Monday, April 1, 2013

On Oct. 8th Max & Donna Solbrekken will be celebrating 
their 58th Wedding Anniversary for the glory of God
By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
     “But we see JESUS, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” (Heb. 2: 9)
   In Norwegian, instead of Easter we use PĂ„ske  (Passover), because it was during that Feast that Jesus died on the cross as God’s Pascal Lamb. And the words for Good Friday, we call Langfredag meaning Long Friday because Jesus hung on that cross for six long hours!
   The real reason that Christians celebrate Easter is because during those six long hours that Jesus suffered, bled and died on a Roman Cross, He purchased Eternal Life for all who believe and receive Him as personal Lord and Saviour!
     St. Paul stated that Jesus Christ - Who appeared in a blinding light on the Damascus Road - is the Lord of Heaven and earth and the Jewish Messiah! 
     Immediately, he declared that Jesus had risen from the dead and was in fact the incarnated Son of God!
     The dramatic conversion of the violent persecutor of Jesus’ followers brought a period of rest for the fledgling Church. And it was not long before the Chief Priests sought to put Saul to death, but the Lord Jesus appeared to him with instructions to leave Jerusalem and go to the Gentiles!
      Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross reconciled man with God and opened the door into His Kingdom for all who believe the GOOD NEWS and fall before Him in humility and repentance and by faith receive Him into their hearts and lives.
     The Bible says: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal. 2: 20)
     When Saul of Tarsus met the LORD and the veil was lifted from his eyes, he lived only to preach the Gospel: Christ Crucified, Risen and Coming again! And in the end, he joyfully gave his life as a martyr for his Lord and Saviour!
    MARTIN LUTHER was also overwhelmed by these words, “He gave Himself for me!” When that truth was revealed to Luther, he fell beneath a crucifix, sobbing and moaning out the words, “Mein Gott, Mein Gott, Fur Mich! Fur Mich!”
    Jesus Christ declared: “The Son of Man came... to give His life a RANSOM for many.” (Matt.20: 28). St. John said: “And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins...” (1 John 3: 5; "But if we walk in the light as He is in the Light, we have fellowship one with another, and the BLOOD of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:7)
    St. Paul confirmed: “...He also Himself took part in the same; that through Death He might Destroy Him that had the power of death, that is the Devil; And Deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Heb.2:14)
   The death of Christ in exchange for the pardon of guilty mankind allowed God to keep His law of Righteousness and Judgement for SIN and still freely show forth His love, mercy and grace to repentant SINNERS!


    The Bible says: “And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2: 2). Propitiation means mercy seat or covering. In the Temple and earlier in the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, the MERCY SEAT that covered the Ark of the Covenant was called a propitiation. (Ex.25: 22)
     This is how God deals with the sins of repentant sinners who believe on His Son Jesus Christ. He is able to cover, and pardon our sins because of the vicarious death of His Son, Who is Himself the propitiatory sacrifice!
   Jesus Christ fulfilled these three vital roles: Propitiatory Sacrifice, Mercy Seat and High Priest! The Bible says: “Jesus was delivered for our offences (SINS) and was raised again for our justification.” (Rom. 4: 24, 25)
    “And for this cause, He is the Mediator of the New Covenant that by means of DEATH, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” (Heb.9: 15)
     God was satisfied by the vicarious death and redemptive work that Christ did for us all on the cross, and the SINNER who receives the Gospel and repents of his sins is reconciled and changed by His mercy and grace alone!
      When the cross that BARABBAS should have carried and died upon, was laid upon Jesus of Nazareth we see a perfect type of His substitutionary work! In that same way all our sins, sicknesses and pains were laid upon Him.
      The vicarious death of Jesus Christ - the Lamb of God - for my sins, was the only CURE for my lost condition, guilt and fears of an eternal Hell, as well as separation from a loving God and the PEACE that my spirit craved. The ‘Blood of His Cross’ has purchased my eternal redemption!

    Easter speaks of Life through Death! He gave His life so that we might live. And in order for us to receive his life we must die to our old life of sin, rebellion and unbelief!

     As Christ died on the cross we die to our old sinful life, which is at enmity with God. The Holy Bible states: “Wherefore, as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin: and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (Rom.5: 12)
     “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” (Rom.5: 17, 19). A hymn writer penned the words: ‘Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow.’
     Jesus said: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the Door, by Me if any man enter in, he shall be SAVED, and shall go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10: 7-9)
    Anyone preaching another way to Eternal Salvation instead of through the shed BLOOD of Jesus Christ - God’s Pascal Lamb - slain for our sins, is an Impostor, Thief and a Robber!                     

    Jesus said: “The thief (Satan) cometh not but for to steal, kill and destroy. I am come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10: 10)
     It all began in the Garden of Eden when Lucifer - the fallen archangel – tempted Eve and she and her husband Adam fell from grace, committing HIGH TREASON against Almighty God! Adam had been warned and they both knew the rules:
   “And God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying. Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen.2:15-17)

    The Original autographs state: For in the day that thou eatest thereof ‘in dying thou shalt die.’ In other words: ‘You will begin to die and eventually die.”
  Adam and Eve died spiritually that day, and the process of physical death began and eventually destroyed their perfect bodies. Since that time, all babies are born with death in their bodies! HOW VERY SAD!
   The Holiness of God demanded that He punish His errant creation to satisfy His written and unwritten Law of Righteousness, Holiness and Purity! He punished the earth by allowing thorns and thistles to grow. He punished Adam and Eve and the serpent who allowed itself to be manipulated by Satan.
   And He “threw the book” at the fallen archangel Lucifer by stating that the ‘Coming Redeemer’ would shed His precious blood to redeem fallen man and strip Satan of his power, consigning him to everlasting torment!

    The enormity of Adam and Eve’s transgression was so large and far reaching that a human being would not be able to comprehend! The closest we could get to describe the infamy of their transgression is to call it HIGH TREASON against their Father God. In breaking trust with the Creator and believing Satan’s LIES against the Thrice-Holy God, they plunged the entire human race into a death spiral, both the spiritually and physically!
   So great was their transgression that Almighty God was obliged to send His Only Begotten Son to bear the brunt and pay the awful price of our Redemption through His Incarnation, Vicarious Death and Glorious Resurrection!

     Our Heavenly Father’s MERCY is so great and the COST of Redemption so high that He isn't willing that any should perish, but come unto Repentance. The Holy Scripture says: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

   How far does God’s GRACE through Jesus Christ reach? How deep and wide does His MERCY extend? Did Christ just die for a select number or is His shed blood efficacious enough to cover all mankind? What about past and future generations? What really does the word PREDESTINATION mean?
   The Bible says: “For many are called but few are chosen.” (Matt.22:14); “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
  “Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation (mercy seat, expiation, covering) through faith in His BLOOD, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” (Rom.3:23-25)
      The Good News is that although the wages of sin is death, “the Gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom.6:23)
    St. Paul wrote: “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Rom.1:16);

    “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 Jesus Christ shall be saved.” (Rom.10: 12,13)
   Everyone has been CALLED, since He died for all, but only those who believe on Him and receive His free gift of forgiveness and eternal life through Jesus Christ are truly the CHOSEN ONES!
   Although God knows who will open their heart to receive His MERCY through the shed blood of His Son, nevertheless He still continues calling all to repentance! 
    His call still goes out to all, everyone and whosoever will, to receive His magnanimous, boundless and amazing offer of eternal salvation through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord!
    The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the FOUNDATION STONE of the Gospel! It is the Driving Force that separates Christianity from all religions and faiths. 
  Jesus Christ STANDS ALONE as the ONLY GOD who is genuinely, truly really God! All others are only figments of the imaginations and the folklore of paganism! 
     ONLY CHRISTIANITY boasts an empty tomb. Among all the prophets and gods of other religions, only Jesus Christ is still ALIVE and saving souls, healing the sick, filling with the Holy Spirit, giving consolation, peace and joy to all who carry His name on their lips and in their hearts! 
    Leaders of other religions are all DEAD and their imaginary gods only empty, lifeless personages. JESUS CHRIST alone died for the sins of the entire world and rose again in power and is today seated on the right hand of power of His Father the Almighty 'Ancient of days' without beginning or end!
   The HOLY BIBLE stands alone as the Word of God to mankind, infallible, inerrant and absolute! All other books are human, only imitations, fallible and the works of men. 
   The word for resurrection in the Greek is 'anastasia' which means to stand upright!  When JESUS  appeared to Saul of Tarsus, a first century Jihadist, the proud Pharisee was blinded and thrown to the earth. (Acts 9: 1-16)
     JESUS appeared to St. John on Patmos. Here is his testimony:
   "I was on the Spirit on the Lord's Day (Sunday), and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last... 
    "His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire; And His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters.
    "...And out of His mouth went a sharp two edged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
   "And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as DEAD. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am He that LIVETH and was dead; and behold I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of Hell and of death." (Rev.10-18)
  Jesus said: "I am the Resurrection, and the Life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die." (John 11: 25, 26)
   Before His crucifixion our Lord showed His mighty power by raising Lazarus from the dead. After His death and resurrection Jesus declared: "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth." (Matt.28: 18) 
     You may ask: "What does Jesus' resurrection do for us?"  
     FIRST: He destroyed the source of death.  "For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself took part of the same; that through Death, He might Destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the Devil; and Deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.." (Heb.2: 14,15)
     SECOND: He swallowed up death. "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour: that he should by the grace of God taste death for every man." (Heb.2: 9)
   St. Paul wrote: "O' DEATH, where is thy sting? O' GRAVE, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be unto God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Cor.15: 55-57)
     THIRD: He abolished death: "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the world was began. 
    "But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." (2 Tim.1: 9,10)
    FOURTH:  He has loosed us from the appointment of death. For He looked down from the height of His sanctuary; from Heaven did the Lord behold the earth; To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death." (Psalm 102: 20,21)
     FIFTH: He has raised our spirits from our sinful nature, and set our feet upon the ROCK. And when life is over and we leave this earth either through the vale or His rapturous return, He will raise up our bodies to be like His. (Col.3: 1; 1 Cor.5: 42)
     "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when He shall come, we shall be like Him for we shall see him as He is.” (1 John 3:1-2; Phil.3: 10)
      SIXTH: He is the Conqueror of Death and purchased Eternal Life for us. “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.” (John 11: 25,26)
      SEVENTH: He has been given all authority in Heaven and Earth and Hell. “And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet like dead. And he laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am He that liveth and was dead; And behold I am alive for evermore, Amen; And have the keys of Hell and death.” (Rev.1: 17,18)
   Jesus said: “Come unto Me all ye who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” (Matt.11:28); “Him that cometh unto Me, I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6: 37)
    “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink. He that believeth on me as the Scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:37, 38)
     He is calling everyone in this whole wide world to unload their problems, fears and sins onto Him, because He has paid for all sin, fear, disease and pain. Trust Him today and live, my friend! Amen.