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Posts Tagged ‘Grace’

Jealousy

March 5th, 2012

1 Samuel 18:6-30

  • David is a huge celebrity after killing Goliath and Saul is jealous.
  • Fame is a poisoned chalice. We live in a culture where we lift people up to be able to shoot them down easily. It looks so blissful but countless celebrities say they can’t find their identity in all the glory.
  • David is different, he doesn’t get seduced by the fame while Saul is in agony watching people chant David’s name.
  • David is not impressed with himself ‘who am I?’
  • Saul cares to much about the opinions of people and it amounts to violence in his life.
  • Jealousy is what the devil got thrown out of heaven – we are not safe from envy.
  • We need to guard our hearts from jealousy as it can trap and poison us.
  • Samuel 18:10-11. Saul tries to kill David but David evades him twice.
  • Saul thinks David’s got it in for him but David doesn’t take himself too seriously.
  • We need to watch our hearts and recognise when we are being envious of good looks, career success etc. The Bible shows that envy can take you down.

How do we respond to envy?

  • We try to find ways of tearing the objects of our envy down in order to hoist ourselves up.
  • Proverbs 27:4 – There is such a thing as good anger but there is only bad envy.
  • Saul uses his daughter to accomplish murder. He’s become a monster and it doesn’t feel pleasant when there is corruption in your bones.
  • Jealousy is different to covetousness. Jealousy is where you’re not happy till everyone’s unhappy.
  • Esther 5:13 – jealousy prevents you enjoying the good things in your life.

How do you get free from jealousy?

  • Getting freedom from jealousy through revenge doesn’t work.
  • Saul bid David bring him 100 foreskins. Saul wanted to get rid of David and assumed he would be killed.
  • If you try going against someone that God is raising up, you’re doomed. Saul was afraid of David because the Lord was with him.
  • Saul’s problem is with God. He is consumed with being King.
  • We’ve all got a kingdom. God sends Davids into our lives – we can try to fight but we are doomed to lose.
  • We need to remember grace and thank God for our role in anything, even if that role in in the shade – it is God’s mercy that we be involved at all.
  • We need to throw ourselves into the grace of God on our lives. We are treated with such love and are able to sit with Him on the throne.
  • Jesus took all of the poison and ugliness out of our lives and took it to the cross so that we can be free.

 

Author: Categories: What Kind of King? Tags: , ,

Romans 3: 1-8

February 16th, 2011
  • At the beginning of Romans Paul is teaching about why we need the Gospel
  • Later on in Romans, he is sharing the joy of the Gospel
  • Romans 1: Paul explains to the Gentiles that they are sinners
  • Romans 2: He is explaining to the Jews that the law itself won’t save them
  • Romans 3: He answers three questions:
  1. The faithfulness of God
  • The Jews had been given the oracle of God
  • There is great advantage to growing up in a Christian home – you get off to a flying start, but this isn’t enough – we need to encounter God
  • The Jews thought the problem was God – in today’s world the objection is to sin, war, sex trafficking etc.
  • Vs 4: Paul’s response is from the Greek translation of Psalm 51
  • King David was judged for his sin with Bathsheba – God is just and His will be done
  • Revelation 4 & 5: key theme – the throne of God à however messy and chaotic the world is, God is sovereign – we need to look up and see God
  • God’s purposes and promises come to pass as God is faithful
  • God is in control – He is always on the throne
  1. The righteousness of God
  • Argument: God is being unrighteous because He could just forgive us – people ask: what gives God the right to judge me?
  • Vs 6: how then can God judge the world?
  • People want justice and judgement, just not for themselves
  1. The grace of God
  • God seeks us out
  • People think that more evil is needed so God can do more good – this is not true! – Paul says if you think like this than your condemnation is just
  • Romans 6 – Paul asks the same question and his answer is “by no means!”

What they teach us:

  1. We are not the first people to face objections and challenges
  • Even Jesus faced trouble – people tried to trick Him and catch Him out
  • The Gospel demonstrates the wisdom of God
  • 2 Corinthians 4: 2-6 – we understand the Gospel because God let the light in
  1. Take care how we speak
  • Sometimes we are logical not Biblical
  • Titus 2: 11-12 – grace teaches us to say “no”
  • Don’t abuse grace
  1. We need to be clear on the principles
  • God is faithful
  • God is righteous
  • God is full of grace for us
  • Jesus Christ is sovereign over all and one day every knee will bow to Him

A Church For a New Age

November 17th, 2010

Amos 9:5-16; Acts 15:6-21

The book of Amos speaks about God’s judgement of His people – it paints a big picture of Almighty God. But alongside the promise of judgement is the promise of restoration. The key verse is  v.11 – the “booth” or tabernacle of David – one day the people of God will live with God in the new heavens and new earth.

1. The Prophetic Mandate (Our Vision):

i) Eden:

  • Adam walked with God and was able to hear God and minister to God on behalf of creation. He had authority on earth to expand Eden – the cultural mandate.
  • But Adam sinned and the fellowship was broken.
  • But from Genesis to Revelation, we are shown that God is restoring this and wants to dwell again with His people.

ii) The Tabernacle:

  • The dwelling place for God and His glory on earth.
  • The tabernacle of Moses on Mount Gibeon was about rules and rituals, but the tabernacle of David on Mount Zion was about being able to freely enter and worship God – a foretaste of the New Covenant of grace.

iii) The Temple:

  • This was God’s next dwelling place for his manifest presence.
  • However, with the second temple there was no presence of God – just rituals and religion. God wanted a restoration of the tabernacle of David.
  • When Jesus was on earth He said the temple would be destroyed but that He would rebuild it after 3 days. He was talking about Himself – He identified Himself with the temple, of God dwelling with man – and the resurrection after 3 days.
  • The coming temple was not one built with stones, but with people – the Church.

iv) The Church:

  • We are being built into a temple, experience God and His presence and power, by the Spirit.

2. The Prophetic Pivotal Point (Our Theology & Practice):

  • This is where the passage in Acts comes in. The era of the early church, filled with the Holy Spirit. The Jews were adding to the gospel – that Christians had to obey the Old Testament laws.
  • Here we see displayed the following:

i) Relationship leadership:

  • The leaders discussed this issue – whether new Christians should obey the Law of Moses.
  • v.16 – James quotes Amos – the restoration of David’s tabernacle, the covenant of grace, no more sacrifices or rituals.
  • The church are to fulfil the cultural mandate – to take the good news of the gospel to the ends of the earth.

ii) Operational power

iii) Defining grace

iv) Missional vision

3. The Prophetic Process (Our Lessons from History):

  • There is a process with promises being fulfilled. Things in history have happened in order to get us further towards that end fulfilment of the mandate and of the restoration.
  • 3 key words from the last 30-40 years: revival, renewal, restoration.
  • We are restoring the Church – building right. God has a bigger plan than just little pockets of revival.
  • What God does in one generation is different but all part of the big plan.

4. The Prophetic Challenge (Our Commitment):

i) Expect to grow – the fruit of restoration

ii) Expect the Spirit – He is given to us to reach out to others, not just for our benefit

iii) Build the church

iv) Change the city – rebuild the city, take Eden into it, release the captives, see people restored to God

v) Expect stability

The Supremacy of Christ – Hebrews 1:1-3

July 14th, 2010

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The writer of Hebrews compares Christ to what he knows about Judaism – that He is the supreme version of everything (High Priest, sacrifice, etc).

Christianity is not about rules but about the person of Christ.

God has spoken
1. Many times, many ways
2. Last days – spoken through His Son
3. God speaks through what Jesus is

  • Prophecy today is judged by the Word
  • Prophets do speak today, but God speaks to all of us by His Son – not just by what He said but by what He is, which is the very Word of God

Jesus is supreme (v.2-3)
1. He is the heir of all things

  • Jesus conquers all people groups through love
  • Christianity is not a lost cause that will one day fade away – God’s plan is to unite all of creation in Christ, restoring the created order under His headship

2. Through Him, God created the world

  • God spoke and the universe came into existence

3. He is the radiance of God’s glory

  • God speaks to us about His glory through Jesus – in grace and in truth

4. He is the exact imprint of God’s nature

  • We now have access to God through Christ

5. He upholds the universe

  • He sustains all with purpose, moving it all towards a glorious consummation
  • The Son holds it all together

6. He made purification for sins
7. He sat down

  • High Priests in the Old Covenant could never really sit down – the work was never finished
  • Jesus is on the throne – the work is finished – and He is waiting to come back
Author: Categories: General Tags: , , , , , ,

Finding Rest in the Shade of God – Song of Solomon 2:3

April 12th, 2010

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‘As an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the young men. With great delight I sat in his shadow, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.’

This verse uses the symbolic language of finding rest and relief from the heat in the shade of a tree. Although the book of the Song of Solomon is about romantic love between a man and a woman, it can also be interpreted as symbolic of Jesus and His Bride, the Church.

People often view Christianity as hard work and loading on extra burdens of guilt and shame – but in fact, Jesus does the very opposite. He does precisely what this verse describes – He is like a tree that provides shade from the “heat” of life. Jesus came to give inner rest, as He says very clearly in Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

The qualification for receiving rest for our souls from Jesus isn’t “you who are spiritual/perfect/righteous” or “you who have it all together” – the qualification is “all who are weary”.

Sitting down

  • you actually have to sit under tree and take advantage of the shade
  • this means letting go, taking the weight off your feet, relaxing

Be still and know

  • we need to stop, to cease striving, to let go of our anxieties and fears
  • it is like God says “Enough!” – that He is in control and cares for us
  • it is when we know that God is God, that we find that shade and inner rest in Him
  • Romans 8:28: ‘And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.’ – the point is that we have to know this, otherwise we won’t benefit from the shade God has for us

Being saved

  • we don’t just need a one-time salvation from Jesus – we need saving from Him daily, to save us from the “heat” of life, from the fears and anxieties and pressures we face all the time

Example of Joseph

  • Joseph faced so much hardship and suffering and injustice, constantly being sinned against – but the fact is that everything that happened to him was a step leading closer to his destiny – to rule over Egypt
  • we are not simply at the mercy of other people and their sin – God is in control and He works all things together for our good and to get us to the place He wants us to be in

The shield of faith

  • Ephesians 6 – the armour of God – says ‘In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one’
  • we need to keep holding our faith up, trusting God and standing our ground, so as to extinguish the fiery darts that the devil sends our way

Breaks & holidays

  • we have missed the point when we view rest as simply having a break or a holiday, where we abandon everything, including spending time with Jesus
  • true rest is found in the presence of God!

The “giants” of life

  • when we merely focus on and are intimated by the giants, we do not trust God and therefore are effectively rejecting Him and treating Him with contempt
  • you’ll never arrive at your destination unless you understand that God provides rest, and that you learn to rest in His shade

The “heat” of a guilty conscience

  • the blood of Jesus cleanses all of our sin and guilt and shame
  • God is just – He will not punish us as well if He has already punished His Son in our place

The presence of Jesus & the fruit He provides

  • ‘in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore’ (Psalm 16:11)
  • Jesus also provides us with “fruit” in His presence – the closeness His affection and love and tender mercy

The example of Paul

  • Paul lived with a tremendous amount of hardship and suffering and pressure – but it was all so that he could learn that God’s grace is sufficient
  • it is not about the power of “positive thinking”
  • Paul ends up boasting in his weakness because it shows that Jesus is enough for him
Author: Categories: General Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Loot From His Victory – Isaiah 9: 2-7

January 12th, 2010

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His Righteousness
Through his sacrificial death on the cross he provided righteousness that does not belong to us. We are now declared righteous and the perfect life that Jesus lived is now exchanged for our sinful one.

Communion with Him
We have not been made righteous to feel better about ourselves. It’s for communion with God, it’s so we can know God and have fellowship with Him. We have been rescued for communion.

Victory Over Darkness
Colossians 2: 15 Rulers and authorities have been disarmed (this is talking about satanic power). Although we can be led to believe that satan doesn’t exist and he’s just a comic book character, he does. His greatest trick is to convince us he does not.

At the cross Jesus destroyed Satans kingdom. Jesus has won the decisive battle over all darkness.

Healing
By his wounds we are healed. At the cross we find healing.

Grace for suffering
God gives us grace in the midst of our suffering. With Christ we will still suffer, we are not removed from the world, but God gives us grace to be able to endure and even be blessed in our suffering.

Elijah: The Ravages of stress and the restoration of grace – 1 Kings 19:1-16

November 3rd, 2009

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We tend to think of stress as a modern problem but Elijah, a man just like us, certainly knew what it was to run out of gas.

Suddenly a fiery dart from the enemy penetrated all his defences, and yesterday’s zeal was not enough to take him through today. He collapsed in the pressure and ran away. This rock-like figure who was able to withstand a whole nation suddenly had nothing more to give.

After encountering God’s incredible mercy, his running away becomes more purposefully focused on running to the rock Horeb where God had previously revealed His faithfulness to the nation. Believers need to be reminded not simply to seek ‘escape’ from their difficulties but to run with purpose to the covenant God who loves them and will reveal His faithfulness to them.

Elijah’s fresh meeting with God, like Simon Peter’s on Lake Galilee with the resurrected Christ, leads to total reinstatement, refreshment and fresh commissioning.

God’s covenant love never fails. The redeemed know who to run to. But what of those who don’t know Him? They can only try to escape the pressure. How they need also to find the rock of safety.

Author: Categories: Elijah Tags: , , ,

1 Corinthians 1.1-17 Alternative Attitude

September 28th, 2009

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Grace Makes Us Thankful

After his brief salutation Paul is remarkably positive about this church. He is full of thanksgiving for them. But how can this be so when he is about to open up a can on them? It is because of Paul’s mature gospel based perspective. Do we really understand thankfulness as described and displayed here by Paul?
 
Without thankfulness we betray an evil heart of unbelief (Romans 1). So we must guard our hearts against ingratitude and learn from the Holy Spirit ways of maintaining a thankful heart.
 
Remember this is a grace thing – a gospel thing. It cannot be manipulated, true thankfulness is gospel driven.
 
Grace Promotes Unity

In the third paragraph (10-17) we have Paul’s opening salvo against the fundamental failings of the church. They have written to him about a few things (7.1) – but he will not touch on them until he has got some things off his own chest. He has been told that there is serious division amongst them.
 
There is nothing about Paul’s message and ministry that should naturally lead to factionalism and party spirit. So another influence is at work here. The culture of Corinth was affected by an obsession with popular orators – who had a kind of rock star image. The believers in Corinth had transferred some of that man-centred hubris into the church, imagining that they belong to a particular team in the congregation – not realising that the preachers themselves – including Paul were simply servants.
 
Paul brings them back down to earth by pointing out the centrality and sufficiency of Jesus and his work.