Thursday, 10 August 2017

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost: Genesis 29:15-28; Psalm 105:1-11, 45b (or Psalm 128) or 1 Kings 3:5-12; Psalm 119:129-136; Romans 8:26-39; Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52


Trust in the Lord. He is working in us to do us good.
The tables are turned on Jacob. The trickster is tricked! The ‘trick’ was according to the ‘custom’ that the elder daughter should be given in marriage before the younger one (Genesis 29:23, 25-26). Seven years became fourteen years (Genesis 29:18-20, 27, 30). Jacob did receive his heart’s desire, but there was a lesson to be learned: Going God’s way is better than getting your own way.
‘All things work together for good to those who love God’ (Romans 8:28) - this doesn’t mean that we always get what we want. We must learn to ‘let go and let God have His wonderful way’, and to say, ‘This God - His way is perfect’ (Psalm 18:30). Out of love for Rachel (Genesis 29:18, 20), Jacob served Laban for an extra seven years. We would serve Christ better if we loved Him more. Jesus still asks the question, ‘Do you love Me?’ (John 21:15-17).

Look to the Lord and receive His strength.
‘Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. Remember the wonderful works that He has done… ’ (Psalm 105:4-5).
The Lord gives strength to those who put their trust in Him. Trusting in Christ, we have this great testimony: ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ (Philippians 4:13).
How do we receive the Lord’s strength? We must ‘seek His face always.’
We must not think we can face difficult circumstances in our strength. Without the strength of the Lord, we will be defeated.
He has helped us in the past. Never forget this. Give thanks to Him for every victory won.
As you face temptation, remember the Lord’s promise of victory: ‘God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your strength. With the temptation, He will also provide the way of escape…’ (1 Corinthians 10:13).
‘He brought His people out with joy’ (Psalm 105:43).
When things are going badly and we feel like giving up, we must remember the Word of the Lord: ‘The joy of the Lord is your strength’ (Nehemiah 8:10). We are to ‘rejoice in the Lord always.’
The Lord does not leave us on our own when our time of testing comes. He is there for us in our time of need: ‘My God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:4, 19).
When we are deeply conscious of our own weakness, the Lord comes to us with His Word of strength: ‘My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness’ (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Through the Word of God, we receive strength. His Word brings joy to us. Let us sing ‘glad songs of victory’: ‘The Lord is my Strength, my Song, my Saviour’ (Psalm 118:14-15).

Fear the Lord and walk in His ways.
‘Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways’ (Psalm 128:1).
If we are to enjoy the Lord’s blessing, we must fear Him and walk in His ways. Many people despise the place of worship. They ‘pass by’. They have no desire to know ‘the blessing of the Lord’. God warns us that we must not allow this attitude to grow in us: ‘May all who hate Zion be put to shame.’
We must take care that our love for the Lord doesn’t ‘wither’ away. We must keep on praying that our love for Him will ‘grow.’
If we place no value on the Lord’s blessing, our lives will be empty. Come to the Lord with this prayer: ‘The greatest thing in all my life is knowing You, loving You, serving You. I want to know You more, love You more, serve You more’. He will ‘fill’ your life with His blessing (Psalm 129:5-8; Mission Praise, 646).

Love the Lord and let your life show that your love for Him is real.
Solomon was a complicated man. We wonder what was most important to him - his alliances with the world or his allegiance to the Lord, ‘building his own house’ or ‘building the House of the Lord’ (1 Kings 1-3)?
In 1 Kings 3:9-13, we learn that Solomon prized wisdom more than riches. In 1 Kings 3:14, Solomon is reminded that he must keep on loving the Lord: ‘If you will walk in My ways…’
We look at Solomon. We see ourselves. We claim to love the Lord. The world has a ‘fatal attraction’ for us. In each of us, there is conflict, a lifelong conflict between ‘the desires of the flesh’ and ‘the desires of the Spirit’.
We are faced with a choice. Will it be love for the Lord or love for the world? Don’t ‘abandon your first love’ (Galatians 5:17; 1 John 2:15; Revelation 2:4). Make it simple: Jesus comes first!

Walk with the Lord in the light of His Word.
‘The entrance of Your words gives light’ (Psalm 119:130).
The Word of God brings light into our lives. Sadly, many people ‘love darkness rather than light’. They refuse to ‘come to the light’. They prefer to remain in the darkness. They refuse to listen to what God is saying to them through His Word.
Then, when things are not going so well for them, they blame God. They say, ‘It’s all Your fault’!
Things could have been so different. They could have learned to spend time with God. They could have learned the lessons of faith which are found in God’s Word. They could have learned to cope with life’s difficulties. They could have been filled with the strength of the Lord. They would not be complaining against Him. They would be rejoicing in Him: He has ‘called us out of darkness into His marvellous light’ (1 Peter 2:10).

Live for the Lord. Let’s live in the power of the Spirit.
Each of us must choose. We can ‘live according to the flesh’ or we can ‘live according to the Spirit’. We can ‘set the mind on the flesh’ or we can ‘set the mind on the Spirit’ (Romans 8:5-6).
The new life in the Spirit is just the beginning. God is preparing us for the greater ‘glory that will be revealed in us’ (Romans 8:18). We have ‘the first fruits of the Spirit’. The Holy Spirit is ‘the guarantee of our inheritance’. He is the starter which whets our appetite for the main course!
With Him in our hearts, we long for more - ‘an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you’, ‘the redemption of our bodies’, ‘the glorious liberty of the children of God’ (Romans 8:21-23; Ephesians 1:13-14; 1 Peter 1:3-5). Led by the Spirit, strong in the Spirit, we press on to glory (Romans 8:14, 26, 17).

Hope in the Lord, looking beyond our life on earth to His coming Kingdom.

Jesus’ parables are so rich in spiritual content. They speak with an indirectness which is very direct! They may be parabolic in form, but they do go right to the heart of the matter in a way that is very challenging.
The parable of the ‘wheat and the weeds’ (Matthew 13:24-30, with explanation given in Matthew 13:36-43) contrasts a real believing response to Christ with an empty profession of faith in Him.
There is also something else - leave judgment to God. He knows those who are His and those who are not.
The parable of the mustard seed (Matthew 13:31-32) is a word of encouragement - Do not give up hope that the seed of God’s Word is growing, slowly and surely, in the hearts of those who do not appear to be bearing much fruit.
The parable of the yeast is also encouraging - What a difference even a few believers can make to a whole community!
Be patient. Do not doubt the power of God’s Word. Once God’s Word has begun to exert its influence among the people, great things will happen. The beginnings may seem small. Remember: nothing is insignificant when God is in it! Some may be on the verge of the kind of joyful discovery of Christ, described in Matthew 13:44-46!
The parable of the net (Matthew 13:47-50) is similar to the parable of the wheat and the tares (Matthew 13:24-30). The separation of ‘the good’ and ‘the bad’ comes ‘at the end of the age’ (Matthew 13:48-49).
The Gospel is ‘old’ and ‘new’ (Matthew 13:52). We’ve known its teaching for years, yet there are always some ‘new treasures’ for us to discover. It’s sadly possible to hear the Word of God without believing it and enjoying its blessing.
Don’t let Christ be ‘a prophet without honour’ (Matthew 13:57). Honour Him in your heart and life.

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost: Genesis 28:10-19a; Psalm 139:1-13, 23-24 or Isaiah 44:6-8; Psalm 86:11-17; Romans 8:12-25; Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Saved by grace, we are led “in the way everlasting.”
Was this just another night (Genesis 28:11)?
No! This was a night to remember, a night Jacob would never forget. God came to him with His wonderful promise of love: ‘I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you’ (Genesis 28:15).
At Bethel (‘the house of God’), powerfully transformed by the presence of God - ‘Surely the Lord is in this place’ (Genesis 28:16) - , Jacob consecrated himself to the Lord. ‘If’ (Genesis 28:20) means ‘Since.’ See Romans 8:31 - ‘If (Since) God is for us, who can be against us?’ Giving the tenth (Genesis 28:22): this is not legalism, a kind of repayment scheme. There can be no ‘salvation by works.’
We are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). Our giving must always be a heartfelt expression of thanksgiving to the God of grace: ‘Loving Him who first loved me’. We are saved ‘to do good works’ (Ephesians 2:10) - not because we do good works!

God has given us eternal life. We pray, “Lead us in the way everlasting.”
Through Christ our Saviour, we are led ‘in the way everlasting’: ‘God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son’ (Psalm 139:24; 1 John 5:11).
God’s great purpose of eternal salvation seems ‘too wonderful’- ‘too good to be true’! ‘It is a thing most wonderful, almost too wonderful to be, that God’s own Son should come from heaven and die to save a child like me, and yet I know that it is true...’ (Psalm 139:6; Church Hymnary, 385).
God has a glorious future planned for us. We can hardly even begin to take it in: ‘Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain’.
We know that ‘no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him’ yet we rejoice in this: ‘God has revealed it to us by His Spirit’ (Psalm 139:6; 1 Corinthians 2:9-10).
‘Lead me in the way everlasting!’ (Psalm 139:24).

We walk “in the way everlasting” when we are “filled with the Spirit.”
‘I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring, and My blessing on your descendants’ (Isaiah 44:3).
Here, Isaiah is looking forward to the mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost - ‘They were all filled with the Holy Spirit...’ (Acts 2:4).
It is ‘the Spirit’ who brings ‘streams of living water’ into our lives. It is ‘the Spirit’ who sends ‘streams of living water’, flowing out from us to others (John 7:37-39).
We are to ‘be filled with the Spirit’. ‘Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ’- Let your life be full of praise to God: ‘filled with the Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:18-20).
Each of us must choose.
We can ‘live according to the flesh’ or we can ‘live according to the Spirit.’ We can ‘set the mind on the flesh’or we can ‘set the mind on the Spirit’ (Romans 8:5-6).
The new life in the Spirit is just the beginning. God is preparing us for the greater ‘glory that will be revealed in us’ (Romans 8:18). We have ‘the first fruits of the Spirit.’ The Holy Spirit is ‘the guarantee of our inheritance.’ He is the starter which whets our appetite for the main course! With Him in our hearts, we long for more - ‘an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you’, ‘the redemption of our bodies’, ‘the glorious liberty of the children of God’ (Romans 8:21-23; Ephesians 1:13-14; 1 Peter 1:3-5).
Led by the Spirit, strong in the Spirit, we press on to glory (Romans 8:14, 26, 17).

“In the way everlasting”, our praise and prayer are inspired by God’s love.

‘You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you... Teach me Your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth... I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart... For great is Your love towards me’ (Psalm 86:5, 11-13).
God loves us. He forgives our sins. We receive His love. We want to love Him more.
* His love inspires our praise - ‘I will praise You...’
* His love inspires our prayer - ‘Teach me Your way...’
Our whole life is to be a celebration of His love - ‘Great is Your love towards me.’
* We are to celebrate His love with ‘joy’ (Psalm 86:4).
* We rejoice in the Lord because of who He is - ‘You, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness’ - and what He has done for us - ‘You, O Lord, have helped me and comforted me’ (Psalm 86:15, 17).

“In the way everlasting”, God’s Word grows in us and bears much fruit.
Jesus’ parables are so rich in spiritual content. They speak with an indirectness which is very direct! They may be parabolic in form, but they do go right to the heart of the matter in a way that is very challenging.
Jesus tells us the parable of the ‘wheat and the weeds’ (Matthew 13:24-30). He gives us its explanation (Matthew 13:36-43). In this parable, Jesus contrasts a real believing response to Christ with an empty profession of faith in Him.
There is also something else. Leave judgment to God. He knows those who are His and those who are not.
The parable of the mustard seed (Matthew 13:31-32) is a word of encouragement. Do not give up hope that the seed of God’s Word is growing, slowly and surely, in the hearts of those who do not appear to be bearing much fruit.
The parable of the yeast is also encouraging - What a difference even a few believers can make to a whole community!

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost: Genesis 25:19-34; Psalm 119:105-112 or Isaiah 55:10-13: Psalm 65:(1-8), 9-13; Romans 8:1-11; Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

Choosing the Lord’s way: Our response to God’s grace
Esau was a fool. He chose his own way rather than the Lord’s way.
Jacob was a ‘heel’! ‘Born with his hand holding on to Esau’s heel..., he was named Jacob (Heel)’ (Genesis 25:26). A crafty twister, a manipulating cheat, there was nothing about him that merited God’s blessing.
Jacob was not superior to Esau. Like Esau, Jacob was a sinner. Esau was not inferior to Jacob. Both were guilty before God.
Why, then - in God’s purpose - does ‘the elder’ (Esau) ‘serve the younger’ (Jacob) (Genesis 25:23)?
The answer is grace, the ‘amazing grace’ of God. Grace lifted Jacob. The glory belongs to God.
Grace could have lifted Esau.
By grace Jacob valued the birthright (God’s blessing). His way of seeking God’s blessing was devious. Nevertheless, he was seeking for God - and God, in His grace, found him and made him a new man (Genesis 32:28). ‘Wonderful grace of Jesus, greater than all my sin!’

Choosing the Lord’s way: Our choice for the whole of our life
‘I have decided to obey Your laws until the day I die’ (Psalm 119:112).
Throughout life, we have to make choices. Some choices are relatively straightforward. Others are very much more difficult. Some choices don’t affect the rest of our life very much. There are, however, choices which affect the whole of our life.
There is one choice which is more important than any other - Choosing the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour.
Those who refuse to choose are ‘double-minded’ (Psalm 119:113). They can’t make up their mind. They know that they should be following Christ - but they are still ‘in love with the world.’ They are ‘lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God’ (I John 2:15; 2 Timothy 3:4).
Make your choice. Say to the world, ‘Away from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commands of my God’. Say to God, ‘I have decided to obey Your laws until the day I die’ (Psalm 119:115, 112).

Choosing the Lord’s way: Let the Word of God change your life.
The Word of God is spoken - ‘Seek the Lord while He may be found...’ (Isaiah 55:6-7).
No one seems to be listening. What are we to do? We must remember God’s promise: ‘My Word will not return to Me empty’ (Isaiah 55:11).
We do not see all that God is doing. He is doing much more than we realize - ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts...’ (Isaiah 55:8-9).
We may be feeling very despondent - ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything’ (Luke 5:5). The Lord still comes to us with His Word of encouragement: ‘You shall go out with joy...’ (Isaiah 55:12).
Before there is joy, there may be many tears.
When there seems to be nothing but disappointments, we must remember the Lord’s promise: ‘Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy...’ (Psalm 126:5-6).
We must not ‘judge before the time...’ (1 Corinthians 4:5).

Choosing the Lord’s way: Let the joy of God change your life.
‘Let the righteous rejoice in the Lord’ (Psalm 64:10).
True joy in the Lord is not just a passing emotion, a feeling which doesn’t last for very long.
When our ‘praise’ to the Lord is real, it leads to a changed life: ‘O God’, we will ‘keep our promises to You’ (Psalm 65:1).
Jesus shows us the great difference between a passing emotion, a feeling which doesn’t last, and a true conversion which leads to a changed life.
He speaks of those who ‘receive the Word with joy,... endure for a while’ and then ‘fall away.’ He speaks also of those who ‘hear the Word and accept it and bear fruit’ (Mark 4:3-9, 16-17, 20).
How do you worship the Lord? Are you looking for a good feeling - and nothing more than that? God is looking for more. He wants us to live as ‘a new creation’ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Choosing the Lord’s way: Let the Spirit of God change your life.
Each of us must choose.
We can ‘live according to the flesh’ or we can ‘live according to the Spirit.’ We can ‘set the mind on the flesh’ or we can ‘set the mind on the Spirit’ (Romans 8:5-6).
The new life in the Spirit is just the beginning. God is preparing us for the greater ‘glory that will be revealed in us’ (Romans 8:18). We have ‘the first fruits of the Spirit’. The Holy Spirit is ‘the guarantee of our inheritance’. He is the starter which whets our appetite for the main course! With Him in our hearts, we long for more - ‘an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you’, ‘the redemption of our bodies’, ‘the glorious liberty of the children of God’(21-23; Ephesians 1:13-14; 1 Peter 1:3-5).
Led by the Spirit, strong in the Spirit, we press on to glory (Romans 8:14, 26, 17).

Choosing the Lord’s way: Let the Son of God change your life.
Jesus spoke in parables. He spoke of everyday things, teaching lessons concerning the Kingdom of God. He was a story-teller, and yet He was more than that. His stories had a message, a life-changing message, a message designed to lead His hearers into new life, the life of God’s Kingdom.
The parable of the sower may be described more fully as the parable of ‘the sower, the seed and the soil.’
Some respond to God’s Word in a shallow way. In others, there is greater depth of response. Some ‘enjoy’ the preaching without really responding, in faith, to Christ. Jesus says, ‘He who has ears, let him hear’(Matthew 13:10).
Receive God’s Word in obedient faith, and your knowledge of God will increase (Matthew 13:12). This is the way of childlike faith and spiritual growth. Beware of proud unbelief and spiritual decline (Matthew 13:12; 11:25)!

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost: Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67; Psalm 45:10-17 or Song of Solomon 2:8-13 (or Zechariah 9:9-12); Psalm 145:8-14; Romans 7:15-25a; Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

Rejoicing in God’s love and faithfulness, let us seek His guidance and blessing.
The detailed account of Isaac's marriage highlights the guidance of God.
He directs the life of His people. This is our testimony - ‘the Lord... has led me on the right road’ (Genesis 24:48).
The great lessons of this story are stated in Genesis 24:27.
(a) the ‘steadfast love’ of the Lord;
(b) the ‘faithfulness’ of God;
(c) the guidance of God - ‘the Lord has led me’;
(d) worshipping the Lord - ‘Blessed be the Lord...’
We are to seek God’s guidance, rejoicing in His love and trusting in His faithfulness. Looking to Christ, who went to the Cross for us, we are to say, with Him, ‘I have come to do Thy will, O God’, ‘I will praise Thee’, ‘I will put my trust in Him’, ‘Here am I, and the children God has given Me’ (Hebrews 10:7; 2:12-13).
To those who do His will, praising Him and trusting Him, God will give much blessing - ‘an overflowing blessing’ (Malachi 3:10).
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In Genesis 24:60, we read of the blessing of God upon Rebekah - ‘Our sister, may you increase to thousands upon thousands; may your offspring possess the gates of their enemies’.
This refers to the long-term fulfilment of God’s promise to Abraham. Through the death of Christ, the Lamb of God, ‘a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation,’ will sing the song of salvation, ‘Salvation belongs to our God ...and to the Lamb’ (Revelation 7:9-10).
This is what we must pray for in our own community. In homes where Christ has not been honoured, there will be transformation.
The Lord’s messengers will be received - ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ - and the Lord’s Name will be praised - ‘Hosanna in the highest!’ (Matthew 21:9).
Such blessing will be given to those who spend time with God (Genesis 24:63; Joshua 1:8).

Rejoicing in God’s love and faithfulness, let us praise our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is ‘the most excellent of men’ (Psalm 45:2). He is more than that. He is God.
In Psalm 45:6, we read these words - ‘Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever’. We read them again in Hebrews 1:8. They are the words which God the Father speaks to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
* How does the Word of God describe Jesus Christ? - ‘He is your Lord’.
* How are we to respond to Him? - We are to approach Him with ‘reverence’. We are to ‘honour’ Him. We are to ‘bow down’ and ‘worship’ Him. We are to ‘obey’ Him (Psalm 45:11).
Think of the “Good News’ of our Lord Jesus Christ - ‘the Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me’.
Let your heart overflow with praise to the Lord Jesus Christ - What a wonderful Saviour He is (Psalm 45:1; Galatians 2:20)!
Let us celebrate His Name in this generation. Let Him be praised for ever and ever’ (Psalm 45:17).
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‘Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised. His greatness is beyond understanding.’ Let us worship our great God: ‘I will exalt You, my God the King. I will praise Your Name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise You and extol Your Name for ever and ever’ (Psalm 145:1-3).
The God whom we worship is so much greater than the worship we bring to Him. Our worship is to be a ‘joyful celebration’.
* We celebrate His great love: ‘The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love’.
* We rejoice in His great faithfulness: ‘The Lord is faithful to all His promises’.
Here on earth, we have only begun to worship our great God. Our worship will continue in His ‘everlasting Kingdom’.
There, we will ‘praise His Name for ever and ever’ (Psalm 145:7-8, 13, 21).
Christ comes to us in love. Let us receive His love. Let us give Him our love.
Christ comes to us in love: ‘The Voice of my Beloved! Look! Here He comes...’ (Song of Solomon 2:8).
He calls us to come to Him: ‘My Beloved speaks and says to me, “Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away”’ (Song of Solomon 2:10).
He calls us to belong to Him: ‘My Beloved is mine and I am His’ (Song of Solomon 2:16).
* Let us come to Jesus and experience His love: ‘Jesus, how lovely You are! You are so gentle, so pure and kind...’
* Let us come to Jesus and give Him our love: ‘Jesus, I love You, love You more and more each day; Jesus, I love You, Your gentle touch renews my heart. It’s really no wonder why no other love can satisfy; Jesus, I love You, You’ve won this heart of mine!’
* Let us come to Jesus and receive His joy: ‘Jesus, I am resting, resting, in the joy of what Thou art; I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart’ (Mission Praise, 361, 363, 362).
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‘...See your King comes to you... gentle and riding on a donkey...’ (Zechariah 9:9). These words point us to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Jesus is our King. Jesus comes to us.
How are we to welcome our King? We are to welcome Him with joyful praise - ‘Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord’ (Matthew 21:1-9; John 12:12-16).
* Jesus our King has come to us from God the Father: ‘When the time had fully come, God sent His Son...’
* Jesus our King has come to us to be our Saviour: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’ (Galatians 4:4; 1 Timothy 1:15).
* Christ will come again - ‘with power and great glory’.
‘Come, Lord Jesus’ (Matthew 24:30; Revelation 22:20).
Through our Saviour, Jesus Christ, God is leading us in the way of victory.
God’s purpose is not easily fulfilled in us. Our battle with sin is extremely intense. There is a great conflict going on within us.
‘The Spirit’ and ‘the flesh’ are at war with each other (Galatians 5:17). God has given us His Spirit - ‘we serve... in the new life of the Spirit’ (Romans 7:6). We are still sinners - ‘I am carnal, a slave to sin’ (Romans 7:14). These are two sides of the one coin. The Spirit is within us yet we remain sinners.
Honestly confessing our sin, we say, ‘Wretched man that I am!’. Gladly rejoicing in our Saviour, we say, ‘Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!’ (Romans 7:24-25).
Despite our many defeats, we say, ‘Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 8:39).
Wait for ‘the final result’: ‘God gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’ (1 Corinthians 15:57).
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The ministry of John the Baptist had one great purpose. It was to draw attention to Jesus the Saviour.
Jesus is superior to John. He is the One to whom John pointed.
There are two responses to Jesus.
* We can take offence at Him: ‘Blessed is he who takes no offence at Me’ (Matthew 11:6).
* We can hear what He says, receiving Him with faith: ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear’ (Matthew 11:15).
In His time, Jesus asked the question, ‘To whom shall I compare this generation?’, giving the answer, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn’ (Matthew 11:16-17).
* The promise of the Gospel is preached, yet many will not rejoice.
* The warning of the Gospel is preached, yet many will not repent.
This is the story of our generation.
May God help us to lead people of this generation to Christ, the ‘Friend of sinners’ (Matthew 11:19).
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In John 16:8-11, Jesus speaks of the work of the Holy Spirit, convicting the world of sin, righteousness and judgment.
* Before there can be conversion, there needs to be conviction of sin.
None of us can come to the Saviour of sinners without first seeing ourselves as sinners who need the Saviour. God uses the warning of judgment to send us to the Saviour - there ‘will be...judgment’, so make sure that you ‘come’ to Christ for salvation (Matthew 11:24, 28; Luke 3:7-8; Hebrews 2:3; 3:7-15).
* Before there can be growth in grace, there needs to be conversion.
If we are to live a righteous life, we must learn from Christ (Matthew 11:29; 1 Peter 1:15-16), coming to Him for rest and being declared righteous by Him (Matthew 11:28; Romans 4:5-8).
In Christ, we have salvation, set free from judgment - ‘no condemnation’- and set free for righteousness - ‘living according to the Spirit’ (Romans 8:1).

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...