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Showing posts from April, 2017

Jesus is "the light of the world" (John 8:12).

Life without Christ is very different from life with Christ. He is "the Light of the world" (John 8:12). When Christ shines His light into our hearts, the whole of life is so much brighter than it could ever be without Him. We could compare the world to a jigsaw. We don't see the complete picture until we have all the pieces in place. For many people, Christ is "the missing piece." He's not just one small missing piece that doesn't really matter very much if it's not there. He is the Centre of everything. Take Him away, and everything else looks very different. Put Him in His proper place, at the centre of our life, and we begin to see the complete picture. Everything is centred on Him. When we see the whole of life in relation to Christ, our whole life starts to make sense in a way that it doesn't when Christ is taken out of the picture.

What God must do for us, What we must do for God

* What God must do for us – He must save : “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16-17).
* What we must do for God – We must serve: “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8).
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Salvation and service
* Salvation leads to service.
Those who have been saved by the Lord are to serve Him.
* Service arises out of salvation.
When we serve the Lord, we must never forget that we have been saved by Him.

Jesus calls for our decision.

John 6:1-59

In the Lord’s Supper, Jesus stands before us as the One who calls for our decision. There is no automatic guarantee that all who hear the preaching of God’s Word do, in fact, receive the blessing of which God’s Word speaks. There is no automatic guarantee that all will receive the blessing to which these symbols point. Jesus stands before us, saying to us, “What is your response to Me?”

Make it personal!

Read the words of John 3:16 and Romans 10:9. Put your name into these great verses. Make it personal - Jesus is my Saviour. Jesus is my Lord.

Eternal life

John 3:16; John 10:10 What does it mean to have eternal life? There are two important dimensions in eternal life. There is life after death and there is life before death. There are a great many people who never give any thought to an after-life. The question, "Is there life after death?" rarely crosses their mind. they are content to live from day to day, taking each day as it comes. These people are, however, interested in another question: Is there life before death? When they hear of Jesus Christ, they ask, "Can He change my life here and now? Can He make a difference in my life right now? The Gospel answer to that question is an emphatic "Yes". Jesus Christ does not only give us heaven. He give us new life here and now. The two sides of the life which Christ gives to us must be emphasized. There is life before death. Jesus calls this: "abundant life" (John 10:10). There is life after death. Here, Jesus speaks of "ev…

God''s love is unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable.

We read in the Bible about God’s love. Is this just something from the ancient past? Is it for us? The Bible speaks to us from the ancient past – but it’s not to be left in the ancient past.
* “God so loved the world” (John 3:16) – This is for us today. He loved the world then. He loves the world now. His love is unchanged.
 * Sometimes, we start off well. We’re reading the Bible. We’re learning about God’s love. Then something unexpected happens – and we start wondering, “Does God still love me?” Where does that thought come from? Does it come from the Spirit of God? No, it comes from our enemy, Satan. He sows seeds of doubt in our mind. He says, “Do you really think that God loves you?” He contradicts God’s Word – and leaves us very confused (Genesis 3:1-5). When Satan comes to us with his lies, we must remember this: God never stops loving us. We may stop loving Him – but He will never stop loving us. His love is unchanging.  * How do we know that God’s love …

The Holy Spirit comes from God. The Holy Spirit changes us.

(i) The Holy Spirit comes from God.- The new birth (John 3:3, 7). - “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Luke 3:16).(ii) The Holy Spirit changes us.
 - “Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-4).
 - “When the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you shall be My witnesses” (Acts 1:8).

"The Word became flesh" ...

"The Word became flesh" then so that He might be made flesh in us now (John 1:14).
The Son of God became "Emmanuel" (God with us) so that He might be "God with us" here-and-now.   "Jesus ... has risen" (Matthew 28:5-6) - so that, as the living Christ, He might live in us.  Our faith is grounded in the great facts of the Gospel: The Word became flesh, Jesus has risen. The Saviour was born for us. He lived for us. He died for us. He rose for us. All that He has done for us must become a powerful reality in us. This is the work of the Holy Spirit.  'For us' - we must never forget this. We do not jump straight to 'In us.' To those who speak of a inner spirituality which is not grounded in the historical reality of the great events of the Gospel, the Word of God says, "Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God&q…

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.
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In Luke 15:13, we read of the prodigal son going into the "far country". In Luke 15:20-22, we read of the joy of his homecoming -"So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet."
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In Philippians 2:8, we read of Jesus going into "the far country" (Luke 15:13) - "He humbled Himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!&qu…

The Call Of Love

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem ..." (Luke 13:34-35)
This is the call of love. In love, Christ is reaching out to us. In love, He's calling us to come to him.

Privilege and Responsibility

"From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked" (Luke 12:48). 
There is no privilege without responsibility.

Loving Jesus And Living For Him

"Be ready ... Be ready ... " (Luke 12:35,40).
When Jesus returns, we are to be ready. This doesn't mean that we need to have all the answers to all the questions that can be asked about his return. It means that we're to be waiting for him in faith. We're to be loving him and living for him.

Are we listening to the Lord - or are we listening to the world?

"Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to give me my share of the inheritance that our father left us.”
14 Jesus said to him, “Who appointed me to be your judge or to divide your inheritance?”
15 He told the people, “Be careful to guard yourselves from every kind of greed. Life is not about having a lot of material possessions.”
16 Then he used this illustration. He said, “A rich man had land that produced good crops. 17 He thought, ‘What should I do? I don’t have enough room to store my crops.’ 18 He said, ‘I know what I’ll do. I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones so that I can store all my grain and goods in them. 19 Then I’ll say to myself, “You’ve stored up a lot of good things for years to come. Take life easy, eat, drink, and enjoy yourself.”’
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! I will demand your life from you tonight! Now who will get what you’ve accumulated?’ 21 That’s how it is when a person has material riches but is not rich in his rel…

The power of the Holy Spirit

"At that time the Holy Spirit will teach you what you must say" (Luke 12:12).
The power of the Holy Spirit - This is something we must never forget. We meet someone who needs to hear the Good News of Christ's love. God is giving us this opportunity to speak a word for Him. What are we to say? We look to the Lord - to give us His Word, the words that we are to speak for Him - "Lead me to some soul today, O teach me, Lord, just what to say; Friends of mine are lost in sin, And cannot find their way. Few there are who seem to care, And few there are who pray; Melt my heart, and fill my life, Give me one soul today."

The prophets, the apostles and the Saviour

"I will send them prophets and apostles. They will murder some of those prophets and apostles and persecute others ... When Jesus left, the experts in Moses’ Teachings and the Pharisees held a terrible grudge against Him. They questioned Him about many things and watched Him closely to trap Him in something He might say" (Luke 11:49, 53).

We read about "prophets and apostles." Some were murdered. Others were persecuted. We read about our Saviour. He was crucified. Murder, persecution, crucifixion - Is this all that we read about the prophets and the apostles? Is this all that we read about our Saviour?  No! Here's something else - "You are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Christ Jesus himself is the cornerstone" (Ephesians 2:20). Where would we be without the prophets and apostles? Where would we be without Jesus Christ, our Saviour? No foundation, no cornerstone - that's where we'd be! Thank God - We're not l…

Strong words from Jesus!

"After Jesus spoke, a Pharisee invited Him to have lunch at his house. So Jesus accepted the invitation. The Pharisee was surprised to see that Jesus didn’t wash before the meal. The Lord said to him, “You Pharisees clean the outside of cups and dishes. But inside you are full of greed and evil.  You fools! Didn’t the One who made the outside make the inside too? Give what is inside as a gift to the poor, and then everything will be clean for you" (Luke 11:37-41).
Keeping up appearances - That was all that mattered to the Pharisees. There's a difference between the way things seem and the way they really are. Jesus saw this clearly. The Pharisees didn't. May God help us to be followers of Jesus - not followers of the Pharisees.
Luke 11:42-54
42 “How horrible it will be for you Pharisees! You give God one-tenth of your mint, spices, and every garden herb. But you have ignored justice and the love of God. You should have done these things without ignoring the o…

God has spoken to us by His Son.

“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 from Christ. Start walking with Him.

“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.

A large harvest, few workers ...

"He told them, 'The harvest is large, but the workers are few. So ask the Lord who gives this harvest to send workers to harvest his crops.'" (Luke 10:2). 
A large harvest, few workers: what do we do? - "Ask the Lord ... " "Lord, teach us to pray" (Luke 11:1).

Lord, we thank You that Your Son, Jesus, went to the Cross for us.

Lord, we thank You that Your Son, Jesus, went to the Cross for us. It was our sin that sent Him to the Cross. He took our sin upon Himself. He took our place. We were the ones who should have died – but He was the One who died for us. We look at ourselves, and we see nothing but bad news – “The wages of sin is death.” We look at Jesus, dying on the Cross for us, and we hear the Good News of Your great love for us: “The free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

Saved by grace though faith

"Your faith has saved you" (Luke 7:50). We have been "saved by grace" (Ephesians 2:5).  How are God's grace and our faith related to each other? Ephesians 2:8 tells us that we have been "saved by grace through faith." God's grace comes first. Without his grace, reaching out to us, we could never be saved. We cannot save ourselves. He must save us. What, then, does it mean to say, "Your faith has saved you"? We must begin by stating clearly what it does not mean. Faith doesn't say, "I can save myself." By faith, we look away from ourselves. We look to Jesus, our Saviour. We say, Jesus, I cannot save myself. You must save me." We should never think of our faith as a way of achieving salvation for ourselves, Faith looks to the God of grace and receives from him his free gift of salvation.

More than a prophet - Jesus is my Saviour.

"A great prophet ... Are you the one who is coming?" (Luke 7:16,19-20).
"A great prophet" - This may be the beginning of our faith, but it's not the end of our faith.
"A great prophet" - This is the first stage of our faith. We sense that there's something different about Jesus. Then, we begin to ask the question, "How different is Jesus?" We start to wonder, "Is Jesus more than a prophet?"
"Are you the one who is  coming?" Where does this question come from? It comes to us, when we start thinking, "There's something different about Jesus."
We ask the question. God gives His answer. It is an answer that arises in our hearts, as we think about Jesus, as we think, "This is more than a prophet. This is my Saviour."

The blessing - it's for you!

"Jesus looked at his disciples and said,
“Blessed are those who are poor.
God’s kingdom is theirs.
21 Blessed are those who are hungry.
They will be satisfied.
Blessed are those who are crying.
They will laugh.
22 Blessed are you when people hate you, avoid you,
insult you, and slander you
because you are committed to the Son of Man.
23 Rejoice then, and be very happy!
You have a great reward in heaven.
That’s the way their ancestors treated the prophets" (Luke 6:20-23). 

"Blessed are those ..." (Luke 6:20-21). "Blessed are you ..." (Luke 6:22). The blessing is not only for those. It's for you!

“We have seen strange things today” (Luke 5:26).

In his commentary 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…

John - the prophet; Jesus -the Saviour

"And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace." (Luke 1:76-79).

These words of prophecy speak of the ministry of John the Baptist - "a prophet of the Most High." He was to "prepare the way for the Lord." "Salvation ... forgiveness ... mercy ... heaven ... peace" - John's ministry gave a taste of all that Jesus, the Saviour, would bring to us. We give thanks to God for Jesus the Saviour - and we also thank God for John the Baptist.

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 p…

"Truly this Man was the Son of God" (Mark 15:39).

Jesus Christ was no ordinary man. He was special. He was unique. He is God's 'only Son' (John 3:16). He is God's 'beloved Son' (Matthew 3:17; Luke 9:35). He is not only the greatest Man who ever lived. He is 'greater than the angels' in heaven. 'All God's angels' are called to 'worship Him'. 'Truly this Man was the Son of God' - In these words of faith, we hear an echo of God's Word concerning His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ - 'You are My Son; today I have become Your Father...I will be His Father, and He will be My Son...Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever...Sit at my right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for your feet' (Hebrews 1:1-14). 'Truly this Man was the Son of God' - Let these words be your confession of faith in Christ.