Thursday, November 27, 2014

Answering Children's questions

It has been my privilege to teach several classes of children, 'religious instruction', at the local schools.  The following  questions and answers may be  a blessing to others.

"Will the devil take over the world ?"     He has tried, and according to the Bible will try again. Although he is clever in deceiving the nations, the final triumph will be for  the Lord Jesus Christ when He returns to finally destroy the works of the devil. Until then , the Lord waits, to grant time for people to repent of the devil inspired rebellion, so that they might be saved -2 Peter 3

"Do you have a second life?"    Not in the sense of reincarnation, but yes in the sense of life after death.  The Lord Jesus in particular taught about life beyond this present life. He taught about heaven where we can lay up treasure for later. He taught about resurrection, some being raised to life everlasting and others being raised to eternal judgement. He warned of the danger of hell. To the repentant thief He promised to be with him in paradise that day they died.  Much more could be said, but I encourage you to read the Bible yourself and mark the many , many references to the life to come.

To be continued

John McKee

Friday, November 14, 2014

Grace

Grace – what is it and what does it do?

A very brief glance at grace at work in the book of Acts.
Does grace accept me as I am or does grace change me to be what I should be?

             I surveying the book of Acts, I think the better answer is  --  grace calls me wherever I am, and enables me to become what God intends for me.

Acts 2. The Holy Spirit through Peter, calls the very ones who had crucified their Messiah (grace), to turn again (demonstrated by immersion) and be changed by the incoming of the Holy Spirit. Some 3000 did so and what a change it effected.

Acts 8 . The Spirit sends Phillip on an unlikely mission – explain the Gospel to an Ethiopian . Something of grace happened in the heart of this man, so that when the Word of God was explained about  the Lord Jesus,  he wanted to show his faith by requesting immersion in water.

Acts 10.  Peter learns the great truth, that in every nation , God accepts those who fear Him and do what is right (v35) This is different to the notion that God accepts people even if they continue in their  self indulgent rebellion. When Peter sees the sheet let down from heaven, it includes reptiles, so abhorrent to Mosaic food laws. What is it that makes them acceptable in this vision? The answer is clear – “ what God has cleansed”.  Peter confirms this point of ‘grace’ in Acts 15.9  -  “cleansed their hearts by  faith”!      Grace reached Cornelius in his circumstance as an uncircumcised alien. Grace brought light to shine into his heart in the Gospel message through Peter and grace responded to the faith of Cornelius by the giving of the Holy Spirit.  Thus he received illumination, cleansing, assurance and courage to be what God wanted him to be.

Acts 8 describes a man who received grace but was not changed – Simon ‘received the grace of God  in vain’ Read this tragic story of one ‘in the gall of bitterness’.

Acts 9 records the story of interruptive grace. Paul gives his own commentary “ I am unworthy.. I persecuted the church  of God.....but by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain........I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I , but the grace of God that is in me.”  ( 1 Corinthians 15.9,10 ) . This is a very telling recount of grace at work – grace picking up the most unlikely , changing mind and attitude of the individual then effecting the work of God , not now on the principle of law or seeking to merit God’s favour, but the active response of gratitude  and love imparted by the Holy Spirit.

Acts 16 sees  the grace of faith imparted to a devout Lydia, and grace changing the hardened jailer so that, they being so different can be one in Christ!


Amazing grace that saved a wretch  like me!


John McKee

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Covenant of Grace

New covenant

            I was thrilled again this morning to read 2 Corinthians 3:11,16,17,18. The surpassing glory of the new covenant brings freedom, boldness, enlightenment and transformation.

            For those who are living under the control of law, living by the principle of good works to please God, living primarily in the light of Moses – ponder these scriptures written by the apostle who was once a champion for Moses law, then transformed by faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God.

Verse 11   Glory is usually an expression of the attributes and activity of God. The brilliance of God is so much clearer in the new covenant in Christ ( read John 17 ).

Verse 16 The old system gave hope “IF” – a very big “if” – if it  was obeyed, if the rituals were carried out.

Verse 17 Now by the out poured Holy Spirit, freedom from the very big “IF” is granted by the mercy and grace  in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Verse 18  The veil of obscurity is removed though faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and as He reflected, and continues eternally to reflect the glory of God, so as we are led by the Spirit, we too can be transformed to reflect His glory!

2 Corinthians 4:6  ‘This is the brightness of the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.”

The hymn puts it well
‘Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace’


John McKee


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