helping to ignite your imagination, creativity and passion for following God…

Posts tagged ‘discipleship’

Alphy and the Lord’s Prayer!

AlphyAdventure-01_CoverFront

What’s It All About, Alphy?

Alphy the WOWChurch Cat has a new book out! Alphy the WOWChurch Cat is on an adventure! In this book, his adventures take Alphy to explore the Lord’s Prayer – perhaps the most misunderstood prayer of all!! What will he find? You will have to read to find out! Come and discover with him!Check the preview video out and the Amazon links…

40 pages. Fully illustrated. UK Price is £4.99 and USA price is $9.99! Every purchase helps me out and I also put a percentage to good causes close to my heart !

Purchase at Amazon UK – Purchase at Amazon USA – Purchase at CreateSpace USA

Let me know what you think!

Alphy!

 

Issues – Government

 Partake - Issues

Government

Right mouse click to save/download this audio Podcast as a MP3 file

G’day and welcome to Partake Issues! Today we are going to talk about government! At the time of producing this, we are in the final stages of the run up to a General Election, where people will be voting for their political representatives. After al the votes are counted there will be a government elected! This of course, is not unique to the UK! All people all over the world live under some from of leadership or government. That government may be democratically elected, a monarchy or even an oppressive dictatorship. Whatever kind of government we find ourselves with, we have one! If there was not a government in place, as hard as it is to imagine, total chaos would reign and people would just do whatever pleases them, regardless of consequences and regardless of other people. Therefore, regardless of whatever government we live under, what does the Bible say should be our reaction and attitude to the government. By government, I mean all levels of government and authority – from local authority to federal government. But first of all, lets look at what the Bible has to say about the function of human government, before going on to look at our responsibility to Government and our community.

The Function of Human Government

Paul writing in Romans 13 “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honour, then honour.”

Here Paul indicates that there are at least three functions of a human government: protection, punishment and promotion.

Protection: From the moment Adam sinned, it was plainly obvious that human civilizations would need some form of restraint and law, in order to protect their citizens – form themselves and others. We see this clearly in Acts 21, where the Roman soldiers step in to save Paul from being killed by other people in Jerusalem.

Punishment: Paul stipulates that duly appointed government officials and servants are to be considered as servants of God (even if they don’t believe in God!)

Promotion: Human government, as thought by Paul, was to promote the broad-spectrum welfare of all the community and not just select groups, where its laws are in effect.

Christian Response to Human Government

Paul in 1 Timothy 2v1-3 writes: “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour,

The Apostle Peter goes further when writing in 1 Peter 2v13-17 “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honour the king.

From these passages of Scripture we see that it is clearly impossible to be simultaneously a solid Christian and a poor citizen. As Christians we have responsibilities to our government.

Firstly we have a responsibility to recognize and acknowledge that God ordains the Government. We see that from Paul’s writing in Romans 13 and Paul was writing when the Emperor Nero was in power and systematically persecuting and torturing Christians! We also see this thinking in the passage from 1 Peter. There is no authority except as given by God. Even to the most sadistic, dictatorial or atheist governments – they have power only because God has allowed them. So we are to obey our government! But it is not to be slavish obedience regardless of what laws are decreed! No! The exception to this is where obedience to the Government would require the Christian to actively or passively disobey God. For we read in Acts 4v18-20 that the believer is to live in obedience to God rather than man.

Secondly, as much as we probably hate to, we are commanded to pay taxes to the government! For by doing so, the government can set about ensuring, for example, that the weaker and more vulnerable sections of the community are cared for and protected!

Thirdly, and quite possibly, most importantly, Christians are to pray for their leaders, governments and those in authority! Both Peter and Paul command and recommend it! To pray for them is to love them and it is also a way for God to shine into the lives of people. One of the things we are to pray for, is that the government governs righteously, honourably, honestly and with integrity.

The Christian, as a citizen, is free to be law-abiding, conscious that they are under submission to Almighty God. It also means giving respect to all members of society from the lowest to the highest! As Christians, we are to submit ourselves to our Government and be living lives worthy of the Gospel of Christ. This may indeed win some for God, win the recognition of their government as well as influencing Government policy and law. Whatever government you find yourself under, pray for your leaders even if you thoroughly disagree with some or all of their actions. They are in power, only because our God has allowed them. They will answer to Him one day for what they have done with the power given to them by God alone. God is in control, and He is on the ultimate throne and is the definitive power!

Community Responsibility

But just as we have responsibility to our Government, we also have a responsibility for those in our community – both local and global. We are also to work for social justice and be involved in social action – that’s part of our loving of other people. The oppression and persecution of people is to be anathema to us as Christians, just as it is to our God! Where a minority is maltreated and discriminated we should be at the forefront of demanding justice for all! We are to be promoting civil rights and using all aspects of the law to do so. We are to be working to ensure the poorest members of our community, both local and global, are cared for and the oppressed freed!

In your country, this could mean peaceful demonstrations and interacting with your political representatives! Look at some of the great reformers or social activists of the past: Wilberforce helping to abolish slavery; or Martin Luther King Jr. at the forefront of ending segregation and racism. May each one of us, on both a local and international scale, play some small part in ending prejudice, suffering, racism, poverty, bigotry, abuse, oppression and other injustices. As John Stott once said: “The reason for our acceptance of social responsibility… is simple uncomplicated compassion. Love has no need to justify itself. It merely expresses itself in service wherever it sees need.” As Jesus of Nazareth once said: “Love God and love other people.”

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. In what way can I influence and encourage my government to promote justice, free the oppressed and take care of the poor?

Q2. How can I help my government authorities to protect, punish and promote?

Q3. When was the last time I actively prayed for those in authority over me, whether Christian or secular?

Thank you.

Right mouse click to save/download this audio Podcast as a MP3 file

Paypal Donate If you find these resources helpful to you, please do prayerfully consider making a donation. You can support via PayPal, the universal and most secure way to donate money online. You do not need to be a member of Paypal to use their facilities and all major credit cards are accepted. Thank you

Click on the appropriate link to subscribe to this website

Subscribe via iTunes

I heart FeedBurner

Issues – Times of Trouble

 Partake - Issues

Times of Trouble

G’day and welcome to Partake Issues! Today we are going to talk about times of trouble. Paul writing in 2 Corinthians 4v16- 18 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

I wonder if sometimes you feel just like giving up, throwing it all away and just be buried by whatever is burdening you. I guess, almost everyone has felt like that at one time or another. Maybe its because you are undergoing troubles or suffering – physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. Whatever it is, as a Christian you are to persevere. We persevere, because we are not alone in our troubles. Also, if we think about it, in the light of eternity, the time of endurance through these troubles, is but the blink of an eye! Wow!

Right mouse click to save/download this Podcast as a MP3 file

Persevere!

How are you and I to respond to suffering and other troubles? Naturally, we either treat them too flippantly or far too seriously. The response that God wants His followers to have is to be exercised by it. When we undergo any suffering or trouble, we are to commit it to God, endure it and understand that He is faithful and that it will eventuate in His glory and for our own good (Romans 8v28; 1 Peter 4v18). We are to be joyful when enduring suffering (James 1v2). Now I admit, that that can be pretty hard to do, but we are not left alone. The Holy Spirit indwells us if we are His followers and as one of His names suggests, as the Comforter, He provides comfort during the difficult times. So, just as He perseveres, so are we!

Perseverance in relation to God and His work is the continuous operation of the Holy Spirit in your life as a believer. It is a work of divine grace that is begun in your heart, which is continued and brought to completion.

As a Christian, you will never perish, and nobody or nothing can snatch them out of His hand (John 10v27-29). You have eternal life and you will not be condemned, passed from death to life (John 5v24). God, who began a good work in you, will carry it on to completion (Philippians 1v6). You are shielded by God’s power (1 Peter 1v15). Nothing can separate you from God/Christ’s love (Romans 8v38-39).

God’s whole purpose for you is to transform you into the image of Jesus Christ. His purpose for you is to make you holy. This is where perseverance for you as a Christian comes in. He may well, as we have seen, use some form of temporal suffering in order to achieve it, but in the light of eternity, it will not be for long!

You are to keep your eyes focussed on Jesus Christ, carry your cross daily and be willing to obey Him. You are to run the race with eyes fixed ahead, forgetting what is past and not looking back at what in the past had entangled us. And yes it is hard to forget, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, it is possible! As a Christian, persevere in your relationship with God. Obey Him and follow Him. Ask questions humbly of Him and expect Him to answer, particularly if you don’t understand something. Persevere in your prayers, your relationships with God and with other people. God will persevere with you, turning you gradually into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. God will not abandon you, but you are free to abandon Him. If you did abandon Him, He would still continue to call you back to Himself. So if He perseveres, so must we! But why do we persevere?

Character

Character results from persevering! As a Christian you are to be transformed and developed, working on improving your service and being transformed in the image of Jesus Christ. That is God’s ultimate purpose for you! But in order to do that, we need to find out what needs to be developed! These characteristics will help you to measure how much the Holy Spirit has been free to develop your character.

1. Persistence & EndurancePersistence & endurance is developing staying power, to hold courageously under fire. In other words – bulldog tenacity. Things like criticism, circumstances, opposition & problems can stop you cold, if you allow them.. The problem is that we sometimes think the Christian life is a sprint race. When in fact it is a marathon, where a second wind of the long hard grind is necessary. What is it that stops you? The size of a person is determined by what it takes to stop him or her. Winners are people who have formed the habit of doing things that failures hate to do. Don’t let anything stop you!

2. Resistance – This is not resistance to ideas but resistance to opposition. Criticism is the occupational hazard for leaders (1 Peter 2v20-24). Discouragement is a cancer of the Spirit. Be resistant to discouragement and hyper-criticism. Let the Holy Spirit encourage you!

3. ServanthoodMatthew 20v26-28 “Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.” The first shall be last and the last shall be first. Priority is be given to service. An essential part of developing character, is serving.If Jesus, as King, could be a humble servant, in that He came to earth as a member of His own creation, then you and I can also be identified as humble servants..

4.Consistent Example – Modelling is the greatest unconscious form of learning what we know. As Paul writes in Philippians 3v17 – 4v9 “Follow me as I follow Christ”. Whether you like it or not, people are following you, but are you following Christ closely? Those who are following and watching you, do not do what you tell them to do, but do what you do!

5. Self-mastery – You need to be unencumbered by the things that weigh you down. This is the danger of an affluent society. (Hebrews 12:1-2) “Travel light”. You need to decide what is good and what is evil. The real decision is between that which is good, that which is better and which is better or best. Choose the best!!

6. Virile Private Life – Two things to keep in balance are involvement & isolation. You cannot do enough for others if you are constantly in the company of others. You also need time alone but not as a complete hermit!

7. Confidence – The number one problem in our culture today, is a lack of confidence. Paul said in Philippians 4v13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. For you as Christian Disciple, self-confidence is Christ-confidence – this is not egotism. Say to your self “I can’t lose. I can only make mistakes”. Confidence is spawned by the ability to say no. The New Testament is the doctrine of moderation in all things. You don’t have to do everything you are capable of achieving.

8. Teachability – You are to be teachable because you have an unlimited ceiling of being taught. A key part of your being a Christian Disciple is a willingness to be taught by other people, even if you are in a teaching role!

9. Positive Attitude – A danger in becoming negative, is that a root of bitterness sets up. The greatest therapy is that of thanksgiving & prayer. God says you can do it. Satan says you can’t do it.

10. Your capacity to believe God – What is there in your life that you are trusting in God for that He alone can do? (2 Corinthians 4v7) In your life, Jesus is to have the supremacy and glory over all things!

Whatever you are going through – persevere and develop character. Allow yourself to be transformed daily by God the Holy Spirit into the image of God the Son in obedience to the will of God the Father.

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. After reading 2 Timothy 2v11-13, what motivates me to endure and persevere?

Q2. After reading Philippians 3v17, how can I follow Jesus Christ more closely?

Q3. After reading 2 Corinthians 4:7, what is there in my life that where I show trust in God for that which He alone can do?

Thank you.

Right mouse click to save/download this Podcast as a MP3 file

Paypal Donate If you find these resources helpful to you, please do prayerfully consider making a donation. Thank you

Click on the appropriate link to subscribe to this website

Subscribe via iTunes

I heart FeedBurnerAdd to Google Reader or Homepage

Issues – Worship

 Partake - Issues

Worship

Right mouse click to save/download this Podcast as a MP3 file

G’day and welcome to Partake Issues! I often here people say their church has the best worship and that other church worship services are inferior! Or I hear that a person has moved churches, because the experience is different and better there! What are we to think as Christians in the twenty first century about biblical worship?

The Psalmist writes in Psalm 105v1-6: “Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds. Exult in his holy name; rejoice, you who worship the Lord. Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him. Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given, you children of his servant Abraham, you descendants of Jacob, his chosen ones.”

Today there are many different churches using different worship styles to worship the one True and Living God! We can even think of different churches in the New Testament worshipping differently, such as the church of Philippi church being more liturgical and ordered, while the church of Corinth is more free and less controlled! As His followers and His worshippers, we are required to worship God and to worship Him publicly and with others! There is a meaning of worship, whereby our very life is to be a spiritual act of worship according to Paul in Romans 12. Paul meant that every aspect of our life is to be an act of worship, where our life is to be for the majesty and honour of God! However, the definition of worship I want to talk about today is about public acts of worship, such as in a church or chapel service. Where worshipping is to give respect, honour and glory to God! When this is done in reverence, in truth and in submission to the Lord Jesus Christ, then the Christian Disciple continues to mature and grow spiritually. Let us look at the what, why and how of Biblical worship!

What is worship?

Worship is, by way of act, attitude, or thought, a way of giving supreme honour and reverence to God! As Christian Disciples, God Almighty alone is worthy of our reverence, submission and worship. There are many other things that are worshipped and thus are ‘gods’, with a small ‘g’. Money, careers, possessions, other people are 21st century examples of things which are worshipped by humans. Thus the threat of materialism is a huge danger to Christian Disciples, because the worship of material possessions takes the supreme place of worship to God, and some Christian Disciples have been duped by it! But the Bible clearly states that God alone is to be worshipped. For God is to carry the worshipping Christian Disciple, and not the Christian Disciple to carry the god.

Why worship?

Perhaps the greatest reason that we worship is because God commands it! The 10 Commandments (Exodus 21v1-3) insist that God alone is worshipped, adored and paid homage to! As humans we are made in His image and as Christian Disciples, He owns us because we claim Jesus to be our Lord and Master! So it is right and just that we give worship to this God who paid the penalty for sin, so that we may be His children, and wants us to call Him Father! As Christian Disciples, we discover an inner personal satisfaction when God is worshipped and adored, both for the present and in the future (Romans 12v2; Col 3v24)!

Another reason to give worship is that God deserves our worship! All of God’s attributes demand that we revere and worship Him! His holiness, goodness, love, mercy and providence are but a beginning as to why He, and He alone, is worthy of our worship. It is by His grace, and through His grace alone, that we worship Him!

How are we to worship?

In some church services, a general confession of sin comes at the start. This is because before engaging in exultant praise, Christian Disciples should approach with penitence and examine their inner selves just as Isaiah did in Isaiah 6. We also gather in expectation of meeting God and that He will receive the worship!

Worship services should consist of more than just singing songs. The church is 2000 years old and in that time a lot of resources can be found to help people worship, apart from singing songs! There are items like responsive prayers and psalms, whereby prayers and psalms are spoken between the congregation to each other and to the leader! There are times of silence, or times of spoken liturgy where truths of God are both spoken and heard. Saying the Apostles Creed or Nicene Creed help build the body in affirming their belief in an awesome God worthy of worship! Times of worship should be more diverse than just singing songs and should express the cultural and personality diversity of the people worshipping! Remember, Jesus and certainly the early church participated in services which would certainly have contained liturgy, Scripture reading and songs!

Other core parts of some worship services are the Holy Communion and Baptism! These were fundamental in churches in the New Testament period and are just as important today! Holy Communion is where we as Christian Disciples remember Jesus’ death for our sin, acceptance of His death for us, and our dependence on Him for our spiritual life. Baptism is where Christian Disciples identify with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The third element of worship is the reading and preaching of the Bible! This where God’s word is read in public! This is where God’s Word is preached so as to that God’s word can be applied to the hearer’s lives! Sermons can be the pinnacle of a worship service as God’s revealed word is expounded, talked about and explained! Yet, sadly, for a lot of people its not considered worship! It most certainly is!

The whole of a church worship service should be where the spiritually comfortable are discomforted and those spiritually uncomfortable are comforted! From 1 Corinthians 14v25, worship should be where non-Christians present can proclaim, “God is really among you”. So often our church worship services are flat, feeble and weak spiritually. At one extreme in churches, we have worship services that are flippant and no consideration to make worship an awe-inspiring time of devotion to an awesome God! At the other extreme, we have worship services where everybody looks like they have been sucking on lemons and where grace is obviously lacking. Somewhere in between, is where public worship should be. In the broad spectrum of being neither trivialized nor grace-less, is where our church worship services should be! Sometimes we need to worship, even if we don’t feel like it and pray for God to help us worship Him. Over all this, is 1 Corinthians 14v26, which plainly states: “Everything that is done must be useful to all and build them up in the Lord”. Public worship is for the encouragement of the gathered worshipping group of believers and not for the individual worshipper.

The modern construct of only worshipping when its enjoyable or because the experience feels right is not a biblical construct. When you find yourself in a worship service with others, as long as what is being said and sung is biblical, keep worshipping. Even if the style or method is not to your own personal taste! Just because the church down the road from you worships in a different style to you, doesn’t make their worship in valid! We have a God worthy of all types of worship! Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit by trying to validate your own style over a different style, by saying your church worships better than any other! The Holy Spirit works in different places in different ways! Stop limiting the Holy Spirit! Through the energy and power of the Holy Spirit, any and all acts of church worship are done in reverence, in truth and in submission to the Lord Jesus Christ. Done regardless of our own personal taste, enjoyment level or experience. Main thing is to worship in Spirit and in truth, and that is surely to be a cause of joy, regardless of worship style! Let us use the diversity of worship styles to worship the One True Living God!

For more to think about please do read 1 Corinthians 14v26-39. 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. When I attend worship services, is it for the encouragement of others or just for myself?

Q2. What are my favourite elements of worship and how should I react to those elements I don’t like?

Q3. Does my life of following Jesus Christ, match the words I sing and words I speak in church worship services?

Right mouse click to save/download this Podcast as a MP3 file

Paypal Donate If you find these resources helpful to you, please do prayerfully consider making a donation. You can support via PayPal, the universal and most secure way to donate money online. You do not need to be a member of Paypal to use their facilities and all major credit cards are accepted. Thank you

Click on the appropriate link to subscribe to this website

Subscribe via iTunes

I heart FeedBurnerAdd to Google Reader or Homepage

Jesus the Risen King

jog_cover

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?

 

Download this episode (right click and save)

Jesus I AM 1

77. Christian Disciple and Jesus’ I AM statements (1)

Exodus 3v13-14: Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’

Isaiah 41v4: “Who has done this and carried it through, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD -with the first of them and with the last—I am he”

John 8v58: “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “Before Abraham was, I AM”.

On seven other occasions in John’s Gospel, John records statements where Jesus said “I AM”. These are unique to John and are not recorded in the three other Gospels. For this Podcast we will look briefly at four of them and the next Podcast will discuss the remaining three. Here Jesus is reinforcing His claims to be God because when he says “I AM”, he is referring back to the time when God revealed Himself to Moses in Exodus 3v14 and through the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 41v4 That’s why in John 8v59, they picked up stones in order to kill Him for blasphemy. This was in accordance, so they thought, with Deuteronomy 13, which dictates that anyone who tries to turn people away from the living God is to be stoned to death. They knew Jesus was claiming to the very God they thought they worshipped.

John 6v35, 48, and 51: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; this bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

Three times in this passage, Jesus refers to Himself as the living bread. By this He meant that He was the only one who could satiate the appetite and yearning of every person’s spirit. For those He was speaking to, bread was a basic staple food for living, just as it is for millions of people today. Jesus indicates when saying He is the bread of life, that He will supply all needs! Just as He said to the woman at the well in John 4v4, that whoever drinks His living water, shall never again go spiritually thirsty. When Jesus referred to the manna in the desert (John 6v49) he talked of it being merely temporary despite being a gift from God. He however as the true bread of life would give permanent satisfaction and life everlasting to all those who believe and follow Him (John 6v51)! But this bread He offers, has to be eaten; has to be taken up by the person wanting spiritual life! Note the inference to His impending sacrifice on the cross at the end of John 6v51!

 

John 8v12: Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I AM the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

 

Jesus is at the Feast of Tabernacles! One of the great symbols of that Feast was Light! At the end of the feast, when the lights are extinguished, Jesus said that he was the light of the world! Throughout the Old Testament, light is an important symbol. There is the pillar of fire and cloud leading the nation of Israel on their journey (Exodus 13). In Psalm 27v1, the Psalmist describes God as “my light”. The nation of Israel was to be God’s light to all the world (Isaiah 49v6) so that God would be the world’s light (Isaiah 60v19-22). So by referring to Himself as the light of the world, Jesus is saying it is He who shines light into peoples spiritual eyes and gives them understanding which in turn leads to them seeing their need of God and His ability to satisfy their spiritual needs.

 

John 10v7-11 and 14-15: Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I AM the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.

 

Throughout the Old Testament, God is seen as a shepherd and His people are the sheep of is keeping. The sheep are always God’s even though He temporarily entrusted them to people such as Moses to care and tender them. Therefore Moses and others like him such as the true prophets, were forerunners to Jesus. Here Jesus proclaims that He is the door or gate to salvation! It is through Jesus that salvation is found and through Him alone as the door or gate, people are led safe and sound into spiritual freedom, spiritual light and spiritual sustenance. Unlike others who come only to steal, kill and destroy, Jesus offers spiritual safety & nourishment. Jesus does not just offer a way out, but also a way in! The security offered by Jesus is because He is always in close proximity to those who follow Him. Jesus calls all those who follow Him by name (John 10v3) and they know each other.

Jesus is the great shepherd only through the sacrifice he must make for His sheep. Here Jesus is looking ahead to the sacrifice He makes on the Cross. His love for all of humanity compels Him to make the ultimate sacrifice. Just as all shepherds will endanger themselves for the safety of their sheep, so too will Jesus endure the pain and suffering of the Cross, so that people can be led into safety of God’s kingdom. It is in this role of shepherd, that Jesus exhibits true leadership, which is self-less and sacrificial. Ezekiel 34v11 tells of God searching out for his sheep among all nations, and this is fulfilled through Jesus. Through His perfect, obedient and voluntary sacrifice on the Cross, not only will salvation be available to the Jews but also to those of other nations (John 10v16).

 

For more to think about please do read XXXXX. 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. Read John 6v25-59. How does Jesus being the bread of life encapsulate His whole message?

Q2. Read 1 John 1. If Jesus is the light of the world, how am I to live as His follower?

Q3. Read John 10v1-21. As a Christian Disciple, what benefits does Jesus as the shepherd offer me?

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

Listen to this episode

Download this episode (right click and save)

Please click here to donate.


Thank you for stopping by! Read and download what ever you like… A new feature is that I have been asked by some if they can donate for the upkeep of this site as they know I have no regular income/wages/salary at the moment, and that is why the Paypal Donate button is above… Paypal is totally secure and is operated by the same people as eBay. There is absolutely no obligation to do so if you desire not to… God bless you and may you continue to be transformed into the very image of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ…

Dave

Jesus’ Teaching

76. Christian Disciple and Jesus’ Teaching

Luke records in Luke 4v31-32: Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath began to teach the people. They were amazed at his teaching, because his message had authority.”

This event in Capernaum was not a one off occurrence. Frequently the writers of the gospel remark how people viewed Jesus’ teaching as authoritative. But what was it that made His teaching authoritative?

1. How he taught with authority:

Jesus’ manner of teaching shared much in common with other teachers of 1st century Palestine. His teachings frequently included Old Testament texts; exaggerate hyperbole, telling of parables, rhythmic poetry aiding memorisation and the predicting of future events were common teaching practise at the time in both religious and secular circles. Most of the teaching we have in the Gospels did not arise out of formal settings but rather through personal encounters, engaging with the religious leaders and the inherent need to teach His disciples. However it is not so much his manner of teaching that created the air of authority about him, but rather what He taught that did (Matthew 7v28-29).

2. What did he teach?

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus appeals to the Old Testament scriptures in every facet of His teaching. Founded on Old Testament texts, were His moral and legal teachings (Matthew 5v17-48), the historical stories (Matthew 24v27-29) and in His debates with the religious leaders, Jesus frequently used Old Testament Scripture (Mark 7v6-13).

Quite possibly, the supreme example of His teaching can be found in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5v1-7v29). Whilst mainly speaking to His disciples, he allowed the crowds to listen. In this discourse, all of Jesus’ teachings are exhibited. Key themes from the Sermon on the Mount include: a Christian Disciple’s character, influence, righteousness, religion, devotional life, ambition and relationships.

The Kingdom of God

Jesus preached that entrance to the kingdom of God was through repentance (Matthew 3v2) and this repentance led to a spiritual rebirth (John 3v1-8). He calls all Christian Disciples to seek it first (Matthew 6v33) and to pray for it (Matthew 6v10). But what is the Kingdom of God? The Kingdom of God as taught by Jesus, was not a political uprising against the Romans, as thought by James and John (Mark 10v35-45) and nor is it the church. The kingdom of God was and is both a personal inner spiritual relationship with God as ruler over the life of the Christian Disciple, but also the Christian Disciple exhibiting this relationship with God in a visible new society (Matthew 25v34; Luke 13v29). Parable such as the corn and weeds (Matthew 13v24-30) and the mustard seed (Mark 4v3-32) typify Jesus teaching on this.

Regarding Himself

Whilst Jesus never directly claimed to be God, He did things only God could do. He claimed authority to forgive sins (Matthew 9v1-7). He also claimed that He, and He alone, was the only way to the Father when he said in John 14v6: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. His claim to be the Messiah, or Son of Man, is an appeal to Old Testament texts and their subsequent fulfilment and completion in Him (Mark 8v29-33). Primarily His teaching that the Messiah must suffer and be glorified was also an appellation to Old Testament scripture (Luke 9v31; Luke 12v50; John 10v11-15).

3. The prime method He used was with parables:

Throughout the Gospels, we see that Jesus spoke a lot in parable form. A parable is an allegories or picture story. He did this in order to get His message across completely. The parables as recorded in the Gospels mainly fall into four categories:

Society and its God – an example of this would be the parable of the sheep (Luke 15v1-7) whereby God is seen as a God of grace.

Society and the individual – an example of this would be the parable involving the rich fool who thought his wealth would make God love him more (Luke 12v13-21).

Society and the community – an example here would be the parable of the Good Samaritan whereby everyone is to show love, even for their enemies (Luke 10v25-37).

Society and the future – an example here would be the parable of the great feast whereby the future climax of the kingdom is seen (Matthew 25v31-33).

4. Who did He teach?

The Gospel writers attributed Jesus as a teacher (Mark 5v35; John 7v15) despite his lacking the formal requirements usually attained by rabbis. The Gospel writers also refer to him as a prophet (Luke 7v16; John 6v14), and he was recognized as such by people (Mark 6v15; Mark 8v28). There were three main groups of people that Jesus interacted with and taught. There were large crowds, his twelve disciples and the religious leaders.

The Crowds– Sermon on the Mount

When Jesus taught large gathering of people, it was always based on evidential facts and it was always as Luke described “good news” (Luke 4v18), because God gave it to Jesus. Crowds recognized that Jesus had a confident manner of speaking (Mark 1v22). It must be noted that in the presence of crowds, Jesus didn’t actively reveal who he was (Mark 1v44; Mark 3v11-12; Mark 9v9).

The Disciples

Many of Jesus’ recorded teachings were to His disciples, but in the midst of crowds, such as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5v1; Matthew 7v28). However on more precise requirements of discipleship, or about Himself or the future of God’s Kingdom, Jesus usually only taught His disciples concerning His true identity, even though they failed to grasp it (Mark 8v27-33).

The religious leaders

Because of Jesus’ popularity and the activities He was involved with, the religious leaders soon took notice of him. Jesus respected the Law of Moses and Moses authority (Mark 1v22). He gave his own unique interpretation and as such attracted the opposition of the religious leaders who had taught a different interpretation. An example of this is in Jesus interpretation of the Sabbath (Mark 2v23-38); the healings He performed (John 5v1-18); fasting and ritual cleanliness (Mark 7v1-5) and for consorting with sinners (Luke 7v34). Jesus criticised the religious leaders for amongst other things: their lack of compassion and the weighty burdens they placed upon others (Matthew 23; Mark 12v38-40; Luke 11v37-54).

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 Matthew 5v13. How can I as a Christian Disciple be salt and light to my community?

Q2. Read Mark 4v10-20. How does Jesus speak to me as a Christian Disciple and how does the Holy Spirit help me to interpret what Scripture says?

Q3.? Read Matthew 7v24-27. In what ways am I as a Christian Disciple sometimes like the wise builder and at other times like the foolish builder?

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

Download this episode (right click and save)

Tag Cloud