Jesus is the Lamb of God

Street Witnessing, Gospel Proclamation, West Norwood, London, Don Davis, Muslims, Islam,

Daily Spirit & Word: 709: The Sacrificial Lamb.

It’s the Sacrificial Lamb that takes away the sins of the whole world, the Lord Jesus Christ was that innocent, spotless, pure and holy Lamb of God.

Jesus Is That Lamb Of God

Good morning my friends, what an awesome evening of street witnessing last night.

Our numbers of regulars on the team are growing. Praise the Lord! Last night; Ben and Judy, David and Sherrie and Matthew and Gemma came. Lloyd couldn’t make it, but he’ll be back next week. We did some training by watching Ray Comfort’s latest video. He was preaching at a Youth Evangelism Conference: His teaching was about “The Greatest Sin in America Today”… You’ll have to watch it (Link at bottom of page).

After getting into conversation about the Video (The main theme being the Idolatrous Sin of America and false Gospel of Just believe in Jesus) we started out later than usual, about 6.20pm. But even though it was quite dark, people stopped and chatted. It was slow to begin with, mainly handing out tracts for Sherrie and I, but then we started getting into good Gospel conversations. Our intention when going out is not just to give people the message or hand out tracts, but to get into conversation with them about Jesus. In the end Sherrie and I had about 8-10 Muslim men all firing questions at us about Jesus Christ. Here in London we’re blessed with people from all over the world and South London, West Norwood, has a growing population of Muslims. I say blessed, because it gives us the opportunity to reach a world-wide audience for Jesus. Some of the men had met me before, we’d given them tracts, they’d obviously been reading them and it had sparked their questions. They asked things like;

  • Who was Jesus?
  • Was Jesus the Son of God?
  • How can God have a Son?
  • If Jesus was God, then did God die upon the Cross?
  • If you say, as we do that there is only ONE God, then how can Jesus be God and the Father be God, that doesn’t make sense to us?

These were really great questions; but then came their statements of what they believed: That Jesus was just a prophet, he died, he didn’t rise from the dead, but we believe he’ll come back again after another prophet Mohammed. We don’t believe that Jesus was God.

Changed the subject: Into a presentation of the Gospel.

I asked them all, “Do you think you’ll get into Heaven when you die?”

Each one thought they would. It’s helpful when you have a large crowd to ask each person listening individually, I did this quickly by saying, “What about you?” Then I asked why will you get into Heaven? They all said, “God will forgive us if we say we’re sorry for sinning”… Some added “Genuinely sorry”.

I said, “That’s just so typical, not just of Muslims, but everybody who doesn’t yet know Jesus Christ. Nearly everyone believes that God will forgive them anyway, no matter how they’ve lived, if they are sorry for their sins. Most people believe they are already good enough for Heaven, i.e. they’re not so bad as to deserve Hell forever.

My next statement got their attention: “God will not forgive you just because you are sorry for sinning”. There was a shocked look on some of their faces. I asked them, “What happens to a person caught in the act of stealing in the Middle East?” They all said, “They’ll get their hands chopped off”… Why? “Because it’s Sharia Law”… I said, “That’s right, Sharia Law is Just and must punish those who do wrong, just like UK law, but we don’t chop-off their hands.”… You can bet that every thief caught stealing in the Middle East is “Sorry for Stealing”, because they know they’ll loose their hands, right?” Then I said, “God is far more just than any earthly legal system; In His Holy Righteous Judgement, He’s already stated, “The Soul that sins shall die” no sinner can enter into His Holy Heaven” It’s amazing, they all nodded in agreement.

But they then went onto re-state their beliefs, “God will forgive us if we are genuinely sorry”… Most of them were still trying to justify themselves, but not all by now.

I said, “Listen my friends”, I asked each one their names, and continued, “Even if we’re genuinely sorry for our sins, God cannot just forgive us, He must punish sin, if we’ve not had our sins removed from our souls before we die, then we die carrying those sins with us to face God on Judgement day. “It’s like a thief appearing before a High Court Judge, admitting “guilty as charged your honour, but I’m really sorry”, then the just earthly Judge will say, “Good, I’m glad you are genuinely sorry, I’ll take that into consideration when passing sentence, but I must also punish you for your crime”… A just earthly judge will pass a fine or a term in prison. A holy and righteous God has already revealed what the punishment will be for any sin, eternity in Hell with Satan and his demons. The soul that sins will be cast into the lake of fire with Satan.

The Muslim young men all agreed, but were still clinging to their beliefs that God will just forgive them. I then went through the Commandments with them asking them individually,

“Have you ever stolen something?” They all admitted they had. I said, “The Bible clearly states that no thief can enter into God’s Holy Heaven”.

“Have you ever told a lie?” They all admitted they had. I said, “That breaks God’s 9th Commandment and no liar can enter into Heaven, they’ll have their place in the lake of fire”…

God’s standards of Holiness are far higher and out of reach than our own, so of course we want to justify ourselves. We don’t want to go to Hell do we?

Now imagine how you’d feel if someone, knowing we were all going to be justly condemned to Hell by God’s justice, came into this world and said, “I’m going to take their punishment, I’m going to die in their place for their sins. So that when they appear before God, He’ll allow them in to Heaven, because their sins have been taken away”… How do you think they’d feel about that person?”

The Muslim men said, “You are talking about Jesus and His death upon the Cross”… Yes I said, “Jesus came to die, He was God, but in His love and mercy, God sent His One and Only Son to die in our place upon the Cross, so that everyone who puts their faith and trust in Him and His death, can be forgiven for every sin, cleansed in body and soul, and made fit for entrance into Heaven”…

I asked them, “Does that make sense to you”… Each one said it did, but some of them still wanted more questions answered… I gave them a little booklet about Jesus, “Why did Jesus have to die?”…

Can you see my friends, it’s the LAW of God, the Commandments of God, that shuts the mouth of self-justification, because like a good schoolmaster it leads people to a knowledge of how they’ve sinned against God and their need of a Saviour, i.e. someone who’ll take away their sin and save them from God’s wrath and judgement to come.

Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God, the only pure and holy sacrifice, who takes away the sins of the world. When we put our faith and trust in Him, then all our sins are washed away. When we get baptised we’re showing the world we’ve trusted in Jesus, we’re dead to our old way of living and when we come-up out of the water, we begin to live the new life in Christ Jesus. We’re filled with God’s Holy Spirit, who comes into our soul, gives us New Birth and enables us to live a holy life that pleases God.

Because of the Lamb of God, Jesus who died upon the Cross, His blood cleanses us from sin and enables us to enter into Heaven when we die. Praise the Lord! We have passed from death to life.

We may never know what will happen with those Muslim young men, I’m praying the Lord will give them; Faith to believe in Jesus Christ, Repentance from Sin, New Life and Eternal Life… Will you join me in prayer for them now? As we shook their hands, they wanted us to stay and answer more questions, we invited them to come and join us on Alpha.

Tonight: We’re celebrating the Lord’s Last Supper as we gather in Church. We have all the elements of the traditional Passover and read from God’s Word about the Israelite’s first Passover, then teach about Jesus new meaning of the blood sacrifice from the Gospels.

Matthew 26:26-30 (NIV) Jesus’ Last Passover Meal.
26  While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
27  Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.
28  This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
29  I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
30  When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
The Blood of the New Covenant: Jesus blood sacrifice upon the Cross was to remove and cleanse, to wash away the sins of everyone who trusts in Him. Why do we need our sins washed away? If we died without being cleansed then we’d still be in our sins and we’d face God’s righteous judgement. So my friends, TRUST in Jesus today: Believe that He died for your forgiveness, Repent (renounce and let go of sin), Receive Jesus Christ as your own Lord and Saviour, then LIVE the new life that He’ll give you as you are born of His Holy Spirit.

 

Have an awesome weekend of celebration of all that Jesus has done.

NOTE: Ray Comfort’s Teaching: “The Greatest Sin in America Today“. It’s not just America’s Greatest Sin, but the sin of a growing number of people in the world today.

 

NOTES: The Function of God’s Law:

The Function of God’s Law

The Purpose of God’s Law

1.      What is it that the Bible says is “perfect, converting the soul”?

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. (Psalms 19:7)

It is the Law of the Lord which is perfect for converting the soul.

2.      According to the Bible, what are four functions of the Law?

Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:19-20)

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. (Romans 7:7)

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. (Galatians 3:24)

A.     Brings the knowledge of sin.

B.     Stops the sinner’s mouth from justifying itself.

C.    Helps the world to realize that they are guilty of sin by breaking God’s Commandments.
D.    Acts as a schoolmaster to bring us to a knowledge of our need of Jesus Christ and His atoning death upon the Cross.

3.      What is the biblical definition of sin?

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (1 John 3:4)

The biblical definition of sin is anyone who has broken God’s Law. Romans 3:20 tells us that “by the law is the knowledge of sin.” The straight edge of a ruler will always show the crookedness of a line. A lamb looks white against a green backdrop of grass, but in a snowy field that dirt upon the lamb is revealed. Dust in the air is invisible until you open up the curtains and let the sunlight in, then you’ll see millions of dust particles floating all around. So the LAW shows the sinner his true condition before God.

4.      Who is the Law designed for?

But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; (1 Timothy 1:8-10)

The Law is designed for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, homosexuals, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine.

5.      What has modern evangelism chosen to attract sinners to the Gospel?

Modern evangelism has chosen to attract sinners by using the “benefits.” Life enhancement is now used to draw someone to Christ. Many promises are made in which God will:

q     Fill that “God-shaped vacuum” in your heart.

q     Give you true happiness.

q     Get you out of financial difficulty.

q     Heal a broken relationship with your spouse, etc.

q     Take away that addiction problem.
Give you last, happiness, peace and joy….

6.      What happens when all the promised “benefits” don’t arrive?

“Accepting Christ” for the promised “benefits” is simply the wrong reason to do so – it is unbiblical. When the promised benefits fail to arrive, disillusionment and bitterness will grow against God and the person who witnessed to them. This makes it very hard to reach a person who thinks they’ve been ‘born again’ when they’ve really only tried a form of religion, i.e. they were false converts from the start.

7.      Why should a person accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour?

Use the Law to show a person their depravity and the appointment they have with death, one which they will not miss. Unless they repent, and put on the Lord Jesus Christ, they will die in their sins. They need to know that they are an enemy of God through their wicked works and that God will judge them in righteousness.

By simply using the Law of God, revealed in His Ten Commandments, and showing an unsaved person their need for a Saviour, it opens the door for us to share how Jesus Christ is the Only Good News for a soul on it’s way to Hell.
The Law also reveals the desperate condition of people in this world, they need a Saviour, who’s going to go out and seek and save the Lost?

 

 

The Let Us Statements in the Book of Hebrews

Going Deeper with God The Let Us, Lettuce, in the book of Hebrews

Daily Spirit & Word: 701: Lettuce Christians.

The Fantastic Fourteen “Let Us” in the Book of Hebrews.

I had a funny thought this morning, I know, I know, I get them all the time 🙂 I was quickly reading through the book of Hebrews and was struck by the number of time I came across the short phrase “Let us”… Then I remembered how when I was a young Christian I overheard an older, more mature, believer say, “I do wish the minister would stop saying ‘Let Us’ anyone would think we a salad Christians”. It makes me laugh out loud even today.

Then I Googled “Let Us in the Book of Hebrews”... WOWzer! GOOGLE It’s full of Lettuce  😛

So my friends, whenever you hear your Minister in his sermon saying “Let us”… Don’t go rolling your eyes, don’t go thinking to yourself “Here we go again”, because when your Minister says “Let us” he is in GREAT company, for God’s Word is choc-full of “Let us”… It seems to me that God wants those He’s chosen to belong to His family to allow Him to change them into confident and assured children.

He could have given a direct command from Heaven, instead He encourages us in much more gentle tones “Let us” as if He’s involved in it with us.

Here are the 14 “Let Us” Statements from the book of Hebrews.

Dwell upon and think about each one… “I LOVE LETTUCE” 🙂

Let us in the Book of Hebrews:

1) “Fear,” – Hebrews 4:1.

2) “Be diligent,” – Hebrews 4:11.

3) “Hold fast,” – Hebrews 4:14.

4) “Draw near with confidence to the throne of grace,” – Hebrews 4:16.

5) “leave elementary teaching,” – Hebrews 6:1. (Lettuce Leaves).

6) “Draw near,” – Hebrews 10:22.

7) “Hold unswervingly,” – Hebrews 10:23.

8) “Stimulate one another,” – Hebrews 10:24.

9 & 10) “Lay aside every encumbrance… and run with endurance,” – Hebrews 12:1.

11) “Fix our eyes on Jesus” – Hebrews 12:2.

12) “Be Thankful,” – Hebrews 12:28.

13) “Go out,” – Hebrews 13:13.

14) “Offer up a sacrifice of praise,” – Hebrews 13:15.

Every single “Let us” in the book of Hebrews is like a Divine invitation into the deeper Christian life. When we practice these encouragements, when we’re obedient to them, we are going to be so immensely blessed as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.

So the next time your hear it, don’t roll your eyes upwards, but let your heart be stimulated to KNOW you are HEARING God’s Word of exhortation to do something truly wonderful for Him, but in the doing it’s YOU that’s going to benefit.

Let us turn now to the Lord in prayer 🙂

I remember once having a “Bring and Share Supper”. We’re encouraged to bring something so that we can all share in a great big meal. When everyone had arrived, guess what we had? Nothing but salad, everyone had brought along LETTUCE and other salad vegetables. It was strange, but I’ve never forgotten our salad fellowship meal. Someone quipped that night, as prayers were offered, “Oh Lord Jesus Christ, we are just a few Salad Christians, Lettuce draw near with faith” Everyone laughed out loud. But we’re closer to Jesus Christ because of it.

But my friends, on this Wednesday morning, half-way through the week, LET US be encouraged to go deeper with Jesus.

  • Let us, Be full of God’s Spirit.
  • Let us, Be doers of God’s Word.
  • Let us, Take Christ’s yoke and burden, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
  • Let us, Go to Him, outside the camp, bearing the disgrace He bore for us.

Prayer: Oh Lord, let us be “Let us” Christians. Amen!

Have a wonderful day with Jesus.

Don.

P.S. Alpha last night was something special. We had the TALK on Faith. We discovered that the word “FAITH” is over used and undervalued, it’s misunderstood and misapplied. People call ‘religious’ people, “Faith Communities”, no matter what religion they come from. You know when you see the proverbial penny drop, well some people last night had that experience. At the end of the evening I said this; “There is a real difference between faith and FAITH”… Faith in Jesus Christ isn’t simply believing that He existed, died upon a cross for our sins, rose again from the grave and ascended into Heaven. That’s NOT saving FAITH, but merely intellectual assent. It’s just acknowledging the facts. However, saving FAITH is when we know all these things are true and then we respond to Jesus by putting our TRUST in Jesus for our SALVATION.

It’s a bit like this. You know that No2 Bus will take you to Brixton, but when the bus comes along, even though you read the sign at the front that says “Brixton”, you know it’s true, the bus has arrived, you see others getting aboard, but something is stopping you getting aboard.

My friends, to get to Heaven you need to exercise SAVING FAITH and put your trust in Jesus. Get aboard, stop doubting, believe that He can carry you all the way to Heaven.

P.P.S: Tonight: Street Witnessing: We’re going out tonight to share the Gospel on the Streets of West Norwood in London. Have you ever gone out to share the FAITH of Jesus Christ? You can come with us. You can be trained to share the Good News the way that Jesus did. Every time I go out, I’m a bit nervous to begin with, breaking the ice with complete strangers is never easy, but from long years of experience of doing just that, I know that Jesus is with me. He gives me His WORD in season for those who stop and chat. I’ve seen Him move upon people by His Spirit. I’ve seen His power at work in people to draw them to Himself. All because we’ve gone out in faith. Come! Come and share, because there are many people who are headed for Hell and don’t know it, their Eternal Destiny is in your hands. Jesus Commanded us to “GO” in His Great Commission. It was a call for every follower of Jesus to go out and share the Good News with everyone. How’s your faith sharing going? Don’t just be a pew-warmer on a Sunday, get your sleeves rolled up and get on with the work, it’s a JOY to share in Jesus Kingdom business of winning souls for Heaven. Sharing the Gospel is the MOST loving thing you could ever do for someone.

If you need ENCOURAGEMENT today.

Here are the Fourteen “Let Us” statements, they are encouraging verses from Hebrews.

(God’s Word is Choc Full of Lettuce 🙂 “Let Us”).

Hebrews 4:1 (NIV) Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.

Hebrews 4:11 (NIV) Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no-one will fall by following their example of disobedience.

Hebrews 4:14 (NIV)  Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.

Hebrews 4:16 (NIV) Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Hebrews 6:1 (NIV) Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God,

Hebrews 10:22 (NIV) let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

Hebrews 10:23 (NIV) Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10:24 (NIV) And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds.

Hebrews 12:1 (NIV) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Hebrews 12:2 (NIV) Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:28 (NIV) Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,

Hebrews 13:13 (NIV) Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore.

Hebrews 13:15 (NIV) Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.

Did you notice the Lettuce Leaves in Hebrews 6:1? i.e. “Let us leave …”

“I LOVE LETTUCE”

The Fantastic Fourteen “Let Us” Statements in the Book of Hebrews.

 

The Compromised Church

Tolerating Sexual Immorality

Daily Spirit & Word 700: The Church Needs Jesus Christ.

Because Satan Has His Throne Amongst Us Today.

Good morning my friends, don’t you just love the book of Revelation? Some are frightened of reading it, primarily because of themes of the Second Death, like yesterday’s reading. Today we see Pergamum (Pergamos) a Church that tolerated gross error amongst it’s members. 
The first letter to Ephesus addressed churches that forsake their first love, the second to Smyrna (Izmir) encouraged those who experienced severe persecution, today Pergamum represents churches that tolerates all kinds of immoral behaviour amongst its members. There are churches like these in every generation of Christianity.
Revelation 2:12-17 (NIV) Pergamum.
12 “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.
13  I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.
14  Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality.
15  Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.
16  Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight 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 him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.

The City of Pergamum (Pergamos):

The ancient city of Pergamos was about 700 miles north of Smyrna (present day Izmir) and 15 miles inland from the Aegean Sea. On the site of Pergamos today sits a town called Bergama, which has a population of about 61,400. However, it has been estimated that in its heyday Pergamos had a population of more than 160,000.
While Ephesus and Smyrna were commercial cities, Pergamos was a cultural and religious center. Four major pagan temples were located there: the temples to Athena, Asclepisus (the god of healing, whose insignia was the entwined serpent on a staff, which is still the medical symbol today), Dionysus (or Bacchus; the wine god. whose wine, music and ecstatic dance frees his followers from self-conscious fear and or care, and subverts the oppressive moral and civil restraints.), and Zeus (which had the largest altar in the world and was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World). Pergamos was an intellectual center with a university that had a library of about 200,000 volumes. That doesn’t seem to be such a large library by our standards today, but remember in John’s day there was no printing press—all books were written by hand and very few ordinary people could actually read. 
Therefore we can see that Pergamos was an important city in John’s day because of its religious, cultural, and intellectual influence. However, Jesus has quite a few words to say about that great City and it’s Christians. We’ll delve into some of those things that were happening in Pergamum; first Jesus commends them and their faithfulness, being true to the name of Jesus Christ. You know how you feel when someone pays a genuine compliment, when they acknowledge your hard work and devotion? Well, they’d suffered a great deal for the Lord Jesus in Pergamum. Those early Christians suffered a lot for their faith. I’m often left wondering how I would cope under such circumstances, yet we are fast approaching a time when genuine faith and belief in Jesus is becoming very difficult indeed. Pergamum’s Christian Community is commended by Jesus.
Pergamum: The letter is written to specific Christians in time, yet it also applies to Christians and churches in every generation. Pergamum’s Christians tolerated IMMORALITY: Our own Church, the Church of England, has a large number of members who want to tolerate sexual perversion too, to support those who practice Homosexuality, to promote them to become Priests and Bishops. Whilst we must all love people and help them in their struggles with all kinds of temptations and fleshly pulls, I wonder what Christ would write to the Church in England today? Their argument is; the Bible was written in a time and context, a culture when these practices were not tolerated, but they are very wrong indeed, as we can see from our text today and the history of Pergamum. Sexual perversion was rife in the time of the Apostles, and they, inspired by God the Holy Spirit, condemned it as abhorrent to God. They didn’t mince their words either. There are some in Anglicanism today who also argue that the Bible doesn’t teach us homosexuality is wrong, how they come to that conclusion is bewildering, a twisting of the Word of God. Because any plain reading of Scripture clearly reveals God’s anger at this kind of perversion. God’s appeal is not to culture or tradition or even reason, but to His Creation Ordinance: i.e. His original intention for human beings. Man is not made (Created) to lie with another man as one lays with a woman. No wonder so many people today don’t like Genesis and the Creation account in Scripture. If we can discard God’s Creation and replace it with a Big Bang Theory, then everything is up for grabs. If God didn’t Create the Universe and it just happened by some kind of cosmic accident, then we’re our own masters of our destiny. The phrase “I am the master of my fate, I am the Captain of my soul” becomes the motto of our generation, and sadly it has become such. Just like the old crooner Frank Sinatra who boldly sang; “I did it my way”, so the world and many in our church today want to sing the same song; “I want to do it my way”… Let’s keep trying with all our might to do it Jesus way.
Pergamum wasn’t just rife with homosexuality, but all kinds of sexual immorality, just as the Church in the world is today.  
Jesus didn’t say “I have this one thing against you Christians in Pergamum” No, He said, “I have a few things against you” then Jesus goes onto explain what they are and warns them, that if they don’t renounce and repent they’re going to experience His double-edged sword. (Remember that double-edged sword? It comes out of His mouth: that is a weird picture in my head, but John the Apostle saw it in his vision of Jesus). The Double-Edged Sword: can cut you to the bone. It judges the thoughts and inclinations of the heart. 

Satan:

Twice in Verse 13, Christ reveals that Satan dwells in Pergamos. He says this city is even where Satan’s seat is. Imagine that a City where Satan has his throne? There is no doubt this is referring to the fact that Pergamos was the center of Pagan worship and also promoted Emperor worship. Pergamos was a place where you could “take your pick” of the gods. Like Woolworths used to have all kinds of sweets and you just pic-n-mix what you fancy. Imagine then the offence Christians became in the nostrils of the people of Pergamos. They dared to declare that Jesus Christ was the ONE True God and the Only Saviour of mankind who demands total and exclusive obedience, that following Him would mean sexual and moral obedience in life, this would certainly provoke severe persecution in John’s day, just as is it beginning to do in our own time here in the UK. Satan wants to drive the followers of Jesus into hiding by bringing persecution: how’s he doing today?
Remember the Bible warns us that Satan is not in Hell yet, that will happen later as we shall see in Revelation. However what does it tell us about Satan?  1 Peter 5:8 (NIV) “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” He’s real, he’s around, he’s looking to pull you away from Jesus.
Tomorrow we’re going to go further with Pergamum: Their Holding to the Teaching of Balaam:
But today, think about your Church, what is Jesus telling us to be like today? 
His desire has not changed, Jesus wants a PURE Bride ready for His return.
James 1:21-22 (NIV) “Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent, and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. 22  Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
How? Don’t tolerate moral filth in your own life. Don’t be tempted. Don’t give into your old sinful and fleshly nature and it’s evil desires for self-gratification. 
How? Flee Sexual Immorality:
1 Corinthians 6:17-20 (NIV) “But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. 18  Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19  Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20  you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body.”
PRAYER: Oh Lord Jesus Christ, just like Isaiah, we live in a time when all kinds of immorality are accepted as ‘normal’ for human beings, yet You have called us to live such good lives among the people of this world. I’m praying today Lord for all who follow You, we need another mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We need a revival in our land. We need it personally and in our fellowships. Oh Lord bring your Church closer to You. Help us in our weakness. Give us the power to live every day for You Lord” Amen!
Your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit.
Be ONE with the LORD in Spirit.
Have an awesome day with Jesus.
Don.

Healing on The Sabbath

Healing on the Sabbath

Daily Spirit & Word: 666:

Religious People Want To Kill Jesus.

Opposition to Jesus is Growing Today.

Good morning my friends, it’s frightful that there are such striking similarities between attitudes towards Jesus and the Christian faith in His time and our own. We’re back with Mark’s Gospel again today, it’s remarkable how much the opposition to Jesus is growing, and today we’ll discover how the plot thickens to such a boiling point that they want to kill the Lord Jesus: To murder Him.  Also, there are growing hostilities towards Christians and Christianity in the world today.

Mark 3:1-6 (NIV)
1 Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shrivelled hand was there.
2  Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath.
3  Jesus said to the man with the shrivelled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”
4  Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.
5  He looked round at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.
6  Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.

The Place: It’s a synagogue. 

The Temple in Jerusalem was not the only place that Jewish people gathered and worshipped the LORD. Because it was impractical to get to the Temple every week from all over the Land, Synagogues (Places of worship) were established to encourage devotion to God and instruct the Jews in the understanding of the Scriptures.

Note: Mark doesn’t tell us anything about what they did in the Synagogue that day, but by saying Synagogue, we know what they will have been doing; Praying, reading from the Jewish Scriptures, Study and sometimes a Rabbi would do some teaching / instruction. It was considered a Holy Place because of the worship of the LORD. It was also a meeting place for the Jewish Community.

The Man With The Shrivelled Hand.

Mark Immediately brings our attention to the subject: The Man with the Shrivelled hand and the fact that the Pharisees were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus of being a Sabbath Breaker.

Why? Why were they looking to see if Jesus would heal the man on the Sabbath? By now the Pharisees knew that Jesus was a man of great compassion for people. He’d been healing many people of all kinds of diseases. Perhaps they even planted the man in the Congregation that day. (They were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus).

They watched Him closely… This reveals to us their attitude towards Jesus ministry, that they were very intent of finding a reason to get rid of him. However, we need to understand why there was this growing tension.

You’ve probably heard the expression; “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”, well, these Jewish religious leaders had also been scorned, they’d been upset by Jesus actions, teaching and public correction.

Some Background: (Shows us WHY they wanted to get rid of Jesus).

  • Remember that Jesus said He had come for “Sinners” not the righteous. Mark 2:17.
  • Remember that Jesus didn’t KEEP their RULES. Mark 2:18, 23.
  • Remember that Jesus had shown them they were wrong; from their own Holy Book: The Scriptures. Their understanding of their own religion was wrong. Mark 2:19-22, 25, 26.
  • Remember that Jesus even dared to say; That HE was LORD of the Sabbath. Mark 2:28.

It’s NO WONDER: It’s not a surprise to us now that they were opposed to Jesus, so the Pharisees began looking for a good reason to ACCUSE Him. A way to bring righteous judgement upon Jesus own head so that they could get rid of this upstart, this troublemaker.

MOST PEOPLE TODAY: The Attitude of People Today.

Most people today don’t hate Jesus nor are they opposed to Him the way that the religious Jews were in this account from Mark. The vast majority who know history and a little bit of the Bible think that Jesus was a very good man, Muslims believe Jesus was a Prophet, but they don’t hate Him. Most people today, know about Jesus teachings, but they just choose not to follow Him or His teachings. It’s as if Jesus is irrelevant to modern day life for most people. However that indifferent attitude changes once people really understand the implications of Jesus teaching and ministry even today.

The truth is: If we really UNDERSTAND Jesus we will either; love Him or hate Him.

  • We will LOVE Him; because He came into this world to be our Saviour: Who saves us as sinners from God’s wrath and judgement and condemnation to Hell.
  • Or we will HATE Him: because He reveals our sinful condition and that we a guilty before God.

RELIGIOUS PEOPLE: The Pharisees of Jesus Time:

We must also remember, it was in a Synagogue: This was a Holy Place, these people were very religious. However, it also shows us (perhaps as a warning today) that it’s possible to be “very religious” and yet be far away from God.

John the Baptist called these Pharisees; Hypocrites (they didn’t live like they should) and “A brood of vipers” (A viper is a poisonous snake) and “Whitewashed tombs, full of dead men’s bones” (Looking pure, clean and good on the outside, but inside they are DEAD). That’s what the Bible reveals about these ‘religious’ Pharisees: But today we’re going to see that they were also Treacherous and Deadly.

HEALING ON THE SABBATH:

They were watching to see if Jesus would HEAL on the SABBATH.

Is it WRONG to heal on the Sabbath day?

According to the Pharisees it was considered WORK.

According to Jesus: It was an opportunity to show COMPASSION. (Verse 4, )

As we discovered last week: it is WRONG to WORK on the Sabbath: However, is doing GOOD deeds for others what God would consider WORK?

Think About It: Exodus 35:2 (NIV) “For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death.”

God has said that we can work in our regular employment for SIX DAYS a WEEK: But the seventh day is to be a day of rest from our LABOURS and a Day to Honour Him….i.e. It’s our NORMAL EMPLOYMENT, our work activity that we’re to rest from.

Remember what Jesus said about the Sabbath: “The Sabbath was made for man (for man’s benefit), not man for the Sabbath”.

Then we come to Jesus ‘Healing on the Sabbath’. Get this and you’ll get real REVELATION.

THE MAN WITH THE SHRIVELLED HAND.

Note: In those days, there was no welfare state, no disability allowances. If a man had a shrivelled hand, his employment was limited. You can’t use a powerless, useless hand to do anything. He was crippled. No wonder Jesus had compassion upon him. That’s what God is like my friends, He sees our NEED and longs to do something about it. Either through other people, you and me or through a miracle.

HERODIANS:

These were people who supported King Herod: Herod was a vassal Jesus King, a Supporter of Rome. Normally the Pharisees and Herodians hated each other, but now they were joining together in a plot to kill Jesus.

HARD HEARTED PHARISEES:

This section of the Bible is really SAD: Because it shows that we can be very religious and devoted in our religion, but become so hard-hearted that we begin to loose our compassion for people.

  • Every time we see a person in need; it’s God’s appointment to do something good.
  • Every time we see a person with trouble; God’s bringing them to our attention, to be His hands, His voice, His presence for them.

The Pharisees; they looked at this man with a shrivelled hand, only as an opportunity to do wrong.

The Lord Jesus: viewed the man with the shrivelled hand, only as an opportunity to do something good; to show compassion, care, love, concern, sympathy. He healed him on the Sabbath (God is ALWAYS willing to do us good, every day).

What does Mark 3:1-6 show us today?

  • In Jesus we observe a willingness to care;
  • That God cares, is interested in the minute of our daily lives.
  • That God Heals and does ‘good’ every single day. He doesn’t consider doing ‘good’ for others work, but a Joy and a Delight.
  • It also shows us how much we should be concerned for our fellow-man; to have fellow feelings. To show and demonstrate LOVE by doing good whenever we can, even on the Sabbath or Holy Day.
  • It also reveals that Jesus Christ considers Healing and Doing Good a joy and delight rather than WORK. 
  • Opposition towards Jesus grew the more good that He did; don’t be surprised when you are doing good and the world hates you all the more for it.

Jesus Anger and Distress:

The Verse That Gets Me Today: Jesus feelings revealed:

Mark 3:5  “He looked round at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts…”

They would not answer Jesus. He asked them a question and they refused to answer.

“Which is lawful to do on the Sabbath day, to do good or evil, to save life or to kill?” It’s OBVIOUS! The Answer was so obvious, but they remained silent.

My friends, that attitude got Jesus Christ very ANGRY indeed.

Not only angry, but deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts.

Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be on the receiving end of Jesus’ anger or wrath or to make Him distressed at my stubborn heart. I want to be able to shout out in response to Jesus question; “Oh LORD Jesus, let me be one of your followers today who’ll answer loudly; “To do good and to save life”…. Amen!

It also shows us that it’s possible to be very religious and remain Hard-Hearted and Stubborn. Religious but closed-off towards God.

They were NOT willing to learn from Jesus Christ; they remained STUBBORN HEARTED. He challenged their positions of power, but He also challenged their attitudes to other people in many different ways; the sinners, the outcasts, the sick, the poor, the lame; Jesus was always willing to; CARE, to TOUCH the Untouchables, to have compassion and to DO GOOD. Are we?

We too, like Jesus may become angry and distressed at the stubborn unbelief of people in the world. Also there is growing opposition and tension between Christians and the world under Satan’s blindness. Christians and Christianity are the least tolerated group of people in the world today. It seems to be OK to blaspheme Jesus on TV, Movies and even mainstream media, but not the faith of Islam, Hinduism etc… Have you ever asked yourself why that is? This attitude of indifference, unbelief and hostility will only get worse as time draws ever closer to the return of Jesus in glory. But don’t stay angry too long, get the big picture, the LORD is in control, He’s coming soon.

So what should our attitude be like?

Philippians 2:5-11 (NIV)
5  Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7  but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!
9  Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus healed on the Sabbath Day, but instead of rejoicing and giving thanks to God for a miracle, the opposition increased. To such a point that they eventually took the life of the most Holy man to walk the Earth; the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified.

When you focus upon the Son of God, and determine in your heart to live His way, then He seems to have a way of drying your tears and easing your fears. He makes your burdens lighter and your pathway brighter. When you decide to honour the King of Kings, He will supply all your needs. When you love Jesus, then your fear melts away as fast as the snow did in London yesterday. Amen.

Finally: One Day EVERYBODY will have to face this Jesus Christ.

Revelation 1:7-8 (NIV  “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen
8  “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

These Pharisees and the Herodians with the Romans and Jews eventually succeeded in their plotting and managed to KILL Jesus Christ on the Cross. However; Praise the LORD: He is ALIVE today, because the grave couldn’t keep Him.

Every EYE: will see Him. Those who pierced Him: The Pharisees, The Herodians, The Romans, The Jews, You and Me: We’ll all see Jesus one day. On that day; we’ll either be rejoicing because we’ve turned in repentance and faith or we’ll “mourn because of Him”… But on that Day: Every knee will bow before Him.

Let’s make certain we’re in that number who’ll be rejoicing and not mourning on the Day that Jesus comes. Amen!

  • Have Compassion of Jesus every day.
  • Remember He still cares for you.
  • Respond to Jesus teaching.
  • Repent from your sins and hardness of heart today.
  • Receive Him as your LORD.

Let us pray:

Hope you all have a wonderful week full of the JOY of the LORD Jesus Christ.

Don’t get too perplexed at the opposition towards Christianity, it’s pre-ordained and will grow as the time draws for Jesus return in glory. Remain steadfast and fix your eyes on Jesus. Live joyfully in His abundant life and look forward to being with Him forever. Amen.

 

Christianity: Relationship NOT Religion.

Christianity is not just another world religion, but the only way to God

Daily Spirit & Word: 661:

Christianity is not a Religion or Rules, but a Relationship.

 Good morning my friends, it’s good to be back into our series going through the Gospel of Mark: We pick up where we left off in Mark 2:18-22. However, we must bear in mind that the Gospel of Mark is not just a selection of stories about Jesus life and teachings, but is carefully put together by God’s inspiration to communicate a message. When we read the Gospel as a letter all in one go, we’ll see that this section of Mark reveals the growing tension and opposition from the ‘religious’ people of Jesus time, because Jesus teaching and practice was stark in it’s contrast between what they both taught and did religiously, it also slowly begins to reveal what they were like on the inside.
  • Religion: Is a way of doing things to please / appease or entreat God: 
  • Rules (in religion) are the correct ways of doing these things.
  • Relationship: Christianity is God’s way of getting close to Him. 
If you look at the Bible as a whole, you’ll note that the people with whom God was most pleased were those who walked with Him: Noah, Enoch, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Gideon, Samuel, David and Solomon. There are many, many more, but the reason God was so pleased with them, was not because they kept or followed the Jewish Religion to the letter, but because their hearts were set on being with God. Moses was a “Friend of God” and King David, was renowned as “a man after God’s own heart”. (Christianity: it’s all about relationship).
It was NEVER meant to be about how ‘religious’ you are: Yet even today, people mistake Christianity as a ‘religion’ first and foremost, when right from the time that Jesus walked, talked and taught His own disciples, it was all about how to get into and maintain a relationship with God as your Father in Heaven.
Christianity: Is viewed by the Media, Government and Education system as a “Religion”. Even in Church Schools today Christianity is taught as just ONE of the world’s religions. It’s as if we (the human race) have a smorgasbord (a collection of many different varieties of religion) of different religions that we can choose from; Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Seikism, Catholicism, Mormonism and Christianity. Today they are all labeled as “Faith Communities”, as if they are all different versions of the same thing. They are not the same, there is only ONE valid way of getting to know God today, it’s NOT through ‘religious’ practice, but in a relationship with and through His One and Only Son Jesus Christ.
My friends, at the START of 2016: I believe God wants you to KNOW afresh today, that Christianity, being a Christian: Is NOT a Religion or a Set of Rules and Regulations, but it’s all about your RELATIONSHIP with God through the LORD Jesus Christ.
In this section of Mark’s Gospel: We see that opposition to Jesus teaching of this FACT brought about fierce criticism, to the point that people plotted to murder Him. Mark 3, but let’s just focus today upon this;
Mark 2:18-22 (NIV)
18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?”
19  Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them.
20  But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast.
21  “No-one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse.
22  And no-one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.”
The Pharisees had been practising their religion for generations, following the traditions and teaching of men. You don’t find much fasting in the Old Testament: It’s only when people needed to get back to God. The Pharisees, of course, wanted to know why Jesus wasn’t following their religious practices. The way they saw it, if Jesus was a good Jew, He’d be even more religious than them or at least as ‘religious’.

Christianity is a totally DIFFERENT way of being with God.

All other religions in the world: Follow, rules and regulations to be right with God. (the Pharisees were no different).
Only Christianity is shown to be a way of faith where God came to make man right with Himself.
The Drowning Man:
It’s like this: A man was drowning in the middle of the wildest ocean on earth; the Atlantic. He began to shout for help;
Moses chirped in first: I’ll give you ten ways to swim in the ocean: follow these instructions and you will be safe: The man tried to follow Moses teachings, but still he was still drowning and shouted again for help. 
Mohammed: who was sitting with Moses and the others, chirped in: just find the direction of Mecca, Kneel down and pray five times a day; and you’ll be safe. The man tried, but every time he did so the water went up his nose. 
Buddha: shouted, no don’t try and save yourself, be still, accept your karma and just empty your mind. 
The man tried to be still, but each time he did so, he began to sink. He cried out for help, his situation was getting serious as he was too weak to carry on.
Then the Lord Jesus: pushed the others aside, saw the man’s predicament, that he was drowning, Jesus dived in to SAVE the man. He lifted him up and they both walked on the water to the shore. The man was SAVED by Jesus.

What use is RELIGION to a drowning man?

What’s the difference: Each and every world religion teaches that we must follow a set of rules and regulations in order to please or appease God, to be right with God, but through the teachings of Jesus Christ, we can see that it’s all about how we RELATE to God. It always was, even in the Old Testament, but the Jews missed it or misunderstood it. But God had made it clear from the outset;

God Chooses to be With People:

Exodus 6:6-8 (NIV) Moses was to tell the Israelites: (Relationship).
6  “Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.
7  I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.
8  And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD.’ “
(NOTE: Can you see that this is exactly what God did when He sent His Son Jesus Christ to SAVE mankind? He rescued us from the cruel bondage to sin, satan and the world; set us free and gave us new life in the promised land; the Kingdom of God)
Jeremiah 30:22 (NIV) ” ‘So you will be my people, and I will be your God.’ “
Jeremiah 31:32-34 (NIV) The Promise of the NEW Covenant (Agreement).
32  It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD.
33  “This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
34  No longer will a man teach his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Leviticus 26:11-13 (NIV)
11  I will put my dwelling-place among you, and I will not abhor you.
12  I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people.
13  I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high.
2 Corinthians 6:16 (NIV)
16  What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
Revelation 21:3-5 (NIV)
3  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
4  He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
5  He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
God Makes It Possible for RELATIONSHIP: Between those He chooses and those who respond to His invitation.
In Jesus teaching here in Mark’s Gospel: Mark 2:21  “No-one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. 22  And no-one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.” Jesus is NOT giving us a NEW religion, He’s revealing that trying to maintain the OLD religion will NEVER work. It will be like pouring new wine into old wineskin, the wine and the skin will be ruined.
Have you ever had an old pair of jeans with a rip? Did you ever try and repair that rip with NEW denim? If you did, then you’ll know that when you wash it, the NEW denim will shrink and make the tear even worse. I did that myself in the 1970s. I learned the hard way that you need old denim to mend old jeans. No my friends, to repair old jeans you need old denim that’s been washed a few times, but is still OK. Then you’ll be able to wear you jeans until they wear out.
However: Christianity is NOT just sticking a patch of ‘religion’ on an old religion, it’s a totally different way of being right with God. Jesus didn’t come to give us another ‘religion’ but a relationship that lasts forever.
Christianity, the way of being right with God, is TOTALLY different from the Old World Religions: You can’t get right with God by following; rules, religious rules and regulations. There’s no way to pray to be right with God. There’s no way to do right, to get right with God. Because trying your best still leaves you the same inside. You can’t erase sin by doing more good. You cannot become pure by praying more. There is a way to be purified though, to be washed clean and be right with God forever. All you need to do, to get right with God today, is get into the RELATIONSHIP that He’s always wanted with mankind from the beginning of Creation: However, He waited until the time war right to send Jesus Christ, His One and Only Son into the world, to make the way possible.
  • REPENT (turn from sin, trying to live without God, turn to God)
  • Believe (Believe that Jesus Christ died upon the Cross to pay the price for your sins so that you can be forgiven, set free from sin, given new life and be filled with God the Holy Spirit),
  • Receive: receive Jesus Christ as your LORD and Saviour, then Jesus will be your friends, God will be with you, God will walk with you, He will be your God and you will be one of His people.
  • Relate: What do you do after Repenting, Believing and Receiving? Do you follow a religious code or rule of life? NO! It’s all about a continuing relationship, following the teachings of Jesus Christ in which He shows you how to live in such a way that God will continue to be pleased with you and you will be a PEACE. Things like; love your neighbour, enemy, wife, family, the stranger, the alien, the poor, the weak, the widow. Love your fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord, love the Lord… It’s all about a RELATIONSHIP of LOVE.
Jesus teaches that once we’re in God’s Family; we’ll want to be holy, honest, righteous, good and true. He’ll change our heart’s desires so that we will not want to sin anymore. He does this or it is accomplished by the indwelling presence of God the Holy Spirit. Therefore, He tells us to be filled afresh with Holy Spirit.

Repent; Believe; Receive; Walk; Live; Relate….

Note: None of that is anything to do with a ‘religion’. It’s relationship from beginning to end.
NOTE: It’s ONLY through Jesus Christ that we can have or enter into this relationship with God. He paid the price, we receive the benefits.
So: When you next hear someone saying, “To be a good Christian you must; wear these clothes, practice this form of religion, fast regularly, pray this way, do it like this,,,” You’ll KNOW they are trying to ADD ‘religion’ onto the FREEDOM that Jesus came and won for you on the Cross to bring you into a relationship with God as Father that lasts forever.
It’s no wonder my friends, that Jesus taught those ‘religious’ Pharisees so clearly; you can’t sew a new patch on old cloth, you can’t pour new wine into old wineskins… the tear will get worse, the skin will burst… both the skin and the new wine will be ruined. Jesus way was NOT just a patch on the old way, it was NOT new ‘religion’ into the old religious system.
If you try to be religious after getting saved and set free by Jesus Christ, it’s like pouring your new wine of God’s Kingdom into the old wineskins of religiosity. Don’t be tempted to do it.
Yes: A believer in Jesus will; pray, read God’s Word daily, fast occasionally and live righteously in the world, but He’ll be doing it to be closer to God. A believer will do it because He loves God and wants to serve and give his life for God. He’ll not be doing it to try to earn a place or the favour of God. God LOVES you once you are His child. He’ll be your God, you will be one of His people, He’ll be with you forever. No amount of religious practice will ever add anything to your relationship with God.
1 Peter 2:6-12 (NIV)
6  For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”
7  Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,” 8  and, “A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.
9  But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
10  Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
11  Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.
12  Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
My friends, Jesus came, not to pour the new wine of the Kingdom of God into the old winskins of ‘religious’ practice, but to give us a NEW WAY of being right with God. You, if you’ve responded to the Gospel, are God’s Chosen People. You are holy because Christ has washed you clean from your sins when you accepted His sacrifice of Himself upon the Cross, not because of religious practice or observance. You are Royal: Because you are a member of the King’s family now. LIVE then as God’s royal, holy, redeemed people. In the freedom from religion that Christ came and died to win, it’s a freedom that will outlast this Earth. Live, walk and love in RELATIONSHIP with Jesus Christ and His holy and redeemed family.
I’ll say it again; My friends, at the START of 2016: I believe God wants us to KNOW afresh today, that Christianity, being a Christian: Is NOT about Religion or a Set of Rules and Regulations, but it’s all about your RELATIONSHIP with God through the LORD Jesus Christ, it lasts forever with God as your Father.
Question: Do you want the New Wine of Jesus Kingdom within you? Do you want Him to forgive you and change you on the inside? Do you want His love to fill you to overflowing, so that you’ll long to follow His ways? Or do you still desire a religion that is HARD like the old wineskin of Judaism, Islam, Hinduism etc, etc? You cannot have both!
Jesus did not come to give us a new religion, it’s not even a patch that you can stick over an old religion, but a relationship with God the Father that will last for all eternity from the moment you make Jesus Christ your Lord and Saviour.
Have an Awesome Sunday with Jesus your LORD. Amen!
Don.

The Importance and The Cost of Discipleship

following Christ is costly, count the cost and follow Christ

Discipleship 2: The Importance and The Cost.

Good morning my friends, last night we began our Discipleship group again after the long summer break. Here’s the teaching; if you’d intended to come but couldn’t make it, don’t worry, we’ve only just started and need to go over it again.

A) Key Scriptures:

John 15:16: John 15:16 (NIV) “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.”

Luke 14:26-35 (NIV)  “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. 27  And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28  “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29  For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, 30  saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31  “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32  If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33  In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. 34  “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35  It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure heap; it is thrown out. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV) Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 10:37-39 (NIV)  “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38  and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Luke 9:23 (NIV) “Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

B) Why Discipleship?

i) The Lord Jesus Christ showed the importance of Discipleship by making the training of the twelve disciples a priority during the three and a half years of His public ministry on earth.

ii) Jesus Commissioned all His followers to train disciples becasue He intended fruit that lasts.

iii) Discipleship is the best method to reach our world for God. The impact that Jesus’ twelve disciples and Paul had on the world shows us the value of discipleship. A small number of committed disciples, who have been well trained, will achieve far more for God than large numbers of converts who lack spiritual depth. In fact, discipleship is God’s chosen strategy to reach the world. If one disciple led just one other person to Christ, and devoted a whole year to training her or him, and the followeing year both disciple and discipler each made one new disciple apiece, and the next year those four made four more (one each), then in about thirty-two years the whole world’s population would be saved – that’s according to plain mathematics, i.e. Multiplication instead of Addition.

iv) The end result is Spiritually mature Christians. Maturity does not come automatically with increase in age, knowledge or experience, but as a result of gradual Spiritual growth on the basis of obedience to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, His Word and by allowing Holy Spirit to transform us from within. The more open we are to His presence and power then the faster we’ll become a mature believer.  

v) Many people foolishly assume that just because a person has been a Christian for a few years that they’ll be ‘mature’ believers. However, experience will soon reveal and has shown me that just because a person is SAVED it doesn’t mean that they are growing towards maturity in Christ. Sadly, many, countless thousands upon thousands, never grow-up and remain mere babes in Christ, simply because they didn’t get discipled. They don’t develop the faith muscles necessary to grow, they remain babes in Christ all their saved-lives. That’s NOT what God wants, He wants and has revealed it clearly in many places in His Word that He desires, commands and expects every believer to press-on towards maturity in the faith. And He’s also given us who are saved and mature the responsibility to Disciple others.

C) Seven Signs Of Spiritual Maturity:

i) Fruitfulness in our service for God (Matthew 25:14-30).

ii) A humble attitude and a willingness to serve others (John 13:12-17).

iii) A standard of excellence in our lives in general (2 Corinthians 13:11).

iv) A close and growing relationship with Jesus (Galatians 2:20).

v) The fruit of the Holy Spirit manifesting in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23).

vi) A stable, consistent and holy walk before God and man (Ephesians 4:11-16).

vii) A solid knowledge of God’s Word and discernment as a result (Hebrews 5:13-6:2).

NOTE: All of this can be summed up as “Christ-likeness”: Because as we grow in our faith and walk with Jesus we will be transformend into the likeness of Christ. 1 John 2:6.

NOTE: What it is NOT: Maturity is not about knowledge of ‘church’ politics, church procedures, church etiquette, church building or planting etc… Maturity IS Christlikeness.

NOTE: The first followers were given the nickname (a term of abuse at the time) Christians, because they took note of how much like Jesus his followers had become.

D) The Need For Spiritual Maturity:

i) Growth into maturity in Christ is what the Bible suggests is expected for all Christians (Ephesians 4:11-16).

ii) Without maturity there can be no leadership, and leaders are necessary for the Church to grow because they are the under-shepherds of God’s flock (1 Peter 5:1-3).

iii) Only mature Christians will be able to effectively stand against the devil and his powers of darkness and this is what God wants us to do (Matthew 12:29).

iv) Only mature Christians have a lasting impact for God on our world today.

v) It is only the mature disciple who, through his loving example, is able to convey the character of Jesus to the world.

Yesterday I was reading Philippians 1, where Paul was discussing the advancement of the Gospel whilst he was in prison. He revealed an amazing secret and last night one of those on our Discipleship Course stated; “I’ve come to realise that no matter what circumstance I’m going through, God has planed it for good. He’s helped me to see that it’s so simple, we just need to trust Him in everything”… You’ll never know how much I’ve been praying and longing to hear that from the lips of someone I’ve been teaching. (Soak yourself in Philippians 1 and 2 for a while and you’ll see)

E) REMEMBER.

Winning converts adds to the numbers of born-again believers, but only discipleship makes disciples who are mature, will reproduce and will in turn multiply the numbers of born-again believers and disciples.

We don’t just want to go for Addition, that easy to do, but for Multiplication.

Another member of our Discipleship Group stated last night: “For many years I’ve been going from church to church to get a blessing, to be prayed for, to get the ‘Super Pastor’ the Anointed to pray over me. In all those years I never changed one little bit, but now that I’ve committed myself to deeper fellowship, things in my life and my walk are beginning to change and I’m seeing what’s been missing. Now, though I’m tempted sometimes to go and do the rounds again, I don’t, I just ask my brothers and sisters to pray for me, Even my own brother who’s been a minister for years. It’s amazing how God is moving in my life.” Discipleship rather than focusing on converts works. Discipleship rather than numbers works. 

F) The Cost of Being A True Disciple:

My friends, being a disciple or a follower of Jesus Christ is a very serious business. It is a costly thing, that’s how Jesus looked upon it. He didn’t start out by offering His followers a bed of roses. Jesus made it abundantly clear from the beginning what was involved. To be a disciple of Jesus we need to carry our own cross and follow Jesus (Luke 14:27). We need to give our whole lives and everything we have to God, for Him to use us as He wants.

G) Too Many Settle For Far Less Than God Wants For Them.

Most Christians have settled for a form of Christianity that requires little or no discipleship, it bears scant resemblance to Biblical Christianity or what Jesus obviously expected His own disciples to reproduce. He said, “Teach them to obey EVERYTHING I have commanded you…” How much should those who are discipling others teach them? EVERYTHING.

The result of this lack of discipleship is that we don’t become what God wants us to be; we’re failing to be the witnesses He’s looking for. His Word and His Teaching are being constantly compromised either through fear or a desire to fit in with the world. No wonder the ‘church’ is regarded as weak, not because we’re not strong physically or politically, but morally. Where is the Christlikeness?

It’s easy to follow someone who doesn’t expect that much from us, but God wants us to achieve so much more than we do ourselves, to be stronger than we are, to be more powerful than we are, to be even more effective at winning others than we’ve ever been. Let’s imitate the LORD Jesus as instructed: (1 Corinthians 11:1 and Romans 8:29). Remember Jesus said that we’ll do even greater things than He’d been doing, one of the ways is the time that we’ve been given, it may be longer than the three years that Jesus had whilst He was upon the earth, so we should be making every single year count.

H) Counting The Cost:

High Costs: Giving up your life to follow Christ. Are you ready?

Jesus taught this many times and in different ways.

Luke 9:57-62; John 6:60-66; Mark 10:17-31.

In view of the high cost of discipleship which Jesus demanded and required of His followers, a dedication that was complete, it is not surprising that He only ended up with a few deeply committed followers. BUT those few were enough to change the whole world. It’s obvious that you’ll get some who’ll drop-out, be led astray, fall away, but if you are aiming at maturity instead of simply conversion, then those who remain will be steadfast and they will be multiplying over the years.

Next Week:

We’re going to continue looking at the COST:

I’m sure, like me, you are wondering if you are up to the task. I almost gave up being a follower of Jesus when I first came to understand the full impact of His teachings, but in His grace, mercy and love, He showed me from His Word that though He expects and even commands this massive high standard, He knows what we are like, how fickle we are and how much we need His help and power to live one moment as a Disciple. So Jesus, thankfully, gives us the Holy Spirit and fellowship of the Saints in Christ to help us on our way. Thank Him for your Pastor, the Teachers, the Evangelists, the Prophets and Apostles that He calls and appoints afresh in each and every generation to assist you in growing towards maturity. Thank Him for the gifted brothers and sisters and fellow saints to build you up in your faith walk with Him. Finally, thank Him for His presence with you every day. He is in you if you are Born Again by His Spirit.

He’s not going to leave you alone. When you fail, and you will from time to time, get back down on your knees, seek His forgiveness, humble yourself before Him and He WILL LIFT you up again. (Because God humbles the proud, but gives grace to the humble). It’s awesome to be given room to fail and try and try and try again. Sometimes we get it wrong, but you are not really trying if you never fail. To be the best we possibly could be for Jesus, we’re going to have to come to terms with our own personality flaws, weaknesses and bad-habits that take time to break and to be moulded into the character that Christ wants to achieve in our lives. It’s always a JOY to know that He’s working in your heart, mind, soul and will. He’ll never stop until we reach glory or see Him when He returns in Glory.

Philippians 1:6 (NIV) “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Let that be your motto and let God’s Spirit mould you.

  • What traits in your life is Christ working upon right now?
  • What personality flaws are you aware of that need transforming?
  • What ways has He begun to develop within you a NEW HEART?
  • What ways has He changed you already?

Give Thanks: Praise Him: Worship The LORD with gladness.

Have an AWESOME Wednesday.

Don.

If you are in London tonight, why not come out with us to share the Good News of Jesus? We’re going into the streets to engage people in conversation, one heart at a time, the harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few. We’re meeting up first at St Luke’s Church for some training at 7.00pm, then going out at 7.30pm to win some souls for Jesus.

7.00pm Evangelism Training / Prayer / Preparation.

7.30pm Street Evangelism.

9.00pm Return to Church for prayer, praise and sharing.

9.30pm: Go home and put feet up and praise the Lord.

Street Evangelism:

 

Knowing Your Enemies: The World.

A Christian faces three enemies on the battlefield

Daily Spirit & Word 566: Know Your Enemies: The World.

Good morning my friends, it’s amazing but true that when you begin following the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ, you come under attack from His ememies. Who would want to be an ‘enemy’ of the Lord Jesus? And why would anyone or anything want to take a stand against someone soooo loving, soooo kind, soooo gentle?

Well the truth is as a follower of Jesus Christ you have entered a Battlefield.

On a Battlefield, the missiles are exploding, guns are blazing, bombs are falling and booming, and casualties are mounting. Our first and natural inclination is to get off the Battlefield and save ourselves, but as a Christian you can’t.

As the wisest of Generals know, we should never underestimate our Enemies, but we need to know something from the off: Jesus is the WINNER of this Battle, but the Enemies will just not accept it yet. Satan has been defeated, when Jesus died upon the Cross, rose again from the Dead and Ascended into Heaven: So Satan now runs around like a wounded lion, but as you know a wounded lion is sometimes more dangerous and desperate than an uninjured lion.

Followers of Jesus need to know their Enemies: It’s been said that we have THREE major enemies: The World, The Flesh and The Devil.

Lets take them in turn over three studies:

Your First Enemy: “The WORLD”.

You might object about that, as I did, because isn’t the World that God made a beautiful and stunning place? I do love this amazing and awesome world and all that God has provided for our enjoyment. However, there is something that not quite ‘right’ with God’s Created World: Part of the Created World is Polluted: I’m not talking about Carbon emissions or global warming or nuclear waste though, but the pollution is; rebellion, rejection of God as King.

It’s that polluted part of God’s Good Creation that is in Rebellion against Him: That World System that loves the Darkness and Hates the Light:

John 3:18-21  “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
19  This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil20  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” 

Everyone: Who does EVIL hates the Light (Jesus).

The World System that hates Jesus is “EVERYONE” who does EVIL.

What is EVIL?

You might say, well I’m not ‘EVIL’: Simply put, ‘evil’ is rejection of God and all that’s good. We do ‘evil’ when we; lie, steal, cheat, lust, disobey our parents, covet (inordinate desire of things of this world) and blaspheme God (by using God’s name or Jesus Christ as a swear word). Now we know what the Evil World is: But there’s more….

However, we don’t really know the full effects of the sinful decisions that Adam and Eve made in the Garden of Eden and how that decision has infected every human soul since. We’re born into that same kind rebellion, we’re born on the opposite side, we’re born opposing Jesus, we’re born an enemy of the LIGHT.

Whenever anyone comes into the Light it’s as if they are like those who escaped from Communism during the Cold War: They had to sneak out of Russia or those Eastern Block countries that were part of the Russian Federation. The were called “Defectors“: When you come over to Jesus camp, when you come across over to the side of light, you are defecting against the rule and reign of Satan and the world system under his authority.

Evil is what we are when we are born: Because we’re born into sinful rebellion against the Creator and His wishes. We’re in the camp of the enemy until we defect (Repent and Trust in Jesus side).

We’re Born LOVING Rebellion:

Just as the Russians viewed Defectors as Enemies of the State: So Satan and his world system views everyone who comes over to the side of Jesus as Enemies: So your first enemy is the World (Governed by it’s Ruller: Satan). It’s the Evil World System, but not the world that God Created Good. (Hope you can now see how the world is polluted?).

What is this Rebellious World Like:

We know what living in rebellion against God is like, if we’ve traveled from the Darkness into the Light: We must have come through the darkness ourselves, we must have passed over into the light or we would not be Christians, we would not be followers of Jesus yet.

From DARKNESS to LIGHT: From Satan’s Evil World Order to the Rule and Reign of King Jesus.

Isaiah 9:2  “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. “

Remedy: The Soul that Seeks The Light:

“The People Walking In Darkness Have Seen A Great Light”

It’s like there’s light, hope, joy, love, peace at the end of a long-dark-tunnel.

Those Defecting from Russia were escaping a cruel and hard Dictatorial Communist regime and crossing over to freedom in the free Western world governed by Human rights ruled by Democracy.

A Christian is Defecting: A world system ruled by Satan, who wants to enslave people and keep them in bondage. He wants to blind people so that they cannot see the light. He wants to keep people in Darkness and ignorance of their true condition.

Isaiah and John wrote the same thing;

In John’s Gospel we get a clear indication of How we can know the difference between the Kingdoms of Light and Darkness:

John 1:1-13
1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (Jesus is God).
2  He was with God in the beginning. (Jesus is the Eternal God).
3  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (Jesus is the Creator).
4  In him was life, and that life was the light of men. (Jesus GIVES life to everyone).
5  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (Jesus came into the world).
6  There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. (John the Baptist).
7  He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.
8  He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
9  The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. 
10  He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him.
11  He came to that which was his own (the Jewish People), but his own did not receive him.
12  Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— (Every Christian who comes over into Jesus side in this battle becomes a child of God).
13  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (The Holy Spirit of God brings about the new birth, you are born-again into God’s Eternal Family when you trust in Jesus Christ for Salvation or when you defect out of Satan’s World System)

The DARK Night Of The Soul: In this amazing and difficult book, John of the Cross reveals the dilemma for mankind; crossing over from Darkness into the Light: He calls it’

“Dark Night Of The Soul:”  goes on to say; “We may say that there are three reasons for which this journey made by the soul to union with God is called night. The first has to do with the point from which the soul goes forth, for it has gradually to deprive itself of desire for all the worldly things which it possessed, by denying them to itself; the which denial and deprivation are, as it were, night to all the senses of man. The second reason has to do with the mean, or the road along which the soul must travel to this union — that is, faith, which is likewise as dark as night to the understanding. The third has to do with the point to which it travels — namely, God, Who, equally, is dark night to the soul in this life. These three nights must pass through the soul — or, rather, the soul must pass through them — in order that it may come to Divine union with God.

Ascent of Mount Carmel.”

The Three:

Worldly Things: Love for the world and it’s pleasures, the sensual world, the rebellious world.

FAITH: Darkness, we don’t naturally possess faith. We don’t naturally understand faith.

God: We’re not born knowing God, we know that He exists, but we don’t know Him personally, we’re born estranged from God, we’re born in Darkness needing the light of faith and Jesus before we can ever see the light and cross over from the Darkness of this world into His Kingdom of light.

There’s nothing wrong with the things of this world, but it’s our inordinate affection for them: We want the world too much. We want to possess the world and have it all for ourselves, but this inordinate affection is nothing short of Idolatry: Making the World our God: Loving the World more than the Creator who made it.

Escape: The Bible tells us the Christian has escaped the ‘corruption of the world’.

2 Peter 1:3-4 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

So we need to say, “Goodbye” to the World System and it’s Ruler.

The first enemy is the World for the Christian, the next Enemy is our own flesh and our arch-enemy is Satan.

PRAYER: Oh Lord Jesus Christ, we’ve seen today just how important it is to know about our enemies. Today we’ve thought about the fact that when we are born, we’re born into a world system that is in rebellion against You. Lord Jesus, since I’ve come over to Your side by believing and trusting in You as my Lord (KING) and Master, please help me to live in this world, knowing that I’m part of a different Kingdom, that I am Your Ambassador Lord, please help me to represent You with love, gentleness, faithfulness and honour today. Please keep me from loving this world so much that I’m falling away from You. I don’t want to have an inordinate affection for this world Lord, so help me to LOVE YOU with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. Thank You Lord for setting me free from the World and letting me see the awesome light of Your Kingdom. Amen.

Have an Awesome Saturday in the Kingdom of the KING of Kings my friends.

Don.

NOTE: The Gospel Good NEWS of Jesus.

Discover: The Spirit Filled Christian Life.

 

Transformed by Jesus to Transform Others

Transformation by Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word; 514: Transformed by Jesus to Transform Others.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 30: Transformed to Transform Others.

Good morning my friends. A little confession is good for the soul. Come closer, I’ve got something I need to confess to you today, but don’t tell anyone else.  😳 Since last Sunday I’ve been feeling quite unwell. It began with sciatica, which I’ve suffered with for a while, on and off, but I’ve also had another ache in my back, which won’t go away. So I went to the doctors, Dr Patel gave me anti-inflammation tablets and pain killers. To be honest, they’re not doing much good. So last night after training and prayer, I decided I couldn’t go out with the team. My mind wouldn’t have been on what I was meant to be doing, but on the pain. So they prayed for me and went out quite joyfully to share Jesus with others. You know something, I was hard to watch them go out on their own, but it was also a joy, because my brothers and sisters went out happy to talk with others about Jesus. We were encouraged by our Bible reading: Matthew 28:16-20. “I am with you”. Do you know how long I’ve been waiting to see some people in my church who are ready, confident, equipped, expectant and willing to share the Good News with everyone? We’ve been praying for ages, “Lord, the fields are white unto harvest, but the labourers are few, Oh Lord, send us more labourers who’re willing to go out into Your harvest field”. I’m praising Him this morning, because He’s answered that prayer. Oh Yes, my friends, the Labourers are still few in number, but they’re being prepared and sent out by Him.

Today’s focus is upon our NEED to be TRANSFORMED.

We’ll see today, that before we can even begin to contemplate being used to help transform other (from sinners into saints), we need to undergo a transformation ourselves first. That may seem obvious, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on Evangelistic Missions when some of our TEAM members came to full faith in Jesus and were transformed by Him, whilst actually on the mission. They knew about Jesus, had gotten to the point of giving their lives to Jesus, but whilst they knew about Him, they didn’t actually KNOW Him. They believed that Jesus could save, but hadn’t actually been saved themselves. As we began to go about witnessing and preaching the Gospel, it then became blindingly evident to them, that they needed something to happen in order to enable them to share. Once they’d RECEIVE Jesus, many times through tears of repentance, and been transformed by Him (born-again) or changed from a sinner into a saint (regenerated), they were then ON FIRE and ready and equipped to enable them to TRANSFORM the lives of others.

Matthew 28:16-17 16  Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17  When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted.

It’s getting close to the end of Jesus’ 40 Days, and we don’t really know how many times He appeared to these disciples, but some of them are still having trouble believing completely that Jesus was actually alive. Some of them worshipped, but some doubted. That tells me something my friends. In every church I’ve served the Lord Jesus, there have been those who’re there, they’ve got the faith, they’ve trusted Jesus and been transformed, they’re on fire, they’re ready to do anything for Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit and worship Him at the drop of a hat. But there are various levels of others, who’re not quite there yet. They may have been attending that church for many years, sometimes all their lives, they’ve gotten involved in every kind of church activity and they’ve done everything that needs to be done externally; baptism, confirmation, prayer group, Bible study, Home Group, ministry team, building committee, coffee rota, Sunday School helper, Church Warden and Church Council Member, but they’ve somehow done all of that without being TRANSFORMED by Jesus. It’s such a sad shame, but our fellowships are full of people who don’t actually know the Lord Jesus Christ. They know ALL about Him, but they don’t know Him.

Just like Jesus’ own disciples, who right up until He was about to ascend into Heaven, we can see that some of them were still doubting. Some worshipped Him, but some doubted: These were Jesus closest Disciples. So when we find amongst our numbers people who’ve been to church for years and still they’re not there yet, we shouldn’t be surprised or even (if you’re a minister or born again yourself) shocked, because Jesus Christ and all His Resurrection Appearances couldn’t convince even some of His closest followers, who’d seen and been there when He performed countless others miracles. If they still doubted after all that and with Jesus standing right in front of them and they’re still doubting, don’t be shocked or surprised when people who’ve done everything that needs to be done, and served in every possible way in your church, still don’t fully believe in Jesus. You’ve not failed, Jesus didn’t fail, it’s just human nature. It also highlights how difficult it is to set people free, to open people’s blind eyes and to bring people into God’s Kingdom. The Gospel is so EASY to believe, it’s simple to understand, but the sad things is, and Jesus warned us about it, many are called, but few are chosen.

“Some Worshipped, but some Doubted” 

How can we get people TRANSFORMED? Just like Jesus own Disciples, we NEED to be TRANSFORMED OURSELVES. We need the Holy Spirit birth, that’s what it took to change the others my friends, and that didn’t happen until a few days after Jesus had ascended into Heaven. However, once they’d been BAPTISED with Holy Spirit, they were then ON FIRE and nothing could stop them running out of that Upper Room and Witnessing and Proclaiming the Good News (Gospel) of the Lord Jesus Christ. Once they knew Him on the inside, after they’d been TRANSFORMED then they set about transforming others. It’s a supernatural work of God the Holy Spirit.

If you are still finding that there are some doubts in your heart, then ASK Jesus Christ to send His Holy Spirit into your life today.

If you are already full of the Holy Spirit and your not ready to share Jesus yet, then you need more of Him and a desire to be obedient to Jesus’ Great Commission to “Go”, because He’s not changed. His Mission for the Church has not altered. He wants every Christian to be on this Mission to Transform the Lives of Others, but to be able to do it, we need a transformation ourselves first.

If your heart’s desire is not to SAVE others, then you’ve not been born again. It’s as simple as that. Charles Spurgeon said it clearly: “”If you have no wish to bring others to heaven, you are not going there yourself.””

“If you have no wish to bring others to heaven, you are not going there yourself.”

In another sermon he said; “”Have you no wish for others to be saved, then you’re not saved yourself be sure of that””

“Have you no wish for others to be saved, then you’re not saved yourself be sure of that” Charles Spurgeon.

The Condition of Many: Charles Spurgeon said, “I heard about repentance but I never knew repentance until I repented. I heard of faith, but I never knew faith until I believed. I heard of pardon but I never knew pardon until I was washed in the blood of the Lamb. I read about justification by faith but I was never justified till, by faith, I received the Lord Jesus to be my Righteousness. Appropriation by faith gives an apprehension by the understanding—experimental enjoyment creates true acquaintance. Beloved, go to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to enable you to take the things which God freely gives and when you possess them, you will “know” them.”

In other words, my words 🙂 “We don’t know Jesus, until we KNOW Jesus” we can’t Know Jesus until we’re born of His Holy Spirit. We can know about Jesus, but experiential knowledge of Jesus comes when the Holy Spirit comes into our lives. He comes when we; Believe on Jesus Christ, REPENT of our Sins, seek His forgiveness, trust in His death and receive Him as LORD. If you’ve done all that then you’ll KNOW Jesus.

When you get married, you don’t need someone else to introduce you to your wife again do you? When you take a driving test, you don’t need someome to tell you about it, you’ve done it and you’ve got the certificate to prove it. When you are born of God’s Spirit, the Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are Children of God. We KNOW because He doesn’t keep quiet, the Holy Spirit reveals it to us and enables us to KNOW: Jesus the Son and God the Father. We KNOW that we KNOW…

Romans 8:13-16 13  For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body (Repentance), you will live,
14  because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
15  For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
16  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

You KNOW because the SPIRIT makes us know. If you don’t know like that then guess what? You need the HOLY SPIRIT.

That’s Good NEWS: Because Jesus said, “Ask and you shall receive”. Does it say, “Ask and you might receive”? No! Of course not, Jesus wants every single one of us to be CERTAIN. He gives a sure and certain hope. Once you are born of God’s Spirit, REGENERATED, TRANSFORMED, you’ll know it. A sure sign that it has happened is your desires change and you’ll earnestly, wholeheartedly desire what God wants, to see others being TRANSFORMED and REGENERATED and SAVED as well.

Jesus Transformed us so that we can TRANSFORM others.

We’re TRANSFORMED by Jesus in order that we are to be involved in His Great Commission, to TRANSFORM the lives of others. We’re SAVED to SAVE.

It’s like we’ve been plucked from the sea by the life-boat, but once we’re aboard, we’ll be pulling others aboard as well, so that they can be saved.

Conclusion: Amongst our ranks we’ll have those who’re on fire and ready to fulfill the GREAT COMMISSION. We’ll have others who are on thier way to Jesus. We’ll have some, like the Disciples, who’ll be doubting. We’ll have some who are ready to fall down and worship the Lord Jesus Christ.

Don’t be tempted to give up or give in. Don’t get disheartened, disappointed or downcast. Keep going because men and women don’t always receive the Gospel the first time they hear it. It’s like a wood-splitter’s wedge, thin on one edge and thick on the other, but each swing of his hammer drives the wedge deeper into the wood, until eventually it breaks apart and forms a lovely plank. Keep preaching snippets of the gospel many times with many people and eventually some of their hard-hearts will be broken by God’s Holy Spirit. Sometimes, you are just planting seeds, but some seeds take time in the soil to germinate. But the seed never dies! Praise the Lord.

Be certain that you’ve been TRANSFORMED first, then go out with Jesus and transform the lives of others.

Have an awesome day fulfilling the Great Commission with the Lord Jesus in you and with you always.

Don.

40 Days With Jesus Home Page.

Notes: Charles Spurgeon’s Sermons:

Grace for Grace. Charles Spurgeon. Number 2087.

“She Was Not Hid” Sermon Charles Spurgeon Charles Spurgeon Sermon: Number 2019.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 30: Transformed by Jesus to Transform Others.

 

Jesus Presence, Purpose and Power

Say Yes to Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word, 513: Jesus Presence, Purpose and Power For Your Life.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 29. Matthew 28:16-20.

What a fantastic session we had last night with our 40 Day With Jesus Group. We watched the Video for the week, then discussed our understanding of Christ’s call for our life. We shared about our own life purpose, what we thought our life meant before we started following Jesus and what it means now, since we received Him as Lord. You know my friends, I don’t think you’ll get as much out of doing 40 Days on your own as you will when you share the journey with others. Just a couple of hours sharing and discussing, will nourish, feed and sustain you more than a whole week of personal study. Why? Because Jesus shows or reveals Himself more when we’re together than He does when we’re on our own. And last night was awesome; it was a WOWzer!  😎  😎  😎  😎  😎

Knowing Jesus’ Purpose For Your Life: When you get it, you’ll be; ON-FIRE with His GLORY, ABLAZE with His MESSAGE and BURNING to SHARE Him with OTHERS.

Before I knew Jesus as LORD of my life, I would have said, “My life’s purpose is to be a success in my chosen career, enjoy life to the max and to be happy and contented”. Ever since I met Him that changed, because when Jesus entered my life He filled me and empowered me to love others and lead them to Him. Now I’d say, “My life’s purpose is to obey Jesus will and love others enough to bring them to Him”. So many people are frightened of sharing Jesus or telling the good news, but since the day I received Jesus, that’s all I’ve wanted to do.

One of the questions on my mind when I was getting close to repenting and trusting in Jesus was this; “If Jesus wants me, what does He want me for?”

Say “YES!” to Jesus: Then you’ll EXPERIENCE: His PRESENCE, PURPOSE and POWER in and for your life.

As you open up your life to Jesus; by Repenting from Sin, Believing that He died for your sins, Having faith that He died for you on the Cross and Receiving Him as your Saviour and Lord, then He’ll begin to give you your own life’s purpose too. However, in Matthew’s Gospel, in what’s been called THE GREAT COMMISSION, Jesus is revealing His will for everyone in the Kingdom. His general purpose, His primary purpose, His over-arching purpose: And that is to BRING others to Him, so that their life can be TRANSFORMED and that they too will be empowered to live for His purposes as well.

Let’s look at that now: THE GREAT COMMISSION.

Matthew 28:16-20 16  Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.
17  When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted.
18  Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

God IS with You:

The most important thing for you to realise, before you study your MISSION and PURPOSE, is to know that God is always going to be with you and in you. That’s what will give you the power and the drive and the incentive to carry out His purposes with your life.

When Jesus calls you to do something for Him, He also equips you to do it and is with you throughout the whole process. This is part of God’s side of the Covenant: In the first Covenant with Israel: God called them to be His People, set them free from Bondage in Egypt, then Gave them His mission statement in the 10 Commandments and the Law, then He was with them as they began to fulfill His purposes for the Nation. He manifested His presence with them; in a pillar of smoke by day and a pillar of fire by night. Now Jesus, in the Great Commission: Called you to Himself, gave you His Commands, and today we can see His purpose in commissioning the Church, then He promised He’ll be with us forever to the end of the age. WOWzer! God’s doesn’t change, as the Scriptures tell us: God is the same, yesterday, today and forever. Jesus is with you and in you if you’ve been born of His Spirit. He going to go with you whenever you’re busy obeying His purpose, so don’t ever feel or think that you can’t do it, because the truth is you can’t (not in your own strength) no-body-can, but with God in you, you most definitely can.

All It Takes Is A Heart That Says; “YES!” to God’s Will.

Once you get Jesus in you, you’ve still got a choice every day to do His will or live for yourself. Even after He’s become your LORD, MASTER and FRIEND, He’ll never force you. He wants your willing co-operation: All it takes is a heart that says, “Yes” to Jesus. Then He’ll begin to use you in His Kingdom building business.

What a wonderful privillege He’s give you and me and everyone who comes to Him; to be working with Jesus. It’s good to think about Matthew 28:16-20 The GREAT Commission as a working together with Jesus. We’re not called to work on our own, but we’re working together with Him: Co-Mission.

Notice what happened when people encountered the Resurrected Lord Jesus:

It’s been fascinating to see what’s been happening to people who’ve met the risen, resurrected Jesus Christ from week 1 of 40 Days with Jesus. Everyone who met Him during those 40 Days after He came back to life, was motivated to SHARE that great news with others and commissioned by Jesus to do so:

  1. Mary Magdalene: She is commissioned to tell the Disciples (John 20:17-18).
  2. The Women at the Tomb: Commissioned to “Go and tell…” (Matthew 28:10).
  3. The Two on the Road to Emmaus: They rush back to tell the others… (Luke 24:33).
  4. The Disciples in the Locked Room: (John 20:21).
  5. Peter’s Three-Fold Commission: (John 21:15-19).
  6. On the Mountain In Galilee: (Matthew 28:16-20).
  7. Mark’s Gospel Commission: (Mark 16:15-20).
  8. Disciples During Jesus Final Days: (Luke 24:45-49, Acts 1:3-8).

This repeated pattern of; Meeting with Jesus, Calling and Sending; is repeated again and again and again, throughout the whole of Scripture. When people encountered God in the Old Testament, He called them and commissioned them. Whenever you see people meeting Jesus in the New Testament He’s also calling and sending them too. All through the history of the Church, since the time of Jesus, people who’ve responded to Jesus call have also been given a mission in life. He’s commissioned you too my friends, if you’ve encountered Jesus Christ today, He’s calling you and sending you on His Mission to GO and Make Disciples. He’s equipping you to do it and He’s with you as you obey.

Now, all it takes is a HEART that’s willing to say, “YES” to Jesus and then you’ll begin to experience His presence and His power and His purpose in your own life.

Say “YES!” to Jesus: Then you’ll EXPERIENCE: His PRESENCE, PURPOSE and POWER in and for your life.

Don.

40 Days With Jesus: Home Page.

Day 29: Knowing Jesus Purpose for Your Life.

Jesus Presence, Purpose and Power.

 

 

 

 

 

A Surprising Encounter

40 Days With Jesus: Day 1

Daily Spirit & Word, 486: A Surprising Encounter.

40 Days With Jesus:

Week 1: Day 1.

John 20:1-18. A Surprising Encounter

 Good morning my friends, I had quite a frustrating day yesterday, I tried to post first thing in the morning as normal, but discovered to my horror that Virgin Media still wasn’t working. I contacted them, and got the same message but with different times for it to be fixed. Here’s the message, “There is a problem in your area with Television and Internet, we have identified the problem, an engineer is on the way, the problem should be fixed by 1.00am, …” Then after 1.00am came and went “9.00am”, then “4.09pm”, then “2.06am”, then “16.24” WOWzer, funny how they can be so specific about the times, each time, when the Engineer is still on the way 🙂 Made me laugh and a bit annoyed at the same time. However, it’s NOW up and running again after 48 hours without internet or TV, and I still don’t know why or what the problem was. 

Yesterday, I was going to introduce you to 40 Days With Jesus, a new course we’re running in church for those who, after Easter, were interested in getting to know more about the Christian faith and to help those who’ve yet to discover Fellowship Groups to be part of one for a very short time, and also to prepare those who want to be Baptised this year. It might be quite a large group 🙂 I’m hoping!. The 40 Days with Jesus is all about those people in the Bible who encountered the risen (resurrected) Lord Jesus and what impact that had for their lives and for the community of believers in the first century of the Christian faith. (I’m posting the introduction on the Website). The little booklet we’re using is very cheap and readily available for download, with great questions and also a video to watch every week. “40 Days With Jesus, by Dave Smith”. Also available on Kindle.

 Day 1: A Surprising Encounter.

Over the years I’ve had quite a few memorable and surprising encounters with people. I’ve met the Queen (Queen Elizabeth ll), I’ve met the Queen Mother, Rod Stewart (Pop Singer), Rod Stewart’s Girlfriend, Rick Warren, Billy Graham, Freddie Starr (Funny Comedian). In 1988 I met my soon to be wife, that was a meeting that has changed my life and continues to be a real blessing, but probably my most surprising and life transforming encounter I’ve ever had was when I met the Lord Jesus Christ. I didn’t expect Jesus to be real or alive or knowable or that He’s want anything to do with me. I thought people who were religious were born that way, and I most definitely wasn’t one of them (I’m still not). But when my wife wanted to get our little baby girl, Abigail, baptised we started attending a little church in Plymouth, called St Budeaux Parish Church. In those days 1984, it was packed full of people, young families and lots of teenagers, we felt at home quite quickly, but I didn’t want to keep going or to become like the people there, I just wanted the baptism done then I’d be on my way. However, the minister at the time asked us to attend for three months, he visit us at home and then after preparation he’d baptise the baby. We agreed, then over the next few weeks I discovered Jesus was real. I knew from observing the people in the church, they had something that I didn’t have, I could just tell, and though at that time I didn’t want it, I wondered what it was. Each week the message seemed to be about my life, my questions, my fears, my sins, my everything. It was as if the minister could read my mind. Slowly but surely I began to know that Jesus was real, but I didn’t want to become a Christian. The Minister asked me every week on the way out of Church, “Are you a Christian yet?” I said, “No!” every time. Then one week he asked me something different, he said, “Donald, you do know that Jesus wants you to be a Christian, don’t you?” I walked away saying, “Yea, Yea sure he does”… But it was that question and everyting else playing on my mind, “If Jesus wants me, what does He want me for?”… My friends, Jesus speaks in so many amazing and wonderful ways. I was beginning to read about Jesus in the Bible by then and it jumped out at me: God answered a question and it was amazing, embarrassing and surprising all at the same time. I know Jesus was definitely alive, but I wasn’t ready yet to become a Christian. It took a few more weeks of attending church, joining a Bible Study and the Lord Jesus speaking, challenging and opening me up, until I was ready to repent of my sins and receive Him as my Saviour. However, I knew long before I finally submitted that Jesus was most definitely ALIVE.

 Mary Magdalene.

We’ll be taking a look at Mary’s encounter with Jesus this week, but today I want us to consider that Mary, a woman, was the first follower of Jesus to actually meet the risen Lord. This is a surprising encounter in many ways. You’ll notice as you read through John 20:1-18 that the disciples; Peter and John (the closest friends of Jesus whilst he was on earth, the one’s you’d probably expect to see Him first) they ran to the tomb, but they didn’t see the risen Christ. All they saw was an empty tomb and the linen cloths that Jesus dead body had been wrapped in when it was taken down from the cross. No my friends, it was Mary Magdalene who lingered at the tomb, with tears running down her face and kept on asking the question, “What have they done with the body of my Lord?” She was looking for Jesus dead body, but Mary was the first person to discover that He was actually raised from the dead. Mary Magdalene, an prostitute who’d been delivered from seven demons was the first person to encounter the resurrected Jesus. Why?

 Dave Smith doesn’t touch on this in the booklet, but I’ve been thinking about it. Mary had been forgiven and delivered from evil. Remember what Jesus said about a person who knows how much they’ve been forgiven and how grateful they’d be? Luke 7:36-50 Jesus anointed by a sinful woman. Jesus said about her Luke 7:44-47 “Then he turned towards the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45  You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46  You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47  Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”

“Those who recognise how much they’ve been forgiven love lots, but those who have only been forgiven a little, love little”

 Do you see it my friends, Mary Magdalene had been forgiven so much, we have too, but we don’t often realise the seriousness of our sins, that each sin we commit is enough on it’s own to keep us out of heaven forever, but Mary had been a harlot a very obviously sinful person and she had been delivered from seven demons too. My friends, when you realise just how many sins you’ve been forgiven for, you’d be as devoted to the Lord as Mary Magdalene was, you’d be at the tomb lingering, weeping and crying and determined as she was, to find the body of your Lord and do what needed to be done. She got far more than she bargained for that day, Mary’s surprising encounter was with the Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. Mary was the first to meet with the risen Lord Jesus.

Points to Ponder:

  1. Are you convinced of the resurrection of Jesus? What difference would it make to your life and to the world at large if it really were true?
  2. What is your response to the idea that the risen Jesus wants to meet with you? In what ways would you like to meet with Jesus over the next 40 Days?
  3. When have you encountered the presence of the Living Lord Jesus before? How did it impact your life?

 

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, I realise that by asking about the implications of the resurrection for my life, I must be prepared to hear the answers. I cannot be the same and I don’t want to be. I long to know You and meet with You. Take me on a journey over the next 40 days. Help me to be brave enough to respond to the things that you are whispering to me. Breathe Your life into any part of me that is currently lifeless or lacking in energy and spirit. Then move me forward by the power of Your Spirit in ways that only You can. I pray this in faith. Amen.

 

God bless and I’ll hopefully be back again tomorrow, God willing and Virgin Media keeps up and running 🙂

I’m praying for you all today that you’ll actually meet the resurrected LORD Jesus Christ in a Surprising Encounter of your own. Amen.

Don.

  John 20:1-18

1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.
2  So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3  So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.
4  Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.
5  He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.
6  Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there,
7  as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.
8  Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.
9  (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)
10 Then the disciples went back to their homes,
11  but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb
12  and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13  They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
14  At this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realise that it was Jesus.
15  “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16  Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned towards him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
17  Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ “
18  Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Study Booklet

Study Video For Week 1:

Resources: Scroll down for the Video.

40 Days With Jesus Week 1 Video: A Surprising Encounter.

I would really encourage you to get hold of the little study booklet for this whole course. We’ve got some in Church for anyone who comes along tonight. If there is any left we’ll make them available to the whole church. But you can get them easily here or at Amazon even cheaper. And you can get a Kindle version to read on your devices and phones. The Kindle version on Amazon is just £5.60.

A Surprising Encounter: Day 1 of 40 Days With Jesus.

40 Days With Jesus Home Page: With Course Outline and Links to Daily Readings & Weekly Video.