Charles’s quotes

"It is surely ours to combine these elements of mourning for sin and joy in our salvation in one complex and composite experience which keeps us perpetually humble and yet perpetually joyful too."— Rev William Still

Showing posts with label salvation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label salvation. Show all posts

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Saved by the Lord

What we cannot do for ourselves, You do for us. Thank You, Lord. You forgive our sins. You give us new life. You're leading us on to Your eternal glory. Thank You, Lord.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

The Preaching Of John Wesley

"John Wesley’s Forty-Four Sermons" (published by the Epworth Press in 1944:  reprinted in 1977) - These sermons were first published, as four volumes, in 1746, 1748, 1750 and 1760. The language will seem, to the modern reader, to be very old-fashioned. There is, however, a great deal, in what Wesley says, that we need to hear today. My basic observations in reading theses sermons is this: Here is preaching which is centred on Jesus Christ, who is “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). When Wesley speaks of our sin, he speaks with great directness. When he speaks of God’s grace, he speaks with great warmth. This is preaching which is centred on our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Wesley shows us that we are sinners who need the Saviour. He shows us that the Saviour is always ready to receive sinners.

John Wesley on "The Righteousness of Faith"

Righteousness of Faith, The
This sermon is based on Romans 10:5-8. It is found in John Wesley’s Forty-Four Sermons, (Epworth Press, 1977 edition).
Commenting on the words, “The word is nigh thee”, Wesley writes, “the first covenant required what is now afar off from all the children of men; namely, unsinning obedience, which is far from those who are ‘conceived and born in sin.’ Whereas, the second requires what is nigh at hand; as though it should say, Thou art sin! God is love! Thou by sin art fallen short of the glory of God, yet there is mercy with Him. Bring then all thy sins to the pardoning God, and they shall vanish away as a cloud” (p. 67).
Concerning ourselves, there is bad news – We cannot save ourselves.
From Christ, our Saviour, there is Good News – “He is able to save to the uttermost all who come to God through Him” (Hebrews 7:25).
Sin takes us far from God. Grace brings us near to God.
To those who are far from God, Wesley says this, “Do not say, ‘But I am not contrite enough; I am not sensible enough of my sins.’ I know it. I would to God thou wert more sensible of them, more contrite a thousand fold than thou art. But do not stay for this. It may be, God will make thee so, not before thou believest, but by believing. It may be, thou wilt not weep much, till thou lovest much because thou hast had much forgiven. In the meantime look unto Jesus. Behold, how much He loveth thee!” (p. 72).
Sin holds us captive. Grace sets us free.
Wesley continues, “And to what end wouldest thou wait for more sincerity before thy sins are blotted out? To make thee more worthy of the grace of God? Alas, thou art still ‘establishing thy own righteousness.’ He will have mercy, not because thou art worthy of it, but because His compassions fail not; not because thou art righteous, but because Jesus Christ hath atoned for thy sins” (pp. 72-73).
* The way of salvation does not begin with “I”: This is what I have done – my religion, my morality.
* Salvation comes from God:- “God so loved the world …”
This is the the Gospel: What we could never do for ourselves, God has done for us – “He gave His only Son”, Jesus Christ, “the atoning sacrifice … for the sins of the whole world”, “the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin” (John 3:16; 1 John 2:2; 1:7).

John Wesley on "The Witness of the Spirit"

This quotation The sermon - Witness of the Spirit, 1, The - can be found in John Wesley’s Forty-Four Sermons, (Epworth Press, 1977).  It is based on Romans 8:16 – “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”This sermon is followed by a sermon on  Witness of the Spirit, 2, The  - 2 Corinthians 1:12.
  “The manner how the divine testimony is manifested to the heart, I do not take upon me to explain. Such knowledge is too wonderful and excellent for me: I cannot attain unto it. The wind bloweth, and I hear the sound thereof; but I cannot tell how it cometh, or whither it goeth. as no one knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of a man that is in him; so the manner of the things of God knoweth no one, save the Spirit of God. But the fact we know; namely, that the Spirit of God does give a believer such a testimony of his adoption” (p. 117).
Here, we have a fine combination of the humility and boldness of faith.
* With boldness, Wesley speaks of the reality of the Spirit’s working in the heart of the believer – “the Spirit of God does give a believer such a testimony of his adoption”.
* With humility, he speaks of the manner of the Spirit’s working in our hearts.
This combination of humility and boldness is well expressed in the words of the hymn:
“I know not how the Spirit moves, convincing men of sin; revealing Jesus through the Word, creating faith in Him. But I know whom I have believed; and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day.”
We dare not claim to understand more than we really do. We must not, however, hesitate to affirm our faith in the reality of the Spirit’s working in us. The Word of God has come to us “with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power” (1 Corinthians 2:4). Through faith in Christ, “we have received the Spirit who is from God” (1 Corinthians 2:12).
In 1 Corinthians 2:10, we see that our faith in Christ includes both boldness and humility.
* With the boldness of faith, we join, with Paul, in affirming the reality of the Spirit’s working in us: “Through His Spirit, God has revealed Himself to us.”
* With the humility of faith, we join, with Paul, in affirming that we can never claim to have gained a full understanding of “the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10).

Monday, 2 April 2018

When Christ Returns, There Will Be Salvation - And Judgment.

Each of the tribes had their part in the promised land. Each of Jesus' disciples, whom He called to Himself at the outset of His ministry, had his part in the work of the Lord. What God did with Israel and with Jesus' first disciples will be surpassed when Christ comes in glory: "You shall see greater things ... You shall see the heavens open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man" (John 1:50-51). On that Day, there will be both salvation and judgment: "The righteous man is rescued from trouble, and it comes on the wicked instead" (Proverbs 11:8).

Friday, 30 March 2018

They Killed Him. God Raised Him!

"Come, let us kill him" (Matthew 21:38). This is the human story of Christ's crucifixion. He was "put to death by wicked men." There is also the divine story - "the deliberate plan and foreknowledge of God"(Acts 2:23). The wicked men thought that this was the end of Jesus. They were wrong! - "God raised Him from the dead." Could it have been any other way? Could the evil scheming of men have prevailed over God's plan of salvation? - No! "It was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him" (Acts 2:24).

Friday, 9 March 2018

Set Free By The Truth Of The Gospel

Much modern preaching tends, in the words of the prophet Jeremiah, to say to men and women, "Peace, peace" where there is, in fact, "no peace." The Gospel, on the other hand, to use the words of the prophet Joel, places "multitudes in the valley of decision." The Gospel places you and me crossroads between faith and unbelief. It is a crossroads at which you must make a decision - either to trust Jesus Christ as Saviour, or to trust in your own selves, your religion, your good works. Which will it be - Christ or or man-centred religion?
When Jesus Christ preached the Word of God, His preaching had one of two effects on His hearers - either they believed and were saved, or they were antagonised, and they objected to Him, threatening Him, taunting Him and persecuting Him.
When the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached, simply and honestly, it is never comfortable to listen to. The Gospel never leaves people the way they were. Either, it thrills them, or it infuriates them. The Gospel places every one of us at the crossroads. Will it be faith in Jesus Christ and salvation, or unbelief (even religious unbelief) and condemnation?
"God sent His Son not to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through Him" (John 3:17). These great Gospel words are followed by an urgent call to faith - "He who believes in Him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the Name of the only Son of God" (John 3:18).
Jesus says to each  of us: "If you continue in My Word, you are truly My disciples, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31-32).
To all of us, Jesus asks very serious and insistent questions: What about your religion? What about your church membership and church attendance? Can it be described in terms of continuing in the Lord's Word? Can it be described as a life of true discipleship? Can it be described as knowing the truth and being set free by the truth of the Gospel?
Perhaps, you are the type of person who says to yourself, "The Gospel of Christ is all right as long as it's concerned with generalities, and doesn't get too personal in its challenge."
This type of person accepts Jesus as the great example and teacher, and even acknowledges that He is the Son of God. When, however, he hears the personal challenge of the Gospel, he starts to back away.
I wonder if this is an apt description of you. You are a religious person. You attend Church regularly, but you don't like to hear about the need to be converted, the need to be born again. 
Is it because we don't like to hear that we are lost sinners for whom there is no hope apart from faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, our only Saviour?
When Jesus says, "Unless you are converted, you shall perish", we tend to say to ourselves, "I'm really quite a good person. Why all this talk about conversion?"
When Jesus says, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God", we tend to react hastily, "I've been a religious person all my life. Why all this talk about being born again?"
What we tend to forget is this: We really are sinners whose only hope of being accepted by God is based on the death of Jesus Christ. If you look at your life in the light of Christ's death for you, you can come to no other conclusion than this: If Jesus Christ needed to die on the Cross for me, I must be a great sinner with a very great need of a great Saviour. Alongside the Saviour and His death upon the cross for our sins, there is no room at all for the claim that God will accept us on the basis of our religion and good works.
Jesus said, "You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32).
The freedom which Jesus offers to you and me is grounded in a knowledge of the truth about ourselves, that we are sinners, who can do nothing to save ourselves. It is based on the truth about our Lord Jesus Christ, that He is our only Saviour.
This knowledge of the truth, and this experience of being set free by the truth, is very far removed from the religion of a great many Church members, who attend Church regularly. Many have a form of religion, which is sheer slavery - a slavery to custom and tradition. Such people are religious because they are afraid not to be religious. They speak of their childhood days in this way - "When we were young, we were made to go to Church." They are religious people, simply because they have never known anything else. That's the way they were brought up. It's their custom and tradition. It's what they were taught by their parents and grandparents. 
This is not the freedom which Christ promises. It is nothing more than a shallow and superficial belief - a second-hand faith, which is bound by custom, tradition and fear. There is no comparison between this kind of religious bondage and the knowledge of the truth, which Christ gives and which sets the believer free.
When the believer has come to know the truth of the gospel, he is able to say with real conviction: "I know this to be the truth of God. I know it to be true because it has changed my life."
What is it that the believer confesses to be the truth of God? It is the Gospel. This is what changes our lives - the knowledge of Jesus Christ, the Saviour who invites you to receive forgiveness for all of your past sins, the Saviour who says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if you open the door, I will come in" (Revelation 3:20). He says, "I will make you a new person. I will empower you with the Holy Spirit." Jesus is the Saviour, who invites us to receive His free gift - the gift of eternal life. We receive this wonderful gift through faith in Jesus, our Saviour. 
How are the blessing of God's salvation to become ours? Is it, through self-centred religion, in which you are so confident that your good works will be good enough? No! We receive God's wonderful gift of salvation through faith in Jesus, our Saviour. 
Trust in Christ. Believe that He died for you. Believe that He has taken your sins upon Himself so that all of your sins might be forgiven. Believe that Jesus is the risen Lord, the living Saviour. Believe that He gives you His great gift of eternal life. Believe that He will keep you in the way of faith, the way that leads to His heavenly and eternal glory.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Jesus Christ takes us out of judgment and into salvation.

Unbelievers have ridiculed “fire and brimstone” preaching. We cannot, however, allow their scornful attitude to lead us to dismiss “fire and brimstone” preaching. We dare not say that such preaching belongs to the past. We must note that the Bible preaches “fire and brimstone.” We must ask, “How does the Bible preach “fire and brimstone”?” The fact that the Bible preaches “fire and brimstone” means that this emphasis on divine judgment must not be excluded from our preaching in today’s world. The way that the Bible preaches “fire and brimstone” teaches us that we must always preach with a view to leading men and women to know Jesus Christ as their Saviour. Jesus Christ is the only way out of judgment. Jesus Christ is the only way into salvation. We hear the Gospel. we hear its promise. We hear its warning. The Gospel places us at a cross-roads. Each of us must decide. We must come to Christ. We must trust Him as our Saviour. We must come to Him, believing that He died on the Cross for us. We must come to Him and receive His free gift of the forgivenss of our sins. It is only through faith in Him that we will come to know, for ourselves, the truth of the final words of Psalm 11: “upright men will see His face” (verse 7).

We have been saved by the Lord.

“Rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). We must never forget Jesus Christ, He is our Saviour. Remembering Him will keep us from thinking too highly of ourselves. We are only servants. Jesus is the Saviour.

Three Very Important Questions

Three very important questions - questions that demand a personal answer: Who is Jesus? What can Jesus do for us? What will we do about Jesus?
(1) Who is Jesus? Is he a mere man? or Is He somebody special?
Every one of us must answer the question, "Who is Jesus?"
- Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1).
- Jesus is the Son of God (John 1:34).
Jesus does not merely speak God's Word. He is the Word of God.
Jesus is more than a servant of God. He's the Son of God.
(2) What can Jesus do for us? Could He do something wonderful for me? Could He change my life? Could He turn boredom into satisfaction? Could he turn confusion into certainty? Could He turn aimlessness into purpose? Could He turn cynicism into testimony? Could He ... ? - Yes! He can. Jesus is able to do great things for us.
  • He can give satisfaction to the bored.
  • He can give certainty to the confused.
  • He can give purpose to the aimless.
  • He can give a testimony to the cynical.
Jesus can do all these things for us. He can give us all these blessings.
From Him, we receive "grace" (John 1:16). He gives to us His "light" and "life" (John 1:4).
Through faith in Him, we become God's children (John 1:12). Through faith in Him, we receive the forgiveness of our sins (John 1:29). through faith in Him, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (John 1:33).
Isn't this amazing? We can become God's children. we can have our sins forgiven. We can have the Holy Spirit living in us. John 1:12 tells us that we can become God's children - and it tells how we can become God's children - by receiving Christ as our Saviour, by believing in Him.
(3) What will we do about Jesus?
Jesus gives us something to think about. He does more than that. He calls us to make up our mind about Him. There's a time for thinking about it - and there's a time for making our decision. There can be no sitting on the fence. We must make up our mind about Jesus. We must decide to trust Him. we must decide to follow Him.
Am I for Jesus, or am I against Him? - This is the question that each of us must answer. Will I be a disciple of Jesus, or will I be an enemy of Jesus? This questions calls for answer - a personal answer, an immediate answer.
Three very important questions: (1) Who is Jesus? This question has been answered. He is the Son of God. He is the Saviour of sinners. (2) What can Jesus do for us? This question has also been answered. He can make us new people. He can make us God's children. (3) What will you do about Jesus? Has this question been answered? The question comes from Jesus. The answer must come from you.

Questions And Answers (John 9)

John 9 is a chapter that's full of questions and answers.
  • (1) Question: " ... who sinned, this man or his parents ... ?" (John 9:2).
Answer: "Neither ,,, this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life" (John 9:3).
  • (2) Question: "Isn't this the same man who used to ... beg?" (John 9:8).
Answer: "I am the man" (John 9:9).
Whatever we may have been, the grace of God is able to lift us up. Praise the Lord!
  • (3) Question: The "How" question - "how were your eyes opened?" (John 9:10).
Answer: The "Jesus" answer - "The man called Jesus ... " (John 9:11).
May God help us to look away from ourselves and say, "This is what the Lord has done for me.
  • (4) Question: "Where is this man?" (John 9:12).
Answer: "I don't know" (John 9:12).
When, at first, you don't find Jesus, keep looking for Him. he has given us His promise: "Seek and you will find."
  • (5) Question: "How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?" (John 9:16).
Answer: Sometimes, a question needs to be answered with some more questions - Is this man a sinner? Do His miraculous signs not show Him to be something more than a sinner?"
As our questions move from beyond unbelieving questions to questions that are listening for the answer of faith, we begin to hear God's answer: This is My Son. This is your Saviour.
  • (6) Question: What have you to say ... ?" (John 9:17).
Answer: "a prophet" (John 9:17).
Here, we have a step in the right direction. By itself, the miracle does not demonstrate that Jesus is the Saviour. Saving faith comes later. It comes through Christ's self-disclosure (John 9:35-38). Without the Gospel explanation, miracles remain strange events for which we can find no explanation. When Jesus reveals Himself to us as our Saviour, we see that all the pieces of the jigsaw fit together to make a beautiful picture. No longer do we see miracles as strange events that leave us wondering what to make of it all. We see Jesus as our great Saviour.
  • (7) Question: "Is this your son ... born blind?" (John 9:19).
Answer: "We know that he is our son ... born blind" (John 9:20).
What we are, in ourselves, is no obstacle to the grace of God. We recognize that the man's blindness was not caused by sin (Go back to the first question and answer - John 9:2-3). We should, however, say two things about the man's blindness and our sin. His blindness was no problem for Jesus. Our sin is no problem for Jesus. He gave the man his sight. He gives us the forgiveness of our sins.
  • (8) Question: "How then does he now see?" (John 9:19).
Answer: "We don't know" (John 9:20).
What a non-committal answer! When people don't want to acknowledge what's staring them in the face, they say, "We don't know." That's not really an answer at all! That's evading the question. This question calls for the answer of faith - not for "We don't know"!
  • (9) Question: "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?" (John 9:26).
Answer: "Do you want to become His disciples?" (John 9: 27).
Here's a call to commitment. Let there be less "We don't know" and more "Yes, Lord. We want to be Your disciples."
  • (10) Question: "Do you believe ... ?" ( John 9:35).
Answer: "Tell me that I may believe" (John 9:36).
We hear the question, "Do you believe?" We ask the questions, "How am I to believe? What am I to believe?" Jesus is the answer to our question. everything is leading us to Him. The desire to believe, the search for faith - It all comes from Him. He is working in us. He is creating faith in our hearts. He teaches us what it means to have faith. He shows us that real faith is faith in Him.
  • (11) Question: "Are we blind?" (John 9:40),
Answer: " ... you claim to see ... your guilt remains" (John 9:41).
There is a blindness that does not come from sin (See, again, the first question and answer - John 9:2-3). There is another blindness that comes directly from our sin. It is the result of our sin. It is a blindness which Jesus can remove - but we must want Him to remove our blindness. We must want Him to forgive our sins. We must want Him to be our Saviour.

Bring Your Sin To The Saviour Of Sinners.

John 8:34-36
Sin is our greatest problem. What are we to do about it?
We ask the question, "What are we to do about sin?" We ask this question, and, then, we ask another question, "What can we do about it?"
When we realize how big a problem sin is, we became aware that we need help. We need more than self-help. We need salvation. This cannot come from ourselves. Salvation must be given to us. It must come from outside of ourselves. It must come from above. It must come to us from our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
We have a problem with the idea that salvation must come to us from outside. The problem is ourselves. Here, we come to the heart of sin. What is sin? It's self-centredness. G K Chesterton hit the nail on the head when he said, "What's wrong with the world? I am." Sin is our problem. Salvation is God's solution.
What is sin?
  • Sin is self-will: "I did it my way"
  • Sin is self-indulgence: "Looking after No. 1"
  • Sin is self-confidence: "We can work it out"
- We say, "I did it way." Where did it get us?
- We talk about "Looking after No. 1." Who is No.1?
 - We say, "We can work it out." Can we?
The more we look at self-centred thinking, the more we realize that it is very shallow thinking. It doesn't take us to the heart of our problem.
Before we can even begin to answer the question, "What can be done about sin?", each one of us must recognize that we have a big problem, a problem that's too big for us to deal with on our own.
This leads us to an important point that needs to be made if we are to face the fact of our sin honestly. We cannot run away from our sin. We dare not pretend to ourselves that we're not as bad as we really are.
We must recognize that there's a big difference between admitting and confessing. We're not to offer a half-hearted admission of guilt. We're to make a real confession of our sin. We need to acknowledge the self-centredness of our whole life. This will mean more than, looking at some particular situation and saying, "I was in the wrong. it was my fault." It will mean looking at our whole life, and saying, "I am wrong." The problem is not just one or two problems, or even a whole lot of problems, we may have. I am the problem.
There is a big difference between a shallow and superficial admission of guilt and a real confession of sin. Saying, "I'm sorry", when we really mean, "I wish I hadn't messed up", is not the same thing as a real confession of sin. Confessing our sin is more than saying, "I'm sorry things have turned out this way. I wish I had done things differently." That's more about regret than it is about saying "No" to sin and "Yes" to Jesus.
Saying "No" to sin and saying "Yes" to Jesus - the two belong together. How can we have one without the other? We may try to say "No" but if we do not turn to Jesus for His help, we will fail to live a new life and we will fall back into sin. If, on the other hand, we do say "Yes" to Jesus, we cannot expect to remain the same as we were before we came to Him.
Saying "No" to sin and saying "Yes" to Jesus - This is what it means to confess our sin and trust in the Saviour. A real confession of sin arises out an awareness of how who God is and what He has done for us. He is the holy God. When we begin to see how holy God is, we begin to see how sinful we really are. When we begin to see what a great thing the God of His love - He gave His son to be our Saviour, we find, arising in our hearts, a desire to say "No" to sin and say "Yes" to Jesus. God gave His Son to put away our sin - forgiving our sin and giving us His power to triumph over sin. As we come to appreciate the wonder of God's great salvation, we will want to say "No" to sin and "Yes" to Jesus.
Jesus has done so much for us. Let us say "No" to the sin that sent Him to the Cross for us. Let us say "Yes" which took Him to the Cross for us. Jesus can still do great things for us. He calls us to put our sinful past behind us and to walk with Him into his future - a future in which there will be more of His blessing and less of our sin.
  • Dear God, I am sorry that I have left You out of my life, and sinned against You in thought, word and deed, Thank you for sending Jesus to die on the Cross so that I could know you for myself. forgive my sin, and give me the power of Your Spirit to live for You every day, until You bring me to be with You forever, in heaven. For Jesus' sake. Amen.

"One thing I know ..." (John 9:25).

"One thing I know, that though I was blind, now I see" (John 9:25).
Every believer can share his /her personal experience of Christ.
Many people say, "I don't know very much." They use this as an excuse for their failure to speak a word for Jesus.
The man, who received his sight, didn't use his lack of knowledge as an excuse for not speaking for Jesus. He said, "I don't know." Then, he said, "One thing I know, that though I was blind, now I see" (John 9:25).
To help us learn the lesson that every believer can and should share his / her personal testimony, when the opportunity, let's look at the context in which these words were spoken.
There are three factors which contribute significantly to this context:
  • the relation between Jesus and the man;
  • the relation between the man and his world;
  • the man himself.
(1) Jesus and the man
There are two moments of contact between Jesus and the man:
In both instances, we note the initiative of Jesus.
  • In the first instance, there is no indication that the man came looking for healing from Jesus. All we are told is this: Jesus healed him.
  • In the second instance, we are told that Jesus "found" the man. Isn't that the right order? Sometimes, we say, "I found Jesus." Is it not more true to the Gospel and Christian experience to say, "Jesus found me"?
When Jesus found and healed this man, He changed the man. When a person encounters Jesus, he / she can never be the same again.
One of the first changes was this: the man's new-found faith was put to the test. No-one can become a disciple and expect to evade the testing of his / her faith.
(2) The man and his world
The man's world was made up of three groups of people. Each of these groups had a different attitude towards him.
  • the man's neighbours had an attitude of indifference towards him;
  • the man's parents had an attitude of compromise towards him;
  • the Pharisees had an attitude of rejection towards him.
These attitudes of indifference, compromise and rejection face us today.
  • Think of the indifference of the person who hears the Christian's personal testimony and says, "So what!"
  • Think of the compromise of the person who hears the Christian's personal testimony and says, "I know, but ... "
  • Think of the rejection that comes from the person who hears the Christian's personal testimony and says, "Rubbish!"
We must learn not to be influenced by such attitudes. we must learn to be faithful to God.
(3) The man himself
Here, we look at the man's experience, testimony and influence.
  • The man's experience: his eyes were opened. This is what happens to the believer when Christ is received into his / her heart (2 Corinthians 4:3-6).
  • The man's testimony: he had received his sight. This is the Christian's testimony (Acts 26:18).
  • the man's influence: a whole lot of people started thinking about Jesus.
This man gave Jesus the opportunity to call the Pharisees to trust Him as their Saviour.
As we consider the man's experience, testimony and influence, we must ask some important questions about our own experience, testimony and influence.
  • Have I any personal experience of Christ, opening my eyes to see Him as my Saviour?
  • Have I a personal testimony to Christ as the Saviour, who has changed my life?
  • Has the Lord used me to bring other people to Him?
These are questions which require a personal response from each and every one of us.

Jesus Is The Ice-Breaker.

“Anyone who comes to Me, I will never cast out” (John 6:37).
Often, it seems like we’re living in an earthbound existence. We look out beyond ourselves, and we see nothing but an enormous iceberg that keeps us from getting through to the God who loves us with a warm-hearted love.
Then, Jesus comes along. He’s the Ice-Breaker. He breaks the ice, which separates us from God. He enables us to see that God is much more than just, “There must be something somewhere.” He’s much more than “the unknown God.” He’s the God who loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for our sins so that we, through faith in the Saviour, might come to know God as our Father.
Jesus is the Ice-Breaker
How does He break the ice?
How does He melt away our coldness towards God?
He does this in the same way that we break the ice with other people.
He speaks to us. He speaks to us in ways that we can understand. He speaks to us His words of love.
Here’s a great icebreaker that comes to us from Jesus, the Ice-Breaker.
“Anyone who comes to Me I will never cast out” (John 6:37).
- This is Good News for everyone.
It’s not just for the spiritually elite who imagine that they’ve proved themselves worthy of God’s love. The Gospel isn’t for Pharisees. They’ll always miss the point of it all. There’s too much of self in their righteousness. they can’t take their eyes of themselves – their religion and their morality – to look at Jesus, and see how wonderful a Saviour He is. The Gospel is for sinners – but it can also be the Gospel for Pharisees, when they learn to see themselves as sinners.
- Jesus will never turn away anyone who comes to Him.
Under no circumstances will Jesus turn away anyone who comes to Him. There is no doubt about this. Jesus has given His promise: “Anyone who comes to Me I will never cast out” (John 6:37). Jesus has given His promise – and He will keep His promise.
- To each and every one of us, Jesus says, “Come.”
If we do not come to Him, we will miss out on the blessing that He has promised. If we do come to Him, we will be truly blessed.
Jesus is the Ice-Breaker. It is wonderful love, His amazing grace and abundant mercy that melts away the coldness of our hearts.
- Jesus says, Come now.”
He doesn’t say, “Come back later – once you’ve improved yourself, once you’ve proved yourself worthy of coming to me, once you feel you’re more acceptable to Me.”
He says, “Come as you are. Come with your sin. Bring your sin to Me. I will forgive your sin.”

Receive New Life From The Lord - And Live Your Life For Him.

What's it all about - this Christianity? is it a form of religion or a code of ethics? The words, 'religion' and 'ethics' are well wide of the mark when it comes to describing what it means to be a Christian.
The word, 'life' is the word used by Jesus: "I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).
Jesus did not say, "I have come that they might have religion (or ethics)."
Jesus came to give us life - the life of God.
When we have received this life from Him, we come to understand that being a Christian is about a personal relationship with God. It's not just a matter of following a certain code of religious or moral behaviour.
This personal relationship with God is entirely bound up with Jesus Christ. Apart from him, there is no life. There is only the emptiness of life without God, in this world and in the world to come. With Jesus Christ, there is life - a life given by God, a life dependent on God, a life lived for God.
  • (1) A life given by God
What is a Christian? Is it about being kind to others, giving to charities, not committing crimes? A humanist does all of these things. Is it about going to church services? the New Testament says something different: "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (Galatians 2:20).
Note the contrast between the things which we do and the New Testament teaching that Christianity is Christ .
This contrast is emphasized in the Gospels. The religious leaders of Jesus' day had become so tied up with rules and regulations that they had neglected their relationship with God. Jesus, offering them something better - a life that is to be given to us by God. He told them, in no uncertain terms, that they needed to be "born again."
This is a message that we need to hear today. Like the Pharisees, we tend to complicate the simplicity of the Gospel. We turn it into a complex system of rules. God invites us to come to know Him as our loving Father. Why do we insist on thinking of God as a kind of heavenly policeman, who is constantly trying to catch us out when we do wrong? The idea of God as a kind of heavenly policeman, who's trying to catch us out, needs to be rooted out of our thinking.
There's another idea we need to get rid of - the idea that God is a kind of heavenly skinflint, a tight-fisted character, who's only interested in what he can get out of us. The idea of a god, who is on the make, s the exact opposite of the god and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is a loving God, a giving God - "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son" (John 3:16).
It's often said, "You only get what you pay for." If you approach the Christian Faith from this angle, you will come up with the most complete misunderstanding of the Christian Gospel imaginable.
If God were to give us what we've paid for, there would be nothing, for us, but judgment and condemnation. This is what we deserve from God - nothing more, nothing less: judgment and condemnation. The amazing thing is this: God has, in His Son, paid the price of our sin. this is the Gospel. This is the Good News that comes to us from God. In Jesus Christ, God has taken the punishment for our sin. At the heart of the Christian Faith is the death of Jesus Christ as our substitute. He took my place and died for me. This is what the Christian has come to know. Those who have come to the Cross and accepted Jesus Christ as their Saviour can truly say, "The Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).
There is no room, at the Cross of Jesus Christ, for a 'skinflint' god. It is, at the Cross, that we must receive the gift of God, the gift for which we can never even begin to pay, the gift which has been paid for the death of Another - our Lord Jesus Christ. At the Cross, we learn that it is not we who give to God. It's God who gives to us. we learn that we can only receive from God. From Him, we receive the gift of Jesus Christ, our Saviour.
  • (2) A life dependent on God
We must avoid carefully the idea of a god, who is always on the make. We must also take care not to take God for granted. The kind of person, who tries to get as much as he can out of God with the least personal involvement, has misunderstood completely what it means to have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. To have faith in Christ is to "live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). The Christian life is lived in the light of the death of Jesus Christ, who loved us and gave Himself for us. It doesn't make sense to say, "I believe the Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me", and, then, hold back from giving ourselves to Him, in glad surrender.
The question may be asked, "Can I accept Jesus Christ as my Saviour without submitting to Him as my Lord?" This question is based on reveals on a serious misunderstanding of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are saved by the grace of God. We can do nothing to deserve His grace. We must receive the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ as God's free gift. We must never lose this emphasis. It is the heart of the Christian Gospel. Building on the foundation of God's grace, we must emphasize that Christian commitment is a privilege before it is a responsibility.
Trusting Jesus is not like wearing a lucky charm. It's not just a way of getting on the right side of God, and making sure of a place in heaven. We are called to a life of faith: "Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."
  • (3) A life lived for God
If the life of trust and obedience is to be real in you and me, we must take great care to avoid two very dangerous misconceptions of the Christian life.
(a) The first is that we become so heavenly-minded that we're no earthly use. This kind of person is very concerned to make sure that he himself is going to heaven, but he shows no real interest in serving the Lord and serving other people here on earth. He needs to understand that real faith is more than booking a place in heaven. We need to be wary of a self-centred desire to get to heaven, which doesn't lead us to serve God and other people here and now. Salvation leads to service.
(b) The second is that we become so earthly-minded that we're no heavenly use. Some people throw everything into their work., their family life and their personal interests. The Christian has a higher priority: serving God and pleasing Him. This doesn't mean that we should all be preachers or missionaries. What it does mean is this: use your gifts and abilities to the full for God. The Bible never separates believing and doing. Faith and work belong together. We are not saved by works, but we are saved for works. When faith is real, it will lead to good works.
Live for God. This is very important. Words mean nothing, if we're not living for the Lord.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

God’s “everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3) and God’s “everlasting salvation” (Isaiah 45:17)

‘His love endures for ever’. This is the great message contained in every single verse of this Psalm. It’s a message worth repeating – over and over again! God’s love is an everlasting love – ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love’ (Jeremiah 31:3). God’s love is an unfailing love – ‘My unfailing love for you will not be shaken’ (Isaiah 54:10). Let us ‘give thanks’ to God for His love (Psalm 136:1-3,26). In His love, the Lord has provided for us ‘an everlasting salvation’. His ‘salvation will last for ever’ (Isaiah 45:17; Isaiah 51:6). We must not be like those who refuse to love the Lord – ‘Pharaoh… great kings… mighty kings …’ (Psalm 136:15,17-20). Those who reject God’s love will not receive ‘eternal life’. Their future will be very different – the ‘raging fire that will consume the enemies of God’ (John 3:16-18; Hebrews 10:26-27).

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The Lord has sent His Spirit of power to live in us.

We read about Elijah in his high-points of strength - the triumph over the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:36-39) - and his low-points of ...