The Significance of the Resurrection

Ephesians 2: 4-7 ‘Son-Rise’

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One Race


Biologically, God created one race. The human race started with Adam and Eve. So why don’t we all look the same?  Man in the middle to late 19th century began to understand the genetic material known as DNA and have continued to  learn much about how different traits came about. We have learned about dominant and recessive genes and with various combinations of genes can produce a variety of hair color, eye color and skin color. God built into the DNA of Adam and Eve different types of genes to provide the variety of human beings that we see today. 

24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: Acts 17:24-27

So where did racism come from?  There is so much depth scientifically in these verses about the times and bounds of habitation. Never the less there is still one race in God’s eyes. The Bible says we all descended from one blood. Man has come up with the idea that there may be as many as 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 races. Racism didn’t come from God’s creation of one blood/one race. Racism has arisen because of the differences in the way men see things based of color of skin. Humans are responsible for racism.

Many years ago, my husband and I were involved in a fellowship in an urban community outside of Chicago. We were running a class on how to understand the Bible. We were the only ones in the room with white skin. I sat next to a wonderful lady who was very quiet at the start of class. During one session, the verses above in Acts 17 were taught and this beautiful woman elbowed me and then threw her arms around me smiling with joy. She got it and she knew I got it! It was something I will never forget. I realized then how powerful the Word of God is when it comes to dispelling racial issues.

Many groups down through the ages of history have been marginalized and persecuted due to color of skin, religious beliefs, culture, status, wealth, profession and many other unsound excuses for men to divide against eachother. There are racists in every culture, black, brown, white and red and yellow.  Jesus Christ was supposed to have dark skin. Does that mean that if a group doesn’t have dark skin they have less of a relationship with him because they are white? That is silly. Human nature causes divisions not God.  We are all equal in God’s eyes and everyone has the responsibility to believe and act accordingly. Life is pretty simple when it is viewed from God’s point of view.

 

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Individual Freedom

The Bible says quite clearly the ‘the truth will set you free’. What does that mean to us really?

31 Then said Jesus to those Judeans which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?


34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. John 8:31-36

Jesus was addressing the Hebrews that recognized who he was. He told them they had to continue to soak up the word he spoke. He told them to stay at it.

Worldly wisdom offers “Yes, buts”  to the truth. The Hebrews asked a question that sounded like a “Yes but”.  Jesus answered their question with the reason he was there. Abraham wasn’t going to carry them, he was and is dead, but Jesus Christ was there now and after his death he was raised and is alive forever. God’s word should not go in one ear and out the other. We need to think about enduring truth and find out what we can about how to apply it.

13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Matthew 13:13-17

Also in Matthew 13, Jesus speaks the great parable about the sower that sows seed. It a great record why some get it and some don’t, why some hearts wax gross, have ears that are dull to hearing, and have shut steal it away. The fowls represent the adversarial worldly wisdom that competes with the truth for our minds. The seed s are the truth.

       Hungry Birds

There are some people who get excited hearing the truth but they fail to keep it and when something negative arises they just give way to the negative. Another thing that really chokes the truth is the ‘deceitfulness of riches’ when people get lulled into a self-sufficient sleep and are too busy for truth. There is nothing wrong with having money, but the love of it is a trap.

God does not offer traps! He wants us free and he wants us to see those things ahead of time that take us down a thorny path. He sent his son to help us live life to the fullest. Gloom, hurt, guilt, depression, anxiety, anger, frustration, fear are nasty weeds that need to be pulled. When we truly understand the reason for Jesus Christ we will be unequivocally free INDEED! (Matthew 13 is a great read in its entirety)

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Christian Individuality

Recently, I saw a beautiful video on how snowflakes are formed. No two of those beautiful crystal formations are alike.  At one point in the video, a long haired dog runs through the snow catching the small white sparkly patterned pieces of frozen water molecules in his fur. The author described this cute frolicking canine as a literal art museum of thousands of works of divine art.

Humans are also very individual in design. We all have unique patterns of DNA arrangements. Our minds are all different and compounded by a variety life experiences.  I have three sisters and even though we were born into the same family, all four of us are uniquely different. We don’t have the exact same pattern of DNA nor do we have the the same exact life experiences.

Every born-again believer in the New Testament era has the opportunity to receive the gift of holy spirit. Through Jesus Christ we have full access to this gift and it uniquely resides in each of us. Each one of us develops as a member of the body of Christ to worship God and love others in very unique ways (I Corinthians 12:11-27). Through the spirit, God works within us to do his works of love.

Our individuality to God is priceless. God loves to speak to the heart of an individual. He loves to strengthen  and encourage individuals.  In the Old Testament God spoke to people through others. God speaks to us now through the spirit and through His word. He can still talk to us through others when he needs to, but God prefers to come to each of us.

The ‘church’ of God is not a building but a collection of those who are tapped in to God. ‘Church’ can be at home, in school, at a playground, on the beach, in an elevator, even on the telephone, in texts and zooms or just about anywhere those who love God gather. The ‘church’ lives within and around the hearts of his spiritual sons and daughters.

Know ye not that ye (plural) are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16

The groups of people who gathered around God’s word at the time of the 1st century were very different from some of what we see in some ‘churches’ today. Jesus said that where ever ‘two or three are gathered in my name’ that he would be among them (Matthew 18:20). People in the time of the book of Acts  got together daily. The word was interwoven in their lives and conversation often was in the form of thankfulness. Each person in the community had a unique contribution to each other. When people support, encourage, and remind one another how involved God is in their lives, people absolutely flourish, increase in strength and enjoy life more.  That is what the ‘church’ is meant to be.

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God’s View and Our View

In the Old Testament, there is a familiar record of a man who owned a coat of many colors. His name was Joseph and he was a member of a large family.  His father, Jacob, had 12 sons by four mothers.  Family dynamics provided fertile opportunities for sibling rivalry to abound. Joseph was a favorite son and as a result was thrown into a ditch and left to die by his brothers. Could a God who gives all men free-will, stop

God’s view is much bigger than ours

them? God saved Joseph by another route, since he could not by force the brothers to change their minds. A traveling caravan rescued Joseph and took him to Egypt where he rose to the top becoming the Pharaoh’s right-hand man. Joseph, who had the spirit of God working with him, was very resourceful in agricultural and economic wisdom to prepare for a future famine that would change the known world at that time.

When the famine eventually came and reached his family back home, they had to find sources of food.  They heard that Egypt was doing well and traveled to Egypt for help. They did not know Joseph was alive and prosperous leading Egypt through the crisis. Though several interactions, his family realized who he was and they were thankful for his help. He lovingly responded:

20 But as for you, you meant (weaved) evil against me; but God meant (weaved) it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Genesis 50:20

Did God cause his brothers to do evil so that it could eventually cause good? Did he allow it to happen? People interpret God’s role in these things many different ways.  A closer look at this verse and looking at the word “meant”, which is used verse 20, clarifies what happened. While it is recorded that the brothers devised  a plan to get rid of Joseph; we read that God devised a plan and weaved all the circumstances together to produce good. God did not  have one thing to do with the evil that was imposed on Joseph.

Strong’s Concordance shows this word to be the Hebrew word ‘chasab’ and it is defined it as “A primitive root; properly, to plait or interpenetrate, i.e. (literally) to weave or (gen.) to fabricate;….”

Many people question the goodness of God when they don’t understand the writings of the Old Testament. They discredit the Bible because of misunderstanding. This particular point about the meaning of a word in another language is just one of the ways misinterpretation of the Bible occurs. Other examples of language confusion result from not understanding Hebrew idioms like the ‘idiom of permission’. There are also categories like historical background, oriental culture, or understanding God’s point of view versus man’s point of view. However when we just sit down and read, we become distinctly aware of how loving God is. Why would the Bible declare so much about the goodness of God? There is no evil in him or darkness or heavy pressure in his love. The Bible does not contradict itself.
God is also the author of freedom.  Free-will choice is a big deal to him. Over and over in the Old Testament, there are stories of men and women who freely chose to walk with God and those who chose otherwise. There are also records of imperfect people who did things that were contrary to God and God continued to help them when they chose to do things that God recommended for their best interest. David is a great example.
God doesn’t cause evil! Evil is not omniscient. God has a heavenly view of all things and works things for the good (Romans 8:28) for those who love him and look to him for help.  Human nature hasn’t changed through the ages, and, more importantly God hasn’t changed. If we see the things going on around us through the media’s eyes, politicians or even each other, we lose. Religious opinions will also fool us:

2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. Romans 10:2

When people don’t humbly look to God for answers things  spiral out of control and we miss out on the genuine joy and other fruits of trusting God. Read the rest of chapter 10 of Romans, it is very enlightening to the heart!

 

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