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Showing posts from July, 2017

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time: Isaiah 8:23-9:3; 1 Corinthians 1:10-13,17; Matthew 4:12-23

"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light" (Isaiah 9:2).
The prophecy has been spoken - ‘To us a Child is born, to us a Son is given...’. The prophecy has been fulfilled - ‘Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you: He is Christ the Lord’. Jesus Christ is our great Saviour. He is our ‘Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’ (Isaiah 9:6: Luke 2:11). Jesus Christ has brought to us a great salvation. Through faith in Him, we enter God’s heavenly and eternal ‘Kingdom’ (Isaiah 9:7: Luke 1:30-33). This is ‘Good News of great joy’ - for ‘all the people’, for ‘all generations’. Let us rejoice in the Lord, as Mary, the mother of Jesus, did - ‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour... for the Mighty One has done great things for me...’. Let us join with the angels in saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest...’ (Luke 2:10; Luke 1:46-50; Luke 2:14).

All The Grace Comes From God, And All Th…

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time: Isaiah 49:3,5-6; 1 Corinthians 1:1-3; John 1:29-34

Don't Keep God's Great Salvation To Yourself.
"The Lord said to me: You are my servant, Israel, through whom I show My glory ... I will make you a light to the nations, that My salvation may reach to the ends of the earth" (Isaiah 49:1,7).
We are not to keep the Lord's salvation to ourselves. God wants ‘all mankind’ to ‘know.’ (Isaiah 49:26). ‘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 an…

Baptism of the Lord (First Sunday in Ordinary Time): Isaiah 42:1-4,6-7; Acts 10:34-38; Matthew 3:13-17

Let us bring Christ to the nations. Let us serve the Lord in the power of the Spirit.
‘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). 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’.  Jesus is the fulfilment of God’s Word of prophecy: ‘All mankind shall see the Saviour sent from God’. 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 12:15-21; 3:16-17; 28:18-20; Luke 3:6). Let us bring Christ to the nations. Let us serve the Lord in the power of the Spirit.

Every person in every nation in each succeeding generation ...
‘When the H…

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost: Genesis 22:1-12; Psalm 13 or Jeremiah 28:5-9; Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18; Romans 6:12-23; Matthew 10:40-42

Let us look to Christ, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
In Genesis 21:22-34, we see Abraham in his relationship with the world. In Genesis 22:1-14, we see Abraham in his relationship with the Lord. Abraham deals honestly and wisely with the pagan king, Abimelech, who acknowledges Abraham's closeness to God - ‘God is with you in all that you do’ (Genesis 21:22). We are to be honest and wise in our relationship with the world (Romans 12:17; Colossians 4:5; Ephesians 5:15; 1 Peter 2:12). Our relationship with the world is to be grounded in our relationship with God. In the testing of Abraham, we catch a glimpse of ‘the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29). Christ is the Lamb whom God will provide (Genesis 22:8). In Genesis 22:14, we read, ‘On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.’ On Calvary’s hill, Christ died to bring us to God, so that we might learn to live for Him in this world (1 Peter 3:18; 2:24).
Through Christ our …

Bible Notes by G. Philip

Epiphany of the Lord: Isaiah 60:1-6; Ephesians 3:2-3a,5-6; Matthew 2:1-12

Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you.
‘Arise, shine; for your Light has come... the Lord will be your everlasting Light’ (Isaiah 60:1,19-20). Jesus Christ is ‘the Light of the world’. When we ‘follow Him’, we ‘will not walk in darkness’. We ‘will have the light of life’ (John 8:12). We are living in difficult times. We are surrounded by much darkness. We must not be discouraged - ‘the lamp of God has not yet gone out’ (1 Samuel 3:3).  When the darkness threatens to overcome the Light, we must take encouragement from God’s Word - ‘The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it’ (John 1:5). When the darkness seems to be everywhere, put your trust in the Lord - The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear?’ - and let ‘His Word’ be ‘a lamp to your feet and a light to your path’ (Psalm 27:1; Psalm 119:105).

What we cannot do for ourselves, God does for us.
"The mystery was made known to me by revelation" (Ephe…

Feast of the Holy Family: Colossians 3:12-21; Matthew 2:13-15,19-23

In Christ, there is so much blessing.Let's enjoy it!
Be what you already are. Be what God has made you in Christ. This is what God is saying to us here. ‘You have been raised with Christ... You died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God’ (Colossians 3:1,3). Paul is describing the new birth. Christ has made His home in us. New life has begun. Now thatChrist lives in us - what are we to do about it? How are we to live? - ‘Set your hearts and minds on things above’ (Colossians 3:1-2). This is how we are to live. We are to live out the life which God has put into our hearts. The new life begins when Christ comes to live in us. It does not end there. That is only the beginning. We are to go on, ‘being renewed in knowledge after the image of our Creator’ (Colossians 3:10). Christ wants to reign in us. He wants to enrich our lives (Colossians 3:15-16). In Him, there is so much blessing. Let’s enjoy it!

Herod dies. Jesus lives. The purpose of man is defeated. The purpo…

The Nativity of the Lord, Midnight: Isaiah 9:1-8; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-14

Good News of great joy for all nations and all generations
The prophecy has been spoken - ‘To us a Child is born, to us a Son is given...’. The prophecy has been fulfilled - ‘Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you: He is Christ the Lord’. Jesus Christ is our great Saviour. He is our ‘Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’ (Isaiah 9:6: Luke 2:11). Jesus Christ has brought to us a great salvation. Through faith in Him, we enter God’s heavenly and eternal ‘Kingdom’ (Isaiah 9:7: Luke 1:30-33). This is ‘Good News of great joy’ - for ‘all the people’, for ‘all generations’. Let us rejoice in the Lord, as Mary, the mother of Jesus, did - ‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour... for the Mighty One has done great things for me...’. Let us join with the angels in saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest...’ (Luke 2:10; 1:46-50; 2:14).

We live by the grace of God. We look forward to the glory of God.
We read, i…

Fourth Sunday of Advent: Isaiah 7:10-14; Romans 1:1-7; Matthew 1:18-24

Let us pray that our love for Jesus will not grow cold.
Isaiah looked ahead to the coming of ‘Immanuel’ - ‘God with us’ (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23). We look forward to the Second Coming of Immanuel: ‘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’ (Revelation 21:3). The Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ presents us with a challenge: ‘When the Son of man comes, will He find faith on earth?’ (Luke 18:8). He calls us to ‘stand firm in our faith’. We must not ‘shrink back ‘ from Him. We must ‘believe and be saved’ (Isaiah 7:9; Hebrews 10:37-39). Jesus says, ‘I am coming soon’. Let us pray, ‘Come, Lord Jesus’. Let us pray that our ‘love’ for Him will not ‘grow cold’. Let us pray for strength to ‘stand firm to the end and be saved’ (Revelation 22:7,12,20; Matthew 24:12-13). 

Words of blessing, words of encouragement
"Good will and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Chri…

Third Sunday of Advent: Isaiah 35:1-6a,10; James 5:7-10; Matthew 11:2-11

What blessings are given to those who draw near to God!
What blessings are given to those who draw near to God - ‘Your God... will come and save you’ (Isaiah 35:4). The Good News of Christ comes to us as a call to faith - ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved’ (Acts 16:31). We have been saved through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot remain the same. We are called to live a new life. We must travel on the Lord’s ‘highway’ - ‘the Way of Holiness’ (Isaiah 35:8). This is ‘the Way’ which leads to ‘everlasting joy’ (Isaiah 35:10). This ‘Way’ is so different from the world’s way. The world has no time for those who seek to live a holy life. This is what Jesus says about the world’s way of life: ‘the gate is wide and the way is wide that leads to destruction’ (Matthew 7:13). Whatever the world may say, we must never forget this: ‘Without holiness, no-one will see the Lord’ (Hebrews 12:14). 

Let us look forward to the great Day of our salvation, always praying th…

Second Sunday of Advent: Isaiah 11:1-10; Romans 15:4-9; Matthew 3:1-12

Christ calls all nations to turn to Him.
The family tree of ‘Jesse, the father of King David’ has a very special ‘Branch’ - Jesus Christ (Isaiah 11:1; Matthew 1:1,6,16). Jesus Christ has raised ‘a banner for the nations’. He is ‘the Saviour of the world’. He has died ‘for the sins of the whole world’. The ‘Good News’ is to be preached to ‘all the world’. Christ calls ‘all nations’ to ‘turn to Him’. He calls ‘all nations’ to receive the ‘forgiveness of sins’. He calls ‘all nations’ to become His ‘disciples’ (Isaiah 11:12; John 4:42; 1 John 2:2; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; Matthew 28:19). May our personal faith - ‘I will praise You, O Lord... God is my Salvation... The Lord is my Strength and my Song...’ - become our public testimony - making Christ ‘known among the nations’, telling ‘all the world’ what the Lord has done for us (Isaiah 12:1-2,4-5).

Let us love one another - and may the love of Christ reach out to more and more people.
With Christ’s example, ‘the encouragement of …

First Sunday of Advent: Isaiah 2:1-5; Romans 13:11-14; Matthew 24:37-44

God calls us to worship Him.
God calls us to worship Him - ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord...’ - and walk in His ways - ‘Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord’ (Isaiah 2:3,5). We are moving towards the Day when ‘the pride of men shall be humbled and brought low’, the Day when ‘the Lord alone will be exalted’ (Isaiah 2:11,12,17). How are we to get ready for the Return of our Lord Jesus Christ? God calls us to keep on worshipping Him. We are to encourage one another to keep on walking with God. ‘Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching’ (Hebrews 10:25). Let our pride be humbled and let the Lord be exalted as we await Christ’s Return in ‘faith’, looking to Him alone for our ‘salvation’ (1 Peter 1:7-9).

We learn how much Jesus loves us and He teaches us to love Him.
As I read, in Romans 13, Paul's words about "the government", I re…

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost: Genesis 21:8-21; Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17 or Jeremiah 20:7-13; Psalm 69:7-10, (11-15), 16-18; Romans 6:1b-11; Matthew 19:24-30

Let us rejoice in God’s greatest gift – Jesus.
We have here the contrast between Isaac, the child of promise, and Ishmael, the fruit of unbelief. Ishmael was born as a result of impatience, the failure to wait upon the Lord. In the birth of Isaac, the initiative belonged with God, and the glory belonged to Him. In Christ, we are the children of promise - ‘children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God’ (John 1:13). God did not forget Ishmael. There were blessings for him (Genesis 21:17-21). The difference between Ishmael and Isaac is the difference between common grace and saving grace. Many people know much of the grace of God in ‘the common things of life’ (Church Hymnary, 457). There are so many blessings for them to count. Sadly, they fail to appreciate God’s greatest gift - His Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Thank God for this and that and... Jesus!
Let the God of love fill your heart with His joy. ‘You are forgiving and g…