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Showing posts from April, 2017

Third Sunday of Easter: Acts 2:14a, 36-41; Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19 or Isaiah 51:1-6; Psalm 34:1-10; 1 Peter 1:17-23; Luke 24:13-35

Jesus Christ is Lord. ‘God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified’ (Acts 2:36). ‘Jesus is Lord’: When this message is preached in the power of the Holy Spirit’, it is still God’s way of bringing people to Himself. Preach Christ. Pray for the Spirit’s power. Look to God for His blessing (Acts 2:41-47). Love the Lord. ‘I love the Lord... I will call on Him as long as I live’ (Psalm 116:1-2). Our love for God is to be a lifelong life. It is to be the love of our life. What are we to do when our love for God grows weak? We must remember His love for us - ‘Great is His love towards us. The faithfulness of the Lord endures forever’ (Psalm 117:2). When we find it difficult to keep on loving God, we must remember how much He loves us. When we feel like giving up on loving God, we must remember that He never gives up on loving us. He loves us when our love for Him is strong. He loves us when our love for Him is weak. In love, He reaches out to us. He brings us…

Second Sunday of Easter: Acts 2:14a, 22-32; Psalm 16 or Exodus 15:1-11; Psalm 111; 1 Peter 1:3-9; John 20:19-31

Christ has risen. Believe the Gospel. Be changed by the Gospel. The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus Christ (John 16:14). ‘No one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit’ (1 Corinthians 12:3). In the preaching of Peter on the Day of Pentecost, we see the vital connection between the Holy Spirit and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, Peter preaches the Gospel of Christ’s resurrection (Acts 2:24, 30-32). Jesus Christ has risen. Jesus Christ is Lord. This was Peter’s message. If, like Peter, we are to speak in the power of the Holy Spirit, this must be our message. Jesus Christ has risen. Jesus Christ is Lord. In Acts 2:25-28, Peter quotes the words of Psalm 16:8-11. He emphasizes that these words direct our attention to Jesus Christ – “David says concerning Him” (Acts 2:25). He maintains that David’s words look forward to the resurrection of Christ – “David … spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ” (Acts 2:29-31). The final verse of…

Easter Sunday Evening: Isaiah 25:6-9; Psalm 114; 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8; Luke 24:13-49

Remembering the Lord, rejoicing in Him and looking forward to His return ‘O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your Name... You have done marvellous things’ (Isaiah 25:1). We remember what God has done for us. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Saviour. We rejoice in Jesus Christ who died for us. We rejoice in Jesus Christ who rose again for us. We look forward to the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. We look forward to the Day when ‘He will swallow up death for ever’. On that Day, ‘the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces’. On that Day, we will look back and say, ‘Surely this is our God; we trusted in Him, and He saved us’. On that Day, we will ‘rejoice and be glad in His salvation’ (Isaiah 25:8-9). Here and now, let us learn to ‘trust in the Lord’. We can trust in Him ‘for ever’. He is ‘the everlasting Rock’- ‘the Rock of our salvation’ (Isaiah 26:4; Psalm 95:1).
Remembering the Lord’s greatness: the greatness of His power and His love ‘The Lord is …

Easter Sunday Morning: Acts 10:34-43 or Jeremiah 31:1-6; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; Colossians 3:1-4 or Acts 10:34-43; John 20:1-18 or Matthew 28:1-10

God’s love, God’s Son, God’s command, God’s purpose ‘When the Holy Spirit comes on you... you will be My witnesses... to the ends of the earth’ (Acts 1:8). This great advance of the Gospel - Salvation reaches ‘the Gentiles’ (Acts 10:45; 11:1,18) - is a movement of ‘the Spirit’ (Acts 11:12). The Spirit speaks through the Word (Acts 10:44; 11:15). In God’s Word, we read of (a) God’s love for the whole world (John 3:16); (b) God’s Son who died for ‘the sins of the whole world’ (John 1:29; 1 John 2:2); (c) God’s command that ‘the Good News’ should be preached to ‘everyone’ (Mark 16:15); (d) God’s purpose that there should be disciples of Christ in every nation (Matthew 28:19). ‘Every person in every nation, in each succeeding generation, has the right to hear the News that Christ can save... Here am I, send me’ (Youth Praise,128). ‘Go forth and tell!’ (Mission Praise, 178).
God’s love is an everlasting love. ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindne…

Easter Vigil: Genesis 1:1-2:4a; Psalm 136:1-9, 23-26; Genesis 7:1-5, 11-18; 8:6-18; 9:8-13; Psalm 46; Genesis 22:1-18; Psalm 16; Exodus 14:10-31; 15:20-21; Exodus 15:1b-13, 17-18; Isaiah 55:1-11; Isaiah 12:2-6; Proverbs 8:1-8, 19-21; 9:4b-6; Psalm 19; Ezekiel 36:24-28; Psalms 42 and 43; Ezekiel 37:1-14; Psalm 143; Zephaniah 3:14-20; Psalm 98; Romans 6:3-11; Psalm 114; Matthew 28:1-10

In the beginning, there is love, eternal love, the love of God. ‘Genesis’ means ‘beginning’. These opening verses challenge us to get our priorities right - (a) The priority of God (Genesis 1:1). God comes first. Before anyone else is mentioned, He is there. (b) The priority of God’s Word (Genesis 1:3). God is the first to speak. Before any human word is spoken, there is the Word of the Lord. (c) The priority of God’s Spirit (Genesis 1:2). All was ‘empty’, all was ‘darkness’, yet the ‘Spirit of God’ was at work, and transformation was set in motion. Here, we have God’s priorities, set out in the Bible’s first three verses - Putting God first and listening to His Word, we are to pray for the moving of God’s Spirit, ‘hovering over’ our lives to transform them. For those who make God’s priorities their own, there is a promise of great blessing (Psalm 1:1-2). It is the great blessing of knowing Jesus Christ, our Saviour, as ‘God with us’ (Matthew 1:23). God speaks, and it is…

Saturday in Holy Week: Job 14:1-14 (or Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24); Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16; 1 Peter 4:1-8; Matthew 27:57-66 (or John 19:38-42)

Out of darkness into light - “Death is swallowed up in victory.” When you don’t really know what you’re talking about, it’s a case of the less said the better. That’s how Job feels about his ‘friends’- ‘Oh that would you keep silent, and it would be your wisdom!’(Job 13:5). They are no help to him. What does he do next? He takes his problem to the Lord. Nothing seems clear to Job. He seems to be bogged down in his own suffering. There is, however, a glimmer of light. A question comes into his mind - ‘If a man die, shall he live again?’ (Job 14:14). Later on, Job gives the answer of faith: ‘I know that my Redeemer lives...Even after my skin has been stripped off my body, I will see God in my own flesh’ (Job 19:25). ‘Christ has been raised from the dead...Death is swallowed up in victory...Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’ (1 Corinthians 15:20, 54, 57).
Out of darkness into light – “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.” There are time…

Good Friday: Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Psalm 22; Hebrews 10:16-25 (or Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9); John 18:1-19:42

Were we there when they crucified our Lord? – Yes. He died for our sins. In this remarkable prophecy, we see Jesus Christ, crucified for us - ‘the Lord has laid all our sins on Him’ - and risen from the dead - ‘After the suffering of His soul, He will see the light of life’ (Isaiah 53:6, 11). ‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’ (Mission Praise, 745). We might put this question to Isaiah. In one sense, he wasn’t there. He lived long before the time of Christ. In another sense, he was there. God opened his eyes. God gave him a glimpse of what was going to happen in the future. ‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’ In one sense, we weren’t there. These things happened long before we were even born. In another sense, we were there. It was our sins which Christ took with Him to the Cross. It was our sins which He left behind Him when He rose from the dead (Romans 4:25).
Jesus Christ – forsaken by God and pierced for our transgressions Read of the Psalmist’s suf…

Thursday in Holy Week: Exodus 12:1-14; Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-17

Christ died for us. Let us live for Him. Here, we focus attention on two verses which emphasize the importance of being saved by the Lord and going on to live for Him: ‘when I see the blood, I will pass over you... you must eat unleavened bread’ (Exodus 12:13, 20). In verse 13, we are directed beyond the Passover to Jesus Christ, whose blood was shed for the forgiveness of sins (John 1:29; 1 John1:7). In verse 20, we have the call to holy living. In 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 and Galatians 5:7-9, Paul uses ‘leaven’ as a symbol of ‘sin’, which holds us back from ‘running a good race’. We are to live as a new creation, who feast on ‘the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth’. Forgiveness of sins and holy living belong together. We are not to rejoice in God’s forgiveness and then gloss over His call to holy living: ‘justified by faith’, we are to ‘walk in newness of life’ (Romans 5:1; 6:4).
God loves us. Let us love one another. We celebrate the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-…

Wednesday in Holy Week: Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 70; Hebrews 12:1-3; John 13:21-32

Waiting on the Lord, witnessing for Him and winning others for Him ‘The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him that is weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught’ (Isaiah 50:4). We are to listen to God. We are to speak for God. We cannot speak for God unless we are listening to Him. Before we can speak for God, we must speak to Him. We must pray, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening’ (1 Samuel 3:9-10). Listening to God comes before speaking for God. First, we wait on the Lord - ‘I waited patiently for the Lord’. Then, we witness for the Lord - ‘He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God’. Waiting on the Lord and witnessing for Him, we will win others for Him - ‘Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord’ (Psalm 40:1-3).
Strengthened in worship, we are equipped for witness. David is in great danger. His life is being threatened by hi…

Tuesday in Holy Week: Isaiah 49:1-7; Psalm 71:1-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; John 12:20-36

Knowing Christ and making Him known ‘I, the Lord, am your Saviour, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob’ (Isaiah 49:26). We are not to keep this to ourselves. God wants ‘all mankind’ to ‘know’. ‘Jesus, the Name to sinners dear, the Name to sinners given, it scatters all their guilty fear, it turns their hell to heaven’- This is not something to keep to ourselves. We must make Christ known to others - ‘Oh, that the world might taste and see the riches of His grace! The arms of love that compass me, would all mankind embrace. His only righteousness I show, His saving truth proclaim: ‘tis all my business here below to cry: “Behold the Lamb!” Happy, if with my latest breath I may but gasp His Name: preach Him to all, and cry in death: “Behold, behold the Lamb!”’ (Mission Praise, 385). ‘Go into all the world and preach the Good News’ (Mark 16:15).
Keeping Christ at the centre in joyful worship and courageous witness David is in great danger. His life is being threatened by his ene…

Monday in Holy Week: Isaiah 42:1-9; Psalm 36:5-11; Hebrews 9:11-15; John 12:1-11

Jesus Christ is God’s beloved Son - the Saviour sent to us by the God of love. ‘Here is My Servant, whom I uphold, my Chosen One in whom I delight; I will put My Spirit on Him, and He will bring justice to the nations’ (Isaiah 42:1; Matthew 12:15-21). These words turn our thoughts towards the Lord Jesus Christ. At His baptism, we hear the voice of the Father - ‘This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.’ At His baptism, we see ‘the Spirit of God coming down like a dove and resting on Him’ (Matthew 3:16-17). Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s Word of prophecy: ‘All mankind shall see the Saviour sent from God’ (Luke 3:6). After His resurrection, we hear Jesus Himself speaking. He says, ‘Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit...’ (Matthew 28:18-20).
Let us bring Christ to the nations. Let us serve the Lord in the power of the Spirit. Never take God’s love for granted. Let us be deeply appreciative of …

Sixth Sunday in Lent (Palm / Passion)

Sixth Sunday in Lent (Palm / Passion): Entry into Jerusalem – Matthew 21:1-11; Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29; Passion – Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 31:9-16; Philippians 2:5-11; Matthew 26:14-27:66 (or Matthew 27:11-54)  

PALM SUNDAY

Our response to Christ - Discipleship, Depth, Devotion Four times, Jesus is called ‘the Son of David’ (Matthew 20:30-31; 21:9,15). Christ is greater than David. He is David’s ‘Lord’ (Matthew 22:41-46). Christ is not only ‘the Son of David’. He is also the Son of God (Romans 1:3-4). We rejoice with the Psalms of David. We rejoice even more in the Gospel of Christ. Our response to Christ is to be marked by discipleship, depth and devotion. Discipleship - The blind men ‘received their sight and followed Him’ (Matthew 20:34). They did not receive their sight and then forget about Him. Grace is to be followed by gratitude. Those who have received grace are to give themselves to the Lord in gratitude. Depth - The crowds were enthusiastic (Matthew 21:8-9) but superficial …