SEEING JESUS

ON THIS RESURRECTION SUNDAY AS WE CELEBRATE THE TRUTH THAT JESUS IS ALIVE AND HE IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD, (CAN I GET AN AMEN) I WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU ABOUT SEEING JESUS.

WITHIN EACH OF THE FOUR GOSPELS WE READ OF THEIR ACCOUNT OF ALL THE WITNESSES WHO SEEN JESUS ON THAT THIRD DAY AND AFTERWARDS WHEN HE HAD RISEN FROM THE DEAD.

BUT, PROBABLY THE MOST EXTENSIVE LIST OF EVIDENCE OF PEOPLE SEEING JESUS LIES IN PAUL’S LETTER TO THE CHURCH IN CORINTH, WE ARE ENCOURAGED TO RECOGNISE THE EVIDENCE AND BELIEVE THAT CHRIST HAS RISEN.

1 CORINTHIANS 15: 3 – 8. TELLS US.

“FOR WHAT I RECIEVED I PASSED ON TO YOU AS OF FIRST IMPORTANCE, THAT CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES,

THAT HE WAS BURIED,

THAT HE WAS RAISED ON THE THIRD DAY ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES,

AND THAT HE APPEARED TO PETER, AND THEN TO THE TWELVE,

AFTER THAT HE APPEARED TO MORE THAN FIVE HUNDRED OF THE BROTHERS AT THE SAME TIME, MOST OF WHOM ARE STILL LIVING, THOUGH SOME HAVE FALLEN ASLEEP.

THEN HE APPEARED TO JAMES, THEN TO ALL THE APOSTLES, AND LAST OF ALL HE APPEARED TO ME ALSO, AS TO ONE ABNORMALLY BORN”.

TODAY, IT IS DIFFERENT FOR ALL OF US, WE CANNOT PHYSICALLY SEE JESUS AS THOSE WHO DID AFTER THE RESSURECTION.

BUT GOD HAS PROVIDED ANOTHER WAY FOR US TO SEE JESUS IT HAS TO BEGIN WITH BELIEVING AND ACCEPTING “HE HAS RISEN” JUST AS HE SAID HE WOULD.

OUR ACCEPTANCE OF CHRIST OPENS A NEW KIND OF SIGHT, IN OUR HEARTS AND IN OUR SPIRIT, THIS IS WHERE THE REALITY OF CHRIST IS FOUND, JESUS IN ME, JESUS IN YOU.

EPHESIANS 3:17 “THAT CHRIST MAY DWELL IN YOUR HEARTS THROUGH FAITH”.

WHAT A GLORIOUS GOD WE HAVE, IN GIVING US SUCH A GIFT.

OUR CIRCUMSTANCES TODAY HAS PUT US IN A STRANGE PLACE, WITH THE RESTRICTIONS ON US, I CANNOT SEE YOU IN PERSON (EXCEPT ON MY SCREEN), OR HUG YOU, WE CANNOT ENJOY FELLOWSHIP TOGETHER OR A MEAL, BUT I KNOW YOU ARE THERE.

IT’S THAT KNOWLEDGE AND ASSURANCE THAT COMFORTS ME.

ISN’T THAT THE SAME WITH JESUS, WE CANNOT SEE HIM PHYSICALLY BUT WE KNOW HE IS HERE.

DURING THIS TIME THE CHURCH IS FINDING NEW WAYS FOR JESUS TO BE SEEN, THERE ARE MANY THINGS THAT ARE BEING DONE TO SUPPORT AND HELP OTHERS, NOT ONLY FOR OUR FELLOWSHIP BUT FOR THE COMMUNITY, MUCH OF WHICH WILL BE LONG REMEMBERED AFTER THE VIRUS IS GONE.

2 CORINTHIANS 6:16 SAYS “YOU ARE THE TEMPLE OF THE LIVING GOD”, AS GOD HAS SAID, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM. I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE”.

THE PRESENCE OF JESUS CHRIST IS AMONG US, GOD NO LONGER DWELLS IN A TEMPLE OR IN A BUILDING MADE BY MEN, BUT HE DWELLS IN US. JESUS IS NOT FAR AWAY, HE DWELLS WITHIN YOU.

KING DAVID WAS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF SEEING JESUS, HIS PSALMS ARE FILLED WITH THE INTIMACY THAT HE HAD WITH GOD, HE ALWAYS ENCOURAGED US TO SEEK THE FACE OF THE LORD.

HE LEARNED TO SEE THE LORD AS HIS BEST FRIEND IN THE DESERT, WHEN HE WAS DESERTED BY HIS VERY OWN FAMILY AND FRIENDS, IN THESE TIMES OF LONELINESS AND ISOLATION HE DEVELOPED A DEEP RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD.

PSALM 105:4 “LOOK TO THE LORD AND HIS STRENGTHS, SEEK HIS FACE ALWAYS”

PSALM 27, IN PARTICULAR IS FILLED WITH EXHORTATIONS TO SEEK THE LORD, BUT V8 IN PARTICULAR SAYS “MY HEART SAYS OF YOU, SEEK HIS FACE! YOUR FACE, O LORD WILL I SEEK”

IT CAN BE DIFFICULT TO SEE JESUS, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE NOT AWARE OF YOUR SPIRITUAL SENSES, IF WE CAN LEARN TO USE THE EYES OF OUR HEART, WE WILL SEE JESUS.

THIS IS A TIME OF FAITH, WHEN WE CAN SEE JESUS AROUND US WITH THE EYES OF OUR HEART, THE LOVE OF GOD BEING DISPLAYED THROUGH EACH OF US.

SOMETIMES IT CAN BE DIFFICULT TO SEE JESUS, OUR VIEW OFTEN GETS BLURRED OR BLOTTED OUT COMPLETELY, WHEN SIN IS PRESENT IN OUR LIVES WE CAUSE AN OBSTRUCTION TO OUR ABILITY TO SEE JESUS.

OUR EMOTIONS CAN DISTRACT US, BUT HE IS NOT FAR AWAY, IF WE LEARN TO USE THE EYES OF OUR HEARTS, WE WILL SEE HIM.

WHEN WE LET EVERYTHING ELSE FALL AWAY FOR A MOMENT, ALL YOUR CONCERNS, STRUGGLES, QUESTIONS AND YOUR NEEDS, AS THE DESIRES AND DEMANDS THAT SURROUND US GET LAID ASIDE, THAT’S THE TIME TO ASK GOD TO OPEN THE EYES OF YOUR HEART.

SEEING JESUS WITH THE EYES OF OUR HEART DURING WORSHIP, PRAYER AND FASTING, WHEN WE CAN DEVOTE OUR ATTENTION SOLELY ON HIM WILL TRANSFORM US.

IT’S THE TRANSFORMATION IN US THAT REVEALS JESUS TO OTHERS.

THESE DAYS OF ISOLATION OR WORKING FROM HOME HAS REMOVED THE BUSYNESS THAT HAS FOR SO LONG BECOME THE NORM, WHEN WE COULDN’T FIND TIME TO JUST SIT IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD.

SO, WHEN THE FREEDOM TO ENJOY THE COMPANY OF OTHERS IS REMOVED FROM US, WHERE WILL WE TURN!

WHAT BETTER TIME THAN RESSURECTION SUNDAY TO FOCUS ON THE ONE WHO HAS GIVEN US A FREEDOM THAT THIS WORLD CANNOT UNDERSTAND.

THIS IS THE TIME TO SEEK FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD THAT WILL SUSTAIN US AND GIVE US ASSURANCE AND HOPE THAT GOD IS IN CONTROL.

THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR GOD TO BE VISIBLE IN US, BUT IT BEGINS WITH US SEEING JESUS BY SPENDING TIME IN HIS PRESENCE.

2 CORNINTHIANS 4: V 6, 7,15.

FOR GOD, WHO SAID, “LET THE LIGHT SHINE OUT OF DARKNESS, MADE HIS LIGHT SHINE IN OUR HEARTS TO GIVE US THE LIGHT OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE GLORY OF GOD IN THE FACE OF CHRIST”.

“BUT WE HAVE THIS TREASURE IN JARS OF CLAY TO SHOW THAT THIS ALL- SURPASSING POWER IS FROM GOD AND NOT FROM US”.

V15

“ALL THIS IS FOR YOUR BENEFIT, SO THAT THE GRACE THAT IS REACHING MORE AND MORE PEOPLE MAY CAUSE THANKSGIVING TO OVERFLOW TO THE GLORY OF GOD”.

‘WE HAVE THIS TREASURE’ THAT IS CHRIST IN US, THIS IS A TIME FOR MORE AND MORE GRACE TO BE REVEALED THROUGH US, WHEN THE GLORY OF GOD IS SEEN IS US, IT’S JESUS WHO IS SEEN.

I’VE ASKED MARK TO LEAD US IN A PARTICULAR SONG THAT REFLECTS ON THIS, AS WE SING IT, LET IT BE A PRAYER FROM YOU, THAT GOD WOULD OPEN THE EYES OF OUR HEARTS, FOR THEN WE WILL SEE JESUS.

SONG: OPEN THE EYES OF MY HEART LORD.

GOOD FRIDAY

Message by Alan Welsh on Easter Friday, 10 April 2020.

You can watch the recording of Alan’s message on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alan.welsh.73/videos/10217998342611762/

On Easter Sunday we will be sharing a Zoom session as a church. Details have been shared to the church, but will not be published publically. If you would like details, please get in touch.

GOOD AFTERNOON, THE HOUR OF 3 O’CLOCK IN THE AFTERNOON IS TRANSLATED BY MANY BIBLE SCHOLARS AS THE TIME OF DEATH OF CHRIST ON THE CROSS, AND AT THIS HOUR ON THIS GOOD FRIDAY WE CONSIDER, HOW CAN GOOD COME OUT OF BAD?

ON GOOD FRIDAY WE TAKE TIME TO REMEMBER, CHRIST HANGING ON THE CROSS, WITH ALL THE SUFFERING HE WENT THROUGH, ALTHOUGH INNOCENT STILL HE TOOK ON THE MANTLE OF SUFFERING FOR OUR SIN.

THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF WHAT WE RECALL ON THAT DAY ARE ANYTHING BUT GOOD, YET TO THE VERY END OF THAT FIRST GOOD FRIDAY, JESUS STILL LED SINNERS TO ETERNAL LIFE.

THE CRUCIFIXION ITSELF IS A WELL RESEARCHED FACT IN HISTORY, WITH SCHOLARS OF ALL BACKGROUNDS, CHRISTIAN AND NON-CHRISTIAN AGREEING THAT THE EVIDENCE IS NOW ‘FIRMLY ESTABLISHED’ THAT THE CRUCIFIXION OF CHRIST IS CONFIRMED AS INDISPUTABLE.

ON THIS VERY DAY WE REMEMBER, THERE WERE THREE CROSSES, WITH 2 CRIMINALS HANGING ONE EITHER SIDE OF CHRIST, EACH OF THEM PORTRAY THE DIFFERENT RESPONSES THAT STILL CONTINUE TODAY.

LUKE 23: 39 – 43 SAYS, ONE OF THE CRIMINALS WHO HUNG THERE HURLED INSULTS AT HIM, “AREN’T YOU THE CHRIST? SAVE YOURSELF AND US!”

BUT THE OTHER CRIMINAL REBUKED HIM, ‘DON’T YOU FEAR GOD,’ HE SAID ‘SINCE YOU ARE UNDER THE SAME SENTANCE? WE ARE PUNISHED JUSTLY, FOR WE ARE GETTING WHAT OUR DEEDS DESERVE. BUT THIS MAN HAS DONE NOTHING WRONG’.

THEN HE SAID “JESUS, REMEMBER ME WHEN YOU COME INTO YOUR KINGDOM.”

JESUS ANSWERED HIM “I TELL YOU THE TRUTH, TODAY YOU WILL BE WITH ME IN PARADISE.”

WE READ IN THOSE FINAL HOURS, AS JESUS ACCEPTED HIS IMMINENT DEATH, HIS MERCY AND COMPASSION STILL EVIDENT, HIS FOCUS WAS NOT ON HIMSELF.

WITH TWO PRISONERS NEXT TO HIM, HE HAD TO CONTEND WITH THE INSULTS FROM ONE “GO ON, SAVE YOURSELF AND US WHILE YOUR AT IT” WHILE THE OTHER PRISONER MAKES A REQUEST.

HAS MUCH CHANGED TODAY, WHEN MANY WILL DISMISS JESUS AND DISBELIEVE THAT HIS DEATH WAS FOR OUR SAKE, EVEN INSULTING HIS NAME OR SAYING “THERE’S NO WAY THAT HAPPENED”.

FOR SOME IT’S EASIER TO DENY THIS TRUTH BECAUSE IT WOULD MEAN ADMITTING THAT WE ARE SINNERS,

NOT A VERY POPULAR STATEMENT, WHEN PEOPLE ARE SO EASILY OFFENDED BECAUSE YOU ARE DENYING THEIR RIGHT TO BE WHO THEY ARE,

THE TRUTH IS, THIS IS NOT ABOUT DENYING ANYBODY ANYTHING, THIS IS ALL ABOUT WHAT IT IS THAT JESUS OFFERS, THE WORD OF GOD IS FULFILLED THROUGH HIM.

Romans 3:23-25 Living Bible (TLB)

23 Yes, all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious ideal; 24 yet now God declares us “not guilty” of offending him if we trust in Jesus Christ, who in his kindness freely takes away our sins.

TWO CRIMINALS BOTH OF WHOM WERE AWARE THEY WERE SINNERS, WHEN IT WAS SAID, “WE ARE GETTING WHAT OUR DEEDS DESERVE”,

THEY WERE FACED WITH THE CHOICE OF ACCEPTING CHRIST FOR WHO HE IS, THEY EACH MAKE THEIR DESCISION JUST AS WE DO TODAY.

ONE THROWS INSULTS AND CHOOSES TO IGNORE THE FORGIVENESS OFFERED THROUGH CHRIST,

WHILE THE OTHER RECOGNISES EVEN IN HIS FINAL HOURS THAT THIS IS THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR HIM TO MAKE.

SOMETHING GOOD CAME OUT OF A BAD SITUATION, THAT IS STILL TRUE FOR  EACH OF US TODAY.

GOOD FRIDAY WITH ALL THE TORMENT AND SUFFERING OF CHRIST THAT WE ARE REMINDED OF WAS ON OUR BEHALF, IT CAN LEAD US TO MAKE A CHOICE.

WILL WE FIND GOOD IN  WHAT WAS BAD?, REMEMBER THAT CHRIST OFFERS FORGIVENESS FOR OUR SIN,

WE DON’T KNOW THE DETAILS OF WHAT THE TWO CRIMINALS ACTUALLY DONE TO DESERVE BEING HUNG ON A CROSS, BUT WE DO KNOW THAT THEY BELIEVED IT WAS JUST.

ONE WANTED AN EASY WAY OUT, WITH NO FORGIVENESS, NO RECOGNITION OF WHAT CHRIST WAS DOING FOR THEM (AND US) JUST, “GET US DOWN FROM HERE”.

WHILST THE OTHER MAN, RECOGNISING THE INNOCENCE OF CHRIST SUFFERING FOR NO CRIME, ASKS THAT HE WOULD BE REMEBERED WHEN CHRIST ENTERS THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

THE COMPASSION OF CHRIST WAS EXTENDED TO HIM WITH “TODAY YOU WILL BE WITH ME IN PARADISE”.

THE SAME OFFER HE STILL EXTENDS TODAY TO ALL THOSE WHO TRUST IN HIM AND ACCEPT THAT HE IS THE CHRIST, OUR SAVIOUR.

I DON’T THINK I’LL EVER FORGET THIS GOOD FRIDAY, WHEN I CAN’T MEET WITH THE FAMILY OF GOD TO CELEBRATE ONE OF THE MOST REMARKABLE DAYS IN HISTORY, WHEN THE LOVE OF GOD WAS DISPLAYED FOR ALL TO SEE AND REMEMBER.

BUT, EVEN IN THE MIDST OF WHAT WE ARE FACING TODAY WITH THE COVID-19 VIRUS AND ALL THE RESTRICTIONS THAT GO WITH IT.

WHAT WILL YOUR CHOICE BE?, IS IT THE REQUEST TO GOD THAT HE JUST GETS THIS OVER WITH AND LET ME GET BACK TO A “NORMAL” LIFE WITH NO GRATITUDE.

OR WILL YOU TRUST GOD AT THIS TIME AND ASK THAT JESUS WOULD REMEMBER US,

THE TRUTH IS JESUS HAS REMEMBERED US THAT’S WHY HE HUNG ON THE CROSS FOR YOU AND I.

GOOD CAN COME OUT OF BAD WHEN WE MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE, I HOPE YOU MAKE JESUS YOUR CHOICE TODAY.

THIS GOOD FRIDAY FOR YOU CAN BE LIKE NO OTHER AS WE TAKE THE TIME TO CONSIDER ALL THAT CHRIST HAS GIVEN FOR US, ALL OF US.

THE FREEDOM TO MAKE A CHOICE BASED ON TRUTH, THAT SIN HAS BEEN DEFEATED, AND CHRIST WILL FORGIVE THOSE WHO ASK HIS FORGIVENESS AND TURN FROM THEIR SIN.

I MADE A CHOICE 40 YEARS AGO TO TRUST IN CHRIST, AND IT’S AS TRUE FOR ME TODAY AS IT WAS ALL THOSE YEARS AGO, I THANK GOD THAT HE HAD SHOWN ME HOW TO GET GOOD OUT OF BAD, I HOPE AND PRAY THAT IT WILL BE THE SAME FOR YOU THIS GOOD FRIDAY.

AS YOU ALL KEEP SAFE AND WELL, TAKE THE TIME TO CELEBRATE AT HOME THAT JESUS STILL FORGIVES, FOR WHAT SEEMED BAD, GOD TURNED INTO GOOD.

GIVE THANKS TO GOD FOR HIS SON.

MAY GOD BLESS YOU THIS GOOD FRIDAY AS WE NOW LOOK AHEAD TO THE WONDERFUL CELEBRATION OF CHRIST’S RESSURECTION ON SUNDAY, HE HAS RISEN, JESUS IS ALIVE.

AMEN.

THANKS AND TAKE CARE.