The Person and Work of Christ

In The Person of Christ, Berkouwer relates christology's content and method thus: "theology is not practised apart from faith, prayer and adoration ... The whole subject matter of Christology is most intimately related to the secret of revelation ... the enlightenment of the eyes" (pp. 10, 14). In The Work of Christ, he describes the …

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Victory comes from the Lord.

Judges 20:1-28God uses a sinful and shameful situation - 'Such a thing has never happened or been seen from the day that the people of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt until this day' (19:30) - to call His people back to Himself - 'all the people of Israel...assembled as one man …

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Let’s keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.

Exodus 13:1-14:31; Matthew 27:45-66; Proverbs 4:20-27 “The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left” (Exodus 14:21-22). “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Matthew 27:51). The dividing of the …

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G C Berkouwer – Scholarly, Pastoral And Evangelical

These comments are taken from the Jack Rogers book, "Confessions of a Conservative Evangelical" (Philadelphia, 1974). Berkouwer was reared in a denomination which "began in rather conservative isolation ... he has developed a scholarly, pastoral, evangelical stance. And he has brought a whole denomination with him" (p. 143) - "you can become less conservative and …

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The return of God’s people was more than a geographical return. It was a spiritual return. They were returning to the Lord.

Ezra  8:1-36  -  The return of God’s people to Jerusalem was not simply a geographical return - moving from one place to another. It was a spiritual return. They were returning to the Lord. They were seeking His blessing  (21). Without God’s blessing, we are nothing. We may have happy memories of better days, recalling …

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Make sure that you don’t “neglect such a great salvation.”

Acts 27:1-44 There is, in this story, a great picture of God's way of salvation. (a) Our human situation is hopeless: 'All our hope of being saved was at last abandoned' (20). We are sinners. We cannot save ourselves. (b) There is hope: 'God has granted you all those who sail with you' (25). God …

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Let us bring Christ to the nations.

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 …

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Some words of encouragement – for the times when we feel discouraged

Two Bible verses are running through my mind. One of the verses is very discouraging. The other verse is very encouraging. The first verse would make us feel like giving up in despair. The second verse makes us want to keep on going with the Lord and for the Lord. The first of these verses …

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The seed and the fruit: “I will wait for You, O Lord; You will answer, O Lord my God.”

Numbers 27:12-29:11; Luke 8:1-18; Psalm 38:13-22 In the parable of the sower, Jesus speaks of the seed and the fruit. In Numbers, we read of Moses and Joshua. The seed had been sown by Moses. The fruit would be given to Joshua. The important thing is this: It is not the sower or the reaper …

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Don’t get dragged down to the level of those who will not come up to where God wants them to be.

Numbers 16:1-50  -  ‘You have gone too far!’: They regarded themselves as ‘holy’, yet they refused to go ‘too far’ with God (3)! What kind of ‘holiness’ is this? There is a ‘holiness’ which is more concerned with respectability than obedience to God. Faced with ‘the upward call of God in Christ Jesus’, we dare …

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Eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord

Numbers 16:36-18:32; Luke 5:17-32; Psalm 37:10-20 The Levites had an important part to play in the life of Israel. A man called Levi (Matthew, the writer of the first Gospel) had an important part to play in the life of the early Church. We are told, in Psalm 37:17, that “the Lord upholds the righteous” …

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The story of Jesus did not end with His death. He rose from the dead.

John 19:17-20:10 -  ‘It is finished’ (30). These are not words of despair. They are words of triumph. At an early stage in His public ministry, Jesus said, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me to finish His work’ (4:34). Even then, He was looking ahead to the Cross, to …

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God’s work makes good progress when God’s people receive strength from God’s Word.

Ezra 6:1-7:28 God’s work makes good progress when God’s people receive strength from God’s Word. Haggai and Zechariah were faithful in preaching God’s Word to the people. Their preaching ministry was very important. It was just what the builders needed. It inspired them to keep working. God’s House was rebuilt and God’s people rejoiced (6:14-16). …

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Don’t miss God’s opportunities to share Christ’s Good News!

Acts 28:1-31 Read of Paul's protection from the 'snake'. 'Rejoice' - Christ has won for us a great victory over 'that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan'. When God gives us His victory, we must not think too highly of ourselves - 'he was a god'. We must give all the glory …

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Salvation through Christ

Drawing on L Newbigin’s book, The Finality of Christ, Michael Green writes, “It is one thing to claim that all salvation is through Christ … It is quite another to claim that nobody finds life with God unless they pass through the doorway of explicit Christian faith … The Christian Church has never maintained that overt knowledge of the person and work …

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Despite our many failures, God remains faithful.

Genesis 12 Before starting to comment on chapter 12, I want to say something about the second part of chapter 11, verses 10-32. These verses provide us with the background to the events which begin to unfold in chapter 12. The message of this long list names is this: God is moving on. He is …

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Cleansed from sin and on fire for the Lord

Numbers 29:12-31:24; Luke 8:19-39; Psalm 39:1-13 Numbers 31:22-24 emphasizes the importance of cleansing. The healing of the demon-possessed man, in Luke 8, emphasizes the power of Christ to cleanse even the most sinful of people. To be cleansed from sin involves an act of the will on our part - “I will watch my ways …

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Let us keep listening to one another.

“Dilemmas always are a source of polarization. We quickly move over to simplistic either-or’s… in which the fulness of truth is torn apart. And in the atmosphere of false polarities, we often stop listening to each other’s words. With this, irritation and pique poison the theological discussion. But it is striking and, at the same …

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Believing in the Lord and speaking for him.

"It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is …

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Jesus prayed for His first disciples, ‘that they may be one.’ He prays the same prayer for us.

John 17:1-26 -  Jesus prays for you. Jesus prays for me. We have come to faith in Him through the written Word of His apostles (20). The story of the Cross (1-5), the story of the first disciples (6-19) is an ongoing story. It continues in us. The saving effects of Christ’s death are still …

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When your head goes down, let the Lord come to you. He will lift you up!

Ezra 4:1-5:17  -  God’s work does not always move forward smoothly. We face determined opposition. Where there is opportunity, there will be opposition (1 Corinthians 16:9). The servants of Satan rise up to oppose the servants of the Lord. This is what happens here. The Lord’s enemies had some success: ‘the work on the House …

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Getting our priorities right

Trinity Sunday (First Sunday after Pentecost): Genesis 1:1-2:4a; Psalm 8; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; Matthew 28:16-20 Getting our priorities right: God, His Word, His Spirit - at the centre of our life The Bible’s opening verses challenge us to get our priorities right. (a) The priority of God (Genesis 1:1). God comes first. Before anyone else …

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Let us press on to know the Lord and enjoy His blessing.

Numbers 13:26-14:45; Luke 4:14-37; Psalm 36:1-12 In Numbers, there were those who grumbled against the Lord and those who pressed on to know the blessing of the Lord. In Jesus’ time, there were those who despised the Him and those who received the “good news” with gladness. What a difference there is between the two: “See …

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The best is yet to be. Jesus is preparing a place for us in His Father’s House.

John 13:21-14:14 -  Difficult times lay ahead for Jesus. He would be betrayed by Judas Iscariot (21-30). He would be denied by Peter (36-38). For Jesus, there was His departure (31-33). It would be a difficult time for His followers. He tells them to ‘love one another’: ‘By this all men shall know that they …

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God is calling us to serve Him. He will give us the strength that we need.

EZRA 1:1-2:35  -  To ‘all’ of us, God gives His call. We are to ‘rebuild the House of the Lord’. To ‘all’ of us, He gives His strength: ‘Then... all those whose spirits God had moved, arose to go up and build the House of the Lord’ (1:3,5). If the work of God is to …

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Sometimes, when we pray for a change in our circumstances, God says to us, “My grace is sufficient for you.”

1 Samuel 1:1-28 Hannah 'wept'. Hannah 'was no longer sad' (7,18). What made the difference? No child had been born. She had not even conceived. These things did not happen until later (21). Why was there such a change in Hannah? She believed. God's Word had been spoken (17). Hannah believed His Word. She rejoiced …

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How are we to live, and become useful servants of the Lord?

TITUS 1:1-2:10  -  How are we to live? We are not to be ‘empty talkers’, people who ‘profess to know God’ and ‘deny Him by their deeds’ (1:10,16). We must give no one the opportunity to ‘speak evil of God’s Word’. We must be ‘a model of good deeds’, showing ‘the beauty of the teachings …

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Without Jesus, our lives are empty. Invite Him into your heart now.

Hebrews 10:19-11:16 -  Are you ‘looking for a better country – a heavenly one’ (16)? ‘God has put eternity into man’s mind’ (Ecclesiastes 3:11). In every human heart, there’s ‘a God-shaped blank’. Jesus came to give us ‘life’ – ‘abundant life’, ‘eternal life’ (John 10:10; 17:3; 1 John 5:11). Without Jesus, our lives are empty. …

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Jesus says to us, “I am the resurrection and the life.” Then, He asks us, “Do you believe this?”

John 11:1-44 -  Everything is moving on towards Christ’s death and resurrection. On His way to the Cross, Jesus performs a mighty miracle – the raising of Lazarus (43-44) – which points unmistakably to an even greater miracle – His own resurrection (Acts 2:24). Accompanying this miracle – the raising of Lazarus – , we …

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Let us learn about how much Jesus loved people, and how much he loves us.

Mark 6 verses 1-6a In Jesus' "hometown" (v.1), many people were "amazed" at his teaching (v. 2), but "they took offence at him" (v.3). Why did they not accept Jesus and his teaching. They had known Jesus since he was a wee boy. They knew his family. They couldn't let Jesus grow up, and become …

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In all the changes of life, we must learn to say, “Blessed be the Lord.”

1 Kings 1:1-53  -  David’s reign was coming to an end. He would be replaced by Solomon (30). No one goes on forever. Every day takes us one day closer to the day of stepping down and handing over to someone else. We must pray that the future will be ‘greater’ than the past (37,47). …

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Jesus Christ – forsaken by God and pierced for our transgressions

Read of the Psalmist’s sufferings. Think of the Saviour, suffering for you (Psalm 22:7-8, 18; Matthew 27:39 ,43, 35). We highlight two statements: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’, ‘They have pierced my hands and my feet’ (Psalm 22:1, 16). Jesus Christ was ‘crucified and killed by the hands of the lawless …

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Christ has triumphed over the world, the flesh and the devil. In Him, we have the victory.

Numbers 11:4-13:25; Luke 3:23-4:13; Proverbs 7:21-27 We must contend with the world, the flesh and the devil. In Numbers 11:4-6, we read about the pull of the flesh. This becomes the lure of the world, as men, living in the flesh, speak to Moses as men of the world (Numbers 11:10-15). In Luke 4, we …

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The Lord is leading us on to our eternal inheritance.

Deuteronomy 24:1-25:29 -  Justice for the vulnerable is grounded in God’s redemption (24:17-18). This is an important principle for us. God loves us. He has done great things for us. He cares. We are to care. Let His love be the guiding light in every part of your life. Scripture speaks of both salvation and …

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Looking up to the mountains, trusting the Lord and worshipping him

"I lift up my eyes to the mountains - where does my help come from?2 My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot slip - he who watches over you will not slumber; 4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The Lord watches over you - the Lord is your …

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God’s Word challenges our way of thinking and our way of living.

"The Lord spoke His Word through the prophet Haggai" (Haggai 1:1). The prophet is only the messenger. It is the Lord who speaks His Word. God's Word challenges our way of thinking and our way of living. We say, "Everything is okay." God says, "Everything is not okay." There is a problem. God says to …

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Keep On Speaking The Word Of The Lord – And Keep On Walking In His Ways.

"How horrible it will be ... " (Amos 6:1,3-6,13) - This is a prophecy concerning God's judgment. Such words need to be heard, if people are to be turned back into walking in the ways of the Lord. If we don't hear of God's judgment, we are likely to keep on walking in our own …

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The fire of the Holy Spirit: burning away our sin and brightening up our lives

Numbers 9:15-11:3; Luke 3:1-22; Psalm 35:19-28 From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire” (Numbers 9:15). "Then fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp” (Numbers 11:1). “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in …

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May the Lord help us to be “His faithful ones”, who walk with Him.

1 Samuel 2:1-36 What a contrast there is between the son of Hannah and the sons of Eli - 'the boy Samuel grew in the presence of the Lord...in the favour of the Lord', 'the sons of Eli were worthless men; they had no regard for the Lord (21,26,12). This is the difference between 'the …

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