Friday, May 15, 2020

The Great Adventure Jackie Roberts

Many years ago in Bethshan Church we did a musical called
“The Great Adventure” and one of the songs had the lyrics
Saddle up your horses, we’ve got a trail to blaze
Through the wild blue yonder of God’s amazing grace
Let’s follow our Leader into the glorious unknown
This is the life like no other, This is the Great Adventure

Called to an Adventure

1. Out by God in His great plan for us all.  It is indeed a Great Adventure. 
   Sometimes not understanding where we are going or why things are
   happening in our lives, but knowing God is in complete control of every

2.You made the most important decision of your life when you chose to
  receive Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord.  At that moment, you
  were born into God’s family, and you received everything you need to
  live the abundant Christian life.2.

3.But that does not mean you are as spiritually mature as someone who
  has walked with Christ for many years.  The Christian life is a process
  that begins with an act of faith and is lived by faith.

Five Principles of Christian Growth

This lesson deals with five principles of Christian growth.  The first two,
We Must Study God’s Word, and We Must Pray, help us deepen our
relationship with God.  This could be called our vertical relationship. 
Through the Bible, God communicates to us; through prayer, we
communicate with Him.

The next two principles, We Must Fellowship with other Christians,
and We must Witness for Christ, help us reach out to others.  This
could be called our horizontal relationship.  In fellowship, we
communicate with other Christians about our Saviour and the
bond He gives us with one another.  In witnessing, we communicate
with non-Christians.  We tell them about Jesus, what He has done
for us, and what He desires to do for them.

Principle Five, We Must Obey God, is the core of growth.  As we
obey Him, we experience increasing joy, peace, and fellowship with
the Lord Jesus Christ and fellow believers.  We also become
increasingly more mature in our Christian walk.

If you follow these principles, you can be sure that you will grow
toward maturity in Christ.

Principle 1 – We Must Study God’s Word

James 1:22-25 says:  ‘22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so
deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.  23 Anyone who listens to the
word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his
face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and
immediately forgets what he looks like.  25 But whoever looks intently
into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not
forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed
in what they do.’

1 Peter 2:2 says:  ‘Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk,
so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.’

Matthew 4:4 says: ‘Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not
live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth
of God.’

Principle 2 – We Must Pray

Have you ever considered that you have immediate access to the
most powerful Person in the universe?  Whatever you need,
whatever the time, you can call upon Him.  His calendar is
cleared to be with you. His schedule is open for your
appointment; His full attention is devoted to you.

Prayer is the inspiring experience of conversing with, and
praising God as our loving, heavenly Father.  Few
experiences can equal prayer in empowering us and
lifting us above our problems.  But prayer is not just an
‘escape hatch’ for us to get out of trouble, please ourselves,
or gain our selfish ends. Rather, it is inviting Him to talk to
us as we talk to Him.  There is more to prayer, but this is
basic to true prayer.

Matthew 26:41 says: ‘Watch and pray so that you will not
fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says: ‘Pray continually.’

John 14:13-14 says:  “13 And I will do whatever you ask in my
name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  14 You
may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

Principle 3 – We Must Fellowship with Other Christians

Hebrews 10:23-25 says:  ‘23 Let us hold unservingly
to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on
toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting
together, as some are in the habit of doing, but
encouraging one another—and all the more as you
see the Day approaching.’

Acts 2:42 says: ‘They devoted themselves to the
apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking
of bread and to prayer.’

Principle 4 – We Must Witness for Christ

A witness is a person who tells what he has seen and heard. 
He shares his own personal experience.  Anyone who has a
vital personal relationship with Christ can be a witness for Him. 
Witnessing is the overflow of the Christian life.  A vital
Christian life is contagious.  As our lives are filled with the
presence of the Lord Jesus, we cannot help but share Him
with those with whom we come into contact.

Romans 1:14-16 says ‘14 I am obligated both to Greeks
and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish.
15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also
to you who are in Rome.  16 For I am not ashamed of the
gospel, because it is the power of God that brings
salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew,
then to the Gentile.’

I am obligated; I am so eager to preach;

For I am not ashamed of the gospel

Acts 1:8 says:‘But you will receive power when the
Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses
in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the
ends of the earth.’

Principle 5 – We Must Obey God

Romans 6:14-18 says:  ‘14 For sin shall no longer be
your master, because you are not under the law, but
under grace.  15 What then?  Shall we sin because we
are not under the law but under grace?  By no means!  
16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to
someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one
you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads
to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?

17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be
slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart
the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance.
18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves
to righteousness.

Matthew 6:24 says:  ‘No one can serve two masters. 
Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you
will be devoted to the one and despise the other. 
You cannot serve both God and money.’

Matthew 22:37 says:  ‘Jesus replied: “Love the Lord
your God with all your heart and with all your soul and
with all your mind.”’

John 15:10-11 says:  ‘10 If you keep my commands, you
will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s
commands and remain in his love.  11 I have told you
this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy
may be complete.’

Philippians 2:13 says: ‘For it is God who works in you to
will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.’

Sunday, April 05, 2020

The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. by David Ireland

John 11:20  Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.
21  Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
22  But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.
23  Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
24  Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
25  Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26  And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
27  She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.


This subject is fundamentally important to the gospel message, the whole gospel could be said to stand or fall on this important point as we read:

1 Corinthians 15:17 “… if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.”

Indeed the often quoted ‘Gospel in a nut shell’:

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “…for I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures…”

…emphasises the resurrection’s importance as integral to our salvation for as we shall see it is the same power that raised Christ from the grave which we are hoping in to see us raised to life again in the rapture of the church to everlasting bliss in heaven.

We wont be getting into an exhaustive study of the resurrection but we do well to take notice of the following several points:

That it is a fact established by evidence. e.g. this list of references is not the complete list but a sample to illustrate the point:

Many infallible proofs: Acts 1:3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

…including but not limited to:

500 brethren, James, all the Apostles and then Paul: 1 Corinthians 15:6-8

The 500 - v6  After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

James and the Apostles -v 7  After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles,

Saul of Tarsus -v 8  And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

All the apostles at once:  Matthew 28:9  And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him

Mary Magdalene: Mark 16:9 ¶Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.

 The two on the road to Emmaus: Mark 16:12 After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.

So why should we believe the testimony of these 500+ witnesses? Aside from the overwhelming weight of witnesses, we need to recognise that many, possibly most, of these people died maintaining their belief in the resurrection; that they had saw Jesus alive. Now many people can be persuaded to die for a cause they believe in but nobody will die for that which they know to be untrue. These disciples died for the truth of the gospel, including the resurrection. When someone is willing to put their life on the line for an argument’s sake they are more than reasonably sure they’re right.

Christ was seen and handled by more than 500 witnesses over a period of forty days after his resurrection, many of whom died maintaining it as true, and we can be sure, we serve a risen saviour!

That it is the Father’s power which raised him from the dead to save a people.

The commandment of the Father Jesus received: John 10:17-18  Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

It was God who raised up Jesus: 1 Corinthians 6:14  And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.

God has raised him for our salvation: Romans 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

It is the supernatural power of God which made the resurrection possible and which will make our resurrection possible. Modernists and humanists disregard this factor and arrive at all kinds of fanciful theories e.g. Swoon theory (Christ fainted on the cross and revived in the tomb), Non burial theory (Jesus was taken for dead but dumped with the criminals and revived later escaping), and many other theories. While each in itself still a miracle to some degree (although the modernists proposing these things hadn’t really considered their theories thoroughly enough before proposing them), they all seek to deny the bible, discredit Jesus and deny the power of God. Indeed as Paul puts it in Romans ch 1 they are “willingly ignorant”. Paul goes on to explain they are “without excuse”. People oppose the God they know exists and refuse to acknowledge his power even as evidenced by the resurrection. We serve an almighty God!

That it is the sign of his power/authority.

The Son of God: Romans 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.

It is the Christian’s hope (confidence, comfort, sustaining focus, expectation) for the future, if Christ is not risen from the dead then what hope (confidence or comfort) is there for us? It is a sign of the last days that we are seeing increasing challenges to the authority of God’s word, even these very ‘churchmen and women’ so-called teachers of the word of God promoting the idea that the bible’s authority is of man’s creation not God’s. Well if it doesn’t have God’s authority why should we bother listening? Why should we waste our time gathering to worship and serve God in this place? Away with such rubbish! This is God’s word and we can trust every detail as reliable and true, the resurrection is established by a variety of witnesses as we have seen, it is possible because of that which the modernists, liberal theologians, historians and humanists ignore i.e a SUPER-natural God who is mighty in power. The resurrection is the ultimate testimony and sign to this fallen world that Jesus is the Son of God. They who deny the resurrection make a challenge on, and make an attack on:

The authority of God’s word, The power of almighty God, The deity of Christ.

****It is so critical to our salvation and hope for heaven that it is a necessary belief that we accept this, (again Romans 10:9 underlines its importance). To refuse to accept it is apostasy, those who reject it are not saved nor can they ever be saved while they honestly maintain such a belief.****

Perhaps there is somebody here that has never met with the risen Christ. Tonight the lord Jesus invites you here to come and be saved.

First we must understand we are sinners before a holy God: Romans 3:23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Exodus 20, the 10 commandments.

Next there is a coming judgement: Acts 17:31  Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

Revelation 20:11-15  ¶And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

2 Thessalonians  8-10 the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
8  In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
9  Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
10  When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

The  Judgement fell on another: Isaiah 53:5-6 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.  

Galatians 1:4  Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father

We must repent: Matthew 4:17  From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

We must have saving faith: Ephesians 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

The message hasn’t changed since the days of the Apostle Paul as he said in Acts20:21  Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

We serve a risen Saviour! He invites you here to trust in his finished sacrifice alone for salvation.

To God be the glory, the majesty, the dominion and the power now and forevermore. Amen.

Monday, March 09, 2020

Genesis chapter 40 by David Ireland

Genesis 40:1  ¶And it came to pass after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker had offended their lord the king of Egypt.
2  And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers.
3  And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound.
4  And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them: and they continued a season in ward.
5  ¶And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, which were bound in the prison.
6  And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and looked upon them, and, behold, they were sad.
7  And he asked Pharaoh's officers that were with him in the ward of his lord's house, saying, Wherefore look ye so sadly to day?
8  And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you.
9  And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my dream, behold, a vine was before me;
10  And in the vine were three branches: and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot forth; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes:
11  And Pharaoh's cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand.
12  And Joseph said unto him, This is the interpretation of it: The three branches are three days:
13  Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, and restore thee unto thy place: and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh's cup into his hand, after the former manner when thou wast his butler.
14  But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house:
15  For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon.
16  When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said unto Joseph, I also was in my dream, and, behold, I had three white baskets on my head:
17  And in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bakemeats for Pharaoh; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head.
18  And Joseph answered and said, This is the interpretation thereof: The three baskets are three days:
19  Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee.
20  ¶And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants: and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants.
21  And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand:
22  But he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had interpreted to them.
23  Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.

In these verses of chapter 40 there are many shadows of our blessed redeemer and the plan of salvation. Thank the Lord that the veil is not hiding these things from our Gentile view as it would from the larger part of the Jewish people in these days (As we read in 2 Cor 3:14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.)

The Offended Lord
We see in verse 1 there is an “offended lord”. The baker and butler had committed some crime worthy of punishment against their master, the Pharaoh, and of course we are sinners by birth and nature Romans 3:23 for all have sinned... or Jeremiah 17:9 the heart of man is deceitful above all things... Our offence is against a thrice holy God who is the creator of all things in existence and who demands holiness and purity of conduct in our lives but we were unable to reform ourselves, or regenerate ourselves, or indeed recompense the Lord for the injury caused. His justice and righteous judgement has concluded all under sin and death in the body followed by death in the spirit i.e. the second death, written on in Revelation 20:14, as the only just and righteous punishment.

We see in verses 3-4 and verse 23 there is the “suffering servant”. Joseph, who by this point in life had many trials and this imprisonment was his latest trial, was placed by the guard captain to serve the prisoners while they were in the prison. Similarly, Christ came to be a servant and not to be served as he washed the disciples’ feet, healed the sick and fed the hungry. We also discover that when the butler is restored to his position that he neglects the memory of Joseph before the Pharaoh and thus Joseph remained in prison, innocently so, for another while. Our blessed Saviour suffered rejection and mocking at the hands of many he came in contact with, and for the larger part John 1:11 He came unto his own and his own received him not... was the experience of Christ as he walked around Judea and Galilee. Similar to Joseph, the Lord was rejected, despised, forsaken and falsely accused.

The Prophetic Utterance
We see in verses 5-14 and verses 16-19 there is a “prophetic utterance” when the butler and baker recite their dreams to Joseph he is able, with the help and blessing of the Lord, to interpret the dreams and of course their fulfilment is exactly as Joseph foretold. Such accuracy in prophetic scripture is a sure sign of divine inspiration of the prophet and indeed we can draw comfort from them; trusting the Lord as ultimate author to perform his will in all things. Christ confirmed his ministry in fulfilling many prophecies from the Old Testament and many more future scriptures are yet to be fulfilled and the same level of hope can be derived in that, as certainly as he fulfilled scripture at the first advent, he will fulfil these future promises also. Beyond fulfilling prophecy Christ also gave more prophecies especially of the signs of the times and his return for his bride and of his second coming. In spite of the sin and apostasy around us we can rely on his word and be encouraged that he is coming quickly and his reward is with him. Prophecy is like a divine stamp and seal of authority for inspiration of the scriptures besides an encouragement to us even as stated in  Romans 15:4 ...whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

The Promise to the Captive
We see in verses 13 and 19  a “promise to the captive”. Joseph was able to show the butler that although a prisoner there was hope of deliverance from his present incarceration. Although he was now abiding under condemnation there was hope of future deliverance. Isaiah 61:1 foretold of the coming Messiah that: The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. The Lord Jesus confirmed himself as the fulfilment of these words in Luke 4:18-21 when he said are these words fulfilled in your hearing. It would have been an idle boast for anyone else but the Lord went forth and through declaring the gospel, through confirming his ministry with signs, and fulfilling the New Covenant at Calvary he demonstrated that he was the promised Messiah and we rejoice today that captives may still go free.

The Accepted Cup
We see in verse 20 the “accepted cup”. The butler once returned to service offered the cup to the Pharaoh as he had in times past and it was accepted. The cup of the New Covenant in Christ’s blood might be in view here in a shadow. The evening the Lord Jesus instituted the remembrance feast he explained the symbolism of the cup representing the New Covenant. The writer to the Hebrews expanded more detail for us that Christ entered into the greater more perfect tabernacle, by his own blood entering in once, so that he might obtain eternal redemption for us. The LORD God now looks upon the blood and we are pardoned, forgiven, justified, sanctified waiting to be glorified with Christ in the day of his appearing. Our Saviour’s blood “...speaketh better things than that of Abel”. Christ’s blood speaks life and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. The blood of the covenant is vital, foundational and fundamental to our salvation for our whole redemption depends on it, without it we are lost, still in our sin, no covenant, no hope but the LORD has said: Exodus 12:13 “...when I see the blood I will pass over you” We are accepted in the beloved because of the precious shed blood of the lamb.

The Broken Bread
We see in verses 19 and 22 the “broken bread”. The baker dreamed about the baskets of bread being eaten by the birds and then, as Joseph had interpreted, he was also released after three days but he was put to death being hung on a tree. The broken bread and body of the Saviour might be in view here as a shadow. The lovely Lord Jesus was led to be crucified at Calvary bearing with him his own cross where he was then lifted up to die. His broken body was pierced, bruised and bloodied. We read in Isaiah 52:14  “As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men...” May the Lord help us never to forget that it was for us he died, my sin upon him, my guilt upon him, he bare my sin in his own body on the tree. The word of the Lord reminds us in Galatians 3:13 “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” Those who know and love the Lord as their own personal saviour are forgiven today because of him and free from the condemnation abiding on all outside of Christ.

The Lord Jesus is fairer than the sons of men; he’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom, he’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul. He’s more precious than gold and lovelier by far than sages ever told or poets ever sung. Yet greatest of all he lifts a beggar from the dunghill of sin to set them among princes and each one who comes to know him as Saviour can say this is my beloved and this is my friend. All because he gave his body and shed his blood on Calvary for sinners like you and me.