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Sermon Central Staff
HE'S NO LONGER IN THE GRAVE
In 1887, twenty two years after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, his coffin was dug up and opened because there were constant rumors that his body was not in the grave. So they dug it up and the body was there. The rumors continued so 14 years later they had to dig it up again. Both times witnesses were present who testified that Lincoln was still in the grave.
Three days after the death of Jesus Christ, similar rumors began to spread throughout the land of Israel. Only this time there were no witnesses who could say that they had seen His body. In fact, to the contrary, many witnesses claimed to have seen him out of His grave and even talked with Him after the resurrection.
As great a man as Lincoln was there were witnesses to prove he was still in the grave. If one of our Presidents or another leader in our government were to cry out today to Lincoln for help, there would be no response. If a scientist were to cry out to Einstein for help today there would only be empty silence. If someone were to call out to Mohammed or Buddha or Gandhi today there would be no help. But if you and I call out to Jesus Christ there is instant power available to us... power to change lives ...why? Because He lives!
(From a sermon by David Henderson, "Overcoming Death," 5/25/2011)
Sermon Central Staff
OSWALD CHAMBERS ON CONVICTION OF SIN
Oswald Chambers: "Conviction of sin is one of the rarest things that ever strikes a man. It is the threshold of an understanding of God. Jesus Christ said that when the Holy Spirit came He would convict of sin, and when the Holy Spirit rouses the conscience and brings him into the presence of God, it is not his relationship with men that bothers him, but his relationship with God."
Conviction of sin is the unbearable burden of all of your sin and filthiness before a holy and righteous God. The word in the Greek carries the idea of exposing your sin. When the Spirit of God brings this type of conviction it reveals your total bankruptcy before God. The burden of that sin can only be overcome by realizing Godís blessing of salvation. The verses tell us that the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin and righteousness and judgment. When does salvation take place when we stop disagreeing with the truth of our rebellion against God. At this point we no longer have the pride or arrogance to say "I'm good."
(From a sermon by Billy Ricks, The ministry of the Holy Spirit, 1/22/2011)
An elderly lady was asleep in her bed one night, when she was awakened by a strange noise from the living room. Cautiously, she walked in and discovered a burglar in the process of stealing the stereo. Overcome with fear, she whispered a desparate prayer, "Help me Jesus!" The burglar heard her and started towards her. Without a thought she put up her hand and shouted a favorite scripture reference: ACTS, 2:38! The burglar immediately froze. The lady dialed 911, and within minutes, police were on the scene, and took the burglar to the police station. As the police were questioning him, one of the detectives said, "I’m curious, you could have ran and got away, why did you stay frozen in that one spot?" The burglar answered, "Man, if you knew that old lady was packing an axe and two .38 revolvers, you would not have moved either!"
History records for us an interesting footnote. It was during the dark winter of 1864. At Petersburg, Virginia, the Confederate army of Robert E. Lee faced the Union divisions of General Ulysses S. Grant. The war was now three and a half years old and the glorious charge had long since given way to the muck and mud of trench warfare. Late one evening one of Leeís generals, Major General George Pickett, received word that his wife had given birth to a beautiful baby boy. Up and down the line the Southerners began building huge bonfires in celebration of the event. These fires did not go unnoticed in the Northern camps and soon a nervous Grant sent out a reconnaissance patrol to see what was going on. The scouts returned with the message that Pickett had had a son and these were celebratory fires. It so happened that Grant and Pickett had been contemporaries at West Point and knew one another well, so to honor the occasion Grant, too, ordered that bonfires should be built.
What a peculiar night it was. For miles on both sides of the lines fires burned. No shots fired. No yelling back and forth. No war fought. Only light, celebrating the birth of a child. But it didnít last forever. Soon the fires burned down and once again the darkness took over. The darkness of the night and the darkness of war.
The good news of Chris...
John Williams III
Jesus lifted up the spirit of a discouraged preacher who retired early because of what happened to him. "In the Pentecostal Evangel church leader George U. Wood writes:
"Have you ever heard a healing take place? I have. I listened to an audiotape of Duane Miller teaching his Sunday school class from the text of Psalm 103 at the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on January 17, 1993. Duane prematurely retired from pastoring three years earlier because of a virus which penetrated the myelin sheath around the nerves in his vocal cords, reducing his speech to a raspy whisper....
"Teaching his class that day with a special microphone resting on his lips,
he reaffirmed his belief in divine healing and that miracles had not ended
with the Book of Acts. Listening to the tape, at times you can barely
understand his weakly spoken wheezy words of faith. The miracle happened at verse 4 when he said, "I have had and you have had in times
past pit experiences."
"On the word pit his life changedóthe word was as clear as a bell, in contrast to the imperfect enunciation of the preceding "word past. He paused, startled; began again and stopped. He said a few more wordsóall in a normal clear toneóand stopped again. The class erupted with shouts of joy, astonishment and sounds of weeping. God completely healed him as he was declaring the truth in this psalm. (You can read the full account in Millerís book Out of the Silence, Nelson Publishers.)". (Craig Brian Larson. Choice Contemporary Stories & Illustrations For Preachers, Teachers, & Writers. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1998, p. 116). If there is anything that this story tells us it is this, never underestimate what God can do! It was the healing touch of Jesus that gave Rev. Duane Miller the full range of his voice again!
Sermon Central Staff
"In an article in Campus Life a young nurse writes of her pilgrimage in learning to see in a patient the image of God beneath a very 'distressing disguise.'
"Eileen was one of her first patients, a person who was totally helpless. 'A cerebral aneurysm (broken blood vessels in the brain) had left her with no conscious control over her body,' the nurse writes. As near as the doctors could tell Eileen was totally unconscious, unable to feel pain and unaware of anything going on around her. It was the job of the hospital staff to turn her every hour to prevent bedsores and to feed her twice a day 'what looked like a thin mush through a stomach tube.' Caring for her was a thankless task. 'When it's this bad,' an older student nurse told her, 'you have to detach yourself emotionally from the whole situation...' As a result, more and more she came to be treated as a thing, a vegetable...
"But the young student nurse decided that she could not treat this person like the others had treated her. She talked to Eileen, sang to her, encouraged her, and even brought her little gifts. One day when things were especially difficult and it would have been easy for the young nurse to take out her frustrations on the patient, she was especially kind. It was Thanksgiving Day and the nurse said to the patient, 'I was in a cruddy mood this morning, Eileen, because it was supposed to be my day off. But now that I'm here, I'm glad. I wouldn't have wanted to miss seeing you on Thanksgiving. Do you know this is Thanksgiving?'
"Just then the telephone rang, and as the nurse turned to answer it, she looked quickly back at Eileen. 'Suddenly,' she writes, Eileen was 'looking at me... crying. Big damp circles stained her pillow, and she was shaking all over.
"That was the only human emotion that Eileen ever showed any of them, but it was enough to change the whole attitude of the hospital staff toward her. Not long afterward, Eileen died. The young nurse closes her story, saying, 'I keep thinking about her... It occurred to me that I owe her an awful lot. Except for Eileen, I might never have known what it's like to give my self to someone who can't give back'" (Rebecca Manley Pippert, Stories from the Heart (Multnomah Books: Sisters, Oregon, 1996), 31-32).
What have you been confronted with that seems impossible to overcome? How are you allowing God to use you to meet the needs of others through the divine resources he has?
(From a sermon by Eric Lenhart, Are We Manufacturers or Distributors? 8/12/2010)
Sermon Central Staff
BAD NEWS, THEN GOOD NEWS
Nearly 20 years ago at the height of Operation Desert Storm, Ruth Dillow received a very sad message from the Pentagon. The message stated that her son, Clayton had stepped on a landmine in Kuwait and was killed. Ruth later wrote these words, "I can't begin to describe my grief and shock. It was almost more than I could bear. For 3 days I just wept. I expressed anger and loss. For 3 days people tried to comfort me but nothing worked ... the loss was simply too great.
But 3 days after she received that message the phone rang. The voice on the other end said ,"Mom, it's me." It's Clayton. I'm alive. Ruth said, I couldn't believe it at first. But then I recognized his voice and realized he really was alive. The message was all a mistake. She said, "I laughed, I cried, I felt like turning cartwheels because my son who I thought was dead was actually alive."
This morning we come to a story that is very similar. The disciples, family members, those who were at the cross have all received the news that Jesus has died.
(From a sermon by David Henderson, "Overcoming Death," 5/25/2011)
PLEASURE COMES FROM PAIN
The world's best cyclist, Lance Armstrong, says this about pain:
I become a happier man each time I suffer.
Suffering is as essential to a good life, and as inextricable, as bliss. The old saying that you should live each day as if itís your last is a nice sentiment, but it doesnít work. Take it from me. I tried it once, and hereís what I learned: If I pursued only happiness, and lived just for the moment, Iíd be a no-account with a perpetual three-day growth on my chin. Cancer taught me that.
Before cancer, whatever I imagined happiness to be, pretty soon I wore it out, took it for granted, or threw it away. A portfolio, a Porsche, a coffee machine--these things were important to me. So was my hair. Then I lost them, including the hair. When I was 25, I was diagnosed with advanced testicular cancer, which had metastasized into my lungs and brain. I sold the car, gave up my career as a world-class cyclist, lost a good deal of money, and barely hung on to my life.
When I went into remission, I thought happiness would mean being self-indulgent. Not knowing how much time I had left, I did not intend to ever suffer again. I had suffered months of fear, chemotherapy so strong it left burn marks under my skin, and surgery to remove two tumors. Happiness to me then was waking up.
I ate Mexican food, played golf, and lay on the couch. The pursuit of happiness meant going to my favorite restaurant and pursuing a plate of enchiladas with tomatillo sauce.
But one day my wife, Kristin, put down her fork and said, "You need to decide something: Are you going to be a golf-playing, beer-drinking, Mexican-food-eating slob for the rest of your life? If you are, Iíll still love you. But I need to know, because if so, Iíll go get a job. Iím not going to sit at home while you play golf."
I stared at her.
"Iím so bored," she said.
Suddenly, I understood that I was bored, too. The idleness was forced; I was purposeless, with nothing to pursue. That conversation changed everything. I realized that responsibility, the routines and habits of shaving in the morning with a purpose, a job to do, a wife to love, and a child to raise--these were the things that tied my days together and gave them a pattern deserving of the term living.
Within days I was back on my bicycle. For the first time in my life, I rode with real strength and stamina and purpose. Without cancer, I never would have won a single Tour de France. Cancer taught me a plan for more purposeful living, and that in turn taught me how to train and to win more purposefully. It taught me that pain has a reason, and that sometimes the experience of losing things--whether health or a car or an old sense of self--has its own value in the scheme of life. Pain and loss are great enhancers.
People ask me why I ride my bike for six hours a day; what is the pleasure? The answer is that I donít do it for the pleasure. I do it fo...
TRUSTING DOCTORS, TRUSTING GOD
Not many people enjoy going to the doctor, but according to Reuters, in 1994, one London accountant to that to an extreme. The 63-year-old man needed bladder surgery, but he couldn't overcome his fear of doctors and hospitals. So he self-reliantly did what had to be done. He tried to perform the surgery upon himself. Tragically he got an infection and died. The coroner said, "Unfortunately, his drastic remedy went wrong. A simple operation would have solved the problem."
Just as many don't trust doctors and hospitals, many people wont trust God. In their self-reliance, they destroy themselves.
Paul Duncan was an Accountant for a large manufacturing firm in Lansing Michigan. When it came to numbers he was the best! But when it came to pain he was a wimp. Paul hated pain of any type. A common cold would set him back for a week. He couldnít work or do anything.
In 1997 he was diagnosed with Cancer and began a long journey of suffering. He battled through the suffering for over two years until it was in remission. In the end he was a changed man. He had overcome one of the greatest obstacles he had ever faced - pain!
Sometimes we think we have reached our ability to handle pain or suffering, but God knows how much we can handle. He will not allow us to go beyond what we can bear