Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Evangelism - Why - No 2


Evangelism – Why (No 2)

We started this series by outlining the most basic reason for reaching the unsaved with the gospel – love for and obedience to the Lord Jesus. In this article I would like to look at some of the other reasons for reaching out with the gospel including why such urgency is required, what the core message is and who the main communicators of the message are.

Individuals are in danger of the judgment of God.

Do we really believe that God is righteous and that people have broken his laws and therefore are guilty? As believers we know that physical death is the outcome of principle of sin in every living being, Ezek. 18. 20, Rom. 6. 23, but sometimes we live as if the second death is not the ultimate judgment of God against unrepentant sinners, Rev. 20. 14. The second death is the point of no return for the unsaved soul. Eternity will be spent separated from God and all that His grace supplies to those who believe. If I could envisage Hell and the Lake of Fire for what it is and see the cost price of redemption that was borne by our Lord and Saviour is would make me so much more passionate about reaching needy souls with the gospel. It would be a good practice to spend some time on a regular basis contemplating the work of redeeming grace and the prospect of being eternally lost. It is said that William Booth wished all his Salvation Army officers could hang over hell for 24 hours prior to their commissioning. He felt this would stir them to a deeper commitment to evangelism. Doing this would certainly change my attitude to the value of my salvation and keep me conscious of the danger that unsaved souls are in.
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Monday, May 29, 2017

Evangelism - Why? - No 1


Evangelism – Why

In this series of posts we will explore the need for evangelism by individuals and local churches and make some suggestions about the opportunities that there are for evangelism today. It is easy to forget that evangelism should be part of the routine activity of every believer and relegate it to only being a specialist activity of a select group of individuals. I know that there is the specific gift of the evangelist, Acts 21.8, Eph. 4.11, 2 Tim. 4.5, but the example of the early church, Acts 8. 4 would lead me to the belief that all believers were involved in this work as a natural consequence of enjoying their own salvation.
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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Brian Epstein died for you? Truth or lie?

 
This artwork has been appearing all over the city of Liverpool this weekend. When I saw it at first I was rather shocked, being a Christian I can't think of anyone who died for me, apart from the Lord Jesus Christ. I do appreciate that there have been people who have died for our freedom, such as soldiers who died in the world wars, and given their lives for us but in a personal sense I don't know anyone who died for me apart from the Lord Jesus.
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Friday, May 26, 2017

Would you have been ready?


In most homes when someone is going out for the evening or leaving for work it is normal to hear someone shout 'are you ready yet'?


Preparing to go out or getting ready for various events in life is a major part of human activity. When two people fall in love and decide to get married then great preparation is made for the wedding day. Later on if they discover that they are expecting a baby there is equally as much planning that goes into the preparation for the arrival of the little one. Life is full of times of preparation. Often this is exciting and sometimes it makes life very hectic. 




As I consider the tragic events that took place in Manchester, England in the last week I wonder how many people who entered that arena were prepared for the end of their life. Please don't get me wrong I'm not trying to make mileage out of a sad event and I don't think that they shouldn't even have had to consider that life may have ended in such an awful way. But my question remains the same - how prepared was each individual, in that arena, to leave this world and enter the next. My heart breaks when I consider the age of the children that died. The tragedy of teenagers who had hardly begun to live and life was taking forcibly from them but the question remains the same – how prepared were they for this final step from this life to the next?



Please let me turn the question round and address it to you. Are you prepared for the next life? Do you understand that there is life on the other side of death? Do you realise that this life is about the preparation for the next?

There are a lot of other questions that sit alongside the ones that I have posed. Questions that might challenge some of the things that I have send! You might say that I'm making assumptions. Or you may deny the validity or the basis of the statements that I make. I would, with all due respect, ask you to read some of my other blog posts before passing judgement as they go into more detail about why I believe the Bible and the gospel of Jesus Christ to be the truth. 

I want to leave you with a couple of statements from the Bible and I want to request that you take time to consider them and reflect upon them. 

Proverbs 14:12
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Proverbs 16:25
There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

This statement is repeated twice by a man who is renowned to be the wisest man who ever lived. Basically he is saying that we think we know the truth, we think we know what is right but actually we get it wrong and our way ends in death. 

You are no doubt a very good person as measured against other people but we all are flawed and sinful and need salvation from a God who is holy and against whom we have sinned. 

Ecclesiastes 12:1
Remember now -- thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

This is a warning to young people to think about God early in life. You might be well beyond 'the days of your youth' but if it was important to think about God when young then it must be even more important and urgent as life progresses. God is concerned about all his creation, he hates evil, he will judge the perpetrators of evil but he does not pick and choose which sins he judges. He judges grosser sin more severely than lesser forms of sin. However that will not be much of a comfort when you are excluded from heaven, God's grace and all that our hearts desire. God will judge all sin and humanity fairly and justly.

Amos 4:12
Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.

This recommendation was made to a nation. They had sinned against God and were about to be judged by him. The advice of the prophet Amos was that they should prepare to meet God. The advice is just as significant for us today in the 21st-century. We need to be prepared for the day when we meet God. 

I am praying that God would give help in our country to reduce and control terrorism. I doubt that will ever eradicate it but I hope that we can minimise it and reduce the horrible events of Manchester being repeated elsewhere. 

But let us learn a lesson. A lesson that we would rather not learn. We need to be prepared for the unexpected, prepared for the end of life, prepared even though we might not be in the age bracket where we expect life to end. It could, and did and the tragedy is that many were most likely not prepared. 

The ultimate advice in the Bible is that we should believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved, Acts 16:31. Would you take that advice today.



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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Troubling Times!



Some people say in anticipation of trouble “the sparks will fly,“ perhaps they are unaware that they are quoting the Bible. Job said in Job 5:7 “Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward" and in  Job 14:1 "Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble”.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Manchester - your reaction ?


After the events that have taken place in Manchester this week we in the United Kingdom are feeling very vulnerable. 

You wonder sometimes about the twists and turns that life takes and why the road goes the way it does. Evil seems to be given free range and acts of evil are perpetrated to the devastation of society.

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Truth seems to be disappearing!



I know every one has written about it but it is big news. When I was a lad, Banks were so secure that we thought that it was impossible for a Bank to "go bust". That's probably why I joined a Bank at the tender age of 16 and spent the next 26 years of my life working in the financial services sector. So here we are in the 21st century and you cannot even trust a Bank. What is left that is dependable? What worries me is that we are told one day that everything is fine by the very people who then have to admit that everything has gone wrong so soon afterwards.
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Final Post on Headship - Col 2:19 - Christ the Head - To be honoured





Days portion for reading  - Col 2:11-23

Christ the Head – to be honoured – Colossians 2:19

This is the last post in our studies about Christ – the Head. Has it made a difference to you as you have learned or rediscovered something of the wonders of this truth about the saviour? Did it make you bow in worship as you realised the way God has so carefully organised things? Was your reaction one of joy and gratitude when you realised that God has included you in all of his purposes because of your links with the Lord Jesus. Our reaction should have been all of these things at the very least.
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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Christ the Head of principalities and powers – Colossians 2:10


Days portion for reading  - Col 2:1-10

Christ the Head of principalities and powers – Colossians 2:10

It is a wise thing to be clear in your thinking about the Lord Jesus. The men who had come to Colosse were determined to undervalue the Lord Jesus Christ. They taught, among other things, that the Lord Jesus was just an angel who had come down to earth and that he certainly was not God. Some taught that the Lord Jesus had become ‘Messiah’ or God at his baptism and that he was only endued with divine power for the three-year period of his public ministry.  Paul writes, guided by the Holy Spirit, and makes it very clear that the Lord Jesus is the living God, full stop. No question, no argument. We have seen the evidence provided in chapter one to support this. In chapter two we are confronted with the fact that presently the ‘fullness of the Godhead’ dwells in the Lord Jesus. In other words, this is still the case long after he returned to heaven. When we add the evidence of chapter one to this truth stated in chapter two it is clearly seen that the Lord Jesus is eternally God.
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Nothing lasts for ever!



We often say things like 'nothing lasts for ever' or 'all good things will come to an end one day'. 

Did you know that Jesus Christ said that 'heaven and earth will pass away' He predicted the end of this universe as we know it. 
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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Christ the Head - He has first place in everything - Col. 1:18




Days portion for reading – Col 1:1-20

Christ the Head – He has the first place – Colossians 1:18

Today we begin to look at another New Testament letter where the Lord Jesus is described three times as ‘the head’. It is clear that the truth about the Lord Jesus as ‘head of the church’ is an important one especially where a local church is involved. In the New Testament every local church is an independent unit, responsible alone to God for the way its affairs are managed. In each local church there should be elders (appointed by the Holy Spirit and recognised by the members of the local church – Acts 20:28, 1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13, Heb 13:7, 17). These elders answer to God for how they care for the people of God. They are described as shepherds (caring, feeding and protecting God’s people), overseers (those that watch over God’s people) and elders (men of maturity). While local churches should have fellowship with each other they are answerable to God.This group of men in each local church answer to the chief Shepherd, the Lord Jesus (1 Peter 5:4).
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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Key facts about the Bible




This is a short statement explaining the key message of the Bible. 

It starts with the fact that God created us. Subsequent to our creation Adam, the first man, made a choice to disobey God. The result is that we as a human race do not know God personally. This is because we all inherited sin and are children of disobedience. The Biblical statement summarising this fact is found in Romans chapter five - 'by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin'.
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Monday, May 15, 2017

Does Western Society have a bias towards Christianity?




I feel that it does from the evidence of how Christians are treated in society in the UK. In the UK a trend of ‘christianaphobia’is rising. Christianity is accused of some amazing things and to such an extent that it turns the values of Christianity on its head. In a large circulation Regional Newspaper in England Christianity was recently accused of being the source of the 'tide of disrespect engulfing us'. 
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Friday, May 12, 2017

Non-thinkers! Trendy or Terrible?







In the last week I have met a lot of people who are not prepared to think for themselves. They are following the current trend in our society to 'rubbish' belief in God and to ridicule the idea that there might be some validity to faith. If you are reading this blog you are probably not one of these people but you may come across them on a daily basis. Just remember that faith is only as good as the one in whom you trust. This is why it is so important to understand the integrity of the Bible and the historical basis of the facts stated therein. 
The Bible states in Psalm 118:8 'It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man'. (incidentally this is the central verse to the whole Bible when you divide it up by the number of chapters and verses - interesting and significant!). The Bible also states that it is better that your faith 'should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God'.


Will you dare to be different? Read the word of God today, the Bible. Start in the New Testament and read the four gospels. Discover the truth concerning the Son of God, Jesus, becoming man and dying 'for the ungodly', that's all of us, as we did not know God by nature and were disobedient to Him. He, the Lord Jesus, is worthy of your trust and he died to be your Saviour. 

Pray to him today, search for him in prayer and in reading the Bible. Admit your guilt before God and 'call upon the name of the Lord' and you will be saved. 


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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Life Rule - Always expect the unexpected!




Life is so unpredictable. At times this can be exciting but sometimes it is extremely frightening.

There are many situations in life that we cannot control. Illness, the weather, what other people do and say and how other people drive for example. Some things can be avoided and we can take precautions but many circumstances are outwith our control. The ultimate example being death. We may be able to take our life by force (it is tragic when someone gets to that level of despair) but we cannot and do not live for ever and have no power over the day of our death.
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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Christ the Head – Saviour of the Church – Ephesians 5:23






Days portion for reading – Ephesians 5:22-33

Christ the Head – Saviour of the Church – Ephesians 5:23

In the passage we are considering today we see the evidence of the love that the Lord Jesus has for the Church. Please remember that the word ‘Church’ when it is used in the New Testament describes a group of people. It is not the building. For more detail on this point read the previous post -  ‘Christ the Head – the Sustainer of the Church’.  The Lord Jesus is not the ‘Head’ only as an office bearer but as the one who has the deepest interests and good of the church in his heart.
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Monday, May 08, 2017

Why do we feel guilty?




Most of us feel guilty from time to time. Many parents whose children have been abducted are tormented at times with guilt as they wish that they could turn the clock back and that they had not left those lovely children alone for the short time that they did. I am not suggesting that they should feel guilty for most of us have done what they did. We left our children safely at a short distance from us and, thankfully, no harm came to them. As our children grow up we need to extend their freedom and we trust and pray that no harm comes to them or that we have not allowed them too much freedom too soon. If harm comes we blame ourselves and can always see what we should have done ‘in hindsight’.

There are times when it is right to feel guilty. If we have genuinely wronged someone guilt is the God given mechanism that warns us that ‘action needs to be taken’. Sometimes we can rectify the problem and make amends. Other times it is outside of our power to reverse the effect of our actions. It is only right that we should fix the problems that we have caused where possible.

Having said this, many mistakes in life are not really significant in the general scheme of things and will not make a big difference in our lives. Courtesy and true friendship, decency and honesty will however ensure that we behave in ways that are commendable.

A more worrying aspect of life is that of human beings and their relationship with God. In our current society we are in danger of being unaware that we have disobeyed our Creator (and therefore owner) and that he does not tolerate people who break his law. I was aware from childhood of the fact that God had stated his principles (the 10 commandments in the Bible) and that I was incapable of living up to them. The passage in the Bible that explains God’s standards is Exodus 20. The New Testament passage that states that we are not capable of living up to these standards is Romans 3:23 ‘For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God’.

Now, contrary to public opinion God gave his Law to make us feel guilty and not to make us feel good. The Bible says ‘Now we know that what things so ever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God’. The reality is that when you and I hear the Bible preached and become aware that God is holy and has his standards; we then realise that we cannot live up to his standards and get feelings of guilt. I lied, I lusted, I took something that did not belong to me (time, emotions, things etc) and as a result I am guilty and am limited as to what I can do to rectify the situation. My offence is firstly against God (Psalm 51:4) and will also often be against a fellow human being.

So we all need to go on a guilt trip – but not for long. When the awareness of our wrong living is heightened and guilt is triggered we will be forced do something about it. That is God’s plan.

What can we do? Again God in the Bible tells us what there is no point in doing! God says in Romans 3:20 that no action on our part will satisfy him because our problem is one we were born with (Psalm 51:5). The problem is reflected in our actions and behaviours but it is deeper than that. God says rather bluntly in the Old Testament that all the right things we do are like filthy clothes. We can never be good enough for God, ‘There is none righteous, no not one’.

I say again ‘what can we do’? The answer again comes from God. He says ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved’. The Lord Jesus says ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’. The early Christian preachers preached ‘neither is their salvation in any other for there is no other name under heaven, given among men whereby we must be saved’. God’s Son (The Lord Jesus) came to earth, lived and then was put to death on a cross. God was punishing him for sin, sin that he did not commit (for he is God and perfect) but that sin that he was prepared to atone for. He paid the price God demanded to put away sin and to provide forgiveness for us.

Go on a guilt trip? No way - admit your guilt to God and then accept his offer of salvation through trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ. You will experience inexplicable joy.
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Friday, May 05, 2017

Why must we die?


The Bible states that 'it is appointed unto men once to die'. This most obvious of facts is among the most distressing things that we human beings face. I have a friend who committed suicide just before Christmas about eleven years ago. Why - I can speculate but I do not really know. One my friends in Liverpool then found that her partner's nephew has been found dead in his flat. Death comes to us all but why?
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Thursday, May 04, 2017

Christ the Head - The Sustainer of the Church





Days portion for reading – Ephesians 4:1-16

Christ the Head – The Sustainer of the Church – Eph. 4:15

In Ephesians, Eph 1:22, 23, we discovered that ‘Christ is head over all things to the church, which is his body’.

In this post we are explaining why Christ cares and provides for the Church. But before we get into that I need to explain what I mean when I use the word church.

There are two ways in which the word church is used in the New Testament. The most obvious is that it describes a group of Christian believers who meet together, Matt. 18:17, Acts 5:11, 1 Cor. 1.2. So you might be in fellowship in a church in New York or in Liverpool, England. You might relocate and so leave the church you meet with and start to meet with a church in another area. Sadly, many Christians are not in fellowship in a local church. They miss out on a lot of blessing but that doesn’t mean that they are not saved.
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Tuesday, May 02, 2017

A sensational storyline!





Take one....


About ten years ago Titanic film director, James Cameron, claimed to have discovered the burial casket of Jesus on a Jewish building site [time,bbc]. Furthermore, he also said that he had caskets for Mary Magdelene and a supposed child of Jesus and Mary. This was supposed to back up the anti-Bible propaganda that had been spread by the Da Vinci Code. As usual, Bible skeptics jumped aboard the bandwagon, claiming that this archaeological find undermined the authority of the Biblical narrative entirely.
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