Category Archives: gospel

True disciples

TRUE DISCIPLES

John 8/31:-
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Christ Jesus is The Word – we must invite Him into our innermost person if we are to abide in Him, – His words abide in us, – and His life giving Holy Spirit is to occupy our innermost being.

So abide in the Word. Best to – read it consistently and often – for that ‘abiding in’ to take place.

Abide in the Word – better stay focussed on this word in order to live it. Allowing it to determine our thoughts, words, and deeds, that too is abiding in it.

Meditate on (not just read) – by so doing the word becomes inwardly digested and gives spiritual strength.

Disciple means learner. Keep reading/meditating, and by so doing, become enabled to- keep learning.

Not just a learner-disciple, but INDEED a true disciple – the real thing. A disciple indeed!

Learning the truth in the word we are abiding in – and the result of all of this – we get to know the truth and that truth sets us free.

A true learner who finds truth and true freedom in Christ the Word.

You search…

You search…

Someone shared a story with me, some time ago. I will probably get the details wrong, but remember one part of the story. I’m sure someone out there could relate the actual story better than I.

To summarise – it went something like this: Someone bought a piece of land and spent a number of years drilling for oil. All to no avail. So they gave up and sold the land.

A new owner, not long after the purchase, drilled once more and struck black gold, immediately.

Preacher’s could use the story to teach us to ‘never give up’. Others could tell us ‘anything worthwhile takes time and effort’. Yet another could bring out the truth ‘that we need to get below the surface and the obvious – to find the true riches of truth buried in the bible’.

I like that one best.

Proverbs 23/23: Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

The amplified version of the bible gives us this helpful footnote:

The ancient rabbis routinely assumed “truth” to refer to the Torah (Law), and they interpreted the first part of this command to mean that a student should pay a teacher to teach him the Torah if he can find no one to teach him for free. As for the second part, they said that if the student had to pay to learn, he should not view this as grounds to charge for teaching others, but should teach the Torah for free.

But it is possible to be taught the truth and ‘entertain’ it in our lives on a superficial level, rather than giving ourselves – to it – in prayerful meditation, so that we do not fit the category of those described by The Lord Jesus: 

John 5:38-40 King James Version (KJV)

39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

Such students find all kinds of truth on some level, but fail to realise that all scripture points to Jesus Christ as the Son of God – to be believed and received as the personification and embodiment of all of God’s truth, and indeed the Saviour of The World.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

All scripture points to the author who revealed it to the hearts of chosen men, who in turn penned it under God’s special visitation and influence.

But also it has the redemptive thread throughout it’s pages from Genesis to Revelation. And to search these books and fail to discover by a living encounter, that Christ is The Living Word, and the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world – is to search and miss eternal life. 

Again Jesus said: You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life;…’

The point being that this is not enough. But the true searching of the scriptures as God intended – is to encounter Christ:

‘and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

We must come to Him and not just the pages of the book to find eternal life – in/through the pages of the book.

Persuaders…

Persuaders…

After four poems in succession, my pendulum swings again to spiritual matters:

God in Christ wants all men to be saved/delivered/set free – indeed all of the above. He desires to make Himself known to us.

But not everyone (needless to say) is going to see things that way.

History has unfolded the proof of this. It has always been so. The gospel of Christ is not readily accepted, and is just plain rejected by many. Just as Christ Himself was rejected.

The world is full of different belief-systems, faiths, doctrines (call them what you will) that people adhere to – the old saying has application: ‘but never the twain shall meet’. This summarises how these ‘faiths’ will never agree. Indeed it cannot be, and is not meant to be.

Light has no fellowship with darkness, would be one way of describing why doctrines don’t gel, in ‘faiths’, they are simply not the same.

Still, adherents to whatever belief, mostly feel it part of their ‘duty’ to spread their message. Spread the message to an often unheeding public.

An offer of a free £1,000 spending spree in a local store, will make most ears prick-up. First thought? Is this a scam? Having proof of it being a genuine offer – who in their right mind is going to reject, ignore or refuse the offer?

So the gospel message, if it is to be ignored, is ignored perhaps on the false premise that it is a scam?

The exponents of this gospel message are only after your money, it is thought? Not hard to know where this impression comes from through the mouths of TV evangelists. The gospel message is very balanced. But if we hear only one aspect repeatedly, it isn’t hard to understand how folks get a lop-sided view of things.

Or (it is sometimes thought) this message is to do with servitude, manipulation and control where everybody bows to some cult figure at the helm?

Or some – not having examined thoroughly the cross of Christ and what took place there, beyond the visible – see it wrongly, as some kind of ‘blood religion’. Some ‘gory’ horrible story of no significance?

Then again some reject the ‘holier than thou’ attitude of some so-called adherents to this gospel of christianity. Not stopping to consider that there are false gospels, in the name of christianity, that we are warned about in the scriptures.

In a different vein – some just plainly don’t ‘believe’ in God full stop, the God of any ‘religion’.

And so we could go on laying out reasons for the ‘gospel of Christ’ being rejected, or reasons many refuse to give it their attention.

Maybe some ‘clergy’ have failed miserably and have been guilty of the abuse of others. And this is taken as a reason to reject not only them but the biblical message?

How can we begin then to give it our attention, or tolerate any kind of preaching? When so many reasons arise in our minds that stop us on the journey before we even begin.

Is this where we, the adherents of Christianity step-in to persuade you differently?

Or are we better leaving you alone – after all it is often quipped: ‘Religion is a personal/private matter’?

So no gospel for you? You will tolerate those who wish to believe that stuff – as long as they leave you alone?

And yet is it not true that some enthusiastically expound how worthy their soccer team is to be followed. Or how the car they have is the best on the market. Or the area they live in is excellent. Or the best way to cook the meal is to add particular ingredients, to give the best possible results, for the taste buds. Or their favourite politician should be voted for – because etc. etc.?

Maybe all those things should be kept to themselves? People will tolerate you if you keep your mouth shut and leave people alone?

Why are people blogging, they wouldn’t be wanting us to like their stories, opinions, or share in their experiences would they?

Truth is – we are all persuaders.

Paul the apostle was a persuader concerning the true-truth of the gospel message, and having opened His mouth with God’s enablement he got the following response, as he fulfilled his ‘duty’ by sharing the Christian message to a certain king:

Acts 26:27-29 New King James Version (NKJV)

27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.”

28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”

29 And Paul said, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am…

So next question? What’s it going to take to cause you to realise that the Christian gospel is God’s communication to mankind, as it is, in it’s preserved written state, for the salvation of mankind from the tyranny of an evil spirit?

Maybe you are amongst those who are already persuaded?

Here and elsewhere

Here and elsewhere

Jesus the personification of all truth – assured his people that He was ‘going to prepare a place for them’. That place would be where He is. So they would ever be with The Lord. (John 14/2)

But where is He now? Well He is in heaven at the right hand of His Father. (Ephesians 1/20)

The other Person of the godhead – The Holy Spirit of God – is still working and moving on the earth. He is here to carry out God’s will and fulfil His promises.

God’s promises are many and varied. But the one I have in mind is this:

Lo I am with you always even to the end of the world. (Matthew 28/20)

So Christ is both with us and somewhere else, because of the incomprehensible unity and working of the Godhead.

I say incomprehensible with a smile, when the lesser examination of the myriad of planets and stars in the outer space universe is enough to affirm His incomprehensibility, before we even begin to examine the invisible kingdom of heaven. (Colossians 1/16)

Salvation is simple when boiled down – the world is under the dominion of another spirit – not of God’s nature. Despite this, Christ is willing to come to you – but on His terms. Terms that establish in your life the acceptance of His divine holy and pure nature.

So that you too with other believers, will have a place prepared by Him, prepared where He is, in His Father’s ‘house’ where there will be many dwelling places (heaven).

At the same time He promises to come to those, where they are, who call upon His name in sincerity and truth.

With us (the Holy Spirit) and at the same time, away from us (in his Glorified form as the King of kings), at the right hand of His Father.

The Cross

The Cross 

Matthew 10/34

34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn

“‘a man against his father,

    a daughter against her mother,

a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—

36 

    a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

Taken on face value this statement by The Lord Jesus Christ – is strange.

It might be wrongly concluded that He is a divider of families and friends. Out to break up homes and marriages etc.

But of course the sword referred to here, has to be the Word of God.

Hebrews 4/12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The dividing that takes place is the dividing of the spiritual from the natural. Those who want God’s right ways, and who stand on His Word – will find opposition from those who prefer the natural realm only. The realm of their own ways, rather than the Way of The Lord.

It is firstly a challenge to those who have already decided to go God’s spiritual way – when they encounter their own natural ways within themselves to begin with – and struggle with themselves never mind relatives.

The Sword of The Spirit of God pierces our own lives to cause us to turn to and embrace God’s superior ways.

But in the course of doing so – and increasingly so on the earth at this time – we will rub shoulders daily with those who prefer their own ways. Even amongst our families and closest relatives we will find them opposing this Word of God.

Consequently Jesus warns us beforehand that division will result.

Not because He is the author of such division – but as the author of all truth – the conflict arises and the division occurs because others will disagree with His ways, and therefore oppose those who stand for it.

How we need to be united as families. How we need to care for our families. The family unit is paramount in society, and it is being eroded constantly by the powers of darkness.

Nevertheless good versus evil, truth versus lies, and so on – and the call goes out: “who is on The Lord’s side…” (cpr. Joshua 24/15)

It will be that families will be divided by the differences in whom we choose to serve.

In the middle of what Paul is saying in Galatians chapter 5 – we pick out a short statement:

…Then the offence of the cross has ceased….

The cross is an offence to those who don’t want to know what it all means, choosing their own thinking above the Word of God.

Because they take offence at the preaching of the cross – they stand in opposition to it, and consequently to those who believe the message of the cross.

The message of the cross and all that it means, is the only salvation for mankind.

Peace

PEACE 

ROMANS 10/

14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?

15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,

Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

My feet I think it’s safe to say – are not beautiful. Nevertheless my hammer-toes feet can take me to a place where people worship, or the highways and by-ways where I can share the gospel. My feet suddenly are saw to be beautiful if I share the gospel.

In previous posts I hope I say it like it is. Say it like it is – concerning this old world we are living in.

Affirming that we do not need to look far to see the mess.

But what do we read here (above)?

…the gospel of peace,

Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

Gospel means good news. The Gospel is a message. A good news message.

A good news message offering peace. We have all heard the saying: “Peace be with you”.

And of course there is no peace without the peace-giver. No spiritual peace that is.

When the irate father rebukes his child and shouts: “Give my head peace!”, and the child subsequently remains silent. You could say the father’s head has found peace.

But of course this is not a true description of Peace.

There are other glad tidings mixed in with this message of peace. The Christian gospel is a message carried by beautiful feet to those who will listen, i.e. to those who realise there is a problem and the message is sent to cure it. Otherwise the feet of the message carriers, have an aroma of death…

16 To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.

Those desiring true spiritual life welcome the refreshing message of sins forgiven to all receivers of Christ. Sweet sounding feet indeed.

 There are many ways to try and acquire peace of mind, peace of spirit but only Christ supplies true peace – He gives peace to the human heart.

We are made that way, i.e. made to need this peace. It is a peace that is difficult to describe to those who are in turmoil and have not as yet experienced it – and that’s because it is a PEACE THAT PASSES UNDERSTANDING’ –

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

This peace comes when the conscience comes into line with Christ’s forgiveness, and by faith we take Him at His word, receiving His peace for the forgiveness of confessed sin.

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

This gospel of peace brings news of this peace that passes understanding. But it is to be experienced to be fully appreciated, as it is not just the understanding of it’s existence that confirms it – but actually allowing God to impart it to us.

Sin destroys and is synonymous with death. It can be pleasurable, but only for a short time, as the conscience will raise it’s objections to it, and there is only one way to silence those objections – through the forgiveness of God offered to us all, if we will turn away from sin and turn to Christ.

The conscience can operate instantly before we misbehave or with delayed reaction, after we have sinned, if ignored in exchange for the pleasure of sin for a season, it will return and smite us.

I know what it is to be ‘smitten’ for my mistakes many times, but after failing – I have turned to Christ and He has imparted His peace again, to the satisfaction of my inner need.

If we ignore Christ speaking to our conscience, we can eventually end up fitting this description:

Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

But the conscience (if not seared) can also lie dormant until awakened by Jesus Christ.

With a dormant conscience, folks either don’t see there is a problem – or set about solving the problem by telling themselves “I’m a good person”.

What they mean is their intentions would be – to be good.

Other folks quickly find fault with them, find things that are not so good, and there is a vice-versa reciprocation in such exercises, and suddenly it isn’t enough to want to be a good person.

God says ‘There is none good but God…’

We are told to worship God ‘in the beauty of holiness’.

And holiness is of The Lord.

Holiness never gets a mention in the vocabulary of post-modernism. There is largely never talk of becoming more holy, except when comedians or playwrights want (as they seem to always want) to mock ‘Holier than thou’ Pharisaism. So that becomes their total perception of what Christianity is.

In order to find Christian Peace – we need to recognise where the cause of all disturbance in the human frame comes from.

It comes from that mysterious ‘virus’ called sin.

The reason that the feet of those who carry the gospel message are beautiful is [to quote scripture again]:-

Ephesians. 6/15

…and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

It is the good news of the gospel of peace to all who will receive it and it’s author – Christ Jesus Himself.

Therefore my desire is that all would know…

Ephesians 1/2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Wisdom responses

(see John 4)

WISDOM RESPONSES

It’s an interesting study to note Jesus’ response to various situations and scenarios.

We see Him speaking to a Samaritan woman at a well. Not the done thing – as 

…Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.

So He cut across the socially accepted norms and prophetically gave insight into this woman’s life

She was never the same again – so accurate was the information He gave her. We are not told all that He said to her. Did He in fact give a comprehensive history of her life – so much so that she exclaimed?: 

“Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 30 Then they went out of the city and came to Him.

Was she so overwhelmed by what He said regarding her lack of marital status – that it seemed He had insight into everything to do with her life? (And of course He had – as He has with regard to our lives).

Was she so astounded – she exaggerated her message? She would not be the first person to be astounded by what Christ did for her. I too am in that company of people.

40 So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of His own word.

Notice the Samaritans response to this demonstration of supernatural knowledge, that could not have been known, any other way – it started them on their quest to find out more.

Then having heard Christ preach – they became believers in The Son of God, The Messiah, themselves.

They wanted Jesus to stay with them. So He stayed another two days.

On another occasion the disciples went to prepare a place for Jesus as a stopover on a fuller journey. A stopover place amongst the Samaritans. But these Samaritans refused to receive Him.

The disciples acting wrongly and ‘inspired’ by the devil – wanted the Samaritans destroyed in response to this refusal to receive The Messiah:

Luke 9/54

And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”

They had a scriptural precedent, (so they thought) to repeat history. But Jesus pointed out how wrong they were. Teaching us that it is not what we say – but the spirit by which we speak.

We must discern what is behind and inspiring religions, or cults. By their fruits we shall know them.

55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.

It was all right for Elijah – why not them? Many twist the Word of God, and use it as the letter that kills, because they are moving in their unaided understanding or are demonically inspired to adulterate The Word of God.

Join with me in asking ourselves:

…what manner of spirit you (we) are of…?

On another occasion Jesus responded to a Samaritan woman and gave her what she requested even though…

John 4/22

22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.

Mark 7:27-29

27 But Jesus said to her, “Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”

28 And she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children’s crumbs.”

29 Then He said to her, “For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter.”

If we pray, we trust that as we move wisely the Son of God will be impressed by our requests, as He was with this woman and we shall (believing) receive the answer to our prayers.

When the Samaritans refused Jesus although He would not sanction ‘the fire from heaven’ destruction of His rejectors. Nevertheless we note the weighty consequence, in contrast, to the Samaritans who responded to the woman at the well:

And they went to another village.

Jesus looks for one thing above all – our acceptance of Him into our lives. He must have a welcoming embrace from us. He will not force Himself into our lives. He will influence us, draw us, speak to us, work in our conscience, all to bring us to Himself.

But that’s it – unless we embrace Him wholeheartedly –

He will go…

to another village.

The Real Deal

THE REAL DEAL

There is either such a thing as sin – or there isn’t.

And quite clearly there is such a thing.

It’s as plain as the nose on your face. We can see the results of sin all around us. Often in epidemic proportions.

Sin is one of the most obvious phenomena on the planet. And yet it is explained away under many guises.

The problem for preachers is – they too are subject to and can be guilty of – sinning.

So how can they stand in pulpits and preach against what they themselves are engaged in? Or so the commonly held view is expressed, by some.

“Is this not hypocrisy?” reasons the person who tries to say – no one should ‘judge’ others.

They perceive preachers as hypocritical Pharisees who love to castigate everyone but themselves. Bringing people under their rule and control, as ‘holier than thou’ – potentates.

However, have you noticed that those who say: “we shouldn’t judge”, are also those who can lose their temper and hit out with swear words, at the unknown person whole stole their car? They wouldn’t be trying to ‘judge’ them would they?

Quite clearly proper judgement is necessary in life. Else why not close down all the courtrooms throughout the land, and allow anarchy to rule ok!

The fact that unjust judgements are made, and hypocrites can be found in places of moral responsibility, does not negate the need for proper, sound, just judgement.

Problem is, at a time of increasing moral decay – the hypocrites seem to ‘rule ok’ in responsible positions, rather than the sincere just-persons, who should take up these roles.

Those preachers, who have moral integrity, are automatically lambasted by those who don’t want their sins found out. They tar these preachers with the same brush,  branding them as hypocrites. Condemned usually without trial or examined evidence.

The result of accepting or listening to no-one – is confusion (and often every evil work).

So in societies – corrupt officials take bribes, and the unjust sinner goes free for the right price.

The almost automatic way to portray anyone of ‘the cloth’, in drama productions on television or cinema – is to create a character who has a snivelling, hypocritical, judgemental, narrow minded, self-centred cowardly personality. Such types find their way onto the playwright’s script  when a character is needed to ‘represent’ the church.

And the non-believing but ‘good’ villain who spares a dime for the beggar in the street – is the ‘real deal’. Even though he has killed and robbed.

So society relieves itself from any responsibility to take notice of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Cause after all ‘they are not hypocrites’, like those religious types.

They don’t ‘pretend’ to be good or religious, or better than others. And so in all of this they spend their lives missing completely the ‘real deal’ of the Gospel.

So who is going to tell us we are sinners when all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God?

Well the answer is – God Himself.

The Holy Spirit’s job is to make me aware that I, who write this post – am a sinner.

And to be always talking about sin, without the rest of the message that makes the messenger’s feet beautiful (post on beautiful feet to appear later) is to get out of balance in presenting the whole gospel.

The whole gospel summed up is – we can have our mess (sins) removed. We can know God the Father through Jesus the Son, and we can know the ‘real deal’ of fellowship with God.

To be liberated inside – in a way you have never experienced before is the result of receiving and obeying the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I’ve just summed it up briefly, (to accommodate the need for a short post).

REAL DEAL GOOD NEWS:

…Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

…and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

….Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

And so on….and so on…and so on….🙂

What’s Happening

WHAT’S HAPPENING?

There are things (in my lifetime) – that Christians have taken for granted for years.

I guess I speak mostly of Christianity in the Western World.

Freedom to meet for worship, for example. Freedom of democracy etc.

We realise that the powers of darkness can take hold of a community to varying degrees. Depending on the spiritual blindness and godlessness that a people-group decide to allow individually into their lives, producing a corporate effect.

In most cities there are ‘no go’ areas noted for their danger and (a commonly held opinion) – to be avoided at all costs.

Even non-Christians are aware of ‘degrees’. Degrees of callousness, degrees of hatred, degrees of lying, cheating, backbiting, violence and so on, and so on. Different degrees of evil.

Conversely there are degrees of Christlikeness present in a community of Christians. Degrees of charity, empathy, righteousness, peace, joy, fellowship…

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…

The question can be asked of a person’s life and particular community: To what degree are these Christlike fruits present?

It’s safe to say – that there is no such thing as there being too much of these things in a community of people.

There can be too much of the opposite, as examples listed in the sixth paragraph above. Without any constraint being imposed, that community would end up in anarchy and would self-destruct.

We have seen film maker’s attempts to portray this in the typical Hollywood western. Where the town is oppressed and dominated by the tyrannical rule of some ‘big boss’ figure who wants everything for himself. Who employs a gang of ‘hoodlums’ to perpetuate his dictatorial rule.

Then the hero or heroes arrive. There eventually is a show down, a ‘deciding’ gun battle and decency and normality and wholesomeness returns to the community, as good triumphs over evil.

How many can hear the truth though, that good will eventually and ultimately triumph over evil after the game is played-out to the end of time? And it will not be sorted by the arm of flesh.

A society that is filled with unrestrained evil, violence and fear, reaches the Sodom and Gomorrah place of no return.

It doesn’t take a blog post from an unknown like myself to make us realise our world has gone pear-shaped. Just look around or watch the news.

If we reach desperation point in our city, town, village, community, because of the evil that is rampant – it can drive us to prayer.

That is my simple point in this post – does what is happening not wake you up (Christian or non-Christian) to the fact that evil is on the increase?

Wake up call? What response? Is there something in this Christian gospel after all? Such I’m hoping will be the dawning realisation of anyone reading this post, who as yet, does not recognise Christ as Lord, and that the gospel holds the ultimate answers.

Take a look at David Ettinger’s last post for the statistics regarding persecuted Christians to help establish the fact that iniquity abounds and any half-right-thinking person, must say within themselves: “What am I going to do in the midst of this world mess..?” (David’s Post – A Brief Reminder about Our Persecuted Family)(EttingerWriting.com)

If we can’t change the whole of the society in which we live – let’s seek to have ourselves changed individually, and allow the mess to call us to prayer.

Isaiah 55/

Seek the Lord while He may be found,

Call upon Him while He is near.

Let the wicked forsake his way,

And the unrighteous man his thoughts;

Let him return to the Lord,

And He will have mercy on him;

And to our God,

For He will abundantly pardon.

The Mystery

THE MYSTERY

2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; 3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, 4 that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.

To some the knowing of the MYSTERY, has been given:

11 And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables,

‘To you it has been given…’

We cannot know the mystery, except it be given to us.

We can’t find it any other way. Not by ingenuity of the most ingenious kind, not by reading books alone, nor by oral tradition, nor by scanning every man-made philosophy.

As we read, as we listen, as we seek, as we ask, as we knock – yes in the course of doing so – it can be given us ‘to know…’

But ‘to you…’, Jesus said to His chosen disciples ‘it has been given to know the mystery…’

What mystery?

The mystery of the kingdom of God.

Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began

A mystery kept secret.

This mystery of God’s kingdom cannot be given to sinful man. Therefore what the mystery is – is unknown to those from whom it is hidden.

That means they strive and struggle with their own intellects to dismiss it as mumbo-jumbo. They attack the gospel because they are left without it’s revelation.

The more they search for fault in the bible and are proud of their arguments, the further away do they go from it’s revelation, as they substitute their own reasoning powers for the offered revelation of the mystery.

God never intended the abandonment of reason, just repentance from sin. Non-repentant man, the natural man, cannot receive the things of the mystery, until he firsts takes the place of humility.

A man or a woman must go through an inner life-changing spiritual experience as he/she hears the gospel, and responds, in order to really understand it.

That’s why Paul talks of ‘the revelation of the mystery…’

It is a revelation, which is inner illumination supplied by The Holy Spirit of God.

The content of the mystery, is manifold. Not comprehensively understood this side of heaven.

As we walk with Christ Jesus, the possibility remains continuous of understanding more of this mystery.

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory…

Those who totally accept Christ as Lord and Saviour – are given insight into this mystery, God has ordained that it be so.

Receiving revelation of the mystery, is not the same as knowing all things. There is always more insight into the mystery, but to the believing Christian much can be revealed. We see this in the life of John, Paul, Peter, and so on.

They played their part in transcribing in the Power of the Holy Spirit whatever God placed within their spirit and understanding, but Paul informs us even though he was given an abundance of revelation – he/we still only ‘know in part’.

Many, aware that they can’t understand spiritual matters and are unable to conclude – consider that everyone is in the same boat. They therefore dismiss out-of-hand anything to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ. “After all they conclude, how can we know for sure?”

When God moves in your heart in response to the invitation to do so – you will know without a doubt.

The multitudes who received a healing miracle from Christ – knew beyond a shadow of doubt that this man had the words of eternal life.

However the plight of mankind is made clear – despite witnessing the feeding of four or five thousand people from a handful of  loves and  fishes human nature still has the capacity to doubt and turn away from the King of Kings.

So Paul in light of the deceitfulness of his own heart and ours, exhorts us in the following way:

13 Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

Hold fast despite what life throws at us. Hold fast to the sound words of Christ. Hold fast in faith, despite feelings. 

Hold fast to the only set of thoughts on the planet that are 100% true and reliable. Hold fast and trust the son of man, The Son of God, whom to know is life eternal!

Go and do likewise…

Go and do likewise…

In the context of the Christian message – what do you think is the most important part of the message of the Gospel?

One of the surprising things I noticed about God-in-Christ relating to human beings was the Son of God actually asking someone what they thought. Seeking their opinion.

Luke 10/

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’”

Regarding the word ‘Selah’ – a word used in the Psalms, the nearest we can get to its meaning is: ‘stop and think this over’.

So do so – stop and think over how strange this is. The Divine maker of heaven and earth asking a human being how he reads something. How he understands it.

Allowing myself to get a little out of context – What do you think is the most important part of the Christian message?

And how about telling God Himself what you think it is, as though He asked your opinion – as in “How do you read it?”

Having decided what it is – and having told God in prayer – your reading of things, find out what He wants to add.

You will find as you answer the question – and offer it to Jesus Christ in prayer, that you will have no alternative but to search further into the Bible to find if you are right or wrong.

As in the case of the man who was an expert in the law of God – you may well be right – BUT…

God will add to your understanding, as He did here. If you (we) take the time to search further.

This man had his understanding developed by The Son of God. He was right in his conclusions, but they needed advanced and developed in order that he consider other things, embracing a fuller picture. Just as you and I need to develop in the things of God.

If your answer to my question: “what is the most important thing in the Gospel message?” – involves correct understanding of the Bible – you can be sure that Jesus will follow our right conclusions, (after adding His),  by also saying to us, (as he did to the man in the passage quoted) –

37 …“Go and do likewise.”

 

What’s in a name?

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

What do people do in times of bombardment? In times of war?

Their lives are devastated through the loss of loved ones, livelihood, and dwelling place.

Those of us who have not experienced this, can only surmise the physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual impact that this brings, and the toll it takes.

We feel inadequate to even make a suitable comment by way of offered empathy or understanding. Mix-in the fact that there may be little we can do to offer assistance.

True Christians of course, offer the gospel as the news everyone needs to hear. We claim and proclaim that in the gospel message, God addresses the need of mankind and offers salvation in His Son The Lord Jesus Christ.

One of the first things a Christian will tell you is to ‘believe on The Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved’.

‘Saved’ means – delivered, set free, opened up spiritually, born again inside – in the spiritual new birth, saved is to receive the gift of forgiveness, as we invite Christ to come into the innermost human spirit to dwell there.

There are others ways of explaining what salvation is.

The birth of Faith in the heart with confession of the mouth, is one of the priority factors in the process of being saved/converted. (Romans 10/9-10)

But I want to highlight what can be faith in ‘different clothes’, to speak in metaphor.

When someone is devastated through a horrible experience, and human help is in short supply, and indeed all else has failed – through deep brokenness and pain the human spirit almost automatically cries out in it’s brokenness. Cries out to the divine.

However one requirement is needed above all. We are told that ‘… “whoever calls on the name of the Lord [in prayer] will be saved.”

Notice call upon – ‘the name’.

Get someone’s name wrong in the doctor’s waiting room, as the doctor calls out, and that person will remain in their seat, with no medical attention or help forthcoming.

Get their name wrong and they will not be responding to your call.

Get God’s name wrong and the promised help cannot be brought to the needy heart.

It is not a small thing with God that His name be overlooked or that He be called by a name He does not recognise.

I guess that kinda sums up the comparative religions problem?

There are many names for God in the bible. In simple terms each one brings out a different aspect of His character, but they are all ‘add-ons’ to His name Jehovah.

In the New Testament we are told:

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

I don’t think anything needs to be added to this. It’s plain and simple. The New Testament name of the one who brings salvation is Jesus Christ The Lord.

But just in case there is any doubt we also read:

12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

So in a condition of deep despair, when you have suffered in the flesh – take God at His word and call upon the name of The Lord, getting His name right, is realising He is God, and in fact – the only living and true God.

Faith awaits His response. Even when His response seems slow – it is sure.

When our cheek/gums are frozen by the dentist – he supplies the help we need.

We have no ‘sense’ of the help, or that he has carried out the procedure properly. No ‘sense’ that the problem has been fixed. Until some time later – when our insensitivity has been removed.

God will give that sense of assurance that He has responded, whether straight away or later, as faith waits expectantly.