Pastoral Reflections

To the Beloved Saints at Lone Hill Church and Beyond

by | Mar 29, 2024 | Reflections

Come join us this Sunday, March 31st as we celebrate Easter Sunday, celebrating the most important day in the history of our world, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. In the Gospel of John 11:25, Jesus was comforting the grieving Martha who had experienced the death of her beloved brother Lazarus. Instead of just empathizing with her grief, He challenged her to look to Him. He said to her and all who were grieving,

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”

Jesus was likely within 2 weeks of His crucifixion. On the day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter boldly proclaimed that despite the best efforts of wicked humanity to kill the Savior,

“God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it” (Acts 2:24).

That fact is still the proof that Jesus was God and that the shedding of His blood was sufficient to appease the wrath of God for the sins of all humanity. It was simply not possible for death, hell, and Satan to keep the mighty Son of God in the grave. Therefore, it is appropriate that we celebrate Easter as the most significant day in the history of mankind. This fact will remain true until the Lord’s return, His glorious Second Coming which He promised would happen according to God’s divine timetable.

We are living in the end times that Jesus had prophesied over 2000 years ago, just prior to His death and resurrection. When His disciples asked Him when the signs of Christ’s return would happen, He answered them in Matthew 24:4-14:

“And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

We are witnessing the love of the world growing cold even in the United States, a country that was founded on the belief of God as sovereign over the heavens and the earth. In a recent survey(*) of 71,152 households across the U.S., the share of adults who say that they never or rarely attend religious services is continuing to drop. The worst three states were: Vermont (75%), New Hampshire (66%), and Maine (66%). Our state of California is not surprisingly closer to the worst of the states. The top three where church attendance still seems to matter: Mississippi (32%), Alabama (36%), and Louisiana (37%) have the lowest share of adults who say they never or seldom attend services.

Church attendance is an important, although a relatively shallow method of assessing faithfulness to the true God. Jesus warned in His Sermon on the Mount that wide would be the path that leads to eternal destruction, while narrow and difficult would be the path to His glorious Kingdom. (Paraphrase of Matthew 7:13-14.) Nevertheless, Jesus did not tell us to be anxious about these things, but to put our full faith and trust in Him. He has instructed His disciples to be about His business. We are to be active members of His Body, the local Church, growing in sanctification and sowing seeds of the Gospel by sharing the Good News of Jesus’s Kingdom, that He came to “seek and save those who were lost” (Luke 19:10).

Let us remember that we are serving a living God, who has power over the powers of death and has taken away the keys of death from the devil. Let us heed the words of the Apostle Peter to the problem-filled Corinthian Church,

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Come and worship with us in celebrating the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ this Easter Sunday, but may we remember that every Sunday is a resurrection Sunday, as we worship the one true, living, and loving God. Truly, Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords!

“To Him be glory both now and unto the day of eternity” (2 Peter 3:18).

Yours in the love of Christ, our Lord,

Pastor Sam

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