Wednesday 17 April 2024

 John 10      v 11/18

There is no more loved image than the picture of Jesus as the Good Shepherd; this is woven into the imagery of the Bible.

In the Old Testament, the leaders of the people were called shepherd, and God was seen as the great Shepherd

  In the  New Testament, Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd, for He sees the people like sheep without any other shepherd. This one of the ‘I am’ sayings, and brings to mind David, who literally laid down his life for his sheep, but Jesus gave his life on the Cross for his sheep.

 We accept sheep as providing food and clothing, but in Palestine they were seen as not only providing wool, but also seen as rather like pets, and were kept alive, and some shepherds gave them names.   In the evenings, the shepherds  would lead their flocks to a sheepfold, which was central pen with a door, where several families kept their sheep, which would be watched over by a gatekeeper, who would be hired, and he would lock the door and stand guard. Some shepherds would watch themselves. Any other person entering would be considered a thief, or a robber who would use violence.

 The hired hand, not being the owner of sheep, would leave the sheep if a wolf appeared which would scatter the sheep and snatch them.

 The next day the sheep would be collected. Each sheep would know its own shepherd and would only go with him. Jesus states the sheep who truly know and believe in God, hear his voice and they know his voice.

 Some sheep were left roaming, and they would be gathered into an open field surrounded by walls, where the sheep could go in and pass out, and someone hired would lie across the opening so the sheep would have to pass him.

 Jesus said he had sheep not of this fold and would bring them into this fold so all would be in one flock with one shepherd. He was referring to Gentiles, and they would be united with Jews in one Messianic community

In the last two verses, Jesus is telling he saw his own life as an act of obedience to God, who had given him a task to do, and he was going to do that to the end, even to death. He always blended glory and the Cross together. He knew he would die and raise again.     

 I know this is totally unacceptable to an increasing number of people these days, but this is what the Bible states, so we should be prepared to accept Jesus’ words.  The whole purpose of His life was to lead people to God, and made that possible by giving His life to do so.  The only way into any enclosure is through a door, and Jesus is the only way to heaven.

 Jesus claimed to be the Good Shepherd, and as a good shepherd knew his sheep by name, Jesus knows us by name.  Every time Jesus called someone in the Bible, he did so by naming them.  He was constantly teaching in His lifetime, and we would do well to listen and act upon His words.  All who have accepted Jesus as their Lord, will have Him in their life, to be a guard and a helper who will care for them.

 Of course, there are now so many people who feel they can control their own destiny, fully able to stand on their own two feet, but they will take insurance out to provide cover for life after death.  They will wait years for these policies to mature, but Jesus is offering maturity for eternity with immediate effect.

 We all need security for peace of mind.  I have met people whose homes were burgled, and were not covered because they just didn’t get round to getting insurance.  Despite the massaging of figures by the police and government, crime is still rampant.  If someone breaks in to your house and ties you up, it is more likely the burglar will be stronger and more ruthless than you.  In theory, you will send for the police, and again in theory they will come and assist you.  (In practice these days it is more likely they will find some excuse not to attend)  When you accept Christ, you have the assurance of His help.

 These verses show us the reason Jesus came into our world. He came that we might have life in abundance.  The world has a totally false idea, to be a teacher of morality or to create new ceremonies, his life was only for thirty=three years. He came to die on a Cross to enable us all to  be forgiven of any sins we may have committed, and to enable us to have eternal life, He brought spiritual life for all people. Moses came with rules, law, and ceremonies, Christ came with grace, truth, and eternal life. Life and immortality were fully were made clear by the gospel.

 Jesus said I am the good shepherd, and like a good shepherd, knows all his true believing flock, and cares tenderly for all believing people. He provides for all their needs in the wilderness of this world. He will guard and protect them from enemies.

 Like a good shepherd he laid down his life for his sheep. Hw did it for all time when he  was crucified for them. Christ died of his own voluntary will. He said he had the power to do so, and to be raised again. Hi enemies may have cried he had no choice, nothing could be more wrong, but they are still showing their ignorance and stupidity.

 Let us lay our souls on these mighty truths, and be thankful a loving Saviour came specially to bring life into the world and if we listen for his voice, repent and believe, he is our own

 Jesus said  ‘follow me and you will find pasture and contentment whatever the circumstances.  We can trust His word.






 



 



Monday 15 April 2024

 

Matthew 15 v 21 /28

 

Jesus has completed a very hectic ministry in the region of Galilee in the area of Capernaum. He knew He was nearing the end of His earthly ministry, and wanted to rest and teach His Apostles for the future work they would have to do. Jesus has left the area of Galilee completely, and withdrawn into the area of Tyre and Sidon, two places on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in what is now Lebanon. Tyre is about fifty miles south of modern Beirut, and Sidon was halfway between the two. He had gone there for peace and quiet whilst He taught His Apostles.

 

The cities were outside the boundaries of Israel, and the people were largely Gentiles, but there was a Jewish community. This was the only occasion when Jesus left Jewish territory, and had on His present journey crossed geographical, ethnic, gender and theological boundaries. Later it would mean removing barriers, to enable the gospel to be taken to the whole world.

 

I have found that quite a number of people found this story hard to understand, as Jesus appeared to be doing something which seems contrary to the image they have of Him, especially in the way He spoke to the woman.

 

Today many people are anti-Israel and wish to separate from the Jews, but forget the specialness of Israel in the purposes of God. Jesus never implied anything different, but Paul was specially commissioned to bring Gentile and Jews on equal terms.  Many of the wonders of technology, which we all enjoy so much, were first discovered and developed in Israel, and given to the wider world in medicine, wireless communication, agriculture and more.

 

Never overlook the fact that we worship a Jewish Saviour, born into a Jewish family, and our God is the God Israel. We teach, (or are meant to) from a Holy Book written by 40 men, 39 of whom were Jews, under the divine inspiration of God. Our faith is not man-made, and is recorded in history by witnesses, which negates any justifiable call for joint worship with other faiths.  We respect their right to hold their own beliefs, but they do not acknowledge the divinity of Jesus.

 

he story revolves around a "Canaanite" woman, turning from her idols to seek the help and mercy of Jesus to cure her daughter’s illness.

This is a woman of Canaanite heritage, who were ancestral enemies of Israel, and thereby of Jesus. She has no understanding, or even knowing of the Old Testament. She is not even in a place where she would be in regular contact with those who did. It is likely that she had heard of Jesus as miracle worker in the land of Israel, from those who were now passing through her land, and now she finds that Jesus is in her area.

 

She went to to Him and pleaded for His mercy, which is further evidence that she does understand something of who Jesus is, for by definition, a person who asks for mercy, asks for something that they know that they do not deserve. She turns her back on the idols of her own culture and turned to Jesus.

 

She pleaded with Jesus to help her crying out, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed." . Jesus turned His back on her, refusing to answer and His Apostles urged Jesus to chase her away.  He then said to her, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel’.

 

Whilst this was in contrast to Jesus’ last commission to His Apostles to go into the world and make disciples, at the time of this incident it was in the plan of  God for Jesus to focus on the Jews, and their spiritual needs.

 

She then knelt before Jesus, and begged Him to help her. His reply was that it would not be right to take the children’s bread and give it to the dogs. She seems to accept the insult and Jesus’ judgement on her, but still pleaded and said even dogs eat the crumbs from the table  In Palestine dogs were wild scavengers, and Canaanites were referred to as such by the Jews who were ancestral enemies of each other.

The woman responded, that extended blessings were mentioned by Abraham to the promised Gentiles, that God’s plan was to bring salvation to His chosen people Israel, and then to Gentiles. The woman was showing an attitude of humble faith, which allowed Jesus to answer, for God responds to all who call on Him in true faith.

Jesus was testing her faith, for it was His way to help all people.  The woman was displaying greater faith in Jesus than many of His own people, and Jesus responded by telling her faith  was so great and granted her request with the result her daughter was healed.

She was persistent, and such perseverance should be the mark of every Christian, but sadly it is not. Too often we give up when we do not receive a quick reply to our requests. We may even get discouraged, thinking the Lord is no longer listening to us or is ignoring us as He was this woman.

 

What a beautiful example of the humility and faith, and what a contrast she was to the pride and unbelief of those Jesus had been with in Galilee. She responded in complete humility, which is the way each of us should respond.

 

What can we learn from this story?

 This passage encourages us to keep praying, even when the temptation is to give up. Be specific in your prayers, and when praying for others name them before the Lord

 An important element in prayer is faith, which unlocks the door to heaven.  New life begins with faith, and then we must build on that foundation.  Often when we cry to God, it is more in hope than faith.  It is like a child who cries for something to eat, but then goes on playing and you know it is not hungry.  If he puts his play thing away and pulls at his mother’s clothes, you know he is in earnest.  God knows when we are in earnest.

 The Bible states, if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask God and it shall be given him, but let him ask in faith, not wavering. Faith is the key that unlocks the treasures of heaven.

 I read once a story, about a boy brought up in an Institutional home, and was never taught how to read or write, but he did know the letters of the alphabet. One day, the local Vicar talked to the children and told them, if they prayed to God real hard, He would hear and answer them.  The boy grew up and was given a hard time by his employer. So decided to do what the Vicar had said.

 One day, a man was passing a hedge when he heard the a voice from behind the hedge saying ABCD, and he saw the boy on his knees.  He asked the boy what he was doing, and the boy replied  that he was praying.  The man said that is not praying, you are just saying letters.  The boy answered,  that a Vicar told him if he asked God in prayer he would get help, but as he didn’t know how to pray he thought if he just said the letters, God would take them and make them into a prayer. and give him what he wanted. That is faith personified,.

 Dwight Moody, an American evangelist, second only to Billy Graham in the history of great preachers, asked at one of his meetings for all who wished to pray to become Christians to step forward.  Amongst those who went forward was a woman, and Dwight felt by her demeanour she was already a Christian.  He challenged her, and asked why she went forward, and she said it was for her son who had gone far away, so she thought she would take his place and see if God would bless him.

 We have to thank God for mothers like that.  The tragedy of our time is that there are few mothers, and certainly fathers, who are interested enough in the spiritual welfare of their children.  A Jewish father will devote much time teaching his sons the Commandments, just as a Muslim will teach his children the Koran, but too many men  in this country feel it beneath their masculinity to be religious.

 When my two sons were growing up, I had to spend many hours away from home in my previous occupation, and my wife was forced to care, largely on her own; to her eternal credit, both became youth leaders at our local Church, and subsequently have become very successful Vicars.

 The woman in this tory remains unknown, we are not told who she was, but she will remain in history for all time.  We do know she was not Jewish of course, but she went to Jesus, desperate for her daughter’s life was at stake for there was no medical cure. The mother persevered begging for help from Jesus to cast out the devil in the girl.  Another praying mother, which again reveals how God gave women that loveliness that distinguishes and enables them to be such wonderful carers, and a worthy contrast to men.

 The Bible has many instances of such answered prayer, but how many mothers today (or fathers) would seek the help of Jesus in the present age?  Parents can give children many goods, but can also give that which fewer parents do give, the teaching about Jesus.

 A lot of parents will be worried as they see their sons, and more so daughters, going away from home to Universities and Colleges in other places of learning and who will face much temptation.  If they are ever taught about religion it is more likely to be that of other nations rather than Christianity.

 All parents should be turning to God, and praying for their children who are facing alone an evil world. Pray for their protection and guidance, as there is such temptation produced on televised programmes to lead them to follow a course of life which will be disastrous for them.  Young people are not prone to speak or think religion, but parents can speak to God.

 This Gospel passage wants us to have faith.  Our hearts can so easily be turned off, and we may feel discouraged and that speaking to God is a waste of time, especially if we don’t get an immediate response that we expect. Remember that God is a Father to all His family, and just at times we earthly parents do not give what our family expect, because we know it is not in their best interest to do so.  God is responding in the same way, foreseeing what lies ahead.

 Remember this unknown woman who never gave in, and was rewarded. Resolve to follow her example, and trust God in His grace to answer you, even if not in the way you would have liked.

 

May God impress His Word on our hearts and may his Holy Name be glorified

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday 9 April 2024

Turn with me now to Paul’s 2nd Letter to Timothy in Chapter 3 v 10 to 4 v.4

Turn with me now to Paul’s 2nd Letter to Timothy in Chapter 3 v 10 to 4 v.4 .Paul is in a Roman prison, and this is the last Letter he will write, he knows this and wants to ensure he passes on his ministry to someone he can trust, to faithfully carry on in the manner he has done so. He has addressed to Timothy, a young man whom he wants to continue the ministry he is ending, and is giving advice with the earnest plea that Timothy will persist in preaching the true gospel. For not only does Timothy face much opposition from society, he also faces false teachers within the Church, and we know all about that. A common practice now. 

The passage begins, with Timothy being told he knows what Paul teaches and the purpose he had for life, how he preached with patience and love, for no one cand learn by force, Christianity is a peaceful faith. Paul contrasts all that with the way Timothy has been brought up with a love of Scripture, something children of several generations have been deprived of in the present ages. 

The Ten Commandments have become Ten Suggestions, or pick any four from ten. We have raised a generation, who are unaware of even the most basic beliefs. It is a disturbing situation where all the traditional manners are not practiced, because few know what they were. Children are denied the basic details of the Bible or its characters, and Jesus is just a word they hear adults use when they swear.

Many of us here to-day grew up in a totally different culture. We may not have had all the wonderful technological aids and comforts that now are available, but we benefited in other ways. Like Timothy we were taught about the Bible at home, and went to Sunday school as youngsters, learning the stories about Jesus, which gave us standards and values and a good foundation for life. We had morning assemblies in all schools, now largely avoided in (state) schools. This may not have been widely followed up in life, but the basics had been laid, and our lives were directed by Christian values. Children are now denied these foundations, and are growing up without knowing the country’s religious faith and heritage. 

 In the first nine verses of Chapter 3 he talks of godlessness, describing the very conditions we find today; lovers of selves and money, unholy, children having no respect and disobedient. This is what happens when a nation turns its back on God. 

We live in an age of relativism, in which there are no absolutes no basic morals, a case of if it feels right it is. They become lovers of themselves, and there is a moral collapse as the pursuit of money becomes so important. Have you noticed that much of what is offered for entertainment, are programmes in which people try to win vast sums of money? In v10 Paul expresses his faith, purpose in life, endurance love and patience and living a godly life and warns of impostors. He then points out the suffering he endured, and Timothy must be prepared as every Christian must, to find he suffers be it mild or harder. 

In v14/5 he refers to the teaching Timothy had, having been brought up in the faith by his mother and grandmother,( and also had been taught much by Paul, and in fact Peter had helped a little, so he had the two Apostles who wrote much of the new testament.) Now Timothy had the wisdom to receive salvation by trusting in Jesus Christ, the only way to God. In v16 we come to an important verse when Paul reminds him that ALL Scripture is inspired by God and tells what is right and true, so we can recognize wrong way. In v17 God prepares his people to do good work. This will mean Timothy to be fully equipped for his ministry, when he has to correct people who are not speaking the truth, rebuke those who mislead, and encourage with patience those who are learning the gospel. 

We are told God inspired and guided forty men, using their different characters and occupations, to write the Scriptures which would be His message to the world. We can reasonably presume that if God gave us these words, He would not have done so just to fill pages, but meant us to take note of all that was given. God wants us to understand and know Him, and the only way we can do that is by Him telling us, which He does in this book. He tells, we listen and obey him. There are 66 books in the Bible, 39 of which are in the Old Testament and 27 in the New, written by 40 men, all but one being Jewish. God used their individual personalities and occupations, to communicate His words, and none of them would claim it was any thoughts of their own. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, all state they did not feel worthy, but God laid a burden on them. This was done over many years, without any collusion, they did not meet each other, yet there is no contradiction in writings. The Bible is given to teach us and guide us in the way God wants us to live. 

 This is a very stressful world in which we live. This is a post Christian age, when most people under the age of 40 have little if any knowledge of the Christian faith or Church. It may have been written by men, but these men were inspired by God, to give us the message that God wished us to have. We are therefore enabled to live according to God’s teaching, and be kept from going the wrong way in life, by understanding what is right or wrong. The important word is, ALL. Once you start discounting parts you challenge, the whole credibility and authority of the Bible is destroyed. When we fully understand God’s Word, we are more able to inform others. In Chapter 4, Paul having told Timothy of the importance of Scripture, then tells him to go out and ‘preach the Word’. He does so in the presence of God the Father and God the Son. The term Word, means, the teaching of God, which we have fully in the Bible, and an essential message, is that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for the forgiveness of our sins; that after three days He rose from the dead and later ascended to heaven to sit at God’s right hand; that one day He will return and bring in His Kingdom, and all will face the judgement. At the same time, Paul is warning all preachers of the serious responsibility, to be faithful to Scripture as one day they will be called upon to give answer.

Paul calls on Timothy to keep preaching sound doctrine, but warns him there will be those who won’t accept such doctrine and will want to hear preachers telling them what they want to hear. I don’t think even Church members, give the Bible the attention one would expect. I know there are many whose sole connection with it is in the Sunday service. But even then, is mainly a case of listening to it being read. In evangelical Churches, it has been the practice of having Bibles in the pews, or at least available, so that members can follow the readings, and I always found it helped to follow the sermon, (when the sermon is Bible based that is.) I went to take a service at one Church where there wasn’t even a Bible to read the lessons from, and someone had to go out and borrow one. 

I am a keen follower of some Churches I have seen in the United States, which have large congregations. When the Pastor announces the Bible reading, the whole congregations turn to their own Bibles, this is revealed when the cameras show all different Bibles; such is the attention paid by the people, they are making notes of the sermon. This was once common in our Churches, but after many years in ministry, I never saw it happen. 

The Church is plagued by disputes over issues and the image it gives, so that it does not have any clear or authoritative belief. The Bible restricts behaviour which people like to indulge in, and frankly what gets support from some preachers, and clearly defines human beings are defined as man and woman, which many of us recognise as a precious gift of Gd. There can be no doubt, that all the problems facing the Church are due to a departure from Scripture, to an attitude of let us make Scripture relevant to modern thinking. We all have to decide do we accept the Bible as the Word of God, the sole authority in matters of faith and practice, or not. You cannot have a pick/n mix way. 

In the Free Churches, there are those who have different preachers each week, a most unreliable practice. One week there could be an evangelical preacher, followed by a liberal minded one. This causes confusion to listeners as to who should be accepted. Sadly, people in general judge all Christians by what they read in the newspapers, and they lump all by what happens in the Church of England. The various denominations hold different liturgies and practices, which is acceptable, God didn’t create all flowers to be roses, but all flowers grow in good soil carefully laid down, so the various Churches should have the same ground to preach sound doctrine. Christians have had many disagreements, Methodism was the result of one, but at heart has always been the Bible. John Wesley said, ‘I want to know one thing; the ay to heaven, how to land on that happy shore. God Himself has condescended to teach the way; He hath written it down in a book. Give me that book, at any price give me that book’. 

We are called on in those inspiring words, from one of the nation’s greatest Ministers, to turn to the Bible for guidance in all spiritual matters, and use it to correct wrong thinking; rebuke those who abuse; and encourage the depressed. How John Wesley would grieve if he saw how the current leaders have abused Scripture, who have cast aside the marriage service he laid down in the Methodist Worship Book. This is one reason why so many Methodist Churches are so empty. There is nothing more important than for us to be well grounded in what we believe about the Bible. It’s more than just a statement of faith. What we believe about the Bible is fundamental and foundational to everything else we are trying to do as a church. 

Today there is a tendency for the Church to become worldly and to compromise on doctrine. The Church has been given exemption from the same sex marriage act, yet bishops and senior clergy were campaigning to be allowed to conduct such false ceremonies which directly contradict Scripture. What Paul wrote all those years ago, can be clearly seen coming true today, people turning away from truth to suit their own desires. Once you depart from the Word of God you are in a spiritual wilderness. We live in a world of itching ears. One clergyman told me we have to make people feel happy; that doctrine is boring and makes people feel guilty. But preachers are not here to tell people what they want to hear, so much as what they need to hear Jesus said ‘I will build my Church and the gate of hell shall not prevail against it’. It seems at time as there are those within the Church who want to open the gates. 

There is a basic question we should all ponder. Why do we come to Church? There are many answers, but the real purpose should be to worship God with reverence and awe; to learn about God and how He would want us to live. In order to do this we need to know our Bibles and be prepared to accept what is taught there. I know this will not be acceptable to some people within the Church, for it may condemn the way they are conducting their lives. The Bible has to be the supreme authority of the Church. I heard a Vicar state in her sermon that we should not take the Bible literally, and there are other Ministers who will say the same. You should question them as to why not. 

We have been saturated by a world that is committed to falsehood. That is why, as Paul sets forth here, we must increasingly proclaim the truth as it is in Jesus. The apostle reminds us that the most effective thing is, preach the word, announce the truth, tell of reality, make it clear, spread the word. and declare that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. You and I are called to advance that work. Like Timothy we are a tiny minority amidst an overwhelming majority committed to unbelief. We face hostility on every side. Do not let anybody tell you that your life as a Christian does not count. It counts tremendously. Glory in what God has called you to do, and be faithful to his commands. May the Lord open our hearts to His Word and may His Holy Name be praised

Saturday 6 April 2024

 

Matthew 22v 1/14

When we study a Bible passage there are three points to consider, what is it saying; what does it mean; how is it relevant to us in the Church today.

     The gospel passage is the parable of the wedding feast.  This is one of a series of parables our Lord is delivering, in which He exposes the failures of the chief priests and leaders of Israel, and rebukes them for allowing the people to ignore Him as the Messiah, and their general disobedience to God.

     There is a picture of  a king who wants to give a feast for the marriage of his son, and such a feast would traditionally last for days, In accordance with Jewish tradition, invitations would be sent out to the proposed guests without any set time being stated, but when the food and preparations were complete. Servants would be sent out to say all was ready and for them to attend.

     At first guests were making excuses, which were received badly by   the King for it would be considered insulting, and a dangerous  affront to the authority of the king. When further servants went out, they were brutally treated and even murdered.  The king was furious, and sent his army to kill the murderers and burn their city.

     The king decided the feast would not fail, and ordered his men to go out and bring all outsiders to the table.  One man was seen not wearing a wedding garment, and so upset the king who had him bound and thrown out. It was the practice for the host to offer garments for the guests, and when this man was not wearing one, it was considered an insult to the host.   

     The meaning is the king represents God; the son is Jesus; the servants are the prophets and John the Baptist; and the outsiders are the Gentiles.  The feast is for the coming of Jesus into the world, and likened to the gospel story of salvation.  Like all the teachings of Jesus, there is an enduring lesson for each age, no less than our time.

     Many were called, means the call went out to many people; but few were chosen, refers to those true believers who respond with true faith.

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     The Bible throughout reveals that God chose Israel out of all nations to be His specially chosen one; God has also given advantages and blessings to other nations, which Jesus indicated would happen in the parable.  He said the hand of God which was first intended for the Jew, would be extended and given to both Jews and Gentiles.

     The parable told in these verses, is one of very wide signification, and is mainly pointing to the Jews, but there is a message for heart-searching for all whom are Christians.  Parables are like many sided precious stones, shining in more than one direction.

      In this parable, the salvation of the Gospel is likened to a marriage feast. It contains relief for spiritual hunger and thirst, peace with God, hope in this world, and glory in the world to come.  Jesus offers to take us with Him, and to restore us to the family of God as His children, and clothe us with His righteousness, with a place in His Kingdom, and to present us as faultless on the last day before God.

     The invitations of the Gospel are wide, full and unlimited.  The king’s servants said to those called, ‘all things are ready; come  unto the marriage.  There is nothing wanted on God’s part for the salvation of sinners’ souls; no one will be able to claim that it was God’s fault if not saved.  God the Father is ready to love and save. God the Son is ready to pardon and cleanse us of guilt. God the Holy Spirit is ready to make holy and renew.  In addition, angels will rejoice for a save sinner, and grace is to assist.  The Gospel offers an open door to all, no one is refused. Though few enter, all are invited to enter.

The salvation of the Gospel is rejected to many who are offered, and Jesus tells that those bid to the wedding by the servants mocked and went their own way.

     There are thousands who listen to the Gospel being ready each Sunday who get no benefit from doing so, they see no need of it. Nor do they take it into their hearts. Other things attract their attention more, such as businesses they own, their money and pleasures are far more important. Sin may be committed by thousands, but neglect of the Gospel is committed by tens of thousands.  Many will find themselves on the broad road to destruction, not because of breaking the ten Commandments, but they openly mad light of the truth that Christ died for them on the Cross, but they neglected Him.

     All the false teachers of the Gospel will be exposed and punished when they face Christ on judgement day.  Jesus tells of when the king entered and saw the man present without a proper wedding garment, he commanded the  servants to bind him hand and foot and take him away.

     There have always been, and will be, false teachers, those given the honour of being able to preach the gospel,  and then amend the meaning to justify their own desires and those like themselves.  So long as there are men and women preaching and claiming to accept the gospel, but live in contradiction to its teaching, they cannot claim righteousness and there will be no deception at the last day, for God will discern who are His true followers. All spurious Christianity will be shown, and only true believers will be at the marriage feast. There will be many cast into outer darkness and reap what they have sewn.

Let all learn to count ourselves with those to whom the Word is spoken. Will we have on the wedding garment the Lord expects; have we put on Jesus? That is the question this parable expects to be answered, may we give the right answer. 

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What is a matter of concern for Christians is that there are far too many men, and now women, holding office in the Church, some in high places who want to re-interpret the Bible to fit in with modern populist thought, and it is a warning to derelict religious leaders.

Let us be honest, there are not just a few within the Church, whose style of life will not be accepted by Jesus the supreme judge, and it is particularly unacceptable for clergy who are here to preach the gospel, to be unworthy.  They are acting like the chief priests, who Jesus is here condemning for disobeying God by not following His teaching, and will have to answer for so doing.

     If Jesus was here to-day, He would most certainly be rebuking the chief priests of the Church, as they let the Church drift away from its moorings of the Bible, to sail off into the muddy waters of society, and to allow and make provision to embrace and accept behaviour which is incompatible with Scripture, and for acceptance to the Kingdom of God.

      We can’t just be holy on Sundays, and revert to any lifestyle we choose for the rest of the week.

     There are plenty of people who have little time for Christianity, their own lives are too important to them to be involved with the Church.  Others are openly hostile and only mention the name of Jesus as an expletive.  Christianity is not the gloomy faith that is often painted by many, who fear they will lose too much pleasure if they become Christians.    

     This parable tells us all are invited to the feast, but many people are so concerned for their present life, they are losing the chance of eternal life.  In all His teaching, Jesus made it clear this life is a preparation for an after life. He never avoided pointing out this meant, there were two alternative places, heaven or hell.  People say God would never send anyone to hell, and that is true He lets us make the decision, by how we live our life now.

     We are reminded that the appeal of Christ to us, is not so much to consider how we will be punished if we challenge God, who expressed His way, but how much we will lose if we don’t follow His teaching.  Those who did not go to the wedding were punished, but their real tragedy was they lost the joy of the feast. 

     We are being offered the chance to be taken into the presence of God, and be given a place in heaven.  If we do not follow Christ, one day our greatest pain will be in the realisation of the precious things of which we have denied ourselves by doing our own thing.  In the last analysis, God’s invitation to us is of His amazing grace.

     God is still offering a place in heaven to all who will seek His Son. There is no charge, which has already been paid by Jesus when He died on the Cross to cleanse us of all sin, and by that cruel death, made it possible for us to be accepted by God.  We do have to put our faith and trust in Jesus, and realise there is no other way to God except through Him.

     God is making it all so easy by providing all we need. The Son has put us right with God, and the Father will pardon and receive us. In addition, He has given us written guidance for our lives by providing the Bible which will set out His plan.

     All false religion will one day be exposed. God sees into our hearts and just as the king threw out the man at the wedding for being improperly dressed, so God will not enter unto His kingdom those who ignored Him in this life.

     The second part of the reading puzzles many people; why was the man so roughly treated as to justify being thrown out. 

      Jesus is portraying the Gentiles being gathered in together with sinners.   Whilst the door is still open to all, when they come they must come with a life that is going to measure up to the love which has been shown to them. A person cannot go on living a kind of life lived before coming to Christ, there must be purity, holiness and goodness.  A sinner may come, but cannot remain a sinner.

     There is also a lesson, in that the way a person comes demonstrates the spirit in which they come.  If you go to a person’s home for dinner, you don’t go in the clothes you wear to the gardening.  It may not matter to the friend, but out of courtesy and respect we present ourselves worthy of the invitation and kindness shown to us.

     So when we come to worship we don’t need to be on a fashion parade, but I think some of the sights I have seen are quite offensive. Such dressing would not be worn if the person was visiting royalty or at a civic function, why on earth do they think they should come to the king of king’s house.   I watch the services from America, and the people dress most smartly, worthy of meeting the Lord.

     The dressing of our minds however, is of prime importance as we should dress in clothes of expectation, coming in clean hearts and minds, with humble penitence, faith and reverence.  In His Holy Word, God said He should be worshipped with reverence and awe.

     So the meaning of the parable is clear. God has provided the feast of the kingdom. It is the wedding feast for his Son. The invitation goes out far and wide. Many are invited, but few show by their response that they are chosen

 

May God bless His Word to our hearts and  may His Holy Name be praised

Wednesday 3 April 2024

 1 John 1

 This Letter is short, in which  John writes about the Christian faith.  He wants the joy of his people should be full, and wants to avoid sin.

When you write a letter or prepare a speech, you should have some point to make, and that should be done with the aim of it being relevant to whom it is addressed John wants to create a fellowship with men and with God,

It is often when you think of a past act, you may be tormented and wonder, if you are in need of making repentance, and you need to be led to the place where any sin can be forgiven. To that end, John wants to set Jesus as the only way. The simple fact is that if ever to find fellowship with each other, and God, they will find it in Jesus Christ.

Here, at the beginning of his Letter he gives reasons to speak with personal experience with Jesus.  He states he  has heard Jesus, but people are rarely interested in opinions and speculations, but are ready for a word from the Lord.

John states he had seen Christ.  To see is to use one’s own eye. John then states he gazed at him, this means giving a hard look that has grasped some meaning. Jesus once said to listeners, that when looking at John the Baptist , we beheld his glory. A quick glance at Christ never mad a person a Christian, it took the eyes to be fixed on the love of Christ.

John states he actually touched Jesus. Luke told of how Jesus came back to his disciples when he had risen from the dead, and said, ‘behold my hands and feet.

It is I, myself, and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, you see I have hands. John said doubt was dangerous, there was Jesus, fully man.

John’s message was all about Jesus. Jesus was from the beginning. Which means Jesus actually took upon himself, real manhood., that there came to man, the word of life and which brings life, the change of death to life.

Repeatedly in the New Testament, the gospel is called the ‘Word’.  The gospel message is not a human discovery, it is not the product of man’s mind or thought of man.  It is a word which comes from God, and tells of God. Man could not have discovered it for himself.

Very frequently, the gospel is called the word of the Lord, and it is hard to tell whether the Lord is God or Jesus. The gospel is the word of God which comes to us through Jesus Christ, his Son.

The gospel depends on two things, the voice to speak it and the ear to hear it.

The Gospel is relates to us in in many ways. 

Gospel is the word of;-

 the kingdom, the announcement of the kingdom of God.

Good news, and the essentially good news to people about God

 grace, the good news which tells of God’s generous and undeserved freely given care and love.

salvation, the offer of forgiveness for past sin; power to overcome sin in the future

reconciliation. Between man and God restored by Jeus Christ.

That which breaks down the barrier between God and man caused by man’s sin

 Cross final proof of forgiving and sacrificing seeking the love of God

Truth with which the coming of the gospel is no longer necessary to guess

Righteousness. Power that enables a man to break free from sin and evil

power to rise to that which is pleasing to God

 thanksgiving, antidote for poison of sin and medicine which defeats disease of sin

Life. through its power to deliver from death and enable a new life

Light which symbolizes both knowledge and purity and reflects God’s perfection

 

May God bless His Wod to us. May His Holy Name be glorfied1 John 1

 This Letter is short, in which  John writes about the Christian faith.  He wants the joy of his people should be full, and wants to avoid sin.

When you write a letter or prepare a speech, you should have some point to make, and that should be done with the aim of it being relevant to whom it is addressed John wants to create a fellowship with men and with God,

It is often when you think of a past act, you may be tormented and wonder, if you are in need of making repentance, and you need to be led to the place where any sin can be forgiven. To that end, John wants to set Jesus as the only way. The simple fact is that if ever to find fellowship with each other, and God, they will find it in Jesus Christ.

Here, at the beginning of his Letter he gives reasons to speak with personal experience with Jesus.  He states he  has heard Jesus, but people are rarely interested in opinions and speculations, but are ready for a word from the Lord.

John states he had seen Christ.  To see is to use one’s own eye. John then states he gazed at him, this means giving a hard look that has grasped some meaning. Jesus once said to listeners, that when looking at John the Baptist , we beheld his glory. A quick glance at Christ never mad a person a Christian, it took the eyes to be fixed on the love of Christ.

John states he actually touched Jesus. Luke told of how Jesus came back to his disciples when he had risen from the dead, and said, ‘behold my hands and feet.

It is I, myself, and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, you see I have hands. John said doubt was dangerous, there was Jesus, fully man.

John’s message was all about Jesus. Jesus was from the beginning. Which means Jesus actually took upon himself, real manhood., that there came to man, the word of life and which brings life, the change of death to life.

Repeatedly in the New Testament, the gospel is called the ‘Word’.  The gospel message is not a human discovery, it is not the product of man’s mind or thought of man.  It is a word which comes from God, and tells of God. Man could not have discovered I for himself.

Very frequently, the gospel is called the word of the Lord, and it is hard to tell whether the Lord is God or Jesus. The gospel is the word of God which comes to us through Jesus Christ, his Son

The gospel depends on two things, the voice to speak it and the ear to hear it.

The Gospel is relates to us in in many ways. 

Gospel is the word of;-

 the kingdom, the announcement of the kingdom of God.

Good news, and the essentially good news to people about God

 grace, the good news which tells of God’s generous and undeserved freely given

salvation, the offer of forgiveness for past sin power to overcome sin in the future

reconciliation. Between man and God restored by Jeus Christ.

That which breaks down the barrier between God and man caused by man’s sin

 Cross final proof of forgiving and sacrificing seeking the love of God

Truth with which the coming of the gospel is no longer necessary to guess

Righteousness. Power that enables a man to break free from sin and evil

power to rise to that which is pleasing to God

 thanksgiving, antidote for poison of sin and medicine which defeats disease of sin

Life. through its power to deliver from death and enable a new life

Light which symbolizes both knowledge and purity and reflects God’s perfection

 

May God bless His Wod to us. May His Holy Name be glorfied1 John 1

 This Letter is short, in which  John writes about the Christian faith.  He wants the joy of his people should be full, and wants to avoid sin.

When you write a letter or prepare a speech, you should have some point to make, and that should be done with the aim of it being relevant to whom it is addressed John wants to create a fellowship with men and with God,

It is often when you think of a past act, you may be tormented and wonder, if you are in need of making repentance, and you need to be led to the place where any sin can be forgiven. To that end, John wants to set Jesus as the only way. The simple fact is that if ever to find fellowship with each other, and God, they will find it in Jesus Christ.

Here, at the beginning of his Letter he gives reasons to speak with personal experience with Jesus.  He states he  has heard Jesus, but people are rarely interested in opinions and speculations, but are ready for a word from the Lord.

John states he had seen Christ.  To see is to use one’s own eye. John then states he gazed at him, this means giving a hard look that has grasped some meaning. Jesus once said to listeners, that when looking at John the Baptist , we beheld his glory. A quick glance at Christ never mad a person a Christian, it took the eyes to be fixed on the love of Christ.

John states he actually touched Jesus. Luke told of how Jesus came back to his disciples when he had risen from the dead, and said, ‘behold my hands and feet.

It is I, myself, and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, you see I have hands. John said doubt was dangerous, there was Jesus, fully man.

John’s message was all about Jesus. Jesus was from the beginning. Which means Jesus actually took upon himself, real manhood., that there came to man, the word of life and which brings life, the change of death to life.

Repeatedly in the New Testament, the gospel is called the ‘Word’.  The gospel message is not a human discovery, it is not the product of man’s mind or thought of man.  It is a word which comes from God, and tells of God. Man could not have discovered I for himself.

Very frequently, the gospel is called the word of the Lord, and it is hard to tell whether the Lord is God or Jesus. The gospel is the word of God which comes to us through Jesus Christ, his Son

The gospel depends on two things, the voice to speak it and the ear to hear it.

The Gospel is relates to us in in many ways. 

Gospel is the word of;-

 the kingdom, the announcement of the kingdom of God.

Good news, and the essentially good news to people about God

 grace, the good news which tells of God’s generous and undeserved freely given

salvation, the offer of forgiveness for past sin power to overcome sin in the future

reconciliation. Between man and God restored by Jeus Christ.

That which breaks down the barrier between God and man caused by man’s sin

 Cross final proof of forgiving and sacrificing seeking the love of God

Truth with which the coming of the gospel is no longer necessary to guess

Righteousness. Power that enables a man to break free from sin and evil

power to rise to that which is pleasing to God

 thanksgiving, antidote for poison of sin and medicine which defeats disease of sin

Life. through its power to deliver from death and enable a new life

Light which symbolizes both knowledge and purity and reflects God’s perfection

 

May God bless His Wod to us. May His Holy Name be glorfied

1 John 1

 This Letter is short, in which  John writes about the Christian faith.  He wants the joy of his people should be full, and wants to avoid sin.

When you write a letter or prepare a speech, you should have some point to make, and that should be done with the aim of it being relevant to whom it is addressed John wants to create a fellowship with men and with God,

It is often when you think of a past act, you may be tormented and wonder, if you are in need of making repentance, and you need to be led to the place where any sin can be forgiven. To that end, John wants to set Jesus as the only way. The simple fact is that if ever to find fellowship with each other, and God, they will find it in Jesus Christ.

Here, at the beginning of his Letter he gives reasons to speak with personal experience with Jesus.  He states he  has heard Jesus, but people are rarely interested in opinions and speculations, but are ready for a word from the Lord.

John states he had seen Christ.  To see is to use one’s own eye. John then states he gazed at him, this means giving a hard look that has grasped some meaning. Jesus once said to listeners, that when looking at John the Baptist , we beheld his glory. A quick glance at Christ never mad a person a Christian, it took the eyes to be fixed on the love of Christ.

John states he actually touched Jesus. Luke told of how Jesus came back to his disciples when he had risen from the dead, and said, ‘behold my hands and feet.

It is I, myself, and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, you see I have hands. John said doubt was dangerous, there was Jesus, fully man.

John’s message was all about Jesus. Jesus was from the beginning. Which means Jesus actually took upon himself, real manhood., that there came to man, the word of life and which brings life, the change of death to life.

Repeatedly in the New Testament, the gospel is called the ‘Word’.  The gospel message is not a human discovery, it is not the product of man’s mind or thought of man.  It is a word which comes from God, and tells of God. Man could not have discovered I for himself.

Very frequently, the gospel is called the word of the Lord, and it is hard to tell whether the Lord is God or Jesus. The gospel is the word of God which comes to us through Jesus Christ, his Son

The gospel depends on two things, the voice to speak it and the ear to hear it.

The Gospel is relates to us in in many ways. 

Gospel is the word of;-

 the kingdom, the announcement of the kingdom of God.

Good news, and the essentially good news to people about God

 grace, the good news which tells of God’s generous and undeserved freely given

salvation, the offer of forgiveness for past sin power to overcome sin in the future

reconciliation. Between man and God restored by Jeus Christ.

That which breaks down the barrier between God and man caused by man’s sin

 Cross final proof of forgiving and sacrificing seeking the love of God

Truth with which the coming of the gospel is no longer necessary to guess

Righteousness. Power that enables a man to break free from sin and evil

power to rise to that which is pleasing to God

 thanksgiving, antidote for poison of sin and medicine which defeats disease of sin

Life. through its power to deliver from death and enable a new life

Light which symbolizes both knowledge and purity and reflects God’s perfection

 

May God bless His Wod to us. May His Holy Name be glorfied