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Showing posts from February, 2016

More Opportunities For Repentance

Exodus 9:1-11:10 More plagues, more opportunities for repentance – God was appealing to Pharaoh to change his mind about God and the people of God. The call to repentance was ignored. Pharaoh put on a show of repentance (Exodus 9:27-28; Exodus 10:16-17). – but he didn’t mean it: “Pharaoh was stubborn”, “the Lord made him stubborn” (Exodus 9:35; Exodus 10:20). He was a man of unbelief. God confirmed him in his unbelief. the final plague – the death of the firstborn – represented the end of the road for Pharaoh – “the Lord made Pharaoh stubborn” (Exodus 11:10). God was saying, ‘Enough is enough.’ God was going to bring His people out of Egypt – with or without Pharaoh’s permission. there were good things happening – “the Lord made the Egyptians kind to the people. And Moses was highly respected by Pharaoh’s officials and all the Egyptians” (Exodus 11:3) – but this didn’t change the fact that Pharaoh was resistant to God. This resistance did not hinder God in the outworking …

Can We Learn From Life's Tragedies?

“If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?” (Judges 6:13). God has spoken words of encouragement: “the Lord is with you, brave man” (Judges 6:12). Things were not going well. Gideon was having doubts about God: “now the Lord has abandoned us” (Judges 6:13). God was quick to reassure Gideon: “You will rescue Israel … I am sending you” (Judges 6:14). Gideon moved from the ‘why’ question to the ‘how’ question: “How can I rescue Israel?” (Judges 6:15). God’s answer is still the same: “I will be with you” (Judges 6:16).

God's Will - Not My Will

“Every man did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).
This sad situation is with us still. May God give us grace to pray, “Not my will, but Thine be done” (Matthew 26:42).

Can A Hopeless Situation Be Turned Around?

“There was a famine in the land” (Ruth 1:1). The situation seemed hopeless. We wonder, “Where will hope come from?” In Amos 8:11, we read about a different kind of famine: “not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.” How do we find hope when there is a famine of hearing the words of the Lord”? We must learn to pray to the Lord: “Speak; your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10).

Can The Famine Become A Harvest?

In Ruth 2, there’s a beautiful picture of harvest. Look back to Ruth 1:1 – “There was a famine in the land.” The Christian life’s like that. It’s not always harvest. Sometimes, it’s famine. Sometimes, we feel like we’re on the mountain-top. At other times, we’re in the wilderness. Whatever your circumstances, remember this – God knows what’s best for you. In the happy times and the testing times, be sure of this – God is not far from you, He’s with you, He loves you and He wants to bless you. When it seems like nothing’s going right for you, take time to think about what the Lord has done for you and give thanks to Him. When things are going well, don’t take God’s blessing for granted. He can withdraw His blessing from us if we don’t give thanks to Him – that’s the warning Jesus gives us in the parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:13-21). When things are going badly, don’t let your head go down. Don’t start thinking that God’s blessing will never return to you again. This is …

Is There A Revelation In A Genealogy?

Ruth 4:18-22
“A genealogy is a striking way of bringing before us the continuity of God’s purpose through the ages. The process of history is not haphazard. There is a purpose in it all. And the purpose is the purpose of God.” (Leon Morris, Ruth).

God Is Good To Us Today.

“Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel just as He promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises He gave through His servant Moses. May the Lord our God be with us as He was with our ancestors; may He never leave us nor forsake us.  May He turn our hearts to Him, to walk in obedience to Him and keep the commands, decrees and laws He gave our ancestors” (1 Kings 8:56-58). God’s faithfulness isn’t just something that belongs in the past. It’s for us. It’s for today.  We’re not just to say, ‘God was good to “His people Israel” a long time ago.' We’re to say, ‘God is good to us today.’ When we realize how God our God is, we will give ourselves gladly to Him – “to walk in obedience to Him.”

The Holy City or The Holy Saviour?

"… Jerusalem, the city where I chose to place My Name” (1 Kings 11:36). Jerusalem is called the Holy City. It’s not so much Jerusalem that’s holy. It’s the Name of the Lord that’s holy – and He has placed His holy Name in Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, Jesus died for us and rose again for us. Again, it’s not Jerusalem that’s holy. It’s our Saviour who’s holy. Jerusalem’s a special place because Jesus is special. There’s no one like Him. He’s our Lord. He’s our Saviour.

You, Lord, are drawing us to Yourself. You're bringing us into fellowship with Your people.

Psalm 147:1-20 ‘The Lord builds up Jerusalem. He gathers the exiles of Israel. he heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds’ (Psalm 147:2-3). Help us, Lord, to look beyond the building of the city of Jerusalem with bricks and mortar. May we see clearly that this is You blessing Your people as they gather together to worship You. In Christ, we are ‘being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit’ (Ephesians 2:22). You, Lord, are drawing us to Yourself. You're  bringing us into fellowship with Your people. You're calling us to worship You: ‘Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving’. You ‘bless’ us through ‘Your Word’. You ‘bless’ us in ‘the Spirit’: ‘You  send Your Word... and the waters flow’ (Psalm 147:7,12-13,18; John 7:37-39).

Before You Can Be The Lord's Servant, He Must Be Your Saviour.

“Whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant … For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43,45).
Do you want to be the Lord’s servant? Remember that He is your Saviour. Do you want to serve the Lord? – You must be saved by Him before you can even begin to serve Him. When we think of Jesus as God’s servant and say, “I will serve God the way Jesus served Him”, we have missed the point of Jesus’ words: “the Son of Man” came ”to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Jesus’ service is defined by the giving of His life as a ransom for many. We can never give our life as a ransom for many. Only Jesus can do that for us. Where does our life of service begin? – It begins at the Cross of Christ. It begins when we say, “I cannot serve You. I can only be saved by You.” That’s where the life of service begins. It begins with being saved by the Lord. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you…

The Solid Rock

“Have you never read the Scripture passage: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. The Lord has done this, and it is amazing for us to see’?” (Mark 12:10-11). Jesus is the Cornerstone of our faith. We build on Him, the solid Rock. He’s the sure Foundation. He died for us. He was raised again for us. What great things the Lord has done for us. To Him alone be all the glory!

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 pr…

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.

Jesus - The Good Shepherd, The Great Shepherd, The Chief Shepherd

* Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd who died on the cross for us – “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
* Jesus Christ is the Great Shepherd who rose from the dead for us – “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21).
* Jesus Christ is the Chief Shepherd who is coming again for us – “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade awa…

Lord, where have all the years gone?

Genesis 5:1-17 Lord, where have all the years gone? Five years becomes ten years. Ten years becomes twenty years. Twenty years becomes forty years …. Is there something more than this? - We thank You that You are the eternal God. In all the changing circumstances of our life, help us to remember this: “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27). You are the eternal God. Your love is unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable. This is our encouragement – when everything around us is changing. We are encouraged. Lord, may we also be challenged: How much of our life is bringing glory to You?

Paradise Lost! Paradise Regained?

Genesis 3 - From the majestic perfection of God and the privileged responsibility of humanity, we now move to the evil subtlety of Satan. An intruder has sneaked into the privileged place between God, the Creator, and mankind, His creation.
Chapter 2 ends with the absence of shame. Chapter 3 begins with the presence of Satan. The work of Satan, successfully executed, ensures that chapter ends rather differently from chapter 2 – “the Lord God sent the man out of the Garden of Eden” (v. 23).

This was “Paradise Lost”. Was there a way to “Paradise Regained”? There are two answers to this question: “No” and “Yes”. Taking ourselves as the starting-point, the answer is “No”. God will not permit us to take salvation into our own hands (v. 24). Starting with God, the answer is “Yes”. This is the answer of verse 15: Christ (the woman’s descendant will be crucified (the bruising of His heel), but the outcome of this will be the defeat of Satan (the crushing of his head).

Lord, help us to make good choices.

Genesis 13:1-18 Lord, help us to make good choices. When we’re at the crossroads of life, we can so easily head off in the wrong direction. At the crossroads of life, we need Jesus. He is the Way – the true and living Way (John 14:6). “Without the Way, there is no going. Without the truth, there is no knowing. Without the life, there is no living.” Help us to choose well. Help us to choose Jesus. Lord, give us this great testimony: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Lord, help us to keep on praying this prayer: “May there be less of self and more of Christ in me” (John 3:30).

Lord, we thank You for Your “amazing grace” ...

Genesis 6:1-8 Lord, we thank You for Your “amazing grace” – “I once was lost but now am found” (John Newton). We think about our life. Did we find our way back to You?- No! You found us! You came looking for us – and You found us. We think about this – and we say, “Hallelujah!” We say, “Praise the Lord!” Do we say, “Hallelujah! We have found Him”? We do say this – but there is something more than this: “Hallelujah! He has saved me.” Thank You, Lord, for Your amazing grace.

To You, Lord, be all the glory ...

Genesis 18:16-33 To You, Lord, be all the glory – You have done so many great things for us. So many blessings – and they all come from You, Lord. Our sins have been forgiven. You’ve come to live in us. Such great blessing – but this is just the beginning! You’re leading us on to eternal life. Lord, when our heads go down, help us to lift up our eyes. Help us to “come and see the shining hope.” Help us to look through heaven’s “open door.” Help us to catch a glimpse of “the mighty multitudes of heaven … singing, ‘Alleluia!’ … Love has the victory for ever!” (Mission Praise, 86).

Lord, we thank You that You guide us ...

Genesis 24:22-49 Lord, we thank You that You guide us – You keep us in the right way. You lead us in the way that brings glory to You. You show us Your love. You teach us to trust in Your faithfulness. You fill our hearts with praise. You fill our lives with Your ‘overflowing blessing’ (Malachi 3:10). For all of these things, we give You our thanks.

Lord, help us to remember that You are the everlasting God.

Genesis 22:15-23:20 Lord, help us to remember that You are the everlasting God. We are so changeable. Your love for us is unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable. Our feelings take us here, there and everywhere. Your love brings us back to the place where our love for You grows strong. How does our love for You grow strong? Is this something that we do for ourselves? – No! It’s something that You do for us. You show us how much You love for us. You take us to the Cross of Christ. You show us that Your love for us remains strong even when our love for You has become very weak. This is the way in which our love for You grows strong. We are strengthened by a stronger love, a love that never becomes weak, a love that is always strong - everlasting love. These are things we must never forget – Lord, help us to remember that You are the everlasting God. Help us to remember that Your love is everlasting love.

Lord, we thank You that we're not left to go it alone.

Genesis 27:41-28:9
Lord, we thank You that we're not left to go it alone. You've given us Your Spirit - the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of love, the Spirit of truth, the Spirit who leads us to Jesus, the Spirit who makes us more like Jesus. Thank You, Lord - with Your Spirit, we can go from strength to strength. Help us to walk in Your Spirit.

Loved By God, Let Us Love Him - More!

Deuteronomy 4:44-5:33
Obedience is grounded in salvation. The Ten Commandments (7-21) are preceded by the divine declaration: ‘I am the Lord your God’ who brought you… out of the house of bondage’(6). He has redeemed us. We are to live for Him. The Word of God was spoken to Moses before it was spoken by him (27). We cannot begin to live for the Lord until we begin to listen to Him. The way of obedience is the way of blessing. Our obedience is to be offered in a spirit of gratitude to God for His gracious salvation. Never imagine it is because of our obedience that God loves us. His love for us is always prior to our love for Him. Remember what the Lord has done for you, and your love for Him will grow stronger. Forget, and you love will grow weaker. Loved by God, let us love Him – more!

Interpreting Genesis 1-3: Bruce Milne, "Know The Truth"

Commenting on "The Fall of Mankind" (Know the Truth, pp. 102-103), Bruce Milne expresses dissatisfaction with the "mythical view" which "rejects any historical element in Genesis 3" (p. 102). He does, however, distinguish between the "literal view" which "sees the Genesis record as a direct historical description" and the "'historical' view" which "asserts that while Genesis 2 - 3 are not to be interpreted in a literal sense at every point, space-time events are certainly being recounted" (p. 102). Milne points out that the literal view "is less frequently adopted even among those who unquestionably acknowledge the full inspiration of Scripture" (p. 102). He suggests that "a degree of symbolism" is used in the Biblical account of man's fall (p. 103). Milne emphasizes that when we speak about Biblical inerrancy, we must take into account the intention of the writer (p. 43). He also st…

More Than The Story Of Kings ...

The throne is handed on to Solomon by David. This is seen as part of the ongoing purpose of God: “Praise the Lord God of Israel who has let me see the heir to my throne” (1 Kings 1:48). The kingship was given to Solomon by “the Lord” (1 Kings 2:15) - “The Lord set me on my father David’s throne ... As He promised” (1 Kings 2:24). When we read the history of the kings of Israel, it is important that we do not lose sight of this spiritual dimension. This is more than the story of men. It’s the story of God’s dealings with His people. Solomon was a wise man. His wisdom came from God: “He possessed wisdom from God”, “God gave Solomon wisdom” (1 Kings 3:28; 1 Kings 4:29). The work done by the king required wisdom. The gift of wisdom is to be received with praise to God: “May the Lord be praised today: He has given David a wise son to rule this great nation” (1 Kings 5:7). God gave wisdom for spiritual leadership - building the Lord’s Temple (1 Kings 6:1,37-38). God gives wis…

Lord, Your way is the best way.

Genesis 29:1-30
Lord, Your way is the best way. We, often, wander off on our own. We forget that we are called to follow You, to walk in Your footsteps. Again and again, we need to be reminded that Your way is the best way. Help us to see that Your way is a wonderful way - even when it turns out to be very different from what we had expected.

Sermons on Luke's Gospel

Luke 1:1-4
We begin with the first four verses of Luke’s Gospel. In our first look at Luke’s Book, we ask four questions: (1) What is Luke’s story about? (2) Where did Luke get his story from? (3) How are we to read Luke’s story? (4) What can we learn from Luke’s story? —– (1) What is Luke’s story about? We might ask this question differently: Who is Luke’s story about? The answer is Jesus. Luke is the writer of this Gospel. Jesus is the Theme of the Gospel. Jesus is the Gospel. He is the Good News. Luke tells us many things about Jesus. The first thing he tells us is this: Luke’s Gospel is “an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us” (Luke 1:1). “Fulfilled” – This is not the beginning of the story. It’s the fulfilment of a story which has been many centuries in preparation. Long before the birth of Jesus, the prophets were speaking of the Messiah or Christ who was to come. The story told by Luke is part of a much larger story – the Story which begins at the start of…