some image

Sermons

Rev Con Despinidic 22nd May God’s wonderful promise foretold

Rev. Con May 23, 2016 Sermons, timeline No comments

Pentecost and beyond no 2. Psalm 150 Luke 24:36-53

The Book of Acts is referred to as the Acts of the Apostles; I believe that it can also be described as the Acts of the Holy Spirit. In it we see how God wonderfully intervened in the life of His people- How He challenged and equipped them for service and ministry.

I am encouraged and challenged in my own Christian walk as I think about these things. I need, we need not only to be encouraged but to understand that in the same way that God provided what was needed for His church to come into being, to live to grow. He does so today and we are corporately and individually recipients of His marvellous blessings and provision.

I wanted to get across to you that we are never alone and God always provides for His people, everything that they need, no matter what that may be.

As we read through Acts we see that the reception of God the Holy Spirit in the life of every individual believer was radicle- and had a wonderful life changing transformation in the hearts and mind of those individuals: – this is no different to today- Praise God!

When we read through the Book of Acts: – We can observe the faith and tenacity of God’s people in good times and bad times. This wonderful historical account of the life of the Church in the first century encourages each one of us in our daily walk with the Lord Jesus.

We see that they had experienced the same sought of faith issues that we do. I know that we live in different times and in some ways we may be more sophisticated than our forefathers in the faith-BUT we can never get away from the truth that as members of the human race, God’s wonderful creation, our spiritual needs are the same they never change. The faith challenges that they faced are no different from those we face today.

Everything dovetails together, we cannot separate the book of Acts from the rest of the New Testament- Acts chapter one and the end of Luke 24 go hand in hand.

The Lord Jesus was crucified and had risen from the dead-this was dramatic and the 11 Apostles and the rest of the disciples were still reeling from the emotional shock that this had on them-
This was a new era in their lives and a new era in the life of all humanity!

Reading through the Gospel of Luke we find that the Lord Jesus appeared to the 11 remaining apostles- The two from Emmaus have just told them of their experience on the road home and how they had recognised the Lord Jesus- they were excited, and to use their own words, “their hearts were strangely warmed” what a great expression!
The Lord opened up the Old Testament Scriptures and described to them Who He was and Why He came.
This news was urgent it was important the 11 apostles must hear this they thought to themselves- and as they were witnessing to them, the Lord Himself appears amongst them: “Peace be with you” was His greeting. As I read between the lines I hear the following: ‘Chill out guys, be calm- I get it that you are frightened and agitated- a lot has happened for you to get your head around!’
I find the way Luke describes the scene really encouraging, I love the way the Lord speaks to His followers:- “why are you troubled and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” Luke 24:35-40
Vs 44ff “This is what I told you while I was still with you; Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, and the Prophets and the Psalms.” 45 Then He opened their minds so that they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them: This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day.

The risen Christ teaches His followers the significance of the Cross and the OT Scriptures- It is all part of a wonderful plan, – this plan included more, there was something else.

Hear the words of the Lord Jesus, see what they say to your heart:- “47 repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” What a great message;

a. Repentance and forgiveness, they must go hand in hand- God’s forgiveness is for all-
b. Repentance is the response to God’s grace and forgiveness; it is the response to God’s Holiness.
c. Repentance is not a magic potion to summon God’s forgiveness or grace- It is always the result of His Grace-
d. When we have our eyes and ears open to the truth of the Gospel; The Lord Jesus Came to save the sinner- then the response to that is to repent.” The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, nor wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. “2 Peter 3:9 (We will see this when we look closer at Acts chapter 2)
Grace and salvation is a free gift from God. “For it is by Grace you have been saved, through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8,9.
Repentance is the act of saying you are sorry- and seeking to turn around, do a U-TURN from one attitude to another is extremely important and therapeutic. The Bible says: that “if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness”
Secondly: 48 You are witnesses of these things. They had seen the glory of the Lord in their lives and in the life of those around them- Indeed we too can witness the wonder of salvation, not only in our lives but in those lives around us.

Thirdly: “49 I am going to send you what My Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
? Be patient God’s timing is important.
? God always keeps His word!
? They would receive His wonderful Holy Spirit and the blessing and provision that this entails.

According to Luke there is more: “50 When He had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 While He was blessing them, He left them and was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshipped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy 53 and they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.”
1. Worshipped Him
2. Great Joy
Just thinking about this excites me- imagine if you had been with them?
What enthusiasm there must have been?
The Lord promised them “power from on high” along with this power came responsibility and a God given task- go tell the world – share the news of repentance and forgiveness- tell it to all, this is no secret!
But first they had to patiently wait- stay in the city till the time is right- for the Day of Pentecost was approaching.

You are never alone- Rev Con Despinidic Pentecost Sunday 15th May 2016

Rev. Con May 19, 2016 Sermons No comments

Ezekiel 37 Acts 2 Pentecost Sunday an Introduction. YOU ARE NEVER ALONE
What was I thinking of? Is the question that came to mind when I finally set to put fingers to key board. What is Pentecost Sunday all about? A simple question so I thought- I should have known better- What a wonderful and all-encompassing topic- yet as I continued to prepare, pray think read and write I was overwhelmed with the possibilities.
This is a good thing- for no matter how long one has been preaching, reading worshiping and being involved in the faith- the idea of the Holy Spirit never ceases to amaze and to excite and yes at times confuse.
Now today I do not want to confuse you.
? I do want to encourage you.
? I do want to motivate you; my prayer is that you would get excited about God the Holy Spirit. Not in the sense that you are living on cloud nine all of the time (whatever that may mean) my desire is to encourage you in your daily walk of faith that you may be aware of the presence of God the Holy Spirit not only around you but within.
Christians around the world are celebrate Pentecost Sunday;this important day. The Day of Pentecost is not as well-known or as popular as the Christmas and Easter, many believe that Pentecost Sunday is the birthday of the church as we know it.
On the day of Pentecost we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit on the early followers of the Lord Jesus, in such a way that had not been seen ever before.
What does the word “Pentecost” mean?
The English word “Pentecost” means “fifty.” It speaks of the “fiftieth day.” This refers to the Jewish holiday known as the Festival of Weeks and comes from Leviticus 23:16, which instructs the people to count seven weeks or “fifty days” from the end of Passover to the beginning of the next holiday.
? It was originally a harvest festival (Exodus 23:16), but, in time, turned into a day to commemorate the giving of the law on Mt. Sinai.
This day became is significant for the Christian because, seven weeks after the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, during the Jewish celebration of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon his first followers, thus empowering them for their mission and gathering them together as a church.
We see a beautiful parallel with Jewish history- this is no accident or coincidence- timing for the Lord was important-
? The Passover speaking of the freedom from tyranny of the Egyptians and pointing to God’s wonderful plan of redemption for an oppressed people. Fifty days afterwards the festival of weeks a thanksgiving to God- also a reminder of the Law.
? These were significant milestones in the life of Israel-
? The Cross of Christ took place at the PASSOVER- the coming of the Holy Spirit at the day of Pentecost.
The day of Pentecost is the fulfilment of all that the Lord Jesus said about the Holy Spirit.
? The Lord Jesus commanded that disciples to stay in Jerusalem that they may “receive power “Acts 1:8“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Here are just a few things that the Lord Jesus said about the Holy Spirit:
• John 4:13,14 “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”(The Samaritan woman at the well. Give me a drink the Lord Jesus said.)
• John 7:38“Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
• John 14:26“ But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
• John 15:26“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.”
• John 16:8 “When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment”
• John 16:13,14“ But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.”
Inspired by the book of Ezekiel 37:5“This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life”. Edwin Hatch in 1878 wrote the following Hymn, this was first published in a book titled Between Doubt and Prayer.
Breathe on me, breath of God, Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what Thou dost love, And do what Thou wouldst do.
Breathe on me, breath of God, Until my heart is pure,
Until with Thee I will one will, To do and to endure.
Breathe on me, breath of God, Blend all my soul with Thine,
Until this earthly part of me Glows with Thy fire divine.
Breathe on me, breath of God, So shall I never die,
But live with Thee the perfect life Of Thine eternity.
• Romans 8:16“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children”
• Romans 8:26“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”
• Romans 8:14“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.”
• Galatians 4:6“Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,Father.”
• 2 Corinthians 13:14″The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.”
• Ephesians 4:4-6″There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”On the day of Pentecost we celebrate the reception of the Holy Spirit in a radical way within the life of the Church.
• Acts 2:4″And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.”
• Mark 1:8″I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
• 2 Cor. 3:16-18″but whenever a man turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
• Romans 8:9″However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.”
• Romans 8:11″But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.”
• 1 John 5:6″And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is the truth.”
• John 3:34″For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure.”

What a blessing God the Father send to His children the indwelling of the Holy Spirit- Praise God, WE ARE NEVER ALONE!

10th April 2016 On the road to Emmaus

Rev. Con April 10, 2016 Sermons No comments

Psalm 139 Luke 24:13-35 On the Road to Emmaus. 10th April 2016

Last time:
Luke 24:6 “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen!”
a. Many still see the Lord Jesus among the dead; a hero with some great words and great compassion; a man who experienced a horrid death at the hands of a political and religious regime.
b. There are some who acknowledge Biblical truth and doctrine, who believe the creeds and yet this Jesus is still dead as they seek Him in their lives.This reduces Him to just a man. “this will not do, Jesus is not dead; He is alive. He is not merely a hero of the past He is a loving reality of the present”
c. There are those who regard Him as a man whose life must be studied, He is more that an object of study. He is a living presence.
d. There are some who see the Lord Jesus as the perfect example of life someone to be copied. NO! HE helps us and guides us and strengthens us, He is a living presence to help us to live!
I also broached the subject of living in the past
There are a lot of people like that, living in the past, for some it is the hurt of the past for others the glory of the past but for the child of God the Christian, the past is but a stepping stone, Oh that our eyes would be open that we could see clearly. The Disciples could not see, they were not ready to hear, so they dismissed the message of the women. For it seemed to them like nonsense the idea of the resurrection was absurd to them.
The Lord Jesus said so many things, He did so many things, and yet those who spent so much time with him did not have the wisdom to see what was in front of their very eyes. It wasn’t till after the resurrection that the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle came together.
I left you with Peter’s reaction “12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.”
Today:
There is a rather ridiculous story:
An old man is sitting on his porch, when suddenly someone drives up in a jeep, yelling, “Quick! Get into my jeep! The dam just burst and this whole place is going to be flooded!” The old man says, “Naw, you just go on ahead. The good Lord will take care of me!” The guy in the jeep zooms off. The water starts pouring in, and the old man has to move up to the second floor of his house.
Someone paddles by his window in a canoe and says, “Quick! Get into my canoe! The water is going to keep rising!” The old man says, “Naw, you just go on ahead. The good Lord will take care of me!” The guy in the canoe paddles off.
The water keeps rising, and finally the old man is sitting on the top of his chimney, with the water lapping at his ankles. A helicopter flies overhead and lowers a rope ladder down. Someone in the helicopter says, “Quick! Climb up! The water’s still rising!” The old man says, “Naw, you just go on ahead. The good Lord will take care of me!” The helicopter flies off. The water keeps rising. The old man drowns.
The old man finds himself before the Lord in Heaven. The old man says, “How could you let me drown! I trusted you!”
The Lord says, “Hey, I tried. I sent a jeep, a canoe, and a helicopter for you!”
The Disciples saw and hear much of what the Lord Jesus said, yet they did not understand.
• God spoke through the OT Scripture and the Prophets. Jesus is coming. The Suffering Servant will save God’s people from their sins; He will give them a new heart a new life. They rejected the prophets, and in some cases killed them!
“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways,” Hebrews 1:1
• God sends John the Baptist to herald the way, “the coming of the Lord!” “Prepare Ye the Way”, He was beheaded!
• God send His “Only begotten Son” He revealed to humanity the Love of God, He spoke wonderful words of wisdom- He pointed to true salvation, true peace, true love and joy. He said and did so many things- and still they rejected Him. “2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.” Hebrews 1:2-3
God speaks to the disciples.
a. The Lord tells them of His death and resurrection. They didn’t get it!
b. He sends two angels they say: “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen!” They were told this. And still they doubted.
c. The Lord sends the women to the Disciples, and they dismiss their words as nonsense. The resurrection was not in their thinking.
d. Peter rushes to the tomb; he is left pondering these things and still doesn’t put the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together.
And now the Lord shows himself to two travellers: Luke 24:13-35
13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. Emmaus was a small village about 9.5 kilometres north of Jerusalem, walking into the sun as it went down. It may not have been the safest of roads. Travelling in groups was the safest way to go. This was a well know road for them and I am sure that they had travelled it on many occasions. As they walked home they were perplexed, and they discussed the events of the past week in great detail.
• Little did they know that their conversation was one that would have ramifications for centuries to come? Don’t be fooled, everything we say and do has some sort of impact on life- the littlest things; the greatest things have a domino effect.

Secondly: God knows our inner most thoughts:- Psalm 139:1-2 “ 1 You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.”
15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him. 17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”

“Hey fellas what’s going on?” Could have been the question that this stranger may have asked;
Despondent, downhearted, hopeless, sorrowful, distressed mournful, are good words to describe how these two may have felt.
It was obvious from their reply that they loved the Lord Jesus, and there was a strong conviction that He was the Messiah, they knew in their heart of hearts that the Lord Jesus was a special messenger from God.
Did they fully understand what He was about? The answer is obvious- NO-
My experience has been that there are situations where we do not fully understand, the answers are not forthcoming- there is no writing on the wall or a great flash of light- yet there is a strong conviction to believe and to trust- It is not so much the knowledge of what is happening and why it is happening that is important- it is more the focus of our trust that is important- The apostle Paul puts it this way:
2 Timothy 1:12 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.
These guys had to learn a similar thing.
• They also faced the stark reality that much of their preconceived ideas were wrong- It is often hard to admit that we are wrong!
For them the Messiah was to come, and at the great feast he would establish the Messianic kingdom on earth. “They had hoped that He would act with Messianic power and would deliver the people from all earthly and spiritual enemies, and would reveal His glory.” {p 633 Geldenhuys NIC}
? It is so easy to put our trust in a scheme of things, a neat package of theology and hide in a box of teaching.
? It is so easy to put our trust in things and the idea of faith. But what happens when there is no substance to these things? Faith in its self will not do, for it is the object of our faith that is most important.
Things just didn’t turn out the way they expected them to; life is like that isn’t it?
They were perplexed; their interpretation of the event didn’t make sense. It was also painful thing to recall the events of those days.
1. It was about Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah. Not God Not the Way the Truth and the Life.
2. He was to them a prophet, with great power. Not as the writer of Hebrews says: “ 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.”

3. He was handed over to death by the chief priests and rulers of their people, he was crucified.
4. And thus they say; “Our hopes are dashed”. What is it to have your hopes dashed?
5. They acknowledged that: “some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.” It just didn’t make sense to them.
We need to be reminded that God knows all that there is to know about us, and He wants us to draw close to Him, to trust Him no matter what.
He searches our hearts and attitudes.
He can comfort and challenge.
He can restore and invigorate.
Be encouraged, “He is not dead, He is risen and He seeks to live in our hearts!”

Easter Sunday 2016, Why do you look for the living among the dead?

Rev. Con March 27, 2016 Sermons No comments

Sermon 15 Easter Sunday 2016 Luke 24:1-12 He is not dead He is Alive! Psalm 30

What a blessing to be familiar with the words of the Gospel writers. Although there are some differences in the account of the resurrection one thing stands out. The author of the Scriptures makes this abundantly clear that THE RESURRECTION took place and that on the third day He Rose from the death!
I love the honesty of this passage, it tells it like it is, there is fact and there is insight into the emotions of the followers of the Lord Jesus.

• Their humanness stands out as an example or our personal frailties.
• They experienced, doubt, fear, anxiety and grief. These things all of us are able to relate to.
• They were perplexed at the happenings in their own little world, what they though they knew they didn’t and what they didn’t know scared them. We too are baffled at times with what has happened in our own little worlds, our knowledge surprises us and our ignorance causes us to retreat like a turtle pulling its head into its shell.

Today is not a day to look at things from a negative perspective-
Today is the day that the Lord has made- it is the day when we proclaim from the roof tops:- HE IS RISEN and He is alive! He is risen indeed!
Before we can testify to this we too need to take a similar journey to that of the Disciples.

Luke 24:1-12
“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning,” The requirements of the Jewish law were kept and it was now permitted to work. It was the custom of the faithful few to prepare the body of a loved one or a friend who had died. The body would be rubbed with herbs and spices, this was done to retard the stench of decomposition; this was a costly thing. For the disciples it was an act of love.

I wonder how they may have felt. It was something that had to be done, so you just did it, I am sure that they approached the tomb with some hesitation and a sense of great grief and even a bit of anxiety and maybe a tear in their eye. Thoughts of the Lord Jesus His words and actions still fresh in their minds.
And then there was all that led up to the Crucifixion. It was a roller-coaster ride; now all that was left was the final preparation for the dead. This was to be the last act of reverence and love.
You can almost feel the disappointment in the air along with a sense of profound loss.
“The women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,”
I am sure that they didn’t think clearly because of their grief. Why was the tomb was open: who moved the stone? Never the less they entered the tomb, not knowing what they would find.
“3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words.”
I love the words of the angels; “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen!
Why do you look for the living among the dead?
a. Many still see the Lord Jesus among the dead; there are some who see Him as the greatest man that ever lived, a hero with some great words and great compassion; a man who experienced a horrid death at the hands of a political and religious regime.
b. There are some who acknowledge Biblical truth and doctrine
, who believe the creeds and yet this Jesus is still dead as they seek Him in their lives.
This reduces Him to just a man. And as one author puts it “this will not do, Jesus is not dead; He is alive. He is not merely a hero of the past He is a loving reality of the present” Barclay p 292 Luke’s gospel. This is what the disciples of the first century had to learn surely this is what our generation needs to hear!
c. There are those who regard Him as a man whose life must be studied, his words examined and his teaching investigated. Yes there may be a tendency to look at Christianity as a worthy subject for study- take from it what is palatable and leave the rest. ‘The Lord Jesus is not someone just to be studied, ‘He is someone to be met and lived with every day, He is not only a figure in a book even if that book be the greatest book ever written HE IS A LIVING PRESENCE.’ Barclay p 293
d. There are some who see the Lord Jesus as the perfect example of life someone to be copied. This can be very frustrating, particularly if you are like me, two steps forward one back, none of us will ever reach perfection-
The Lord Jesus is not just someone to be copied just a good example to follow; NO! HE helps us and guides us and strengthens us, He is a living presence to help us to live!
It just might be that our Christianity is lacking somewhat, because we too are looking for the living among the dead!
9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.

Imagine stewing in your loss and grief, living in the past, unable to hear the good news because the old news is still so fresh in your heart that no matter what you are closed off to it. There are a lot of people like that, living in the past, for some it is the hurt of the past for others the glory of the past but for the child of God the Christian, the past is but a stepping stone, Oh that our eyes would be open that we could see clearly. The Disciples could not see, they were not ready to hear, so they dismissed the message of the women. For it seemed to them like nonsense [Barclay says that this a Greek medical term for the ‘babbling of a fevered mind’], why?
Was it because the women told the story, or better still the idea of the resurrection was absurd to them.
The Lord Jesus said so many things, He did so many things, and yet those who spent so much time with him did not have the wisdom to see what was in front of their very eyes. It wasn’t till after the resurrection that the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle came together.

12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened. Good old Peter, the one who suffered from foot in mouth disease decided that he would see for himself.
Peter list of indiscretions is a long one. Hey! If there was hope for Peter then there is hope for each one of us!
Thought: don’t just believe put it to the test sus it out for yourself!
And this was just the beginning of a wonderful journey of faith.
Colossians 3:1-4

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

Don’t find yourself looking for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen!
And He lives to reign in our hearts.

6th March 2016 Rev Con Despinidic Matthew 11

Rev. Con March 7, 2016 Sermons No comments

Psalm 120 Matthew 11 6th March 2016
Today:
They were difficult times for the nation of Israel; they were also difficult times for those who had faith in God.
Herod Antipas their ruler had married Herodias his brother’s wife, John the Baptist spoke out against this adulterous and unlawful marriage. ( Luke 3:19-20) What do you do when those at the top are ignoring God’s Laws?
Today in our country we can speak up, we can vote we can seek to ask the right questions in John’s day you spoke up at your peril.
John’s relationship with Herod was a strained one; Herod would often listen to the prophet’s words with respect. This didn’t mean that he would do what John said. There are many today who respect the Good News they too would reject it for it exposes there disobedience to God.
John is in prison in the fortress at Machareus. This strong hold was well fortified and represented the power and authority of Herod. The Jewish leaders could have argued for John’s freedom- it would have been the right thing to do; but they did not. Why? –
They didn’t because John pointed to the Lord Jesus as the Son of God- His job was to proclaim the coming of the Kingdom of God.
They didn’t because they did not want to acknowledge who the Lord Jesus was.

1. Is it possible for the person of Faith to have doubts and fears?

When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
Personally I believe that doubts and fears can be a healthy thing- and it is possible for the person of faith to have doubts and fears. There is nothing wrong with questioning one’s situation or even questioning God- for some this may sound blasphemous- I believe that God can deal with any question. The question is not an act of disobedience; Following through on the fears and doubts that these questions may bring may be an act of disobedience. The possibility of failure is always there. This is not a bad thing; it should keep us on our toes. It should also ignite a fire of faith that cannot be extinguished.
Not because I will it- the answer is found in God and His faithfulness, His Grace and Mercy, His forgiveness. He holds all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle.
My fears and doubts are designed to remind me of that fact.
John sent a message to the Lord, he questioned, he grieved, he may have feared and experience doubt- BUT HE NEVER LOST HIS RESOVE TO BE THE MAN GOD CALLED HM TO BE.
2. Revelation of who the Lord Jesus is:
John 14:11
11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.
The proof of who the Lord Jesus is seen in what He has done. 4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

3. True greatness is seen in humble faith that leads to obedience:
11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
John the Baptist was obedient and he exercised humble faith. Having faith does not mean that we have the answer to all the questions, nor does it mean that we do not hurt, or question life’s circumstances. Just the opposite- having faith enable us to face what is behind and in front of us with the assurance that God’s grace is sufficient!
The Lord Jesus praised John for his faith, for his faithfulness He went one step further, He said that we, the least of the kingdom will be greater than he.
4. Persecution and suffering is inevitable:
12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it
5. There are some people that will never be convinced no matter what, Vs 17-18.
6. There will come a day that we call the day of Judgement; Vs 20-24

7. Revelation of the heart for the child of God. Vs 25-27

There is a revelation that takes place in the mind and a revolution in the heart
The Father reveals Himself to the Son and the Son reveals Himself and the Father to those who would come to the Son by faith.
8. Life for today:
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.”
Here are three words with meaning from this verses.
1. COME The Pharisees said DO, OBEY. The Lord Jesus said come, meaning trust. This is an open invitation to those who were exhausted and burdened down; this was exactly how the people felt under the rule of the Pharisees. (Wiersbe p40)

2. TAKE
This is a deeper experience, when we come to the lord by faith he gives us rest, that deeper rest of surrender and obedience- resulting in the peace of God working in our lives (Romans 5:1). To take a Yoke meant to become a disciple. When we submit to the Lord Jesus we are yoked to Him, the word easy means ‘well fitting’. In other words, He is able to give us the very yoke that we need, it is suited to who we are, and who we will be. Tailor made is not a bad way of putting it. The burden of doing His will not be heavy (1 John 5:3)

3. LEARN The faith walk is a process of learning, like we learn to walk, to talk and to eat. Maturity comes with time. Leaning comes with practice. To learn to trust the Lord more is a journey into a deeper peace and it is for all.

Sermon Rev Con Despinidic 28th February 2016

Rev. Con February 29, 2016 Sermons No comments

Sermon 9 Exodus 20:1-17 Matthew 10:24-42 28th February 2016
My prayer is that as we continue our journey through the Gospel of Matthew that the Spirit will encourage us, stir our hearts and strengthen our resolve in the realm of faith.
Last week The Lord Jesus sent His disciples out to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of Heaven; He also equipped them for the task at hand. In doing so He warned them of future events thus warning us today of what we may experience when we too embark on the faith journey. There is a wonderful prophet element to His call.
He foresaw:
• Persecution
• Ministry to the Gentile nations (18)
• The imparting of the Holy Spirit for all believers.(20)
• The return of the Lord Jesus (23)
We should also heed the advice He gave His disciples to;
1) Have our wits about us
2) Realise that life is not going to be easy and it may be thwart with danger
3) The Holy Spirit He will give us the right words to say and the endurance that will be needed
4) The Gospel message will divide
5) People will hate you because of the Lord Jesus
6) There is always light at the other end of the tunnel
7) When the time is right move on
8) We are not to be afraid, we are to be bold
9) Your heavenly Father knows all that there is to know about you and He cares for you
10) We are not to be afraid
I also said:
The Gospel does divide, it can separate people- Now we should be careful here, and this separation is something that is brought about by others attitudes not ours- Ours is a charge to be people of PEACE and LOVE. Not WAR and HATRED! We have seen how the Gospel divided family and communities in the New Testament. The Apostle Paul prior to his conversion was a man on a mission- His mission was to destroy the church by any means possible.
He also learnt that the greatest weapon as a Christian was that of prayer and forgiveness, love and mercy. This is consistent with all that the Lord Jesus has taught. Remember the Lord’s Prayer?

In verses 32 -42 the Lord sums up what He is saying with a challenge to the disciples PRIORITIES in life!
37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
40 “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
• Also found in Luke 14:26.
• The Lord Jesus made it clear that the command to honour one’s mother and father was not to be disposed of.
For God said, “Honour your father and mother,” and “Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.” But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever help you might otherwise have received form me is a gift devoted to God,” he is not to “honour his father” with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.” Matthew 15:4-6
• It is the greatest act of hypocrisy to lie to one’s self and twist Biblical principles for selfishness.
• Elsewhere in the Scriptures the Biblical principle of family first, love and patience and the dying to selfishness is paramount!
• So what is it that the Lord Jesus is saying here? What is the Biblical principle? and How does it impact our lives?
PRIORITIES IN LIFE
I believe that it has a lot to do with priorities in life. This is consistent with what the Lord has already taught.
It is important to realise that one text does not make a doctrine and that good doctrine is something that is consistent with good Biblical principles.
This theme of priorities never goes away, in fact it has a life of its own and will be something that each one of us is forced to visit and revisit on a regular basis.
And why not! This is a healthy thing to do.
• Consistency in the way we view the Scriptures is important always asking the vital question: What is the principle here?
• Go back a few chapters and the Lord has already spelt this out for us: Matthew 6:33 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
• This will also be seen as we continue our journey through Matthew.
For me as I read this it is initially disturbing, his is a good thing- we should be disturbed and made uncomfortable- Hate is a strong word, and should we take it at face value it is inconsistent with the teachings of the Lord Jesus-
1. The Lord Jesus warns about the dangers that will come.
2. The Lord Jesus points out that the Gospel will be divisive
3. The Lord Jesus wants to get under our skin and give us a sense of urgency about the Gospel message and the importance of getting our priorities straight.
4. In fact, when I come to the Lord Jesus and get my priorities right I will I should become a better, Father and husband.
5. In fact every area of my life will be made better.
Allow the Spirit of God to work in every area of our lives.

Rev Con Despinidic 24 th January 2016

Rev. Con January 31, 2016 Sermons No comments

Jonah 3:1-10, John 3:16-20
I began the year with 5 propositions:
May our faith be challenged and our resolve to trust be strengthened.
May we seek to walk in faith and dare to come to God reverently and yet with boldness.
May we desire to expect great things from God and trust that He will bless us in our endeavours.
May we approach life as one long and glorious adventure, not with rosy coloured glasses, but with a realism that will confront all that comes our way, the good the bad and the ugly with a deep and profound trust in the fact that God is in control.
May we walk, IN FAITH, BY FAITH WITH FAITH.

So far:
The Scriptures say that “we live by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7
‘Walking by faith means living life in light of eternal consequences. To walk by faith is to fear God more than man; to obey the Bible even when it conflicts with man’s commands; to choose righteousness over sin, no matter what the cost; to trust God in every circumstance; and to believe God rewards those who seek Him, regardless of who says otherwise. ‘ Hebrews 11:6 (Got questions .org)
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Jonah’s personal discovery came at a time of rebellion and disobedience.
This did not prevent him from reaching out to God.
He was not arrogant, he was humble and contrite, yet there was boldness in his reverence.
? We can sum up his experience with four words:-
1. Honesty
2. Humility
3. Confession
4. Restoration
Is this the way things should be? It is not till we can honestly see a situation for what it is that healing or progress can take place.
It is not till we come in humility, the Bible says that we are to “humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God.”
Confession is important it is therapeutic and it allows us to see things for what they are.

Today:
May we desire to expect great things from God and trust that He will bless us in our endeavours.

We left Jonah on dry land, “and the Lord commanded the fish to vomit Jonah onto dry land.” 2:10
What a site! When we face the reality of our humiliation it is not pleasant- it is embarrassing, there is also a relief, a relief that the trial is over and that we can pick up the pieces, we can start again.
Have you noticed that life is full of stops and starts- each one of us face different times in our lives? Some more painful than others.
For Jonah, like us, he was to face another stage in his faith walk.

Dare he expect great things from God? Should we expect great things form God? William Carey is well known for saying “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.”
Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us [the same power that raised Christ from the dead —, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
God can do far more than we can ask or think of. And He can do this abundantly. God is able to do great things. God is able to do “more abundantly than all that we ask.” I believe that this passage challenges the Child of God to: – ‘Pray and ask for God to work — and he will do far more than what you ask!’
Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time:
How many second, third or fourth chances do we have? I reckon that there is no number when it comes to God’s wonderful grace.
Matthew 18:21-22 “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
Psalm 103:12 “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

The dust has settled there has been reconciliation with God, now it was time to move forward in faith; obedience was the order of the day.
In the same way that the Lord Jesus was obedient to the Father’s will so too Jonah was now obedient to God the Fathers call.
Philippians 2:8 “and being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. “
It is the same with us, should we desire a life of blessing, a life of happiness there must be obedience, last week we looked at the freedom that we have and the security that we have in the Lord Jesus.
The secret to a radiant Christian life is obedience to the Lord Jesus- or as the Lord Jesus said in John 15 learning to abide in Him. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” 3 Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh.
When God’s Word is faithfully proclaimed it has a wonderful impact- I believe that our task as a church is to faithfully and with integrity proclaim the Word of God- and in doing so we can leave the rest to God.
It is the Holy Spirit Who convicts and challenges-
For some this is offensive, if the message is offensive then there is not much that we can do about that- it is not up to us to sanitise the Word of God; we do not have that right.
If the messenger is offensive then we must go back to the drawing board!
Someone once said that the art of diplomacy was the ability to tell someone that they are going to hell and they look forward to the trip!
The Word of the Lord is powerful, more powerful than we can imagine, more powerful than our ability to reason or persuade others.
Hebrews 4:12 ‘For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.’
Jonah’s task was to proclaim the word of God- the rest was up to God!
5 The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.6 When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust.
It is not our job to stand in judgement of others, or to condemn them.
The Gospel is the Good News of God’s plan of salvation; the Lord Jesus is the same yesterday today and forever!
We are all familiar with John 3:16 and 17 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Jonah’s job was to impartial, Jonah’s call was that of proclamation, he could not determine the result of this proclamation.
God’s word pointed to the heart of the matter- sin is God directed- God does not like sin!
10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.

Like Jonah the Ninevites came to a place where they repented, and turned to God for forgiveness-
The door is always wide open: 1 John 1:9
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. Amen!

Jonah 1:1-17 Matthew 16:13-28 shared on the 10th January 2016

Rev. Con January 20, 2016 Sermons No comments

Last week:
I left you with a prayer that contained a number of propositions. My prayer is that this will be the beginning of a year of great blessing for each one of us-

1. May our faith be challenged and our resolve to trust be strengthened.
2. My we seek to walk in faith and dare to come to God reverently and yet with boldness.
3. May we desire to expect great things from God and trust that He will bless us in our endeavours.
4. May we approach life as one long and glorious adventure, not with rosy coloured glasses, but with a realism that will confront all that comes our way, the good the bad and the ugly with a deep and profound trust in the fact that God is in control.
5. May we walk, IN FAITH, BY FAITH WITH FAITH.

Proposition 1
“May our faith be challenged and our resolve to trust be strengthened.”

The Psalmist David in Ps 27 struggled with the everyday proposition of the faith walk, there were many challenges in his life that that almost broke him.
On one such occasion he was a broken man, unable to help himself or anyone else,
It was not till he sort the Lord in all honesty that he knew restoration.
Psalm 32
3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. 5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
“May our faith be challenged and our resolve to trust be strengthened.”
? Having one’s faith challenged is not a pleasant thing- At the end of the day it can be a good thing- each one of us carries a certain amount of physical, emotional and spiritual baggage. It is hard to sort these out, and sometimes it is better to let sleeping dogs lie, and wait for God’s perfect timing to stir the waters.
In Psalm 32 David admits that as long as he was determined to wallow in his sin and despair, and I suppose self-pity there would be no healing, no restoration and all the stirring of his faith, all the prodding for improvement all the conviction and good advice would only fall on death ears. 3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
? He had an acute sense that God was stirring his conscience; there was a conviction there, an itch that had to be scratched.
My first proposition for 2016 is:
“May our faith be challenged and our resolve to trust be strengthened.”
? To have our faith challenged is to examine who we are and what we believe.
Our O.T. reading today came from the book of Jonah, a minor prophet. Here we see the story of a rebellious preacher being confronted by God. It is possible that this took place sometime in the 8th Century BC. In fact there is much written on Jonah and his experience. There is so much for us to learn in this story of 1328 words.
Jonah was a citizen of the region of Galilee and a subject of the Northern Kingdom. He lived in the early part of the reign of King Jeroboam 2 at a time when the kingdom was divided and in a bad state, they were perilous and difficult time.
Herbert Lockyer who wrote in the mid-20th Century said that ‘He is the first of a new order of prophets, appearing that he might declare that God’s love claims the whole world’ p 198 All the men of the Bible (1958).

I do not want to get into the minute details of this event, what I would like to do is to look at the man and his heart. You see, his faith was challenged and his resolve to trust was strengthened, this was a painful experience, it was real and it is believable something that each one of us can relate to.
1 The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
? Imagine for a moment that you can hear the voice of God and you are able to interpret what God is saying- you are a profession prophet, you have the respect of those around you and you often speak with authority.
? Jonah was such a person, he was able to hear God clearly and He knew what it was like to have a relationship with God.
? I would make the assumption that Jonah was an experienced preacher and very little frightened him.
3 But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD.
? Is it possible to run away from God?
? Why did Jonah run away from God?
There are a number of things evident from this passage, the first being:
1. There is always a price to pay for running away from God. I wonder am I oversimplifying this, some would yes, I am not sure.
In Jonah’s case what was the price?
a. Isolation from his friends and family
b. The cost of a ticket on a ship that went in the opposite direction
c. Depression, a lack of peace and joy.
I learnt a long time ago that God never gives upon us. There are many in this world who do not believe in God, or who have run away or are running away from God- They may not believe in God, but God believes in them!
Here we have one man’s struggle with God’s call. How often do we struggle with what I call ‘God will verses my will syndrome’?
This syndrome can cause some confusion and a lack of clarity. Take the apostle Peter for example.
Matthew 16:13-28
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Peter Got it, 10 out of 10 for being open to the leading of God-
God the Father’s will is to reveal the Son to the world- God the Father’s will is to open wide the gates of salvation to all.
Some believe that God is vindictive, hateful and spiteful. ‘Do as I say or I will condemn you!’ God’s nature is that of grace and forgiveness, what condemns is our own attitudes and the result of our actions. This is indicative of the ‘‘God will verses my will syndrome’.
Peter had a moment of clarity and then when the Lord reveals God’s plan confusion set in:-
21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
Jonah had a wonder insight into the Grace of God, His compassion and love for all mankind, even the unlovely, the unlovable. Like Peter Jonah had a better idea, there was something behind his objections.
Jonah was an isolationist, he believed that salvation was for the Hebrew nation only, he also understood that there would be future events; for at the hands of these people the Hebrew nation would experience great trauma.
“May our faith be challenged and our resolve to trust be strengthened.”
When our faith is challenged our prejudices are challenged, or preconceived ideas are challenged, and we are faced with a number of different proposition for living.
We should not be fearful of this.
Chapter 1 of Jonah reveals someone else about God’s Love and patience.
God could have written Jonah of, The Lord Jesus could have done the same for the Apostle Peter- for both these men it was different!
There’s was a great task- he proclamation of the WORD OF GOD in such a way that lives would be radically changed.
Both were to experience many challenges in their lives.

3 January 2016 Psalm 27

Rev. Con January 3, 2016 Sermons No comments

Today is the first Sunday in 2016-  My prayer is that this will be the beginning of a year of great blessing for each one of us-

  • May our faith be challenged and our resolve to trust be strengthened.
  • My we seek to walk in faith and dare to come to God reverently and yet with boldness.
  • May we desire to expect great things from God and trust that He will bless us in our endeavours.
  • May we approach life as one long and glorious adventure, not with rosy coloured glasses, but with a realism that will confront all that comes our way, the good the bad and the ugly with a deep and profound trust in the fact that God is in control.
  • May we walk, IN FAITH, BY FAITH WITH FAITH.

You may have noticed that we have had the same OT reading two weeks running, this is no accident. I would like us to revisit the words of the Psalmist, not as scholars or experts. Not as seasoned worriers in the faith.

I would like us to spend some time in this wonderful prayer with a childlike simplicity.

Imagine that we know nothing of the author David, nothing of his struggles or fears and we have met him for the first time in our lives. Imagine that you have picked a piece of paper up and on it is this psalm. Ask yourself the question; what is the writer saying?  Try to get under his skin seek to get into his head.

The author begins with two positive and one negative statement.

As if he underlines his problem. whom shall I fear?”  This guy is afraid of something, so far we know not what nor does it matter that we are unaware of what causes his fears and insecurities.

Think about this for the moment.  Are there things that cause each one of us to fear?

The Scriptures have a lot to say about fear and anxiety it is as if God anticipates that this is what people will do.

Proverbs 12:25   “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.

Matthew 6:25-34  “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life,  

Philippians 4:6-7 

 The psalmist explains what some of his fears are.

Secondly: he  wants his readers to understand that there is one thing that one goal, one aspiration, one foundational factor in his life that will impact who he is, that will define him as a person for all of his life. It is as if he wants his readers to get it, no matter what their circumstance in life is. “The Lord is my light and my salvation, The Lord is the stronghold of my life.” Vs 1

Light, Salvation, Stronghold: These are powerful words, they are full of emotion, and they are descriptive.

Light is always welcome in darkness.

Salvation from any difficult situation is important and comforting. A Stronghold is a place of refuge and safety and security.

So far they are not spiritualised, they are practical things, if we look at them from a faith perspective we get a much broader picture and hopefully a wonderful understanding of what made this guy tick and what there may be out there for each one of us.

The scriptures say a lot about Light, Salvation and Strongholds.

Psalm 119:105   “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”                                                    Top of Form

John 8:12  Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”     

Ephesians 5:8  “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light”    

1 John 1:5     1 John 1:7 

                                                                                                                                                          

Salvation:

Refers to being saved from something; there was a need to be saved, some impending gloom, some looming danger?

John 14:6  “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”                                                                                                                                              

Romans 10:9  Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”                                                                                                                   

Acts 4:12  “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”                                                                                                                    

Ephesians 2:8-9   “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Stronghold

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.

Ephesians 6:12  “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

The Psalmist speaks of God as a stronghold, a safe and secure place, a place where there is no fear.

The scene is now set.

The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?  Good reason for confidence!  So when life gets tough, the Psalmist looks to God.

We need to understand that the writer does not say that all his woes are taken away; he reckons that God will make his enemies stumble and fall, they will eventually be undone,  in the meantime, he must work through whatever befalls him.

When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.

Remember for a moment that we do not know the background of this psalm, and the writer or his circumstances we are approaching this song with fresh eyes and inquisitive hearts.

Does it surprise us that this guy does share with us one thing that he does long for?                                                               It is not victory or vindication his thoughts go straight to God.  He writes about being in God’s house and worshiping Him, seeing His beauty. Better still maybe he speaks of being in the presence of God at all times. This is where he gets his strength, his tenacity for life, his love and zeal for life! Being in God’s presence is all he needs.

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.

The Apostle Paul put it this way: what, then, are we to say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31   

“He will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord. ”

  • This guy seems to know something a lot of people do not know, that is that there is a quality of life, a dignity that accompanies the man or woman of faith.
  • And a confidence that God will hear him when he calls.

Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me.
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek.

He also testifies to an inner conviction; “my heart says”. This conviction leads to action. It is a sad day when true God breathed conviction is ignored.

Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Saviour. 10 Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.

  • And yet like most of us there is a little bit of doubt a fear that God will not hear, God will not respond. I love the fact that this is included in this prayer, this proclamation of faith. It makes the writer human, just like you and me.What is a person to do? The writer has the answer.
    11 Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.
    12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations.Today is the first Sunday in 2016-

    • May our faith be challenged and our resolve to trust be strengthened.
    • My we seek to walk in faith and dare to come to God reverently and yet with boldness.
    • May we desire to expect great things from God and trust that He will bless us in our endeavours.
    • May we approach life as one long and glorious adventure, not with rosy coloured glasses, but with a realism that will confront all that comes our way, the good the bad and the ugly with a deep and profound trust in the fact that God is in control.
    • May we walk, IN FAITH, BY FAITH WITH FAITH IN THE LORD JESUS. The WAY the Truth and the LIFE.

    Let’s take encouragement from the words of the psalmist when he says:

    13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

     

 

 

                                                              

Psalm 118 & Matthew 4:13-17

Rev. Con January 25, 2015 Sermons No comments

Matthew 3:13-17 the Baptism of Jesus

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

The significance of the Baptism of the Lord Jesus?

So far we have seen the role of John the Baptist as one of proclamation and the heralding of a great spiritual revival to the nation of Israel.

  • John’s baptism was one of repentance and a changed life that this repentance brings.
  • He clearly proclaimed the one who would come.

Verse 11-12: I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

He spoke of one who would come who would also baptise, this time not with water but with the Holy Spirit. He describes the one who will come:

  1. More powerful- with authority and Magestic!
  2. He will baptise with the Holy Spirit and fire
  3. Clean up, gathering the wheat and burning up the chaff

An awesome picture of the Lord Jesus and of that which will eventually come.

John’s Baptism was the sign, preparing the nation for the Messiah and presenting the Christ to the world.

John is adamant that the one coming, the Lord Jesus has power and authority! We sometimes forget who the Lord Jesus is. He is not just the Messiah, He is not just Jesus. He is the Lord!

Here is what the author of Hebrews says about the Lord Jesus:

Hebrews 1:2-3
but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

  1. The universe was made through Him
  2. He is the radiance of God’s glory, the exact representation of God
  3. Sustains all things through His powerful word

The Apostle Paul understood this when he wrote to the Colossians:

Colossians 1:15-16
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.

  1. The image of the invisible God
  2. First born of all creation (The resurrection)
  3. All things were created through Him
  4. Whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities
  5. All things are for Him

Matthew 3:13-17 the Baptism of Jesus

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

Why was the Lord Jesus baptised?

Did He need to repent? John was shocked at the prospect of baptising the Lord. The Lord Jesus did not need to repent.

1 Peter 2:22
WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH

2 Corinthians 5:21
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Hebrews 4:15
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

1 John 3:5
You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.

The Lord Jesus was baptised because it was the Father’s will. The Lord Jesus was baptised as a sign of credibility- the scene is set- God the Father will now speak, remember last week I said that for 400 years there was silence, then there was John the Baptist.

Two more witnesses to proclaim the Son of God to the Nation and to the World.

  1. Prophesy: This is what the Lord Jesus said about the OT prophecy: John 5:39-47 (CEV) 39 You search the Scriptures, because you think you will find eternal life in them. The Scriptures tell about me, 40 but you refuse to come to me for eternal life. 41 I don’t care about human praise, 42 but I do know that none of you love God. 43 I have come with my Father’s authority.
  2. John the Baptist
  3. The Holy Spirit: “He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove”
  4. God the Father; “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

Hebrews 1:1,2
“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.”

In these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.

We are living in the last days, and the Lord Jesus speaks today.

  1. He speaks in the events of History
  2. He speaks through His Word
  3. He speaks through the life and testimony of His people, the Church

When I was a young Christian I would often hear the comment; “If you want to know what God is like, look at the life of the Lord Jesus, what he said and what He did”.

I don’t think that I fully understood what this meant- It was not till years later.

As we read through the Gospels, Matthew Mark Luke and John we are given a 3D picture of the Lord Jesus and God the Father’s plan.

  1. We see His love
  2. His compassion
  3. His righteousness (in the right sense)
  4. His righteousness (in the right sense)
  5. His ability to get to heart of the matter

As the angle proclaimed:
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.”

Matthew 1:21
As we read through the Gospels we see a Jesus who wants to be involved in every aspect of our lives as He knocks at the door of our hearts. Let Me in He says.