Formations Lesson for May 2- Praise God for Salvation
April 20 2010 by Ed Beddingfield, pastor, First Baptist Church, Fayetteville

Focal Passage: 1 Peter 1:1-12 On the Christian calendar Easter is not just a Sunday, but a season. It lasts for seven weeks, 49 days, beginning of course with Easter Sunday. Day 50, the eighth Sunday, is Pentecost (this year on May 23).

This time period reflects the interval between the Jewish Passover (Thursday of Holy Week in the Gospels) and the Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost, at the end of the spring harvest in ancient Israel. (The name “Weeks” comes from “seven weeks”: Deut. 16:9-10, cf. Levit. 23:15. The alternate title, “Pentecost,” is from the Greek for “fiftieth day”: Levit. 23:16).

Celebrating a season, rather than a single day, is a pretty good idea.

Our church observes the season of Lent, the six weeks before Easter — not through ritualistic fasting or self-denial, but by remembering, in private devotions and public worship, that Jesus did in fact die, and why: for our sins. Lent gets us ready to celebrate the resurrection. It keeps Easter from sneaking up on us.

And Easter, once it comes, is too important to be relegated to one day on the calendar.

The letter of 1 Peter, our focus during the remainder of this Easter season, is perfect for our celebration.

The first two lessons boldly proclaim the resurrection and our part in it.

The lessons that follow explain how believers in and beneficiaries of God’s saving act in Jesus Christ are supposed to live.

Early Easter morning, while it was still dark, our inner city churches gathered in a downtown park.

The music of a brass ensemble echoed in the chilly air. We sang “Low in the Grave He Lay.”

The sky gradually lightened. One preacher read the story of the empty tomb. Another preached.

We sang “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today.” 

Then, just as the sun peeped through the trees, we confessed aloud the Easter faith so wonderfully proclaimed in our lesson today (vv. 3-4, 8-9, RSV):

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, kept in heaven for you.

Without having seen him you love him; though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy. As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls.

This is too good for just a one-day celebration.

Let’s take some time and do it up right.  
4/20/2010 8:03:00 AM by Ed Beddingfield, pastor, First Baptist Church, Fayetteville | with 0 comments

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