The Gap

“No man cometh unto the Father but by me.”  John 14:6. There is a gulf, a gap, a separation between man and God caused by sin (Isaiah 59:2). Sin is inborn in us causing us to come short of the proper purpose of all things which is the  glory of God. We cannot obey his commands. This gulf continues after death (Luke 16:26). Only Jesus Christ enables man to bridge the gap because he:

Is God and man who did no sin.

Atoned for sin in his death.

He has devolved Power from the Father to save us from the guilt, power and presence of sin.

The illustration above enabled me to understand the gospel over 40 years ago.

Praise is foreign

The Psalms exalt God and realistically portray mankind as ephemeral and sinful. Praising God is not natural for the human heart. By nature we all want praise for ourselves, we think we are good and deserve heaven. It is not until the Spirit of God, by the word of God, convinces us of our sin, of God’s righteousness and of judgment to come and Jesus Christ reveals himself in the gospel of grace that we can see ourselves as we really are and praise our creator and redeemer.

 

 

The real tragedy of terrorism

Tragic as terrorism is, it makes little difference whether we die of old age or are murdered in our prime. What matters is eternity where you will be forever. You will either be in heaven with God and his people and his angels or you will be in hell with suicide bombers and with all who hate God.

The greatest tragedy of the recent terrorist attacks is not murder, terrible as that is, but that so few are ready for what happens after death. Simply put, those who are not washed in the blood of Christ (from their sin) and clothed with his righteousness will be going to hell whether they are suicide bombers or the victims of such murders.

Adapted from editorial in English Churchman 9/16th June 2017

The only source of blessing.

People seek to bless others and the word “bless” is used indiscriminately!

Who can bless others but God alone! Blessing rests in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:3).

When Peter addressed the Jewish crowd he stated, “Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.” (Acts 3:23)

The kindreds (peoples) of the earth are blessed in coming of the seed of Abraham namely Christ….and how are they blessed? “ Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” (Acts 3:24). The basic way human beings are blessed are when by God’s grace they repent and believe the gospel. ONLY believers are blessed and only believers can be a blessing to others. God’s people are blessed for ever (Ps.21:6, Matthew 25:34), the reprobate wicked (who never repent) are cursed ( Prov.3:33, Matt.25:41). Do you want the blessing of God? Repent and believe. Seek a true church.

 

 

Jesus the judge

 

Peter at Cornelius the centurion’s house where these words were spoken.

Dear friend, is Jesus Christ an irrelevance, a long-dead social activist, an historical figure, a myth?  God says in Acts 10:42, “And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. ”  Jesus Christ crucified, dead, buried, raised from the dead and ascended to heaven will one day be your judge! Make absolutely sure he is your Saviour and Lord now! Repent of your sin and believe the gospel. He is the infinite creator-God become man who commands your obedience.

Sermon

Through the Bible in a year

In the Bible reading plan today (see scans) we had I Samuel 17 and Acts 9. These two chapters clearly illustrate the grace and power of God. In the first God, through David and his slingshot, fells Goliath to the earth and shows that the battle is his (v47). The Lord will destroy his enemies. In the second reading, the Lord again fells an enemy namely Saul of Tarsus but this time in grace he makes him into a servant-friend, a new man by his powerful call from heaven. Known unto God are all his works. He slays his enemies but saves some of them and makes them his friends. This is his prerogative. Which are you? And if like me you are a believer, our calling as his people is to say to his enemies, as we have opportunity, “be reconciled to God” (II Cor.5:20).

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Serve God for your own good!

 Many think that loving and serving and obeying God is a chore, a restriction on enjoying life, something to be avoided at all costs. Nothing could be further from the truth. To love and serve God is life as it was meant to be, abundant life, eternal life, the life enjoyed by the first humans in Eden. Any other way is death and separation now and for ever from the ONE who is the fount of all good. Repent and believe the Gospel, for the glory of God AND your own good!

12 And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,

13 To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?

Deuteronomy 10.

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Matthew 22.

The young ass

” And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written,

 Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt.” John 11:14-15

Do you realise who this man was who rode into Jerusalem on “Palm Sunday” nearly 2,000 years ago? God says he is a king. King of the Jews. And who is a Jew? Not someone descended from Abraham physically, but a believer, someone who acknowledges Jesus Christ as King, King over all things and their King. The King who suffered and died to win his Kingdom. The King who one day will make heaven and earth new  as rightly his. Is he your King? He is also appointed to judge all me when he comes again. Will you be able to say on that day, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord”?

Wisdom

Christ alone reveals the wisdom of God.

The sum of all true wisdom and knowledge may be reduced to these three heads:—

1. The knowledge of God, his nature and his properties.

2. The knowledge of ourselves in reference to the will of God concerning us.

3. Skill to walk in communion with God:—

  1. Knowledge of God. “He that hath seen me hath seen the father.”How else to know his love apart from Christ? (I John 4:9). Pardoning mercy and grace? (Rom.3:25, John 1:14). Vindictive justice (Making Christ to be sin and suffer God’s wrath). Patience, forbearance and long-suffering (II Peter 3:9). When Moses asked God to show him his glory he hid him in a rock, that rock was Christ.
  2. Ourselves. Our sin is manifest by our consciences and the righteous law and just judgment is coming. We know these things by his death. God, in the death of Christ, punishes and condemns sin in the flesh of his own Son, in the sight of men, angels, and devils, and he has given an abundant assurance of a righteous and universal judgement to come; (how could his cruel killers get away with it?)  By his resurrection he has given assurance that Christ risen from the dead, is appointed by him to be the judge of all; in whom and by whom he will judge the world in righteousness granting unspeakable consolation on the one hand to those who believe in him, and terror on the other to those who despise him: so that the wisdom of this also is hid in Christ.
  3. To follow (In Christ is the wisdom to walk with God).

From John Owen’s work Communion with God.

No man taketh it from me

John 10:18 reads, “ No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”

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Christ allowing himself to be wickedly scourged, beaten, humiliated and eventually cruelly and excruciatingly  killed WAS NOT A VICTIM! Even while he permitted, nay decreed, his own awful sufferings he sovereignly was in charge of his murderers, enabling them to act wholly responsibly in their wickedness, out of their own malice to put him to death.

Christ was the ONLY MAN EVER to decide the moment of his death as he dismissed his spirit (Luke 23:46).

Christ was the ONLY MAN EVER to raise himself from the dead and take his life again, by omnipotent death-defying power invested in him eternally by his father.

Christ was, and is, the ONLY MAN EVER to possess eternal life in himself, the power of an endless life and the love of the Father (Heb.7:16).

Christ was, and is, the ONLY MAN EVER to be given sovereign judgment over all other men (John 5:22).

Christ was, and is, the ONLY MAN EVER to have power to cast all who despise him into everlasting hell.

Who is CHRIST to you?

An irrelevance, someone who died and whose body disappeared 2000 years ago, just a good man or example?

Or as he is in truth—the ever-living LORD of the universe and your rightful LORD, SAVIOUR, MASTER and FRIEND?

“Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him” (Psalm 2:12).