word to some people -- especially, to the unregenerate. "Nasty" in the sense, to the unrepentant and unforgiven sinner that there is, indeed, something drastically wrong with him or her.

Friend, you cannot escape what the Almighty and all-knowing Creator God, sees in you


If you are one of those “unrepentant sinners” – then you are in grave and damnable danger. You are in terrible trouble and everlasting danger because you are not valuing your priceless soul. Matthew 16:26 ; Luke 12:15-21 ; Luke 16:19-31

Your sin will damn you


Whether you care to admit it or not – you, are a (damnable) “sinner.” You are a sinner by birth, [“Original” sin -- Psalm 51:5] – and, a sinner by practice, sinning against God’s law. [Romans 7:12-25] Hence, you will die twice – once, physically, [Romans 5:12-17] and then, (twice), eternally, [Romans 6:23 ; Luke 16:19-31 ; Matthew 25:31-46]. You will be divorced from all that is good, noble, honest and holy. You will be separated from your Creator God’s presence. Your eternal “resting” place will not be a resting place, (at all) but a living (but yet, paradoxically, continually dying) place in hell, full of suffering, torment and eternal regret for not having heard and listened to the Triune God’s call [Luke 16:19-31] and free gift of forgiveness of sin and promise of eternal life (in heaven). John 3:14-21 ; Matthew 7:13-29

Escaping an eternity of evil


As a Christian, and as an emeritus Christian pastor, I urge you to discover through earnest and humble search, that your soul is of priceless eternal worth. [Proverbs 1:1f ; Psalm 1:1-6 and Luke 18:9-14]

The Scriptures tell how our
Triune God exacted a rescue
for your sinful soul: "For by
grace are you saved; through
faith; and that not of yourselves;
it is a gift of God; not of works;
lest any man should boast"
Ephesians 2:8-9
May you come to realize that questioning your Creator God for all the evil in the world, is futile. May you come to realize that evil began with sin. [Isaiah 14:12-15 ; Luke 10:18 ; 1 John 3:8 ; Genesis 3:1f] May you also come to terms with your own personal sin, and not play the “blame game,” expecting to avoid your accountability with God, who does justly punish the sinner for transgression against His holy laws. Ezekiel 18:20 ; Romans 6:23 ; Galatians 3:10

Finally, may you come to realize that only in the Lord, Creator Jesus Christ, will you find the truth – and not only the truth, but genuine peace and the eternal respite for your ongoing life, after death. May you, through anguish over personal sin, [Psalm 51:5 ; Luke 18:9-14 ; Luke 19:1-10] discover faith in Christ. John 3:14-21 ; Matthew 7:13-29


It is this Christian pastor's hope and prayer that those who read and hear this message will come to know the true God who dispenses faith to believe in Him! May you come to faith by the Lord's "means." May you discover God's Word - His Holy Scriptures, which is God's instrument (means) to bring you to saving faith! - Romans 1:16 ; Romans 10:17 ; 1 Peter 1:23 ; Acts 8:26-39 ; 2 Thessalonians 2:14 ; James 1:18

May you, by Gods' Grace, be granted life eternal, rather, than death eternal. Matthew 10:28 and Matthew 10:32-39

Amen.

Related Scriptures [below] -- Intended to be utilized in a simple worship format:

Also: For a couple of other (more formal) worship formats:



Divine revelation’s explanation for the cause of evil:

Isaiah 14:12-15 ; Luke 10:18 ; 1 John 3:8 ; Genesis 3:1f

Please note: The Triune God created mankind with the unique gift of "free will." Sadly and pathetically, that free will choice for good or evil is continually misued by people, ever since committing the first sin.

Some answers, and divine comfort, for the believing and obedient Christian:


Deuteronomy 29:29 ; Romans 11:33-34 ; 1 Corinthians 2:9 ; 1 Corinthians 2:16 ; Colossians 2:3 and Colossians 2:6-10

Note: To the believing / obedient Christian, the questions stemming from evil, human suffering and a whole host of other questions will someday be answered, in life eternal with Christ, in heaven.

______________________

Of Whom Does the Prophet Speak" -- by Victor Buksbazen -- Isaiah 53:1-12 -- an in-depth view of and the prophecy of Christ, hundred of years before his birth. Isaiah 53:1-12 underscores the truthfulness of Divine Revelation as exemplified in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.
______________________________________

Pastor (emeritus) Nathan Bickel

Please also note:

The "Words in Season" topical messages and related worship format are not intended to discourage or replace the Christian worship and assembly of Christians at their particular places of church worship. As this website's author, it is my prayer and hope, that many souls will find the topical messages, related worship format and other material, a useful and valuable Christian resource.

The Christian Faith: Parts 1-3

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth

Truth in our day and culture is a very modest and fleeting “commodity.” Truth as distinguished from deception is desperately lacking in today’s society. Much of the time it is easier to recognize deception and lies rather than the truth. Perhaps, this is what is meant by the old adage, “Truth is stranger than fiction.” People are known to possess overactive imaginations – so much so that they can concoct unreality rather than recognize stark reality as to the genuine nature of an idea or thought, to be grasped.

“Objectivity” is equated with stark reality – hence, “the” “truth.” Perhaps that was the idea the politically pressured Pontius Pilate possessed, when he turned Christ over to the incensed crowd who were crying for Christ’s crucifixion. Pontius Pilate perceived himself to be in a jamb. He feared for his political future and feared a potential uprising of the Jewish people he was to control and subdue – all part of his commission from the Roman Emperor.

Pilate just had a conversation with Christ – and in response to Christ’s words, Pilate asked the question: “What is truth?” This was Pilate’s question after Christ stated:

To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. John 18:37 [KJV]


It is apparent that Pontius Pilate had no clue as to the truth. To him, “it” didn’t register. If he had just understood that the proper question to ask, would be: “Who is the truth?” – Then, he would have been on the right track:

“……In whom [Jesus Christ] are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:3


The “Whole” of Truth

It is a customary practice in our court system to swear in the witness with the question: “Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth….? Why do you suppose, that phrase, “the whole truth,” is included in the swearing-in process? It is because – not to tell the whole (totality) of the truth, is, essentially, warping the truth – hence, being deceptive and shifting ones witness into a lying mode.

When “truth” is being bandied about, it cannot (honestly) only refer to an isolated, specific reality. Truth is an all encompassing reality. It is, as Webster, in part, (originally) defined it:

“……The ‘truth’ of history constitutes its whole value.”


Christ’s reference to the truth to Pontius Pilate, was the same intended reference to the truth, directed, to one of his disciples -- John 14:6:

” …. I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” And then we read in the N.T. Epistle of Colossians, “……In whom [Jesus Christ] are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:3



The “Whole”(of) Truth Needs an Object

I copied (sometime, ago), a comment from a forum that I considered to be a revealing admission of a flawed moral thought process. The person commented that he was in a state of “moral flux” by virtue of himself not possessing a “standard,” with which to judge, (distinguish), reality. Here is what he stated:

…..Modern liberals are a confusing lot -- I know because I was one. Too many unresolved conflicts cause one to regress into relativism or to have little standards to judge things by. You find yourself in a state of not knowing what is right or wrong anymore so you just trust your government or public opinion as to how to lead your life. A liberal feels comfortable when he has a consensus on his side.


Aside from human political considerations, I relate the above comment to illustrate that truth desperately requires an object in order to have any moral relevance. The object of “my” truth, [which, is, in reality, not, “my” truth], is the God-man Christ of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures whose birth, life, suffering, death, burial and physical resurrection was prophesied (in history) hundreds of years before His actual birth! Now that is a very credible “Object” of truth, to be able to comfortably, and without shame, base my perception of the “Truth,” upon!

I hope and pray that you will be able to understand what I have been attempting to convey. Perhaps you are like some of those religious leaders portrayed in the Gospel of John 8:12-59. They readily brushed off Jesus Christ, because they could not think beyond their own human perception and tradition. John 8:32 makes it clear that when Christ was speaking of the truth, He was ultimately referring to Himself, being, that, Truth. This also, coincides with what Christ said in the Gospel of John 14:6: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” [KJV]

The Totality of Truth


The totality of truth cannot be found in specific facts or realities such as the laws of physics, mathematics or even gravity. Evolution certainly, did not even put these realties into place. Ultimate truth and the “whole of truth,” come from Creator Christ:

……Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. Colossians 1:15-17


To this same Jesus Christ, the Scriptures ascribe the attribute, of existing, eternally – before time, as we know it. [John 1:1-3] Not only is Christ the Master world (universe) architect, He is one and the same with God.

Rejection of Christ


To disavow this Christ, who entered human history for the purpose of appeasing a just and wrathful God, on account of human sin, would be and will sadly be, the pathetic demise of all you who attempt, on your own, to deal with your corrupt human condition of sin.

You might be saying that you don’t have that problem of sin. That’s the same fixed point of view that those holier than thou religious leaders possessed in the historical Gospel narrative of the Gospel of John 8:1f. To them, Christ warned that they would die in their sins if they would not believe Christ to be who He said He was, (and, of course, act, upon that belief).

The choice is yours. You do have the God-given free moral agency to go about your merry way as the aforementioned “liberal” had. Make and fashion for yourself your own reality of “relativism.” Carve out for your selfish person, a world in which you believe there are no absolutes and no right and wrong. But know for a certainty that you will not escape this world alive. You, also, will “go the way of all flesh.” Your soul, after you die, will not be lost in an eternity of some “cyberspace nothingness.” Your soul will end up experiencing death eternal if you choose to continue to dismiss the claims of Christ and deny and reject his free offer of forgiveness from your sins against your holy and just Creator.

I implore you – search out the historic Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. Check out the rich literature of prophecy and prophecy fulfillment in the birth, life, death, burial and physical resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is the “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

He is the only ultimate truth to shine light upon your sinful soul, and rescue it from its hopeless present and eternal condition.


Amen.

Related Scriptures [below] -- Intended to be utilized in a simple worship format:

Also: For a couple of other (more formal) worship formats:
The Order of Morning Service
The Order of Matins


Old Testament:

Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:26 ; Psalm 33:6 ; Psalm 102:25 ; Isaiah 45:12 and Isaiah 45:18

New Testament:


Gospel of John 1:1-3 and John 8:12-59

Colossians 2:3 and Colossians 2:15-17


__________________________

Of Whom Does the Prophet Speak" -- by Victor Buksbazen -- Isaiah 53:1-12 -- an in-depth view of and the prophecy of Christ, hundred of years before his birth. Isaiah 53:1-12 underscores the truthfulness of Divine Revelation as exemplified in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.
______________________________________

Pastor (emeritus) Nathan Bickel

Please also note:

The "Words in Season" topical messages and related worship format are not intended to discourage or replace the Christian worship and assembly of Christians at their particular places of church worship. As this website's author, it is my prayer and hope, that many souls will find the topical messages, related worship format and other material, a useful and valuable Christian resource.

The Christian Faith: Parts 1-3


Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Grim Reaper respects no age – Life can often be short

Note: The following message was previously posted online

It is often said that there are (only) 2 things certain in life – death and taxes. At least with taxes, we know when we must pay them. With death, we never know. We never know when our time “is up.”

This week, Hollywood was all "a buzz” with another passing. No – it wasn’t a drug overdose, or, a suicide of another nature. It was a freak accident of a wife and mother of two young children. The news media were busy reporting about the unexpected (“untimely”) death of Natasha Richardson, a gifted and attractive 45 year old woman. The wife of actor Liam Neeson, experienced what was first thought to be a minor skiing accident. Little did the actress know that her refusal to seek immediate medical attention would result in an “epidural hematoma, which causes bleeding between the skull and the brain's covering.”

On Monday this well liked, young, vibrant, physically active, well known Hollywood actress was alive and well, skiing on a beginner’s slope. On Wednesday, the plug was pulled, as she had become brain dead.


Baring suicide, and acute terminal illness, death comes, suddenly and unexpectedly

I never was much for poetry. But in high school I did memorize a few notable lyrics. The one that was an easy one, because it was so short, was: “The fog comes on little cat feet." [Robert Frost] I thought about that short poem this past week as I heard the news of the Hollywood actress’ untimely sudden life departure. I thought of my father’s letter to me while in college. He related his busy week as pastor and the one funeral with which he officiated. His aside comment was: “We never know when we will die; it is so important to be prepared.”

Here today; gone tomorrow [Psalm 103:15-16 ; 1 Peter 1:24] - that is the description which the Divine Revelation of the Scriptures, give to us. We share the same fate as the animal kingdom. Psalm 49:1f

Most people will be careless with their most important appointment:


The Scriptures teach that, "....it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment." [Hebrews 9:27] We will not avoid the inevitable. Everyone who is born, dies, unless he or she are present at the Second Coming of the Lord Christ [1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ; 1 Corinthians 15:50-55] Christ’s parables of the Rich Man and Lazarus and, The Wise and Foolish Virgins, illustrate the truth of the Gospel Words of Christ -- building our lives upon Him, and, upon no other. Matthew 7:13-29

We cannot forecast our own death – but we can prepare for it

Our Creator God does not leave us without a clue. He has given us the Written Revelation of the Scriptures. He instructs us what to do. [Proverbs 1:20-33 ; Psalm 9:12] As the Scripture teaches, those who die expecting heaven above, must be clothed in the Righteousness of Christ, -- [Philippians 3:7-12] whose birth, life, suffering, death, and resurrection from the dead was [and is] for our present and priceless eternal benefit. Mark 16:14-20

It is estimated by Biblical scholars that Christ’s physical life on earth was short, by modern standards. He was only 33 years old when he met the torturous fate of Roman spikes upon a cross. Old Testament Hebrew Scripture prophesied hundreds of years before His birth, that Christ would be “cut off out of the land of the living.” [Isaiah 53:8] Yet it was [and is,] God’s perfect plan, to offer by Christ’s blood bought sacrifice, the forgiveness of personal sin, (thereby) sparing us from the just wrath and eternal punishment of Holy Creator God, who cannot allow unredeemed souls into His holy heaven. He must punish sin and the sinner to the fullest extent, unless, of course, there is acceptance of His Christ packaged gift of forgiveness and life. John 1:1-18 ; John 3:14-21

May all who have ears to hear –
actually listen, and "number our days" in keeping with the Divine perspective. Psalm 90:1
2

Amen.

Related Scriptures [below] -- Intended to be utilized in a simple worship format:

Also: For a couple of other (more formal) worship formats:
The Order of Morning Service
The Order of Matins

Old Testament:

Psalm 49:1f -- The vanity of trusting wealth. No one can take it with him. Death is the common experience of all -- Our lives in light of the Triune God's governance

New Testament:

Philippians 3:7-12 - The necessity of being clothed with the righteousness of Christ. Please note also: the one parable of Christ about the man who had no wedding garment - Matthew 22:1-14

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Of Whom Does the Prophet Speak" -- by Victor Buksbazen -- Isaiah 53:1-12 -- an in-depth view of and the prophecy of Christ, hundred of years before his birth. Isaiah 53:1-12 underscores the truthfulness of Divine Revelation as exemplified in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.
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Pastor (emeritus) Nathan Bickel

Please also note:

The "Words in Season" topical messages and related worship format are not intended to discourage or replace the Christian worship and assembly of Christians at their particular places of church worship. As this website's author, it is my prayer and hope, that many souls will find the topical messages, related worship format and other material, a useful and valuable Christian resource.

The Christian Faith: Parts 1-3