Life or Death?

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life and death promoRomans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Easter is an awesome celebration of life. The resurrection is real. Jesus lives. But do we? Remember life as a child… Days were filled with fun, play, food and naps. Even school was fun for a while. Slowly however challenges grew, responsibilities took more time and friendships got more complicated.

As we grew life became more of a struggle. At some points… Usually working on that long paper I put off, or working that boring job I didn’t like, or that relationship challenge that seemed to have more pain than hope I found myself asking, “What am I doing? Is this really what life is about?”

Life gets hijacked by DEATH… it feels as if something in us dies.

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Are You Ready Highlights

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starting lineMatthew 25:31-46 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left… 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

At one time or another, everyone who hopes to be in heaven after they die wonders whether they have done enough to get there. Have I done the right things? Have I done enough of them? Is my faith “real enough” faith to gain the eternal life that Jesus promises to those who trust him?

We wrestled with this question last week on one of Jesus’ more shocking teachings. The highlights are below. You can catch the full lesson at www.parkviewfamily.com. The key passage is Matthew 25:31-46.

First We See that Eternal Life Requires a Faith Response to Jesus.

Matthew 25:34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

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Are You Really Ready Highlights

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i-amp-039-ll-be-bach-oh-i-meant-back_o_2500643Matthew 25:1-13 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent.

John 8:24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

Last weekend we looked at an illustration Jesus gave to show why we should think about getting ready and what it does & doesn’t look like. It is likely more important than you might think at first. Here are the big points in case you weren’t able to join us. You can find the parable in Matthew 25:1-13. To get the whole flow of the teaching it would be good to  read all of chapters 24 and 25.

Make Sure You Are Ready for Jesus’ Return!

Matt. 7:21-22 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

This is the key contrast in the illustration Jesus gives. The foolish think they are ready but are not. The wise make sure they are ready. The foolish virgins come out like everyone else. They are hanging out with the wedding guests. They have every opportunity to be part of the wedding feast. As it turns out being in the room wasn’t enough.

The oil represents spiritual preparation. It is not outwards appearance of readiness that allows us to enter the kingdom of heaven but the genuine internal work of the Holy Spirit giving spiritual birth to the soul. The bridesmaids are the same in every way except the readiness with the oil. Are you ready for Jesus return?

Make Sure You Are Personally Ready for Jesus’ Return! 

John 10:14-16 I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, 15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

2Cor 13:5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?

The foolish procrastinate hoping others will bail them out. The wise realize each must prepare their own heart. Though it seems mean the wise women understand that some preparation cannot be shared. The plan of the foolish women was like those who fail to study for a test hoping someone will let them cheat off of their paper instead. They planned to cheat on the test by sitting near the smart kid. Jesus won’t accept that. Each one must get personally ready through their own response to Him.

In John 10 Jesus mention THE sheep and HIS sheep. They are not the same. He died on the cross for THE SHEEP. Sadly many of THE SHEEP do not repent and believe. Those who do are born spiritual and become HIS SHEEP. Only HIS SHEEP  are prepared for his return and will enter His eternal kingdom. Are you ready for Jesus’ return?

Make Sure You Are Personally Ready for Jesus’ Return ASAP!  

Heb 3:7-8 Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “Today if you hear His voice, 8 Do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, as in the day of trial in the wilderness,

Mark 1:15  “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

The foolish think there will be time to get on track later. The wise prepare NOW since they don’t know how much time they have. This one speaks for itself. In the illustration the foolish women try to get ready after the fact but it is too late. Jesus is telling us it will be just like that at his return. The due date will not be pushed back once it comes. For those who are ready it will be a day of joy. For those who are not, it will be the biggest “O CRAP!!” moment in human history. You have to ask yourself, “what am I waiting for?”

Are your ready for Jesus’ return? Join us this coming weekend as we continue to look at what it means to be ready.

Are You Really Ready?

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I_ll be bach - ImgurMatthew 16:26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

It’s time for a movie quiz: who said this? What movie is it from?

“May the force be with you”

“You can’t handle the truth!”

“Make My day!”

“Make it so”

“So let it be written, so let it be done”

“I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse”

“We aren’t in Kansas anymore”

“I’ll be back!!”

I’m sure you got Arnold in the Terminator movies for the last one. But someone even more powerful said it first. Jesus of Nazareth the Son of God. According to the Bible, Jesus after a time of waiting for people to get ready promised that He would return to complete His work of making all things new & right. The question is are we ready for that moment?

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Finding Hope that’s Real

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      Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead… 1 Peter 1:3

He lives

Few things are more hope filled than a newborn baby. Parents wonder and dream at all the potential and promise this new life holds. Sadly as decades pass the promise dulls and problems choke out many dreams. Hope seems to shed like leaves from northern trees in November. For many cynical realism grows in the ground that hope once occupied.

This is as natural in our world as losing our baby teeth so that something more permanent (we hope) can come in. The hope we are born with in this world is not meant to last. The trials of life reveal quickly enough that the beliefs, things and efforts we thought would make our lives amazing could not hold up. Where we longed for life we found the sting of death.

This is where Easter steps in. The great message of Easter is that real, permanent, ultimate hope is available. A hero has come. At first we misjudged Him. Though fascinated, we mocked and resisted. Our evil nature lead to His death. But death could not hold Him. He defeated death and rose to life. His unique power and identity as the Son of God in flesh revealed itself validating all He ever taught & claimed. He has power to give life, forgive sin, heal wounds, transform character and much, much more. He gives peace to the troubled, rest to the weary, sight to the blind, courage to the fearful and life to all who will turn to Him.

Though many still doubt, those who humbly trust their lives to Jesus find real hope. The hopelessness of this world becomes a blessing that leads us to Him if we are willing to believe. This Easter, if you find yourself struggling with hope, RUN to a church where His hope will be  explained and offered. If you have found it, RUN to gather with others who will celebrate the great hope you have received.