Volume. XXXI, No. 42
Sunday, 16 April 2017


From the Pastors Heart: Resurrection


It is not easy to define the Christian faith in a simple word, if not impossible.  However, if I dare to try it, I would say that Christianity is a religion of resurrection.  It is because there has to be someone who was resurrected if there were a resurrection, and He must be in the flesh to experience life-death-life in succession, and He must be a different person from all of us, all mankind.  In order to experience resurrection, He must have power to overcome the power of death, which is the wage of sin, to which all men and women have had submitted themselves.  It must indicate that He is a sinless being.  The logic will leads to us to conclude all the fundamental doctrines we can learn from the Bible.  The point is that we cannot think of our Christian faith and Christian religion without faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Today is the day we commemorate His resurrection.  The Bible testifies of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Romans 1:3-4 says, “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; 4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”

Over the years and centuries, Christian churches have used church calendars, which is a system of the Christian year or the liturgical year.  It has determined when they should celebrate some significant biblical events including Easter, Christmas, or the Passion Week.  It is interesting to notice that the dates of their celebrations vary from church to church.  It is because there are differences between Julian and Gregorian calendars.  The dates are not inspired and the ways to celebrate are not commanded in the Bible.  Some Christian groups have kept Lent, which has been known as the period of purification and penance which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Thursday before Good Friday.  As for Christians, everyday is the day of the Lord, and every Sunday is Easter to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 
 
In the KJV, the word, easter, occurs once in Acts 12:4, “And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.”  Interestingly, all other translations translated its Greek word as Passover.  In Asia Minor, Christians observed the day of the Crucifixion on the same day that Jews celebrated Passover, that is, on the 14th day of the first full moon of spring, 14 Nisan.  (Passover in 2017 started on the 11th of April and will continue until the 18th of April, which is a day after tomorrow.  In Jewish calendar, a holiday begins on the sunset of the previous day, so observing Jews have celebrated Passover on the sunset of Saturday, which was the 10th of April).  The Resurrection, then, was observed two days later, on 16 Nisan, regardless of the day of the week.  In the West, the Resurrection of Jesus was celebrated on the first day of the week, Sunday, when Jesus had risen from the dead.  Consequently, Easter was always celebrated on the first Sunday after the 14th day of the month of Nisan.  The Council of Nicae in 325 decreed that Easter should be observed on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox (March 21).  Easter, therefore, can fall on any Sunday between March 22 and April 25. 

Firstly, we can think of the deliverance from the major fear factor to mankind, which is death.  Fear is found in every man.  Probably, the greatest fear is the fear of death.  Resurrection counters such a fear factor.  (1) Fear is real.  Among many fears or phobias, the fear of death, or thantophobia in technical terms, is the fear feared the most.  If we look at Hebrew 2:14, we may understand the matter better.  It says, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.”  The devil uses the power of death to control people.  The purpose of the incarnation of the Son of God was to destroy the power of death through His own death.  Jesus died, but He broke the power of death.  We also need to read Hebrews 2:15, “And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”  There is a deliverer who delivers us from the fear of death, who is the incarnate Son of God who became a man.  (2) Some people rely on religions for freedom from fear.  However, we know that religion is not a solution to the fear of death.  There are staunch atheists who make strong affirmations about their atheistic mindset and no-fear-of-death attitude.  We may say that atheism is another form of religion.  They believe that nothing is going to happen after death.  Thus, they keep their composure.  It seems that people who are a little religious tend to be more afraid of death than others, because they are not so sure about whether they will go to heaven or hell.  (3) At this point, we need to consider 1 Corinthians 15:20, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.”  The word, “firstfruits,” is an important word.  It refers to the “firstfruits” offerings of grain, wine, cattle, and the like, appointed by Moses (Exodus 23:19; Leviticus 23:10; Numbers 15:20f.; 18:8, 11f.; Deuteronomy 18:4; 26:2, 10).  They are not offered up for their own sake, as it were, but as representative of the total harvest, the entire flock, and so forth.  They are a token expression of recognition and thanksgiving that the whole has been given by God (Deuteronomy 26:1f.). “Firstfruits” expresses the notion of organic connection and unity, the inseparability of the initial quantity from the whole.  The resurrection of Christ is the firstfruits of all resurrections followed. 
 
Secondly, resurrection is an unbelievable reality.  There are many supernatural events Jesus performed during His earthly life.  One of them was to raise the dead back to life.  Resurrection was real to the believers.  There was a man, who was one of the rulers of the synagogue, and his daughter died.  Mark 5:41-42 records the miraculous story of her resurrection: “And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. 42 And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment.”  Lazarus is another example.  Jesus said to Lazarus in a tomb in loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.”  Behold, he came forward.  Resurrection is beyond rational mind.  The teachings of the resurrection are both in the Old and New Testaments (Psalm 16:9-10; 17:15; 49:15; Isaiah 25:8; 26:19; Daniel 12:2; Hosea 13:14; John 5:28-29; 6:39; Romans 8:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:14, 16; 2 Timothy 1:10; Revelation 20:6).

Thirdly, resurrection is the indescribable power of God.  The believers of God will be resurrected as He was resurrected.  God is all powerful, and we must fear Him only.  Matthew 10:28 says, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”  Psalm 62:11 says, “God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.”  Though it does not appear to be the primary lesson from the subject of resurrection, we must not miss a point here that there is a life after death

Jesus taught and defended the truth of resurrection in Matthew 22:29, “Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.”  Paul desired to taste and experience the power of the Lord’s resurrection. Philippians 3:10, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” 

Lovingly,
Your Pastor

More Lively Hope

 

Announcements


*Kitchen Roster - Helpers this week: None (camp). Helpers next week: Team C.
*Wishing all worshippers a very Blessed Resurrection Day.
*Please note: There is no fellowship gathering after Worship Service today.
*Adult & Junior RPGs for Apr-Jun QTR now available. Donation: $1 per copy.
*Cambodia Missions July 2017: If you are interested to participate, please see Elder Michael D Lee or Bro William Song.


Praise & Thanksgiving

Journey mercies: Bros Paul Cohen (Adl); campers (Wellington/Adl); & those arriving safely at their destinations.
Visitors & new worshippers.
God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
Church activities in past week.
Family Bible Camp speaker: Bro Paul Cohen; camp organisers, helpers & campers.


Prayer Items

Health & God’s healing - Pastor Ki; Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Rev Patrick Tan (S’pore); Rev Sun Sokha’s wife (Cambodia), Grandpa Ki (S’pore); & others in affliction.
iSketch & Tell Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim’s ministry in Melbourne.
IBPFM board members, staff & missionaries: Rev & Mrs Eben Yoon (Kenya).
Cambodia Missions. 
New Life BPC (London) - Dr Carl Martin; God’s guidance & encouragement for Task Force & congregation.
Ebenezer BPC (Melb) - Working visa for Rev & Mrs Mathews Abraham & family.
God’s guidance for our theological students - Dn Sung Hyun Ma & Bro Kevin Low.
Youth & Assistant Pastor for Hope B-P Church.
Journey mercies: Bro Paul Cohen (Victoria); campers (Wellington/Adl); & others who are travelling.
Those working away: Bro Houston & Sis Jen Xin Li (Riverland); Bro Raymond Ang (Pinnaroo).
God’s wisdom & guidance for the Building Committee in making decisions for the use of new premises.
God’s help with preparation for 31st Anniversary Thanksgiving, Dedication & Ordination Service.
God’s guidance for Covenant, Ebenezer, Hope & Providence BPCs to form an Australian B-P Presbytery.
Thanksgiving, Dedication & Ordination Service speaker: Dr Bob Jones III. Various meetings over the weekend.
Cyclone Debbie: Those who were injured, lost their loved ones or property.
Drought in Kenya. God’s help for the people.

 

 

© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063