Two Distinct Resurrections! John 5:28-29

Text:  Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His Voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
                                                                                                        John 5:28-29.

Good morning, righteous Christian!  Like the author, of yourself you have absolutely no righteousness of your own; you merit nothing but a Christ-rejecters Hell - and in your heart and mine we are fully aware of this fact. 

Yet, praise God, by Gods free grace, through God-given faith in the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross - we are, ’…MADE the righteousness of God in Him. 

Wonder of wonders!  Natural born Hell-deserving sinners are Supernaturally redeemed by Christs Blood, and recreated, ‘…new creatures in Christ Jesus…’; and are now on our way to Heaven.  Hallelujah!  What a Saviour!

The Lord looked down from Heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.  They are ALL gone aside, they are ALL together become filthy; there is NONE that doeth good, no, NOT ONE.             (Psalm 14:2-3)

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  They are ALL gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is NONE that doeth good, no, NOT ONE.  (Romans 3:10-12)

If this be the case, and all Bible-believing Christians know that this is the case - and there is no one righteous; none good; no one that can merit Heaven.  Therefore, like the Philippian jailor we must surely cry, “…What must I do to be saved?  (Acts 16:30)

This Eternally vital question is answered under the full inspiration of God the Holy Spirit in Acts chapter 16, and verse 31:  “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.  (Acts 16:31)

You and I are Eternally saved - from our sin, and the just penalties of a Lord God of wrath against sin - by the Atonement Sacrifice of Gods Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, on Calvarys Cross.  There is no other way of Salvation!  Salvation is exclusively found only in the Person and the Sacrifice of Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God.  Thats a fact!  We disbelieve this fact at our peril.

Jesus saith unto him (Thomas), I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man (or woman) cometh unto the Father, but by Me.  (John 14:6)

Neither is there Salvation in any other; for there is none other Name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.  (Acts 4:12)

With this fact in mind therefore, we return to our Bible Reading and Bible Text for this lesson knowing that the only ‘…good…’ that we can do in the sense of taking part in ‘…the resurrection of the just…’ is believing the Gospel and receiving Christ Jesus as our own and personal Saviour and Lord.

We hear the Word of God; we receive faith to believe the Word of God; we then have God-given faith to trust in Christ and His Sacrifice for us on the Cross - and, according to the will of God as Sovereign over all things, we are made fit by Him to take part in ‘…the resurrection of the just…’ and go be with Him in Heaven.  Wow!  What a gracious Lord God we have!

On the other hand, the greatest ‘…evil…’ committed by those who will take part in ‘…the resurrection of damnation…’ will be the continual rejection of Salvation offered universally in the Word of God, by the Spirit of God, to Hell-deserving sinners. 

Not having saving faith - ‘…the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast. - they are double-damned to a Christ-rejecters Hell.  They have been rejected by God as reprobate, and they consciously reject God and want nothing to do with His universal offer of Eternal Salvation.

For by grace are ye saved though faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.  (Ephesians 2:8-9)

(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth;)as it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hatedI will have mercy on whom I will have mercyand whom He will He hardened.  (Romans 9:11-23)  Salvation is of our Sovereign Lord God!

I believe that there will be a literal thousand years - the millennial period -between ’…the resurrection of the just…’ at the Rapture of the Church, and ‘…the resurrection of damnation…‘ which will take place at the end of the thousand year reign of Christ on earth. (Revelation 20:5-6)(Romans 14:9-12)

Those taking part in ‘…the resurrection of the just…’ - Christs born again church, will continue on to the ‘…judgement seat of Christ…’ to receive our due rewards for faithful service; according to the teachings of Scripture.

And, behold, I (Christ Jesus) come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be. (Rev. 22:12) (1 Corinthians 3:8-15)

Those taking part in ‘…the resurrection of damnation…’ will appear at the ‘…great white throne…’; be judged by the Lord God, and ‘…cast into the lake of fire.  What a tragedy to be Eternally lost in this manner!

And I (John) saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them (the unbelieving souls)And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.  (Revelation 20:1-15)

Praise God that He has seen fit in His Sovereign will to save us, ’…His people…’, in time, and for Eternity!  (Matthew 1:21) (John 6:37)

What a privilege it will be to take part in ‘…the resurrection of the just…’, and all because of Gods grace in sending His Son, Christ Jesus, to save us.  Hallelujah!  What a Saviour!
Thought:  What resurrection will YOU take part in, precious soul?

Father-like Sons & Daughters? John 5:19-27

 Text:  "Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily (truly), verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do; for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise."
John 5:19. 
          Verily, verily I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he/she do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father.  And whatsoever ye shall ask in My Name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
John 14:12-13.

Good morning, Father-like Christian sons and daughters!  Being born again of the Spirit of God; through faith in the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross at Calvary - you and I have, by God great grace, become sons and daughters of the Living Lord God.  Hallelujah!  Now this is indeed an exciting thought!

Wherefore come out from among them (the world), and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:17-18)

Did you notice exactly Who is speaking in this verse from 2 Corinthians quoted?  It is not some mere man like Paul, the inspired human instrument used of God to pen these words.  No.  It is the Voice of ‘…the Lord Almighty!  Hallelujah!  Gods Word on the matter is good enough for me!

Blessed (blessed with blessings) be the Lord, that hath given rest unto His people Israel, according to all that He promised; there hath not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised by the hand of Moses His servant.  (1 Kings 8:56)

Todays study in Johns Gospel teaches us a wonderful practical truth: the Lord Jesus sought at all times to imitate the works of His Heavenly Father.

“…Verily, verily I say unto you (the Jews), The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do; for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.  (John 5:19)

Christ Jesus came to do the will of God the Father in Heaven - and He did that Divine will, and was victorious in all He said and done.  Praise God.

We latter-day children of God are called to be Christian; Christ like in all our words, thoughts, and deeds, to the very best of our abilities, and aided by the power of God the Holy Spirit.  (Isaiah 41:10)

We are to be like Christ, as Christ was like His Father in Heaven!

 A Heavenly Father desires to sire and enjoy fellowship with Heavenly-minded sons and daughters.  If we are born again of the Lord God, then we must learn to bear the family resemblance. 

But as He which hath called you is Holy, so be ye Holy in all manner of conversation (entire lifestyle); because it is written, Be ye Holy; for I am Holy.  (1 Peter 1:15-16)

We who call ourselves Christian must therefore seek to be Christ like to the very best of our abilities.  Our Heavenly Father is pleased when we act, speak and resemble His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is displeased when we do not!

And lo a Voice from Heaven, saying, This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.  (Matthew 3:17)

If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth; but if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the Blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth (cleanses us and continues to cleanse) us from all sin.  (1 John 1:6-7)

You and I were once  ‘…dead in trespasses and sins…’; on our way to a Christ-rejecters Hell; this was our well deserved doom.  (Ephesians 2:1) 

However, ‘…God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were DEAD in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in Heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  (Ephesians 2:4-6)

For you and me, ‘…the hour…’ has come, ‘…when the DEAD shall hear the Voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live.  (V.25)  Hallelujah!

Thought:  IF we have become Christian sons and daughters of the Lord God - let us try to think, speak, and act like Gods Son, the risen Christ Jesus.

The Price of '...Making Men Whole...'! John 5:14-18

Text:  Afterward Jesus findeth him (the former impotent man) in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole; sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
John 5:14.
          This people draweth nigh unto Me (Jesus) with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me.  But in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Matthew 15:8-9.

Good morning, Bible-believing Christian!  If Gods Word teaches Gods way of doing things - you believe it.  If Gods Word teaches against a certain practice - you firmly believe such a practice is wrong.  You seek to obey Almighty God, as opposed to mindlessly obeying the rules of mere fallible men.  Praise God, you do well, Bible-believing Christian!  We honour the Lord God when we seek to obey His will as revealed in His God-breathed Word.

The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath My Word, let him speak My Word faithfully.  What is the chaff to the wheat? Saith the Lord.  Is not My Word like a fire?  Saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock (of unbelief) in pieces?  (Jeremiah 23:28-29)

This mornings journey in Johns Gospel continues to examine Christs healing of the impotent man at the Pool of Bethesda. 

Following the dramatic healing, the Lord Jesus found the healed man in the temple. (V.14)  No doubt this grateful man whom, for the first time in thirty-eight long years, found himself healed of his infirmities - was in the correct place, probably giving deep thanks to the God of Israel Who had sent His Christ to perform such a gracious healing upon him.  (Exodus 15:26b)

Think for just a moment about how this man must have felt.  His infirmity had been a daily and constant debilitation throughout thirty-eight long years of his life.  Now, it was GONE!  He was loosed from the pain; the shame; the strain - of being physically and mentally challenged in this manner!  Wow!  What a deliverance!  What a new sense of freedom!  What depth of joy must have flooded this healed mans heart!  What a blessed relief!

Do you really believe this man was thankful?  I certainly do. No doubt, he was in that temple, not to thank his lucky stars, but to give sincere thanks unto God for delivering him in such a truly miraculous manner.  Hallelujah! 

No half miracles with the Lord God Jehovah - Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  There is no Lord God other than our great Creator Lord God.

Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.  (Isaiah 45:22)

Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me.  (Isaiah 46:9)

On the day of this poor mans healing, do you think HE believed the above facts?  I just KNOW he did.  He was absolutely certain that the Christ of God had healed him every whit whole, and he was there to give humble thanks.

However, there was a great Price to be paid for bringing about such healing -  not by the man healed - but by the one Who had healed his impotent body; the Lord Jesus Christ.  “…He was wounded for our transgressions…”

Immediately the religious leaders ‘…sought to slay Himsought the more to kill Him…’  Why?  For breaking the rigid religious laws they were outwardly upholding, in order to do a true work of righteousness and compassion - and for daring to declare boldly, ‘…that God was His Father…’ (Vs 16; 18) 

They loved the letter of the law, rather than the Giver of the law!

How often do you and I hear of sincere Christian servants who, being less than fallible, have broken some denominational law; some religious taboo within a given church setting - and been forever callously forbidden by the church leadership to serve the Lord to the full potential that the Lord has seen fit to gift him or her?   “…Who did hinder you?, repentant Christian.

This is just another case of ‘…teaching for doctrines the commandments of men…’; or worse, unjustly interpreting Gods written Word on a matter in order to keep a sincere Christian out of full service to God. 

This should not be, beloved Christian, we cannot hinder another man/womans service to God because that servant of God has at one time fallen short of some too often unattainable standard of imagined PERFECTION. 

‘‘There is none righteous, no not onethere is no difference, all have sinned…’’  (Romans 3:10;22-23)

Let us, therefore, be Bible-believing Christians indeed, and always be ready to show compassion on a fellow-believer who has fallen or failed in some way.

Thought:  Soldiers that go unwounded, are seldom ever in the Battle!

No Man to Help! John 5:1-13

Text:  The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool; but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.
John 5:7.

          I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me; refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.
Psalm 142:4.

Good morning, caring Christian!  In the midst of lifes troubled waters, you are ever ready to lend a hand to those in greatest need; you are ever there to uphold the afflicted in prayer; you are always most willing to share vital resources as your Lord leads and directs you so to do.  Praise God for such genuinely caring Christians!  Christ Jesus is glorified in you, daily.

Ye are the salt of the earthye are the light of the world.  A city that is set on an hill cannot be hidLet your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.  (Matthew 5:13-16)

Bethesda:  Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market (gate) a pool, which is called Bethesda, having five porches.  (John 5:2)

Bethesda was a spring-fed pool, surrounded by five porches, where Jesus healed the man who had been sick for thirty-eight years.  The only record indicating its location places it near the Sheep Gate.  Apparently this carries the inference that it was in the northeast part of the city, for according to Josephus and various ancient authorities, the principal sheep market in Jerusalem was located north of the temple area just as, at the present time, the Arab sheep market is located outside Herods Gate.  Also, the Medaba map (fifth century) located the pool in this section which is known as Bezetha.

In 1888 repairs were being made on St Annes Church, in this northeast section of Jerusalem, when what seemed to be a large reservoir was located.  Professor Conrad Schick, who was consulted, organized an expedition and uncovered the entire area down to the Roman level, revealing two large pools with five porches and numerous fragments of columns and capitals - all in Roman style, but evidently somewhat later than the time of Christ.  There were steep, winding steps leading down to the pools, and on a prominent wall of one of the porches was a faded fresco of an angel in the act of troubling the waters.  Here was Bethesda, according to the tradition of the early church.  (Thompson Chain Reference Bible, Archaeological Supplement 4343, page 1730)

The Bible - Reliable History:  The Bible is the only record we have of the life and teachings of Jesus.  And if we are to take Jesus seriously then the Bible must be proved accurate.  The New Testament is not a myth - myths happen once upon a time in a faraway place.  The New Testament is written in a space-time dimension.  The context gives specific times, persons, events, and places which offer themselves for verification.  Contemporary documents with the New Testament verify the accuracy in regard to such statements as culture, politics, morals, and religion of that particular period of time.  Also archaeology has added its findings to corroborate the accuracy of the New Testament.  The books of the New Testament were written and circulated during the very time the people lived, while they were able to deny what was written.

Examples: Bible Reference:

The Birth of Christ (Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:1-7);

Specific Names and Times:  (Luke 3:1-3)

Luke wrote down the facts in order:  (Luke 1:1-4).

If the New Testament were a collection of secular writings, their authenticity would generally be regarded as beyond all doubt.  F.F. Bruce compares the manuscript evidence of the New Testament with the evidence for the writings of the same period.

Caesars Gallic Wars (58-50BC)                           - 10 manuscripts;

Roman History of Livy (59BC-17AD)                   - 20 manuscripts;

History of Herodotus (480-425BC)                        -  8 manuscripts;

History of Tacitus and Annals of Tacitus (100AD)  -  2 manuscripts;

New Testament                                             -  4000 manuscripts.

The New Testament has 100 times more manuscript support than all the others combined.  Who are parking their brains - the believers or the unbelievers?

About Jesus we have to write not theology but history.  H.G. Wells.

Will Durant - one of Americas foremost historians - His source material for the entire chapters on Jesus and the apostles was the New Testament.

Sir William Ramsey of Great Britain started out as an unbeliever and changed his mind because of his archaeological research.

Think About It:  Why would the Bible writers give so much specific details, if what they said was not true?

Archaeology supports the New Testament.  Ancient writers support the New Testament.  People have been trying to disprove the New Testament for centuries without success.  If the New Testament is reliable history - what are the implications?  (Art Matthew, Londonderry, The Bible - Reliable History)

The angel troubled the waters of the pool at Bethesda, but Gods truth troubles the waters of human unbelief, and brings Eternal healing to those who allow themselves to be helped into knowledge of the Saviour of sinners souls, the Living Lord Jesus Christ.  (Acts 4:12) (Luke 19:10)

Thought:  Who will YOU and I help into this healing knowledge today?

Hindered Christianity? John 4:43-54

Text:  For Jesus Himself testifieth, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country.
                                                                                                              John 4:44.
          But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.  And He could there do no mighty work, save that He laid His hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.  And He marveled because of their unbelief…’”
Mark 6:4-6.

Good morning, hindered Christian!  The Lord God has given you many talents and abilities to serve Him well - in the preaching of His Word; in witnessing to family, friends, and fellow employees.   But you feel you are not being used of God to your full potential; you feel frustrated that your God-given talents are not being utilized to their full extent.  Well, dear friend, join the club, as we say here in Ulster.  Both you and I have experienced great and grievous hindrances - but the Lord is not finished with us yet!  Praise His Holy and Omnipotent Name! 

“…In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.  (John 16:33)

Ye did run well; who did hinder you?"  (Galatians 5:7)

Hindrances to Full Christian Service:

The World:  The world I define as all those that are yet unregenerate in spirit; those who have never subjected their will to the will of God in Christ Jesus; those that are still, as the Scriptures teach, ‘…of their father, the devil…’ - and doing the ungodly works of their father the devil. 

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it.  (John 8:44)

Such worldlings and worldly practices will always seek to hinder the child of God from fulfilling his/her full potential in service to Christ Jesus.  This is a clear fact that we can all relate to in a personal manner.  The world hinders us - if we let them do so.

The Flesh:  Our own treacherous flesh hinders us day by day.  We are natural born sinners; and as such we sin naturally.  Even the great apostle Paul acknowledged this clear hindering fact in his Roman epistle.

For I delight in the law of God after the inward man (his born again spirit/mind); but I see another law in my members (his flesh), warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity (failings) to the law of sin which is in my members.  (Romans 7:22-23)

Our own natural flesh, so prone to sin, is a constant hindrance to more fully serving our Lord Jesus in constant victory over sin and in power.  Its a fact.

The Devil:   The devil is a very real person, my friend, not some mythological concept conjured up by religious minds.  If there is no literal devil, then the Bible is not true, and we Christians are all living in cloud-cuckoo-land!  Satan, that old Serpent, is alive and kicking against the will of God in this 21st Century, even though he knows that his time is short.

“…the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.  And they overcame him (Satan) by the Blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimonyWoe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea!  For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.  (Revelation 12:12)

Other Christian Hinderers:  From my own personal experience, I would place others professing Christ as their Saviour, as the fourth greatest hindrance to the Christian that wishes to serve Christ to the best of his/her potential.  This is so sad, but true nonetheless.  Some Christians oppose Christians who are zealous to serve Christ, and in doing so, oppose Christ!  Please take heed!

And a mans foes shall be they of his own household. (Matthew 10:36)

Dry formalism; or its opposite, outrageously happy-clappy Christian groups can measure another Christians zeal to serve by their own human reasoning and particular mode of religious practice. If the zealous Christian does not dot Is and stroke Ts in exactly the same manner as the group - they are either ostracized, or denied opportunity to serve Christ within such a church setting.

In this manner, talents given by Christ to serve the church are treated with the utmost contempt - and the fervent and faithful Christian is denied opportunity to serve the Lord God.  Such hindrances are CONTEMPTIBLE.

Thought:  Encourage Christian service - discourage all hindrances to Godliness!