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Showing posts from June, 2017

Our love for the Lord comes from His love for us.

"And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God" (Philippians 1:9-11).
Our love for the Lord comes from His love for us. His love reaches us. His love changes us. With Jesus as our Saviour, our life changes direction. It's less of self - and more of Him. We're moving towards "the day of Christ." We're not there yet. We've got a long way to go. We find it so difficult to look beyond where we are right now. Jesus is very different from us. He looks right on to the end. He sees as we will be at the time of His Return. Now, we catch only a glimpse of the glory of Christ. Then, we will see Him in the fullness of His glory. What we shall be is still to be fully revealed to us. Saved by grace,…

God's Power And God's Love

"Receive your power from the Lord" (Ephesians 6:11); "undying love for our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 6:24) 
Where does undying love come from? It comes from the Lord. It comes from His love for us. Where does power come from? It comes from the Lord. He is the God of love. His power is the power of love.

"Husbands, love your wives, just as also Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her" (Ephesians 5:25).

Human love is grounded in divine love. "I love you" is grounded in "God loves you." We see the  love of God in the love of Christ, who gave Himself, in death, for us. Christ loves us. He has given Himself for us. He calls us His ‘Bride’ (Ephesians 5:25-27; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 21:2, 9).

"Awake, O sleeper" (Ephesians 5:14).

God wants us to ‘grow up in every way into Christ’(Ephesians 4:15). We are to ‘walk in love’(Ephesians 5:2), a life which is ‘pleasing to the Lord’(Ephesians 5:10). It is so easy for us to settle for something less than God’s very best. We settle down into a state of spiritual complacency. What does God have to say about this? – ‘Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God’(Ephesians 4:30). He gives us His wake-up call: ‘Awake, O sleeper…’(Ephesians 5:14). God says to us, ‘Awake, awake, put on your strength… Shake yourself from the dust, arise’(Isaiah 52:1-2). Have you become ‘lukewarm’? – ‘Be zealous and repent’. Christ says, ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him’(Revelation 3:16, 19-20). What will you say to Him? – ‘Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Come in today. Come in to stay’.

"one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all ..." (Ephesians 4:5-6)

Everything about our unity points away from ourselves.
 * Our unity is in the Lord. He did not wait for us to come to him. He came to us and for us.
 * Our unity is in the faith. This faith is not a man-centred faith. It's a faith that has been given to us - by revelation (Matthew 16:16-17).
 * Our unity is in our baptism. We did not baptize ourselves. We heave been baptized  "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19).
 * Our unity is in in God, our Father. Before we loved him, he loved us.Before we reached out to him, he was reaching out to us. In love, he was reaching out to us - to bring us to himself.

Saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8)

Sinners become singers. We never cease to be sinners. We are not superior to those who do not sing the song of the Lord. We have been saved by His grace. All the glory belongs to Him. May our whole life be a song of praise to Him (Ephesians 2:8-10). In our battle against Satan, we must never forget that our victory is grounded in His salvation: “At the Name of Jesus, Satan’s legions flee; on then, Christian soldiers, on to victory.” “The Church of God” is called to move forward as “a mighty army.”  The Lord has loved us so much. He has saved us. May we always give to others a friendly invitation and a warm welcome: “Onward then, you people, join our happy throng, blend with ours your voices in the triumph song.” Sinners will become singers – when we, who have begun to sing the Lord’s song, always remember that we are never any more than this: sinners who have been saved by God’s grace.

Giving Thanks To God

"I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers"  (Ephesians 1:16).
Prayer isn't all about asking. We must not forget to give thanks to the Lord.

Every spiritual blessing in Christ

"Every spiritual blessing in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3)
Through Christ, God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3).
Every spiritual blessing – in Christ: Come to Him and receive His blessing.

Sit, Walk, Stand.

"Sit, Walk, Stand" - This is a useful summary of the message of Ephesians: "And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (2:6); "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called" (4:1); "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (6:11).
"Sit, Walk, Stand" - We also find these words in the first Psalm: "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful" (v. 1). Concerning those who persist in walking in the counsel of the ungodly, standing in the way of sinners and sitting in the set of the scornful, the first Psalm says this: "Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous" (v.5).

"God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ …” (Galatians 6:14).

At the cross, we see Jesus Christ, “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” ( John 1:29). In the cross, we see the fulfilment of God’s eternal plan of salvation – “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). In the cross, we catch a glimpse of the eternal glory of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb … For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘He will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes’” (Revelation 7:10,17).
As we consider the glory of our Saviour, sent to us from eternal love, crucified for us, leading us on to eternal glory, let us join with Paul in saying “I will glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We rejoice in our Saviour. We give all the glory to Him. He's "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). What a great salvation He has given to u…

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace ..." (Galatians 5:22-23).

* The love in us comes from the love of God.
* The joy in us comes from the joy of God.
* The peace in us comes from the peace of God.
... The God of love, the God of joy, the God of peace ...
Without God, there can be no love in us, no joy in us , no peace in us ...
... Love, Joy, Peace ... That's what we find in Jesus.
The fruit of the Spirit grows in us as we are learning to love Jesus, learning to rejoice in our Saviour, learning to rest in the peace of Christ.
The fruit of the Spirit grows in us as we learn to walk with Jesus in the way of patience, kindness and goodness.
The fruit of the Spirit grows in us as we travel to the Cross of Christ where we learn the way of faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

"The law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ" (Galatians 3:24) - The Law of God, the Spirit of God and the Son of God

Some schoolmasters may be viewed as disciplinarians. I think, however, we should see the work of the Holy Spirit here. He convicts us of sin and leads us to Christ. This is not the impersonal law. It's the personal approach of the Holy Spirit. In grace and mercy, He shows us how far we have fallen short of God's perfect standard so that He might gently lead us to the Cross of Christ, the place where we receive the forgiveness of all our sins.
In Galatians 4:6, we learn that ‘God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts.’ The Spirit is not a reward which we earn by being good people. We are bad people who have broken God's law. The Spirit is God’s gift (Titus 3:5). The Spirit is not a reward which we earn because of our good works. Paul connects the gift of the Spirit with Christ’s death for us and our faith in Christ (Galatians 3:13-14).
When the Spirit brings us to Christ our Saviour, He takes us through a process which could be described as disciplina…

"Receiving the promise of the Spirit through faith" (Galatians 3:14)

What does this mean? It may be helpful to think, first, about what it doesn't mean.
We must never think of the Holy Spirit as a reward that is given to us because we have faith - the more faith we have, the more the Holy Spirit is given to us. Where does this kind of thinking come from? It comes from human pride. We make too much of our faith - and we get things the wrong way round.
When faith is real, it changes us. This is something that we must always emphasize - but we must make sure that we never give the impression that the Holy Spirit is a reward - God's way of recognizing how well we are doing in the life of faith. When we think that we are being rewarded, the focus is on ourselves - 'Look at what I've achieved. Look at the progress I've made.'
We are called to make progress in the life of faith - but we must never forget where this progress comes from. It comes from the Lord. Every thought of holiness comes from the Lord. He puts it into o…

"I have been crucified with Christ ... Christ lives in me" (Galatians 2:20).

When our devotion to the Lord is being deepened, we learn to walk with Him on the way of the cross – “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20) When our devotion to the Lord is being deepened, we will be less concerned with being more popular and more concerned with pleasing the Lord – “approved to God” (2 Timothy 2:15).

"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all’ (2 Corinthians 13:14).

"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all’ (2 Corinthians 13:14).
We have often heard these words spoken. Here, we are reading them in the Word of God. How often do we think about these words? What do they mean? These are life-changing words. Through ‘the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ’, we become ‘rich’ - ‘blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing’ (2 Corinthians 8:9, Ephesians 1:3). ‘In love God has destined us to be His sons through Jesus Christ’ (Ephesians 1:5). How do these blessings become ours? How do we become God’s children? We hear the Word of truth, the Gospel of our salvation. We believe in Christ. We are sealed with the promised Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). Such great blessing - ‘the Spirit is poured upon us from on high (Isaiah 32:15)!

The Lord's Return

"Now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2).
In our thinking about the Lord’s Return, it is very important that we do not forget that the decision between salvation and judgment is one which must be made here and now. The Bible speaks of the Day of the Lord’s Return as a Day of salvation for the Lord’s believing people. The Lord’s Return will also bring a Day of judgment for all who turn their backs on the Saviour. The Bible also speaks of another day of salvation, another day of judgment. That day is today. This is precisely what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6:2 - “Now is the day of salvation.” Now is the time for making your decision for Christ. Now is the time for faith in the Saviour. Jesus underlines the importance of our present response to Him. He does this, in John 3:18, when He speaks of those who are already under judgment because of their unbelief: “he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the Name of the only …

Looking Beyond Our Suffering

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). These are tremendous words of faith. They lift our eyes above “our light and momentary troubles.” They set our eyes on the “eternal glory.” When we see our times of suffering in this eternal perspective, our hearts are encouraged in the Lord. Our suffering isn’t the last word. God’s eternal glory is – and we will share in His eternal glory – “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! … Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him…

The Mercy Of God And The Ministry Of His Word

In the work of ministry, we are often discouraged by the lack of response. May God help us to remember that “we have received this ministry by the mercy of God” (2 Corinthians 4:1). May He give us the wonderful privilege of seeing more people responding to the Word of God which, by the power of the Holy Spirit, “gives the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.

Here are some great words from Jim Elliot, an American missionary who died at the hands of Auca Indians in Ecuador in the 1950s – “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
* "To gain what he cannot lose" - Eternal life has lasting value.
* "what he cannot keep" - The things of this world don’t have lasting value.
After Jim Elliot and four other American missionaries were killed, there was great blessing among the Aucas.
* Think of these faithful martyrs. Think of the blessing which followed.
In 2 Corinthians 4:15, we have a great comment on the wonderful blessing which followed the killing of the American missionaries by the Aucas - “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” The American missionaries laid down their lives. The Aucas found eternal life. It was for their benefit. Grace reached more and more people. There was an…

The Encouragement Of God's Word

How do we react when things don’t seem to be going very well? We all need the encouragement of God’s Word: ‘Thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph’ (2 Corinthians 2:14).

Where does praise come from?

"Praise God in His sanctuary" (Psalm 150:1). "Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit... glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Where does praise come from? How do we learn to "glorify God"? We learn that we "have been bought with a price" (1 Corinthians 6:20). At the Cross of Christ, we learn to praise God. We see Jesus, crucified for us - and our hearts are filled with praise to God. This is where praise begins. It doesn't begin with us. It begins with God. It begins with Jesus. It begins with the Holy Spirit.

A Great Privilege And A Great Responsibility

"Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple" (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).
God has given us a great privilege - "you yourselves are God's temple... God's Spirit dwells in your midst."  He's given us a great responsibility - we must take care of "God's temple." When God's Spirit comes into our hearts, what does He do? Does He give us a feeling of superiority - we're better than they are? No! He calls upon us to search our hearts more deeply: "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24).

God is preparing a glorious future for us.

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
How does the Lord keep us walking in His way? – He keeps on bringing to our attention the glorious future which He is preparing for us. He keeps on reminding us that we are being prepared for His eternal glory. How is He preparing us for ”praise,  glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed”? – He is teaching us to “love Him. ” The more we are learning to love Him, the more we will look forward, “with an inexpressible and glorious joy” to  ”the end result of our faith, the salvation of our souls” (1 Peter 1:7-9).

Strong words - words for today

“… watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned … By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people” (Romans 16:17-18).
These are very strong words. They are words which have a great deal to say to the Church at a time when it seems that the voice of permissive society is threatening to drown out completely the voice of Holy Scripture. When Paul addresses the problem of divisions among God’s people, He calls us to be faithful “to the teaching you have learned.” Behind Paul’s words concerning “the teaching you have learned”, there is something else: “according to the Scriptures.” We see this in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. Paul begins by speaking about “the gospel which I preached to you” (1 Corinthians 15:1). As we look on to 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, it becomes clear that he is not concerned with drawing attention to himself. What he is concerned about is this: “according to the Scripture…

Blessing From God, Glory To God

"I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God" (Romans 15:17). Where has the blessing come from? Does it say something about how worthy we are? No! It's not about us. We haven't done anything to deserve God's blessing. The blessing comes from the Lord. To Him be all the glory!

Be what God has made you "in Christ" ...

"In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires" (Romans 6:11-12).
Be what God has made you "in Christ" - not what sin has made you without Christ.