7-14-2015 Near Death Is NO Death

The Bible description of death is: “the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26 NKJV). Our physical body may be so close to dying, that it doesn’t register on our medical charts, but if it is revived, then the spirit did not leave it! When death does occur, it cannot be reversed until the Judgment Day, for “the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7 NKJV). Paul had “hope in God” that “there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust” (Acts 24:15 NKJV). God has promised that, “it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27 NKJV). Near death is NO death!

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.


#body, #dying, #judgment-day, #near-death, #resurrection, #revived, #spirit

The Qur’an and Jesus

Perhaps you are not aware of what the Qur’an says about Jesus. That which is taught, one can learn in Surah 2 (a “Surah” will correspond to a “Book,” or perhaps a “chapter” in the Bible). For instance, in Surah 2:87, one learns that Jesus was mortal. One won’t read that in the verse, but Islamic commentators will declare it. “Maulana gives some instruction concerning the Qur’an’s use of the Arabic word for Jesus (Īsā), followed by the epithet ‘son of Mary,’ ‘to show that he was a mortal like other prophets of God’” (footnote 128 in Maulana Muhammad Ali’s translation and commentary on the Qur’an; from RT’s personal study notes of the Qur’an).

The significance of this is in relation to what the Scriptures teach relative to Jesus. Note what charge the apostle Paul gave to Timothy, a young preacher he left in Ephesus: I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time–he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen (1 Timothy 6:13-16, ESV).

One does not need any other reason to oppose Islam, though there are untold numbers more!

#eternal, #islam, #jesus, #muslim, #quran, #resurrection

The Resurrection and the Thief on the Cross

There are many in the denominational world who quickly go to the “thief on the cross” to negate what the Lord said with regard to the importance/necessity of baptism in water for salvation. That we might have in front of us what the Scripture teaches, note what Peter said: “Baptism, the counterpart of that, saves you to-day (not the mere washing of dirt from the flesh but the prayer for a clean conscience before God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21, Moffat’s Translation).

We see the godly importance of water baptism. Many deny this, however. What is normally asserted by those with a taught disposition against the Lord’s command is that baptism (in water) is a “figure” (KJV), and not really actual. In other words, baptism for salvation is figurative, not actual. To support this assertion, the remark will be made concerning the thief on the cross: “He was not baptized, but asked the Lord to remember him when he went into paradise. That means that one does not have to be baptized in order to be saved.” (cf. Luke 23:39-43)

This is, sadly, a mistaken way of thinking. The Lord said that baptism saved, and shall we listen to anyone who speaks contrary to this? Some do, and they feel justified with that which they have been taught regarding the thief on the cross.

Consider what Paul said about salvation, and how this applies to the thief. “…because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9, NET). There are two things required by Paul in this passage. First, one must confess that Jesus is Lord; that is, acknowledge His “Lordship” over one’s personal life. Second, one must believe in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Looking at Luke 23:42, one might easily agree that the thief on the cross did confess Christ, but what about the second requirement the Holy Spirit puts forth for salvation? Could the thief have believed that? Hardly!

What this goes to point out is that the thief on the cross was not amenable (accountable) to what the New Testament teaches for salvation.

#faith-only, #resurrection, #salvation, #thief-on-the-cross

Something We’ll All Have in Common with Lazarus

What we will all have in common with Lazarus?

It won’t be:

  • that we all lived in the town of Bethany
  • that we all had sisters named Mary and Martha
  • that we all got to spend personal time with Jesus while living upon the Earth
  • that we all experienced a sickness unto death
  • that we all were buried in a tomb converted cave

It is (save the Lord’s return during our life):

  • that our bodies will come forth from the grave when Jesus calls our name! (John 5:28-29)

Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”” (John 11:43-44)

#authority-of-christ, #death, #jesus, #lazarus, #resurrection

Was Lazarus sad or glad?

In John chapter eleven, the Bible gives us the historical account of Jesus raising His friend Lazarus from the dead. To this point in Jesus’ ministry, it was His most wonderful and undeniable miracle. Because of Christ’s mighty works, the plan for His execution was expedited (John 11:45-57). The chief priests even sought to kill Lazarus, since his resurrection at the hands of Jesus caused so many people to believe (John 12:9-11).

But there is something else here to consider.

What happened to Lazarus when he died? Did he go to paradise (Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:22; 23:43)), or did he go to torments in Hades (Luke 16:23)?

It could be speculated that he went to either of the two places. If he had been a faithful Jew, turned disciple of John the Baptist, now currently a disciple of Jesus — as most information leads one to believe, it is assumed he would have gone to paradise. On the other hand, if he had been simply listening to Jesus as a friend, and had not yet committed himself to the commands of God under the Mosaic system, it is possible, God knowing his heart, that he would have been sent to torments.

For a minute, consider the ramifications for Lazarus concerning his earthly resurrection:

1. We have heard for years about “near-death experiences.” Nothing can be factually documented about the claims of these cases. But the facts surrounding Lazarus are quite different. He would have certainly learned something about the afterlife when he died.

In Luke 16, Jesus taught that when the other Lazarus (the beggar) died, angels were waiting and accompanied his soul to Abraham’s bosom. So immediately upon death, Lazarus of Bethany would have gone somewhere. Since his earthly remains had been in the tomb four days (John 11:17), he would have seen some things that others have not seen.

2. It may be that Lazarus could tell Jesus what to expect. Six days before the Passover, Jesus sat at the table with the risen Lazarus and talked (John 12:2).

We know not of the content of that conversation. Could it be possible that Lazarus shared his experience with Jesus? Was he sad to be back here on earth because he had been in paradise, or was he glad to have a second chance to get his life right? Did he have comforting words for his friend, Jesus, concerning the place where Jesus had told His disciples He was about to go? Did he have discouraging words for his unfaithful and disobedient acquaintances about the horrors of death for those who know not God? Continue reading

#lazarus, #resurrection

Now that’s encouraging!

Using a passage from our previous week’s Bible readings, 1Th 5.4-11, today’s sermon will deal with the resurrection still to come. We’ll focus on these points from verse 10:

  1. “Christ died for us.” His death had a purpose and brought purpose to us. Through him we escape wrath and come to salvation (v. 9). Seeing this purpose fulfilled in our lives requires alertness and sobriety (vv. 6-8).
  2. Whether we live or die, “alert or asleep,” that purpose will be fulfilled in those who are faithful. This touches on the problem the Thessalonians felt about those who were passing away. Paul guarantees that faithfulness to Christ is worth it. To die now is to pass to the head of the line.
  3. The purpose of Christ’s death is so that we can “come to life together with him”. To live with Christ, to have the life of God, to be in his presence forever, this is the precious gift of the Cross, restoring the reason for Creation and bringing man full circle back to the fellowship of Eden.

A death now in Christ does not miss this gift, but the Lord’s return will unite us all to him.

Now that’s encouraging! (v. 11).

When Paul preached righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgment to Felix, the governor became afraid and sent Paul away (Acts 24.25). That is a terrifying trio of topics for us who work contrary to God’s will, act by the impulse of our carnal desires, and face the wrath of God towards everything that destroys communion with him. Christ died to make us right before God, give us the Spirit’s power to produce spiritual fruit, and allow us pray “Maranatha, come, Lord” because our dread has been turned into hope.

#1thessalonians, #death-of-christ, #easter, #resurrection

Will There Be Universal Justice?

Many in the world struggle with the existence of evil, the abuse of the innocent and a lack of justice across multiple spectrums of life. The struggle can be so intense that it leads many to disregard any acknowledgement of the existence of a Higher Being. Even Christians can fail at times to keep our eyes focused upon the crown to be given after the race is over.

I believe the late brother Burton Coffman used some wise words concerning these issues. It’s a little lengthy for posts here, but I believe the read is worth the time:

“Great and terrible as the concept of eternal judgment admittedly is, the most profound necessity for it is evident. Most of the truly difficult problems connected with the life of faith, and with reference to the entire system of Christianity, are directly related to the doctrine of eternal judgment. Heaven, hell, eternal punishment, eternal joy, Satan, and the problem of evil – all these things pivot in the last analysis upon the scriptural teaching of the judgment. All of the problems, great and small, eventually fade into insignificance before the pressing question, “Is this universe just?” The underlying assumption of revealed religion as set forth in both the Old Testament and the New Testament is the concept of a just universe; and time and time again it is unequivocably declared to be just (Psalms 45:6,7). The father of the faithful, Abraham, idiomatically inferred it when he asked, “Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25). The existence of laws in the natural realm, the moral law within people, and the sacred revelation all alike proclaim the justice of the universe; and if it is not so, life indeed becomes “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” (Macbeth, Act V). Sanity in any true sense turns upon the question of justice in the cosmos. If the righteousness and justice of God do indeed establish his throne and undergird all things, then WE ARE SAFE; and every man shall receive the reward of the deeds done in the body (2 Corinthians 5:10); if not, then any true security of the soul is a fool’s dream, and man himself is but an infant crying in the night with no language but a cry!

But if the universe is just; if the righteous shall be rewarded and the wicked punished, AN ETERNAL JUDGMENT IS REQUIRED, a judgment in which all inequities and injustices shall be corrected, an eternal judgment presided over by infinite justice, wisdom, mercy, and love – in short, the judgment revealed upon every page of the sacred scriptures, or if not revealed, then certainly implied. The widespread neglect and apparent disbelief of this doctrine suggests that it is true of our generation, as it was of those to whom this epistle was first addressed, that we “have need again that someone teach us the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God” (Hebrews 5:12)” (James Burton Coffman Commentaries, Volume X, Hebrews 6:1-2; p.116; A.C.U. Press, 1971)

One part of scripture that I try to remember when my heart and mind ponders these issues is Psalm 73. While struggling over the existence of the wicked and their bounding prosperity over the righteous, the psalmist reminds himself and all of his readers about an extremely important point. He says in verses 16,17 – “When I thought how to understand this, It was too painful for me — Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end.”

Although at times it’s hard to see and comprehend in this life, God’s word assures His people there will be universal justice one day; and this day will not have anything to do with any man-made court (Daniel 12:2, John 5:28-29).

#bible-commentary, #evil, #hebrews, #judgment, #justice, #questions-and-doubts, #resurrection, #the-wicked-and-the-righteous, #universal-justice