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Showing posts from May, 2017

Ascension of the Lord: Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47 or 93 or Daniel 7:9-14; Psalm 24:7-10; Ephesians 1:15-23; Luke 24:44-53

Jesus is taken up into heaven. The Holy Spirit is given to us. We read, in John 7:39, that ‘the Spirit’ would not be ‘given’ until Jesus was ‘glorified.’ Now, as Jesus was about to be ‘taken up... into heaven’, He tells His apostles, ‘the Holy Spirit’ will ‘come upon you’ (Acts 1:11, 8). He gives them His Word of promise: ‘I send the promise of my Father upon you’. He gives them His Word of command: ‘stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high’ (Luke 24:49). They wait upon the coming of the Holy Spirit. They cannot fill themselves with the Spirit. They can only ‘be filled with the Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:18). Waiting for the Spirit, the apostles ‘devote themselves to prayer’ (Acts 1:14). They do not earn the Holy Spirit as a reward for spending much time in prayer. Waiting on God, their strength is renewed as they receive God’s gift (Isaiah 40:31; Luke 11:13).
Jesus is taken up into heaven. May His Name be exalted in all the earth. ‘Be still, and know that I am Go…

Day of Pentecost: Acts 2:1-21 (or Numbers 11:24-30); Psalm 104:24-34, 35b; 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13 (or Acts 2:1-21); John 20:19-23 (or John 7:37-39)

The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus Christ.

‘No one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit’ (1 Corinthians 12:3). ‘In Jerusalem’, on ‘the day of Pentecost’ there are ‘Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven’ (Acts 2:1, 5). They are ‘amazed’ at what they hear - ‘we hear them telling in our own tongue the mighty works of God’ (Acts 2:7-11). The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus Christ (John 16:14). ‘To God be the glory! Great things He hath done!’ (Church Hymnary, 374). Speaking ‘as the Spirit gave them utterance’, the apostles pave the way for Peter’s bold proclamation: ‘God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified’ (Acts 2:36). Empowered ‘by the Holy Spirit’, this message - ‘Jesus is Lord’- 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).

The Holy Spirit leads us in the way of obedience and blessing.

God is at work among His people, teaching them many le…

Seventh Sunday of Easter: Acts 1:15- 17, 21-26; Psalm 1 (or Jeremiah 10:1-10a); Psalm 108; 1 John 5:9-13; John 17:6-19

Seventh Sunday of Easter: Acts 1:15- 17, 21-26; Psalm 1 (or Jeremiah 10:1-10a); Psalm 108; 1 John 5:9-13; John 17:6-19
We need the Holy Spirit. We read, in John 7:39, that ‘the Spirit’ would not be ‘given’ until Jesus was ‘glorified’. Now, as Jesus was about to be ‘taken up... into heaven’, He tells His apostles, ‘the Holy Spirit’ will ‘come upon you’ (Acts 1:11, 8). He gives them His Word of promise: ‘I send the promise of my Father upon you’. He gives them His Word of command: ‘stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high’ (Luke 24:49). They wait upon the coming of the Holy Spirit. They cannot fill themselves with the Spirit. They can only ‘be filled with the Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:18). Waiting for the Spirit, the apostles ‘devote themselves to prayer’ (Acts 1:14). They do not earn the Holy Spirit as a reward for spending much time in prayer. Waiting on God, their strength is renewed as they receive God’s gift (Isaiah 40:31; Luke 11:13).
We need the Holy Sc…

Sixth Sunday of Easter: Acts 17:22-31; Psalm 66:8-20 or Ezekiel 43:1-7a; Psalm 115; 1 Peter 3:13-22; John 14:15-21

In our worship, we listen to the Word of the Lord. Notice the importance of the Scriptures for both public ministry - ‘reasoning with them from the Scriptures’ and private devotion - ‘examining the Scriptures every day’ (Acts 17:2, 11). We need the Word of the Lord on the Lord’s Day. We need the Word of the Lord every day. God is not the ‘unknown God’. He has made himself known to us. For many, He seems to be the ‘unknown God’. We must seek to lead them beyond a vague awareness of ‘the God who made the world’ to a real knowledge of Jesus Christ who died and rose again for our salvation (Acts 17:24, 3). When our faith is grounded in the Scriptures, we will not think of God as the ‘unknown God’ about whom we can know very little. We will make it our ambition ‘to know Christ and the power of His resurrection’ (Philippians 3:10). ‘Let us press on to know the Lord’(Hosea 6:3).
In our worship, we hear the Story of God’s salvation. ‘Come and see what God has done’ (Psalm 66:5). God i…

Fifth Sunday of Easter: Acts 7:55-60; Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16 or Proverbs 4:10-18; Psalm 119:9-32; 1 Peter 2:2-10; John 14:1-14

Stephen’s Prayer: An echo of Christ’s words from the Cross In life and death, Stephen was Christlike. In life and death, he made a great impact. In life, we see him, ‘full of grace and power’, doing ‘great wonders and signs among the people’. People noticed that ‘his face was like the face of an angel’. Even his enemies took notice of him. Unable to ‘withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke’, they decided that he needed to be silenced. (Acts 6:8, 15, 10-11). In death, we hear him praying, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit... Lord, do not hold this sin against them’ (Acts 7:59-60). In Stephen’s words, we hear an echo of Christ’s words from the Cross (Luke 23:34,46). Stephen was dying. Stephen was praying. Saul was watching. Saul was listening (Acts 7:58). God was working. The seeds were being sown. Saul would be born again as the Apostle Paul (Acts 9:4-6)! David’s Prayer: A foretaste of Christ’s words from the Cross ‘Into Thy hand, I commit my spirit’ (Psalm 31:5)…

Fourth Sunday of Easter: Acts 2:42-47; Psalm 23 or Ezekiel 34:7-15; Psalm 100; 1 Peter 2:19-25; John 10:1-10

The Day of the Spirit’s Power In Acts 2, we read about the Day of Pentecost. It was a great day. The Spirit was poured out on God’s people. Christ was proclaimed to the crowds. Many were brought to faith in Christ. What is to be our response to the God who worked so mightily on the Day of Pentecost. Let us pray for the Spirit’s power. Let us preach Christ. Let us look to God for His blessing.
Preach Christ – the Good Shepherd, the Great Shepherd, the Chief Shepherd. * Jesus Christ has passed ‘through the valley of the shadow of death’ for us (Psalm 23:4). Now, we rejoice in Him, our Shepherd of love – (a) the Good Shepherd who died for us (John 10:11); (b) the Great Shepherd who was raised for us (Hebrews 13:20-21); (c) the Chief Shepherd who is coming again for us (1 Peter 5:4). He restores us. He keeps us from ’straying like sheep’. He leads us ‘in paths of righteousness’ (Psalm 23:3; 1 Peter 2:25). He is preparing us for our glorious eternal destiny: ‘I shall dwell in the ho…