"THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PETER" Jesus: Cornerstone, Or Stumblingstone? (2:4-10)


Jesus:  Cornerstone, Or Stumblingstone? (2:4-10)


1. When the infant Jesus was being presented to the Lord at the temple,
   an interesting statement was made concerning Him by Simeon:

   "Behold, this Child in destined for the fall and rising of many
   in Israel..." (Lk 2:34)

2. In other words, Jesus was destined to have different effects on 
   different people...
   a. To some, He would be the cause of their rising
   b. For others, He would be their down fall

3. In 1 Peter 2:4-10, the apostle Peter expands upon this same theme...
   a. To some people, Jesus serves as a "cornerstone"
   b. To others, He is a "stumblingstone".

[What's the difference? Well...]


      1. Which was rejected by men
         a. As stated by John in Jn 1:10-11
         b. Instead, they crucified Him
      2. And yet, He was chosen by God, considered to be precious
         a. As foretold in Ps 118:22, God has taken that which was 
            rejected by men and made it the "cornerstone"
         b. The cornerstone of what?

      1. Upon which we are being built
      2. The same thought or illustration is used by the apostle Paul
         - 1Co 3:9-11, 16-17; Ep 2:19-22
      3. As this spiritual house built upon Christ, we fulfill certain 
         a. We serve as a holy priesthood, offering spiritual 
            sacrifices to God, e.g.:
            1) Our bodies - Ro 12:1-2
            2) Our praise - He 13:15
            3) Our doing good and sharing - He 13:16
            4) Even our deaths - 2Ti 4:6-8
         b. We therefore serve as God's special people (9-10)
            1) With a special task of proclaiming the praises of God
            2) For by His grace...
               a) We have been called out of darkness into His 
                  marvelous light
               b) We who were not a people, are now the people of God
               c) We have obtained mercy!

      LIVES - MT 7:24-27
      1. By following His teachings, we are able to establish our lives
         on solid ground
      2. And this enables us to withstand the "storms" of life

[So in more ways than one, Jesus is truly a "cornerstone" to those who
believe in Him and follow Him.

But what about those who do not believe in Jesus, who do not make Him 
the "cornerstone" of their lives?]


      1. Either Jesus is the cornerstone...
         a. Upon which we are being built as stones in His temple (the church)
         b. Upon which we are building our lives by following His 
      2. Or He will be the "stumblingstone" over which we will meet our doom!

      1. Was foretold by Isaiah, who Peter quotes - cf. Isa 8:13-15
      2. We saw that Simeon also foresaw the same thing when Jesus was
         presented in the temple as a newborn - Lk 2:34
      3. Even Jesus saw Himself as this stumblingstone - Mt 21:42-44

      1. Cf. Ro 9:30-33; 1Co 1:23
      2. Jesus was a stumbling block to many of the Jews because...
         a. They thought that they could attain righteousness by
            keeping the Law
         b. They could not accept the need for a suffering Messiah to
            atone for their sins!

      1. Pride prevents them from accepting Jesus on His terms!
      2. They think that they can please God and go to heaven on the 
         basis of their good deeds
      3. Therefore, they are unwilling...
         a. To confess their sinfulness, and their need for Jesus Christ
         b. To turn their lives over to Jesus, and to do His Will

      1. For such doom has been appointed by God - 1Pe 2:8
      2. Such is logically necessary, for without Christ...
         a. We will die in our own sins - cf. Jn 8:24
         b. Righteous punishment can only follow - cf. Re 20:11-15


1. We often sing "Jesus, Rock of Ages," for truly Jesus is like a rock.
   But what kind of rock is He to us?

2. If we are willing to believe and obey Jesus, He can be the
   a. Upon which we can be added as part of His church, the spiritual
   b. Upon which can build our lives so as to have a full and
      meaningful life

3. But if we disbelieve and are disobedient. then by necessity Jesus
   will be our STUMBLINGSTONE...
   a. Over which we will fall
   b. Under which we will be broken and be ground to powder

There is no middle ground. What will Jesus be for you?  Are you
obedient to His Word?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

eXTReMe Tracker 

More In-Your-Face Atheism by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


More In-Your-Face Atheism

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

America’s Founding Fathers believed in God, with the overwhelming majority of them claiming affiliation with Christianity (see Miller, 2008). Our forefathers prayed to God in private and in public, exalted the Almighty in their assemblies, and acknowledged Him as sovereign in their speeches and writings. On our coinage is “in God we trust,” in our pledge is “one nation under God,” and in the fourth verse of our national anthem is “our motto: ‘In God is our trust’.” Our nation’s capital is replete with references to the God of the Bible. “God” is inscribed on the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, the U.S. Capitol, and the Library of Congress.
Sadly, though “God” is etched in stone in our capital’s most historic landmarks, this winter, Washington, D.C.’s bus riders are encouraged to forget God. The American Humanist Association has spent $40,000 to place “holiday ads” on D.C.’s buses. Their slogan: “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake” (“Why Believe...?” 2008; “Humanists Launch...,” 2008). According to the American Humanists’ Web site, this message will be “blazoned on the sides, taillights, and interiors of over 200 Washington D.C. Metro buses” (“Humanists Launch...,” emp. added).
Such in-your-face atheism is nothing new to America, and certainly not to the United Kingdom. Throughout 2008, the American Humanist Association advertised across the nation on highway billboards: “Don’t believe in God? You are not alone” (“Humanists Launch...”). In the United Kingdom, the British Humanist Association began a bus campaign in London only a few weeks prior to the one in America’s capital. Their message: “There’s Probably No God. Now Stop Worrying and Enjoy Your Life” (“Atheists Plan...,” 2008). Supporters of the U.K. campaign included the world’s most well-known atheist, Richard Dawkins, who gave $9,000. [NOTE: Reportedly, the word “probably” was inserted in the ad only “to ensure the posters didn’t breach transit advertising regulations, which stipulate ads should not offend religious people” (“Atheists Plan...”).]
Make no mistake: today’s militant atheism in America is in-your-face as much as ever. America and many other countries around the world (especially those in Western Europe) are facing the most brazen atheism in their history. Journalists call it “the new atheism” (“Why Believe...?”). Our prayer is that individual Christians and churches throughout the world take heed to the apostle Paul’s admonition to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). We must strive to “speak the words of truth and reason” (Acts 26:25), and “be ready to give a defense to everyone” (1 Peter 3:15). Indeed, “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
Recognize that there is a battle over the most fundamental pillar of Christianity (the existence of God). Equip yourself and your family members with the tools needed to build a strong faith—one based on reason and revelation. Let us know if we can assist you in any way.


“Atheists Plan Anti-God Ad Campaign on Buses” (2008), Associated Press, October 23, [On-line], URL: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,443705,00.html.
“Humanists Launch Godless Holiday Campaign” (2008), American Humanist Association, [On-line], URL: http://www.whybelieveingod.org/pressrelease.html.
Miller, Dave (2008), The Silencing of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
“‘Why Believe in a God?’ Ad Campaign Launches on D.C. Buses” (2008), Associated Press, November 12, [On-line], URL: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,450445,00.html.

Morality Without Religion? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Morality Without Religion?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Bible and Scales
In the incessant conspiracy to expel the God of the Bible from public life and to dismantle America’s Christian heritage, a variety of ploys and myths frequently is floated by those who profess “political correctness.” One commonly heard quip is: “We can have morality without religion” (e.g., Barker, 2006). Those who advocate such thinking insist that Christianity must be removed from the public sector—whether in government or public schools. They declare that morality is distinct from religion, and that individuals will acknowledge and embrace morality in the absence of Christianity. It was Hitler who said, “The great masses of the people...more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a little one” (1933, 1:10).
The fact is that the Creator of the human race is the sole Author and Source of objective morality. Otherwise, moral distinctions would simply be the product of the subjective whims of humans. Morality would thus legitimately vary from person to person and country to country. One society might decide to legalize pedophilia while another might make it illegal—and both would be “right” in the sense that everyone would be free to formulate their own moral standards. The result would be complete and utter social anarchy in which every person would be equally free to believe and behave however he or she chooses. No wonder Thomas Jefferson insisted: “I know but one code of morality for men whether acting singly or collectively” (1789).
Charles Carroll
Charles Carroll
In stark contrast, the Bible presents the only logical and sane assessment of reality—an objective standard, authored by the Creator, exists for the entire human race. That standard resides within the confines of the Christian religion as articulated in the New Testament. Unless human civilization gauges its moral behavior according to that objective, absolute framework, moral and spiritual chaos in society will be the end result. In the words of Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration of Independence: “Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they, therefore, who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure...are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments” (as quoted in Steiner, 1907, p. 475, emp. added).
Yet, for some fifty years now, Americans have been pummeled with the humanistic notion that morality can be maintained in society to the exclusion of Christianity. With almost prophetic anticipation, the very first president of the United States—the Father of our country—anticipated and addressed this sinister misnomer. After serving his country for two terms as president, George Washington delivered his farewell address to the nation, dispelling the “morality-without-religion” theory in sweeping tones:
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and moralityare indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric? (1796, pp. 22-23, emp. added).
Washington was simply echoing the teaching of the Bible. He recognized that the American republic was founded on the moral principles of the Christian religion. He understood that to abandon the Christian religion was ultimately to abandon the moral principles inherent in that religion. He also affirmed that those who “shake the foundation of the fabric,” by undermining the importance of Christian morality, are not sincere friends of America. Indeed, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). “For the nation and kingdom which will not serve you shall perish, and those nations shall be utterly ruined” (Isaiah 60:12).


Barker, Dan (2006), “How to be Moral Without Religion,” http://www.ffrf.org/about/bybarker/CASH1.mp3.
Hitler, Adolf (1933), Mein Kampf, [On-line], URL: http://www.hitler.org/writings/Mein_Kampf/mkv1ch10.html.
Jefferson, Thomas (1789), “Letter to James Madison, August 28, 1789,” The Works of Thomas Jefferson in Twelve Volumes, ed. Paul Leicester Ford, [On-line], URL: http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/mtj:@field(DOCID+@lit (tj050135)).
Steiner, Bernard (1907), The Life and Correspondence of James McHenry (Cleveland, OH: Burrows Brothers).
Washington, George (1796), Address of George Washington, President of the United States...Preparatory to His Declination (Baltimore, MD: George & Henry Keating).

Missing the Obvious Implication by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Missing the Obvious Implication

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

The November 2004 National Geographic article titled “Was Darwin Wrong?” was a rather feeble attempt to bolster a decaying belief in the theory of evolution. A major refutation of the various pieces of “evidence” presented in the article was posted on our Web site soon after the article was published (see Thompson and Harrub, 2004). Yet, just one page before the article defending Darwin, National Geographic dealt an unintentional blow to the theory of evolution, although it seems the editors completely missed the logical implication of the research presented.
In an article titled “Who’s Driving?,” Joel Achenbach, a Washington Post staff writer, reported on a race that took place in March of 2004. The winner of this unusual race was to receive one million dollars in prize money. The race course consisted of a 142-mile trek through the Mojave Desert that had to be completed in ten hours.
Reporting the results of the vehicles’ performances would at first appear catastrophic. “One had its brake lock up in the starting area. Another began by slamming into a wall.... One flipped.... One went a little more than a mile and plunged through a fence” (Achen­bach, 2004, p. 1). Yet, when it is understood that there were no drivers in these robotic vehicles, the race results appear almost humorous. In fact, the vehicle that successfully maneuvered the farthest went a whopping 7.4 miles “before it ran into a berm, and the front wheels caught on fire.” Obviously, the ability to send an unmanned device across the desert proved much more difficult than at first anticipated.
One of the men who helped build two of the vehicles commented: “You get a lot of respect for natural biological systems.... Even ants do all these functions effortlessly. It’s very hard for us to imitate that and put it into our machines.” The author of the article then contrasted the vehicles to a two-year-old toddler, explaining that the “autonomous vehicles, despite being loaded with lasers, radar, stereoscopic cameras, gyroscopes, advanced computers, and GPS guidance, had trouble figuring out fast enough the significance of obstacles that a two-year-old human recognizes immediately.” Achenbauch then concluded that the toddler “is more advanced, even in diapers, than any machine humans have devised.”
Let’s put this into perspective. Several extremely intelligent individuals put their heads together to design thirteen vehicles equipped with state-of-the-art gadgets and gismos that cost thousands of dollars, and which are feats of intellectual genius in and of themselves. These intelligently designed vehicles were given the challenge of traversing the Mojave Desert, and the best-performing vehicle made it a mere 7.4 miles. The author of the article then concluded that a two-year-old toddler is more advanced than any “machine humans have devised.” And yet the article on the next page purports to explain that this toddler arose via no intelligence, by a series of random mutations and chance processes over millions of years.
Is not the implication of Achenbach’s statement about the toddler obvious? If intelligent humans cannot design a machine that even begins to approach the abilities of a toddler, what does that imply? It implies that whoever designed the toddler maintains an intellect that is far superior to the combined total of all human intellect.
The psalmist wrote, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth” (139:14-15). In a poetic description of God’s creation of the psalmist in the womb, the phrase “skillfully wrought” brings to light the ingenuity and design of God’s creative process in the formation of every individual human ever born. It is no wonder that humans outstrip every humanly designed machine that will ever be produced. What else would one expect from the Master Builder whose thoughts are higher than human thought as the heavens are higher than the Earth (Isaiah 55:9)? Yes, Darwin was woefully wrong, as was the article attempting to defend his position. And, ironically, one of the major pieces of evidence disproving Darwin’s theory was presented just one page before the lengthy article that attempted to prove it.


Achenbach, Joel (2004), “Who’s Driving?” National Geographic, 206[5]:1, November.
Thompson, Bert and Brad Harrub (2004), “National Geographic Shoots Itself in the Foot—Again!”, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2644.

The Resurrection Hoax by Ben Fronczek


The Resurrection Hoax (Easter 2015)

The Resurrection – Our Hope! What If It Never Happened?
One of the greatest motivators in our life is the feeling of hope. Think about it.
We will do so much, we will put up with so much, we will strive and work really hard if it’s something we desire or hope for.
We all say things like, “I can’t wait until… Friday, or payday, the weekend or my vacation. That which we hope for can really stir us and move us, and sometimes that’s good.
The anticipation of something we hope for can actually make us feel happy, even excited. E.g. How do you feel before a long awaited vacation or trip? (The anticipation excites us, makes us feel good) I remembering Gary Smalley saying in his seminar that it’s a noted fact that for most women the anticipation and preparation for a vacation is actually more exciting for a woman than the actual vacation time itself.
Christianity is religion based on a hope. And our hope is based on the resurrection of Jesus. Traditionally, Easter is a celebration of Christ and his resurrection. But I wonder, What if it was all a hoax?
What if Jesus was no more than a nice guy and a good teacher.
And what if He really didn’t rise from the dead on that third day?
The fact is, our faith and the hope that we have as a Christian rests on the fact that Jesus left that grave almost 2000 years ago, alive! It is the very foundation of Christianity itself.
And so, if the resurrection didn’t really happen, it would in essence pull the rug right out from under Christianity itself.
It’s sad to think that there are a lot of people in the world today who have a hard time swallowing the fact, or belief that Jesus rose from the grave.          To some it is more of a story, fable, or folklore, than fact. What if it was? What if it was fairytale?
How would the face of religion in this world change? Would those who choose to believe in God still have to become a Jew and still wait for our Messiah to come into the world to save us? Would we have only synagogues?
Did you know that there were actually people in the first century church who were teaching that there idea is no resurrection of the dead?
That which we consider the very foundation, the very hope of Christianity, people were passing off as a hoax, or just a imaginary story!
This was actually being taught in some of the first century Christian churches, and when the Apostle Paul hears about it he addresses the matter right away.
Listen to what he writes to the church in Corinth. Read I Cor. 15:12-19
12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.”
I can almost hear Paul shaking his head saying, ‘Where did you people get this false idea?’ ‘How could you people come up with idea that there was no resurrection?’
And so in Chapter 15, Paul reminds them of the good news which he preached to them when he first came to them, and that is the fact that Jesus came, that He died for their individual sin, was buried and then rose from the grave. So let’s back up and look at what he originally told them:
Read 1 Cor. 15:1-8 “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
For what I received 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, 5and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters 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.”
In verse 17-18, he says in essence, ‘if Christ didn’t really rise, if it was all hoax, then all our faith, all our hopes and dreams of heaven are worthless, a big waste of time, and we are still lost in sin.’
‘And not only that, all those we know who died before us, those we thought to be martyrs, men and women of faith, friends and family members who died believing that Jesus rose are just dead, and now dust, no more.‘
And so he writes, if Christ Jesus didn’t rise,  ‘of all men, we are to be pitied the most.’   And why does he say this? Because we are living a lie, and we are without hope.
Personally, I would have wasted my life going to Bible school and teaching and preaching about Jesus, struggling trying to start and help churches here in NY. It would all have been a waste of time, effort and money.
You also wasted your time coming to church and listening to teachers and preachers all those years. All of that money ever contributed to support teachers, and preachers, and missionaries, and buy evangelistic materials and publications and radio programs, and building church buildings, and so much more, has been just a big waste.
And if it all was a big hoax, a bad joke, a fairy tale, then like Paul writes in verse 32 “If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die.”
Why, because if there is no resurrection, this is as good as it going to get!The life you are living right now is all you have.
But the pure and simple fact is, Jesus did rise from the dead!
That was the Gospel message Paul preached to them.
Now look at what Paul write to them in vs 15:20-24. 20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.” 
First of all he says “Christ has been raised from the dead, and He is the first born of all those who have fallen asleep.” (that is of all those who die)
In the following verses we read of the hope we have in Christ. In vss. 21-22“for just as death came through that one man, Adam, so in Christ we will all be made alive.”     This is our hope!
But how can we know for sure that this is all true? That is isn’t just a story or fable?
1) First of all, we do know the how, when, and where Jesus died. It was done publicly.
– It is not only a Bible fact, It is a historical one as well. We know more of the specifics of his death; the date the day, time and the method, than we know about his birth.
– At the time no one seemed to doubt whether he was dead or not, and so they placed Him in a tomb and sealed it, and then posted Roman guards outside it to ensure that no one would steal the body.
 But how can we be sure of His resurrection?
#2) We know that it just didn’t happen out of the blue.
What I mean is, for hundreds of years predictions had been made by the prophets that something like this would happen.
Concerning the coming Messiah the prophet Isaiah wrote in 53:11 that after his death ‘He would see the light of life and be satisfied. ‘
David wrote “God would not abandon His Holy one in the grave.”
Even Jesus Himself made the same predictions concerning himself.  Read Mark 8:31-32a & 10:32-34
#3) Paul also mentions the fact that he himself as well as the other apostles personally and more than 500 others saw Jesus after His resurrection.
As I mentioned earlier, it is not only a Biblical fact, secular historians also wrote about these events, Flavius Josephus (37-97 AD), court historian for Emperor Vespasian: (Wrote)       “At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And His conduct was good and he was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and other nations became His disciples. Pilate condemned Him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become His disciples did not abandon His discipleship. They reported that He had appeared to them three days after His crucifixion and that He was alive; accordingly, He was perhaps the messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.”
The Death, Burial, and Resurrection is the very pinnacle the high point of all Bible History. It is the point in history that all the Old Testament looks forward to and the Point in the New Testament Era that we all look back to as the most important event of all in history. If it never happened we simply won’t have a leg to stand on.
#4) And though many have tried, no one has ever been able to disprove these facts.
#5) And last all but not least, more evidence that this is not just a made up story is the fact that it has had a life changing effect on so many live thru the ages.
In Romans 1 Paul wrote; “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.”
This Good New, The Gospel of Jesus Christ; His death, burial and resurrection, has changed more lives, and has brought more people back to God than we will ever know.
In I Corinthians 15 Paul had to deal with the skeptics.
They just couldn’t understand this whole idea of resurrection; so he continues and writes more..
Read I Cor. 15:35-50 & 53-55 (From the NLT. I like how they translate this text.)
35 But someone may ask, “How will the dead be raised? What kind of bodies will they have?” 36 What a foolish question! When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it dies first. 37 And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a bare seed of wheat or whatever you are planting. 38 Then God gives it the new body he wants it to have. A different plant grows from each kind of seed. 39 Similarly there are different kinds of flesh—one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish.
40 There are also bodies in the heavens and bodies on the earth. The glory of the heavenly bodies is different from the glory of the earthly bodies. 41 The sun has one kind of glory, while the moon and stars each have another kind. And even the stars differ from each other in their glory.
42 It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. 43 Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. 44 They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.

45 The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.”[h] But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit. 46 What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later. 47 Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. 48 Earthly people are like the earthly man, and heavenly people are like the heavenly man. 49 Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like[i] the heavenly man.
50 What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever.
53 For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.
54 Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die,[j] this Scripture will be fulfilled:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.[k] 55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
This is what we Hope for .
This is what should empower and motivate to:
– turn our lives around to please God.   It should also motivate us to…
– help others who He cares about.       It should also motivate us to…
– share this good news with others   And it should also help us to…
– endure the struggles of this life .
Paul told the Corinthians, Jesus is the first born and if we are right with Christ, if we are ‘in Christ’,   even though physical death may eventually come our way, God has an awesome plan for you, a Heavenly plan for you, you will rise again!
The question is, will you rise and live with Him in that Heavenly home, or, will we rise and be driven from His presence because we’ve rejected Him and His will for our lives? He gives us the freedom to choose. What will you choose for your life?

To God be the glory in the church! by Roy Davison

To God be the glory in the church!

[Text: Ephesians 3:1-21]

Ephesians 3 ends with a prayer of praise: “To Him be the glory in the church in Christ Jesus1 to all generations of an eternity of eternities! Amen!” (Ephesians 3:21 RD).
The church glorifies God in various ways.

The church reveals the wisdom of God.
In Ephesians, chapter 3, Paul states that God’s “eternal purpose”2 was that “the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.”3
God’s wisdom shines forth in His work of redemption through Jesus Christ. “You are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God - and righteousness and sanctification and redemption - that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord’” (1 Corinthians 1:30, 31).
The church makes God’s wisdom known, first, because of the marvelous beauty of God’s plan of redemption for man, and second, because in word and deed the church glorifies God.
The redeemed are the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13, 14). “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

In the church, God will be glorified forever!
The church of Christ is the only institution on earth that will exist in all eternity. When Jesus promised to build His church, He said: “And the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). Hades is the realm of the dead. Thus, the church of Christ exists beyond the grave.
On earth, the church represents the kingdom of heaven. “Our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20). When the Lord adds the saved to the church4 they are registered in heaven. Their names “are in the book of life” (Philippians 4:3). “Only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of Life” may enter the heavenly Jerusalem (Revelation 21:27). They are the “church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven” (Hebrews 12:23).

God is glorified in the body of Christ, His church.
Those who are in the church are in Christ because the church is His body: “He is also head of the body, the church” (Colossians 1:18). There is “one body” (Ephesians 4:4). We are “one body in Christ” (Romans 12:5).5 “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). God “put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body” (Ephesians 1:22, 23).
Christ has one body, one church. Often in Scripture the church of Christ is simply called “the church” because there is only one church.
Other religious institutions will be uprooted. “Then His disciples came and said to Him, ‘Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?’ But He answered and said, ‘Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch’” (Matthew 15:12-14). All denominations and religions of human origin will be uprooted.
Only the church of Christ will glorify God forever. “To Him be the glory in the church in Christ Jesus to all generations of an eternity of eternities!” (Ephesians 3:21 RD).

The church must be cleansed and sanctified to glorify God.
This cleansing is necessary because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Christians are “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). “We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10). The church consists of “those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 1:2). “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
As a gift of God’s grace, this cleansing and sanctification occurs at baptism. “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy, He saved us through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:4, 5). We are born again of water and the Spirit (John 3:3, 5). We are baptized into the body of Christ: “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13).
By water Noah was saved from an evil world. Peter says: “There is also an antitype6 which now saves us - baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21).
After Paul had fasted for three days, he was asked: “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). 
Christ cleanses and sanctifies the church to present her to Himself, a glorious church. Paul wrote: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25-27).
The sanctified church glorifies God as the beautiful bride of Christ: “‘Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.’ And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Revelation 19:7, 8).

The church glorifies God in its preaching and in its service.
“If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:11).
When we serve we must give God all the glory because He is the one who gives us the ability, strength and resources to serve.
When we speak we must give God all the glory by speaking as the oracles of God. Jesus said, “He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory” (John 7:18). God receives the glory only when our preaching conforms to His word.
Paul told Timothy: “Preach the word!” (2 Timothy 4:2). The church is the foundation of the truth: “I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). The church glorifies God by preaching the truth in all the world.

The church glorifies God in its worship.
In Psalm 22 David predicts that the Messiah will be remembered in all the world. On the cross, Jesus quotes the first four words of this psalm: “‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’” (Matthew 27:46). Psalm 22 gives details of the crucifixion. The Jewish leaders used words from Psalm 22:8 to mock Jesus as He hung on the cross: “He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!”7 
“They pierced My hands and My feet” (Psalm 22:16). “They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots” (Psalm 22:18).
After His plea for help, the Messiah says, “You have answered Me!” (Psalm 22:21). Then the psalm is victorious: “I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise You” (Psalm 22:22). In Hebrews 2:12 this statement is ascribed to the Messiah in the Christian age. “My praise shall be of You in the great assembly” (Psalm 22:25). Since this is said after the crucifixion, the great assembly is the church of Christ.
In the closing portion of the psalm, David says the Messiah will be remembered in the whole world: “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You. For the kingdom is the LORD’s, and He rules over the nations. All the prosperous of the earth shall eat and worship” (Psalm 22:27-29). The worldwide observance of the Lord’s supper is a fulfilment of this prophecy!
To glorify God as the church of Christ let us sing praises to God, let us worship and eat the Lord’s supper on the first day of the week, let us proclaim the good news to all peoples so they can turn to the Lord.

What have we learned?
The church will glorify God forever. God’s wisdom is made known by the church. On earth, the church represents the kingdom of heaven. The saved are registered in heaven. God is glorified in Christ, in His one body, the church. The church must be cleansed and sanctified to glorify God. By grace, this occurs at baptism. The sanctified church is the bride of Christ. The church glorifies God in its preaching, in its service and in its worship. 
Our goal, as a congregation and as individual Christians, must be to glorify God.
“To Him be the glory in the church in Christ Jesus to all generations of an eternity of eternities! Amen!”
Roy Davison
The Scripture quotations in this article are from The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc. Publishers, unless indicated otherwise. Permission for reference use has been granted.

1 The original has “ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ ἐν χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ” [“in the church in Christ Jesus”]. Many translators add “and” after church. Linguistically this is admissible if the church and Christ are viewed as two separate sources of glorification. Christians, however, are “one body in Christ” (Romans 12:5). Paul wrote “To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:1). Thus the church is “in Christ Jesus” and only as the body of Christ is the church qualified to glorify God! Thus in my translation I have not added “and”. John Darby’s translation has: “To him be glory in the assembly in Christ Jesus unto all generations of the age of ages.” 

2 Ephesians 3:11.

3 Ephesians 3:10

4 See Acts 2:47.

5 See also 1 Corinthians 10:17; 12:13, 20; Ephesians 2:16; Colossians 3:15.

6 Greek: ἀντίτυπος. An “antitype” is something prefigured by a “type” or symbol. Many Old Testament happenings and institutions foreshadowed New Testament realities or fulfilments. Adam was “a type [τύπος] of Him who was to come” (Romans 5:14). Jewish holidays (“a festival or a new moon or sabbaths”) were “a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ” (Colossians 2:16, 17).

7 Compare with Matthew 27:43: “He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”

Published in The Old Paths Archive