Sunday, 24 June 2018

Lord, You’re calling us to choose the life of fruitful service.

1 Kings 7:13-8:13
Lord, You’re calling us to choose the life of fruitful service – “gold, silver, precious stones”. You’re calling us to leave behind the unfruitful life – “wood, hay, straw” (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). Help us to hear and answer Your call: “Rise up, O Church of God. Have done with lesser things. Give heart and soul and mind and strength to serve the King of kings.”

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Couldn't care less! Can't be bothered! ...

Couldn’t care less! Can’t be bothered!
Many people have this attitude toward Jesus Christ and His Church.
Perhaps, it’s your attitude right now as you begin to read this invitation.
God’s attitude to you is exactly the opposite.
He cares for you! He is bothered with you!
God’s care! God’s “being bothered”!
Doesn’t that make you think, “What right have I to say to God, “Couldn’t care less! Can’t be bothered!
Take time to read this invitation carefully.
It may change your life.
 * Perhaps, you’re thinking, 'Why should God care about me?'
There is no answer to this question apart from the love of God.
Look at yourself honestly. God should really have given up on all of us a long time ago – but He hasn’t!
God sent His Son – Jesus Christ – to seek and to save the lost. God patiently waits for those who have lost their way in life (that’s all of us!) to come back to Him through trusting Jesus Christ as Saviour.
 * Perhaps, you’re wondering, 'How do I know that God cares about me?'
There is no answer to this question apart from the death of Christ.
Look at Jesus Christ honestly. He is so unlike us. He did everything God wanted Him to do. He didn’t deserve to die a criminal’s death – but He did: death on a cross.
Why did He die in this way? – “Christ died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3).
It should have been me! It should have been you!
Jesus Christ suffered “capital punishment” for us!
The cross of Christ turns our questions around – “How can we doubt that God cares for us?”
 * Perhaps, you’re asking, 'Can I – a ‘couldn’t care less, can’t be bothered’ type of person – be changed?'
There is no answer to this question apart from the power of the Holy Spirit.
Let’s be honest. The story of your life and mine is a story of failure. Don’t let failure hold you back from coming in faith to Jesus Christ.
Do you think that God will turn you away? – He sent His Son to save failures.
Do you think that Christ will look down His nose at you? – He died on the cross for failures.
Why do you say, “I can’t become a Christian. I’d be a failure”? 
A Christian is simply a failure who has received from God – through faith in Christ – forgiveness for the past, strength for the present and hope for the future.
Why don’t you receive this great gift – a new beginning with God – by receiving Jesus Christ as your Saviour?
Don’t wait till tomorrow! Don’t wait till Sunday! Trust Christ right now!
We look forward to meeting you at Church this Sunday, as we thank God for Jesus!

Friday, 22 June 2018

Lord, the things that are most important to us ...

Lord, the things that are most important to us are not always the things that are most important to You. Jesus, Your Son, tells us that eternal profit is more important than personal profit. He says to us, “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?” (Mark 8:36). Help us, Lord, to hear what Jesus is saying to us – and to be changed by what He says to us.

A Godly, Christlike And Spirit-Filled Life

What kind of people are we to be? What kind of life are we to live? Lord, You're calling us to live a life of "love" (Proverbs 17:9). How, Lord, do we learn what love is? - We learn from You. You show us what love is - "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son ... " (John 3:16). In Jesus, we see perfect love - "The Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). The Holy Spirit fills our lives with Your love - "The fruit of the Spirit is love" (Galatians 5:22). Help us, Lord, to live a Godly, Christlike, Spirit-filled life - a life of love.

Jesus Christ - The Way, The Truth And The Life

When you're at a crossroads, it's so important that you make the right decision. Once you've made the right decision, it's so important that you keep on heading in the right direction.
Some people tell us that there are many ways to God and many ways to heaven. This is not what Jesus tells us. What does Jesus say to us? - He says, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No-one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6). Jesus says, "I am the door; if any one enters by Me, he will be saved" (John 10:9).
How does Jesus open the door to heaven for us? He says, "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for us" (John 10:11). It's through His death on the Cross that Jesus opens the door to heaven.
What is heaven? We speak about going up to heaven when our life on earth is over. We can also speak of heaven coming down to us while we are still here on earth - "Heaven came down and glory filled my soul, when, at the cross, the Saviour made me whole." When we come to the Cross, and put our trust in the Saviour, this is the beginning of heaven. It's a "foretaste of glory divine."
Why did Jesus come to earth? We might say that He came to earth so that we might go to heaven. We might also say that He came to give us the life of heaven here-and-now: "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (John 10:10).
How does this "abundant life" come to us? It comes to us through the death of Christ. If we are to bring real life to our hearers, we must "preach Christ crucified." we must join with Paul in saying, "I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2; 1 Corinthians 1:23).
Preaching Christ crucified is grounded in knowing Christ crucified.
What is "preaching"? Is it what happens when the minister speaks to the congregation? It's more than that. The Word is to be preached by many people in many different places, all through the week: "A great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the region of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles ... those who were scattered went about preaching the word" (Acts 8:1a,4).
What did Jesus do when He began His preaching ministry? He called His disciples to Him. They were ordinary people. They were learning to follow Jesus. They were learning to be his witnesses.
What will it mean, for us, to be Christ's witnesses?
Let's return to Jesus' words, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life" (John 14:6). This is more than a Gospel message, calling on unbelievers to put their faith in Christ and receive salvation. It also contains instruction for Christians who have committed themselves to being Christ's witnesses.
If we are to point to Christ as the Way, the Door, the Gate, our witness must be true and living.
- This is more than saying that we believe that the Gospel is true. It means that the Gospel is to be preached by those who have experienced its truth.
- It's more than saying that Christ brings life to the world. It means that the Gospel is to be preached by those who are growing in their experience of life in Christ.
May the Lord help each of us to be men and women who know, in our hearts and lives, that Jesus Christ is the true and living Saviour of all who come to God through faith in Him.

Let’s sing of God’s great love for us.

Let’s sing of God’s great love for us.
‘I will sing of the Lord’s great love for ever; with my mouth I will make known Your faithfulness through all generations’(Psalm 89:1). Many years have passed since these words were written by the Psalmist. Many generations have come and gone since Jesus Christ came to our world. The years come and go. The centuries run their course. One generation gives way to another generation. Time moves on relentlessly. None of us can halt the march of time. Many changes have taken place over the course of time. There is something which must never change. The Lord is to be praised ‘for ever’. He is to be praised ‘through all generations’. We must look back and remember. Jesus Christ was crucified for us. Jesus Christ has risen for us. This is the Good News which inspires our praise: ‘I will sing of the Lord’s great love for ever…’

Let’s receive strength from the God of our salvation.
By the grace of God we are called to salvation – ‘saved through faith’ – , sanctification – ‘for good works’ – , and service – ‘according to the gift of God’s grace… by the working of His power’, we are enabled ‘to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ’ (Ephesians 2:8-10; 3:7-8). When we consider all this, we say in our hearts, ‘To God be the glory’! (Ephesians 3:21). We are ‘strengthened with power through His Spirit in our inner being’ so that we might live as those who are saved, sanctified and serving. Even when we are deeply conscious of our own great weakness, we draw encouragement from this: God is ‘able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us’ (Ephesians 3:16, 20). We grow in grace as we share in fellowship – ‘eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit’ (Ephesians 4:3).
Strengthened by our Saviour, let’s share His love with others.
Christ saves – and satisfies: We feed on Him and we are ‘satisfied’(Mark 6:42). Apart from Him, the human search ends in this: ‘I can’t get no satisfaction’. In Him, there is satisfaction – He is the Saviour. Saved, satisfied and sharing – this is what we are to be. To His disciples, He still says, ‘You give them something…’ (Mark 6:37). We say, ‘We don’t have enough’. He says, ‘I am more than enough’(2 Corinthians 3:5). Many are ‘like sheep without a shepherd’. We must not fail them. We must ‘teach them many things’(Mark 6:34). The storm is raging: ‘they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them’(Mark 6:48). Jesus draws near, and there is peace: ‘the wind ceased’(Mark 6:51). Another ‘storm’ continues to rage: ‘Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders…?’(Mark 7:5). How did Jesus respond to this ‘storm’ of criticism? – He exposed the hypocrisy of those who made the tradition of men more important than the Word of God (Mark 7:7-9,13). He invited ‘the people’ to come ‘to Him’, to ‘hear’, to ‘understand’. His Word was addressed to ‘all’ of them (Mark 7:14). Jesus emphasizes this point: ‘man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart’(1 Samuel 16:7). The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart. Which will it be? – ‘Their hearts were hardened’(Mark 6:52) or ‘Loving the Lord your God with all your heart’(Mark 12:30).

A Christ-Centred Life And A Christ-Centred Ministry

  • “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
One ministry was about to end. Another ministry was about to begin.
The second ministry would be greater than the first ministry.
- The first ministry was the ministry of John the Baptist.
- The second ministry was the ministry of Jesus the Saviour.
What a difference there is between a Baptist and the Saviour.
Plenty of people can baptize. Only one can save – Jesus.
  • “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
This is an abiding principle of the Christian life. The servant must decrease. The Saviour must increase. There must be less of self, and more of Christ. We must learn to focus on Christ as the very centre of our faith and life, our worship and witness. We will receive blessing from our Saviour, as we learn to keep Him at the centre of every part of our life.
  • “No one can receive anything except what is given him from heaven” (John 3:27).
What does the servant of the Lord bring to the people of God? We can only bring what is given to us by the Lord. God gives His Word to His servants, so that His people may give glory to the Lord.
  • In the service of the Lord, there is something we must never forget: “He who comes from above is above all” (John 3:31). In the service of the Lord, is there a guarantee of ‘success’? – Let’s look at Jesus’ ministry: “He bears witness to what He has seen and heard, yet no one receives His testimony” (John 3:32). “No one receives his testimony” – Does that sound depressing? Are all of us to expect a great ‘success story’? Is the authenticity of a ministry to be assessed by human criteria – How many people are coming to the services? How much money is being given to the church? We must always ask the question, what is most important – ‘success’ or obedience? Have not some become so infatuated with the idea of success that they have sacrificed reality and depth in order to get the success that means so much to them? What does this kind of success amount to? Not very much at all – if it amounts to a denial of the principle: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
  • Worship in the Spirit and truth (John 4;24), preaching in the power of the Spirit (Acts 4:31) – These are the things that matter so much to the Lord. To lose sight of the importance of the things that matter most is to turn things around. It’s to make “I must increase” more important than “He must increase.” What happens when we start thinking like this? – “The glory has departed” (1 Samuel 4:21-22).
  • “The One whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit” (John 3:34).
In the ministry of our Saviour, we see something very different from the departure of the glory. We see the revelation of the glory. God’s Spirit is given. God’s Word is spoken. God is glorified. Sinners are saved. There’s a new song of praise to the Lord, a song that exalts the Name of Jesus our Saviour, a song that says, “Hallelujah”, a song that says, “Praise the Lord.”
  • “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:36).
Wherever Christ is preached in the power of the Spirit, there will be salvation. This blessing comes when the Lord’s servants are faithful in preaching both the Gospel promise and the Gospel warning. How will people seek salvation unless they are told that they need to be saved? The warning is to be heeded, the promise is to be believed – and Christ is to be glorified.

Lord, You’re calling us to choose the life of fruitful service.

1 Kings 7:13-8:13 Lord, You’re calling us to choose the life of fruitful service – “gold, silver, precious stones”. You’re calling us t...