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Saved with a new life

May 21st, 2018

I love the Book of Titus. One of my favourite sections is a few verses from chapter 3. It says…

4 But— When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, 5 he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. 6 He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7 Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.

These verses talk about our salvation and our new life in Christ. Each verse contains something special.

v4 – God revealed His kindness and love to us.

v5 – God saved us because of His mercy, not because of our good deeds.

v5 – God washed away our sins and gave us a new life.

v6 – God poured out the Holy Spirit on us.

v7 – God declared us righteous.

v7 – God gave us confidence that we will have eternal life.

These four verses tell us so much about God’s love for us, His plan for salvation and the new life He gives us in Christ.

It is a life that is abundant. It is a life with a new purpose. It is a life that has assurance that we will spend eternity with Him.

I think these things are worth reflecting on today.

God Bless,
Dave

We are sealed by the Holy Spirit

May 14th, 2018

Ephesians 1:13-14 says, “And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, He identified you as His own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom He promised long ago. 14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that He will give us the inheritance He promised and that He has purchased us to be His own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify Him.”

In these two verses there are some amazing truths.

  • The good news of Christ saves us
  • God identified us as His own by giving us the Holy Spirit
  • The Holy Spirit is God’s guarantee that we are His own people.

The Bible echoes these truths in a number of other places…

Ephesians 4:30b says, “Remember, He has identified you as His own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.”

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 also says, “It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, 22 and He has identified us as His own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first instalment that guarantees everything He has promised us.”

Romans 8:23 says, “And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as His adopted children, including the new bodies He has promised us.

The Bible describes the Holy Spirit as a deposit, a guarantee, down payment of what we will receive.

The Greek word used for sealed is sphragizō. This means to stamp (like with a signet or private mark) for security or preservation. In the ancient world seals were very important. If a letter was stamped with the King’s seal, or Caesars seal, it carried the full weight of the King. It has power. Much like a letter written on the letterhead of the Queen or the Prime Minister carries weight today.

The Holy Spirit is God’s guarantee, His stamp, His seal, that we belong to Him and He will do what He has promised to do in our lives. As believers we can look forward to the great day when are freed from our bodies and we will live forever with Him without pain, suffering or sin.

Because the Holy Spirit is our seal we can know we are saved. We can know we belong to God. We can know without doubt God will do all He promised.

God Bless,
Dave

The little kitten

May 13th, 2018

I haven’t included a post in the for fun category for a while so I thought it was time. This one is from one of my favourite preachers Cannon J John. Please enjoy!

We are redeemed by God

May 12th, 2018

Ephesians 1:7 tells us, “He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins.”

Redemption is an important word in the Christian faith. Redemption is about the buying back or release of an object or person. In the Bible redemption refers to God’s ransoming of believers through the death of Jesus Christ upon the cross and to all the benefits that this brings. So, Jesus paid the price on the cross to redeem us back to God.

Why did we need to be redeemed? We needed to be redeemed because we couldn’t save ourselves. When we talk about salvation we see that in our natural state without Christ we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and that this sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2).

Some people and some religions think they can redeem themselves by good works. They think if their good deeds out way their bad deeds, then God will accept them. The Bible tells us that salvation is not by good works, so no-one can boast. It is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8-9).

This is where Christ comes in with His work on the cross. In Christ we have been freed. Through His death on the cross as a payment for our sin the price has been paid.

Elsewhere in the Bible it also talks about the redemption Christ purchased for us…

Colossians 1:13-14 “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Mark 10:45 says, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

1 Timothy 2:5-6 tells us that, “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time”.

Jesus gave His life as a ransom for many. It is by Christ’s shed blood that our sins are forgiven. His death opened the way to God. He is the one mediator between God and mankind. Our redemption is 100% totally and completely paid for by the death of Christ.

If you would like to find peace with God, I would encourage you to visit this page.

God Bless,
Dave

Chosen and adopted by God

May 7th, 2018

A great truth of the Bible is that we who are in Christ or Christians are chosen.

Verse 4 of the text says, “Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes.

In this simple verse there are four great truths.

  1. Before the world was made we were on God’s mind
  2. God loves us
  3. We are chosen
  4. God sees us as faultless in His eyes.

Paul tells us that God “chose” us to emphasize the truth that salvation depends totally on God. We are not saved by our own good works or because we deserve it, but because God is gracious and loving and chose to freely give us salvation. Because of Jesus’ death on the cross to pay the price for our sin and our faith and our faith and trust in who He is and what He has done, we are saved. And the good news is that because we are saved and in Christ, we are faultless in His eyes.

Not only are we chosen, but we are adopted too!

Verse 5 of today’s text tells us that, “God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.”

Again, verse five has a number of great truths.

  1. God decided in advance
  2. We are adopted into His eternal family
  3. It was His idea to save us
  4. Our salvation gave Him pleasure

God has adopted us into His eternal family. He decided in advance to do this. We are now His children. John 1:12 says, “But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God.”

So, we are chosen, saved and adopted by God.

God Bless,
Dave

Sermon: Chosen, Redeemed and Sealed by God

May 6th, 2018

Hello all, my sermon from today is now online. It was titled, “Chosen, Redeemed and Sealed by God”. It looked at some of the blessings in Christ from Ephesians 1:3-14. The main points were.

  1. God chose us and adopted us
  2. We are redeemed by God
  3. We are sealed by the Holy Spirit
  4. Our salvation is all about God

You can find the full text here.

God Bless,
Dave

Ephesians and devotions

April 28th, 2018

Over the last few weeks I have been doing my morning devotions in the Book of Ephesians. I have always loved Ephesians since I started to read it nearly 30 years ago.

Ephesians to me is in two main parts. The first part talks about what we have in Christ and the second part tells us how we should live as a result. The Good News Bible has a good introduction…

Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians is concerned first of all with “God’s plan . . . to bring all creation together, everything in heaven and on earth, with Christ as head” (1:10). It is also an appeal to God’s people to live out the meaning of this great plan for the unity of the whole human race through oneness with Jesus Christ.

In the first part of Ephesians the writer develops the theme of unity by speaking of the way in which God the Father has chosen his people, how they are forgiven and set free from their sins through Jesus Christ the Son, and how God’s great promise is guaranteed by the Holy Spirit. In the second part he appeals to the readers to live in such a way that their oneness in Christ may become real in their life together.

Several figures of speech are used to show the oneness of God’s people in union with Christ: the church is like a body, with Christ as the head; or like a building, with Christ as the cornerstone; or like a wife, with Christ as the husband. This letter rises to greater heights of expression as the writer is moved by the thought of God’s grace in Christ. Everything is seen in the light of Christ’s love, sacrifice, forgiveness, grace, and purity.

Over the next few weeks I will share some of my reflections I found in my devotions. These reflections will form a basis for a series of sermons in the coming months.

God Bless,
Dave

The same page

April 21st, 2018

One thing I think it is important to be on in life is the same page. By this I mean understanding where you are at the moment and what your roles are in your organisation.

One thing I like about working in government is that you have set roles, set expectations and set outcomes. You have a job description form and you can see easily if you are doing your job or not.

I have found sometimes in private enterprise or in church roles that your duties are not as clear as they could be. This leads to non measurable outcomes and expectations that are not always on the same page.

Some think that job description roles in the church is a worldly thing and sometimes I can see their point. But I also think it is a useful tool to set clear guidelines of what is required and how it can be measured.

I guess each organisation is different, but for me I find these sort of things are helpful to make sure everyone is on the same page.

God Bless,
Dave

Preaching in a series

April 16th, 2018

One of the things I try to do is preach in a series. Rather than coming up with a new idea or theme each week, I like to continue on the same topic for a while.

In a book I am reading at the moment they say preaching in a series is a great approach to take. One thing they do caution is making the series last too long. They site two examples that really, really surpised me.

The first was Joseph Carryl who preached for 29 years on the Book of Job. This sounded really long and unbelievable to me until they spoke of William Gouge who spent 36 years on the Book of Hebrews!

I could imagine spending more time in Hebrews, but 29 years in Job. That is a lot of suffering!

They go on to say that the most natural sermon series is that of peaching through a Book of the Bible, working through a theme of the Old or New Testament or tracing the life of a biblical character.

To me these sound more practical than spending 29 to 36 years in one Book of the Bible. I can’t imagine finding enough material to do that!

Anyway, if you are interested in some of my sermon series from the last couple of years you can find them on my sermons page.

I am going back to read more of my book. If you are interested in that it is titled, “Please! No more boring sermons” and is edited by Keith Weller.

God Bless,
Dave

Servant focused sermon

April 15th, 2018

Our sermon from today is now online. It was titled, “Being a servant focused Christian”.

Today we looked at the idea of being a servant focused Christian. We saw some quotes from famous Christians, we looked at what the Bible said about serving and we finished with the crowns awarded for faithful service.

  1. We were created for good works – Ephesians 2:10
  2. We need to serve God with all of our hearts – Colossians 3:23-24
  3. We need to see the secret to greatness is servant-hood – Mark 10:43-44
  4. We all rely on each other so we all have a part to play – Romans 12:4-5
  5. We should use our gifts and talents to serve one another – 1 Peter 4:10

We also looked at the five crowns for service – the crown of life, the incorruptible crown, the crown of righteousness, the crown of glory and the crown of exultation or rejoicing.

You can find the full text here.

God Bless,
Dave