If You Have Been Raised Up with Christ

Sun and clouds

The resurrection of Christ is one of the matters “of first importance” in the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). It provides us with hope beyond this life (1 Corinthians 15:17-22). We should always remember and give thanks for this event.

As Christ was raised, we must be “raised up with [Him]” (Colossians 3:1). When Paul wrote the letter to the Colossians, he was writing to those who had been raised with Christ. He explained what this obligated them to do. Let us consider what our responsibility is after being “raised up with Christ.
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Euphemisms for Death

Cemetery

A good name is better than a good ointment, and the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth. It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, because that is the end of every man, and the living takes it to heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:1-2).

Why would Solomon say that the day of one’s death is better than one’s birth? It was not because he was a severely depressed man who wanted to end his life. It was simply because he knew that life was vanity here, but we have something better in the hereafter (cf. Ecclesiastes 12:7-8, 13-14).

The Bible uses several expressions (euphemisms) for death. A euphemism is a milder word or phrase used in place of a stronger one. A common euphemism we use for death is to say that someone has passed away. The euphemisms of death used in the Bible teach us some lessons – both of the reality of death and the hope we have after death if we are faithful. We should take these lessons to heart (Ecclesiastes 7:2).
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Does Your Church Do Anything Special on Easter Sunday?

The Empty TombWith the approaching Easter holiday, many of the churches of men are making preparations for their Easter services and programs. Such activities are so common that those in the Lord’s church are often asked by their friends and neighbors: Does your church do anything special on Easter Sunday?

Before answering that question, let us remember what Easter is. Easter is a holiday that is celebrated both religiously (to celebrate the resurrection of Christ) and secularly (Easter egg hunts, candy, etc.). Easter is not mentioned in the Bible, aside from a mistranslation of the word Passover in the King James Version (Acts 12:4).*

Does it matter that the religious observance of Easter is absent from the Bible? Absolutely! Notice what Paul wrote to the brethren in Colossae:

Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:17).

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Faith on Man’s Terms

The Scriptures are clear in describing faith as essential. The Hebrew writer said, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Yet too many have a conditional faith. In other words, even though the Bible tells us that faith is based upon the word of God (Romans 10:17), this is not enough for some people. They will not believe unless they see, receive, or otherwise experience something beyond the revealed will of God.

This is nothing new. Even during the first century, there were those who would only have faith on their terms, rather than have faith based upon what God had chosen to reveal to them. In this article we will notice a few of these conditions that men have placed upon their faith. At the end, we will also see what genuine faith looks like.
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Jesus’ Resurrection: Just an Optical Illusion?

The resurrection of Christ is fundamental to our faith. Paul lists it with the death and burial of Christ as being “of first importance” in the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). We are “born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). If the resurrection of Christ did not happen, Paul tells the brethren in Corinth, “Your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17).

Since the time of Jesus’ resurrection, His opponents have denied that this event happened (Matthew 28:11-13). Opponents of Christ and His truth continue to deny the resurrection today. A new theory about the resurrection has been proposed by Thomas de Wesselow, an art historian. His theory revolves around the Shroud of Turin – the alleged burial cloth that was used to wrap the body of Jesus after His death. He argues that the image on the Shroud “fooled the Apostles” by producing an “optical illusion” that made them believe they were seeing their risen Lord.
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Some Thoughts on Easter

Garden Tomb

As the religious world prepares for the Easter holiday this Sunday, let us be reminded of what the Bible has to say on the topic.

Is Easter in the Bible? Yes and no, depending on what is meant by the question. Is the word Easter in the Bible. Yes, if you are reading the King James Version. When Herod killed James and saw that it pleased the Jews, he intended to do the same to Peter. Luke recorded, “And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quarternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people” (Acts 12:4).

However, if you read from a different translation, such as the New American Standard Bible, a different word is used instead of Easter: “…intending after the Passover to bring him out before the people.” Which is the correct translation? The Greek word used here is pascha (Passover). It refers to the feast of Unleavened Bread that was instituted for the Jews under the Old Law (cf. Exodus 12:1-27). Easter does not belong in Acts 12:4.
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The Fourfold Foundation of the Gospel

Cross

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also” (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).

As Paul wrote to the brethren in Corinth, he reminded them of the fundamental truths in the gospel upon which everything else was built. In the verses above, the apostle mentioned four facts that are “of first importance” to God’s saving message.
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