Wednesday, April 30, 2014

LOGOS

A short meditation for those who choose to think.

       ‘In Geek philosophy the LOGOS remains an impersonal force, a lifeless abstract philosophical concept that is necessary to understand the cause of order and purpose of the universe. In Hebrew thought the LOGOS is personal. He indeed has the power of unity, coherence  and purpose, but the distinctive point is that the Biblical LOGOS is a he, not an it.’    (R.C. Sproul)

       Remember Genesis 1 – the creation was given order, purpose, coherence by God’s word – ‘God said’  - not just the miracle of it happening, but the wonder of God communicating order into matter, purpose into beings,, unity into diversity.
     The very laws of nature had to be set in place.   The fine tuning of the planet earth for life to prosper, was enacted by the LOGOS.

To say that the detail of nature “just happened” , defies scientific logic and good reason.

       Now read John chapter 1, and discover that the LOGOS (the Word) by whom all things were set in order, became  flesh (a true man) and lived among us!  His name was Jesus!
He who set the worlds in order, came to set in order a new creation, which will finally be revealed when the man who was and is "the Lamb", rules over all things and all people  -  He will be the eternal Light, the eternal LOGOS (Revelation 21,22)


If you understand what has just been written, you will quietly worship.



'The wonder of it it all......................................
      ...................just to think that God loved me'

John McKee 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Jesus lives!

Small incidentals in the Bible often have important significance. The example that I would like to write about is found in 1 Corinthians 15.8

Paul writes of himself “ last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also” Paul is referring to the story of Acts 9, when two years after the death of the Lord Jesus, he was converted by the intervention of God.


We have many reasons to believe that Jesus is alive again, risen from the dead. The angels said it was so. The Lord Jesus foretold his resurrection before it happened.  Peter and the other disciples were prepared to die for their witness to having seen the risen Jesus Christ.

The witness of Paul is sometimes overlooked. A couple of years after the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, the dust of excitement had settled, and the heel of persecution by Jewish leadership had tried to stamp out the rumour of Jesus being risen from the dead. Saul ( as Paul was once called) was breathing out threatening against the Christians and was authorized to cast them into prison. No doubt Saul had many arguments against the resurrection story. However God had other plans. As Saul journeyed to Damascus, about midday he was struck down by a blinding light from heaven. A voice then said “Saul , Saul, why are you persecuting me?”  Saul responds “who are you Lord?”   The answer is simple yet  sublime  -  “I am Jesus...”

Let us pause to ponder the implications of this answer.
1                  The voice is from heaven
2                  The voice is from a LIVING Jesus
3                  This voice is from an all powerful person
4                                   Saul is not challenged by some philosophical persuasion, but a living person.
Such  is the power of this intervention, Saul himself becomes a witness to the reality that Jesus once crucified, is now alive.  He  is changed from ‘hating’ (Titus3) to love, from persecuting Jesus to preaching Jesus as the Son of God. His bright career as an educated leader of the Jewish people had been  shattered and his life work is to involve  much suffering and rejection.

I trust some of you reading this, have picked up on the significance of this story  ie that after this space of time, this voice from heaven with it’s corresponding power to change, is a brilliant witness that Jesus lives.

Many signs and wonders were also done in the done in the Name of the Lord Jesus, verifying that Jesus was alive and ascended. John the apostle, many years later , also gave a written account of having seen the Lord Jesus in person. Revelation chapter 1 is not a description of the man of Galilee. It is a description of Jesus the Christ, in glory, who is able to say of Himself “I was dead, behold I am alive forever more”  (Revelation 1.17,18).

Many others have testified to the interruption of the Lord in their lives, all pointing to the truth that Jesus lives.

Saul/Paul wrote  in his last letter  ‘ at my first defence no one came to stand by me but all deserted me...but the Lord stood by me and strengthened me..”  (2 Timothy 4.16) He knew the continuing nearness of the risen Lord.


I trust that the Lord Jesus is real in your life, so that beyond all the historical evidence, you can say ‘ He lives within my heart’

John McKee    johnmckee@internode.on.net

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Serving the Lord

“Always abounding in the work of the Lord”  1 Corinthians 15.58

What is the work of the Lord?

       Many of us spend the greater part of our lives struggling to survive.  We apply the best of our day at work, to make an income. Some time is spent with family and a little consideration may be given to Christian focused things. Maybe on Sunday, a little more time is found for others and Christian service. We do well to occasionally stop the treadmill of life and check what our priorities are, and reassess the chief purpose of life.
    The secret is not, more time for God, but rather making the all the duties of life as the ‘work of the Lord’.  In the first century, many of the believers were slaves, with no real spare time. So Paul encourages them and us, ‘whatsoever you do’, at work , at home , in the community – do all as unto the Lord.   ( Colossians 3.17)

In this letter to the Corinthians, it is interesting that Paul does not refer to the work of elders, deacons, pastors, evangelists. He does outline gifts that were being used or abused in the church. He also writes of himself and Apollos as servants who brought the word of God to the Corinthians. Perhaps one of the best clues about ‘the work of the Lord’ is found in chapter 16.15  - of some he said they ‘devoted themselves to the service of the saints’. These workers and labourers were to be given moral respect and honour, not for some position held but work done.

       How then did they do ‘ the work of the Lord’. – by serving the saints. No detail is given, and that is  likely wise.  That service will vary from washing dirty feet to teaching heavenly truth. It could be done in Christian gatherings, or it might be done at the workplace. Sometimes it might be appreciated, other times resented. If done for the Lord first, under the direction of the Lord, He will enable the work to proceed. Some think that all service must be organized to be effective. From Bible observations, and from fifty years observing Christians serving the Lord, I choose to disagree. The greater part of effective service for the Lord is carried through by individuals quietly committed to the task given them by the Lord.


        May the Lord of the harvest, the heavenly account keeper, encourage your hearts to be “ steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord”

John McKee

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Gospel -the way back to God


The Gospel

Previously I have outlined the letter to the Romans as the ‘Way to God’. In this presentation of the Gospel, I am drawing from 1 Corinthians 15. The Gospel Paul preached was direct and clear – Salvation was available through the once crucified, now risen Lord Jesus.

The very idea of ‘salvation’, ‘being saved’ is important. It is popular today to grow in knowledge about God to become ‘Kingdom children’. And that is not altogether bad, so long as we all face the reality – we need to be saved from our ‘sins’. The problem of separation from God by sin is real and so great; it takes the intervention of God to cure it. “Christ died for our sins” – this precise statement changes the whole story of the cross from any idea of accident, or moral cause or even martyrdom. The death of the Lord Jesus was deliberate and for a defined in purpose – according to God the Father’s will, the Son became the sacrifice to take away the penalty of our sins.

Paul the writer is very quick to link this claim to the Old Testament Scriptures and the most obvious one is Isaiah 53 (see Acts 8). Let me quote from that old prophecy.

Verse 5 – ‘But He was wounded for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. Upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace and with His stripes we are healed’. This puts it so clearly that we, like wandering lost sheep, have gone astray. Instead of punishing the sheep, the shepherd bears the guilt of the undeserving sheep. 

This message of Christ dying for the ungodly is confirmed by Peter -
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God –  
             1 Peter 3:18.
It is God who wants to reconcile us to Himself and He has paid the price – are you willing to be at peace with God?      
 But Paul has not finished. After asserting that Jesus was buried (real death), he then announces that Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day. For evidence we could see the circumstances surrounding this claim, but first Paul again draws from the authority of the Old Testament to verify that the Lord Jesus crucified must rise from the dead.
Again in Isaiah 53:10...after it is said of the Messiah that ‘His Soul was made an offering for guilt”  it then  goes on to announce the victory..’ He shall prolong His days’...’He shall divide the spoil with the strong’...’He makes intercession for the transgressors’. 

Peter quotes from Psalm 16: 10 to confirm that Jesus was indeed risen from the dead. A sacrifice to take our sins away is indeed good news, but a living Saviour to make it real to us is even better. There have been and still are many who deny the idea of resurrection.  So Paul calls into focus some of the witnesses. 1st is Peter (Cephas) then the Twelve apostles and then  a group of five hundred people. 
A special appearing to James seems to have changed him from unbelief to faith.

 The final reference to Paul himself is significant. It is a couple of years later that the proud Pharisee is struck down to the ground on his way to Damascus. He rightly asks the question –‘Who are you?’ – The answer is given – ‘I am Jesus”. From that moment Saul is completely changed by the fact that the Jesus he thought was dead is very much alive.


And so this Gospel not only deals with the guilt of our past ,but has very real implication for the future.  If Christ is risen, then He will raise His own people to eternal life. If Christ is risen, then He is appointed to be the judge of the living and the dead.

Today is the day of opportunity to be saved - be reconciled to God by the death of His Son.

John McKee  johnmckee@internode.on.net