Wednesday, March 20, 2013

By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
    "And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise, He calleth thee. And he casting away his garment rose, and came to Jesus.” (Mark 10: 49, 50)
    As Jesus left Jericho, accompanied by His disciples and a great number of people, he passed by a blind beggar named Bartimæus. When the beggar heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he immediately cried out, “Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.”
    Those nearby ordered him to be quiet, no doubt telling him that he was shouting too loud or that Jesus didn’t have any time for him. That did not deter him, however. The Bible says that, “he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David have mercy on me.
     “And Jesus STOOD STILL and commanded him to be called.”  Although there were a lot of people following Jesus and He had already walked past the beggar, Bartimæus touched Him with his faith! The scene had suddenly changed. Those who had previously told him to be quiet now rushed to his side, saying, “Be of good comfort. Rise, Jesus is calling for you.”
    Jesus still invites: “Come unto Me all ye who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” (Matt.11: 28). You may ask, “Is that for real? You mean, I can approach Him anytime with everything? I can tell Him about my struggles, broken dreams, frustrations, disappointments and failures?” The answer is a resounding, “Yes! Yes, you can!”
    What an opportunity to fellowship with Him, to praise Him and worship Him, and tell Him how much we love Him. And to pour out our hearts to Him about our fears, pains and sicknesses, and to intercede for loved ones who have been laid aside because of debilitating diseases!
    The Bible says: “Casting all your care upon Him for He careth for you.” (1Pe.5:7); “For in that He himself hath suffered being tempted He is able to succour (help) them that are tempted.” (Heb.2:18)
     “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the Heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession for we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”(Heb.4: 14, 15)
     There is a touching account of JESUS sleeping in the hinder part of the ship while His disciples were desperately trying to keep the vessel afloat, during a severe storm. As they struggled against the wind and the waves, these seasoned fishermen most likely had forgotten He was on board, as they went about doing their work as sailors.
    When the ship “was now full” of water and they were about to go under, they awakened Jesus, saying: “Master carest Thou not that we perish?” (Mark 4: 38)
    The Bible says: “And He arose and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And He said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” (Mark 4:39-41)
   Human nature has not changed. We always want to do things by ourselves, don’t we? The disciples could have called on Jesus earlier. Either they forgot that He was with them or they were determined to handle this situation on their own!
     Two things happened. First, Satan wanted to kill Jesus. He had sought Jesus’ death shortly after His birth in Bethlehem, and again when the religious leaders sought to push Him over a hill. And secondly, Jesus knew that they needed to go through that test so that He could show them His power and ability in all situations.
    He stated unequivocally: “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.” (Mark 16: 17, 18)
    There are some theologians who desperately want to believe that God no longer performs miracles and have latched onto two 4th century Manuscripts that leave out several verses from Mark 16 that deal with the miraculous.
     Dr. T.J. McCrossan in ‘Bodily Healing & the Atonement’ states: “A few scholars have denied the authenticity of the verses in Mark 16, but Iranaeus  quotes these verses as a part of Mark’s Gospel, and remember, he was a pupil of John the Apostle. This is positive proof that these words are genuine.”
     Honest scholars must ask the questions: “ARE VATICANUS (B) AND SINIATICUS (A) INFERIOR TRANSLATIONS? Are they deliberately misleading and spurious in their treatment of these texts?”    
    The subtle and devious work of the two carnal-minded and unsaved theologians, HORT and WESCOTT (admirers of pagan philosophers Socrates and Plato and evolutionist Charles Darwin) hoodwinked the Christian community into believing that the inferior, flawed and possibly altered spurious manuscripts in question, were in fact more reliable than the TEXTUS RECEPTICUS from which the Authorized Version (KJV) was translated by 54 of Great Britain’s greatest, most godly and learned theologians. See: ‘Satan Infiltrates the Church’
    We believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its entirety, original purity and No inerrancy; No exceptions; No deviations; No distortions! We believe in the verbal (words), plenary (extending to all parts equally) inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, which means that God 'breathed out' His Word through prepared men. (2 Tim. 3: 16, 17; 2 Peter 1: 20, 21; Phil. 2: 6; Titus 1: 9)
     We believe the Bible is the only true rule for faith, morals, life and practice in the Church. It teaches that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and that the wages of sin is death. (Rom.3: 23; 6: 23)
      And that only through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary's cross and His subsequent resurrection from the dead are sinners able to be 'born again' (1 Peter 1: 18 -23), redeemed from the curse of the law (Gal. 3: 13) and freed from the power of sin and condemnation. (Rom. 5: 1-21; 8:1)
    He does care! That is why He took our place on the Cross in order to REDEEM us from the power of the Devil and darkness, purchasing our Eternal Salvation and translating us into His own dear Kingdom! (Col.1: 13)
     JESUS stated: “I beheld Satan as lightening fall from Heaven. Behold, I give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and NOTHING shall by any means hurt you.” (Luke 10: 18, 19)
     That is not all. He has given us His blessed Holy Spirit to remain with us forever, to watch over us, anoint us and empower us:
     “And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in My name, I WILL DO IT.
     “If ye Love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, the He may abide with you forever.”
     Here is His PROMISE: “But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1: 8)
     JESUS knows about us and hears us every time we call on His name. And He does ANSWER! Our Lord said: “Offer unto God thanksgiving; and call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee and thou shalt glorify Me.” (Psa.50: 14, 15)
     “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Rom.10: 12, 13)
    Everything changes when we understand that He is calling us. Our perspective is altered when the truth that He cares about us and that He is near at hand, waiting for us to come to Him, penetrates our spirit! And that when we do come to Him, our prayers will be answered and the darkness will be gone forever!
                         WONDER OF WONDERS!
    It is so comforting to know that He wants to have fellowship with us and that He has included us in His schedule, and is in fact waiting for us. How could anyone forget the painting of Jesus standing at our heart’s door knocking and asking for admittance?
   An old Gospel song entreats: “Don’t turn Him away. Don’t turn Him away. He has come back to your heart again, although you’ve gone astray. O’ how you’ll need Him to plead your cause on that Eternal Day. Don’t turn the Saviour away from your heart. Don’t turn Him away!”
     Our dear Saviour invited: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in unto him, and will sup with him and he with Me.” (Rev.3:20); “Him that cometh Me, I will in wise cast out.” (John 6:37)
      Dr. Oswald J. Smith, a Presbyterian Missionary to the British Columbia Indians, was appalled at the conditions in which they lived. He preached the true gospel and prayed for them to be saved, delivered from wickedness and healed of their diseases. He was thrilled to see the power of God deliver them.
   In 1939, he shared those experiences with Homer Rodeheaver. The talented and anointed musician wondered if he could write a song that expressed those truths. In a short time, Oswald J. Smith penned the words to the song that George W. Shea has sung to hundreds of thousands and heard by millions in Billy Graham’s Crusades and on Television.
                         WHEN JESUS COMES!
One sat alone beside the highway begging
His eyes were blind, the light he could not see
He clutched his rags and shivered in the darkness
Then Jesus came and bade his darkness flee

When Jesus comes the Tempter’s power is broken
When Jesus comes the tears are wiped away
He takes our gloom and fills our hearts with gladness
For all is changed when Jesus comes to stay

From home and friends the evil spirits drove him
Among the tombs he dwelt in misery
He cut himself as evil powers possessed him
Then Jesus came and set the captives free

Unclean, unclean the leper cried in torment
The deaf, the dumb in helplessness stood near
The fever raged, diseased had gripped its victim
Then Jesus came and drove out every fear

Their hearts were sad as in the tomb they laid Him
For death had come and taken Him away
Their night was dark and bitter tears were falling
Then Jesus came and night was turned to day.

So men today have found the Saviour able
They could not conquer passion, lust and sin
Their burdened hearts had left them sad and lonely
Then Jesus came and dwelt Himself within.

       What is so significant is the faith that Bartimæus had in Jesus of Nazareth. He repeatedly addressed Him as the Son of David, meaning the MESSIAH. And secondly, he asked for MERCY.
    One of the attributes of God is that He is MERCIFUL. Bartimæus was addressing Jesus of Nazareth as Almighty God with power to extend His mercy to him, a poor blind beggar. In his heart he KNEW that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, the God-man whom all righteous Jews had been waiting for to bring Redemption to Israel.
     Undoubtedly, he had heard the reading of the Holy Scriptures declaring His coming: “But thou Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the tribes of Judah, yet out of thee SHALL HE COME forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; Whose goings forth HAVE BEEN from of old, from EVERLASTING.” (Micah 5: 2)
     “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a SIGN; Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a SON, and shall call His name Immanuel.” (Isa.7: 14); “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: And the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isa.9: 6)
    As a beggar, sitting beside the road, he would have listened to the voices of those who passed by and had undoubtedly heard the voice of John the Baptist or his followers, speaking about Jesus of Nazareth as the chosen Lamb of God Who would give His life for the sins of the world! (John 1: 29)
     When Bartimæus received the invitation to come to Jesus, he immediately arose and threw away his beggar’s robe and his beggar’s cup, and was taken to the Master.
     Jesus asked him: “What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto Him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus in the way.” (Mark 10: 51, 52)
    Although Jesus had given Bartimæus such a great gift, He didn’t demand that he follow Him. He said: “Go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole.” He wants it to be our decision. Bartimæus’ faith in Jesus was strong. His faith had saved him and made him whole, so it was no surprise that the Scripture records: “and immediately he received His sight and followed Jesus in the way.”  An old gospel song says:

I’m following Jesus one step at the time.
I live for the moment in His love divine.
Why think of tomorrow, just live for today.
I’m following Jesus each step of the way.

The pathway seems narrow but He leads me on   
I walk in His shadow my fears are all gone
My spirit grows stronger each moment each day  
I'm following Jesus each step of the way


     A unique event happened in the life of Simon the son of Jonas whom we call, ‘The Big Fisherman’. Jesus had sent His disciples away in the boat, while He went to the mountain alone to pray.
     “But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
     “But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good
 cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said,
 Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water. And He
 said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he
 walked on the water, to go to Jesus. 
     “But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship the wind ceased.” (Matt. 14:22-32)
      The disciples were obeying their Master’s orders when they embarked on the short journey across the waters. They were experienced fishermen and were used to storms, however, the one that hit them that evening continued for hours and they were in mortal danger.
     They had rowed for hours. Finally, in the fourth watch of the night (3:00 - 6:00), Jesus came to them. While in prayer, He had seen them in the spirit and immediately went to them walking on the water. The disciples were terrified thinking they were seeing a ghost.
      Jesus called out to them: “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” Peter shouted: “Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come to Thee on the water.” Jesus said, “Come.” Peter jumped out of the boat and walked on the water but when he took his eyes off JESUS and focused on the roiling sea, he doubted and began to sink.
      Peter cried out, “Lord, save me.” Immediately, Jesus stretched out His hand and lifted him up. He turned to Peter and said: “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” And when they came into the ship, the wind ceased. The storm was over!
    I believe that the Devil sent out that storm to destroy the disciples of our Lord. But he failed again! In Sunday school we used to sing this little song: “With Jesus in the vessel you can smile sat the storm.” Amen.
                  CALL UNTO ME IN TROUBLE!
    The Scriptures are replete with references to God meeting the needs of His people when there was no hope in sight, during times of calamity, war, sickness and famine. That is why St. Paul stated: “But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phil.4: 19)
     The Bible states that our God is real, relevant and available, not like the imaginary, illusive, fictitious gods of the pagan. Many have not heard of the Eternal God Who created the worlds through His Son Jesus Christ our Lord. What an opportunity we have to announce the GOOD NEWS to them!
      Rebuking His people, the Omnipresent God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob asked: “Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? (Jer.23: 23) He states that He is everywhere!
     He promised, however, to bring His people back from Babylon after seventy years of exile because of their sins: “For thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform My good Word toward you, in causing you to return unto this place.”
     Reminding them of His great love for them, He declared: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon Me, and shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you.  And ye shall seek Me and find Me when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.” (Jer.29: 11-14)
     Our Lord came to the assistance of nine disciples who were trying to cast out the demons from a deaf and dumb, epileptic boy. The disciples had tried and failed to cast the demons out.
     He had given them all power to heal the sick and cast out evil spirits. “And when He had called unto Him His twelve disciples, He gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
   Jesus commanded them: “And as you go, preach, saying the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matt. 10: 1, 5-8)
    While He was on the Mount of Transfiguration with Peter, James and John, the other nine disciples failed to deliver an epileptic boy who was deaf and dumb!
     The boy’s father said: “And oftentimes it hath cast him into the fire and into the waters, to destroy him, but if Thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us.”
    Jesus answered: “If thou canst believe all things are possible to him that believeth.” The father cried out, with tears: “Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.” Jesus cast out the evil spirit and delivered the boy to his father, totally well!
    Jesus forgave and liberated the woman whom the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him on the charge of adultery. After He had admonished that the one among them without sin should cast the first stone, they left without saying a word.
    Jesus crossed the water to liberate Legion, the insane, demon possessed man who lived among the tombs. When the townsfolk heard about it, they saw the man, fully dressed and in his right mind sitting at the feet of Jesus.
     And Jesus left the Temple on a feast day to visit a paralytic who had lain for 38 years at the pool of Bethesda, waiting in vain for healing. Seeing his hopeless condition and knowing he had been there for a long time, our Saviour asked him: “Wilt thou be made whole?”
     The paralytic had given up and was filled with bitterness and hopelessness. He answered: “Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me” Jesus replied: “Rise take up thy bed and go to thy house.” (John 5: 1-9)
                                    JESUS WEPT!
     Jesus waited four days after the death of Lazarus, before going to see Mary and Martha. Martha said: “Lord, if Thou had been here, my brother had not died. But I know that even now, whatsoever Thou will ask of God, God will give it Thee.”
    Jesus said: “Thy brother shall rise again.” Martha answered: “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in me Me though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?”
    Martha answered: “Yea, Lord, I believe that Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God, which should come into the world.” (John 11: 21-27).
      “And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and CALLETH for thee. As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto Him.” (John 11:28, 29)
                   HE IS STILL CALLING FOR US!
  The Bible records: “When Jesus therefore saw her (Mary) weeping and the Jews also weeping which came with her, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled and said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto Him, come and see. Jesus wept.”
     Jesus ordered the stone to be removed from the cave, then He lifted His eyes to Heaven and prayed: “Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me. And I knew that Thou hearest Me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that Thou hast sent Me.
    “And when He had thus spoken, He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, Come Forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, LOOSE HIM AND LET HIM GO.” (John 11: 33-44)
      Jesus came to two confused disciples on the Road to Emmaus and asked them why they were sad. Cleopas wondered if he had not heard the news:
    “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet, mighty in deed and Word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death and have crucified Him.”
     Jesus expounded to them the Scriptures: “O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?”  
                        THEY SAW THE NAIL PRINTS!
    As He blessed and broke the bread, they saw the nail prints in his hands: “And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him; and He vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our hearts burn within us as He talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures?” (Luke 24: 19-32)
     As He had promised, He appeared to them: “Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me no more, but ye see Me: because I live ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father and ye in Me, and I in you.” (14: 19, 20)
     WHAT DID JESUS MEAN? He had promised: “A little while, and ye shall not see Me; and again, a little while, and ye shall see Me, because I go to the Father.” (John 16: 16-20)
    The disciples didn’t understand it. He was referring to the fact that He would be going away twice. First, He would die on the Cross for our sins and reappear briefly and show Himself to them.
     Second, He would ascend to Heaven where He is seated on His Father’s right hand waiting the moment when He shall return for His bride, the Church of the Living God!
     His Disciples were filled with joy during the 40 days in which Jesus appeared to them before His ascension to Heaven, and again on the Day of Pentecost when He poured out the Gift of the Holy Ghost upon them!
    He returned then, as He said He would: “If a man love Me, he will keep my Words; and My Father will love him, and WE (My Father and I) will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” (John 14: 23)
    You may say: “Is that possible? Is Jesus not seated on His Father’s right hand in Heaven?” The answer is: Yes, God is everywhere at the same time! God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are One, yet are three Persons; Eternal, Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent!
    Here is GOOD NEWS: “Beloved NOW are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be like: but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in Him, purifieth himself as He is pure.” (1 John 3:2, 3)
                  FACE TO FACE WITH CHRIST

Face to face with Christ, my Savior,
Face to face—what will it be?
When with rapture I behold Him,
Jesus Christ who died for me.

  Face to face I shall behold Him,
  Far beyond the starry sky;
  Face to face in all His glory,
  I shall see Him by and by!

 Only faintly now, I see Him,
 With the darkling veil between,
 But a blessed day is coming,
 When His glory shall be seen.
       What rejoicing in His presence,
       When are banished grief and pain;
       When the crooked ways are straightened,
       And the dark things shall be plain.

Face to face! O blissful moment!
Face to face—to see and know;
Face to face with my Redeemer,
Jesus Christ who loves me so.

How very exciting to KNOW that the God of the universe knows about us, cares for us and has provided everything we need for this life and the next! Amen.
   There are two historical events that drive atheists crazy and almost give them apoplexy, and nags at their warped thought processes. Over and above all the arguments that they postulate in favour of atheism, these two great historical events smash to smitherines their humanistic ramblings and ignorant bias against Almighty God!
    “What are these two historical events?” you may ask. These two great historical events that have helped to shape almost two thousand years of world history are the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth and the Conversion of Saul of Tarsus!
    Only a certified, calculated, conniving fool or total ignoramus without any respect for the historical record would be so foolish as to try to refute these two outstanding world changing events!
    Under totalitarian regimes, however, people are brain-washed like in the former Soviet Union where the official Party Line was: “There is No God”, or in Hitler’s Nazi Germany, “We are the Superior Race” and in the Muslim world where the masses are told, “Jesus was not crucified. Allah changed His features and someone else was crucified.”
    How would MOHAMMED know that? He was illiterate and could not read or write. Yet, a billion people believe that lie! The Roman Empire was highly organized. They kept perfect records and the chain of command reached to the Emperor!
   The JEWISH leaders who lobbied for Jesus’ crucifixion kept meticulous records. Their leaders stood at the cross jeering Him: “He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the king of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver him now, if He will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.” (Matt.27: 42, 43)
    Here are some questions for those who have doubts of Christ’s resurrection: “Why was the body of Jesus not found? Why did the Roman detail guarding the Tomb of Jesus fall asleep, knowing the penalty for such irresponsible conduct? Could not one of them have stayed awake? 
   These were professional soldiers who had been charged by Pontius Pilate to guard Jesus’ Tomb.
     “Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.” (Matt.27: 62-66)
     When the women came to the tomb early in the morning they found the tomb empty and the guards lying on the ground like dead men. The Holy Bible states: “And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from Heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
   “His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for He is risen from the dead, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
   And go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead; and behold He goeth before you into Galilee; there ye shall see Him: lo, I have told you.” (|Matt.28: 2-6)
    As the women went to tell His disciples, “Jesus met them, saying, all hail. And they came and held Him by the feet, and worshipped Him. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell My brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see Me.” (Matt.28: 9,10)
    By this time the Roman Soldiers had begun to stir and had found their way into Jerusalem to report the supernatural things that had happened to them: the appearance of the angel and the awful fear that had gripped them and losing consciousness. When they had come to, the Roman Seal had been broken, the gigantic stone had been rolled away and the tomb was empty!
  Not knowing how to counter this powerful event, the Chief Priests concocted one of the most STUPID lies ever told, that the entire guard of soldiers had fallen asleep and during the night Christ’s disciples had stolen His body! Here is the Holy Record:
   “Now when they were going, behold some of the watch came into the city and showed unto the Chief Priests all the things that had been done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave LARGE MONEY unto the soldiers: Saying, say ye, His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we slept.
  “And if this comes to the Governor’s ears, we will persuade him and secure you. So they took the MONEY, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported by the Jews until today.
  How did the Roman Soldiers know the disciples stole Jesus’ body, if they were sleeping? Why were the burial clothes left behind and the napkin that covered His head neatly folded? The followers of Jesus were in confusion and disarray. They were afraid and hiding from the Jewish leaders and the Roman authorities. 
    What would those frightened, disheartened disciples do with Jesus’ dead body? His burial clothes would have been nearly impossible to cut off His body, yet they lay on the floor intact. Thieves are in a hurry and it would be absurd to say that they removed his heavy burial clothes before taking Him away. How could they have moved His body in the darkness of night?
     Why didn’t anyone die when entering the Temple with the torn VEIL exposing the ‘Holy of Holies’ which only the High Priest could enter on the Great Day of Atonement? ANSWER: Almighty God had left the Holy of Holies!
    The Holy Bible states: “And behold the veil in the Temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
    “And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose and came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the Holy City, and appeared unto many.
     “Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and these things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, TRULY THIS WAS THE SON OF GOD.” (Matt.27: 54)
    St. Paul wrote: “And that He was seen of Cephas (Peter), than of the Twelve: after that He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once: of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that He was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all, He was seen of me also, as one born out of due time.” (1 Cor.15: 5-8)
   DR. HYMAN APPELMAN was a great Baptist Evangelist whom Billy Graham called, “one of the most powerful preachers I have heard”. He was a Jewish lawyer, who had been disowned by his family when he received Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour. When he preached in our Church in 1971 he made this statement: “You might be able to fool one or two Jews, but you could never fool five hundred Jews at one time!”
    The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the Foundation Stone of the Gospel. It is the driving force that separates Christianity from all other religions. Without His resurrection His death ‘Faith in Christ’ would have been meaningless!
                         ST. PAUL ON MARS HILL!
  When St. Paul preached the Gospel in Athens, he presented the resurrected Christ as the Saviour and ultimate Judge of sinful mankind. He declared that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, thus granting Him the authority to be the Judge of the living and the dead!
     “Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? Other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus and the resurrection.”
     This was new to them and brought different reactions: “And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. (Acts 17: 32)
      No one in Athens had witnessed such a miracle. No one there had heard of anyone being raised from the dead. In their ignorance of spiritual matters, they could not understand something as spectacular as a crucified man coming back to life.
     And to see the man who had lobbied for Jesus’ crucifixion and had imprisoned, persecuted and put to death His followers, standing before them preaching in His name, must have blown them away!
    There was more: St. Paul, who had been His enemy was now preaching that this same Jesus would give Eternal Life to all who believed on Him!
   The conversion of Saul of Tarsus was so amazing and nation shaking, I compare it to Osama bin Laden meeting Jesus Christ in a blinding light and immediately preaching to Muslims everywhere that Christ is the Only Saviour of the world, and that believing in Allah is meaningless.
   Osama bin Laden’s story, however, is a very sad story! How unfortunate that no-one reached him with the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
     The BIBLE records: “And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest. And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
  “And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from Heaven: and he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?
   “And he said, Who art Thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
  “And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no man, And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
                A CHOSEN VESSEL UNTO ME!
     “And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold he prayeth.
    “And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man how much evil he hath done to Thy saints at Jerus
   “And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on Thy name. But, the Lord unto him, Go thy way for he is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.
   “For I will show him how great things he must suffer for My name’s sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him, said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou came, hath sent me, that thou might receive thy sight and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
     “And immediately there fell from his eyes as it were scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose and was baptized. And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogue, that He is the Son of God.
                      JESUS THE GLORIFIED SON OF GOD!
    “But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound to the chief priests? But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that This is VERY CHRIST.
    “And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him. But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him. Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.
     “And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly in Damascus in the name of Jesus.
     “And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.
      “Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost were multiplied.” (Acts 9: 1-31)
      This great persecutor of believers in Christ became the greatest and most proficient and well organized of all the disciples and apostles of Jesus Christ, with an impact that is still felt around the world today!
     He was an apologist and a teacher. He was an apostle and a pastor! The Bible states: “And Paul...reasoned with them out of the Scriptures, opening and alleging that, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead, and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you is Christ.” (Acts 17:3, 16,17)
      “And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks... Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the Word of God among them” (Acts 18: 5,6,11)
     “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock ... which He hath purchased with His own blood...Therefore watch, and remember that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn, every one night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:27-32)
     “To whom God would make known the what is the riches of the glory of this MYSTERY among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” (Col.1: 25-28)
     Does Jesus know what He is doing? Is He really the Head of His Church? Is the Church secure in His hands? Is Jesus Christ the Foundation of the Church? Is the Holy Spirit Christ’s representative on the earth? Will the Church be triumphant?
     THE ANSWER: “Yes, A thousand times, Yes!”
     Is Peter the head of the Church? Was Peter a pope?  Is Rome the Holy City? Is the Pope infallible? Does the Roman Catholic Church speak for God and His Son? Would Peter agree with the assumption that the Church is built upon a mortal man?
    THE ANSWER: “No. A thousand times, No!”
    In 1986, I preached at the First Pentecostal Conference of Latin America in Sao Paulo, Brazil. That week, a leading News Magazine carried a headline on the cover stating that the “Evangelical Revival was turning Latin America from Cardinal Red to Protestant Black.”
     In my weekly column in the Edmonton Sun, I quoted the News Magazine’s article stating that every hour 400 Roman Catholics were converting to the Evangelical Church.
     I stated Catholic belief that the Pope is Christ’s representative on earth. Then, I wrote: “According to the Holy Scriptures, Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church and He sent the Holy Spirit to be His Representative on earth. I am sorry, John Paul 2, I did'nt know that the Holy Spirit had taken early retirement!”
     St. Paul, without doubt, was the greatest theologian to preach the Gospel. He was called from his mother’s womb to be the leading crusader and build Christ’s Church. He alone had the right to call the Gospel “my gospel”. (Romans 2: 16)
   He was taught by Christ Himself: He was apprehended by the resurrected Christ on the Damascus Road, tutored personally by our Lord Jesus in Arabia after his conversion, carried up into Heaven and allowed to see and hear things that he was not allowed to reveal.
     To him alone was revealed the Mystery of the Gospel, Christ in the believer the Hope of glory. And that God would make of the Jews and Gentiles one new man in Christ! To Paul alone was given the Mystery of the harpazo, jerking up, carrying away, Rapture of the Church.
    Had not the Holy Spirit led Paul to turn from the Jews and go to the Gentiles there would be no Church today. The Jews eventually forsook the Gospel of Christ and the murderous barbarians under MOHAMMED killed and enslaved most of the Christians in (Asia Minor) the Middle East and Turkey.
    Our Lord KNEW that Europe was the KEY to evangelizing the world so He sent Paul to Macedonia. He knew that MARTIN LUTHER would shake up the corrupt Roman Catholic Church and that from Europe the Gospel would spread across the globe for several centuries by missionaries from Great Britain, Norway, Sweden and other European nations.
    He KNEW that the United States and Canada would be raised up to herald the Gospel of the crucified and resurrected Lord Jesus Christ across the world in the some of the GREATEST Revivals known to man, so He opened the DOOR for persecuted Europeans to settle North America!
   Our Lord knew that Western Europe would become irrelevant in the spread of the Gospel and that the Muslim hordes would begin to dominate there. He also knew that once the poor black people of Africa and the persecuted Chinese and the liberated Roman Catholics of Latin America would get a taste of the Gospel, nothing would stop them!
                 ALL MUST BOW AT CHRIST'S FEET!
  The power of the Middle East Terrorists, China’s Communists and Washington’s anti-Christian Lobby pale into insignificance when compared to the power of the Crucified, Risen and Glorified Christ Who is about to descend from Heaven with the shout of the Archangel Gabriel to rapture the Church and judge the Living and the dead! (1 Thes. 4: 13-18; 1 Cor. 15: 50-54)
      The HOLY BIBLE states: “And from Jesus Christ, Who is the Faithful Witness and the first begotten from the dead (the first to die and rise from the dead, never to die again), and the Prince of the kings of the earth.
    “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
     “Behold He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen.” (Revelation 1: 5-7)
     “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. To the Only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” (Jude 24, 25).