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Heaven

John 14:1-4 (New International Version) - "‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.’" What is heaven like? People, both believers and non-believers have an opinion about Heaven! To some its where everybody will meet up after death providing they weren’t too bad in this earthly life! The caricature of the comedians is that heaven will be floating around on clouds and playing a harp! So what does the Bible, the foundation for all serious Christian thought, have to say about heaven?

  • Physical Place
  • Characteristics
  • Who?
  • Christian Attitude
  • Prepared Place
  • Pure Place

What does this mean now? : All this doesn’t mean you are not to be so heavenly minded, that you are of no earthly use. Rather, you are not to be so earth bound, that you are not tied to Jesus in your eternal home – heaven! Won’t you tell somebody today, about heaven and how they can get there with you? Go and tell somebody else!

 

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POD - Psalm 110

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Psalm 110

 

 

(Read by Noelle)

Yahweh says to my Lord,

"Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool for your feet."

Yahweh will send forth the rod of your strength out of Zion.

Rule in the midst of your enemies.

Your people offer themselves

willingly in the day of your power, in holy array.

Out of the womb of the morning,

you have the dew of your youth.

Yahweh has sworn, and will not change his mind:

"You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek."

The Lord is at your right hand.

He will crush kings in the day of his wrath.

He will judge among the nations.

He will heap up dead bodies.

He will crush the ruler of the whole earth.

He will drink of the brook in the way;

therefore he will lift up his head.

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Think Spot 10 December 2018

 

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things." Philippians 4:8


Isn’t it great to be a believer? Or maybe yesterday’s meetings at Church were not much of an inspiration to you as you begin a new week? You just didn't get much from the services yesterday. You listened but other thought you allowed to crowd in. Concerns for certain family members, friends or neighbours. So you have not started the week with gusto. Even your morning quiet time today didn’t go well. Your prayer life hit rock bottom. Your prayers, you thought didn’t get any higher than the ceiling. You had to not only drag yourself out of bed but also through your devotions. "Is this what the Christian life is all about?" you ask yourself. Am I not meant to be a joyful triumphant Christian?

Our minds are fertile ground and must be guarded and guided. They are open to all kinds of infiltrations and our part is to guard our minds and put useful good healthy thoughts in. The key is to ask ourselves the question "What would Jesus have me do?" "What can I do for His Kingdom and name sake?" "Is there someone today I could meet up with and encourage? Someone to offer financial help to? Someone who needs my sympathy? Someone who needs a car lift to hospital? We need to take our minds off of our own needs and focus on others and their needs.

Minds can soak up all kinds of useless stuff if we let them. Jesus took time to prepare himself for each day. He began with several hours in prayer. Maybe we should see Him as our example as well as reading a good Christian biography, including a commentary on a passage from the Bible each morning and pray it in. If we did we might have a much better day. It’s our relationship with Jesus that will determine our state of mind throughout the day. Think on these things .Have a great day and a great week!

Dear Lord, take care of my mind and do not allow those awful thoughts to continue in my mind. Help me think upon good useful thoughts that are sweet and helpful to building others up which will glorify God. I am sorry for allowing such rubbish to fill my mind. Instead, fill my mind with thoughts such as "How would Jesus think about this situation where I have anger, jealousy or even hatred. The truth is I want to be like You Lord." In Jesus name.
Amen!

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Investigating Jesus

Investigating Jesus Part 11
Jesus Selects His Disciples

 

18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him. 21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. Matthew 4:18-22


There are three main lists of disciples (Matthew 10:1-4, Mark 3:13-19, Luke 6:12-16) who were chosen near the start of Jesus ministry. The Gospel of John offers no comprehensive list but does refer to them as “The Twelve” (John 6:67, John 6:70, and John 6:71). Here are “The Twelve”: the 12 main disciples of Jesus Christ:

  • Andrew: he was a fisherman from Bethsaida (Matthew 4:18). It was he who introduced his brother, Simon Peter, to Jesus (John 1:40-42). He was also a disciple of John the Baptist.
  • Bartholomew: he was the son of Talemai and possibly was also called Nathaniel (John 1:45-51).
  • James: he was the son of Alphaeus. He is also known as James the Less (Mark 15:40). He would later play a leading role in the Jerusalem church (Acts 15).
  • James & John: the sons of Zebedee. Both were fisherman (Matthew 4:21; Luke 5:1-11) and Jesus called them the sons of Boanerges or sons of thunder (Mark 3:17). John is known as the “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23, John 19:26).
  • Judas Iscariot: (Luke 6:13, 16): he was the son of Simon (John 6:71 & John 13:26). He was the disciple who betrayed Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16; Mark 14:10-11) and was replaced after the Resurrection by Matthias (Acts 1:26).
  • Matthew: he was a tax collector (Matthew 9:9) and the son of Alphaeus (Mark 2:14. He also authored the gospel by the same name (Matthew 1:1).
  • Philip: from Bethsaida (John 1:44; John 12:21). Notably, it was he who introduced Greeks to Jesus (John 12:20-22).
  • Simon: known also as Simon the Zealot (Matthew 10:4) and possibly from Jerusalem.
  • Simon: brother of Andrew and an uneducated fisherman from Bethsaida (Matthew 4:18; Acts 4:13). Later, he was renamed Peter by Jesus (John 1:42) and would go on be the leader of these twelve disciples (Acts 1:15-26). We know that Peter also wrote letters to churches and we have two of them in what is our New Testament, the books known as 1 Peter and 2 Peter.
  • Thaddeus: listed as a disciple in Mark 3:18 and known also as Lebbaeus (Matthew 10:3) and Judas brother of James (Luke 6:16).
  • Thomas also known as Thomas Didymus. He is best known however, as doubting Thomas for initially disbelieving the resurrection of Jesus before he saw the Lord and proclaimed Him as such (John 11:16, John 20:24, John 21:2).


How were they chosen?


It was usual practice for a disciple to take the initiative and choose his master and then voluntarily join that school. However, in reverse of this practice, Jesus Himself chose those who were to follow Him by issuing a simple command “Come, follow me.” This can be seen in several places in the Gospels, for example Matthew 4:18-22; Matthew 16:24; Matthew 19:21; Mark 1:17; Mark 8:34; Mark 10:21; Luke 9:23; Luke 18:22.

The reason that God gave them to Him as his disciples was so that they would produce fruit for God’s Kingdom (John 15:16). Jesus also placed some demands on those who wanted to follow Him. For some, these demands proved too much so they went away, like the rich young ruler (Matthew 19:16-22). Others, who were initially attracted to Jesus, stopped following him and left saying: “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it? (John 6:60)

What was it about these people we know as the Twelve Disciples that made them want to follow Jesus? The answers to that next week.

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Highlights in Hebrews
Highlights in Hebrews
(with Roger Kirby)

Part 18 - Hebrews 6:20–7:10

The great high priest – Melchizedek

The argument our writer is pursuing is going to be that Jesus is the greatest High Priest, superior to all others and therefore the one who should set us all the greatest spiritual example. So he says “… Jesus … has become a high priest for ever, in the order of Melchizedek. This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, the name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace. Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.”

Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder! So the argument continues “Now the law required the descendants of Levi who were the priests to collect a tenth from the people—that is, from their fellow Israelites—even though they also were descended from Abraham. This man, Melchizedek, however, did not trace his descent from Levi - who was not yet born - yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. And without doubt the lesser is blessed by the greater. In the one case, the tenth is collected by people who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living. One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor.”

There have already been several references to this rather strange episode involving Melchizedek. The argument of our writer is that Jesus was and is the greatest high priest ever, surpassing all others. This is not obvious because he was descended from Judah and not from Levi and Aaron as all high priest had to be.
The connection he uses is in Psalm 110. Here there is a prophecy of a man with three roles. He is to be the Messiah. That is not obvious from the psalm but is the way it was interpreted by both Jesus and the Pharisees (Matthew 22: 41 - 46). Then the Psalm refers to ‘your sceptre’ (Psalm 110: 2) and a sceptre is the symbol of kingship. Finally it says ‘you are a priest for ever’ (Psalm 110: 4).


How can this be? King Saul got into major trouble with Samuel because he acted as a priest when Samuel was late for a ceremony (1 Samuel 13: 8 - 14). Only Solomon seems to have been allowed to offer sacrifices as a king (1 Kings 8: 64 - 66). The Messiah was to be both a king and a priest because he was to be ‘a priest in the order of Melchizedek’. This refers to the unusual story of Genesis 14. It is about how Abraham had to rescue his nephew Lot when he got caught in the skirmish between 4 kings and 5 kings. (Since Abraham could sort them out with only 318 men, ‘king’ is a bit of an exaggeration. ‘Warlord’ or ‘Clan chieftain’ would probably be more realistic titles.) On his way back Abraham meets Melchizedek. Every other significant man in the book of Genesis gets a detailed genealogy. Melchizedek doesn’t. Hence our writer says “Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.” He just comes into the account from nowhere and disappears again. Yet Abraham treats him as the senior personage, giving him the tithe of a tenth of all his plunder and accepting a blessing from him. All that is very difficult to understand; it seems that Melchizedek was a priest of some senior line, which also worshipped the God of Abraham.

All this is exactly what our writer wants to explain the role and status of Jesus. From his very first verses he speaks of Jesus as the Son, the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his [God’s] being. Beyond dispute Jesus was and is King. Now we see he was also a priest, a High Priest, senior to the Levitical high priests, more able than any one else has ever been to “ save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.” (7: 25 - 28).
This is the glorious reality the writer presents to our wondering gaze. Worship Jesus.

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Partakers Friday Prayers

7 December 2018

We pray together and when Christians pray together, from different nations, different churches and different denominations - that reveals Church unity! Come! Let us pray together!

A prayer of Bonaventure


Lord Jesus, as God’s Spirit came down and rested upon you,
may the same Spirit rest upon us, bestowing his gifts.

First, grant us the gift of understanding, by which your precepts may enlighten our minds.
Second, grant us counsel, by which we may follow in your footsteps on the path of righteousness.
Third, grant us courage, by which we may ward off the Enemy’s attacks.
Fourth, grant us knowledge by which we can distinguish good from evil.
Fifth, grant us piety, by which we may acquire compassionate hearts.
Sixth, grant us fear, by which we may draw back from evil and submit to what is good.
Seventh, grant us wisdom, that we may taste fully the life-giving sweetness of your love.

Amen

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God Roars 2

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God Roars!

God Roars - Why?

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G'day and welcome to Partake! The Bible, as we discussed in the last podcast, tells of how God has roared, or spoken if you like, to all of humanity.  He has done this through the Bible using revelation, inspiration and illumination.  In this podcast, we will go onto ask why we should interact with the Bible.  But firstly, lets look at some keys to understanding how to read the Bible.

Keys To Understanding the Bible.

Here are six short keys to help you open the doors of the Bible, and allow it to have an impact on your life - to let God roar into your life!

Firstly, pray that the Holy Spirit will help you as you read. That is part of His role in your life as a Christian Disciple and believer. He will use the Bible to enlighten and illuminate your mind, heart and will as you seek to be obedient to Him.  As you read the Bible, pray what you read - let it have an immediate impact on your life! The God who wrote it, is listening and is eager to see you transformed into the image of God the Son in the power of God the Holy Spirit!

Secondly, the Bible is inerrant, or without error, and that it is totally trustworthy. It does not contain errors or mistakes in its original form. That is in the original manuscripts and languages. It is not inerrant, however, in so far as the translation from those languages. As Christian Disciples, we maintain the Bible as our final authority over all things.  If it was not inerrant, then it could have no authority at all.

Thirdly, no part of the Bible will explicitly contradict another part. It is a balanced and unified message from a God who does not change. God is not a God of confusion, but a God of order. As you read it regularly and consistently, you will be amazed how it holds together.

Fourthly, we are to keep what we are reading in context - not only in its immediate context, but also in context with the rest of the Bible. Take for example Psalm 14:1 where the Bible says "There is no God". What Psalm 14:1 actually says is that the fool in his heart has said "There is no God". It is also out of context with the rest of the Bible where God is said to exist, such as Genesis chapter 1. You can make the Bible say whatever you want it to say, by merely taking sections out of context, and thus creating pretexts. Ask yourself questions about the passage: How, who, when, where, why and what?

Fifthly, use a Bible you can read easily. There are many translations available to suit the taste of anybody. You may like to use a Bible reading plan, which will take you through the Bible in a year.

Lastly, expect to be changed when reading the Bible. Read it with an obedient heart, mind and will. The Bible is God's Written Word because it is active, and God will not cease transforming you into the image of Jesus the Living Word - which is the goal of Christian Discipleship.

So if they are the keys to the doors, what are the doors!

The Bible Equips For Service!

One of the main ways that the Bible helps you, is by equipping you as a Christian for active service! There are at least four ways, in which the Bible does this in your life as a Christian!

Firstly, is that the Bible both equips, and is useful for, evangelism and pointing others to Jesus Christ. When Philip the evangelist was talking to the Ethiopian about the Christ, it was Isaiah 53, which was the point of query.

The bible also equips in order for you to give counsel & instruction to others seeking help. An example of this is seen when Paul urged Timothy to use Scripture when teaching others.

Thirdly, the Bible equips you as a Christian to use your spiritual gifts. A spiritual gift is an ability given by the Holy Spirit, to you the believer, so that the church as a whole is encouraged and God is glorified. Your spiritual maturity derives from building Bible knowledge, which in turn helps you use your spiritual gifts in the best way possible.

Finally, it also equips you for doing battle with Satan and resisting temptation. In writing to the Ephesians, Paul likened the believers' spiritual armour to that used by Roman foot soldiers. In this anecdote, the Bible is compared to a soldier's sword. A sword is not only used to defend, but also used to attack. Jesus fended off and attacked Satan by using Scripture to negate the temptation. You can use all these methods in order to live the Christian life, and also to grow into spiritual maturity. This is as you read your Bible regularly, asking the Holy Spirit to illuminate it to you, as you do so.

The Bible Helps Know God More

One of the very key teachings from the Bible is that God can be known personally. People are not naturally born possessing this knowledge, even though they know the very existence of God. Knowing that God exists is not the same as actually knowing God personally. In the same way that I know about the Queen, I don't know her personally. That is the same state people are in, with regards to God. Personal knowledge of God is ultimately crucial however, since knowing God personally and developing the relationship is what being a Christian is all about. As a Christian believer, you should be rejoicing that God earnestly desires you to attain this knowledge of Him, in order to know Him more and more. For this reason, He has spoken to you through His written Word, the Bible, revealing Himself and disclosing how you may know Him more.

Whilst God can be known, your knowledge of God is partial and you will never know everything there is to be known about Him. Knowledge of Him is both wondrous and without end. As you grow spiritually, knowing the Bible and thus knowing Him more, you will grow in spiritual maturity. The Apostle Peter commands that you grow in the knowledge of Jesus. You do this as part of your spiritual journey, in order to become more like Jesus Christ.

One of the Christian life's' greatest delights, is developing an intimate knowledge of God and of developing an intimacy with Him. The gospel, or the news of Jesus you share with other people, is rightly entitled: "the power of God to salvation". The Bible, and its gospel whereby people come to know God, are found in that the gospel is the agent of the new birth. The gospel is the soap or cleansing agent whereby God gives the believing sinner a spiritual bath resulting in salvation and the Bible is a teacher that brings wisdom, which leads to salvation.

The Bible Helps Know God's Will

God has a program for the universe and it is revealed only in the Bible. The overall will of God, is that all people come to believe and trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and their Saviour. After starting the Christian life, you discover God's program from humbly reading His written word, the Bible. God's initial will for those who believe is the changing and conforming of the believer into the likeness of Jesus. But this is only the beginning of God's work in you! This serves as merely an introduction into the lifelong process of becoming like Jesus. Paul writes "God who began the good work in you, will keep on working in you until the day Jesus Christ comes again". God will not abandon you, but will keep working in you, transforming you to be like Jesus Christ.

Obeying God's will as revealed in the Bible, helps speed this transforming work along. It is work, because sometimes obedience is difficult and involves cost, yet worthwhile in the light of eternity. Secondly, as a Christian believer, you should not overlook God's work in this world. Was it not Jesus' who commanded all his followers to tell all men about Himself? God uses people to tell this gospel and conviction comes through the work of the Holy Spirit. This includes you, if you allow Him and seize every opportunity!

Finally, believe it or not, God is at work in and through the church - His church. The church is to be a dynamic organism ordained by Jesus to do work for God. As the church reflects biblical truths to the world, God works through His Holy Spirit and through his followers in order to strengthen and bless the church. God has roared and continues to roar! The Bible, by way of revelation, illumination and inspiration, help transform the reader! By using 6 keys of understanding, there are 3 doors opened up: door to serve God efficiently, know God more and know God's will!  Let God roar to you through the Bible and go have an impact on your community!

For more to think about, please do read in the Bible, Luke 24:25-35; Matthew Chapter 4:1-11; 2 Peter 3:14-18. Philippians 1:3-6.

Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

1. What do I understand by the word "inerrant" and authority in regards to the Bible?

2. What is my expectation when I read the Bible and in what ways can I use the Bible every day to be cleansed and grow in spiritual maturity?

3. How does the Bible help my relationship with God and allow God to reveal His will and programme?

4. Why should I reflect biblical truths in my life to those who do not know God?

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WOW Word - Peace

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Peace

The world we live in, wants peace! The world is unified around the concept of peace! However, the peace the world wants requires the manipulation of circumstances. God's peace, and peace with God, however, comes regardless of circumstances. We look in this video at the following things!

  • How can we define true Peace?
  • Look at a short history of Peace!
  • Look at peace with God, other people and with ourselves!
  • How do we maintain peace within?

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POD - Psalm 59

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Psalm 59

For the Chief Musician. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” A poem by David, when Saul sent, and they watched the house to kill him.

59:1 Deliver me from my enemies, my God.

Set me on high from those who rise up against me.

59:2 Deliver me from the workers of iniquity.

Save me from the bloodthirsty men.

59:3 For, behold, they lie in wait for my soul.

The mighty gather themselves together against me,

 not for my disobedience, nor for my sin, Yahweh.

59:4 I have done no wrong, yet they are ready to attack me.

Rise up, behold, and help me!

59:5 You, Yahweh God of Armies, the God of Israel,

rouse yourself to punish the nations.

Show no mercy to the wicked traitors.

Selah

 

59:6 They return at evening, howling like dogs,

and prowl around the city.

59:7 Behold, they spew with their mouth.

Swords are in their lips, “For,” they say, “who hears us?”

59:8 But you, Yahweh, laugh at them.

You scoff at all the nations.

59:9 Oh, my Strength, I watch for you,

for God is my high tower.

59:10 My God will go before me with his loving kindness.

God will let me look at my enemies in triumph.

59:11 Don’t kill them, or my people may forget.

Scatter them by your power, and bring them down, Lord our shield.

59:12 For the sin of their mouth,

and the words of their lips,

let them be caught in their pride,

for the curses and lies which they utter.

59:13 Consume them in wrath.

Consume them, and they will be no more.

Let them know that God rules in Jacob, to the ends of the earth.

Selah

 

59:14 At evening let them return.

Let them howl like a dog, and go around the city.

59:15 They shall wander up and down for food,

and wait all night if they aren’t satisfied.

59:16 But I will sing of your strength.

Yes, I will sing aloud of your loving kindness in the morning.

For you have been my high tower,

a refuge in the day of my distress.

59:17 To you, my strength, I will sing praises.

For God is my high tower, the God of my mercy.

 

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Think Spot - 3 December 2018

 

Here we are Monday again. Are you pleased? Are you ready for a new day at the office, or at college or in the factory or at a desk? You are a Christian right? So what are you thinking as you resume where you left off last week?

Did you pray before you left home? Great for that's the best way to start off. You spent a little time with the Lord in His Word and have sought his leading through the day. That is also commendable. Have you sought protection from the Lord also? Have you realised there is someone who is anxious that you don't triumph in Christ today. That of course is satan. He is someone who wants to safeguard his territory and his prisoners – those who are already under his control.

So look at this day as an exciting day with all kinds of great prospects. If you are walking and talking with God you couldn't be in better company or stronger. He will be your shield and refuge a very present help in time of trouble. He is at your right hand and will be in control as you yield yourself confidently to His direction through the day. Ok a lot of routine stuff but do it as well as you can and cheerfully. But you don't know my boss?

No but God does and he has you there in that place for a reason never doubt. You may not see anything terrific happen today no miracles but you are a light shining for Jesus and will make an impact upon someones day today as you come into contact just your presence in the same room. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify God in Heaven.

Trust in the Lord and be not afraid. Watch your behaviour and enjoy God's presence with you. You are in the centre of his will and its going to be a great Monday. Our confidence is in the Lord.

Psalm 23 reads “He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake” Believe and act upon those words spoken by David and at the end of day you may well be able to also say with him “My cup runs over”

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Investigating Jesus

Investigating Jesus Part 10
Jesus' Mission Continues Away from home

(Luke 4:31-44)

 

Now Jesus walked through the rioting mob and went to Capernaum and here he engaged in public ministry. What does this public ministry look like and what was the reaction to Jesus and his ministry?

  • Preaching (Luke 4:31-32) – Here we see Jesus setting up his ministry headquarters in Capernaum (Matthew 4:13-16) and from there, he started teaching in the Synagogue. People were astonished that he taught with such authority.
  • Rebuking (Luke 4:33-37, 41) – Our Lord did not want the demons to bear witness to Himself and his identity (Luke 4:34, 41). Again, people were astonished at Jesus power and authority.
  • Healing (Luke 4:39-40) – People bought their sick and asked Jesus to help them.
  • Praying (Luke 4:42-44) – he was up early the next morning to pray (Mark 1:35). It was in prayer that he found his strength and power for service, and so must we.


All during this period, we can learn several things about Jesus and his ministry towards those he encountered and interacted with.

  • No new teaching – he has God’s authority to do what he is doing – preaching, healing and releasing.
  • God desires humility – Jesus is looking for people to acknowledge their spiritual blindness and poverty, so that he may liberate them.
  • God’s Word is important – In the previous verses, Jesus counters the devil by using God’s Word, and he continues to do this throughout his ministry. He teaches and preaches in the synagogues (Luke 4:32, 44); rebukes demons (Luke 4:35, 41), and heals diseases (Luke 4:39); all with the authority of his word.

Jesus today

As we read the Gospel accounts of the life of Jesus, we see that Jesus reached out to all kinds of people, particularly people who society had rejected or were castaways. These included the sick, women, Gentiles (non-Jews), the religious elite – anybody. There was no barrier Jesus wasn’t prepared to break down so as to show God’s love for them. Jesus’ mission was to be the saviour of the world as God’s Son (John 3:16) and the Servant of the Lord. Jesus’ mission was to give a message of hope for the spiritually poor and spiritually oppressed people - people not only in his hometown, nor only in Israel, but rather for the whole world. People have two choices when faced with this fact: accept or reject. There is no other option. That is why as Christian Disciples we are to be actively engaged in evangelism, to tell people of this news about Jesus Christ.


Next week, we look at how Jesus selected his disciples...

 

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Highlights in Hebrews
Highlights in Hebrews
(with Roger Kirby)
Part 17 - Hebrews 6:18-19

Hope is an anchor

God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,

Hope is the desire for something longed for. At school it was perhaps to be in the top team; then it became the hope that our new computer would be as good as we hoped; then we hope for a good and loving life mate; for a happy and enriching family; for a satisfying and rewarding job. In all probability it is only when we reach old age that we begin to think of hope in terms of what might happen when we die. Hope stands out in the New Testament as something to be sought and it is about the last of those things. We, in the more developed parts of the world anyway, are little concerned with such thoughts. They, in the writer’s days, had a life expectancy probably only in the 40s or 50s and a good chance of dying at any age. We, with all the modern medicine available to us, can expect to go on in a reasonable state of health much longer than that. It is therefore no wonder that we are less concerned with hope than they were. They will have been much more used to seeing people die young or not very old. We hide the thoughts away for many years until we come to the point where we begin to hope we shall not get dementia, or will not only die until after a long and painful illness. And what happens next is not a major consideration until we are so set in our ways and beliefs that we have no real hope.

New Testament hope is quite different. Paul talks of “the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1: 27). It is that part of hope that, I am guessing, does not come much into your thinking until you are fairly old. In a way that is not surprising because our natural hopes exist with vast gaps between them. When we are younger that final hope is something that flits in and out of our thoughts at quite rare intervals. But this - hope in our future beyond this life, and in our Lord Jesus - is another matter. If we are members of the Kingdom here on earth we have a great and wonderful hope that we shall still be members after we die.

What guarantee do we have that this will indeed be the case? Our writer says it is as secure as an anchor that is firmly embedded amongst rocks on the sea bottom.

Going back a couple of verses he has said that there are two unchangeable things. It is not obvious what these were but he must be referring to what God said to Abraham after Abraham had passed the terrible test of being prepared to sacrifice his son and thus appearing to destroy the previous promise of God that he would have many descendants. “I swear by myself, declares the Lord …” (Genesis 22: 16). Nothing we experience will ever be as bad as what happened to Abraham. The Lord gave his great promise to Abraham and confirmed it ‘by himself’. In other words our God is totally trustworthy, whatever may be happening to us that seems to prove otherwise. This is our hope. Then, mixing his references up in quite a confusing way our writer says that our anchor is in ‘the inner sanctuary behind the curtain’, which is where the Lord God was thought to reside more than anywhere else.

The rocks between which our anchor is so firmly wedged that it can never be pulled out are our Lord, his person, his Word, our Lord and Master.

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