Sunday, 31 May 2009

Reading the Bible (2)

Previous post here:

There is one more really good reason why we don't read out Bibles:

Very often we see the Bible as a gravestone
much like the way we visualize the 10 commandments - 2 stones of death
and indeed they are - for if that is the way we relate to the law, then it only brings death - since it is not of our hearts

So we also see the Bible as a negative set of instructions for our lives
things that spoil our fun, and get in the way of 'life'

Yet lets go back to the 10 commandments and see how they were given

Exodus 20:2 2 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

The Lord has given His law, His instruction, commands, precepts to a redeemed people, a people that have inherited His salvation

Exodus 19:4-6 4 You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel."

More than that...
He has brought us out of slavery to Himself
to become His people - His treasure
The most precious and most beautiful thing to Himself

Now I only recently understand this...
You see I too have possessions
I have electronics, a place to stay, clothes etc - they're all mine
yet now I have 1 treasure
a most beautiful possession
It is my son - Josiah
He is the one I love more than anything I own
I would gladly sell - if not destroy everything I have for his sake
In fact - I would die for him

And so it is with our heavenly Father
He will indeed sell, destroy everything else for the sake of His sons and daughters
and indeed we have witnessed the Death of God
This then is how much He loves us

You see for my son
there is only 1 real thing I need to make sure he knows in his heart
that I love him, and how much I love him
Then no matter what I 'instruct' him,
will he not gladly listen to whatever I say and obey it?
Since he knows all things are for his good

Then if we have faith - if we trust that God loves us
then how much will we pour over His commands
His word will be a delight, indeed they will be life itself
they will guard us, guide us, keep us, save us
feed us, water us, lead us, correct us, afflict us to prevent us going astray
and all the things that Psalm 119 tells us (or Christ in Psalm 119 tells us)

Thus then, do we know the love of God?
No wonder it is Paul's prayer - oh that you may know the height, depth and breadth of His love... then would you not cling so closely to Him
and read and re-read and pour over His love letters
and His greatest Love Letter - the Word of God - His Son

He longs for us to grow up to be beautiful trees bearing fruit,
grafted into the olive tree of the Spirit

No wonder the first commands are these:

Exodus 20:3-8 3 "You shall have no other gods before me. 4 "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. 7 "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. 8 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Since the first thing I'd tell my son:
'Hey - don't go off with strangers - they'll bring harm to you!'
'Trust me, spend time with me, listen to me, honour me - I love you!!'

Glory be to God
May we know His love!

Friday, 29 May 2009

The cup of staggering

I know I have a bit of a weird end of the world theology

that it is when 'the sin of the nations' is complete
when the whole world is merry in sin and the church is ineffective because no one is listening - as in the days of Lot or Noah

this is more of my reasoning:

Jeremiah 51
38 Her people all roar like young lions,
they growl like lion cubs.

39 But while they are aroused,
I will set out a feast for them
and make them drunk,
so that they shout with laughter—
then sleep forever and not awake,"
declares the LORD.

40 "I will bring them down
like lambs to the slaughter,
like rams and goats.

The Lord has given the world a cup to drink - they think it is sweet wine, but it is a cup of staggering, until the world is fat, drunk, merry, marrying and being given in marriage - then will come the time of slaughter

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Incarnational Ministry

There is a lot about how we need to be culturally relevant or acceptable to get the gospel across today

The main passage used for this is 1 Cor 9 - be all things to all men

To me though, the context for that passage hardly seems to be about worldly culture - rather I think Paul is talking about within the church
so there is the weak/strong faith, under and not under the law, Jew or Gentile
very much like Rom 14 - I do all things to all men so that I may not destroy the faith of anyone
- and Paul personifies this - he performs sacrifices for the Jews, he circumcises one guy for the Jews and not one guy for the Gentiles, he doesn't eat meat when they think it's wrong, etc

A term that I have read of recently is called 'incarnational ministry'
i.e. to come into a community and live amongst the people as one of the people
that's all well and good
until we actually look at the incarnation
Jesus did not come into our culture - He created His own culture, His own people, and the irony is that this 'God-culture' of people did not recognise Him
the most basic call to the people of God is to be holy - and the easiest definition of holy is 'different', i.e. not like the nations around you

The incarnation of Christ is the Word becoming flesh
Incarnational Ministry by all means - let the Word become your flesh
you too must become incarnate
'till Christ is formed in you' or the 'Day star rises in your heart'

Then will the world know Jesus - when you are like Jesus, holy like Jesus, wholly like Jesus

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Happy Ascension Day!

Glory to the risen King who is coming again bringing the fullness of the kingdom of heaven!

here's a link to last year's ascension sermon:

and the crazy-fast audio: Day.mp3

Christ is the Seed from the Tree of all Life that was cast out, buried (planted) so that it may grow amongst the death-dust of the nations. Ascending those from the earth into the highest heights above the clouds.

He is the Rock that was cut off from the Stone - that it may become an entire mountain - and return to the Stone

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

The Uber Christ in the OT sermon?

Stephen - one of the holiest men that ever lives seems to give a very strange 'history lesson' to the Jews that accuse him falsely...

Actually he is giving them an incredible view of Jesus throughout the OT..
I can't quite see all of it since I'm not particularly full of the Holy Spirit,
but here's a go:

Acts 7:2-53 2 And Stephen said: "Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, 3 and said to him, 'Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.' 4 Then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran.
- Christ being sent from glory into the world

And after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living. 5 Yet he gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot's length, but promised to give it to him as a possession and to his offspring after him, though he had no child.
- The Father’s promise to Christ that He would receive His inheritance

6 And God spoke to this effect- that his offspring would be sojourners in a land belonging to others, who would enslave them and afflict them four hundred years.
- The promise of the people of God after a time of trial in the world under the oppression of cruel slave-drivers

7 'But I will judge the nation that they serve,' said God, 'and after that they shall come out and worship me in this place.' 8 And he gave him the covenant of circumcision.
- This promise comes from the cutting off of the Seed
And so Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day, and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.
- It is the day of new creation – the new Sabbath
- The establishment of the church

9 "And the patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt;
- The incarnation of Christ
- Already the rejection of the Seed being plotted

but God was with him 10 and rescued him out of all his afflictions and gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him ruler over Egypt and over all his household.
- Jesus grew in favour with God & with men – who established Him as the Messiah – “This is my Son, with whom I am well pleased – listen to Him”

11 Now there came a famine throughout all Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction, and our fathers could find no food.
- The famine instituted in the world such that all men will come to Christ – the incarnate bread of life from heaven

12 But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers on their first visit.
- The famine causes the church to come to Christ

13 And on the second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Joseph's family became known to Pharaoh.
- The revealing of the Messiah only at His 2nd coming – he will be unknown at His first

14 And Joseph sent and summoned Jacob his father and all his kindred, seventy-five persons in all.
- The goal of His ministry is to bring the entire people of God to be with their Father

15 And Jacob went down into Egypt, and he died, he and our fathers, 16 and they were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.
- The purchase the promised land where the Father will dwell with people – bought by the ransom price of His Son

17 "But as the time of the promise drew near, which God had granted to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt 18 until there arose over Egypt another king who did not know Joseph.
- The time of this age is when the devil rules, and owns this creation

19 He dealt shrewdly with our race and forced our fathers to expose their infants, so that they would not be kept alive.
- The attempted destruction of the incarnate Seed by the ruler of this age

20 At this time Moses was born; and he was beautiful in God's sight. And he was brought up for three months in his father's house, 21 and when he was exposed, Pharaoh's daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son.
- The raising of the Messiah in the world in Satan’s territory

22 And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds.
- Well established in understanding the world – Jesus in the temple at 12, and knowing the hearts of men

23 "When he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, the children of Israel.
- After the time of testing He comes to redeem His people

24 And seeing one of them being wronged, he defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian. 25 He supposed that his brothers would understand that God was giving them salvation by his hand, but they did not understand. 26 And on the following day he appeared to them as they were quarreling and tried to reconcile them, saying, 'Men, you are brothers. Why do you wrong each other?' 27 But the man who was wronging his neighbor thrust him aside, saying, 'Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? 28 Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?'
- His people do not recognise Him at all, instead they reject Him – accused as a criminal rather than a Saviour

29 At this retort Moses fled and became an exile in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons. 30 "Now when forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in a flame of fire in a bush. 31 When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight, and as he drew near to look, there came the voice of the Lord: 32 'I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob.' And Moses trembled and did not dare to look. 33 Then the Lord said to him, 'Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt.' 35 "This Moses, whom they rejected, saying, 'Who made you a ruler and a judge?'- this man God sent as both ruler and redeemer by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush.
- His sending is by His Father – He is given the authority because He is willing to lay down His life (seen in the story of Joseph)

36 This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in Egypt and at the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years. 37 This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, 'God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers.'
- The real Ruler of Egypt now made Redeemer - the miracles and finally the cross

38 This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our fathers. He received living oracles to give to us. 39 Our fathers refused to obey him, but thrust him aside, and in their hearts they turned to Egypt, 40 saying to Aaron, 'Make for us gods who will go before us. As for this Moses who led us out from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.' 41 And they made a calf in those days, and offered a sacrifice to the idol and were rejoicing in the works of their hands. 42 But God turned away and gave them over to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets: "' Did you bring to me slain beasts and sacrifices, during the forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? 43 You took up the tent of Moloch and the star of your god Rephan, the images that you made to worship; and I will send you into exile beyond Babylon.'
- The Rejection of the Messiah to worship the created angels

44 "Our fathers had the tent of witness in the wilderness, just as he who spoke to Moses directed him to make it, according to the pattern that he had seen. 45 Our fathers in turn brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before our fathers.
- The establishment of the church, from Presence in the wilderness – to entering Canaan (Christ conquering all power and authorities in the cross)

So it was until the days of David, 46 who found favor in the sight of God and asked to find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob.
- The time of rest – after king David defeats all His enemies

47 But it was Solomon who built a house for him.
- The ascension – permanent dwelling place of the church – the culmination of the promises from the beginning

48 Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says, 49 "'Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest? 50 Did not my hand make all these things?'
- The filling of all things
- Hardness of heart of the Jews!

51 "You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, 53 you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it."
- No kidding!

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Be ye perfect...

"True Christianity is to have the mind of Christ, which is demonstrated in love for God and neighbour. The real freedom of a Christian is not the freedom from guilt or release from the pangs of hell but the freedom to love with the love of God Himself shed abroad in the heart by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Freedom is nothing higher and nothing lower than this - love governing the heart and life, through all our tempers, words and actions - Christian perfection is purity of intention, dedicating all the life to God. It is giving God all our hearts." - John Wesley

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Don't eat the trees in the wilderness...

Adam and Eve were hypnotised by the one tree that they were not allowed to eat from
the tree of independence, of god-vs-God-hood, the tree that was cut off from the rest of the garden of paradise

We now have our way opened to the once restricted tree of life
All the other trees are now poison, they are the vines that grow in the wilderness,
only sour wine is in their gourds

Brothers, only eat from the One true Vine
the rest is death in the pot...
can you not already feel the weariness, weakness and sickness of their effects?
do not be deceived

the serpent this time is around all the other trees whispering in our ears

Be fascinated with Christ only
eat only from 1 source
the rest are filled with the yeast of death

Thursday, 7 May 2009

The Tabernacle (3)

Blackham's been posting up our Tabernacle videos(1 a day) on his podcast website:

Monday, 4 May 2009

Project Abraham (2)

Visit to Project Abraham @ Tarleton Farm Fellowship for the weekend!

Podcast Videos


always a most glorious & encouraging time!