google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html 2017 September

Archive for September 2017

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Gems in the Letter of 1 John

Part 116 - 1 John 5:4
Comparative powers



John says, “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” Oh, really, we may feel like retorting. Many of us will feel that we have no sort of victory much of the time, or even ever. Unfortunately that is the way life often is. We may be overworked, stressed, ill, subject to family problems, or financial problems, unemployed, frightened of dying (no Christian should ever be afraid of death but dying can be an uncomfortable process!), frightened of being killed, bored or whatever. Christians are not invulnerable to those sorts of things. How then can John say that we have a victory because of our faith?
In fact if we look back through this lovely letter he has written we will see that he deals out a great deal of encouragement to the people he is writing to.


In 1 John 2:27, 28 he says, “…the anointing you received from him remains in you, … his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him. … so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.”

Then in 1 John 3:21, “Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God”.
In 1 John 4:17, “This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the Day of Judgment; In this world we are like Jesus.”

And in 1 John 5:14, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”

There is plenty there about confidence. Of course, it is not sufficient for the Olympic athlete to be confident as they crouch down ready to run; they need to come first to get the victory. But then the victory we are talking about is of quite a different nature; it is a victory in the sense of overcoming all our worries and anxieties our fears and our failures. How are we to do that?

John cleverly parcels up the answers in this short passage of the first 5 verses of this chapter. He starts with “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.” And finishes with “Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” All that he has said in between – well worth reading if you have a Bible handy – is gathered up between those 2 statements about believing Jesus is the Messiah and that he is the Son of God.
 
If we keep those 2 facts well held in our minds, grow from our starting points as the babies of God and allow the Spirit to work in our lives we shall overcome. Nothing is more certain; it is the great Creator and Sustainer God of all the earth who has you in his hand. It probably wont be at all obvious to your neighbours that you are operating at a different level to them – if they are not believers in Jesus – but that will be the true fact of what is happening.

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Partakers Friday Prayers! 

29th September 2017

 

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! 

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A Prayer of Thomas a'Kempis (1380-1471)


Grant me, O Lord,
to know what I ought to know,

To love what I ought to love,
To praise what delights thee most,
To value what is precious in thy sight,
To hate what is offensive to thee.

Do not suffer me to judge
according to the sight of my eyes,

Nor to pass sentence
according to the hearing of the ears of ignorant people;

But to discern with a true judgement
between things visible and spiritual,

And above all,
always to inquire
what is the good pleasure of Your will.

Amen

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POD - Psalm 26

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Psalm 26

26:1 Judge me, Yahweh, for I have walked in my integrity.
I have trusted also in Yahweh without wavering.

26:2 Examine me, Yahweh, and prove me.
Try my heart and my mind.

26:3 For your loving kindness is before my eyes.
I have walked in your truth.

26:4 I have not sat with deceitful men,
neither will I go in with hypocrites.

26:5 I hate the assembly of evildoers,
and will not sit with the wicked.

26:6 I will wash my hands in innocence,
so I will go about your altar, Yahweh;

26:7 that I may make the voice of thanksgiving to be heard,
and tell of all your wondrous works.

26:8 Yahweh, I love the habitation of your house,
the place where your glory dwells.

26:9 Don’t gather my soul with sinners,
nor my life with bloodthirsty men;

26:10 in whose hands is wickedness,
their right hand is full of bribes.

26:11 But as for me, I will walk in my integrity.
Redeem me, and be merciful to me.

26:12 My foot stands in an even place.
In the congregations I will bless Yahweh.

 

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Think Spot - 25th September 2017

 

Welcome also to Monday and our Think Spot together!

Obedient Life
As a Christian you are to be a little Jesus! In your local communities, wherever you happen to live, work, study or be! You are to live a life of obedience, of and to, Jesus Christ! For you are being transformed by the Holy Spirit who lives inside you! You are to be totally and willingly obedient to Him! Obedience, not out of some kind of slavish duty or ritual, but obedience borne from willingly loving God and loving others.

Imagine
People will know you are a follower of Jesus, if you are obedient to Him, practically showing love to all! Imagine the community where you are transformed for Jesus Christ! Imagine your community filled with people seeking to know about our Jesus, because you and other Christians were sacrificing their time and possessions! Imagine the communities you are involved with wanting to give Jesus the glory and honour in every aspect of life!

Transformation

Transformed communities of people devoted to Jesus and experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit in bringing people back to God the Father! Loving God and loving each other as He commanded would help do this in your local community!

Be Obedient! Be bold! Be strong! Be courageous! But you need to be lovingly obedient to Jesus Christ in both small and large things. Jesus said in John 14:21 “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them."

You will face pressure to disobey Him, even sometimes from those within your church. But if He has commanded you to do something for Him, you are to obey Him. It is far better to obey God and disappoint people than to obey people and disobey God.

Go into this week, lovingly willing to be obedient to God! Trust in Him and ask Him for the strength to be lovingly obedient to Him. He will help as you ask! It can sometimes be very difficult to be obedient to God, particularly as some people, even other Christians, will try to get you to disobey. Be strong in the Lord! Be bold! Be courageous! Need help? Then ask somebody to pray with you! Then be prepared for opportunities to be lovingly obedient to Jesus – in small and big things!

A prayer to help you this week.


Father, help us to live obediently to you. May the Holy Spirit encourage us as we seek to live worthily of Jesus Christ, in loving obedience to Him. Father, it is in His name we pray and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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Exploring The Bible

33. Old Testament

Nahum - 660 BC

 

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:

  • Nahum 1:7-8
  • Nahum 3:5-6

 

Nahum preached against Nineveh in 660 BC. The inhabitants of Nineveh had forgotten about God and how they came to repentance under Jonah.

Nahum announced God’s judgement upon Nineveh, as they had abandoned God and returned to violence, idolatry and arrogance. Nineveh was to be destroyed and never rebuilt!

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Gems in the Letter of 1 John

Part 115 - 1 John 4:16
God is love.


This is one of the diamonds of John’s gems! Unfortunately, the first thing I must say is to be careful and not think of it as ‘Love is God’. It isn’t! Even though many pop songs etc. would seem to suggest it is. The verses before and after this phrase stand out and we need to read them. We have:

 
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world.
If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the Day of Judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”

How can we summarize what we have there and put it together into one idea. I would suggest that we should go back to the idea which is dominant in the first 3 Gospels but which John used very little. And that is the idea of ‘kingdom’, the kingdom of God. One of the dominant characteristics of that kingdom, if not THE dominant characteristic is ‘love’

We live in a world in which more people than ever before are changing the kingdom, or nation, within which they are going to live. There are huge numbers of displaced people and migrants all over the world. They are causing problems. Many of them want to live in a different country but without changing their culture. But the existing people of the country demand that they should change culture, accepting theirs and fitting in properly. The outcome is conflict.

Jesus followers have no choice. They are to change their culture to that of the kingdom of God. The dominant feature of it is ‘love’. They are to receive the love of God because they are born of God; they have received all the benefits of the death of the Son of God through his atoning sacrifice on the cross. That love must be reflected out from their lives. If it isn’t they are not truly born of God and have not received those benefits: the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Spirit. That reflection means that we love one another. We will also have confidence for the moment when we have to approach the throne of judgement. Fear will not be a factor on that day and should not be now.

Our task now is not to be careful not to break a long list of rules. It is to live as true citizens of the Kingdom, rejoicing in our relationship to its Lord and Ruler and in our relationships to every other member of that Kingdom. What a prospect! What a challenge! What a joy!

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