Friday, January 30, 2015

The hard sayings of the Lord Jesus

The teachings of the Lord Jesus in the Gospel by Luke are  quite embarrassing for the average Christian. Rather than avoid them, we do well to ponder them often.

    In chapter 11 the Lord denounces hypocrisy.
     In chapter 12.9 “If anyone denies Me here on earth, I will deny that person before God’s angels”. He calls the disciple to unashamed commitment to God and Himself, and this being accompanied with simple dependence upon God for all things. He does not promise present rewards, but anticipates the blessedness of being ready for the return of the Son of man. Indeed the words are ‘wisdom teachings’ and to us Gentile believers, some of the expectations of the Master seem unreasonable e.g “sell your possessions and give to the poor” . Another – “  Do you think that I have come to give peace on the earth? No, I tell you rather division.”  Statements like this can be given a contextual interpretation, however I think we should let the general thrust of them ‘wash us clean’ from the culture in which we live. Often our culture is one of self centred greed and peace at any price.

       Dr Luke presents in this Gospel, the strong moral teaching (some might call it philosophical teaching) of the Lord Jesus.   Matthew concentrates on the Kingdom teaching. Luke’s presentation reaches deep  into the conscience, the character and behaviour of the disciple.  It is obvious why the Lord Jesus became unpopular with the leading men of His day.
    
       It would have been interesting to  know more about Luke the author, who though a doctor, followed along with Paul in keeping with this teaching. It would appear he did indeed ‘pay the price’ of discipleship.

         The effect on myself is this – ‘how small I am in the light of such teaching!  How little faith I really have! How quickly the demands of this world take over! How uncommitted I am to the path of true discipleship !

          I conclude with another one of those seemingly hard sayings – “So no one can become my disciple without giving up everything for Me” (Luke 14.33)
Let me suggest a different perspective – objective rather than subjective -  who is this one making such extreme demands of His followers ????? A mere rabbi?  An important prophet? 

This is the Son of God who in Himself trod this path before He asked anyone else to follow. The one “who was rich, yet for your sakes became poor” (2 Corinthians 8) . Luke presents the man in who God finds perfect delight, and we do well to ponder often the one of whom the Father said  “in Him I am well pleased.”

John McKee

Monday, January 19, 2015

Privilege

        The good news is gladly received by those who feel  their need of Jesus Christ the Lord. For those who believe on His name, the promises of Holy Scripture are vibrant with blessing. E.g. 
“ to as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God”  John 1.12
More than accepted as children, this is to actually become heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ!  Romans 8

        But the burden from Luke 10, that is pressing my spirit with grief, is the problem of people privileged to hear the good news, but refuse to receive  the Lord Jesus. It is so common in our western society for children and adults to hear the gospel, but choose to turn away to other things or other people. In some countries, where affluence is not so great there seems to be a greater thirst for the salvation and blessing of the gospel.
     In Luke chapter ten, the Lord Jesus spells out very clearly that privilege brings added responsibility. The present effect is, by refusing the good news, many others , in particular children are led away from Christ. The eternal effect is final accountability to God – the added terror and punishment for light refused. Let me quote from the loving Saviour: “ the truth is, even wicked Sodom will be better off than such a town on the judgement day”  Luke 10:12. To confirm the individual accountability, the word of God says:  “They are all judged according to their deeds”  Revelation 20:13.

        For the many, many people who think – ‘well I can choose, I can do as I please’   - the answer of the Lord is resoundingly clear.  
                “Anyone who rejects you is rejecting Me, and anyone who rejects Me, is rejecting God who sent Me!”  Luke 10.16
To reject God as creator has consequences bad enough, but to reject God as the redeemer is the ultimate insult, saying no to God’s love, mercy and grace. The ultimate loneliness resulting from such a response is intense, leading to the spiritual torment  uttered by Abraham to one lost man in hell  - “son remember.....”   Luke 16


The Lord Jesus came to the privileged city of Jerusalem Luke 13.34, and He who could have brought deliverance and peace to His people, wept tears of grief because He knew their evil hearts of unbelief. Soon they  would say “away with Him, we will not have this man to reign  over us” -  the rest is history – the temple destroyed, the city destroyed, the people scattered, hated and persecuted. All because of the light refused, the light of the world cast out.

Let us search our hearts today –
                           ‘what is my response to the light of the good news?’

The Lord Jesus said  “ I am come a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in Me will no longer remain in the darkness.”  John 12:46


You who know the Lord - let your light shine brightly for the glory  of our Lord.

John McKee

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The most important question

       One question asked by Jesus, stands as the question of greatest              significance, then and now.
              “Who do you say I am?”    Luke 9:20

Please pause, and in your mind, and in your heart, and with your mouth, answer this question.


..................If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is the Lord from heaven, and believe in your heart that God so approved of Him and His sacrificial death, that He raised Jesus from the dead – then you will be saved.........Romans 10:9 expanded by J. McKee in accord with the context.

       The question “Who is this man?” , has differing implications in different cultures, and varying overtones in other historical settings. At the time that the Lord Jesus asked the question , the significant point was – was He the Messiah of Israel’s hopes, or was He only another prophet like John the baptiser, or like Elijah? 
       Today the same question relates more to the question – was He truely the Son of God, specifically sent by God and if so is He really alive after being crucified?

Peter as a Jew made the ultimate confession – “You are the Christ” or in more eastern terminology, “You are the Messiah”.  The Messiah had been promised by the prophets as being God’s son (Psalm 2), God’s shepherd (Zechariah 13), God’s servant (Isaiah 52,53) , God’s King (Psalm 2) , God’s sovereign (Daniel 7), God’s saviour (Isaiah 42,45) and more...............

The Jews well knew the high honour that belonged to the long awaited messiah, and the leadership with the crowd, sadly chose to reject Jesus – ‘crucify him, we will not have this man to reign over us’ . And so it is to this day, Jews in general reject His claim to be the Christ, the Messiah.

Also the Koran and its adherents understand that to claim to be the Son of God, as announced by the angel Gabriel, is give Him honour beyond a mere man or prophet.

Hinduism is quite willing to include Jesus among the many gods, but  not as the Son of the only true and living God.


Putting aside these spiritual forces in high places, we ourselves must answer this question before God – ‘who do you say I am?’

Many today are dying for their faith in Jesus as the Son of God. Many want to avoid the question.  But you must answer, or rather by your action, you are answering this eternally significant question.

Religious observance is quite separate to this question. Intellectual debate must go quiet as you ponder the question of Jesus. Let the Spirit of the living God guide your thinking today and be blessed as you ‘confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead.’

I would be delighted to receive an email from any who do confess Him as Lord today


Saturday, January 10, 2015

'Take heed how you hear'

A warning from the Master

Luke 8.12  “ The devil comes and steals away the seed”

        The ‘pathway’ in this parable seems to represent the mind and heart that is constantly affected by others. For example- the public media is very good at hardening the conscience. Interacting with shameless sinners has a long term hardening of the heart. The business world with its temptations can sear the conscience. University with its intellectual arrogance often stumbles young people, who like Eve, think they are able to make their own decisions without knowing God.

Let us look at a more specific example:
The Bible says “In the beginning, God created”
The atheist will respond with ‘ there is no God so it just happened’
-The uninstructed mind will not be able to argue, so agrees
- The shallow thinker will say ‘ it doesn’t make any difference to me’
- The distracted heart will say ‘ I have other things to think about’
- The genuine heart will say ‘God says it, I believe it ‘

We have the choice to make – how we hear! 

Recently I listened to a man who sat down with a Bible and the Koran. Although a muslim, he found the Bible was like light from heaven by comparison, and promptly became a Christian.

What do the words of the Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, mean to you?


John McKe

Saturday, January 3, 2015

2015 a year of hope?

A new year

Which way are you facing as you begin 2015?

             Some people go forward looking backwards – the past with it’s good and bad preoccupies them. Others are concerned only for the present. Nothing else seems to matter but the circumstances of the present. Yet others go forward looking into the future – some with real hope, others with despair.

     Well a Christian should do all three
·           *Evaluate the past and learn from it, remember the good and be thankful
·            *Consider the opportunities of the moment and seek grace from the Great Shepherd to live a day at a time.
·             *Lift up one’s eyes to the possibilities of tomorrow and with long sighted vision consider what God has in store for those who love Him.
 The Lord Jesus said “ In My Father’s house are many rooms,........... I go to prepare a place for you.

The past can be forgiven.
The present can be committed into the care of the Great Shepherd.
The future is secure in Christ Jesus our Lord.

“The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

May each reader of these articles be blessed this year with the nearness of the Lord, so that in the good times and the difficult times, you will be able to say
“I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me”  Psalm 23


John McKee