Archive for the 'Partakers' Category

Think Spot 29 May 2017

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Think Spot 29 May 2017

 

 

G’day. Welcome to Partakers Think Spot at the start of this new week!


25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26 Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.
27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:25-30)

Jesus is strong enough and capable enough, to carry any burden that is laid upon Him. Jesus Christ gives a solid and sure foundation for all aspects of life, which will not fall or be destroyed. Indeed Jesus Christ will never fall or decay such is His imperishability as the everlasting God. Jesus Christ is solid, dependable and strong; nobody and nothing can stand against Him. Jesus’ strength means I can go to Him for protection and strength when I am weak and knowing He will supply my needs. Just as He has done for the last 35 years of following Him and will continue to do so throughout my life here on earth.

Unlike people offering self-help approaches and quick fixes for life, Jesus offers us Himself. He is able to help because of who He is – the giver and author of life. He is entirely and utterly dependable. Just as your body needs water to survive, so do the souls of people need Jesus in a personal encounter with Him. That is how dissatisfaction with life is beaten – Jesus reaching out to grasp you by the hand. Let him take your life and He will change your life. That is His promise – as He satisfies the urges in your soul it is as if a spring of water bursts into you – life giving, sparkling streams of water… WOW!

Go into this week with that promise of Jesus.

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Exploring The Bible

16. New Testament

Philippians-A.D. 60-62

 

G'day and welcome to our series, "Exploring the Bible" This is also the title of our latest book available on Amazon by clicking here or visiting PulpTheology.com

Key Verses:

  • Philippians 1:21 / Philippians 4:12-13

 

Paul is in a Roman prison as he writes this letter. It is a very personal letter to loyal friends in ministry. It is amazingly full of joy and joyfulness. He acknowledges that his friends are growing in spiritual maturity and ministering.

He writes to them about his ministry, growth, stability, and happiness during times of suffering. He has been truly blessed himself and encourages the Philippians to experience these same blessings. He also talks about Jesus’ humility and their responsibility to maintain unity, having the mind and knowledge of Jesus.

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Gems in the Letter of 1 John

Part 98 - 1 John 1:7
Walking in the light


John does not hesitate. He says immediately, “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all”. He is making an obvious connection with his gospel, which started with “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. … The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.”

He is also immediately giving an example of his common way of working in this epistle. I like to think of it as a game of tennis. He plays both sides of the net and picks up an idea and bats it backwards and forwards across the net. (The game of Squash racquets would be a better analogy but not everyone will know how that works.) Sometimes he then picks up another idea and has 2 ‘balls’ in play at the same time, or even three. His first ‘ball’ here is ‘light’ and then he adds to it ‘darkness’ and then ‘fellowship’.

 

He is remembering the words of Jesus ‘I am the light of the world’ and the Old Testament equation of darkness with sinfulness, such as in Job chapter 24: 13 - 17 where we read, “There are those who rebel against the light, who do not know its ways or stay in its paths. When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up, kills the poor and needy, and in the night steals forth like a thief. The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk; he thinks, ‘No eye will see me,’ and he keeps his face concealed. In the dark, thieves break into houses, but by day they shut themselves in; they want nothing to do with the light. For all of them, midnight is their morning; they make friends with the terrors of darkness.”

 

In John’s thinking when he talks about light there is no dusk, when the light is slowly fading, or dawn, when it is slowly growing, no half light. That makes life difficult for our thinking if, as in many parts of the Christian church, people are expected to come slowly to faith with no clear line of distinction between their pre-Christian life and their faith life. Perhaps that is inevitable because we are human and that is the way we think. But from the point of view of God there is a clear sharp line of distinction between before we are born again and when we are just a hidden potential Jesus follower. We are either members of his kingdom with a passport that says something like ‘in the name of Jesus’ or we are not. We either have the Spirit gifted to us or we do not. We cannot be stuck in the birth canal, only half born; there are no short term visas for the Kingdom; there are no short term loans of the Spirit available for us.

In some ways this is very odd. It is not uncommon for someone to drift along as a fellow traveller with the people of God, even being listed in the church catalogue of members with some such label as adherents, or named in italics instead of full script. All such things are human devices, not the way God works.

Beware! The Kingdom of God is not a democracy, let alone a free for all where we are allowed to make up the rules. It is a theocracy - the only true theocracy where the Lord of All, the Creator of all, the Upholder and sustainer of all, makes up the rules. And he has asked us - what an act of condescension that is - to join him, to join his family, to become one of his children, saved and honoured by our acceptance of the leadership of his son. WOW!

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Prayer for Manchester

O God,
Watch over those who wake, or watch, or weep today,
In the aftermath of the terrorist bombing in Manchester.
Give Your angels charge over that great city.

Tend & heal the sick ones,
Rest the weary ones.
Bless the dying ones.
Soothe the suffering ones.
Pity the afflicted ones.
Shield the joyous ones.

Give wisdom to the medics and others helping to heal and counsel
May those who died in this attack rest in peace and rise in glory.
May the perpetrators be bought to justice.

Where there is chaos, let us be agents of your peace
Where there is hatred, let us be agents of your love
Where there is fear, let us be agents of your security.
And all, for Your love's sake, O God
For we know you love Manchester
Amen.

 

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Consequences 05

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Consequence 05

 

 

 

The Message 2 – The Resurrection

 

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In this brief series called Consequences, we are looking together at 7 consequences of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Today we continue to look at the message of the early church regarding this Jesus – a message which is also relevant to us today! Yesterday we looked at the Cross and today we will look at the Resurrection.

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1 Corinthians 15:12-14 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

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Significance of the Resurrection

That was the Apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthian church about the crucified Jesus having been physically raised from the dead! What significance is there in Jesus’ resurrection, that the early church afforded such great value in it as part of their message? The resurrection of Jesus Christ provided the central theme for the sermons and teaching in the early church (Acts 1:22; Acts 4:33, Acts 17:18). Certainly within Paul-ine theology, but what significance is there in Jesus’ resurrection?

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The Solution!

The resurrection proved and vindicated all of Jesus’ teaching and claims as the suffering Servant and attested to His being fully God, fully human and the last Judge of all mankind (Isaiah 53:10-12; Acts 2:36; Acts 3:13-15; Romans 1:4). The resurrection, declared God’s approval of Jesus’ obedient service and the fulfilment of Old Testament promises as well as Jesus’ own words about it! The cross and resurrection of Jesus results in forgiveness of sins and salvation being only found in and through Jesus Christ.

This was the prime motive for evangelism in the early church (Acts 2:32, Romans 4:24-25). Jesus’ resurrection is a sign of the bodily resurrection for all believers in Him, giving a new attitude to death and transforming hopes (1 Corinthians 15:12-58, Romans 8:10, 2 Corinthians 4:14; 1 Peter 1:3 & 21). As the resurrected King, Jesus now intercedes for us and has perfected the redemption of all those who choose to follow Him (Romans 5:10; Hebrews 6:20, 1 Peter 1:21).

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Finally the Cross and resurrection ensure victory over satan, sin and death – they are conquered and squashed. Satan is a defeated creature and will do anything to drag people into defeat with him. The power of sin is conquered, and sin’s grip is overcome if you are a believer in Jesus Christ. Finally, as I said earlier, death has been beaten, because those who believe and trust in Jesus Christ will live forever with him – death is not the end but a beginning. if Jesus Christ did not physically rise from the dead, we as Christians are the product of the greatest delusional lie and are the most foolish of all people.

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Our Resurrection

Jesus’ resurrection is the guarantee that all humans also will be resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:20-22)… Amazing love… There will be a bodily resurrection of the dead, those who are saved and those who are unsaved (John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15). What will our resurrected bodies be like? We get a good glimpse from the Bible writers. The resurrected body of believers, those who are truly disciples of Jesus Christ will be:

  • Like Christ’s glorious body (1 Corinthians 15:49; Philippians 3:21; 1 John 3:2)
  • Not just flesh and blood (1 Corinthians 15:50ff)
  • Not just spiritual (Luke 24:39; 1 Corinthians 15:42, 53)
  • They were only always going to be a temporary measure as they pointed forward to Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross.

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Those who are, or were, non-believers will also be resurrected (John 5:28-29), but will not have the new glorious bodies of believers, nor will they enter into heaven. It makes the work of evangelism for all Christians, all the more imperative.

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Ultimately Jesus gives all humanity a choice. You can choose to deny the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ and say it doesn’t matter. You can say that it is an irrelevance and that is your right. God’s love is compelling and amazing but He does not force anyone to love Him in return, because love never forces! Such is the enormity of the love of God that each person has a choice to make – follow Jesus and accept His cross and resurrection or not to do that. God will not force you to accept it, but he will keep on calling you back to the cross and resurrection of Jesus.

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Jesus death on the cross and His resurrection was the central message of the early church! That is also to be our message as church in the 21st century! Tomorrow we look even closer at the man central to this extraordinary message in the next of our series, “Consequences”! See you soon at Partakers!

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WOW Word - Prayer

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Prayer

I wonder what you think prayer is and how much of it you have experienced? Is your vision and experience of prayer too small? Let us find out together, a small part of prayer!

Relationship

Prayer is to be at the centre of the relationship between God and the Christian. It is the major interaction and fellowship between God and humans, and of humans communicating with God, both in talking and listening. Prayer is allowing God to be consciously in to all aspects of Christian’s life and enjoying God’s companionship. John Calvin, said that part of praying was asking for “what we have learned to be available” in God’s love and of His being the infinitesimal good giver. He goes on to say our “only security” is achieved by calling on the Father for His providence out of His infinite mercy. Prayer is ultimately what humans were made for: conversing with God. Regardless of status or maturity or any other man-made barrier, God is always accessible, through prayer, to all those seeking Him with a contrite heart and a humble spirit. This dynamic relationship enables the Christian to engage in prayer that is both personal and relational. All prayer consists of a desire or longing to know God better, and that is to be the prime motivation: to know God better and more intimately.

Function

Prayer’s function is to a constant yearning for God’s assistance! It is to be a strengthening of desire towards eternal happiness, holiness and worship and knowledge of God. God Himself assists us as we pray! Did you know that? He does this by correcting and strengthening the yearning we express. Prayers express desires and thoughts in a contributory way to the journey of the Christian.

Words

Prayer emits our words from ourselves to the God we seek to know, as a response to His reaching out to us. Through prayer, God is able to comprehend the Christian regardless of language, grammar or oratory skill as long as the Christian approaches with a correct attitude.

Intimacy

Words however, are not just to be a mental action but also an emotive act, conveying emotions and feeling. Prayer is to convey deep emotions to God, regardless of our language skills. The words spoken in prayer portray our innermost feeling to Him. Because God is personal, He values language and expects His people to talk to Him. Prayer is intimacy with God! If for some reason, the Christian is unable to convey their words in prayer, then Romans 8:26, intimates that the Holy Spirit intercedes. Prayer epitomises the Father-child relationship symbolized in the Christian’s relationship with God. It further symbolizes the freedom and peace in prayer, advocated by Jesus to communicate His deepest desires, as in the Lords Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) and in John 17.

Don’t just have your prayer time in the morning or evening and leave it at that. Pray throughout the day as well, asking God for His assistance as you go about your daily life in an attitude of prayer! Go! Pray!

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