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Monday, September 13, 2021

News - Good news

 

The Good news is presented in the Bible book called Romans.

 I recommend everyone to read it through. This will overcome much of the confusion created by many religions and Christian denominations.

 

 

Latter  I will give a summary of this letter to the Romans. But first I encourage all to read it. 

If you  do not have a Bible to read, email me at

johnmckee@internode.on.net

Saturday, August 28, 2021

The world

 

God so loved the world!

-      The entire cosmos?  Yes , He made it and in love intends the best for it.

-       The entire human race?  Yes, He designed all people to live in relationship with Himself as God's friends

What went wrong that our world is in such a mess?  -  The evil one, Satan, promoted a lie and humanity has rebelled ever since.

God's love has secured a way for all people to reconnect with God:

-      By keeping 10 commandments?  No

-      By following a particular religion?   No

God sent His only Son (Jesus) and through His death and rising to life again, reconciliation is offered free.  Jesus Christ paid the offence of our sin and rebellion, so that everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ is forgiven and granted a place in the family of God.

"To as many as received HIM, He gave the authority to become children of God"  (John 1:12)

The Holy Spirit seals every believer as belonging to God.

 

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that whoever believes in Him, will not perish but have eternal life"    (John 3:16)


johnmckee@internode.on.net


Sunday, August 15, 2021

In times like these

 

Hope in the world of uncertainty

Life for many has changed. The covid pandemic has changed government focus, changed liberties we never thought would change – like travel. The thinking of society has changed from fear to frustration.

In Australia we are fortunate to have less infections and deaths, but the lockdowns to achieve this are frustrating many.

For the present generation, this is all new. So what are the answers to our situation?  History can teach us much.    3,500 years ago, Moses, as the mouthpiece of God taught the value of quarantining.    2000 years ago Jesus taught the value of trusting God each day for what we need (not want).   1950 years ago, Paul showed by example that the things of this life are very temporary and living for the next life is more important.

So where are we today?  - surrendering to media manipulation – fear?  - losing hope that our dreams will fail?   - Blaming others for not handling the situation well?      -    It has all happened before!

 

God has a plan.  His priority plan is for people to turn from sin and self, to trust in Him through Jesus Christ the Lord.

He also has plans for powerful people.  – To learn how helpless they are in the presence of this almost invisible little virus.- helpless to control it, helpless financially, helpless socially, helpless internationally, helpless mentally!

He also has plans for the nations. Alliances seemed so strong, military might so powerful, economies so promising. Soon the alliances will be based on the rejection of Jesus Christ as Lord. The man of sin will unite unbelieving people.

But to His own, scattered throughout the nations, there is only one solution, one King, one Lord who is Jesus Christ. He was once pierced when crucified. He now sees with grief the rebellion of humanity. He soon will appear to judge all evil and the evil one. Until that day, we can expect the LORD  God to allow tribulations so that people  might repent and believe the Gospel

Even so come Lord Jesus

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

True blessedness

 

The path to real Joy

Oh what joy for those whose rebellion is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!

Yes, what joy for those  whose record the LORD has cleared of sin, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!

When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long. Day and night God’s hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.

Finally I confessed all my sins and stopped trying to hide them. I said to myself  “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD” – and He forgave me! All my guilt is gone

Psalm 32

Monday, June 14, 2021

Good news

 

The Gospel – good news

What we want and what God knows we need are quite different.

We live in time, very  much controlled by our sensory feelings. Most  times, we want pleasure , possessions and safety.

God lives in eternity. He understands the causes of evil and chooses to be kind and gracious in the greater reality of relationships that are eternal.

God being eternal, wants to reconnect His creatures with Himself in a harmonious and fruitful relationship – as children with a Father, in the Father's house where holy joy produces songs of praise.

 

Why then a message about a once dead Jesus Christ? Because God restores relationships with justice and love.

Justice  -  'Jesus Christ died, the just one for the unjust ones to bring us to God ' (1 Peter 3) We are the unjust ones by habit and inclination.

Love   -   Jesus Christ died as the ultimate expression of His great love for us  ( Romans 5:8) ' God showed His great love in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us'

Thus the devastating history of  crucified Jesus, has become good news  of hope, forgiveness, love, peace, joy and eternal life. This is assured by the fact that Jesus rose from death and lives forever more.


johnmckee@internode.on.net

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Sacrifice

 

The sacrifice of Christ Jesus the Lord.

A powerful quote from Hebrews 1

"He accomplished cleansing of sins and riddance of guilt" (Amplified Bible)

The Lord Jesus said:

"The good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep......I lay down my life that I may take it up again.... this charge I have received from my Father"  John 10:11-18

The death of Jesus Christ was not unfortunate, martyrdom or just empathetic . It was determined by God for a distinct purpose.

The theme runs through all scripture, but for a moment I would like to consider the letter to the Hebrews, linked to the OT book of Leviticus.

Hebrews 1 – looking on the creation through God's eyes. The problem of offence and the stain of uncleanness must be attended to. This is not about how we feel nor is it altogether about our forgiveness (although that is involved). It is about God at work, recovering, redeeming, restoring, remitting, reinstating, rescuing ... His creation. This takes more than power. It required a sacrifice.

This is so important when we come to the sacrifices of Moses law. They are parables to indicate the devastation and costliness of sin. And the means by which God has restored the lost creation to Himself. The grand destination of 'God at work ' , is written in chapter twelve. " You have come to mount Zion, even the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to countless multitudes of angels in festal gathering, the church of the firstborn who are registered as citizens of heaven." 12:22

John the baptizer captured this transformation when he pointed to Jesus and said "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" – this implied the removal of sin and the total restoration of the divine purpose in His Son.

Hebrews chapter 4 – God rests because  of the sacrifice made

Hebrews 9-11      - God's promise will be fulfilled – He will return

Hebrews 13 – God holds secure all who trust in the Great shepherd.

 

Let me ponder the sacrifices of the Old Covenant for a moment – why bother? The shadows of the reality teach much about how God sees sin and the sacrifice of His Son.

Sin was very costly – forgiveness of sins was costly. When one sinned the sinner was to bring to the alter an animal of the highest quality ( without stain or defect). A trespass against someone else or a failure to do God's command necessitated someone or something pay the debt of offence against God. In the Old Covenant it was an innocent animal that died for the guilty.  In the New Covenant it is Jesus Christ who died for the guilty. He alone was Holy and without stain or defect!

The peace offering was also an innocent animal presented to celebrate peace with God. On this occasion, the offerer could eat and share the meat of the sacrifice. Thus fellowship with God and others was on the basis of the sacrifice.  Likewise in the New Testament, the togetherness of the believers is founded upon the blood of Christ and the cross of Christ ( see Ephesians).

The Gift or grain offering was flour mixed with oil and frankincense , presented  to  God as a sweet smelling savour. It was not for atonement of sins, but a gift of something grow in the earth, then milled and presented to God by fire. What is this about? This is God appreciating the life and death of Jesus, the only man who ultimately pleased God. Even in the torture and rejection of His sufferings, His character was not spoiled by sin or inappropriate reactions. His life was as a sweet aroma to God.

The burnt offering is the story of Hebrews 10. " we are sanctified by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time". Forgiveness of sins is good. Fellowship with others is great. Understanding and giving thanks for Jesus is worship. But now the burnt offering brings the unworthy one right into acceptance with God. The offerer brought the best of the herd, the leader, the progenitor, the strong one. This was presented to God and the priest was to keep and use the skin. What is the meaning ? -  our only acceptance with God , now or in eternity is as we are 'in Christ". God sees our works, He hears our prayers, He knows all about us, but it is only through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ the Lord from heaven, that we are accepted.

"God spared not His own Son, but gave HIM up for us all" (Romans 8:32)

"The Son of God loved me and gave HIMSELF for me"  (Galatians 2:20)

Note : in the New Testament, the atonement is usually connected with the title 'Christ' – the Messiah anointed for the purpose by God.

As quoted above, the burnt offering is linked to the title 'Son of God'.

The achievement of the sacrifice is not so much related to the extent of suffering, but to the value of the one who died. Please search out this truth in the teaching of the Lord Jesus and His apostles. The terminology of the Holy Spirit is very precise.

Our confidence is complete and we rest with God in the forever sacrifice because  the one who offered Himself without spot to God was:

Without sin

In Him was no root of sin

His life and character was not defiled by corruption around Him

His coming from heaven and commission to speak for was affirmed by God the Father

His deity as "Son of God" qualified Him to yield His life up for others.

 

Well might we look  at those pierced hands and feet and declare with Thomas – " My Lord and my God"

Finally . Hebrews 13  surprises us with this statement " we have an alter from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.......  through HIM then let us continually offer up the sacrifice of praise to God , that is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His Name."

We no longer need the alter, the sacrifices of the old covenant, for Jesus Christ the LORD from heaven has fulfilled His promise. He said He would "give His life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45). So in the freedom and sanctification of the final sacrifice and the indwelling Holy Spirit, ' let us offer to God acceptable worship with reverence and awe.'(Hebrews 12)


johnmckee@internode.on.net


Friday, April 16, 2021

The Psalms - prayer book, song book

 

In my recent meditations in the Psalms, I discovered that the greatest danger in life for the songwriter, were not wild animals, (for David the shepherd faced many of these), the real dangers were people! David the songwriter faced lions and bears, but it was the cruel persecutors, the betrayers, the misunderstanding relatives, the jealous enemies that wanted to kill him – these were the repeated subject of his prayers.

So it is today- the danger is not wild animals, it is rather the addictive screens (designed by people to seduce), the self centred friend (manipulative instead of loyal), the God despising relative (who turns others away from God's way), the Lord Jesus denying religion (people promoting other doctrines) etc. These are the real dangers that we so often fail to see.

JRM