NO. LIVERMORE — At the North Livermore Baptist Church April 4 service the congregation was welcome in by Pastor Bonnie Higgins at 9:30 a.m. to begin the service.

The Call to Worship was a responsive reading “Christ the Lord is Risen Today”. The Invocation/Lord’s Prayer was recited. The hymns that were sung was “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today”, “Christ Arose”, “He Lives”. The service was completed with communion. Linda Lyman is the organist each week.

The sermon, titled “Six Hours” reading the scripture from Mark 15:25-33. Pastor Bonnie began the Easter sermon reflecting about the first Easter morning when the women went to the tomb to prepare Jesus’ body and found the tomb empty. An angel appeared to them and told them that Jesus was not there, He had risen. Jesus had risen because of the love of God for each of us.

The cross is empty because what began with a birth of God’s Son, as an unfinished story, was finished on the cross. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 tells us “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” The phrase “as of first importance” telling us that the first important thing for us to believe is that Jesus died, buried, and rose as prophesied for us going back to the Old Testament. Without the death and resurrection, we wouldn’t have the chance to accept God’s gift of free salvation through His Son, Jesus.

Pastor Bonnie explained that the six hours that Jesus hung on the cross was very important to the people that were there that day and for us today. Satan saw Jesus die on a cross and thought he had won. But Sunday came and he was defeated when the tomb was empty and Jesus had risen to live on. What happened in those six hours? Jesus said His last words. Just like our last words before we pass on to eternity, Jesus’ last words were very important. Jesus said seven phrases before He took His last breath here on earth that gives us hope in our lives. The first phrase was “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” saying to us that no matter what happens in our lives, God is there to forgive us. Not only was Jesus saying those words for us, He also said them for Judas, the one who turned Him in, for Herod, Pilot, the Jewish leaders – who wanted to kill Him, the centurions who beat Him, mocked Him, nailed Him to the cross and for everyone in the crowd that yelled crucify Him. Those words showed us that no matter what we can do, He can forgive. The second phrase “today you will be with me in Paradise” shows us that Jesus will save anyone who has faith in Him and asks. If He can forgive those who crucified Him, why wouldn’t he save us. Two criminals died with Him that day. One asked for Jesus to remember him, as he acknowledges to who Jesus was and had faith in Him. Jesus saved him from an eternity in hell. The other criminal chose not to accept Jesus for who He was and will spend eternity separated from Him in hell. Jesus shed His blood on the cross for them and for us just as scriptures stated it would happen. Many people believe that good works will get them into Heaven, scriptures tell it differently. If good works got us into heaven, why would Jesus have to die?

The third phrase “Woman, behold your son” Jesus was telling Mary and John that they were going to be part of a new family. Just as we become part of God’s family, we get more brothers and sisters. A new family where we look out for each other and pray for each other. The fourth phrase “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Because God could not be seen in sin, and Jesus took on all our sin, past, present, and future, God needed to turn His back on Jesus. For the only time, Jesus and God were spiritually separated. Even though Jesus took on our physical pain, He did it for us, He loved us that much. Jesus took God’s wrath upon Himself so we could forever be reunited with God with the salvation He gives us, just for asking and repenting of our sins. The fifth phrase, “I thirst” is telling us that we thirst for God and only through Him we are saved. Jesus thirsted for His Father, He needed Him, just like we do today. All through scriptures we see God quenching our spiritual thirst. Jesus is the living water and we will never thirst again with Him.

The sixth phrase “It is finished” tells us that our debt of our sins has been paid in full by the death of Jesus. When Jesus said “it is finished” He didn’t say His life was over, but that sin was overcome by Him. Jesus took the wrath of God to overcome sin, Satan, and death. The last phrase “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” was the last statement Jesus said before His death. This statement tells us that Jesus willingly died and gave up His life and that he wasn’t forced into it. Jesus chose to die, to pay our debt, not His debt. Once he stated this, He was reunited with His Father, God.

These statements tell us that Jesus would do anything for us, even die for us. God loved us that much!

Announcements listed in the bulletin was that the congregation will be collecting Crackers for the food pantry in April. Upcoming events in the church are: West Association Spring Meeting at 2:15 p.m. at NLBC on April 11th, and the Quarterly Business Meeting after morning services on April 18th. The AA meetings are held on Friday nights at the church.

For information, check out the new website at northlivermorebaptistchurch.org. Also, on the North Livermore Baptist Church’s Facebook page the sermon is posted and on their website is a link to YouTube for the sermon. You can email the church at [email protected] Pastor Bonnie’s office hours are Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to noon. (If there is a no school day in the school district, Pastor Bonnie will not be in the church’s office that day)

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