Superintendentul organizatiei Assemblies of God – Dr. George O. Wood la Biserica Betania, Arad

Former Attorney General at CPAC in .

Programul de la vizita  Bisericii Betania din Arad a Dr. George O. Wood care este Superintendentul organizatiei Penticostale – Assemblies of God si unul din Liderii Comitetului Executiv al organizatiei Pentecostal World Fellowship. Impreuna cu Dr. Wood au fost John Ashcroft, fostul Ministru de Justitie al Statelor Unite in anii 2001-2005 si Bob Pagett, Founding President of Assist International.

  • Minutul 16:00 Introducere
  • Minutul 49:00 Cuvint din partea lui Bob Pagett
  • Minutul 74:00  Cuvint din partea lui John Ashcroft
  • Minutul 90:00 Cinta John Ashcroft
  • Minutul 94:00 Cuvint din partea lui Dr. George O Wood

sursa video Biserica Betania

Predica George Woods

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Lautarii lui Dumnezeu din satul Fântânele

Hazliu…

Vedeti in acest fragment dintr-un articol aparut in ziarul romanesc  ,,Adevarul”, despre un sat din Romania, Fantanele din judetul Dambovita, la vreo 30 de kilometri de Bucuresti pe directia Targoviste. Este un sat din care majoritatea locuitorilor au plecat in Germania, ramanand in urma vreo 2 000 de tigani, majoritatea penticostali. Iata cum descrie autorul acestui articol un botez in apa (Nou Testamental) care a avut loc la paraul din acel sat, al fratilor tigani penticostali, care s-au intors la Domnul Isus. Foarte interesant si hazliu despre modul in care acest autor ii vede pe ,,pocaitii”  tigani intorsi la Christos.  Cind am dat de acest articol si l-am citit nu m-am mai putut opri din ras. Foarte hazliu despre felul in care vad cei deafara (necredinciosi) un botez in apa…

Avram…

din adevarul.ro

Satul Fântânele nu s-a mutat cu totul la Berlin, aşa cum a relatat, săptămâna trecută,presa germană. Au rămas aici peste 2.000 de oameni. Toţi ţigani, toţi lăutari, aproape toţi penticostali. Ţiganii n-au făcut nimic rău. Impresionant e doar numărul: 700! Ce a rămas, atunci, la Fântânele? Pustietate? Ruine? Nu, Fântânele trăieşte. Am fost acolo, i-am luat pulsul şi trăieşte Fântenele, n-a murit! Fântânele este, probabil, singurul sat în care toţi cei de parte bărbătească sunt lăutari.

E singurul sat fără biserică ortodoxă, fără cârciumă, fără chioşcuri cu băuturi alcoolice şi ţigări. Aici trăiesc ţigani fără stabor, ţigani care nu-şi fură fetele unii altora. Ţigani care cântă la vioară nu „Mama mea e florăreasă”, ci „’Naintea ta Isus iubit” (cu un singur i, cum scriu penticostalii). Pentru că la Fântânele, 99% din populaţie aparţine cultului penticostal.

S-au convertit aproape toţi la religia penticostală şi au lăsat definitiv lăutăria. Bat şi acum la ţambale şi la viori, dar în numele Domnului.

Ţiganii din Fântânele au umplut YouTube-ul cu clipuri de la botezurile lor. Se botează în gârlă. Intră în apă în halat alb, păstorul ridică mână şi-l întreabă pe „împricinat”: „Pă credinţa ta?”. Şi pocăitul plânge de păcătos ce e şi aprobă: „Pă credinţa mea!”. Păstorul îl scufundă în apa sălcie şi rece, halatul se lipeşte de mădulare pocăitului, care iese din apa botezului dârdâind. (ht)

Holy Week: What Happened on Easter Sunday?

Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus–Beethoven Oratorio

Christ on the Mount of Olives–Hallelujah!

from Justin Taylor at the Gospel Coalition :


Some women arrive at Jesus’ tomb near dawn, probably with Mary Magdalene arriving first.Matthew 28:1

Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.

Mark 16:1-3

When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another,

“Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?”

Luke 24:1

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared.

John 20:1

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.


Mary and the other women, instead of finding Jesus’ body, are met by two young men who are angels; one of them announces Jesus’ resurrection.Matthew 28:2-7

And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women,

“Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.”

Mark 16:4-7

And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them,

“Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”

Luke 24:2-7

And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them,

“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.”


The women, fearful and joyful, leave the garden—at first unwilling to say anything to anyone about this but then changing their mind and going to tell the Eleven.Mark 16:18

And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Matthew 28:8

So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.


Mary Magdalene likely rushes ahead and tells Peter and John before the other women arrive.John 20:2

So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them,

“They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”


The other women, still en route to tell the disciples, are met by Jesus, who confirms their decision to tell the Eleven and promises to meet them in Galilee.Matthew 28:9-10

And behold, Jesus met them and said,

“Greetings!”

And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.

Then Jesus said to them,

“Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”


The women arrive and tell the disciples that Jesus is risen.Luke 24:8-11

And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.


Peter and John rush to the tomb (based on Mary Magdalene’s report) and discover it empty.John 20:3-10

So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.

Luke 24:12

But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.


That afternoon Jesus appears to Cleopas and a friend on the road to Emmaus; later Jesus appears to Peter

Luke 24:13-35

That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them,

“What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?”

And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him,

“Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

And he said to them,

“What things?”

And they said to him,

“Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”

And he said to them,

“O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying,

“Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.”

So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other,

“Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”

And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying,

“The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”

Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.


That evening Jesus appears to the Ten (minus Thomas) in a house (with locked doors) in Jerusalem

As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them,

“Peace to you!”

But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit.

And he said to them,

“Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”

And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them,

“Have you anything here to eat?”

They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.

John 20:19-23

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them,

“Peace be with you.”

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again,

“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”

And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,

“Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

All things subject to the risen Lord by John Piper

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

Philippians 3:20-21

Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

These verses assume something stupendous. And we must make that plain before we marvel at what is here. And that is my goal—that you would marvel at what is here. That you would marvel at the One who is spoken of here. And that is not just my aim. It’s God’s aim for you as well. I say that because in Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians (1:10) God’s word says concerning Christ’s second coming, “He comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed.” The aim of history is: the people of God marveling at the majesty of Jesus Christ. So that’s my aim this Easter Sunday morning—that you will marvel at what is revealed of Christ in Philippians 3:20-21

But something is assumed here, and we must make that plain before we can marvel with understanding. And that is the only kind of marveling that matters. Marveling with understanding. If someone tricks you into marveling and makes you think they’ve done something great when they haven’t, your marveling doesn’t make much of them, it makes a fool of you. Only marveling with understanding makes much of the One who is true and beautiful.

So something is assumed here in Philippians 3:20-21. What is assumed is that Jesus was raised from the dead and is now alive and very powerful—to put it mildly. The reason Paul can assume this here is that he said it in chapter two. So we should go back there and make it explicit and clear. Philippians 2:6-11 describes the eternal deity of Christ, the incarnation of Christ, the obedient death of Christ, the resurrection of Christ, and the reign of Christ over all the universe. It is an amazing passage. You will never read anything anywhere in any literature more sweeping and important and true than this:

Though he was in the form of God, [he] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, 8 he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

So Christ was and is equal with God. He is God. He became also a human being. He obediently suffered and died. Obediently. That means God the Father told him to do it. That means it was a planned death. And the point of the plan was that the Christ be a substitute for the damnation of all human sinners who would trust in Jesus. As it says in Galatians 3:13, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” He bore our damnation as a substitute. This was God’s loving plan for the salvation of sinners like us who deserve hell. That’s why it says in verse 8, “He was obedient to the point of death.” He wasn’t just dying. He was obeying. God had a plan. God gave a command. The Son was fulfilling it, willingly, obediently. The plan was, “Be a substitute for the damnation of all who will believe in you. Bear for them my holy and just curse, and I will make them my children—fellow heirs with you of everything I own.”

And then in verse 9, you see the greatest “therefore” in the Bible. “Therefore, God has highly exalted him.” In other words, because of his obedient and successful life and death, God raised him from the dead and gave him great glory as the Lord of the universe. That is the stupendous assumption behind Philippians 3:20-21.

So now let’s go there again. “Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, (and now we know how he got to heaven: he was raised from the dead) who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body (and now we know how he has a body in heaven: he was raised bodily from the dead), by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”

Now we are prepared to meditate on this and marvel. Here are three focuses for our marveling on this Easter Sunday morning: 1) Marvel at the power of the risen Jesus today to subject all things to himself. 2) Marvel that one day, at his coming, he will use this power to transform your body into a body like his. 3) Marvel that today your citizenship is in heaven where Christ rules—or if it’s not, put it there today..
Marvel at the Power of the Risen Jesus Today to Subject All Things to Himself

Verse 21b: “. . . the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” In one sense Christ has the right to rule the universe because he is God, not because he died and rose again. He did not have to die and rise in order to be what he was. And what he is from all eternity is God. This gives him the right to exercise authority over all things. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1-2). Christ is God, and as God has all authority to submit all things to himself.

But in another sense God the Father decreed that it would be most fitting, appropriate, beautiful, good, and right for the one who rules the world of fallen humankind, and everything that relates to humans in their suffering, would be One who bore their likeness, and endured their temptations, and suffered their pain, and died their death. God decreed that the one who would rule in power would be a redeemer who suffered with us and for us in this world. God decreed that the lion of Judah when he comes in power and great glory to bring judgment on the earth will have been a lamb slain for sin on that earth (Revelation 6:16).

Here is one verse in this regard: Hebrews 2:10, “For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.” The Lord and Judge and Savior over all the universe was tested and found perfect through human suffering. Now he is doubly suited for his role as Lord of the universe: he is God with natural rights, and he is Redeemer with purchased rights. He can put his foot on Satan’s neck not just because of raw divine power—which would have been enough—butalso because he exposed himself to Satan’s temptations and to his final weapon, death, and broke it on Easter Sunday morning. So he is doubly suited to rule. He has Creator rights and Redeemer rights.

And now with all that in mind we read in Philippians 3:21 that he has “the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” In order to marvel at this power of Christ today, consider 1) its scope, 2) its process, 3) its pervasiveness, 4) its triumph, 5) its finality for man, 6) its duration, and 7) its final base of operation.

1.1. Marvel at the scope of Christ’s power today.

After his resurrection, Jesus said in Matthew 28:18, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” There is no higher authority than Christ’s, not on the earth, not in heaven. And Philippians 2:10 adds, not “under the earth.” There is no place or sphere of reality or dimension of existence anywhere in the universe that is not under the absolute authority of Jesus Christ.

When the world doesn’t look like it is under the authority of Christ, it would wiser for us to marvel at the mystery of his ways (the way Paul does in Romans 11:33) than to question the scope of his power.

1.2. Marvel at the process of Christ’s power today.

While Christ has absolute authority and power over all things, he does not yet use that power to completely subdue his enemies. Not yet. His kingdom advances by the preaching of the gospel and by the sacrificial love of his people. In this way unbelief and spiritual darkness and demonic deception are defeated by the power and beauty of Christ. When this process has gone as far as God wills, Christ will step in and finish the victory.

Here is the way Paul said it in 1 Corinthians 15:24-27:

Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.”

“He must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.” So his power and authority are complete. But the process of subjection goes on at the pace he chooses. Our job is not to know the times and the seasons which the Father has set by his own authority (Acts 1:7). Our job is to marvel at the scope and process of his power, and speak the gospel.

1.3. Marvel at the pervasiveness of Christ’s power today.

Christ’s power pervades the universe from the largest to the smallest elements of reality. Colossians 1:17 says, “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” And Hebrews 1:3 says, “He upholds the universe by the word of his power.” Christ’s authority is absolutely pervasive. No galaxy, no atom, no demon would stay in being without the authority of Jesus Christ.

1.4. Marvel at the triumph of Christ’s power today.

1 Peter 3:22 says, He “has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.” When Christ died and rose again, he was triumphant over all the powers of hell. He knew this triumph was coming, so he said to Peter in Matthew 16:18, “I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” In other words, hell cannot defeat Jesus. His triumph is sure. He will accomplish all his purposes for the church and for the universe.

1.5. Marvel at the finality for man in Christ’s power today.

Jesus said in John 5:27, “[God] has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.” The God-Man has the right to act as God in judging men. And he will. And it will be final. There is no court of appeals above Christ. And John 17:2 shows how this authority is full of hope for those who belong to Jesus, “You [God] have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.” Both judgment and eternal life are in his hands. For every human being. Marvel at the finality of the authority of such a judge.

1.6. Marvel at the duration of Christ’s power today.

In Revelation 11:15 loud voices in heaven said, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” There will never be another chapter after Christ. Nothing comes after Christ. His power and authority last forever. Don’t be found an enemy of that power. Marvel, don’t mock.

1.7. Marvel at the final base of operation of Christ’s power.

Namely, the earth. It will be renewed. All sin and sickness and satanic power will be removed. It will be a new heaven and a new earth. But not another one. The same one renewed. That’s why he comes back in power. Matthew 24:30, “Then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Marvel, therefore, that the scope and process and pervasiveness and triumph and finality and duration of Christ’s power by which he subjects all things to himself will be based finally on the earth.

That is the first focus for our marveling at Christ this morning. Marvel at his power to subject all things to himself. Philippians 3:21b, “. . . by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”
Marvel That One Day, at His Coming, He Will Use This Power to Transform Your Body into a Body Like His

Philippians 3:21a, “[He] will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” All that power that we have just seen, Paul says, will take your decomposed body and raise it from the dead. No longer to be sick or disabled or frail or mentally ill or addicted or weary or tempting or tempted, but rather it will be like his glorious body.

Don’t over-spiritualize this or under-spiritualize this. You would under-spiritualize it if you thought it could be explained merely in the categories of physical, material reality that you experience now. It is not identical to what we now have. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:44, “Itis sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.” It will be perfectly suited to bear the weight of the glory of perfect spiritual souls.

But you would over-spiritualize it if you thought you couldn’t eat fish or be recognized by your friends after the resurrection. Jesus was recognized in his resurrection body by his disciples (Luke 24:31). And he said in Luke 24:39-43:

“See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.

And that is what you will do. If you belong to Christ by trusting in him, he will give you a new spiritual body, and you will be recognized by your friends and you will eat and drink with him in the kingdom of God (Matthew 26:29). Marvel therefore that Christ will use his infinite authority and power to raise you from the dead and give you a body like his.
Marvel That Today Your Citizenship Is in Heaven Where Christ Rules

Philippians 3:20, “Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” If you are a believer in Christ, you do not have to wait for the second coming of Christ to know where your home is: heaven or hell. When you trust Christ your name is sealed on the citizen roles of heaven.

Not because you will live there forever instead of on the new earth. But because your king is there. And when he comes, your citizenship comes with him. Where he is, there you have the privilege and the right to be.

And so you will be with him forever. And your marveling will never cease. It will only increase forever and ever.

Is your citizenship in heaven? Have you laid down the arms of unbelief and rebellion against Christ? Have you received the blood-bought amnesty that he offers to all rebels? Have you bowed the knee of submission and loyalty to the king of the universe? Do it today. And join the citizens of heaven in “awaiting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

Gospel Easter songs – Garden Tomb and On My Father’s Side by The Barn Again Gang

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Garden Tomb by The Barn Again Gang, posted with vodpod

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On My Father’s Side by The Barn Again Gang , posted with vodpod

Worship the Risen Christ by John Piper

Banner available at www.outreach.com

click here for the audio for this sermon. By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

Matthew 28:1-10, 16-20

Now after the sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulchre. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, „Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. Lo, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell the disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, „Hail!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, „Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, „All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

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The Universal Longing for Beauty

Why are millions of mood posters with magnificent landscapes and little philosophic sayings sold each year in America? Why did I feel happy when I looked at purple snapdragons and distant mountains on an Easter card this week? Why did Ayn Rand, who died last year, apparently as a convinced atheist, say that admiration is one of the greatest and rarest pleasures? And she meant the pleasure of admiring greatness, not being admired. Why is there such a thing as stardom in the world of popular music and theater and sports? Why are scenic cruises and scenic tours and $45 coffee-table scenic books a multi-million dollar business? I believe the answer is that the essence of humanness is the appetite for great beauty. Or, to put it in a more God-centered way, God has made us with a hunger to worship him.

The great tragedy of the human race is that we were made to find infinite joy by admiring God, but have become so blind and so foolish that we spend energy and time and money seeking out things in the world to satisfy our insatiable craving to admire greatness and beauty. The irony of our human condition (and nobody here is an exception) is that God put us within sight of the Himalayas, and we have chosen to pull down the blinds of our chalet and show slides of Buck Hill. But every single person here knows that it hasn’t worked. Our posters and post cards and rock stars and scenic tours and glossy books have never satisfied the deepest longings of our heart. They give some pleasure, and make the drudgery of life a little more livable. But they can never compare to the times when you walk to the window, raise the blinds, throw open the shutters, and see the Himalayan glory of the risen Christ.

If your life is flat, empty, without exhilaration, without significance, without a single and fulfilling orientation, it is because you do not see the risen Christ for who he really is. Some of you see him scarcely at all, perhaps. Others have such a pitifully small and sentimental picture of him on the wall of your mind that you are starving for the real thing. So what I want to do today is take you to the window of God’s Word and point to Christ. For if we could keep in view the risen Christ as he really is, our bottomless appetite for beauty and greatness and wonder would find satisfaction, and our lives would be unending worship and joyful obedience.

The last chapter of Matthew is a window that opens onto the sunrise glory of the risen Christ. Through it you can see at least three massive peaks in the mountain range of Christ’s character: the peak of his power; the peak of his kindness; and the peak of his purposefulness. And we all know in our hearts that if the risen Christ is going to satisfy our desire to admire greatness, that is the way he has to be. People who are too weak to accomplish their purposes can’t satisfy our desire to admire greatness. We admire people even less who have no purpose in life. And still less those whose purposes are merely selfish and unkind. What we long to see and know is a Person whose power is unlimited, whose kindness is tender, and whose purpose is single and unflinching. Novelists and poets and movie-makers and TV writers now and then create a shadow of this Person. But they can no more fill our longing to worship than this month’s National Geographic can satisfy my longing for the Chattooga River. We must have the real thing. We must see the Original of all power and kindness and purposefulness. We must see and worship the risen Christ.

www.bible-daily.org/

A Window onto Glory and of Worship

Let me show you why I think Matthew 28 aims to help us do this. In Matthew Jesus makes two appearances after his resurrection. First, to the women in verse 9, „And behold, Jesus met them and said, ‘Hail!’ And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.” The second appearance was to the eleven disciples in Galilee. Verse 17: „And when they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.” It seems clear that what Matthew wants to say is that the proper response to the risen Christ is worship. Matthew has opened a window onto the glory of the risen Christ, and he means for it to be a window of worship.

Don’t miss how astonishing this is! Recall how Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness three years earlier. In Matthew 4:9 he said, „‘All [the kingdoms of the world] I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Begone, Satan! for it is written, „You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.”‘” Do you see what it implies that Jesus receives the worship of his people in Matthew 28? The resurrection of Christ should certify once for all that Jesus is the Son of God, not in the sense that Israel was the son of God or in the sense that you and I are children of God, but in the sense that he himself is God. Jesus said, „You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” And when he rises from the dead, men and women bow at his feet and worship him, and he receives it without rebuke. Easter is a great day for reaffirming our conviction that Jesus Christ is no mere man, no mere angel, no mere creature, but from everlasting to everlasting he is God through whom and for whom all things exist.

Therefore, when Matthew calls us to worship the risen Christ, do not shrink back saying, „God only should be worshipped.” For Christ is God, one in essence with the Father and the Spirit. That’s why Matthew brings his book to a close in verse 19 by saying that disciples should be baptized „in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” These three persons are one God, and when we worship the one, we worship them all.

So Matthew means for chapter 28 to be a window onto the glory of the risen Christ; and he aims for it to be a window of worship. Now what do we see in the mountain range of Christ’s character that should fill us with admiration and worship?
The Power of the Risen Christ

The first thing we see is the peak of power. Notice verse 18. Jesus says, „All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” I wish that there was a way with words to make you feel that the risen Christ has more authority than President Reagan, more authority than all the powers of Moscow and Peking, that if you gathered all the authority of all the governments and armies of the world and put them in the scales with the authority of the risen Christ, they would go up in the balance like air. All authority on earth has been given to the risen Christ. All of it! The risen Christ has the right to tell every man, woman, and child on this planet today what they should do and think and feel. He has absolute and total authority over your life and over cities and states and nations. The risen Christ is great—greater than you have ever imagined.

Here is our Easter witness to the world: The risen Christ is your king and has absolute, unlimited authority over your life. If you do not bow and worship him and trust him and obey him, you commit high treason against Christ the King, who is God over all. Easter is God’s open declaration that he lays claim on every person and tribe and tongue and nation. Easter has to do with power and authority. Easter is the claim of the risen Christ on every life that breathes. „All authority on earth is mine.” Your sex life is his to rule; your business is his to rule; your career is his to rule; your home is his; your children are his; your vacation is his; your body is his; He is God! So if you resist his claim, feel no admiration for his infinite power and authority, and turn finally to seek satisfaction from thrills that allow you to be your own master, then you will be executed for treason in the last day. And it will appear so reasonable and so right that you should be executed for your disloyalty to your Maker and Redeemer that there will be no appeals and no objections. Your life of indifference to the risen Christ and of half-hearted attention now and then (perhaps on Easter) to a few of his commandments will appear on that day as supremely blameworthy and infinitely foolish, and you will remember this sermon and weep that you did not change.

The risen Christ has all authority not only on earth but also in heaven. „All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” I think Matthew wants us to see a glimpse of this in verses 2–4. „And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men.” What is the meaning of this? It means at least that angels stand in the service of the risen Christ. I don’t know what you see when you picture angels in your mind. Perhaps flying creatures with long golden hair and delicate feathery wings, or cherubim-like little fat babies. If so, it isn’t going to impress you that the risen Christ has all authority in heaven so that all the angels offer him unquestioned obedience. But, if you could imagine how powerful an angel is, and how many angels there are, and what it is going to be like when the Son of man rides his great white stallion at the head of countless armies of heaven against the mutiny of this world, then you would be impressed. O, how we need to pray for the gift of imagination, so that we could feel what it means that the risen Christ is the Commander-in-Chief of countless angels, who are mightier than men and indestructible because of their immortality. When they gather for salvation and destruction, no laser beams and no space-age nuclear technology will have any effect on them at all.

Consider some biblical images of the risen Christ and his angels and let them shape your mental pictures. „Then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; and he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:30, 31). „When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations” (Matthew 25:31). „Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:52–53). „The Lord Jesus [will be] revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance upon those who do not know God and upon those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8). „Jesus Christ has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him” (1 Peter 3:22).

When the angel in Matthew 28 descends with the power of an earthquake and the appearance of lightning to announce the resurrection of the Son of God, the meaning is this: all authority in heaven has been given to the risen Christ, and thousands upon thousands upon thousands of indestructible angels obey his every word. O, that Ayn Rand would have opened her eyes to see the risen Christ! Then the great pleasure of admiration would not have been so rare. And the great John Galt would look like Tweety Bird in comparison to Jesus.
The Kindness of the Risen Christ

The second peak in the mountain range of Christ’s glory that we see through the window of Matthew 28 is the peak of his kindness. I see it first in verses 5–10. The angel first tells the women not to fear (v. 5), and then in verse 7 commands them to go and tell the disciples that he is risen and will meet them in Galilee. Verse 8 says they ran to do just that „with fear and great joy.” And then the wonderful thing happens: Jesus intercepts them. Why? They were on their way to obey the angel’s word. And Jesus seems to just repeat the angel’s command in verse 10: „Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” Why did he stop them? I think the answer is kindness—pure, pressed-down, shaken-together, overflowing kindness. An unnecessary bonus from the big heart of the risen Christ. Those kinds of things happen when you follow the Word of God. Some of you may have asked, „Where is the kindness of the risen Christ?” I think Mary Magdalene would answer: „He will meet you seven steps down the road of obedience.”

But the kindness of Christ is also for his other disciples. The angel had said in verse 5: „Don’t be afraid.” But verse 8 says, „They departed quickly from the tomb with fear.” When Jesus meets them he says, „Hail!” which literally means, „Rejoice!” And he repeats the angel’s command: „Do not be afraid.” You know what I think the women were apprehensive about? If Jesus is really risen with all authority on earth and is ready now (as they probably thought) to establish the world-wide reign of the Messiah, what might he do to those turncoat disciples who denied and deserted him in his hour of greatest trial? Might there not be judgment in Galilee?

But the risen Christ is not only powerful; he is kind beyond human measure. With one word he stilled their fears. The angel had said in verse 7, „Go tell his disciples.” But Jesus said in verse 10, „Go tell my brothers.” Has anybody today ever deserted the Savior in an hour of testing? Do not despair. If you will meet him in Galilee, he will call you a brother or a sister. If you will go in your heart to the place of repentance, he will meet you with the words, „Rejoice! Do not be afraid!” And, as if that were not evidence enough of his kindness, Matthew leaves it ringing in our ears by closing his gospel with these words, „Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”
The Purposefulness of the Risen Christ

The risen Christ is infinitely powerful, and the risen Christ is immeasurably kind. And now finally we see through the window of Matthew 28 the peak of his purposefulness. In order to admire and worship the risen Christ, we have to see that his power and kindness have purpose and goal. You can’t admire someone who doesn’t know where he is going. One of the reasons there are so few admirable people in the world today is that so few people stick to anything for very long. How many people can you point to and say, „There is a life that is unwaveringly devoted to one great goal”?

Verse 19 shows that the risen Christ has a purpose. He knows why he reigns. „All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” The purpose of the risen Christ is to empower his church to make his authority known in every culture on earth. He wouldn’t have said, „Lo, I am with you always,” unless our mission were his business. Wherever people bow the knee to Christ through our witness, it is because he is with us. He aims to fill his kingdom with worshipers from Argentina and Liberia and Uganda and Ecuador and Cameroon and Mexico and the Philippines and Japan and Egypt and Brazil and the Coffman Union. The risen Christ is not going in circles; he is not fumbling through the manual of operation. He wrote the book. And he is unswerving in his great purpose.

Do you not hunger to admire such a Person? Infinite power! Immeasurable kindness! Unswerving purpose! Perhaps your appetite for his beauty is just beginning. If so, confess the blindness and dullness of your former days. Set yourself on the road of faith and obedience and expect him to meet you on the way. Perhaps before this hymn is over, you will have seen and worshiped the risen Christ.

CROWN HIM WITH MANY CROWNS!

Crown him with many crowns,
The Lamb upon his throne;
Hark, how the heavenly anthem drowns
All music but its own!
Awake, my soul, and sing
Of him who died for thee,
And hail him as thy matchless King
Through all eternity.

Crown him the Son of God,
Before the worlds began,
And ye who tread where he hath trod,
Crown him the Son of man;
Who ev’ry grief hath known
That wrings the human breast,
And takes and bears them for his own,
That all in him may rest.

Crown him the Lord of life,
Who triumphed o’er the grave
And rose victorious in the strife
For those he came to save;
His glories now we sing,
Who died and rose on high,
Who died eternal life to bring,
And lives that death may die.

Crown him the Lord of Heav’n
Enthroned in worlds above,
Crown him the King to whom is giv’n
The wondrous name of love.
Crown him with many crowns,
As thrones before him fall;
Crown him, ye kings, with many crowns,
For he is King of all.

Amen.

© Desiring God

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CEA MAI MARE SARBATOARE A INTREGII OMENIRI – de Avram Cuc

INSEMNATATEA  INVIERII DOMNULUI ISUS CHRISTOS

Invierea Domnului Isus Christos, este cea mai mare sarbatoare din istoria omenirii. Nu exista nici o sarbatoare de o insemnatate mai mare pe acest pamant, ca aceasta sarbatoare a Invierii lui Isus Christos. Din momentul in care omul a cazut in pacatul cel mare al neascultarii, care a inceput prin primul om creiat de Dumnezeu, Adam si care a produs o despartire si o ruptura de la fata lui Dumnezeu, omenirea a fost condamnata la o moarte vesnica, adica la o despartire eterna de Dumnezeu, Creiatorul nostru si a tuturor lucrurilor vazute si nevazute. Cel ce a creiat toate lucrurile de pe pamant si de subt pamant, impreuna cu paradisul care se numea ,,Gradina Edenului” in care Dumnezeu l-a pus pe Adam si apoi pe sotia sa Eva (care a fost creiata din coasta lui Adam), barbatul ei, ca sa fie trup din trupul lui si sange din sangele lui. Dumnezeu a suflat in om viata, adica a suflat din Dumnezeu insusi viata vesnica, eternitatea, care i-a turnat-o in sufletul lui si a sotiei sale Eva si astfel a devenit un suflet viu. I s-a dat sub stapanire aceasta gradina a Edenului, raiul pe pamant, ca sa o lucreze si sa o pazeasca, si sa traiasca fericit impreuna cu sotia lui.  Dar Dumnezeu i-a dat porunca  lui Adam: ,,Poti sa mananci dupa placere din orice pom din gradina; dar din pomul cunostintei binelui si raului sa nu mananci, caci in ziua in care vei manca din el, vei muri negresit.” (Genesa 2:16-17)

Biblia, care este Cuvantul lui Dumnezeu ne spune ca Adam impreuna cu sotia lui Eva au trait in aceasta gradina fericiti, lucrau si pazeau gradina, si in racoarea diminetii Dumnezeu venea la ei si statea de vorba cu ei. Nu se stie cat timp a trait Adam impreuna cu sotia lui in Gradina Edenului dar s-ar putea ca aceasta sa fi fost de o durata destul de lunga, iar sarpele, adica diavolul care dadea tarcoale pe la ei ca sa-i faca sa pacatuiasca cu siguranta ca a facut-o de multe ori si nu numai o singura data, incetul cu incetul semanand in inima femeii pofta de a gusta din pomul oprit, fructul caruia era placut la privire, dar  dupa ce au gustat din el, l-a adus pe om la o moarte sigura. In trupul lor fizic aceasta moarte nu a avut loc pe moment, Adam a trait pana la varsta de noua sute treizeci de ani, dar partea sufleteasca a murit chiar in momentul cind a fost savarsit pacatul. Din acel moment omul  a devenit muritor , sufletul lui fiind despartit pentru totdeauna de Dumnezeu lucru care a insemnat o pedeapsa vesnica, adica iazul cu foc.  Acest loc care arde cu foc si pucioasa , iadul, a fost pregatit inca dinainte de facerea omului, pentru Satana impreuna cu ingerii lui care au vrut sa fie mai presus decat Dumnezeu. Omul datorita neascultarii lui, si a caderii in pacat a avut aceeasi soarta de a fi aruncat in iazul cu foc pe vecie.

Dar Dumnezeu care este bun si milostiv si care iubeste pe om  pe care El l-a  facut dupa chipul si asemanarea Lui, a vrut sa-l scape pe om de la aceasta pedeapsa vesnica, crunta, in a-si chinui sufletul zi si noapte in acest iaz de foc care arde fara incetare zi si noapte , pe vecie. Daca a trebuit sa vina Fiul lui Dumnezeu din ceruri ca sa ispaseasca aceasta pedeapsa pentru pacatele nostre si pentru a cruta oamenii de la un sfarsit groaznic si o pedeapsa vesnica, inseamna ca acest loc este un loc teribil in care nu vrea nimenea sa ajunga. Cine oare si-ar dori sa arda intr-un foc care arde fara incetare zi si noapte fara sfirsit? Insasi Fiul lui Dumnezeu, care stie de groaza care are sa vina peste intreaga omenire ca urmare a pacatului, si care stie de locul care ii asteapta pe cei pacatosi, a venit sa plateasca pentru acest pacat in locul nostru pentru a ne feri pe noi de o pedeapsa eterna si de un loc groaznic, adica iadul. Nu este un lucru de jucat sau de neglijat, sau de luat cu usurinta sau de nebagat in seama, cind insusi Fiul lui Dumnezeu lasa cerurile preainalte, slava care a avut-o inainte de intemeierea tuturor lucrurilor, si vine pe acest pamant ca sa plateasca in locul nostru pentru pacatele noastre cele multe si grele si sa se faca pacat pentru noi, ca astfel noi sa avem iertare de la Dumnezeu si ca sa mostenim impreuna cu El viata vesnica si raiul lui Dumnezeu, care a fost pregatit pentru toti aceia care au primit mesajul mantuirii si l-au primit pe Isus Christos ca Mantuitor personal in inimile lor, astfel sa fie nascuti din nou din Dumnezeu si ceia ce era mort odinioara datorita pacatului,  sa fie readus la viata, si inca la o viata vesnica impreuna cu Christos.

De aceea aceasta sarbatoare a Pastelui, sau a Invierii Domnului Isus Christos din morti, este cea mai mare zi din istoria omenirii caci datorita invierii Domnului, avem din nou speranta de a fi impreuna cu El in raiul Sau. El a invins moartea si prin aceasta cei care Il primesc pe El ca Mantuitor in inimile lor, si care traiesc o viata curata dupa poruncile Lui,  vor trece de la moarte la viata, si nu vor mai avea parte de iazul de foc adica iadul care este pregatit pentru toti fiii neascultarii. Sa fim dar oameni intelepti si sa avem frica de Dumnezeu, ca sa avem trecere inaintea Lui ca atunci cind El va veni in slava Sa cereasca sa ne gaseasca vrednici de a mosteni Imparatia Cerurilor impreuna cu El, si de a fi o vesnicie in raiul Lui Dumnezeu, fericiti pentru totdeauna, fara sfarsit, din bucurii in bucurii, din fericiri in fericiri care nu se vor termina niciodata.

CHRISTOS A INVIAT !

CU ADEVARAT CA A INVIAT!

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