Sunday, August 25, 2013

Reconciliation

    In our world today, one might rightly ask the question - 'What has gone wrong?'  ....a world full of strife, violence, greed, poverty, a world where standards of morality are turned upside down and authority is rebelled against. Security for the future is gone and relationships in families and between nations are disintegrating.
      May I interrupt this morose description with the Bible storyline.

    When God made all things, He made it 'good'.  When He made man and woman He made them 'good ' with the added favour of being able to 'choose'.  And choose they did   -  Eve chose to 'listen' to the evil one and Adam chose to disobey God. The precious spiritual link with God was broken. Cain murdered his brother and thus set in motion the ongoing conflict between tribes and nations.
     Where was God in all this?  In the garden it is God who comes looking for Adam - "Adam where are you?"   In the preaching of Noah, God is calling the people back to righteousness, but they would not listen.  In the priest Melchizedeck, God was entreating the nations to draw near to worship the true and living God.   In the person of Abraham, He was demonstrating the real possibility of a personal relationship with God.  Then Israel as a nation was established to stand as a beacon of light among the nations. They were to represent God dwelling on earth, God's holiness in the law and sacrifices and God's grace as they interacted with others.  Their failure with consequential judgements was to be a voice of warning from God. Some noticed God thus at work , but most made the choice to ignore God and do their own thing. History is abundant with nations rising, rejecting God and then falling.

     Then a most significant thing happened  --  God Himself appeared in the person of Jesus Christ.  His stated mission was not to put the world right, but as a rescue mission to call people from the state of disconnect and rebellion to the God intended state of reconciliation and relationship.   The terms stated were simple  -- Believe God and receive His earthly representative, His Son Jesus.    The means of reconciliation were filled in by God Himself  i.e. paying the debt of sin, removing the curse of a broken law, removing the stain of rebellion, breaking the chains of Satan, causing light to shine by His holy Spirit etc.
    The call of Jesus was often repeated  --  Repent and believe the Good news!

     Where are we 2000 years later? The world at large still do not believe in Him. The religions of the world operate best without Him. The most of the Jews consider Jesus a false Messiah. The nations prefer to legislate according to the will of the people rather than the will of God. Most educational systems have eliminated the true Gospel of repentance of sin and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. If God gets a mention at all ,He is considered to be a helper of humanities endeavours to be better.
       Well what ought God do?  Justice calls for God's wrath to be executed upon this world in its rebellion - and it will be.  But in the present time God is calling people to repent of their wandering ways, rebellious attitudes and indifference.  His patience interrupts the voice of vengence, for He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should be saved.
      His terms remain simple and His promises sure.
'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved'  Romans 10.13
For those more enlightened
  "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved"  Romans 10.9
   
     Much is wrong in our world today,  and the Bible record is the best explanation why. I plead with all to turn from the distractions around us and seek the Lord - He is not far from everyone of us. Perhaps the greatest hindrance of reconciliation is the pride and conceit within us. The idea of saying 'God is right and I am wrong ' seems too much.

     May all who read these lines, repent (turn from self and sin to God) and believe in (sincere faith and trust) the Lord Jesus Christ.

John McKee         johnmckee@internode.on.net

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Signs

      Throughout the ages, people have sought after signs, in particular spectacular signs.The Lord Jesus made a very serious statement " an evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign" (Matthew 12.39). Faith in the Lord Jesus needs no sign. Believing His Word because we believe who He is - Son of God - brings the greatest of blessings - eternal life. The Gospel writers do highlight many signs to verify the claims of Jesus to be the Son of God, but to keep asking for signs shows a lack of sincere faith.

        But then Jesus told the crowd that a sign would be given. This sign still divides humanity - the sign of Jonah. How shall we find compass directions to understand this significant sign?
   1  Read three times the whole discourse of the Lord  .... Luke 11.29-30
   2  Read the story of Jonah in the Old Testament.
       Read the story of the Queen of Sheba in the Old Testament.
        ( I will let you search for these, maybe use a concordance)
   3  Carefully note what the Jesus says in Luke 11, and check what He intends to be understood about Jonah before jumping to preconceived conclusions.
   4  Compare it with the other Gospel accounts, about the sign of Jonah (using marginal references?).
   5  Pray for the Holy Spirit of God to help you think this through.
   6  Eliminate from the story of Jonah story what does not link with Jesus eg running away, grumbling about God's mercy.
   7   Put together the points that do connect with the life of the Lord Jesus  eg Jonah commissioned, Jonah went down, Jonah comes up, Jonah preached etc
   Conclusion  - the 'sign of Jonah', in particular refers to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.

     Though the last 2000 years, what has been the question of eternal significance?  -it  is this- 'is Jesus risen from the dead and alive today?'  This question still divides humanity.  Some believe, some mock.
      "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."    Romans 10.9

       But wait, I have missed something in the story. Jesus said that in the 'day of judgement', the men of Nineveh will stand as witnesses against those who had the greater privilege of listening to the person greater than Jonah - the Messiah Jesus. We must ponder this carefully to be sure of what we are reading and its implications for us. Does this mean that others of less opportunity than us will testify against our lack of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord ? And when? - on Gods final judgement day?

      What about the queen of Sheba?  She went to great effort to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Jesus claims to be greater than Solomon, in particular His words of Divine wisdom.  What have we done with the teaching of Jesus?  - ignored it?  Discredit it?  misinterpret it for convenience?    or hear it and obey it.
The implications are serious and eternal!

      The Lord goes on in the discourse with an unusual twist. The light we let into our minds (greater than Solomon) controls the whole of our being. Paul understood this when he encouraged the Christians at Colossee  'Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly'
 Using the figure of light , The Lord implies that His teaching must needs permeate our whole being to eliminate darkness.

     As He being the light, fills our being, we can then let our ' lights so shine'

J. McKee      johnmckee@internode.on.net

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Who is this child?

         Questions are an important part of discovering truth.

The first question in the Bible is very revealing - "Where are you?" Genesis 3

My question relates to the child Jesus, and to find one accurate answer among many,  I turn to the Gospel by Luke. He records the interview between the angel Gabriel, from God's presence, and Mary.  The angel's description of the child to be born, was most revealing.
         He would be the heir to King David's throne, and sitting on that throne he would reign forever (Hasn't yet been fulfilled).  He would be great (in what way?) and He would be called the Son of the Most High.  This could be none other than the long awaited Messiah. As the Son of the Most High, the Jews understood that to mean, equality with God.

    1:35  The child would be holy. Many children born, were then dedicated to the Lord, but He alone was born distinct from any taint of sin, wholly presentable to the Lord.  As the Son of God, He stood distinguished from all the sons of Adam, and is able to rightly represent God upon earth.

      The many complicated implications of the virgin conception may have caused others to flee from thus being used of God, but Mary submits to Divine purposes and worships.
       May we also worship HIM.  May we likewise know the grace of acceptance of the will of God, even if we don't understand how it will all work out - God does know!

      It is a delightful study to trace in the scriptures what the angels have said about our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. In particular in Luke 24 and Acts 1.  God's angels tell no lies.

Until we see His face, trust Him, love Him, Obey Him

John McKee