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Archive for March, 2020

Easter 2020 – Day 13

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Easter 2020 – God is Love

Day 13. Jesus’ I AM – Altogether now

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

So there we have it – Jesus the I AM of history. We saw together how Jesus loudly proclaiming he was the living bread; the light of the world; the good shepherd and the gate; the resurrection and the life; the way, the truth, and the life; and finally declaring He and He alone was the true vine! Jesus as the long waited for Messiah or Saviour, was the reality , whereas Israel was the symbol. All the things the nation of Israel was to be but failed to do so, is embodied in Jesus Christ. All the I AM statements reflect this.

All through this, Jesus knew what his mission on earth was. He knew that the cross and his being raised from the dead was his ultimate mission to defeat sin and death. If it were to be any other way, do you not think God would have done it another way? The cross and the resurrection show that Jesus’ exclusive proclamations are true, because Jesus life and actions support Jesus’ claims. No other religion, apart from Christianity, offers a guarantee of salvation and everlasting life based on faith and grace alone. This is because the offer is all down to God’s salvation work on the cross and not due to the efforts of humans to appease a God or gods.

Jesus – the “I AM…” Jesus never said “I am a true vine; a way, a truth and a life.” Nor did He say “I am a resurrection and a life.” Jesus never said “I am a door to life”, just as He did not say “I am a shepherd, a door, a light or a bread of life.” No! Jesus is the only way, the only truth and the only life. Jesus is the one great shepherd and the only door to life. Jesus is the only light of the world and the only true bread of life.

Jesus the I AM of history. What are you going to do with this Jesus? What options are open to you?

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Easter 2020 – Day 12

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Easter 2020 – God is Love

Day 12. Jesus’ I AM the True Vine

“I AM the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” John 15:1

All the things the nation of Israel was to be but failed to do so, is embodied in Jesus Christ. All the I AM statements reflect this. Isaiah 5 starts out as a love song between God and His chosen people, Israel. Israel was to be a vineyard, and despite all the love God had given tending to her, Israel had only produced bitter and sour fruit. This bitterly sour fruit is described in Isaiah 5:8-25. In the Old Testament, the nation of Israel was to be a vine or vineyard (Isaiah 5:1-7, Ezekiel 15:1-6). Therefore, God will abandon her.

So if this vineyard is abandoned, will God raise a new vineyard? Juxtaposed against Israel’s failure to be a vine, Jesus states that he is the true vine. Jesus was the reality, whereas Israel was the symbol. The fruit of Jesus Christ’ life was and is abundant, fresh and sweet to the taste! We as Christians some 2000 years later are the result of Jesus being the true vine!

As the purpose of a vine is to produce fruit, the focal point is on what it takes to produce fruit (John 15:2). As Christian Disciples, we are to bear fruit by remaining close to Jesus, as He is the vine and we are the branches. And why is the Christian Disciple to bear fruit? So that God the Father is glorified (John 15:8) by the Christian Disciple, and thereby proving their Discipleship. As part of the ultimate mission of Jesus to glorify God the Father (John 12:28, John 17:4), it is imperative that Jesus’ disciples be fruit-bearers. This means that all Christian Disciple are to be His witnesses and therefore a commitment to mission and evangelisation is necessary. That is why the Christian prays “your kingdom come” in the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:10)

Jesus, “I AM the true vine”

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Sermon – The Hour Is Near

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The Hour Is Near

Matthew 26:36-46

Opening Prayer

Father, as we come to your written word, keep our eyes and minds awake by your Spirit, so that we can engage with, and learn more, about your living Word, Jesus Christ, apply that learning to our lives so that you receive all glory and honour due your name. Amen.

 

Well, I don’t know how you are coping with this lockdown due to CoronaVirus, but not much has changed for myself, as I am used to working from home. I have been praying with people regularly online and have done interactive Church services every couple of days as people want. If you think that internet Church, isn’t Church, well that is ok. You can think of it as simply an interactive time on the internet, between people in different physical locations, meeting at the same time, where God is worshipped, prayed to and studied in the Bible by each of them simultaneously. My biggest problem is forgetting to take breaks, unlike in normal practise, going off to the coffeeshop for a couple of hours with the newspaper. But I know that some folks aren’t coping with the lockdown and isolation, particularly the extroverts amongst us. What can we do about that? As ever, the Bible has something to say into that situation. So lets start with our passage in Matthew 26.

The public ministry of Jesus has been going for just about 3 years now. It started when he was baptized by John the Baptist, where the crowds heard these words from God the Father: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” And where God the Holy Spirit descended upon him as a dove.

Since that time, Jesus has gathered his disciples, such as Peter, James and John with the words: “Come and follow me!” During those three years, Jesus has traversed the countryside, announcing Good News, feeding the multitudes, healing the sick and raising the dead. Jesus, who was asleep in the back of a boat while his disciples were scared of the storm. Jesus, who awoke, told the storm to cease. And it ceased! Jesus who cared for the poor, the destitute, and the outcasts of society. Jesus who taught with such wisdom and authority, that people were amazed. Jesus who confidently walked upon water. Jesus who throughout his public ministry gave clues to the events which are now coming into eventuality.

Jesus who clearly proclaimed that he alone was the living bread; the light of the world; the good shepherd and the gate; the resurrection; the way, the truth, and the life; and finally declaring that He alone was the true vine! Whereas the nation of Israel was the symbol, Jesus was the reality, and it was He who was the long waited for Messiah or Saviour. Jesus, who not so long ago, entered Jerusalem in that amazing scene, to the shouts of the crowds: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Hosanna in the highest heaven!’ A very different scene than the one before us in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus also seems a different person as well.

 

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Easter 2020 – Day 11

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Easter 2020 – God is Love

Day 11. Jesus’ I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life

Jesus said to him, “I AM the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6).

When Jesus issued this statement, the stress of the sentence automatically falls on the words “the way”. This is because Jesus is answering a question posed by Thomas (John 14:5). Jesus Christ has exposed the barrier of sin and death, which prevents a person from entering God’s presence. He explodes this same barrier when a person entrusts in Him for their eternal salvation. He is as he claims in Matthew 7:14 “the road that leads to life”.

Not only is He the way, but He is also the truth and the life. All of God’s truth is embodied in Jesus Christ who as both fully God and fully human was also the ever-living God. Nobody can claim access to God the Father, except through Jesus Himself. Other religions and other so-called paths to God may contain some element of truth about God, but there is no other way to God but through Jesus Christ. He is the means of access to God for all people of all cultures and all backgrounds. Jesus welcomes all, so that in His singular exclusive claims is an inclusive embrace of all. As Jesus goes on to say in John 14:7, because we know Him we also know God the Father.

Jesus, “I AM the way, the truth and the life!”

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Easter 2020 – Day 10

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Easter 2020 – God is Love

Day 10. Jesus’ I AM the Resurrection and the Life

Jesus said to her, “I AM the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” (John 11:25)

This exclamation by Jesus is highlight of this passage of Scripture. Lazarus has died (John 11:15) and will be raised back to life again (John 11:43-44).

Why does Jesus say that He is the resurrection and the life?

Because He is the giver of life itself. He gives eternal life to all who will believe in him. Resurrection and life are inextricably tied together. Resurrection and life harmonize each other because resurrection precedes life and the new life of a Christian disciple is the result of resurrection. Remember Jesus mission was to go to his death on the cross and be resurrected three days later. Not a resurrection like that of Lazarus, who would later physically die again.

No, Jesus’ resurrection is one where death is ultimately conquered, and Jesus has a glorious new body. Those who choose to be Christian Disciples by faith in the risen Christ, only have new life because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after His death on the Cross. That is why Jesus can exclaim with authority “I AM the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11v25). Moreover, this resurrected life is not just for the future, but it is also for the present, and only through the risen Jesus Christ.

Jesus, “I AM the resurrection and the life!”

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