30 September 2011
29 September 2011
26 September 2011
What comes to mind when you think of the word reconcile?
• To make amends
• To bring back
• To seek forgiveness
• To give forgiveness
When I think of this word the first thing that comes to mind is....
• The Gospel of Jesus Christ
• God’s sacrificial love for fallen sinners like you and me
• Salvation and restoration
• Fellowship with the One that created us for His glory
Reconcile is one of the most important and descriptive words found throughout the whole Bible. You read this time and time again throughout the Old Testament. Right from the very beginning with Adam and Eve in the garden. It says in Gen 3:15 “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." Even in account of Abraham, when he took his only son to sacrifice him because God told him too.......remember what he said to his son? "God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son." Gen 22:8. This was the prelude to the main event.......Jesus Christ!
We read about God’s reconciling love with a disobedient and bitter nation as He leads them through captivity and out of captivity. Then we come to the New Testament! We see this very important word reconciliation playing a very descriptive role in the Gospel....in our salvation! Reconcile is one of the 5 key words used in the New Testament. First one being.......
• JUSTIFICATION.....the sinner stands before God guilty and condemned but declared righteous. “Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.” Rom 8:33
• REDEMPTION.....the sinner stands before God as a slave, but is granted freedom. “and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.” (v18) and Paul goes on to say “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.” Rom 6:22
• FORGIVENESS.....the sinner stands before God as a debtor, but the debt has been paid in full. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,” Eph 1:7
• ADOPTION..... the sinner stands before God as a stranger, but is made a son. “he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,” Eph 1:5
Then we come to RECONCILIATION.....the sinner stands before God as a enemy, but becomes His friend. God’s unfailing love and mercy is displayed in this one word “reconciliation” This act of kindness and grace displayed through the Gospel of Jesus Christ (v20) This is what Christ has done towards the sinner...and the reason we are the church. This is what has been promised from the beginning in the garden.....God’s saving grace to lost sinners. This is so amazing! Especially after reading the verse that follows this reconciling promise found in the Gospel. Look at (v21) Paul makes a very strong and hurtful statement about you and me! You might think or say to yourself “I’m deeply offended! How dare he say things like that.... especially about me.” But the sad reality is that it’s true! This was you and me before Spirit illuminated the Gospel to our hearts. Think about it! If we weren’t like this, then there really is no need for reconciliation! Right? We were [all of us] without a shadow of doubt....
Estranged which means distant.....cut off....or better yet! Separated.......Separated from who? God because He hates wickedness and sinners. “The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. You destroy those who speak lies; the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man. Ps 5:5. As David Platt said "Does God hate sinners? Yes, look at the cross! Does God love the sinners? Yes, look to the cross." But not only are separated and cut off, we are......Hostile which means enemy or adversary...it could also be translated ‘hater’ These are very strong words for an evangelist to use; but it describes the whole character of a person in their fallen state. This was you and me before grace was poured into our lives through the Gospel. Remember what Jesus said to Nicodemus about the unregenerate man or woman? “.....the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.” John 3:19-20. How bad could humanity possibly be? Take April 15, 1912 for example! One of the most famous and talked about nights in all of history. This tragic night despite the circumstance [cost 1600 people’s lives] displayed exactly the character Paul spoke of here in these short verses to the church. The historical account of that night says that In Boat No. 5, when Third Officer Pitman heard the anguished cries, he turned the boat around and shouted, “Now, men, we will pull toward the wreck!” But the passengers protested, “Why should we lose all our lives in a useless attempt to save others from the ship?” Pitman gave in. And for the next hour No. 5, with forty people on board and a capacity of sixty-five, heaved gently on the calm Atlantic, while the forty listened to the fading cries of swimmers 300 yards away. The story was much the same on the other boats. In No. 2, Fourth Officer Boxhall asked the ladies, “Shall we go back?” They said no, so Boat No. 2, about 60 percent full, likewise drifted while her people callously listened. On Boat No. 6, the situation was reversed as the women begged Quartermaster Hitchens to return, but he refused, painting a vivid picture of the drowning overturning the boat. The women pleaded as the cries grew fewer. Of the eighteen boats, only one boat, No. 14, returned to help—and this was an hour after the Titanic’s sinking, when the thrashing crowd had “thinned out.” Kent Hughes in his commentary on Colossians said these words about that event......“To me, the personal drama of the sinking of the Titanic is a parable of a world gone wrong. Fallen humanity is adrift on the unfriendly sea, alienated, unable to help one another despite some furtive individual attempts. The wrongness of everything points to the fundamental problem of people’s estrangement from each other and from creation by sin. It is a picture of a world desperately in need of reconciliation and the harmony and rightness which that brings." How bad is humanity apart from Christ? Not good....not good at all!It doesn’t matter if you’re:
• Rich or Poor
• Fat or Skinny
• Tall or Short
• White or black
• Good looking or Ugly
• Clean or Dirty looking
• Educated or uneducated
Every single person on this earth is estranged from God and hostile in mind towards Him apart from His saving grace. Otherwise Paul wouldn’t have wrote these words. “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools,” Rom 1:21-22. You can be the kindest person in the world......but apart from Christ and His saving grace according to this text you are estranged and hostile in mind....This is what makes salvation to amazing and so precious to sinners like you and me. The beauty of His grace is that salvation in Christ is so powerful it transforms an estranged and hater of God into a child that God declares to be His own. God by His grace reconciled the lost sinner who repents and turn to Christ by faith and makes them a new creation! This deserves an AMEN doesn’t it? Look what Paul writes in the following verse! (v22) God declares you and me.......holy......blameless.....above reproach!
Holy .....means to be separated from sin and set apart to God. Do you realize God looks upon your life and all Christians as holy as His Son.
Blameless..... means without blemish or spot. It was used in the Septuagint to speak of sacrificial animals. It’s used in the New Testament to refer to Christ as the spotless Lamb of God. We are declared blameless by a holy God! Jude tells us that we will one day “stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy.”
Above reproach.....goes beyond blameless. It means not only are we without blemish, but also that no one can bring a charge against us. Not even Satan [the Accuser] cannot make a charge stick against those whom Christ has reconciled. He declares you and me to be holy, blameless and above reproach! He views every true born again Christian clothed with the very righteousness of Jesus Christ. He sees us now as we will be in Heaven when we are glorified.
Try and get your head around that one for a moment! A great illustration to help you understand is in a story I heard recently in a sermon by David Platt! “This very successful businessman lived in London. He had heard rumors about a very expensive car- The Rolls Royce. This was known to be The Perfect Car. It could travel long distances on small amounts of gas and was promised to never break down. This business man was convinced that “the perfect car” was just the one for him. He lived in a separate country than the one in which the factory that manufactures this vehicle was located. He had the Rolls Royce shipped to him via boat after he had paid for his dream car in full. About a week later he received his car and decided to immediately go on a long road trip. After about six hours of driving, his brand new car began to stall and slowly died. It broke down which was something this car was never supposed to do. The businessman called the company that he bought this “perfect car” from and told them what had happened. The president of the company apologized for the inconvenience and told him he would fly a mechanic out immediately. About six hours later the mechanic arrived, fixed the Rolls Royce, and sent the business man on his way. About a week later the businessman noticed that he hadn’t receive a bill. Thinking it odd that a mechanic had flown all the way to him to fix his car and not receiving a bill because of it he decided to call the company. When the president of the company took his call he explained how his car broke down, a mechanic from the company had flown out to repair his car but he had yet to receive a bill for the repair. He told the president of the company how rich he was and that he could afford to pay his bill. After a brief pause the president of the company said, “Sir, we have no record of your car ever breaking down.” That's the same grace and mercy God displays to me and you every day found in His everlasting Gospel. God says about your life “I have no record that you have ever done anything wrong!” Now that’s amazing isn’t it?
When a person gets gripped by that kind of love the next verse makes complete sense (v23a) How could one who was hostile and brought into a relationship by His unmerited grace ever turn away and never come back?
The answer is: You either insane or stupid.... which ever it is you are unregenerate and the Gospel has never really penetrated your heart.What do you mean by that Mike? Here are some examples to help......1 John 2:19 “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” John 6:66-69 “After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, "Do you want to go away as well?" Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God." The Bible declares those people to be still estranged and hostile toward God and grace. In Matt 13:18-23 Jesus explains the parable of the sower "....When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty." A person who has been transformed by the Gospel will............GROW! See! This is the work God does in the life of a genuine believer “the elect." This is the evidence or the fruit of a genuine Christian “if in dead you continue in the faith....” Which means? If you preserver down the sometimes lonely narrow road which leads you home into the arms a loving Saviour that declares you righteous!
• It’s an enduring love for Christ and blessed Gospel.
• It’s an enduring love to keep Christ centered in one’s life.
• It’s an enduring love for His church and people in it “the called out ones”
• It’s an enduring passion for the Gospel to fall on good ground in the hearts of the lost that live next door or down the road from you
• It’s an enduring love which requires spiritual sweat and an enduring faith that is steadfast and unmovable no matter what happens.
Why? Because....Our faith is founded on the rock and not on the sand. Our faith is founded on the word of God and not in empty philosophy. Our faith is founded and deeply rooted in His love. This passage is very humbling and overwhelming when you think about how much He loves us. He took this illegal alien and hater of God and transformed him or her into the likeness of His Son. And on top it off! He declares us holy.....blameless...and beyond reproach. God’s reconciliation is powerful, amazing and everlasting!
• It transforms me and woman
• It appeases God’s wrath
• It only possible through Christ
• It is available to all who believe
• It has been implanted into the heart of every believer with the ministry to proclaim the Gospel (v23b)
God sends His children into a lost world with unbelievable news for those who are estranged and hostile......As Paul wrote 2Cor 5:18-20 “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” Have you been embraced by the power of His reconciliation? The only way you can answer that question is to look at your life and see if you are continuing in the faith and persevering in your way home? And it all comes back to this fundemental question! Is He [Jesus] supreme in oyur life? Only you can anwer that question.....SDG!
19 September 2011
Col 1:15-20Christ is before everything! Christ is behind everything! The Bible is all about the supremacy of Christ
• The Old Testament records the preparation of His coming
• The Gospels present Him as God in human flesh coming into the world to save wretched sinners.
• The Book of Acts the message of salvation through Christ begins to spread throughout the land
• The Epistles give us understanding to the theology of Christ’s work and representation of Christ in His body, and in the church.
• The Book of Revelation presents Christ on the throne, reigning as King of kings and Lord of lords
When you pick up the bible it screams Christ! He is the reason we are allowed see and breath another day. He is our redeeming mercy and hope. He is our Lord who is seated at the right hand of the Father. The bible is supremely the book about the Lord Jesus Christ, as Isa 9:6 says “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Every part of Scripture testifies about Christ Jesus! Luke wrote about the 2 men on the road to Emmaus “And he said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself." Luke 24:25-27....In John 5:39 Jesus said of the scripture “it is these that bear witness of Me.” This portion of Paul’s letter would have struck a chord with the heretics of that day and more so today! Why? Many denied His humanity and deity; they viewed Christ as a lesser spirit being that emanated from God.
• The New Aga Movement says that Jesus, is to be their spirit-guide.
• The Jehovah's Witnesses Jesus is actually Michael, the Archangel. He was the first creation of God who became a man.
• The Mormons Jesus is a Spirit child of Elohim who is in the class of Spirit. He is the Spirit brother of the Lucifer who became the Devil.
• Mary Baker Eddy founder of Christian Science said that “Jesus was only a man and that Christ is a Divine idea.”
• Freemasons teaches that Jesus was only a moral teacher. He was no better than Buddha, Confucius, Moses or Mohammed.
• Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard claim that Jesus is a false dream.
• Islam says in Sura 43:59 “Jesus was no more than a mortal whom Allah favoured and made an example to the Israelites.”
You may be asking yourself! Why do I care about this.....I know what I believe, I’m fine......ARE YOU SURE? Can you truly defend what you believe? Can you with confidence take a person like this through the scriptures and show them their error? Can you defend the authority and the divinity of Christ to someone who says Jesus was nothing more than a mere man? I say this because! This is a growing problem that is not going away any time soon! As one writer puts it “It is estimated that there are over 1,000 cults in America alone with some 25-30 million followers! And each of these false cults promotes their own man-made version of “Jesus Christ” who is not the Jesus of the Bible.” All cults have one thing in common! They deny the fact that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ alone and that He is God in the flesh. But, we know that’s not true! Remember what Jesus said to the man after he was given his sight then brutally beaten by the religious and thrown outside the courts! John 9:35-41 “Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" He answered, "And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?" Jesus said to him, "You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you." He said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshiped him. Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind." Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, "Are we also blind?" Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, 'We see,' your guilt remains." We come to this beautiful passage of scripture which is meant to strengthen the heart of the believer and to confirm the facts about who Jesus is! A passage that speaks very clearly that Christ must be supreme and given the glory to His sovereign right as Lord over all things! I like what John MacArthur said “He never founded a college, yet all the schools together cannot boast of as many students as He has. He never practiced medicine, and yet He healed more broken hearts than the doctors have healed broken bodies. This Jesus Christ is the star of astronomy, the rock of geology, the lion and the lamb of zoology, the harmonizer of all discords, and the healer of all diseases. And throughout history great men have come and gone yet He lives on. Herod could not kill Him. Satan could not seduce Him. Death could not destroy Him, and the grave could not hold Him. This is our Christ the preeminent one.” Christ is supreme over all things! He is not only our Saviour He is God in flesh to show humanity the love of God for fallen sinful man and woman. Look what Paul writes in these verses!
“the image of the invisible God” (v15a)...........This means “likeness”......“Image” is the Greek word “eikon” This is where we get the English word for “icon” which is an image or representation. Paul is making a profound statement about the deity and sovereignty of Christ! By saying that Jesus is the perfect, absolutely accurate image of God in the flesh. Jesus didn’t become this image at His incarnation.....He has always been God in eternity past, present and the future! Jesus is exact likeness of God “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.....” Heb 1:3. This is why Jesus spoke with such authority and power! "Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father." John 14:9. This is a vital and non-negotiable biblical truth to the Christian faith! Jesus is the God man. You want to know who God is......His character....His attributes.....His mercy and justice? Look to Christ! “the image of the invisible God”
Not only is He the image the exact representation of God for all humanity........He is also!......”the Firstborn over all creation” (v15b- v17). Many have distorted this text as a springboard to their heresy! The Watchtower uses this text to twist it into what they believe to be true! They use this text to make a case that Jesus was created, which removes that non-negotiable doctrine of the divinity of Christ. The word “firstborn” though it can refer to a first child...but in the context of this passage it’s referring to a position or rank! In both the Greek and Jewish culture ‘firstborn’ was a son who had the right to the inheritance” So this word that Paul used to describe Christ’s supremacy in this letter would have made sense to them....... when he used the word “firstborn”. For example!
Israel was God’s firstborn 'Thus says the LORD, Israel is my firstborn son,” Exo 4:22. David was the firstborn though he was the last of eight sons “And I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.” Ps 89:27.....“firstborn” clearly means highest in rank....not first created child! Why? By what we read in the following verses...CONTEXT...CONTEXT....CONTEXT! (v16-v17) He is before everything “our sustainer”. He is above everything “our sovereign King”. He is in control of all things “our omnipotent Lord”......The firstborn to receive glory, honor and praise from everything created!!
What’s more important to the church is that He must get the pre-immense in the church (v18-v19). He must be given the highest of praise in the church because He is the Head. The scriptures describes the church to be a .....A family....A kingdom.... A vineyard....A flock....A building....A bride. But here Paul calls it a body and Christ is the Head of the body! And you what that means? A body without a head is good for nothing! If Christ isn’t the firstborn in the church then we’re a dead church going through the motions of life.......A body [the church] remove the sovereign authority and divinity of Christ [which is the head] ........and we are left to ourselves [a decaying body full of sin and pride]. Without Christ at the head of the church we are doomed for failure! The body has different parts so that it can function properly but it must stay together in order to work properly “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”Rom 12:3-5. But this is only possible when Christ is supreme in the church! Jesus Christ is the foundation of the church and that was only possible through His death and resurrection. That’s why He is the ‘firstborn’ [again first in rank] from the dead.......Jesus was the first to be resurrected and never die again!....... (v18b). He is supreme in the church and He is supreme over death! This is our living hope of eternal blessing! Not even death can stop the almighty power of God found in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Christ is everything to the Gospel.....Creation.....the Church......the Resurrection! He has been given a name that is above every name. He is so supreme the Bible says that every knee will bow and everrry tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. That’s what it means to be supreme! All the false cults, unconverted masses who deny: His existence...His deity.....His wonderful work of redemption found in the Gospel, will confess that Jesus is truly God in the flesh and He is who He claimed to be. Which is scary for some and exciting for others? Think about this! One way or another Jesus will receive glory due His name whether by your exaltation found in salvation or your damnation! Why? He is the pre-imment One who has the divine powers and attributes to reconcile all things to Himself (v19-v20) The fullness of deity....all divine powers and attributes was not spread out among created beings, but completely dwelt in Christ alone. And what’s amazing about that statement! Christian’s get to share in His fullness “And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” John 1:16. Let me leave you with this final thought! Since we are as believers partakers of this fullness of grace....there is really only one thing that everyone of us here in this place needs to do......Make Christ supreme! Which means first place in everything?
• First place in our families
• First place in our marriages
• First place in our professions
• First place in our missions and ministries
• First place in matter of the intellect
• First place in time
• First place in love
• First place in conversation
• First place in pleasures
• First place in eating
• First in play
• First place in what we watch
• First place in worship
• First place in this church
He must be first in your life period! So the question I want to leave with you is this! Is He first or last in your life? To answer that question properly! We [meaning you and me] really need to stop and evaluate our lives in light of what scripture says here is this text! Is Christ supreme in your life?
12 September 2011
What does it mean when we use the word supreme? By definition supreme means....highest in authority; holding the highest place in government or power. In the United States, the congress is supreme in regulating commerce and in making war and peace. In our country of Canada we have our House of Parliament who governs over us.
The parliament of Great Britain is supreme in legislation; but the king is supreme in the administration of the government. In the universe, God only is the supreme ruler and judge. His commands are supreme, and binding on all his creatures. But what if you add [A. C. Y. and removed the E] to the end of that word supreme........We would get supremacy! See supremacy gives a deep understanding to what it means to be supreme! It’s a state of being supreme or in the highest station of power; highest authority or power! So if God is creator and self existent of everything.....wouldn’t that make Him supreme over everything? And I mean everything!1 Chron 29:11-12 says “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.” Job 23:13 says “But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does.” Rom 9:20-21 says “But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?" Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? As Ps 2:9 says “You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." Like a supreme King with his sceptre as he rules over his people with authority. Spurgeon said “God’s absolute supremacy and unlimited sovereignty naturally flow from his omnipotence, and from the fact that he is the source and support of all things.” We come to this powerful letter to the faithful saints of Colosse .....A house church which was in the Lycus River Valley in the Roman province of Asia [which is a part of modern day Turkey]. The pastor or leader of this church is Philemon by what we see in [Col 4:8-9] This is about 100 miles east of Ephesus. This letter was written by Paul on his with an urgency of the heresy that floating around the area which was ending up in the church! Reason being! There was a mix of Gentiles and Jewish people in city of Colosse! Jewish legalism and Gentile pagan mysticism and today’s heresy of Gnosticism which means “that God is good, but matter is evil” Paul starts his letter off with his standard greeting which can be found in his 13 other letters! [v1-v2]. Paul wastes no time as he gets to the heart of the church! Which is all our worship....servanthood and time for the glory of God. See, God must get the pre-imminence in our lives and in our church at all times! If not! He isn’t pre-imminent in your life or this church! What do I mean by that?
Is He supreme in your farm or employment?
Is He supreme in your finances or in your tithing?
Is He supreme in your marriage?
Is He supreme in your behaviour?
Is He supreme in your discipleship of your children?
Is He supreme in your decision making?
Is He supreme in your service to this church?
Is He supreme in your worship?
Is He supreme in your scripture memorization?
Is He supreme in your prayer life?
Is He supreme in your in everything?
Seriously think about that! Because the truth of those answers will reflex the way you live and treat this church and your life today!Paul proclaims to the church in what we call “the prison epistles” that Christ is and must be supreme first and foremost! He is and must be supreme in the GOSPEL! He must be at the center of the Gospel ....not to the side or an afterthought! He is the Gospel!
1. THE GOSPEL IS TO BE LIVED OUT WITHIN THE CHURCH WITH CHRIST AT THE CENTER OF IT! (V3-V6)
Do you realize that.......We are God’s holy and faithful ones, saints. We are brothers and sisters with a common Father. We are “in Christ” and are part of the joyous mystery of His body. The grace of God has been freely poured on us “grace upon grace” John 1:16. God has given us faith, love, and hope. (v3) “faith in Christ” Apart from faith there is no Christian experience! (v4) ”love for all the saints” one of the visible changes in a person when they are transformed by the Gospel is they have a love for fellow believers. (v5) ”hope stored [laid up, reserved] up in Heaven” The blessed promise of the Gospel message by making us His sons and daughters. (v6a) “word of truth.....which has come to you...also in the whole world” The Gospel is a universal message and it’s true! Why? Christ is at the center of it.
2. THE GOSPEL [GOOD NEWS] WILL ALWAYS BEAR FRUIT...IT’S A LIVING, MOVING, AND GROWING REALITY! (v6b-v8)
It bears fruit and spreads like a untamed fire! The Hebrew writer says “the word of God is living and active” Heb 4:12. Just like the small mustard seed which is about 1 or 2 mm in diameter and it grows to its full potential of about 10 to 15 feet tall! Remember what Jesus said in Matt 13:31-32 "The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches." The Gospel will always grow! Why? Christ is at the center of it! What’s more amazing is that a genuine Christian will grow as well... just like the mustard tree. “since you heard it” and up to now! Gordon MacDonald said these words “He regards men not as they are merely, but as they shall be; not as they shall be merely; but as they are now growing, or capable of growing, toward that image after which he made them that they might grow to it.” The Gospel bears fruit and so must the church! How?
3. THE GOSPEL WILL ALWAYS GIVE WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING TO WALK WORTHY (V9-V11)
When wisdom is given it is usually accompanied by understanding. When you read the word of God you are receiving information or instruction from God’s which His wisdom is for you! This gives us understanding into how we are to live our lives. The first principle is that Christ must be at the center of it......not riding shot gun or sitting at the back of the bus....He must be first in everything! “Walk” according to the Bible refers..... to one’s pattern of daily conduct. A mind or a life controlled by the word of God will produce a life worthy of the Lord. This should be what we are striving for...but again it’s going to be hard work “spiritual sweat” Remember God has not left us to our own resources for walking worthy! “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Gal 2:20. Christ dwells in us in the person of the Holy Spirit “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man...” Eph 3:16-17. As John MacArthur puts it! “trying to walk worthy in our own strength is doomed for failure.” A fruitful life will always bear fruit and strive for walking in a manner that is pleasing to Him! Because Christ is at the center of their lives. (v11) “according to His glorious power”
4. THE GOSPEL PROMISES US AN INHERITANCE THROUGH CHRIST’S DEATH AND RESURRECTION (V12)
“qualified” we made the cut or the team by His saving grace so to speak! We are not qualified by our own efforts....God has qualified us by the finishing work of Christ. Basically what this verse is saying is that “God by His grace qualified the unqualified to share in the inheritance.” This means God has given each and everyone who is born again a portion or an allowance......which is eternal life.......forever in the presence of Jesus Christ. Matt 19:29 says “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life” It will be ours forever......because of Christ!
5. THE GOSPEL HAS THE POWER TO DELIVER US FROM DARKNESS (V13-V14)
God has rescued us from the sinking ship, drowning in the lake, the burning fire, the bullet as you stand before the firing squad “delivered” which means “draw to oneself” We have been delivered from the bondage of sin and Satan.....not progressively but completely.....“if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature.....” 2 Cor 5:17 or read Romans chapter 6. As John said “greater is He who is in you that he who is in the world” 1 John 4:4. God has removed us from the domain of darkness which is referring to the supernatural forces of Satan....This doesn’t mean we are exempt from sin but we no longer are in bondage to Satan and his fallen angels! But what it does mean is! The chains of darkness have been broken by a holy God who gave Himself so that He could “draw us back” to Him and His saving arms of grace. That’s the power of the Gospel! The gospel redeems the unregenerate from darkness into His marvellous light! The Gospel is about Him.....that’s what makes the Gospel supreme in the church! It’s all about Christ.
It begins and ends with Him....that’s why He is supreme. This is why He gets the pre-immense in the life of the church. See! Without the gospel there is no Christ and He is not supreme in your life or the church.....He must me center of everything! The unsaved masses want to forget Him.....remove Him....or ignore Him! For this simple truth......We by nature what to be supreme, king, controller of our lives....we want to be in control of our domain, existence. Satan did and so did Adam and Eve at the great fall of all humanity. Paul writes to this little church like ours and tells us that Christ must be supreme in order for us to continue. “O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. 1 Chron 29:11. So let me leave you with this one simple question! Is Christ truly supreme in your life?
08 September 2011
05 September 2011
What does it mean to be gripped by God and His wonderful glory?
1. His unfailing love and mercy to creation and His called out ones (me and you)
“Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” Ps 136:1
2. A Christian can find a deep seated joy and comfort when we are faced with a world that looks like it’s spiralling out of control.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Ps 46:1-2
3. His everlasting forgiveness for sinners like you and me
“.....If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness...” Ps 130:3-4
4. To be declared from the King of glory His sons and daughter!
“Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. Ps 24:3-4
5. A genuine brokenness over your sin which brings us into a proper relationship with the One that paid our debt in full on the cross of Calvary.
“....For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.” Ps 51:3-4
6. His resume and awesome track record that displays His trustworthiness.
“Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendour of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness.” Ps 145:2-6
7. That He would be mindful of this small speck of sand and show such mercy and love.
“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” Ps 8:3-4
8. To be blessed with the privilege to hold the words of God [Himself] in the palm of your sinful hand and to delight in it daily.
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.” Ps 1:1-2
9. That God would give us dads [fathers] the wonderful and serious responsibility to teach our children about the glory of God.
“I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments;...” Ps 78:2-7
10. That we can worship God truly the way He expected us to worship found in the finishing work on the Cross.
“Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth! Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvellous works among all the peoples!” Ps 96:1-3
11. That a holy and awesome God would take a person [like me and you] once a hater [a fool] and bring us into a proper understanding of saving grace through His Son.
“The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good. God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. Ps 53:1-3
12. That He would give us anguish or a burdened heart for the lost found in the Gospel that saves to the uttermost parts.
“My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law. Righteous are you, O LORD, and right are your rules. You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness and in all faithfulness.” Ps 119:136-138
God is awesome!
He is the one who spoke all things into existence from nothing into something.
He is the one who said when He was finished “it is good”
He is the one sent His only Son to be our substitution for the payment of sin.
He is the one gave us His written word and implanted it into our hearts for future use.
He is the one who promised us a Helper the Holy Spirit to understand His word.
He is the one who is continuing to lead us home.
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Phil 1:6
Again God is awesome! And we should always be gripped by His glory no matter what happens in this present life!
I’m forever speechless when I think about the glory of God that He would love me
I’m forever humbled by His everlasting love towards me and His creation
I’m forever fearful for those who will face the ultimate wrath of God for their hatred towards His unmerited grace each and every day.
I’m forever blessed and amazed to be called “His own”.
May God grip your heart so tight that you will never forget where your love and mercy comes from as you are faced with the next hour that He allows you to breath......
PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME FOR HE IS WORTHY BECAUSE HE SAVES TO THE UTTERMOST! "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God." Rom 5:8-9
In 1715 King Louis the 14th of France died after a reign of 72 years. He had called himself “the Great,” and was the monarch who made the famous statement, “I am the state!” His court was the most magnificent in Europe, and his funeral was equally spectacular. As his body lay in state in a golden coffin, orders were given that the cathedral should be very dimly lit with only a special candle set above his coffin, to dramatize his greatness. At the memorial, thousands waited in hushed silence. Then Bishop Massilon began to speak; slowly reaching down, he snuffed out the candle and said, “Only God is great.”
It’s all about Him and not about you and me!
It’s all about Him and His attributes and character!
It’s all about Him and His plan for mankind!
It’s all about Him in the written word
It’s all about Him in redemption and regeneration
It’s all about Him!
The more and more I read God’s word the more I’m humbled by his awesomeness and love for a sinner like me and you!
That He sought me out with forgiveness and salvation.
That He shows me unmerited mercy every day.
That He continues to work in and through me for His glory!
He is always worthy of praise for great things He has done.........Give thanks with a grateful heart as the Psalmist does in this wonderful psalm of praise for His goodness and mercy! Spurgeon said this psalm is “the sweetest stanza that a man can sing. What joy that there is mercy, mercy with Jehovah, enduring mercy, mercy enduring forever. We are ever needing it, trying it, praying for it, receiving it: therefore let us forever sing of it.” As the Psalmist says “His mercy endures forever” not for a season or for a short time but FOREVER! What does it mean to be gripped by the glory of God? His unfailing love and mercy to creation and His called out ones (me and you) His mercy should be the foundation of adoration and motivation each and every day!
The reason being.......
Without His mercy we would never be able to understand grace and forgiveness found in His Son.
Without His mercy we would never find hope.....rest....and a Christi filled eternity!
Mercy plays an important part in God’s character! Micah wrote these words......... “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love.” Micah 7:18 “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matt 9:36. Mercy by definition is...... a compassion, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant.
GOD’S MERCY IS DESCRIBED AS:
Great “For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you.” Isa 54:7
Rich “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved” Eph 2:4-5
Sure and unchanging “Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, [The same covenant into which God entered with the fathers was firm, sure, and eternal, and not changeable or temporary.] my steadfast, sure love for David.” Isa 55:3
New every morning “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lam 3:22-23
Free “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love.” Eph 1:4
NOT ONLY IS HIS MERCY DESCRIBED IN HIS CHARACTER IT’S ALSO MANIFESTED IN:
His people “And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.” Luke 1:50
Sending Christ “because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise [There appears to be an allusion to a prediction of Malachi, in which Christ is called “the Sun of Righteousness,”] shall visit us from on high.” Luke 1:78
To the repented sinner “I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants."' And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” Luke 15:19-20
To whom He wills “......I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." Rom 9:15
When I read this Psalm I’m humbled by His provision through His beauty, creation, His guidance and protection for those whom are His from generation to generation!. WE AS HIS CHILDREN ARE REQUIRED TO DO 2 THINGS!
1. TO LOVE GOD FOR HIS MERCY
As David said “I love you, O LORD, my strength” Ps 18:1. It’s a deep seated love found in His mercy! Thomas Watson said “God’s justice may make us fear him, his mercy makes us love him. If mercy will not produce love, what will? We are to love God for giving us our food, much more for giving us grace; for sparing mercy, much more for saving mercy.” As Augustine said ‘I would hate my own soul, 'if I did not find it loving God.’
2. TO IMITATE GOD IN SHOWING MERCY.
God is the Father of mercy; show yourselves to be his children, by being like him! Jesus said “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:36. We are to show that same mercy towards one another [no exceptions because Christ died for all of mankind’s sins] Ambrose says, “The sum and definition of religion is, Be rich in works of mercy, be helpful to the bodies and souls of others. Scatter your golden seeds; let the lamp of your profession be filled with the oil of charity. Be merciful in giving and forgiving.”
The story is told of a gracious king who wanted to bestow a special honor upon his most gallant young soldier. This benevolent ruler decided to give the soldier one of his own precious jewels — an enormous gemstone of great value. Finally the day for the celebration arrived, and the king called the young man before him in order to make the presentation. As the soldier stepped forward to receive the gift, he looked at the costly gem and, realizing that it was more valuable than all of his worldly possessions, exclaimed, “Your Majesty, it is far too great a gift for me to receive.” Grasping the hand of his faithful servant, the king replied, “That may be true, but it is not too great a gift for me to give.” And with that he placed the gem in the soldier’s hand. Humbled and overwhelmed, the soldier received the gift with tearful eyes of appreciation.
We are all like this young soldier! Guilty sinners, deserving nothing of our great King’s love or mercy. God’s mercy is far too great a gift for such unworthy people like us. But in His never failing love, our heavenly Father who is rich in mercy reassured us, “It is not too great a gift for Me to give.” All we could do is humbly and gratefully receive the gift of God’s magnificent mercy. That’s why this Psalm is all about Him! And this should be the way we live our lives? It’s all about you Lord.
Praise His name and be thankful for His unmerited mercy to sinners like us!
Praise His name and live by that same mercy towards one another!
Praise His name because He is worthy of all our adoration and praise
Praise Him and praise Him....because it’s all about Him and not you!