Sunday, April 1, 2018

By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
      “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, 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.” (Matt. 28: 5-7)
     ST. PAUL wrote: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I but Christ liveth in me and the life which I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20)
     The Bible says: “Therefore being justified by FAITH we have PEACE with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; By Whom we have access by faith into this GRACE wherein we stand, and rejoice in HOPE of the glory of God. (Rom.5: 1,2)
    We are living in a world which is by and large bereft of the four great gifts found in that Scripture text. Only the Christian is declared or made righteous in the sight of God. How can this possibly be, since we were sinners by birth, nature and deed and in God's sight altogether corrupt? (1 Cor. 6:9-11; Is. 59: 1,2)
     It is all by the mercy and grace of God! Only through the vicarious Death of Jesus Christ for us are we able to receive the faith, peace, grace and hope that He gives to believing hearts!
     St. Paul states: “Among whom also we ALL had our conversation (lifestyle) in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
     “But God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us. Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ. For by grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast.” (Eph. 2: 3, 4, 8,9)
                        NO SUBSTITUTE FOR THE GOSPEL!
    Preparing to visit a sick individual, I prayed: “Lord what shall I tell this young lady?” He sweetly answered: “Give her the Gospel!” There is no substitute for God's Word. 
    The Bible says: “For the Word of God is quick (alive) and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb.4: 12)
     The Word of God brings DIVINE HEALING to our soul and spirit as well as our flesh; conviction, peace and forgiveness for sin, and healing from sickness and disease in our body (joints and marrow of our bones). King David said: “He sent His Word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” (Psalm 107: 20)
    Again, the Word of God states: “Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they (God's Word) are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.” (Proverbs 4: 21)
    The Bible says: “Bless the Lord O my soul: And all that is within me, bless His holy Name. Bless the Lord O my soul and forget NOT all His benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; Who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction..” (Psalm 103: 1-4).
                         HIS GOSPEL WORKS AT A FUNERAL!
    Recently, I was asked to take the Funeral Service for an elderly man who was very respected in a small Alberta town. A near relative said: “Pastor Max, preach the Gospel. There will be people there who need to hear the clear presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” 
     At the close of the service, a goodly number, including several Ministers, told me how grateful they were that I had delivered the life giving Word of God!
    A number of years ago I was asked to preach the funeral message where nearly half of the community had gathered to pay their last respects to a young man who had died all too early. His father, a Minister said, “Brother Max, preach the Gospel”, and I did. 
     Afterwards, that Pastor received numerous calls asking why they didn't hear that kind of preaching in their own churches! People everywhere are hungering for something, without knowing what it is. And when they hear the Gospel of Christ they immediately recognize that they have found what they have longing for.  
   The Word of God is the Bread of Life which satisfies the heart hunger for our Creator and God. Jesus Christ is the Living Bread sent down from Heaven and the Holy Bible is the written Word of God!
   Our Saviour stated, “I am the Bread of Life; he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35). One of my favourite songs, 'You're my Best Friend', is sung by Tom and Brenda Sibley. The chorus goes like this: 'You're my BREAD when I'm hungry; You're my SHELTER from troubled winds, You're my ANCHOR in Life's Ocean, but most of all You're my Best Friend'.
   William Gladstone, Statesman, Prime Minister and unquestionably one of Great Britain's most able, and greatest legal minds in the 1800s stated: Talk about the questions of the day! There is but one question and that is the Gospel. That can and will correct everything. 
   " I am glad to say that about all the men at the top in Great Britain are Christians. I have been in public positions fifty-eight years, all but eleven of them in the Cabinet of the British Government, and during those forty-seven years have been associated with sixty of the master minds of the century, and all but five of the sixty were Christians.”
     What a statement coming from the greatest British Prime Minister who ever lived! It is little wonder then that Queen Victoria stated: “I could wish that Jesus Christ would return in my lifetime.” When she was asked, “Why?” she answered: “I would so love to lay my crown at His feet.”
                            QUEEN VICTORIA'S TESTIMONY!
     Queen Victoria once attended a service in St. Paul's Cathedral and listened to a sermon that interested her greatly. Afterwards she asked her chaplain, “Can one be absolutely sure in this life of eternal safety?” His answer was that he knew no way that one could be absolutely sure.
    This incident was published in the Court News and came to the notice of a humble Minister of the Gospel, John Townsend. After reading of Queen Victoria's question and the answer she received, he prayed much about the matter and then sent the following note to the Queen.

     “To her gracious Majesty our beloved Queen Victoria from one of her most humble subjects. With trembling hands, but heart-filled love, and because I know that we can be absolutely sure now for our eternal life in the Home that Jesus went to prepare, may I ask Your Most Gracious Majesty to read the following passages of Scripture - John 3:16; Romans 10: 9, 10.”

I sign myself, Your servant for Jesus' sake,”
John Townsend

      John Townsend was not alone in praying about his letter to the Queen. He took others into his confidence and much prayer was offered up to God on Her Majesty's behalf. About two weeks later, he received a modest-looking envelope in which was enclosed the following letter.

To John Townsend:
Your letter of recent date received and in reply would state that I have carefully and prayerfully read the portions of Scripture referred to. I believe in the finished work of Christ for me, and trust by God's grace to meet you in that Home of which He said, I go to prepare a place for you.”

(Signed) Victoria Guelp

    Some years later the Queen was visiting the tenants on one of her Royal Estates and an elderly lady nervously came up to her, curtseyed, and said, trembling, “Your Majesty, will I see you in Heaven, one day?” Victoria smiled and replied, “By the all-availing blood of Jesus, you most certainly shall, my dear! I have His Word on it!”
     After Queen Victoria discovered the Good News of Eternal Life through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, she eventually carried copies of a small booklet to give to her subjects. It was titled 'Safety, Certainty and Enjoyment' and it contained the message of Salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord!
     Queen Victoria reigned over the great British Empire for nearly 64 years until her death on January 22, 1901. She was laid to rest beside Prince Albert at the Frogmore Royal Mausoleum at Windsor. Above the door of the Mausoleum are inscribed the following words from Victoria: “Farewell best friend, here at last I shall rest with thee, with thee in Christ, I shall rise again.”
                                I AM NOT AFRAID TO DIE!
     Two months before his death, my brother Fred had a serious talk with his son, Dan. He said, “I am not afraid to die. I know Jesus.” Those were comforting words to hear and became the title of this article and the theme of the message I brought at his funeral on July 17, 2017.
    Dan suggested that I share that with family and friends who attended the burial service and the Memorial. I'm sure that Fred would have wanted everyone to know that. A couple years ago while preaching at the Vancouver Native Pentecostal Church, Fred and Irene joined us in praising Jesus Christ.
      In His High Priestly prayer, Jesus said: “Father the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee: As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life, to as many as Thou hast given Him.
And this is life eternal, that they might KNOW Thee the Only True God, and and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent.” (John 17: 1-3)
    St. John declared: “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. And we know that the Son of God is come and hath given us an understanding, that we may KNOW Him that is true, and we are in Him that is True, even in His Son, Jesus Christ. This is TRUE God and Eternal Life.” (1 John 5:19, 20)
     This was St. Paul's great desire: “That I may KNOW Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.” (Phil.3:10)
                        WHY IS JESUS SO IMPORTANT?
     What is it about knowing Jesus that removes the fear of death? Who is this Jesus Christ, that at the mention of His name sinners are saved, demons flee, the spirit of FEAR departs, sicknesses vanish and troubled minds and souls receive PEACE?
     We'll let Jesus answer for Himself. He said: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.” (John 14: 6).
     Why could Jesus make that statement? He was God the Son from Eternity, but because of His great love for us, He left Heaven's glory and came to this world as God's Paschal Lamb to purchase our salvation.
    By a Divine act of God, He was incarnated and took upon Himself human flesh, so that He could suffer, bleed and die to atone for the sins of the whole world, past, present and future.
     The Bible says: “But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, MADE of a woman, MADE under the law, to Redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
     “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” (Gal. 4:4-6)
      Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, St. Paul wrote: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, Who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.
      “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2: 5-11)
                            JESUS CHRIST IS ETERNAL LIFE!
     The Bible says: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16,17)
    St. John declared: “He that believeth on the Son hath Everlasting Life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on Him.” (John 3: 16,17,36)
     Again he wrote: “But these things are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and that believing, ye might have LIFE through His Name.” (John 20: 31).
     Not only does Jesus Christ give Eternal Life to those who receive Him as Lord and Saviour, but Jesus is Himself Eternal Life! The BIBLE states: “Hereby know that we DWELL in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
      “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in Him, and He in God. And this is the record, that God hath given to us ETERNAL LIFE, and this Life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath LIFE; and he that hath NOT the Son of God hath NOT Life.
     “These things have I written unto you that believe on the NAME of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have ETERNAL LIFE, and that ye may believe on the Name of the Son of God.” (1 John 4: 13-17; 5: 11-13)
    St. Paul, who had been a blasphemer and an enemy of Christians was suddenly converted when he met Jesus Christ in a blinding light on the Damascus Road, became His Greatest Witness and spread His Gospel across the Gentile world.
    He said: “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto SALVATION to every one that believeth; to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Rom. 1: 16);
     “Grace be to you and PEACE from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who GAVE Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Galatians 1: 3-5)
     The Bible says: “In this was manifested His love toward us because He sent His Only Begotten Son into the world, that we might LIVE through Him.” (1 John 4:9)
      “For as by one man's disobedience (Adam) many were made sinners, so by the obedience of ONE (Jesus) shall many be made righteous. That as sin has reigned unto death, even so might Grace reign through righteousness unto Eternal Life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 5: 19, 21)
                            JESUS CHRIST IS OUR HIGH PRIEST!
   God's Redemption for us through Jesus Christ gives us access through PRAYER to the very Throne Room in Heaven, where the Son of God is interceding for us to His Heavenly Father!
     “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 like as we are, yet WITHOUT Sin. Let us come boldly to the throne of Grace, that we may obtain Mercy, and find Grace to help in time of need.” (Heb.4: 14-16)
     The Bible says: “But this man (Jesus), because He continueth ever, has an unchangeable priesthood.. Wherefore He is able to SAVE them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him. Seeing He EVER LIVETH to make intercession for them.” (Heb.7: 24, 25)
     St. John gives us this amazing truth: “But if we walk in the light as He us in the Light, we have fellowship one with another, and the BLOOD of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.
    “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin. We have an ADVOCATE with the Father, Jesus Christ, the Righteous and He is the propitiation for our sins: And not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 1: 7; 2: 1,2)
     The word propitiation means mercy seat, satisfaction, expiation. This means that God the Father was satisfied with the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, His Son for our sins and those of the whole world, past, present and future!
                                 LET ONE INNOCENT COME!
   For ages the JEWS had waited for the Promised Messiah to bring forgiveness, fulfillment and deliverance to His people. For years they had heard the, 'Cry of the Synagogue': Let One Innocent Come and Atone for the Guilty', but there was no-one qualified to answer the call, until God sent His Son Jesus Christ to ATONE for the sins of Israel and the whole world.
The great Jewish Bible Scholar Alfred Edersheim wrote: “And still the Cry of the Synagogue comes to us through these many centuries of past unbelief and ignorance: 'Let One Innocent Come and Make Atonement for the Guilty', to which no other response can be made than that of the Apostle: 'Such an High Priest became us, Who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher that the Heavens.” (Heb. 7:26)
    The Jewish people knew they were guilty. The blood of bullocks, lambs and goats only appeased God until the next sacrifice. The forms, rituals and ceremonies did not bring lasting peace. But alas the promised Deliverer had not come, and then one day the the voice of John the Baptist was heard loud and clear: “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29)
   God the Son had been incarnated (God in human flesh) to bear the sins of Israel and the entire world to the Cross of shame for our redemption. St. Paul writes:
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet (qualified) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the Kingdom of His dear Son: In Whom we have redemption through His Blood, even the forgiveness of sins.
For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell; And, having made peace through the Blood of His Cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say whether they be things in earth, or things in Heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled.
     “In the Body of His Flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight.” (Col. 1:12-14; 19-22). Hanging on the cross, Jesus cried out the word, 'Tetelestai' (Gr.) taken from the verb teleo which has three essential meanings: It is finished, to make an end of something; to fulfill something; to pay that which is owed.
    When Jesus cried 'Tetelestai', Satan's was immediately defeated. Our precious Jesus had finished His work and brought to an end Satan's domination over those who believe the Gospel. He had fulfilled every Scripture in the Old Testament concerning Himself. He had paid for all our sins, fears, guilt, sicknesses and diseases!
    Then, He said, “Father, into Thine hands I commit My Spirit.” And He went to Paradise in Abraham's Bosom. We give praise to the Lamb that was slain for our sins and risen from the dead for our justification. (Romans 4:25)
                        JESUS' BLOOD: MANKIND'S ONLY HOPE!
    For many years the Christian church has presented the Claims of Jesus Christ to be able to save lost souls, heal the sick and liberate the suffering and wounded granting eternal life on the basis His shed blood, vicarious death and glorious resurrection. In his book, The Cruciality of the Cross, Dr. Henry Mabie writes:
     'The Greek word used by Paul in 1 Cor.1: 18 is Logos...” not preaching but the subject matter of preaching; with the very essence of that which was to be preached; with the Logos of the cross, which constitutes a rationale, its Divine Reason which ... he declares to be the wisdom of God.
    The Logos of the Cross is conceived by Paul to be the KEY which Unlocks the Riddle of the universe, Solves all Mysteries and Reconciles all things.
    The sacrificial death of the incarnated Son of God, to REDEEM the world, is a subject matter so powerful, so magnanimous and so incomprehensible that mortal man can only stand in holy awe at the immensity, enormity and grandiose Love, that we are left speechless!
   The Blood of Jesus Christ which He freely gave for sinful, rebellious and guilty hell-bound sinners, purges our conscience from all guilt, delivers us from the power of sin and liberates us from Satan and his EVIL kingdom for time and eternity.
     As Dr. Henry Mabie states: “The Logos of the Cross is conceived by Paul to be the KEY which unlocks the Riddle of the universe, solves all Mysteries and Reconciles all things.” Why is this? Jesus Christ Created the universe – No riddle there!
    He knows where we came from and why we are here. He knows all about God and the Devil, Sin and Salvation, Heaven and Hell. He knows all about life and death and has communicated that to us through the Holy Scriptures. His resurrection from the dead solves all mysteries!
    The cross of Christ reconciles all things! The vicarious death of Jesus Christ for sinful humanity reconciles man to God. The gap between God and man has been bridged through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. The enmity between us and God is gone. 
     His Love has destroyed all enmity. We have a Father /son relationship because of what happened on the cross. The cross also reconciles man to man. The Holy Spirit sheds Christ's love upon us with a desire to forgive and love one another!
                        GOSPEL OF CHRIST: THE GOOD NEWS!
   The Gospel is the Good News that Light has come into a world of Darkness; that Peace has come into a world of Turmoil; that Healing has come into a world of Sickness; that Love has come into a world of Hate; that Forgiveness has come into world of Sin; that Life has come into a world of Death; that Freedom has come into a world of Bondage; that Slaves are made Free through Jesus Christ, the Liberator of the Human Race!
     And that Light, Peace, Healing, Love, Forgiveness, Life, Freedom, Liberty and Eternal Life is none other than JESUS CHRIST Himself, the Eternal Son of the Living God, Crucified for us, Risen from the Dead and soon to Return for us! Amen.