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Showing posts from February, 2015

True and lasting joy comes from You, Lord.

Psalm 16:1-11 True and lasting joy comes from You, Lord. This joy doesn’t depend on good things happening to us. Even when bad things are happening to us, this joy, Your joy, is still there – because You are still there. You’re with us – and You’re for us. The world cannot give this joy to us. Joy is Your gift. The world cannot take this joy away from us. Whatever happens to us, there’s one thing that never changes – You are our God. This is where our joy comes from. It comes from Your faithfulness. Help us to remember this – especially when everything seems to be pulling us away from You.

Lord, we thank You that You answer the sinner’s prayer. Jesus is Your Answer.

Psalm 4:1-8
Lord, we thank You that You answer the sinner’s prayer. Jesus is Your Answer. He is our Saviour. He is the Gospel Answer. He is the Good News that we need to hear. He is the Good News of Your amazing love. He is the Good News of Your saving power. Lord, we thank You for Jesus – our wonderful Saviour.

Lord, we are surrounded by so many enemies ... What are we to do?

Psalm 3:1-6
Lord, we are surrounded by so many enemies. They are Your enemies, enemies of Your Gospel, enemies of Your truth, What are we to do? What can we do? Left to ourselves, we are helpless. Our situation is hopeless – until You come to us with Your love and Your power. You assure us that You love us. You are with us and You lead us in the pathway of holiness and victory. You lead us on the pathway that brings glory to You.

We thank You, Lord, for Jesus Christ – Your Son, our Saviour.

Psalm 2:1-12
We thank You, Lord, for Jesus Christ – Your Son, our Saviour. What a great Saviour He is! When we think of Jesus, may our hearts be filled with true and lasting joy. We search for happiness – but we don’t find it. Why? – Because we look in the wrong place. We look within ourselves. What do we find? – An emptiness which keeps on gnawing away at us, ‘There must be more than this.’ There is. There’s Jesus. He changes our focus. We start looking less at ourselves and more at Him. We see that real happiness – true and lasting joy – doesn’t come from within ourselves. It comes from Jesus – “Hallelujah! I have found Him … Through His blood I now am saved.”

Lord, we thank You that Your way is the best way.

Psalm 1:1-6
Lord, we thank You that Your way is the best way. It’s ‘make up your mind’ time. Every day, we must make up our mind – Will it be the way of the world? Will it be the way of the Word? It cannot be both. It must be one or the other.
Lord, help us to choose Your way. Help us to keep on choosing Your way. May we always know, in our hearts, that Your way is the best way.

In this earthly life, we will never reach a stage where there will be no more problems, and everything will be just fine.

Job 42:1-17 We read, Lord, about Job being brought close to You, his 'friends' being forgiven by You and everyone being happy about the way things turned out for Job (Job 42:5-11). We wonder, "Is there always a happy ending?" In this earthly life, we will never reach a stage where there will be no more problems, and everything will be just fine. Help us, Lord, to look beyond this earthly life. Help us to catch a glimpse of the "salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." Our suffering will be for "a little while." We thank You, Lord, that Your salvation will be forever (1 Peter 1:5-7).

Thank You, Lord, for Jesus - Your beloved Son, our wonderful Saviour.

Job 40:15-41:34 "Who can stand before Me?" (Job 41:10). Lord, You put this question to every one of us. There are two answers to this question. The first speaks to us of our sin. The second speaks to us of our Saviour. When, Lord, You speak to us of our sin, it's bad news: "There is no-one righteous, not even one" (Romans 3:10). When You speak to us of our Saviour, it's Good News. Jesus is "without sin." He is "Your beloved Son with whom You are well pleased." He has "died for our sins" (Hebrews 4:14-16; Matthew 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 15:3). Thank You, Lord, for Jesus - Your beloved Son, our wonderful Saviour.

We thank You, Lord, that, when You speak to us about our sin, You also speak to us of Your love ...

Job 38:39-40:14 "I am unworthy - how can I reply to You? I put my hand over my mouth ... I have no answer ... I will say no more" (Job 40:3-5). When, Lord, You speak to us about sin - "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God", we have nothing to say in our own defence: "every mouth is silenced" (Romans 3:23,19). We thank You, Lord, that, when You speak to us about our sin, You also speak to us of Your love, the death of Christ for our sins, the forgiveness of our sins and the cleansing of our hearts and lives (Romans 5:8; 1 John 1:7-10).

Lord, we do an awful lot of talking about ourselves, and not very much listening to You.

Job 38:1-38 Lord, we do an awful lot of talking about ourselves, and not very much listening to You. When it seems to us that our problems are bigger than Your power, help us to start listening to what Your Word is saying to us. There are many questions for which we have no answers – Why has this happened to us? Why did it turn out this way? Why this? Why that? When, Lord, it seems to be all questions and no answers, help us to remember this: “I lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2).

Lord, Your power is loving power. Your love is powerful love.

Job 37:1-24 “The Almighty is great in power and … He does not oppress” (Job 37:23). Lord, Your power is loving power. Your love is powerful love. We see Your power in Jesus – “He is able to save to the uttermost all who come to God through Him” (Hebrews 7:25). We see Your love in Jesus – “I will never turn away any one who comes to Me” (John 6:37). In the world, we see the love of power. It’s a very destructive thing. In Jesus, we see the power of love. Hew uses His power to show us His love. He shows us His love when, through His mighty power, He saves us. Thank You, Lord, for Jesus. What a great Saviour He is!

What a joy it is to know that You, Lord, are both the God of great power and the God of great love. You are “ab

Job 36:1-33  “God is mighty, and does not despise any” (Job 36:5). Lord, You are great in power. You are great in love. How sad it would be if You had great love for us, but did not have the power to save us. How terrifying it would be if You had great power, but had no love, in Your hear, for us. What a joy it is to know that You are both the God of great power and the God of great love. You are “abundant in power.” You “heal the broken-hearted and … lift up the downtrodden.” We think, Lord, about Your great power and Your great love, and we say, “Praise the Lord!” We “sing to You with thanksgiving.” We “make melody to You.” We “sing praises to You” (Psalm 147:1-7).

In all of life – our times of suffering as well as our times of blessing, draw us, Lord, closer to Yourself ...

Job 33:19-34:20 When things are going well, help us to remember to say, “Thank You, Lord.” When things start going badly, help us to remember that You are still with us – and You haven’t stopped loving us. You haven’t left us on our own. You’re there beside us, every step of the way. In all of life – our times of suffering as well as our times of blessing, draw us, Lord, closer to Yourself and give us this powerful testimony; “He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, and I shall love to enjoy the light” (Job 33:28-30).

We thank You, Lord, that You have spoken to us through Your Word. You still speak to us through Your Word.

Job 32:1-33:18 “Understanding” comes from “the breath of the Almighty” (Job 32:8). “God does speak – now, one way, now another – though man may not perceive it” (Job 33:14). We thank You, Lord, that You have spoken to us through Your Word. You still speak to us through Your Word. It’s Your Spirit who brings Your Word to us. We do not always understand what You are saying to us. There is always more than we can take in. When, Lord, we feel that we’re out of our depth, help us to keep on listening, to keep on believing – and to pray for “understanding” that will lead to new life; a life that is grounded in the Scriptures, a life that is centred on the Saviour, a life that is filled with the Spirit, a life that brings glory to You.

Create in us, Lord, a deeper longing to become more like Jesus, our Saviour – and help us to give all the glory to You

Job 31:1-40 “Job … was blameless and upright, one who feared God, and turned away from evil” (Job 1:1). Again and again, Lord, we fall far short of this ideal (Romans 3:23). How can our sins be forgiven? How can our guilt be removed? We thank You that “the blood of Jesus, Your Son, cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). This is more than having our sins forgiven. You, Lord, are leading us n the paths of righteousness. Create in us a deeper longing to become more like Jesus, our Saviour – and help us to give all the glory to You (Psalm 23:3; Psalm 51:10).

Lord, life can be so confusing ...

Job 23:8-24:5 Lord, life can be so confusing. We see Job, trusting in You – “he knows the way that I take … ” (Job 23:10). We also hear him saying, ” … the Almighty has terrified me … ” (Job 23:16-17). where, Lord, do these negative thoughts come from? Do they come from You? No! They come from Satan! This is not “the fear of the Lord which is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7). This is the fear that comes from Satan What are we to do when fear threatens to overwhelm us? What are we to do when fear threatens to destroy our trust in You? We look to You, Lord. You “have not given us a spirit of fear.” You’ve given us Your “Spirit of power and love.” You give us “a sound mind.” Help us, Lord, to keep on looking to You. May Your “perfect love cast out our fear” (2 Timothy 1:7; 1 John 4:18).

We thank You that You are not only the God of great power. You are also the God of great love.

Job 22:1-23:7 Lord, we read Job’s question: “Would He contend with me in the greatness of His power?” We also read his answer: “No; He would give heed to me” (Job 23:6). We thank You that You are not only the God of great power. You are also the God of great love. If You, Lord, were nothing but power, we would have good reason to be terrified of You. At the Cross of Jesus, we see how much You love us. In Jesus’ resurrection, we see Your power. It’s not just the power to do strange and mysterious miracles. It’s the power of Your love – the love that lifts us when we’re down, the love that leads us on to a life, in which there will be “no more death or  mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4).

When, Lord, life is hard, and it’s difficult to understand what’s going on, help us to hold on to Your promise: “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength."

Job 21:1-34 Lord, we sense Job’s deep disappointment, as he says to his ‘comforters’, “How then will you comfort me with empty nothings? There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood” (Job 21:34). We thank You, Lord, that Job was looking beyond his ‘comforters’. He was looking to You: “He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10). When life is hard, and it’s difficult to understand what’s going on, help us to hold on to Your promise: “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles … ” (Isaiah 40:31).

Help us, Lord, to listen to what You’re saying to us before we start telling other people what we think You should be saying to them.

Job 20:1-29 Lord, we read Zophar’s detailed description of “the wicked man’s portion from God, the heritage decreed for him by God” (Job 20:29). We wonder if Zophar has ever thought of asking the question:’ Help us, Lord, to learn from Zophar ‘Does all of this apply to Job? Is Job a wicked man? Is Job being punished by God? Help us, Lord, to learn from Zophar’s mistakes. Help us to listen to what You’re saying to us before we start telling other people what we think You should be saying to them. May our words be Gospel words – words of love, words of encouragement, words of hope. May our words bring glory to Your Name, the Name of love, the Name of Your salvation.

We think, Lord, of Christ’s resurrection, His return and our redemption - and we give to You our thanks, our praise, our hearts and our lives.

Job 19:8-29 “I know that my Redeemer lives … In the end He will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25-26). Lord, we read these great words of faith, spoken by Job, and our thoughts turn to Jesus. We think of His resurrection – He “has risen” from the dead” (Matthew 28:6). We think of His return – He will return “with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30). We think of “our redemption” – “When  He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is”; “We shall always be with the Lord” (Luke 21:27-28); 1 John 3:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:17). We think of all of these things – Christ’s resurrection, His return, our redemption, and we give to You, Lord, our thanks, our praise, our hearts and our lives. To You, Lord, be all the glory!

What effect do our words have on other people?

Job 18:1-19:7 “How long will you torment me, and break me in pieces with words?” (Job 19:2). Lord, we read Job’s reply to the harsh words, spoken by Bildad, and we ask, “What about us? What effect do our words have on other people? Lord, You speak to us about our use of words “The tongue is a fire … set on fire by hell …With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, this should not happen!” (James 3:6,9-10). As we think about what You are saying to us, help us to pray that “our conversation will be always full of grace” (Colossians 4:6). Lord, may our words “bring a blessing to those who hear” them (Ephesians 4:29).

Sermons on John's Gospel (from the series of sermons on "A Statement of Christian Faith")

These sermons were first preached as part of a series on "A Statement Of Christian Faith". The complete series has been posted at this blog - in eight parts - in the category, "A Statement Of Christian Faith".
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John 1:1-13 We focus our attention on verses 11-13, where we learn how to become a child of God and what it means to be a child of God. It’s often pointed out that our world is very different from the world into which Jesus was born. We must, however, ask the question, “Is it really that different?” We can point to many differences. We must also recognize that there is a sense in which the world hasn’t really changed all that much since Jesus’ time. We’re told, in verse 11, that Jesus didn’t get a very warm reception when He came to this world. He didn’t receive a hero’s welcome. He didn’t get the red carpet put out for Him. He wasn’t honoured as a VIP - a Very Important Person. “He came to His own people, and His own people received Him not.” …