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Miles McKee Ministries


The Wednesday Words for the Year 2013


To view article. click on title
 

Date

Title

1/9

The New Experience and the Gospel

1/23

Wonderful, Wonderful Jesus

1/30

The Sufficiency of the Saviour

2/20

Gospel Acquittal

2/27

Gospel Righteousness

3/6

Gospel Adoption

3/13

Eternal Life

3/20

Rich in Mercy

3/27

The Effective Mediator

4/2

The Altogether Lovely Christ

4/10

The Greatest Trading Post in the World

4/17

Christ: Our Continual Acceptance Before God

4/24

Announcements of Mercy

5/01

The Holy Spirit, Our Teacher

5/15

Our Obedience or His?

5/22

The Perfect Christ and His Perfect Gospel

5/29

Made Near by the Blood

6/12

Jesus, the Prophet

6/19

The Gospel and the Self-Reliant Man!

7/3

Justified By His Blood

7/17

Jesus, the Forgiver of Sins (part I)

7/24

Jesus, the Forgiver of Sins (part II)

7/31

He Is Able To Save Even The Worst Of Us!

8/7

More About the Amazing Blood!

8/21

The Sin of Cain

8/28

The One Who Came From Above

9/11

The Saviour, Not a Helper

9/18

Behold, What Manner of Man Is This?

9/25

Sheltered by the Blood

10/2

Paid for by His Blood!

10/9

Redeemed by Blood

10/22

Redeeming Blood, Part 1

10/30

Redeeming Blood: Part 2

11/6

Peace Made Through the Blood, Part 1

11/13

Peace Made Through the Blood, Part 2

11/20

Peace Made Through the Blood, Part 3

11/27

Peace Made Through the Blood, Part 4

12/11

The Communion of the Blood, Part 1

12/18

The Communion of the Blood, Part 2

12/31

Misunderstood Matters About Grace

GO TO:


Wednesday Words for 2008

Wednesday Words for 2009

Wednesday Words for 2010

Wednesday Words for 2011

Wednesday Words for 2012

Wednesday Words for 2014

Wednesday Words for 2015

Wednesday Words for 2016

Wednesday Words for 2017

The Wednesday Word, Jan. 9, 2013: The New Experience and the Gospel


 

We’ve talked in the past about how self-righteous, religious people prefer their own work and character to that of Christ’s. They place confidence in themselves rather than in the doing and dying of Christ alone!  They reject that a sinner's resting place is totally outside of himself in the person of Christ (Ephesians 1:6-7).  They openly refuse Christ, choosing religious observances, good works, prayers, and devotions, thinking that by such in combination with upright and decent lives they have a claim to the mercy of God if indeed they need mercy at all!


But there are also others who are gripped by a different but equally serious deception. These are they who think that by receiving a second blessing, or a series of such, that they find a fuller acceptance from God than the rest of us. Their experiences, they think, bring them to a new level of spirituality and, thus, make them more favoured by the Divine Majesty. In their religious rigor and enthusiasm, they imagine themselves to have supplemented the gospel and secretly think that, they are now, because of their experience, more acceptable in heaven than other mere mortals who are relying only on the blood.


Failing to grasp that when Christ is received, all is received (Ephesians 1:3) they now think they have advanced beyond the rest of us. By this kind of philosophy, they both leave and deny the gospel!


An inner experience is never a good substitute for the, outside of us, righteousness of Christ. Consider this; in their “new and enhanced” experiences of supposed new-found spirituality, these “Super Christians” are actually resting on something within them as the supposed means of gaining favour with God. No spiritual experience, however, can furnish the foundation for God’s acceptance. Neither regeneration, nor second blessings, nor baptisms, no matter how profound and supposedly life transforming, can be any part of the ground of our approval before the Father. Unless the Lamb had shed His blood we would be entirely lost and unaccepted in heaven (Hebrews 9:12).  However, because of the blood, all blessings such as redemption, peace, forgiveness, justification, and admission into heaven are ours (Ephesians 1:3). This rules out spiritual experiences as being the thing that God requires to gain His acceptance.  We are already fully accepted by the Father because of the experiences of the God/Man on our behalf.


We are accepted because of the objective, concrete, saving acts of God, in Christ, in history. The Father has nothing more powerful in store for us than that which He has already done for us in Christ Jesus. For us, Calvary is a historical fact, but for God it is an eternal one. Christ Crucified has been the centre of His heart from before the beginning. The saving acts of God are so far outside of the sinner that they were both planned from eternity and accomplished apart from us two thousand years ago. This is Christianity. It is the only truly historical religion. All other religions teach that salvation is found in some process or experience within the worshiper. Consequently, in this set up, the worshiper's supreme preoccupation is with himself. What a disaster then to note the countless numbers of Christian songs and sermons that focus us on our experiences and heart condition.  They are just another part of the slippery slope that seems determined to remove us from the gospel.


Gospel centred Christianity alone proclaims a salvation which is found in an event outside the believer. We are called, therefore, to occupy ourselves with Christ, the risen and exalted Christ, the crucified Christ who is now alive forevermore (Hebrews 12:2).


By grace alone, the blood of Christ has removed our condemnation, and in the Father’s gracious, righteous and loving plan, the blood of Christ has both reconciled us and made us welcome.  The blood of Christ has met all claims against us and has brought us to God (Ephesians 2:13). Acceptance with God is now spelt with five letters----JESUS! We are accepted because of Him alone, not because of our experiences and feelings.


No spiritual experiences can match the experiences the Lord Christ had for us.  No experience we can have can heal the breach between sinners and God.  The only experience that brings us our acceptance before God is the unique, never to be repeated experience of the Lord Jesus on our behalf.


And that’s the Gospel Truth!


The Wednesday Word, Jan. 23, 2013: Wonderful, Wonderful Jesus


…the grace of God that brings salvation… Titus 2:11


Let me make a bold statement-- Jesus Himself is the grace of God! In His doing, dying and rising again He gave us the summary of grace. In His doing, dying and rising again, He gave us God. The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17). Think of how Jesus once said, “I am the truth”(John 14:6). He is the truth, but He could just as easily have said, “ I am the grace of God.” Jesus is the full revelation of God. He is the One in Whom we see and meet the grace of God. Moses and the Law brought condemnation, but Christ, the God/Man, ushered in grace.


He is wonderful!


Look again in Titus 2:11 and see that grace is the bringer of salvation.  I love that word “brings” in that verse.  God did not merely send salvation, He brought it.  Nor did He entrust the bringing of salvation to anyone other than Himself.  He by-passed the angles and archangels refusing to use them as His messengers in this matter.  I think I see Him talking to Gabriel and saying, “Gabriel, you are a trustworthy servant, both faithful and true, but I cannot send salvation with you.  Furthermore, faithful as they are, I must also bypass the seraphim and cherubim and every heavenly being for I must, by Myself, bring salvation to my people.”


He is Wonderful!


Consider Him, stepping out of eternity and into time and descending to earth.  Down, down, down he descends till He takes His place as the tiniest of embryos in The Virgin‘s womb. Down He comes from heaven to be born among us.  Down He comes into the midst of our rebellion and misery. Down, down He comes till He becomes our substitute at the cross. For it was there at the cross He was wounded for our transgression and bruised for our iniquities.  There at the cross, He intercepted the wrath of God that was headed straight for us.  There at the cross, He who knew no sin became sin on our behalf.


He is Wonderful!


The grace of God has indeed brought salvation.  Our gracious Saviour didn’t stand in heaven and shout, “Come up here and, if you are able to climb up this far, I will save you.”  No indeed, He came, out of heaven, to seek and to save that which was lost and it was only when He had made His descent from the heavenly realms that he said “Come unto me” (Matthew 11:28).  He is Wonderful!  Don’t you think so?


Like the good Samaritan of old (Luke 10), Jesus came to where we were and brought salvation with Him.  He came to where we were and found us dead in trespasses and sin.  He came to where we were to save us, to die for us and to rise again for us. And, today, He continues to come to where we are, to, by His Spirit, raise us up to new life. It is all by grace that does this.


He is Wonderful!


Remember this, however, our only qualification for His grace is our sinfulness.  Our only plea is that we are ruined.  He will not accept any attempt on our part to save ourselves, for it is His grace alone that brings salvation.


He is Wonderful!


“But don’t we need faith?”  Yes indeed, faith takes a hold of our Salvation but we don’t depend on our faith or the fact that we have it.  We don’t depend on the fact that we have been converted to Christ or rest on the fact that we have had a change in our life.  No indeed, we depend on the wonderful person of the Lord Jesus, the One who lived and died in our place.  He is the Saviour, He is the bringer of Salvation (Isaiah 61:10). He is the grace of God.  He is Wonderful!


And that’s the Gospel Truth


The Wednesday Word, Jan. 30, 2013: The Sufficiency of the Saviour

 

 

As the gospel is applied we discover to our utter delight that, "He that believes is not condemned" (John 3:18). This is actually looking at the negative side of things for it tells us what we are not rather than what we are! However, even if this were the sum total of gospel benefits, it would be thrilling, for as P.T. Forsyth says, "As a race we're not even stray sheep, or wandering prodigals .. we are rebels taken with weapons in our hands."  (Forsyth, Peter Taylor; Positive Preaching and Modern Mind; p 56).


To know that all possibility of condemnation has been lifted is both stunning and liberating. Have you told yourself this powerful gospel truth lately? Have you had a good talk with yourself about how you are no longer under condemnation? "He that believes is not condemned" says the Word. Is this you? Are you a believer?  Are you relying on Christ alone? If so, you are not condemned. You will never be damned (Romans 8:1).  Christ Jesus is the sufficient Saviour, His person, work and offices guarantee no condemnation, but the question is, are you relying on Him and His sufficiency? Is He your substitute in life and death? If He is, let's say it again, you will never be damned!


But because of His sufficiency, the benefits of the gospel are even bigger than this. Not only will believers not be damned, but because of the sufficiency of the Saviour they are also, "made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). Furthermore, "Christ is the end (or fulfilling) of the law for righteousness to every one that believes" (Romans 10:4).


We are now the righteousness of God in Christ. We have this on good authority ... an authority that cannot lie ... God's Word. And not only so, but having been declared righteous, we have also been embraced and welcomed by heaven. We are now accepted in the beloved (Ephesians 1:6).


But why and how is this possible? For this simple yet profound reason; when Christ hung on the cross, He demonstrated His perfect, unswerving and unshakeable love for the Father.  Being now found in Him we are reckoned as having the same unerring and unswerving love.  It is credited to us by free grace alone!


The Scripture doesn't say we must have a strong faith or even a great faith to receive these truths. Faith, it must be remembered, is not a work, nor is it something we earn or produce ourselves. On the contrary, it is when we end our works and receive Christ in place of them that we are actually walking by faith. We do not depend on faith to save us. Christ alone is the Saviour. Christ alone saves sinners.


Are you worried that your faith is not strong enough? Again we must neither look at ourselves nor the weakness or strength of our faith; we must look, rather, to the cross of Calvary and the sufficiency of the One who died on our behalf! It was Christ Jesus the Lord who suffered for sin, the just for the unjust that He might bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18). Has He brought you to God? He has? Then rest on that. Jesus is the living way Who calls us to have no confidence in ourselves, but rather confidence in Him.  In Him, we have obtained right of access to Heaven for in Him we are the righteousness of God. His perfection is sufficient to righteously cover not only that which is imperfect in our characters and lives, but also that which is imperfect in our faith. As the old Hymn writer once said,


“Had I an angel’s righteousness

I’d lay aside that beauteous dress,

And wrap me up in Christ.”


And that’s the Gospel Truth


The Wednesday Word, Feb. 20, 2013: Gospel Acquittal


 

Because of the gospel we have been not merely pardoned for sins, but totally acquitted and declared not guilty. Do you see the difference?


I read once of how a man who had been in prison for a crime was brought before the Judge. The prisoner had had a profound change of life. He had served much time and was now a reformed man. The Judge heard the facts and because of the prisoner’s change of character, issued him a pardon. It was a lovely story, but it’s quite unlike the gospel. You see, there is nothing in us that deserves any kind of mercy. We are all guilty before the thrice-holy, supreme majesty! The apostle Paul spoke for us all when he said, “I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwells no good thing” (Romans 7:18). None of us deserve any favour or mercy from God! We all should be condemned.


Our salvation, however, was bought and paid for by Christ, but He purchased much more than our pardon. The pardoned man in our story was still a guilty man, but the acquitted man is not guilty of any charges! Christ alone purchased and secured our acquittal. The declaration from heaven upon us is, therefore, “Not guilty … case dismissed.”


The acquittal or ‘not guilty’ verdict is ours because the Father has given us the same verdict He gave to His Son (Romans 2:13). Because Christ was our substitute in His life and death, the Father's verdict on Christ is automatically ours. Christ lived and died as our willing substitute. Because of this, when He was born sinlessly, we were born sinlessly. When He lived sinlessly, we lived sinlessly, and when He poured out His blood for our sins He died as though He were us. “The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). This is especially good news.


“Oh,” you say, “how I wish I could feel that.” I understand you and can sympathise, but the facts are these, you don’t have to feel, “not guilty” to be not guilty. When someone is acquitted in court, they receive their verdict, not by feelings, but, rather, by the word of the Judge. In heaven’s court, God the Judge has declared us not guilty. The Lord said it; that settles it; I believe it; that settles me!


As we learn to take God at His word about our acquittal, the feelings of guilt flee. We rest in the word of the God who cannot lie (Titus 1:2). We may be the feeblest believer who has ever walked the face of the earth, but if Christ is our Saviour, we now enjoy the freedom of the, not guilty verdict. He has put our sins behind His back (Isaiah 38:17). Indeed, “As far as the East is from the West so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalms 103:12).


Acquittal is a gospel mercy which we take by sheer faith. No one has ever seen God blotting out their sin, and no one has ever heard the declaration of the “not guilty” verdict, but we believe it has been done because the Lord Christ has said, “It is Finished” (John 19:30).


It’s wonderful to know that our sins are no longer charged against us, but it’s even better to know that they are forgotten. Hebrews 10:17 says, “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” If they are forgotten by God, what are we doing digging them up and remembering them?


The wisdom of this world says, “Blessed is the man who is rich and powerful.” But the wisdom of the Lord says, “Blessed is the man whose transgression is forgiven and whose sin is covered; blessed is the man to whom the lord imputes not iniquity and in whose spirit is no guile” (Psalms 32:1-2).


And that’s the Gospel Truth

The Wednesday Word, Feb. 27, 2013: Gospel Righteousness


 

The gospel truth of Justification means that every charge against the believer has been dropped. As the scripture declares, “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifies” (Romans 8:33).  There are no accusations that can stand against the Lord’s sheep because they have been declared not guilty in the courtroom of God.  But there’s more!


Justification goes far beyond being cleared of guilt.  When we are justified, we are not only acquitted, but also declared righteous. This is a necessary truth for not only does the Law forbid sin, it also demands righteousness. But where do we find a righteousness that satisfies the Father? Some people reason that regeneration is the solution for this. However, vital as regeneration is, it can not provide perfect righteousness. The flesh still lusts against the spirit (Galatians 5:17).


In addition, the “not guilty” declaration, although essential, does not, and can not, clothe us with righteousness. It declares us innocent, but there is a significant difference between being innocent and being righteous! The truth is, the man who is declared not guilty is still unworthy in himself.  Everything he does is flawed, imperfect and defiled by sin.


But here’s the good news, gospel justification not only declares us not guilty, but also declares us righteous. We are now accepted before God having, not only been washed in the blood of Christ, but also by having Christ’s righteousness reckoned as being ours. Martyn Lloyd Jones says,


“In justifying us, God tells us that He has taken our sins and our guilt and has "imputed" them to, "put them to the account of," the Lord Jesus Christ and punished them in Him. He announces also that, having done that, He now puts to our account, or "imputes" to us, the perfect righteousness of His own dear Son. The Lord Jesus Christ obeyed the law perfectly; He never broke it in any respect; He gave a full and a perfect satisfaction to all its demands. That full obedience constitutes His righteousness. What God does is to put to our account, to put upon us, the righteousness of Jesus Christ. In declaring us to be justified, God proclaims that He now looks on us, not as we are, but as clothed with the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.”


Because of Justification, God looks at us and says that (1) we are not guilty, and (2) we are righteous in Christ. Our past has been legally and justly expunged, and we have been given a totally new identity.  It’s like being in a witness protection program that is 100% secure!


Christ is made unto us righteousness.” 1 Corinthians 1:30. This is the blessing of grace that belongs to every believer. The Fathers looks at us and see us as righteous in Christ. If a man, however, refuses to submit to this righteousness, he, in his folly, is declaring Christ’s righteousness to be superfluous and un-necessary. Furthermore, he is saying that man’s righteousness (his in particular) is sufficient for acceptance before God. Such a person is not in the gospel; he will perish.


Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness

My beauty are, my glorious dress;

‘Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed

With joy shall I lift up my head.


Bold shall I stand in that great day,

For who aught to my charge shall lay?

Fully absolved through these I am,

From sin and fear, from guilt and shame.


Some years ago an Irish Farmer stood up to testify at a gospel meeting.  He said, “Brothers and Sisters look at me.  I’m not a pretty sight.  In fact, I’m just a big, old, ugly Irish farmer, but in God’s sight I’m altogether lovely for I’m all dressed up in the righteousness of Christ.”


This man understood something of the benefits of the gospel.


And that’s the Gospel Truth

The Wednesday Word, March 6, 2013: Gospel Adoption

 

It’s good to have all charges against us dropped and even better to be declared righteous, but it’s best to have been adopted as children of God.  And that’s exactly what has happened to us as a result of the gospel.  We are now children of God by faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26). As we look at gospel adoption, we realize that grace has outdone sin, for it has lifted us much, much higher than the place from which we fell.


‘Adoption’ is a legal term derived from Roman law.  There were often two stages to this ancient legal process. In the first stage, a Roman nobleman would identify a child he wanted to adopt and would clothe him with robes appropriate for his new status.  The second step came later; it was the public acknowledgment of the adoption whereby the adopted person entered into their full and active rights as a member of the nobility. Just as there was a season during which the privileges of adoption were not fully seen, it is not yet fully seen what we are in Christ. However, there is coming a day when all will be revealed. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is (1 John 3:2).


We have been adopted by the Father! Indeed, “Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us that we should be called Sons of God” (1 John 3:1). But why did He do this? Why did He adopt us? The answer is simple and yet at the same time profound. He adopted us simply because He wanted to adopt us, He exercised His free will in the matter. We know this because the Bible says, “Having predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (Ephesians 1:5).


The privilege of adoption makes us sons of God. Every morning when you look in the mirror you encounter royalty.  Oh yes I know that you also encounter a wretch, however, “You are no more a servant but a son and an heir of God through Christ (Galatians 4:7). This is remarkable, for it means that, as His child, the Father loves us just the same way He loves Christ!  It’s not, therefore, a presumption for you to say (and to keep saying), “The Father loves me.”  The fact is, and I don’t want to sound irreverent, He’s crazy about you! It’s hard for us to believe, isn’t it?


Too often we don’t feel loved because we feel unlovable. We have, as some call it, ‘an orphaned heart’!  But the more we know the gospel, the more we will realize that we don’t have to feel loved.  We need to stop trying to feel His love and begin to believe His love.  We are His blood bought children, we are in Christ, and we have been loved from before time! Being adopted means that, in and through Christ, we have been given the rights of sons of God; the Father loves us as he loves his only-begotten Son. We are now children of God, “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:17).


If we are in Christ, we will have all things with him. If we are his, we shall share the crown with him. If we are in Christ, we as adopted children will receive the inheritance of the saints in light (Colossians 1:12).


This is remarkable, we who were once heirs of hell have now been adopted and made Heirs of Heaven.


And that’s the Gospel Truth.

The Wednesday Word, March 13, 2013: Eternal Life


 

Because of the gospel, we are given life, not for a day or a month or even a year, but given eternal life! That’s the way Jesus tells it. He said, “My sheep hear my voice -------and I give unto them eternal life” (John 10:27-28).


What a stunning promise!  What a splendid gift! Notice how He says “I give.”  Obviously, if He gives eternal life, then we didn’t have it in the first place. Furthermore, since it’s a gift, that means we have neither earned nor deserved it.


It has been argued that the term eternal life also includes an idea of a certain quality of life. Indeed, Jesus didn’t merely promise us eternal existence, He promised something far better, … eternal life. And it begins right here at the New Birth as He imparts to us a measure of the life of the age to come.


Part of this life is the absence of condemnation. If you are in Christ, there is now therefore no condemnation (Romans 8:1). That’s part of having eternal life. Christ Jesus came into the world on purpose,  He came to be condemned in our place.  He came so that we would be acquitted, declared righteous and  adopted.  He came to give us the gift of Himself … eternal life (1 John 5:11).


As Christians, living under the gospel transforms and helps us to enjoy the purchase made, by Christ, on our behalf. However, if we live under a religious system devoid of the gospel, a system that urges us to try harder and harder, it only serves to manufacture guilt and death.  The truth is, right standing with God, and His gift of eternal life, have nothing whatsoever to do with how we behave.


Someone says, “That’s dangerous doctrine brother! People will abuse those things if you preach them.” True, some people probably will. But are you saying that because people might misuse these glorious truths that we should not preach them? Listen to me, some years ago my cousin, in Canada, was killed when a snow-laden branch of a tree fell on her, does this mean that, because they can be dangerous, all trees and forests should be cut down ? Also, when I was a child, a young boy from our village, in Ireland, drowned while swimming in the sea! Does that mean we should drain the ocean?  Sometimes trees and oceans do terrible things.  So it is with people! I’m advocating, however, that in spite of the dangers of potential abuse, that we believers live in and proclaim the gospel and enjoy the wonderful freedom afforded to us by its gospel mercies.


It is only through the gospel that we can enjoy eternal life here and now and out into eternity.  Christ Jesus, our gospel, is the giver of eternal life (John 17:2) and we have the privilege of enjoying both Him and His free gift.


There was an old black preacher in Richmond, Virginia, John Jasper, during the American Civil War who preached to very large audiences.  People came from everywhere to hear him.



Someone asked him one day; “When, you get to heaven and they stop you at the door, and ask, what right have you got to be here in this celestial city, in the abode of God, in the majestic heavens, what are you going to say?”


John Jasper said, “I am going to say; “I ain’t got no right to be here at all.  I am not here on my rights; I am here on the righteousness of Jesus Christ my Lord and Saviour.  I am here on the mercy of another who gave me eternal life.”


What a wonderful answer. Our hope of Heaven is in the Lord’s doing, dying and rising again on our behalf.  We live, not because of our merit but because of His mercy. He’s the one who has given us the gift of eternal life, and we are the ones who say, in return, “thank you!”


And that’s the Gospel Truth

The Wednesday Word, March 20, 2013: Rich in Mercy


 

When we think of God, does the truth that He is wonderfully merciful immediately spring to mind?  Probably not!


More than likely, we conjure up a picture of a God who is harsh, critical and judgmental......someone not to run to, but to run from.  This kind of faulty thinking about the character of the Almighty can have dire consequences.  In fact, unless we get our thoughts about God straight our walk with Him will be crooked.


The scripture declares boldly in Ephesians 2:4 that God is rich in mercy. It is of interest to note that the Greek word translated ‘rich’, is the same word from which we get our English word ‘plush’.  Just think of it......our God is plush in mercy. That means, He’s not stingy when it comes to mercy.  It means that He doesn’t dispense mercy with eye drops.  No!!! On the contrary, He is rich, plush, extravagant, and liberal when it comes to giving out mercy.


In all my years as a believer, I have not yet encountered a single person who didn’t need mercy.  Believers and unbelievers alike continually need daily mercy.  Every day, as Christians, we sin and fail God.  I think you’ll agree, we followers of Christ don’t pray, love God or love each other the way we should do. We need mercy!  But God is rich in mercy.  He is wealthy in and generous with that mercy.  So whatever your situation today, bring it to the One who is plush with mercy.


We may feel like complete failures in our Christian lives … but God is rich in mercy. Because He is rich in mercy, He gave His Son to be slaughtered at the cross for all our sinful fallings and failings.  Because He is rich in mercy, He set forth and publicly displayed Christ as a propitiation (a wrath offering) for us.  Because He is rich in mercy, Christ has become the very Mercy Seat for the fallen believer.  So don’t run from Him .........run to Him! He is rich in mercy!


Regardless of how much we have failed Him, we can come to Him today, right now, for mercy. Perhaps you are saying to yourself, “I don’t deserve mercy.”  Well, truer words were never spoken! Think of it, if any of us deserved it, it wouldn’t be mercy.


His mercy is great.  His grace is free.  He is rich in mercy.  May we never, ever let shame trick us into staying away from Him. Staying away will only lead to straying away.


Spurgeon tells of how the gospel preacher, Rowland Hill, was given a large sum of money to dispense to a certain minister who was extremely poor.  In his wisdom, Mr Hill realised that if he were to give him the entire sum of money all at once, the poor minister would be overwhelmed. So he decided to send the money in instalments every few days and with each instalment he wrote a note to the minister which simply said, “There’s more to Follow.”


This is so like the blessings of God. Every blessing we receive from God has the same note joined to it. It says,


“There’s more to follow.”

He chose us, but there’s more to follow.

He called us, but there’s more to follow.

He regenerated us, but there’s more to follow.

He justified us, but there’s more to follow.

He acquitted us, but there’s more to follow.

He declared us righteous, but there’s more to follow.

He set us apart to Himself, but there’s more to follow.

He adopted us, but there’s more to follow.

He gave us eternal life, but there’s more to follow.


Why? Because, “God is Rich in Mercy.”


And that’s the Gospel Truth

The Wednesday Word, March 27, 2013: Jesus, The Effective Mediator!

 

 

If Jesus is to be considered an effective mediator, there are three things He must be able to do.  First of all, He must be able to reach down to the lowest of the low and the worst of the worst.  Why? It’s obvious. If we use a ladder to reach the top of a building, it is of no use if it can’t come down to where we are.  That’s what Jesus did. He reached those who were lowest of the low. That means that there is no sin so terrible that the blood of Christ cannot reach and take it away. Nothing you have done is too powerful for the blood of our mediator. Indeed, a mediator who could not bring the worst of sinners to the Father, is no mediator at all.


We need a mediator who has taken away all our sin.  We need a mediator who has fulfilled the Law and removed its curse.  We need a mediator who has crushed and defeated Satan. We need a mediator who has actually removed the wrath of God.


A mediator who cannot do these things is of no use to us.   Away, therefore, with all these, Popes, Prelates and so called enlightened Prophets who claim to stand between us and God. If they personally can not reach into our ruined estate, and bear personal responsibility for our sins they are no use to us.


But here’s the gospel truth. We need no other mediator than Jesus the Christ. He is the true and only mediator for He descended  from Heaven, went to the cross and there mediated on our behalf (Hebrews 9:15).  What beautiful, powerful and effective mediation.


But not only does a mediator need to be able to reach low enough, the true mediator needs to be able to reach high enough. Can Jesus do that? The true mediator, you see, should be able to take us from the guttermost to the uttermost. But how can any mediator do that? After all, God is so pure that no sin can come into his presence. Ah, but Jesus is qualified to enter into the Father’s presence because He is the sinless God/Man. He has brought us with Him to heaven (Ephesians 2:6).  He is able to do this because He has paid for our sins and taken them away. His mediation brings us to the Father, in fact, He is the only one who can (1 Timothy 2:5).  All prayers to all other mediators are, therefore, vain and useless.  With respect, the Virgin Mary can do nothing for us, nor can Joseph or any of the so called saints.  They cannot pray for us and bring us to the Father, but Jesus can and does.


So a true mediator need to reach both low enough and high enough, but the True Mediator also needs to be able to reach deep enough.  Not only does He bring us to God, he also brings God to us.  He reaches deep within us and gives us the Father (John 14:20, 23).  We are in Him, and He is in us. In Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).  He causes us to live in the reality of the gospel. He brings us the Spirit of Adoption and lets us know that we are now the Children of God (Romans 8:15).  What astonishing grace is this?


What other mediators can get low enough, high enough and deep enough.  Buddha can’t do that, Moses can’t, neither can Mohammed.  There is no one on earth who comes close to Jesus.  There simply are no other players on the field.


And that’s the Gospel Truth.


The Wednesday Word, April 2, 2013: The Altogether Lovely Christ


 

In Christ alone we discover who God is and what He is like.  In Christ alone we also learn what man should be like.  What a marvel Christ is .… God and Man in one person; there has never been anyone like Him! Consider this; the greatest of people are usually flawed. Einstein was brilliant, but he was also a sex maniac. Gandhi, the great peace-loving leader of India once paid a compliment to Adolph Hitler. Patrick Henry, the famous American revolutionary, occasionally locked his wife in the basement. Let’s face it, the best of men are men at best, they are all flawed, all that is, except for Christ Jesus.  In the annals of human history, Jesus Christ remains the only one of whom it can be truthfully asserted, "He is altogether lovely ” (Song of Songs 5:16).


He is altogether lovely because He is the out-shining of the Father’s glory (Hebrews 1:3).


He is altogether lovely for although He is the glory of God against whom we are measured and fall short, He has become our champion and has brought us back to God (Romans 3:23, Hebrews 2:10).


He is altogether lovely because there He was, at the cross, “Bearing shame and scoffing rude,” and doing so without opening His mouth in His own defence (Isaiah 53:7).


He is altogether lovely because although He is the shepherd, He is also the Lamb. The faithful guide is the flawless sacrifice; the perfect protector is Himself the wonderous wrath offering (Hebrews 13:20, Romans 3:25).


He is lovely because He, by Himself, purged our sins (Hebrews 1:3)!


But, is He really altogether lovely? If so, then tell people about Him. What a simple message we have …“Behold the Lamb!”  We don’t have to argue or be belligerent, we can simply tell about the Lamb.  We don’t have to despise or condemn, we just tell about the Lamb.  He is altogether lovely! We can help no one unless we point them to the Lamb. No one else can take away sin. No one else can bathe the conscience and cleanse it for it is the Lamb who was slaughtered; it is  the Lamb who was the one final sacrifice for sin. He is altogether lovely.


Not only when we witness, but also when we have fellowship one with another may we say, “Behold the Lamb.” May we talk about His person, work and offices. May we continually think about Him, observe Him and know all that we can about Him. May we examine Him, meditate on Him, worship Him and sing to Him! The more we are occupied with Him, the more we will be transformed.


There was no greater wonder ever than that God should provide Himself as the Lamb for the sin offering. May we always be in awe of Him! Angels marvel at this mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh. May we join with them in astonished wonder and never cease to be amazed.


May we always be filled with the wonder of the flawless Lamb!  He is not distant. He is here; He is not in hiding. Look at Him and see Him for who He is. He is the living Word, the Word made flesh, the Holy One come to earth as the sinner’s friend (John 1:14).  He is loveliness itself, filled with grace and truth.


About 300 hundred years ago, Scotland had many prominent preachers.  An English man went there to listen to some of them.  First he went to hear Robert Blair.  He came back and said, “That man showed me the majesty of God.” Then he went to hear a sermon by David Dixon, and he said,“ That man showed me my heart.”  And then he heard Samuel Rutherford, and he said, “That man showed me the loveliness of Jesus.”  What mighty preaching there must have been in those days. We may yet see it return to our pulpits.


And that’s the Gospel Truth.


The Wednesday Word, April 10, 2013: The Greatest Trading Post in the World



In the cross of Christ, we find the greatest trading post in the world.  There, our filthy robes of self-righteousness were traded for Christ's robe of perfect righteousness (Isaiah 61:10).  Our guilt was traded for grace and mercy, and our condemnation was traded for our justification. This is not make-believe or some kind of legal fiction. This is reality (Hebrews 9:22; 1 Peter 2:24).


As believers, all of Christ’s righteousness is credited to us. Did you catch that? ALL of Christ’s righteousness is reckoned to us. In the gospel, we are not given a righteousness that looks like Christ’s or one that is similar to Christ’s, we are given Christ’s very own righteousness. All of His perfection, in all its completeness, is now reckoned as being ours. This is no empty theory; this is gospel. Live in it and enjoy it.  At the cross, Christ Jesus took legal liability for us and gave us the gift of His righteousness. This is such good and powerful news that, if this gospel were continually preached and believed in our churches, then believers would be transformed and delivered from lives that so often entangle and entrap them.


There are many whom I've met who, in their flesh, are striving after their own brand of holiness. They fail to realize that the all-holy God requires perfection. These folk, neither understand true holiness nor the true nature of sin. They, therefore,  go about trying to meet what they suppose to be God's standard.  To them Christianity is about keeping the rules and trying to impress God and man. Failing to grasp the gospel fact that Christ has already reached God's standard on our behalf, these folks are doomed to live lives of misery and failure.  The only way they can live a so called perfect life is to either lower the standard of perfection or to excuse sin as not being sin at all! As a result, they lie to themselves about having reached a higher state than the rest of us. Some of them are so deceived that they believe they can actually live throughout the day without sin. They know nothing of the ‘Gospel Trading Post’.


As believers, we must have a good understanding of the Trading Post of the cross. There we encounter the righteousness of God in Christ.  Everything that God requires of us is met in Christ; it is supplied in Christ and is fulfilled in Christ. God demands perfection, and the believer has that in Christ. God demands full and total obedience, and we have that in Christ.


Horatius Bonar, in his book, “The Everlasting Righteousness” comments on Ezekiel 16 saying,


“Although the prophet was speaking of Jerusalem we can apply his words to believers. The word of the Lord to us through Ezekiel is choice.  The Lord says,


  1. "I said to you, Live" (Ezekiel 16: verse 6).
  2. "I spread my skirt over thee" (verse 8).
  3. "I entered into a covenant with you, and you became mine" (verse  8).  
  4. "I washed you" (verse 9).
  5. "I anointed you" (verse 9).
  6. "I clothed you" (verse 10).
  7. "I shod you" (verse 10).
  8. "I girded you" (verse 10).
  9. "I covered you with silk" (verse 10).
  10. "I decked you with ornaments, bracelets, chains, jewels, a beautiful crown" (verse 12).
  11. "You were exceeding beautiful" (verse 13).
  12. "Your renown went forth for your beauty" (verse 14).


This is a snapshot of the ‘Trading Post’ and the perfection with which we, as believers, are now clothed.  The Lord Himself is our righteousness and He says to us, "Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee" (Song of Songs 4:7).  As we believe this, we enter into rest.


And that’s the Gospel Truth!


The Wednesday Word, April 17, 2013: Christ: Our Continual Acceptance Before God



As believers, one of the difficulties we encounter in the Christian life is that, if we are not continually bathed in the gospel, we quietly and almost imperceptibly begin to look for qualities within ourselves as being the ground and basis of our acceptance before God. But this is deception. Our exclusive appeal for continued acceptance before God is found in Christ alone!


We may be in Christian service and ministry, but we are not accepted because of our work for the Lord. Nor are we accepted because of the quantity of our prayers or the greatness of our faith. It is so liberating to remember that the only acceptance we have before God is Christ Himself!  We are, "found in Him"(Philippians 3:9). This must mean that our own "self" has disappeared and instead, in the Father’s eyes, there is Christ, the beloved Son in whom He is well pleased (Matthew 3:17).


Horatius Bonar observed, “Found in ourselves, there was nothing but wrath; found in Him there is nothing but favour.”  We are hidden in Christ (Colossians 3:3): we are complete in Him (Colossians 2:10). He is our continual acceptance before God.


As we grow in the grace, we recognise that although we are, within ourselves, unworthy of the Father’s acceptance, we are actually accepted beyond measure. Also, gospel grace teaches us that we are totally loved in spite of being, in ourselves, totally unlovable. Gospel grace further informs us that we are totally accepted in spite of being, in ourselves, totally unacceptable.


Because we are in Christ, we no longer put confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3). Because we are in Christ, we are liberated from the search for acceptance with God through resolutions and vows to increase our dedication.  The true believer knows that, in him, that is in his flesh, there dwells no good thing (Romans 7:18).  He knows that compared to God, everything within Him is vileness and sin.  The truth is, if man had the power to save Himself, he would not have the desire to do so; and if He had the desire to save himself, he would not have the power to do so.  Apart from grace, he is ruined.


This is why the Holy Spirit always fixes our eyes on Christ (John 16:14).  He never turns our eye in on our performance as a means of gaining confidence. He never leads us to get encouragement by looking at our own character or performance. No! The way by which the Spirit gives us confidence is to continually glorify and magnify the perfections of Lord Jesus Christ in our sight.


Are you living with something less than full assurance of your acceptance before the Father? Christ has died, Christ has risen and is even now seated in cosmic authority making intercession for you (Romans 8:34).  Has unbelief caused you to distrust the abilities and will of your Saviour to save you? Do you doubt the truth of God’s testimony? Do you honestly believe that the Rock of Ages is going to crumble?


John Bunyan said,


"Christ is all and in all" (Colossians 3:11). He who knows this knows what fully satisfies and cheers. He who knows this best has the deepest and truest peace: for he has learned the secret of being always a sinner, yet always righteous; always incomplete, yet always complete; always empty, and yet always full; always poor, and yet always rich.”


For continued acceptance before God and a present, joyful assurance of salvation, we need Christ and His finished work plus nothing.


And that’s the Gospel Truth


The Wednesday Word, April 24, 2013: Announcements of Mercy



Have you ever asked yourself why is it that God’s people believe the truth of the gospel? The answer is simple. We believe because God persuades us that He is to be trusted (Numbers 23:19). Faith, real faith, has a divine foundation.


As believers, God Himself is our teacher and we learn from Him primarily by reading, listening to and meditating on His word.  He is the God who does not lie. His word teaches us, for example, what His mercy is (Psalm 119:41). When trying to discover what mercy is we should let God speak for Himself.


Here then are some announcements from heaven that inform us of God’s stunning mercy towards us.


"The Lord is long suffering and of great mercy" (Numbers 14:18).


"His mercy endures forever" (Psalm 118:1).


"Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee" (Psalm 86:5).


"Thou art a God full of compassion and gracious, long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth" (Psalm 86:15).


"Thy mercy is great unto the heavens" (Psalm 57:10).


"His tender mercies are over all his works" (Psalm 145:9).


" He retains not his anger forever, because he delights in mercy" (Micah 7:18).


“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” (Psalm 23:6).


"God, -- is rich in mercy, for the great love wherewith he hath loved us, even when we were dead in sins" (Ephesians 2:4).


"According to His mercy He saved us" (Titus 3:5).


These are but a few announcements concerning mercy from the One who cannot lie and each of these announcements are faithful and true. Each of them is fresh and life giving!  Beware of saying, "I know these verses! What use is it to read and meditate on them?"  When I hear words like that, I catch the sound of alarm bells! This is the thinking of someone who has become too familiar with the gospel and his familiarity is blocking the life of the Word from reaching his soul. This kind of familiarity with the things of God is a spiritual death sentence!


The announcements listed above are declarations of the riches of God's mercy! Through the gracious ministry of the Holy Spirit, we read them as if it were the first time we have heard them. The mind of God towards us is wrapped up in these faithful announcements, and it is out of words like these that the Spirit ministers grace and peace to us. These verses are God’s personal messengers to us. If they don’t minister peace to you, read them again. If you still can’t find peace through them, read them again. If you still find nothing, meditate on them again for, "The word of God is quick and powerful" (Hebrews 4:12). “Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29).


John Newton, the writer of the classic hymn, ‘Amazing Grace’ was a man who lived in the life of the scriptures. He knew a thing or two about mercy! Right before he died, he said to a friend, “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Saviour."


Newton was a man who had listened to and believed the Divine Announcements. He never forgot that he owed his redemption entirely to the mercy of God. He made this clear in the following epitaph he wrote for himself and had written on his tomb.


‘John Newton

Once an Infidel and Libertine,

A Servant of Slaves in Africa,

Was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,

Preserved, restored and pardoned,

And appointed to preach the faith

He had long laboured to destroy.’


And that’s the Gospel Truth

The Wednesday Word, May 1, 2013: The Holy Spirit Our Teacher



One old time preacher used to say, “The Word has mighty free course among us nowadays, for it goes in one ear and out the other.”  An amusing observation, but mainly true!


There are no words anywhere to compare to God’s words, yet we are often complacent about them. God Himself, in grace, has written the Bible for us.  That is why it is a privilege to study, read and meditate on what He has said (Joshua 1:8,Proverbs 2:1-5). It’s best not to fall into the trap of waiting till we feel like reading the Scriptures before reading them; we simply read and meditate on them till we feel like it! As we meditate, the Scriptures find us and figuratively speaking, turn our worlds upside down! As we read them, they read us, but, more importantly, they bring us to Jesus and bring Jesus to us.


Jesus was a man of the Scriptures.  Think of how He, as a man, mastered them.  They were daily His delight and meditation.  The ‘blessed man’ of Psalm One is actually a prophetic picture of Christ by which we learn that Christ’s delight was in the law (word) of the LORD; and in His law (word) he meditated day and night (Psalm 1:1-3).


We so easily forget that the Bible is not primarily a history book or a rule book, it’s a book about a person, the Lord Jesus Christ. As we meditate on the written word, the Holy Spirit will lead us to the living Christ (John 16:12-14). It is the scriptures which speak and testify of Him (Luke 24:27; John 5:39).


For example, when in Jeremiah 2:13 we read of Yahweh as the fountain of living waters, we have just read about Jesus, for Jesus said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” When in Psalm 36:9 we read, “For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light” we have just again encountered the Lord Jesus who is both the life (John 14:6) and the light (John 8:12). When Yahweh says, “I even I am He that blotted out thy transgressions” (Isaiah 43:25), we have, once more, come face to face with the Lord Jesus who said, “Thy sins are forgiven thee” (Luke 5:20).  Jesus is everywhere in the Scriptures. He is, to name but a few things:


The Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:8)

The Anointed One (Psalm 2:2)

The Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:16)

The Author of Life (Acts 3:15)

The Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6)

The Branch (Zechariah 6:12)

The Bright and Morning Star (Revelation 22:16)

The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)

The Christ (Matthew 1:16)

The Teacher (John 1:38)

Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6)

The Door (John 10:9)

The Good Shepherd (John 10:14)

Holy and Righteous One (Acts 3:14)

The I Am (John 8:58)

The True Vine (John 15:1)

Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14)

The King of Kings (Revelation 19:16)

The Eternal Word (John 1:1)

The Word of God (Revelation 19:13)

The Lamb of God (John 1:29)


The gospel causes us to hunger for the Christ of the Word, and the Holy Spirit is more than willing to reveal the glory of Christ in them. He delights to be our teacher. In fact, He is more willing to teach us than we are to learn.


Don’t think for a moment that the Holy Spirit is reluctant to draw you to the Word and its centre, the crucified Christ. Never think that God is unwilling to reveal Himself or that somehow He has disbarred you from growing in grace.  He is delighted with you, for you are in the beloved One, Christ Jesus the Lord (Ephesians 1:6).  He is well pleased with you and has been since before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). He wants you to grow in your knowledge of the gospel and wants you to know that there is no such a thing as a willing learner and an unwilling God.


And that’s the Gospel Truth

The Wednesday Word, May 15, 2013: Our Obedience or His?



I was recently told by a professing Christian that we are not declared in right standing with God until our life is characterised by  obedience. According to him, Christ’s death on the cross was essential to right standing before God, but so also is our life of obedience. To which I say, “What a hodge-podge of confusion twice confounded!”


Although we strongly believe that the believer’s life is characterised by obedience, our obedience is in no way part of the ground of our justification (acquittal before God)). To teach that our obedience constitutes any part of our justification, is to indirectly teach that Christ’s doing and dying is not sufficient to take us to heaven.


Is our obedience as Christians the condition for receiving God’s ‘not guilty’ verdict? No!


Do we yet need to add our obedience to Christ’s to guarantee our admittance to heaven? No!


Does our Justification depend on our moral transformation? No!


If these things were so, then Christ’s doing and dying would be rendered inadequate. But, if His doing and dying is inadequate, it means something is missing. If something is missing, it is not complete. If it is not complete, it is not finished! If it is not finished, then Christ lied and we are not saved (John 19:30; 11:25).


Let me ask you, are you trusting in Christ alone + nothing? Has he satisfied the demands of God’s holy requirements on your behalf?  Is He alone your righteousness?  Is He alone your acceptance in heaven?  “Yes,” you say, “but I need good works.” Hey, no one is arguing that good works are not a part of the Christian life, but can your good works compete with Christ’s good works on your behalf? Good works are a fruit of our Justification, not the basis of it!  Indeed, to add good works to the finished work of Christ is an anti-gospel error of the highest order (Ephesians 2:8-9; Galatians 2:16; 2:21; 3:11).


But you say, surely Christ’s doing and dying are not enough, we also need faith.  Yes indeed, we need faith, but faith does not create our acquittal before God.  Faith receives our acquittal, it embraces that which has already been accomplished, but faith is never reckoned as the basis of our justification (John 3:36).


“Ah but we need repentance,” says another.  Yes indeed, ongoing repentance is part of our growth in grace, but repentance is nowhere counted as any part of our justification.  Our justification is based on the doing, dying and rising again of Christ + nothing, nada, zilch!


Let me ask, have you any other scheme for getting to Heaven other than resting entirely on the doing and dying of Jesus? Is your hope built on Christ alone? But let me warn you, if you are trying to impress God with anything other than the shed blood of Jesus, give it up. You are in danger of adding a “damnable plus” to Christ alone!  He doesn’t need your contributions to bring you to Heaven! He, alone is your qualification for heaven.


Ebenezer Wooten an earnest English evangelist of another generation was holding a series of tent meetings. The last service had been conducted, the crowd was leaving, and the evangelist was busy taking down the tent. A young man approached the preacher and casually asked, “Mr. Wooten, what must I do to be saved?”


“Too late!” said the evangelist, in a matter of fact way, as he glanced up at the inquirer. “You’re too late, my friend, way too late!”


“Oh, don’t say that, Mr. Wooten!” said the young man, “Surely it isn’t too late just because the meetings are over?”


“Yes, my friend,” answered the evangelist, “it’s too late! You want to know what you must DO to be saved, and I tell you that you’re hundreds of years too late! The work of salvation is done, completed, finished! It was finished on the cross; Jesus said so with the last breath that He drew! What more do you want?”


The truth is, the Lord Jesus has perfected and finished the work of Salvation at the cross and nothing, nada, niente, zilch  needs to be added.


And that‘s the Gospel Truth

The Wednesday Word, May 22, 2013: The Perfect Christ and His Perfect Gospel

 


2 Samuel 22:31: “As for God, his way is perfect”


John 14:6: “I am the Way.”


Christ is perfect (Hebrews 5:9). As a result of this perfection, His work is also perfect (Hebrews 10:14). As, from the cross, He uttered that famous word, “Finished” (John 19:30), He declared that His redemptive work for us had been perfectly accomplished.


What a joy to know that Christ’s redemptive work is finished and complete.  There is nothing in it that should be out of it, and nothing out of it that should be in it.


Since Jesus is the perfect One (1 Peter 1:18-19), everything that He touches is coloured with His perfection.  He is the embodiment of ‘Sinless Perfection‘.  By faith, we now see Him standing between us and the Father. By faith, we see ourselves now clothed in Christ’s perfection. We no longer need to contrive ways and means by which to earn the Father’s approval.  Why scheme to obtain that which we already have?


Christ and His gospel are perfect! When we look at Jesus, we see perfect love, perfect obedience, perfect faith, perfect worship, perfect prayer, perfect grace, perfect truth and perfect righteousness. We see that this perfect Christ has forged a perfect gospel on the anvil of His own obedience.


Our Christian experience is not perfect, it is developing and improving.  Our Christian experience, therefore, cannot be considered as being the gospel. If we preach our experience of Christ and about how we are growing in grace, we are not preaching the gospel. We are not preaching the perfect work of God in Christ. We are not preaching that which is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). If we, on the other hand, preach Christ’s experience for us on our behalf, we are building on solid gospel ground.


God, in His perfection, has demanded a perfect righteousness from us. As William Cunningham said,


“"The righteousness of God is that righteousness which God’s righteousness requires him to require."


But how can we attain to such a thing?  Ah! How indeed? The answer is that Christ Himself has provided this perfect, required righteousness for us.  What the Father has demanded, He has provided in His Son. Although we hate sin, we, as gospel driven believers, will not fall for the lie that tells us that we will, in this life, attain to perfection within ourselves.  Countless numbers have already shipwrecked themselves on that perilous error. Why join them?


The only Christian perfection that brings us to heaven  is Christ’s. Yet there are those who insist that they have reached such a deep level of Christian experience that they, within themselves, are now sinlessly perfect.  One such man once came to the preacher, John Berridge, and began boasting about his perfectionism. The normally gracious minister treated him very rudely. The perfectionist then reacted and began to utter all manner of insulting words directed at the good preacher. Berridge said to him, “That’s not a great perfection you have, for I was able to spoil it in just a few minutes.”


You will always find those so-called “perfection” people far from perfect. They can’t be trusted for, ‘he that says he has no sin is a liar, and the truth of God is not in him’ (1 John 1:10). However, Christ can be trusted.  He is sinlessly perfect, and we can completely rest in His perfections before the Father.


To summarise; perfection is not in us but rather, perfection is in the person of Jesus Christ, alone! He is the Perfect One. Dear believer, think of this, the perfect purity of Christ’s sinless life is yours! The perfect obedience of Christ is yours, the perfect goodness of Christ is yours, the perfect holiness of Christ is yours. Everything that Christ has is yours. All that you need is in Him.


And that’s the Gospel Truth.

The Wednesday Word, May 29, 2013: Made Near by the Blood


 

Ephesians 2:13: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made near by the blood of Christ.


We live in a day and age of instant communication.  My parents often talked about their amazement when, in their youth, electric light arrived in rural Northern Ireland, where they lived..  Instant light at the flick of a switch .. astonishing! Then came the telephones that instantly connected them to far away loved ones. It was astounding stuff. However, that all seems quite primitive now.  We live in the age of the high speed, instant everything … what will human genius come up with next?


One thing, however, that human genius can never discover is how to connect man with God. Sin filled man is separated from God by an infinite distance. The cause of this separation is that God is holy, and man is not: God possesses life, but man possesses death!   The divide between them is so great that no work or religious sacrifice offered or performed by man can bring God near to him or bring him near to God (Ephesians 2:8-9).


When we consider the depths of this separation we conclude that, without God’s intervention, we would have been entirely lost. But, instead of us being lost, abundant grace and mercy is now ours in Christ (Hebrews 4:16). The blood of the Lord Jesus has brought us instantly into the presence of the all holy and eternal One (Hebrews 9:12).  The gulf that separated us from God has been bridged by the blood and it is this same precious blood that establishes instant union between us and the Father.


If, in the Old Testament, the sinner could come to the Lord by presenting the blood of bulls and goats, think of how we can now come into the immediate presence of the Father by that divine blood which flowed from the Lamb of God.  Moment we can come to the Father, confident that the blood has cleansed us and brought us to the very presence of the Father.


That which makes the blood so effective and powerful in bringing us to the Father is that, not only was it the blood of a sinlessly perfect man, a man who had perfectly fulfilled the just demands of God’s holy law, but this man was also God manifest in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16).  He was God in human form.  It’s important to remember that we are not redeemed by the blood of a super angel, but by the blood of the God/Man!  He had life in himself (John 5:26) yet He willingly laid down His life for the sheep(John 10:11).  It was God himself who purchased the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28). In Christ, the divine and human natures are joined in one person.  This being the case, His blood is able to cleanse from sin, redeem, justify, sanctify, reconcile and bring us near to God.  It is powerful blood!


We are not made near to God by converting to the Jewish religion, but by the blood!

We are not made near to God by the sincerity of our repentance, but by the blood.

We are not made near to God by the strength of our faith, but by the blood.

We are not made near to God by the intensity of our devotion, but by the blood.


“But now in Christ Jesus you who sometimes were far off are made near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13).

 

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

The Wednesday Word, June 12, 2013: Jesus, the Prophet


 

The Lord Jesus holds several wonderful and precious offices, the exercise of which are vital for the existence of His church. He is, for example, the church’s Prophet. As the prophet, Christ Jesus, is the revealer of the Father, the declarer of the name of God, the teacher, the true and faithful witness and the beloved Son whom we are to hear (John 1:18; John 17:26; Revelation 3:14; Matthew 17:5).


Jesus is the all-sufficient prophet for, as our prophet, He taught us the true meaning of the law (see Matthew 5:21 and following verses). Not only did He instruct during His earthly ministry, but, as our prophet, He continues to teach and motivate, by His Spirit, through His Word. The scriptures speak of Him, and the Spirit speaks of Him (John 5:39; 15:26; 16:13-14a). It is, therefore, the true nature of ministry is to speak of Him and make Him the centre of our message.


It is written of Him, “Never man spake like this man” (John 7:46). No prophet of His equal has arisen before or since Christ.  He is the Prince of Prophets. In His doing, dying and rising again our prophet gave us the full gospel as He declared the character and purposes of God.


Not only so, but as the great prophet, He gave validity to the Hebrew prophets who had foretold His death and sufferings (1 Peter 1:10-11). The testimony of Moses and the prophets, concerning Him is, therefore, to be received and relied upon.

In the Old Testament, they spoke of and pointed to the coming Christ. Abel, for example, pointed to Christ as the one true and acceptable sacrifice. Noah’s actions were prophetic of the Lord Christ for they showed us how one man would save his entire family from the judgment. Joshua points to Christ as the one who leads his people into the land of promise.  These are but a few examples.


In short, the Hebrew prophets and Patriarchs pointed to Christ. And why wouldn’t they for in the New Covenant, the great prophet points to Himself (Matthew 11:28; John 7:37)?


He is the eternal one, the fountain of truth and the arrival of the Last Days (John 1:1; Revelation 3:14; Hebrews 9:26). As our Prophet, Jesus gave us the full and final revelation of God (John 1:18; John 8:26). In Hebrews 1:1-2 we read that, “God, ….. has in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.” What an amazing statement!


Did you notice the phrase, “God has spoken”? The Greek tense literally means that God has nothing left to say to us other than that which He has spoken in His Son. It means that Christ is the full and final revelation from heaven. This is why the true believer rejects Mohamed, Joseph Smith of the Mormons, and all others who bring imagined ‘further revelations’ about God.  God has spoken in His Son and has, therefore, nothing more to tell us about Himself and His plans.


“God, Who in various methods told

His mind and will to saints of old,

Sent down His Son, with truth and grace,

To teach us in these latter days.”


God has spoken in His Son for He is the God who declares Himself. He has declared His character and gracious heart in His self-revelation in Christ. Have we grasped the amazing fact that when we are listening to Christ, we are listening to God Himself?


Christ Jesus is the prophetic voice to the Church. He is the last and final word from heaven, the beloved one, our treasure, our way, our truth and our life.  All scripture points to Him; indeed the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10).


And that’s the Gospel Truth

The Wednesday Word, June 19, 2013: The Gospel and the Self-Reliant Man!



Ephesians 2:13: “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made near by the blood of Christ.”


The self-reliant man feels that in order to be brought near to God, he must add something to Calvary. Religion has taught him that he must do something to earn the smile of heaven. Watch him labour as he tries to climb the imaginary stairway to heaven.


The self-reliant man is quite at home with the idea of self-denial for He knows that he as a sinner needs to make amends.  It is only reasonable, therefore, that he should do something, something like determine to live differently to make up for his failures. He wants to draw near to God, but he cannot see that the blood of Christ is the only way to bring him there. He seems entirely oblivious to the fact that we are saved, "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy," (Titus 3:5). He hasn’t realised that salvation is, "not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians. 2:9). In this matter of drawing near to God, he, from the depths of his being, doesn’t understand that we cannot improve upon the blood. He doesn’t know that to add to the blood is to subtract from it. He doesn’t realise that to supplement the blood is to deduct from it.


Is he a decent man?  Almost certainly!

Is he a good man? He’s probably as good as the next man.

But is he lost?  Most definitely!  Why? For he will not, by faith, submit himself to the righteousness which is of God. He constantly, by attempting to contribute something to his salvation,  places himself in opposition to the shed blood of Calvary.  He does not believe what it says in our text that, “.. now in Christ Jesus you who sometimes were far off are made near by the blood of Christ.”


The true believer rests in the mercy of God.  He receives Christ as all his righteousness.  He is never at peace with himself and his performance, but is content to dwell securely in the grace and mercy of the Saviour who shed His blood for him. He distrusts himself yet at the same time accepts God’s declaration that all his sins have already been punished on Jesus.


The following verse could be his theme song,


“The Blood gives access to God on high,

From “far off places” it brings us nigh;

To precious blessings that never die,

It will never lose its power.”


Did you hear the story of when the world famous portrait of the Mona Lisa was sent on tour to America? Apparently, in New York, a man skipped over the barrier and quickly added a moustache to her upper lip.  He thought he could make an improvement!


Is that story true?  Of course it’s not true! What kind of a fool would think he could improve on Leonardo da Vinci’s priceless work of perfection? Yet such a man is less foolish than the people who think that, by their own contributions, they can improve on the perfections of Christ’s redemption.


We need to quit trying to add a spiritual moustache to the already perfect work of Christ on our behalf. We have already been given the right of access and brought near by the blood.  There is no need to try to improve on that!

 

And that’s the Gospel Truth

The Wednesday Word, July 3, 2013: Justified By His Blood


West Cork

 

Rom 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.


Why is the blood so important to the gospel?  Here’s one reason… we are justified by the blood. As you know, to be justified means to be found not guilty, acquitted and declared legally righteous. It is the exact opposite of being condemned and damned. We are either legally condemned or legally justified before God, and the difference between the two states is made by the blood.


In Exodus 11:7 we read that the Lord put a difference between Egypt and Israel. What was the difference? It was the blood!  On the fateful night of the Passover, the angel of death swept through the land of Egypt killing all the firstborn males. The firstborn of the Israelites, however, were spared, not because they were better people, but because they were sheltered under the blood.  There was no difference between the firstborn of Israel and the firstborn of Egypt --they were all the same; they were all sinners (Romans 3:23). But in events that prophetically pictured the cross, God made the difference,  the difference of the blood.


We now see that, at Calvary, because of the blood, God’s wrath was intercepted. We see that, because of the blood, no charges are being held in reserve against us. We see that, because of the blood, the Judge of all the earth consults His record books and finds none of our sins.


Nothing can hurt people who are sheltered under the blood. Why? Because, the Father sees that the blood has settled the entire catalogue of charges made against them.  We often look at ourselves and see a different picture. We see our failings and our sinful heart---and, by the way, this is not always a bad thing as these things continually humble us and propel us to the throne of grace. And, there at the Throne of Grace we learn to occupy ourselves more with Christ and our righteousness in Him than to be absorbed with our sinful hearts.


May the Lord help us to remember that in Christ we are perfect and complete. In Christ, we are declared, “not guilty” because of the blood. We are justified by His blood. May we never tire, as many do, of hearing about the perfections of the blood.


Adoniram Judson, the man who, in the 19th century, opened up Burma for the gospel, came back to America after 30 years of unheard-of hardships.  A vast crowd gathered to hear him speak. To their amazement, he spoke of the precious Saviour, and of what He had done for them and of what they owed to Him because of the blood. As he sat down, he was visibly affected.


“The people are very much disappointed,” said a friend to him on their way home—“they wonder you did not talk of something else.”

“Why, what did they want?” he replied, “I presented, to the best of my ability, the most interesting subject in the world.”

“But they wanted something different—they wanted a story.”

“Well, I am sure I gave them a story—the most thrilling one that can be conceived of.”

“But they had heard it before! They wanted something new of a man who had just come from the Antipodes.”

“Then I am glad they have it to say, that a man coming from the Antipodes had nothing better to tell than the wonderful story of the dying love of Jesus! My business is to preach the Gospel of Christ. And when I can speak at all, I dare not trifle with my commission. When I looked upon those people today and remembering where I would next meet them, how could I stand up and furnish food to vain curiosity or tickle their fancy with  amusing stories of my testimony. That is not what Christ meant by preaching the Gospel. And then how could I hereafter meet the fearful charge, ‘I gave you one opportunity to tell them of ME. You spent it in describing your own adventures instead of telling of the precious blood of by which men are saved.’”


And that’s the Gospel Truth!


The Wednesday Word, July 17, 2013: Jesus, the Forgiver of Sins



 

Luke 5:21 “Who can forgive sins but God alone?”


One of the remarkable things about Jesus is that He was always going around forgiving sins. However, to forgive sins is exclusively the divine prerogative and Jesus, if He is not God, has no business meddling in such affairs.  If he’s not God, he’s a fraud! C.S. Lewis says of Christ’s forgiving sins,


“This is so preposterous as to be comic.  We can all understand how a man forgives offences against himself.  You tread on my toe and I forgive you---but what should we make of a man, himself un-trodden on, who announces that he forgave you for treading on other men’s toes? Asinine fatuity is the kindest description we should give this conduct.”

C.S. Lewis: Mere Christianity


Indeed, Christ was asinine if He were, in fact, not God.  What is more, that is what you are calling Him if you do not believe He is God?  You say He has forgiven your sins, but that He is not the Mighty God.  He is, you say, a god or the Son of God, but not the almighty, eternal Yahweh made flesh.  How then have your sins been forgiven? Only God can forgive sins! Men cannot forgive sins against God nor can the angels. Even holy men of God have no power to dispense forgiveness of sin against the offended, thrice Holy God.


If Christ Jesus were merely a good man or a prophet, He could not have forgiven sin. But, He was more than a man; He was the Redeemer, the God/Man.  There should be no surprise, therefore, that Christ can and does forgive sins. He would be a very inept redeemer if He could not forgive those whom He has purchased with His blood.


When we discover Jesus in Luke 5, the religious leaders are exceedingly upset at Him. Christ has just declared forgiveness of sins to a paralyzed man.  Of course, the Pharisees were furious for they rightly reasoned among themselves that only God could forgive sins. We must thank them for their accurate analysis of the situation. Being trained in the Old Testament scriptures, they would perhaps have thought of Yahweh’s great promise,


“I, even I, am He that blots out thy transgressions for my own sake, and will not remember thy sins” (Isaiah 43:25).


They quite rightly recognized that Jesus, by forgiving sins, was claiming to be Yahweh. For the Pharisees, Jesus was involved in more than a serious error. He was guilty of nothing short of blasphemy. One definition of blasphemy is to assume for oneself the attributes of God, and this is exactly what Jesus did.  It’s no wonder then that the Pharisees were enraged. They recognized what so many today fail to admit or grasp, and that is that Jesus claimed to be God.


Jesus, knowing their thoughts, then said, and I paraphrase, “OK fellas, I know that it’s no big deal to say the words ‘your sins are forgiven.’  The question is, have I the power to forgive this man all his sins? Is what I’ve said no more than words? After all, anyone can say ‘your sins are forgiven!’  But, as you know, only God can forgive sins.  Now then, just so that you understand that I actually have the power to forgive sins, I’m going to heal this man. After all, if I tell him his sins are forgiven this may just be words. So watch this one: just so that you’ll know that I genuinely am God, I’m going to tell this poor paralyzed man to arise and walk.”  And that is exactly what Christ did. And the man, what did he do?  Why, He got up and walked thus demonstrating that Jesus Christ was God in human flesh.


And that’s the Gospel Truth


The Wednesday Word, July 24, 2013: Jesus, the Forgiver of Sins (Part 2)

 

 

Last week’s Wednesday Word generated more ‘unsubscribes’ than has any other. It seems that the gospel message of the deity of Christ ruffles feathers among certain so called believers. They tell me that Jesus is the Son of God, but not God. Sad to say, but that’s a well worn and threadbare error which is re-gaining much traction nowadays.


A great question is asked in Luke 5:21, “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Indeed, who can do this? Only God can forgive sins, and if Jesus is not God, then we are not forgiven! We may be sincere and well dressed as we sit in our meetings, but if we have trusted Christ, and He is not God, we are lost … for only God can forgive sins (Mark 2:10, 1 John 1:9)!


In Matthew 9, Jesus performed a wonderful miracle demonstrating that He was God. Actually, He forgave a man his sins and to prove that the man’s sins were forgiven, he healed him and made him walk. Nevertheless, the religious leaders, instead of believing in Jesus, chose to reckon Him as a blasphemer because He had usurped God’s position as the forgiver of sins.


These men believed in God, but they did not believe in Jesus as God. Are you of the same persuasion? Are you religious and zealous for your faith like these Pharisees? Do you believe in God, but not in Jesus as God? If so, then you are making Jesus a blasphemer and an evil worker. This is a very serious matter! In fact, it is more than serious; it is positively wicked! Christ asks His opponents why they are thinking evil in their hearts (Matthew 9:4). Did you hear that? “Evil in their hearts!” Yes indeed, their evil consisted in that they did not believe Jesus was God. They correctly reasoned that only God could forgive sins, but then wrongly reasoned that Jesus, by putting Himself in God’s position, was blaspheming. According to Jesus, this was evil!


So, we must face the awful truth; every time Christ claimed to forgive sins, he blasphemed, ….if indeed He was not God. In fact, if Jesus is not God, and we have asked Him to forgive our sins, then we are blasphemers together with him. We are co-conspirators against God and His Glory. Do you see how important this doctrine of the Deity of Christ really is? Please don’t ever say about Jesus, He was good, but He was not God. If He’s not God, He has brought damnation to our souls! If He’s not God, He is a blasphemer! Shun Him as an evildoer! If He’s not God, He’s a fraud! Only follow and trust Him if He is, in fact, God in flesh appearing!


Someone asks, “But surely Jesus was only acting as an agent of Yahweh when he pronounced forgiveness of sins?” My reply is this, I know that any Christian can pronounce the forgiveness of sins, but before he can do this, the sins have to have already been forgiven. For example, if someone comes to me and says, “I heard a gospel sermon, and as a result, I trusted Jesus as my Saviour and I now look to Him alone for mercy grace and righteousness,” I then can look at that person and confidently say, “Your sins are forgiven.” I can declare what the reality is. However, I cannot take a person who has not come to Christ and say, “Your sins are forgiven.” I neither have that right nor that authority.


Only God can forgive sins, yet we see Christ Jesus forgiving sins. Look at Him going around acting like God and speaking like God. No good man would dare to do that! Only an evil or crazy man would do that! So which is He? Is He nuts? Is He evil? Or is He God?


You cannot be neutral!

 

And that’s the Gospel Truth

The Wednesday Word, July 31, 2013: He Is Able To Save Even The Worst Of Us!

  


 

I never cease to be amazed at the sovereign hand of God in bringing His lost sheep into the fold. Have you ever heard the story of the conversion of William P Mackay? It’s a wonderful illustration of how the Lord, in His greatness, saves even the worst of people.


William P. Mackay was born, in Scotland,  in the year 1839. At the age of 17, he left for college. However, his mother, a godly Christian woman, didn’t want him to go. She feared that he was heading down a path of destruction. Nevertheless, she turned him over to the Lord, and let him go on his way.


Before his departure, she gave him a Bible to take with him, and in the fly-leaf of the Bible, she wrote his name, her name and a Bible verse. Mackay left for college and then went on to the university medical school, but he fell in with a bad lot and became an expert at godless living.  Then one day, in a drunken spree, he pawned the Bible to get money for more drink.


Mackay had gone completely off the rails.  His life was now filled with dissolute living. Yet, at the same time, the young Scotsman went on to become a very successful doctor, eventually becoming the head of the largest hospital in Edinburgh. Forsaking his upbringing, he became a committed atheist, and was even elected president of a society of atheists in the city.


One day, an accident victim was admitted to the hospital and was placed under Dr. Mackay's direct care. The patient, learning that he only had a few hours to live, asked Dr. Mackay, “Will you please send for my landlady, and ask her to bring me the Book?” The doctor agreed, and shortly thereafter the landlady arrived with “The Book.”


Within a short time, the patient died. Dr. Mackay was curious as to what kind of book the patient had wanted. He asked the nurse, “What about the book that he asked for?” Was it is his bank book or date book?” The nurse replied, “No, it was neither of those. It is still under his pillow, see for yourself.” The doctor reached under the pillow and pulled out “The Book”.. it was the Bible.  It looked familiar and when he opened it, his eyes fell immediately upon the front flyleaf. To his amazement ... it was the very Bible he had received from his mother, the one that he had pawned years before. He saw his name, his mother’s name and the Bible verse she inscribed … John 3:16.


Mackay was  overwhelmed. He slipped the Bible under his coat and rushed back to his private office. Once inside his office, he fell to his knees and prayed that God would have mercy on him, and save him.


Dr. Mackay immediately contacted his mother to tell her of his salvation, and how God used the Bible she gave him to dramatically answer her prayers.


By the grace of God, William Patton Mackay, the world renowned doctor went on to become a world renowned Presbyterian preacher, well-known author and songwriter. In fact, it was from his pen that we received the excellent hymn:


We praise Thee o God,

For the Son of thy love,

For Jesus who has died

And is now gone above

 

“Hallelujah, Thine the glory.

Hallelujah, Amen.

Hallelujah, Thine the glory.

Revive us again!”


Here is a sample of his preaching,

 

"Jesus did all the saving work. He brought the cross to our level. We get saved by looking to Him... Lie down as a wounded, helpless, ungodly sinner, and look away from yourself to Jesus..."


I hope this brief word encourages us to stay resolute in prayer for our loved ones. The Lord’s hand cannot be stopped.  He can and does save the worst of people.


And that’s the Gospel Truth

The Wednesday Word, Aug. 7, 2013: More About the Amazing Blood!


 

The blood of Christ is amazing. There is no sin so vile that the blood cannot wipe it out.  This fact is strikingly illustrated by the story of the Nazi War criminals in the aftermath of Word War Two. One would think that they were beyond the reach of mercy.  Some were,  but others weren’t. They were put on trial for war crimes and, while in jail, a number of these former villains became believers.  They are a testimony to the amazing blood of the Lamb. Here is a excerpt from their story as related by their chaplain H. F. Gerecke.


“With Von Ribbentrop, at first I found no response, but later on he commenced also to read the Bible. Keitel, Von Ribbentrop, Sauckel, Raeder, Speer, Fritsche and Von Schirach took part in the communion service. Then followed the promulgation of the sentences. Goering, Von Ribbentrop, Keitel, Kaltenbrunner, Rosenberg, Frank, Frick, Streicher, Sauckel, Jodl and Seyss-Inquart were condemned to death by hanging.


“Through a favour of the prosecution, the condemned men were allowed to see their wives once more. It was a very sad meeting. I heard Von Ribbentrop ask his wife to promise to bring up their children in the fear of the Lord. Sauckel asked his wife to vow to bring up their numerous family beneath the Cross of Jesus. Goering asked what his little daughter Edda said when she heard his sentence, and had to hear that the child hoped to meet her Daddy in heaven. This affected him, and it was the first time I saw him in tears.


“Day and night I remained with those who had committed their souls to God. I visited some of them often five times daily. Von Ribbentrop read his Bible the greater part of the day. Keitel was most moved by the portions which spoke of the redeeming power of the blood of Christ. Sauckel was very upset and said many times that he would collapse before the execution of the sentence. He prayed out loud continually, "O God be merciful to me a sinner." These three took the communion for the last time with me in their cells. God had changed their hearts, and now in the presence of death, having lost all material things and their unworthy lives, they were able to rely on the promises of God for lost sinners.


“On the evening before the execution of the sentences, I had a long interview with Goering. I put before him the necessity of preparing himself to meet God. In the course of our conversation, he ridiculed certain Bible truths, and refused to accept that Christ died for sinners. It was a conscious denial of the power of the blood. "Death is death" was the substance of his last words. As I recalled to him the hope of his little daughter to meet him in heaven, he replied, "She believes in her manner and I in mine."


“An hour later I heard many agitated voices and then I learned that Goering had taken his life. His heart was still beating when I entered his cell, but when I questioned him, there was no answer. A small empty glass tube lay on his breast, and he had gone into eternity - a frightful end!


“As the hour of the execution of the sentences approached, now that Goering was dead, Von Ribbentrop was the first to mount the gallows. Before he left his cell, he declared that he put all his confidence in the blood of the Lamb that took away the guilt of the world, and he prayed that God would have mercy on his soul. Then came the order to proceed to the execution chamber. His hands were bound. He mounted the 13 steps to the gallows, I uttered a last prayer, and he was no more. Keitel also went into eternity confiding in the pardoning grace of God. Then Sauckel went to his death, and with a last greeting to his wife and children and a last prayer, he exchanged his earthly life for an eternal one.


“Frick assured me before his death that he believed also in the cleansing blood, and that during our simple gospel services he had personally met Jesus Christ.”


The blood of Christ really is amazing. But the question is,  “Have you seen the truth about the blood for yourself?” When Christ shed His blood, He freely gave up His life and died. Seeing the blood, therefore, means to believe what the Father tells us about the death of His Son.  Seeing the blood means that we see Christ’s death as our death.  Seeing the blood means that we are satisfied that Christ died for us, personally, as our substitute. Seeing the blood does not mean that we see visions of Christ with blood dripping from His wounded body.  But when we ‘see the blood’ we see and know that He was wounded for our transgressions.  In fact, when we see the blood, faith is able to say, “He was wounded for MY transgressions, He was bruised for MY iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5).


And that’s the Gospel Truth

The Wednesday Word, Aug. 21, 2013: The Sin of Cain


 

Most of us know the story of Cain and Abel. In this story, there’s excellent instruction, especially about the blood. Cain’s great sin, the sin that led to his total downfall, was his refusal to come to God with the blood.  In doing so, he refused to admit that he was a sinner, worthy of death, and in need of a substitute to save him.


Cain was not an atheist, he was a religious man, and being religious, he was the type of man who wanted to worship God in his own way.  Like so many today, however, he despised the blood!  He wanted to impress God with his own work (Genesis 4:3). He would not take his place before God as a ruined sinner in need of the death of a substitute.  It is of no surprise then that, in Cain, we meet the first religious murderer (Genesis 4:8). Religious folk hate God’s message of ruin by sin and the gracious redemption by blood alone … it angers them.


Notice also how Cain’s religion made him a hypocrite; observe how he would not corrupt his altar with the blood of a lamb, but was willing to stain the earth with his brother's blood (Genesis 4:2-8).


So let’s understand the truth about Cain … he rejected the blood!


When the blood was shed on an altar, the worshipper was saying, “I am guilty, and I justly deserve death, however, allow the death of this substitute be reckoned as my death.” Cain refused to do this; he was not prepared to take his place before God as a guilty lost sinner in need of mercy.


Furthermore, Cain, like all unbelieving religionists, could not see that, in blood sacrifice, there was also an acknowledgement of the righteous love and grace of God. In the blood sacrifice, the worshipper was saying by faith, “Not only am I guilty Lord, but Lord let your love grace and mercy, which I don’t deserve, now pour out on me."


Mark this down, we must diligently avoid the error of Cain in coming to God on any other basis than the shed blood. We are baptized into Christ's death, and, therefore, we glory in the cross (Galatians 6:14). Christ crucified was the payment of the sinner's penalty, the extinction and tearing up of the debt that we owed.


As the cross is the payment, so the resurrection is God's receipt that declares that the payment has been made in full. Again we must remember that our faith does not make the payment, but is rather the simple recognition on our part that our payment has been made by the Lord Jesus.


Faith unites us to Christ and identifies us with the one who died and rose again. The good news is that, because of the finished work of the Lord Jesus, we are reckoned to have paid the penalty due to our sins and are treated as if we were the ones who had died.


“Until I saw the blood,

‘Twas hell my soul was fearing:

And dark and dreary in my eyes,

The future was appearing,

While conscience told its tale of sin,

And caused a weight of woe within.


But when I saw the blood,

And look’d at Him who shed it,

My right to peace was seen at once,

And I with transport read it;

I found myself to God brought nigh,

And “Victory” became my cry.


My joy was in the blood,

The news of which had told me,

That spotless as the Lamb of God,

My Father could behold me,

And all my boast was in His name.

Through whom this great salvation came.”


And that’s the Gospel Truth


The Wednesday Word, Aug. 28, 2013: The One Who Came From Above


 

Before He was born, it was announced that Jesus was to be our saviour (Matthew 1:21).  Thank God for that!  We didn’t need a new teacher or another prophet or even a rule maker, we needed a saviour.


So how did Jesus save us?


He saved us by leaving heaven, becoming our substitute and pouring out His saving blood for us.  There are 5 powerful pillars on which Christ’s gospel is built,


A) Christ’s Incarnation,

B) Christ’s Crucifixion,

C) Christ’s Resurrection,

D) Christ’s Ascension,

E) Christ’s Session.


The gospel is His story. He is centre stage.  It is the story of the One who came down, lived,  died, was buried and rose again from the dead! We are now, justified, declared not guilty, not by doing something, but by receiving, by faith, that which He has already done.


It was God Himself, who in the strength of His own compassion, left His eternal throne and came down to become one of us. He came down to our sorrows, heartache, pain and sin until at last He became our wounded substitute at the cross. Has this Christ event become personal to you? Have you received His saving work for yourself?


He descended and came along side us saying, “Come unto me.”  He didn’t stand up in heaven and say, “Come up here.” No indeed, in grace He came down to seek and to save that which is lost.


We must always remember that all religions boil down to either one of two words, ‘Do’ or ‘Done’. In fact, there are only two religions in the world and one of them is, strictly speaking, an un-religion. Here are the two,


(1) The religion that tells you that to get to heaven you must do something … you must take the sacraments, go on pilgrimages, say prayers at set times, be good, don’t eat meat etc, etc.  They are the religions of DO! In fact, all religions, when it comes to this business of getting to Heaven, are primarily the same. They all tell us what they think we should do.


In the light of this, it is really no big deal when someone converts from one religion to another. When a Roman Catholic, for example, converts to Hinduism (or vice versa), all that has happened is that they have exchanged one set of rules for another. They may have identified God as being someone different than whom they first believed, but they’ve now got a new set of Do’s whereby they reach Him.


2) Then we have the great un-religion, Gospel Christianity. This tells us that there is nothing we can do to improve our position before God. It informs us that everything required from us, by God, has already been done, on our behalf, by the Lord Jesus, the One who came down from Heaven as our saviour/substitute.


The gospel informs us that we are not given eternal life as a reward for what we do. It tells us that we are in no way saved, kept or secured by our works! We are saved entirely by grace; kept by grace and secured by grace. Our salvation is about grace from beginning to end! The Lord Jesus came down from heaven and went to the cross where He poured out His precious blood for us.  What grace is this?


Are you still trying to earn acceptance and favour by your performance?  It’s easy to slip back into that death trap.  I fall for it just about every day. However it is only as we grow in our understanding of the grace which has baptised us with love and mercy that we are liberated to serve, love and obey our Saviour and God.


When He, from His lofty throne,

Stooped to do and die,

Everything was fully done;

Hearken to His cry!


Till to Jesus’ work you cling

By a simple faith,

“Doing” is a deadly thing—

“Doing” ends in death.


Cast your deadly “doing” down—

Down at Jesus’ feet;

Stand in Him, in Him alone,

Gloriously complete.


And that’s the Gospel Truth

The Wednesday Word, Sept. 11, 2013: The Saviour, Not a Helper


 

Though He was above the law, Christ took His place under the law to save us (Galatians 4: 4). He lived a sinless life, then, on the cross, endured the awful penalties of the law.  Not only did He redeem us from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13), He also fulfilled the law, for righteousness, to every one that believes (Romans 10:4). He took our beating so that we would have His blessings without barter.


We must always remember that Christ, when it comes to salvation, is not a helper, He is the Saviour! By this, I mean that He did not come to help us to save ourselves by keeping a more relaxed and toned down law. No! The gospel truth is that faith in Christ is not a means of setting aside the inflexible standard of the law. To the contrary, faith in Christ is, in reality, the only method of successfully meeting the law’s demands.  Faith in Christ Jesus is an acknowledgement that we are guilty before the law and incapable of mustering, within ourselves, a sufficient obedience to meet its requirements. At the same time, faith in Christ,  also acknowledges that the Lord Jesus has kept the unadulterated law in our place. Faith recognises that the Lord Christ came to fulfil the Law on our behalf!  He is the Saviour, not a helper!


The cross was the satisfaction rendered for all the unfulfilled and violated demands of the divine majesty. That which God's law righteously required, God graciously provided in the doing and dying of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ’s substitutionary life and death satisfied the just demands of the violated law.  This is good news! All who believe and rely on the Christ of God have, by righteous grace, been credited with the entirety of His accomplishments. As a result, all believers are now seen as perfect law keepers in the eyes of the Father.


Consider how the Father dealt with Jesus on the cross. Christ was the eternal Word made flesh. He was the righteousness of God, yet He was, "numbered with the transgressors"(Isaiah 53:12). Justice dealt with Him, not according to what He was in Himself, but treated Him as though He were us.


At the cross, our sins were imputed (legally reckoned) to Him.

At the cross, His righteousness was imputed (legally reckoned) to us.


In Romans 4, the marvellous little word logizomai (impute, reckon, count) appears eleven times.  Paul illustrated this powerful word when he wrote to his friend about Onesimus, the runaway slave.  He says in verse 18 of the letter to Philemon that if Onesimus owes anything, or if he's wronged you in any way, put that to my account.  This is imputation. Our debts are put into Christ’s account, and Christ’s righteousness is put into ours.


There was a man who was once preaching the gospel to some English fishermen.  His subject was justification by free grace and he was trying to make Christ's work on the cross both clear and plain. He finally asked the men the question, "Now will one of you tell me in your own words what the Lord Jesus Christ did on the cross?"  One old fisherman who had been deeply moved by the message, with some tears in his eyes looked up at the preacher and answered, "He swapped with me."  What a great answer!  This man had grasped the truth of the penal, substitutionary sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Our salvation is only in him. He is the Saviour, not a helper.


And that’s the Gospel Truth.

The Wednesday Word, Sept. 18, 2013: Behold, What Manner of Man Is This?

 


The disciples were exhausted, their arsenal of resources had been depleted.  They had tried everything and yet their boat was continuing to sink.  Then in their wisdom they turned to Jesus and called on Him for help. In grace and power, He instantly calmed the raging storm and the astonished would be mariners were stunned at His majesty. Then they said one to another, “Behold, what manner of man is this ….?”(Mark 4:41).


So, let’s ask this question…What manner of man is this Jesus?  Let’s call up some witnesses to testify on His behalf.  Let’s first ask Isaiah. “Isaiah, you are one of the greatest of the prophets what do you say about Jesus?” And Isaiah says,


“He is the Mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6)

“He is the Lamb brought to the slaughter” (Isaiah 53:7).


Let’s now ask Micah. “Micah, do you have anything to say about the Lord Christ?” And Micah replies,


“His goings forth are from eternity” (Micah 5:2).


Now, let’s ask the apostle John about Jesus.  And John says,

“In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God …and the word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:1,14).


What about you Thomas? Have you anything to say?  “Yes indeed,” replies Thomas, “He is my Lord and My God” (John 20:28).


Ah, but these are but earthly witnesses.  Let us now with reverence ask the greatest witness, the Father in Heaven.  He says of Jesus, “Thy throne o God is forever and ever” (Hebrews 1:8).


What an array of witnesses!  This Jesus whom we worship was not merely a good man, He was and is the God/Man. As one old saint said, “Jesus was God spelling Himself out in a language that we could understand.


Behold what manner of man is this?


“Behold” ..now that’s an interesting word.  It means, “Pay particular attention to this.” Let’s, therefore, call more witnesses to testify about Jesus so that we can better behold Him. First in line is Pilate, and he says, “I find no fault in this man” (Luke 23:4).


Then Pilate’s wife says, “He’s a just man” (Matthew 27:19).


Next the centurion says, “Surely this was a righteous man” (Luke 23:47) and he is followed by the thief on the cross who says, “This man has done nothing amiss” (Luke 23:40).


Even the traitor Judas says, “I have betrayed innocent blood” (Matthew 27:4).


Behold, what manner of man is this?


Jesus said of Himself, “Which one of you convicts me of sin?” (John 8:46). He was sinless! He suffered so that He would save. He went to the cross so that He would conquer. He was the revelation of God and the redeemer of men. He was unique! At no time did He ever ask anyone to pray for Him.  He never apologised, for he never had to.  He, at no time, revised His teachings.  He never misspoke Himself. He never said, “O I didn’t mean it that way, what I really meant to say was…such and such.”


He was both perfect and impeccable. Behold, what manner of man is this?


Someone once said it like this.  “Jesus in His Deity was not able to sin, and Jesus in his humanity was able not to sin.”  He was the God/Man.  The rich young ruler found this out in Luke 18:19 when Jesus asked, “Why callest thou me good, there is none good but God?” In other words, Jesus said to the young man, “You don’t believe that I am God so why are you calling me good? Don’t call me good if you won’t call me God.”


The blood shed on that middle cross was the blood of the God/Man. Behold what manner of man is this?  On the cross, He was lifted up on the earth, at His resurrection He was lifted up out of the earth and at His ascension He was lifted up from the earth. Since He has been lifted up, He will draw all manner of men to Himself.  Behold what manner of man is this?  He is wonderful!


And that’s the Gospel Truth

The Wednesday Word, Sept. 25, 2013: Sheltered by the Blood

 


William Reid, in his short masterpiece, ‘The Blood of Jesus’, says,


“I do not know a more striking illustration of salvation by the blood of Jesus alone, than that which is furnished by the sprinkling of the blood of the Passover lamb on the homes of the Israelites, on the eve of their redemption from the bondage of Egypt. "The blood on the lintel secured Israel's peace." There was nothing more required in order to enjoy settled peace, in reference to the destroying angel, than the application of "the blood of sprinkling." God did not add anything to the blood, because nothing more was necessary to obtain salvation from the sword of judgment. He did not say, "When I see the blood and the unleavened bread or bitter herbs, I will pass over." By no means. These things had their proper place, and their proper value; but they never could be regarded as the ground of peace in the presence of God.”


Let’s expand on this. The LORD said, "When I see the blood I will pass over you." He didn‘t say, "When I see how you feel about the blood, I will pass over you"; or, "When I see you praying and weeping, I will pass over you," but said, "When I see the blood I will pass over you."


It was the blood that saved them, not their righteousness. Some uncertain Christians say, "If I were only a better person, I would feel safe." Or they say, “ I’m not good enough or consistent enough in my faith to be sure of salvation.” But here’s the gospel truth; ... in this great matter of salvation, we don‘t need to enquire about the depth of our goodness.  We must, instead, ask, are we sheltered under the blood? If we are, we are as safe as any man or woman who has been praying without ceasing, giving their finances and sacrificing for the cause of the gospel for 100 years. It is not their righteousness and good works that are going to save them. Good works and long hours of prayer and devotion, whilst excellent things, have never saved anyone. The Father says, "When I see the blood I will pass over you." If we are sheltered beneath the blood, we are saved, and if we are not sheltered by the blood, we are not saved.


Furthermore, we are neither saved by our good thoughts concerning the blood nor saved by our good feelings concerning the blood. As has been pointed out by many, God did not say, "When you see the blood, I will pass over you." No! But here’s what He said, “When I see the blood.” It is the Father’s estimation of the blood of Christ that is necessary in salvation.  Faith grasps this.  Faith sees and embraces that the wrath offering has been made. Faith grasps the fact that the blood of the sinless substitute has been shed. Faith sees that this is enough; faith sees that the perfect Christ performed and finished His perfect work on Calvary.


Since nothing can be added to the blood, then salvation is not a matter of the shed blood plus faith. Many, many depart from the gospel on this point in that they believe their faith makes them accepted to God. But faith neither does nor can make us acceptable to God. We are only accepted in the acceptable One, Jesus Christ.  Faith did not pour out its blood, for it has none to pour.


Whom Christ is and what He did in His finished work are the object of our faith. Christ alone saves! Although our act of faith is vital, it is not the reason we are saved.  The ground of our salvation is Christ alone.


And that’s the Gospel Truth.

The Wednesday Word, Oct. 2, 2013: Paid for by His Blood!


Without the shedding of His blood, Jesus could not have become our redeemer.  We are bought and paid for by blood, the precious blood of Christ (Ephesians 1:7).


The New Testament scholar, Leon Morris, points out that although we use words such as “redeemer” or “redemption” in a religious sense,-- “when the man of the first century heard them he immediately thought in non-religious terms” (The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross (Eerdmans), p. 11).


In New Testament days, redemption was a commercial term that meant to release from bondage by the payment of a price. And what was the price paid for our redemption?  It was the death of Christ by the shedding of His blood. Through His death, Jesus purchased us from the slave-market of sin and death, and we are not for re-sale. What immense value there must be in his blood.  Gold can buy many things, but it could not purchase any of us from the slave market of sin and death.  Only the blood of Christ could do that (1 Peter 1:18-19). Christ’s blood must, therefore, be the most valuable currency in the cosmos.


By the shedding of His blood, Christ Jesus has declared Himself to be the uniquely placed, redeemer for sinners. In Him, there is redemption for the worst and the best of us.  He is our ransom. He, by His blood, paid the price of our release from death row.


Romans 3:24 tells us that our redemption is, “in Christ Jesus.” He did not merely come to pay the ransom, He came to be the ransom. He came not only to be the Redeemer, but also to be our actual Redemption. We have redemption, not because we have had an experience, but because we have a Redeemer who gave Himself and poured out His blood as an acceptable sacrifice in our stead.  Our redemption is not because we had something wonderful happen in us.  Our redemption, in reality, is objectively found in Christ. Christ became our redemption when He took our sins and paid our ransom with His own blood.


Christ is both our ransom and redemption. The weakest saints can now look to Him and see that their redemption is accomplished and secure. God’s people can cease from striving in their flesh, for the Holy Judge of all the earth continually looks on the Person of His Beloved Son and is well pleased. Christ now stands before the throne as our mediator and acceptable redemption. We are purchased with His blood.


In Old Testament times, it was the priestly function to offer up sacrifices. But, who was qualified to offer Christ as a sacrifice on our behalf?  Certainly no other person alive could have done that, for all had sinned.  How would it be possible, then, for a sinful man to offer up the sinless Lamb of God? The answer is found in Christ alone.  He was both the offerer and the offered.  As our High Priest, He presented Himself as the perfect offering (Hebrews 9:14). He did what no High Priest could do …  He offered Himself. By His blood, He ransomed and redeemed us, and so powerful was the ransom paid by blood that it has put away our sins forever (Hebrews 9:26).


There is, therefore, no redemption found in any other teacher, guru or preacher, for Christ alone poured out His blood and died for us  (John 14:6).  I’m sure that the vast array of world religions have founders and leaders who have said some sensible things, but not one of them, by their death, redeemed their people.  How vividly this contrasts with Christ. He alone is the supplier of salvation for He alone is the purchaser and owner of salvation.  All that we need we find in Him alone.  We are paid for by His blood.


And that’s the Gospel Truth.

The Wednesday Word, Oct. 9, 2013: Redeemed by Blood


 

Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;


The word ‘redeem’ means ‘to purchase for ownership’; ‘to buy back’ or ‘to give a ransom’. It stands to reason then if we are redeemed, neither the Devil nor anyone else can ever buy us back! We are bought with a price! We belong to Christ forever! We cannot be lost! If we can be lost, then there is a flaw in the work of Calvary.  Admittedly, there are all manner of flaws in us, but there are no flaws in our substitute and His precious blood. May we allow this powerful truth into our hearts. The blood has bought and paid for us, and we, therefore, can never be lost.  


By his own blood, Christ entered once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us (Hebrews 9:12). Notice that Christ Jesus has already obtained our redemption.


We sometimes sing the old hymn, “Power in the blood.“ And indeed there is! Because of the blood, we have been redeemed from all iniquity (Titus 2: l4); redeemed from a fleshly religion, (1 Peter 1:17-18), redeemed from death, (Hosea 13:14 and redeemed from the grave" (Psalm 49:15).


Redemption, therefore, is something that has already been legally accomplished.  It is not something, that we earn, neither is it something temporary that the Lord lends us. It is the purchase by blood.


In addition, when we consider that Christ has redeemed us by His blood, we are struck by the fact that, since His blood has fully redeemed and paid for us, there is nothing that we can now contribute towards the price of our ransom. In fact, to try to pay something to help the blood accomplish its purpose would be an insult. Take, for example, if you were broke and a generous friend bought you a new car, would you give them whatever pittance you had to help him towards the purchase price?  If you did, you would insult him. Likewise, the Lord Jesus has poured out His blood as the payment for us.  There is nothing we can contribute to that. By faith alone, we receive what He has done on our behalf. Have you believed on the Lord Jesus Christ?


Many years ago, there was a Scottish pastor who met a young boy in front of the church building. The boy was carrying a beaten up cage that contained three distressed looking birds.  The pastor said, “ Jock, my boy, where did you get those birds?”  Jock replied, “ I trapped them out in the field.” “That’s nice, but what are you going to do with them?” “I’m going to play with them, and maybe try to teach them tricks and then I’ll feed them to the big Tam Cat we have at home.”


Immediately the pastor offered to buy them, but Jock protested, “Minister, you don’t want them, they’re just stupid, daft birds that can’t sing very well.” The pastor replied, “I’ll give you a pound for the cage and the birds.” “Okay, says Jock, but don’t tell my Father, for you’re making yourself a very bad bargain.”


The exchange was made and the boy went away delighted with his new found fortune. The pastor then walked around to the back of the church, opened the door of the wire cage, and let the struggling creatures soar into the air. The next Sunday he took the empty cage into the pulpit and used it to illustrate his sermon about Christ paying for sinners with His own precious blood. He said, “I was told that the birds were not much good at singing, but when I released them, and they flew towards heaven, it seemed to me that they were singing, ‘Redeemed, Redeemed, Redeemed!”


And that’s the Gospel Truth

The Wednesday Word, Oct. 22, 2013: Redeeming Blood, Part 1


 

Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;


Redemption in the ancient world was not a religious idea, but rather a commercial one.  Redemption was a term that specifically dealt with the act of buying a slave from the slave market in order to give him freedom.  The term used for ‘redemption’ in our text is ‘apolytrōsis’, which carries with it a notion of liberation by the paying of a price. Christ’s amazing blood was the price paid, and it  liberated us from the destruction of guilt and wrath.


To further understand biblical redemption, we should look at three other words associated with it in the New Testament. These words show us 3 distinct aspects of this great truth. The three words are,


1) Agorazo

This is a word which describes a purchase made. The Lord Jesus Christ went into the slave market of this world and bought and paid for us.  Someone asks, “What did He use for currency?”  That’s an excellent question.  It finds its answer in 1 Peter 1:18-19 which says, "Forasmuch as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:"


Furthermore,  in Hebrews 9:12 we read, "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." Again in 1 Corinthians 7:23 we read, "You are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men." What wonderful news this is for all of God’s children. We have been bought by saving blood. Christ’s blood is the currency of redemption. It has never suffered devaluation, and it never will.


2) Exagorazo

Our second word is Exagorazo. Notice how this is basically the same word as ‘Agorazo‘. It’s agorazo with an ‘ex’ in front of it.  ‘Ex’ means ‘out of’ or ‘out from’.  Think of the word Exit---it’s the way out.  So when this term Exagorazo is used, it means that not only were we purchased by blood but that we have been taken out of circulation and are no longer for sale. This is excellent. Such is the power of the blood that it has purchased us and taken out of the marketplace.  We are bought with a price and thus removed from the control of both Satan and Sin. "(Galatians 3:13, Galatians 4:5).


3) Lutroo

This third word means to ransom, loose or to set free by paying a price. We have been bought---that’s good news, we have been brought out of the slave market of sin and death … that’s better.  But now we discover that the blood has ransomed and freed us to live for Christ. That’s the best! We read in  Titus 2:14  "Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem (lutroo) us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." (See also 1 Peter 1:18, Ephesians 1:7)


What a wonderful Saviour! What a mighty redemption!  The term ‘Saved’ has become outmoded in many Christian circles.  We are told it is an old fashioned word that puts people off.  Such thinking is so very wrong.  When we consider the redemption in Christ Jesus and see that it was His own blood that bought and paid for us, and see that He has taken us out of the market place of death and then see that he has set us free, we begin to realise that there is no better word to describe all of this than ‘Saved’.  Here’s a hymn that sums it all up:


“Thank God I am free, free, free

From this world of sin,

I’ve been bought by the blood of Jesus,

And I’ve been born again

Hallelujah I’m saved, saved, saved

By His wonderful grace

The blood has been poured out,

He has brought me out

And shown me the way.”


And that’s the Gospel Truth

The Wednesday Word, Oct. 30. 2013: Redeeming Blood- Part 2


Please pray for the people of Ireland that the Lord will open their hearts to

the gospel.

 

Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;


Notice that, “WE HAVE” redemption.  Redemption is not something that is waiting to happen in the future. We have this blood bought redemption right now. It has already been accomplished. We receive it by faith alone. Right this moment, we enjoy the fact that we have already been purchased from sin and death by the precious blood, and this has been done, “according to the riches of His grace which abounds towards us ..” (Ephesians 1:7-8).


Not one of our sins is too great for the blood. And, did you notice how the Lord measures out His blood bought blessings?  It is according to the riches of His grace! Abundant grace is ours in Christ Jesus.


I love, not only what Ephesians 1:7-8 says, but also what it doesn’t say. It doesn’t say that the blood has paid for us out of the riches of His grace. On the contrary, it says that we have been dealt with “according” to the riches of His grace … and there’s a world of difference! If a billionaire gives a check for $100 dollars to his church building fund, he is giving out of his abundance, but not according to it. However, when it comes to the blood dealing with our lost condition, the Lord has been exceedingly generous with us, not out of His abundance but according to the abundant riches of His grace!


We have been redeemed by the blood.  We have been bought and paid for by the blood, and because of the blood, our acceptance in heaven is secure.  You may be a new believer and perhaps are finding this hard to grasp.  That’s not surprising because, by nature, all of us, think that we should do something to earn, and keep earning, God’s favour. At our core, we are legalists. We think that, after we have repented more thoroughly, and have spent more time in anguishing and agonising prayer, then we can look to heaven for forgiveness and cleansing. But this is anti-gospel thinking. Christ died for sinners. Period! In fact, sinners are the only people for whom Christ died.  Now, in response to that, we take our place as sinners, hell deserving sinners and rest our destiny on the Lord Jesus Christ. We rest on Him alone for His accomplished redemption. He purchased, forgave and justified sinners by his blood soaked death on Calvary (Eph 1:7; Romans 5:9). He is trustworthy.


We sometimes sing the old hymn,


“Redeemed how I love to proclaim it

Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.”


What a great truth! If the blood of Jesus has not purchased us, then we’re in all kinds of trouble. If the blood is anaemic, we are lost. If the blood merely deals with minor sins, what use is it? But the scripture says, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of His grace, wherein he hath abounded towards us ..” He lavished grace on us and continues to do so.


There’s an ancient story of a gentleman visiting a slave market. He was deeply touched by the mental agony of one slave-girl, who had been delicately reared and feared that she should fall into the hands of a rough master. The gentleman inquired about her price, paid it to the slave-trader, then placed the bill of sale in her own hands, telling her that she was free, and could now go home. The slave-girl could not realize the change at first, but, running after her redeemer, cried, "You have redeemed me! You have redeemed me! Will you let me be your servant?"


How much more will we serve the Lord Jesus who has redeemed us from sin, death, and hell?


And that’s the Gospel Truth.

The Wednesday Word, Nov. 6, 2013: Peace Made Through the Blood


 

And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, Col 1:20 (a)


The blood of Christ gives us a profound insight into God’s estimation of sin. God, being the God of justice, will by no means clear the guilty (Exodus 34:7). Sin has earned an awful debt, and all debts must be paid. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that God is some easy going, doddery, old grandfather who doesn’t notice sin.  He notices, and has done so from the beginning. And because He noticed our sin, the Lamb of God went to the cross with this scripture in mind, “It is the blood that makes atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11).  Because Christ poured out His blood, peace has now been established between us and God. Indeed, there is only one foundation for peace and that is the blood of Jesus.  To enjoy this peace, therefore, our daily spiritual occupation is to, "Behold the Lamb of God" (John 1:29). He is the one who has paid for and taken away our sin.


In Luke 15:2 we are told, "This man (Jesus) receives sinners."  This means that, when we come to Christ our mercy seat, we are fully and the free gift of eternal life is ours. But you say, I don’t feel that I have a right to go to Him, my sin is too great!  Well, it’s your word against His.  He says to come to Him, and he knows what He is talking about.


Old Tom Farrell, a Scottish blacksmith, had lived a reckless, God-defying life. But, in His mercy, the Lord brought him to trust in Christ alone. Some years later, he was on his death bed and his wife asked him if he were scared to die.  He looked at her, smiled and then said, “What would I be afraid for? I’m going to be with the Man who died for me.” Old Tom knew that peace had been made by the blood.


God’s grace is demonstrated to us through the shed blood of our substitute. In the Old Testament, the High Priest came to the Mercy Seat with the blood. In bringing the blood, he was confessing that both he and the people were sinners.  When he came with the blood, he found God waiting to be gracious.  Was God gracious because the High Priest confessed everyone’s sin? No! God’s graciousness flowed from His inner being because the demands of His justice had been met by the blood of a substitute. There never was a flash of angry lightning there because of the blood. There never was one faint rumble of wrathful thunder there. Because of the blood, God looked and seemed to say, "I am well pleased with the blood of this substitute because this substitute points towards my Son.  Because of My Son, I will spare sinners."


Not only did God gaze upon the blood, but the High Priest, as representative of the people, also fixed his eye on the same blood that lay on the mercy-seat. As he stood gazing on the blood, it was as if he said, "Lord, there is my death and the people’s death for each sin; there is my wrath offering; there is your law’s demand.”


And this is the position of all believers. Our eye is on Jesus, the Christ who was crucified. Our hearts believe that because of the blood, God has given us eternal life (1 John 5:11). Because of the blood, our mouths boldly confess, "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes” (Romans 10:4). In other words, the believer is free from having to present His strenuous efforts at law-keeping as the method of gaining favour with God. The law, as a means of saving righteousness, is now obsolete. There is no peace, therefore, available to the man who tries to establish his righteousness other than by the doing, dying and rising again of Christ.


I hear the words of love,

I gaze upon the blood,

I see the mighty sacrifice,

And I have peace with God.


And that’s the Gospel Truth.

The Wednesday Word, Nov. 13, 2013: Peace Made Through The Blood, Part 2

 

And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, (Colossians 1:20 a)


The Father’s plan has always been the cross.  It is there that He made peace.  It was there that Christ represented His people and purchased them with His blood.  Christ is the Father’s gift of peace and peace with God, therefore, comes through Christ alone.  It doesn’t come by whipping ourselves up to a state of ecstasy. Nor do we have to work or wait for it. We simply, by faith, rest on what the Word says about the blood.  He has already made peace by the blood of his cross, now we, by faith, receive it!


In the fullness of time, the Lord Jesus came as the peacemaker and declared the acceptable year of the Lord (Luke 4:19). To obtain our peace, He was set forth as a propitiation (a wrath offering) that has satisfied the justice of God (Romans 3:25). We, now, believe and rest on Christ alone and present the shed blood of our substitute to the Father.  The wrath of God no longer abides on us.  To the contrary, the blood speaks of peace, love and mercy. There is nothing now that can be laid to the charge of God’s elect.


It is liberating and peace giving to know for certain that our sins have been blotted out for ever! God is waiting to be gracious.  He does not demand any preparation on our part to come to Him: It is the blood of Jesus Christ, not our preparation, that cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).


The Father is fully satisfied with the doing, dying and rising again of Jesus. Are you? Are you fully satisfied that your sin was taken away by the Lord Jesus as He poured out His blood on the cross?  Are you persuaded that your  sins have been put away in a powerful and righteous way? Peace, both legal and experiential, now flows from the cross. Have you embraced the Christ of the cross as your own? It is only through the shed blood of our crucified and exalted Saviour that we have peace.

 

The saintly Alexander Whyte, when an aged minister of the gospel, addressed a gathering of young converts in Edinburgh, Scotland, saying,


"Young men, when I came first to Christ, long, long ago, I had an idea, unexpressed, but real, that by and by I would become so inherently holy that I would not need to bemoan myself in this debasing way before the cross. I would not need to bring myself always down as a foul, polluted soul, a beggar in filthy rags before the holy God. Ah! I was proud, and so are you, dear young convert. Take care. But now I am an old man, the snows of time are on my head, more than a whole half-century has rolled by, and as I stand before you I can hear, but a few paces in front of me, the low dash-dash of the wave of eternity on the beach where I'm soon to embark for the other side. I can hear the flap of the sail as the pale boatman, Death, grates his waiting keel on yon ready strand. Ay, I'll very soon be in eternity, and this morning what did I do? Well, after sixty years of knowing and loving my Saviour, I came to the Lord Jesus this morning, as I came at the first, as a poor, perishing, hell-deserving sinner, pleading his own precious blood, with no hope but his death, no trust nor rest in anything else. Christ was the beginning, and he will be the end."


And that’s the Gospel Truth.

The Wednesday Word, Nov. 20, 2013: Peace through the Blood Part 3

 

 

And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, (Colossians 1:20 a)


One of the excellent benefits of the gospel is peace. God is the God of peace.  He is surrounded by peace and is at peace within Himself.  There is neither turmoil nor disturbance within His psyche. His thoughts towards us are ones of peace and not evil (Jeremiah 29:11). Being that God is the God of peace, it is not surprising to discover that, when Jesus hung on the cross, peace was made between God and sinners. At the cross, Christ was chastised to the extreme, and in our place (Isaiah 53:5).  Because of this, we now have peace with God. Because of the shed blood our sins are removed, and we stand before God in the full knowledge that His war with us is over. We have peace with God.


Octavius Winslow said it like this,


“The atoning blood is everything to us. It is the groundwork of our salvation- yes, it is salvation itself. It is the source of our peace …. yes, it is peace itself. It is the open door of heaven- yes, it is heaven itself. All that is really holy and precious to a poor believing penitent is bound up in the atoning blood of Jesus.”


Of course, there are many who, because of their spiritual dullness, see the shedding of Christ’s blood as a pointless exercise. They have no concept that man, by nature, is a God hater and rebel against the Almighty. They fail to see that, man the rebel is  under the wrath of the almighty.


By the way, if it seems too extreme to say that by nature man is a God hater, I would point you to the source of this teaching in John 7:7 where we read, “The world cannot hate you; but me it hates, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.” Who taught this? It was none other than the Lord Jesus! Now, here’s the unpleasant truth; man, left to his own devices has freely chosen to live in defiance and hatred of God.  The only hope man has, therefore, is God’s intervention with the blood of the crucified Christ. It alone has made peace. Indeed, it is impossible to, by faith, embrace the lamb of God dying in our place and not have peace. Christ has shed His blood, and the Father has accepted that same blood on the mercy seat (Hebrews 9:24). Since this same Christ, who was once crowned with thorns, is now crowned with majesty, we can behold Him by faith and have peace.


Centuries before Jesus was born, the cross had been used as an instrument of torture and death. In 519 BC, for example, the Persian King, Darius I, crucified 3,000 political enemies in Babylon. The cross as a method of execution was later adopted by the Romans but used only on non-citizens and slaves. When Jesus Christ came and bore our sins, however, the cross took on a new significance. There the Saviour, “through the blood of His cross,” made peace. The gospel turned the wretched instrument of torture into God’s glorious negotiating table. In Christ alone, the Father and the sinner meet. When they meet, they both behold the blood.  The Father’s looks at the blood and sees that His Son has died in the place of the sinner.  The sinner looks at the blood and sees that Christ has died instead of him. Thus, the Father and the sinner are both satisfied with the blood. They come into agreement through and by the blood. The result is peace!


And that’s the Gospel Truth

The Wednesday Word, Nov. 27, 2013: Peace Made Through the Blood (Part 4)


 

And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, (Colossians 1:20)


Peace with God has already been made. In fact, peace with God was accomplished by the blood of Christ 2000 years ago.  Because of the blood, we have peace with God (Romans 5:1) and we also enjoy its child, the peace of God (Colossians 3:15).


Faith sees the fullness of Christ’s sacrifice and embraces the fact that peace with God has already been declared. “Perhaps,” says someone, “I need to get some more faith for, as I examine my level of faith, I find it is not too high.” Oh no … you are on the wrong track altogether.  Faith does not examine itself.  Let me ask you, does your eye look in or out?  Well of course it looks out, it does not examine itself.  Faith is like this-- it is always looking outward to the exalted Christ and His finished work.


Dr. F. B. Myer was once speaking to a lady about receiving salvation by faith. She couldn’t understand his message and told him so. At tea with her a day later, he suddenly turned and said, "Madam, may I please have a cup of tea?" She looked at his table and said, "Why, Dr. Meyer, you already have a cup of tea." A little later he said again, "Will you please give me a cup of tea?" She replied, "Why, Dr. Meyer, don't you see, you have a cup of tea right there at your plate." In a few moments, he said again, "Please give me a cup of tea! I'm so tired, and I need it." Utterly bewildered, his hostess started to speak, then caught her breath. After a moment she said, "Oh, Dr. Meyer, I see it all now. What you mean is that the Lord's blessing, power, and forgiveness are right here before me, yet I am asking and asking for it, instead of taking it and finding peace through the shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ."


If Christ has died in your place, if He has poured out His blood for you, if He has risen and ascended into heaven, there to sit as your representative, then you are at peace.  The war between you and God is over! No amount of you trying to feel this will improve your standing with God.


There is no one else to trust … faith sees this. Christ Jesus is our salvation.  He is the One who poured out His blood. To deal with God, we must, therefore, deal with the Lord Jesus. Since Christ has been sacrificed for us, we are invited to draw near in full assurance of faith (Hebrews 10:22).  Even though we are flawed, it is safe for us to draw near to God. There is no war because of the blood.


Some years ago, a gospel minister called in to see an aged lady, Grandma Murray. She told the minister that she had been trying to ‘make her peace’ with God and had devoted her life to religious duties and righteous living. In spite of all this, she had no peace. The minister sat down with her, and read our text, Colossians 1:20, “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross.” He then looked at her and said with a kindly voice, “My dear Mrs Murray, you are trying to perform a hopeless task. You are trying to do what has already been done.”  The aged woman seemed amazed and said, “Let me read that for myself.”  The preacher sat in silence while she slowly read the text. “Aye,” she said, “It’s strange how I never saw that before, and it was there all the time.  I’ve been trying to do what Christ has already done long, long ago. What a stupid mistake!  I might as well have tried to make another universe.  But blessed be His name, I see that He has done it so I am satisfied with Him and His work, and I rest my soul upon it.”


And that’s the Gospel Truth

The Wednesday Word, Dec. 12, 2013: The Communion of His Blood



The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 1 Corinthians 10:16.’’


It is marvellous to be acquitted, accepted and adopted into the family of God, but quite another matter to be continually conscious of these gospel benefits. Unfortunately, we often live our Christian lives as though the blood had not been shed. We remain fearful of God and continue to be bound and intent on securing His favour by our performance. It’s no wonder then that we lack joy. It’s no wonder then that we need confidence. It’s no wonder then that we are often weak and ineffective in our Christian service.


In His thoughtfulness, however, the Lord has left us the ordinance of Communion (The Breaking of Bread). This marvellous memorial can be a wonderful help to us. It informs our conscience that the Shepherd has already laid down His life for the sheep. It is as we break the bread, the emblem of His body, and drink the wine, the emblem of the blood, that we declare our union and loyalty to Him. As we, by faith, grasp that which the blood has accomplished, we enter into renewed communion (koinonia) with the Master. We are not merely commanded to gaze upon the emblems, but to eat the bread and drink the wine. He has set us apart unto Himself, and each time we break bread we see this afresh and declare the same.


No one has ever been as loyal to His people as has Jesus.  He loved his own and loved them unto the end (John 13:1).  He has rescued us and paid for us with His own blood. He has cared and provided for us out of His abundance. What immense loyalty!


Throughout history, certain leaders have inspired great loyalty amongst their followers. For example, in Scotland, in 1745, after the battle of Culloden in Scotland, the defeated Bonnie Prince Charlie went on the run, trusting his life to eight of his followers. Although there was a large reward out for his capture, these eight men loyally protected their young champion. When the Prince finally left from the west coast towards the Hebrides and exile, Hugh Chisholm, one of the eight, shook hands in farewell. From that day forward he never once shook hands with his right hand, but always with his left. He explained that he would never give the hand he had given to his King to another man.


So it is with us and King Jesus. We will never give our hand to another. As we come to remember Him at the Table, we remember that which He has accomplished on our behalf.  We remember how he was wounded and chastised for us. We remember that He identified with us and our guilt. We remember that He came to seek and to save that which was lost and, in His majestic faithfulness, we remember that He finds all whom He seeks. May we never give our hand, loyalty or allegiance to another King.


As we come to the Table, we come, not as holy men and women.  We come, rather, to remember, the One who bled and died for wretches such as we. As believers, met together in the name of Jesus, we have all things in common. We share a common guilt, a common ruination, a common rescue and a common redemption through the same blood. We have all been common recipients of the glorious deliverance accomplished by the blood.


As we take the bread and wine, we by faith remember that His blood has cleansed us, His righteousness has covered us, His strength defends us, His love comforts us and His Spirit energizes us.


And that’s the Gospel Truth

The Wednesday Word, Dec. 16, 2013: The Communion of the Blood, Part 2


 

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 1 Corinthians 10:16


The Father, in choosing the method of putting away our sins, chose the very best He had, the blood of His own Son. It is by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus that we are cleansed from our complete catalogue of sins. By the blood of Christ, our spiritual sin stain is taken away and its tortured recollection destroyed. That’s why we read in Hebrews 9:13, “How much more shall the blood of Christ … purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”


Jesus really died at Calvary. In John 19:34 we read that one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear and immediately blood and water came out. Christ Jesus really was dead! There, at the cross, Christ Jesus died that we might live. In addition, by His blood, we come, not only into life, but into communion with God. In the Greek, the word communion is “Koinonia”. It is a beautiful word that means, among other things, fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation and intimacy.  And this communion, this ‘Koinonia’ comes through the blood.


But how do we come into contact with the blood? How do we obtain the benefits of His death? Romans 6:3 gives us the answer. It says, "…. that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus, were baptized into His death?"  When a person is baptized into the Lord's death, it is there that he meets with the benefits and blessings purchased by the blood of Christ.


Some groups erroneously teach that Water Baptism is the means of obtaining the benefits and communion of His death. It is only by their baptism, they say, that we can obtain forgiveness of sins. They cite the instruction given to Paul in Acts 22:16, "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins." However, they totally ignore that Paul had already, by this stage, given evidence of his conversion and regeneration by calling Jesus the Lord (Acts 22:10), by spending his time in prayer (Acts 9:11) and by having been filled with the Holy Ghost (Acts 9:17-18). They claim that, although it is the blood of Christ that washes away sins, the only way to access the effects of the blood is by their baptism. If these rascals are to be believed, then we need to stop singing, “There’s power in the blood” and start singing, “There’s power in the tub!”


But how then are the benefits of Christ’s death to become ours? How are we baptized into Christ? Here’s the answer. It is by faith alone! And where do we get this faith?  It is the free gift of God. We can’t earn it or deserve it, we simply receive it!


Have you trusted Christ alone to have your sins washed away? If you have, you are already baptized into Christ. If you haven't, then you still are carrying every sin that you have ever committed. That means that when you die, there’s nothing left for you but the Lake of Fire. You may have been baptized in a church building, but if you are not trusting in Christ alone you are not baptized into Christ.  If you are not trusting in Christ alone, you are still in your sins. The shed blood of Christ is of no benefit to you! Why don’t you, right now, call on the Lord and ask him to save you? Why don’t you trust Him, right now, and receive Him and His salvation for yourself? Our God is wonderfully gracious. He will welcome you. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.


And that is the Gospel Truth

The Wednesday Word, Dec. 31, 2013: Misunderstood Matters About Grace, Part 1



The meaning of grace is quite often misunderstood.  It is sometimes presented as a soft spot for sinners in the heart of God, or as some kind of benevolence on behalf of the Almighty that disregards the sin question. This is entirely incorrect! As we have already seen, grace, Bible grace, loving grace, is righteous grace. Saving grace never bypasses the cross!


Because of the cross we learn that God saves, not because He has an easy-going inbuilt compassion, but saves, rather, by having dealt ruthlessly with our sins when He laid them on Christ.  Yes indeed, we are saved by grace, but it is righteous grace for it comes from the God who refused to ignore the awfulness of our sin. Our sin was not swept under the carpet; rather, God publicly placarded His Son and set Him forth as a wrath offering for sin on our behalf (Romans 3:25-26). Grace is, therefore, both free and costly; it’s free to us, but it has been so very costly to Him!


Another misunderstood thing about grace is that we often feel as though we have to seek it. God’s grace, however, does not wait for us to seek it out, but rather it comes seeking us.  Jesus made this clear when He declared that He had come to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). So wonderful and excellent is His grace that He sought us out before we even knew we were lost! This is why we sing of His grace as being ‘Amazing’. We were really and truly lost, but He really and truly came looking for us and found us!


Even now, after being saved for many years, grace continues to come and seek us out. We still have tendencies to stray and wander off. As the Hymn writer said,


Prone to wander, Lord I feel it

Prone to leave the God I love,

Take my heart Lord, take and seal it,

Seal it for thy courts above.


I once heard about an old deacon who always prayed, "Lord, prop us up on our leanin' side..." Someone asked him why he prayed that prayer so frequently and fervently. He answered, 'Well sir, you see, it's like this... I got an old barn out back. It's been there a long time, it's withstood a lot of weather, it's gone through a lot of storms, and it's stood for many years. It's still standing. But one day I noticed it was leaning to one side a bit. So I went and got some pine poles and propped it up on its leaning side so it wouldn't fall. Then I got to thinking about that and how much I was like that old barn. Sometimes I find myself leaning to one side from time to time, so I like to ask the Lord to prop us up on our leaning side, 'cause I figure a lot of us get to leaning, at times."


I like that, but do know what? I’m worse than that for, at times, I find myself, not just leaning over on one side, but leaning over on every side and ready to collapse. Have you ever been that way? If you have, here’s the good news … grace does not wait for us to cry out for help; grace is already there seeking to restore and strengthen us before we ever begin leaning. Grace goes to work and brings us back to our merciful High priest whose throne is a throne of grace and who delights to give us grace to help in the time of need (Hebrews 4:16).


And that’s the Gospel Truth


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