Monday, 26 June 2017

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost: Genesis 18:1-5 (21:1-7); Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19 or Exodus 19:2-8a; Psalm 100; Romans 5:1-8; Matthew 9:35-10:8, (9-23)

Trust the Lord.
Is anything too hard for the Lord? (Genesis 18:14).
We need to hear these words as God’s call to greater faith.
Sarah, like Abraham, had heard God’s promises, yet ‘she laughed to herself’ (Genesis 18:12).
We can hear God’s Word, and still remain, in our hearts, men and women of unbelief. The Word of God does not benefit us when we do not receive it with faith (Hebrews 4:2).
God knows what is in our hearts, just as He knew what was in Sarah’s heart (Genesis 18:13-15). He knows the human heart, ‘deceitful above all things’ (Jeremiah 17:9), yet He continues to love us. He does not give up on us. He perseveres with us. He could have given up on Sarah as a hopeless waste of His time, but He did not.
‘The evil heart of unbelief’ is always with us, but God is constantly at work to create in us ‘a clean heart’ (Hebrews 3:12: Psalm 51:10). 'Soften my heart, Lord’ (Mission Praise, 606).
We have here the contrast between Isaac, the child of promise, and Ishmael, the fruit of unbelief. Ishmael was born as a result of impatience, the failure to wait upon the Lord. In the birth of Isaac, the initiative belonged with God, and the glory belonged to Him.
In Christ, we are the children of promise - ‘children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God’ (John 1:13).
God did not forget Ishmael. There were blessings for him (Genesis 21:17-21).
The difference between Ishmael and Isaac is the difference between common grace and saving grace.
Many people know much of the grace of God in ‘the common things of life’ (Church Hymnary, 457). There are so many blessings for them to count. Still they fail to appreciate God’s greatest gift - His Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Thank God for this and that and... Jesus!

Love the Lord.
‘I love the Lord... I will call on Him as long as I live’ (Psalm 116:1-2).
Our love for God is to be a lifelong life. It is to be the love of our life.
What are we to do when our love for God grows weak? We must remember His love for us - ‘Great is His love towards us. The faithfulness of the Lord endures forever’ (Psalm 117:2).
When we find it difficult to keep on loving God, we must remember how much He loves us.
When we feel like giving up on loving God, we must remember that He never gives up on loving us.
He loves us when our love for Him is strong. He loves us when our love for Him is weak.
In love, He reaches out to us. He brings us out of our weakness and into His strength. Let His strong love reach you in your weakness and give you His strength: ‘Loving Him who first loved me’ (Church Hymnary, 450).

Obey the Lord.
Before law, there is Gospel - what God has done for us (Exodus 19:4).
We are to obey in the Spirit of grace, as those who have been redeemed by His mercy (Exodus 19:5-6; 1 Peter 2:9-10).
God’s Word is not only for the leader. It is for the whole people of God (Exodus 19:3, 7, 9, 11).
God speaks to us concerning possession, consecration and reverence.
* Possession - We are His 'own possession' (Exodus 19:5). In love, He has claimed us for Himself. We belong to Him.
* Consecration - God is holy. We are to be holy (Exodus 19:10, 14; 1 Peter 1:15-16).
* Reverence - Don’t rush into God’s presence, presuming on His blessing. We must not take God’s blessing for granted. That would be arrogance (Exodus 19:21-22).
We must come to Him with this humble confidence: God will bless those who truly call upon Him (2 Chronicles 7:14-16).
May God help us to say, ‘All that the Lord has spoken we will do’ (Exodus 19:8).

Worship the Lord.
‘Exalt the Lord our God ... Make a joyful noise to the Lord’ (Psalms 99:5, 9; 98:4, 6; 100:1).
We are to worship the Lord with joy. We are to glorify God. We are to enjoy Him.
* In our worship, we must never forget the holiness of God: ‘He is holy! ... The Lord our God is holy!’ (Psalm 99:5, 9).
* In our worship, we rejoice in the love of God: ‘His steadfast love endures for ever... He has done marvellous things!’(100:5; 98:1).
The God of ‘awesome purity’ loves us with the most perfect love of all: ‘No earthly father loves like Thee...’
Let us worship Him with holy fear and heartfelt love: ‘O how I fear Thee, living God, with deepest, tenderest fears... with trembling hope and penitential tears! Yet I may love Thee too, O Lord, Almighty as Thou art, for Thou hast stooped to ask of me the love of my poor heart’ (Church Hymnary, 356).

Rejoice in the Lord.
God has great things in store for His people!
(a) ‘Much more’ (Romans 5:9-10): ‘Justified by Christ’s blood’, ‘reconciled to God’, ‘We shall be saved by Christ from the wrath of God’, ‘saved by His life.’
(b) ‘Much more’ (Romans 5:15, 17): ‘The grace of God’ has ‘abounded for many’. In Christ, we have ‘received the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness.’ Through Him, we shall ‘reign in life.’
(c) ‘More than that’ (Romans 5:3): Our pathway to eternal glory will not be easy. There will be ‘suffering.’ God has given us a glimpse of our eternal destiny: ‘grace reigning through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Romans 5:21). ‘We rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God’ (Romans 5:2). Having caught sight of the heavenly and eternal glory, we see our ‘suffering’in a new light, the light of ‘God’s love’ (Romans 5:3-5).

Serve the Lord.
In Jesus’ miracles, we see Him triumph over sin, death and hell.
As well as healing, there is forgiveness (Matthew 9:5-6), the raising of the dead (Matthew 9:18, 24-25) and the casting out of demons (Matthew 9:33).
The Pharisees (Jewish religious leaders) did not like what was happening, and they came up with their own explanation - ‘He casts out demons by the prince of demons’ (Matthew 9:34). Jesus gives us another, better, explanation: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me...’ (Luke 4:18-19).
Jesus was sent to preach the Gospel. We are to bring the Gospel to other people. Jesus was 'teaching... preaching... and healing' (Matthew 9:35).
What opportunities there are to bring the healing power of Christ into many hearts and homes! These opportunities will be missed if ‘the labourers’ remain ‘few’ (Matthew 9:37). Many are ‘harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd’(Matthew 9:36). We must not fail them!
Jesus gave authority to His disciples (Matthew 10:1). He gives authority to us. It is the authority of the Word and the Spirit - ‘you will be given what to say’ by ‘the Spirit of your Father speaking through you’ (Matthew 10:20).
Christ’s disciples were being trained for a great work to be done in the Name and the Power of the Lord (Matthew 28:18-20).
If we are to communicate the Word in the power of the Spirit, we need to see our life as life in the Spirit and life under the Word. Scripture calls us to ‘be filled with the Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:18) and to ‘let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly’ (Colossians 3:16). To be filled with the Spirit is to let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly. To let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly is to be filled with the Spirit. We are to live in the power of the Spirit. We are to live in accordance with the Scriptures.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Third Sunday after Pentecost: Genesis 12:1-9; Psalm 33:1-12 or Hosea 5:15-6:6; Psalm 50:7-15; Romans 4:13-25; Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26

God comes to us with grace and power. Let us rejoice in His faithfulness.

This is a divine Story, carried forward by God’s grace and power.
God’s very great promises (Genesis 12:1-3) find their ultimate fulfilment in the coming of God’s eternal Kingdom (Revelation 21:10).
We have not reached our heavenly destination. We are still caught in the tension between obedience (Genesis 12:4) and disobedience (Genesis 12:11-13).
We are conscious of our human failure, yet we rejoice in the divine faithfulness.
We read of Abraham’s sin (Genesis 12:10-20), yet we look beyond this to God's salvation.
This is not simply the story of Abraham. It is the Story of Abraham's God.
This becomes clear in the change of name.
Abram (‘exalted father’) draws attention to the man. Abraham (‘Father of Many’) points to God’s purpose (Genesis 17:5).
Like Abraham, we are to worship God (Genesis 12:7-8). We are to say, ‘He is exalted.’ We are to say, ‘Christ must increase, and I must decrease’ (John 3:30).

We have plenty of good reasons for rejoicing in the Lord.

‘Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous’ (Psalm 33:1).
We have plenty of good reasons for rejoicing in the Lord.
* He opens His heart to us, making known ‘the thoughts of His heart to all generations’ (Psalm 33:11).
* In His heart, there is love for us - ‘the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord’ (Psalm 33:5).
* He speaks to us of His love. Listening to His voice of love, our joy increases as we learn to trust in His Word - ‘the Word of the Lord is right and true’- and rest in His faithfulness - ‘He is faithful in all He does’ (Psalm 33:4).
We have good cause to say, ‘Our heart is glad in Him’ (Psalm 33:20).
Think of God’s love - His heart of love, His purpose of love, His Word of love.
Let His love touch your heart and change your life. May His love cause each of us to pray from the heart: ‘May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord’ (Psalm 33:22).

We rejoice in the Lord’s wonderful love. Let us love Him with a ‘steadfast love.’
We are to leave the old way of sinful disobedience and follow the new way of faith and obedience: ‘Come, let us return to the Lord... Let us press on to know the Lord’.
As we return to the Lord, pressing on to know Him, His blessing returns to us. He leads us in the way of fruitfulness: ‘He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth’ (Hosea 6:1, 3).
We must not be like those who react to God’s Word with ‘pride’: ‘They do not return to the Lord their God’. God longs to ‘redeem’ them, yet they ‘rebel against’ Him: ‘They do not turn to the Most High God’ (Hosea 7:10, 13, 16).
Our ‘love’ for God is not to be ‘like the early dew that disappears’. Let us ‘acknowledge our guilt and seek His face’. Let us love Him with a ‘steadfast love’ (Hosea 5:15; 6:4, 6).

God comes to us. He speaks to us. Treasure His presence. Listen to His voice.
‘Our God comes, He does not keep silence’ (Psalm 50:3).
God does not keep His distance. He comes near to us. He does not keep His silence. He speaks to us - ‘God the Lord speaks’ (Psalm 50:1).
* How does God come near to us? How does He speak to us?
He comes near to us in Jesus Christ. He speaks to us through Jesus Christ.
In John 1:1, we have this tremendous description of Jesus Christ: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ Jesus Christ is the Word. God is speaking to us through Jesus Christ.
* How does God speak to us through Jesus Christ?
He speaks to us by drawing near to us - ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us’. Jesus Christ is God’s Word. He is God, speaking to us. He is God, coming near to us. He is God, ‘full of grace and truth’ (John 1:14).

We come to God’s throne of grace. We give thanks for the Word of His grace.
Salvation is not a ‘reward’ to be ‘earned.’ It is God’s ‘gift’ (Romans 4:4-5). Salvation comes from the Lord.
‘God so loved the world that He gave His only Son’ (John 3:16): Without the love of God, the gift of God, the Son of God, there can be no salvation. The way of salvation does not begin with the word ‘I.’ Jesus Christ is the Way. He is the Saviour. Salvation is in Him (John 14:6; Matthew 1:21; Acts 4:12).
Looking to ‘Jesus our Lord’, crucified and raised for our salvation, we are saved and we give ‘glory to God’ (Romans 4:20-25). We rejoice in ‘God our Saviour’ - ‘He saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of His own mercy...’ (Titus 3:4-7).
Looking away from ourselves to Christ, we learn the truth of God’s Word: ‘it is on the basis of faith that it may rest on grace’ (Romans 4:16). This is Good News!

The Lord has done great things for us. Let us do great things for Him.
Christ demonstrates His power over nature (Matthew 8:23), demons (Matthew 8:28-34) and sickness (Matthew 9:1-8).
Following such mighty works of power, the next verse seems so ordinary - Jesus said, ‘Follow me’. Matthew ‘rose and followed Him’ (Matthew 9:9).
Matthew’s conversion may seem so unspectacular, but it is no less a mighty work of God than the great miracles which preceded it.
Where does the desire to follow Christ come from? Does it come from our own sinful hearts? No! It comes from the Word of Christ, spoken in power and love - ‘He drew me and I followed on, charmed to confess the Voice Divine’ (Mission Praise, 499).
In the human heart there is resistance - we say, ‘I am “righteous.” “I have no need”of a Saviour’ (Matthew 9:12-13). This resistance is broken down by Christ when ‘new wine is put into fresh wineskins’ (Matthew 9:17).
In Jesus’ miracles, we see His triumph over sin, death and hell.
As well as healing, there is forgiveness (Matthew 9:5-6), the raising of the dead (Matthew 9:18, 24-25) and the casting out of demons (Matthew 9:33).
The Pharisees (Jewish religious leaders) did not like what was happening, and they came up with their own explanation - ‘He casts out demons by the prince of demons’ (Matthew 9:34).
Jesus gives us another, better, explanation: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me...’ (Luke 4:18-19).
Jesus was sent to preach the Gospel. We are to bring the Gospel to other people.
Jesus was 'teaching... preaching... and healing' (Matthew 9:35).
What opportunities there are to bring the healing power of Christ into many hearts and homes! These opportunities will be missed if ‘the labourers’ remain ‘few’ (Matthew 9:37). Many are ‘harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd’ (Matthew 9:36). We must not fail them!

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Second Sunday after Pentecost: Genesis 6:9-22, 7:24, 8:14-19; Psalm 46 or Deuteronomy 11:18-21, 26-28; Psalm 31:1-5, 19-24; Romans 1:16-17, 3:22b-28 (29-31); Matthew 7:21-29

The one way of salvation: Learning from the ark, looking to Christ
To view the Genesis flood exclusively in terms of judgment is to see only one side of what God was doing.
As well as judging, He was also saving - ‘In this ship a few people - eight in all - were saved by water’ (1 Peter 3:20).
The ark points forward to Christ ‘who came back from death to life’, Christ who ‘saves’ us (1 Peter 3:21).
God was working out His purpose of salvation.
In Noah’s day, the remnant of faith was very small, yet the promise of God's love was given to them - ‘I will establish My covenant with you’ (Genesis 6:18).
Even when wickedness threatens to overwhelm us, we still have God’s promise of love, ‘the new covenant in Christ’s blood’ (1 Corinthians 11:25). ‘The blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin’(1 John 1:7).
Knowing that Christ loved us and died for us, we are to be like Noah (Genesis 6:22). We are to walk with the Lord and serve Him.
‘The Lord closed the door behind them’ (Genesis 7:16).
What was going on outside of the ark is contrasted with the haven of salvation inside the ark.
What was it that made the ark a place of salvation? - The Lord.
What is it that makes Jesus Christ the Source of our salvation? - God has given Him the Name that is above every name, the Name of our salvation (Philippians 2:9-11; Acts 4:12).
From the ark, we learn of
(a) the one way of salvation - The ark had only one door. Jesus is ‘the Door’ which leads to salvation (John 10:9);
(b) the eternal security of salvation - All were safe inside the ark. In Christ there is eternal security (John 10:28);
(c) the absolute necessity of salvation - Outside of the ark, there was certain death. Refusal to come to Christ for salvation leads to judgment: ‘How shall we escape...?’(Hebrews 2:3).
Following the flood, we have this simple yet striking declaration: ‘the ground was dry’ (Genesis 8:13).
Safe from judgment! This is the message which comes to us from the Cross: ‘Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29).
The judgment has fallen upon Christ. We are no longer swept away in the judgment. We can stand on solid ground: ‘On Christ the solid Rock I stand’ (Church Hymnary, 411). He is our Support in ‘the whelming flood’.
God said to Noah, ‘Come out of the ship’ (Genesis 8:15).
We are in Christ. He is the Source of our salvation. God has brought us into Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30).
He does not bring us into Christ solely for our own benefit. We are sent out to be fruitful (Genesis 8:17; John 15:16).
We are to ‘abide in Christ’. This is the way of fruitfulness (John 15:4-5).
We are not sent out alone. Strengthened in ‘the ship’ (in Christ), we step out with Christ and for Him.
God’s Word brings peace. Let us share His Word with joy.
‘Be still, and know that I am God...Shout to God with loud songs of joy’ (Psalms 46:10; 47:2).

In our worship, there is to be both quiet trust and loud praise.
We read the great words: ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble’ (Psalm 46:1).
* God’s Word brings peace - ‘in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength’.
* We must not keep God’s blessing to ourselves. We must share it with joy - ‘Sing to the Lord...let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory to the Lord, and declare His praise in the coastlands’ (Isaiah 30:15; 42:10-12).
The Lord is to be ‘exalted among the nations’. He is not only ‘our King’. He is ‘the King of all the earth’ (Psalm 46:10; 47:6-7).
‘Father (Jesus/Spirit), we love You. We worship and adore You. Glorify Your Name in all the earth’ (Mission Praise, 142).

We are blessed by the Lord when we walk with him in the pathway of obedience.
God is at work among His people, teaching them many lessons.
Through His precious promises and strong warnings, He leads us in the way of obedience and blessing (Deuteronomy 11:31-32).
If we are to enjoy the Lord’s blessing, we need the whole Word of God - the warnings as well as the promises.
Obedience to God - This is the most important thing in the life of faith. Obedience demonstrates the reality of faith. By our obedience, we show our ‘love’ for the Lord. We rejoice in ‘all the great work of the Lord’. By ‘His mighty hand’, He has provided for us a great salvation. Our enjoyment of His salvation increases as we live in obedience to Him (Deuteronomy 11:8-15). Without obedience, there can be no blessing (Deuteronomy 11:16-17). Teach others to obey God - especially the ‘children’ (Deuteronomy 11:18-21).
God is good. He loves us (Deuteronomy 11:22-25). Obey Him. Choose blessing (Deuteronomy 11:26-28).

Walking in the pathway of obedience, let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.
‘Into Thy hand, I commit my spirit’ (Psalm 31:5).
These words were spoken by Christ as, in death, He gave Himself for our sins (Luke 23:46).
For Christ, there was suffering - ‘I am the scorn of all my adversaries’ (Psalm 31:11).
His suffering was followed by rejoicing, the joy of the resurrection - ‘I will be glad and rejoice in Your love, for You saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place’ (Psalm 31:7-8).
God answered the prayer of His Son - He brought Him into the ‘spacious place’ of the resurrection, the ‘spacious place’ which is, for us, ‘eternal salvation’ (Hebrews 5:7-9).
We look to the crucified Christ and we say, ‘Praise be to the Lord, for He showed His wonderful love to me’ (Psalm 31:21).
In the risen Christ, we are ‘strong and our hearts take courage’ (Psalm 31:24).

Christ has saved us. Let us rejoice in our Saviour.
‘I am not ashamed of the Gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith’ (Romans 1:16).
Do you think it was easy for Paul to maintain such commitment to Christ, such confidence in Christ? What kind of world did he live in? - A world of ‘ungodliness and wickedness’ (Romans 1:18-31). Many times, Paul could have given up in despair - ‘There is too much ungodliness and wickedness all around me. How can I go on?’
When you feel like giving up, when everything seems to be so difficult, remember Paul. Remember his longing to ‘impart some spiritual gift’, his desire to ‘reap some harvest’ his eagerness to ‘preach the gospel’ (Romans 1:12-15).
Let us say, with Paul, ‘God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Galatians 6:14). Let us be ‘set apart for the gospel of God’ (Romans 1:1).
We are sinners - every single one of us. There are no exceptions - ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’. When we see ourselves as we really are - sinners - , we come to see that there is no way for us to earn God’s love. We will never deserve to be loved by God. His love is always ‘a gift’- ‘the redemption which is in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 3:23-24).
Through ‘faith’ we look away from ourselves to Christ. We rejoice that ‘His blood’ was shed for us. We receive from Him the forgiveness of our sins. This is the love of God. This is His gift. He gave His Son to be our Saviour. He gives salvation to all who trust the Saviour. ‘By grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God’ (Ephesians 2:8).
No ‘boasting’ (Romans 3:27) - Rejoice in your Saviour!

Christ has saved us. Let us build our lives on Him.
Whenever we are seeking to follow Christ, there will be dangers - false prophets (Matthew 7:15-20), empty profession (Matthew 7:21-23).
Clearly, our faith must be grounded in the Son of God and the Word of God. This is the point of Jesus’ parable of the two builders and the two houses (Matthew 7:24-27). We must build upon Christ. We must build on the Word of God.
Jesus’ ‘sermon’ ends in verse 27, and is followed - in verses 28-29 - by a statement of its effect upon His hearers.
Down through the centuries, Jesus’ teaching continues to make this impression on people.
His words come to us with authority, addressing us with remarkable relevance.
We imagine that our time is very different from Jesus’ time, yet Jesus’ words make it very clear - things are not so different after all.
Still, we hear Him speaking as One who has authority. His Word is unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Trinity Sunday (First Sunday after Pentecost): Genesis 1:1-2:4a; Psalm 8; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; Matthew 28:16-20

Getting our priorities right: God, His Word, His Spirit - at the centre of our life

The Bible’s opening verses challenge us to get our priorities right.
(a) The priority of God (Genesis 1:1). God comes first. Before anyone else is mentioned, He is there.
(b) The priority of God’s Word (Genesis 1:3). God is the first to speak. Before any human word is spoken, there is the Word of the Lord.
(c) The priority of God’s Spirit (Genesis 1:2). All was ‘empty’, all was ‘darkness’, yet the ‘Spirit of God’ was at work, and transformation was set in motion.
Here, we have God’s priorities, set out in the Bible’s first three verses.
Putting God first and listening to His Word, we are to pray for the moving of God’s Spirit, ‘hovering over’ our lives to transform them.
For those who make God’s priorities their own, there is a promise of great blessing (Psalm 1:1-2).
It is the great blessing of knowing Jesus Christ, our Saviour, as ‘God with us’  (Matthew 1:23).
God speaks, and it is done (Genesis 1:3, 6-7, 11).
God is pleased with what He has done (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12).
This is the pattern of God’s original creation. It is to be the pattern of our life as a ‘new creation’ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
God speaks to us and we say, ‘Your will be done’ (Matthew 6:10).
We say, ‘let it be to me according to Your Word’ (Luke 1:38).
God looks on such obedience, this ‘walking in the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:16,22-23), and He sees that it is ‘good’ (Micah 6:8).
In Genesis 1:4-13, we read of the separation of the light and the darkness, the separation of the waters and the dry land, and the fruitfulness of God's creation.
There are lessons for us here. We are to ‘walk in the light’ (1 John 1:7).
We are to let the Spirit's ‘living water’ flow in us (John 7:39-39).
Walking in the light, letting the living water flow - this is the way of fruitfulness.
The Bible’s opening chapter is a great hymn of praise, emphasizing that all things have been created for the glory of God (Revelation 4:11).
Nothing can be permitted to distract our attention from the Lord. He alone is worthy of worship.
The creation of the ‘lights’ makes no reference to the sun and the moon. These were worshipped by neighbouring peoples. They are not gods. They are simply ‘lights’. Our worship is to be given to God alone.
The waters teemed with living creatures. The land produced living creatures. Here, we have a picture of life. There is life where the living water of the Spirit is flowing freely among God’s people (Ezekiel 47:5-9). This water brings life to the land (Ezekiel 47:12). Moving with the flow of God’s Spirit, we are to pray that ‘the water of life’ will flow freely ‘for the healing of the nations’ (Revelation 22:2).
The creation of humanity is described in a distinctive way - created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27).
We are different from the rest of creation. We have been given dominion over ‘all the earth’ and ‘every living creature’ (Genesis 1:26, 28).
We are different from God. He is the Creator. We are His creation.
Created in God’s image, we have been created by Him and for Him. Though we have sinned (Genesis 3, Romans 3:23), now - in Jesus Christ - we have begun to live as a new creation (Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:9-10).
The Bible teaches us that Jesus Christ is God (John 1:1) and that ‘all things were created by Him and for Him’ (Colossians 1:16).
This is the Saviour who is at work in us, enabling us to live as a new creation! Creation has been ‘completed’ (Genesis 2:1). Salvation will be completed (Philippians 1:6)!

The Priority of Worship: Father, Son and Holy Spirit –  “Glorify Your Name”
The Lord is ‘majestic’ (Psalm 8:1, 9).
He does not remain remote. He does not keep His distance. He shows us His greatness, the greatness of His love.
We feel forgotten. He remembers us. We feel unloved. He cares for us (Psalm 8:4). We are tempted. He will ‘still the enemy’ (Psalm 8:2).
We look beyond our creation (Psalm 8:5-8) to our salvation - ‘we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honour because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone...that through death He might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil’ (Hebrews 2:8-9, 14).
This is ‘Majesty’- ‘Jesus, who died, now glorified, King of all kings’. The Name of the Lord is majestic ‘in all the earth’ (Psalm 8:1, 9).
To God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - we pray, ‘Glorify Your Name in all the earth’ (Mission Praise. 454, 142).

In our worship, let us seek the blessing of God.
‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all’ (2 Corinthians 13:14).
We have often heard these words spoken. Here, we are reading them in the Word of God. How often do we think about these words? What do they mean?
These are life-changing words. Through ‘the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ’, we become ‘rich’- ‘blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing’ (2 Corinthians 8:9, Ephesians 1:3). ‘In love God has destined us to be His sons through Jesus Christ’(Ephesians 1:5).
How do these blessings become ours? How do we become God’s children?
We hear the Word of truth, the Gospel of our salvation. We believe in Christ. We are sealed with the promised Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13).
Such great blessing - ‘the Spirit is poured upon us from on high (Isaiah 32:15)!

Blessed by the Lord, let us share His blessing with others.
Why is it so important that we ‘make disciples’ (Matthew 28:19)?
There is a devil, and he is doing his utmost to hinder the progress of God’s truth. He spreads lies about Christ - ‘to this day’ he is still sowing seeds of unbelief (Matthew 28:11-15). We must combat the enemy of Christ - with words of truth, with the believing declaration, ‘He has risen’ (Matthew 28:6-7).
Satan failed to halt the progress of the Gospel. Christ’s disciples rose to the challenge, and so must we: ‘Rise up, you champions of God... We’ll reach this generation... Go forth! Jesus loves them. Go forth! Take the Gospel. Go forth! The time is now. The harvest is ripening; Go forth! Feel now the burden of the Lord. Feel how He longs to save them. Feel now for those who never heard... Now is the time’ (Songs of Fellowship,486).
‘All authority... has been given to Me... I am with you always' (Matthew 28:18-20).

Help us to resist Satan – in Your strength.

2 Kings 23:31-24:17 “The king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon all the men of valour … all of them strong and fit for war” (2 King...