Wednesday, August 05, 2020
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Sermons

Randy Olson - Pastor of First Baptist Church


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What is commonly known as the "minor prophets" is a collection of writings in the Old Testament from twelve different men inspired by God. The longest of these books are Hosea and Zechariah, with each having fourteen (14) chapters. The shortest prophetic book in this series is Obadiah, with only one chapter, followed by Haggai, which has only two.

The Minor Prophets, in alphabetical order, are Amos, Habakkuk, Haggai, Hosea, Joel, Jonah, Malachi, Micah, Nahum, Obadiah, Zechariah, and Zephaniah. Their books are considered minor since each is much shorter than the writings of Isaiah (sixty-six chapters), Jeremiah (fifty-two chapters), and Ezekiel (forty-eight chapters). If all of their writings were combined into a single book, it would be only two-thirds of the size of the book of Isaiah.The Book of Daniel, although it contains important prophecies from Daniel’s time to the end of the age and Christ’s return, is not included as part of the writings of the prophets. This is because Daniel wrote in Babylon during the Jews’ 70-year exile in captivity due to their sins.

Reformation Day is a religious holiday celebrated on October 31, alongside All Hallows' Eve, in remembrance of the Reformation. It is celebrated among various Protestants, especially by Lutheran and Reformed church communities.

While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:26-28

Whether it is called Easter or Resurrection Sunday is not as important as the event and purpose of the resurrection. However, the timing of the crucifixion and resurrection is significantly meaningful. The resurrection of Jesus is the culmination of all things meaningful, faith and fact, in establishing a relationship with God. 

God used the timing, which occurred just after "Passover" and during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, to illustrate the ultimate sacrifice He made for sinners. Without this sacrifice, Christianity would be an empty religion. Every purpose of Jesus Christ, His atonement for sin, would be unfulfilled and the foundation of Christianity would fall apart. 

The Passover commemorates God's "passing over" the Hebrew's homes by the angel of death (Exodus 12:29). By accepting Jesus, we are promised eternal life and we are saved from spiritual death. The Feast of Unleavened Bread (verse 15) begins with unleavened bread (made without yeast) and sacrificing an unblemished, sacrificial lamb. Leavening represents the escape from bondage and sin. Jesus is called the Lamb of God through whom the only escape is possible. 

Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection are God's provision for the perfect and final sacrifice for man's sins. God requires no other payment for sins! With this provision, mankind is granted opportunity for new life by the forgiveness of sin and escape from its bondage. It is ours for the mere acceptance of this gift. 

This is the key event in the New Testament where it is proclaimed throughout. All four Gospels report the miraculous event. In Matthew 28:6the angel declared "He is not here: for he is risen!"Mark 16:6reports "'Don't be alarmed,' [the angel] said. 'You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.'" 

In Luke 24:46-48the risen Jesus gave His disciples a greater understanding of the resurrection when He told them: "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things." Jesus foretells of His resurrection in John 16then to one of the doubting witnesses, Thomas, He says the following in John 20:29"Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." 

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated in Canada and the United States. It was originally celebrated as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. Several other places around the world observe similar celebrations. Although Thanksgiving has historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, it has long been celebrated in a secular manner as well.

In the United States, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is commonly, but not universally, traced to a sparsely documented 1621 celebration at Plymouthin present-day Massachusetts. The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest. Pilgrims and Puritans who began emigrating from England in the 1620s and 1630s carried the tradition of Days of Fasting and Days of Thanksgiving with them to New England. Several days of Thanksgiving were held in early New England history that have been identified as the "First Thanksgiving", including Pilgrim holidays in Plymouth in 1621 and 1623, and a Puritan holiday in Boston in 1631. According to historian Jeremy Bangs, director of the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum, the Pilgrims may have been influenced by watching the annual services of Thanksgiving for the relief of the siege of Leiden in 1574, while they were staying in Leiden. Now called Oktober Feesten, Leiden's autumn thanksgiving celebration in 1617 was the occasion for sectarian disturbance that appears to have accelerated the pilgrims' plans to emigrate to America. In later years, religious thanksgiving services were declared by civil leaders such as Governor Bradford, who planned the colony's thanksgiving celebration and fast in 1623. The practice of holding an annual harvest festival did not become a regular affair in New England until the late 1660s.

Thanksgiving proclamations were made mostly by church leaders in New England up until 1682, and then by both state and church leaders until after theAmerican Revolution. During the revolutionary period, political influences affected the issuance of Thanksgiving proclamations. Various proclamations were made by royal governors, John Hancock, General George Washington, and the Continental Congress, each giving thanks to God for events favorable to their causes. As President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nationwide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, "as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God".

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