REJOICE - IT'S EASTER


THERE IS A GREEN HILL FAR AWAY (~ an Easter Hymn)

There is a green hill far away,
Beyond the city wall,
Where the dear Lord was crucified,
Who died to save us all.

We may not know,we can not tell,
What pains he had to bear;
We believe it was for us
He hung and suffered there.

He died that we might be forgiven;
He died to make us good,
That we might go to heaven,
Saved by His precious blood.

There was no other good enough
To pay the price of sin,
He only could unlock the gate,
Of heaven and let us in.

O dearly, dearly, He has loved,
We must love Him too,
Trust in His redeeming blood,
And try His works to do.

~Cecil Frances Alexander 1818-1895

THE ULTIMATE TESTIMONY

The church's pastor slowly stood up, walked over to the pulpit and before
he gave his sermon for the evening, briefly introduced a guest minister
who was in the congregation that evening.

In the introduction, the pastor told the congregation that the guest
minister was one of his dearest childhood friends and that he wanted him to have a few moments to greet the church and share whatever he felt would be appropriate for the service.

With that, an elderly man stepped up to the pulpit and began to speak ...
"A father, his son, and a friend of his son were sailing off the Pacific
coast," he began, "when a fast approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to the shore. The waves were so high, that even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat upright!
The three were swept into the ocean as the boat capsized."

The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers, who were, for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat interested in his story.

The aged minister continued with his story. "Grabbing a rescue line, the
father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life: To which boy would he throw the other end of the life line? He only had seconds to make the decision. The father knew that his son was a Christian, and he also knew that his son's friend was not. The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of waves. As the father yelled out, 'I LOVE YOU, SON!' he threw out the lifeline to his son's friend. By the time the father had pulled the friend back to the capsized boat, his son had disappeared beneath the raging swells into the black of the night. His body was never recovered."

By this time, the two teenagers were sitting up straight in the pew,
anxiously awaiting the next words to come out of the old man's mouth.

The old man continued. "The father knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus, and he could not bear the thought of his son's friend stepping
into an eternity without Jesus.

Therefore, he sacrificed his son to save the son's friend. ~ How great is
the love of God that he should do the same for us! Our heavenly Father
sacrificed his only begotten Son that we could be saved. ~ I urge you to
accept his offer to rescue you and take a hold of the life line he is
throwing out to you in this service."

With that, the old man turned and
sat back down in his chair as silence filled the room. The pastor again
walked slowly to the pulpit and delivered a brief sermon with an
invitation at the end. However, no one responded to the appeal.

Within minutes after the service had ended, the two teenagers were at the old man's side. "That was a nice story," politely stated one of the boys, but I don't think it was very realistic for a father to give up his only son's life in hopes that the other boy would become a Christian."

"Well, you've got a point there," the old man replied, glancing down at
his worn bible. A big smile then broadened his narrow face as he once again looked up at the boys and said, "It sure isn't very realistic, is it?

But I'm standing here today to tell you ~ that story gives me a glimpse of
what it must have been like for God to give up his Son for me.

You see, I was that father and your pastor was my son's friend."

GOD LOVED . GOD GAVE

For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16)

Note what God did: "He gave His only Son" This is how He dealt with your sin. Imagine it this way: Suppose you are found guilty of a crime. You are in a courtroom in front of the judge and he sentences you to death for your crime. His sentence is just. You are guilty and the punishment for your crime is death. But suppose that the judge is your father. He knows the law; he knows that he love you too much to let you die. So in a wonderful act of love he steps down from the bench and removes his robe and stands by your side and says "I'm going to die in your place"
That is what God did for you. The wages of sin is death. Heaven's justice demands a death for your sin. Heaven's love, however, can't bear to see you die. So here is what God did. He stood and removed his heavenly robes. He came to earth to tell us that He would die for us. He would be our Saviour. And that is what He did.

God put the world square with Himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering the forgiveness of sins God put the wrong on Him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God (2 Cor 5:19,21 MSG)

WE BELIEVE . WE RECEIVE

What does God want you to do? Three simple steps: admit, agree, accept.

1. Admit that God has not been first place in your life and ask Him to forgive your sins.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrong
(1 John 1:9)

2. Agree that Jesus died to pay for your sins and that He rose from the dead and is alive today

If you confess that Jesus is your Lord, and you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved
(Rom 10:9)

3. Accept God's free gift of salvation. Don't try to earn it.

For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast
(Eph 2:8,9)

With all of my heart, I urge you to accept God's destiny for your life. I urge you to get on board with Christ. According to the Bible, "Jesus is the only one who can save people. His Name is the only power in the world that has been given to save people. We must be saved through Him" (Acts 4:12)

Would you let Him save you? This is the most important decision you will ever make. Why don't you give your heart to Him right now? Admit your need. Agree with his work. Accept His gift. Go to God in prayer and tell Him, "I am a sinner in need of grace. I believe that Jesus died for me on the cross. I accept your offer of salvation"
It's a simple prayer with eternal results.
(~ from: "Reflections on the Saviour", Max Lucado)
 

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