Sunday, June 28, 2015

Jesus the peacemaker who divides

Jesus – the peacemaker

The grace of Christ unites (all who accept Him)

The truth of Christ divides (evil from the good)

So many people sing with gusto –“ Peace upon earth and goodwill toward men”. And so it is that the prince of peace came to Bethlehem. He it was who said “Blessed are the peacemakers”.

How then does this fit with the fact that for 2000 years He has been a great cause of division and strife? The answer is two fold :
1st  the opposition to Him under the influence of the god of this world – Satan – is very real. For example – Herod the king, very quickly gave in to jealousy and had all the children of Bethlehem slaughtered, in his attempt to eliminate the child that was born ‘King of the Jews’. So much today remains an attempt to crush the Name of Jesus Christ and His followers.
2nd is the age old problem of unbelief. The Lord of glory came to earth in humility so that all people could believe in Him of their own choice, and not as a matter of dominance in religious or political power. He presented Himself in meekness, yet with signs of proof and words of heavenly truth. Through faith in Him, peace with God was enacted, but unbelief  in Him left the people estranged to God . Unbelief has the normal effect of inciting persecution toward the believers.

So the critical thing to note in the matter of ‘peace’, is the persons involved i.e. the most important peace, is peace between God and mankind. Only through the Son of God, and only by His death is there peace with God for we who have disobeyed God. Love initiated the sacrifice of Jesus and grace implemented the blessing of the cross. His blood shed made atonement before the throne of God to bring peace instead of wrath.
“Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through our 
Lord Jesus Christ” Romans 5:1

Peace among people is quite different. An ongoing conflict is between Jews and Gentiles. For 3000 years this conflict has raged and on a human level seems unsolvable. The Bible answer is once again the cross. When Jesus Christ is accepted, all , Jews and Gentiles find their nothingness and their everythingness at the cross.
“That He might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility” Ephesians 2:16 . Thus God is putting together all people as a house of praise in perfect harmony and Peace.

The angels wonder at the glory of this, but sadly unbelief scoffs at God’s method and then wonders why this world is not a place of peace.

This is just where the United Nations mission has failed the very purpose of it’s existence. By eliminating Christ and the Gospel, the very means of peace is lost. The tragic violence in the world today with increasing persecution of Christians demonstrates the the UN has lost its way. Australia has like so many nations, fallen into the trap of the Devil with the idea that everyone is a independent, responsible to no-one but themselves. This destroys authority, morality and spirituality.
“Every man does that which is right in his own eyes” ( Judges)

The real wonder is that the creator does not come in with a flood of fire to destroy such  insult and anarchy . ( He did flood the world once for this). But such is the character of God – in patience waiting for mankind to repent and turn again to the Prince of Peace.

John McKee

P.S. I should have pointed out the vast difference between “peace” and tolerance. “peace” and compromise. “peace” and truce. ”peace” and ceasefire. “peace” and isolation. True peace is about reconciliation, acceptance, unity, understanding and sharing.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

God has spoken in His Son

Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. But now in these final days He has spoken to us through His SON.  Hebrews 1.1

When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not be presenting His own ideas: He will be telling you what He has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by revealing to you whatever He receives from me.   John 16:13 NLT

Dear friends,do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God.  1 John 4:1

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Listening to God

The wonderful honour of speaking for God, is only for those who listen to God.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Keep yourselves

Keep  yourselves in the Love of God

        In the context of conflict, we must needs “Keep ourselves in the love of God” . Satan’s chief aim is to detract from Jesus Christ and is very smart at dislodging us from nearness of fellowship with our Lord and Saviour.
      As we “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” , let us not be distracted from the focus of the Holy Spirit- Christ. This is so well put – Jude 26 “to the only God our Saviour,  through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory, majesty, dominion and authority before all time and now and forever. Amen.” Let the refrain of heaven be our heart song today – “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain”.

       Jude certainly exposes the self-centred , truth denying, unreasonable, money driven, loud-mouthed boasters. How shall we stand against evil and contend for the faith? We must recognize error, maybe expose it, but try to rescue those caught in the snare of the evil one. But above all that verse 20 is so important – “ Building up yourselves in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.”

     Turn your eyes upon Jesus
        Look full in His wonderful face
          And the things of earth shall strangely dim

            In the light of His glory and grace

John McKee

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Love of God

The Love of God

       The New Testament describes the love of God as the active motive arranging salvation and sanctification for lost people.( Ephesians 1, Romans 5) It also presents the love of God as the spiritual substance of Christian maturity ( Peter 1). Likewise Paul’s longing in his prayer for the believers at Ephesus was that they might be grounded in the love of God and filled with the love of God  - “to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,  that you might be filled with all the fullness of God ( Ephesians 3:19).
        This is not cheap love, not indiscriminate love, not crazy love, not bland or blind love. This is relational love from an all knowing , intelligent God, who in spite of the unworthiness of the one loved, HE cared enough to give His own Son as a sacrifice. He connects with the individual, as a father is connected to a child. He reconciles to Himself and His ways those who believe in His son.

         Ephesians 6.24 speaks of “sincere love”. In contrast to the many perversions of love mentioned in Ephesians, God’s love is in keeping with His character – not only personal and intelligent, but also pure and wise(all the time). It is not mixed with sinister motive nor dark objectives. God’s love is not corrupted by time or age. Best of all it is not corrupted by the object loved.

         This love divine is not like the pension – it is there if one applies for it and then comes from some bottomless government bucket to be used or abused without gratitude to the giver. NO. I fear that the dumbing down of God and His love, has corrupted the true reality of ‘Agape’ love. Unquenchable love from a holy , personal God is much more meaningful and precious than the abstract love of a smothering god who does not bother with holiness or judgement.

             “God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us               while we were yet sinners.” (Romans 5.8)

Didn’t God love us as we were born? Didn’t He love us as wandering prodigals? Why then this “Christ dying for us”? Was there a problem? This letter to the Romans describes the real problem of rebellious humanity (chapters 1,2,3) and God’s method of triumphing over it in Christ.  This active love of God reaches a lofty climax in chapter 8.39  “ nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”. 

How different to fickle human love. This is not blind love that cannot see evil. Rather this is God’s active love that rescues, redeems, reconciles and finally glorifies all who believe in God’ beloved Son. And so it is that we can love, because He first loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. God’s love can be perfected in us.( and John would add, let us love not in word but in deed)

Psalm 2 , written so long ago, captures in poetic language, the call of God to  “kiss the Son...............blessed are all they that put their trust in Him” and the psalms then speak so much about the loving kindness of God.

One could fill many pages , referring to many, many Bible references, but I encourage you the reader to look up the many references to ‘love’ in God’s word and gain a balanced, fuller understanding of God’s love. One of the most important questions to settle in our day of corrupted meanings is – ‘what is love?’  is it a feeling, a motive or what?      Maybe you could email to me your definition!