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Showing posts from May, 2018

The storm is raging. Jesus draws near. There is peace.

The storm is raging: ‘they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them’ (Mark 6:48). Jesus draws near, and there is peace: ‘the wind ceased’ (Mark 6:51). Another ‘storm’ continues to rage: ‘Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders...?’ (Mark 7:5). How did Jesus respond to this ‘storm’ of criticism? - He exposed the hypocrisy of those who made the tradition of men more important than the Word of God (Mark 7:7-9,13). He invited ‘the people’ to come ‘to Him’, to ‘hear’, to ‘understand’. His Word was addressed to ‘all’ of them (Mark 7:14). Jesus emphasizes this point: ‘man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart’ (1 Samuel 16:7). The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart. Which will it be? - ‘Their hearts were hardened’ (Mark 7:52) or ‘Loving the Lord your God with all your heart’ (Mark 12:30).

The eternal God, His everlasting love and His gift of eternal life

Psalms 89:38-90:17‘Lord, You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations… From everlasting to everlasting, You are God’(Psalm 90:1-2). The Bible begins with the words, ‘In the beginning, God…’. Before the world began, there was God – ‘the eternal God’. He is ‘the high and exalted One’. He is the God ‘who inhabits eternity’. He is the God ‘who lives for ever’. He has no beginning. He has no end. He is ‘the beginning and the end’. Our life on earth has a beginning. It has an end. Trusting in ‘the eternal God’, we rejoice in His precious promises – ‘The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms’; ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love’; ‘The free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’(Genesis 1:1; Deuteronomy 33:27; Isaiah 57:15; Revelation 21:6; Jeremiah 31:3; Romans 6:23).

Three Very Important Questions

Three very important questions - questions that demand a personal answer: Who is Jesus? What can Jesus do for us? What will we do about Jesus? (1) Who is Jesus? Is he a mere man? or Is He somebody special? Every one of us must answer the question, "Who is Jesus?" - Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1). - Jesus is the Son of God (John 1:34). Jesus does not merely speak God's Word. He is the Word of God. Jesus is more than a servant of God. He's the Son of God. (2) What can Jesus do for us? Could He do something wonderful for me? Could He change my life? Could He turn boredom into satisfaction? Could he turn confusion into certainty? Could He turn aimlessness into purpose? Could He turn cynicism into testimony? Could He ... ? - Yes! He can. Jesus is able to do great things for us. He can give satisfaction to the bored.He can give certainty to the confused.He can give purpose to the aimless.He can give a testimony to the cynical. Jesus can do all these things for us. He …

Alive In Our Worship, Involved In Our Community

Isaiah 61:1-3; John 21:1-17; Revelation 5:11-14 When our service of worship ends, our service in the world begins. God is calling us to be alive in our worship, and he's calling us to be involved in our community. Worshipping the Lord and serving Him - we need both, not one without the other. We are tio be committed to the Lord in the whole of our life - not just part of it.  * We are not to say, "I will worship the Lord for an hour on a Sunday, but I don't want to get involved in serving Him during the rest of the week." "It's just an hour on a Sunday." Can we ever truly worship the Lord if we're thinking like this? True worship leads to active service/ If we are learning to worship the Lord, we will want also to serve Him.  * We are not to say, "I can be a good Christian without going to Church." What does this say about our commitment to the Lord, if we do not take time to be with Him, giving thanks to Him, listening to what He has to s…

The Holy Spirit And The Holy Scriptures

We begin with a simple and yet profoundly helpful illustration from James Philip. "The black plastic disc (for those who are more familiar with compact disc, he's speaking about the vinyl record - you can replace 'black plastic disc' with 'compact disc'!) that is put on the gramophone turntable has a voice within it, and when we put it on the pick-up the voice comes out; and every part of the disc contains the voice. You cannot say, "This part is the voice, but this part is only the plastic", for all the playing surface contains the voice. You cannot separate the voice from the disc once the voice has been recorded. This is how it is with the Scriptures. You cannot separate the living Word of God from the written word that contains it. Every verse contains the voice. All you need is a pick-up. Sometimes the needle gets worn and when the record is put on it is no longer clear. A good needle is needed to bring the voice out, and sometimes when faith i…

Learning from the Apostle Paul

Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 2:2; 1 Corinthians 6:19–20; Galatians 6:14 Paul was no silent disciple, no half-hearted follower of Jesus. He was not ashamed of his Lord. He was glad to say, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith" (Romans 1:16). Why was Paul bold to say, "God forbid that I should glory save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Galatians 6:14)? Why was Paul so emphatic in saying, "I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2)? The answer is very simple and straightforward. He was a man who had been grasped by the power of the Gospel. Through the power of Christ, Paul was no longer his own. He belonged to Christ. This was why he was able to write to the Corinthian Christians, "You are not your own; you have been bought with a price" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). He was a man filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. This was why…

The Word Of God - Christ, Scripture, Preaching

If I were to go around the congregation and ask you, "Why have you come to this church service?", I'm sure I would get quite a variety of different answers. Some of you, if you were being perfectly honest, might have to say, "I came because I've got into a routine of coming to church on a Sunday." If this is what you're thinking, that's very sad. How can you expect to get anything out of the service, if you have only come to church because it's part of your weekly routine? Others may say, "I feel that I must come because it's my duty." There's a sense in which this is true, yet, if that's all that brings you to church, you're missing a great deal. Such an attitude is surely a far cry from the attitude of the Psalmist: "I was glad when they said to me, 'Let us go to the house of the Lord'" (Psalm 122:1), Others may say, "I've come to church to hear the minister speak." Yes. You will hear …

Questions And Answers (John 9)

John 9 is a chapter that's full of questions and answers. (1) Question: " ... who sinned, this man or his parents ... ?" (John 9:2).Answer: "Neither ,,, this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life" (John 9:3). (2) Question: "Isn't this the same man who used to ... beg?" (John 9:8).Answer: "I am the man" (John 9:9). Whatever we may have been, the grace of God is able to lift us up. Praise the Lord! (3) Question: The "How" question - "how were your eyes opened?" (John 9:10).Answer: The "Jesus" answer - "The man called Jesus ... " (John 9:11). May God help us to look away from ourselves and say, "This is what the Lord has done for me. (4) Question: "Where is this man?" (John 9:12).Answer: "I don't know" (John 9:12). When, at first, you don't find Jesus, keep looking for Him. he has given us His promise: "Seek and you will find." (5) Question:…

Bring Your Sin To The Saviour Of Sinners.

John 8:34-36 Sin is our greatest problem. What are we to do about it? We ask the question, "What are we to do about sin?" We ask this question, and, then, we ask another question, "What can we do about it?" When we realize how big a problem sin is, we became aware that we need help. We need more than self-help. We need salvation. This cannot come from ourselves. Salvation must be given to us. It must come from outside of ourselves. It must come from above. It must come to us from our Saviour, Jesus Christ. We have a problem with the idea that salvation must come to us from outside. The problem is ourselves. Here, we come to the heart of sin. What is sin? It's self-centredness. G K Chesterton hit the nail on the head when he said, "What's wrong with the world? I am." Sin is our problem. Salvation is God's solution. What is sin? Sin is self-will: "I did it my way"Sin is self-indulgence: "Looking after No. 1"Sin is self-confidence: …

Living Water (John 7:37-39)

John 7:37-38
 (1) We begin with the context of Jesus' great invitation -
   (a) the Feast of Tabernacles;
   (b) the teaching of the Old Testament Scriptures.
(a) The Feast of Tabernacles
  (i) Its historical significance
It reminded the people of Israel that they had been wanderers in the desert, dependent on the grace and mercy of God to provide for them in their need.
  (ii) Its agricultural significance
It was a Harvest Thanksgiving.
A priest took a golden pitcher, which held about two pints. He filled it with water from the Pool of Siloam. He carried it through the Water Gate, to the altar of the Temple, where it was poured out as an offering to God.
This was a vivid thanksgiving for God's good gift of rain.
It was an enacted prayer for rain.
It was a memorial of the water which sprang from the rock, while God's people were travelling through the wilderness.
It was in this context that Jesus spoke His tremendous words concerning Himself as the Giver of Living Water.
P…

Set Free By The Truth Of The Gospel

Much modern preaching tends, in the words of the prophet Jeremiah, to say to men and women, "Peace, peace" where there is, in fact, "no peace." The Gospel, on the other hand, to use the words of the prophet Joel, places "multitudes in the valley of decision." The Gospel places you and me crossroads between faith and unbelief. It is a crossroads at which you must make a decision - either to trust Jesus Christ as Saviour, or to trust in your own selves, your religion, your good works. Which will it be - Christ or or man-centred religion? When Jesus Christ preached the Word of God, His preaching had one of two effects on His hearers - either they believed and were saved, or they were antagonised, and they objected to Him, threatening Him, taunting Him and persecuting Him. When the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached, simply and honestly, it is never comfortable to listen to. The Gospel never leaves people the way they were. Either, it thrills them, or it in…