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Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Going God's way

 

Living by the power of the Holy Spirit

Ephesians 5:15

So be careful how you live, not as fools, but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don't act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don't be drunk with wine. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you. Then you will sing Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making music to the Lord in your hearts.

And you will always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.


johnmckee@internode.on.net


Friday, November 4, 2022

Church or Christian

 

Playing church or living as a Christian

History reveals so many people, whose Christianity is little more than going to church! In the Old Testament, gathering for festivals was normal. When the Lord Jesus came, the relationship with God as Father became much more important.  He said that prayer done in secret was better. Worship was to change from time and place to worship in spirit and in truth – anywhere anytime. (John 4) Discipleship, He taught, was not about attending services or meetings, rather the 24/7 commitment to the LORD Jesus Himself – Himself, His teaching, His directives. (take up the cross and follow Him- Mark 8)

Paul understood the need for Christians to support each other. Yet he did not see meetings or church services as an end in themselves. He along with John and Peter, saw love for others as the outworking of understanding the teaching of the Lord Jesus. Love that was practical in giving and care. Love that was forgiving. Love that went beyond ourselves to seek and to save the lost.

Some stress the corporate idea of church. Revelation 1—3  presents the Lord Jesus as the head over the churches, and that churches are people whose hearts must be tuned to HIMSELF in first love (priority love).

How good it is to be counted into the Church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven!  It is a very big family, a big flock for whom Christ died. In love to Him, let us love one another and spread His name as He said – to all the world.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Really saved?

 

I was recently asked to speak on the topic –"Are you really saved?"

1st question – saved from what? In Bible terms it means to be saved from sin. Forgiven by God, freedom from bad habits and saved from Hell.

2nd question – can we be sure? Yes, as sure as the promises of God!

I found a good answer in the Bible section called 1 John. This was written after Jesus had returned to heaven. The purpose of the writing is stated:

"That you may know that you have eternal life"  1 John 5:13

Read on as I summarise the apostle's teaching.

Chapter 1: Jesus Christ was a real person, and to really know Him is to have eternal life.

Some people claim to walk in the light but continue with secret sins – living a lie – they are not saved. For those who step into the light, theirs sins are cleansed away by the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son.

Other people claim to have no sin. This contradicts God's conclusion – "All have sinned" (Romans 3.23)

God understood the damage and destiny of sinners, so He provided the solution. The Lord Jesus Christ who never sinned, became the propitiation, that is, the mercy-seat where God so holy could be reconciled to mankind, so unholy.

Anyone who comes to God through Him, will change from sinful behaviour to live like Jesus lived. This means to love instead of hate.

God's desire for believers is presented – forgiven, to know Him, to overcome evil, to know the Father, to know the Son, to be strong, with God's word abiding in them so as to overcome the evil one. – read 2:12-14.

Next John deals with our environment. The world we live in and the responses inside us tend to distract us from the Lord God. If a person is preoccupied with these things (good or bad), then the love of 'the Father is not in him'. The Lord Jesus made it clear that love for God must be first.

The writing changes to the person of Jesus. By the Holy Spirit we can know that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah promised in the Old Testament). He is the Son of God. (Son, not child). To deny this, John writes, is to be a liar!

Chapter three is about God's kind of love. God's plan is for all believers to be His children, to be like Jesus, to live pure lives, to live in love.

The warning is clear:

"Whoever makes a practice of sin is of the devil"

"Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer."

LOVE is then explained:

Love is much more real in action than in words.

Love is understood best by the action of the Lord Jesus – He laid down His life for unworthy ones like us.

Love is commanded as the motive of a Christian life.

"Anyone who does not love, does not know God"  4:8

Chapter four identifies Jesus to be a real man. The Gnostics had all sorts of antichrist ideas. The Spirit of truth is that Jesus was a real man, and the Son of God at the same time. To deny this is to make God a liar. God spoke from heaven when Jesus was baptised – "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased". (Matthew 3.17). God has given eternal life and this life is in His Son.

The Apostle John concludes his writings in chapter 5:18

1  A person born of God does not keep on sinning.

2  The world is directed by the evil one.

3   We know the Son of God has come.

4   The believer is IN Him, IN His Son Jesus Christ.

5  He is the true God and eternal life.

The final warning – "Dear children, keep away from anything that .might take God's place in your hearts."

Well we should respond:

"We love HIM because He first loved us"

Now read through 1 John for yourself and check if you are saved!

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Jesus - risen from the dead

 

The words of Jesus Christ, after He rose from the dead:

The words of the Lord Jesus we must accept or reject.

Luke 24:25  Jesus said "wasn't it clearly predicted by the prophets that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering His time of glory"

This statement makes the Old Testament part of the Bible so important. Previously I asked you to read Isaiah 53. Let me add to that Psalm 22, Zechariah 12:10. The Lord Jesus insisted that the sufferings were predicted, necessary and sufficient.

Luke 24:39  Jesus appears to the perplexed and frightened followers saying:

"Look at My hands, look at My feet, you can see that its really Me. Touch Me and make sure that I am not a ghost."

Sure He was acting with super spiritual power, but He insisted that He was the same person that they had know before and the same person that was  crucified on a Roman execution stake.

Luke 24:44 The Lord again reminds the disciples of the importance of His former predictions, and the prophecies of the Old Testament.

Luke 24: 46-49  These words of the Lord Jesus turn the events of the past into the purposes of the future. Please read them carefully:

"that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, that repentance  and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His Name to all Nations"

This forgiveness, needed by all humanity, is not now in law keeping or prayer or good deeds, but rather forgiveness for all who turn to God , believing in Jesus Christ the Lord.

Luke 24:49  Now He says something that only God can say:

"I will send the Holy Spirit, just as My Father promised."

Only God can put the Holy Spirit on a person, or in a person. And that is just what happened after Jesus returned to heaven. Acts chapter 2 records the special event that changed frightened fishermen into bold witnesses of Jesus Christ as Lord. They were so certain that they had see the Lord Jesus alive from the dead, that they were willing to die for it. And die for it they did.

This section gives the answer to the original question – was His death a mistake or a deliberate sacrifice – it was a deliberate sacrifice to enable repentance and the forgiveness of sins in His Name.

Monday, October 3, 2022

An event to change the world

 Risen from the Dead

Luke chapter 24 is a pivotal chapter in the Bible. I ask you to read it carefully three times. First, as an historical document.  Second, as a record of the words of Jesus Christ. Third, as the foundational teaching for Christian doctrine.

Questions we must consider:

1 Is the Bible accurate in stating that Jesus died and rose again?

2 Did Luke get the facts right, that  the man they ate with actually had the scars of crucifixion?

3   Is the record true that Jesus went , as a living man, up into heaven?

I will explain more next time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

He seemed to know

 

Bible unfolding -  Luke 22 - Why did Jesus die?

The behaviour and words of the Lord Jesus become more mysterious. The Historian Luke, records Jesus following the normal Passover celebration routine. They gather, He with the twelve disciples, in a large upper room. Then begin the puzzling revelations:

“I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” – He seemed to know something serious was about to happen !  Luke 22:15

Again “ I will not eat it (Passover) until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God” – how could the Passover be fulfilled? Did it have something to do with the title given to Him by John the baptiser – “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

 

As the meal was concluding, He said of the bread,” this is my body given for you.” Again: “the new covenant in my blood”. These are the terms of sacrifice, the promise of a better covenant, the means of forgiveness.

Evidently, Jesus knew not only the sufferings to come, but the purpose.

In many ways the disciples had reason for foreboding fears. In 22:30, He breaks through the storm clouds with this kingly statement: “I assign to you… to eat and drink at My table in My kingdom….”. What a moment to announce a place in His glorious kingdom. Well, I don’t know if they understood the glory of the statement, but we must perceive that this Jesus, knew the sufferings of tomorrow could not destroy the glory that would follow.

Luke 22:31    The foretelling of Peter’s denial is again evidence of His Divine knowledge. As they leave the Passover meal, the Lord links the happenings of the next few hours to the prophecies of the Old Testament.:

“For I tell you that this scripture must be fulfilled: ‘He was numbered with the transgressors’.”  ( Luke 22:37  -  Isaiah 53)

This is so significant since the quote from Isaiah 53 makes it very clear that the suffering Messiah  would “bear the sins of many”. This would enable the servant of the LORD to become the intercessor bringing many lost people back to God, granting forgiveness of sins and giving an abundant entry into His heavenly kingdom. Isaiah 53 is a must read to understand the seeming mystery surrounding the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Read it again today!

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Vital question

 

The death of Jesus Christ- an unfortunate mistake or a deliberate sacrifice?

Many causes were involved – the Jewish leaders were jealous of His popularity, the Roman judge seeking to protect his own position, a crowd that was incited by nationalism. I would like to consider this question from the writings of the historian, Dr Luke. I will focus on the recorded words of the Lord Jesus himself.

At a time when Jerusalem was dangerous for Him, 'He resolutely set out for Jerusalem' (Luke 9:51)

He said to the people :  "What happens to me will be a sign that God has sent Me" (Luke 11:30)

In brief detail, He predicted His future:  "First the Son of man must suffer terribly and be rejected by this generation"  (Luke 17:25)

More detail is given that includes references to the Old Testament prophecies. – "When we get to Jerusalem, all the predictions of the ancient prophets concerning the Son of man will come true. He will be handed over to the Romans to be mocked, treated shamefully and spit upon. They will whip him and kill him, but on the third day he will rise again ." (Luke 18:32). It is significant that He knew the future, but more important that He acted with deliberate purpose.

As Jesus continued teaching in the city, the leading priests and scribes made plans to kill Him.

To be continued soon in Luke 22