Pulpit Ponderings April 2019

As our Lenten journey soon ends, I want to express some thoughts on Easter. Of all the significant observances during the Christian calendar the Resurrection is the most important event in the life of the Christian Church. Not the birth of Jesus, nor his ministry, nor his crucifixion is as critical as his Resurrection from the grave. Obviously, the Resurrection could not have happened without the previous phenomenon occurring. But without the Resurrection, the Church of Jesus Christ would not have survived these many years.  That is my conviction and I hold to it strongly as I have for many years.
Over the years, a number of people have asked me to elaborate on how strong their Christian faith should be. To give an idea of that, I offer the following story.

An evangelist, in conducting a testimony meeting one day in a large Southern city, said to the audience; “If the Christian life was to be described under the figure of a locomotive, which part would you rather be?”

There were a number of prompt answers that elicited smiles and laughter, and some deep responses of approval. One wanted to be the whistle and let the people know the Gospel train was coming. Another wished to be the bell, and warn souls of danger. A third would be a coupler and join the churches together; a fourth was willing to be the cowcatcher and save people who were in peril and a fifth desired the office of a brakeman, to slow things down if they got dangerously fast.

Finally, after many answers of this order, one of the best laymen in the city arose to his feet and fixed his eyes on the leader of the meeting. Felt and known by all to be a thoroughly good man, his testimony was waited for in profound silence. But owing to some kind of deep, inward emotion that was evident to all, he did not speak for fully thirty seconds. He then, with a husky voice said, “I would like to be the black coal thrown into the furnace and there burn for the glory of God.”

He sat down, and for a whole minute there was not a word heard in the assembly. But there were many wet eyes and swelling hearts in the crowd. All felt instinctively that the most beautiful and forcible speech of the morning had been uttered in that simple sentence.

 

This year, as I pondered this illustration, I thought about how we might have been moved to tears had we been present to hear such a powerful statement uttered. But what about our response to the cross of Calvary?  What about when Jesus uttered, “It is finished!” Do you, as a child of God, consider that one of the most beautiful and forcible speeches ever made? Does what the Savior said that day almost 2000 years ago stir you still? Do you feel anything anymore when you think about the cross? As Christians, does it cause our eyes to fill with tears and our hearts to swell knowing that the Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself a sacrifice as this piece of black coal aforesaid, thrown into the furnace of hell for the likes of you and me…

“And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” – 2 Corinthians 5:1.

There is more meaning behind Easter than just the colored eggs, chocolate bunnies, spring break on the beaches of sunny Galveston or Florida, and the fact that white is back in season again!!! Or is there??

A while back I remember while driving through the country one day, I passed a quaint little church building with a large cross mounted on the wall. There at the foot of the cross, scattered around the churchyard, was a large gathering of children with baskets in hand, running around, frantically searching for colored plastic eggs. All heads were looking down and around, none mindful of the cross that hung above them.  hat a picture of our lives today – busy with the world and ignoring the Lord. It was a picture that left me with a sad, hollow feeling….and it still does because often I am one of those who do not look up.

“And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” – 2 Corinthians 5:15.

 

Then while shopping, I couldn’t believe how inundated with Easter merchandise and candy are the various aisles in Wal-Mart. It is so crowded, people could hardly get their carts through! The shelves were trashed from ADULTS pawing through the assorted products searching for particular items to purchase for their children in order to celebrate Easter. How grieving! I silently wondered how many of them were Christians…

 

“And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” – 2 Corinthians 5:1).

 

Didn’t Jesus hang on that cross, die and rise again for more reasons than just to give us the opportunity to eat extra chocolate this time of the year?? Didn’t Jesus go to hell for three days and three nights for more important reasons than just so we could color eggs in April?? Did Jesus suffer on that cross with our spring break in mind, or our soul’s destiny in mind?? Didn’t Jesus rise again for more relevant reasons than just so we could wear new white shoes and a new dress to church on Easter Sunday?? Because of our sin, didn’t Jesus experience broken fellowship with His Father in that moment of time so we could find better treasures than just those sought after during an Easter egg hunt??

 

“And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again2 Corinthians 5:15.

 

I think we Christians need to jump-start our hearts and remember what Easter really means…. It is the most awe-inspiring example of self-sacrifice that you and I will ever witness – made by our loving heavenly Father! If you’ve accepted Christ as your personal Savior, hasn’t such a loving sacrifice changed your eternal destination? Hasn’t it changed YOU as a person?? Then it should also change the direction your life takes from that point on….

 

And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again – 2 Corinthians 5:15.

 

How do you celebrate this sacred occasion, my dear brothers and sisters?  What is YOUR train of thought this Easter??

God bless you as you take time to thank Him for His ultimate sacrifice.

 

His Peace and Blessings to all of you, as you continue to believe, have hope, and do the work of the Lord.

God bless you, your families, and our church, always!

 

As Always, In His Grip …Shalom Aleichem (Peace Be Unto You) …

Until the Nets Are Full,

Your Most Obedient and Humble Servant,

Pastor Buddy