Easter: He is Risen!!

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Easter is here and many use this time to exchange Easter eggs, chocolate bunnies and taking time to rest and relax.

In actual fact, Easter is a reminder of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It remains the greatest time in history, when Jesus, nailed to an old rugged cross, carrying the sins of the world, died. But, on the third day, God in His power rose him from the dead. He lives to come again as the glorious King.

Consider the story of a young man who committed a very grievous offense against the law of his country. He was brought before the judge, tried and found guilty. His punishment was stated: death by hanging! As he was about to move to the place of his death, the judge's only son stepped forward and offered to be punished in the place of the man who had committed the crime. He was stripped and hanged on the tree instead of the young man. He was asked to go away just as if he never committed the offense. Christ did a similar thing for you. We, too, like the young man, have sinned very grievously. By rebellion we have committed high treason against the government of Heaven.

Man's sinfulness is revealed in many ways, e.g. in his doing what he ought not to do. Most people tell lies, others commit adultery or fornication, others are full of envy or are covetous, some steal, some are proud and arrogant, others cheat. Some read dirty books and, others are controlled by alcohol, many are controlled by the love of money, others are self-centered and full of unbelief, and many believe in and practice magic.

The Bible says All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.; (Romans 3:23). This includes sins committed in heart. According to the standards of Jesus, if you lust after a person in your heart, you have already committed adultery or fornication with that person (Matthew 5:28). Equally, if you hate someone, you. have committed murder in your heart (1 John 3:15). All sins, whether in words, thoughts or actions are all serious before God. No one is therefore exempt, for the Bible says “If we say that we have not sinned, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1John 1:8). So, God’s word, our consciences and our experiences all bear to the fact that we have sinned.

Sin separates man from God, since He is a holy God and cannot have a proper relationship with sinful people. Although man has tried to bridge the gap in many ways, e.g. prayer, by going to church and doing a lot of what he considers to be good thing, the gap is not bridged. In fact, God considers all the good deeds done by man in his own strength as sinful. The Bible says, “But we are as an unclean thing and all our righteous acts are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). This is because man’s goodness even at its best is contaminated by impure motives. God says “No one is put right with God by doing what the law requires.” (Romans 3:20)

Sin equally pays a salary. This salary is eternal separation from God in hell. Every person who continues in sin and refuses to repent will be thrown into the lake of fire on that last day. The salary has begun to manifest itself in broken hearts, broken homes, purposelessness, etc. However painful these are, they do not compare to the agony of those who will be in hell as a consequence of rejecting Christ either passively or actively.

Although human beings have all sinned and rightly deserve God’s judgment, God sent his son Jesus Christ into the world to come and die where we ought to have died for our sins. God put our past, present and future sins on Jesus and punished sin once and for all on the cross. Jesus shed divine blood, bridged the gap that separates man from God and opened a new way which sinners can be reconciled to God. Jesus died on the cross and rose again from the dead as proof that God the Father was satisfied with His work on behalf of sinners. He lives forever to forgive those who repent genuinely of their sins, forsake these sins and receive Him as their Saviour. He wants to forgive you NOW, give you a new birth and write your name in the book of eternal life so that you will never perish.

God in Christ has paid it all and the only thing left for you to do is respond to His awesome sacrifice on your behalf.

There are four things you need to think about and act on; represented by the first four letters of the alphabet A, B, C, D

ADMIT that you are a sinner by nature and by practice, and that on your own you are without hope. Tell God that you have personally sinned against Him in your thoughts, words, and actions. In a sincere prayer, confess all your sins to Him one after the other. Do not omit any sin that you can remember. It may be helpful if you write out your sins on sheets of paper and then burn them after God has forgiven you. In doing so, you must be truly sorry for them, since they pierce God's heart. Then, truly turn your back to and abandon your sinful ways. If you stole, steal no more. If you have been committing adultery or fornication, stop it. God will not forgive you if you have no desire to stop sinning in all the areas of your life; but if you are sincere, He will give you the power to stop.

BELIEVE that Jesus Christ, who is God's Son, is the only Way, the only Truth and the only Life. Jesus said, «I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me» (John 14:6), and the Bible says, «For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all» (1 Timothy 2:5-6). If you believe this, you are also rejecting every other system or philosophy that suggests that a man can be reconciled to God outside of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If you believe in Jesus Christ, you will want to receive Him, for, «As many as received him, he gave them the power to become the children of God» (John 1:12). But,

CONSIDER the cost of following Him. Jesus said that all who will follow Him must deny themselves. This includes selfish financial, social and other interests. He also wants His followers to take up their crosses and follow Him. Are you prepared to abandon your own interests daily for those of Christ?

Are you prepared to be led in new directions by Him? Are you prepared to suffer for Him and die for Him if need be?

Jesus said, Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace but a sword... and man’s enemies shall bethey of his household. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he who does not take up his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of me» (Matthew 10:34-38).

This is very costly, but God’s gifts - peace, joy, eternal life, etc, are far greater than whatever it may cost you. You do well to choose Him. Jesus will have nothing to do with half-hearted people. He demands a total commitment. He will only receive and forgive those who are prepared to follow Him AT ANY COST. Think about it and count the cost. If you are prepared to follow Him come what may, then there is something you must DO.

Invite Jesus to come into your heart and life. He says, Behold, I stand at the door and knock if anyone hears my voice and opens the door (to his heart and life) I will come into him and eat with him and he with me» (Revelation 3:20).

Why not pray a prayer like this one or another one as the Holy Spirit leads you?

«Lord Jesus, I am a wretched, lost sinner who has sinned in thought, word and deed. Forgive me all my sins and cleanse me. Receive me, Saviour, and transform me into a child of God. Come into my heart now and give me eternal life. I will follow You at all costs, trusting Your Holy Spirit to give me all the power that I need. Amen.»

If you have prayed the above prayer sincerely, then Jesus has forgiven you and made you God’s child right away. He has blotted out all your sins and forgotten the fact that you ever sinned (Hebrews 10:16-17). You have eternal life (1 John 5:11-13). You are born again; you are an entirely new creature and the past is gone (2 Corinthians 5:17). You are saved (Romans 10:9).

Rejoice in your new position before God. Thank Him for His marvelous love, forgiveness, salvation, etc. Begin at once to tell other people about your new life in Jesus.

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