Monthly Archives: July 2011

Un sermón sobre el infierno

1) Le pregunté por la Escritura de esta mañana la lectura de venir de la RV.
2) En Lc. 01:01 esta traducción utiliza las palabras “ciertísimas”.

3) A partir de hoy vamos a ver algunas cosas que los cristianos creen, pero que no son salvos no puede.
4) El material de hoy se centra en el lugar comúnmente se llama el infierno.

VIVIMOS EN UN TIEMPO cuando un número creciente de personas que no creen en un lugar llamado infierno.

Muchas uno) ver a Dios como amor del Antiguo Testamento para crear cada vez un lugar, y mucho menos enviar a alguien allí.
b) También están aquellos que ven el infierno como poco más que una creencia antigua de Judios y Cristianos.
c) Otros reconocen que la Biblia habla acerca del infierno, pero esta información es considerada como simbólica.
d) Este modo de pensar, dice el infierno no es más que el ex basurero en la tierra de Israel

2) Cuando se trata de la Biblia o el tema o cualquier otro tenemos que dejar que las Escrituras hablan por sí mismos.
3) Si abrimos la Palabra de Dios, ¿qué decir de la palabra infierno?

4) Nuestro primer paso a considerar viene de la montaña. 25:41.
a) Este versículo no utiliza la palabra “infierno”, pero sí hablar de un “fuego” que es “eterna”.
b) Como se verá a partir de los textos posteriores, esta descripción se asocia con el lugar llamado “infierno”.
c) Leer Mt. 25:41.

5) En este versículo, así como la información que la precede, encontramos varias verdades importantes.
6) Si retrocedemos un poco para el versículo 32 nos encontramos con que este versículo implica.
7) El versículo 32 dice que “todas las naciones” serán reunidas delante del Señor al final de los tiempos.
8) Jesús separará a la gente de todas partes del mundo, como el pastor separa las ovejas de las cabras.
a) Las “cabras” (guardar) escuchará el “Apartaos de mí” comando en el versículo 41.
b) El versículo 41 describe el destino de los incrédulos como entrar en un “fuego eterno”.
c) Nos asociamos justamente la palabra “fuego” con el dolor y así es como el Señor usó este término.
d) Jesús afirmó que no son salvos van a sufrir.
e) En el libro de Apocalipsis el fuego eterno que se llama el “lago de fuego”.
f) Cinco veces en Apocalipsis 19-20 Juan describe el infierno como un “lago de fuego”.

9) La próxima vez que nos metemos en una piscina o una bañera, trate de imaginar que se trata de fuego en lugar de agua.
10) Imagínese lo que sería como para que nuestro cuerpo sumergido en un gran calor en lugar de agua cómodo.
11) Además, trate de imaginar una existencia donde no podemos salir de este lago de fuego.
12) Todo nuestro ser se encuentra inmersa en un charco de dolor y hay cero alivio.

13) Monte. 25:41 No puede ser suficiente para concluir que los incrédulos van a sufrir por la eternidad.
a) Jesús dijo que el “fuego” (el lugar de castigo) va a ser eterna, pero la gente realmente sufre por toda la eternidad?
b) Esta pregunta es contestada en Judas 7, otro verso que planeo leer.
c) Antes de leer este pasaje, vamos a hacer una observación más de la montaña. 25.
d) El Monte. 25:41 nos dice que no son salvos, junto con el “diablo y sus ángeles” irán al infierno.
e) El infierno es para todos aquellos que no están en el lado de Dios y la salvación.

14) Judas escribió un libro de la Biblia muy corto, pero él pensó que era importante hablar sobre el lugar llamado infierno.
15) El hecho de que el infierno es mencionado en un libro tan corto demuestra la importancia de este tema.

16) Esto es lo que se dice en Judas 7 – LEA.

17) Judas sabía que había gente en el pasado que habían desaparecido después de “carne extraña”.
18) Esta “carne extraña” es un ejemplo de “fornicación” – el pecado sexual frecuente y Gomorra.
19) Judas no sólo escribió sobre el infierno, él habló acerca de las relaciones del mismo sexo.
20) Estos dos temas son tan importantes que están incluidos en un libro que tiene sólo 25 versos.

21) Los que vivían en el área de Sodoma amaba el pecado y que comenzó a sufrir después de salir de esta tierra.
22) Los sodomitas y sus vecinos ahora “sufriendo el castigo del fuego eterno.”
a) Cuando la gente pregunta si el que no haya guardado se enfrentan al sufrimiento sin fin después de esta vida termina, la respuesta es ¡sí!
b) No hay un lugar llamado infierno y los inconversos pasarán la eternidad en este lugar.
c) Esta información es inaceptable para muchos en nuestros días y el tiempo.
d) las personas con educación superior a veces se burlan de la idea del castigo eterno.
e) Cuando se trata de asuntos religiosos, y esto incluye el infierno, tenemos que mantener algo en mente.

23) De todas las personas que han vivido sobre la tierra, sólo uno tiene todos los hechos acerca del infierno.
24) Esta persona es Jesús. El infierno es un lugar creado y el Señor estaba involucrado en su creación.
25) Col. 1:16 dice que “todas las cosas” se han creado a través del Señor.
a) Si alguien sabe cómo es el infierno y nos puede decir acerca de él, esa persona es Jesucristo.
b) Si 10 hombres y los hombres 10.000 decir el infierno no es real, sus afirmaciones son falsas, ya que no está de acuerdo w / el Señor.

26) Cuando nos fijamos en la Biblia encontramos que Jesús escogió para hablar acerca del infierno.
27) De hecho, él habló acerca del infierno con más frecuencia que cualquier otro escritor de la Biblia.

28) Cuando se trata de este tema tenemos que ser inteligentes: Tenemos que escuchar a la persona que tenía una mano en su creación.

29) El que tenía una mano en el infierno fundación tenía varias cosas acerca de ello, algunos de los cuales viene de la montaña. 5.
un Mt). 5:30 es un buen resumen sobre la visión de Jesús del infierno.
b) En este versículo, Jesús dijo que nadie quiere ir a este lugar.
c) El Monte. 5:30 dice que es mejor para “cortar la mano derecha” en vez de ir al infierno.
d) El versículo 29 de este capítulo dice que es mejor de arrancar nuestro ojo derecho de ir al infierno.

30) Dos capítulos más tarde – Mt. 07:19 – Jesús dijo que aquellos que lo hacen “no dar frutos buenos” irán al infierno.
31) Jesús creía que el infierno es un lugar real y que los seres humanos se va a terminar allí.
32) Monte. 08:12 dijo que habrá algunos “hijos del reino” que terminan en el infierno.
33) Esta será una experiencia tan dolorosa que Jesús dijo que habrá “lloro y el crujir de dientes.”

34) La humanidad está “perdido” – Luc. 19:10, pero nuestro mundo muchas veces no entiende este hecho.
a) Nuestro mundo habla en términos de ser “buena gente” y que Dios es un “Dios bueno y amoroso.”
b) Dios es un Dios bueno, es por eso que Jesús vino al mundo.
c) Si la gente no tiene sus pecados lavados, se pierden y perecerá.
d) Dios dice que el pecado (la transgresión de las leyes de Dios) separa al hombre de Dios (Isaías 59:2).
e) Las consecuencias de la separación causada por el pecado es el infierno a menos que el hombre es perdonado.

El infierno es un lugar real y existe porque los pecados del hombre no puede quedar impune.

a) Escucha lo que Jesús dijo en Mateo. 16:27 – LEA.
b) Las personas que van a ser “premiado por sus obras.”
c) Los apóstoles Pablo dijo que el pecado paga una recompensa o un salario, Rom. 6:23 dice que este salario o recompensa es la muerte.
d) El pecado lleva a la gente a la pena y el castigo no cesa en el más allá.

2) La mayoría de nosotros hemos visto una película o un informe de noticias de alguien que fue golpeado.
3) Los golpes podrían haber llegado por la policía, las pandillas, o un solo criminal.
4) Imagina ser golpeado con algo parecido a una porra, hasta el punto en el que no puede levantarse.
5) Al día siguiente, son demasiado dolor para moverse y alguien viene y golpea a nosotros un poco más.
6) Esto ocurre al día siguiente, al día siguiente, y al día siguiente.
7) Imagina una paliza al día durante los próximos 50 o 100 años.
8) Si esto fuera nuestra suerte en la vida, nos gustaría morir.
9) En Lc. 12:48 Jesús habló acerca de las personas que “muchos azotes” en la eternidad.
10) Día tras día el castigo en el lugar llamado infierno continúa.
a) Esta mañana me presente que todos los que terminan en el infierno se quiere morir – se desvanecen de la existencia.
b) Esto no puede y no va a suceder.
c) El precio del pecado es tan grande que la deuda no puede ser pagado por nosotros por lo que el castigo no puede terminar.
d) Juan describió el punto de esta manera en Apocalipsis 14:11 – LEA.

MUCHAS minimizar o negar la idea de un infierno, pero cualquiera que tome la Biblia seriamente SABE estas afirmaciones y enseñanzas son FALSO.

a) En el Monte. 13:42 Jesús describe el infierno como un “horno de fuego” donde hay “llanto y el crujir de dientes.”
b) Estoy dispuesto a aceptar que la descripción de Jesús es, sin duda figurativo.
c) Es difícil imaginar cómo diablos puede ser un lago literal y un horno, al mismo tiempo.
d) No estoy seguro de que la gente tenga “dientes”, al menos tal como las conocemos, en la eternidad.

2) Las personas que están en el infierno no van a preocuparse por si se encuentran en un horno o un lago.
3) Su preocupación se acerca el dolor y el sufrimiento incesante.
4) Monte. 22:13 describe el infierno como un lugar de “tinieblas de afuera”.
5) 2 Tes. 1:9 dice: este es un lugar de la “destrucción” y el castigo donde la gente está alejado de Dios.
6) No importa cuántos y no importa cómo la gente siempre clama por Dios en el infierno, no habrá respuesta.

7) Si Rev. 20:07 se refiere al infierno, y algunos piensan que no, el infierno también se describe como una cárcel.
8) Los que terminan en el infierno son esencialmente atrapados en esta área para la eternidad.
9) No habrá manera de apelar o no carcelero de elaborar un plan de escape con.
10) Los inconversos no reciben ninguna ayuda, sin períodos de descanso, y no hay aire acondicionado en el infierno.

11) Nuestro mundo se encuentra el infierno de ser un tema ofensivo y este hecho hace que algunos cristianos incómodos.
12) Cuando el mundo se pregunta si creemos que un Dios amoroso enviaría gente a un lugar eterno de castigo …
13) Algunos comienzan a pedalear hacia atrás.
a) La Biblia no nos deja ningún margen de maniobra en este tema.
b) El infierno existe y un montón de gente va allí.
c) Algunas de las personas en la asamblea de hoy puede terminar allí.
d) No todo el mundo en la asamblea de hoy pueden optar por hacer sus Hoem cielo.

14) Alguien ha observado que Dios ha descrito el infierno, apelando a los cinco sentidos del hombre.

15) El sentido del tacto se puede asociar a Jesús que describen el infierno como un lugar de fuego.
16) Nuestro sentido del gusto se asocia con el infierno en que este es un lugar donde la gente volverá a tener sed.
17) No es el olor de huevos podridos o azufre y esto se corresponde con nuestro sentido del olfato.
18) El humo y la oscuridad se relacionan con nuestro sentido de la vista.
19) Llorando, llorando, gritando y están asociados con nuestro sentido del oído.

20) Se puede llegar a un momento en que la mayoría de la gente no cree en el lugar llamado infierno.
21) Las creencias de la gente no determinar la verdad o, cuando se trata de cosas espirituales, y la verdad el cambio.

22) Cuando uno de los versos más aterrador en la Biblia sobre el infierno se encuentra en Apocalipsis 20:15 – LEA.

23) Dios dice que no son salvos van a perecer.

24) Cuando la gente deja esta vida que ir a un lugar conocido como la celebración de “Hades” (Jesús divisó esta en Lc. 16).
25) En base a lo que el Señor dijo: Hades cuenta con dos compartimentos.
26) Hay una sección para los justos y una sección para los incrédulos.
27) El justo se consuelan mientras esperan el regreso del Señor.

28) Los inconversos se llevan a cabo en un estado de pena, esperando el momento en que se vaya al infierno.
29) El infierno es algo que todos los incrédulos se enfrentará en algún momento en el futuro.

30) Para aquellos que ya han dejado esta vida, es demasiado tarde para cambiar su destino.
31) Para nosotros no hay todavía una oportunidad de cambiar el lugar donde vamos.
32) Se puede estar en el lado de los que no gastan un solo momento en el tormento cuando morimos.

33) Imagina ser capaz de escapar de los problemas de esta vida y pasar a una vida perfectamente pacífica.
34) Esto es lo que Dios promete y lo que Él quiere para cada uno de nosotros.

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Arbeit macht frei

The words, “Arbeit macht frei,” or “Work sets you free” welcomed everyone who entered the Auschwitz death camp. The emaciated few that remained when the Russians liberated the camp were far too weak to have done anything, much less work.

The prisoners were so frail that they were largely unable to eat the food that their liberators provided. They had endured unimaginable horrors in that place and they had to go out into the world, replete with the knowledge that their lives would never be the same, their loved ones were dead and their nation decimated.

Imagine one of the prisoners saying to the Russian soldiers, “I love this camp and I want to stay here forever. The Nazis were good to us. Can they come back?”

We would say that the terrors of the camp had driven them stark, raving mad. This type attitude, while appearing to be insane, has nonetheless existed for a long time.

The people of Israel were suffering mightily from the hands of their Egyptian captors. They “groaned because of their bondage, and they cried out” to God to save them (Exodus 2:23, NKJV). God intervened and brought Moses and Aaron before Pharaoh. God brought plaques upon Egypt because of the stubborn refusals of Pharaoh to release the people of God (Exodus 7-12).

As a result of God’s work, Israel was released from captivity. Yet, shortly after their liberation, Israel began to whine and complain. When they finally received the freedom they dreamed of, they despised it.

“So the LORD’s anger was aroused against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the LORD was gone” (Numbers 32:13).

On several occasions, the nation of Israel inexplicably asked to return to Egypt. They willingly wanted to return to slavery, beatings and oppression. They were unconcerned about what would happen to their children. They only thought of themselves.

Can we imagine what Pharaoh would have done to them, had they returned?

We are in bondage to sin as humans (Romans 3:23; 7:24; John 8:34). We have no hope of attaining salvation on our own. No human holds the key to the prison doors. We needed a Savior so Jesus used his keys to open the cell doors (John 10:10).

Jesus came and paid the blood price for our sins on the cross (Romans 5:6-11). He is the only who could bring us back to God (John 14:6; John 8:32).

Three days after Jesus died on the cross, “a great earthquake” occurred and the stone was rolled back and the tomb of Jesus was empty (Matthew 28:1-6). In that moment, Jesus conquered death and provided everyone a way of salvation. In essence, the earthquake opened the spiritual prison doors of every person who would ever live. Everyone had found freedom!

Yet, billions of people refuse his offer and close the cell door again. They would rather remain imprisoned. Meanwhile, Satan’s laughs reverberate through the corridors of the dungeons as the prisoners believe the lie.

Jesus says to Satan, “Let My people go!” Yet, most do not want to go. They would rather be devoured by Satan.

Jesus offers never-ending joy and happiness. Satan spews forth nightmares and perpetual agony. However, beyond any rational thought, people prefer the nightmares and the torture.

Even Christians leave the Lord and go back to the squalor of sin (2 Timothy 4:10; Hebrews 10:32-39).

Someone physically stands between heaven and hell and gets to choose. They see with their eyes the overwhelming beauty on one side and the overwhelming ugliness on the other and say, “Sorry, Jesus. I choose hell. It looks nice.”

I seriously doubt that sane people would do this. Yet, they do it every day when they reject Jesus.

The phrase over our door can be, “Rationalization will NOT set us free.”

— by Richard Mansel

— Read this article online, write your reaction, and read others’ comments as well. Click here: http://tinyurl.com/dfuf4g

 

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Non criminals spend night in local jail

Cells in the new jail in Jefferson City, MO were filled last weekend, but by Monday morning they were empty. A massive jailbreak? No, each inmate was happily released after serving their 24-hour “sentence”. And none walked away with a blemish on their criminal record!

Cole County was about to open their brand-new jail and wanted to conduct a test run. Citizens were offered the chance, for a $30 fee, to experience a night behind bars. 170 paid their fee and left all of their personal belongings at the front desk. Though none of the cell doors were actually locked, all other aspects of jail life were reproduced. It was a sobering experience for those who participated, though each was given a mug shot and a T-shirt as a token of their time served.

Few who spend time in lockup facilities leave with a smile. For most of the nearly 2.3 million who were incarcerated at the end of 2009, jail is a humbling ordeal, filled with shame, guilt and fear of further action to come. Some enter prison with no expectation of ever leaving. Theirs is a sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole.

Medicine has made “inoculation” a familiar concept. A vaccine or a serum is injected into our bodies, and that injection leads to a small-scale invasion. But in the process our bodies develop antibodies to fight the infection, and the memory of that battle will remain in our systems. Most of us welcome this small health battle, considering it a good investment if it means success over a larger enemy in the future.

Those who paid to spend a night in jail in Missouri last week were “inoculating” themselves against any desire to step outside of the law’s boundaries. By having this no-risk experience of life in jail, they strengthened their resolve to be law-abiding citizens.

The Bible has much to say about the concept of sin. Is there anything good to be said about sin? If there is, it might be this: A taste of sin should awaken us to the fearful prospect of an eternity without God.

Paul, in Romans 8, mused on his own experience of sin. “Has then that which is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful” (Romans 8:13). If Paul had not seen that sin was “exceedingly sinful” and capable of producing death, he might have clung to it for the rest of his life. But the taste of sin led Paul to abandon it completely.

To see the full effect of sin, look at Jesus on the cross. The descriptions in the Gospels of Jesus’ crucifixion are anything but pleasant; we often recoil as we read and meditate on the details. But we need to know that “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). Sin is not something to play with, for it destroys people!

Each Lord’s Day, as I “taste” this experience of sin’s effects on my innocent Lord (in the Lord’s Supper), I should reaffirm my desire to have nothing at all to do with sin, but to walk in the pathway of righteousness. The cross of Christ is an uncomfortable meditation – but I need it.

Timothy D. Hall.

 

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A sermon on grief

*Text: John 11:1-6, 17-37

Aim: to discuss Christian perspectives on grief, and to promote the ladies recovery class.

Thesis: grief is not a disease to be curse, but a sorrow to be shared.

Introduction:

Often in the gospels we read of three people to whom Jesus was especially close: Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. These two sisters and one brother lived in the little village of Bethany, not far from Jerusalem. Jesus was a frequent visitor to their home and enjoyed the hospitality he found there. The day came when the Lord received the disturbing news that Lazarus had passed away. He traveled to Bethany to be with Mary and Martha, to share in their sorrow, and the story of his meeting with them provides three lessons for us in how to deal with grief.

Because ALL of us will lose someone at some time, let’s consider this story to see what it has to teach us about responding to grief.

READ TEXT

1. ACCEPT THE COMFORT OF OTHERS.

Verse 31 “the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her”

The custom of the Jews was to gather together with the family of the bereaved. Grief was considered to be a burden that should be shared. We know there is nothing we can do to take it away – every person must mourn for themselves. But we also instinctively know that we should BE THERE, BE WITH those who grieve. In fact, sympathy is one of those virtues commended to Christians: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” – Romans 12:15.

One of the most precious privileges of Christianity is the sacred sharing of sorrow with our brothers and sisters who grieve. Agape love is never more needed – or more welcomed – than when a fellow believer has lost a loved one.

But most of us don’t feel competent to carry out that command – very few of us are confident or comfortable in that role. And because we don’t know what to say or do, we may end up doing nothing. What is the best way to minister to those who mourn? Being there for them!

There are some things you just cannot understand about losing a loved one until you have actually experienced them.

· Your sense of time becomes disoriented – everything seems to take so much longer.

· There is so much to think of, to plan, so many decisions to make and errands to run.

· You don’t realize how much even the small gestures of sympathy can mean in a time of loss.

o Visits, calls, and cards, and flowers

o People who take the time to come to the funeral

o People who just put an arm around your shoulder

o And the FOOD!

o All of those are gestures that say, “We want to BE THERE for you.” There’s nothing you can do to “solve” another person’s grief – there’s nothing you can say to take it away. That’s not the point. When Romans 12:15 says “mourn with those who mourn” it’s telling us to BE THERE – to do all of those things that say, “We know you’re grieving, and we’ll be here to grieve with you.”

And Mary is a model for us of someone who accepts that comfort. Often our first impulse is to withdraw, to retreat into the isolation of privacy, but we have a greater need than ever to associate with others. When we are open – willing to tell people how we feel, or what we need – we make two discoveries:

· FIRST, that we are not alone in our struggles – that others have gone through the same kinds of experiences.

· And SECOND, we realize that there are others who care.

One of the best ministries we have is our Ladies Grief Recovery Support Group. I have talked with Karen about the work they are doing; have reviewed their material; and have gotten feedback from some of the people who have participated. It is a powerful program because it communicates so well the love of God in a practical way! They will begin again on the second Sunday night of next month, and it is open to the community: if you have a friend who might profit from this ministry, be sure to tell her about it!

2. BE REALISTIC ABOUT DEATH.

Verse 32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died”

Mary’s statement is one of frustration, perhaps even accusation! She felt that Jesus could have done something, should have done something, to prevent her brother from dying. It was an understandable reaction, of course, but it was not realistic. Jesus had nothing to do with the situation – Lazarus died because he was sick.

It is natural to respond with unnecessary guilt, second-guessing, but if we are realistic about death we will come to the understanding that there is nothing to be gained by dwelling on the “might-have-beens”, the “What if’s”, or the “maybes” – maybe if we’d said this differently, done that more quickly. That kind of thinking is futile because it is not within our power to accept responsibility for another person, no matter how much we might desire to. We cannot live another person’s life for them, make their decisions for them.

And the time will come when we accept the reality of death and remember the things we DID do for our loved one, because we cared about them. People need a season of grieving. In fact, they need that breathing room to get adjusted to their loss so much that they shouldn’t be rushed, shouldn’t make any major decisions, until the process of sorrow has run its course.

This is especially true in the loss of a spouse. Widows or widowers should not make any major life decisions for at least a year, until they have had time to process their emotions, clear their head, and gain a new perspective.

The time will come soon enough when we will move ahead, go on to continue to build our life. After all, we cannot back up on the highway of life – we can only go forward. Philippians 3: 13-14 “This one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on…..”

But we shouldn’t overlook another dimension to Mary’s comment: it is not only a statement of frustration, but also one of FAITH! She knew that Jesus had the power to overcome even death itself because she was familiar with the miracles of Jesus, had seen what he had done previously. And that reminds us that a part of being realistic about death is to realize our own days on this earth are numbered, and that we must prepare ourselves for this last great appointment.

When Jesus met with Martha he spoke not of death but of life; not of the grave, but of the resurrection.

Verses 25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”

Since one day each of us will come to the end of our road, the only realistic response is to place our faith in the one who holds the power to give us eternal life. I would encourage each of us here tonight to search our own heart, and to take inventory of our own soul. And if we realize that we are not prepared for eternity, to make our relationship with God right now while we have the opportunity.

3. ALLOW THE OPPORTUNITY TO GRIEVE.

Verse 35 “Jesus wept” We typically remember this as the shortest verse in the Bible – but tonight I also want us to realize it is also one of the sweetest! Why?

Because the example of Jesus reassures us that it’s all right to grieve! Jesus grieved for his good friend Lazarus – even though he knew he was about to raise him from the dead, he still shed tears of sorrow. Never does the Bible condemn grief – never does it tell us that we will not suffer pain, or should not shed tears of sorrow. 1 Thessalonians 4:11 says “Grieve not like the rest of men who have no hope,” but it doesn’t say to “Grieve not”!

· GRIEF is not a disorder, disease, or disability.

· GRIEF is not something to avoid or evade; it is not a weakness or a sin, and it doesn’t indicate a lack of faith or of character.

· GRIEF is simply a statement that we loved someone – that we have lost them – and that such a loss is painful to us.

And the more we care about someone, the more keenly we’ll feel their loss. That’s why those standing near Jesus said, “See how he loved him!” Grief is painful, to be sure, but it is a healthy pain – for after all, to grieve for another person is simply another way of saying that they had a place in your heart, that you loved them and you will miss them. When someone is taken from us we have every right to feel that loss, and no one has the right to tell us otherwise.

In fact, not only is it all right to grieve, it is a healthy thing to express our sorrow. Someone has said that “tears wash the soul.” One of the most common mistakes Americans make is to fail to give themselves permission to grieve, or time to recover. So often the real problem is not the grieving – but the unhealthy attempts to avoid grief!

And perhaps most important of all, God’s Son is not indifferent to our grief, is not unaware of what it means to grieve. Jesus knows, understands, feels with us. Twice in this passage it says that Jesus was “deeply moved in spirit.” Our Savior is able to sympathize because he understands. READ Hebrews 4:14-16

“Does Jesus care when my heart is pained

Too deeply for mirth or song;

As the burdens press, and the cares distress,

And the way grows weary and long?

O yes, He cares, I know He cares,

His heart is touched with my grief;

When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,

I know my Savor cares.”

Handout Material

THE CRISIS OF BEREAVEMENT

Since the pale of death pierces every mortal, it is necessary for all of us to learn how to handle bereavement. I have watched with great admiration and respect the courage that has borne many a saint through hours of sorrow. Here is some practical advice I have seen others use in dealing with grief:

1. EXPRESS YOUR EMOTIONS. It should not be considered a Christian virtue to be unmoved by the loss of a loved one. There is a difference between suppressing one’s emotions and losing one’s self control. The Bible does not say, “Sorrow not”; but it says, “Sorrow not as others who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

2. SEEK THE AID OF YOUR FRIENDS. The very presence of friends is an encouragement. When Paul neared Rome, the brethren came to meet him and he “thanked God and took courage” (Acts 28:15).

3. COMPEL YOURSELF TO BE WITH PEOPLE. Your inclination may be to retreat into the refuge of privacy, but there is a greater need than one realized to associate with others. David did (2 Samuel 12: 19-23).

4. EXPRESS YOUR FEELINGS IN WORDS. Talking about it will help you to accept it. If this is done at the outset of bereavement, one will sooner be able to stabilize his life.

5. AVAIL YOURSELF OF SPIRITUAL RESOURCES. Even though you may not have realized the importance of the Scriptures and their comfort, now these can help in building your faith. The power of prayer and the peace of God are very precious possessions.

6. DON’T BROOD OVER WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN. Both Mary and Martha said, “If thou hadst been here my brother had not died” (John 11:21-32).

7. ACTIVELY PURSUE WORTHWHILE TASKS. Once the initial shock has been dealt with, get busy at other things. Resolve like Paul to “reach forth unto the things which are before” (Philippians 3:13).

8. MAKE CAREFUL AND THOUGHTFUL DECISIONS. Many an individual jumps hastily into deciding the full scope of the future rather than waiting until he or she has regained a proper perspective of life. Don’t get in a hurry. Make prayerful decisions.

9. INCREASE YOUR TRUST IN GOD. Those who have come through their sorrows with a deeper faith can verify that God who rules over all truly does make all things work together for good (Romans 8:28).

After the crisis of grief, you can serve more fully and sympathize more completely with men of like passions. With Paul you, too, can thank God for the comfort received knowing that it has now given you the ability to comfort others who are in any trouble (2 Corinthians 1:4).

-Hardeman Nichols

Sixth & Izard Church of Christ

Little Rock, Arkansas

A FRIEND TO THE GRIEVING

Lynn Kelly lost her husband 22 years ago when she was 34 and the mother of three small children. A few years ago she started doing research about what was available for those who have friends in this situation. She found there wasn’t much there.

Wouldn’t it be helpful, she thought, if people had a guide that they could use when a friend is grieving? She has compiled the advice from many people into a book issued last summer, Don’t Ask for the Dead Man’s Golf Clubs: Advice for Friends When Someone Dies. Sample comments from the book:

“The most moving cards were those from people who took time to write a story…..Any piece of history shared about Tony was important to me. I wanted to know what his co-workers thought of him, stuff he never told me–his sense of humor, his creativity, the special qualities that made him unique.”

“I love to remember anything at all about Ryan and to bring it up. ‘Oh, he used to do this.’ I want to hear every single thing that anyone can remember about him–any funny thing, anything…..I want to keep him alive with the memories.”

“Just be company. When you lose a father or a spouse, you are so lonely. Just being company helps…..I don’t think it makes any difference what people say. It’s just the idea that they are there and you know they care.”

“The thing I missed most was being held. I just wanted somebody to put their arms around me.”

“The thing I didn’t like was when people said, ‘I know how you must feel losing a brother.’ They didn’t at all know that.”

“Take off work, even if you are busy, and go to the funeral. It just means an awful lot to see how many people cared.”

–Gayle Crowe

Elmwood church of Christ bulletin

Lafayette, Indiana

Some Alternative Statements When Responding To The

Crisis of Grief

Instead of: “I know exactly how you feel.”

Try: “I can only imagine what you’re going through.”

Instead of: “At least he doesn’t have to suffer anymore.”

Try: “He suffered through a lot, didn’t he?”

Instead of: “It’s God’s will.”

Try: “One comfort I find is God’s Promise never to abandon us.”

Instead of: “Don’t you think it’s time to get on with your life?”

Try: “Everyone has to grieve in their own way, don’t they?”

Instead of: “She wouldn’t want you to grieve.”

Try: “It’s hard to say goodbye, isn’t it?”

Instead of: “Don’t cry – you’ll only make it worse.”

Try: “Sometimes tears are the best way to express our feelings.”

Instead of: “This death is a victory for God.”

Try: “Even with the promise of the resurrection, it hurts to give someone up.”

Instead of: “You’ve got to be strong.”

Try: “I want you to know it’s okay to be yourself around me.”

Instead of: “You can’t be angry with God.”

Try: “God understands even when we’re upset.”

–Virgil Fry

Sixth & Izard church of Christ bulletin

Little Rock, Arkansas

Blessed Are They That Mourn

(Matthew 5:4)

There are three ways in which this beatitude can be taken.

(1) It can be taken quite literally: Blessed is the man who has endured the bitterest sorrow that life can bring. The Arabs have a proverb: “All sunshine makes a desert.” The land on which the sun always shines will soon become an arid place in which no fruit will grow. There are certain things which only the rains will produce; and certain experiences which only sorrow can beget.

Sorrow can do two things for us. It can show us, as nothing else can, the essential kindness of our fellow-men; and it can show us as nothing else can the comfort and the compassion of God.

(2) Some people have taken this beatitude to mean:

Blessed are those who are desperately sorry for the sorrow and the suffering of this world.

When we were thinking of the first beatitude we saw that it is always right to be detached from things, but it is never right to be detached from people. This world would have been a very much poorer place, if there had not been those who cared intensely about the sorrows and the suffering of others. Christianity is caring.

(3) No doubt both these thoughts are in this beatitude, but its main thought undoubtedly is: Blessed is the man who is desperately sorry for his own sin and his own unworthiness.

As we have seen, the very first word of the message of Jesus was, “Repent!” No man can repent unless he is sorry for his sins. The thing which really changes men is when they suddenly come up against something which opens their eyes to what sin is and to what sin does.

That is what the Cross does for us. As we look at the Cross, we are bound to say, “That is what sin can do. Sin can take the loveliest life in all the world and smash it on a Cross.” One of the great functions of the Cross is to open the eyes of men and women to the horror of sin. And when a man sees sin in all its horror he cannot do anything else but experience intense sorrow for his sin.

Christianity begins with a sense of sin. Blessed is the man who is intensely sorry for his sin, the man who is heart-broken for what his sin has done to God and to Jesus Christ, the man who sees the Cross and who is appalled by the havoc wrought by sin.

William Barclay – Commentary on Matthew

*Sermon by:

Dan Williams

College Avenue church of Christ

1817 North College Avenue

El Dorado, Arkansas 71730

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Can He depend on you?

Undependable people contribute so much–much frustration, much disappointment, much friction…. We should all be dependable. You probably know little about Shelemiah, Zadok, Pedaiah, and Hanon. Little is said about them. But listen to what is said. They were placed in charge of the storehouses of Israel because “they were considered reliable” (Neh. 13:13). What a glowing tribute. On the other hand, David wrote of some wicked individuals, of whom he said, “There is nothing reliable in what they say” (Ps. 5:9). Too many otherwise good people are leaving such a reputation for themselvee. In frustration, sometimes elders may join Solomon in asking, “Who can find a trustworthy man?” (Prov. 20;6). But, good news! We can all be dependable. Why?

First, we are ABLE. God blesses us with talents, time, and treasure. With them, we can (as good stewards) use our resources to God’s glory. If somethings hinders us from doing our duty, we can let others know and cover for us. But, whenever and wherever and however we can, we use ourselves as workers in the kingdom (Matt. 9:37).

Second, we are DEPENDENT. God pours blessings into our lives. Without Him, we’re nobody (Jn. 15:5). Except God provided all our needs (cf. Phil. 4:19), we would be nowhere and have nothing. We are obligated, and our best efforts could never earn or repay God’s graciousness (Lk. 17:10). But, surely, appreciating His grace, we’ll be workmen (Eph. 2:8,10). When needs are made known by our elders or others–food or teachers or folks to visit or calls to make or new Christians to aid or missions to encourage or elderly, shut-ins to help–let us remember our dependence upon God and be dependable for those around us dependent upon us.

Finally, you are thereby DEEPENED. When we do what we can in the kingdom, giving it our best, we are enriched and strengthened. Our relationship with Christ is deepened, for we’re imitating Him. Our appreciation for God’s blessings is deepened when we sacrifice and extend ourselves. Our faith is deepened by our interaction wth those in need and by our participation in what needs doing. Our joy is deepened by being active and involved in the Lord’s work.

One “church song” asks, “Can He Depend On You?” If He has no hands but our hands to do His work today, we must not let our hands sit idle. Christianity is a commitment. It’s a wonderful commitment, but commitment nonetheless. Let’s take is seriously and be someone upon whom our brethren and our God can rely!

Neal Pollard

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A sermon on faith versus sight

2 Cor. 5:7
1) Some think “walking by faith” means “walking by blind faith.”
2) The Christian faith is not a blind faith.
3) Today we want to consider three of the ways Christians “walk by faith” and “not by sight.”
a) The Christian belief in God is based on “faith” instead of “sight.”
b) Not one has ever smelled God, touched God, or heard God speak.
4) Rom. 1:20 says God is “clearly seen” through the “things that are made.”
5) God has left behind an abundance of evidence to believe in Him.
a) The evidence from creation does not give us all the facts about the Creator.
b) It does provide us with enough information to say He exists so we need to look for Him.

ALONG WITH GOD CHRISTIANS HAVE SOME FAITH IN SOMEONE CALLED JESUS.

a) Just as with God, not one of us has ever met Jesus.
b) We have never touched Him or heard Him speak.
c) No one has a picture or video of Jesus.
2) While we have no real physical evidence for the Lord, we can be sure of His realness.
a) Thomas Jefferson lived.
b) Socrates, Marc Anthony, Nero, and Alexander the Great are also known to have lived.

3) We use “faith instead of sight” for historical characters because we have sufficient evidence.
a) This is also true for Jesus.
b) Josephus is a well known historian who talked about the Lord.
4) Our evidence for Jesus comes from the hand of many writers.
5) Among those who spoke about Jesus were four men by the name of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John.
a) It is true that these men were followers of Jesus.
b) These men either lied, they told the truth, or they told some truth and some lies.
6) Since these men lived at the same time as Jesus, they were in a position to record the truth.
7) Acts 26:26 – READ
a) Paul boldly said Jesus’ life was not lived in a “corner.”
b) Jesus was one of the most public people of all time.
c) In Jesus’ day the land of Israel was about the size of New Jersey.
d) Imagine someone going around the entire state of New Jersey for 3 ½ years.
8) Jesus left behind a footprint that is so huge no amount of dirt can cover up His tracks.

BECAUSE OF THE EVIDENCE WE HAVE FOR GOD AND JESUS WE BELIEVE IN THEM “BY FAITH” INSTEAD OF “BY SIGHT.”

1) Our next and final area – the Bible – falls into this same category.
2) Why should we have faith in the Bible?
3) The Bible is distinctive in every way.
4) One of the great proofs for the Bible is predictive prophecy.
5) One author listed more than 8,300 predictive verses.
6) If all or most of these predictions were very vague or mainly failures, that would be one thing.

7) Are we walking by faith or sight?
8) We start walking by faith through conversion.
9) We have faith (Heb. 11:6), we repent (Acts 17:30), confess Jesus (Rom. 10:9-10), and are baptized by faith for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16- Mk. 16:16; 1 Pet. 3:20-21).
10) Once we become a Christian we continue to walk by faith versus sight, but this is NOT blind faith.

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