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RELIGION: What would your last words be?

April 8, 2021 at 5:00 a.m.

It was a beautiful Easter morning and wonderful to be in God's house at Mill Creek Baptist Church to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Doug Cory greeted a full house and special prayers were requested for Sue Craig, Helen, Danny Frye, Shane Clark and Jimmy Easter. Wayne Holly and Shelley Hall shared praises, and Frankie Garvin expressed thanks.

"Resurrected," a study of Luke 24:1-12, was the title of the adult Sunday school lesson taught by Shelley. The key doctrine was from John 20:26-28: "Christ was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion." The lesson made three points: "All people must respond to the empty tomb of Jesus, Jesus arose just as He promised He would do, and news of Jesus' resurrection should be shared with all people."

Linda Abercrombie shared the devotional, "Praying for Peace," and read Romans 15:13, "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." The devotional reminded us to never give up. God will answer our prayers for peace.

Congregational Easter hymns included "Christ Arose!" and "He Lives," led by Karen Gardner with Susan Cory at the piano. We were blessed with special music from Jerry Abercrombie, who sang "For God So Loved," and special praise music from Karen.

Rick Lett asked God's blessing upon the offering, and he and Mitchell Lett served as ushers.

Our Pastor, Brother Mark Hall, welcomed the congregation and many visitors. He told us that that Easter is a very special day to be in church. "The most important thing is where your heart is and open it up to absorb Jesus and God's word." The title of the Easter message was "Any Last Words?" and began by reading Luke 23-46, "And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father into Your hands I commit My spirit." Having said this, He breathed His last." Brother Mark then asked if we knew when our time on earth was through, "What would your last words be? In Jesus' last words, He never thought of himself. He always thought of others"

During the message, Brother Mark talked about the seven times that Jesus spoke while He was on the cross. "When we have a really good job, we have a benefits package. During those words, Jesus spoke on the cross, He gave us a true believers' benefits package. Our benefits package from Jesus in the words of Jesus includes seven benefits: total forgiveness, immediate paradise, never forsaken, constant care, full atonement, it is completely finished and eternal commitment.

As Brother Mark talked about each benefit, He referred to what He calls the "code-red reading" in the Bible and the words of Jesus in the scripture. First, in Luke 23:34, Jesus offers us total forgiveness and said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." Brother Mark told us that Jesus gives us "complete removal of guilt that is available to all of us. It is the removal of all backward and forward guilt. He paid a debt that He didn't have and we owe a debt we can't pay. Only God can do that. Never attribute the nature of man to the character of God. God is already amazing. We only try to be."

Brother Mark told us the second benefit is immediate paradise as Jesus said in Luke 23:43 to the thief on the cross with Him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise." Brother Mark said, "Never forsaken is our third benefit" and referred to Matthew 27:46, "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" Brother Mark told us that "God forsook Jesus on the cross so we would never have to be forsaken." Our fourth benefit is constant care. Brother Mark read John 19:26-27 and said, "Jesus always looks out for us because He loves us and cares." Our fifth benefit is full atonement. John 19:28, Jesus said, "I thirst!" Brother Mark told us, "When He drank that cup, He gave us full atonement and we are one with the Father." Our sixth benefit is knowing that the work is completely finished, which means our redemption through Jesus is finished. John 19:30, Jesus said, "It is finished!" Brother Mark talked about the last benefit of the believers benefit package, eternal commitment, and read Luke 23:46, "And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, 'Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.' Having said this, He breathed His last."

In closing, Brother Mark said his last words would be "Goodbye, and hello Jesus" and asked, "Do you have that eternal commitment? Jesus died so that you could have that. Let Jesus do for you what you can't do for yourself. He has forgiveness for everyone."

Our hymn of invitation was "Jesus Paid It All," and Jerry gave the benediction. Immediately after the service, there was an Easter egg hunt for all the kids.

We invite you to worship with us Sunday mornings at Mill Creek Baptist Church. Sunday school begins at 10 a.m. and worship at 11 a.m. Everyone is welcome. We are located 3 1/2 miles east of Noel just off Highway 90.

Opinions expressed are those of the author.

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