What is Easter All About

For many people, Easter is another holiday during which to celebrate traditions, to decorate, and to dress in a special outfit. It may even include chocolate, eggs, bunnies, and a big family meal together. But the true reason for celebration is not found in any of those things.

The Bible doesn’t mention “Easter” nor does it instruct Christians to set aside a certain day to observe and celebrate Christ’s resurrection. However, Christ’s resurrection is most certainly something that should be celebrated. And we should be thankful for the resurrection every day!

Remembrance and Celebration!

For Christians, Easter is a time to remember and to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It may seem strange to celebrate someone’s death. And it would be, if it weren’t for the fact of the resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus Christ makes His death different than any other death. You see, Jesus, the Son of God (John 3:16), is the only person who ever lived a perfect life: He never sinned. Because He is sinless, He is the perfect and only qualified, acceptable sacrifice for sin. Sin is God’s term for anything we do that goes against what God wants. Romans 3:23 reminds us that we all have sinned. Lying, stealing, swearing, or anything in thought, word, or deed that keeps us from perfection and ultimately glorifying God with our lives, therefore, marks us as unqualified to approach the perfect and Holy God. Do you want to be free from your sin, free from the burden and weight of sin which will ultimately take you to Hell? Then accept the gift of salvation that’s freely offered and found only in Jesus Christ. He is the one mediator between you and God (I Timothy 2:5). He is the only one who can give true peace with God (Romans 5:1).

The Resurrection of Jesus!

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the best good news ever given! Jesus was perfectly qualified to become our substitute. I Peter 2:24 and 3:18 tell us that Jesus bore our sins. He suffered for us so that we would be healed, and that He might bring us to God. He provided the way for us to be forgiven of sin and accepted of God. You can trust Him as your personal Savior today. Acknowledge that you are a lost sinner in need of a perfect Savior (Romans 3:10, 23; 6:23). Believe in Jesus Christ as God’s Son and receive His gift of forgiveness from sin (John 3:16). Confess your sin and put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior (Romans 10:9–10, 13).

New Life!

Salvation prayer to follow: “Dear Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe that You died upon the cross for me, and that You shed Your precious blood for the forgiveness of my sin. I believe that You were raised from the dead and went to Heaven to prepare a place for me. I accept You now as my Savior, my Lord, my God, my friend. Come into my heart and set me free from my sin. I believe that because You are my Savior, I shall not die, but have everlasting life (John 6:47). Thank you, Jesus, for saving my soul. I trust You and commit my life to You. Amen.”

God’s Power on Display

Why Is Easter So Special?

Easter is special, but not because little girls get to wear new dresses and children get to go on Easter egg hunts. Easter is special because of the momentous event that occurred early on that Sunday morning a few days after the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross. He arose! This is the one event that separates Christianity from all the other world religions. Jesus Christ came back to life from the dead. His tomb is empty! All of the leaders of every world religion or cult have one thing in common: a dead body in a casket or tomb.  But the tomb of Jesus is empty, and it is not because of grave robbers. How did this happen? By the power of God! God displayed His mighty power over death itself on the first Easter Sunday.

“But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” Romans 8:11


What Does Easter Mean to Me?

The same power that raised Jesus from the dead – God’s Spirit – dwells inside every Christian. The apostle Paul relates this wonderful promise that if we put our faith and trust in Christ alone for the forgiveness of our sins and receive the free gift of eternal life, then we have the promise that one day we too shall be raised from the dead. God promises a resurrection and a perfect glorified body to all who truly become followers of Christ. Easter is special not just because of what happened to Jesus but also because of the promise that He made to His followers: “…because I live, ye shall live also.”  John 14:19b.

We all suffer the consequences of living in a fallen world that is marred by sin. But God’s love gives us something to look forward to: heaven, a glorified body, the presence of God, and complete separation from sin and all of its negative effects (pain, hurt, sorrow, disability, and death itself) (see Revelation 21:1–4).

On Easter Sunday, April 1, come and celebrate with us Easter: God’s Power on Display. The service times are 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. We provide a nursery for the little ones and a special children’s church for youngsters through 4th grade. We also provide interpreting for the deaf during the 10:30 a.m. service.

Can I Trust the Bible?

Do you already trust the Bible but want additional “evidence” to bolster your faith, or do you question whether or not the Bible is trustworthy and want to sincerely investigate the matter further? In either case, you’ll find help here.

Why do many intelligent and educated people trust the Bible? What have they discovered? In the depths of your soul, do you want to be a “truster”? Then launch yourself on this investigative journey:

Examine the manuscript evidence for the Bible

How did the Bible come into existence, and how was it passed down to us? How many manuscripts support the reading of the biblical text, are they reliable, and how much time elapsed between the writing of the original and the making of the earliest copies that we have today? Here is a comparison of the Bible and another ancient work.

The works of Plato date back to 400 BC. The earliest copies that still exist date back to 900 AD. That’s a span of 1,300 years, and 7 copies exist. The New Testament dates back to 75–100 AD. The earliest manuscripts that still exist date back to 125 AD. That span of time is only 35 years, and 24,000+ manuscripts exist. The Bible passes the bibliographical test—the manuscripts are reliable copies of the original, with little time-lapse between the original and copies, and attested by numerous extant (still in existence) copies.

Examine the archaeological evidence for the Bible

Far from being a foe, archaeology is a friend whose diggings defend the biblical record: The destruction of Tyre, the crumbling walls of Jericho, the existence of Pontius Pilate, the Hittite civilization, the Bible’s use of “politarchs” to denote the civil authorities of Thessalonica, and so on. The archaeologist’s spade has uncovered numerous sites that pertain to the Bible and innumerable facts that confirm Scripture’s accuracy. Noted archaeologist Dr. William Albright said, “There can be no doubt that archaeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of the Old Testament tradition.”

Examine the prophetical evidence in the Bible

Prophecy is often “history before it happens.” Because God is all-knowing, He knows the future, and occasionally He tells us the future before it materializes. This pre-telling often contains specific information as opposed to vague generalities. Examples include the destruction of Sidon and Tyre, the ascendancy of Cyrus to the Persian throne and subsequent actions toward the Jews. Numerous prophecies regarding Jesus Christ include His birthplace, genealogy, triumphal entrance into Jerusalem, betrayal by Judas, death, burial, resurrection, and much more. Prophecies often pre-date their fulfillment by hundreds of years or more.

Understand this: The Bible is trustworthy, yet not everyone will trust it. Trust depends not primarily upon the accuracy and authenticity of the biblical record, but upon the acumen (exceptional discernment) and appetites of the reader. A person recognizes the trustworthiness of Scripture when the Spirit of God convinces him or her that it is true.

1 Corinthians 2:14 says, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Seek truth and find God; that’s how it works!

How Does the Bible Bring Comfort?

Some use the following acronym for the word BIBLE (Basic Information Before Leaving Earth) to describe its purpose. The Apostle Paul declared that the Old Testament Scriptures were written in the past to help provide present-day believers comfort and strength now. As Paul stated in Romans 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”

The Bible or Scripture teaches us the following truths: patience produces endurance, comfort produces strength, and the word “hope” in the Bible does not mean a “hope so”, but rather a “know so” or a confident assurance! The Bible is God’s Truth, and truth is what is true or the actual state of a matter. Truth is reality, a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle, or the state or character of being true.

Christianity is based on historical truth, which provides believers comfort or strength in the present time as well as in what lies ahead for them in the future.

Comfort is defined as to “soothe, console, or reassure; bring cheer to; to aid; support or encourage”. The Bible provides us comfort in what we face in everyday life and in how we can face eternity too!

The greatest comfort in the world is knowing where one will spend eternity and the most wonderful Comforter in the universe is God himself .

The two best-known scriptural passages in our culture that give tremendous comfort, help, and encouragement are Psalm 23 and John 3:16.

King David of Israel wrote Psalm 23, which has been bringing comfort and encouragement to people for 3,000 years! King David spoke of the LORD himself as being his very own personal Shepherd and David is like a sheep that belongs to God! God is One that presides over him by loving, watching, and caring for him. David in Psalm 23 claims that the Lord is his personal shepherd, his present shepherd, his providing shepherd, his protecting shepherd, and his perpetual shepherd!

When he states, “The LORD is my shepherd”, the word “my” demonstrates the LORD is David’s Personal shepherd. The word “is” signifies the LORD is the present shepherd who is with him at all times and is continually shepherding/presiding over him. David indicates in verses 1b–3 that the LORD is his providing shepherd by meeting both his physical and spiritual needs! “I shall not want (his needs will be met), 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters (physical needs). 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake (spiritual needs).”

And in verses 4 and 5 David states how the LORD is his protecting shepherd which indicates that he does not have to fear whatever he is facing, not even death, because the LORD as his shepherd, is always with him no matter what!

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

And in Verse 6 David reinforces that the LORD is his Perpetual shepherd as He has been in the past, He is in the present, and He will continue to be his shepherd forever ! 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Jesus himself said that He is the Good Shepherd that gives his life for His sheep, and Jesus himself spoke the best-known verse in the Bible, John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

People receive comfort and strength by first knowing and then personally receiving Jesus Christ, God’s Son, as the means by which they can be right with God in the present and for eternity! This is accomplished by childlike faith, as given in Romans 10:13 (which is a quote of the Old Testament prophet; see Joel 2:32), “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

The Bible clearly states anyone can receive the greatest comfort in the universe by putting their trust in God’s Son, Jesus Christ, by believing that He died for their sins and rose again from the dead (Romans 10:9–13). This then provides one with a personal relationship with the Lord himself, which results in the believer having the same promises that King David had in the LORD being his very own shepherd!

What is hindering or stopping you from trusting in and asking the Lord to be your personal Lord and Savior? Do so right now, and He will be yours and you will be His for now and for eternity!

Why We Know the Bible Is True

Many in our society falsely assume that the Bible is a religious book filled with superstitious stories about God working in people’s lives. The Bible is also mocked by atheists who claim to be more knowledgeable than the God who gave them life. For decades, scholars made the front page of newspapers and magazines with their accusations of “errors”; all the while the archaeologists continued to uncover thousands of items confirming the accuracy of the Bible.  A simple online search of the key words “Biblical Archaeology” or “Biblical Artifacts” will confirm this premise.

As a Christian I BELIEVE the Bible is true, but as a serious student of Bible prophecy, history, and archaeology I KNOW the Bible is true.

Fulfilled Bible prophecy is God’s proof to a skeptical world. In the Bible, God calls us to believe by faith, but He does not call us to believe in a “blind faith.”

Fulfilled Bible Prophecy—God’s Proof to a Skeptical World

Hundreds of books have been written to document the fulfillment of ancient prophecies regarding people, places, events, and nations (Search “reasons.org/Bible Prophecy”). It is a faith-building experience to read about Daniel’s prophecies of nations, Daniel 9:24-27; David’s prophecy of crucifixion before it was invented, Psalm 22:16; and the prophecy of a king named Josiah who would dig up and burn the bones of false prophets on the altar of King Jeroboam, 1 Kings 13:2, 2 Kings 23:15-18; and over 300 prophecies fulfilled by Christ (Search “Godandscience.org/Prophecies of Jesus”).

As amazing as it is to look back in history and see the accuracy of the Bible, it is even more astounding to look at events in our lifetime that confirm the Bible is true. When talking to skeptics – family, friends, or co-workers – what do you say to them? Ask them to consider the single greatest proof that the Bible is true: The greatest fulfillment of prophecy in our lifetime is the rebirth of the nation of Israel. Jesus predicted the destruction of Jerusalem which was fulfilled in 70 AD and documented in the Arch of Titus – just a few blocks from the Roman Colosseum. The Bible predicted that the Jewish people would be scattered around the world, Deuteronomy 28:64, “And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other.” But it also predicts that Israel will be regathered and the Jews will return to their homeland, Israel. Ezekiel 38:8, “After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people….”

The Greatest Fulfillment of Prophecy in our Lifetime—Israel!

There are over 1,500 prophecies about the second coming of Jesus in the Bible. But one thing is clear – the Jewish people MUST return to the land before the coming of Christ. Old Testament prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel both predicted the return of the Jewish people to their land after being scattered around the world – Ezekiel 36:24, 37:12, 14; Jeremiah 30:11, 31:10.

In one generation the Jewish people went from having no homeland to being a recognized nation.  In 1948, when Israel took its place among the nations of the world again for the first time in nearly 2,000 years, students of prophecy recognized the fulfillment of the primary sign that the end of the age was upon us. Many Bible scholars view the rebirth of Israel as the budding of the fig tree, Matthew 24:32-33. Others see the retaking of Jerusalem in 1967 as the fulfillment of this event. Learn more by searching TheCaringChurch.com/Sunday-Evening (see “Be Prepared” Series).

Most music lovers are familiar with the “old spiritual” called Dry Bones. This song sets to music the prediction from Ezekiel 37 picturing the rebirth of the nation of Israel as a valley of dry bones that becomes a mighty army. The fulfillment of this prediction is found in the Jewish people returning to their land in our lifetime.

We live in exciting days! We are witnesses to the fulfillment of prophecies made more than 2,000 years ago. We can understand that the current crisis in the Middle East absolutely fits a biblical scenario of the last days. A leader will rise out of the European Union to broker a peace treaty between the Jews and the Arabs “in the last days” (Daniel 9:27). This “world peace” does not last very long. Jesus predicted a 3½-year period of “great tribulation” on the earth (Matthew 24:21) before His return to the earth to set up His one thousand-year reign upon the earth, Revelation 20:4.

Yes, I know the Bible is true. The proof is found in history, prophecy, archaeology, and even in science.  But the most important truth found in the Bible is the subject of your eternal destiny. Everyone has a living soul that will live somewhere forever!  God gave us an accurate record of His dealings with people for one major purpose – to love us to himself.

If you have never made a personal commitment to become a true and genuine follower of Jesus Christ, consider His offer of love and forgiveness today. Please take five minutes and watch “The Truth about Eternity” (TheCaringChurch.com/the-truth).

An Old Man with a Young Man’s Problem

What do you see yourself doing at 85 years old?  The vast majority of people who even make it to 85 have retired and are in their convalescent stage. Few are relocating to a new place to live.  Fewer are active in employment.  None are fighting military battles and going to war with the enemy on a foreign land.  But there is one exception to this normal process of aging. He is a great man of courage, faith, and dependence on God and he is the subject of our discussion.  His name is Caleb.

 Who was Caleb?

He is first mentioned in Numbers 13:6 as the chosen representative of the tribe of Judah called to spy out the land of Canaan along with 11 other spies.  He was called God’s servant (Numbers 14:24).  Like Moses and Joshua, Caleb was also a servant of God.  The Apostle Paul was quick to mention that he was a servant of Christ.  James, the half-brother of Christ, also called himself a servant in James 1:1.  When the Master is God, being a servant is a privilege.  It’s who the master is that gives value and prestige to his servants.  As servants of Christ, we are in positions of honor.  We must then live like it!

 What set Caleb apart from others?

He had another spirit in him that was different from the rest of the Israelites according to Numbers 14:24.  What was that spirit?  How would you describe it?  It was a spirit of utter dependence upon the Lord.  It was his absolute confidence that God could do anything and that nothing was too hard for Him.  Didn’t God say that of himself in Jer. 32:27?  “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me?”  We would call Caleb’s confidence “childlike faith!”

 Caleb was also known for wholly and fully following the Lord in all that God required of him (Numb 14:24, Numb 32:12, Deut. 1:36, Josh 14:8).  In one of the chapters of Ray Stedman’s book, Authentic Christianity, he is commenting on 2 Corinthians 2:14, “Now thanks be to God which always causeth us to triumph in Christ…” and he says that there are three characteristics of the “New Covenant” type of person: unquenchably optimistic (that is Caleb), and unvaryingly successful (that is Caleb), and having unforgettable impact upon others (again, that is Caleb).  Caleb was all three of these because he wholly followed the Lord.  He said “we can” when everyone else said, “we can’t.”  He conquered the Land he was told to fight for and wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Caleb’s great faith

He obeyed the Lord in every area of life and Numbers 13:30 gives a brief description of how his obedience proved his faith.  Caleb provides three ways all believers should display unconditional obedience.  He includes action statements that put his faith into action.

1. Without delay: “go up at once”

Exercising true faith means we will do something when told to it and not hesitate or procrastinate.  We teach our kids to obey sweetly, completely, and immediately.  God expects the same of us. Caleb didn’t look at the size of the obstacle, he looked at the power and majesty of his great God.

2. With determination: “possess it”

When I saw my wife for the first time in college, I had a great determination to get to know her.  She was a beautiful prize worth pursuing.  After getting to know her, I was determined to keep her so I passionately (not casually) pursued her.  Why?  It was a worthwhile venture.  She was worth having and a desirable pursuit.  It’s the same with Caleb and conquering the land.  It was desirable because God called him to do it so he did it with great determination.  Anything God calls us to do for Him should be done with this level of passion.

3. Without defeat “overcome it”

There was no stutter in Caleb’s voice.  No fear, no second guessing about what their assets were versus their liabilities.  He had more than enough resource to overcome the enemy because he had God on his side.  What are you facing right now that Caleb’s example can help you with?  Paul said, “if God before us who can be against us?”

 Caleb was old but accomplished much in his twilight years.  If he can do it, what can you do for the Lord in your life stage?  Place your little faith in the care of our great God and watch Him work through you!

Article by Lamar Eifert
Associate Pastor | Valley Forge Baptist