Ghita Mocan – Cum sa-ti mustri fratele

Principii dupa care functioneaza atentionarea
sau modul in care relationam noi, unii cu altii, prin mustrare.

GHITA MOCAN Inainte de a va ilustra principiile, vreau sa va aduc aminte ca nu fratele Ghita Mocan, nici cineva  de la Oradea sau de la Bucuresti, sau nu stiu de unde, nu un om a prevazut ca relatiile sanatoase intre frati, in biserica, sa fie marcate si de mustrare si de atentionare. Ci, Cel care a prevazut acest tip de relatie, acest tip de atitudine,  a fost si este Dumnezeu. Prin urmare este un mandat divin. Este un mandat divin ca eu sa inteleg ca pana la un punct sunt responsabil de fratele meu. Ca daca cineva ajunge intr-un pericol spiritual, intr-o drama spirituala, eu, s-ar putea, pentru ca am fost aproapele lui, am vazut. Eu, intr-o oarecare masura … sunt vinovat in privinta situatiei lui. Asadar, sa vedem cele 4 principii:

Atentionam cu dragoste – Asta-i primul principi- Atentionam cu dragoste, nu cu manie, nu cu resentiment, nu cu atitudine copilareasca ‘el s-a luat de mine, acuma ce fac? Acum ma iau eu de el.’  Si de regula, cand mergem cu atitudinea asta, atunci suntem distructivi, atunci facem rau, atunci culcam oamenii la pamant. Ma intelegeti? Da, ii reducem la tacere.

Atentionam cu dragoste. Nu ai dragoste? Asculta-ma: nu atentionezi; nu e momentul. Cand te duci sa mustri pe cineva dupa Scriptura, trebuie inima ta sa clocoteasca, nu de patima, nu de ressentiment, nu de dreptatea aceea cu care poti omora omul. Ci sa fi plin de dragostea lui Hristos. In viata noastra spirituala, relatia noastra verticala cu Dumnezeu, Dumnezeu se comporta cu noi cu multa dragoste. Sunteti de acord cu mine? Si cand ne pedepseste, o face in dragoste. Slava lui Dumnezeu!  Este dominata in relatia Lui cu mine, este dominata de dragoste. De acea dragoste numita agape. Dragostea aceea nu se termina niciodata, care nu se epuizeaza, care nu este limitata de nimic. E dragostea lui Dumnezeu; numai Dumnezeu este capabil de agape in mod deplin…

Felul in care Dumnezeu se relationeaza cu mine este dragoste. El, tot ceea ce face, face in dragoste.  Atunci, inseamna ca de la El as putea sa iau si eu, din rezervorul Lui si sa pun in rezervorul meu dragoste, pentru ca eu nu produc dragoste. E Unul singur care produce dragoste adevarata, e Dumnezeu. Daca se intampla ca imi iubesc de calitate sotia, partenerul de viata, este pentru ca Dumnezeu a turnat dragoste in mine… Copiii la fel. Fratii de la biserica la fel. Relatiile noastre umane, deasemenea, la fel. Nu poti sa ai dragoste de la tine, …trebuie sa o primesti. Dragostea e un dar si foloseste Scriptura un verb frumos legat de dragoste. Zice: a turnat in inimile noastre dragoste. Ca si cu o galeata a turnat. Sa toarne Dumnezeu. Trebuie sa toarne si sa fie paharul plin de dragoste.Si cand e plin, cu inima plina de dragoste te poti duce la fratele tau sa il mustri, sa-l atentionezi.

Stiti dvs. de apostolul Pavel si apostolul Petru. Descrie asta Pavel in Galateni, foarte interesant, un moment delicat dintre ei doi. Dupa ce Pavel se intoarce la Dumnezeu, se duce la Ierusalim si sta cu Petru 15 zile, 15 zile in care Pavel ii prezinta doctrina si Petru stampileaza… [Pavel] avea nevoie de confirmarea aia, 15 zile, a fost ceva extraordinar. Scrie tot in Galateni, in cap. 2, deci dupa momentul acesta si nu la lunga perioada de timp, dupa momentul acesta cu Ierusalimul, zice ca la un moment dat ca Pavel, ducanduse intr-o zona unde era deja miscarea crestina destul de infloritoare, zice ca-l gaseste pe Petru si zice: „Cand m-am dus acolo, pana si Petru,” atentie, de la slujitori sunt asteptari mai mari. Pavel vrea sa spuna -‘Pai, nu ma mir tare de membrii bisericii, dar pana si Petru a fost prins in lat.‘  In latul fatarniciei, cum prinzi pasarea in capcana. Ca pentru copil al lui Dumnezeu, pacatul nu mai e un mod de viata, numai un accident, o capcana. Si a fost prins intr-o capcana, un lat. „Iar eu, Pavel, ce-am facut?” Eu am zis: „Lasa-l in pace ca mult nu ma intalnesc cu el si macar acuma cand ne intalnim, sa zambim, sa fie bine.”

Asa a facut Pavel?  Sa vedem ce face un om a lui Dumnezeu: ‘I-am statut in fata, impotriva. L-am infruntat, caci era de condamnat.” In sensul ca era condamnabil ce facea el si Pavel apoi ne spune ce discurs a avut. Si in discursul acela, momentul acela emotionant apare un verset pe care noi il citam de multe ori, dar nu spunem contextul….

Galateni 2:20 – 20 Am fost răstignit împreună cu Hristos, şi trăiesc… dar nu mai trăiesc eu, ci Hristos trăieşte în mine. Versetul acesta, atat de iubit, s-a nascut intr-un context politic, in care Pavel, cu dragoste, dar just, drept, franc, sta in fata lui Petru… Asa sa ne putem mustra, asa sa ne putem atentiona, ca in timpul acela sa putem spune versetul acesta si noi. Filipeni 1:21 – Căci pentru mine a trăi este Hristos şi a muri este un cîştig. Sau, cum spuneam- Am fost răstignit împreună cu Hristos, şi trăiesc… dar nu mai trăiesc eu, ci Hristos trăieşte în mine. 

VIDEO by Romania Evanghelica Fragment din predica la Dusesti, 2011 (Doar acest fragment a fost filmat si suntem foarte multumitori chiar si pentru acest fragment scurt!) (http://romaniaevanghelica.wordpress.com)

 

Voi numai de viaţa asta vă-ngrijoraţi şi vă vedeţi

Photo credit elitedaily.com

Voi numai de viaţa asta
vă-ngrijoraţi şi vă vedeţi
cum n-aţi avea decât viaţă
—Voi oare moarte nu aveţi?

Doar trupu-acest vă robeşte
pe el puneţi întregul preţ
de parcă sunteţi numai trupul
—Voi suflet oare nu aveţi?

La clipa aceasta-i cereţi totul
ei vă jertfiţi, ai ei vă vreţi
dar oare numai Astăzi este
—Voi veşnicie nu aveţi?

Urziţi la fapte vinovate
nepăsători şi îndrăzneţi
dar oare nu este-o răsplată
—Voi oare Dumnezeu n-aveţi?

Traian Dorz

David Platt – „Heaven is for real” according to the Bible (not near death experiences)

Photo credit howcog.org

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

Thanks to Adrian for pointing out this David Platt clip!

How should we think about accounts of heaven not found in the Bible?

David Platt on books about heaven: the whole premise behind every single one of these books is contrary to everything God’s Word says about heaven

From Radical

As you may have heard, Todd Burpo’s best-selling book, Heaven is for Real, has been turned into a movie and it hits the theaters Wednesday (April 16th). Burpo’s four-year-old son allegedly visited heaven after being anesthetized for an appendectomy, and the book tells his story.

That so many believers are allowing these accounts of heaven to shape their thinking is a sad commentary on our ability to discern what is and what isn’t biblical. God’s Word, not personal testimonies, must be the measuring line for how we think of heaven and every other aspect of truth. Hopefully, the conversation surrounding the movie Heaven is for Real will give you an opportunity to share with someone how we know that heaven is for real, and most importantly, how to get there.

 

Heaven is For Real According to the Bible from David Platt on Vimeo.

Transcript: The kinds of things we are contemplating tonight, we don’t want to be wrong on. We don’t wanna live in a world of conjecture when it comes to eternal realities, especially when we know what is certain. That’s why that study guide is filled with God’s word. Because, God’s word is the only foundation upon which we can stand when we think about these things.

Jesus said, „Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. What transcends this world? God’s word. So, tonight, let’s minimize the thoughts of man, and magnify the truth of God. Now, I’ve got quotes from different people, like Tozer, a second ago. scattered throughout these notes. But, the purpose for all these quotes from men and women is purely to point us to the truth of God, to the word of God. And this is important. There are so many thoughts of man swirling around. Not just our culture, but swirling around the church today, about heaven, hell, and the end of the world.

Do you know what the best selling evangelical book of the past decade is? Heaven is for real. A fanciful account of a 4 year old boy, who talks about how he went to heaven and he got a halo and wings, but he didn’t like them because they were too small. He claims that he sat on Jesus’ lap while the angels sang to him. He even met the Holy Spirit, whom he describes as ‘kind of blue’.  Over 7 million copies sold. Not to be confused with another book titled ‘The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven’, another best seller  by a man named Kevin Malarkey. Malarkey has a six year old son, who allegedly made multiple trips to heaven and back after a car accident. Malarkey’s son, Alex, has personally seen Satan many times. He describes him as having a funny looking mouth, a few moldy teeth, no noticeably ears, two bony arms, and two bony legs.

Now, these 2 books are not to be confused with ‘My Journey to Heaven: What I Saw Changed My Life’, by Marvin Besteman, ‘Flight to Heaven’ by Dale Black, ‘To Heaven and Back – a True Story’ by Mary Neil, ’90 minutes in heaven’ by Don Piper, ‘9 days in Heaven’ by Dennis Prince, ’23 Minutes in Hell’ by Bill Wiese, none of which you will see in the recommended reading at the end of your study guide.

So, make no mistake, there is money to be made in peddling fiction about the afterlife as nonfiction in the world of Christian Publishing today. And, that’s what’s so disturbing about the entire trend. These books are being published and then devoured by people who would describe themselves as born again and Bible believing Christians.  And all of that shows, our level of discernment in the church today, on this topic, is extremely low. Because the whole premise behind every single one of these books is contrary to everything God’s Word says about heaven.

John MacArthur sums it up best. I don’t have his quotes in your guides, but he points to these 2 verses I’ve got – Proverbs 34 and John 3:13, when he says, „For anyone who truly believes the biblical record, it is impossible to resist the conclusion that these modern testimonies, with their relentless self focus and the relatively scant attention they pay to the glory of God, are simply untrue. They are either figments of the human imagination, dreams, hallucinations, false memories, fantasies, and in the worst cases, deliberate lies. Or else, they are products of demonic deceptions.” He continues, „We know this with absolute certainty, because Scripture definitively says that people do not go to heaven and come back.

Who has ascended to heaven and come down?” Proverbs 34. Answer: „No one has ascended to heaven, except He who has descended from heaven, the Son of Man.” John 3:13.  All the accounts of heaven in Scripture are visions, not journeys taken by dead people. And even visions of heaven are very, very rare in Scripture. You can count them all on one hand. Four biblical authors had visions about heaven and wrote about what they say: Isaiah, Ezekiel, Paul, and John. All of them were prophetic visions, not near death experiences. Not one person, raised from the dead in the Old Testament or New Testament, ever wrote down what he or she experienced in heaven, including Lazarus, who had a lot of time in the grave, 4 days.

I was reading, the other day, 2 Corinthians 12, it describes Paul being caught up in heaven, but he gave no details. He summed it up in 3 verses. One writer said, „All the biblical authors who saw heaven and described their visions, give comparatively sparse details. But they agree perfectly. Their visions are all fixated on the glory of God, which defines heaven and illuminates everything there. They are overwhelmed, chagrined, petrified, and put to silence by the sheer majesty of God’s holiness. Notably missing from all the biblical accounts are the frivolous features and the juvenile attractions that seem to dominate every account of heaven currently on the best seller list.

Why then? Why are we buying this stuff? When we have the word of God? Let’s minimize the thoughts of man, magnify, trust, let’s bank our lives and the understanding of the future on the truth of God. At the same time, let’s lay aside our traditions and submit to God’s word. So, none of us wants to believe things about heaven, hell, and the end of the world just because we grew up hearing certain things taught. There’s too much at stake in our lives and others, for that.

Randy Alcorn answers questions about heaven – Watching from heaven

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

Randy Alcorn is the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries (epm.org), a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching biblical truth and drawing attention to the needy and how to help them. EPM exists to meet the needs of the unreached, unfed, unborn, uneducated, unreconciled and unsupported people around the world. Randy is a best-selling author of over 40 books including Heaven, The Treasure Principle and the 2002 Gold Medallion winner, Safely Home. He has written numerous articles for magazines such as Discipleship Journal, Moody, Leadership, New Man, and The Christian Reader. He produces the quarterly issues-oriented magazine Eternal Perspectives, and has been a guest on more than 600 radio and television programs including Focus on the Family, Family Life Today, The Bible Answer Man, Revive Our Hearts, Truths that Transform and Faith Under Fire. (from VIMEO)

Watching from Heaven

Is there sorrow in heaven? Short answer – no more sorrow is in the new heaven and new earth, not the present heaven, as God presently sorrows with His people (martyrs, etc.)

Randy Alcorn: Will believers in the intermediate heaven experience sorrow over what is happening on earth, especially with their families on earth?

One of the things that I would say is that God, in heaven, experiences sorrow for His suffering people on earth. We see this in Exodus, in God’s deep concern for the people of Israel is going through. Sorrow is not utterly incompatible with the PRESENT heaven. When Jesus says to Paul, and he’s still Saul, He says, „Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Well, he was persecuting God’s people, but Jesus was taking it personally. And so, the heart of God, the martyrs who are in heaven now, crying out, „How long, o Lord?” before you bring punishment on those who murdered us, before you bring justice?”

So, the promise for no more sorrow, no more death is in the world where there is no more sin. That promise comes in Revelation 21:4- that is in the new heaven and the new earth. Not the present heaven, where there is sorrow, because God sorrows, there is some sense of recognition, at least, of sin and evil and suffering in the world, by the martyrs. Now, are people in heaven happier than people on earth? Absolutely, to depart of being with Christ, the perspective giving nature of that is great. But, I think that a lot of people argue the wrong way, because they say, „No one in heaven could possibly know what’s going on down here on earth, because they would be overwhelmed with sorrow. God’s in heaven. He’s not overwhelmed by sorrow. God is a happy God: Enter into your master’s happiness. The angels can be happy, even though they see the sin on earth. So, don’t think that ignorance is this virtue that God must place upon us, so that we’re out of touch with the realities of earth. The unfolding drama of redemption is going on down here on earth.

Now, somebody else asked, related to that, can people in heaven really see what’s going on on earth? Well, we know the martyrs are asking the question, „How long, o Lord, before yo bring judgment?” They’re not asking, „Lord, have you, yet, brought judgment, down there on earth, on these people?” No, „how long before you do?” Meaning,  they know He hasn’t. The implication is they know what’s going on. They’re saying, „Well, why haven’t You yet brought judgment?” So, there’s knowledge. Luke 15 is an example of a passage where you have the lost coins and the lost sheep. And twice, in Luke 15, before it gets to the parable of the lost son, the prodigal son, twice, it says, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of heaven whenever a sinner repents.

Now, it’s very interesting language because it would have been very easy for Jesus to say, „And the angels in heaven rejoice, every time a sinner repents.” But, it’s not what He says, He says there’s rejoicing in the presence of the angels, well, God’s in the presence of the angels, God’s rejoicing, but who else in living in the presence of the angels? The people of God who have died, and gone to be with the Lord. So, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels, not only by the angels, but in the presence of the angels, presumably by the people of God. And many of those people will have prayed for this person, who has repented and come to faith. So that would be an example of people in heaven, knowing what’s going on down on earth. In that case, knowing a very good thing that’s happened on earth.

Could people in heaven have known him, when that person wasn’t loving jesus? Could people in heaven have prayed for the person on earth? Yes, by all means. I mean, that’s really what the martyrs are doing. In a sense, they’re interceding for all those who are suffering, for the persecutors- „Lord, bring judgment on them, so other people don’t suffer.” That’s a way of prayer.

Do not get this confused: Were not talking about us praying to the saints in heaven. That’s a totally different thing. There is only one mediator between man and God, the mediator, Jesus Christ. You only pray to Him, you don’t pray to saints in heaven. But, the question is: Do the saints in heaven pray for us? And that, I think, is a greater possibility. Certainly, to the extent that they see what’s going on, why wouldn’t they? I mean, righteous people, people who love God pray and they intercede for those in need. So, righteous people in heaven would be more effective in their prayer.

From a video on Vimeo which is no longer available.

Read another article about this subject:

  1. Will heaven be exciting? Part 1 of What’s so exciting about heaven?
  2. Our existence in heaven – Part 2 of What’s so exciting about heaven?
  3. The New Heaven and the New Earth – Part 3 of What’s so exciting about heaven?
  4. The future glories of heaven – Part 1 of What Will Heaven Be Like?
  5. Questions children have about heaven – Part 2 of Heaven: What Will It Be Like?
  6. How can you be sure you are going to heaven? Part 3 of Heaven: What Will It Be Like?

 

 

Nelu Brie – Duminica Tomei

Photo credit Tissott www.joyfulheart.com

Text – Ioan 20:24-31

24 Toma, zis Geamăn, unul din cei doisprezece, nu era cu ei cînd a venit Isus.
25 Ceilalţi ucenici i-au zis deci: ,,Am văzut pe Domnul!„ Dar el le -a răspuns: ,,Dacă nu voi vedea în mînile Lui semnul cuielor, şi dacă nu voi pune degetul meu în semnul cuielor, şi dacă nu voi pune mîna mea în coasta Lui, nu voi crede.„
26 După opt zile, ucenicii lui Isus erau iarăş în casă; şi era şi Toma împreună cu ei. Pe cînd erau uşile încuiate, a venit Isus, a stătut în mijloc, şi le -a zis: ,,Pace vouă!„
27 Apoi a zis lui Toma: ,,Adu-ţi degetul încoace, şi uită-te la mînile Mele; şi adu-ţi mîna, şi pune -o în coasta Mea; şi nu fi necredincios, ci credincios.„
28 Drept răspuns, Toma I -a zis: ,,Domnul meu şi Dumnezeul meu!„
29 ,,Tomo„ i -a zis Isus, ,,pentrucă M’ai văzut, ai crezut. Ferice de ceice n’au văzut, şi au crezut.„
30 Isus a mai făcut înaintea ucenicilor Săi multe alte semne cari nu sînt scrise în cartea aceasta.
31 Dar lucrurile acestea au fost scrise, pentruca voi să credeţi că Isus este Hristosul, Fiul lui Dumnezeu; şi crezînd, să aveţi viaţa în Numele Lui.

VIDEO  www.predic.ro – Hrana ta zilnica! http://www.youtube.com/user/prediclive

Marius Livanu – „Toma” lipseste de la biserica

Biserica penticostala Philadelphia din Mansuè (TV) – Italia
Predica pastorul Marius Livanu – 15 aprilie 2012
VIDEO by philadelphiamansue

Slăvit Isus – Traian Dorz

Slăvit Isus – ce grabnic vine
răsplata Zilei de Apoi
şi nu noi Te-aşteptăm pe Tine,
ci Tu, tot Tu, ne-aştepţi pe noi!

Iubim tot praf şi tot ruine
şi vrem în pămînteşti nevoi
nu noi să Te slujim pe Tine,
ci Tu să ne slujeşti pe noi.

O, Doamne, cu adînci suspine
întoarce-ne dinspre noroi
şi fă-ne să dorim de Tine
aşa cum Tu doreşti de noi.

Revarsă-n noi în toţi divine
simţiri cereşti şi gînduri noi.
Nu noi să vrem să fim prin Tine,
ci Tu să vrem să fii prin noi.

Fă ale noastre inimi pline
de-al dragostei ceresc şuvoi;
nu noi să ne vestim prin Tine,
ci Tu să Te vesteşti prin noi.

Căci doar atunci e cel mai bine
cînd suntem unul şi nu doi,
cînd şi noi suntem una-n Tine,
cum şi Tu unul eşti în noi.

John Piper – Sinner Come Home!

John Piper TFG2014

John Piper – Together for the Gospel 2014

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

Notice those two things: My heart is aching and my prayers are rising. „My heart’s desire’, that’s one level, and ‘my prayer to God’, that’s my verbal level- is that they may be saved. I’m gonna close with an illustration of the weaving together of these things, that has helped me enormously, not make stupid mistakes, about the doctrine of unconditional election. My father was an evangelist. Sixty years he heralded a beautiful Gospel. I heard it preached dozens of times. He was a traveling mini-Billy Graham. And he had crusades and tent meetings in the early days. And he had his 500, where Billy Graham had his 50,000. I would go with my dad and listen to him plead for sinners. He had a spectacular gift of evangelism and he was faithful to it to the very end. What an amazing life he led.

He was very traditional. He gave invitations at the end. And they sang songs. They sang, as often as any,

‘Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling for you and for me,
See, at the portholes, He’s waiting and watching
Watching for you and for me.

Come home, come home
You who are weary, come home.
Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling
Calling, „Oh, sinner, come home!”

Can a calvinist sing that? „Calling, watching, waiting..” I have heard young people mock that song. Not too may, recently; we got a little more nuance today. But, I have heard people mock that song, old people: „The sovereign Christ, risen from the dead, omnipotent of the human heart, NEVER merely calls and waits, and watches, for goodness sakes!” To which I respond, „Where did you hear the word ‘merely’? Did I say ‘merely’? Did we sing ‘merely’? I love precision.

Now, let’s finish the picture. The song has begun. There’s 300 people in the room. My dad has walked out of the pulpit, where he’s delivered  a beautiful, glorious Gospel message, and he’s standing at the front,  as close as I am, now, to you with these 300 people. And he’s got his arms out, and regularly, no show, there were tears in his eyes. He looked right up at people, „Would you come? Would you step out? Come! He will have you.” And you felt everything in your body say: He’s standing in the place of Jesus, inviting people to come.

About 10 rows back there’s a mom with her college age son. He’s an out and out unbeliever and hates being here. But mom asked him and to make her happy, he came along. And, my dad says, „Every eye closed, every head bowed,” we mock this, right? „every saint, praying.” Alright. Jesus is standing at the front, at the portal, calling, waiting, watching. Having been lifted up as the triumphant Christ of the Gospel. Here’s a mom, and she’s praying. What does she pray? He’s standing right here (next to his mom) eager to be out of this place. And she’s praying, „Oh God, please pour out your Holy Spirit on my son. I beg of you, take out the heart of stone; put in a heart of flesh. Open his eyes, break him. Destroy him, have him. Take him. Come. Come, save him, God. Come.”

And, God, the Holy Spirit, opens his eyes, and he sees the risen, waiting, calling Christ as irresistibly beautiful. And he says, „Excuse me, mom,” and he falls into the arms of my father, as if in the arms of Jesus.

Will you be those arms? I beseech you, on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to Christ!” Yes, God is sovereign. God Almighty, through His own unconditional election, through the crucified risen, waiting, watching Christ, through the tears, the praying, the preaching, and through the all conquering Holy Spirit, God saves sinners!

desiringgod.org/conference-messages/persuading-pleading-and-predestination-human-means-in-the-miracle-of-conversion
desiringgod.org

Sinner, Come Home from Desiring God on Vimeo.

Doubting the Resurrection of Jesus (D. A. Carson)

The Cross: A call to the fundamentals of religion – J C Ryle

photo credit regenerationandrepentance.wordpress.com

Also by J C Ryle –

  1. God’s Book, the Bible 
  2. What think ye of Christ
  3. Exhorting young men

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

The Cross: A call to the fundamentals of religion

I. Let me show you what the Apostle Paul did not glory in.
~There are many things that Paul might have gloriedin, if he had thought as some do in this day. If everthere was one on earth who had something to boastof in himself, that man was the great apostle of theGentiles. Now, if he did not dare to glory, who shall?He never gloried in his national privileges…..
~He never gloried in his own works. None everworked so hard for God as he did. He was moreabundant in labors than any of the apostles. No livingman ever preached so much, traveled so much, andendured so many hardships for Christ’s cause….
~He never gloried in his knowledge. 
~He never gloried in his graces.
~He never gloried in his churchmanship.
~Oh! reader, beware of self-righteousness. Opensin kills its thousands of souls. Self-righteousnesskills its tens of thousands. Go and study humility withthe great apostle of the Gentiles. Go and sit with Paulat the foot of the cross. Give up your secretpride. Cast away your vain ideas of your owngoodness. Be thankful if you have grace, but never glory in it for a moment. Work for God and Christ with heart and soul, and mind and strength, but never dream for a second of placing confidence in any work of your own.
II. Let me explain to you what he did glory in.
III. Let me show you why all Christians should think and feel about the cross like Paul.

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A little bit about J C Ryle from Wikipedia:

Ryle was a strong supporter of the evangelical school and a critic of Ritualism. He was a writer, pastor and an evangelical preacher. Among his longer works are Christian Leaders of the Eighteenth Century (1869), Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (7 vols, 1856–69), Principles for Churchmen (1884). Ryle was described as having a commanding presence and vigorous in advocating his principles albeit with a warm disposition. He was also credited with having success in evangelizing the blue collar community. His second son, Herbert Edward Ryle also a clergyman, became Dean of Westminster.

Ryle, J.C (John Charles) (1816-1900)

Thoroughly evangelical in his doctrine and uncompromising in his principles, J.C. Ryle was a prolific writer, vigorous preacher, and faithful pastor.

He was born at Macclesfield and educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford. He was a fine athlete who rowed and played Cricket for Oxford, where he took a first class degree in Modern Greats and was offered a college fellowship (teaching position) which he declined. The son of a wealthy banker, he was destined for a career in politics before answering a call to ordained ministry.

He was spiritually awakened in 1838 while hearing Ephesians 2 read in church. He was ordained by Bishop Sumner at Winchester in 1842. For 38 years he was a parish vicar, first at Helmingham and later at Stradbrooke, in Suffolk. He became a leader of the evangelical party in the Church of England and was noted for his doctrinal essays and polemical writings. In 1880, at age 64, he became the first bishop of Liverpool, at the recommendation of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. He retired in 1900 at age 83 and died later the same year.

In his diocese, he exercised a vigorous and straightforward preaching ministry, and was a faithful pastor to his clergy, exercising particular care over ordination retreats. He formed a clergy pension fund for his diocese and built over forty churches. Despite criticism, he put raising clergy salaries ahead of building a cathedral for his new diocese. Ryle combined his commanding presence and vigorous advocacy of his principles with graciousness and warmth in his personal relations. Vast numbers of working men and women attended his special preaching meetings, and many were led to faith in Christ. (Source http://www.anglicanlibrary.org)

Lazar Gog – Scepticismul credinciosilor de tip Toma

Photo credit www.goodnews.ie

Ioan 20:24-29

24 Toma, zis Geamăn, unul din cei doisprezece, nu era cu ei cînd a venit Isus.
25 Ceilalţi ucenici i-au zis deci: ,,Am văzut pe Domnul!„ Dar el le -a răspuns: ,,Dacă nu voi vedea în mînile Lui semnul cuielor, şi dacă nu voi pune degetul meu în semnul cuielor, şi dacă nu voi pune mîna mea în coasta Lui, nu voi crede.„
26 După opt zile, ucenicii lui Isus erau iarăş în casă; şi era şi Toma împreună cu ei. Pe cînd erau uşile încuiate, a venit Isus, a stătut în mijloc, şi le -a zis: ,,Pace vouă!„
27 Apoi a zis lui Toma: ,,Adu-ţi degetul încoace, şi uită-te la mînile Mele; şi adu-ţi mîna, şi pune -o în coasta Mea; şi nu fi necredincios, ci credincios.„
28 Drept răspuns, Toma I -a zis: ,,Domnul meu şi Dumnezeul meu!„
29 ,,Tomo„ i -a zis Isus, ,,pentrucă M’ai văzut, ai crezut. Ferice de ceice n’au văzut, şi au crezut.„

Astazi, in lumea crestina, se aduce aminte de ceea ce se numeste Duminica Tomii. Insa, Duminica aceasta a Tomei, cred ca este Duminica mea si cred ca este Duminica ta. Este ceva din Toma in fiecare din noi, dupa cum o sa vedem in timpul mesajului de astazi. Ne asemanam foarte mult cu Toma.

PAGINA Lazar Gog PREDICI aici

Cum să plantezi un dud în ocean? Chuck Smith

Unuia îi este dat … credinţa, prin acelaşi Duh. – I Corinteni 12:8,9 Una din problemele noastre este că deseori încercăm să generăm credinţa dinlăuntrul nostru folosind metode omeneşti. Însă Pavel listează credinţa ca unul din darurile Duhului. Scriitorul epistolei către Evrei defineşte credinţa drept “o încredere neclintită în lucrurile nădăjduite, o puternică încredinţare despre lucrurile care nu se văd” (Evrei 11:1). Nepotul meu mă ajută să înţeleg ceea ce intenţionează scriitorul. El ajunge la momentul când, prin credinţă, are mustaţă şi barbă. Deja a început să se bărbierească prin credinţă, încrezător în lucrurile pe care le speră dar care sunt încă nevăzute. Isus le vorbea ucenicilor într-o zi despre importanţa iertării. În cele din urmă, când au început să înţeleagă cât de important este pentru Dumnezeu să-i iertăm pe cei ce ne greşesc, ei au spus: “Doamne, măreşte-ne credinţa.” Ei au recunoscut că nu puteau ierta aşa cum le poruncea Isus. Nu era un lucru natural. Înclinaţia naturală este să fii chit, să cauţi răzbunare. Însă Domnul a insistat că ei trebuiau să ierte, astfel că s-au rugat: “Doamne, măreşte-ne credinţa” (vezi Luca 17:3-5). De-abia atunci puteau fi ascultători şi puteau ierta aşa cum le poruncise Isus.Răspunsul lor a deschis uşa pentru ca Isus să poată vorbi despre acest dar special al credinţei. El a răspuns: “Dacă aţi avea credinţă cât un bob de muştar, aţi zice dudului acestuia: ‘dezrădăcinează-te şi sădeşte-te în mare’, şi v-ar asculta” (Luca 17:6). Destul de copleşitor. Credinţa ca un bob de muştar! Mă întreb ce am putea face dacă am avea o credinţă cât o sămânţă de avocado?

1. Diferite Feluri de Credinţă

De la început, vreau să clarific că sunt diferite feluri de credinţă.

Photo www.pinterest.com Isus este Căpetenia şi Desăvârşirea credinţei noastre

1. Mai întâi vorbim despre credinţa ce mântuieşte. Pavel a spus: “Prin harul care mi-a fost dat, eu spuns fiecăruia dintre voi, să nu aibă despre sine o părere mai înaltă decât se cuvine; ci să aibă simţiri cumpătate despre sine, potrivit cu măsura de credinţă, pe care a împărţit-o Dumnezeu fiecăruia” (Romani 12:3). Cred că “măsura de credinţă” a lui Pavel este o referinţă la credinţa ce mântuieşte pe care Dumnezeu a împărţit-o fiecăruia. Dacă o persoană exercită acea credinţă ce mântuieşte dată de Dumnezeu, acea persoană va fi salvată de păcat şi va primi darul lui Dumnezeu, care este viaţa veşnică. Evrei 12:2 declară că Isus este Căpetenia şi Desăvârşirea credinţei noastre. Deci, acest lucru de asemenea pare a fi legat de credinţa care mântuieşte.

Cum primeşti credinţa care mântuieşte? Pavel spune că vine ascultând, şi ascultând cuvântul lui Dumnezeu (Romani 10:17). Eşti mântuit “dacă mărturiseşti cu gura ta că Isus este Domn şi crezi în inima ta că Dumnezeu L- a înviat din morţi” (10:9). Asemenea credinţă acceptă că, dacă credem în Isus Cristos, vom fi iertaţi şi curăţaţi de orice păcate comise. Aceasta este credinţa ce ne aduce mântuirea. În Efeseni, Pavel amplifică învăţătura sa despre credinţa ce mântuieşte când scrie: “Căci prin har aţi fost mântuiţi, prin credinţă, şi aceasta nu vine de la voi, ci este darul lui Dumnezeu” (Efeseni 2:8). Credinţa care mântuieşte este credinţa în Isus Cristos ca Mântuitor al nostru, crezând că El a plătit preţul pentru păcatele noastre. Este credinţa că sângele lui Cristos a fost vărsat ca jertfă şi acceptat de Dumnezeu. Ca substitut al nostru, Isus a luat păcatele noastre asupra Lui şi a murit în locul nostru, astfel crezând în El, noi nu vom pieri, ci vom avea viaţă veşnică. Dumnezeu ne-a dat fiecăruia o măsură de credinţă ce mântuieşte, care, atunci când este exercitată, ne va mântui de vina păcatelor noastre. 2. Cel de-al doilea fel de credinţă este credinţa care-şi pune încrederea în promisiunile lui Dumnezeu. Aceasta este credinţa ce ne face să ne dedicăm Cuvântului lui Dumnezeu, crezând promisiunile Lui, bazându-ne pe promisiunile Lui şi bucurându-ne în promisiunile Lui. Acest fel de credinţă lipseşte deseori în cei ce-L urmează pe Isus. Marcu 16:9-14 ne spune că după învierea lui Isus, “El S-a arătat celor unsprezece, când şedeau la masă; şi i-a mustrat pentru necredinţa şi împietrirea inimii lor, pentru că nu crezuseră pe cei ce-L văzuseră înviat.” Ucenicii nu au crezut mărturia femeilor, că ele L-au văzut pe Domnul şi chiar L-au ţinut de picioare. Deci Isus i-a mustrat pentru că au refuzat să creadă că a făcut ceea ce a promis că va face (vezi şi Luca 24:10, Ioan 20:16,17). Altă dată, când mergea cu cei doi ucenici pe drumul spre Emaus, El le-a zis: “O, nepricepuţilor şi zăbavnici cu inima, când este vorba să credeţi tot ce au spus proorocii!” (Luca 24:25). Iată cuvântul lui Dumnezeu, zicea Isus, şi totuşi voi nu l-aţi crezut şi nu v-aţi încrezut în el. Cum de aţi putut pune la îndoială promisiunile Lui? Aceasta este acel fel de credinţă ca a unui copil care creşte şi se extinde. Iuda ne-a spus să ne zidim în credinţa prea sfântă (Iuda 20). Pavel a vorbit tesalonicenilor despre creşterea în credinţă (II Tesaloniceni 1:3). Acest fel de credinţă creşte pe măsură ce experimentăm credincioşia lui Dumnezeu. De-a lungul anilor, vedem credincioşia lui Dumnezeu în a avea grijă de noi, a ne împlini nevoile şi a ne călăuzi. Iar credinţa noastră se extinde. Creşte până atât încât nu mai suntem deranjaţi de probleme aşa cum eram înainte pentru că ştim că totul este în mâinile lui Dumnezeu – El va avea grijă de tot.

Avraam a avut acest fel de credinţă. Romani 4:19 ne spune când Dumnezeu i-a promis un fiu, el nu s-a gândit la vârsta lui înaintată – aproape 100 de ani – nici la pântecul mort al Sarei. El a îndepărtat din mintea lui toţi factorii umani care erau total împotriva Sarei de a avea un copil. “Nu e nici o diferenţă,” a zis el. “Dumnezeu mi-a făcut o promisiune. Deci, dacă Dumnezeu va face toată treaba, de ce ar trebui să mă gândesc la cât de imposibilă este? Nu eu sunt cel care face treaba; Dumnezeu este cel ce o va face. Este ceva prea greu pentru Dumnezeu?” Avraam nu a ezitat la promisiunea lui Dumnezeu, ci a început să-I aducă slavă lui Dumnezeu, pentru că era deplin convins că Dumnezeu era capabil să execute ceea ce Dumnezeu a promis. Avraam este un model foarte bun pentru noi. 3. Cel de-al treilea fel de credinţă ar putea avea termenul de credinţă ce vindecă. Matei 9 ne spune istoria femeii ce avea cel de-al treilea fel de credinţă. Isus călătorea cu o mare mulţime când, dintr-o dată S-a oprit şi a întrebat: “Cine M-a atins?” Ucenicii nu-I puteau înţelege întrebarea. Mulţimea din jurul lor împingea, înghiontea şi încerca din răsputeri să se apropie de Isus. “Doamne, cred că glumeşti,” a fost răspunsul lui Petru. “Tovi împing şi înghiontesc, iar tu întrebi: cine m-a atins? Toţi sunt la doi paşi de noi!” Isus a răspuns: “Nu, am simţit o putere ieşind din mine.” Când şi-a dat seama că nu mai putea ascunde ce făcuse, femeia a venit înainte şi a căzut în genunchi înaintea Lui, tremurând şi mărturisind că sângera de doisprezece ani. Îşi cheltuise toţi banii pe doctori dar nu se făcuse bine. Credea că dacă doar atingea marginea hăinii Lui, se va vindeca. Era vindecată. Isus i-a spus: “Îndrăzneşte, fiică! Credinţa ta te-a tămăduit!” (vezi Matei 9:20-22; Marcu 5:25-34). Aceasta ar putea fi clasificată drept credinţa care vindecă. Eu cred că credinţa care vindecă este înrudită şi asociată cu ceea ce I Corinteni 12 numeşte darul credinţei. Darul credinţei este deseori înrudit cu vindecarea şi minunile. Nu poate fi o simplă coincidenţă că darul credinŃei apare chiar lângă darurile vindecării din lista lui Pavel (verset 9). De multe ori este o relaţie apropiată între darul credinţei şi darul vindecării. VA URMA...

Extras din cartea Apa Vie de Chuck Smith

Rodica Volintiru – Conferinta Femeilor din Toronto, Canada 12 Aprilie 2014

Rodica Volintiru vorbeste despre post si rugaciune si experiente cu Dumnezeu.

Despre post: Am specificat in carte: nu-L pacalim noi pe Domnul cu postul. Nu-L manipulam. Nu postim ca sa fim mantuiti, sau ca sa fim iertati de pacate. Asta este o disciplina care te apropie de Domnul. Poate ca au fost si invataturi nesanatoase, ca postim numai daca avem o cauza. Nu. Eu am specificat in carte, cand te pui pe post [spui]: „Doamne, eu vreau mai mult din Tine. Vreau sa te cunosc. Vreau sa te iubesc.” Asta sa fie prima ta motivatie. „Ma consacru, ma pun deoparte pentru Tine.” Asta trebuie sa fie necesitatea numarul 1, prioritatea numarul 1 –  Dumnezeu, apoi cauza mea, apoi nevoia mea.

…. Am intalnit in cursul acestor ani, atatea surori in dezamagire totala, depresie totala, intuneric total si am constatat ca nu este lipsa de cunostinta, de sfat, de invatatura. Am constatat ca nu ne cunoastem identitatea in Dumnezeu si nu-L cunoastem pe Dumnezeu. Mergem la biserica de ani de zile. Stimmulte lucruri, dar trebuie sa ajungi tu insuti la o rascruce de drumuri, cum m-a dus Domnul si pe mine. [Am zis]: „Doamne, stiu atatea despre Tine, si totusi eu nu te cunosc.” Cine poate sa spuna ca-L cunoaste pe Dumnezeu? Nu pot sa spun ca-L cunoastem pe Dumnezeu, pentru ca El este infinit. Dar, in mine a fost un strigat. Am zis: „Doamne, nu mai vreau viata aceasta. Ma duc la biserica si vin acasa. Aceasi rutina, un Cuvant bun care te tine intr-o viata morala, dar totusi lipseste ceva. Cuvantul Tau spune diferit. Cuvantul Tau spune de putere, spune de credinta, spune despre minuni, spune despre vindecari, spune cum lucreaza Duhul Sfant, cum auzi vocea Domnului. Doamne, vreau si eu!” Si Duhul Domnului te intreaba in seara aceasta: „Vrei si tu acest lucru?” Vrei mai mult din Dumnezeu? Vrei sa fi umpluta de puterea lui Dumnezeu? Vrei sa ai parte de acea plinatate a Duhului Sfant, a iubirii Lui? Ca degeaba cer eu darurile Duhului Sfant si nu am iubire. Sunt nimic. Am nevoie de daruri ca sa functionez in trupul lui Hristos. Dar daca eu functionez in daruri si n-am dragoste, oricand pot sa cad, ca n-am caracter. Si Domnul, prin incercari ne prelucreaza. Si atunci am zis aceste 2 lucruri: „Doamne, vreau sa te cunosc si vreau sa te iubesc.”   Notite din primele 10 minute din video. Video = 92 minute.

VIDEO by hearthofprayer

E timpul sa cautam Fata Domnului – Rodica Volintiru

 

VIDEO by hearthofprayer din 2011 Romania

Mai multe resurse de la Rodica Volintiru:

rodica-volintiru-carteUrmareste-o pe Rodica pe Facebook aici

Articole Rodica Volintiru –

The Resurrection Appearances of Jesus

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

Study By: Bob Deffinbaugh at http://www.bible.org. Our text deals with the first three of our Lord’s four post-resurrection appearances in the Gospel of John. The first appearance is to Mary Magdalene, and the next three are to the disciples. Jesus will appear to Mary Magdalene (20:10-18), then to the disciples, minus Thomas (20:19-23), then to the disciples, with Thomas (20:26-29), and finally to the seven disciples, including Thomas, who were fishing on the Sea of Tiberias (21:1ff.). There are some very important lessons to be learned here, so let us listen and learn, looking to the Spirit of God to interpret, apply, and implement these truths in our lives.

General Observations

It would serve us well to begin with several observations concerning our text and its relationship to the other Gospels.

We do not really know a great deal about the time between our Lord’s resurrection and His ascension. When you stop to think about it, a significant portion of each of the Gospels is taken up with the events of the last week of our Lord in Jerusalem. And yet, the 40 days following our Lord’s resurrection gets very little attention in comparison. The material we do have about this period is not meant to satisfy our curiosity about all that happened during this time, but is recorded to prove one important fact: Jesus Christ rose from the dead and ascended to the right hand of the Father!

Of the details we do find regarding our Lord’s ministry after His resurrection, a number of them are recorded only in Acts and 1 Corinthians. Until now I did not realize how much of my understanding of our Lord’s ministry after His resurrection is based upon New Testament books other than the Gospels. Some of the most important details come from Acts 1 and 1 Corinthians 15:

1 I wrote the former account, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after he had given orders by the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering he had also presented himself alive to these apostles by many convincing proofs. He was seen by them over a forty-day period and spoke about matters concerning the kingdom of God. 4 While he was with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for “what my Father promised, which you heard about from me. 5 For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 So when they had gathered together, they began to ask him, “Lord, is this the time when you are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He told them, “You are not permitted to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.” 9 After he had said this, while they were watching, he was lifted up and a cloud took him away from their sight. 10 As they were staring into the sky while he was going, suddenly two men in white clothing stood near them 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking up into the sky? This same Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will come back in the same way you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:1-11).

3 For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received—that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, 4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still living, though some have died. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as though to one born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).

I am not sure why I had concluded that my understanding of the post-resurrection period was dependent solely upon the Gospels. It was probably due, in part, to my assumption that if one Gospel didn’t mention something I knew about this time period, it was because it was recorded in one of the other three Gospels. But this is not necessarily true. If it were not for Acts 1 and 1 Corinthians 15, we would not know nearly as much about the Lord’s ministry during the 40 days following His resurrection. From Acts 1:3 we learn that during this time, Jesus taught His disciples about the kingdom of God which was yet to come. While our Lord’s instruction to His disciples to wait for the coming of the Spirit can be found in Luke’s Gospel (24:49), we probably remember this command from Acts 1:4-5. Apart from 1 Corinthians 15:5, we would not know that Jesus appeared to over 500 people at one time after His resurrection. It is from Paul (1 Corinthians 15:5), as well as from Luke (24:34), that we know Jesus made a private appearance to Peter. We would certainly not expect the replacement for Judas to be Saul, to whom our Lord made another (albeit, a later) post-resurrection appearance (1 Corinthians 15:8). A good part of what little we know of this period in our Lord’s life and ministry comes from outside the Gospels.

Some of the details about events which occurred in this time period may appear to be contradictory. For example, in Mark we read that after the women saw and heard the angel at the tomb, “they went out and ran away from the tomb. They were in a state of trembling and amazement, and said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid” (Mark 16:8, emphasis mine). In Luke’s Gospel we read, “Then they remembered his words, and when they returned from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest ” (Luke 24:8-9, emphasis mine). I believe the solution to this apparent contradiction is found in Matthew’s account: “So they left the tomb quickly, with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. But Jesus met them, saying, ‘Greetings!’ They came to him, held on to his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee. They will see me there’” (Matthew 28:8-10, emphasis mine).

By putting all these details in sequence, we get a pretty good idea of what happened from the time the women left the tomb till they spoke with all the disciples and others. The women saw and heard the angel, who instructed them to go tell the disciples that Jesus was alive and would meet them in Galilee. The women rush off toward the city, but they are in a virtual state of shock. They tell no one they encounter on their way what they have just seen and heard (this conforms with what Mark tells us). Then, as they are still on their way to the city, Jesus Himself appears to them. This is the first time they have actually seen Him. He tells the women to go and tell the others, and indeed they do. Thus, all statements (those of Mark, of Luke, and of Matthew) harmonize when viewed in terms of the entire event. I believe we must assume this to be the case in every instance where an apparent contradiction appears. The details that differ are not an occasion for wringing our hands, they are the opportunity for a fuller grasp of what happened. Let us keep that in mind as we approach our text.

We find that some of the Gospel accounts are particularly brief at this point. This is especially true of Matthew and Mark’s accounts. Matthew writes of one appearance of Jesus to the women (28:9-10) and of one appearance of Jesus to His disciples (28:16-20). Mark’s account is terse as well, depending to some degree upon where you think his account really ends. Mark does briefly mention the appearance of Jesus to the two men on the road to Emmaus (16:12-13; compare Luke 24:13-35). He also tells of the appearance of our Lord to the eleven disciples (Mark 16:13-18). Mark does not include an account of Jesus appearing to any of the women, but only of the angel speaking to them (16:1-8). Luke and John have the most lengthy accounts of the post-resurrection ministry of our Lord. Luke does not describe an appearance of Jesus to the women; he chooses instead to emphasize the appearance to the two men on the road to Emmaus (24:13-35). He then writes of our Lord’s subsequent appearance to the disciples (24:36-39) and then of His ascension (24:50-53). John focuses on four of the Lord’s post-resurrection appearances: first to Mary Magdalene (20:11-18), then to the disciples minus Thomas (20:19-25), then the disciples with Thomas (20:26-29), and finally to the seven disciples as they are fishing on the Sea of Tiberias (21:1-25).

Finally, each Gospel has something unique to add to the story. Matthew informs us that the tomb was secured by a Roman seal and guards, provided at the request of the Jewish religious leaders who recalled Jesus’ promise that He would rise from the dead in three days, and who were afraid His disciples would steal His body. Matthew then follows up with an account of how the guards and the religious leaders fabricated a cover story to explain the missing body of our Lord. Mark’s account is indeed unique, causing much discussion as to where his Gospel should end. Luke provides us with a detailed account of the appearance of our Lord to the two men on the road to Emmaus. John’s account is almost entirely unique. He alone describes the investigation of the tomb by both Peter and John (Luke 24:12 tells us only that Peter went to see the tomb), of the appearance of Jesus to Mary, of three appearances of Jesus to His disciples—more than any other Gospel. His focus on Thomas’ reluctance to believe in our Lord’s resurrection is unique. The appearance of Jesus to the seven disciples at the Sea of Tiberias is also unique, including our Lord’s three-fold question and exhortation to Peter. With this background information in mind, let us take a closer look at the first three post-resurrection appearances of our Lord, as described in John 20.

Jesus’ First Appearance: Mary Magdalene (John 20:10-18)

10 So the disciples went back to their homes. 11 But Mary stood outside the tomb and wept. While she was weeping, she bent over and looked into the tomb. 12 She saw two angels in white sitting where Jesus’ body had been lying, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” Mary replied, “They have taken my Lord away, and I do not know where they have put him!” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” Because she thought he was the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will take him.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus replied, “Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father. Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene came and informed the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them what Jesus had said to her.

It was Mary Magdalene who first arrived at the empty tomb in the early hours of the first day of the week. When she saw the stone had been removed, she seems to have jumped to a hasty conclusion—someone had taken the body. We do not know to whom the “they” (“They have taken the Lord from the tomb …”—verse 2) refers, and I doubt that Mary did either. I believe it is safe to say that it never occurred to her that any of the disciples took the body. She seems to have assumed it was either the Jews, or the Roman soldiers, or someone like “the gardener” (see 20:15). It never occurred to Mary that Jesus had been raised from the dead. She did not hope to see her risen Lord; she simply wished to locate His body and give it a proper burial.

A year or so ago a young woman’s body was stolen from its grave at Restland Cemetery, just a mile or so down the road from our church. It was a terrible thing to do, and the family was most eager to get the body back and see to it that it was buried properly, once for all. Someone had added insult to injury. Not only had this family lost a loved one, they suffered the agony of not knowing what had become of her body. Mary must have felt the same way this young woman’s family felt. She had devoted herself and her livelihood to following Jesus and supporting Him, along with some other women. She had watched helplessly as Jesus was tried, convicted, and crucified. She looked on as His body was laid in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. Now, she believed that the body of her Lord had been taken. It was almost too much to bear.

When Peter and John left the tomb, Mary remained behind. At first she stood outside the tomb, weeping. She stooped sufficiently to be able to see inside the tomb, apparently for the first time. Two angels were inside, clothed in white. An angel was sitting at each end of the place where Jesus’ body had been laid. From Mary’s response to these angels, one can hardly avoid the conclusion that Mary did not recognize these angels as angels. But then why should she? It is true that in Matthew’s account the one angel who sat on the stone had an appearance that was like lightening (28:3), and this fellow was so awesome the guards were terrified (28:4). But John does not tell us that these two angels were as awesome in appearance as the first angel was. And this should come as no surprise. Often in the Bible, angels simply look like men, so that their appearance alone would not reveal their true identity (see Genesis 18 and 19; Acts 1:10-11; Hebrews 13:2). It would seem that the two angels made no effort to identify themselves as angels, nor even to inform Mary that Jesus was not there. Perhaps it was because our Lord was going to do this personally.

The angels asked Mary, “Woman, why are you weeping?” The inference is that her tears were not really called for. They were tears of love, and of sorrow, but they were also ill-founded. In Mary’s mind, this was the darkest moment of her life, and yet her tears were based upon false assumptions: that Jesus was dead; that His body had been stolen; that she would not be able to find His body. If Mary had known the real reason why the tomb was empty, she would not have been crying.

Some have suggested that the angels gave a look of recognition when they saw Jesus behind Mary, outside the tomb. We do not know why, but for some reason Mary turned around to gaze at the risen Lord. She saw Him, but she did not recognize Him, in much the same way that I had seen Sally Rackets in the parking lot this past week, but did not recognize her. Mary’s vision may have been obscured by her tears, and Jesus may not have looked exactly the same as He did before His resurrection. He most certainly looked different from the way she saw Him last, from the horrible sight she could not erase from her mind—a badly beaten, bloody figure, who could hardly be recognized for all the abuse His body had taken: “Just as there were many who were appalled at him—his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness” (Isaiah 52:15, NIV).

Jesus asks Mary the same question the angels had asked her moments earlier: “Woman, why are you weeping?”, but He adds a further question, “Who are you looking for?”. Jesus knew why she was weeping. He knew that the empty tomb caused her great grief. He knew that she was seeking His body. His words indicate to Mary that He knows something about her dilemma. Mary’s grief still blinds her to the truth, but she nevertheless seems to discern that this “gardener” holds the key to her quest for the Lord’s body. She pleads with Him to convey any information He may have to her: “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will take him” (verse 15).193

Jesus answered with but one word—“Mary.” For Mary, seeing was not believing, but hearing was. Would you not love to have heard this one word just the way Mary did? That one word was spoken in the voice she knew so well. It was also spoken in the manner she knew so well. What love, what compassion, what healing was conveyed by this one word—“Mary.” I cannot help but recall the words of our Lord, spoken earlier:

1 “I tell you the solemn truth, the one who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The doorkeeper opens the door for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought all his own sheep out, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow himbecause they recognize his voice. 5 They will never follow a stranger, but will run away from him, because they do not recognize the stranger’s voice” (John 10:1-5, emphasis mine).

Immediately Mary recognized that it was her Lord, and called Him “Rabboni” (or teacher). We know from our Lord’s words that Mary has already locked Him in her grasp. It is as though she intended to keep holding on to Him, so that He would never leave her again. And it is because of this that Jesus responds, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God’” (John 20:17, NAB). I must differ with the NET Bible translation here (“Do not touch me, …”) for two reasons. First, it is not that Jesus could not be touched. In but a few verses we will read, “Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and examine my hands. Extend your hand and put it into my side. Do not continue in your unbelief, but believe’” (John 20:27). Why would Jesus tell Mary not to touch Him, and instruct Thomas to do so? In Matthew 28:9, Jesus allowed the women to take hold of His feet and worship Him. Second, the tense of the imperative is present, and this grammatical construction often conveys the thought of ceasing to do something.194 Jesus is not trying to prevent Mary from touching Him; He is trying to make it clear to her that He is going to leave this world to return to His Father. She should not suppose that by clinging to Him she can prevent His departure.

John does not include the command which Jesus gave to Mary, though it is clear that He instructed her as to what she was to tell the disciples (20:18). She who was the first to go out to the tomb was the first to see the risen Lord, and apparently the first to be privileged to share the good news of His resurrection with others.

Before we go on to the next appearance of our Lord, I would like to make a comment or two. I would like you to note that our Lord’s first appearance is not to one of the eleven disciples, but to Mary Magdalene. She will never be one of the apostles. She will never write a Gospel. She will never become a great preacher or leader. Nevertheless, our Lord chose to manifest Himself to her first. Why do you think this was? I would call your attention to three important factors. First, she had a great love for her Master, as He did for her. Second, she seemed to be the one with the greatest measure of grief. I am reminded of the words of our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are those who mourn, because they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). In the context of this sermon, Jesus did not promise blessings to those who were the greatest, or the most powerful, but to those in the greatest need, with the greatest desire for spiritual things. There is a third reason: Mary was there first. Jesus revealed Himself first to the one who was there first. Mary came to the tomb early, because of her great love, and her great grief, and Jesus revealed Himself to her, first.

I would also like to point out an important lesson which this text teaches us: When we come to see things as they really are, we will find that many of our tears were unnecessary. To put it in different words, Many of our tears are ill-founded. Both the angels and our Lord questioned Mary as to why she was weeping. The reason she gave was that her Lord’s body had been taken, and she did not know where to find it. The truth of the matter was that Jesus was not dead; He had been resurrected. And beyond this, His body was not missing at all, and no one had taken it. Jesus did not need to be found by Mary; Jesus found Mary.

We know that in heaven there will be no more tears: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death will not exist any more—or mourning, or crying, or pain; the former things have ceased to exist” (Revelation 21:4). Why will there be no more tears in heaven? The first answer is because there will no longer be those things which cause us to cry—no more suffering, no more sin, no more injustice, no more death. But the second reason is that we shall then see all of our sorrows in an entirely different light. We shall see them in the context of the perfect work God was achieving through the things which caused us to weep.

When you and I get to heaven, we will see things in a very different light, and when we do, we will discover that many of our tears of sorrow were as groundless as Mary’s tears were. I am not saying that Christians should not cry. What I am saying is that a good deal of our sorrow is the result of our inadequate knowledge of what God is doing in and through our adversities. When Christians get to heaven, they will see the entire picture, and thus they will find that everything that has ever happened to them is for their good and His glory. No wonder there will be no tears in heaven! Our comfort and joy may not come as quickly as Mary’s did, but it will be just as great, just as real, and it is just as certain.

Jesus’ Second Appearance: The Disciples, Minus Thomas (John 20:19-23)

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the disciples had gathered together and locked the doors of the place for fear of the Jewish authorities. Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you!” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you! Just as the Father has sent me, I also send you.” 22 And after he said this, he breathed195 on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you retain anyone’s sins, they are retained.”

John very kindly does not tell us what Mark and Luke record in their accounts—that when the disciples were told that Jesus was alive, they refused to believe it without seeing Him:

9 Early on the first day of the week, after he arose, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had driven out seven demons. 10 She went out and told those who were with him, while they were mourning and weeping. 11 And when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe (Mark 16:9-11; see also verses 12-13).

10 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. 11 But these words seemed like pure nonsense to them, and they did not believe them (Luke 24:10-11).

It was on the first day of the week—the same day that Mary saw Jesus—and the disciples were gathered together behind locked doors. They were afraid of the Jews, and rightly so. They were disciples of Jesus, and He had just been crucified for sedition. And now, the story was circulating that they had stolen the body of Jesus (Matthew 28:11-15). Remember that the tomb was sealed by Rome, and guarded by Roman soldiers. The disciples may have felt in greater danger here than on any previous occasion. They must have been deeply troubled by the reports they had heard that Jesus was alive. What were they to think of all this? What were they to do? They did not know.

And so the disciples met together behind locked doors. We are told that one disciple was missing—Thomas. We are not told why he was absent. There is no particular blame cast on him for his absence. In some miraculous way, Jesus enters the room, even though the door is locked. We do not know what the disciples saw, but John certainly leaves us with the impression that our Lord’s entrance was unusual—one more proof of His resurrection. Our Lord twice repeated the words, “Peace be with you” (20:19, 21). This certainly reminds us of what Jesus had said earlier to these men:

25 “I have spoken these things while staying with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and will cause you to remember everything I said to you. 27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; I do not give it to you as the world does. Do not let your hearts be distressed or lacking in courage. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I am. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe” (John 14:24-29, emphasis mine).

It would appear that this was our Lord’s first appearance to the disciples after His resurrection. If this is so, it may be the same appearance that Luke describes, providing us with additional details:

30 When he had taken his place at the table with them, he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 At this point their eyes were opened and they recognized him. Then he vanished out of their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us while he was speaking with us on the road, while he was explaining the scriptures to us?” 33 So they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem. They found the eleven and those with them gathered together 34 and saying, “The Lord has really risen, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how they recognized him when he broke the bread. 36 While they were saying these things, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37 But they were startled and terrified, thinking they saw a spirit. 38 Then he said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself! Touch me and see; because a spirit does not have flesh and bones like you see that I have.” 40 Then when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 And while they still could not believe it for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 So they gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in front of them (Luke 24:30-43, emphasis mine).

Jesus would have appeared to Mary and the other women by now, and they have already announced to the disciples that Jesus was alive. But the disciples refused to believe. Then, the two men who talked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus arrived to tell the disciples of their encounter with the risen Lord. Once again, the disciples refused to believe:

12 After this he appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. 13 They went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them. 14 Then he appeared to the eleven themselves, while they were eating, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen him resurrected (Mark 16:12-14, emphasis mine).

John spares us from yet another account of the unbelief of the disciples, and of Jesus rebuking them for their unbelief. While their unbelief deserved rebuke, John moves on to tell us how Jesus convinced His disciples of His resurrection. He shows them His nail-scarred hands and His spear-pierced side. There was no mistaking the fact that His wounds, now healed, were incurred at His crucifixion. It was Jesus, and there was no denying it, incredible as that may be.

The disciples had a job to do, and they were being left behind so that they could accomplish it. This task is summed up in the “Great Commission”:

18 Then Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).

To accomplish this task, the disciples are in need of divine enablement. This was promised by our Lord in the Upper Room Discourse (John 13–16):

15 “If you love me, you will obey my commandments. 16 Then I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it does not see him or know him. But you know him, because he resides with you and will be in you. … 25 I have spoken these things while staying with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and will cause you to remember everything I said to you” (John 14:15-17, 25-26).

26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me; 27 and you also will testify, because you have been with me from the beginning” (John 15:26-27).

7 “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I am going away. For if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong concerning sin and righteousness and judgment— 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned. 12 I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own authority, but will speak whatever he hears, and will tell you what is to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will receive from me what is mine and will tell it to you. 15 Everything that the Father has is mine; that is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what is mine and will tell it to you. 16 In a little while you will see me no longer; again after a little while, you will see me” (John 16:7-16).

I had never noticed before that in His high priestly prayer in John 17, Jesus does not ask the Father to send the Spirit, which He has promised in chapters 14-16. Indeed, the Holy Spirit is not even mentioned in this prayer! How can this be? I believe that while our Lord prepared His disciples for the coming of the Spirit in the Upper Room Discourse, He did not intend to send the Spirit until after His ascension. In other words, the Holy Spirit would not come until Pentecost. Some suggest that in our text Jesus is temporarily bestowing the Spirit upon His disciples, until Pentecost comes. I don’t agree.

In the first place, John does not report anything out of the ordinary happening as a result of our Lord’s actions. The disciples are not transformed, as they will be at Pentecost. The gospel is not preached. In fact, the next thing to happen in John’s Gospel is that some of the disciples go fishing. I do not believe that the Holy Spirit was immediately bestowed upon the disciples at this moment, as a result of what Jesus says and does. I believe Jesus is symbolically bestowing the Spirit upon His disciples, although it will not actually take place until Pentecost. Jesus will have ascended to the Father then, and so this gesture indicates to the disciples that when the Spirit comes at Pentecost, it will be as a result of what Jesus had promised earlier, and symbolically indicates here.

I wish to be very clear here, both as to what I am saying, and as to what I am not saying. I am saying that our Lord is here symbolically bestowing His Holy Spirit on the church. This symbolic act will literally be fulfilled at Pentecost. Jesus wants it to be clear that it is He who is sending His Spirit to indwell and to empower His church. I am not saying that the Spirit is given at the moment Jesus breathes upon His disciples. I am not saying that this is a temporary bestowal of the Spirit, until the permanent coming of the Spirit at Pentecost.

Specifically, I believe that what Jesus is symbolically bestowing is the coming of the Holy Spirit upon His disciples as those who will act as His apostles. Earlier, Jesus outlined some of the ministries of the Holy Spirit. For example, the Spirit would call Jesus’ teaching to their minds. He would convict the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment. But here, none of these ministries seems to be in view. Here, the Holy Spirit is given to the apostles so that they can either proclaim the forgiveness of sins, or the retention of sins. I do not think this text justifies some priestly hierarchy, who hears confessions and grants absolution from one’s sins. Instead, I believe Jesus is giving the apostles the authority to declare men and women to be cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. I believe we see an example of this in the Book of Acts:

1 Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles too had accepted the word of God. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers took issue with him, 3 saying, “You went to uncircumcised men and shared a meal with them.” 4 But Peter began and explained it to them point by point, saying, 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, an object something like a large sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came to me. 6 As I stared I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild animals, reptiles, and birds of the air. 7 I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; slaughter and eat!’ 8 But I said, ‘Certainly not, Lord, for nothing defiled or ritually unclean has ever entered my mouth!’ 9 But the voice replied a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, you must not consider ritually unclean.’ 10 This happened three times, and then everything was pulled up to heaven again. 11 At that very moment, three men sent to me from Caesarea approached the house where we were staying. 12 The Spirit told me to accompany them without hesitation. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s house. 13 He informed us how he had seen an angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter, 14 who will speak a message to you by which you and your entire household will be saved.’ 15 Then as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them just as he did on us at the beginning. 16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, as he used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 Therefore if God gave them the same gift as he also gave us after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to hinder God?” 18 When they heard this, they ceased their objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted the repentance that leads to life even to the Gentiles” (Acts 11:1-18, emphasis mine).

It takes a monumental work of God to convince the Jews that God has purposed from eternity past to save Gentiles (see Acts 22:21-23). Our Lord had promised to send the Spirit, which He did at Pentecost. After Pentecost, the Holy Spirit directed Peter to go to the house of a Gentile and to proclaim the gospel to those gathered in his house. The Spirit then came upon all those who had come to faith, thus indicating that the gospel (the forgiveness of sins) was not just for Jews alone, but for all who believe, Jew or Gentile. It is difficult for Gentile believers today to grasp how hard it was for Jews to accept the salvation of the Gentiles. Even the apostles found this difficult. As the Spirit came upon the apostles, this truth was embraced, proclaimed, and defended by them. By means of the Spirit’s guidance and illumination, the truth that the gospel was for Jews and Gentiles was declared by the apostles, and particularly by Paul:

11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh—who are called “uncircumcision” by the so-called “circumcision” that is performed in the body by hands—12 that you were at that time without the Messiah, alienated from the citizenship of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, the one who turned both groups into one and who destroyed the middle wall of partition, the hostility, in his flesh, 15 when he nullified the law of commandments in decrees. The purpose of this was to create in himself the two into one new man, thus making peace, 16 and to reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by which the hostility has been killed. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; 18 so that through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer foreigners and non-citizens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of God’s household, 20 because you have been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:11-22).

1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— 2 If indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that by revelation the divine secret was made known to me, as I wrote before briefly. 4 When reading this, you will be able to understand my insight into this secret of Christ. 5 Now this secret was not disclosed to mankind in former generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit, 6 namely, that through the gospel the Gentiles are fellow-heirs, fellow-members of the body, and fellow-partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus. 7 I became a servant of this gospel according to the gift of God’s grace that was given to me by the exercise of his power. 8 To me—less than the least of all the saints—this grace was given, to proclaim to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ 9 and to enlighten everyone about the divine secret’s plan—a secret that has been hidden for ages in the God who has created all things (Ephesians 3:1-9).

Jesus’ Third Appearance: The Disciples, Including Thomas (John 20:24-31)

24 Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he replied, “Unless I see the wounds from the nails in his hands, and put my finger into the wounds from the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe it!” 26 Eight days later the disciples were again together in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and examine my hands. Extend your hand and put it into my side. Do not continue in your unbelief, but believe.” 28 Thomas replied to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are the people who have not seen and yet have believed.”

The disciples seem to have been convinced of our Lord’s resurrection, except for Thomas who was not there. He did not see the resurrected Lord, nor did he behold the Savior’s wounded hands and side. And so it was that when Thomas was told that Jesus had appeared to them, he refused to believe. He insisted that in order for him to believe, he would have to see Jesus with his own eyes. He would have to personally inspect the Lord’s nail-pierced hands and His pierced side. Only then would he believe. Before we become too harsh with Thomas, let me remind you that the other disciples did not believe until they saw, either. Thomas is really demanding to see the same things that convinced the others. He is not asking for anything more than what the others saw.

Eight days passed. Apparently Jesus did not appear to any of His disciples during this period of time. The disciples were all together once again, including Thomas. The doors were locked, but in spite of this Jesus arrived and stood in their midst.196 Jesus repeats the greeting He gave at His earlier appearance, “Peace be with you” (verse 26; see also verses 19, 21). Immediately, Jesus turns His attention to Thomas. He summons Thomas to come and to put his finger where the nails had pierced His hands, and to feel His side where the spear had pierced it. He challenged Thomas to forsake his unbelief and to believe.

We do not know whether Thomas actually pressed his fingers into our Lord’s nail-pierced hands or not. Since John does not tell us that Thomas actually felt the wounds of our Lord, it may well be that after seeing Jesus alive he no longer required this proof. It may have taken this sight to convince Thomas, but once convinced, Thomas got it right. He does not merely profess a belief that Jesus has risen from the dead. Thomas professes to believe in what the resurrection proved—that Jesus was God, and that He was Lord (verse 28). Thomas now has it right.

Bible translations handle our Lord’s response differently. Some render the first words of verse 29 as a question, “Have you believed because you have seen Me?” (as does the NET Bible). Others render it as a statement: “Because you have seen me, you have believed” (NIV, KJV, NKJV). The difference is not important. The contrast Jesus seeks to emphasize is between those who must see in order to believe, and those who will believe without seeing. Peter seems to take up this same thought in his first epistle:

8 You have not seen him, but you love him. You do not see him now but you believe in him, and so you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, 9 because you are attaining the goal of your faith—the salvation of your souls (1 Peter 1:8-9).

It is not too hard to see what John is leading up to. John is writing this Gospel for those who have never seen the risen Lord. He has selected just a few of the many miraculous signs Jesus performed to demonstrate that Jesus is who He claimed to be, who John proclaims Him to be.

The Bottom Line: Believing Jesus Is the Christ, the Son of God (John 20:30-31)

30 Now Jesus performed many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples that are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

If there is one thing I despise, it is deceptive advertising. I hate those phone calls that come from unidentified (“out of the area”) sources, which begin with the assurance that the caller is not “selling” anything. John could not be more open and direct about the purpose of this book. I believe John has two conclusions. The first is found in chapter 20. It is aimed at those who have not yet come to faith in Jesus Christ. The second is aimed at those who have believed, and it is found in chapter 21.

In our text, John informs his unbelieving readers about the “bottom line” of all that he has written. John has one goal for the unbeliever: He wants to demonstrate as clearly and as forcefully as he can that Jesus not only claimed to be the Christ (the Messiah), the Son of God, but that by many miraculous signs He proved it! The last and greatest of these signs was His resurrection from the dead:

38 Then some of the experts in the law along with some Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.” 39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For just as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish for three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. 41 The people of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; yet something greater than Jonah is here! 42 The Queen of the South will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; yet something greater than Solomon is here! (Matthew 12:38-42).

While the resurrection of Jesus from the dead was prophesied in the Old Testament, and by our Lord Himself, John makes it very clear that the disciples were not predisposed to believe it. Only after the most forceful and compelling evidence would the disciples believe Jesus really was alive. And having become convinced of this great truth, the disciples never ceased to proclaim it. The resurrection of Jesus is the final and compelling proof that He is the Son of God and the Savior of the world:

1 From Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God 2 that he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, 3 concerning his Son who was a descendant of David with respect to the flesh, 4 who was appointed the Son-of-God-in-power according to the Holy Spirit by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 1:1-4).

Believing in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, is the only way God has provided for the forgiveness of your sins and for the gift of eternal life. By believing in Him, you will be saved:

9 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. 10 For with the heart one believes and thus has a right standing and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation. 11 For the scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between the Jew and the Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all, who richly blesses all who call on him. 13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:9-13).

11 He came to what was his own, but his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who have received him—those who believe in his name—he has given the right to become God’s children 13 —children not born by human parents or by human desire or a husband’s decision, but by God (John 1:11-13).

In many ways, the Gospel of John is not a simple book. But its message to the unsaved is incredibly simple, and John sums it up in these last verses of chapter 20. If you have never come to believe in Jesus as the Christ, the promised Messiah, the Son of God, then John has written this book to you, and for you, to give you all the evidence you need to believe in Him. Have you believed? This is the most important decision you will ever make. It determines your eternal destiny.


193 Some have criticized Mary for being so nave as to assume she will be able to carry away the body of our Lord. They are missing the point. She is not thinking in terms of logistics here. She is simply saying that if this “gardener” will tell her where to find the body, she will see to it that it is returned to its proper place. Of course she will get help to accomplish this. For now, she just wants to know where His body has been placed.

194 A. T. Robertson comments, “Present middle imperative in prohibition with genitive case, meaning “cease clinging to me” rather than “Do not touch me.” Jesus allowed the women to take hold of his feet … and worship … as we read in Mt 28:9. The prohibition here reminds Mary that the previous personal fellowship by sight, sound, and touch no longer exists and that the final state of glory was not yet begun. Jesus checks Mary’s impulsive eagerness.” Archibald Thomas Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1931), 6 vols. Vol. V, p. 312.

195 I am reminded that the breath of God is the source of life (Genesis 2:7; Job 33:4; Psalm 33:6; Ezekiel 37:9), even as it is also the means of divine judgment (2 Samuel 22:16; Job 4:9; Psalm 18:15). The breath of God is sometimes a symbol for His Spirit (Job 33:4). In a symbolic way, our Lord is breathing life into His church.

Both the NET Bible and the NIV smooth out the translation here. The NIV reads: “A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’” (John 14:26). Both the old and the new King James Versions and the NAS leave the translation a bit rough, in order to convey the unusual word order: “After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, ‘Peace be with you’” (NAS). “And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, ‘Peace to you!’” (NKJ). The original text seems to be emphasizing the fact that Jesus entered the room, in spite of the fact that the doors were shut and locked. (On seeing and believing, http://www.bible.org)

Gary Habermas – The Minimal Facts Approach to the Resurrection

Gary Robert Habermas (born 1950) is an American historian, New Testament scholar, and philosopher of religion. He is a renowned and prolific author, lecturer, and debater on the topic of the Resurrection of Jesus. (Wikipedia)

In this interview with staff apologist Jacob Daniel (apologetics.com), world-renowned scholar and authority Dr. Gary Habermas presents his ‘Minimal Facts’ approach for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He argues that, today, the scholars in secular world are moving more towards accepting the data on resurrection as credible facts. He encourages serious thinkers by pointing out that, it is truly a favorable and positive era to study resurrection and one must go where the evidences lead. VIDEO by apologeticscom Photo credit Wikipedia

Florin Ianovici – Vinovatul de Serviciu!

Photo credit blog.eduwill.net

Am descoperit in dragoste o latura despre care nu stiam prea multe: vinovatul de serviciu!

Cand esti mama iubesti cum nimeni nu poate intelege. Te zdrobesti, uiti de tine, gasesti putere in sleire, te ridici si mergi inainte de dragul copiilor. Si in toate te alegi cu mustrari, taceri reprobabile, sictir pedagogic pentru ca esti vinovatul de serviciu!

Cand esti prieten iti faci un abonament la telefon mai mare, te rogi si postesti pentru necazurile prietenului, stai cu el cand toti fug de el, te lupti pentru el cum nu o faci pentru tine ca mai apoi sa te trezesti stupefiat ca esti vinovatul de serviciu!

Cand slujesti ridici mana si spui: ma duc eu cand altii stau cu privirea coborata, alergi pentru Dumnezeu si semeni, furi timpul copiilor tai si a partenerului tau ca sa il daruiesti strainului, renunti la visele tale, te cheltuiesti in tot pentru altii ca ma apoi sa auzi ca esti vinovatul de serviciu!

Copiii, prietenii, cei carora le slujesti spun: vinovat! Nu pentru o zi, nu pentru o fapta ci vinovatul de serviciu!

Imi rasuna in inima cuvintele sfinte: Isaia 53:5 „Dar El era străpuns pentru păcatele noastre, zdrobit pentru fărădelegile noastre. Pedeapsa care ne dă pacea a căzut peste El, şi prin rănile Lui suntem tămăduiţi.”

Mai vrea cineva slujba dragostei?

Ce e nou la PAGINA Florin Ianovici?

Florin Ianovici – Cea mai saraca/bogata familie din biserica

Photo credit www.bbc.co.uk

Transcript : Agnus Dei – Florin Ianovici: Am citit o intamplare trimisa de un frate, acum doua zile, si spune asa: Unei familii cu 7 copii i-a murit tata si a ramas mama tanara cu 7 copii, cu 4 baieti si 3 fete.

Si ei spuneau asa: Mama noastra, o femeie extrem de credincioasa, tot timpul ne rugam. Cautam pe Domnul Dumnezeu si unul dintre lucrurile pe care mama ni l-a spus mereu este sa fim credinciosi si sa continuam sa mergem la scoala, pentru ca educatia va fi extrem de importanta. Familia aceasta o ducea foarte greu. Povestea fratele cum mancau cartofi, n-aveau decat aceleasi haine cand mergeau in biserica. De foarte multa vreme aveau aceleasi haine si sa ne ierte Domnul Dumnezeu ca uneori vedem omul si nu-i cunoastem povestea si judecam pe om dupa ceea ce vedem, nu dupa ceea ce este in spatele lui. Multi copii au ras de ei. Povesteau cum au trait aceasta umilinta.

Dar vedeti, Dumnezeu da o alta stralucire atunci cand lumea te condamna in saracie. La un moment dat, pastorul bisericii anunta si spune asa: Vom avea o strangere in 4 saptamani pentru ca vrem sa facem o colecta pentru cea mai saraca familie a bisericii si vrem sa strangem bani pentru ei. S-au dus acasa si asa o bucurie mare au avut in suflet si au zis: „Mama, noi vrem sa strangem pentru aceasta familie saraca si cred ca putem sa facem economii.” Spunea ca au renuntat la cartofi si au mancat mult mai putini. Stingeau lumina seara, au renuntat sa se incalzeasca. Copiii au facut tot ce au putut. S-au dus, au alergat, au facut tot ce au putut la vecini, ca sa stranga bani. In sfarsit, dupa o luna, copiii au adunat 3 bancnote de cate $20. Si se gandeau: Vom darui celei mai sarace familii din biserica.

S-au dus la biserica si copiii erau pregatiti cu 3 bancnote de cate $20. Fratele este acuma in Statele Unite, in Ohio, unde a si trait, si mamica lui avea si ea $10. Economia lor pe o luna; mancasera putin, statusera in frig, nici lumina seara – o stingeau devreme ca sa faca economie. Si a venit momentul. Pastorul a zis: „Facem acuma strangerea  pentru cea mai saraca familie din biserica si cand a venit rezultatul de la o colecta de 80-90 de membrii, se stransesera $87. Copiii dadusera $60, cu cei $10 de la mamica lor au fost $70 de dolari. Iar cei care aveau haine bune, ghete bune, toti laolalta $17. In sfarsit, ei au plecat acasa. Cand au auzit ca s-a strans $87, stiau ca au dat $70. Au zis: „Noi suntem cea mai bogata familie din biserica.” Ei au plecat acasa cu o bucurie. Asa se uitau unul la altul cu mandrie, cu demnitate, ca unii care au stiut ca au facut un lucru grozav.

Dupa amiaza a venit pastorul si intr-un plic le-a daruit aceasta suma de $87 si le-a spus: „Stiti, ne-am gandit sa va ajutam.” Cand a luat acest plic, mama  s-a rosit la fata, copiii au pus capul in jos, si a spus: „A, deci, noi suntem cea mai saraca familie din biserica?” Si o rusine fara margine i-a cuprins. Din momentul acela, copiii n-au mai vrut sa mearga la biserica. Din momentul acela, copiii n-au mai vrut sa mearga la scoala. Mama a zis: „Noi trebuie sa mergem inainte. Noi nu venim decat de dragul lui Dumnezeu.”

In sfarsit, cu multa greutate, copiii au reusit sa mearga la biserica. Le era rusine: „Acuma toti vor stii ca noi suntem cea mai saraca familie din biserica, cand, de fapt, noi credem ca suntem cea mai bogata familie din biserica.” Si doua saptamani au trait cu aceasta rusine fantastica, pana in ziua cand in biserica a venit un misionar.

A venit un misionar in biserica si a prezentat proiectul lui si a zis: „Stiti, eu nu pot pleca din aceasta biserica fara un minim de $100 , pentru ca am venit in lucrare, nu voi putea sta in picioare.” Si pastorul a zis: „Facem o colecta si eu cred ca vom strange un minim de $100. Si in momentul acela, toti au stiut ce sa faca cu banii. Toti cei $70 care ii stransesera, plus cei $17 care primise, $87 au pus in cos ca sa doneze acestui misionar. Cand s-au strans banii, s-au strans $102.

Citeste mai departe, predica, aici….

PAGINA Florin Ianovici AICI

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