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, County Wexford, Ireland

Miles McKee Ministries

The Wednesday Word, October 26, 2016: Victory in the Blood


And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death.

Rev 12:11

 

When sins devastate our communion with God, there is only one thing powerful enough to overcome all the accusations from Hell, …the Blood of Christ. This is how we overcome. As John Newton wrote,

 

“Be Thou my shield and hiding place,

That, sheltered near Thy side,

I may my fierce accuser face,

And tell him Thou hast died!”

 

As we grow in grace, we learn that, in failure, we have new opportunities to become conscious of the blood. When we look to the past, we see the blood. When we think of the present, we see the blood. When we think of the future, we see the blood. When Satan tells us of our defeat, we tell him of his.  When he tells us our past, we tell him his. We boldly announce to him that Christ shredded and scattered his demonic troops at the cross, 2000 year ago. We remind him that he was defeated by the blood of the Lamb. We overcome by the blood when we declare what the blood has done. Our Victory is in the BLOOD.

 

Every spiritual blessing is in Christ! Try this one for size! Though sinners, we are entitled to plead "not guilty" to every charge. Why? Because of the blood. To do anything else would be to deny the reality of the Blood. Though we are guilty, our conscience is as completely at peace. We have learned to apply the Blood.  No wonder we can now walk in victory!  No longer are we pinned down by the accusing memories that fill us with remorse.

 

Do you remember the blood offering of Leviticus 4? It was to take care of any sins that were committed through ignorance (Leviticus 4:2). Many believers go about worrying about whether or not they are doing okay. They say to themselves, “Maybe I have not done enough good things?” or ask themselves, “Have I witnessed enough?” or “Have I prayed and given enough?”  They are always worried about these things.

 

But, when Jesus Christ died on the Cross, His blood took care of all the sins that we know about and all those that we don’t know about. He has taken care of all the sins that we have ever and will ever commit. Knowing and applying this brings victory.

 

When Jesus Christ died and shed His blood, He took care of our sin and our sins. Notice, I said sin (singular) and sins (plural). His Blood legally blotted out our sin nature and covered our sins by casting them into the sea of God’s forgetfulness (Micah 7:19).

 

“Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” (Romans 4:7-8). In the Gospel, both sin and sins are dealt with.

 

 Jesus Christ has forever taken care of the sin nature of man by being reckoned as sin and paying the penalty of sin with His blood on the Cross. Jesus, the man, was considered as sin so that we will never have our sins charged to us again. That is victory!

 

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

The Wednesday Word, November 9, 2016: Gospel Rest

Come unto me all you that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).


As usual, Mr Spurgeon nailed it when he said of this scripture, “There are mines of instruction in this tverse. Superficially read, this royal promise has cheered and encouraged tens of thousands, but there is a wealth in it which the diligent digger and miner shall alone discover."


Let’s then, go mining and see if we can scratch the surface of this marvellous truth.


Who issued the invitation to, “Come unto me?” Was it a psychiatrist? No! Was it a politician? No! It was the lovely Son of God who voiced these words.  And who is He?  He is the God/Man, the Eternal Word made flesh.  He has come to us in our need and invited us to come to Him.


This verse wonderfully demonstrates Christ’s compassion for His people.  He loves us. His love, however, is not the kind of love that wants to help but has no available resources. It’s quite the opposite.  His is the love of Omnipotence.  And what is the message of Omnipotent love? It is simply this, “Rest in Me.”


 

Are we weary? Then let us come to Jesus and rest.

Disappointment will make us weary.

A broken heart will make us weary.

Sin will make us weary.

Working to gain God’s acceptance will make us weary.

Legalistic religion will make us weary.


To be weary means to be worn down with burdens or to be exhausted. Does that describe any of us?  How desperately we need to hear Him say; “Come to me.”


Listen, He’s not angry at you. He loves you!  Hear His voice in the Gospel.  There’s rest for you.  Don’t let unbelief keep you from His rest. How could someone who has gone to the cross for us not care for us?  He was wounded and butchered for us.  As believers, He wants us to come to Him.


So what qualifies us to come to Him?

It’s our weariness, not our worthiness!

It’s His mercy, not our merit.

It’s our destitution, not our distinction.

It’s our hardship, not our holiness.

It’s His love, not our labour.


As believers, we have no need to drag ourselves around in abject misery. We learn to come to Him. To Him, and not to Moses! To Him, not to a favourite doctrine, an ordinance, priest or pastor. We come to Him, to Jesus Himself.


Let us come to Him for His gift of rest.  Since rest is a free gift, it cannot be purchased or worked for.  So then, how do we receive it!  The answer is by faith alone.


Faith alone takes us to that rest.  Faith alone sees that it is a rest received from the hand of the all-powerful God. It is a blood-bought rest. It is a rest bathed in love.


This rest is for the weary, for those who labour.  It’s for you and me because we need it. May we all become weary enough to discover Jesus as our resting place.


To conclude, why to thirsty people drink?  It’s because they are thirsty.  Why do hungry people eat?  It’s because they are hungry. Why do people rest?  It’s because they are weary.


There is rest in knowing who Jesus is and what He has accomplished in His doing, dying and rising again.  There is rest in understanding the cross.  There is rest in the Gospel.  There is rest because He shed His blood.


May we come to Him and enjoy Him and His rest.


I heard the voice of Jesus say,

“Come unto me and rest;

Lay down, thou weary one, lay down

Thy head upon my breast.”


I came to Jesus as I was,

Weary and worn and sad;

I found in Him a resting place

And He has made me glad.

Horatius Bonar

 

And that’s the Gospel Truth!


The Wednesday Word, November 16, 2016: Gospel Peace

 


And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, (Colossians 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. We ought not to fool ourselves 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 saw 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 God and us. 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." That means that, when we come to Christ our mercy seat, we are fully accepted, 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 's too big! 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 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 of? 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 because the demands of His justice had been met by the blood of a substitute. Because of the blood, 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 it points towards the blood of 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.

 

TheAnd that’s the Gospel Truth!



The Wednesday Word, November 23, 2016: The Genuine Gospel

The apostle Paul, in defining the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 begins by saying, “How that Christ.” The authentic Gospel, as opposed to the many false ones (Galatians 1:6-7), was concerning a person, Jesus Christ (Romans 1:1-3). The apostolic Gospel is about Christ Jesus, His doing, dying and rising again.  Well, of course, we all say ‘amen’ to that. But, if this is so, we need to realize then that the Good News is not about us…it’s not about you and it is not about me.

 

 If this is so, the Gospel is, therefore, not about Jesus coming into our hearts and making us new.  Neither is it about our spiritual growth nor our spiritual development. The believer, his progress, and welfare, are not the focus of the Gospel.  The pure, apostolic Gospel puts the Lord Jesus Christ firmly on center stage.  In the Gospel, the spotlight is on Jesus, not upon the believer. Of course, we believers enjoy the benefits of the gospel such as acquittal from all charges of sin, reconciliation, adoption, new life in Christ, etc. But the Gospel is neither about our new life nor what we are doing nor about how saved we are; the Gospel is about the great and glorious acts of God in the Lord of history,--Jesus the Christ.

 

Although Christ perfectly represented us as our substitute in His life, death, burial, resurrection, ascension and session, the Gospel is not about us.  The Gospel, on the other hand, is primarily the good news of who Christ Jesus is and what He has done and accomplished in history. It is not about the mercies we receive as a result of the Gospel.  Christ Jesus and His finished work are the centre of the Gospel. The erudite 19th century Episcopalian Bishop of Ohio, Charles McIlvaine, said it like this;

 

“But it is abundantly clear from the Scriptures that the Apostles identified the Gospel with Christ; so that, in their view and practice, to preach the Gospel was neither more nor less than to preach Christ. The record which, in a few words, describes their ministry is that, "daily in the temple and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." Paul to the Romans defines the whole Gospel by saying that it is "concerning Jesus Christ." (Rom. 1:3). The employment of his two years’ imprisonment at Rome was all comprehended in "teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus." And his whole ministry was given unto him, he testifies, that he "might preach the unsearchable riches of Christ." As he could say, "For me to live is Christ;" so for him to preach was Christ. To him, Christ and the Gospel were one.

 

(Charles McIlvaine: Preaching Christ)

 

“Well,” you say, “you are entirely wrong Miles McKee.  The Gospel is about how Jesus died for sinners.”  Of course, Jesus died for sinners, but the Gospel is not sinner centered, it is Christ-centered. The Gospel is neither about the horror of sin nor the penalty that sinners will pay for sin. The Gospel is neither about God’s hatred of sin nor His holiness. The Gospel, however, is about Christ and His doing, dying and rising again. Yes, it is true that the Gospel only really makes sense when the Holiness of God and the horrors of sin are understood, but the holiness of God and the horrors of sin are not the Gospel. The power of God will regenerate us, the goodness of God will lead us to repent and the love of God will melt our hearts, but our repentance, regeneration, and melting of heart are the result of the Gospel and not the Gospel itself!

 

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Wednesday Word, November 30, 2016: Jesus our Gospel.


Jesus is our Gospel.  He is Heaven’s good news. To put it another way, the Gospel is God’s good news about Himself revealed in His Son.  The Gospel brings, not only good news about what God has done for us but also gives us good news about God Himself. Because of the Gospel, we can learn about the very character of God.


For example, we would not realize how much God hates sin if it were not for the cross. It is the Gospel, in fact, which best illustrates His awful and intense abhorrence of sin. There is nothing in the entire universe that reveals God's holy wrath against sin more than the blood of Christ. Think about it. There was no other way for the Lord to save us but by the blood. The horror of our sin is seen in that the sinless, spotless Lamb of God offered Himself and poured out His blood as our substitute.

 

Christ died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3)! Death, of course, is not always bloody. You can die without losing your blood. But Christ not only died, He shed His blood. Blood is the sign of violence. You see, the death of Jesus was not just a mere passing away – a dying of old age on a comfortable bed. No! It was a violent death. It was a bloody, gory, ugly, revolting scene -- a man hanging torn and wretched upon a cross, with blood streaming down His sides and running down His face.


Lets never forget that the God who is love is the God

who  is holy.  As Dr. Barnhouse said:

 

“If you say that God is love without realizing that God is hate of sin you have no Gospel at all because you do not have God.  The people who teach that God is love without teaching that God is also hate of sin have in reality another God who is Satan with a mask on.”

 

Donald Gray Barnhouse

Commentary on Romans

 

In the Old Testament Temple, God demonstrated His hatred of sin in the daily sacrifices. God, being Holy, can no more endorse sin than He can commit it.  But, these sacrifices were merely shadows of the reality which was to come. Only in the Gospel do we see the fulfillment of these Old Testament types. Only in the Gospel are we caused to face the horror of sin.


God spared not His Son but delivered Him up as an offering which took away holy wrath. Christ, as the Puritan, Stephen Charnock, said: “hung on the cross like a disinherited son while he appeared in the rank and garb of a sinner.”


Hanging there, the Lamb who knew no sin, called out and cried, “My God My God why have you forsaken me.” By the way, this is the first time in His ministry that Christ had ever called the Father by the title of ‘God.' All through His life, he had called God His Father.  But there at the cross, Christ took the place of His sinful people taking their sin and all the separation that goes along with it. Listen to Him cry out in tortured agony, “My God my God why have you forsaken me?” Had there been another way to reconcile us do you not think the Father would have taken it? The cross was awful; it was scandalous! Yet, it reveals the heart of God, not only in His deep love for us but also in the deep hatred of sin which so offended His holiness.


And that’s the Gospel Truth!

The Wednesday Word, December 7, 2017: Saved in the Past, Secured for the Future


 As we read through the New Testament apostolic sermons, we discover that they always point back to events in the past. Those early, inspired preachers did not look to anything present tense as being the Gospel. From this, we learn that unless we are looking back and pointing to the redemptive events of the past, the Christ event, we are, in fact, not preaching the Gospel. Our message is not some vague philosophy about God, but rather a story packed with concrete, historical events and facts.


Here are the details; Christ lived; Christ died. Christ was buried; Christ rose again from the dead.


These are the significant specifics of the Gospel. They are events that have already happened in history.  These facts are plain simple and few, so few that a child could remember and understand them.


The Gospel belongs to a completed history; its facts are not happening today. Christ is not on the cross, He is not atoning for sins, His work is finished; He is ruling and reigning that He might apply His entire accomplishments to His people. We are secure in Him! Because of the cross, He will come back for us (Hebrews 9:28; John 14:1-3; Acts1:11). We are safe!


As a result of this Gospel, this Finished Work, Christ is now seated at the place of cosmic authority. Now, based on His accomplishments in the Gospel, Christ Jesus is our, "Advocate with the Father." Talk about security!!



BTW, since the Gospel concerns that which has happened in the past, it makes our job very easy. To share the gospel all we have to do is tell the story -----the story of the doing, dying and rising of Christ.  We don’t even have to tell our listeners to do anything because the minute we go to the realm of ‘do,' we are  not preaching the Gospel.  Of course, we will eventually bring the hearers to the “Do” stage, but asking them to “do” something is the application of the Gospel and not the Gospel itself. For example, if we preach all night on repentance; then all we’ve done is preach all night on repentance. We’ve not preached the Gospel since we’ve not preached a past historical event. If we preach repentance, we’re preaching what should be a necessary application of the Gospel, but how can we have anyone repent and exercise saving faith unless they first hear the Gospel (Romans 10:14-15)?

 

In the 1620s a fierce preacher, John Glendinning, preached the law and dread of God to his listeners in Sixmilewater, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.  By all accounts, his hearers were cut down in terror and actually swooned with fear----but they did not get saved. They believed every word Glendinning said, but because the Gospel had not been preached, they remained lost. Another minister, Robert Blair was then sent into the area, and he preached the saving acts of God in Christ, and the poor tormented souls got saved.

 

It is vital that we grasp the ‘pastness’ of the Gospel because, since the Gospel is a past historical event, it cannot be experienced. The Gospel is uniquely about Christ’s unrepeatable experience. It is not about my experience or your experience. His life was the only one of its kind.  He will never repeat His accomplishments or death.  The Gospel is uniquely about the experiences of the Divine/Human Saviour, Jesus Christ. As He hung upon that never to be repeated cross, the experience was uniquely His. We can look back to that event and fully identify with it, but we cannot travel back in time and climb on the cross with Him. We can, however, by faith, receive all the Gospel benefits He obtained for us, but we cannot experience the Gospel.  We can only experience its benefits.


And that’s the Gospel Truth!

The Wednesday Word, December 14, 2016: Gold, Frankinsense and Myrrh - Deity, Devotion and Death



“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”

Matthew 2:11


We may not know much about the Wise Men who journeyed to give gifts to Christ, but their generosity tells us much about the young child.


The first thing they gave was gold and gold speaks of Deity.  We see this in the Old Testament where the boards of the Tabernacle were covered with this precious metal. The Ark of the Covenant was overlaid with gold. Also, when heathens made images of their gods they usually fashioned them out of gold. The essential symbol identifying a king was a golden crown on his head. Christ is the King of Kings (Revelation 17:14). Being the King of Kings, it means simply that Christ is God. He is King of all. Gold, therefore, was a fittingly appropriate gift.


Yes,indeed, gold spoke of majestic Deity. How telling that these Medes and Persians should bring gold to the Young Child. I think these sages knew the ancient prophecy which foretold that this baby should be offered the gold of Sheba. I suspect they comprehended that kings should bring the young Messiah the riches of the Gentiles (Psalm 72:15). How fitting that He who is God manifest in the flesh should be given gold.


The next precious thing they gave Him was Frankincense … All through scripture, frankincense was used in worship, especially in the daily Temple worship.  (Exodus 30:34, Leviticus 2:1-2, 14-16).


The Wise Men came to Jesus and worshiped.  What an opportunity we have to worship our majestic priest upon His throne.  May we learn to sing in our hearts, "Unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given and the government shall be upon His shoulder and His name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God the Everlasting Father."



The third gift they gave was Myrrh. Myrrh speaks of death.  What a strange gift to give a child!  Myrrh was a spice used in embalming. The Wise Men gave Him Myrrh because the young child came to die. Babies are usually born to live, but the Christ Child was born to die.


John Stott in his book, ‘The Cross of Christ’ reminds us that Holman Hunt has a famous picture of Jesus. It depicts Him at the door of the carpenter's shop in Nazareth. He has come to the door to stretch his limbs which no doubt had grown cramped over the bench. He stands there in the doorway with arms outstretched, and behind him, on the wall, the setting sun throws his shadow, and it is the shadow of a cross.


Holman Hunt was correct: Christ lived in the shadow of the cross. Here, at His birth, the Wise Men brought Him myrrh …a picture of His suffering and death. There is much to learn from the gifts of these Magi.  They gave Him gold… a sign of His Deity. May we never forget that the young child was God with us, Emmanuel!   They gave Him Frankincense, a symbol of their devotion. And they gave him Myrrh…a prophetic picture of His Death.


Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh…Deity, Devotion and Death  

When we understand who it was that came …..The eternal God.  And when we grasp that he came to redeem us with His precious blood, we are transformed into devoted worshipers.  When our devotion dries up it is usually because we have forgotten Christ’s Deity and His Death.

 

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

The Wednesday Word, December 21, 2016: Wonderful Christmas Grace

“And His name shall be called Wonderful …” Isaiah 9:6



For this next few moments, let’s consider Jesus. He is Wonderful.  In Judges 13, when the angel of the covenant appeared to Manoah, Manoah asked Him, "What is Your name?" (BTW, the angel of the Lord was a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ). The messenger replied, "Why do you ask my name, seeing it is secret (literally, wonderful)." By this, the "Angel of the Lord" identifies Himself with the baby who was to be born to redeem.


"Wonderful" comes from the root word "wonder." It can also be translated as ‘amazing,’ ‘surprising,’ ‘astonishing’ or ‘awe-inspiring.’ Jesus is all these things!  Does Jesus bring wonder to our lives? This Christmas season, may we find things wonderfully surprising, wonderfully strange and wonderfully astonishing in Him?


There has never been anyone as wonderful as Jesus. Think about it, He’s either wonderful or arrogant.  


He came and pointed out our sins but acknowledged no sin of His own. Is that arrogant or wonderful?


 He claimed to not only be sinless but also to be the Saviour from sin. That’s either arrogant or wonderful!  


He came and told us we must repent but had no repentance of His own…that’s either arrogant or Wonderful.


He tells us that we are sick and that He is our physician….That’s either arrogant or Wonderful!


He tells us that we are His sheep and that He is our shepherd… That’s either arrogant or Wonderful!


What say you? Is He wonderful?

In the annals of human history, there never was anyone like Him, and there never will be.  He is called wonderful simply because there is no better way to describe Him!  Please make a point to tell your friends, that He is wonderful! Email it! Post it online.  Let everyone know that, “He is wonderful!”


Notice in Scripture how we are called sheep (John 10:11-15). We are not called lions, we’re too weak for that name. We are not called serpents; they are wise, but sheep are dumb. He doesn’t call us dogs.  If a dog gets lost, he often finds his way back home.  A sheep can’t do that.  Sheep are weak and stupid and lose their way. But we have a shepherd whose name is wonderful.  He knows how to find us. He’s a shepherd who has a treasure house of wisdom and has all of the strength that we need.” He is wonderful!


The word ‘wonderful’ is sometimes translated "marvelous or miraculous."  Spurgeon says, “Christ is the marvel of marvels, the miracle of miracles."His name shall be called Miraculous," for he is more than a man, he is God's highest miracle. "Great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh." His Name --Wonderful!

(Spurgeon: Sermon Number 214: His Name shall be called Wonderful)


Let’s face it, Jesus is Wonderful! He is wonderful in what He did, He is wonderful in what He is doing and wonderful in what he will yet do.  It’s no wonder then that John Flavel wrote of Him;

 

 Out of His agony comes our victory;

 Out of His condemnation comes our justification;

 Out of His pain comes our ease;

 Out of His stripes comes our healing;

 Out of His gall and vinegar comes our honey;

 Out of His curse comes our blessing;

 Out of His crown of thorns comes our crown of glory;

 Out of His death comes our life!

 John Flavel (1627-91).

 

He is Wonderful!

 

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

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The Wednesday Words for the Year 2016

To view article, click on title
 

Date

Title

01/06

Beginning the New Year With the Blood

01/13

Gospel Fullness

01/20

Gospel Grace

01/27

Christ Alone

02/03

A Much Misunderstood Scripture

02/10

Allah and the Christian God Are the Same?

02/17

Gospel Validation

02/24

Acceptance and Approval

03/02

Grace Triumphant

03/09

Christ Our Life?

03/16

Is Jesus Enough to Get You to Heaven?

03/23

Gospel Following: John 10:27

03/30

Is Jesus Enough for Your Sacrifice?

04/13

Is Jesus Enough for Your Righteousness

04/27

Is Jesus Enough for your Religion? Part 2

5/18

Is Jesus Enough to Bring Us Through Discouragement?

06/01

Is Jesus Enough for Your Passion?

06/08

Is It Enough to Be His?

06/15

Is Jesus Wonderful Enough?

06/22

Is His Ability Enough for You? - Part 1

06/29

Is His Ability Enough for You? - Part 2

07/06

Eternal Life

07/13

Seeing the Father

07/20

The Jerusalem Lament

07/27

Able Ministers of the New Covenant

08/03

Is Jesus Enough as your Life? (Part 1)

08/10

Is Jesus Enough When You Sin?

08/17

Falling from Grace

08/24

The High Priest who Purged our Sins

09/07

His Very Best

09/14

Faith in His Blood

09/21

Pleading the Blood

10/05

The Purged Conscience

10/19

Beware of Imitations

10/26

Victory in the Blood

11/09

Gospel Rest

11/16

Gospel Peace

11/23

The Genuine Gospel

11/30

Jesus Our Gospel

12/07

Saved in the Past, Secured for the Future

12/14

Gold, Frankinsense and Myrrh - Deity, Devotion and Death

12/21

Wonderful Christmas Grace

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Wednesday Words for 2017

Wednesday Word, January 6, 2016: Beginning the New Year With the Blood


What better way to begin this New Year other than preaching to ourselves about the Blood of Christ.


Among other things we could remind ourselves that,


  1. We have redemption through the Blood (Hebrews 9:12; 1 Peter 1:18; Ephesians 1:7; Revelation 5:9).
  2. We have remission of sins through the Blood (Hebrews 9:22).
  3. We are sanctified through the Blood (Hebrews 13:12).
  4. We have a purged conscience by the Blood (Hebrews 9:14).
  5. We have forgiveness of sins through the Blood (Ephesians 1:7).
  6. We have peace with God through the Blood (Colossians 1:20).
  7. We are cleansed by the Blood (1 John 1:7).
  8. We have been washed by the Blood (Revelation 1:5).
  9. We have been made kings and priests through the Blood (Revelation 1:5-6).
  10. We overcome the devil by the Blood (Revelation 12:11).
  11. We are justified by the Blood (Romans 5:9).
  12. We are reconciled to God by the Blood (Romans 3:24, 25).
  13. We enter into the holiest by the Blood (Hebrews 10:19).
  14. We are made nigh to God by the Blood (Ephesians 2:13).
  15. Christ’s Blood is precious (1 Peter 1:18).


On the first ever Passover, 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 weeping and mourning because of your sins, I will pass over you." No, He said; "When I see the blood, I will pass over you (Exodus 12:13)."


It was the blood that saved the Israelites, not their righteousness, not their fear, not their feelings. They were saved by the Father’s estimation of the Blood.


Some people say, "If I were only a better person, I would feel safe before God." But, here’s the gospel truth, we don‘t need to enquire about the depth of our goodness.  Our goodness cannot get us right with God.  Indeed, the Lord says that our righteousness, not our sin, is like a filthy rag. The biggest problem God has with us is not our sin, it’s our righteousness (Isaiah 64:6).


The very best man has done is like a filthy rag before God. This is why we by faith look away from ourselves to the blood. Our atonement and reconciliation has been accomplished outside of us, apart from us in history.


We need, therefore, to ask whether or not we are sheltered under the blood? If we are, we are safer than any man or woman who has prayed without ceasing, given their finances and sacrificed 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, long hours of prayer and devotion, while commendable, have never saved anyone. The Father says, "When I see the blood I will pass over you." And when we are sheltered beneath the blood of Christ Jesus, we are saved; but if not shielded, we are lost.


The blood of Christ is our only refuge and protection from the wrath to come. Christ’s blood has been shed. His blood is now on the mercy-seat. Faith alone takes a hold of this remarkable truth and makes it our own.


And that’s the Gospel Truth!

The Wednesday Word, January 13, 2016:  Gospel Fullness



In this Wednesday Word, I want to speak again about Jesus. May the Spirit of Lord raise up a generation of believers who will, above all else, speak of and love the Lord Christ.


Some commentators tell us that today’s Scripture, Colossians 2:9, is an illusion to the Tabernacle in the days of Moses.  It looked commonplace and ordinary on the outside, but inside it housed the very glory and presence of the Eternal God.  So it is with Christ. Little did people know that the humble carpenter from Nazareth was indeed God manifest in the flesh.  


May we all take the time to meditate on Him. The truth of Christ’s identity is as overwhelming as it is staggering! He is both human and divine. The Fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily in Him.


Of course, Christ’s enemies say that the word ‘Godhead’ does not actually mean Godhead: or they say that this verse means that it was merely the power of God which dwelt in Christ. It is astonishing to discover the hatred that men still harbour towards Christ and the truth of His dual nature. However, the Bible cannot be clearer on Christ’s identity than it is in this verse.


Colossians 2:9, according to Calvin,

“ … means simply, that God is wholly found in him (Christ), so that he who is not content with Christ alone, desires something better and more excellent than God. The sum is this, that God has manifested himself to us fully and perfectly in Christ.”

Calvin’s Commentaries: Colossians.


According to Benjamin Warfield, this verse means; “There is nothing in the God who is over all which is not in Christ.” (Easton's Bible Dictionary - Godhead)


In Isaiah 11:2-5, we are given a prophetic picture of the Lord Jesus which conveys something of this fullness.  There we read, “..and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and shall make Him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord:….”


What an astounding description of Jesus. Notice how Christ demonstrates the sevenfold Spirit of God!


The Spirit of the Lord.

The Spirit of Wisdom.

The Spirit of Understanding.

The Spirit of Counsel.

The Spirit of Might.

The Spirit of Knowledge.

The Spirit of the Fear of the Lord.


The fullness of the Godhead was and is indeed manifest in Him. The foundation of our faith then is that He who died on the cross was God incarnate. When we meet Christ Jesus, we meet with God in His fullness.  This is the foundation upon which our eternal destiny is built. This is our security. The One who has lived, died and risen for us is Emmanuel, God with us. This is exceedingly good news!

 

“Mortals with joy beheld his face,

Th’ eternal Father’s only Son;

How full of truth! How full of grace!

When through his eyes the Godhead shone.”

Isaac Watts

 

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

The Wednesday Word, January 20, 2016:  Glorious Gospel Grace!

 

Salvation is entirely by grace. It is both unearned and undeserved.


We are chosen by grace (Ephesians 1:4).


We are given to Christ by grace (John 6:37).


By grace, we are made alive together with Christ, (Ephesians 2:5).


He has glorified us by grace (Ephesians 2:6).


 We are redeemed by grace (Ephesians 1:7).


 We are justified by grace (Titus 3:7).


 It’s Grace! Grace! Grace from beginning to end.

 

It is clear that in Scripture, God does not give one iota of credit to man regarding salvation. It is all of grace! Amazing Grace. Glorious Gospel Grace. The making alive, the undeserved favour, the adoption as children into God’s family is all by grace.


He made us accepted by grace (Ephesians 1:6).


We have forgiveness by grace (Ephesians 1:7).


Union with Christ and the good works that follow as God’s purpose, after salvation (Ephesians 2:10), are all the gift of God! It’s allofgrace!


It’s no wonder then that Paul writes in Galatians 6:14; “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”


To “glory” is “to boast.” Paul is reminding us that we cannot boast in anything except the cross of the Lord Jesus. That’s another way of saying that salvation has been accomplished by grace. All of our prosperity, all of our accomplishments, all of our doctrinal understanding, and even our accumulated insights are nothing to glory about. We can boast only in the grace of God as revealed in the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ!

In the Old Testament, Jesus is the coming Messiah. He is the promise of grace In the New Testament, He is the realized Messiah, the true Promise of Grace apprehended.


Grace always brings us to Christ Jesus. He procured salvation for us. He Himself is our salvation. He Himself is the grace of God. Grace is embedded in His very name, for the name of Jesus, means salvation. Remember: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).


Grace brings people to Christ, and to no one else.  Grace enables us to look unto Him by faith to be saved.


But what about repentance brother? Yes, what about it?  Is that not important? Yes, it is! But let me ask you…from where do we get repentance? The goodness of God, exhibited in His Grace, leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). There is no other way! Praise to His Name! It’s Grace, Grace, Grace, Glorious Gospel Grace!


So we can say grace is:

  1. Free Grace---the gift of God (Ephesians 2: 8-9).
  2. Saving Grace---it brings us to eternal salvation.
  3. Sovereign Grace—not of ourselves, but by God’s sovereign will.  Salvation is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy (Romans 9:16).
  4. Sustaining Grace—We are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1:5).


And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Wednesday Word, January 27, 2016: Christ Alone

 

The best thing that can happen to any of us is to become

convinced that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves.

 

Apart from the mercy of Jesus Christ, we are utterly and helplessly lost.  There is no saving merit in anything that we can do or feel.  In ourselves, we have nothing to recommend us to God.

 

Let me ask you, have you become convinced that Christ alone is your Saviour? Have you been persuaded that you cannot save yourself? Have you seen that the Lord needs no assistance from anyone to give you eternal life?  Have you seen that from first to last, Christ alone is your hope?  

 

I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit. One aspect of the Spirit’s work is to destroy all the vestiges of self-righteousness we harbour in our hearts (John 16:8). Self–Righteousness, that great, stubborn rebel against God, must be rooted out. The Holy Spirit continually brings us to a place where we see and confess that we are nothing and Christ is everything.

 

Someone says, ‘I’ve been reading about all those deep convictions that people used to get during the revivals of yesteryear. If I could experience those, then I’d be sure that I was saved.’ But, wait a minute, that is just another way of you bringing something to Christ in exchange for salvation. That is self-righteousness.  It is a lack of trust in Christ alone as your only qualification for eternity.

 

“But I want to feel something,” says someone else.

Christ Jesus doesn’t want you to bring your feelings to Him.  Feelings are no part of Salvation. We are to trust in Christ alone, not in feelings.

 

Feelings come and feelings go

And feelings are deceiving

My warrant is the Word of God

Naught else is worth believing.

 

Though all my heart should feel condemned

For want of some sweet token,

There is One greater than my heart

Whose Word cannot be broken.


I'll trust in God's unchanging Word

Till soul and body sever,

For, though all things shall pass away,

HIS WORD SHALL STAND FOREVER!”

Martin Luther

 

 

“But I feel so spiritually unfit.”

 

Do you not know that the only fitness you have before Him is the fitness of being unfit?

 

“Oh, but I am so entirely unworthy.”

 

Do you think Jesus came to save the worthy? Do you ever expect to have any worthiness in yourself? Jesus saves “the ungodly” (Rom 5:6-8). Jesus came into the world to save sinners, not worthy people (1 Timothy 1:15). Spurgeon said it like this; “It is our badness, not our goodness, which drew Christ to us as a Saviour.”

 

‘With Pitying eye the Prince of Peace

Beheld our helpless grief;

He saw, and, O amazing love!

He ran to our relief.’

 

Isaac Watts.

 

Christ didn’t die because we were good.  He died for us because we were sinful wretches. We had nothing whatsoever in ourselves that could recommend us. …and still don’t. Yet the Young Prince of Glory came from Heaven to save us. What do you think you can add to that? Is there anything with which you would care to supplement His finished work?

 

Be advised, don’t try to show Christ how worthy you are to be saved. He’s unimpressed. Our righteousness is sin but His righteousness is salvation. We are nothing; Christ alone is everything!

 

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

The Wednesday Word, February 3, 2016: A Much Misunderstood Scripture

“Verily I say unto you, among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

Matthew 11:11


In my early years as a Christian, I was taught that this verse demonstrated that the weakest believer in the New Covenant was greater than John the Baptist. I was told that wee Betty Murphy, a woman who at times neither knew if she was saved or lost was greater than the final prophet of the Old Covenant. Poor little Betty didn’t know the difference between predestination and a bar of soap but, according to the prevalent theory, Betty was greater than the One who faithfully prepared the way of the Lord. I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t get my head around that.  


Then one day, I believe God opened my eyes.  Who was the least in the Kingdom when this was spoken?  Think about it. The least in the Kingdom was none other than the Lord Jesus.  To this point, He had, with success, spent His earthly life making Himself the least and the last.

 

Consider this:


He made Himself the least when He was born to an unwed Jewish teenager.


He made Himself the least when He allowed His first bed to be a feeding trough for cattle.


He made Himself the least when He lived in obscurity for 30 years avoiding recognition.


He made Himself the least as He worked quietly at the carpenter’s bench.


He made Himself the least when, for that entire time, He refused to vaunt His divine attributes.


No one could have guessed that He was God in human flesh appearing for he made himself the least. As we read in Philippians; “….Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).


He made Himself the least.


Consider the absolutely stunning truth of the Incarnation.  God came here Himself!  Does this not amaze you? In Heaven, He had been enthroned in majesty and surrounded by at least 100 million worshiping angels (Revelation 5:11). Yet He made Himself the least. Thunder, lightning and voices proceed from His throne (Revelation 4:5)…yet He made Himself the least.   He was the absolute sovereign and ruler of all things…yet He made Himself the least.


As we abide in Him, we will find a growing desire to also become the least.  It should, therefore, be a foreign thing for the believer to join in conspiracies against the Pastor. How can a person who sees themselves as the least do that?  Likewise, it should be an alien practice for the believer to jockey for political power within the Church assembly. After all, we are called to be followers of the One who didn’t try to promote Himself but made Himself the least.


Jesus was the least, yet He was greater than John the Baptist and the Old Covenant.  He brought in better promises (Hebrews 8:6) a better hope (Hebrews 7:19), a better covenant (Hebrews 8:6) and a better sacrifice (Hebrews 9:23). To do this, He became the least.  He was patient, kind and without envy. He did not seek his own way and was not easily provoked.  He took the servant’s place and washed the disciple’s feet and did so because He was the least.


What Matthew 11:11 is telling us is that Jesus, not some stumbling weak saint, is greater than John the Baptist.  The New Covenant is greater than the Old. In Christ Jesus we see that the greatest became the least and has now again taken His place as the greatest of all.


And that’s the Gospel Truth!

The Wednesday Word, February 10, 2016: Allah and the Christian God Are the Same?


There was a measure of shock recently when Pope Francis announced that Allah and Yahweh were one and the same.  But there was no need for anyone to be surprised. This has been the official Roman Catholic position for quite some time…see  here.

 

So, are Allah and Yahweh one and the same? Could this be the case? The Koran, for example, claims that Allah is forgiving because he is merciful, (The Cow: 2:199). In the Bible, we read that Yahweh is also a God of forgiveness (Ps 130:4). Then, in Exodus 20:6, we read that Yahweh shows mercy. Thus, we observe that both Allah and the Father are forgiving and merciful.  Does this then mean they are one and the same God?

 

A good question!

 

If Yahweh and Allah are one and the same, we would expect them to have the same view of sin and forgiveness.  So let’s ask, on what basis does Allah forgive sins?

 

According to the Koran, He forgives sins because of the repentance of the penitent (S: 9:104).  In addition to this, he is merciful and kind (S 3:89). Allah is, therefore, to be likened to a Judge, who clears a vile, guilty criminal because the guilty party asks for forgiveness. The criminal repents and says he has changed his mind about having done the crime and won’t do it again. The judge is a kind and forgiving man so he releases the accused.

 

Sweet!

 

But, this verdict contains an alarming disregard for justice.  Who will pay for the man’s crime?  Who indeed will be punished for it? The man may have repented, but the crime still stands. It seems, therefore, that Allah holds justice and the seriousness of sin in an exceedingly low esteem.

 

Conversely, the Christian God, Yahweh, forgives, not only because He is merciful, but also because He is Just.  He has dealt with us, not merely out of kindness but out of Justice. To ensure that our sins have been justly done away with, He has set forth Christ Jesus as our sin offering (Romans 3:25-26).  Christ, as our representative and substitute, took the wrath of outraged majesty and justice.

 

The Father’s forgiveness is thus rooted in both love and justice: Allah’s is not.  Thus, they are not one and the same.

 

In the gospel, our right standing and acceptance with God do not rest on our decision to repent.  Nor does it lie in our personal moral renewal whereby we pledge to do better. Our right standing before God is discovered exclusively in the doing, dying and rising again of the Lord Jesus. Punishment for sins is demanded by God’s unchangeable nature of holy justice. He could not and would not set aside His lawful and righteous demand that the sinner is punished (Romans 6:23). So in love, Christ, God manifest in the flesh, came and was punished for the sins of His people.  Our salvation is thus rooted in both the love and justice of God.

 

With respect, we note that Allah has not provided an atonement for his followers.  No one has paid for their sins. Thus, we must conclude that Allah is not the God of Justice.  He has provided no just way to righteously deal with sin.

 

When we put on our Gospel Glasses, we see that Yahweh and Allah are most definitely not the same God. They are diametrically opposed to each other.  The god of the Koran forgives when he feels merciful but it’s a forgiveness divorced from Justice.  

 

Yahweh, on the other hand, gave and presented Christ, the God/Man, the very righteousness of God. He was numbered with the transgressors (Isaiah 53:12). Justice dealt with Him, not because He was a wretch, but because He was the substitute for His people. He was treated like a filthy sinner, or let’s say it another way, He was treated as though he were us.


And that’s the Gospel Truth!

The Wednesday Word: February 17, 2016: Gospel Validation



“But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions (Matthew 19:22).

Painting - "For He Had Great Possessions" by Watts


Many people validate themselves by the measure of their financial success. However, I’ve known many wealthy failures. Having had multiple failed relationships and marriages, they are empty. They have been left with few genuine friends.

 

Success? I don’t think so!

 

Our difficulty, however, is, even as believers, we often measure our validity by our assets. It’s not a new problem. Remember the rich young ruler? Jesus told him to sell all that he had and give it to the poor and come and follow Him. We then read, “But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions” (Matthew 19:22).

 

For this man, Jesus was not enough for his validity! If he gave everything away, all he would have would be Jesus. I suspect that he needed possessions to authenticate his existence or to mold his identity. Jesus was not enough for Him.  He needed more!  What about you? Is Jesus enough?

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating that you give away all your money.  I agree with the man who remarked,”I have been rich and I have been poor…and rich is better.”  But, here’s a personal question. Are you caught up in the game of accumulating things? If so, why do you do it?  Is it to gain validation? I’ll let you into a little secret … until you learn to authenticate your existence in Jesus only, you will always look for validation from others, your work, your accomplishments or from material accumulations.

 

No amount of wealth can validate you.  In a short time, the sum total of property you will occupy will be an urn or a box in a plot 6ft by 2 and ½ feet. The important question today, therefore, is this, is Jesus enough? Are you thoroughly satisfied with Him?

 

Which is more important, your earthly income or your heavenly inheritance? Which is more important, the adulation of men or the applause of Heaven? Is Jesus enough?

 

Perhaps, on the other hand, you are ashamed because you feel that you don’t have a large enough income. But, why in the world should your bank balance matter for your validation?  You are not here to win the praise of sinners. The Father is not impressed by the amount of money any man has in the bank. What does impress Him, though, is what you think of His Son. Is Jesus enough?

 

 As for your bank balance, remember how Jesus taught it? We read, “--- a man's life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses” (Luke 12:15). God does not measure your worth by the amount of money you make.  In fact, many wealthy people are actually worthless when it comes to the cause of Christ: They are not, as Jesus said in Luke 12:21, “Rich toward God.”

 

You may think you have an unimportant job, but both your job and how you do it are crucial. Perform your job as an act of worship; do it to the glory of God. Let your validation come out of the fact that God has loved you, chosen you, called, died for you and adopted you into His Royal family.  You are a child and heir of God. So, let’s ask it again, are you satisfied with Jesus? Is He enough?

 

 Some Christians think that the way to validate themselves is through Ministry: This may sound strange, but I’ve known lots of people who have striven for a “big ministry” for no other reason than to validate their existence. Some young guys I’ve known have wanted to become Christian singer/songwriters just so they could become famous. But they’ve missed the point! There’s a lesson to be learned by all would be ministers whether preachers of the Word or worship leaders. When Jesus called the twelve into ministry, we read that,

“He ordained twelve, that they should BE WITH HIM (Mark 3:12). ---That’s priceless. They were ordained, that they should be with Him!... With Him…HIM.

 

Jesus is enough!


And that’s the Gospel Truth!

The Wednesday Word, February 24, 2016:  Acceptance and Approval



Paul asks a piercing and heart searching question when he writes, “--- do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).


For some of us, the praise of men is louder than the applause of heaven. Many of us discover that there’s an enormous pressure on us to please others. If we please them, we will be accepted and that’s what we want….acceptance. Let’s face it, none of us want to be a reject. I know people who adopt a false personality just so that others will accept them. They act like the life and soul of the party but it’s all a cover-up.  They don’t want us to see what they are really like; they don’t want us to see that they actually feel like rejects. I don’t blame them, but there’s a better way.


What about you?  Have you, through the gospel, learned to find your acceptance in Jesus? Just think of it, He was wounded and died for you. He rose again for you, He’s praying right this moment for you and He’s coming back for you. Is this love enough for you? You are now accepted in Heaven because of Him (Ephesians 1:6).  Is that acceptance enough for you?

 

Jesus did not go around trying to impress people, but He was very impressive. In fact, He was the most extraordinary man who ever lived. Consider this, the most remarkable person who ever lived, loves you and has loved you since before you ever were born.  You have been His since before time existed. Is this love enough for you to rest in? Until He becomes enough for you, you will yearn and strive for the acceptance of fellow sinners. You will develop an acceptance addiction. That’s just another form of bondage and is a sub-standard way for a Child of the King to live. Let Jesus be enough!

 

Another similar trap we often fall into is that of continually seeking appreciation and approval from others. As John says,

“They loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” John 12:43.


Our lives are filled with all these “important others.”  Throughout life, many of us even accumulate an invisible jury whose approval we are desperate to obtain.  This gets scary. One man I know earned his Ph.D. because his Father had always told him he would amount to nothing. The tragedy of this story is, however, that his Father was long dead before my friend graduated. Yet he completed his studies still yearning to gain the approval of his dead father, still trying to show his father that he was not worthless.

 

Self-worth and approval must be found in Jesus. If we are to make it through this life, He must become enough. When you are feeling fractured, tell yourself what the Word says. Tell yourself that you have been redeemed by blood, precious blood, the blood of the Lamb. Tell yourself that Jesus loves you. Does this sound strange? Let me willingly admit something. Often when I feel fragile and unaccepted, I have a talk with myself and confess those three words, JESUS LOVES ME! I confess them ‘till I possess them and they possess me. His love and approval are enough because He is enough.


And that’s the Gospel Truth

Wednesday Word, March 2, 2016: Grace Triumphant



Can God build a good house from bad material?  Because of triumphant grace we can say yes, absolutely yes.  You are not so far gone that the Lord is finished with you.


Remember these people over whom grace triumphed?


Noah was a drunk.

Gideon was afraid.

Samson was a womanizer.

Rahab was a prostitute.

David was an adulterer and a murderer.

Elijah was suicidal.

Jonah ran from God.


Peter denied Christ.

The disciples fell asleep while praying.

Martha worried about everything.

The Samaritan woman slept around.

Paul was a religious bigot.

Timothy had an ulcer.

Lazarus was dead!


The Lord Jesus is a master of creating something beautiful out of nothing. He can do so with you.


Many years ago, in the days before automobiles, in Detroit, Michigan, an evangelist, preached on the text "The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son cleanses us from all sin" (I John 1:7). After the service, a stranger asked the preacher to walk home with him. Advised against it by church officials who knew the man, the evangelist went with him anyway.


Ushering the preacher into the rear of a building, the stranger locked the door, put the key in his pocket, and said, “Don't be afraid. I'm not going to hurt you. I just want to ask a few questions. Do you believe what you preached tonight?”

The preacher said, "I most certainly do."

The man continued, "We're in the back of a saloon. I'm the sole proprietor. Mothers come in here, lay their babies on the counter, and beg me not to sell liquor to their husbands. I turn a deaf ear to their cry. We see to it when a man leaves here he's well under the influence. More than one night, a man leaving here has been killed by the express at the tracks. Preacher, tell me, can God forgive a man like me?"


The minister replied, "I have but one authority, the Word of God which says, 'The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses us from all sin.'"


"But that's not all,” added the man. "In another room we run a gambling hall. If a man doesn't spend all his money on liquor, we bring him back here and with marked cards see to it that he's fleeced out of his last dollar we send him home penniless to a hungry family.  Preacher, I'm the sole owner. Tell me honestly can God forgive a man with a heart like that?"


Again the evangelist replied, "I have but one authority, the Word of God which says, 'The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses us from all sin.'"


The man spoke again. "That's not all. Across the street is my home where I live with my wife and little daughter. Neither one has had a kind word from me for five years. Their bodies bear marks of my brutal attacks. Preacher, do you think God could forgive a man with a heart like that?"


The Evangelist’s head lowered. His eyes filled with tears as he said, "My friend, you have told one of the darkest stories I have ever heard, but I still have one authority which says, 'The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.'"


The man opened the door, ushered the preacher into the night, and did not leave that room until daybreak.  He did not leave until he had ripped up decks of cards and poured the contents of beer and liquor bottles down the sink. After he was finished, he locked the saloon and crossed the street, went into his house and sat down in the living room.


His little girl called, “Daddy, Mother says breakfast is ready." When he answered his little girl kindly she ran back to her mother, "Daddy spoke kind to me! Something is the matter!" The mother followed her little girl to the living room. The man called them both over. Taking one on each knee, he explained to their amazement that they had a new husband and daddy He ended, "I'm done with that business across the street!"


The man later became a member, then an official in a leading Detroit church. When asked to tell how his life was changed, he would reply "The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses us from all sin."


And that’s the Gospel Truth!

The Wednesday Word, March 9, 2016: Christ Our Life?

I love this prayer:

“Dear Lord, so far today I’ve done all right. I haven’t gossiped, I haven’t lost my temper, I haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or overindulgent. I’m very thankful for that. But in a few minutes, Lord, I’m going to get out of bed, and from then on, I’m probably going to need a lot of help. Amen”

 

I identify with that. However, I need more than help to get through the day, I need Christ to become my life.  

 

Christ was Paul’s life.  He wrote; “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yes doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” Philippians 3:7-8.

 

Thirty years before he penned those words, Paul had been the ringleader of the self-righteous…the enemies of Jesus. But the Lord graciously saved him and from that moment he refused to take his eyes off the Saviour. From that instant, he lived his life 'Looking unto Jesus.' For Paul, Jesus was enough! He saw in Him enough to make him turn his back on earthly glory. His life became a pursuit of Christ. He had discovered a new focus and purpose. Christ Jesus was enough for Him. Christ had become his life.

 

What about us? Is Christ our focus? Are we satisfied with Him?  Is there a passion within us to know Him? Do we know what it is to win Christ?

 

To win Christ means to gain out of Christ the riches that are in Him. We have a vast inheritance in Jesus.  He is a mine of treasure with more riches and resources than we can imagine. Yet many of us stand outside this treasure store yearning for everything else other than the inexhaustible riches of Christ.

 

But, Paul says, 'I want to win Christ,' In other words, I want to possess all that I can possess of Christ. I want all of Him.  Paul doesn’t even say, 'my goal is to win souls?' Reaching lost people with the gospel is crucial, but evangelism flows from the practice of winning Christ.

Is Jesus precious to you? No one like Him has ever walked onto the stage of History. He is the God-man. He is humanity married to Divinity. What a mystery, the person of Christ, God, yet man!

Everything He has done has been credited to our accounts. What a wealth of accomplishments we have to present to the Father. We are clothed with the obedience and righteousness of the God-man. We have all His goodness and faithfulness plus His doing and dying credited to us.  We are complete in Him.

Look now at His suffering – Look at Him hanging between Heaven and Earth like a disinherited Son.  See Him exhausting the wrath of the Holy God whom we had outraged by our sins.  He was made a curse that the blessing might come upon us.' (Galatians 3:13-14.) Is He enough?

 

Look at Him now, He is our mediator.  We belong to Him, He represents us as He appears in the presence of the Father. He has rescued, redeemed and reconciled us. There is no way, therefore, that He will release us. We are safe at last. All that is in Him belongs to us.

Look at Him again, He is coming back in Glory. Your Saviour is the King of the Universe before whom all shall bow. He’s coming back for His purchased possession. That’s you!  Did you think He would forget you? He’s coming back and you are in His heart. He loves you, He’s crazy about you. As Paul says, “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory” Colossians 3:4.

 

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Wednesday Word, March 16, 2016: Is Jesus Enough to Get You to Heaven?



Here’s some good news, God is holy, perfect and righteous! Here’s some bad news, in and of ourselves we are not!  Here’s even worse news, if ever we are to get to heaven and avoid God’s judgment we must be like Him, perfectly holy (1 Peter 1:16). But this is impossible! Not one of us is as righteous, perfect and holy as God. As Ecclesiastes 7:20 says, “-- there is not a just man upon earth, that does good, and sins not.”

 

So, how then can any of us get to Heaven? Are you ready for this? With man it is impossible but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).  The best news is that God Himself, knowing the helpless and hopeless mess we were in, came to earth and lived and died in our stead. He was perfect in our place. He lived as if he were us. Now His perfect righteousness is imputed (reckoned) to the believer. We are now perfectly holy in the eyes of God.  That’s the power of the Gospel.

 

Also, Christ Jesus went to the cross and took responsibility for our sins by offering Himself as a sacrificial substitute for us.  There, at the cross, Christ poured out His blood and absorbed the wrath which our sins justly deserved. He was buried, rose again on the third day and after 40 days, He visibly and bodily ascended into Heaven there to appear in the presence of God for us. He now guarantees that we who believe on Him will be completely and entirely saved. Is this enough for you?

 

Now before you say, “Yeah I know that,” let me ask, have you any other scheme of getting to Heaven other than resting entirely on the doing and dying of Jesus?  Is He alone enough? Or, are you trying to supplement the work Christ did in His life and death?  Are you attempting to add something to the gospel? Maybe it’s something like your performance as a Christian? Can you and do you rest in Christ alone? Is your hope built on Christ alone? Is Jesus enough?

 

If you are trying to impress God with anything other than the shed blood of Jesus, give it up. Jesus must be enough!  He does not need our worthless contributions to bring us to Heaven! He is our only qualification for heaven; He is enough. There’s nothing you can do to save yourself.


I love the following illustration. I often use it when ministering….. Ebenezer Wooten an earnest but eccentric English evangelist of another generation once held meetings in a tent on the village green at Lidford Brook. The last service had been conducted, the crowd was leaving, and the evangelist was busy taking down the tent. A young fellow approached the preacher and rather 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!”


This startled the young man causing him to quickly lose his apparent indifference. “Oh, don’t say that, Mr. Wooten! Surely it isn’t too late just because the meetings are over?”


“Yes, my friend,” answered the evangelist, looking the young man straight in the eye, “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?”


Then and there the truth dawned upon the young man. There was nothing for him to do! The Lord Jesus had perfected and finished the work of Salvation at the cross. That is, there was nothing for him to do but to accept the Saviour and His redemptive work as a free gift. The person and work of Jesus was enough! Nothing needed to be added.

 

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

The Wednesday Word, March 23, 2016: Gospel Following: John 10:27



“I am born for God only. Christ is nearer to me than father, or mother, or sister - a near relation, a more affectionate Friend; and I rejoice to follow Him, and to love Him. Blessed Jesus! You are all I want -a forerunner to me in all I ever shall go through as a Christian, a minister, or a missionary."

Henry Martyn: 19th Century Missionary to India and Persia

 

"My sheep hear my voice, and they follow me." Jesus

 

As believers, our entire life is one of continuously following Jesus.

We began our Christian walk by 'looking unto Jesus.' We continue in the same manner.

 

Do you remember when you first believed? Looking to Jesus brought rest, peace and healing for your soul. It was wonderful!  But for many of us, the wonder has gone. The reason is tragic, we are no longer looking unto Christ. Could I be talking about you? Have you left the simplicity which is in Jesus? If so, I’m sure you’ve noticed how life has become tangled and complicated again. Where did the peace go? Where has the joy gone?

 

It’s time to get back to following, to looking again to the crucified and risen Christ. He is enough! As we look to the Gospel each day, we will recover our spiritual health.  Horatius Bonar said, “As a Christian, should your eye ever be withdrawn from the cross, you will be sure to go backwards, to grow cold, and to forget that you were purged from your old sins (2 Peter 1:9). That cross is life, health, holiness, consolation, strength and joy; let nothing come between it and you.”

 

The way to follow is to look unto Jesus. May we learn to beware of substituting anything else for Him. May we be wary of seeking to build our own Kingdoms and a future of our design. As we follow Him, He will be our refreshment, comfort and Joy. If we follow our own devices, we will wither.



So who are you following today? Is it Him? If so, it is because of Grace!

 

It’s always good to pause to thank Him for his grace. It was grace that won us! We were not coerced, we were conquered. And remember, no matter how dedicated we are, we are saved by His dedication to us. What beautiful grace. Recall how He gives us His grace moment by moment!  Why does He do that? Because, although we are righteous in Him, we are yet sinners through and through. What suitable candidates, therefore, we are for the grace of God. Grace is made for the sinner and the sinner is made for grace.

 

As we look daily unto Jesus and live in His grace, we will not, as some contend, want to sin more. On the contrary, grace will give us a clearer understanding of the nature of sin and make it more wretched and contemptible in our eyes. Grace will break us and cause us to see that the Lord Jesus willingly endured the most painful and disgraceful death as He took the wrath of Heaven for us. Grace will dramatically bring home to us the striking reality of this love and teach us, as His followers, to live, not for ourselves, but for Jesus. Grace will show us that He is enough! As we follow Him, grace will make us willing and ready to present our bodies as living sacrifices.

 

May we be encouraged to think often of Jesus and to meditate on Him. This is ‘Gospel Following.’ The more we know of the love of Jesus for us, the more we will hate those sins which put Him on the cross.

 


“Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;

Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art

Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,

Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.”

 

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

The Wednesday Word, March 30, 2016: Is Jesus Enough for Your Sacrifice?

And they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which being interpreted is The Place of the Skull)” Mark 15:22.


What sacrifice can we make that will impress the Father more than Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary? None! In the light of that one great sacrifice where Christ poured out His blood, our best efforts at self-denial fade to insignificance. The legendary missionary, David Livingstone, gave up and sacrificed everything to bring the Gospel to the continent of Africa, yet he said, “I never made a sacrifice. We ought not to talk of 'sacrifice' when we remember the great sacrifice which He made who left His Father's throne on high to give Himself up for us.”

 

Indeed, the heart of Christianity is neither about us nor our sacrifices, it is about Jesus. As P. T. Forsyth said; "Christianity is not the sacrifice that we make; it is the sacrifice that we trust."


Is His sacrifice enough for us? Consider this, on the day of His death, the Lord Jesus was brought to Golgotha, the place of the skull. Look at Him, the perfectly pure, holy and lovely One. He is brought to a miserable place littered with skulls and bones, then stripped naked and publicly executed. As Isaiah said, “He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7),”  Did you hear that word, ‘SLAUGHTER’! Let’s not try to sanitize this. He was slaughtered for us.

 

 Jesus—the kindest and most gracious man who ever walked, is led to Golgotha where He will writhe in tortured agony. But how can this be? His life was one of doing good and glorifying God. Yet, He is condemned to a wretched place where the worst and the wicked are executed.

 

Look at Him again, He is more than a man, He is God manifest in the flesh…the God/Man. One word from Him and the armies of Heaven will mobilize and launch a rescue mission.  Look at Him, concealing His Sovereign power as He refuses to save Himself. The wicked men who have contrived to kill him are laughable. They think they are in charge. Look at them again and see the reality; see them maliciously scheming to murder the Young Prince of Glory. But unknown to, and in spite of, themselves they are fulfilling His will. They mean this vile act for evil but God means it for good …  it’s all according to His plan.

 

So here He is, the Ruler and Judge of the universe being led as a lamb to the slaughter. Look again at the leaders of religion. This is the day they have plotted and planned for, yet look carefully again and see, in spite of all their supposed power, they are impotent.  Again, see who it is who is really in control, It is the Lord Jesus. He did not resist them. A man in charge does not need to resist. One glance from His eyes could have vaporized them.  Look at the cruel, wicked men fulfilling His will.  But listen to the Master and marvel, for He says, "No man takes my life from me—I have power to lay it down" (John 10:18). So here in His sovereign authority He moves all history, the will of man and the hatred of His enemies to one inescapable conclusion…Golgotha


But why did He allow Himself to be led as a sheep to the slaughter? (Acts 8:32).

One reason He went there was because no amount of sacrificing or religious observance on our part could rescue or redeem us.

 

And so,"they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha" the place of ultimate disgrace. In Jerusalem, in those days, parents would warn their children that if they took the wrong path in life they would end up at Golgotha: It was the end of the line, fit only for the lowest of the low! And so the Lord of Glory, Jesus, identifies with the lowest, the vilest and the foulest. Don’t ever think, therefore, that you have gone beyond His reach or exhausted His love. You can never exhaust a love that has gone to Golgotha for you.

 

So here at the cross, the place of the ultimate sacrifice, we discover our meeting place with God. Here man and God meet and see each other clearly. At the cross, we declared our hand and displayed our hatred for God; yet at the cross, God meets us, and fully demonstrates His love and grace towards us.

 

And now, because of Christ’s sacrifice, the cross is the true center of Christian fellowship.

His sacrifice is enough for the Father, is it enough for you?

 

 

“My faith has found a resting place

Not in device or creed

I’ll trust the ever-living one

His wounds for me shall plead

I need no other argument

I need no other plea,

It is enough that Jesus died,

And that He died for me”


And that's the Gospel Truth!


The Wednesday Word, April 13, 2016: Is Jesus Enough For Your Righteousness?


 

Humanly speaking, one of the reasons people don’t come to Christ is simply because they don’t feel they need to. After all, they reason, it’s only sick folk who go to the Doctor. These traditional thinkers believe they are decent and good and, therefore, are qualified, by their goodness, to approach God. As Spurgeon says; “There are people who quite misunderstand the gospel; they think that righteousness qualifies them to come to Christ; whereas sin is the only qualification for man to come to Jesus.”

 

When we are keenly aware of our sins, it is then that we see our need for the Saviour. The more we understand of the Holiness of God, the more we see the necessityto be clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Nothing but a perfect righteousness is suitable for our approach to God. Either we are covered in our own sins or by His righteousness alone.

 

So, let’s look again at Jesus. See Him once more at Golgotha. Look at them, stripping Him of His clothes, the very clothes the sick had touched for healing. There He is, naked and ashamed! But why? It was so that we, who have no righteousness of our own, might be clothed in His perfect righteousness and be unashamed. Without His righteousness we would all, as it were, stand naked and exposed before the Justice of God on the Day of Judgment. Is His righteousness enough for you?

 

Look at Calvary. With angry nails, they fastened Him to the cross. They pierced the feet which had carried Him to proclaim the Good News. With hatred, they hammered their spikes into His hands. What harm had those hands ever done?  They were the hands of help and healing yet in their rage they fasten those hands to the cross. Hear the blows of the hammer, listen to His screams, see the blood. Take note, see and above all, rejoice for here is the love of God!

 

“Here is love, vast as the ocean,

Lovingkindness as the flood,

When the Prince of Life, our Ransom,

Shed for us His precious blood.

Who His love will not remember?

Who can cease to sing His praise?

He can never be forgotten,

Throughout Heav’n’s eternal days.”

William Rees

 

Who nailed Him there? Was it the Jews for jealousy? Was it Pilate to show his power? Was it the soldiers for spite? No, it was our sins that nailed Him there—yours and mine. As J.C. Ryle says, “Our sins struck the hammer.” It was our sins that bruised and wounded Him. Itwas we who crucified Jesus.

 

But, have you embraced this sacrifice as your own? Since you are reading this, the chances are that you’ve heard much about the cross. But is Jesus your righteousness? George Whitefield said it like this, “Here’s something we must learn, going to Church and being good will not give you access to God.  The only access we can have is if we have the righteousness of Christ? Nothing but Christ! Nothing but Christ! We need Christ alone and Christ only to be our righteousness.

 

He went on to say; “If you love Him and He is your righteousness, let the righteousness of your Lord be continually in your mouth. Talk about His righteousness. Recommend it to others! Think of the greatness of the gift, as well as of the giver! Tell everyone you know that Christ is your righteousness and you are saved, not because you are good but because Christ Jesus is your righteousness.  Let everyone know that the Lord is your righteousness and that you are waiting for the Lord Jesus to come back from heaven to fetch you!”

 

Jesus is excellent! Even though our sins had caused a sinkhole of destruction, in Christ, we are brought out of its depths to the Throne.

 

Now we face our destiny. We have an appointed day, a Day of Judgment: But in that Day, He, the Lord Jesus will present us faultless and flawless before the Throne with exceeding joy (Jude 1:24). Then shall the Judge declare us, “NOT GUILTY!”.


Is this enough for you? Is there anything you would like to add to the Righteousness of Christ?

 

God forbid! Jesus is enough.

 

And that’s the Gospel Truth!


The Wednesday Word, April 27, 2016: Is Jesus Enough for your Religion? Part 2

It is a hard and bitter pill to swallow, but the truth is, everything we do is flawed! But does that matter? It certainly does if we are relying on our religious rituals to get us to Heaven. However, if we are relying exclusively on Jesus, His person and performance, then we are already saved. We have no need to work to gain something from God. Christ’s perfections and righteousness have now delivered and set us free to enjoy Him. If we truly believe that Jesus is enough, then we must accept that we have been brought out from the dreary treadmill of religious performance. Now, as those who have been delivered from the tyranny of having to impress God with our works, we find that there is life abundant in the Gospel.

 

Will everything we do for Jesus from this time onwards be perfect? It’s exceedingly doubtful (Jeremiah 17:9). Will those around us who are following Jesus do everything correctly? It’s not likely! If this were continually remembered, then there would be fewer fussings and fightings among the followers of Jesus.  Disappointments would diminish, and disillusion would disappear.  So many have broken off fellowship and gone out on their own because another flawed, imperfect Christian, just like them, hurt them.  Or maybe it was the Pastor! He ran off with the piano player! So let’s all quit!  Wait a minute, is Jesus not enough for us? He didn’t hurt us or for that matter run off with anyone. He is faithful, loyal and genuine! Are His faithfulness and loyalty enough for us?



In times like those, I’d forgotten that Jesus is enough!

 

Remember this, the church, although it is comprised of followers of Jesus, is really a hospital for hurting people; it’s full of the walking wounded. Don’t be surprised, then, when one of them turns around and bites you. But as for us, let’s keep our eyes on Jesus. He did no sin, there was no deceit in Him, yet He, "was numbered among the transgressors. We all deserve condemnation, but we have been acquitted by mercy, love and grace working together in concert with God’s justice. Now we are pronounced not guilty, not because of our religion, but because of the person and performance of the Lamb.

 

Let me ask you then, what do we have that we didn’t receive by grace? He was condemned, we got the acquittal! He suffered, we got the peace. He was put to shame, we inherit glory! He was put to death, we got the abundance of life. Our sins were imputed to Him. His righteousness is imputed to us. This is Amazing Grace!

 

Why then are we so judgmental towards other weak, frail and flawed followers? We need grace, so do they! What’s so special about us that our rights must be preserved? Jesus had rights, yet He laid them down. He went to the cross where He was mocked as an impostor. He had the right to save Himself, but He laid it down. So now, all that we have, and are, and hope for, is due to the doing and dying of Jesus. That’s the kind of religion’s that is enough for us.

 

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Wednesday Word, May 18, 2016: Is Jesus Enough to Bring Us Through Discouragement?

Here’s an important thing to learn! Not everything we attempt to do for Jesus is going to please everyone. People may not rally to us! But this is the price of the call! As followers of Jesus, we will attempt the things others refuse to do. David was like that. He stood against Goliath while the rest of Israel cowered and cowed down in troubled fear. Yet his elder brother, Eliab, was furious and rebuked him when it became apparent he would undertake the fight.  David wanted to bring glory to God, but it brought him harsh criticism and attacks from those who should have known better.

 

When the great missionary Patton was preparing to bring the Gospel to the savages of the New Hebrides an old gentleman in his church took him aside to warn him he was on a fool’s errand. “The cannibals, the cannibals,” cautioned the older man, “they will surely eat you.” Patton replied, “Mr. Dickson, with respect, you are advanced in years, and your own prospect is soon to be laid in the grave, there to be eaten by worms; I confess to you, that if I can but live and die serving and honoring the Lord Jesus, it will make no difference to me whether I am eaten by Cannibals or by worms; and in the Great Day my resurrection body will arise as fair as yours in the likeness of our risen Redeemer.”

 

For Patton, Jesus was enough! With Jesus, he was more than able to endure the discouragements thrown into his life. His ministry in the New Hebrides would last for over forty-three years. Did cannibals eat him? No, but some of his fellow workers perished that way! However, serving Jesus brought him a far from trouble-free life. He endured multiple disappointments. His first wife and child died-----he dug their graves with his own hands. He withstood affliction, shipwrecks and illness.  But perhaps the biggest disappointments of all were the indifference of the Christians back home and the betrayal of friends and converts on the field. His life was filled with major disappointments. But for John G Patton, Jesus was enough! And what of his work? He lived to see the entire culture of the New Hebrides transformed by Christ. Men who once had hated and eaten one another would come to sit down together and worship the Lamb who was slain.

 

 

Maybe the Lord is calling you to feed orphans and widows in India; maybe your call is to partner financially with those who are spreading the gospel throughout the world. Maybe it is to go feed the poor and homeless in your hometown. You have only one life, make it count for Jesus. But be warned, not everyone will love you for taking the Word of God seriously. Members of your own family may think you’ve gone mad (Mark 3:21).

 

Let’s face it then, it is nothing for us to serve the Lord when everything is easy, when there is no opposition; when there are no roadblocks. However, what will happen when we encounter disappointments? Will we give up or be faithful in the midst of discouragement? The more we learn that Jesus is enough, the more we will be equipped to withstand the storms which come against you.

 

 Look at Jesus, He didn’t abandon His mission when He encountered opposition and discouragements. Just think, what if He had given up! What if, when He was hanging on the cross being insulted and mocked by the passersby He had said, “that’s it, I quit!”  I believe the universe would have collapsed like a deck of cards. But, Jesus was no quitter, and we have His Spirit so let us find our very life in Him. He is enough.

 

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

The Wednesday Word, June 1, 2016: Is Jesus Enough for Your Passion?



Wouldn’t it be magnificent to be more like Jesus? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be as compassionate and loving as He is? Look at the Saviour and see the love that poured from Him.  Look at Him, weeping over the lost in Jerusalem. So we want to be like Him? … Do we? … When is the last time we shed a tear for someone who was spiritually lost? Let’s face it, many of us live and act like there is no Judgment to come for the unsaved. Are we praying for the Lord to show mercy to even one of our lost friends and family?


But Brother Miles, don’t you believe the doctrine of unconditional election?  Yes, absolutely! But sometimes I’m with Spurgeon, who quipped, “Lord save the elect and then elect some more.”


All of us have been commissioned to spread the Good News, but many of us have no passion for doing so. We are like armchair spectators watching a football game. All of us have our opinions about how the game should be played and about the performance of the participants on the field. We, however, are fans, not players.

 

Reality Check! Jesus doesn’t want any more fans. He wants players … people passionate about the Gospel. He wants workers who, with their hearts, are involved in His harvest.  Jesus said it like this, “The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest” (Luke 10:2).


The Greek word to ‘send forth’, in this verse, means to compel, to command, to draw out with force or to lead with an irresistible force. We are, therefore, to pray that workers will be thrust out into the harvest. But we can’t pray like that with any honesty if we treat the cause of the Gospel as a spectator sport.

But, we don’t like to get over-zealous. It causes too much inconvenience.


 Yet, we say, we want to be like Jesus. Look at our Master, He was totally set apart to His Father’s will. He was tireless in bringing the good news. He was passionate for the Kingdom. Look at Him with His nights of praying and days of fasting. Have we ever wanted to walk in those steps?


So let’s state the obvious, followers follow!  But, for many who name the name of Christ, Jesus doesn’t seem to be enough. There is no passion for Him!


So, where do we get this passion? Here’s the answer. Take time alone with the Lord Jesus. Go into your room and shut the door (Matthew 6:6). Get alone with Him and His Word and get thoroughly acquainted with Him and His Gospel. Of course, you can survive with the ‘here a little, there a little’ prayer life, but Jesus will not become your passion.


Concerning prayer, Horatius Bonar said,

“Talk everything through with Him. Pour your heart out to Him- every thought, feeling, wish, plan and doubt.  He wants, not merely to be on 'good terms' with you, but to be intimate. Are you going to shun the intimacy, and be satisfied with mere acquaintance? What! Intimate with the world, with friends, with neighbours; but not with Jesus! How strange! It is sheer foolishness to prefer the clay to the potter, the marble to the sculptor, this little earth and its lesser creatures to the mighty Maker of the universe, the great 'All and in all!”


It’s easy to let our hearts grow icy. However, we can go straight back to Jesus with our cold, cold hearts, and warm them there. There’s no condemnation, only a welcome. He knows us, He knows our names, our character, our problems with sins, our fears, our deepest thoughts, our troubles, our trials and temptations. The Good Shepherd knows us well yet He has taken a profound and irreversible interest in our welfare.


Jesus Himself wants to become our passion. Whatever it is that prevents us from being zealous for Jesus, may we take it to the cross and leave it there. May we look, by faith, to our High Priest to apply all the benefits of His Calvary victory to us.


Is Jesus enough?  Yes indeed, He is enough.


And that’s the Gospel Truth!

The Wednesday Word, June 8, 2016:  Is It Enough to Be His?



“My beloved is mine and I am His” (Song of Songs 2:16). What a verse!  What a truth. ‘We are His!’ Just to know that He is mine doesn’t do it for me.  Why not? Because I am in the habit of losing things that are mine. But Jesus has never lost anything that is His.  We are His! We are safe.


But how did we become His?


We became His because He created us (John 1:3). We are His because the Father gave us to Him as a gift (John 6:37). We are His because He bought us (1 Peter 1:18).  We are His because He found us (Luke 19:10). We are His because He conquered us (Colossians 2:13). We are His, not because of our performance, but because of His grace (Ephesians 2:8).


Our sufficiency is in Christ alone! He is enough? Poor old Job would have utterly fainted had he not believed that He belonged to the all-sufficient Lord. There was once a time when Job could talk about everything that he had. He could boast about his, health, wealth and children, but there came a time when, suddenly, they were all gone. He had nothing left but the Word of the Lord and the Lord of the Word. He had lost everything, but still could say, "I know that my Redeemer liveth’ (Job 19:25).


Is Jesus enough for us? We have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7). Is that enough? We have His precious promises (2 Peter 1:4). Are they enough? He has promised, "Come unto me and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Is His rest enough? What more can He do than that which He has done? Is there something else we want to add to Him to find fulfillment?



We are His! What a beautiful truth! When we stumble and fall, we are His. In those situations, we actually collapse into His embrace for, "underneath are the everlasting arms" (Deuteronomy 33:27). His arms are almighty, they catch, hold, strengthen and restore us. He is our source, safety and salvation. He is enough!

 

When we fall, the everlasting arms catch us. And, it is in that fall that we realize, were it not for His grace, our destiny would be Hell and destruction. We apprehend that, in spite of our new life as Christians, we remain, at best, sinners saved by grace.

 

 So, let me get personal and ask, have you fallen?  Have you fallen badly? Does that mean then you are now finished as a believer?  Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He turned His back on you?  No! You have fallen into His everlasting arms! Let Him teach you, therefore, the horror of your sins, let Him show you your nothingness; let Him strengthen you and demonstrate the power of His might. Don’t be dismayed under the sense of our own vileness and insufficiency. You are in His arms now! You are His! He will restore you and make you stand.

 

Perhaps you are struggling with the wretchedness of sin right this second! Look up and see, Jesus sitting majestically, robed in love, upon a throne of Grace. He is your King! Look again and see that He is your advocate who pleads your cause. Look again and see those the everlasting arms of sovereign power.

What authority then can snatch us out of those arms? What force can undo our reconciliation? What power can unfasten our redemption? What foul spirit can defy the Holy Spirit? "The eternal God is our refuge:" He has surrounded us with His grace, love, might and power. Is this enough for us? May we purpose today to walk into freedom, thankfulness and joy.  Jesus is enough!

 

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

The Wednesday, June 15, 2016: Is Jesus Wonderful Enough?

From the cross, the young Prince of Glory declared, "It is finished." From His majestic throne, He pronounces, "It is done." It is no marvel then that the apostle would have us to look unto Jesus to find the daily patience and endurance we need (Hebrews 12:2-3).


Looking unto Jesus … what a wonderful practice. But, what do we see when we look? Do we, by faith see the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end of our salvation? Do we see in Christ our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30)?


Somebody once told me that the Christian life was easy.  I disagree.  I’ve found the easy parts to be easy, but the hard parts are hard, very hard. Life throws everything at us, but we can endure all as we learn, by faith, to see the Invisible One. He is our refuge and shield (2 Samuel 22:3). The same one who authored our faith will finish it! His power and faithfulness are enough to complete the work He started!


As we grow in grace and the knowledge of God, we discover that He is enough. So, we have to ask ourselves again, are we enjoying being His followers? We will enjoy Him if He is enough! But, if our hearts are still yearning for the World then we will remain in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction. We will be caught in a ‘no man’s land.’ It’s like this, if we belong to the Lord, and we live outside of him, we’ll be foreigners in a strange land. Until Jesus becomes enough, we will be in a perpetual state of instability and confusion.



As William Mason said,

 

“My dear friends, be not content to live without a constant revelation of Christ to your souls: this makes the conscience peaceful, the heart happy, and the soul joyful: this inspires love, subdues lust, captivates the affections, makes the whole man happy in God, and creates heaven in the soul.”

 

Jesus is enough! He is indeed heaven in the soul. He is our King and as King He exercises a three-fold reign. He reigns over us, He reigns for us, and reigns in us. It is not, therefore, without reason that Jesus is called, “Wonderful” (Isaiah 9:6). His birth was wonderful; His person is wonderful; His offices of Prophet, Priest and King are wonderful; His work for us was wonderful; He was the teacher and the subject of His lesson. That’s wonderful! He was the Lamb and at the same time the shepherd; that again is wonderful! His sinless life was wonderful; His death was wonderful; He was both the sacrifice and the Priest who offered the sacrifice… that’s wonderful! His resurrection was wonderful; His ascension into Heaven was wonderful; His salvation is wonderful; His power is wonderful and His faithfulness is wonderful. Is He wonderful enough for you and for me?


Speaking of the Lord’s wonderful ministry, the old time Welsh preacher, Christmas Evans, said;


“With a mighty hand, He laid hold of the works of Satan, unlocked the prison gates, and broke the bands asunder. He opened His mouth and the deaf heard, the blind saw, the dumb spoke, the lame walked, and the lepers were cleansed. ----He took our yoke and bore it away upon His own shoulders and cast it broken into the bottomless pit.”


Jesus is wonderful.

He is enough.


And that’s the Gospel Truth!


The Wednesday Word, June 22, 2016: Is His ability enough for You? - Part 1



In Christ Jesus, there is an immense strength available for believers. When His salvation first apprehended us, we began to comprehend our nothingness and entire dependence on Jesus. Even now, as His followers, we are still confronted by our weakness apart from Him. This is good, for it keeps us in a place of brokenness and dependency. It’s a place where we can learn that His ability is enough.


When we consider Christ’s ability, it’s good to contemplate, for example, His skill at answering our prayers.  We read, “Now unto Him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think-----” (Ephesians 3:20). This is an astonishing scripture! If this gets a hold of us, it will cause us to realize that Jesus really is enough. Let’s take a moment and look more closely at this verse and see what it says to us.


It begins by declaring’ “Unto Him”.  All prayer starts, with Him, with Jesus.  He is the ultimate prayer warrior. But who is He? He is the God/Man, the Maker of Heaven and earth. He is the one to whom all power in Heaven and earth is given. Our verse next informs us that,


He is able:

Jesus is the able one. He is able to save to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25): He is able to make us stand (Romans 14:4): He is able to establish us (Romans 16:25): He is able to help us when we are tempted (Hebrews 2:18) and He is able to keep us from falling and to present us faultless in Heaven (Jude 1:24). He is enough for every situation we face.


He is able to do:

He is the one who gets things done. When He opens a door no one can shut it, when He closes a door no one can open it.  He is the God of all-power who does according to His will. He is enough!


He is able to do all:

Nothing is too difficult for the Lord! He is the great and mighty God and who can withstand Him? He commands the winds and the waves to be silent and they obey. He can calm all the storms in our lives---is this enough for us?


He is able to do all we ask.

He is able to make good every promise He has ever made. We, therefore, need to get into the habit of asking! Just think of the extravagant love and power there is for us.  Reflect on Romans 8:32; which tells us that we shall be freely given all things with Christ.


He is able to do all we ask and think.

This almost gets scary!  He is able to do all that we think. This means that, in Jesus, there are limitless possibilities. There is an inexhaustible fullness of grace, mercy and provision which our prayers can never drain.


Spurgeon says, “Have you not, at times, been filled with great thoughts of what God might do with you? Have you not imagined how He might use you for His Glory? He can do more than you have dreamed! Turn your pleasant dreams into fervent prayers and it may yet please the Lord to make you useful to an amazing degree—so that you shall be astonished at what you will accomplish. If of a humble shepherd lad He made a David, He may do the same with you!”


He is able to do above all we ask or think.

To know that He can do all we ask or think is good enough for me, but now to be told that He is able to do above all that we ask or think is enough to make a Presbyterian shout! He is able to do more than we ask or think! Isn’t it time for us to get a bigger vision of the greatness of Jesus and His ability?


As John Newton wrote,


“Thou art coming to a King,

Large petitions with thee bring;

For His grace and power are such,

None can ever ask too much.”

 

He is enough!


And that’s the Gospel Truth!


The Wednesday Word, June 29, 2016: Is His Ability Enough for You? - Part 2


Last week we considered Jesus the Able One who is able to do above all we ask or think. Today we notice that, He is able to do abundantly above all we ask or think.


This gets better and better. Not only is He able to do above all, but He is also able to do, “Abundantly above all” (see Deuteronomy 1:10-11). In other words, take what we are praying for and multiply it by 100 then by 1000. That’s the kind of answer God is willing and able to give. The Lord is not limited by our prayers, and a good thing too for our prayers are deficient and shallow. He takes even the frailty of our prayers, touches them with His greatness and returns an answer worthy of His majesty. He is enough!


Notice next that He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we as or think.

Think of the greatest abundance you can imagine by multiplication and then multiply it again. Is that what this means? No! That can be measured! His answers and provision are as vast and immeasurable as the stars of the universe. He answers us like royalty because we are the children of His magnificent grace.



He will answer and provide “exceeding abundantly.” Spurgeon says, “His power to bless us is not limited by our power to understand the blessing! Grace is not measured to us according to our capacity to receive, but according to His ability to bestow! ---Has not the Lord said, “Open your mouth wide and I will fill it?” Yet our widest mouth is not the measure of what He can give us! Our boldest prayer is not the boundary of what He is able to bestow!”

Spurgeon’s sermons: Vol 21

 

I heard a story about the first city fathers of New York as they contemplated the future growth of their municipality. They laid out the streets and numbered them from the centre outward. When they began, there were only six or seven thoroughfares, but they felt they needed to project for potential future growth.


Being men of vision, they decided they needed to ‘think big’ so reaching beyond their wildest imagination, they drew streets on the map all the way out to 19th Street. They called it "Boundary Street." They were sure that that was as big as New York would get.

Good luck with that one men! History has proven them to be so very short-sighted. The city has reached more than 284th Street and counting!


Jesus is never limited in His ability. We should always be prepared to receive exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or even think.


The thief on the cross asked to be remembered but was given eternal life ----that was an ‘exceeding abundantly above’ answer.


Simon the Pharisee asked Jesus to dinner and got a revelation of the Character of God ---another ‘exceeding abundant above’ moment!


Mary and Martha asked Jesus to pray for their sick brother but got a miracle of resurrection----they got exceeding abundantly above all that they asked or thought.


 We need to discover, like Mary and Martha, that Jesus is bigger than any request we have. He is the God who is enough! He is big enough, wise enough, great enough, strong enough, powerful enough, kind enough and caring enough for anything we will have to face today. So let’s ask the question again, is Jesus enough?

 

 

    HE

HE IS ABLE

HE IS ABLE TO DO

HE IS ABLE TO DO ALL

HE IS ABLE TO DO ALL WE ASK

HE IS ABLE TO DO ALL WE ASK OR THINK

HE IS ABLE TO DO ABOVE ALL WE ASK OR THINK

HE IS ABLE TO DO ABUNDANTLY ABOVE ALL WE ASK OR THINK

HE IS ABLE TO DO EXCEEDING ABUNDANTLY ABOVE ALL WE ASK OR THINK

HE IS ENOUGH

 

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

The Wednesday Word, July 6, 2016: Eternal Life


 

There are those who say that Jesus was an enlightened teacher, but not God.  Well, of course, He was a brilliant teacher. Just think of His influence compared to that of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.  They taught for a total of 130 years, but Jesus taught for only 3. Yet those 3 years turned the world upside down and impacted more people than did Plato and the boys put together.

 

But, Jesus was more than an excellent teacher; He was God manifest in the flesh.  This means that He was the greatest teacher ever. And, in addition to teaching, He did things worthy of Deity.  For example, He gave the gift of eternal life. Which of the other praiseworthy teachers of the past gave the gift of eternal life?  Not Plato, not Socrates, not Aristotle---none of them.

 

And while we are considering this, let’s ask, just who exactly is qualified to give eternal life? Even someone who has not read the Bible knows the answer to that one.  The only one who can give eternal life is someone who has it to give.  I can neither give eternal life to you nor can you give it to me….we are somewhat deficient in the eternal life department.  But God is the possessor of eternal life, and if ever we are to be given it, we must be given it by God. That’s why we are informed in Romans 6:23 that, whereas the wages of sin is death, the gift of God is eternal life.  No one else but God can give eternal life.  Moses for all his thundering could not give it, Isaiah for all his holy living couldn’t give it, Jeremiah in spite of his immense compassion couldn’t give it, none of the Prophets, Priests or Kings of Israel could give it, for it wasn’t theirs to give.



Then along came Jesus.  This man refused to be put into the category of merely a good teacher. One day, as He sat talking to His disciples about sheep and shepherding, he fixed His gaze on them and announced,

 

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” John 10:27-28.


Did you hear that? “I give unto my sheep eternal life and they shall never perish!” So what’s He saying here … He’s saying, “I’m God.”A man who is merely a good teacher, in spite of other abilities, cannot give eternal life to anyone. Only God can give eternal life, for the gift of God is eternal life-----so if Jesus is telling the truth, then He is God.  I like what John Gill has to say on this subject,

 

“Christ gives eternal life to his sheep ---------- he gives them himself, who is the true God and eternal life, and whoever has him has life; he gives them the knowledge of himself, which is life eternal; and he gives them his righteousness, which is their justification of life, or what entitles them to eternal life;  --- this is a pure gift, it is of grace, and not of works; and it is in the gift of Christ as Mediator, who has power to give it to as many as the Father has given him.”

John Gill: Exposition of the Bible.

 

When Jesus claimed the ability to give eternal life to His sheep, He was declaring his infinite Deity.  He was putting Himself on an equal footing with God!  And this was a legitimate exercise on which to embark since He was the eternal God walking around in human form.   However, if Christ were not the eternal God manifest in the flesh we, once more, must denounce Him as a madman or an evil worker.  If He’s not God, He’s a fraud!  Making those outlandish claims, yet having no power to back them up, qualifies him as one of the greatest kooks of all time!  But if He is God, trust Him with your soul, follow Him and worship Him.

 

Come All Harmonious Tongues

Your noblest music bring;

"Tis Christ the everlasting God,

And Christ the man we sing.

 

And that’s the Gospel Truth!


The Wednesday Word, July 20, 2016: The Jerusalem Lament



“Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that kills the prophets and stones them which are sent unto you, how often have I desired to gather your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not …….” Matthew 23:37

 

Before He spoke these words, Jesus had made a scathing, verbal assault on the hypocritical Pharisees. To the unenlightened, Christ’s words seem rude, sarcastic and belligerent. According to Him, these religious leaders were a cluster of hypocrites, snakes and murderers.  One might be excused for thinking that Jesus had overstepped the mark by adopting such an unfitting, hostile attitude.  How unbecoming for a man of God!  But then, the sobering thought comes to us that this was no mere man speaking, this was God in full articulate flow.  And these cutting indictments are exactly what God thinks of a veneered religion that conceals a wicked heart. So much for ‘Gentle Jesus meek and mild’!  However, we should not be surprised by His tone, for in using this manner of speech, He is once more demonstrating His eternal Deity. We read of the Almighty in Psalms 2 that;

“He that sits in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.”

When God laughs, it’s not funny!


However, Christ then turns from his polemic with the Pharisees and mourns over Jerusalem saying these remarkable words,

 

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that kill the prophets, and stone them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not” (Matthew 23:37).


The key word in this verse is “gathered” (episunago). In essence, Jesus is again referencing His eternal Godhead. It is the nature of God to gather and to cover.  Indeed, Jesus, in this passage, is claiming to be the God of Psalm 91:4 where it is said of Him that, “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.”


If Christ was merely a man, this kind of language, once more, represents him as a religious nutcase.  When He says, ‘How often,’ it implies that He had an age-long desire to gather the city to Himself. If He had His beginning, in Bethlehem, this would have been a ludicrous statement. Furthermore, can you imagine any mere carpenter who doubled as a country preacher presenting himself as the place of safety for an entire city? How absurd!

But, it was God Himself who in His unchanging love for Jerusalem had sent them prophets time and time again.  Jesus, therefore, is speaking as the eternal Deity. Once more I defer to the wisdom of Mr. Spurgeon,

 

“Some, who have found difficulties in this lament, have said that it was the language of Christ as man. I beg to put in a very decided negative to that; it is, and it must be, the utterance of the Son of man, the Son of God, the Christ in his complex person as human and divine. I am not going into any of the difficulties just now; but you could not fully understand this passage, from any point of view, unless you believed it to be the language of one who was both God and man.”

Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit “I Would, But You Would Not” Sermon No. 2381

 

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

The Wednesday Word, July 27, 2016: Able Ministers of the New Covenant


“…who also has made us able ministers of the New Covenant ..”
(2 Corinthians 3:6).


In Colossians 3:16 we find an encouragement to let the Word of Christ dwell richly in us. But, what is the Word of Christ?  It is the Gospel.  In other words, the Gospel should be the very centre of our thinking and affections.


As able ministers of the New Covenant, we should be, first and foremost, gospel preachers.

I didn’t say that we should all be evangelists. That would be a grave error. What I mean is, regardless of our ministry gifting, we should all be Gospel preachers.

 

Some years ago I attended a function and met an old friend.  He asked me how I was.  I replied, “Wonderful, my sins are all forgiven. They have all been done away with.  On top of that, I have a High Priest who is ever living for me.  How can I improve on that?”  My friend, a professing Christian, said, “Please, please tell me more, I desperately need to hear that, but I never hear anything like that at our church.”  His is not an isolated case.  God’s people are being starved for the gospel as they exist on a believer centred, moralistic diet.


However, from the lips of the able minister of the New Covenant should fall precious gospel truths. Their themes should be Justification and acquittal; the truths of the shed blood, the purging of sins, the free and righteous grace of God, reconciliation, the cross, the cleansed conscience, the Law/Grace distinction, propitiation and the doing away of wrath. But most of all, the able minister of the New Covenant preaches Christ Himself.  Paul rejoiced that in spite of the enemies of the Gospel, Christ was being preached (Philippians 1:18).

We are to preach Christ Himself. He is the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form (Colossians 2:9). Preach Him.


In Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3). Preach Him.

He is our Prophet (Hebrews 1:1-2). Preach Him.

He is our Priest (Hebrews 2:17). Preach Him.

He is our King (1 Timothy 6:15). Preach Him.

 

The able minister of the New Covenant does not preach Himself (2 Corinthians 4:5). Nor does he preach his speculations (1 Timothy 4:7).  He preaches Christ, the Alpha and Omega the beginning and the end. He preaches Christ the one who was given (John 3:16) and Christ the one who gave Himself (Galatians 1:4). He preaches Christ the Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6) and Christ, the servant of Yahweh (Isaiah 52:13). He preaches Christ, the victor not Christ the Victim. He preaches Christ the sinless one.


He preaches Christ the perfect one, the one who is perfect in holiness, perfect in power, perfect in love, perfect in His words and perfect in His deeds.

When a New Covenant Minister is in love with the Master, he is careful to magnify the name of Jesus, for that name is above all other names.  The name of Jesus resounds with the Gospel. The name of Jesus bursts forth with torrential Good News.  The name of Jesus announces Him as our rescuer, deliverer and saviour.


The able minister of the New Covenant preaches Christ in His doing.

The able minister of the New Covenant preaches Christ in His dying

The able minister of the New Covenant preaches Christ in His burial

The able minister of the New Covenant preaches Christ in His rising again.

The able minister of the New Covenant preaches Christ in His ascension.

The able minister of the New Covenant preaches Christ in His Intercession.

The able minister of the New Covenant preaches Christ in His Second Coming.


Gospel preaching will produce a people who are madly, passionately in love with Jesus. That will bring an awakening and a revival.


And that’s the Gospel Truth!

The Wednesday Word, August 3, 2016: The Wednesday Word: Is Jesus Enough as Your Life? (Part 1)


"Take away Jesus, and a believer is nobody—without Him, we are nobodies who can do nothing.”


So said the mighty Puritan preacher, Thomas Brooks


Tucked away in Paul’s letter to the Philippians we find one of the most profound statements in scripture; it reads, “For me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21). This scripture brings us to sacred ground. I’m challenged when I read it! Are you? Is it true, for us, that to live is Christ?  Can we say, with reality and certainty, that Christ Jesus is our life?


Paul could say it, and what was true about Paul should also be true of every other follower of Jesus. There is, after all, no elite class of special followers comprised of the super–spiritual, the apostles, the preachers and the like. There are no super-saints! We are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28). That Christ is to be our life, therefore, is the standard for every one of His followers.


Every follower of the Lord Jesus should be able to say with Paul, “For me to live is Christ.” As we bathe daily in the gospel, our lives become consumed with a passion for Jesus. Paul, as you remember, when he penned these words was awaiting an uncertain future. He was in prison and didn’t know whether he was to live or die.  But, to him, it was of no consequence for if He lived, life would all be about Christ and if he died it would still be the same.   

 

Let’s take a moment to think about it. Can we say, Christ is our life? Of course, we can say it, but are we honest? Is our life, perhaps, all about our family? Maybe, if the truth surfaced, we’d see that our lives are about us, our career, our ambitions and dreams?


Families are wonderful but precious as our families are, what happens if death suddenly takes one or all of them away?  Or, what happens when our career is suddenly ended or our investments are abruptly evaporated. If any of these things are our life, then we will have no life. Our life will have vanished.

 

“Well,” you say, “my life is none of the above, my life is about what I do for Jesus.”  To work for Jesus is good, but it is a poor substitute for Christ Himself.  What if we lose our health and are confined to a hospital bed?  We can no longer teach or serve or minister in the manner to which we are accustomed. Our life has disappeared, and we are left with nothing.


Paul’s life, however, was about a person, Jesus Christ, not about the work he could do for Him. He was madly and passionately in love with Jesus. Jesus was his treasure. Out of this relationship flowed his work and priorities but these things were never his life.  Paul built all of his life upon a person.  In that way, he was secure and satisfied.  Jesus was always enough in every situation.


So let’s ask the question again, is Jesus your life? You say you are not sure how to answer that! OK, ask yourself, what do you do with your thought life, do you ever think about Jesus? Listen to me, you will always think about the one you love! Jesus taught that our heart will always be with our treasure (Matthew 6:21).


So, let’s ask again, is Jesus your life? Does He ever occupy your mind?

Do you ever talk about Him?  It’s hard to keep quiet about someone you love. That’s why Paul was such a diligent preacher. He desired to make Jesus famous! Do you? Do I? Remember that a spiritually diseased heart births a tongue that longs to be quiet about Jesus.

 

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

The Wednesday Word, August 10, 2016: Is Jesus Enough When You Sin?



God has never forced us to sin. To our shame, we do it willingly, gladly and readily. If the truth be known, we love sin. We may hate its consequences, but, left to our own devices, our inclination is always and ever away from God. All mankind has been smitten with the sin virus (Romans 6:6); it is, so to speak, lurking in our blood, continually spawning sins, its fowl children (Romans 5:12).


The awful problem with sins, however, is that they bring separation from God (Isaiah 59:2). God is holy: Because He is holy, He hates sins and hates all workers of iniquity (Psalm 5:5). It may seem a foreign concept to our ears to associate ‘hatred’ with the God of love but before objecting to this picture, let me warn against the subtle sin of idolatry. Idolatry? Yes, idolatry! For when we reject God’s self-declaration and substitute Him for the God we’d like Him to be, we have become idolaters. Much as we would like God to be the God of love who is never at angry at sin or sinners, we must never project this false picture onto Him.


God refuses to fit our concept of who we want Him to be, in fact, He won’t even try. He’s got better things to do! As for us, the best thing we can do is bow before Him and worship Him as He is and for who He is.



God is Holy, and we are not. This knowledge is where religion finds a natural breeding ground as it germinates in the fears and guilt of sinful man. We really are laughable; we cannot create ourselves, but think that by practicing some religion or other, we can save ourselves. Yet, no matter how involved we become in our religion, no matter how zealous we are, we are impotent to stop sinning … and sins separate us from God. Religion cannot remove the virus of sin. Although, for the follower of Jesus, the Holy Spirit will limit and restrain the production of sins we remain sinners till the day we die. Remember this, if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8).

 

The good news for sinners (us), however, is that God is not only holy, He is also just. But how is this Good News? I can take some comfort knowing that He is loving, but surely there is no comfort in knowing that, in his unswerving justice, he will punish us and our sins?  A just God will surely meet out punishment. This is far from good news. So then, how can God be just, and yet save me a ruined sinner?

 

Which brings us back to the Gospel, the best news, the old news and the ever-new news---Jesus!

Only in Jesus can God be both loving and just. Between the all-holy God and sin-filled believer, there stands the remarkable sinless person of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is enough for the sinner, and He is enough for the Father. God punished our sins on Him. In grace, He became accountable for us and poured out His blood for us.


Jesus, the Lord of glory, became a security and substitute for His people. He took our place in his doing, dying and rising. He ascended to the right hand of the Father (the place of cosmic authority) for us. And now, because of Jesus and His accomplishments on our behalf, not only love but also justice endorses our acquittal.


Jesus is Enough


And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Wednesday Word, August 17, 2016: Falling from Grace


Gal 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.


The apostolic gospel we preach is a full gospel.  Although eternal (Revelation 14:6), the gospel was declared fully in the person, doing, dying and rising again of Christ. Here’s a superb fact,…. there’s nothing in the apostolic gospel that should be out of it, and there’s nothing out of it that should be in it. It is as complete as it is perfect. However, the Galatian church had forgotten this truth. And what was the result? They fell from grace.


What was the problem with the Galatian church? Was it that they no longer believed Christ had been crucified?  No! They believed that!


Was it that they no longer believed in the bodily resurrection of Jesus?  No! They believed that.


Was it that they no longer believed in the blood?  No!  They believed that.


They looked quite orthodox, but they had fallen from grace.  How come? They fell from grace because they were adding a little law to the gospel.  What a drastic error.  In their case, they added circumcision, but they ought to have known that no law can save.  The Law cannot give us acquittal of sins it can only condemn!  The Law cannot bless, it can only curse.  The Law cannot build, it can only tear down.  The Law can show us our guilt, but it can’t remove it.  The Law holds the key to the prison of condemnation.   It puts us inside and securely locks the door. However, although it can lock us in, it has no key to let us out. Only the Gospel possesses that key.  Only the Gospel can set the captive free (Luke 4:18)!



Yet today, just like the Galatians, many people insist on adding a little something to the Gospel.  They quietly think, for example, that the Gospel is insufficient to rest upon.  So what do they do? They add feelings to it.  “I know I’m saved,” they say, “because I feel saved.” In doing so, they’ve subtly perverted the Gospel and have fallen from grace.  Still others look for evidence of salvation by their works.  If they can see enough good works in their life, then they have peace.  But again, this is to fall from grace. They are not resting on Christ alone.


In reality, every addition to the Gospel is a perverted wicked subversion.  Jesus is our exclusive resting place. We grace believers really mean it when we sing, “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to thy cross I cling!” We know and are certain that Jesus is our only and entire confidence.


Remember this, if we are resting on feelings for salvation, we have fallen from grace.


If we are resting on the fact that we have a good prayer life, we have fallen from grace.


If we are resting on the fact that we have come under conviction of sins, we have fallen from grace.


If we are resting on the fact that we have repented, we have fallen from grace.


Repentance, conviction, prayer and works are wonderful, but we dare not put our confidence in them. They constitute no part of our hope.


“On Christ the solid rock I stand

All other ground is sinking sand.”


And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Wednesday Word, August 24, 2016:  The High Priest who Purged our Sins




Hebrews 1:3, “Who by Himself purged our sins.”


What a stunning statement.  Jesus, our High Priest, purged our sins.  In other words, He removed them!  That’s the kind of High Priest we need.  Let any other religious leaders try to do this and their efforts will come to nothing. Buddha could not take away the sins of his people. Mohammed didn’t eradicate the sins of his followers. But, Christ Jesus, our High Priest, by Himself, purged our sins.


When Jesus purged the sins of His people, it was the fulfillment of that which had been pre-figured in the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:30). On that day, Israel was temporarily cleansed from her sins. Now, fast forward to Calvary. There, Jesus, by Himself, permanently purged our sins. He is the fulfilment and the reality of the great Day of Atonement.


But, how did He purge our sins? By His teaching?  No! By His Doctrine? No! By His Spirit? No! He purged our sins, “By Himself.” What an excellent word! “Himself.” Some Bible versions leave it out, but it is Gospel Truth. Take these verses, for example. “Who His own self bore our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:22). “By His own blood, He entered in once into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption for us (Hebrews 9:12). “…..how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience (Hebrews 9:14)?”


By Himself, He purged our sins. All that He had and all that He was, He gave as our ransom.  

 

 By Himself, He purged our sins.  What power! Think about it, He purged our sins before we had ever committed them. Before we had ever sinned, he fully exercised His ministry of purging. What authority, ability and grace! What a Saviour!

 

There’s an ancient fable that tells of how Hercules cleaned out the Augean stable. But, think about it,… that was an easy task compared to the purging of our sins. The stench of our sins was fouler than the most putrid of dunghills, Yet Jesus purged our sins, by Himself.



Who was this man, this Priest, who purged our sins?  He is the heir of all things. He is the brightness of the Father’s glory and the express image of his person (Hebrews 1:2-3). He is the eternal God made flesh (1 Timothy 3:16). He is the one who was and is uniquely God and Man. He is not only our High Priest but also our Prophet and King. He offered Himself. The entire Christ was offered by Christ Himself!


He was High Priest, the Lamb, the Altar and the Sacrifice.  It was His blood, His life, which was poured out. Because of that purging of our sins, by Jesus, our High Priest, both God and the believer can righteously approach each other and meet face to face. The distance between us has been destroyed.  It has disappeared.


The sins are gone.

The guilt has gone.

The condemnation has gone.

The separation has gone.


The one sacrifice has been made and accepted. Christ, by Himself, purged our sins.  It is finished!


Our approach to God is now secure. The High Priest has purged our sins.  The door to eternity is open. The High Priest has purged our sins. The veil is torn from the top to the bottom. The High Priest has purged our sins. The dread of God has been removed, the hiding is over, because our priest, by Himself has purged our sins.  

 

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Wednesday Word, September 7, 2016: His Very Best




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

 

The Father, in choosing the method of putting away our sins, selected the very best He had, the blood of His own Son. It is by the priceless blood of the Lord Jesus that we are cleansed from our complete catalog 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 actually 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. Also, 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 advantages and communion of His death. It is only by their baptism, they say, that we can receive 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. He had called Jesus the Lord (Acts 22:10). He was spending his time in prayer (Acts 9:11), and he had 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 take away your sins and their legal consequences? If you have, you are already baptized into Christ. If you haven't, then you still are carrying responsibility for every sin that you have ever committed. That means that when you die, there’s nothing left for you but the Judgment and 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’s the Gospel Truth!

Wednesday Word, September 14, 2016: Faith in His Blood



“Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood …” Romans 3:25


When the blood of Christ is highly prized and valued, the result is a vibrant spiritual life.  However, when the blood is undervalued and under-emphasised, it leads to spiritual decay. When there is a shallow view of the blood, it results in a shallow view of sin and vice versa.  When we look at Church history, we see that as the church loses sight of the blood, it goes into spiritual recession.  How we urgently need to be filled with the Father’s thoughts about the blood. The more we understand the blood, the more we will become vibrant worshippers and appreciative followers of the Lamb.


Our verse introduces us to the word “propitiation“, one of God’s “salvation words” rarely used today.  It refers to Christ’s death as the sacrifice which exhausted the wrath of God. Because of the shed blood, there is no longer any storm of wrath for God’s people. As in the days of the flood, Noah’s family was safe in the Ark and sheltered from the storm of God’s fury and justice.  So it is that each one who trusts in Christ alone to save them, is safe from the wrath to come.  Jesus is our Ark. He alone has accomplished a real redemption that has dealt with the retribution of God and the curse of the broken law of God.  


Now here’s some more good news; Jesus is a greater saviour than we are sinners.  By grace, believers have been given faith. It’s a faith which believes that Christ’s shed blood has made the satisfactory offering for our sins.  The wrath offering was made. His blood was shed, and faith now sees what it accomplished for us. Indeed, it is by faith alone that the accomplishments and benefits of this one great wrath offering are applied to us.  Without a doubt, faith in the blood is an essential part of our Christian life.  



Of course, none of this makes any sense unless we see our part in the death of Christ. Sometimes I find it good to look at myself and say, "Miles McKee you are a crucifier of the young Prince of Glory. Your sins shed His blood.”


Have you ever done that? Have you ever seen yourself as the Christ slayer?  If not, the matters of faith and grace are a mystery to you. It’s only in the measure that we see ourselves as undeserving sinners, guilty of killing the one who was God that we can enjoy the abundant grace and mercy of Heaven. After all, if we are worthy, we don’t need grace for grace is exclusively for the unworthy.  The person who has never had even a small sense of abhorrence for the part they played in the death of Christ is still in spiritual darkness.


'Twas you, my sins, my cruel sins,

His chief tormentors were;

Each of my crimes became a nail,

And unbelief the spear.


'Twas you that pulled the vengeance down

Upon His guiltless head:

Break, break, my heart, O burst my eyes!

And let my sorrows bleed.

IsaacWatts


But for those of us who have seen the part we played in that awful death, we see that the only way of deliverance is by faith in His blood.  Faith in the blood is God’s appointed way for sinners. However, if we believe that none of this applies to us, then we are lost.


Strike, mighty grace, my flinty soul,

Till melting waters flow,

And deep repentance drown my eyes

In undissembled woe.


Jesus has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood …” Romans 3:25.


And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Wednesday Word, September 21, 2016:  Pleading the Blood




In recent weeks I’ve had several inquiries concerning the practice of verbally pleading the blood over everything we do and say. This activity seems to be a widespread practice among certain groups.  After reading some material defending this practice, I’m of the opinion that people who verbally plead the blood over themselves are not testifying to the finished and full Gospel. They, in fact, have reduced the blood of Christ to a mere superstition. Claiming the blood over them as a protection formula, puts them on the same level as a person who wears a rabbit's foot to ward away evil. Hey, it didn’t bring that rabbit any luck when he had the foot neither will pleading the blood bring any blessing to us.


These dear people have, without knowing, turned the blood of Jesus into a hocus-pocus ritual, a sort of magic wand that they think will protect them from evil and harm.

But, pleading the Blood of Jesus is not Biblical. Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus tell us to plead His Blood over ourselves. Furthermore, nowhere in the Bible does anyone ever plead the Blood of Jesus over themselves or others.  I repeat, this practice of pleading the blood over ourselves is non-biblical.  



On the other hand, we see from Scripture what the blood has already accomplished.

We are,


Justified by His Blood, Romans 5:9

We have Redemption through His Blood, Ephesians 1:7

Peace has been made through His Blood, Colossians 1:20

We have been made near by His Blood, Ephesians 2:13

We have been cleansed by His Blood, 1 John 1:7

The Blood is incorruptible Blood, 1 Peter 1:18-19

Our conscience is purged by the Blood, Hebrews 9:14

We enter into the Holiest by His Blood, Hebrews 10:19

We are set apart by His Blood, Hebrews 13:12

We overcome by His Blood, Revelation 12:11…in other words, we make our testimony that which has already been accomplished by the blood (this is not the same as pleading the blood).


Jesus, the sacrificed Lamb, is now our High Priest in heaven. As God’s Children, the blood of Jesus has already been applied to our lives.  When Christ Jesus ascended to heaven, He entered into the Holy of Holies and sprinkled His precious blood upon the Mercy Seat before the throne of God. Hebrews 9:12 says; “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.”


His enemies are already vanquished. The blood has already triumphed. Christ became a curse, and now we have the blessings of Abraham (Galatians 3:13).

It’s redundant to plead the blood of Jesus over us to protect us.  We are already under the blood and the care of the one sovereign and true God.  

Nor can we cover unbelievers with the Blood of Jesus so that they one day become saved. Is salvation now the result of ritual magic?  A thousand times no! There is no magic ritual in the Gospel.


Of course, it is correct to thank God for the accomplishments of the Blood.  Unquestionably, it’s lawful to remind the forces of spiritual darkness of the triumph of the blood.  But to reduce the blood of Christ to a little magic formula is anti-gospel. It is another form of legalism. In the legalists mind, God will do something but only if we do something first (i.e. plead the blood).


Pleading the blood is sheer anti-gospel nonsense and leads to disappointed casualties up and down the country.


And that’s the Gospel Truth!

The Wednesday Word, July 13, 2016: Seeing the Father!



“In Christ the invisible God has become visible. Whoever sees Him sees the Father (John 14:9). Whoever wants to know who God is and what He is must behold the Christ. As Christ is, such is the Father.”

Herman Bavinck: The Divine and Human Natures of Christ


Have you ever tried witnessing to a person who hates the doctrine of Christ’s deity?  They smugly say, “Well, of course, Jesus never claimed to be God, he merely claimed to be the Son of God! Oh really? The next time this happens, take them to the Scripture and show them this, “Philip said unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.  Jesus said unto him, “Have I been so long a time with you, and yet you have not known me, Philip? He that has seen me has seen the Father; and why do you say then, Show us the Father? John 14:8-9.


It doesn’t get any simpler than this! Philip had had enough of these references to the Father and asked Jesus plainly to, “Show us the Father.” Christ’s response is astonishing. He says, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me has seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?


Was Jesus mistaken about His own identity? Was He simply a good man with a God -consciousness? Or was He merely a man possessed by God? Call it whatever way you will, if Jesus is wrong about being the God/Man, He’s a fruitcake!  Listen to what He boldly declares, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father.”  In other words, He’s saying, “Philip I’m the visible image of the invisible God. Philip, you don’t have to guess anymore about what God is like, I am God in human form.”


This is stout stuff! Jesus most clearly and without ambivalence claimed to be God. John writes at the beginning of his gospel;  “No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John: 1:18).


The word translated ‘declared’ is of utmost interest. It is the Greek word ‘exegeomai’ from which we get the English words exegete and exegesis.  When a preacher exegetes a passage of scripture, he brings out all that is contained in the verses.  He declares what is there.  He dares not read into the passage things that are not there otherwise he would be practicing eisegesis and not exegesis.  Christ, according to John 1:18, is the exegesis of God. He has fully declared him.  Is it any wonder then that He can say to Philip “If you have seen me you have seen the Father?”  Horatius Bonar astutely remarks;


“Christ’s person is a revelation of God.  Christ’s work is a revelation of God.  He is in the Father and the Father is in Him.  His words and works are thewords and works of the Father.  In the manger, He showed us God.  In the synagogue of Nazareth, He showed us God.  At Jacob’s well, He showed us God.  At the tomb of Lazarus, He showed us God.  On Olivet, as He wept over Jerusalem, He showed us God.  On the cross, He showed us God.  In His resurrection He showed us God.  If we say with Philip “Show us the Father and it is sufficient for us,” He answers, “Have I been so long a time with you and yet hast thou not known me? He that has seen me has seen the Father (John 14:8-9).  This God, whom Christ reveals as the God of righteous grace and gracious righteousness, is the God with whom we have to do.”

Horatius Bonar: God’s Way of Peace: Chapter 3


Do we understand the incarnation (God becoming man)? I for one do not.  It is a mystery (1 Timothy 3:16).  I can’t explain it, but I can declare it.  God came here Himself, became one of us and yet remained fully God.  Then as one of us, as a real and genuine human, He surrendered Himself to the ignominious death of the cross.  No wonder the hymn writer declares, “Hallelujah, what a Saviour!”


And that’s the Gospel Truth!


The Wednesday Word, October 5, 2016: The Purged Conscience

 


The work that purges the conscience has already been done and dusted. The more we understand this, the more we see there is no need for a guilty dread before the Father. The truth of the Gospel really does set us free. That is why a Gospel-educated conscience keeps us in perfect peace.

 

Of course, the truth of the purged conscience is only for those who have come to terms with their personal guilt.  If you’ve seen, that by nature, you are a sinner, a dyed in the wool, incurable sinner. And, if you, as that wretched sinner, have by faith embraced the cross in repentance and are resting on the finished work alone, then a cleansed conscience is part of your inheritance.

 

The cleansed conscience sees that God Himself has disposed of our sins in a manner which has satisfied Him (Isaiah 38:17).

 

The question now is not whether or not the Father is satisfied that our sins have been paid for and put away.  The question is, are we convinced that this has been done?  Is our conscience informed about the accomplishments of God through the blood? Or is the guilt of old sins proving to have a longer than usual shelf life?  Are old sins casting long shadows?  If so, we need to apply the Gospel to ourselves.

 

Here’s the newsflash. The Father has laid all our sins on His spotless, sinless Son. This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvellous in our sight. Christ the Lamb poured out His blood and took our sins away.  The blackest and worst of our sins have gone.  They were laid on Christ Jesus, and now they are no more. The man who represents us before God has taken them away, and they will never again be found (Isaiah 43:25).

 

These truths, when received by faith, will heal the conscience.

 

But our capacity for unbelief is staggering. We know, in theory, that the Father is satisfied with the blood.  We say we believe that to be the case, yet we scrape out an ever limping, frustrating Christian existence supported only by a broken and troubled conscience.  Is it that our sin is too great for the blood?  Is it that our case is too extreme for God?  I hate to tell you, but if you think like that, it is nothing other than self-righteousness.  What is so extraordinary about your sin that the blood of Christ cannot take it away?

 

If God assures us that our sins are taken away, then they are taken away!  The man who represented you at the cross is now in heaven seated on the Throne of Cosmic Majesty! This means that we can, right now, enjoy the truth of a purged conscience.


May these truths sink into us. We will never be any more righteous than the blood of Christ has made us. We will never be more accepted than we already are in the ‘Beloved One' (Ephesians 1:6). Works could not get us into right standing with God, and our failings cannot get us out.  Peace with God and freedom from all condemnation can only be obtained and maintained in the Gospel.


And that’s the Gospel Truth!

The Wednesday Word, October 19, 2016: Beware of Imitations



And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

Rev 12:11

 

The first thing the blood of the Lamb signifies is the death of the Son of God. Our Lord was not only bruised for our iniquities He was also put to death. As He took away our sins, His blood flowed at Calvary. His death is now our victory, our life, and our acquittal. It is the end of our rejection and the securing of our eternity.  But beware of imitations. We don’t need Christ the good example.  Christ the good example saves no one. If the Christ we believe in is not the Christ of the Cross, He is not the saving Christ who saves by blood. When we read the phrase, “The blood of the Lamb,” we are instantly reminded of the real Christ, the substitutionary sacrifice. His death was ours for He died, the Just for the unjust, to bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18). In the Old Covenant, the sinner brought the lamb and the lamb died in His place.  The Lamb was the sinner’s substitute.  Today, as we, by faith, bring the Lamb to the Father, we discover that it is the Lamb who actually leads us to God.

 

As believers, we have the privilege to tell the story that God was manifest in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16). We are blessed to be able to tell of how He became one of us, a genuine human and died for human sin. In His death, He did not merely make it possible for God to forgive us but He secured forgiveness for all His people. He did not die to make His people saveable, but to actually and definitely save them. Christ came to put away our sin by the sacrifice of Himself (Hebrews 9:26). As He died on the cross, He “finished transgressions, made an end of sin and brought in everlasting righteousness” (Daniel 9:24). What a Victory! There is now, therefore, no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).


None! This is good news and music to our souls.


 

Frederick A. Tatford tells of how at a great Parliament of Religions, held in Chicago many years ago, practically every known religion was represented.

 

During one session, Dr. Joseph Cook, of Boston, suddenly rose and said: “Gentlemen, I beg to introduce to you a woman with a great sorrow. Bloodstains are on her hands, and nothing she has tried will remove them. The blood is that of murder. She has been driven to desperation in her distress. Is there anything in your religion that will eliminate her sin and give her peace?” A hush fell upon the gathering. Not one of the company replied.

 

Raising his eyes heavenwards, Dr. Cook then cried out, “John, can you tell this woman how to get rid of her awful sin?” The great preacher waited as if listening for a reply. Suddenly he cried, “Listen. John speaks: ’The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sins’ (I John 1:7).”

Not a soul broke the silence: the representatives of Eastern religions and Western cults sat dumb. In the face of human need, the Gospel of Jesus Christ alone could meet the need. Sin demands blood. Christ provided it.

 

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

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