Thursday, December 31, 2015

Questions children ask

What language was the 1st Bible?

           The Bible is a collection of 66 books written over a period of 1500 years by various people. The first five books written by Moses 3,500 years ago, were written in Hebrew. By the time of Daniel, the Aramaic language had come into common use. Some of Ezra and Daniel’s writings were in Aramaic. When Jesus was born,(2000 years ago) , the dominant languages were Aramaic and Greek. The New Testament was written in common Greek, although I have a copy of the New Testament in Aramaic written about 150 AD.

          The Bible is indeed a special book of God communicating to the people, but written in language the people could understand. Paul said we must speak “understandable words” (1Corinthians 14:19) and I admire and support those who spend their lives translating the Bible into the ‘heart languages’ of the people of the world.

Remember;
          ‘God still speaks to those who take the time to listen’

So :

          “Let the words if Christ in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise”   - Colossians 3.16

johnmckee@internode.on.net   questions welcome!


Monday, December 28, 2015

The Cross

The glory of the Cross

     The above title is really a contradiction. The cross is symbolic of shame and suffering, yet God has changed shame and suffering into the means of His glory.
     
     The glory of his love – The Lord Jesus said “ Love your enemies” and so it was at the cross, His enemies succeeded in giving Him a criminals death, but He overcame their hatred by still loving them. He committed His cause into the hands of God and said “ Father forgive them”. They thought they had won the day, but not really. His character in love triumphed.
     
     The glory of atonement – The Lord from heaven said “the son of man came not to be served  but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” ( Mark 10:45). Again He said “ I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:15). A cross represented a death for one’s guilt, but God intervened to make it an alter of sacrifice for the guilt of others. God showed His great love toward us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! Our sins had incurred wrath, but the alter implemented peace. God triumphed over evil by not sparing His own Son. Now the righteous judge can now justify the unworthy, even the rebellious people of Adam’s family. Such is the atonement of the Saviour, that those who turn from rebellion, will be brought into the very presence of God , presented blameless and without fear.
   
      The glory of God’s sovereignty.  Jesus answered Pilate “You would have no authority over Me at all unless it had been given you from above” (John 19.11).  So many things said and done at the cross indicate that the prophecies of scripture were fulfilled in detail, but also showed that God superintended the happenings of the cross. Some didn’t want the arrest on a feast day, but God did want it on the Passover feast, because Christ was to become “our Passover sacrificed for us”. The soldiers planned to break His legs, but He gave up His spirit before they began this torture .  They meant it for evil, but God turned it around for good, in particular by raising Him from the dead – the greatest sign to humanity of God’s glory.

       I stand by the cross, and wonder at God in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.
  
      I look around and with Paul the great missionary say “ be reconciled to God”.

There is no glory in a cross, but there is glory beyond our understanding in the Christ of the cross.
Perhaps we are beginning to discover what the Lord meant when He, nearing the hour of suffering , said “The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified”. (John 12.23)


     There is of course much glory that follows the cross, as He said to two dejected disciples “ ought not Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory” (Luke 24.26), but that is a story for another day. Until then, linger often by the cross and enjoy the grace of the alter.

John  McKee

Himself or myself

"For all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ"  Philippians 2:21

Does that ring a bell, especially at this time of the year?


JRM

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Truth

The corruption of truth is more dangerous than the denial of truth.

J McKee

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Feelings / Faith

Overcoming feeling, overcoming by faith

        For most people, feelings are the gauge of enjoying life and success. ‘I feel good, therefore all must be well’. Although this is very real, it is a fallacy! A person may feel good and yet have cancer, so that underneath all is not good. Alternatively, when people feel bad, physically, mentally, socially, spiritually, emotionally, they often judge the problem to be either with themselves, others or God. Too often this leads to foolish decisions and often stressed relationships.

        So then, what does John the Apostle mean “ this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith” (1John 5.4).

        He described the world in chapter two as ‘ the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life’ . These are not necessarily bad things, but they are human impulses without God. In the other chapters, he describes the world of error and deceit.

        How then can we overcome that which is natural to us? ( It is natural for me to get depressed when things don’t turn out how I feel it should ). How can I see the correct perspective on the events of life? (It seems that logic leads to confused conclusions). How can I know what is right , what is truth in a mixed up world? (The Australian response is to become indifferent ).
        The answer in our Bible text is FAITH.
Please let me qualify this word ‘faith’. Faith is not some warm feeling of confidence that all will work out in the end (that is fate...alistic). Faith is both a noun (a thing) and a verb ( an action). Faith must needs have an object  i.e.  to have faith in someone or something. Often in the New Testament faith is mentioned  alone, with the object implied. For example, the Lord often responded to those blessed by His hand – “ great is you faith” –the object of the faith was Himself. And so it is with “overcoming faith” – it necessarily means we have faith in God revealed in His son Jesus Christ.

Let us put this into the context of 1 John. If I believe (have faith) in God at work through the blood of Jesus Christ His Son, I am released from the feeling of guilt. The blood of Christ cleanses, and the promise of God to forgive sets me free from guilt and fear.

Chapter two considers the reality of Gods commands and our inability to perform. I might well have feelings of despair and inadequacy, but faith believes that  sins are  forgiven. I might well feel conquered by the evil one ( the pressures of evil about me ), but faith grasps the fact that I know the Father ( God who alone is wise). I may feel fruitless in the presence of much error and deceptive doctrines  - Herein lies the overcoming victory – Faith to be strong in the Lord, filled with the word of God, empowered by the Holy Spirit (not just any spirit) 2.14-20

Chapter three faces the daily reality of God in us expressed in practical ways.( In contrast to the many modern recipes for ‘fulfilment’). Paul the Apostle concurs with the teaching here – “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith” (Ephesians 3), leading to an appreciation of the surpassing love of God, which will result in good doing (not just good feeling). Walking in love, or as John put it, love to others is about action, not just words. When we lay down our lives for others with the motive of love, ( faith in God’s love), we will not be self focused and feelings will become subservient to God’s love and God’s way. Chapter three concludes with the assurance to victory by His Spirit dwelling in us.

Chapter 4 highlights the problem of faith being assailed by other spirits. Spirits chiefly operate in the realm of error – teaching wrong. Primarily Satan is against God, but to do this he seeks to promote error about God and His Son Jesus Christ or Lord. He is very successful  in this by promoting God as unfair and unjust. Often he promotes new standards of morality and encourages the unrestrained lustful person to feel good, no matter what God says.
This is the ultimate feel good/ feel bad rollercoaster , when faith in God’s standards, God’s sovereignty and God’s love is removed.

         So what is the answer to overcoming ? FAITH in God, faith in God’s SON, faith in God’s word.
It will likely mean turning off the TV, choosing better books to read, keeping company with godly persons, spending much time alone with God and His word.

Warning – To just be myself is dangerous ( I have a fallen nature which leads to failure of pride). To go with the crowd is the happy road to destruction. I need to turn around and seek God.


Faith in Him is the victory that overcomes the world


Instead of using feelings as the compass of life, let faith in God and His word be your compass.

John McKee

Friday, December 11, 2015

Time to pray

Let us pray

Our Father which art in heaven – O God almighty, creator and ruler of the universe, we bow low to worship at your throne. Yet how blessed we are that you have sent your unique Son, so that we can now address you as ‘Father’.

With great delight we draw near to honour you, ......for who you are, what you have done, how you reveal yourself, how you connect with us. We raise our voices and say “hallowed be Thy name”.

We are conscious of your perfection in a perfect place – heaven above all heavens, where none contradict your will. What a place of honour, peace, fruitfulness, splendour and glory. A place where the word ‘holy’ equates with joy and praise.   Lord,...... is it possible, that something of that blessedness (your kingdom), be known on earth as it is in heaven? Our world is so broken, so confused, so rebellious, so mutilated, so lost – is it possible to know, to see your will being done on earth as it is in heaven?

Until that  ‘day dawn and the shadows flee away’, may your kingdom be seen in us, unworthy ones you have called by your Gospel, called into your family and blessed with the Holy Spirit in us.

O Father, righteous Father, consider our needs – they are many. Consider our dependence – remember we are but dust, so often propped up by bones of pride.

Grant us today, food to meet our need and please savour it with contentment. We trust you for clothing and shelter, for we are not as the animals that are able to endure the raw environment.

But above the physical Lord, we need moral enablement. By nature we are bent the wrong way – inclined to selfishness, quick to revenge. Oh Lord forgive us and enable us to forgive others. You are a forgiving God, reversing the damage done  by the tempter in  Adam. May the grace of your character be vibrant in us we pray.

O Holy Father, in your sovereign grace, do not lead us into temptation. Our weakness is apparent. Our wandering hearts are enough without external pressure to sin. But Lord in all the world of deceit, distraction and despair, please enable us to be overcomers – not overcome by evil but overcoming evil with good.

The presence of evil and the evil one would intimidate us, but as we take refuge in you, we pray “ deliver us from evil” – you are able and we trust in you.

We look up O Lord with joyful hope, for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, now and forever.


Amen

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Real living

Truth made real to everyday experience.

    Does God relate to the daily lives of people?  Yes !

The letter to the Romans in chapters 1 to 8 emphasises the spiritual condition of humanity (lost). Also included is the God given remedy (new life by grace). This is so very important to re-establish our connection with God.
         Now in considering Romans 12 to 15 the focus turns from the foundation of spiritual truth to the material world in which we live. It is our privilege on the journey to glory, to yield ourselves body, soul and spirit to God .

        First is the call upon our minds to be transformed so that instead of hate there is love. This affects how we use our abilities, how we interact, how we give to others etc. By God’s intelligent grace the believer is enabled to overcome in times of difficulty, able to give generously, able to show sympathy with those suffering, able to refrain from revenge. Chapter 12 concludes – “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good”.

Chapter13 teaches us that God has ordained the institution of government along with our responsibility to comply and pay our dues.
At the end of chapter 13 is the clarion call to not be involved in reckless living. “not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarrelling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”

Chapter 14 addresses the real life issue of conflict between people of differing cultures and convictions. Instead of the survival of the fittest or strongest, Christian grace makes room for others. In fact the practical solution is given by focusing not on ourselves, but on the Lord above who will be the final judge of all.

Chapter 15 gives a review of truth stated with this beautiful conclusion – God is for us and has a very bright future for those who trust Him –
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15.13)

How good it is to see the book of Romans as God transforming a hopeless situation in one of joy and hope. How blessed that we are included in the invitation to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved and safe for eternity.


May I encourage you to read again these wonderful chapters.

John McKee

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Christian

Our connection to God is by faith in Jesus Christ the Lord.  

      The Jewish people did and still do have much faith in Moses and the law (Torah) given by Moses. Their zeal is admirable, but misdirected faith and ignorant zeal leads to disaster. God has fulfilled His promises by sending His Son to be the object of faith.

      In the mind of God there is no distinction between Jews and all nations (Romans 10:12), for the same Lord Jesus, is Lord of all people. He bestows His riches on all who call on Him.

          Becoming a Christian is very simple with profound consequences (for good), as described in the Bible (Romans 10:9)

‘ If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord (the Lord who came down from heaven) and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead (having died for our sins on the cross), you  will be saved.’

This is one of those great and precious promises that we can believe and hold onto. God is trustworthy and He will keep His promises.

       Recently I gave a half hour explanation of Romans 10, but just now I want you the reader to be sure you are a genuine Christian, not by means of religion, good works, zeal, ceremony or knowledge. God who knows the hearts of all,  reaches out to all in good faith, with the promise of eternal life, for all who will receive Jesus Christ for who He claimed to be (the Son of God from Heaven) and genuinely believe that God has vindicated Him (in His sacrifice for our sins in His death), by raising Him from the dead.
Or as Paul put it so simply – “ Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16.31)


       The outcomes are extensive in this life and the life to come, but for now let us be sure to take this step of faith that gives us a place in the family of God.

I pray that you will take time to seek the Lord today.

John McKee

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Self esteem or God esteem

Search the scriptures

      Bible illiteracy is very real. In society in general, most have no accurate knowledge of the Bible – its stories, its history, its truths.

    Perhaps more tragic is the number of people claiming to be Christians yet don’t know the principles of the Christian Gospel. So many have imaginary concepts of God and some have unknowingly imbibed error.

One example: The problem of low self esteem. The world would say- ‘Focus on your strengths to build up your self image’, ‘don’t let others put you down’, ‘ be yourself’, ‘ you can do whatever you set your mind to’  etc. Some self made people are “successful” , but I find so many depressed, disillusioned failures often coved by a cloak of silence.

    Some Christians say ‘we need to get up and give it our best effort’ ( God helps those who help themselves). Others preach that ‘we should love ourselves as we love our neighbour’ and so pride is well established.
The compass of the Bible points in a different direction. – total distrust of oneself followed by total trust in the Lord.

      A careful reading of the book of Romans, opens our eyes to the hopelessness of trying to please God by our own effort, and clearly shows the hopelessness of self recovery without God. (see my previous articles on Romans).  The victory is described in Romans chapter 8 “Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” What has this to do with victory over discouragement?
       In spite of my unworthiness and inabilities, God loves me. (the Bible tells me so). This creates true identity – I am not some random collection of atoms without direction or purpose! I am loved intelligently by my creator, loved individually by Christ, the Saviour who died to make me one of His own special children. This love comes with His imparted talents, wisdom and motives. God’s love is not just a feeling. God’s love is first intelligent (He knows me). His love is spiritual ( He wants the best for me eternally). His love is sacrificial (He gives me the best at His cost). His love is practical (not pie in the sky theory) His love is holy ( not always just as we though it should be), His love is life changing ( to become like God in character, motive and action).

        So how do we know about God and His love?  -  not through a wandering imagination or from some clever orator, but rather through revelation. The Bible presents the many sides of God’s character – holy, just, commanding, forgiving, loving etc So we do well to read it, read it intelligently to know God.
John the apostle was very close to Jesus. He wrote from close experience the detail of the Son of God who showed us what real love was by dying for us (1 John 3.16) . Paul the apostle had much zeal to be busy for the Lord, but his greatest ambition was to know HIM (Philippians 3). Moses might be set aside as a lawgiver, but beyond many he was a prophet revealing God.


Let us search the scriptures again to find Christ revealing the true heart of God.  Instead of being self focused, be God focused.

You will not be disappointed


johnmckee@internode.on.net

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Unity

The Unity of the Spirit.

      Many centuries ago, the Holy Spirit of God made clear the intention of God, to gather out  of the nations a people for Himself. For example – Acts 2 – the great wonders of God expressed in many languages was an indicator that the Gospel was to reach to all nations, to the ends of the earth. And so it was that the Holy Spirit led many of God’s servants far beyond the commonwealth of Israel, and a new company of people came into existence. Both Jews and Gentiles found equal acceptance by God through the cross. These peoples from diverse nationalities, from diverse languages, diverse cultures found common ground in the humiliation and redemption of the cross of Christ.

         By the Holy Spirit, believers can look up with this unified purpose – to thank and praise God the Father in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. This holy occupation brings together people from all over the earth to be part of the dwelling place of God, His temple of praise. Whether it be one of His precious ones in prison, or a singer leading a large congregation, together in Christ we have joy by the Holy Spirit to sing unto the Lord.

      The Holy Spirit would teach us of the unity of God – as the Lord prayed in John 17 – that His disciples might be one even as the persons of the godhead are one.

      By the work of God, all true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, are united as part of one body, members of one grand assembly whose names are written in heaven.

      The word of God in Ephesians 4:3, calls upon us to ‘maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace’.
Someone might well ask – how?
Reflect again on the truths above (many gleaned from the letter to the Ephesians). Read again the book of Acts to see ‘God at work’  and ‘go and do likewise!’ This will affect my attitude to others, my interaction with others, my reaction to others. To see every Christian as a fellow member of the family of God, intended and fitted by the Holy Spirit, to be as living stones in God’s great temple of praise, is a key to maintaining the unity of the Spirit.



Let us build up, let us build together, in harmony with the Holy Spirit.

JRM

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Peter's reminders

Reminders

       How we need reminders. The forgetfulness of our minds. The distractions of life around us. The sicknesses of our bodies. The overload of information. We need to remember the things that matter most.
In 2 Peter 1 , Peter reminds us of the great and precious promises that God has given to lead us into true Christian maturity. He also reminds us of the reliability of the Holy Scriptures.

      Chapter 2 is a reminder that we still live in a fallen world with deception and deceivers still abundant.
      
      Lastly the Apostle Peter would remind us of the sure hope of the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ. He bases the assurance of this hope, on both the holy prophets ( I suggest the Old Testament) and the teaching of the Lord through His apostles (including the Gospels).

The past interruption of God (Genesis 6) is evidence that God can and will judge the world again.  For the believer,  the hope of eternal life includes  participation in a new heaven and a new earth. This brings into our lives holy living and peace.

       My observation of the last 30 years has been the subtle change from this long range view to the short range view. In the world of politics, the world of business , the social world, the religious world, so much is just concerned for the present. God always works in the long range view and so Peter would REMIND us to do the same.

     May I remind all readers of the promise, long range promise of the Good Shepherd for all who choose to trust His care


“I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish”   John 10


johnmckee@internode.on.net

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Truth that can be trusted

2 Peter 1

      The wisdom of God is explicit in the bringing together of the Holy Scriptures. Peter says “we did not follow cleverly devised myths”

      One feature of God’s inspiration is that He uses multiple presenters. Most world religions and cults are based on the teachings of one man or one woman. This leaves the door open to human ingenuity or demonic deception. God seems to have deliberately used many prophets and many ways to communicate His truth. When the Son of God appeared, who spoke the words of God, He repeatedly connected with the witness and authority of the Old Testament. He truely could say “ but I say.....”, yet over and again He would link His teaching and actions with the former inspiration of the Old Testament.

   Then when it came to the writing of the New Testament, He committed that to His apostles. They were eyewitness, with years of experience to test this new revelation. The story of Jesus in the days of His flesh is told by four different men and the variety yet similarity gives verification of the authenticity of these records.
I recently bought an Aramaic New Testament. This is a significant book as it come through history independent of the Roman Catholic church, rather through the Eastern orthodox church. The two are so similar, once again verifying the wisdom of God in bringing to us the ‘Holy Scriptures’ that can be trusted as the final revelation of God in Christ.


      We ought not to worship the book ( as do some religions), but treasure it as the unveiling of the true God revealed fully in the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us read and study, so that we can more intelligently love and worship HIM.


How much time do you spend each day waiting on God to speak to you from His precious book? ( compare that to the time spent absorbing other media!)

John McKee 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The intentions of God

A conversation in heaven

A boy in my school class recently said to me “ God is always against me!” Well, I don’t know all his circumstances, but I know that God is not always against us. 
I would like to show this in a different way – to read the prayer of the Lord Jesus as recorded in John17 and give a brief outline of His requests for His own.

1 To reinstate the glory of the Son of God (Our whole existence depends on the position of the Son)
He became poor – now to have ultimate riches
He humbled Himself – now He is exalted, to Him every knee will bow.
He was crucified in weakness – now His is fullness of power
He was despised – now He is great
He was pierced – soon He will be seen in power and great glory
[let us believe in Him, yield to Him, trust Him, honour Him]

2 To ‘give eternal life’. This intention of God is the greatest expression of grace – to the unworthy, God shares His own life, bringing redeemed sinners in His family that they might not only serve Him, but to know Him!

3 To bring the disciples, by the words of God, into the joy of knowing who Christ really is.

4 To keep them from the evil world and the evil one.

5 To keep them as one.

6 To have His joy fulfilled in them.

7 To be set apart for God, in the world that is committed to the evil one.

8 That they all may be one, as God is one. Oneness by the glory given to Christ, given to us.

9 To see His glory in heaven itself.

10 To be filled with the same love that existed and exists between the Father and the Son

I have not given you all the verse references in John 17 and related passages, rather I would like you the reader to now read the Lord’s prayer again and highlight the divine intentions. God is interested in our day to day lives, but His ultimate intentions for us are much much greater than feeling good today.

Indeed He is for us, not against us.

I do think the problem of my student, highlights the real need to know the enemy (Satan) and understand his ways. In Australian society Satan is not mentioned as the source of evil, so that people blame God for evil when the Devil is the source and propagator of evil!


How important it is to let the Bible be our compass in these matters.

John McKee

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Triumph

Romans Chapter 6

The subject of this section is very clear – ‘Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?’
Sin is doing anything that displeases God.
Surely not! After the exposure of ungodliness in chapter 1, and the denunciation of conceit and pride in Chapter 2. And yet we do sin – tempted by lust, pressured by peers, pushed by circumstances.

Considering peace with God in Chapter 5 – why disturb the peace by offending God. Then hope in God for a better purpose – why be turned aside to less. The love of God imparted to us by the Holy Spirit is insulted by sin. It will not do to blame Adam, so what is the answer to overcoming the propensity to sin.

Chapter 6 begins to answer this problem.
I would like to suggest that two words are most significant:
1             Verse 11 – consider, (reckon, calculate)
2            Verse 13 – present ( yield)

There is grace to overcome, if we have the will to do it.
I would like to briefly go through these verses to show the way to victorious Christian living.

Please observe the prepositions used in this section.
Verses 2,3 The believer in the Lord Jesus Christ has died to sin. By our faith in Christ, we are immersed into His death. Not only did He die for us, we died with Him so that we acknowledge our guilty past should be buried and our only hope for new life is by the power of God. Immersion in water as baptism is the public identification of our link with Him.
And as the old self is seen as crucified, the power of God sets free from the habits and chains of sin. The new life is now orientated to God, alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Verse 11  - this pivotal verse calls upon us to pause and consider, to calculate what is God’s estimate of sin, God solution to sin and God’s desire for our holy living.

Verses 12 -14 This paragraph pivots around the word ‘present”.
The focus is on the body of the believer and the amazing opportunity we have to present the members of our body, our brain, our hands, our feet our all, to God. Previous to salvation, we were most unacceptable to God, now by grace  (not law ) we have this invitation to present ourselves to God, not in our own worth, but in the worth of Jesus Christ our Lord.
The conclusion is that law keeping will only bring us down, but the grace of God will lift us up.


Verses 15-22.  This section shows that as we were once slaves to lawlessness, we now have the opportunity to yield ourselves as slave to righteousness, slaves to God.  While the  idea of slavery sounds difficult in our culture, this is the path of eternal life (verse 23).

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Courtroom drama

Romans 1-5

Previously the court has been anxious as rebellion has been identified as leading to death and judgement.

The judge then looked to the sides of the court to expose those who justified themselves by criticising others. The he called in those who were teachers of the law, the lawyers, and condemned them for their hypocrisy – teaching but not practising. The courtroom was then silenced for the verdict -  all guilty.

A voice is heard  -  “ yes your honour, I am guilty and undone”

  To the surprise of the witnesses and guardians of justice, the judge rises from his chair and declares, ‘I have a solution to the problem. The penalty of death has been paid by another. I ask nothing more of the guilty one, than that he believe in the one who paid the price.’

The person in the dock is visibly changed. Distress is replaced with beaming relief. A tear of gratitude is seen on the face of the convicted person, as he looks across at the one who has pierced hands.

The judge is not finished yet. All the audience in the room are attentive as the judge responds.
      ‘I now give directions and motivation for the accused to live a different life. Clerk of the court, please make public the terms of release
1     Peace – the conflict is over.
2    Grace – provide inspiration and encouragement in suffering and temptation so that hope and love prevail.
3    Reconciliation - so that friendship can develop.
4    Security – ongoing support and protection by means of the presence of the one who paid the penalty.
5    Identity – Change the ID card from an Adam family, to the Jesus Christ family
Court is now adjourned  until the next sitting.

Try reading Romans 1,2,3,4,5 in the light of the above description and find the thrill of knowing God as Just and the Justifier of all who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord.


John McKee

Friday, September 11, 2015

The discerning eye of God

Romans 2.17 -29

           The argument of Paul now touches religious hypocrisy. It is indeed commendable to read, study and teach the Bile truth. However when the teaching of God’s law becomes a matter of pride and conceit, then it often leads to the damning problem of hypocrisy i.e. teaching but not practising .

           The Lord Jesus identified this same problem when He advised the common people concerning the religious leaders ‘ do as they say (they sit in Moses seat), but don’t do as they do.’ Matthew 23.3 .   He described them as blind leaders of the blind. God’s judgement will be more demanding on these leaders since they have such brilliant light from God’s law yet do not keep it.

       Verses 25 – 29 Identifies the same problem in the ritual of circumcision . Jewish exclusiveness by circumcision has fostered national and religious pride, but the cross-examination has showed up that outward religious ritual without the corresponding inward reality is a sham. Indeed the argument goes so far as to say that the Gentiles who don’t know the ritual, yet keep God’s laws, whose hearts are changed by God’s Spirit, will be given the rights and honours of being God’s people!

  God knows the hearts
    
       God will reward the genuine.


No wonder He is called  “ a  Just God and a Saviour”


johnmckee@internode.on.net 

comments welcome

Saturday, September 5, 2015

God the Judge is fair

Romans 2 continued..............

On the last day when God judges .... will He be fair?  Many people today  imply that God is not fair. E.g.  Why does God allow suffering? – I will also ask you a question. Do you drive a train or a motor car? A train is much safer but it is locked into a particular track with few controls except speed. A train has no steering wheel. Likely you prefer a motor car, so that ‘at the wheel’ you are in control and you can choose both speed and the way you go. If you crash it, remember you chose to take the steering wheel ! So in life, God has chosen to give us the steering wheel – don’t blame Him if you go the wrong way or if someone else loses control and does damage to others.

       But the focus of Romans 2 is not the present, but rather the final day of reckoning. Verse 6 is a reminder that God has record books (Revelation 20). His records are more sophisticated than that of Google. Not only the emails, the texts, the phone calls but God records the attitude of the heart as well. And when God opens the books on the last day, His justice will be for real. He will account for good and reward it. He will expose evil and reward it.

Verse 7 promises eternal life and verse 8 promises wrath and fury! Is this just hypothetical  ?  No. This has been verified by the Master Himself.  He clearly spoke about the resurrection and the last day of judgement. (John 6) 
Let me connect this teaching  with the reactions of the Lord Jesus.
A young man came to the Lord Jesus with this question – “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”  The Lord gave the answer “What is written in the law?.....................do this and you will live” (Luke 10.25) Did the Lord really mean that this man could have life by keeping the law ?  Yes.    On another day the self appointed judges came to the Lord Jesus accusing the woman taken in adultery ( sound like Romans chapter 2) The Lord did not contradict the law given through Moses but identified the same problem that is unveiled here in Romans two and three - None are morally qualified to sit in the seat of judgement,  and our own conscience tells us that none of us can qualify for eternal life.

In this matter of eternal life God is not partial, but rather He will pass judgement according to the light a person has received. For the enlightened Jew, greater responsibility, for the uninformed Gentile less responsibility.

This testimony to God’s justice must be considered in the context of the next few paragraphs in Romans. Chapter 3:23 -  the just and fair judge comes to the conclusion that all have sinned ( missed the mark for attaining eternal life) and all fall short of the glory that God intended to be seen in humanity – His own image.

I remember listening to a missionary who had been working among some remote tribe of people. He thought that they would have been glad to hear the good news, but was rather shocked when these people deliberately chose the ways they knew were evil instead of seeking after the true and living God. He admitted that the lesson of universal human rebellion came to him in an unexpected way.

Verses 12 -15  describe the fair judgement of God according to the responsibility under law, and according to conscience etc.

Verse 16
I would like to highlight the important truth unveiled in this Bible verse:
“ .. on the day when according to my Gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus”
1.      1.  The message of the Gospel includes the reality of future judgement!
2.    2.   God is more interested in the secrets, the motives, the attitudes, the heart faith or unbelief, the reactions to mercy and grace etc than  the outward actions.
3.    3.    God has committed  all judgement to His Son Jesus Christ. (John 5.27) Why is this so important? 
     Because He as a man has also suffered as we have. We cannot say the judge doesn't understand. 
     He has been rejected by both Jew and Gentile when as God’s representative He came to bless.
     He bears the scars in His hands, evidence that He gave Himself a ransom for all, so that all might be saved. Well might He  the judge of all the earth, give eternal life to all who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. For those who have refused to believe in the Son of God the judge will reward justly, see Revelation 20 

Conclusion    God will be fair in judgement, not according to human standards, but according His true holiness and justice.
                   The judge is abundant in mercy now, but will execute justice in the last day.



John McKee

Saturday, August 29, 2015

God the judge

Recently I was asked to expound Romans chapter two. My studies and meditations may be a blessing to someone:
       This chapter has a significant change from chapter 1.  In that chapter is described the wrath and anger of God against all wilful rejection of the knowledge of God. That leads to a downward spiral of spiritual and moral decay.

      Chapter two changes from ‘them’  to ‘you’. Not now speaking of the profligate prodigal, but to the self- righteous older brother. This section is not about feelings but rather ‘JUDGEMENT’. In fact the key expression is GOD’S JUDGEMENT  - see verse 2, 3, 5, 29 with 3:19.

      This first paragraph addresses those who choose to sit in God’s judgement seat, condemning others to justify themselves. The Lord Jesus identified this problem in the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector. One said “I am not as other men are...”
Education, religion, morality, generosity  etc are helpful, but give no exemption from the judgement of God.
       Verse 4 – some think that because life is going well, they are OK and assume God is either happy with them or that he is non existent.
       Verse 5 – God’s final anger against sin, the judgement day has not yet arrived – then the books will be opened and the true motives and attitudes be revealed.
“ You are they who justify yourselves before men, but God knows the heart”


   Verses 6 -11  Will God be fair in judgement ?


To be continued soon....................john

Saturday, August 22, 2015

God unchanging

Reconstructing God

      In a day when people are trying to reconstruct God , we do well to learn again the nature and character of the one true God.

         Is he like a big teddy bear in the sky who gives us everything  we want?   Is he some distant angry dictator who loves to make life difficult for us ?  Or is he just one of many gods who rule the world, imposing rituals for reward?  Or is he just like us – self centred and unreliable with an imaginary sense of significance?

        Well it is true there are many gods, worshiped and obeyed by many people. And the modern promotion of a new or an undiscovered god is not new.
     
          In this meditation I would like to assert the one true God as being the creator of all, by whom all things exist and for whom all things exist. He can be perceived through the creation, but has been deliberately revealed to the Israelite people through Moses and the prophets. Finally He has been revealed through Jesus Christ.

        The God of the Bible remains the same yesterday, and today and forever.
To gather just a few important details ;
   He is transcendent (above all things),
   He is interactive (communicating with people),
   He is indwelling ( By His Spirit connecting with our spirits),
   He is creator ( having sovereign authority over all yet giving freewill to      all ),
   He is Just ( Justice of the pure kind ),
   He is love ( Love that chooses to seek the best even for those          undeserving ),
   He is holy ( Not tainted in any way by error )............................and much   more.

Well we might respond with great awe –

             “Hallowed be Thy Name”

   To fear Him, to love Him, to know Him, to trust Him, to honour Him, to praise Him, to obey Him,........................is our greatest  privilege and greatest responsibility.

Take time out today
   Let your heart run to Him

     Let your mind be open to His voice

johnmckee@internode.on.net