Charles’s quotes


"It is surely ours to combine these elements of mourning for sin and joy in our salvation in one complex and composite experience which keeps us perpetually humble and yet perpetually joyful too."— Rev William Still

Monday, 30 March 2015

We thank You, Lord, for the Scriptures.

Deuteronomy 4:44-5:33
We thank You, Lord, for the Scriptures. They lead us to our Saviour - Jesus. The Scriptures speak to us of His suffering and our salvation. When we think of all that Jesus has done for us, may we receive, from You, the spirit of thanksgiving - joyful thanksgiving, heartfelt thanksgiving.

Lord, living for You is not easy. We have a fight on our hands.

Deuteronomy 7:1-26
Lord, living for You is not easy. We have a fight on our hands. Satan is a determined enemy. Help us to remember that He's also a defeated enemy. When the battle seems to be getting too much for us, help us to remember that we are "kept by the power of God" (1 Peter 1:3-5).

Lord, we are called to fear You - and to love You.

Deuteronomy 6:1-25
Lord, we are called to fear You - and to love You. We tend to think that fear and love are opposites. You teach us something else, something very different. Fear and love belong together. You are the holy God, the God who cannot look upon our sin (Habakkuk 1:13). We fear You. You show us our sin so that we might be brought to Jesus, our Saviour. We come to Jesus. We learn how much You love us - and we begin to love You.

Lord, You call us with Your challenge.

Deuteronomy 1:1-46
Lord, You call us with Your challenge. You call us to make our choice. We are to put the past behind us. We are to press on into the future - with You and for You. We hesitate - and we end up doing nothing. Help us, Lord, to turn from our self-centred ways. Help us to walk with You in Your way - the way of faith, the way of obedience.

Lord, You have saved us.

Deuteronomy 4:1-43
Lord, You have saved us. Help us to serve You. In all our service, may we never forget Your salvation. May we always serve You with "the attitude of gratitude."

Sometimes, Lord, Your blessing seems to be "so near and yet so far."

Deuteronomy 3:1-29
Sometimes, Lord, Your blessing seems to be "so near and yet so far." Help us, Lord, as we seek Your blessing, to remember that it is never our own achievement. It is always Your gift to us. We do not achieve victory in our own strength. You give to us Your victory. When, Lord, we feel like we are in a barren wilderness, help us to remember that the place of testing can become the place of triumph - when we put our trust in You.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

The Prodigal Son And The Perfect Son

* Jesus told a story of God’s love – “the story of the prodigal son” (Luke 15:11-32).
* Jesus is the Story of God’s love – His Story is the Story of God’s perfect Son.

God Has Revealed Himself ... In Christ.

“Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see; for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it” (Luke 10:23-24).
There is a progression, in Scripture, beyond the revelation given to Israel through the Old Testament prophets to the great revelation given in the coming of Jesus Christ to the world. He is greater than all the prophets. He is greater than all the kings. He is the Son of God. He is our Saviour. There is no-one else like Him. There were many prophets. There were many kings. There is only one Saviour – Jesus Christ, the Son of God: “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son” (Hebrews 1:1-2).

Stop Walking Away ...

“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! … it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades” (Luke 10:13-15).
What is Christ saying to us as we read His strong words of judgment? He’s calling us to change direction. Stop walking on “the broad road that leads to destruction.” Start walking on “the narrow road that leads to life” (Matthew 7:13-14). Stop walking away from Christ. Start walking with Him.

Strange Things?

“We have seen strange things today” (Luke 5:26).
In his commentery on Luke’s Gospel, Leon Morris says that “strange” means “beyond expectation.” He adds the comment, “Human achievement could not explain what had happened.”
Humanly speaking, there’s nothing stranger than Christ’s resurrection. Humanly speaking, we say, “We didn’t expect this to happen.”
Humanly speaking, the story of Jesus ends like this – “you, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to the Cross” (Acts 2:23).
Humanly speaking, we may miss the point of -it all when we fail to hear these strange – “beyond expectation” – words: “But God raised Him from the dead … ” (Acts 2:24).
“Human achievement could not explain what had happened.” There is, however, another explanation – a “strange” explanation: “But God … ”
“Beyond expectation”? Yes! It is beyond our human expectation – but it’s not beyond the Lord our God!
Moving beyond Balaam’s donkey, here are some great promises for us today: (i) “‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3).
When God is at work, great and mighty things happen. How do they happen? Why do they happen? – God is the great and mighty God.
(ii) “The people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits” (Daniel 11:32).
We are forgiven sinners. We’re nothing more than that. We have a great and mighty God. Let’s beleve that God can and will do great and mighty things through His faithful people when we commit ourselves to doing His will.

Jesus - The Son Of God And The Saviour Of The World

Some people think of Jesus as a great teacher of morality. Is that all that we can say about Him? Those who “believe” in Him say something else about Him – He’s “the Son of God” and “the Saviour of the world” (Luke 1:35; John 4:42). The critics say, “You can’t say that!” We give this answer: Jesus said it! He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). He said it then. He’s still saying it now. Thank God – He’s given us more than a great teacher. He’s given us His Son – our Saviour.  
* God’s Son is unchanged – He’s still our Saviour: “He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him” (Hebrews 7:25).
We sing of God’s “amazing grace” – “How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.” Sometimes, we lose our way, and we wonder, “Where is the blessedness I knew when first I saw the Lord?” Sometimes, Jesus doesn’t seem to be so precious. Sometimes, we don’t feel so blessed. What’s the problem? We’re the problem. We’ve taken our eyes off Jesus. We’ve forgotten how great our Saviour is.
* God’s Son, our Saviour, is unchanging – When you’re going through a hard time, remember this: “He didn’t bring us this far to leave us. He didn’t teach us to swim to let us drown. He didn’t build His home in us to move away. He didn’t lift us up to let us down.”
Sometimes, we find it difficult to rejoice in the Lord. Let’s remember that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) – and we will find it so much easier to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4).
* God’s Son is unchangeable – This is where true and lasting joy comes from: “Now I belong to Jesus, Jesus belongs to me, not for the years of time alone but for eternity. Joy floods my soul for Jesus has saved me.”

The Solid Rock

“Have you never read the Scripture passage: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. The Lord has done this, and it is amazing for us to see’?” (Mark 12:10-11).
Jesus is the Cornerstone of our faith. We build on Him, the solid Rock. He’s the sure Foundation. He died for us. He was raised again for us. What great things the Lord has done for us. To Him alone be all the glory!

Before You Can Be The Lord's Servant, He Must Be Your Saviour.

“Whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant … For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43,45).
Do you want to be the Lord’s servant? Remember that He is your Saviour. Do you want to serve the Lord? – You must be saved by Him before you can even begin to serve Him. When we think of Jesus as God’s servant and say, “I will serve God the way Jesus served Him”, we have missed the point of Jesus’ words: “the Son of Man” came ”to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Jesus’ service is defined by the giving of His life as a ransom for many. We can never give our life as a ransom for many. Only Jesus can do that for us. Where does our life of service begin? – It begins at the Cross of Christ. It begins when we say, “I cannot serve You. I can only be saved by You.” That’s where the life of service begins. It begins with being saved by the Lord. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Get things right at this point – and then your life of service is ready to begin.

They Killed Jesus - But He Didn't Stay Dead!

“Come, let’s kill him” (Matthew 21:38).
From Jesus’ parable, we look to His death. The crucifixion of Jesus has a human explanation: “wicked men put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross” – but that’s not the whole story! In the death of Jesus, we see God’s “plan” of salvation – His eternal plan (Acts 2:23). When Jesus’ enemies thought that they had succeeded, they couldn’t have been more wrong! Jesus’ death was followed by His resurrection: “God raised Him from the dead.” In Jesus’ resurrection, we see His mighty triumph over death: “it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him” (Acts 2:24).

Don't Build On Shifting Sand. Build on Christ.

As well as Peter’s three denials, we have three wonderful statements which point us away from Peter, in his failure, to Christ, who is the Rock of our salvation.
(a) “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).
(b) “This Jesus, God has raised up and “made both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:32, 36).
(c) “Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone. To you who believe, He is precious” (1 Peter 2:4-7).
Praise God – Our faith is not built on shifting sand. It is built on Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the risen Lord, the wonderful Saviour.

New Treasures

“Jesus said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old” (Matthew 13:52).
We are travelling towards “the kingdom of heaven.” As we journey towards God’s Kingdom, He is teaching us many lessons. We are to treasure the lessons which come to us from the Word of God in the power of the Spirit of God. There is nothing more precious than this: “We have received … the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God” (1 Corinthians 2:12).

Christ - Our Wisdom

Christ is our Wisdom. We will never be wise unless we build our lives on Him (Matthew 7:24-27).

First Things First

“Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

First things first! We worry about many things. We get anxious about this, that and the other thing. Jesus is saying to us, “Seek first God’s Kingdom.” Whenever our many anxieties threaten to overwhelm us, let us remember this: The Lord is King!

From religion to revival

Standing upon divine revelation – “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4), Jesus received God-given strength for challenging the “bread alone” of human religion – the religion of “the hypocrites” (Matthew 6:2,5,16). Their religion was centred upon themselves. Jesus had this to say about their religion – “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them” (Matthew 6:1). The “hypocrites” added their own ideas to the Word of God – and the power of God’s Word was lost. Jesus shows us the better way – looking to the Lord, listening to the Lord and learning from the Lord. He calls to live a God-centred life: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). He calls us to put God first: “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). The difference between Jesus and “the hypocrites” was clear for all to see: “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at His teaching, because He taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law” (Matthew 7:28-29).
May God raise up, more people, in this generation, whose lives will be centred on God and grounded in His Word – rebels who will protest against the shallowness of superficial religion, prophets whose lives will point beyond religion to revival.

Temptation And Victory

When the tempter comes, we must stand on God’s Word: ‘every Word that comes from…God’ (Matthew 4: 4).

Preaching The Word Of The Lord: Isaiah 40:1-11

This sermon was preached on the first Sunday of 2015.
Comfort (Isaiah 40:1) - This comes from God's great faithfulness (Lamentations 3:23). 
In our past, present and future, we see the faithfulness of God- "His mercies never end. They are new every morning" (Lamentations 3:22-23). 
Think of God's faithfulness, and "count your blessings." Think of this, that and the other blessing (good things in your life) - and don't forget to thank Him for the greatest blessing of all: Jesus.
 - The faithfulness if God is summed up in this: "The Word of our God stands forever" (Isaiah 40:8).    
 - There's a New Testament way of saying this: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).
As we move from one year to another year, let's think about the old and the new.
On His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus speaks about the old and the new.
 - He tells us that He didn't come to destroy the Law and Prophets. He came to fulfil them (Matthew 5:17-20). He wasn't setting aside the Old Testament. He was building on it. 
 - He doesn't just repeat what others have said. He brings something new, something fresh. He said, "You have heard that it was said, but I say to you" (Matthew 5:21,27,31,33,38,43).
Build on the past. Move on into the future.
___

More from this sermon -



Learning From The Past

The Holy City or The Holy Saviour?

"… Jerusalem, the city where I chose to place My Name” (1 Kings 11:36).
Jerusalem is called the Holy City. It’s not so much Jerusalem that’s holy. It’s the Name of the Lord that’s holy – and He has placed His holy Name in Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, Jesus died for us and rose again for us. Again, it’s not Jerusalem that’s holy. It’s our Saviour who’s holy. Jerusalem’s a special place because Jesus is special. There’s no one like Him. He’s our Lord. He’s our Saviour.

God Is Good To Us Today.

“Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel just as He promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises He gave through His servant Moses. May the Lord our God be with us as He was with our ancestors; may He never leave us nor forsake us.  May He turn our hearts to Him, to walk in obedience to Him and keep the commands, decrees and laws He gave our ancestors” (1 Kings 8:56-58).
God’s faithfulness isn’t just something that belongs in the past. It’s for us. It’s for today.  We’re not just to say, ‘God was good to “His people Israel” a long time ago.' We’re to say, ‘God is good to us today.’ When we realize how God our God is, we will give ourselves gladly to Him – “to walk in obedience to Him.”

Is There A Revelation In A Genealogy?

Ruth 4:18-22

“A genealogy is a striking way of bringing before us the continuity of God’s purpose through the ages. The process of history is not haphazard. There is a purpose in it all. And the purpose is the purpose of God.” (Leon Morris, Ruth).

Strengthened By The Lord

We thank You, Lord, for Your gift of the Holy Spirit. We are not called to serve You in our own strength. We come to You in our weakness. You give to us Your strength. This is the strength that we need - the strength that comes from You.

Can The Famine Become A Harvest?

In Ruth 2, there’s a beautiful picture of harvest. Look back to Ruth 1:1 – “There was a famine in the land.” The Christian life’s like that. It’s not always harvest. Sometimes, it’s famine. Sometimes, we feel like we’re on the mountain-top. At other times, we’re in the wilderness. Whatever your circumstances, remember this – God knows what’s best for you. In the happy times and the testing times, be sure of this – God is not far from you, He’s with you, He loves you and He wants to bless you. When it seems like nothing’s going right for you, take time to think about what the Lord has done for you and give thanks to Him.
When things are going well, don’t take God’s blessing for granted. He can withdraw His blessing from us if we don’t give thanks to Him – that’s the warning Jesus gives us in the parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:13-21).
When things are going badly, don’t let your head go down. Don’t start thinking that God’s blessing will never return to you again. This is the message which comes to us from the book of Ruth. At first, there was famine. Later on, there was harvest. Let’s pray that God will renew our walk with Him. Let’s pray that He will revive our work for Him.
In the happy times and the testing times, let’s count our blessings. Sometimes, we think that we can decide when we’re going to rejoice and when we’re going to complain. God says, “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4). This is joy in the Lord. It doesn’t depend on us. It comes from the Lord. Good things may happen to us. Bad things may happen to us. In the good times and the bad times, let us “rejoice in the Lord.”
In the Lord’s Prayer, we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” What we’re saying is this. We depend on the Lord. Every good gift comes from Him. Without His blessing, our life is empty. Our life may seem to be full of good things. If Christ isn’t living in us, our life is empty. Don’t be like the rich fool. He lost everything that mattered to him. Life is more than things. We can’t take them with us. Real life is Jesus living in us. It’s the beginning of eternal life.

Can A Hopeless Situation Be Turned Around?

“There was a famine in the land” (Ruth 1:1). 
The situation seemed hopeless. We wonder, “Where will hope come from?” In Amos 8:11, we read about a different kind of famine: “not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.” How do we find hope when there is a famine of hearing the words of the Lord”? We must learn to pray to the Lord: “Speak; your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10).

God's Will - Not My Will

“Every man did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).
This sad situation is with us still. May God give us grace to pray, “Not my will, but Thine be done” (Matthew 26:42).

Pardon For Sin, Strength For Today, Bright Hope For Tomorrow

“Be strong and of good courage … the Lord your God … goes with you …” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

As well as providing atonement for our sins, the Lord provides us with strength to live to His glory.  We give thanks for God’s gift of forgiveness – “In Christ we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Ephesians 1:7). We also give thanks that God has given the strength that we need to live for Him – “strengthened with power through His Spirit in our inner being” (Ephesians 3:16).

The Way Of Obedience Is The Way Of Blessing.

Deuteronomy 29:1-29

God has done great things for His people – ‘in the land of Egypt… in the wilderness’(2,5). Acknowledging Him to be the Lord their God, they were to live in obedience to Him (6,9). The way of obedience is the way of blessing. Moses warns the people that they must not depart from the way of blessing. Moses warns the people that they must not depart from the way of obedience (16-28). Turning away from the Lord leads to judgment – ‘anger and fury and great wrath’(24-28). There are ‘secret things’. There are ‘things that are revealed’. Some ‘things’ we will never understand. These ‘things belong to the Lord our God’. There are many ‘things’ we have learned and have firmly believed. ‘The things that are revealed’ are found in ‘the Holy Scriptures.’ Through God’s written Word, we are brought to ‘salvation’ and we are ‘thoroughly equipped’ for Christian living (29; 2 Timothy 3:14-17).

Lead us to Jesus.

We thank You, Lord, that the Holy Spirit directs our attention to Jesus (John 16:14). He leads us to make our confession of faith: "Jesus is Lord" (1 Corinthians 12:3). He leads us into a new life - a life that is centred on Jesus, a life that brings glory to You and blessing to us.

Opening Up God’s Word: Exodus 2:23-25

The mercy of God, revealed in the Exodus, is connected with the ongoing purpose of God – “God remembered His covenantwith Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob” (Exodus 2:24).
From Exodus 1:13 to Exodus 2:23-25, there were 80 years (Acts 7:23,30). These 80 yeara are referred to as “the course of those many days” (Exodus 2:23). Egypt is “the house of bondage” (Exodus 20:2; Deuteronomy 5:6). The people of God were in bondage for many years. Year after year passed, and the people remained in bondage. Where in the world was God in all this? Was He absent? Has He left His people? Had God forgotten His promises? No! Not at all! God was there all the time. In mercy, He was waiting patiently for His people to call upon Him, to cry to Him for mercy.
Is there not here a lesson for our Church and our community? Don’t give up. God hasn’t given up on us. He is still waiting for us to call upon Him. In mercy, He is waiting for us to cry to Him for mercy.
In Exodus 2:23-25, we read about the time when the people of God are brought to an end of themselves, the time when they cry out to the Lord for mercy, the time when God’s plan of salvation is set in motion.
Notice that, if the Lord’s blessing is to come to us, we must be brought to an end of ourselves, and we must learn to cry to the Lord for mercy.
We must note the contrast between Israel’s past in “the house of bondage” and the future that was opened up for them by God’s mighty act of redemption, the Exodus. Is there not here a picture of the future could be for our congregation and community? Before start thinking about what the future may hold, we must think about the past from which we need to be delivered. Have we, like the people of Israel, lived in “the house of bondage”? Have we been in bondage to a self-centred and godless lack of spiritual priorities? Have we been in bondage to prayerlessness? Has this bondage, like the people of Israel’s bondage, continued for many years? Have we been in bondage to fear which holds us back from being faithful and loyal witnesses to Jesus Christ? Our future can be very different. We can leave “the house of bondage.” We can leave it in the past. We can follow the Lord into the future He has planned for us. We can set out on a new journey of faith, a journey that will lead us to a new, bright, Christ-centred future – a future which will be blessed by the Lord.
What will our future be? Will it be a life of continuing in “the house of bondage”? or Will it be a new life – a life that has Christ at its very centre? Will we rise to the challenge of being the people of God – people who are serious about living for the Lord, even when it would be so easy to settle for something less than God’s very best?
What will your choice be? Will you stop saying ‘No’ to God, and start saying ‘Yes’ to Him? Will you dare to start being honest with God and with yourself? If you and I dare to be honest with God and with ourselves, we will be deeply humbled before Him, we will acknowledge our need of God’s mercy, and we will make a new beginning with Him.
As we think about the future, we will be tempted to ask, “Have things gone too far?” This is the voice of the devil, speaking to us. God is saying something else to us. He’s speaking to us of His mercy. If we forget the mercy of God, we will be pessimistic about the future. If we look to the God of mercy, we will grow strong in the faith that things can be turned out – by God.
If things are turned around, we must make outr response to the God of mercy. We must receive His mercy, which brings to us the forgiveness of our sins. We must receive, from Him, the power that we need to rise up and live as His faithful servants, who learning day-by-day what it means to be set free from our self-centred way of life, set free for a life of serving the Lord and bringing glory to His Name, the Name of our salvation.
There is an alternative to being real with God. It’s the way of hypocrisy. We can ‘go through the motions’ of religion – but we must not forget what Jesus says about that way of life – “I never knew you, Away from Me, you evildoers” (Matthew 7:23).
May God help us to open our hearts and lives to Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord – and we’ll see the difference that He makes, when we give Him life-service, and not just lip-service.

Opening up God’s Word: Genesis 12:1-3

Our concern is not so much with Abraham. Our chief focus of attention is on “the God of Abraham.” The story of Abraham is both the story of Abraham and the story of God’s grace and power. We see the grace of God, revealed in the promises of God. We see the power of God, revealed in the fulfilment of His promises: “God can do anything; God can do anything; God can do anything but fail; He can save. He can keep. He can cleanse, and He will. God can do anything but fail.”
God’s promise to Abraham has three parts: (a) personal – “I will bless you; (b) national – “I will make of you a great nation”; (c) universal – “by you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” As the fulfilment of God’s promise moves forward from Abraham to Israel to Christ, we hear God’s Word speaking to us: “I will bless you” – saved, kept, cleansed.
As we receive the blessing of God’s salvation, we discover how faithful God is, in His love towards us. “God can do anything but fail” – God cannot fail, because He is the everlasting God. He is Lord. He is carrying out His purpose, the purpose of His unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable love. This purpose of love is expressed in His promises. His promises has been fulfilled in Christ. His promises are offered to us today. These promises are summed up in the simple yet rich words, “I will bless you.” His promises express “the unchangeable character of His purpose” (Hebrews 6:17). We know that God will not fail us. He will not let us down. He will not forsake us. He will not leave us. We know this not only because of the promise given to Abraham. We know that God is faithful, in His love, because of the Cross of Christ – “the sure and steadfast anchor of the soul” (Hebrews 6:19).
As we learn about the faithfulness of God, we discover that the God of Abraham is our  God, and the God of Jesus Christ is our God. We find ourselves drawn to Him. This isn’t a superficial and shallow attraction. It’s a deep devotion. It’s a heartfelt, loving loyalty. As we think about God’s faithfulness, our hearts are filled with hope for the future. This hope is summed up for us in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, our Saviour. we think of Him, and we say, “Hallelujah! What a Saviour!”

Opening Up God’s Word: Genesis 3

“Behold, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought many devices” (Ecclesiastes 7:29).
* Following the glory and majesty of the Creator and His creation in Genesis 1 & 2, the third chapter of Genesis begins with the enemy of God, the enemy of our souls, the devil, Satan (Revelation 12:9; Revelation 20:2). He is “subtle” – sly, cunning, crafty. He is evil.He sows seeds of doubt: “Did God say?” (Genesis 3:1). From his very first words, it is clear that he is the enemy of God. “Did God say? Did God really say?” One can almost hear the wicked, unbelieving tone of voice with which Satan spoke.
* When the woman heard the voice of Satan, she ought to have turned away from him. She ought to have said, “Get behind me, Satan. I don’t want to have anything to do with you.” She ought to have said this, but she didn’t. She discussed the matter with the enemy. She had no right to do this. There was one answer she ought to have given to the devil: God has spoken, God has stated His will, God has given His Word.  This is what she ought to have said to Satan, but she didn’t.
* As Satan spoke to Eve and she listened to him, he made her doubt God’s Word and question His command. Eve started to talk things over with Satan. This is where she made her big mistake. She should have told Satan that God’s command is for our good. She should have told him that God’s law is good and pure and holy. She should have said this to the devil, but she didn’t. The more Eve spoke with Satan and listened to him, the less she delighted in God’s holy Word; She was seduced by the devil’s subtlety. She was led astray by the deceiver. By this time, Satan had moved beyond questioning God’s Word. He was contradicting it. He was saying the exact opposite of what God had said. He was saying “You will not die” (Genesis 3:4). By this time, Eve was taken in by the tempter. When she looked at the tree, she saw only what Satan wanted her to see (Genesis 3:6). She had cast aside the Word of God and listened, instead, to the voice of the devil. She no longer allowed God’s Word to be the last word on the matter. Now, she thought that she had the right to decide whether or not God’s way was the best way. She made herself the judge of what was good and evil, right and wrong. She had stopped listening to the Word of God. She was no longer committed to obeying the Word of God. The story of Genesis 3:6  continues down to the present day – Adam’s sons are still “rushing helter skelter to destruction with their fingers in their ears” (Don Francisco).
* The immediate effect of sin was shame. Note the contrast between Genesis 2:25 and Genesis 3:7. Sin and shame go together. Sin is not something of which should be proud. Sin is something of which we should be ashamed. Refusing to listen to god’s word is a matter of great shame. Refusing to do god’s will is a shameful thing. The shamefulness of sin is bound up with the undeniable fact that sin makes us guilty – utterly and completely guilty before God. The innocence of Genesis 1 & 2 was lost. Like, Adam and Eve, we are guilty – unquestionably guilty before the God of perfect holiness. The judgment of God is upon us. Like Adam and Eve, we may resort to finger-pointing. Adam blamed the woman (Genesis 3:12). Eve blamed the serpent (Genesis 3:13). There can be no passing the buck. We must acknowledge our sin before God. We must confess our sin to Him. as we come to God, seeking His forgiveness, we will discover the wonder of His love for us.
When we come, acknowledging the holiness of God and our own sin and guilt – “God made man upright, but they have sought many devices”, we discover that the God of great holiness is also the God of great love. The God, who pronounces His judgment upon sin, is also the God who demonstrates His love for sinners.
When God says, “What is this that you have done?” (Genesis 3:13), this is not only a Word of judgment on sin. It’s also the Word that speaks of God’s love for sinners. God is declaring His love for sinners. He is saying, ‘I have loved you so much. There is absolutely no reason why you should have done this.’ God is declaring His love for us. In love, He’s appealing to us not to turn our backs on Him and lose out on the blessing that He wants so much to give to us. He’s saying to us, ‘I love you. Why are you turning away from Me? Will you not return to Me, and discover how much I love you?’
When God says, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9), this is not only a Word of God’s holiness, from which we have been separated by our sin. It’s also a Word of His love, This is God’s seeking love. This is the God of love, seeking the lost sinner. He is saying, ‘I love you, and I am seeking to save you.’
The God of love, the God who seeks to save sinners, gives the first promise of a Saviour, as early as Genesis 3:15. These words, spoken to the enemy. promise that there will be One who will triumph over the enemy: “I will put enmity between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Jesus, our Saviour, fulfils this promise of love. He was “bruised” for our sins, and, through His death, He has triumphed over Satan for us. So, even here in Genesis 3, with its message of sin and guilt, there is, for us, a message of hope – triumphant hope, glorious hope, eternal hope.

Opening Up God’s Word: Genesis 1 & 2

“In the beginning, God”  – The first four words of the Bible take us back to the point where we can go no further, back to the eternity of God.
What do we find when we are taken back – into the heart of the eternal God?
We find love. We discover that “God is love.”
Creation is love because God is love. Before God made us, He loved us.
The love which we find in the opening chapters of Genesis is the love that is proclaimed throughout God’s Word – from Genesis to Revelation.
It’s the great love of God for us. It’s the love that never ends. It’s the love that goes on and on.
* How do we get to know God the Creator? How do we come to know that His heart is full of love for us?
In Genesis 1, three words are repeated over and over again: “And God said”.
These words emphasize the creative power of the Word of God.
God created through His Word. He proclaims His love to us through Jesus Christ, the living Word of God. He declares His love for us in the Scriptures, the written Word of God. We come to a true knowledge of god as our loving Creator when we come, in faith, to Jesus Christ, our Saviour.  As the Scriptures proclaim the Saviour to us, we learn that we need to be re-created in Christ, if we are to discover the  purpose of God’s love when He created us in His own image (Genesis 1:26-27). In Jesus Christ, we learn that “God so loved the world” (John 3:16). Through Christ, we read Genesis with new eyes, the renewed eyes of “a new creation in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Through this new creation in Christ, we come to a real understanding of what it means to say, “Lord God, You created me. You are my Creator.”
* When we see creation from the standpoint of Jesus Christ, it is no longer merely a matter of ‘long, long ago.’ When we see God, our Creator, through the eyes of Jesus, our Saviour, we no longer have the feeling of something ‘far, far away’, something which is so distant and remote from our lives that it does not really concern us very much at all. In Jesus Christ, God, our Creator, has come to us. In Jesus Christ, God, our Creator, has declared his love to us.  When you read the story of the Garden of Eden, let your thoughts move beyond that garden to another garden, the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed to His Father, “Not My will, but Yours be done (Luke 22:42). As you come, in faith, to the Christ of Calvary, you will see creation from the vantage-point of the cross. You will read what God’s Word says about creation with the eyes of one who has become a new creation in Christ. You will read of God, breathing the breath of life into man (Genesis 2:7), and you will rejoice in the gift of God – the Holy Spirit: God’s gift to every believer in the lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:14). When you read of God’s command to man to do His will, you will, by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, make it your delight to do the will of God. This is what it means to be re-created in the image of God. It is a life of learning to pray, with Jesus, “Not my will but yours be done.” To believe in God as our Creator is to obey Him as our Lord. Faith in God, the creator, is a living faith, when we know that Jesus is “God with us” and acknowledge Him as Lord.
We make our confession of faith  – “Jesus is Lord”, and we give thanks that “creation’s voice proclaims” that He is Lord.

The Lord Never Changes – He Remains Unchanged, Unchanging And Unchangeable In His Love.

Numbers 20:1-29
No man or woman is indispensable. God’s work goes on, with or without us! (a) Miriam(Moses’ sister) served and worshipped the Lord (Exodus 2:7-8; 15:20-21). Now, her time had come. She was not to enter the land. She ‘died’(1). (b) Moses had been the leader of God’s people. He sinned, and he was excluded from the promised land (12). Do not rest on your laurels. Yesterday’s grace is not sufficient for today’s challenges. A day-by-day walk with the Lord is called for. (c) Aaron(Moses’ brother) had stood alongside Moses in leadership. He ‘died’(28) without entering the promised land. In the leadership of God’s people, the names and the faces change – but the Lord never changes. He remains unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable in His love. When Moses, Aaron and Miriam had gone, God was still there!

An Invitation

Hello! This is a personal letter addressed to YOU!
You’ve never been a Church person? You’ve never been to Church since your wedding day? You forgot the way to Church years ago? You only go to Church on Christmas Eve?
This is YOUR invitation!
This is YOUR welcome!
We invite you to come to Church because Christ invites you to come to HIM.
When you come to Church, come to CHRIST.
When you return to Church, return to GOD.
We welcome you because CHRIST welcomes those who come to Him.
Jesus says, “The person who comes to Me, I will, under NO circumstances, cast out” (John 6:37).
We welcome you because GOD welcomes those who return to Him.
God’s Word says, “Return to the Lord … He will have mercy … He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7).
 * Perhaps, you’re saying, “I’ve no time for the Church.”
GOD HAS TIME FOR YOU!
God has so much time for you that He sent His Son – Jesus Christ – to die on the cross so that you might receive eternal life by receiving Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour (1 John 5:11-13).
 * Perhaps, you’re thinking, “I’m not good enough to come to Church.”
“Jesus Christ died to save sinners (people who are not good enough)” (1 Timothy 1:15).
Perhaps, you’re saying, “I’ve no friends in the Church.”
Come to Church, and meet new friends.
It may be the first step towards finding the greatest Friend of all – Jesus.
 * Perhaps, you’re protesting, “I can be a Christian without going to Church.”
You CAN become  a Christian right now by trusting Christ as YOUR Saviour.
Don’t be like the person who says, “I can be a  good footballer without playing for a team”!
Come to Christ NOW!
Come to Church THIS Sunday!

Friday, 27 March 2015

Take Your Stand - In The Name Of Christ And The Power Of Christ.

In Matthew 8:1-17, we see Jesus' healing ministry. There are three miracles - healing people who were suffering from "a skin disease" (Matthew 8:1-4), paralysis (Matthew 8:5-13) and "a fever" (Matthew 8:14-15). After these three miracles, we have a more general statement about the ministry of casting out demons (Matthew 8:16-17). This is followed by Matthew 8:18 - "Now, when Jesus saw a crowd around Him, He ordered His disciples to cross to the other side of the Sea of Galilee." Jesus was moving from place to place, taking His ministry to more people.
In Matthew 8:19-34, we learn about discipleship (Matthew 8:19-22), peace (Matthew 8:23-27) and deliverance (Matthew 8:28-34). How sad it is that this chapter ends with these words: "Everyone from the city went to meet Jesus. When they saw Him, they begged him to leave their territory" (Matthew 8:34). If it had ended with the words, "Everyone went out to meet Jesus", we would say, "Wonderful! We want more of this." When this is followed by the sentence, "When they saw Him, they begged Him to leave their territory", we sense that we are in the presence of something solemn, even something sinister. What we have here is the activity of Satan. Even when the Lord is working powerfully, Satan is also at work, seeking to hinder the work of God, creating resistance in the hearts of those who have begun to show an initial interest in Jesus. Satan gets worried. He does everything he can to prevent people moving from seeking to finding. Let us take our stand against Satan. Let us take our stand in the Name of Christ. Let us take our stand in the power of Christ.

What are we to do, Lord, when we think that You're against us?

Job 9:20-10:22 What are we to do, Lord, when, like Job, we think that You are “against” us (Job 10:2)? Where do such negative thoughts ...