google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html 2017 December

Archive for December 2017

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God Gets His Hands Dirty

6. Jesus' Sacrifice

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

 

In the first Servant Song we saw that the Servant King will provide freedom, self-respect and justice for all. In the second Servant Song it was revealed that the Servant Prophet will bring comfort to people and have compassion on the afflicted. For the third Song we saw that this Servant Disciple will live a perfect life of discipleship, to show that it is attainable and that a life of total obedience to God and trust in God for all things is possible. Then we saw in the last chapter that there will be a big homecoming for the people of Israel and for all nations.
During the previous Servant Songs, we saw glimpses of the suffering this Servant who is both a King and Prophet will endure. Now in this section, this Servant Song we get the full picture of suffering and why He must suffer. This is how people will on the last day be consummated with God and attention is now back on him as 52:13 states “Behold, my servant”.
Echoing previous passages of where the Servant is God’s. It is as if we are meant to understand that nothing that has been said before is as important as this passage. Without this passage of Scripture, none of the rest makes sense. Let us discover together why that is so by downloading and listening to the Podcast using the links below.

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God Gets His Hands Dirty

5. Jesus’ Encouragement

Isaiah 51:1 - 52:12

 

Here in the ancient book of Isaiah, we see that faith is nurtured by listening and hearing. People are encouraged to look back and see what God has done with just one man, Abraham! How from him came an entire nation! This bodes well for the future when all history is consummated – have faith in your God who will lead you into the next world! But for now, don’t be afraid of what other people will do – stay close to God, have faith in Him, trust Him patiently and live obedient and righteous lives. For as verse 6 states:
“my salvation shall be for ever,
my righteousness will never fail.” (Isaiah 51:6)

Then we come to a mounting anticipation with baited breath. Quickly the phrase “Awake! Awake!” is repeated, as if to give a sense of urgency. The exodus from Egypt, an event remembered well by the nation of Israel and alluded to in Isaiah 51:9-10, will be surpassed by a new age of righteousness at the end of time. All those “ransomed by the Lord”, those set free by God will enter the city of God with joyous singing which will be their crown! Sorrow and sadness will no longer exist! Gladness and joy will be triumphant! Alleluia! Despite many obstacles in the way, the Lord God will reign triumphant. His Messiah, His Servant will deliver you. His Servant will be triumphant.

To find out more about Jesus' Encouragement, please do download the mp3 using the links below...

 

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God Gets His Hands Dirty

4. Jesus’ Obedience Isaiah 50:4-11

 

After discovering some of the things that will identity the Servant in the first Servant song and finding the Servant’s mission in the second Servant song, we now see obedience in this the third Servant song. It is obedience of God and trust in God regardless of spite, evil, malice and bitterness. From verse 4 we see that the Servant is willing to learn. This willingness to learn is a lifelong learning as indicated in the phrase “morning by morning”. Each morning the Servant awakes and is ready to be fully obedient to God throughout the day.

On top of that his words have power. He is able to give comfort and counsel as He consoles the weary, despised and rejected. Those people who like Him are undergoing trials, temptations and having to endure. This Servant in no way rebels against God, and this Servant is sinless and offers faultless obedience to God (v5). Nothing will stop Him from living a life of obedience to God, hence not retreating or hiding (v6).

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God Gets His Hands Dirty

03. Jesus' Mission

 

In Isaiah 49:1-13, we have it is universally called the second Servant song, and here the Servant Himself is speaking! We have no idea of his actual name, but He does have a name (Isaiah 49:1)! In the first Servant song, with the dispensing of justice as part of His identity, the Servant is a King!

But not just a King, something more as well! In this song, the Servant appears as if He is a prophet by the things He is saying. He was called Isaiah 49:1) just as Jeremiah was. The words He speaks are as if a double-edged sword (Isaiah 49:2). Despite the opposition (Isaiah 49:4), He perseveres to gain the reward and to glorify God (Isaiah 49:3).

What is His name? We find His name is Israel! Not the nation of Israel itself, but as a person who embodies all that Israel was meant to be and do. This Servant would glorify God in all His ways. This servant is a Prophet who is also a King. This Servant is a perfect incarnation of God’s light, covenant and salvation.


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God Gets His Hands Dirty

02. Jesus' Identity

 

In Isaiah 42, we have what is almost universally called “The 1st Servant Song”. In this book of Isaiah, one of the key words is “Servant”. In Isaiah 41, the nation of Israel is also called a “Servant of God”. Isaiah himself has been called a servant of God (Isaiah 20:3).


However, here in Isaiah 42, it is as if the phrase “Servant of God” has taken on a new meaning – someone who is unique, special. God Himself is speaking, and announcing “my Servant”. By looking further into what God says, we know it cannot be Israel. If anything, Israel is the bruised reed or dimly burning wick. Remember Israel was to be a light to the nations and reflect God to the whole world. In chapter 41, Isaiah describes Israel as always complaining resentfully, fearful, discouraged and embittered.


Later in Isaiah 42, we see Israel described as blind, deaf and disobedient. This is not the ideal that Israel was to aspire to, but rather one person who would be God’s response to Israel’s failure and weakness. So, what does the rest of this passage tell of the identity of the Servant, the Messiah whom God would send?

To find out what we think the answer to this question is, please do download the mp3 using the links below...

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God Gets His Hands Dirty

01. Introduction

 

The birth of Jesus Christ is the most celebrated around the world. These celebrations are diverse and transcend cultures, peoples, and languages. Of course, most people stop with Jesus being a baby and continue no further with Him. Jesus Christ is the most unique person in history. Jesus Christ is also the most divisive person to be found at anytime and anywhere.

Almost everyone has an opinion about Him, even if that opinion is based on ignorance, silence or misinformation. Christians believe that Jesus’ birth was the culmination of thousands of years of God telling the world that He was coming. From the time of the Fall when people showed active rebellion and disobedience towards God in Genesis 3, God was planning the time when He would step into history as a saviour or messiah. Christians believe that Jesus Christ is this messiah.

Throughout the Old Testament, we see that the birth, life and mission of this Messiah is the aim and focus of attention. We see it in the stories of people such as Abraham and Moses. We see it in the nation of Israel, which was to be God’s light to all the nations. We see it in the Israelite sacrificial system and law. We see it during the time of the Judges and the Kings. We especially see it through the prophets. The whole Old Testament is joined together, because it all speaks about this Messiah baby, Jesus Christ. This baby, who was both 100% human and 100% divine, grew in wisdom and stature. This baby was born in order that He would die on a cross some 33 years later. He did not die for his own sins, but for the sins of the entire world – all past, present and future sins. This baby was born to die so that the entire world may have life and life everlasting, if an individual chooses to accept it.

As we go through this adventure, we start together, by looking only at what two people from the Old Testament, had to say about Jesus Christ. These two people we know as Isaiah and Zechariah. Let’s start the adventure together by looking at an introduction to these two books of the Bible.

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Christmas People

5. Jesus

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him.

11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, ‘This is the one I spoke about when I said, “He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.”’)

16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and[b] is in the closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
(John 1:1-18)

Happy Christmas Day!  Today we have arrived and, hopefully, are giving some thought to the spiritual meaning of this celebration. This is Christ’s Mass. It’s about God sending ‘his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.’ Those words are found in 1 John 4:9, and are closely followed in verse 14 by these words, ‘The Father has sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world.’ As was hinted in the last talk, about the visit of the Magi, Christmas is about incarnation.   Listen to or download the mp3 to hear more about this most extraordinary man we know as Jesus Christ - no longer a baby... 

 

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Christmas People

4. Wise Men / Magi

1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.

5 ‘In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they replied, ‘for this is what the prophet has written:
6 ‘“But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.”

7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.’
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
(Matthew 2:1-12)

These men were travelling towards Christmas and probably for quite a long time, for it seems they originated in what we now call Iran but used to call Persia. These Wise Men, or as they are also known as Magi, were sort of priestly group - not kings, as is usually supposed in traditional Christmas presentations. They were men who studied the night skies for signs of what was going to happen. We would label them astrologers today, however they were much more than that. Listen to or download the mp3 to hear more about these mysterious visitors from the East!…

 

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Christmas People

3. Shepherds

1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.’

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’ 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

(Luke 2:1-20)

  Listen to or download the mp3 to hear more about the visit of these ordinary men of the time… People just like you and I...  

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Christmas People

2. Joseph

Whenever we look at Christmas, it is inevitable that we begin to think about the characters involved in the original events surrounding the birth of Jesus. We start with Joseph, quite often the forgotten man of the story.

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: his mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’

22 All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us’). 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name, Jesus.

(Matthew 1:18-25)

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Christmas People

1. Mary

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.
32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants for ever; his kingdom will never end.’
34 ‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’
35 The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.’
38 ‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.’ Then the angel left her.
(Luke 1:26-38)

Ahhh here is Mary. Mary, to whom was given the great privilege and awesome responsibility of carrying and giving birth to God’s Son, the Messiah.

  Listen to or download the mp3to hear more about this most extraordinary yet ordinary woman…

 

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Jehovah Witnesses 06

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Part 6 - Is the New World Translation Reliable?

 

 

To answer that question I would like us to consider what Jehovah Witnesses say about Jesus Christ being the co- creator of the World. They say that "all that exists was created by Jehovah; Jesus was the first to be created then God used Jesus as His working partner to create the rest of creation."

The apostle Paul writes in Colossians 1:15-16, referring to Jesus Christ: "He is the image of the invisible God, the first born over all creation. For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the first born from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy."

Jesus Christ - created or Creator?

So the subject here is the supremacy of Christ. When you read the verses here in context this is easily seen without trying to make it say something else . To do so would make it a perversion. If God is the creator of heaven and earth then Jesus Christ can be no lower than God . Genesis1:1; "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" In Colossians 1 there are several important verses that Jehovah Witnesses twist to try to prove that Jesus was not eternal. That he was created. Colossi ans 1 in their New World Translation is differently interpreted to fit their "reasonable" beliefs. You will see the words "first born of all creation" but what do they mean?

Yes they most definitely refer to Jesus Christ but what is being said about Him here? The Greek word 'prototokos' does not mean created. as we may think but rather refers to sovereignty. Jesus was pre-eminent over all creation. I am given to understand that this Greek word 'prototokos' occurs 8 times in the New Testament and no where does it mean 'creation' If Paul had wanted to say that Jesus was created then he would have used a different word, 'protoktistos' Jehovah Witnesses have given the wrong meaning to the word 'first born' in this verse.

New World Translation embellishments!

Sadly I have to add that The New World Translation with no legitimate justification adds the word 'other' into Colossians 1:16; and into five other places in this first chapter of Colossians in an attempt to make it appear that Jesus was a created being , lesser than Jehovah.

  • v16. "Because by means of Him all (other) things were created in the Heavens and upon the earth (NWT)
  • v17 "Also He is before all 'other' things and by means of Him all (other ) things were made to exist."
  • v20 "And through Him to reconcile again to Himself all (other) things."

There is no need for adding the word other to the texts here referred to. To do so destroys the natural context of the passage and improperly implies that Jesus Christ himself is a creature. Since Jehovah God created the heavens and the earth and all that is therein (Isaiah 44;24; Hebrews 3;4;) and Paul's letter to the Colossians calls Jesus Christ the Creator we can justifiably declare that Jesus Christ is Jehovah God.

The only conclusion we can come to when seeing what the translators have done here is that once again for them it is not reasonable to accept this truth as it does not fit into their "reasonable" thinking so they had to change it. It is clearly seen that The New World Translation is not the work of competent scholars bur rather the work of those who want to push the doctrines of the Watchtower.

New World Translation Inconsistencies

In the forward of the NWT it states "It is a very responsible thing to translate the Holy Scriptures from the original languages." We would agree very much to that but we wish they had lived up to that high principle. The word 'other' is in brackets in the NWT and the reason is given as follows "Brackets enclose words inserted to complete the sense in the English Text." 

The truth is that the bracketed words alter the meaning of the text. Likewise in Revelation 3:14; the NWT translates that verse wrongly, referring again to Jesus having been created. A more accurate translation renders it this way "These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the Ruler of God's Creation."

As we draw to the close of this study may I say how deeply concerned I am to all those Jehovah Witnesses who have been led along a downward slippery path of deception. I meet in the same coffee house as they do twice a week and I know they believe what they do is right and believe in what they are told but if I try to show them a better way they have ears closed because they are taught they are the teachers and the only holders of truth. I persist as I know I in myself alone will never convince them of truth but by the power of the Holy Spirit and through prayer they may well come to the knowledge of the truth and be set free.

Is it any wonder that one who has come out from that organisation has written a book with a startling title "I was a Watchtower slave" That is how he saw himself and how they need deliverance and someone to tell them the simple plain gospel that "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners and that Christ is the only Saviour we need. No organisation can save. Jesus Christ said "I am The Way, the Truth and the life no one comes to the Father but by me. " He alone is worthy and trustworthy. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Next time we shall be thinking about 'The New Birth, Life after death and Salvation .

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