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The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
Early the first day of the week Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome went to the tomb of Jesus with sweet spices, that they might anoint Him. They were concerned about who would roll away the huge stone from the sepulcher. They were unaware that "the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it." (Matthew 28:2) The tragedy of the crucifixion was over-shadowed by the joy of the resurrection. God raised Jesus to life again. The empty tomb was the beginning of the disciples being totally convinced that Jesus was the Messiah. The angel told the women to go and tell the disciples, and especially Peter, that Jesus would meet them in Galilee. They went immediately to deliver the Lord's message. As the risen Savior revealed Himself to His followers, they became convinced that He was Lord and Christ. When Jesus began to appear, His first appearance was to a woman. "He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils." At first the disciples were reluctant to believe that Jesus had risen from the dead. Even when they heard from the two disciples that had walked on the road to Emmaus with Jesus, they still did not believe. Later, Jesus appeared to His eleven disciples as they were eating. He rebuked them because they were too stubborn to believe the ones who had seen Him after His resurrection. Jesus' last words reminded the apostles of their mission on earth. He said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16:15-16) Salvation must be preached to every creature. The believing apostles were promised miraculous signs to confirm their words as they preached. This was a promise for the apostles to do miracles. It was never a promise to all believers.
The resurrection of Jesus – Mark 16:1-8: The disciples of Jesus were sad and disillusioned because of His death. They had not yet grasped the truth that on the third day Jesus would rise from the dead. (John 20:9) They were downhearted, yet they still loved Jesus. After the Sabbath has passed, Mary Magdalene, Salome, and Mary the mother of James bought some spices to anoint the body of Jesus. As they approached the tomb the women discussed the matter as to who would roll away the stone. How surprised they were when they saw that the stone had already been rolled away. They were also shocked to see a young man in a white robe sitting in the tomb. He told the women not to be alarmed. He knew that they were looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was nailed to a cross. The message was that Jesus is not here, God has raised Him to life again. The women were told to go tell the apostles and they were to specifically tell Peter.
The appearances after the resurrection – Mark 16:9-14: The empty tomb was one great proof that Jesus was resurrected. An even greater proof of the resurrection was the post resurrection appearances of Jesus. He first appeared to Mary Magdalene. Jesus then appeared to two disciples as they walked on the Emmaus road. After that Jesus appeared to His eleven disciples as they were eating. Paul wrote about the appearances of Jesus in 1 Corinthians 15:5-8. He said Jesus, "was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time." There were many eyewitnesses to the resurrection. Our forgiveness of sins would be impossible without the resurrection of Jesus.
The resurrection and the great commission of Jesus – Mark 16:15-16: Because of the resurrection, Jesus was able to give His apostles the great commission. (Mark 16:15-16) The commission begins with the word "go." Somehow we have the idea that the lost need to come to us. So today, in most cases, the church sits and waits for the lost. The commission continues with "go into all the world." God's desire is that everyone have an opportunity to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must get up, get out of our houses or church buildings and teach people about Jesus. As we go we must preach the gospel to every creature. Concerning the preaching Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." We must believe that Jesus is the Christ. (Acts 2:36) Let us carefully observe that belief alone is not enough. (James 2:19-24) Jesus also said, "and is baptized will be saved." Baptism is immersion in water. It is necessary for salvation. Jesus said that both belief and baptism are necessary for salvation. Baptism is for the forgiveness of sins. (Acts 2:38) A part of the commission also says, "He that believeth not shall be damned." Jesus is showing that a person will not obey God by being baptized if he or she does not believe.
The word was confirmed by miracles – Mark 16:17-20: Jesus said, "These signs shall follow them that believe." (Mark 16:17) "Them that believe" refers to the eleven. (Mark 16:14) The antecedent of "they" is the eleven apostles. It cannot refer to the singular "he" in Mark 16:16. Mark 16:17-18 are probably two of the most misused verses in the entire Bible. Some say these verses are not a part of the original text. This is a grievous error. Others use these verses to try to prove questionable, so-called miracles, like handling snakes in worship. Those things do not fit the Bible pattern. Mark 16:20 says, "And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen." The "they" and "them" of Mark 16:20 is the same people that were spoken to in Mark 16:19, "So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God." The problem that the apostles were dealing with was unbelief. (Mark 16:14) A strong faith would lead them to carry out the great commission. (Mark 16:15-16) As they went forth with the gospel they would do genuine miracles to prove their message. (Mark 16:17-18) After the ascension of Jesus to the right hand of God, the faith of the apostles had grown and they went forth to preach in all the world as commanded by Jesus. As they went forth, the Lord worked with them, "confirming the word with signs following."
Those that do the Lord's commandments will be blessed with an entrance into heaven and will have access to the tree of life. (Revelation 22:14) To become a Christian, you must hear God's word (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (Mark 16:16), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9-10) and be baptized for remission of sins. (Mark 16:16) After your baptism into Christ, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)
- - - - Charles Box
News & Notes
1. Prayer List: In Need of Prayer: Haley Acree, Elease Brown, Douglas Butts, Amanda Charles, Terry Claunch, Johnny Cole, Camren Coleman, Lisa Cook, Paul Cotrell, Tim Croley, Trina Croley, John Curry, Nell Daughtry, Mary Goodwin, Richard Harrell, Michael Hartin, Devin Hawkins, Austin Herring, James Holmes, Sue Hunt, Allan Jackson, Ann Jackson, Charlie Jones, Felice Kendrick, Josey McCeary, Barley Newton, Ruby Norman, Alice Padgett, Bill Perry, William Pierce, Linda Reynolds, Peggy Scribner, Johnny Sims, Evelyn Smith, David Stallings, Mary Tatum, Andy Taylor, Dusty Taylor, Mary Lou Terrell, Alice Thompson, Leroy Waller, Barbara Woods, and Betty & Wayne Young. Crowne Health Care: Dorothy Buck, Jewel Cauthen, Gladys Childs, Arlene Coletrane, Ruth Davis, Betty Findley, Davis & Ruth Hester, Kathy Johnson, Sarah Knight, and Annie Ruth Tetter. Pine Needle: Lydia Ann Raybon and Elizabeth Perdue.
2. Sympathy Expressed: Our love and sympathy is expressed to Tete Stabler and Shirley Boutwell and their families in the death of Tete’s niece and Shirley’s cousin, Tina Pouncey.
3. Strengthening Our Family: The Walnut Street Church of Christ will host our yearly, “Strengthening Our Family” Day on Sunday, April 27th. Jesse Claunch, from the Century Church of Christ, will be our speaker. Members are encouraged to be present for all three lessons and visitors are welcome! There will be a meal after the morning worship service. Salad committee will do the clean-up.
4. Congratulations: Congratulations to Neal and Nancy Faulkenberry in the birth of a granddaughter, Adelaide Brooklyn. Her parents are Nathaniel and Dorothy. She was born April 10th and weighed 7 lbs., 8 oz. and was 20 ½ inches long.
5. Vacation Bible School Planning Meeting: Vacation Bible School – Walnut Street Church of Christ – June 22nd – 26th – 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. “Happily Ever After…The Salvation Story” is the theme for this year’s VBS. There will be a Vacation Bible School planning meeting on Sunday afternoon, April 27th at 5:00 p.m. This meeting is for all those who volunteered to work at a story-themed station (story room, refreshments, or crafts). Please read the text of your story and come prepared to brainstorm ideas for developing your story. If you have not yet volunteered for a job but would like to participate, or even if you volunteered for another job but think you might have ideas to contribute, please join us!
6. Wedding Invitation: God has led two lives to take one path. Brittany Renay Olive and Bryan Matthew Brown together with their parents invite you to witness their vows as they begin their joyful journey on Friday, the twentieth of June two thousand and fourteen at six o’clock in the evening, the Grand on Foster 170 North Foster Street Dothan, Alabama.
7. Birthdays: Celebrating a birthday this week: April 20th Hannah Owens, April 24th Amanda Bagents and Sylvia Ward, April 25th Memory Bush, and April 26th Bobby Godwin.
8. Anniversaries: Celebrating an anniversary this week: April 20th Jimmy and Barbara Walker, April 21st Bobby and Birdie Godwin, and April 25th Bruce and Ann Cauthen.
9. Guyana Mission Trip: Charles Box and Bobby Terrell are making a trip to Guyana on May 8th – 22nd. Please pray for their safety and especially pray for Brother Bobby’s health as on this trip. The churches in Guyana need our help, encouragement, and prayers. Much has been done but, there is so much more to do.
10. Area Events: (a) April 26th – Ladies Day – Rock Hill Church of Christ – Speaker: Janice Claunch – Topic: “Spices of Life” – Time: Registration at 9:30 a.m., and (b) May 3rd – A Young Ladies Day – Decatur Highway Church of Christ, Gardendale – Time 9:00 am to 1:30 pm – Classes for junior high, high school and college-age.
Backwoods Christian Camp (Walk-A-Thon)
As the temperatures start to rise, one thing on the minds of lots of kids and a few adults too, is that camp is right around the corner. In fact, Teen Week (June 8-13) is only about 7 weeks away. Brett Thomas, Ricky Berger, and I are gearing up for hopefully the best session we've ever had. It'll include some new activities such as a scavenger hunt that could get you out of cleaning for a day and baby food roulette (don't ask). If you or your teenagers (7th grade - college) need more info, call me at (334)368-0147 or check the camp website: www.backwoodschristiancamp.org.
But the good that goes on at Backwoods couldn't happen without people like you who love young people and who give generously. The camp's primary fundraiser is coming up at the end of April, and I wanted to put a plug in for two of my favorite Walk-A-Thon participants. Both of my children (Eli-5; and Eden-2) want to be a part of helping the camp this year by walking. Eli is a seasoned veteran when it comes to this event and is excited to do his part and hopefully win one of the top prizes given to those who raise the most funds. Eden is also "weddy to walk awound," though she might not make it 5 whole miles.
You can sponsor either of them by calling me on the number above, or simply mailing a check to Walnut St. church of Christ, c/o Darrell Powell, P.O. Box 551, Greenville, AL 36037. Make checks payable to Backwoods Christian Camp. Rest assured any gift you give will be a blessing to the camp and the children who attend every year. If you aren't able to give, please pray for the souls we hope to impact this summer at BCC. I'm proud to be a part of this good work and appreciate all those who are dedicated to the cause of Christ.