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Im4God Newsletter 04.20.06@

Welcome to the Im4God.org / Songbook.ManuelAdam.com April 20th, 2006 Newsletter!
You can email Webservant Peter J. Louie by replying to this message.

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“It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” - Hebrews 9:27

People try not to think about death. But let's be realists. We will all die unless Christ returns. Christians however, do not need to fear death. Psalm 16:5-6 states, LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.Christians have hope because Christ has defeated death on our behalf. A dose of death is healthy for us. It has a humbling effect. Do you realize your brevity-- you are a midst that appears and then vanishes?  This is in contrast to our eternal Creator, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

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1 Corinthians 15 - The Resurrection of Christ

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. 

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

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The Resurrection by Dr. Roger Schultz

Christianity stands or falls on the resurrection of Christ.  If Christ has not been raised, then our faith is in vain.  Let us consider the hope and victory we have in Christ Jesus.

http://www.im4god.org/audio/TheResurrection.m3u (42 minutes)
http://www.im4god.org/audio/TheResurrection.mp3 (5 MB)

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Mortality: Christians Need Not Fear Death
By J.I. Packer

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. PHILIPPIANS 1:21-24

We do not know how humans would have left this world had there been no Fall; some doubt whether they ever would have done so. But as it is, the separation of body and soul through bodily death, which is both sin’s fruit and God’s judgment (Gen. 2:17; 3:19, 22; Rom. 5:12; 8:10; 1 Cor. 15:21), is one of life’s certainties. This separating of the soul (person) from the body is a sign and emblem of the spiritual separation from God that first brought about physical death (Gen. 2:17; 5:5) and that will be deepened after death for those who leave this world without Christ. Naturally, therefore, death appears as an enemy (1 Cor. 15:26) and a terror (Heb. 2:15).

For Christians the terror of physical death is abolished, though the unpleasantness of dying remains. Jesus, their risen Savior, has himself passed through a more traumatic death than any Christian will ever have to face, and he now lives to support his servants as they move out of this world to the place he has prepared for them in the next world (John 14:2-3). Christians should view their own forthcoming death as an appointment in Jesus’ calendar, which he will faithfully keep. Paul could say, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.... I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Phil. 1:21, 23), since “away from the body” will mean “at home with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8).

At death the souls of believers (i.e., the believers themselves, as ongoing persons) are made perfect in holiness and enter into the worshiping life of heaven (Heb. 12:22-24). In other words, they are glorified. Some, not believing this, posit a purgatorial discipline after death that is really a further stage of sanctification, progressively purifying the heart and refining the character in preparation for the vision of God. But this belief is neither scriptural nor rational, for if at Christ’s coming saints alive on earth will be perfected morally and spiritually in the moment of their bodily transformation (1 Cor. 15:51-54), it is only natural to suppose that the same is done for each believer in the moment of death, when the mortal body is left behind. Others posit unconsciousness (soul sleep) between death and resurrection, but Scripture speaks of conscious relationship, involvements, and enjoyments (Luke 16:22; 23:43; Phil. 1:23; 2 Cor. 5:8; Rev. 6:9-11; 14:13).

Death is decisive for destiny. After death there is no possibility of salvation for the lost (Luke 16:26)—from then on both the godly and the ungodly reap what they sowed in this life (Gal. 6:7-8).

Death is gain for believers (Phil. 1:21) because after death they are closer to Christ. But disembodiment, as such, is not gain; bodies are for expression and experience, and to be without a body is to be limited, indeed impoverished. This is why Paul wants to be “clothed” with his resurrection body (i.e., re-embodied) rather than be “unclothed” (i.e., disembodied, 2 Cor. 5:1-4). To be resurrected for the life of heaven is the true Christian hope. As life in the “intermediate” or “interim” state between death and resurrection is better than the life in this world that preceded it, so the life of resurrection will be better still. It will, in fact, be best. And this is what God has in store for all his children (2 Cor. 5:4-5; Phil. 3:20-21). Hallelujah!

<< From http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/packer/death.html >>

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