Sunday, 29 May 2016

When God Comes to Live with You

“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him"             (John 14:23 ESV)

Three of Jesus’ disciples, Thomas, Philip and Judas (not Iscariot) had each interrupted his speaking with a question – and Christ’s answers (v. 6, 9, 23) have given us three all-time golden statements!

Here is the third of them.  Judas (also known as Thaddeus) had asked how it was “that you will manifest yourself to us and not to the world?”

1. Answer: Christ reveals himself only to his lovers.  Herod?  Caiaphas?  Pontius Pilate? A meeting with Christ risen from the dead was denied them.  Only to those who are open to His free gift of salvation, and are  demonstrating their grateful love in daily obedience to His word, does He make himself known.
2. Answer: The lives of his lovers will be his home.  The Greek word translated ‘home’ in verse 23 is exactly the same as that translated as the ‘rooms’ or ‘mansions (KJV) in verse 2.  As Frederic Godet of Switzerland wrote, “Here below it is God who dwells with the believer; above, it will be the believer who will dwell with God.”

3. Answer: To be a lover of Christ is to have God in your home.  Jesus here couples himself with ‘My Father’ – an indication of his own deity.  So – whether you live in a hostel, hotel, or bed-sit; in a cottage, palace, refugee camp or prison-cell – that home and your very life will become lit up when Christ and the Father move in with you!


Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Salvation is achieved by the Trinity!

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation ..     (Ephesians 1:17)

Don’t try to define ‘The Trinity’ as an abstract formula.  For the Bible presents the tri-une Lord so naturally that the three Persons of the great Godhead fit easily into everyday praying.  And when it comes to the Gospel offer of eternal salvation, all three Persons are involved:

1. Our salvation rests upon the eternal plan of the Father, the Author
Dig out a Bible, and you will see it in Ephesians 1, verses 3-6.  Our heavenly Father has PLANNED it all!  This is his delight from eternity.

2. Our salvation rests upon the historic work of Christ, the Agent

This is the special function of Jesus – he has DONE it all!  Check your verses!  (‘in him – v.4; ‘through Jesus Christ’ – v. 5;  ‘in the One he loves’ – v. 6;  ‘in him…redemption through his blood’ - v. 7.)  And look further on in the passage – it’s everywhere!

3. Our salvation rests on the internal work of the Spirit, the Animator

What Christ has done FOR believers, the Holy Spirit does IN believers; he has APPLIED it all!  Bible check - ‘Having believed, you were marked in him (Jesus) with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance…’ (v. 13,14).  The ‘seal’ of the Spirit - in the changed and changing life of even the newest believer – is, as the term suggests, God’s mark of genuineness, the stamp of his  ‘ownership’ and the guarantee of our security - for ever!



Saturday, 7 May 2016

The Ascended Rule of Christ

She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron sceptre.  And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne    (Revelation 12: 5)

Our salvation depended upon six mighty saving actions of God in Jesus Christ.  The Incarnation (God becoming human) inaugurated it at Bethlehem.  The Cross achieved it.  The Resurrection confirmed it.  The Ascension celebrated it.  The Gift of the Spirit drove it world-wide.  And the Return of Christ at the end of the age will consummate it!

In this passage of Revelation, who is ‘She’?  No, it’s not Mary.  It’s the age-old Church of God – frequently portrayed as a woman and stretching back to the beginning of the Bible – hounded and persecuted (v. 6, 13-17) by the powers of evil.  The description that she was clothed with the sun, moon and twelve stars (v.1) is a reference back to Genesis 37:9, and to Joseph’s dream of his mother, father and his eleven brothers.  The woman, then, is ‘Israel’ – and it was out of the ordeals and ‘birth-pangs’ of God’s people that the Christ-Child finally emerged (v.2).

The threatening ‘dragon’ (v. 3) is Satan (v.9) - the opposer and would-be murderer of the Christ-Child (v.4).  But the Child was ‘snatched up to God and to His throne’ (v.5).  This refers to Christ’s triumphant Ascension – the completion and triumph of His saving work on earth.

The pressures on the Church will continue until the end of time, but now there is a Man in heaven looking after our interests - once crucified, now raised and ascended …. and coming back to reclaim us at the end of time!