Replacing Easter

What is society afraid of?

What is Christianity afraid of?

What are you afraid of?

Society is afraid of the truth. Christianity is afraid of being offensive. As for what you are afraid of, that is something only you can answer. My goal is that this post will have you thinking about why you do what you do.

Easter is a great time to bring this subject matter to light. Let me explain. For almost 40 days, many have been practicing the idea of “Lent.” They have no clue why they do it except that it is part of their religion. Many have not a single thought about God, but want to make sure that they cover all the bases just in case. They will live like the world every single day, except for a special day or two in the entire calendar so their “God” box will be checked. This leaves them feeling good about themselves so they can have a sense of being a “Christian.” Yet, the heart condemns those who think they can please God by pleasing themselves.

For years, I have worked with many people who can live, talk, and act like a minion of the evil one every single day. Yet, in one swift moment, as soon as they find out that you are a believer, they can and will proclaim, “Oh, I am a Christian.” The follow-up questions are quickly followed by silence until it grows awkward and the person soon finds something else with which to occupy their time. Or, in the better scenarios, you hear the response of, “Well, that is private and is just between me and the Man upstairs. Besides, who are you to judge me? The Bible says, “Don’t judge!”

What types of questions might we ask of any individual with whom we may meet? This could be another family member, a friend, a neighbor, or a work colleague.

“Where do you attend church? Where are you in fellowship each week with other believers seeking to remind the world that we are not of this world, but that we are just passing through?”

“What about your relationships? Are you married or just living in a way that goes contrary to the Word of God? Why would you want to be living with somebody who does not share your views, if you are a true believer?”

“Do your words and actions reflect that you are different, or do you strive to be just like those around you? Would your Sunday appearance give forth the reflection of a hypocrite, or a genuine believer longing to be more like Jesus Christ despite the difficulties of living a life of holiness?”

Despite the awkward silence or vocal calls about not judging, Easter and Christmas find more people claiming the name of Christ than any other time of the year. They are willing to give up things for Lent, but not for Christ. Far too many think that they are meriting favor or grace with God by giving up chocolate, meat, intimacy, or whatever.

When the forty days of Lent arrives, people flock to services for Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, or Easter Morning service never to be seen again til Christmas. Yet, for all the fasting or giving up of things, nothing has changed in their lives. They produce the same cursing, same vulgarity, same illicit relationships, and not one thing to indicate that they have actually spent time with Jesus Christ and are a new creation.

As for society, just look at our workplaces. Lies, deceit, and dishonesty rules the day. Few are willing to take a stand, and when something is said as a reminder, those speaking up are quickly removed. What does this have to do with Easter time? Simply this. These same practices and philosophies have moved from universally being accepted as part of the workplace to being fully accepted in the circles of so-called Christianity.

Let me be very blunt!

Easter is NOT about a bunny that lays eggs!

Easter is NOT about furry chicken that lays candy!

Easter is NOT about egg hunts, bouncy castles, and clowns on a Sunday.

Easter is supposedly to revolve around the holy Person of Jesus Christ. The reminder of the week prior to the Sunday should be a solemn reminder of the price that was carried on the cross. The wrath of God the Father was poured upon His only begotten Son because of the sins of mankind. It pleased the Father to bruise and crush His own Son because of the cursing, the vulgarity, the illicit relationships, and all sin that separates us from a holy God.

Christianity has allowed society to tell us that Easter has nothing to do with Jesus Christ. We are not allowed to speak of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on Calvary, but we can speak the religion of secularism and commercialism all day long. Nobody has one single problem with that. The world and the church have now merged in such a way that it is almost impossible in most circles to know where one starts and one ends.

If you are a true believer and have placed your faith in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation, then this next section is a solemn reminder and exhortation to you and your family.

This coming Sunday, we will have the privilege of celebrating the most glorious even that has ever transpired in all of human history. Nothing can top what took place almost 2000 years ago. Let me summarize what this Sunday SHOULD mean to you.

1. He laid aside His glory as the all-powerful majestic King of all Creation and came down to this sin-cursed earth.
2. He was born in a lowly stable showing the stark opposite of what He had enjoyed for all of eternity past.
3. He was welcomed by magi as well as lowly shepherds who guarded the lambs that would be sacrificed each Passover.
4. He grew in wisdom and stature and lived in obedience to the commands of both His earthly parents and the will of His heavenly Father.
5. He spent 3 ½ years walking the dusty roads of Galilee, Judea, and Samaria preaching the kingdom of heaven.
6. He was betrayed and abandoned by every one of His disciples.
7. He, the King of all Creation, was beaten, mocked, scourged into a bloody mess, and then hung between earth and heaven.
8. He bore upon Himself our sins and was ultimately forsaken even by His own Father in heaven because God the Father could not stand to look upon sin.
9. He became sin on our behalf and became clothed with our filth so that we would be clothed in His righteousness.
10. He died and was buried like a common criminal in a borrowed tomb.

But Sunday was coming!

There should be no doubt that the disciples had contacted the local businesses to ensure that bouncy castles were set up outside the tomb to celebrate what was going to happen. There should also be no doubt that the apostle Peter, having just denied the Lord three times earlier that week, was the instigator in setting up an Easter Egg hunt in order to entice the children of the murderous hordes to come to their service so that they would have greater numbers. There should be no doubt, based on what we see in modern Christianity, that the early New Testament church was prepared with the latest jokes and frivolity after having just seen the King of all Creation die and be buried.

Dear brothers and sisters, do you see the hypocrisy in the above statements? If it does not bother you to see the entertainment on any given Sunday in church, then it is time to examine your heart to see whether you are truly of the faith. If the only thing you can think of is, “Well, what you say may be true, but the Bible says not to judge,” then you have failed miserably to comprehend the solemnness and the seriousness of what this Sunday is all about. If you think that Easter is about the bunny and candy eggs, then your pastor and church have failed in their responsibility to teach you the truth of the gospel.

Easter is NOT about you and your perceived needs!

Easter is about the conclusion of the worst week in the history of mankind!
Easter is about the reality of the sacrifice that Christ made on Calvary!
Easter is about the truth Christ came to save sinners, of whom I am chief!
Easter is about the defeat of sin, hell, Satan, and the grave!
Easter is about Resurrection Sunday!
Easter is about Jesus Christ coming back to life victoriously!
Easter is about Jesus Christ one day coming for all who believe on Him!
Easter is about change and becoming a new creation in Christ!

Today, you have a choice. You can choose to continue replacing Easter with the world, or you can stop setting your affections on the things of this world, and setting your affections on the things of heaven.

My purpose is not to judge the world with my words. My thoughts are to be a beacon in the wilderness shining a light that points others to Jesus Christ, and not to Mark Escalera. My desire is to be a gentle reminder that true believers are called to be different, not the same as the world.

We are NOT replacing Easter in our home, but we will joyfully, reverently, and humbly celebrate –

Resurrection Sunday!

He is risen! He is risen indeed! Blessed be the name of the Lord!

Our Eternal Sabbath is Alive!

It was a long three days, but some time between sundown on the old Sabbath and sunrise, the Lord Jesus Christ rose victorious over death, hell, and the grave! He is now our Eternal Sabbath for all who place their faith in Him alone. Maranatha!

Perry Noble’s message from AC/DC Sunday

perry-noble

Well, I went and did it. I took the plunge and listened to Perry Noble’s message from this past AC/DC Resurrection Sunday. Nah, I wasn’t surprised. Just the kind of ear-ticklingly good pop-psychology pep-talk I expected. With a little bit about Jesus thrown in. Here’s the summary:

  • 1st 4 minutes–Talked about American Idol. Not a word about how Satanic music relates to what he is going to talk about.
  • Talked about how salvation is “Not a program, or a process, but a person.”
  • Tells us how Jesus can make our life exciting and fun this side of eternity…and after we die, too.
  • Funny story about Sunday School teacher at NewSpring, and how his kid had to pee at the mall. I kid you not.
  • Reads Matthew 7:14-15. Still no mention of how joining the temple of God with idols is relevant to his message.
  • Tells funny story about driving around Buckhead (Atlanta) and a traffic cop telling him to get out of the intersection–and how he wanted to “run him over.” I kid you not.
  • Displays firm grasp on the obvious by spending about 3 minutes talking about how we’re all going to die.
  • Spends about a minute and a half talking about how Hell is real and it’s hot. Misses chance to use Scripture that talks about fire never being quenched and worms never dying, or even the purpose of Hell.
  • Mentions how God doesn’t compare us to other people but to Christ. OK, maybe things are looking up.
  • Or not. Goes into discussion about popular movies (A Time To Kill, Ransom), and that we’re all bad guys. Includes funny story about his daughter running in to his study and counting to 10. I kid you not.
  • Mentions Romans 3:10, 3:23. Misses chance to talk about how we are God’s enemy, about sin, or repentance.
  • Talked about how salvation is “Not a program, or a process, but a person.”
  • Tells funny story about dead chickens in Kenya. I kid you not.
  • Tells us that Jesus left Heaven to come here, asking us “Can you imagine leaving that kind of comfort?” Yeah, comfort. Nothing about Jesus’ perfect communion with God. Nothing about the glory He shared with the Father. It’s all about comfort. I kid you not.
  • Tells us that “Jesus came to rescue us and set us free.” Free from what? Hell. O………K. Still no mention of sin. Still no mention of repentance. Still no mention of how rehearsing and performing Hell-glorifying music is supposed to glorify the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
  • Talked about how salvation is “Not a program, or a process, but a person.”
  • Spends 7 minutes describing the physical aspect of the Passion Week and the crucifixion. No mention of WHY JESUS HAD TO DIE.
  • 30:00 until the end (about 20 minutes in all)–invitation, slow music, guilt-laden manipulation, and 300 people “met Jesus.” Still no mention of how rehearsing and performing Hell-glorifying music is supposed to glorify the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

In all, the Lord Jesus Christ merits about 10 minutes out of 50. Hell gets about 90 seconds. The rest of the time is filled with fluff about movies, little girls counting to ten, and kids peeing at the mall–with a couple Bible verses sprinkled here and there. No mention of how our sins grieve the heart of God. No mention of WHY Jesus had to die to rescue us from Hell (Because, you know, it’s all about us). No mention of what is required on our part after we “Know Jesus” (You know, all that repentance and sanctification and holiness stuff we Pharisees are so worried about). No mention of whether they told people, “Yeah, we know we played Satanic music in our service. But that was just to get you in the door. Now that you’re here, don’t listen to it, OK? Yes, that’s right. Do as we say, not as we do. Sin? Ah, don’t worry about it. You know Jesus, you don’t have to worry about all that stuff.”

He had a platform to present the Law, to warn people about WHY we need to be rescued from Hell, to provide chapter and verse from the LIVING WORD OF GOD, and to let the Holy Spirit speak from the word He spoke to the holy men of old. And instead he filled people’s time with a happy little pep talk about movies, kids, and cops.

And Satanic music.

So easy, even a dog can do it!

And we humans have no compassion whatsoever to talk to our neighbors about Jesus Christ. They are lying in the roadway of hell, destined to be run over and consumed by Satan. Unless, we as Christians, are willing to go against the stream of traffic, and drag, pull, kick, whatever it takes, to bring our neighbors to safety, then we don’t have the common sense that God gave us.

AND OTHERS SAVE WITH FEAR, PULLING THEM OUT OF THE FIRE; HATING EVEN THE GARMENT SPOTTED BY THE FLESH-Jude 23.

The cross we carry is not one made of plastic. It is heavy, it can cause splinters, it will consume your time, it will come with a cost attached to it. But it is well worth it! You will face persecution because of your faith in Jesus. You will not always have bright sunny days waiting for you when you wake up. But the one thing you do have is HOPE. Hope for a new day found in Christ Jesus.

As we prepare to celebrate Resurrection Sunday (Easter to those C&E people [you know, they only attend church on Christmas and Easter]), let us not forget that people are dying every day. And unless they have put their faith and trust in Jesus alone for their salvation, they are headed for hell. They are lying on that freeway of life, just waiting to die. They are hurting (and some of them don’t even know it!). Do you love your neighbor enough to save them? Not save them in the sense that they are saved because of what “you” do, but save them in the sense that you give them God’s Holy Word. Then wait upon Him to do the rest! God’s Word will not return void. It is quick and alive! Not dead, just sitting on a piece of paper. It is more than able to open their eyes. When we use God’s Law to show people how sinful they are in God’s eyes, it will awaken them to the reality that they are lying in the middle of a freeway and are about to be steamrolled by a semi-truck!

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life! John 3:16

The dog saved the life of that other dog.
Have you risked anything for the sake of the gospel?

A day might be coming soon when you will be persecuted here in America because of your faith. I am not talking about persecution in the sense of people saying bad things about you, I am talking about the kind of persecution where you will lose all of your rights as a citizen and as a Christian. Your voice will be silenced, your right to speak to others about Christ will be taken away.

But have no fear, we can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us! No matter what Obama tries to do to our country, and our rights as Christians, we shall not be silenced. May you always go against the worldly flow for the sake of Jesus, who died on the cross for you that you might have eternal life!

One final thought, regardless of whether the dog lived or not, it is the act of heroism that is to be admired.

It is our job to warn people of the danger to come!