April 2021 Newsletter


Pardon the click-baity headline. I could also have labeled it, more blandly, “A Summary Of 1 Corinthians 15, As Explicated By Pastor Ray.” But I like the sensational headline, because 1 Corinthians 15 really is sensational stuff. It outlines “the gospel” preached by Paul, so we should sit up and pay attention! On with the shocking things:

Jesus is truly risen from the dead.

This is a slam dunk for most Christians, especially in light of Easter. Jesus truly and actually walked out of his tomb in Jerusalem on a spring day in the first century. We shouldn’t say that it was a “physical” or a “literal” resurrection, because that’s not quite accurate. It was bodily. Jesus was not just a disembodied spirit or a ghost, but he also wasn’t just a regular, resuscitated human flesh-and-blood body. He was resurrected. It was definitely him, the same Person who was placed in the tomb by Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea. But he was transformed and glorified into a new, immortal body.

Death is not our friend.

Repeat, NOT. We are often tempted to try to make peace with Death. We soothe ourselves with reassuring adages: “Death is a part of life.” “She’s in a better place now.” “God decided to take him home.” “Everything happens for a reason.” “Her suffering is finally over.” But this is different than what the apostle believed. Paul calls death “the last enemy to be destroyed.” It is not our friend. It is not something to be accepted and domesticated and sanitized. It is a foreign invader into God’s good creation, and Jesus came to exterminate it from his people.

We also will be resurrected from the dead. No, really. We. Will. Rise. Again.

This is where we often miss the boat of the gospel laid out in 1 Corinthians 15: Because Jesus rose from the dead, we also will rise from the dead. His resurrection is our destiny. We tend to believe that our destiny is for our souls to escape these old bodies and live a disembodied existence in heaven for all eternity. But once again, that’s not what Paul believed. Or Jesus. Or even Martha of Bethany.

When Jesus promised Martha that her brother, Lazarus, would live again, she affirmed what nearly all Jews believed back then: “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (John 11:24 NIV). Jesus—speaking in a concrete, non-metaphorical way—promised, “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19b NIV). And furthermore, he proclaimed, “Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his [that is, the Son of Man’s] voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28-29 ESV). This is not some minor character from 2 Chronicles preaching some fringe doctrine. This is JESUS HIMSELF promising the resurrection of our bodies. Jesus is the firstfruits of the resurrection, and just like a crop is gathered in the harvest at the end of a season, we will join him in resurrection on the last day. “What we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when he appears, we will be like him because we will see him as he is” (1 John 3:2b CSB).

Jesus’ final victory over sin and death will come at the end of this age.

This promised resurrection is Jesus’ victory over death that he shares with us. We often think that the good news is forgiveness of our sins, being declared righteous in God’s sight, or a promise of going to heaven. And while those are not incorrect, it’s not how Paul proclaims the gospel in his letter. “When this corruptible body is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body is clothed with immortality,” in the resurrection on the last day, “then the saying that is written will take place: Death has been swallowed up in victory.” This is triumph. Jesus has trampled down Death under his feet. He has conquered that old foe. And the best news? He shares that victory with us—with you and me. And so, with awe, we affirm, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57 ESV).

May your Easter season be blessed as the Risen Lord draws you close to himself! He is risen!

Pastor Ray

The Life of Our Church

Online or In-Person Services

We are open in a “new normal”! Feel free to worship in-person, with common-sense precautions (e.g., masks and keeping social distance). But if you are uncomfortable coming to worship, you may worship virtually through our YouTube channel. We will stream the service live, and the service will be archived after that.

Please visit and subscribe to our YouTube channel to discover our videos:


Sunday School

“Socially Distanced Sunday School.” Bring your Bible and a friend. Every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. We will be starting the Letter of James, so this is a great time to get involved!

American Baptist Women’s Ministries

ABWM will meet on Wednesday, April 21, at 1:30 p.m.

Diaconate Meeting

Our deacons will gather after worship on April 11.

Atlantic Food Pantry

Please remember to support our local food pantry, either directly or by dropping off goods here at our sanctuary. Also, they don’t need any more empty egg cartons.

Communion in April

We will celebrate the Lord’s Supper on Sunday, April 4, which is also Easter Sunday. And if you are watching worship on YouTube, you are certainly encouraged to participate at home with your own elements.

Stay Connected!

Facebook: Follow our Facebook page for updates and alerts.


Text: Subscribe to our text message service for prayer requests and updates: Text (712) 250-1607 to be added.

YouTube: Subscribe to our YouTube channel. http://www.tinyurl.com/FBCAtlanticYouTube. Newsletter: Visit our Web site and subscribe to receive our newsletter (blog) by email (at the bottom-left of the homepage). https://fbcatlantic.wordpress.com.

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