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Archive for March, 2008

Partake Module 6 – New Life – God’s Purposes & Will

Partake Module 6 – New Life – God’s Purposes & Will

“God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfil his own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ – everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.” (Ephesians 1v9-11).

These verses tell us about the counsel of God’s Will (Ephesians 1v11). God’s Will is inextricably linked with the future and Things to Come. The future has us naturally wonder what are God God’s Purposes and Will? What are His decrees and how is Jesus interacting with us now?

1. God’s Purposes

What is the reason for creation? (Ephesians 1v3-11; Revelation 4v11). The glory of God – that God will be praised.

a) God’s purposes and plans are in eternity (Psalm 33v11)

b) God’s purposes originate in God’s wisdom and holiness.

c) God is free to do anything in accordance with His character. He cannot do anything contrary to His character.

2. God’s Will

Directive Will – Things God determines to come to pass. (Isaiah 14v24)

Permissive Will – Things God allows or permits to occur.

Sin and rebellion (not directive will). God is big enough to grant and cope with the free will He as given humanity.

Sin – God permits sin, but is not the author of sin. God made man with a free will, allowing for the possibility of sin. Although sin and corruption entered the world with great human loss, and the resulting death on the Cross: God thought freedom of will was worth giving to us. It is to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1)

SalvationElection – God chooses individuals to fulfil His purposes (Romans 9). God chooses those who are/will be saved (John 15v16). These are the chosen ones or the elect. However, it is not His will that any should perish (2 Peter 3v9), it is His will all men should be saved (1 Timothy2v3-4).

We need to accept both these statements as equally and absolutely true. When we use words about God with a time element such as ‘chose’, ‘elect’, we need to use these in God’s infinite time framework (timelessness), not in our human finite time framework.

Preservation – Doctrine of Continuance

God maintains the existence of all He has made. God has created but not left the universe while He watches from a distance. This thinking is erroneous because it stipulates that God rules only by natural laws and simply observes its progress. However, the Bible tells us that God is actively involved in sustaining creation. For without His involvement, the universe would cease to exist. He does this in two ways.

Continuous Creation – God maintains the universe by continual creation.

Concurrence – God co-operates with all subordinate powers. Men retain their natural powers and exercise them but without God’s concurrence, no force or person can continue to exist or act. (Colossians 1v17; Acts 17v28; Hebrews 1v2-3)

Particular Names Of God reflect His Purposes and Will

Jehovah Jireh – (Genesis 22v14) – The Lord will provide

Jehovah Tsidkenu – (Jeremiah 33v16) – The Lord our righteousness

Jehovah Nissi – (Exodus 17) – The Lord is our banner / leader

Jehovah Shalom – (Judges 6v24) – The Lord is our peace

Jehovah Rapha – (Exodus 15) – The Lord is our healer

Jehovah Rohi (Psalm 23) – The Lord is our Shepherd

Sovereignty of God or His decrees.

The sovereignty of God dictates that God is in control at all times and nothing can occur outside of His control and will. God is not impersonal and He is involved with all creation. God loves His creation and cares for it. He has created all humans with the power to make decisions by them self. God wont deny our humanity when He deals with us. He speaks to our minds though the Bible and seeks us to respond to him with love and affection.

Sovereign decree: When God says “Eternal life is available for all. You may choose to accept or reject it. Those that accept it, I will call my children.” Our reaction as Christian Disciples should be to trust and obey.

Conditional decree: When God says “I am willing to give you my opinion and help when you ask.” Our reaction as Christian Disciples should be read the Bible, to pray and talk with God.

Natural decree: When God has created a lemon tree, that lemon tree won’t produce potatoes.” Our reaction as Christian Disciples should be to plan ahead knowing the way the natural laws work..

How does Jesus interact with Christian Disciples?

Jesus interacts with us by faith in four ways: caring, praying, coming and helping.

Jesus cares and is concerned for us We all go through storms and troubles. When we find ourselves in these situations, we have four assurances about Jesus as Christian Disciples.

By faith – He is praying for us Jesus Christ is making intercessions for Christian Disciples (Romans 8:34). He knew the disciples troubles (Mark 6:48), just as He knows our troubles now. He feels our cares and knows what we are going through (Hebrews 4:14-16).

By faith – He will come to us Ever felt like God is far away? Well you aren’t alone! King David often felt God was far away and unconcerned. However he also knew God would ultimately rescue him. Paul, the great Apostle, also felt “burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life” 2 Cor 1:8 Jesus always comes to us through difficult times, although He may not come in the time we think He should come, because He knows when we need Him most.

By faith – He will help us to grow Take the example of when the disciples were in the storm and Jesus came to them walking on the water (Matthew 14:22-33). The purpose of this incident was that Jesus would be leaving them soon, so they had to learn to trust in Him when He wasn’t physically present. Perhaps this is what he was thinking of when he later wrote in his letter “for the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers” (1 Peter 3v12). This all helped Peter to grow in the knowledge of the Lord

By faith, He will see us through

Jesus said “Come” and Peter went with Him and walked to the ship. The other disciples must have encouraged by this. Seeing Jesus’ power they worshipped him. Whatever troubles we are undergoing are temporary, and Jesus, for His praise and glory, will see us through.

For more to think about please do ask your self the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. Read Colossians 1v15-20. How can I deepen my relationship with Jesus knowing these things about Him?

Q2. Read Acts 17v24-28. How is God reaching the nations through me?

Q3. How does knowing about God’s Purposes and Will affect my life as a Christian Disciple?

As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partake(at)hotmail.co.uk. Thank you.

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Partake Module 6 – New Life – Guidance

Partake Module 6 – New Life – Guidance


Solomon writing in Proverbs 3v5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”


The Prophet Isaiah speaking in Isaiah 6v8: “Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.”


Perhaps the most common question all Christian disciples ask at some point is: “How can I know God’s will for my life and His guidance?” There are at least three main parts about being guided, as a Christian disciple, into what is God’s will for them. These involve being controlled by the Holy Spirit, through counsel and circumstances and through making wise decisions. Of course being active in prayer and studying the Bible also play major roles, but we have already discussed those previously.


1. The Christian disciple is guided by being controlled by the Holy Spirit


So firstly, the Christian disciple is guided by being controlled by the Holy Spirit. Another way to say this is by submitting to the Spirit’s leading. Fundamental to being guided by the Spirit, is for the Christian disciple to be filled with the Spirit, or controlled by the Spirit. When the Spirit is quenched (1 Thessalonians 5v19) or grieved (Ephesians 4v30), then the Spirit no long has control of the Christian disciple. In order to allow the Spirit control, the Christian disciple needs to resubmit them self to God and do the following daily:


  • The Christian disciple confesses all known sin (1 John 1v9) and accepts the assurance of being forgiven for quenching or grieving the Holy Spirit.
  • The Christian disciple devotes themself to being a living sacrifice (Romans 12v1-2)
  • The Christian disciple enable the Holy Spirit to convict them of sin (Psalm 139v23-24)
  • The Christian disciple seeks the Holy Spirit’s divine power in order to serve Jesus Christ (Galatians 5v16; Ephesians 3v16)

Part of being controlled by the Holy Spirit, the Christian disciple is to yield to Him. Romans 6v13 and James 4v7 command this. In yielding to the Holy Spirit, the body (1 Corinthians 6v20) and mind (Romans 12v1-2) are given to Him sacrificially for the glory of Jesus Christ. Both the body and the mind are yielded, because the body activates what is conceived in the mind. It is a total dedication of all thoughts, plans and actions into God’s hands and the seeking of His divine wisdom.


2. The Christian disciple is guided through Counsel and Circumstances


Additionally to submitting to the Holy Spirit, other people and circumstances are also great helps in regards to guidance. Proverbs 24 reminds us that: “The wise are mightier than the strong, and those with knowledge grow stronger and stronger. So don’t go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many advisers. Wisdom is too lofty for fools. Among leaders at the city gate, they have nothing to say.”


We may not go to war, but seeking the advice of others in trying to understand God’s guidance, plays an important role in deciding God’s will in the life of the Christian disciple. When seeking the advice of others bear in mind that the person should be a reliable, godly and faithful servant of God. As Proverbs 25v19 says “Putting confidence in an unreliable person in times of trouble is like chewing with a broken tooth or walking on a lame foot”. However, the Christian disciple must also be aware that even the godliest of people make mistakes, such as Nathan the prophet when he exhorted David to construct the temple (2 Samuel 7). In the end, each Christian disciple is responsible for his or her own actions and for knowing God’s guidance for themselves.



Then we have circumstances, which are a great learning tool. Circumstances surround us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, Christian disciples are to live above all circumstances, yet be aware of them. Through circumstances, God often discloses his perfect will. As Paul writes in Romans 8v28: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”



Some examples of where God’s will was discovered through circumstances include:

  • · Abraham being asked to substitute a ram caught in a thicket for his son, Isaac (Genesis 22).
  • · God arranging for Pharaoh’s daughter to be bathing in the River Nile as the baby Moses floated by (Exodus 2).
  • · Paul’s nephew over hearing a plot to murder Paul, and then reporting it to the authorities and therefore saving Paul’s life (Acts 23).



Now some may sceptically claim that these are purely coincidental, but if they are, and all others like these are, its an awful lot of coincidence!


3. The Christian disciple is guided by making wise Decisions:

A great way to make wise decisions is by endeavouring to maintain a right attitude, and asking yourself the following questions:

  • Have I prayed and meditating on God’s Word regarding the decision?
  • Have I given every area of my life to Christ?
  • Am I prepared to be obedient to God? (Proverbs 3v5-7)
  • Am I willing to sacrifice my desires for God’s Will?
  • Am I loving towards the other person?
  • It should not control me habitually (1 Corinthians 6v12)
  • Will it cause another person to sin/stumble? (1 Corinthians 8v9-13)
  • Does it build Christian character? (1 Corinthians 10v23)
  • Does it bring glory to God? (1 Corinthians 10v31)
  • Can I thank God for this activity – could Jesus accompany me?
  • If in doubt, throw it out! (Romans 14v22-23) ·
  • Abstain from all appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5v22)

For more to think about please do read Isaiah 6. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.



Q1. Am I willing to do whatever God commands me to do?


Q2. Am I willing to be humble enough to ask other people’s advice?


Q3. Am I willing to sacrifice my desires so that God’s Will is achieved and His glory acclaimed?


As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partake(at)hotmail.co.uk. I would love to hear from you and if these are making any difference at all to your continual Christian discipleship! Thank you.


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Bible Book in a Minute – NT05 Acts

The book of Acts summarised in one minute with key verses and key theme…

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Partake Module 6 – New Life – Blessed

Partake Module 6 – New Life – Blessed

Paul to the church in Rome, and in Chapter 4 he talks about Abraham’s journey into faith and of his faith. Now in Romans 4v22-25, Paul writes: “This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”



Today I want to take us briefly through Romans 5vv1-11 and show that as Christian disciples, we are blessed in seven ways because of Jesus Christ and the work He did on the cross.

1. (v1). “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”,

We have peace with God. God in His great mercy, has declared peace to all those who accept salvation through Jesus’ death on the Cross. ‘Mercy & truth are joined, righteousness and peace have kissed each other” Psalm 85:10


2. (v2a)through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.”


We have access to God. When Jesus died, He tore the veil (Luke 23:45) and broke down the wall (Ephesians 2:14). As Christians, we have immediate access to God, through our faith in Jesus Christ. No other religion or faith can say that!

3. (v2b). “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”

We have a glorious hope. Peace with God takes care of the past – He no longer holds our sins against us. Access to God takes care of the present – we can come to Him whenever we desire. A glorious hope takes care of our future – all Christians will one day share in His glory.

4. (v3-4). “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”


We develop Christian character. Being justified is no escape from the sufferings and trials in this world, but for the believer, suffering and trials are for our own good (Romans 8:28). We bring them on ourselves by our own foolishness and sin. We endure for the sake of the Gospel. Suffering develops our patience and perseverance; patience and perseverance grows our character, and through character we have a glorious hope.


5. (v5-8).And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”


We have God’s love within us. The love of God is poured into our hearts. We experience love, peace and joy. This inner experience of this love is through the Holy Spirit who sustains us as we go through sufferings. Faith, hope and love all combine to give those who love God, the patience to endure the trials of life.


6. (v9-10).Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”


We have salvation from future wrath. He will keep on saving us, now that we love Him. We need strength to endure suffering and persecution, remembering that he who stands firm in faith, will in the end be saved.

7. (v11). We have reconciliation with God. We have fellowship with God, because we are reconciled with Him because of Jesus’ death on the cross. God in His mercy, sent Jesus as a peacemaker, that men may return to fellowship with Him. We are to rejoice in our present enjoyment of reconciliation with God (Romans 5:1b,10), and rejoice that all this comes through Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.

The only way to be with God is through Jesus – that is the Gospel message of good news. Fellowship with God is only because of the cross of Jesus. There is no other way to having life in God but through the cross of Jesus Christ! Jesus’ death on the cross signifies that God was willing to suffer so that we may have life in him, if we choose it. That is why it is so important we believe that Jesus was both fully human and fully God! I could never in a million lifetimes be a Buddhist worshipping in a temple with an impassive statue of the Buddha, which is aloof from all suffering. The God we serve as Christian disciples knows suffering intimately. The cross is where God suffered and died. As Christian disciples we are blessed through the cross of Jesus Christ. Through Jesus, we have these seven blessings: peace; access; hope; transformation; indwelling love; salvation and reconciliation!


What are we to do with these blessings? We are to tell others and a good way to do that is to live a life worthy of these blessings so that people who are not Christian, can ask the reason you have such hope! If you give them no reason to ask, they probably wont! These 7 blessings show how certain salvation is in and through Jesus Christ, for those who choose it. As Christian disciples we are blessed, and we are blessed to be a blessing to others!

For more to think about, please do read for yourself Romans 6:1-14 and ask yourself the following two questions. Why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend or two, so that you can discuss and pray over any issues together.


Q1 – What areas of my life have been transformed since I became a Christian disciple?

Q2 – What has happened in my life that will get people to ask me for the reason I have hope?

Q3 – Who can I pray for, so that opportunity will arise?

As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partakes(at)googlemail.co.uk. I would love to hear from you and if these are making any difference at all to your continual Christian discipleship! Next time I hope to be talking more about the Christian Disciple and the new identity. Thank you.

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Partake Module 6 – New Life – New Identity

Partake Module 6 – New Life – New Identity

Colossians 3vv1-4: If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things that are above, where Jesus is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Jesus, in God. When Jesus, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

About four years ago, I slipped into a coma as a consequence of a brain bleed on a Saturday evening. After that I had terrible memory problems for a while. If left on my own, I would forget things like eating lunch. I would forget to brush my teeth unless reminded strongly! Normal everyday things, I would simply forget to do!! That is the same for all Christian disciples and their spiritual life. If we listen carefully, the Holy Spirit is constantly reminding us of our status before God. He reminds us of our new identity as God’s children! Those four verses from Colossians that I read at the start tell us that as Christian disciples, we have a new identity, and Paul here give us five facts about that new identity.

I must add here that these five things are not hypothesis, symbolism or theory. They are existent facts about all Christian disciples. We are not marked as Christian disciples because we go to Church regularly, though it’s a good idea if we do. We are not marked as Christian disciples because we were baptized, though I hope that we are. We are marked as Christian disciples, not because of any outwardly visible mark, but because of these 5 facts. So what are these 5 facts?

1. We died with Jesus (3a). Jesus not only died for us, but we died with Him. Jesus not only died for sin, but also died unto sin to break its power. As Christian disciples we died with Jesus. Ergo, we can conquer our old sinful nature if we choose to. Our new identity is Jesus and we have died with Him.

2. We are raised with Jesus (1a). Just as we died with Jesus, we are also raised with Him. We are raised with Him and we rule with him, seated at the right hand of the Father. Your new identity is Jesus and you have been raised with Him.

3. We live with Jesus (4a). As Christian disciples, Jesus is our life and our eternal life, is Jesus. We are dead to sin, yet alive to Jesus. Our new identity is Jesus and we live with Him.

4. We are hidden with Jesus (3b). For those of you who like a good mystery, here is one for you. We are hidden with Him!! We no longer belong to this world, but we belong to Jesus. We are hidden with Him in heaven. That is not to say we are to neglect our earthly duties and responsibilities, but rather that our motives and strengths are to come from Jesus. Our new identity is Jesus and we are hidden with Him.

5. We will be glorified with Jesus (4b). When Jesus comes again, we will see Him face to face, and He will take us home. So, we will not be hidden with Jesus perpetually because when Jesus is revealed in glory, we too shall be revealed in glory. We already have in part some of this glory, but one day the full extent of this glorification will be revealed.

These five events… These five facts cover all three tenses in time – past, present and future… In the past, we died and were raised with Jesus. In the present, we live with Jesus and we are hidden with Him. In the future, when He comes again, we will be glorified with Him. His death covered all sins – past, present and future sins.


Because we share in Jesus’ death, resurrection and future glorification, we are to stop sinning and to stop thinking about ways in which to sin. Our minds are to be with Jesus, focusing on ways in which to serve Him. Don’t sin is the message, and yet we continue to do so…

Every time we succumb to temptation and commit sin, we forget who we are in Christ. I forget my new identity as a child of the Living God. You forget that you have died and been raised with Jesus. You forget that you live in Him and that you are hidden in Him. I forget that one day He is coming again and that I, as his disciple will be glorified with Him. So when faced with temptation, tell your old nature that it is dead and that you have a new nature which you seek to serve and a new Master to obey! Talk to yourself – it’s a sign of maturity!!



For more to think about please do read for your self, Colossians 3vv1-16. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.



Q1 – What makes me forget who I am as a Christian disciple?


Q2 – What are the things Paul lists as things all Christian disciples should do in verses 12-16


Q3 – What practical steps can you take to put them into action?


As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partake@hotmail.co.uk. I would love to hear from you and if these are making any difference at all to your continual Christian discipleship! Thank you.

http://www.podbean.com/podcast-audio-video-blog-player/mp3playerdarksmallv3.swf?audioPath=http://davegroberts.podbean.com/medias/play/aHR0cDovL21lZGlhMS5wb2RiZWFuLmNvbS80MDA4L3UvMTgtUGFydGFrZS1UaGVDaHJpc3RpYW5EaXNjaXBsZWhhc2FOZXdJZGVudGl0eS5tcDM/18-Partake-TheChristianDisciplehasaNewIdentity.mp3&autoStart=no

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Bible Book in a Minute – NT04 John

The book of John summarised in one minute with key verses and key theme…

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Prayer Letter Easter 2008

Thank you for downloading and reading the attached PDF document…

Please do click here to download our Easter 2008 Newsletter

Blessings

Dave

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