The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world

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 …

Continue reading The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world

The Blessing of God, the Grace of God and the Glory of God

Genesis 12:1-4: 2 Timothy 1:8-10; Matthew 17:1-9 God's Blessing - Given,  Accepted And Enjoyed (Genesis 12 & 13) The “land” was given to Abraham by God. It was to be the land of His “blessing” (Genesis 12:1-3).  God’s gift of grace calls forth our response – “Abraham went, as the Lord had spoken to him” …

Continue reading The Blessing of God, the Grace of God and the Glory of God

What will it mean to live a life that is becoming both more holy and more loving?

Jesus calls us to be both holy and loving. What will it mean to live a life that is becoming both more holy and more loving? It begins with being reached by the love of God and changed by the love of God. We cannot make ourselves more holy. We cannot make ourselves more loving. …

Continue reading What will it mean to live a life that is becoming both more holy and more loving?

Learning from the Lord and becoming more like him

The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters (Matthew 10:24-25). We receive teaching from the Lord. This teaching is to change us. It's to change our way of thinking. It's to change our way of living. …

Continue reading Learning from the Lord and becoming more like him

Lord, help us to keep on telling people what you have done for us.

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her vindication shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch (Isaiah 62:1). “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a …

Continue reading Lord, help us to keep on telling people what you have done for us.

Yield not to temptation.

Away from me, Satan!... Then the devil left Jesus (Matthew 4:10). When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left Jesus until an opportune time (Luke 4:13). Jesus' temptations in the wilderness were over, but there would be more temptations, coming his way. As we read the words, "until an opportune time", we are reminded that …

Continue reading Yield not to temptation.

From a self-centred life to a God-centred life

They said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth’ (Genesis 11:4). Return, Israel, to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall!  Take words with you and …

Continue reading From a self-centred life to a God-centred life

Strengthened by God’s Spirit and God’s Word, let us take our stand against the devil.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil...  “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’"(Matthew 4:1,4). Things weren't looking so good. Jesus was in the wilderness. He was tempted by the devil. In the …

Continue reading Strengthened by God’s Spirit and God’s Word, let us take our stand against the devil.

How did Jesus come to his baptism? Did he come as a sinner in need of salvation? No. He came as the Saviour who brings salvation to sinners.

"Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ Jesus replied, ‘Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfil all righteousness.’ Then John consented" (Matthew 3:13-15). "Therefore, …

Continue reading How did Jesus come to his baptism? Did he come as a sinner in need of salvation? No. He came as the Saviour who brings salvation to sinners.

There is no salvation in the preacher. Salvation comes to us from Jesus, our Saviour.

"People went out to John from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River" (Matthew 3:5-6). People were listening. They were eager to hear what the Lord had to say to them. They knew that this was more than the words of …

Continue reading There is no salvation in the preacher. Salvation comes to us from Jesus, our Saviour.

If there is to be delight in God’s Word, we must overcome doubt.

If there is to be delight in God's Word, we must overcome doubt. Satan is always saying, "Did God really say ...?" (Genesis 3:1). We must learn to say, "God did say" (Genesis 3:3). We must stand by this confession of faith in God and His Word. Satan will not give in easily. He will …

Continue reading If there is to be delight in God’s Word, we must overcome doubt.

God’s love for us, our love for God, our love for one another

"Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”" (Matthew 22:37-40). What is love? Can we …

Continue reading God’s love for us, our love for God, our love for one another

Thinking about faith, love and hope, let us worship the Lord with joy.

https://youtu.be/-TVTmq7THU4 Faith: Thomas said, "My Lord and my God" (John 20:28). Like Thomas, we speak our words of faith to Jesus, our Saviour. This is more than confessing our faith in a church service. It's saying "thank you" to Jesus for all that he has done for us. We thank Jesus for all that he …

Continue reading Thinking about faith, love and hope, let us worship the Lord with joy.

Closeness to God develops as we learn to delight in the Word of God.

Among many names and life-spans, there is this remarkable statement: "Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away" (Genesis 5:24). This closeness to God develops as we learn to delight in the Word of God. Together with "Noah" who "found favour in the eyes of the Lord" (Genesis …

Continue reading Closeness to God develops as we learn to delight in the Word of God.

Jesus is a very different King from the kings of this world.

In Matthew 21:1-22, we learn that Jesus is a very different King from the kings of this world. He is the King of love. There is no tyranny, no dictatorship, no reign of terror. Alongside His love, there is His holiness. We see this in the cleansing of the Temple. He is looking for us …

Continue reading Jesus is a very different King from the kings of this world.

There are always new treasures for us to discover.

Matthew 13:44-58 Be patient. Do not doubt the power of God's Word. Once God's Word has begun to exert its influence among the people, great things will happen. The beginnings may seem small. Remember: nothing is insignificant when God is in it! Some may be on the verge of the kind of joyful discovery of …

Continue reading There are always new treasures for us to discover.

Jesus was handed over to be crucified – but He wasn’t taken by surprise.

"At that time, the Son  of Man will be handed over to be crucified" (Matthew 26:2). Jesus was not taken by surprise. He knew what He was letting Himself in for. He knew why He had come to earth. He knew what He had come to do. He knew the purpose of His life. "You …

Continue reading Jesus was handed over to be crucified – but He wasn’t taken by surprise.

What Are You Saying To Us, Lord, Here-And-Now?

"You have heard that it was said... But I say to you... " (Matthew 5:21-22,27-28,31-32,33-34, 38-39,43-44). When we see the great contrast between what has been said in the past and what Jesus says to His generation and our generation, we must remember Jesus' words, "Don't ever think that I came to set aside Moses; …

Continue reading What Are You Saying To Us, Lord, Here-And-Now?

Good News for everyone

Eighth Sunday after the Epiphany – Isaiah 49:8-16a; Psalm 131; 1 Corinthians 4:1-5; Matthew 6:24-34 Good News for everyone: Jesus Christ is our Redeemer. ‘I, the Lord, am your Saviour, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob’. We are not to keep this to ourselves. God wants ‘all mankind’ to ‘know’ (Isaiah 49:26). ‘Jesus, the …

Continue reading Good News for everyone

Hearing and Obeying God’s Word

Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany – Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Psalm 119:1-8; 1 Corinthians 3:1-9; Matthew 5:21-37 Hearing and Obeying God’s Word For Israel, a real turning to the Lord with ‘all the heart and soul’ involved obedience to ‘His commandments... written in this book of the law’ (Deuteronomy 30:10). We are not left wondering what God …

Continue reading Hearing and Obeying God’s Word

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 …

Continue reading Let us bring Christ to the nations.

Are there some things that are more than “just your own opinion”?

"I'll tell you what I think." "I'll give you my opinion." In today's world, people will listen to all sorts of opinions. They may disagree with what's being said, but they will listen, and they will say, "You're entitled to your opinion." What happens when someone says, "This is what the Word of the Lord …

Continue reading Are there some things that are more than “just your own opinion”?

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 …

Continue reading Getting our priorities right

Listening to what God says to us through his world, his written Word and his Son

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands... The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple" (Psalm 19:1,7). God speaks to us through his world, and he speaks to us through his written Word. Speaking to us through his world, he prepares …

Continue reading Listening to what God says to us through his world, his written Word and his Son

Questions we can’t answer, and a question we must answer

There are many questions we can't answer. There is, however a question we must answer. It's this question, "What do you think of Christ?" (Mattthew 22:42). Let us turn our attention to this question. It's a question that comes to us from Jesus. It's a personal question. It's a question each one of us must …

Continue reading Questions we can’t answer, and a question we must answer

The Authority Of Grace

In Matthew 21:23-46, we learn that the authority of Jesus is heard in His words and seen in His actions. He speaks of grace. He lives by grace. Jesus is the foundation of our salvation. Without Him, there is no salvation. With Him, we are greatly blessed. What a great Saviour He is!

Let the light of Christ shine.

Season of Epiphany: Epiphany of the Lord – Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12 Let the light of Christ shine. ‘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 …

Continue reading Let the light of Christ shine.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer – A witness of Jesus Christ (3): The Cost of Discipleship

What can we learn from Bonhoeffer's book, The Cost of Discipleship? This book was first published when Bonhoeffer was only 31 years old. Page references are to the edition I was using at the time I wrote these notes. I've included the page references. It will give you a rough idea of the part of …

Continue reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer – A witness of Jesus Christ (3): The Cost of Discipleship

Jesus says that we are not to be like ‘the hypocrites.’

Matthew 6:1-18 Jesus says that we are not to be like 'the hypocrites' (2,5,16). The word 'hypocrite' means 'play actor.' It refers to 'putting on a performance'. This performance may be extremely religious, but God is not in it. The hypocrites live according to 'the letter' of the law, but they know nothing of the …

Continue reading Jesus says that we are not to be like ‘the hypocrites.’

Daily bread that sustains our faith

"And the Lord said to Moses, 12 “I have heard the grumbling of the people of Israel. Say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’”" (Exodus 16:11-12). "And the Lord said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the …

Continue reading Daily bread that sustains our faith

In times of prosperity, in times of adversity

Jesus speaks to "the cities where most of his mighty works had been done" (Matthew 11:20). He gives them absolutely no encouragement to bask in their past glories. He presents them with the challenge of the present. He calls on them to makle an immediate response to God. In no uncertain terms, he challenges them …

Continue reading In times of prosperity, in times of adversity

How far can psychology and sociology take us?

When I was a young student, I studied psychology and sociology. I learned a lot about these subjects. Most of it I've now forgotten. Here's something I haven't forgotten. At my first psychology seminar, the leader described the study of psychology as building on shifting sand. As I heard these words, I remembered the parable …

Continue reading How far can psychology and sociology take us?

We’ve wandered away from the Lord. He’s waiting for us to make our way back to Him.

For more notes on God's Word, visit God's Word For Every Day. Genesis 4:6-16. In the story of Cain, we see the development of sin. Jealousy leads to anger, and anger leads to murder. In this story, we see ourselves in the 'mirror' of God's Word. Here, God emphasizes our exceeding sinfulness - 'The heart is …

Continue reading We’ve wandered away from the Lord. He’s waiting for us to make our way back to Him.

I once was lost, but now am found.

For more notes on God's Word, visit God's Word For Every Day. Genesis 6:1-8 The story of Noah is the story of God's grace - 'Noah found grace' (8). Noah lived in very difficult times (5-7), yet 'Grace found Noah'. His testimony could be summed up: 'Amazing grace...I once was lost but now am found' (Mission …

Continue reading I once was lost, but now am found.

Let us rejoice in Jesus, God’s Son. Let us rejoice in Jesus, our Saviour.

"God's Son, Jesus Christ our Lord" was "declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead" (Romans 1:3-4). This post is a continuation of my earlier post, "This is my Son. This is your Saviour." You should, really, read that post before reading …

Continue reading Let us rejoice in Jesus, God’s Son. Let us rejoice in Jesus, our Saviour.

This is my Son. This is your Saviour.

"God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it... God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:32,36). On the day of Pentecost, Peter preached Jesus, the risen Lord. What are we to say about Jesus and the resurrection? Did Jesus become the Lord and the Christ when …

Continue reading This is my Son. This is your Saviour.

God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

"At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26 Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do" (Matthew 11:25-26). "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, …

Continue reading God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God – our Saviour

Genesis 21:1-23:20; Matthew 8:23-9:13; Psalm 7:10-17 As we read of the testing of Abraham in regard to God's call for Isaac to be sacrificed, we have a hint of God's provision of Jesus Christ as the Saviour who was sacrificed for the sins of the world. By faith, Abraham says, "God himself will provide the …

Continue reading Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God – our Saviour

The Death of Christ

"This is My blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins" (Matthew 26:28). Early on in my Christian life, I read James Denney's book, The Death of Christ.  Reading this book gave me a real sense of the importance of the death of Christ. This has stayed with me over the …

Continue reading The Death of Christ