Our Father, the Creator, Sustainer and Sovereign of all things. Blessed be Your Name forever and ever, to You belong wisdom and might. You alone are the Lord, the great, the mighty, and awesome God. By Your power You change times and seasons; and remove kings and set up kings. You are the One who gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. Continue reading A Prayer for Australia Before our Federal Election
Over the years, the cross has become a religious symbol for many Sadly, this is only a symbol and a religious add-on to their lives. We need to know and remember that there is a a deep and profound meaning when we think of the cross of Christ. In the first century the cross was the place where painful and gruesome public execution occurred. The horrific event of the Lord Jesus Christ being crucified on the cross was not an event that captured the Lord by surprise (). It was a part of His plan of redemption.
23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.
In her great hymn, Redeemed, how I Love to Proclaim it!, Fanny Crosby wrote these precious words,
“Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed through His infinite mercy,
His child and forever I am.”
If you are a Christian, you are redeemed. What is redemption? The word redemption means to “buy back.” It also signifies a “releasing” and “deliverance” – especially in regards to sin. In Paul said, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace“. The Greek word used here for redemption carries a vivid word picture. It is one of a prisoner at a slave market, and the only way in which he can be set free is if one comes and pays the required price. This act is called redemption. For the Christian, what was the price for their redemption? We need to acknowledge that it was a price that we could not pay. Why? Continue reading Who are You? Redeemed by the Son
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
R. C. Sproul is a gifted preacher and teacher of God’s word. His ability to teach profound truth in a simple and clear way has blessed many. This great theologian has blessed us further over recent years in his writing of children’s books. Sproul and story are a good mix. In this post I will review his book The Lightlings.
My wife, Hayley, was having a conversation with a friend about preparing a room for our baby’s impending arrival. It seems to be common practice that parents, particularly the mother, like to “nest”. They like to get the baby’s bedroom ready for its arrival home. They might replace the curtains, or put pictures up on the wall. Some people even paint the walls a new colour! Parents want the room to be just right before the arrival of the baby.
In recounting the conversation about this, Hayley stated that she drew a parallel with one of Jesus statements. And it is a striking one.
Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may also be.
The quote is from . Jesus comforts his disciples with the knowledge that when he departs he will be preparing a place for them; a room will be made for them to dwell in. Not only that, but where that room is, Jesus will also be. He will take us to dwell with him.
I have often found this a comforting statement, but find it difficult to imagine what it all looks like. If the room is in Heaven, or in the New Creation, then will there be houses? One big house? Will we be sharing a room with other people? Will Jesus be in every room?
Have you ever wondered why we build dwellings? Sure, it’s practical and they help us avoid the elements. In many cultures, our dwelling is our home. It is the place we belong. We build homes, I believe, because we long to be exactly where we’re supposed to be. We long to belong somewhere. Because of this, we construct dwellings in places we wish to settle. They are our homes.
Jesus says that God the Father has a house; and in that house there are rooms for his children. Jesus died, resurrected from the grave, and ascended to heaven, and there he is preparing a room for you, and everyone else who belongs to him. Like the expectant mother who prepares the nursery for her new child, Jesus prepares a room for his children. The love and care which the mother might show in preparing a baby’s room in this earthly home is a glimpse, however faint, of the care that Jesus is taking in his preparation of our room, the room where we can finally be at rest in the eternal kingdom of God. It is there that we will finally be home.
Picture credit: DanJackson_UK, some rights reserved
14:1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is an event of first importance. The apostle Paul said to the Corinthians,
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” ().
The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ refers to that event in which He was raised to life. It occurred three days after His crucifixion (; ; ) and it took place on the first day of the week (). The resurrection of Christ was an event foretold by the prophets () and prophesied by Christ Himself (; ; ) – it was a necessary event (). After His resurrection He appeared to Mary Magdaline and other women (; ; ). He also appeared to the disciples (), to a crowd of about 500 () and later on to Paul (). The resurrection was the power of the Triune God on display (The Father: ; ; ; ; the Son: and the Holy Spirit: ). Continue reading The Resurrection Matters
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,
40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear,
4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
9 [[Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
19 and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”
9 And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
28 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.”
19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,
9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.
9 [[Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons.
18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.
26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”
6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.
8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.
24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.
15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.
11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,
13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,
Reading through the Scripture is a very important practice for the believer. By doing so we are exposing ourselves to God’s word which in turn provides “us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (). As we read through it, it ought to be read with a holy appetite desiring to know more about our Lord. What about reading the Old Testament? We should be considering how it points to the Lord Jesus Christ because the Scriptures are about Him. Consider this following quote from the Doctor (Martyn Lloyd-Jones):
“Now as soon as we, as evangelical Christians, approach this great subject of revelation, we come immediately to the great and central fact of the Lord Jesus Christ. God has revealed Himself in other ways. He has revealed Himself in nature, and the apostle Paul argues in Romans (1. 19 ff.) that we are without excuse if we do not see Him there. Yet, there we do not see God as He really is because of our sin. The revelation is there, but we do not see it. God has also revealed Himself in history. Further, God has revealed Himself to the Old Testament fathers in various ways. But, as evangelical Christians, we start with the great central fact of the Lord Jesus Christ. The whole Bible is really about Him. The Old Testament looks forward to Him. It tells us that Someone is coming. The promise seems vague, nebulous and indefinite at some points, clearer and more specific at others. But there it is. God is going to do something, and Someone will come. At last, the Voice will be heard. An authority is going to speak. The Old Testament attitude is one of waiting on tiptoe, as it were. Then, of course, as soon as we come to the New Testament we find it is full of Him.”
I find this very practical. When I read the Scripture I read them so as to know more about my Lord. When it comes to reading the Old Testament, it is to be read with great anticipation of the coming Messiah. I trust that your reading of the Scriptures this coming year will be rewarding and exciting!
 D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Authority. Inter-Varsity Fellowship, 1967, pp. 13-14
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3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,
Who is the head of the church? Or to ask another question, who gives the marching orders? Sadly, many view human leaders as the head of the church. Some may say the pastor, the elders, the congregation or even a denomination is. The truth is, none of these are the head of the church. Well, who is the head of the church? In the Lord Jesus Christ made the clear and authoritative statement, “I will build my church” (emphasis mine). This makes it clear that the church is His possession – it belongs to Him.
As the Head of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ exercises His sovereignty over it. As the sovereign of the church He is thoroughly acquainted with everything that goes on in the life of its members. Nothing escapes the attention of the Head of the church. On seven occasions to the seven churches in and 3 the Lord Jesus uttered the words, “I know your works.” These words reveal His omniscience – that is His knowledge of all things. Such a statement is both a comfort and a threat. For those who are faithful, it means that He is aware of your service. However, for those who are unfaithful, He is aware of your compromise.
Concerning His sovereign rule Paul writes that Christ is “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come” (). This verse reveals that the Lord Jesus Christ is above all powers and authority – He rules as sovereign. Paul continues by saying, “And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all” (). That is to say, the One who is sovereign over “all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named” has been given to the church. The sovereign Christ is the head of the church. He is the ruler of the church, He alone exercises absolute authority in the church, He alone determines what it should do and He is alone is the One who builds the church. For this reason, we are to submit to the rule of the Head of the church and give Him our allegiance.
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18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
2:1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.
2 “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6 Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’
8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.
9 “‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’
12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.
13 “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. 15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’
18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.
19 “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. 24 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. 25 Only hold fast what you have until I come. 26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.