What makes Good Friday good?” you ask.
A challenge! A rather daunting task.
Some may dismiss it with a shrug and a smirk,
And consider it another day off work.
Others, religious, pious as such,
Take a few minutes for a mournful watch;
Merchants unlock their doors with glee,
Anticipating the pre-Easter shopping spree.
A bunny here, a chocolate egg there,
Symbols of a society that doesn’t care.
“Care?” you say, “Do you mean me?”
“What’s there to care; how can this be?”
It’s the cross, you forget, that rugged wood,
That makes Good Friday eternally good.
What’s so good about the death of an ancient man,
Who died long before my life began?
This man, who on this earth once trod,
Was not only man, but the Son of God.
That wood, that tree, that old rugged cross,
Was the symbol of gain and the symbol of loss.
To those who believe, it is the promise of gain;
The hope that, like Jesus, we’ll rise again!
For the skeptic, the doubter, the meaning is loss;
An eternal gulf, which no one can cross.
Good Friday is good, because of the death
Of Jesus the Savior, who gave His last breath
So you, friend, and I, could be cleared of our guilt,
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb that was spilt.
Mourn not, my dear soul, for the death of the Lamb,
For that cross made the bridge to the Great I AM.
Christ paid the price, rose again to God’s side,
And brought us next Sunday: the Resurrection-tide!
~by Alan Allegra~
St. Patrick wasn’t Irish. He was born in mainland Britain.
His real name wasn’t Patrick. It was Maewyn Succat. Pope Celestine gave him the name Patrick later in his life, and we still know him by that name today.
St. Patrick was kidnapped by Irish Pirates from what is now known as Wales when he was 16 and sold as a slave in Ireland.
While enslaved, something special happened to Patrick. He said, “It was there that the Lord opened the understanding of my unbelieving heart, so that I should recall my sins, and turn with all my heart to the Lord, my God.”
After six years of slavery, during which he became a Christian, St. Patrick escaped from Ireland.
When back in Britain, St. Patrick was called to return to Ireland as a missionary with a message.
When Patrick was in slavery, he came to know Jesus Christ as his Savior. He realized that he was not just a slave to the Irish, but also a slave to sin. We, too, are slaves to sin. The Bible says, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” and “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin” (Romans 3:23; John 8:34). We have all lied or stolen something, had bad thoughts or meant ill to our fellow man. We have all sinned.
Patrick was separated from his homeland, but he was also separated from God because of his sin. “Your iniquities have separated between you and your God” (Isaiah 59:2). We are also separated from God because of our sins.
Patrick realized he could be saved from the consequences of his sin by placing his faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day so that we can be saved.
Patrick did not trust in any of his own efforts for salvation—he trusted in Jesus Christ alone. “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9).
After Patrick became a Christian and received new life in Christ, he escaped from slavery in Ireland. This led to new opportunities. Later, when he was in Britain, he was sent as a missionary. Where? Back to Ireland! Jesus was sent here to give us new life. He said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31) — As Patrick was!
I have noticed a couple of local Baptist churches have adopted several church growth strategies in order to attract people into the church. It's like a blueprint that seems to be spreading. Some of these strategies include a name change, different types of community involvement, aesthetic improvements, etc.. Not that any of these things are inherently bad, but they are worldly efforts and strategies to increase numbers and hence produce false converts. John MacArthur explains how the transcendence of the Gospel to change lives through the power of the Spirit grew the early church and is the same means today by which it must grow.
Watch, listen, download or read the full message: Marks of Real Church Growth by John MacArthur here.
Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone)
The Bible is the only inspired, inerrant authority for Christian Faith, and it contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness.
Sola Fide (Faith Alone)
Justification is by faith alone. The full righteousness of Christ imputed to us by faith (comprised of His active and passive obedience) is the sole ground of our acceptance by God, by which our sins are remitted.
Solus Christus (Christ Alone)
Christ is Prophet, Priest and King; the only mediator through whose work we are redeemed.
Sola Gratia (Grace Alone)
Salvation comes by God's grace or "unmerited favor" alone — not as something merited by the sinner. This means that salvation is an unearned gift from God.
Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)
All glory is to be due to God alone, since salvation is accomplished solely through His will and action — not only the gift of the all-sufficient atonement of Jesus on the cross but also the gift of faith in that atonement, created in the heart of the believer by the Holy Spirit.
Based on SCRIPTURE alone, we can affirm that justification is by GRACE alone, through FAITH alone, because of CHRIST alone, for the GLORY OF GOD alone.