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Showing posts from December, 2016

Let's begin the New Year with worship.

January 1: when observed as New Year’s Day – Ecclesiastes 3:1-13; Psalm 8; Revelation 21:1-6a; Matthew 25: 31-46  -  The same readings are suggested for Year B and Year C.

Let’s begin the year with worship: “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your Name …” (Psalm 8:1).
How excellent is our Saviour – He takes away the emptiness of life without Him. ‘God has put eternity into man’s mind’ (Ecclesiastes 3:11). In every human heart, there is a God-shaped blank. It can only be filled by Jesus Christ. Many people try to find true happiness without opening their heart to Jesus Christ. That’s like ‘trying to catch the wind’ (Ecclesiastes 4:16). True happiness keeps slipping through your fingers. There’s always something missing - ‘an aching void the world can never fill’ (Church Hymnary, 663). Jesus Christ stands at the door of every human heart. He knocks. He waits for your answer. He says, ‘Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will…

God's Word For New Year's Day

The Naming of Jesus – Numbers 6:22-27; Psalm 8; Galatians 4:4-7 (or Philippians 2:5-11); Luke 2:15-21
His Name was called JESUS (Luke 2:21).
Christmas is over – but let’s not forget Jesus. He is still here. He is still with us. He is for New Year’s Day as well as Christmas Day. He is for every day. The New Year has begun. Let there be more than a new year. Let there be new life – the new life that Jesus brings. We have celebrated His birth. It is similar to the birth of any other child. It is a time for joyful thanksgiving. It is different from the celebration of any other child. This is the special Child. This is God’s Son. He is Jesus. He is the Saviour. He brings new life to the world. On the first Christmas Day, the announcement was made: There is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11). We move on from the first Christmas. We move on to today. We do not leave Jesus behind. He is with us still. On this day, any day, every day, we h…

Let’s begin the year with worship: “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your Name …” (Psalm 8:1).

Bible readings for New Year's Day - Ecclesiastes 3:1-13; Psalm 8; Revelation 21:1-6a; Matthew 25: 31-46

How excellent is our Saviour – He takes away the emptiness of life without Him. ‘God has put eternity into man’s mind’ (Ecclesiastes 3:11). In every human heart, there is a God-shaped blank. It can only be filled by Jesus Christ. Many people try to find true happiness without opening their heart to Jesus Christ. That’s like ‘trying to catch the wind’ (Ecclesiastes 4:16). True happiness keeps slipping through your fingers. There’s always something missing - ‘an aching void the world can never fill’ (Church Hymnary, 663). Jesus Christ stands at the door of every human heart. He knocks. He waits for your answer. He says, ‘Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in...’ (Revelation 3:20). Will you invite Him into your heart? He is waiting for you to pray, ‘Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Come in today. Come in to s…

A New Year Sermon: 2 Chronicles 30:6-12; Mark 1:1-13

2 Chronicles 30:6-12; Mark 1:1-13
"Then the runners went throughout all Israel and Judah with the letters from the king" (2 Chronicles 30:6).
A message had been given to them. They passed the message on. They "spoke according to the command of the king" (2 Chronicles 30:6).
What we see here, in 2 Chronicles 30, is similar to what we read about in Mark 1 - John the Baptist is the messenger sent from God. He brings God's Word to the people.
In the time of King Hezekiah, in the time of John the Baptist, in today's world, God speaks His Word: "Return to the Lord God" (2 Chronicles 30:6). With the call to return to the Lord, there is the promise: "He will return to you" (2 Chronicles 30:6).
"Return to Me and I will return to you" - This is the message that God is speaking to us all of the time.
We look back to the past, and we ask, "Where have we been? How have we lived in 2016?"
We look on to the future, and we ask, &…

Jesus Chrisr - our Saviour and Lord

'A Saviour, who is Christ the Lord' (Luke 2:11). The Name, 'Jesus', means 'Saviour' (Matthew 1:21). Focus your thoughts on Him: The Lord Jesus Christ. Here is a prayer to help you make your response to Him: 'Lord Jesus Christ, You have come to us, You are one with us, Mary's Son. Cleansing our souls from all their sin, pouring your love and goodness in; Jesus, our love for You we sing, Living Lord. Lord Jesus Christ, You have come to us, born as one of us, Mary's Son. Led out to die on Calvary, risen from death to set us free, Living Lord Jesus, help us see You are Lord. Lord Jesus Christ, we would come to You, live our lives for You, Son of God. All Your commands we know are true, Your many gifts will make us new, into our lives Your power breaks through, Living Lord' (Mission Praise, 435).

An old, old story - A story for today

'The old, old story - it is ever new'. With each passing year, we move further away from the time when Christ was born. Further away from the time when He was born, but not further away from Him - He is still 'Emmanuel...God with us' (Matthew 1:23)! We may never visit the place where He was born. Many visit Bethlehem as tourists without becoming worshippers. They look at the place where He was born - but they do not love Him! They have 'no room' in their hearts for Him (Matthew 2:7). There is a place where you can find Jesus. Love will grow, worship will become real, when you find Him - in your heart! 'O come to my heart, Lord Jesus. There is room in my heart for Thee' (Mission Praise, 697). Don't just remember His birth. Experience it - 'O Holy Child of Bethlehem...Be born in us today'(Church Hymnary, 172).

Learning from the shepherds and the wise men

The shepherds and the wise men seem so different from us! Everything seems so long ago and so far away! Are they really any different from us? Can we dare to forget the lessons we learn from the shepherds and the wise men? Some may say, 'It was different back then. Life was so simple. Now, there are so many distractions. There are so many other things for us to do'. Listen to this kind of talk, and you are listening to the voice of Satan! The devil will fill our lives with all kinds of things. He will keep us so busy that we forget all about worshipping Jesus! More than ever before - in our world of so many distractions - we need to learn from the wise men and the worshipping shepherds. Make time to 'worship Jesus' (Matthew 2:2). There is nothing more important than this - 'glorifying and praising God' (Luke 2:20).

Jesus Christ - the Son of God, the Word of God, the Lamb of God

Jesus Christ is the Word of God. He is the Beginning. He is also the End (John 1:1-3; Revelation 21:6). He is 'the Word...made flesh. 'We have seen His glory' (John 1:14). This is only the beginning. When He returns, we shall see His glory - 'we shall see Him as He is' (1 John 3:2). From Him, there is creation (John 1:1-3). From Him, there is salvation (John 1:12-13). In Him, we receive the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit (John 1:29,32-34). He is the Word of God, the Lamb of God and the Son of God (John 1:1,29,34). When we look at Jesus Christ, we see God - 'the Word was God' (John 1:1), 'No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has made Him known' (John 1:18). Do you want to know what God is like? - Look at Jesus (John 14:9). What do we see when we look at Him? - 'the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world' (John 1:29).

The Saviour will come. The Saviour has come.

The birth of Christ is a fulfilment of prophecy: 'The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel' (Matthew 1:23; Isaiah 7:14). Christ is 'God with us'. He was born through the power of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18,20). He is still 'God with us', when we are 'born of the Spirit' (John 3:5). Some people do not believe what the Bible says here. They do not like the idea of a 'virgin birth'. The Bible gives no encouragement to such unbelief. Matthew simply says, 'This is the way it happened' (Matthew 1:18). In view of the amazing thing God was doing - sending His Son to be the Saviour of the world - why should we doubt that God took things out of man's hands and worked in His own miraculous way? We rejoice not only in the miracle but also in its saving purpose: 'He will save His people from their sins' (Matthew 1:21).

If we are wise - we will come and worship Jesus.

We think of Matthew 2 as 'the story of the wise men'. It is not so much about the wise men. It is about Jesus. He is the central Character. We are not told how many wise men there were. The word, 'three', does not appear (Matthew 2:1). We are not told their names. We are not told exactly where they came from - just, they came 'from the East' (Matthew 2:1). The important thing is that they made their journey. They came, seeking Jesus: 'Where is He...?' They came 'to worship Him' (Matthew 2:2). The wise men were led to Jesus by 'His star' (Matthew2:2). They were also led by the Scriptures. When asked where the Child was to be born, they answered by quoting from the Scriptures. Reading the Scriptures, we become wise for salvation as we find Christ who is 'our Wisdom' (2 Timothy 3:15; 1 Corinthians 1:30).

God is with us.

Isaiah speaks, prophetically, of the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, who is also known as “Immanuel” (“God is with us”) (Isaiah 7:14).  “God is with us” – These words are spoken to God’s people in every situation of our life (Isaiah 8:10). Isaiah’s prophetic message concerns the transformation which brings “glory”, where there is “gloom”: “But there will be no more gloom … But in the future He will bring glory” (Isaiah 9:1). This “glory” comes through our “Wonderful” Saviour, who is the “Mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6). In Him, we have “peace”, “wise counsel” and “everlasting” life. Praise God! To Him be the glory! He has brought us to know Himself, as our Father, through Christ, His Beloved Son. What will it mean, for us , to know God? It will mean being changed by Him. He is teaching us to walk with Him. He is teaching us to follow Jesus. He is teaching us “to refuse the evil, and choose the good” (Isaiah 7:15). Standing upon the promise – “God is with us” – does not mea…

Emmanuel - God with us / Jesus - Saviour

Jesus was also called Emmanuel (Matthew 1:23). Emmanuel means ‘God with us.’ This is the great message that comes to us from the first chapter of the New Testament. God has not remained in heaven. He has come to earth. Along with the Name, Emmanuel, there is the better - known Name - Jesus. The Name of Jesus means “He saves” (Matthew 1:21,25). In the two Names - Emmanuel and Jesus, we have the Good News of our salvation. God has come to earth - that’s the meaning of the Name, Emmanuel. He has come to save us - that’s the meaning of the Name, Jesus.

Christmas Message

Let’s think about the meaning of Christmas. What does it mean in the countdown to Christmas Day? What will it mean for us when we’re in the middle of January? What will it mean six months from now? Christmas is coming. Jesus is coming. Christmas comes. Christmas goes. Jesus comes. Jesus stays. When Christmas comes to an end, Jesus doesn’t leave us. When Boxing Day begins, Jesus is still with us.
Christmas is about Jesus. Jesus is more than Christmas. If Christmas was all that we had, would we really be saying, “I wish it could be Christmas every day”? Wouldn’t we be asking, “When does everything get back to normal”? Normal? What is normal? Normal seems so unexciting. Normal is this – Jesus is with us. He’s with us every day. Our ordinary days are very different from Christmas Day. Can we ever say, “This is just an ordinary day” – when Jesus is with us every day?
Soon, Christmas 2016 will be behind us. The old year will come to an end. We’ll be into the New Year. The years come. The …

Immanuel - God with us

'Immanuel...God with us' (Matthew 1:23). Think of what this means! Here are some words to help you. 'He walked where I walked, He stood where I stand, He felt what I feel, He understands. He know my frailty, shared my humanity, tempted in every way, yet without sin. God with us, so close to us. God with us, 'Immanuel!'. Let your thoughts move on to the Cross - 'He died in my place that I might live'. Let your heart be filled with worship: 'Immanuel, O Immanuel, Bowed in awe I worship at your feet, and sing Immanuel, God is with us; Sharing my humanness, my shame, feeling my weakness, my pain, taking my punishment, my blame, Immanuel. And now my words cannot explain, all that my heart cannot contain, how great are the glories of Your Name, Immanuel' (Mission Praise, 221,326).

What's Christmas all about?

What's Christmas all about? Is it about coming to church, coming to a service? No. There's more to it than that. It's about coming to Christ, coming to the Saviour. What a welcome you will get when you come to Jesus. Whatever this year's been like, you can end the year on a high note by coming to Jesus - opening your heart to Him, giving your life to Him.

Whatever you may think of Christmas ...

Whatever you may think of Christmas - in our modern world, you will not be disappointed with Jesus. He comes to us from the past - and He leads us on into the future. We're no sooner past Christmas, and we start thinking about the New Year. We wonder what the New Year will bring. Will you go into 2017 on your own - or with Jesus as your Saviour?

O little town of Bethlehem

Bethlehem was a 'little town'. Humanly speaking, it did not have any great importance. Its importance is derived from the fact that it was the birth place of our Saviour. when we think of Bethlehem, we do not think so much of the place as the Saviour who was born there. Herod says that he wants to go to Bethlehem to worship Jesus (Matthew 2:8). Satan was speaking through Herod. Satan 'comes only to steal and kill and destroy'. Christ comes to give 'life...to the full' (John 10:10). As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that Herod was not a worshipper of Christ but a servant of Satan. The wise men worship Jesus, then they return to their own country. Their whole purpose was to point away from themselves to Jesus.

Let Us Worship Jesus.

The wise men did want to worship Jesus (Matthew 2:2). Herod said that he wanted to worship Jesus (Matthew 2:8). What a difference there is between saying that we want to worship Jesus and really wanting to worship Him. This highlights the conflict between false religion and true worship. Religion may say the right things, but, if we don’t really mean what we say, our words will not make any difference to the way we live. This kind of religion is worthless. What does God say to us about this kind of religion? - “God warned them in a dream not to go back to Herod” (Matthew 2:12). God is still warning His people to steer clear of empty religion. When we come to the Lord, we must not come with empty words - words that we don’t really mean. Our worship is to shape our life. How is our worship to change our way of living? Real worship arises out of salvation. This is very different from religion. Religion says more about ourselves than it says than it says about our Saviour. …

A very special child!

No ordinary child! Jesus would be special - very special! This was the message the angel brought to Mary - 'He will be great...the Son of the Most High...the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God' (Luke 1:32,35). We celebrate the birth of a child. How much more should we celebrate the birth of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ! 'Come on and celebrate! His gift of love we will celebrate - the Son of God who loved us and gave us life' (Mission Praise, 99). God is calling us to worship His Son, our Saviour. Let Jesus be the centre of your attention. No one else must compete with Him. 'O come let us adore Him...For He alone is worthy...We'll give Him all the glory...Christ the Lord' (Mission Praise, 490). He is more than 'a lovely baby - much more than that! He is our wonderful Saviour!

God is in control!

God is in control! Jesus was born at Bethlehem - Long before it happened, God had it planned (Luke 2:1-7; Micah 5:2-3). As we approach Christ's Return, God still has His plan. He is still in control. The birth of Christ is not merely an event from the past. It is also a message for the future. We look back so that we can move forward. We are fearful about many things. 'What's the world coming to?', we ask. God turns our question on its head: 'Christ is coming to the world'. From His first coming, we look on to His Second Coming - He 'will come to all the people' (Luke 2:10): 'Every eye will see Him' (Revelation 1:7). His Return invites us to ask another question: 'When the Son of man comes, will He find faith on earth?' (18:8). For you, is it still 'before Christ'? Let the 'new age' begin: Let Christ be 'born this day' (Luke 2:11) - in your heart!

Cain, Abel and Christ

Genesis 4:1-16
We read about Cain and Abel. We look beyond them to Christ. He offered himself as the perfect sacrifice for sin. He is "the Passover Lamb." He "has been sacrificed for us" (1 Corinthians 5:7). Jesus is "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).
We read here about the parting of the ways. Cain went one way - away from God. Abel went the other way - towards God. When we come to the Cross of Jesus Christ, we must make our choice. Our  life can never be the same again.
Will we be like Cain? - "He went out from the Lord's presence and lived in the land of wandering" (Genesis 4:16). What does God say to those who are wandering away from Him? He says, "Awake, sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you" (Ephesians 5:14).
We read about Abel, and we look beyond him to Christ. Let us walk with Christ on the way of faith and obedience, the way of His salvation, th…

Will our life be self-centred? or Will it be God-centred?

Genesis 3:1-7
The tragedy of Adam and Eve: their fall into sin. We compare this with the triumph of Jesus - His victory over Satan.
What made the difference?- standing on the Word of God.
Adam and Eve believed the lie of the devil.
Jesus took His stand on the Word of God.
What about us? Do we stand? or Do we fall? Will we listen to Satan? or Will we listen to God?
We cannot be facing in two directions at the same time. We must make our choice.
Will our life be self-centred? or Will it be God-centred?
God is calling us out of the old life (the Adam life). He’s calling us into the new life (the Jesus life). When we choose to walk with Jesus, He walks with us.

Do what God tells us to do. This leads to blessing.

Genesis 2:4-25
Do what God tells us to do. This leads to blessing. Do what God tells us not to do. This leads to trouble. It’s been trouble ever since.
Here, on earth, things can be turned around. We can be set in the right direction. We are not yet at our final destination, but we’re travelling towards it.
When Adam and Eve sinned, they “died” spiritually. Immediately, we see conflict. The devil has won a battle. He has won many more battles. He will win many more battles. He will not win the war.
In Genesis 3:15, we catch a glimpse of God’s eternal Kingdom, in which “there will no longer be any curse” (Revelation 22:3).

Before the creation, there is the Creator.

Genesis 1:1-2:3 Before the creation, there is the Creator.
* He is the chief focus of attention in the Bible’s first chapter. Wherever we look in Genesis 1, we see the word, God. This is about Him. Genesis 1 speaks about us. It tells us where we have come from. We have come from God. He is our Creator. Take away God, and our life has no meaning, no purpose, no direction.
* Move on from the Bible’s first chapter. Read the rest of Genesis, the rest of the Old Testament,the rest of the Bible. What do you find? The Bible is a Book about God. It’s not only a Book about God. It’s a Book that has been given to us by God. It’s His Word.
* What about our faith and our life? Our faith comes to us from God. Our life has been given to us by God. We are to put our faith in God. We are to live our life for God.
* “God said, Let there be light, and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). The light of God’s love and holiness. “He created us in His own image” (Genesis 1:27). Created b…