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Sermons

Isaiah 40:1-11 & Matthew 3:1-11

Rev. Con January 18, 2015 Sermons No comments

Introduction

About thirty years passed since chapter 2 and 3. His is significant because there is much about the life of the Lord Jesus that we do not know.

The writer of Ecclesiastes speaks of a time for everything, so too in the life of the human Christ! There was a time for growing up, a time where He would be influenced by His earthly parents.

God the Father in His infinite wisdom called two people to fulfil the role of parents in the Lord Jesus’s life.
God had not only chosen Mary to be the mother of the Christ, He also chose Joseph. He gave him the awesome responsibility of bringing up the child who is the King of all eternity.

What a big responsibility! Parenthood is always a big responsibility, some time ago I read to you an article of a mother who loved her dog more than her son- the dog showed ‘affection and gratitude’, so she said, where the son had to be disciplined and at times he did not appear to be appreciative and so on..

It is not the child’s responsibility to be all that a parent may wish them to be. In fact a child’s responsibility is just to be a child. It is the parent who must take responsibility for the child.

Children never have the choice; they cannot decide who their parents will be or where they will live.
They are vulnerable, innocents and it is the adult’s duty to nurture, provide and protect. Love and security is not the child’s obligation it is the adults. Parents are the unsung heroes. Joseph and Mary were given an awesome task by God, so too every parent.

Yes there is a time and a season for everything, the child Jesus has now grown up, many believe that He followed Joseph’s footsteps and became a carpenter.

It was now time for the next stage in the Father’s plan.

Matthew is keen for his readers to understand that all that has happened and will happen has been prophesied, his readers should not be surprised. I can imagine Matthew sitting around the camp fire saying: God the Father had a remarkable plan. So too for each one of us. God the Father has a remarkable plan for each of our lives; did you know that? Are you willing to allow that plan to pan out?

For 400 years the nation did not hear the voice of a prophet, there was a time of silence, sure they had the OT scriptures and they had their meetings, histories and traditions. There was a formalised religion, those who liked drawing up plans, rules and regulations had their heyday!

What is it with humans, we love to organise things, and we love to organise each other!
Have you noticed that there is an order of things; everything in its place and a place for everything. This is the way that we are made- even in our chaos there is an order!

For 400 years it was as if God was silent, sure the OT prophecies were there;

Isaiah 40:3 says: A voice of one calling: In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. but did they know what this was talking about?

Matthew with his extensive knowledge of the OT and first hand knowledge and experience of the Lord Jesus was able to say; “Guess what! John the Baptist is the one crying in the wilderness!”

They did not have a significant voice, until John the Baptist

When John the Baptist came there was revival! Here there are three things that impress me:

His message. Vs 1-2, 7-10. John’s preaching focused on REPENTANCE and the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. The word repent means “to change one’s mind and act on that change.” (Wiersbe Volume 1 p 16) I believe that if we study the history of revivals, these things become evident.

  1. Prayer plays a vital role in any revival.
  2. There is a conviction of sin that leads to repentance.
  3. There is a strong desire for and acknowledgement of the KINGDOM OF GOD.

John was not satisfied with creating a guilt trip for his listeners or regrets and remorse. He wanted to see evidence of repentance; that is the fruit of a believer. Verse 8 “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance”. There had to be evidence of a changed heart and mind! It is no different for the Christian today.

I remember years ago been invited on the board of a Christian School. One of the parent members came to a meeting with a concern; she felt that some of the behaviour of one staff member was out of line; bad language, rudeness and gossip while at work. I knew this person really well and I also understood that for her to say something at a meeting took a lot of courage, she would have agonised over what she was to say and so on. She just saw something that needed to be addressed so in fear and trepidation she spoke up. She was polite and quietly spoken, choosing her words well.

I didn’t think that she was being unreasonable, I was surprised to hear the chairman’s response, he was angry accusing her of being judgemental, no one stood up for her, I too kept silent, “surely someone would say something positive her”” I thought to myself. She replied, “This is a Christian school and our staff should act like Christians, shouldn’t they?” Again there was no support from the other members of the group. The chairman expressed his disappointment at her. “Christians are fallible, they make mistakes most of the Christian I know don’t act like Christians, why should it be any different for the school?” I looked around at the group; there were reps from all walks of life some highly respected and mature members of the Christian community. And not a one spoke up! I didn’t say anything either, I wanted to, but didn’t want to get into a verbal battle so early in my relationship with the group. Her comments were dismissed and the chairman went on with the business of the meeting. I could not get over the fact that a member my congregation and friend was humiliated for sharing her convictions. The meeting continued and we were now at the end of general business, it was time to go home. As the meeting was about to close, I couldn’t restrain myself any longer, when the chairman asked; “is there anything else that we should discuss,” I asked a question, that doubled up as a statement.

I shared the fact that I was appreciative of being a member of the board and as a member I wanted something clarified; “from the discussion earlier are you saying that it is wrong for us to except Christians to act like Christians?” To this question the reply was similar to the earlier, then I said, “perhaps you are mixing with the wrong crowd. It is not inappropriate to expect Christians to act like Christians.”

As God’s people we should aim high, some people are aiming at nothing and doing a good job at hitting it!
John the Baptist was adamant, repentance produces fruit of a changed life.

Kingdom living not only looks at the kingdom of God as something that is coming- it impacts the life we live in the here and now! I do not believe that we should be satisfied with the mediocrity of sin in our lives! Nor should we rely on others for our Christian walk and growth. We must take responsibility for who we are and what we do.

John the Baptist spoke with authority!

In Christ Jesus we have authority; we do not have to be pushed around by sin or the sin of others. Our trust is in God and if we stand firm in that conviction, God will never let us down.

Daniel stood strong in his convictions. When others were bowing down to the tyranny of fear and sin he stood firm in his faith. It was God who closed the lion’s mouths in the lion’s den! The Bible says that is we trust in Him we will never be disappointed. Romans 10:11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 1 Peter 2:6 for in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

We have the authority of the Word of God.
We have the authority as a child of God.
We have a go between the Lord Jesus who is our authority.
We have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

John the Baptist was faithful.

Spurgeon said of John the Baptist; “the first Baptist minister to lose his head over dancing.” Of all men in history this is what the Lord Jesus said about John the Baptist: Matthew 11:11 “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.”

Characteristics of John the Baptist:

  • courageous
  • powerful preaching
  • humble
  • Holy
  • burning desire to serve God

A great example for us to follow, yet the Lord Jesus said that “whoever is the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” There is wonderful hope for us all. As we seek to trust God the Father with all our hearts and minds!

Genesis 3:1-8 & Matthew 2

Rev. Con January 11, 2015 Sermons No comments

Introduction

It is with some expectation that I am looking forward to working through the Gospel of Matthew with you in the next few months.

Have you ever been to a party where an attempt to celebrate was made just for the sake for a celebration? Or have you ever gone to a party that you just didn’t want to go to, you were there out of politeness, or felt some pressure to turn up. You find that you force yourself to be polite and enjoy the event. For you it is not a real celebration and perhaps it is boring.

A true celebration must have an event at its heart. There is something to celebrate, I am sure that we have all gone to a surprise birthday party. Now that’s a celebration!

In the Old and New Testament WORSHIP is rooted in an actual event. The substance of the Old Testament is determined by the Creation and the Exodus-event, we sometimes lose sight of our Biblical heritage. The New Testament worship is determined by the CHRIST- EVENT. Biblical worship celebrates the event and makes it come alive again, having an impact on the heart, mind and spirit of the worshipper.

  • We don’t go to worship to celebrate what we have done.
  • We don’t say; “Look Lord isn’t it wonderful that I believe in you!”

We go to worship to PRAISE AND THANK GOD FOR WHAT HE HAS DONE, IS DOING AND WILL DO!

God the Father’s work in the Lord Jesus Christ is the focus of worship, and it is the focus that we must recapture as we worship together. Matthew wrote not only to capture the heart and imagination of his readers but to draw attention to the Christ Event.

This evening is worthy of our worship.

Information

Matthew chapter 2 can be summed up in six points.

  1. They came to worship. Vs 1, 9-12 ( the Magi)
  2. Some were indifferent. Vs 3-6 ( the leaders and priest and teachers of the Law)
  3. Warning in a dream. Vs 13 (Joseph is warned of coming events)
  4. The Flight. Vs 14,15 (Joseph heads of to Egypt)
  5. Hatred, anger and pain. Vs 16-18 (Herod’s hatred and murder of so many innocent children)
  6. Home again. Vs 19-23 (Joseph Mary and the Lord Jesus return and go to Galilee to live.)

It is the CHRIST EVENT that I want to focus on and the WORSHIP THAT THIS SHOULD STIR OUR HEARTS TO BRING US BEFORE GOD.

To that end I would like us to consider one of the 6 points.

Some came to worship

The Angels proclaimed the birth of the Lord Jesus; the shepherds also came to worship Him. Matthew tells us of the wise men, or Magi, here are some facts about these guys:

We are first introduced to the Magi in the Book of Daniel. Some 500 years earlier the Nation was exiled to Babylon, We have all heard the story of Daniel. He is the guy who entered the lion’s den and lived. There is far more to Daniel than meets the eye, Daniel loved God with all his life. When others were bowing down to tyranny for fear of their lives, Daniel remained faithful to God.

Let’s take a quick visit to Daniel 2.

King Nebuchadnezzar was a brilliant leader; he was also a despot, a dictator with the power of life and death. He was no fool though. One night he had a dream that disturbed him; he called the Magi, the learned and elite of his court to interpret the dream. I said that he was no fool; these were the conditions that he laid down:

  1. Tell me the dream! That would put them to the test; in other words prove that you are as intelligent and gifted as you claim to be.
  2. I will kill you if you do not interpret the dream.

These were his conditions. To this the Magi replied that they were unable to interpret what they did not see or hear. The king ordered that they be rounded up and put to death. Daniel was a member of the court he and his friends would also be put to death.

It was time for God’s man to step up, and be counted, there are times in our lives when we must step up and be counted!

Daniel knew that he could not do anything without God- so he asks for prayer that he may have wisdom.
Never underestimate the power of prayer!

As he stand before the king he testifies to the greatness of GOD- My God knows all!

He tells the dream! And then he gives the interpretation to that dream.

Nebuchadnezzar saw a mighty statue in his dream, Brilliant and impressive. Head made of Gold, Chest and arms of silver, Belly and Thighs made of bronze, with legs of iron, the feet were made of iron and clay. In his dream a rock is cut out and thrown at the statue destroying it.

This is the hand of God says Daniel. Each part of the stature is a kingdom. At the end of the day God will destroy all these kingdoms and He will replace them with one mighty kingdom that will last for ever.

A kingdom and a King! God gave Daniel a wonderful gift, the gift or faith and the ability to understand the meaning of dreams. God always equips His people for the tasks that He calls them to.

The King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar was disturbed by a dream that he had, the Magi, were unable to interpret it’s meaning, to cut a long story short Daniel, God’s man is able to interpret the dream, this is what says: 2:44 44 “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. 45 This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces.

Daniel is put in charge of the Magi, he saves their lives and there is a good chance that he had a great influence on them. God places each one of us in situations where we are to have an influence on people.

This new kingdom was part of the Messianic promise to God’s people and to all the people of the world. The Magi had never forgotten this.

The Magi were powerful men from the orient, they were considered to be wise men, scientists and scholars and they studied all manner of things, from the natural to the supernatural. These men of power instilled fear from those around them. They came with a great fanfare.

We do not know how many of them there were, many assume that there were three because they gave three gifts and they were wealthy.

On commentator says that they were king makers. They did not enter Jerusalem on camels; they came riding Arabian stallions, with great pomp and ceremony.

One thing that is evident to me is that, anyone who really seeks to find the truth will be led by God to the truth. God sent them a remarkable star, a sign in the sky that led them directly to the Lord Jesus.

We should understand that the star was not enough. For God requires a search, a desire in the heart to put feet to one’s prayers and aspirations!

What about us?

Yes God has sent the equivalent of an amazing star.

  1. The revelation of the OT scriptures.
  2. The life of the prophets.
  3. The nation of Israel, they were to be a shining light in a dark world.
  4. The search of the Magi.
  5. The birth, life death and resurrection the Lord Jesus.
  6. The testimony of the NT saints.
  7. The proclamation of the Apostles as they led the early Church.
  8. The Testimony of the Word as written in the New Testament.
  9. The presence of the HOLY SPIRIT Who is resident in the life of every true believer.
  10. The conviction of the Holy Spirit. This is what the Lord Jesus says about the Holy Spirit. John 16:7-9 7 “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. 8″And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgement; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me

The search may not dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s, but it will reveal God’s Love, Grace and Mercy as well as a strong conviction of sin and a sense of the wonder and awe of God.

What was their motivation?
They genuinely wanted to see the fulfilment of Daniels prophecy. God was speaking to the whole world, their visit is significant. Salvation was not only for the Israelite nation, it is for all mankind!

What is it that motivates our worship?

Is it a celebration of the CHRIST EVENT?

In the Beginning – Matthew 1:1-24 & Genesis 2:1-15

Rev. Con January 4, 2015 Sermons No comments

 

Warren Wiersbe’s commentary of Matthew starts with these words: “Twenty or thirty years after Jesus had gone back to heaven, a Jewish disciple named Matthew was inspired by the Spirit of God to write a book.” (p.10)

It is this book that I would like to work through as we begin a new year.

Matthew’s emphasis is on whom the Lord Jesus was and what He said. It’s all about Jesus. It is so easy to get lost in the events of history to the point where one loses sight of the purpose of that history. The ultimate purpose of history is the wonderful plan of God for the salvation of humanity. This hinges on the Lord Jesus, Who He is and what he had done, and what He does today.

For Matthew telling the story of the Lord Jesus was more that an exercise looking at the past. The present and future impact of the Gospel was crucial.

Matthew starts with the book of Genesis, the genealogy of a man called Adam, the sad fall from God’s grace and the struggle of humanity to find itself, the hustle and bustle of life and the strife that sin causes in life. Interestingly enough, things have not changed much.

As we read through the Old Testament it is obvious that sin takes a toll in human relationships.
In Matthew we discover a transition from Old to New Testament, from the genealogy of Adam to the “Book of the generation of Jesus Christ” Matthew 1:1. This book is primarily written to Jewish converts and seekers, it proclaims the gospel in a clear and understandable way.

There are many at this time of year who are writing their CV’s, there is an art in writing such a document. It has to be clear and to the point, it also has to give its reader an overview of the person it represents. Not too short not too long. If you have ever compiled a resume, you will know how frustrating it is. Past history, qualification, attitudes, you need to sell yourself.

Matthew is writing a comprehensive resume for the Lord Jesus.

He starts with “This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:” setting the scene, it’s all about breading- this is who the Lord Jesus is.

Why did the Messiah the son of David come? He came to save the generations of Adam.

1 Corinthians 15:45: So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. Everyone is a son of Adam, for Adam represents all humanity. We have no say in it. In the same way we could not influence the events of our birth or birthplace or our parentage.

Have you noticed that we may not be as free as we reckon we are; there is much that we do not and cannot determine about our lives?

When it comes to the Gospel we are given a choice. For it is by the choice of faith we can be born into the generation of Jesus Christ and become children of God. John 1:12 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

Many years ago I was taught that the New Testament is revealed in the Old and it is the fulfilment of the Old Testament promises to humanity.

In the Old Testament God makes it clear that:

  • God in the beginning was the first cause of all things!
  • God is a God of relationships.
  • Man was intended to have a relationship with Him.
  • Sin, rebellion, disobedience were there in the beginning, Satan had already rebelled and he knew that the seed of rebellion was in the human creation.
  • Sin is a choice, Eve was hoodwinked but Adam intentionally disobeyed.
  • Sin separates us from God.
  • Sin leads to death- physical and spiritual death.

For the first readers of Matthew these truths were not in dispute. They did not need to be convinced of sin, they were acutely aware of the sin condition that afflicted humanity.

In Romans Paul gives us an understanding of this.
Romans 5:12-14 12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned 13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.

The New Testament speaks of life and not death. The message of the New Testament is that the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23.

Another way of look at this is:- The Old Testament is a book of promise while the New Testament is a book of fulfilment. The word ‘fulfilled’ is a key word in the Gospel of Matthew and it is used at least 15 times.

Matthew wants his readers to understand that the Lord Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament promise concerning the Messiah; from his birth at Bethlehem to the resurrection! Matthew used about 129 quotes from the OT in his gospel.

The other night I listened to a Rabbi’s comments on the Gospel he didn’t see the validity of some of the OT quotes, from his perspective the Messiah it yet to come. Matthew wrote that he and the rest of the nation of Israel would see the fulfilment of the OT in the Gospel.

Matthew under divine inspiration started where people were at. From the known to the unknown, his Jewish audience did not have to be convinced about God, creation or sin. They did not have to be persuaded about the truth of the Messiah, nor of the events that took place in Jerusalem some years earlier. They had seen and heard of the miracles, some may have even witnessed the trial and crucifixion of Jesus.

They were yet to be convicted of the truth of who the Lord Jesus is and the revelation and revolution that the living Christ does have on a life! They needed to move from the academic to the subjective reality of faith! Life changing faith! The message has not changed and it is no different for sophisticated 21 century humanity.

Everything that has taken place so far is part of a much larger plan. One reoccurring theme is that of the Kingdom of God, the Lord Jesus being the key factor for entering that kingdom. The challenge is a real one, one that requires a moral and spiritual response from those who hear it.

The Lord Jesus was to the point when he said that He came to transform the hearts and minds of those who trusted Him.

  • If we look at our own lives we will see that there is a journey that each one of us walks, we do not always understand why we make this turn or that turn.
  • Every action and every experience and circumstance that we find ourselves in is designed to point us towards God.

God seeks to get our attention. How attentive are we to His call?

Genesis 16:1-16 & Galatians 3:10-22

Rev. Con September 16, 2014 Sermons No comments

Introduction

If you have been following what I have shared with you these past few weeks, you will see that there is a lot of repletion; I have said this on a number of occasions.

Now that we come to the second part of chapter three we see that Paul develops his argument- the Judaisers, became legalistic. I reckon that the most frustrating thing for Paul was that the problem he faced did not come from outside the church, it was from within.

It is a lot harder to deal with problems from within particularly when there are those who are strongly opposed to what you believe.

Paul revisits the idea of the law and in doing so he gives his readers a different perspective of the law. The law was never meant to become legalistic.

He points out that Grace is something that we do not deserve, it is God’s fee gift- it emancipates us, it gives us freedom and it leads us to God the Father, we have unrestricted access.

Now if this is the case, those who have been seduced to follow the legalism of the Law are no longer freed by Grace, they have put themselves under bondage once again- and in doing this they have denied the power of the cross of Christ.

As Paul develops his argument he goes back to the Cross of Christ- he starts at the beginning.

This is what he says about those who have become legalistic; Verses 10-14

  1. They are under a curse.(vs 10)
  2. We cannot rely on the law to be justified before God. In fact the law points us to sin and sin condemns. (vs 11)
  3. The righteous live by faith. (last week Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness) (vs 11)
  4. The Law is not based on faith. (vs 12)
  5. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law. This is the purpose of the Cross. (vs 13)
  6. Abraham’s blessing becomes ours.
  7. This OT blessing saw its fulfillment at Pentecost; this blessing is the Holy Spirit. (vs 14, Last week’s message)

The apostle continues to explain to his readers why he is upset with them.

As we look at verses 15- 22 I can imagine Paul saying; “Hey guys” this is important!” Look at history, if you have a contract you cannot add or take from it at will. So too with the contract that God has with us. It was established 430 years before the Law of Moses.”

This is important for us to understand. This teaching is also made clear by the writer of Hebrews.

  1. You cannot change an existing contract or covenant. (Vs 15)
  2. Abraham was the recipient of that covenant so too his seed. (16) Paul says that this is a direct reference for the Lord Jesus. The author of Hebrews goes to great lengths to explain that the covenant that God made was the first and oldest, it came before the Law and is still valid, that covenant found it’s fulfilment in the Lord Jesus! The Covenant of the law according to Hebrews had become obsolete! Hebrews 8:12-13 “FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR INIQUITIES, AND I WILL REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE.” 13When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear. 2 Corinthians 3:6
    He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. What a fantastic blessing, we are made competent!
  3. The Law was given to point out sin and to point the way like a sign post to the Lord Jesus. (vs 19) The best way I can explain this section is to look at the various laws of the land, when you are pulled over by a policeman, or get a speeding ticket in the mail, what is it that you have been accused of doing? I would assume that you were speeding, or you went through a red light- How do we now that we are speeding? There is a sign, on that sign there is a speed limit, it is more than just a suggestion, in fact it is the law, don’t go faster than this! Now tell me, how many of us have read the sign and still went over the speed limit? It is spelt out ‘we have transgressed’ to transgress is to disobey, to misbehave, to wilfully do wrong. What if you are unaware of the speed limit, would the magistrate let you off? Unlikely, he would say ignorance is no excuse.
  4. The Law is the task master that makes us aware of our sin. Paul says that it is a curse.
  5. The Cross of Christ is the very thing that justifies us before God. Vs 13 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us,
  6. Paul’s argument goes back to Abraham, he says that the promise was to him and to his seed, that is the Lord Jesus, and this promise has an inheritance for all who would believe. That inheritance is the product not of works, or the Law, or how much faith I can muster; NO it is the product of God’s Grace.
  7. He goes on to explain that if the Jews understood the Law they would turn to the Lord Jesus and receive God’s free Grace for this is the purpose of the Law.
  8. Most if not all contracts have two parties, the contract that Paul talks about is the same as the one the author of Hebrews talks about, this contract only has one signatory- GOD- for there is no other who can stand before God or deal with sin. God has no equals, there is only one God.
  9. The beautiful thing about this is that the Law was part of God’s plan, there is nothing wrong with the Law- it serves a purpose. It points to the Lord Jesus! In the same way that God has no equals, there is only one God, there is only one way to God the Father and that is made possible by the Cross of Christ- We are all familiar with John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Conculsion

What I have said are the facts and the theory- the message should go beyond facts and theory. See what Paul is saying in vs 21-22. This is where the rubber it’s the road.

21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22 But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.

These verses are the practical application.

  1. The Law defines sin.
  2. The Law cannot cure sin nor impart life! In fact just the opposite.
  3. Try as much as we can we can never keep or satisfy the Law.
  4. Everything is under the control of sin.
  5. Grace on the other is solely dependant on God and His word and His trustworthiness.
  6. There was a promise and that promise is released by faith.

God calls each one of us to faith, to believe.

Acts 9:10-19

Rev. Con September 1, 2013 Sermons No comments

Introduction

Today: There are two questions that come to mind:

  1. Can a leopard change its own spots?
  2. Does God ask you to get out of your comfort zone?

Can a leopard change its own spots?

A Leopard cannot change its own spots. A leopard is what a leopard is! Puppet pretending to be what he is not! Conversion on the other hand, is a GOD thing, The Holy Spirit can change a person!

There are many passages in the Scripture that are an encouragement to us:

Ezekiel 11:19-20 God’s promise to the nation has it’s fulfilment in the Lord Jesus. “And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”

Isaiah 43:18-19 “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert”.

We have the testimony of the Apostle Paul himself as he instructs the church:-

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Colossians 3:9-10 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Romans 6:1-23 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his….

  • With God’s intervention, God’s help, God’s GRACE all people can be transformed.
  • Change is in God’s hands and in our hearts desires!

Does God ask you to get out of your comfort zone?

What a terrible question?

Why did I say terrible? Well if you are like me, and I have a suspicion that very few of us like to be put outside our comfort zones! I do not like it at all.

  • My experience has been that God often calls us to step outside our comfort zone. Physically and Spiritually.
  • The constant challenge of Scripture to me is that of my faith being stretched! Trust, Trust, Believe, Believe this is a constant song in my heart and mind.

We are not disobedient Christians if we find it difficult or terrible.

  • We are disobedient when we close our hearts and minds and do not do what we believe God wants us to do! He will never tell us to do anything immoral or wrong!
  • God calls us to get out of our comfort zone

Ananias was a man of prayer, one who loved god, a true believer, he was a resident of Damascus, he was also concerned and perhaps frightened for his and the safety of his family. He knew that there were threats of violence against the Christians, he had heard of Paul, and maybe Paul was the subject of his prayers; God keep this guy away from us.

  • God strike him down, I don’t know what he prayed all I can do is imagine if I was he.
  • Meanwhile Paul is in his friend’s house at Straight Street, afraid and licking his wounds, his whole life has just been turned upside down!
  • He knew that we was disobedient to God, yet he thought that he was justified! The Lord Jesus intervened.
  • How could I have got it so wrong? May have been one of the questions that plagued him

I believe that the Lord Jesus does intervene in our lives!

When we are right and when we are wrong. When we are right, to affirm and encourage us, when we are wrong to correct and redirect us.

Ananias was a man of prayer; he loved the Lord, and in his prayer, he hears the voice of God!

10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. 11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 his hands on him to restore his sight.” In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place

Talk about being taken out of your comfort zone!

13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”

What can one say?

Can a leopard change its own spots?

  • ONLY WHEN GOD IS IN IT!
  • Nothing is impossible for HIM,
  • All people are redeemable!
  1. God had His hand on Ananias’s life.
  2. God had his hand on Paul’s life, and God had a wonderful plan for his life. 15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 name.”
  3. God has His hand on your life! He has a wonderful plan for your life.

Conclusion:

Ananias was obedient to God’s call, how obedient are we?

Acts 9:1-9

Rev. Con August 25, 2013 Sermons No comments

Introduction

Many years ago there was a popular scientific belief called ‘spontaneous generation’. Here is a definition of this theory: – “The previously popular notion that living organisms arise or develop from nonliving matter. The theory of spontaneous generation held that complex, living organisms may be produced from nonliving matter. It was a popular belief that mice occur spontaneously from stored grain, or maggots spontaneously appear in meat.”

Off course we do not believe in this theory any more.

Or do we?

  • The question of where we come from, and where things come from, is an important one- even today many just accept the various freedoms that we have, without a thought of how they got here.
  • For some it is as if there is a money tree, and all their needs are going to be met, the government owes me a living- it is my right and so on.
  • The scriptures are explicit, Paul said, no work, no eat!

This sort of thinking was OK when we were small children. It was our parent’s responsibility to meet all of our needs, but when we grew up things changed.

Information

For each of us there is a process or a period of ignorance, it is part of the life journey that we are on, this period of ignorance comes to a stop when we are mature enough to understand that money, and the essentials that we need do not grow on trees.

  • It is the same with any faith journey, people don’t just get saved!
  • For many, if not all; it is a process that for some takes years. A process that each one of us is daily going through- for God is not finished with us yet! I remember years ago when studying theology, we would speak, the idea; I was saved, I am being saved and I will be saved. This is the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
  • Paul’s conversion was neither the beginning nor the end of the story it was part of the story. Acts chapter 9 is just part of the story.

Much is written about the Apostle Paul.

Tozer has described the apostle as “The world’s most successful Christian, and his career the most astonishing in world history, everything he did he did superbly, and did it until they cut of his head in a Roman prison.”

The Damascus Experience

It was on the road to Damascus, with evil intent that Saul was arrested by God. Was he a bad man?

  • This is the second time that he is mentioned; “ here is Luke’s description of the man who would become one of his best friends:“Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples”
  • Why would he be so dead set against the followers of the Lord Jesus? The answer is found in his background?
  • His parents were of the tribe of Benjamin, they named their son after the famous King Saul and because his father was a Roman citizen, the name Paulus was added.
  • Paul’s father was a Pharisee who would faithfully fulfill the ceremonial requirements of the law. The Gospel meant that his whole belief structure would be turned upside down.
  • Why not live and let live? For Paul the Law was the most important thing in his life- he was faithfully waiting the coming of the Messiah, he also strongly believed in the resurrection.
  • As far as he was concerned the Lord Jesus was a blasphemer, if He didn’t say that He was God, He said that He was equal to God, He claimed to be able to forgive sins, He claimed to have existed at the time of Abraham, He said that He was the only way to God. He went as far as to say that God was his Father.
  • Levitical law was clear that a blasphemer of this type must be executed and so too his followers.

I understand his theological position- but to seek to torture, interrogate and even kill to protect what you believe, isn’t that a bit far-fetched?

  • The devil has not changed his methodology- this goes on today, every day in many countries!
  • Sincere as well as evil people carry out his bidding.
  • How much is a human life worth?

Obviously for Paul his zeal and love for the things of God meant that there was nothing that he would not do- This sort of zealousness (fanaticism) can get us into some very hot water! It is at this point in our experience of life that we lose sight of our love for God and replace it with our love for our own ideas and self-worth. Our pride is hurt and we become indignant- even belligerent! We can be so right that we become so wrong in our attitudes and actions! This is where Paul’s pride took him.

  • I thank God that He does not judge like we do.
  • I thank God that He sees what is in the heart of a person.
  • I thank God that he sees the potential of every life.
  • I thank God that He has a unique plan for each human being.
  • I thank God that Paul was no exception to this.

It was there on the road to Damascus that this rebellious, self-willed, self-centered individual met his match.

  • What was going on in his mind as he headed off to Damascus?
  • One commentator says that being a Pharisee he went on ahead, he was not going to associate with the temple guard.
  • Was he thinking about what Stephen said, prior to his death?
  • It is obvious that he had heard the Gospel.
  • It is obvious that he had seen the miracles.

They all contradicted what logic had told him was true, his eyes were blinded to the truth.

  • He needed to know the TRUTH,
  • He needed to know that the TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE
  • He needed to know the WAY the TRUTH AND THE LIFE.

Yes I thank God that he knows what is in the heart of a man or women. He knew Paul’s heart and He had a wonderful plan for his life, so much so that it has an impact on each one of us today!

Conclusion

Imagine if you heard the words: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied.”

This was the way out of his torment, this was his rest, and this was an encounter with the living Lord Jesus!

Stopped dead in his tracks, encouraged to repent and believe.

It is an awesome thing when God taps you on the shoulder!

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Come unto me and rest;
lay down, thou weary one, lay down
thy head upon my breast.”
I came to Jesus as I was,
so weary, worn, and sad;
I found in him a resting place,
and he has made me glad.

Acts 3:11-26, Psalm 130

Rev. Con June 16, 2013 Sermons No comments

Acts 3:11-26 11 While the man held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade. 12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see. 17 “Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. 18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. 21 Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22 For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people.’ 24 “Indeed, beginning with Samuel, all the prophets who have spoken have foretold these days. 25 And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’ 26 When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”

Introduction

Last week we looked at Acts 3, we spent some time considering the miracle that had taken place. The man born lame is now able to walk. A number of questions were raised.

  1. Why that particular man and not the many beggars that were normally there?
  2. Is there such a thing as a divine appointment?
  3. What’s in a name?
  4. We sang a chorus that many of us learnt when we were young: “Peter and John went to pray.”
  5. We saw Peter the evangelist and personal worker as he allowed God to use him in service.
  6. This began with a desire to pray, then a miracle and a sermon.

When I read through these verses the words of an old hymn come to mind, for this is what Peter wanted the crowd to understand.

“To God be the Glory great things He hath done”:- 12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?

Don’t look at us, or then man says Peter, this is God’s doing. I believe in miracles. This was a miracle something out of place, it was not normal.

Information

This healing drew a crowd, many wondered how this could be, or whether it was the man they knew.
I am sure that most people knew who Peter and John were, this miracle took place on the east side of the temple, it was there where the Lord had ministered, it was also there where the early church would pray and worship.

In Peter’s first sermon he challenged the concept that the believers were drunk- he also took his hearers back to the Old Testament as a proof of what had happened.

  • In this sermon he wanted the crowd to understand that what had happened could only be attributed to God. It was not the power of Peter and John.
  • He also makes it very clear that whatever faith this man had it came from the Lord Jesus. 16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and
    know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.

THREE things are evident:

  1. The lame man had to acknowledge the Lord Jesus,
  2. He also had to exercise personal faith in the Lord Jesus,
  3. IT Is the Lord Jesus who takes that small seed of faith and turns it into something beautiful and something good. “It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.” (VS 16)

I love that, it doesn’t completely depend on me it was and it is Jesus name and the faith that come through Him.

I am forgiven; I am saved, yes even healed, not because of the preacher, or my will power or faith, but because of the Lord Jesus.

It is when we rely on the externals, our circumstances, others and the trappings are around us that we can be so easily led astray and distracted.

Peter points out that the Old Testament is fulfilled.

  • He reminds his hearers that they rejected the Lord Jesus and sort His crucifixion!
  • Words are important things, names and titles also have power; Peter uses a number of titles for the lord Jesus to get his message across- to us they may be cause for misunderstanding, for his audience they knew too well of Whom he was speaking: God’s Son, Jesus, The Holy one, the Just One, the author of life. (In red in text above).
  • The cross was their answer, the ultimate rejection of God’s plan- THE EMPTY TOMB WAS GOD’S REMEDY and RESPONSE TO THEIR REBELLION.
  • This healing was proof that the Lord Jesus was alive. In such a public place, in such a dramatic way! God got their attention.

Has God got your attention?

Peter’s message would make more sense to the crowd of the day than it would too many today. Different crowd different approach. In Acts 2, Peter addressed people who knew the Scriptures, it was the same here. He went from the known to the unknown.

Among the important things that stand out in this passage is that BEFORE A SINNER CAN EXPERIENCE CONVERSION THERE MUST BE CONVICTION.

I believe that we live in a day where many deny sin and people become lovers of self. Paul speaks of this time 2 Timothy 3 “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

Unless the patient is convinced that he is sick, he will never accept the diagnosis or take the treatment. What I love about this passage is that Peter made the main thing the main thing- he took the emphasis of himself, off the healed man and focussed, put the light directly on the Lord Jesus!

Conclusion

  • We are a particular stage in our life as individuals.
  • We are a particular stage in our life as a church.

THE IMPORTANT THING IS TO MAKE THE MAIN THING THE MAIN THING AND FOCUSS OUR DIRECTION AND EFFORTS ON THE LORD JESUS, IN ALL THAT WE DO.

Joel 2:28-32, Acts 1:1-11

Rev. Con May 19, 2013 Sermons No comments

Introduction

Today I would like to begin a journey with you as we work through the book of Acts. This book is important because it answers the: ‘What now?’ question.

The Gospels not only refer to the prophecies of the Messiah, they give us a beautiful picture of who the Lord Jesus is; “The Great I Am, The Good Shepherd, The Way, The Truth and The Life….” They also open up the possibility of God intervening in ordinary people’s lives.

In the Gospels we have the life, teachings, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus explained to us by four different writers; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Luke is the only one who followed with the results of the Gospel.

Luke records the story of the beginnings of the church. The now question is answered. It is done so with great clarity and historical accuracy- Luke had a definite purpose in writing both the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts. Maybe these should have been placed in the Scripture after each other.

Who was Luke?

  • Luke was a well-educated man, he was a doctor some commentators believe that he was also a wealthy man. He was meticulous in his recording of events; he was also a historian and a close friend of the Apostle Paul. Some believe that it was through Paul that this man from Antioch came to faith; others believe that he was Titus’s brother. There is a good chance that all these facts are true.
  • He wrote with the purpose of informing people about the Gospel and the beginnings of the Christian church-
  • I believe that it went beyond a literary exercise and the recording of History- what he writes is life changing, it breaths; it is alive and it is worthy of being recorded in Holy Scripture.
  • Luke wanted the world to know what burnt in his heart! What enthused him and gave him life. That his readers too may come to the same conclusions in their lives.

Acts begins with these words:- “In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

In other words, I have already spoken about the Lord Jesus. Now this is what happened after the resurrection- The Disciples and fellow believers had the privilege of seeing the risen Christ on many occasions during a forty day period. They witnessed many convincing proofs for the resurrection! They experienced signs and wonders at the hand of the Lord; this was a sign of what was to come in their lives. The Lord Jesus commanded his disciples to stay in Jerusalem, for something was about to happen. It wasn’t a spur of the moment thing; it was something that God had prepared for the Church much earlier.

The fulfilment of prophecy- Some weeks ago I said that things do not just happens; they are often the result of many other decisions that had been made over the years. Although it came as a shock to the followers of the Lord Jesus- what was happening was foretold-: Acts 1:4,5. “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” The penny dropped for Peter as he preaches his first sermon. He got it! It all made sense now. Read Joel he says: – Joel 2:28:- 28 “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.”

They were asked to wait, the old English word is tarry, remain, stay, linger!
Have you noticed that much of our lives are spent in waiting?
We wait to be born and we wait to die.
We stand around waiting for all sorts of things to happen.
Nothing is ever instant.

I believe that there is a God given process in life waiting is part of that process.There is conception and then there is gestation and then a series of events that mould and shape our lives. In fact we are all a product of our past, this will either free us or condemn us, only the Lord Jesus can take the past and make it a stepping stone for better and greater things! Throughout the Scriptures there are many instances of waiting. Take Moses for example. How many years did he have to wait before he led the people of Israel out of Egypt? He lived for 120 years

  1. 40 years initial education he was a somebody, an important man in Pharaoh’s court.
  2. 40 years in the wilderness where he learnt to work and be a nobody, and
  3. The next 40 years he was God’s man.

There are stages in each person’s life. Many have a similar spiritual journey. The Disciples also experienced these stages.

  1. Enlightenment- they came to know who the Lord Jesus was and followed Him. (Not everyone who is enlightened follow through)
  2. Education and empowerment
  3. Earnestness as the journey begins.

Acts is the story of the Empowerment and education phase of their journey.

If you are like me, waiting may not be your strong point- yet God calls each one of us to wait in expectation.
Expectation that God will provide, that God will bless, that God will guide. William Carey that famous 18th Century missionary said; “Expect great things; attempt great things.”
Wait: I love Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”
We wait to hear from Him.
We wait to be equipped by His Spirit.
We patiently wait while others catch up, or even walk away.

Acts chapter one is the story of waiting; it is also the story of being equipped and enthused by the Spirit of God.
When was the last time you got excited and enthused about something?

God’s presence in our lives should:-

  1. Excite and provoke us to service.
  2. Enthuse and spur us to action.
  3. Encourage and motivate us to thanksgiving.
  • As we read through this wonderful book, we find that the early Christians we Excited, Enthused and Encouraged.
  • We also are given insight into their lives and struggles; in doing so we can relate to their humanity, their fears and their faith.
  • The book of Acts has also been called the book of the Acts of the Holy Spirit.
  • Like the Gospel it has no ending it has many beginnings. There have been volumes written about the church throughout the centuries. Wonderful stories of Faith in action and the continuation of the Church in this world.

What is the secret to this- In fact it is no secret- it is the promise of Joel fulfilled not only in the early Church but of the church of the 21st Century.

What is it that makes the Christian different?

Some would say:-

  1. Good moral teaching
  2. Following the Lord Jesus
  3. Our love and fellowship and
  4. Our good works

All these are commendable and should be obvious in the church. They are not the answer. The answer is twofold.

  1. A relationship with the Lord Jesus. We come to faith in the Lord, accept and acknowledge His right to be Lord of our lives.
  2. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We come to the point of new birth in our lives, where the Holy Spirit, indwells and transforms.

Conclusion

The Christian walk is both normal and supernatural. The Early Church like us needed to understand the presence of the Holy Spirit within the life of the believer. 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. YES EVEN WOLLONGONG. AMEN!

John 16, Matthew 28

Rev. Con January 6, 2013 Sermons No comments

By Whose power?

Introduction

  • It is great to be amongst you on this first Sunday for 2013.
  • I don’t know about you but sometime I struggle with the whole idea of being a Christian, how to act what to say.
  • For many years I use to suffer from a fear of being inadequate as far as the ministry is concerned, even to the point of not receiving positive comments appropriately, until someone who was much older and wiser advised me: ‘ Just say thank you and praise the Lord!’
  • I found it difficult to accept that people were responding to my feeble attempts to present the gospel, to pastor and to teach.
  • Mind you not all responded positively.
  • I was immature and my spelling and grammar were not good.
  • People came into faith and congregations grew.
  • Not one year goes by when someone from the past contacts me and thanks me for the part I played in their conversion and journey in the faith. The week of Christmas last year I spoke to a Pastor who goes back to his teenage years and sites the conversations we had as the beginning of a long road to discovery.
  • On the other hand, 42 years later it is very easy to take things for granted and to attribute what God does to one owns abilities.
  • The journey for some may go from false humility to personal pride and praise! I learnt a long time ago never to take the glory that belongs to God and give it to myself.
  • It has never been my ministry or my church! And the day that it becomes my ministry or my church is the day to resign!
  • On the other hand, I reckon that there are as many ‘so called failures’ as there are victories!

Information

One thing that I have learnt is that I should not get too serious with myself. I have observed over the years that some live as though the fate of the whole world rested upon their shoulders, and the fate of the church is a direct result of their lives and efforts.

There might be an element of truth in this.

Q. Whose job is it to grow a congregation and to convict of sin and lead people to Christ as Lord and Saviour?

The answer is found in the Scriptures: In John 16 the Lord Jesus prepares the church for the Cross and the aftermath of Crucifixion.

His disciples did not understand we are blessed with the gift of hind sight!

  • We can look back and see what God was doing and why the Lord Jesus said what He said. In John 16 we read the words of our Lord Jesus:- 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
  • It is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict and convert, and it is our job to encourage one another, to love one another and point people to God.
  • God knows that each one of us needs help!

It would be very cruel of God to have expectations of people if they were not able to achieve what He asks of them.
It would be unreasonable of God to ask if He was not prepared to equip those who He asks with the necessary abilities to achieve.
It would be unreasonable of God to blame or condemn us for not be able to achieve something that we cannot achieve!

Q. Where am I going with all this? I am not talking about salvation here; none of us can save ourselves for this is God’s wonder gift of GRACE!

  • I am talking about, living the Christian life, being the church, His people on earth.
  • We get great insight about this as we read through John 16. The Lord speaks of the one who will come, who is it that will come? 13 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.
  • The followers of the Lord were about to experience perhaps the most horrific thing in their lives, they would see their Lord and friend, taken, tried, beaten crucified!
  • The ramifications for them would be many years of persecution- torture even death if they were lucky!
  • The Lord Jesus sets the scene; He prepares the church, saying that God will provide all that they need. 13 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.
  • We do not become infallible, nor should it set us apart from the church, in fact this will draw each of us into a deeper relation with God the Father.
  • It will not make us rude or arrogant always wanting our own way.
  • And there will be times when we will each have a struggle, a ‘tug of war’ that I call ‘MY WILL VERSES GOD’S WILL’.
  • This revelation that the Holy Spirit will bring and does bring in our lives, will always lead us on to the road of Holiness and righteousness! Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
  • This revelation will never contradict that which we know about God in the Scriptures.
  • The Lord’s parting challenge in Matthew 28:16 was to go and make disciples- to preach teach to baptise! “16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

We cannot run away from this challenge:
We should take it seriously. In doing so we should ask the question. HOW?
Does it rely wholly on me?

The answer is NO.

  • In Matthew 28 and John 16 we discover that that it is something that God will achieve through us in the power of His Spirit and His authority. This is why I said earlier that: It would be very cruel of God to have expectations of people if they were not able to achieve what He asks of them. It would be unreasonable of God to ask if He was not prepared to equip those who He asks with the necessary abilities to achieve. It would be unreasonable of God to blame or condemn us for not be able to achieve something that we cannot achieve!
  • God is not a cruel God, nor is He a tyrant or vindictive. He is righteous in the right sense, He is Just and He calls each one of us to ‘Be Holy’, being Holy is more than an emotional state, it goes beyond the mind; what do I mean? From the position where I say is ‘I accept a set of doctrines’ to an impact on my behaviour, TO ACTUALLY LIVE OUT THOSE PRINCIPLES IN MY LIFE.
  • To learn these principles we must first desire to get into the word of God. D. L. Moody that 19th Century great evangelist and preacher said: “The Scriptures were not given for our information, but for our transformation.”

Conclusion

Simply put John 16 and Matthew 28 share the following truths for our encouragement:-

  • John 1:1 “All this I have told you so that you will not fall away” The Lord Jesus wanted to encourage, for many will be tempted to fall away from the faith.
  • Times will get tough and persecution will become a reality.
  • This is part of God’s plan; 7 … Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
  • The Lord Jesus has made adequate provision for us!
  • It is the Holy Spirit who will convict of sin and bring about conversion.8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
  • It is the Holy Spirit who will Guide God’s people and give us revelation.
  • In Matthew 28 we discover the following:- 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. The Lord Jesus has given to us all authority in heaven and earth. What does this mean? It means that He has equipped us with all we need, we have what Luke in Acts calls ‘power from on high’ again this does not make us infallible, it does give us a power to love and serve HIM.
  • 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. We have a God given task to MAKE DISCIPLES and teach what the Lord Jesus has said!
  • And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” And finally YOU ARE NOT ALONE!