The Crucial Message of Easter

The Easter message is crucial: “He is not here.  He is risen!”  Nothing short of a corpse coming back to life will do, not a “spiritual resurrection,” not a rising of His body the Church, not some sort of dream on the part of His followers.  The crucified Christ arose from the dead and showed Himself alive “by many infallible proofs” (Acts 1).  On Easter morning the church does not celebrate the return of spring, though that is a point of joy, seeing the earth spring to life after a winter sleep.  So crucial is the resurrection of Christ that the Bible says, “If Christ is not risen, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is also vain….You are still in your sins!  Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished” (1 Cor. 15).  “But now is Christ risen from the dead!”  This is the Easter message!

By the resurrection of Christ we know that God the Father is satisfied with the price He paid to cover our sins.  He assures every believer that they too will rise again at the Last Day for eternal life with Him.  He gives meaning to this present life that we “live for Him who died for us and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:15).  Come celebrate this Easter message and meaning with us at Peace Lutheran Church.  Service time is 10:00 a.m.

Lies & Truth

When lying becomes the accepted standard, whether from the mouth of the President or one’s favorite news anchor, or the politician running for office, it is difficult to know what to believe, how to vote, or what decision to make.  The nation will fall apart.

Those who lie should hear the words of Jesus: “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do.  He was a murderer from the beginning and did not abide in the truth….When he speak a lie, he speaks of his own, for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44).  The devil’s chief lie at the beginning was, “You shall be as gods,” meaning you don’t have to listen to anybody; you can do your own thing; you can do what is right in your own eyes; you can even make up your own religion.  That lie, to this day, is turning many away from God, the church, and the Word of God.  His second lie was, “You shall not surely die” (Genesis 3). They who listen to the lies of the devil will hear the final verdict of the Judge of all mankind, “Depart from me you workers of iniquity into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25).

Repentance is turning from the lies of Satan to Him who is “the way, the truth and the life,” (John 14:6) Jesus Christ the Son of God. He declares, “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:36). Hear that voice as God’s Word is proclaimed at Peace Lutheran Church.  Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.  Lenten service at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday.  Good Friday, 7:00 p.m.

Good Government Is Necessary

If people were holy angels they would need no law or government.  They would do what is right toward their fellow human being without coercion or restraint.  People need government because they are sinners.  The sinful nature causes them to break agreements, cheat, steal, lie, murder, get drunk, do drugs, abuse their children, and steal their neighbor’s wife.  For this reason government is necessary to restrain this sinful nature.  Government is a system of laws, courts, police, jails, and penitentiaries.  This is in accord with sound reason, or what may be called “common sense.”  The Bible affirms this in describing the duty of government, “The punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of those who do good” (1 Peter 2:14), for government “does not bear the sword in vain, for he is God’s servant, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” (Romans 13:4).  It is difficult for us to imagine what chaos, carnage, and atrocities people are capable of doing.  We do well to honor and pray for those in government.

Good government restrains evil and encourages people to love their neighbor.  But not even good government can change the evil nature.   Only God can “create a clean heart and renew a right spirit” (Psalm 51).  “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17).  Come to St. John Lutheran Church where Christ is proclaimed.  Sunday service is at 8:00 a.m.   

Crucifixion and Resurrection

When Jesus drove the sheep and cattle out of the temple and upset the tables of the cashiers, He said, “Take these things away!  Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise.”  The religious leaders, who were to get a percentage of profits, complained, “What sign do you show us, since you do these things?”   Jesus replied, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will rise it up.”  He was speaking of His crucifixion and resurrection.  This was the ultimate sign of authority, not only to cleanse the temple, but to cleanse the body of believers which is called the Church, the true temple of the Living God among whom He dwells.

The crucifixion and resurrection continue to authenticate Christianity.  “If  Christ is not risen, then our preaching is vain and your faith is also vain.  Yes, and we are found false witnesses….your faith is futile, you are still in your sins” if Christ is not risen (1 Cor. 15:14-19).  The enemies of our Lord know this.  Every Easter one or more major news magazines quote religious leaders of our day to cast doubt on the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  “But now is Christ risen,” the Scriptures affirms.  Witnesses saw, heard, ate with Him, touched the scars in His hands (1 John 1:1).  Shortly after His resurrection there was a virtual explosion of believers, who could have examined the witnesses (Acts 2-7).  The Apostles suffered martyrdom to bring the message of hope and peace through the risen Lord.   Hardly would they have died for a lie.  Come to Peace Lutheran Church.  Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.

He MUST suffer many things…

When our Lord Jesus declared that He “MUST suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and scribes and be killed” (Mark 8:31-33), Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke Him.  Peter, who had so recently confessed Jesus to be the Christ, had the mistaken notion that the Christ was to set up a wonderful earthly kingdom.  He expected that this Jesus, who healed multitudes and fed thousands with a few loaves of bread, would establish a kingdom of security and prosperity.  That Jesus should be rejected and be killed, by the religious leaders no less, just did not fit his idea of Christ’s kingdom.

Peter’s thoughts are a preview of how humanity prefers to think of Jesus Christ:  A coach, an example, or a teacher to bring us into the good life of success and prosperity.  The world prefers a “cross-less Christianity.  Jesus rebuked Peter, “Get behind me, Satan.”  A “cross-less” Christianity is the work of Satan.

Only after Pentecost and with the power of the Holy Spirit does Peter come to realize why Jesus used the word MUST.  He later wrote, “You were not redeemed with corruptible things like silver or gold from your aimless conduct…but with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot….Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we having died to sins, might live unto righteousness….For Christ suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 1, 2, 3).  Come to Peace Lutheran Church for the message of the cross.  Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.