Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Labour Party Conference - Liverpool

This week the Labour Party has it's annual conference in Liverpool. All the normal debates and discussions will take place, people  will meet and greet and rub shoulders with the great and the good. The intention is to create policies that will change our nation if the party gets into power. The motivation of the masses is a major part of the exercise. How do you get people to believe in you and your policies. It's a problem that democracy has grappled with since its inception. 
Do you think that people can be permanently changed as a result of policies? I am not convinced! 
The real problem that we have in society is far deeper than can be solved by adjusting our social environment, ensuring our economic stability or maintaining environmental sensitivity. To be honest, there is nothing wrong with having good policies. Indeed it is very important to manage a nation efficiently and effectively however the cause of our biggest problems is to be found in the heart of man. It is a spiritual issue that we are confronted with! The solution is not found in a policy but in a person.

That person I suggest is Jesus Christ. 
Our greatest need is not political reform but the regeneration of individuals. The Bible calls this conversion or salvation. 
It happens when a persons recognises their sin and turns from it - the Bible calls this repentance. 
Peter, one of Jesus' disciples, when preaching used to emphasis that salvation is the result of 'repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ'. 
One evening the Lord Jesus had a twilight meeting with a Jewish elder statesman, Nicodemus. Despite this gentleman's generous compliments and verbal approval of the life and work of Jesus, Jesus ignored his words and kept making a few unusual statements. For instance He said 'unless one is born again he cannot see the the kingdom of God'. Then 'unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God'. And also 'Do not marvel that I said to you, 'you must be born again'. The aged politician remonstrated that it was impossible to be reborn in old age! The simplest of men knew it was impossible to re-enter the womb and be reborn! What on earth could this lucid, wise and highly respected teacher and miracle worker be saying? Out of the fog of his confusion Nicodemus was to discover that politics and power were not the route to a better world! A new beginning, new birth, new life in and through Christ were and still are, the only key to eternal life and eternal blessing. Genuine Christians will make better citizens, they should love their neighbours, their wife and their children (not in that order!). They will work hard, pay their taxes, have good community spirit and value and care for others despite race or culture. This is an outcome of being born again. A right relationship with God will produce and develop right relationships with others.  

The rest of the chapter in which this story is told reveals why the new birth is possible. It's a spiritual birth with eternal consequences for the individuals who come to Christ. 
It is only effective because Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead. 
It can only be received by those who turn from their sin to Christ, trusting and depending on Him for forgiveness and eternal life. 
I leave you with the direct quotations from the passage. May the Lord God bless you through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. 
John 3:9-21
“How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked.
Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things? I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony. But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven. And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
“There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”

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