Skip to main content

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!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Lord, Your love is the best love.

Psalm 36:1-12 We thank You, Lord, for “Your steadfast love” (Psalm 36:5,7,10). Your love is the best love. It’s the greatest love of all. Your love is very wonderful. We rejoice in Your love. We are amazed at Your love. We look at Jesus, Your Son, crucified for us, and we say, “Amazing love, how can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?” Jesus died for us. Now, He lives in us. In love, You are leading us on into Your future – on to “fullness of joy in Your presence” (Psalm 16:11).

Revised Common Lectionary: Year A

Revised Common Lectionary – Year A First Sunday of Advent: Isaiah 2:1-5; Psalm 122; Romans 13:11-14; Matthew 24:36-44 Awaiting Christ’s Return , let us worship God and walk in His ways. God calls us to worship Him - ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord... ’ - and walk in His ways - ‘Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord’ (Isaiah 2:3, 5). We are moving towards the Day when ‘the pride of men shall be humbled and brought low’, the Day when ‘the Lord alone will be exalted’ (Isaiah 2:11, 12, 17). How are we to get ready for the Return of our Lord Jesus Christ? God calls us to keep on worshipping Him. We are to encourage one another to keep on walking with God. ‘Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching’(Hebrews 10:25). Let our pride be humbled and let the Lord be exalted as we await Christ’s Return in ‘faith’, looking to Him alone fo

Approaching the Lord’s Table: Forgiveness, Victory, Faith, God’s Word, God’s Love

As we approach the Lord’s Table, let’s think about two verses of Scripture. “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). “Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler” (Psalm 91:3). The first of these verses speaks of the forgiveness of our sins. The second speaks of victory over Satan. Through the precious blood of Christ, we receive the forgiveness of our sins (1 Peter 1:18-19). Through the precious blood of Christ, we are victorious over Satan (Revelation 12:11). Let us rejoice in God’s gift of forgiveness. Let us also rejoice in His gift of victory. We do not earn God’s forgiveness. It is God’s gift. Victory is not earned. Like forgiveness, victory is God’s gift. How do we receive these great gifts of God? We come to the Cross of Christ. At the Cross, we learn that Christ to bring us forgiveness – and He died to give us victory. We receive these gifts by faith. Forgiveness and