A young German countess, who lived in the 19th century, was a noted atheist and was extremely opposed to the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. She died when about 30 years of age. Before her death she gave the command that her grave should be covered with a solid slab of granite. Around the perimeter of it should be placed square blocks of stone and that the corners should be fastened to each other and to the granite slab by heavy iron clamps.
She was determined to prove that her body would never have a chance to come forth and stand before God. According to her, her body was going to remain intact to the earth and nobody, not even God, could uncover her. Her headstone read: “This burial place, purchased to all eternity, must never be opened.”
So, all that human power could do to prevent any change in her grave was done. But, God is so big that He uses little things to confound the wise. A tiny seed sprouted, and a little shoot found its way between the side stones and the upper slab. Slowly it grew. Steadily it forced its way between the slab of granite and blocks until the iron clamps snapped and broke asunder. The granite lid was raised from its resting place until now it is propped upside the tree trunk which is huge and flourishing. The grave is now open and the people of Hanover regard it with almost a kind of superstition and speak in low tones of the foolish but wicked countess.
Not only has God shown His thought of such foolishness, but He has emphatically stated, “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God and the books were opened…” (Revelations 20:11-15). Wow! God declares that death is not the end and that, at His command, the grave can hold nobody down. Every person will rise to receive a reward according to what they have done in this life.
John G. Paton, a nineteenth-century missionary to the South Seas, met opposition to leaving his home in Scotland and going to preach to the cannibalistic peoples of the New Hebrides Islands. A well-meaning friend moaned to him, “The cannibals! The cannibals! You will be eaten by the cannibals!” Without hesitation, Paton replied, “I confess to you that if I can live and die serving my Lord Jesus Christ, it makes no difference to me whether I am eaten by cannibals or by worms; for in the Great Day of the Resurrection, my body will rise as fair as yours in the likeness of our risen Redeemer!”
The reason Jesus Christ the Son of God came to earth was to forgive us of our sins and to give us abundant life now and forever. He then defied the power of death by rising from the grave to give us the hope of living eternally with Him. When we ask Him to forgive us or our sins, quicker than a twinkling, He does. Then He writes our name in the book of life. Jesus took the fear of death and judgment away. Our part in this transaction is, only believe and receive His promise by faith.
A certain parishioner, who had previously been attending services regularly, suddenly stopped coming to church. After some weeks, the minister decided to visit the absent member. It was a chilly evening and the minister found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for his pastor’s visit the man welcomed him in, led him to a big chair by the fireplace and waited. The minister made himself comfortable and said nothing. In grave silence he contemplated the play of the flames around the burning logs.
After some minutes, he took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth. Then he sat back in his chair, still silent. The host watched all this in quiet fascination. As the lone ember’s flame diminished, there was a momentary glow, but then its fire was no more and it was cold and dead. Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting. But as the minister rose to leave, the host said, “Thank you so much for your visit and especially for your fiery sermon. I shall be at church this Sunday.”
One of the many biblical signs indicating we are near the rapture of the church is: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (II Thessalonians 2:3). Many Bible scholars agree that the “falling away” is indicative of people losing heart for the church. It is when people become more interested in sensual things and lose focus on eternity.
Jesus described it this way: “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matthew 24:12-13). Today, many do not see the importance of regular church attendance. They go to church only when they feel like it or there is a special occasion.
I read where members of Northend Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Seattle received a special announcement in the mail, listing the many things that would be done for them at church on the following “No excuse to stay home Sunday.” According to the pastor, cots would be available for those who say Sunday is their only day to sleep-in. Eye drops would be supplied for those who have red eyes from watching the late Saturday night TV shows. There would be steel helmets for those who say the roof would cave in if they entered the church, blankets for those who think the church is too cold, fans for those who say it is too hot, scorecards for any wishing to list the hypocrites present, TV dinners for all who can’t go to church because they must cook dinner. Finally, the sanctuary would be decorated with Christmas poinsettias and Easter lilies for all who have never seen the church without them. The pastor used every incentive possible to cause people to be interested in church. It’d be interesting to know if it worked.
Pastor J.C. Myers, III
Pastor J.C. founded Joy Christian Ministries in 1992. He was Sr. Pastor at Joy Christian Ministries in West Sacramento, California from 1992-2016. He was succeeded by his 2nd son, Pastor Brandon Myers who had been under his father's ministry and teaching for 39 years.