19/06/2007

Why did Jesus come?

However many years one spends in the Word, there are always new things to find. Today, I have been preparing a Bible Study, and I have compared two passages where the angel speaks of the Lord's birth - and why He was coming.

To Joseph, the angel says "And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." (Matt 1v21)

That is a truly amazing verse. It shows us the purpose of Jesus' coming. While He did many things - He revealed God, He was an example, He taught, He went around doing good, He trained His disciples - His purpose was to save us. He came to die to be our deliverer from sin.

To Mary, the angel says something very different "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end." (Luke 1v31-33)

He came to die, but ultimately He came to reign! He died in order to reign (Rom 14v9). We must never cease to thank Him for the cross, but we must also never forget the purpose of the cross - to establish a kingdom that will have no end. That kingdom will extend from shore to shore. From the rising of the sun to its going down, the Lord's name will be praised.

For more about Christ's ultimate triumph, there is some excellent reading to be found at Life on Wings. Dan's latest post, Finale to the "Ultimate Triumph" Series, contains links to three outstanding sermons by Dr Ern Baxter. I hope to have more to share about these soon, but for now read and receive.

Jesus came to reign! Hallelujah!

17/06/2007

God's forethought

I really am sorry for a long absence from posting. It is ironic that my last post was an encouragement to publish to fuel the charismatic resurgence, and I haven't posted for over two weeks.

Since the last publication I have had some difficult days: there has been a marriage break-up within the church I pastor, which has been very painful; there have been some dark days for my own soul (pastors are not immune); and last week my grandfather died. So it's been quite tough, and while I have things on my heart to publish, the window of time has not been available. I hope that will change within the next few days.

Yet, I want to just share something very brief. It was a word of encouragement from one of the members during the worship time this morning. A dear brother shared with the church "the cross was not God's afterthought, but His forethought."

He went on to read from 1 Peter 1v20: "He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you."

God wasn't surprised by our sin and rebellion. He knew it was coming even before He made us! And yet He chose to foreknow us and love us in Christ and to save us. The cross was not an emergency rescue package because we had caught God off-guard when we rebelled. It was His eternal plan to have a people for His very self.

I realise that this raised all kinds of knotty questions about why God made us if He knew that the fall would come. I can't answer those today (or maybe never!), but I do believe we can take great encouragement that however dark days become, however often we fall (or however deep we fall), God has no afterthoughts about us - only forethoughts. He loved us even before we did anything good or evil, already knowing exactly what we would do. So He doesn't change His mind or go back on His promises. And in the eternal now of His purposes, He chose us in Christ before even the world was made, the plan of salvation was determined. And today, He holds the future, and He has covered our sins past, present and future. And His love to us is unchanging.

What a great and merciful God we have!

02/06/2007

Fueling the charismatic resurgence

I have been wondering for a while whether to take the plunge and learn some HTML to enable me to improve websites etc (and even make my blog look different!). I finally took the plunge this week and ordered a book from Amazon. What amazed me is that I have opened the first page and I sensed the Lord stirring me!!

The first words of this book said "The World Wide Web is the Gutenberg press of our time."

Gutenberg was the inventor of movable type printing in Europe. Now he was no saint of God but he was used in the providence of God. Printing was a major factor in fueling the Reformation. Luther's writings ended up all over Europe. Bibles translated into the native tongues of the people of Europe were printed and spread. While many things have been printed in the last almost 500 years that have not been honouring to God, the fact is that God's purposes were advanced by means of the printing press.

Tim Berners-Lee is the inventor of the World Wide Web. He is also no saint of God - he has ended up in the Unitarian Universalist church. Yet, his invention is being used in the providence of God to bring about a new rise of truth. Again, there is much presented on the Web that is totally opposed to the Lord's purposes. But this is a tool that the saints of God can use, just as Luther used the printing press.

There is undoubtedly a reformed resurgence. It is good that sound doctrine is being written about and read on the web. Recently, there has been writing about a charismatic resurgence. On Spirit of God there is now a list of resources for the charismatic resurgence. This is being updated as more are found so that we can grow together.

Publish!

The point of my post today is to encourage us to publish! All of us who are people of Word and Spirit, let's build each other up. Firstly - read. There is excellent material to be found on any of the blogs listed to the right. Plus others. Find the places where your soul is being fed. Weigh what you read by the Word of God.

Secondly - seek God and allow the Lord to speak to you. As you pray, read scripture, hear His voice, read Christian books, there are things that will thrill your heart. Some of them will just be for you, but others will be to share.

I would encourage anyone who God prompts to begin to contribute to the charismatic resurgence! Let's fan the flame in each other's hearts and fan the flame for revival.