Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Jesus still lives!

I know we’re past Easter now, but I want to remind you that Jesus is still risen! It’s not like He just crawls out of the tomb once a year and then goes back into hiding until Easter rolls around again. I’m sure you know that, but the question is this: What impact does Jesus’ resurrection make on my life every day?

I’m glad you asked, and if you don’t mind I’ll answer with a couple of thoughts from the message I preached Easter Sunday morning at Petersburg First Baptist Church.

For one, Jesus’ resurrection victory means that you can have new life. Because He died on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins, and because He conquered sin and death by rising on the third day, you truly can be born again to new life. 

The Bible tells us that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Maybe you’re living in spiritual darkness or feeling weighed down with the load of your guilt and shame, but the good news is that you can experience new life by repenting of your sins and believing in the name of Jesus today. 

If you reject Jesus, you’ll keep living in the same old ways with the same old results while headed in the same old direction that leads to death. But, friend, even now Jesus is calling you to trust in Him to know that your sins are forgiven by His blood and start living the new life of righteousness that’s yours in Christ. 

A second truth of Jesus’ resurrection is that you can have a transformed life. Not only has the penalty of sin been removed in Christ, but the power of sin has also been broken. Satan has been utterly defeated, and sin no longer has power to enslave those who have been set free in Jesus. 

The Bible says, “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin” (Romans 6:6). Perhaps you’re a Christian, but you’re living a defeated life. It seems you can’t break free from the old patterns of sin. You just can’t resist the temptations that come your way, and you’re struggling to live the holy life you’re called to in Christ. 

If you refuse to truly die to your sins or to offer your life as a living sacrifice to the Lord, then you’ll remain enslaved to sin and never gain the spiritual victory and freedom that could be yours. But, friend, even now Jesus is praying that your faith may not fail, and that you will be continually transformed into His own likeness as you deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow Him. 

We ought to celebrate the resurrection victory of Jesus every single day. For only in Him will we truly find life abundant and everlasting. Come and join us at the First Baptist Church and we’ll help you discover the impact of Jesus’ resurrection in your life.


Monday, March 21, 2016

Healing and Hope for Your Brokenness and Despair

Do you need healing today, friend? Have you been wounded, battered, rejected, abandoned, hurt? Have the disappointments and broken promises of others left you feeling used and abused? Have your own bad decisions driven you to the place where you feel like giving up because you really just don’t care anymore?

I know that you can’t undo the past, but I also know that you can find healing and hope for the future. 

This week we remember the tragic and glorious events of some 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem that give hope to the hopeless and healing for the brokenhearted. 

It’s available in Jesus who became the curse for our sin on the cross, that we might be redeemed and made righteous in Him. It’s offered to you in Christ who defeated sin and death by rising in triumphant victory over the grave on the third day. 

From a song I’ve recently heard on the radio: “No matter the bumps / No matter the bruises / No matter the scars / Still the truth is / The cross has made / The cross has made you flawless // No matter the hurt / Or how deep the wound is / No matter the pain / Still the truth is / The cross has made / The cross has made you flawless.” 

And from a book I’ve recently read: “But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – every one – to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:5-6). 

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). 

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:24-25). 

I’m not saying that following Jesus as Lord and Savior will exempt you from life’s struggles. In fact, you’ll find that this narrow road is hard; but it’s the road that leads to abundant and eternal life, where true healing and hope are found. 

Why not come and celebrate Jesus’ resurrection victory with us at Petersburg First Baptist Church this Sunday at 10:45? We don’t have everything figured out either, and we’re not perfect. We’re still learning day by day what it means to live by faith in Christ and for His glory. But we’re convinced that He’s alive and that better things are yet to come, and that apart from His grace we’d be still be living in brokenness and despair. 

If you need healing and hope, come discover it in Christ. He is risen indeed!