Sunday, July 12, 2015

Liberty and responsibility

John 12:47 records some very significant words.

“If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.”

       In terms of judgement, He does not dissolve it, but refers to it as the ‘judgement on the last day’. His mission on His first coming was rather to bring light, like the rising of the sun. He also indicated that upon His departure, the light would not shine as when He was present.(v36)
        The verse quoted brings us to the concept of Christian liberty. This is distinctly relevant in a changing world that considers Christians as cowards because we do not defend Christ with a sword. People blaspheme the name of Jesus Christ and we don’t stone them. People can burn the Bible and we don’t imprison them – How come?

      Just as the Master said – the heavenly message and message is not imposed upon people against their will –they can believe or not believe. Freedom is to obey or not obey. (this does not imply freedom from consequences). Under Moses law, conformity was expected, but persons qualified to execute that law were effectively non existent (John 12) . 

       Under Christian grace,  the acceptance of light , truth, is a matter of choice. However, that does not indicate that there will be no consequences. In fact in this very discourse  the Lord Jesus Christ declares there will be a day of accountability.

     These principles relate to Christianity in society, but more so to the responsibility of each individual before God.
God sends light (illumination), predominantly in the person of Jesus Christ. We may believe or reject this light. To believe is to ‘come into the light, come into relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, come into relationship with God as Father in through active power of the Holy Spirit, with eternal consequences – acceptance into the Fathers house forever.

     To reject this light, is to choose to be without God in this world and the world to come. It is the typical Australian response ‘ just leave me alone’. This leads not only to ignorance, but eventually to independence  of God that is best described by the great lover of our souls – “outer darkness, in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8.12). Isaiah put it clearly “They have chosen their own ways”

      Yet today is the moment of opportunity:

The Son of God says: “Believe in the light that you might become sons of light”       (John 12.26)

 God chose to give us liberty along with responsibility.


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Question above questions

The Question      ‘Do you know the Lord?’

      Whether it be in life or the life to come, the answer to this one question determines the direction and destiny of a persons’ life. Some people know a lot about Jesus, but the point of relationship is to know Him, to believe in Him, to trust Him, to obey Him.  He is indeed the Lord, the Saviour of all who ‘call upon Him’. Although He is so great (the creator of all), He is not a distant , unknowable deity, but rather by His Holy Spirit, He is the Good Shepherd who knows His sheep, each one, and can be known by them.
“My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow Me” John 10.27
This acquaintance with the shepherd is beautifully expressed in Psalm 23. David the shepherd, looked up, and as a dependant sheep, and said the “Lord is my Shepherd.”
        Another example of this intimacy of the divine with the creature, is in the story of Mary the sister of Lazarus. Mary was the quieter one who let the Lord be in charge. When Lazarus her brother died, it was the Good Shepherd who saw her deep grief and wept with her. This points to the divine sympathy of the Lord Jesus expressed in human tears. John 11.

In the next chapter, the unmeasurable love of the Great shepherd is rewarded  with the devotion of the sheep – Mary takes a very expensive bottle of ointment and pours it on the feet of the Lord Jesus. Judas calculated this use of the ointment to be waste, but He who knew and appreciated the love of Mary, accepted this token of worship as the true priority of worship.  Many there are today who claim to follow the shepherd, but few give Him the true intimacy and devotion of heart for which He longs.
       The last book of the Bible has this revealing invitation:
“Behold I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears My voice and will open the door, I will come in to him/her and will eat with him, and he with Me”  Revelation 3:20

       I plead with my readers to settle for nothing less.

  The seriousness of knowing Him is found in the prophetic statement of the Lord Himself.
“ Then will he say to them, depart from me I never knew you” Matthew 7:23

      Is it any wonder that the burning ambition of Paul was:
“That I might know HIM........................”  Philippians 3:10