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||Newsletter & Calendar - May 2019|
||Pastor's Message- Easter 2019|
“EASTER IS COMING…AND WE REJOICE IN CHRIST’S RESURRECTION”
“He is risen!”… “He is risen indeed!” These are the words of greeting and response with which the early Christians often greeted one another. Of course they were referring to the resurrection from the dead of our dear Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ which many of them had personally witnessed that day and right up until He ascended bodily into heaven. They greeted one another in this way because at the very heart and core of the Christian faith is the resurrection of Jesus Christ on that first Easter Sunday morning. Had He not risen from the dead, then He would not have been victorious over sin, eternal death, and Satan. And that would have been really bad news for us and for every human being.
St. Paul understood this reality well and wanted to assure the early Christians who received His original letters and also us who have them to this day recorded in the Bible, that the point of truth…the resurrection of Jesus…must be a cardinal point of faith for all Christians. In fact, if one does not believe in the resurrection, then one cannot be considered a Christian. That teaching, that doctrine, is that fundamental to the Christian faith. Listen to the words of St. Paul as he speaks on this topic of Jesus’ resurrection. From 1 Corinthians 15:14-23:
“And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. L And if Christ has not been raised, your faith if futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. BUT IN FACT, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first-fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.“
As we celebrate Christ’s resurrection from the dead on Easter Sunday morning once again this year, we cling especially to St. Paul’s words: “But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead.” For it is in those words of reality and promise that we have eternal hope. As Paul suggested, if Christ Jesus was not raised from the dead, then we are still in our sins and thus, enemies of God. But in fact, because Jesus was raised from the dead by the power of God the Father, we are assured that the Father has accepted His sacrifice on the cross as full payment for our sins….all of them! We are assured that all of His wonderful promises of forgiveness and eternal life with Him can be relied upon because having taken our sins and blemishes upon Himself on the tree of the Cross, Jesus makes it possible for us to know with absolute certainty that as He was raised from the dead, so we too one day will be raised from the dead to be with Him and the Father and the Holy Spirit in the very heavenly home that God has prepared for each and every one of us, indeed, for all who put their full faith and trust in Jesus’s sacrifice alone as payment for our sins for all who believe in His resurrection.
With God’s blessing and by the power of the Holy Spirit we believe in Jesus as our only Saviour and we daily invite Him to be the Lord of our lives. We have thus been saved by God’s grace through faith alone, as Ephesians 2:8-9 clearly reveals.
The Easter celebration never gets old, does it? No. Never. Because the reality of our forgiveness and salvation, based upon the eye witness testimony of St. Paul and the Evangelists, recorded for us in the Holy Bible, revitalizes our faith, hope and trust in our wonderful, loving and gracious God and so we once again this year approach Easter Sunday with great joy and anticipation.
Like the believers of the early first century we also say: “HE IS RISEN!!” And we respond in full faith: “HE IS RISEN INDEED!”
Pastor Bill Ney, Vacancy Pastor
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