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Archive for April, 2014

All the Prayers of Paul

Christ Centred

Prayers of Paul

In The Greatest Prayer Tip I Ever Received, I recommend using the prayers of Paul as inspiration for prayer.

Of course finding the prayers of Paul can be a challenge. So I have compiled a list of all of Paul’s prayers, prayer reports, prayer requests and exhortations to prayer. This list comes from “A Call to Spiritual Reformation” by D.A. Carson and shows every single prayer Paul prays.

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An open letter to the Daily Mail…

squidgetsmum

The Daily Mail chose today to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, champion of the oppressed, by publishing this article today.  Here’s my response.

 

Dear Daily Mail,

I’ve got a little boy.  His name is Isaac, and he’s nearly three.  Like any little boy, he loves cars, balls, and running around.  He’s barely ever still.

A few days ago though, he was.  I took him to the supermarket to spend his pocket money, and we passed the donation basket for our local food bank.  It was about half full – nothing spectacular, in fact, mostly prunes and pasta – and he asked what it was.  As simply as possible, I tried to explain that it was for people to give food for other people who couldn’t afford it.

This affected his two year old brain fairly deeply.  After a lot of thought, he decided to spend a little bit of…

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Jesus the Ascended King

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87. Partake –Jesus Ascends and the Spirit Comes

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28v16-20

Jesus’ resurrection is the catalyst for the mission of the church, beginning with the disciples and throughout history.Jesus’ mission to earth is coming to an end and shortly He will be returning to the right hand of the Father.Before He does so though, He has some more words to say to His disciples.

Jesus’ Authority

Throughout the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus’ authority is a major theme.Where Matthew records Jesus doing miracles, this is to highlight Jesus authority in action and not just merely in words.Matthew records Jesus’ authority to forgive sins (Matthew 9v6) and He imparted authority to His disciples for a short time when they went on a mission in Matthew 10.Jesus has authority (Matthew 28v18) over all things, all people, all circumstances and happenings. Jesus has authority over all spiritual beings, whether angels or demons.Jesus has authority over all nations, governments and rulers.Jesus has authority over all earthly and spiritual authorities.Jesus has the authority.This means regardless of what ever the Christian Disciple faces, Jesus is in control.Therefore, as Christian Disciples, we can obey him without fear of retribution from those who would seek to harm us.We can obey Him regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in.It is a great comfort to know, that He is in control of everything!!Through His death on the cross and His rising from the dead, Jesus has conquered all enemies.

Now people sometimes confuse authority with authoritarian.Authoritarian means severe, rigidity and a dictator.None of these apply to Jesus.We have been given a free will, but as His disciples, we should choose to exercise our free will to obey Him and live a life worthy of Him.As the Christian depends on Jesus’ authority, the Christian Disciple gains wisdom, guidance, and power.

You Go

If Jesus had not risen from the dead, then the disciples would not have had a story to tell.But Jesus had indeed risen from the dead, and the early church exploded numerically as the twelve disciples exercised Jesus’ authority and His power.We read about the growth of the early church in the Book of Acts.

Christianity is a faith whereby all Christian Disciples are to tell others of the goodness of God.Indeed God Himself is a missionary God.Ever since Genesis 3 and the fall of man, God has been on a mission to bring and call people back to Himself.That was the purpose of the nation of Israel, to be a light to all nations of the goodness and glory of God!That was purpose when God, who is outside of time and space, entered human history taking on human flesh and restricted Himself in a human body as the man we know as Jesus Christ.Jesus whole mission was one of calling people back to life in God.As followers of Jesus Christ, all Christian Disciples are to evangelize.Evangelism is showing and telling others of God’s message of reconciliation to all people of all time.It is not forcing people to adopt Church standards (1 Corinthians 5v12) and nor is it simply a message of join the church as a symbol of good works (Ephesians 2vv8-10).

Why evangelize?The prime motivation for evangelism is out of gratitude for what God has done, in that we love because He loved us first.Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5v14, For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.”As His servants we are to tell and live of God’s reconciling message

As I said before, we are all to do the work of an evangelist (2 Timothy 4v5). In these last words of Matthew’s Gospel, all Christian Disciples are to make disciples throughout the whole earth!Making disciples is not just evangelism but ensuring that guidance and care is given to new Christian disciples.How is this achieved?How can the Christian Disciple exhibit Jesus’ authority and power in evangelism?Who gives the impetus for Christian Disciples?That is part of the role of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus said would come once He had ascended back to the right hand of God the Father.

The Holy Spirit is coming

This is in fulfilment of Ezekiel 36v27 “And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” where Almighty and All-powerful God will indwell those who follow Him.Throughout His ministry Jesus had talked about how after He was to depart, and that the Holy Spirit would come (John 15v26).

We know from the other writings in the New Testament who the Holy Spirit is and what His ministry is.

The Holy Spirit is spoken of as God (1 Corinthians 3v16).The attributes of God are ascribed to the Holy Spirit life (Romans 8v2), truth (John 16v13) and love (Romans 15v30).

The Holy Spirit is also a Person and is always referred to as ‘He’ in the New Testament (John 16v14).He relates to us as a person for He is comforter, guide and teacher (John 14).He can be blasphemed against and be grieved (Ephesians 4v30), and wherever the Holy Spirit is, the Father and Son are also present because they are one. (John 14v18-23).

The Ministry of the Holy Spirit

What is the ministry of the Holy Spirit and what does He have to do with Christian Disciples?

1. Glorify Christ: This is the Spirit’s prime role that He will glorify Jesus Christ the Son of God is praised and glorified(John 16v13-14). He will testify for Jesus Christ (John 15v26).He will witness for Jesus Christ (Acts 1v8).

2. The Paraclete – Comforter: He is one called to stand alongside (John 14v16). Jesus said it would be better for Him to go away and send the Holy Spirit to live in us (John 16v7).The Holy Spirit ministers to us all that Jesus would be to us if He were here in person.

1.Declares God’s Word: The Holy Spirit has a prime role in revelation.It was he that spoke through the prophets (Ezekiel 2v2) and it was He who inspired the Bible, God’s Word (2 Peter 1v21).Further to this, the Holy Spirit interprets and illuminates God’s Word (John 16v12-15; 1 Corinthians 2v10-16) to people!

4. Conviction: The Holy Spirit is sent to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16v8)

5. Salvation: Christian Disciples are born of the Holy Spirit and are known as regenerated (John 3v3-8)

6. Indwelling:God lives inside each Christian Disciple through the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, a person cannot be a Christian Disciple (Romans 8v9; Gal 2v20; Colossians 1v25-27)

7. Sealing / Ownership: The Holy Spirit indwelling the Christian Disciple is assured proof of being God’s possession (2 Corinthians 1v22; Ephesians 1v3)

8. Security: The Holy Spirit is a deposit, guaranteeing our future redemption, salvation and inheritance (Ephesians 1v13; 2 Corinthians 1v22).

9. Filling: This speaks of the Holy Spirit’s control or domination of our lives.The imperative here is that we are to be filled (Ephesians 5v18), and go on being filled. He gives power to enable Christian Disciples to evangelise (Acts 1v8; 4v8, 31).

10. Sanctification: The Holy Spirit transforms us into the likeness of Christ (2 Corinthians 7-18), as we walk, live in, and are led by the Spirit (Galatians. 5v16; Romans 8v13).

11. Baptism: This expression occurs 7 times in the New Testament.It occurs 4 times in the gospels, referring to Jesus baptizing with the Holy Spirit and with fire.1 Corinthians 12v13 states that we are all baptized with the Holy Spirit into one body.

12. Service:The Holy Spirit equips us for service.God is working in you to will and to act accordingly to his purpose (Phil. 2v13), to be my witnesses (Acts 1v8).

How is the Spirit seen?The Spirit’s work is in evidence, where people’s lives become more holy and more like Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 12v3; 2 Corinthians 13v7).

The Holy Spirit equips Christian Disciples for Service through the giving of spiritual gifts. Elsewhere on this website that has been discussed.

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. Matthew 28v16-20. How does the authority of Jesus aid me in evangelism?

Q2. Read John 21. How am I carrying my cross for the sake of Jesus Christ?

Q3. How is the presence of the Holy Spirit transforming me into the image of Jesus Christ?

As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partakes(at) googlemail.com. Thank you.

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Jesus the Risen King

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Jesus the Risen King

1 Corinthians 15v1-8: Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

The four Gospels, Matthew, Mark Luke and John, all tell us that Jesus was crucified, died and was buried in a tomb. What do these four Gospels say about the resurrection and Jesus’ rising from the dead?

Let us first look at the sequence of events over the period of time after Jesus death till He ascended. Some of the sequence events have more than one Gospel reporting them, but for brevity, I will only give one reference to Scripture.

The tomb is empty

  • Two Marys watch the burial: Matthew27v61, Mark 15v47, Luke23v54-55,
  • Roman soldiers guard the tomb: Matthew 27v62-66,
  • Women prepare spices then rest: Luke 23v56,
  • An angel rolls the stone away: Matthew 28v2-4
  • Women arrive at dawn with spices: Matthew 28v1, Mark 16v1-4, Luke 24v1-3, John 20v1
  • Angels appear to women: Matthew 28v5-7, Mark 16v5-7, Luke 24v4-8,
  • Women dart back to tell disciples: Matthew 28v8, Mark 16v8, Luke 24v9-11, John 20v2
  • Peter and John investigate the empty tomb: Luke 24v12, John 20v3-9
  • Peter and John go home: Luke 24v12, John 20v10
  • Mary Magdalene weeps by the tomb: John 20v11
  • Mary sees two angels: John 20v12-13

Jesus’ appearances

  • Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene: Mark 16v9, John 20v14-17
  • Jesus appears to the other women: Matthew 28v9-10,
  • Women report to the disciples: Mark 16v10-11, John 20v18
  • Guards testify to the priests: Matthew 28v11-15,
  • Jesus meets two people on the Emmaus Road: Mark 16v12-13, Luke 24v13-32,
  • Jesus appears to Simon Peter: 1 Corinthians 15v5, Luke 24v34,
  • 2 report to disciples in Jerusalem: Luke 24v33-35,
  • Jesus appears to the Disciples less Thomas: Luke 24v36-43, John 20v19-24
  • Disciples report to Thomas: John 20v25
  • Jesus appears to the Disciples and Thomas: Mark 16v14, John 20v26-29
  • Jesus appears to seven people: John 21v1-14
  • Jesus questions Peter 3 times: John 21v15-23
  • Jesus appears to 500 people: 1 Corinthians 15v6
  • Jesus appears to James: 1 Corinthians 15v7

Evidences for the resurrection

These facts remain for the resurrection:

  • The changed attitude of the disciples after seeing the risen Jesus. They changed from defeated, cowardly people to victorious, brave people.
  • Nobody who could have produced the dead body of Jesus, did so. Their silence is as significant as the preaching of the Apostles.
  • The multiple appearances of Jesus to various numbers of individuals and groups of people at various times of the day and in differing circumstances.
  • The survival and inordinate growth and impact of the early church. If there was no bodily resurrection of Jesus’ would people really have risked persecution and death for a knowing lie?

Dealing with Doubters

  • Lets say Jesus didn’t rise from the dead. Surely the authorities would have produced his dead body in order to quench the new movement! But they didn’t.
  • Secondly, would the disciples have really risked death for telling and maintaining a lie about the risen Jesus? They were beaten, confused and defeated men until they saw Jesus truly did rise from the dead. After seeing Him, they were transformed and victorious people.
  • Thirdly, somebody stole the body. Hardly likely, and if that did occur, for what reason? How would they have got past the Roman Guard and moved the stone a great distance from the tomb?
  • Fourthly, Jesus didn’t die but merely fainted and recovered consciousness in the tomb. Even the sceptics disagree with this theory, one of whom said “It is impossible that a being who had stolen half-dead out of the sepulchre, who crept about weak and ill, wanting medical treatment, who required bandaging, strengthening and indulgence, and who still at last yielded to His sufferings, could have given to the disciples the impression that He was a Conqueror over death and the grave, the Prince of Life”.
  • Fifthly, they all went to the wrong tomb. Whilst one person may have gone to a wrong tomb, not everyone would have done.
  • Lastly, Jesus didn’t die on the cross but somebody was substituted for him. This is certainly untenable, given the rigidity and strict record keeping of Roman rule and with the eyes of the Jewish hierarchy watching.

Significance of the Resurrection

The resurrection of Jesus Christ provided the central theme for the sermons and teaching in the early church (Acts 1v22; Acts 4v33, Acts 17v18). But what significance is there in Jesus’ resurrection?

  • The resurrection proved and vindicated all Jesus’ teaching and claims as the suffering Servant and attested to His being fully God and the last Judge of all mankind (Isaiah 53v10-12; Acts 2v36; Acts 3v13-15; Romans 1v4).
  • Declared God’s approval of Jesus obedient service and the fulfilment of all the Old Testament promises, resulting in forgiveness of sins and salvation being only found in and through Jesus Christ, which was the prime motive for evangelism in the early church (Acts 2v32, Romans 4v24-25)
  • Jesus’ resurrection is a sign of the bodily resurrection for all believers in Him, giving a new attitude to death and transforming hopes (1 Corinthians 15v12-58, Romans 8v10, 2 Corinthians 4v14; 1 Peter 1v3 & 21)
  • As the resurrected King, Jesus now intercedes for us and has perfected the redemption of all those who choose to follow Him (Romans 5v10; Hebrews 6v20, 1 Peter 1v21).

Jesus still meets people today

As Jesus is still living, He meets with people at the present time. How does He do this?

  • Jesus walks with us, whereever we go and in particular in the darkest periods of our life. Just as he did with the two people on the road to Emmaus, he walks with those who proclaim to follow Him (Mark 16v12-13, Luke 24v13-32)
  • Jesus speaks whenever the Bible is faithfully preached and read from, just as He opened the eyes of those on the Emmaus road when He explained the Scriptures (Luke 24v27).
  • Jesus meets us in the Communion, with the bread and wine, which symbolise His flesh and blood.

For more to think about please do read John 20 & 21. 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. How does my faith journey compare to that of Thomas’?

Q2. What can I learn from Peter and the responses he gave?

Q3. How do I still encounter the risen Lord in my daily walk with Him?

 

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Silent Saturday – why we don’t have a service for Holy Saturday

Bryony Taylor

Some years ago I found out that in the Netherlands this day is known as ‘Silent Saturday’ which, to me, feels like a far more apt name than Holy Saturday.

I was going to say that this day is like a ‘pregnant pause’ before the joy of Easter. To us it is, but to those first disciples it would have been a day of total numbness and devastation.

Sometimes in our lives we experience this kind of despair, when all hope seems to be lost. For some this can last a lot longer than just one day. Every Easter we journey through the ‘Why?’ of Good Friday, the emptiness of Holy Saturday and then of course, through to the joy of Easter Sunday.

Our lives often have this pattern. Something happens to us and we ask why, we rail against God and wonder why he has ‘forsaken us’. Then we…

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