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Think Spot 13 July 2020

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Think Spot – 13th July 2020


No man has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. John 3:13.

It is therefore that Christ pictures his own person. He is the promised Saviour come from heaven ; he is the true Son of God from eternity. If he is come from heaven he must have been with God from eternity. He descended from heaven again, but he has taken upon himself the nature of man and has dwelt among us on earth. For this reason he here calls himself the Son of man, that is, actual man, having flesh and blood like we have. He divested himself of the form of God, and went about in the form of a servant, enduring suffering and death, until such time as he was delivered from this state and was exalted again and seated at the right hand of God, having now been made Lord over death and hell and all elements of his human nature. All this he has manifested by his visible ascension when he was taken up in the clouds before the eyes of his disciples.

Of these things the Pharisees were in utter ignorance. They could not at all conceive that their Messiah had to be sent from heaven that he might redeem and reconcile all the world and particularly his own Jewish people. Much less did they understand that he had to die on the cross, that he must be crucified and become a sacrifice for their sins and the sins of the world. The reason was because they failed to recognize that the whole nature of man in the sight of God merited only damnation and perdition, and were so bold as to imagine that they could atone for their own sins by their good works and consequently would need no Messiah.

All ability of men, no matter how wise, learned and holy they are, is of no avail. No man can enter heaven as he descended from Adam. There never was a saint who in his own merit could go to heaven, whether Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Elijah, John, or any other. Before man can enter the kingdom of heaven and receive eternal life, there must first come One who has eternal righteousness and life, who appeases God’s anger and abolishes sin and death.

(An excerpt taken from “Devotional Readings From Luther’s Works For Every Day Of The Year” By Rev. John Sander, L.H.D.) in the Public Domain.

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Sermon – When Jesus Returns As King – Revelation 21 to 22

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When Jesus returns back as King

Revelation 21-22

 

Introduction

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We maybe about 5 months away from Christmas but as you know, at Christmas, we celebrate Jesus Christ coming to earth as a human. Christmas is a time where the Church and our community celebrate Jesus Christ’s first coming as a baby.  The community like to think of Jesus as a baby, because a baby can be controlled. Somewhat.  Though that is coming from the perspective of somebody who has never had children!!!  Society in general, is comfortable with leaving Jesus as a baby.  However, Jesus is not a baby now, He is King and what a King.  He is coming again, not as a baby this time, but as King and judge.  Both ideas are affirmed by Jeremiah and John.

Christ’s reign

Have you ever wondered what the book of Revelation was all about? The writer is the Apostle John, now approaching 100 years of age and he is almost blind.  John was in exile on Patmos, put there by the Romans due to his witness for Jesus.  There was open persecution of Christians at the time.  This is the same John, who was the apostle Jesus loved.  John saw Jesus walk on the water.  He seen and heard Jesus command a storm to cease! He saw Jesus weeping.  He saw Jesus in righteous anger clearing the Temple courts.  He seen Jesus heal the sick, raise the dead and cast out demons.  He had his feet washed by Jesus.  He saw Jesus transfigured.  He saw Jesus die. He had seen Jesus risen and ascended. John now sees Jesus in all the fulness of His glory and Jesus shows him the new city!

Prepared!

When I have to go away by myself, I know that when I get home, I know I am expected and loved.  My wife has my favourite meal prepared.  The heating is on and the proverbial pipe and slippers are ready.  Everything I like, that makes it a home for me, is done for me!  After my first week down here, I returned back there, and was showered with balloons and all manner of things, because I was expected and she loves me!!

Similarly, when we get to heaven, Jesus has prepared a place for those of us who love Him, trust Him and obey Him as King.  Our King is waiting for us!  He is expecting us, wanting to lavish His love upon us.  We know He loves us now, but that is only in part.  When we are with Him eternally, we shall have the full picture of Jesus.  He is with us now in Spirit, but then we shall be with Him physically and face to face. Heaven is a prepared place of majestic beauty.  John portrays his visions for us, building up layer upon layer of words, as a painter painting a painting.  Laying on the colours, layer upon layer until finally the painting is finished.

Purity (v.1-4)

Heaven is a prepared place. Secondly, it is a pure place.  We all suffer in some way.  For myself in the recent past, I have suffered a brain haemorrhage and I have lost three days, I will never regain.  I continue to take medication for blood pressure and hypothyroidism in the morning and in the evening I take anti-convulsants.  I take so many pills I rattle when I walk.  With the medication, come all manner of side effects.   I find it difficult doing certain activities.  Sometimes my entire body aches and groans in protest at my actions.  We suffer, don’t we.  My father died 10 years ago from a misdiagnosed hiatus hernia.  My mother suffers with arthritis and hyperthyroidism.  One of my brothers suffer with clinical depression.  A lady I know back in London, Pam, is sleeping in her front room because her leg is so swollen she cant get up her stairs to her bedroom.  We suffer don’t we?

One day soon, we will have perfect bodies and full health.  We only have to look at the news on TV or read the papers to see global suffering. When our King returns, there will be no more terrorism, missiles, guns, wars or bombs.  No more will man’s inhumanity to man be allowed.  No more torture, rapes, muggings or robberies.  No more poverty or famine.  No more religion, idols or icons.  No more gossip, fornication, adultery, lying or debauchery.  No more cowardice.  No more pain.  No more death.  No more suffering. No more sin. Suffering of any kind leaves some sort of scar or mark.  Do you have scars?  Physical, emotional or mental scars due to sickness, somebody else sinning against you or as a result of your own sins?  Scars come as a result of human life.  Much like a house that has lovingly lived in.  Scratches in the paintwork.  Dents and knocks in the wood.  Our human bodies are the same, yet… 

Yet, one day they will be gone!! Vanished!!  A pure body you will have!! And I will have! No need for annoying spectacles.  There will be no Specsavers or Stannah stair-lifts in heaven!!  No more wheelchairs.  No more walking sticks or frames.  No more hearing-aids.  No more braces or dentures.  No more doctors or dentists!! Perfection attained and it is to the glory of God and His majestic doing, that this will occur.  Do you believe it? Do you live it? Are you suffering today from sickness?  Are you suffering today because of somebody else?? 

Well one day, one glorious day, all suffering will be banished for those of us who love Him.  Read with me verse 4, “God will wipe away our tears.  There will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying and no more pain, for former things have passed away.”  Take that verse to heart.  What a glorious day it will be for those of us who love Him now.  God Himself, with our face in His hands, wiping away our tears…  It will be a place where we will live the fruit of the spirit eternally.  A place where  “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal.5:22-23)  are both permanent and universal. That is part of our King’s manifesto.  What a day, that will be!!  We will enter those gates, thanking Jesus, looking back at how we suffered.  Not only medically, but also for His sake under persecution.  We will be able to say with Jeremiah and John “It was worth it all.  The sufferings I endured  and overcame for the sake of Jesus, was all worth it, so as to be here eternally and living with our King.”

Pearly gates (v.21)

Heaven is prepared for us and it is a pure place.  Lastly we enter through giant gates of pearl.  Do you know how a pearl is formed?  When an oyster gets an irritating grain of sand within its shell, it covers the grain of sand over with layers of mother-of-pearl until the irritation and the suffering is no longer felt.  Now what do you think the suffering was that created  these giant pearls that are the gates (v21)?  I think they are to remind us of the cross and the suffering and pain that Jesus endured.  People denigrate the cross.  I have had people say that “the cross doesn’t matter”  and “your religion is as good as mine thank you very much.”  Others state “that all religions lead to heaven”. 

However, the very gates of heaven tells us that these things are wrong.  They tell us that it is only through the cross, that we get to pass through and enjoy heaven in worship and service of God.  Only through the pain, the agony and the suffering that Jesus endured, culminating in His death as He cried out “My God! My God!  Why have You forsaken me?” Our King Himself has suffered for us, so that we may enjoy His company forever and ever, if we only trust and obey Him now and place our faith in Him while we are here in this our temporal home on earth.  We know in part now, but then we will know in full. This makes the sins that we commit while we are here on earth trying to follow Him, even more serious. 

Sometimes we take a rather blasé attitude to sin.  We excuse it as only a minor thing and of no consequence.  Each time we sin as believers, it is as if we are spitting in the very face of Jesus.  Our desire should be, to be Jesus and to be like Him.  I long to be perfect.  When I make a mistake and sin, I cry out in frustration to be perfect now!  However, I also know that God is taking off my rough edges to continue making me purer, more like His Son and our King, under the power and direction of the Holy Spirit. I won’t be entering heaven because I am Australian and showing my Australian passport.  Although I consider that a very close second.  You won’t even be able to claim your entry into heaven by showing your British passport, let alone as a member of the European community.  No… we can only enter heaven, our new home, through the cross.  When we first decided for Jesus and turned over our lives to Him, that is when our eternal life with Him commenced.

Conclusion

Be encouraged, heaven is for you if you are trusting and obeying Jesus and have Him as Lord of your life!  Remember.  Whatever your attitude and how you judge Jesus now, is how He will judge you when He returns!  Are you following Him and treating Him with respect and reverence?  If you aren’t, then it isn’t too late to change your mind and then the reward of eternal living in heaven will be yours! Are you suffering?  Suffering will soon be gone.  When you sin against God, keep a short account and ask for forgiveness as soon as you recognise that you have sinned and the Holy Spirit has convicted you of it. We yearn to be with our King for ever and ever.  Yet, we are to keep one part of our mind on Heaven and the other on the responsible work we have been set to do, here on earth.  We are not to be so heavenly minded, that we are of no earthly use. 

Conversely, we are not to be so earth bound, that we are not tied to King Jesus in our eternal home. Go tell somebody.  Won’t you go tell somebody this week, this message.  Heaven is a great big place, and there will be room for everybody in this town, this county, this nation and this world to enter through one of those twelve gates!  Go and share this good news with somebody this very week, so that there may be somebody in that magnificent City, because you told them. Christ is our King of Righteousness.  Trust Him and live a life worthy of Him.   Look for His coming! Be expectant, the King is coming back for us soon!  Critics of the church sneer “Where is your God?” and “The end of the Church is surely near”.  They are so impatient!! 

Well… our God will appear soon.  He is coming back as King of Righteousness, judging evil and rejecting those who reject Him whilst rewarding those who patiently trust and obey Him.

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Developing Intimacy With God – 12. Jesus’ Teaching About Prayer Part 2

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Developing Intimacy With God

12. Jesus’ Teaching About Prayer (Part 2)

“9 ‘This, then, is how you should pray:
‘“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.”
Amen.” (Matthew 6:9-13)

Last week in our Saturday series, we started looking at Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer in what we call the Lord’s Prayer and we continue that this week.

Forgiveness: Forgiveness, of course, is a major part of the Christian faith and Christianity. Both in the way that God forgives me when I come to Him in penitence and repentance, but also in the way that I forgive others and themselves! Asking for forgiveness, particularly from other people, can be one of the hardest things I need to do. When those times come upon me, I need to stop and consider Jesus Christ and the enormity of His forgiveness. If He forgave me for all I have done wrong, then I also should forgive others, regardless of how difficult that might be to do. Again, is that your experience? Forgiveness deals with my emotional responses toward an offender. Forgiveness enables me to have the same openness toward the person after they offend me, as before. When I forgive the offender, the hurt and the wound start to diminish. This is helped when I realise Jesus Christ understands all of this. I can use these experiences for my eternal advantage. Is that your experience of forgiveness – both in giving and receiving?

Temptation: It’s an undeniable and inevitable fact of the Christian Disciple’s life! It is certainly true of my own life. But it is good to know that temptations are common experiences for all Christian Disciples, and not just for me as an individual. No matter what I may think at the time! An important thing to note and remember, is that temptation itself is not sin! Rather it is the giving into temptation that causes me to sin. How easily it is for me to forget that. One of the keys to living a life right with God and not sinning is by dealing with temptation the very moment it confronts us. As a Christian Disciple, I face temptation from three different angles: the world, my old nature and satan. It is not just out and out temptation that Jesus means here, but also the tests and trials of life. We are to overcome both temptations and trials, in order that our character may, through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, become more like that of Jesus, our Master.

Deliver: What I am delivered from, is better translated I think, as “evil one” rather than “evil”. satan tempts you and I for being a Christian Disciple. It is he who suggests to me that I should not forgive others and to trust in myself for my own needs. It is he who does not want God to be my number one priority or for God’s will to be done on earth as in heaven. It is satan who does not want God’s kingdom to be spread. Neither does satan want Jesus Christ to return in glory. Therefore, as a Christian Disciple, I am to pray for these things. I need to rely and trust in God for deliverance from satan, who wants to snatch away the Christian Disciples inner joy and dependence on God.

Your Power: How can God deliver me from temptation, trials and satan? He can, because He is always all–powerful and eternally almighty. Christian Disciples are to rely on God’s strength to overcome temptation, trials and satan, and not to rely on their own strength. By relying on our own strength, failure is inevitable, but by trusting in God and His power and strength, overcoming temptation, trials and satan is assured. How easy it is to forget such fundamentals of Christian living!

Your Glory: What is the aim of being a Christian Disciple, a follower of Jesus Christ? It is for me to give all glory to God regardless of what personal achievements I have gained. His glory is to be my supreme concern, so that God is number one in all aspects of my life as a Christian Disciple. Ergo, I am to pray that His will is done in me, in other Christian Disciples and in the world. I am to pray that His kingdom continues to grow until Jesus Christ returns in majesty and glory.

Amen: May it be so, Lord, as I ask in faith of you.

That is all for today! Come back every day to http://www.partakers.co.uk where there is something uploaded to help you as a Christian Disciple in the 21st Century. We also have our books available on Amazon including the book this series is based on “Developing Intimacy with God” It can be found at or www.pulptheology.com which will take you to our Amazon page.

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Friday Prayers 10 July 2020

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Partakers Friday Prayers

10 July 2020

We pray together and when Christians pray together, from different nations, different churches and different denominations – that reveals Church unity! Come! Let us pray together! Today we are praying prayers of the 14th century man of Christian faith, John Wycliffe…


A prayer for grace.

James 3:17 – But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

Lord, give me grace to hold righteousness in all things,
that I may lead a clean and blessed life, and wisely flee evil.
Help me to understand the treacherous deceit of the devil,
so that I may not be fooled by any of his lies.
Make me mild, peaceable, considerate, and self-controlled,
so that I may act sincerely for the good of others.
And make me steadfast and strong.
Finally, Lord, let me be quiet in words,
so that I may not speak foolishly, but only what is appropriate.
Amen

A prayer for the presence of Jesus

Luke 24:29 – But they urged him strongly, ‘Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them.

My Lord, from here on never leave me,
but stay and dwell with me;
for your presence is my only comfort and consolation,
just as your absence is my only sorrow.
O Holy Spirit, come into my heart,
and draw me so near to God,
that the things of the world may be as nothing to me.
Inflame my heart with your love,
and there let it burn without ceasing.
Come, I pray, for you are my true joy,
my only desire,
and my sweetest love.
Amen.

A prayer for faith and courage

2 Corinthians 12:10 – That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

O loving Christ draw me, weak as I am, to your side,
for if you do not draw me, I can never follow you.
Give me a brave spirit, so that it may always stand ready and strong.
And when my flesh is weak,
let your grace go before me,
come beside me,
and follow after me,
for without you, I can do nothing—least of all suffer pain or death.
Grant me a fearless heart,
a true faith, firm hope, and a perfect love,
so that for your sake I may lay down my life with patience and joy.
Amen

 

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Pulp Theology 03 – God, Internet Church and You

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God, Internet Church & You

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Due to lockdown or quarantine due to the CoronaVirus / COVID-19 Pandemic, Church has moved to using the Internet for its services to the world.  In this little book we seek to answer why the Church is using the Internet, as well as exploring together ways in which we can respond.

Here are some of the questions we will explore together:

  • What is Digital Space & the Internet?
  • Why should the Church be on the Internet and how?
  • Isn’t Church on the Internet just a modern form of the ancient heresy of gnosticism?
  • Is God able to interact there?
  • For the Christian, what are some of the liabilities and virtues of the Internet?
  • Could an internet based church be part of the historical church?
  • What can a Church service on the Internet look like?
  • How can this technology be used, so that you as a Christian, can use your talents and serve God on the Internet in the 21st century?

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