Saturday, February 27, 2010


Matthew 20 Blind but now seeing!


29 As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed Him.
30 There were two blind men sitting by the road. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!”
31 The crowd told them to keep quiet, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!”
32 Jesus stopped, called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
33 “Lord,” they said to Him, “open our eyes!”
34 Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they could see, and they followed Him.

The Scripture shows Christ demonstrating to His people that He is truly their Messiah. His many miracles were wrought amongst men as a proof that He was really from God and that His credentials were genuine. He came into the world claiming something that no one had dared claim from the beginning of time. He said He could forgive sin and give life from the dead. No one dared propose a solution to those problems of the human race.

These claims put Him on the spot! He had to demonstrate the reality of His claims. He was tested by Satan, man and God. He withstood every test and even though men rejected Him, it was with sufficient proof before them that He was who He professed to be. In rejecting Him, they sinned against light and perished needlessly.

The physical deformities in the Bible often were used to illustrate man’s spiritual condition. For instance, in John 5:3 we read, "ln these lay a great multitude of impotent of blind, halt withered, waiting for the moving of the water"-a perfect illustration of man's condition without Christ.

Let us study the case of the blind man and see the parallel between his physical condition and that of the spiritual condition of those without Christ.

We see the spiritual parallel in

ll Corinthians4 :3 and 4: "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost; In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."

I have had close friends who were physically blind but radiantly happy because their spiritual eyes were open. Some of you remember Olive. She was one like that. She couldn’t see physically but wow could she see spiritually! On the other hand, those who have 20-20 vision physically can see nothing because of the darkness of sin that envelopes them. What good is it to have eyes if you are in darkness continually? "The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble,' says Proverbs 4:19. The other side of the coin is verse 18: "But the path of the just is as the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day."

John Newton, in that wonderful song “Amazing Grace,” described his own salvation experience by saying, “I once…was blind, but now I see.”

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not.”—II Cor. 4:3,4.

1. They Were Defective

There were many blind people in the Eastern countries. I have read that at one time for every one hundred persons there were at least twenty blind people, ten who had sight in only one eye and twenty others who had some affliction of the eyes.

It was probably worse in the Saviour’s day. The fact that He healed so many blind people is an indication that many were blind. The Bible records several instances where Christ healed the blind. Matthew 9, He healed blind Bartimaeus in Mark 10:46–52, the blind man in John 9 and others.

They were defective Physically So is the whole Adamic race. Their defect was noticeable, but you are also defective. Every living man bears in his body the seeds of death and. those defects that will ultimately send him to his grave. Puny man can boast in his strength, and scientists can seek for a way to make men live longer and longer but everyone gets ill ,everyone has physical defects and everyone will die. In his unregenerate state, man is dying from the day he is born. God told Adam, as recorded in Genesis 2:17,"In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." He died spiritually immediately, and he began to die physically as well.

Death, spiritual and physical, is the result of sin, and "all have sinned"; therefore, if Christ tarries long enough, every person living now will totter off to a hole in the ground and be buried, because you are defective from birth.

They were defective Mentally Some people are willing to admit the deformities of the body but fail to admit the deformity of the mind. Your mind is as unsound as your body. lt fell at the same time. Man lost his top story in the fall and lost with it his ability to think. That is why we read in Scripture,

"Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." -2Tim. 3:7.

They were defective Spiritually Spiritual death is separation from God. Adam’s sin put him out of the garden. The prodigal son was in a far country away from his Father. Because of sin there is such a vast chasm between man and God that there is no way that man can ever find his own way to bridge that chasm. You cannot get there, but praise God, He made a way. Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah.

These blind men were wise enough to recognise their problem and cry out to the Only One who could fix their problem. ““Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!”

When I read the Bible, I am impressed with the fact that Jesus was attracted to the needy. And it seems the needier the individual, the more Jesus was attracted. For instance, in John 5, when He went to the pool of Bethesda, He was seemingly attracted to the man with the greatest need. The man he healed had been stricken with an infirmity for thirty-eight years. Where human sorrow was most conspicuous, divine power was most compassionate. Mercy met misery on its own ground. What an encouragement for the sinner! Romans 5:20 says, “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”

In the story in this text, Jesus healed two blind men. Blindness can be viewed as a picture of the unsaved man. All men without Christ are blind. They have intellectual light but not spiritual light. Everyone comes to Jesus under a cloak of darkness.

2. They Were Desperate When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!”

“Notice, first, they were earnest. The word which describes their appeal is “crying.” This implies that the men were earnest, energetic, pathetic, imploring, pleading and beseeching. How eager they were! Far too many unsaved people are indifferent to their need.

I remember once when I explained to a man that Jesus Christ had died to pay his sin debt, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “What do I care? I don’t want anybody to do anything for me. I’ll take care of myself!” I could not believe what my ears were hearing. The man seemed so indifferent. There was no indifference on the part of these two seekers. They were earnest.

Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!”

They confessed their own unworthiness. They cried out, “Thou son of David, have mercy on us.” They were not asking for justice. If the sinner received justice, he would be in Hell. There was no talking about merit with these two blind men. When we come to Christ for salvation, we must approach Him as condemned criminals. Nobody ever receives his sonship until he recognizes his sinnership. Jesus Christ came to save sinners, and, if we expect to go to Heaven, we must realize that we are sinners and trust Christ as personal Saviour.

“Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!”

3. They Were Determined

They were Determined. “31 The crowd told them to keep quiet, but they cried out all the more,

But they were Determined. They would not give up!

There will always be detractors in the crowd “It’s too late!”

“He didn’t mean you” Anyone else except you.

“there will be a better time”

“This is the wrong church”

“It will embarrass your family”

“People will laugh at you”

And a hundred other things that could be said to stop you.

But if you would be saved then you must have the Lord Jesus as your Saviour. No matter how others condemn you or seek to stop you, you need to be determined. You will have him.

John 6: 67 Therefore Jesus said to the Twelve, “You don’t want to go away too, do you?” 68 Simon Peter answered, “Lord, who will we go to? You have the words of eternal life. ..”

These two blind men recognised Jesus as the Son of David. This meant they were determined to act on the faith they had. It was as Son of David that they addressed Jesus. That meant that they did believe him to be the Messiah. And since He is the only Saviour there is ever going to be, they had better get on board with Him.

How about you? Have you gotten on board with this Saviour? You know He is the Saviour, but you just haven’t done anything about it yet. Well you had better, because if you don’t you will be lost.

Those blind men could not have known that Jesus would never again go up through Jericho again. But He would never pass that way again. He would never be closer to them than He was now. And they were determined to make use of this opportunity.

You may never be closer to Jesus than now. You don’t know if there will ever be another opportunity in your life to come to Him. You don’t know the challenges that may be coming into your life even as we speak right now, challenges that will keep you form Jesus.

You don’t know whether your heart will be cold and keep you from Jesus forever after this day.

Because you do not know, then you should do something about the matter right now. Be determined to get close to Jesus! He is the only Saviour. Be determined that He should save you today.

CH Spurgeon : wrote

It pleased God in my childhood to convince me of sin.… My heart was broken in pieces. Six months did I pray—prayed agonizingly with all my heart, and never had an answer. I resolved that, in the town where I lived, I would visit every place of worship in order to find out the way of salvation. I felt I was willing to do anything and be anything if God would only forgive me.

I set off, determined to go round to all the chapels; and I went to all the places of worship; and though I dearly venerate the men that occupy those pulpits now, and did so then, I am bound to say that I never heard them once fully preach the Gospel. I mean by that, they preached truth, great truths, many good truths that were fitting to many of their congregation—spiritually-minded people; but what I wanted to know was, How can I get my sins forgiven? And they never once told me that. I wanted to hear how a poor sinner, under a sense of sin, might find peace with God; and when I went I heard a sermon on "Be not deceived: God is not mocked," which cut me up worse, but did not say how I might escape. I went again another day, and the text was something about the glories of the righteous: nothing for poor me.…

At last, one snowy day—it snowed so much I could not go to the place I had determined to go to, and I was obliged to stop on the road, and it was a blessed stop to me—I found rather an obscure street, and turned down a court, and there was a little chapel.…I wanted to know how I might be saved.…At last a very thin-looking man came into the pulpit and opened his Bible and read these words: "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth." Just setting his eyes upon me, as if he knew me all by heart, he said, "Young man, you are in trouble." Well, I was, sure enough. Says he, "You will never get out of it unless you look to Christ."

And then, lifting up his hands, he cried out…, "Look, look, look! It is only look!" I saw at once the way of salvation. Oh, how I did leap for joy at that moment! I know not what else he said; I did not take much notice of it—I was so possessed with that one thought. Like as when the brazen serpent was lifted up, they only looked and were healed. I had been waiting to do fifty things, but when I heard this word "Look!" what a charming word it seemed to me! Oh, I looked until I could almost have looked my eyes away! And in Heaven I will look on still in my joy unutterable.

4. They Were Definite

32 Jesus stopped, called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
33 “Lord,” they said to Him, “open our eyes!”

Not only were they earnest and persistent, but, third, they had a definite object in prayer. They knew what they wanted. They wanted their sight. There was no beating around the bush with these men. Too many blind souls do not know what they really want.

I don’t know which sins to confess? Get down on your knees and guess them!

These blind men had a definite object in their prayer. They knew what they wanted. When the unsaved man comes to Christ for salvation, his prayer need not be long, but it should be to the point.

Romans 10: 9 if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 Now the Scripture says, No one who believes on Him will be put to shame, 12 for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, since the same Lord of all is rich to all who call on Him. 13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

5. They were Delighted.

34 Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they could see, and they followed Him.

Suppose someone offered you a million dollars. Would you say, “Well, I believe it’s real money, and I know I need a million dollars, but I want to put it off awhile; I need to think about it”? Why, certainly not. You would accept it immediately. And if there were any reason you should not have the million dollars, you would be careful not to let others know about it.

Suppose a man is on death row awaiting execution and one day someone walks in with a pardon and says, “I’ve got good news. In my hand I hold a pardon from the governor.” What would you think if the prisoner said, “Well, I know I need a pardon and if I don’t get a pardon I’ll be executed in a few days; to be honest, I would like to have a pardon, but I don’t want to rush into it; let me think about it awhile”? Why, you would think the man was crazy, and he would be. No. No. If a man were offered a pardon, he would jump at it. When Jesus Christ offers to save all who will trust Him, I wonder that they do not jump at it. But in many cases, rather than jumping at it, they begin to make excuses as to why they should not have a pardon and be justified and given everlasting life.  The answer of the blind men was immediate.  “Immediately they could see ...

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,            And grace my fears relieved.

How precious did that grace appear            The hour I first believed!


“Immediately they could see and THEY FOLLOWED HIM.”

How about you?  Will you follow Him now who has become your Saviour?

Will you live you life now for Him who loved you and gave Himself to be your Saviour? 

Following Him is the natural act of gratitude. Follow Him!

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Matthew 21 A Picture Parable Of Servanthood


When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage at the Mount of Olives, Jesus then sent two disciples,
2 telling them, “Go into the village ahead of you. At once you will find a donkey tied there, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to Me.
3 If anyone says anything to you, you should say that the Lord needs them, and immediately he will send them.”
4 This took place so that what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled:
5 Tell Daughter Zion, “See, your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”
6 The disciples went and did just as Jesus directed them.
7 They brought the donkey and the colt; then they laid their robes on them, and He sat on them.
8 A very large crowd spread their robes on the road; others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them on the road.
9 Then the crowds who went ahead of Him and those who followed kept shouting: • Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!
10 When He entered Jerusalem, the whole city was shaken, saying, “Who is this?”
11 And the crowds kept saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee!”

When Judas Maccabeus led the Israeli victory over the Syrian Secuelids (the Syrian dynasty which followed Alexander the Great), the crowds celebrated his victory by waving palm branches, and to commemorate the victory, Judas “The Hammer” stamped an image of palm branches into their coins, thenceforth symbolizing victory for the Jews over their oppressors.  So when, about 150 years later, Jesus Christ was greeted to Jerusalem by thousands of followers, waving palm branches and shouting hosanna (which means please help us now), the Roman authorities must have smelled the potential for revolution

2Mac. 10:6-7 1 Now Maccabeus and his company, the Lord guiding them, recovered the temple and the city: 2 But the altars which the heathen had built in the open street, and also the chapels, they pulled down. 4 When that was done, they fell flat down, and besought the Lord that they might come no more into such troubles; but if they sinned any more against him, that he himself would chasten them with mercy, and that they might not be delivered unto the blasphemous and barbarous nations.  6 And they kept the eight days with gladness, as in the feast of the tabernacles, remembering that not long afore they had held the feast of the tabernacles, when as they wandered in the mountains and dens like beasts. 7 Therefore they bare branches, and fair boughs, and palms also, and sang psalms unto him that had given them good success in cleansing his place. 8 They ordained also by a common statute and decree, That every year those days should be kept of the whole nation of the Jews.

Yet, rather than a donkey , The Lord rode the more humble colt. Perhaps there is more than a triumphal entry here. Perhaps the Lord is signifying His Servanthood. And signifying ours as well. The donkey was held in honour. It was often as large as a small horse. Its bridle was studded with silver or with shells; its saddle was often elegant with tassels; it was associated in the people's thought with many a striking and historic scene. Now think of the striking contrast between that and the colt there by the donkey's side: the one a trained and comfortable animal, the other a wild and shaggy little creature; the one accustomed to these crowded roads and going to take it easy whatsoever happened, the other rude and stubborn and intractable, filled with the fiery energy of youth. No hosannas would disturb the one; it was entirely safe and most entirely reputable. But the other, never broken in as yet--no man could guarantee what it would do. And I think it was in acted parable, not without a certain courage in it, that our Lord rode that Sunday on the colt. Had He been thinking only of His comfort, our Lord would certainly have made the other choice.

The village of Bethphage, which is here mentioned, lay in the immediate neighbourhood of Bethany. It was situated somewhere on the Mount of Olives, amid the gardens and vineyards of its slopes. It is singular that nowhere else do we light on any mention of this village. This is the one and only reference to it, in the Old Testament or in the New. 2000 cubits from Jerusalem. Mark 11:1; When they approached Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany near the  Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples

Thew Lord Jesus was probably not doing anything miraculous in getting of the colt at Bethphage. We are not to take it, as is sometimes done, as an example of the omniscience of Christ. Probably Jesus had some friend at Bethphage, perhaps a farmer in some olive-garden. And they had talked together amid the olive trees, where Jesus loved to be in the warm days. And it was then, as they talked and walked together, that the farmer had offered the Lord the use of his donkey and its colt. The Lord may have promised that if the need arose He would remember the offer of His friend. It may be they then agreed upon a donkey word, and the donkey word was this, "The Lord has need of them." If anyone appeared and gave the donkey word, he was to get the donkey at once for Jesus' use. And now the morning had come when it was needed, for Christ was to go in triumph to the capital, and Christ remembered the bargain with His friend. "Then sent Jesus two disciples, saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an donkey tied, and a colt with her: loose them and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them, and straightway he will send them". The two disciples did as they were requested. They went and found the donkey and the colt and they brought them to the Lord Jesus. Then followed the triumphal entry, amid the wild enthusiasm of the people.

The Errand Was A Message of Humility

Firstly this errand was a gentle and a wise rebuke. Last week we saw the mind of the disciples as they went up with Jesus to Jerusalem. First there had come to Him the mother of Zebedee's children, worshipping Him, and desiring a certain thing of Him. And her sons were with her -- she did not come alone-- they knew and sympathised with her request. And her request, as you are all aware, was that her sons might share in Jesus' glory, and be seated on His right hand and His left, in the coming of His kingdom. Christ was setting His face toward the cross, and they were dreaming of kingdoms and of crowns. They thought that the hour was very near at hand when the glory of their Lord would be revealed. And they were dreaming their dreams and picturing the splendour of it all, when Jesus was within a day or two of Calvary.

And when the ten heard it they were indignant. They were angry at the two, and why were they angry? Because they had tried to steal a march upon them. They were not indignant because of the wrong thoughts which their two brethren were cherishing of Jesus; they were indignant at this mean attempt to rob them of what was to be common to them all. They got in first! So the Lord spoke about the princes of the Gentiles, and of the kind of dominion which they exercise. And He told them that in the Kingdom it was different, for there the greatest was to be the least, even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.

So that was the spirit of the twelve as they went up with their Master to Jerusalem. The hour was coming when they would all be kings. In spite of all the teaching of the past, it was of such a future they were dreaming when Christ was travelling towards Gethsemane and sweat blood upon the garden ground just near by there.

Now, in the light of that ambitious spirit, do you begin to see the meaning of this errand? It is one of the gentlest and the sweetest reproofs that Jesus ever gave to those He loved. Bethphage was quite nearby. There was no real need of sending on the two, as if the village had been a way off in the distance.. it was probably only 500 yards away. . But the Lord deliberately made them run this errand just so that lovingly He might teach them practically just what they all needed to learn. Dreaming of thrones, He sent them for a donkey. Picturing themselves exalted above Caesar, He sent them about the business of a slave. Wrapped in a vision of the coming glory, when they would be exalted in authority, He gave them a really little task to do. I do not suppose they understood it then, but I am sure they understood it afterwards. As they looked back on it, in the sweet light of memory, they saw in a flash the meaning of their Lord. And Nothing would ever be too lowly for them, when Calvary was past and .Christ was risen, when they remembered the last lowly service which they had been asked to render to their Lord.

It seems to me that Christ often rebukes us like this. When we are filled with visions of our self-importance, He calls us to some very humble task. There is a sense in which every Christian is a visionary. He sees far more than can ever meet the eye. He follows a Lord whose vision was so wonderful that it could see the Kingdom in the mustard seed. But the mark of a Christian is not vision only; it is also instant and unquestioning obedience; and so are we summoned to some lowly duty, just as the two were sent to fetch the donkey. There is nothing too mighty for a Christian's hope; there is nothing too lowly for a Christian's hand. With the largest and the loftiest outlook, he must always be ready for the lowliest service. Christ does not only teach us by His words, He teaches us by what He asks from us. He sets us a task to do--a very humble task, perhaps in the church, perhaps at home. And then as we do it we discover this, that we are learning more of the spirit of our Master than in all the golden dreams which we were nursing as we walked beside the Master to Jerusalem.

The Errand was a fulfilment of prophecy

When the disciples, at their Master's bidding, set out for Bethphage to fetch the donkey, I don’t think they had any thought of any prophet's word. They were astonished at the errand, for Christ had never ridden anywhere before that we know of. Probably they were unaware that there was anything of unusual significance. Though they didn’t know it, , they were fulfilling the prophecies of God. "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an donkey, and upon a colt the foal of an donkey" (Zech 9:9). So, long ago, had Zechariah prophesied, heralding the coming of the Messiah, and now the hour of history had come when that prophetic word was being crowned. Through all the ages that prophecy had waited--had waited for this moment on the highway. And now the hour had come, and these two men were the chosen instruments of God to crown it. And yet they did not know what they were doing, and never remembered that it had been foretold, and never dreamed that for a thousand years this lowly service had been willed of God. Had it been anything great that they were called to, it might readily have stirred prophetic memories. But a trifling errand like this to Bethphage--who would have thought that this was a fulfilment? And yet it was as surely a fulfilment as the dying of their Master on the Cross.

Learn this lesson about the will of God. We are working out His plans in the little as well as in the large. You remember how Job, when in his great affliction, cried to his friends, "The hand of God hath touched me." What he felt was that in that mighty sorrow there was something that cried aloud of the divine. But it is not only in our greater hours that we should recognise the hand of God. It is the common service and the obscure trials that visit us as we journey every day. Great services reveal our possibilities; small services reveal our consecration. Great services come to us rarely; small services are with us every day. God can be near us in our lives, ordering everything in love and wisdom. Detect His hand in the insignificant things of each day. It is not only on the field of battle that the prophecies of God come to fulfilment. It is not only where the great and mighty are toiling in the eyes of all the world. It is where the mother is working for her children, though no one across the street has heard her name. It is where the workman is busy with his task, though there is not a voice to cheer him on. God may be near to us when we are exalted; but He is nearer still when we are faithful; when we pursue our way unnoticed and unknown, clinging to what we know is right and true. It is such a life that has His blessing and moves in the line of His appointed plan, and in the end, when all the books are opened, will be found as the fulfilment of His will. Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not. Remember these two disciples and their errand. It was only the fetching of a village donkey, and yet the prophets had sung their song about it. And so with you, amid your daily drudgery, that seems so far sometimes from heaven and liberty, the will of God, more ancient than the hills, is working out its purposes of love.

The Errand Was Meant to Be an Exercise of Trust

Now we all know how in their greater tasks the disciples were inspired by trust in Christ. Had they not trusted Him they never had gone forth to preach the Gospel and to heal the sick. "Lord," they said, when they came back to Jesus, "the very devils were subject unto us." They were amazed at what they had accomplished--these ignorant and uneducated men. And they had done it because they trusted Jesus, and leaned upon Him as children on a father, and drawn their strength from fellowship with Him, who was the wisdom and the power of God. They did their mighty deeds because they trusted--but was trust needed for such an act as this? Did it take faith to go and fetch an donkey, and bring it to their Master at His bidding. If you remember the visions that they cherished, and the kind of dreams of which their hearts were full, I think you will agree that this obedience was only possible in loyal faith. They went at once. They never asked one question. If the Master said it, it must be all right. Was no one likely to interfere with them? Were they not certain to be charged with stealing? Other men would have had doubts like that. They never hesitated for an instant. They went at once, without hesitancy, and they went because they trusted Jesus. Not only in their great deeds did they trust Him. They showed their trust in little deeds as well. They honoured Him not only when they preached, but when they went upon a seemingly small errand, when they were sent to fetch the donkey from Bethphage.

Now I want to ask you this question--is your faith like that of the disciples? Is it conspicuous in inconspicuous times? That, after all, is the test of living trust that is the joy and blessing of believing. We are all cast on God in the great moments. We feel that we must trust Him, or we perish. There are services and there are trials so great that they bow us down at the feet of the Almighty. But a trust like that, born of a great despair, though God will accept it, and grant the needed grace, is not so honouring to love and fatherhood as the trust that irradiates the common day. To waken on our immemorial mornings and say, "Please God, I shall have faith in Him today"; to take up our cross in the profound belief that underneath are the everlasting arms; to go to our drudgery, to bear our burden in the happy and sweet sense that God is with us, that is the trust which is honouring to heaven. That is the trust which the disciples showed when they went at once upon their lowly errand. That is the trust which you can show today, without waiting for that impossible tomorrow. And when the day breaks, and the shadows flee away, and life is unrolled before the great white throne, that is the trust which will receive the welcome, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

The Errand Was An Example of Humility

Think of those  first disciples, and of what sorts of people they were. One has only to read the record of the Gospels to apprehend that they were coltish men. In Palestine, in the period of our Saviour, there was considerable culture of a kind. There were men who were thoroughly trained and broken in by years of patient study of antiquity. The Pharisees, walked in an odour of unquestioned sanctity, and who stood in the eyes of all the common people for everything that was respectable and safe. The strange thing is that when Jesus made His choice, it was not any of such persons that He chose. He had no interest in conventionality; His only interest was in possibility. He did not want men who were broken in; He wanted men who were ready to break out, on a dead world that must be won for heaven, and plucked even as a brand out of the fire. That was why He chose these fiery natures; those untempered and unbroken men. They were rough colts, shaggy and undisciplined, yet chosen for the triumph of the Lord. It was a very daring choice to make. There were times when it actually seemed to be a failure. There were times when their stumbling and foolish obstinacy had almost broken the heart of the Redeemer. And I think that when He chose the colt that morning, instead of the sleek and comfortable creature, Peter and James and John would understand that He was thinking of them.

Well what about you? Are you proud of your achievements or are you willing to be used by God whatever and wherever He sends you? Do you recognise that it may be because you are rough and difficult that the Lord has called you to serve Him?  Be mindful of your weaknesses, and be mindful of the grace of God that can use even you.


With thanks and reliance upon GH MORRISON The Glasgow Pulpit Series


I preached this passage under the  points

See the contrast between Judas Maccabeas and Jesus. A Royal Donkey versus a small lowly colt.

If You Would Serve The Lord You Must

1. Learn  The Frustrations Of Service

Sent to the workshop for a “long” weight!

Given 20 cents to buy the boss an ice cream.

this would have been frustrating to James and John’s pride… Matthew 20


2. Learn  The Faith full ness Of Service

Does Big service need Big faith? Small service needs bigger faith.

Instantaneous Faith  (“immediately”)

Unquestioning faith


3. Learn  The Fulfillments Of Service

Zech 9:9  this small trifling request turned out to be the fulfillment of Scriptures pointing to Jesus as the Messiah!

What is little could turn out to be important.  Who knows who that Sunday school child may turn out to be?


4. Learn  The  Familiarity Of Service

The daily grind the small things are what are important.

Sunday school, scripture teaching, Boys or Girls Brigade.

These are the stuff of life service and ministry.

The family altar is important.

Monday, February 15, 2010


1 John 3:4-12 The Principle That Distinguishes Us


4 Everyone who commits sin also breaks the law; sin is the breaking of law.
5 You know that He was revealed so that He might take away sins, and there is no sin in Him.
6 Everyone who remains in Him does not sin; everyone who sins has not seen Him or known Him.
7 Little children, let no one deceive you! The one who does what is right is righteous, just as He is righteous.
8 The one who commits sin is of the Devil, for the Devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the Devil’s works.
9 Everyone who has been born of God does not sin, because His seed remains in him; he is not able to sin, because he has been born of God.
10 This is how God’s children—and the Devil’s children—are made evident.

Whoever does not do what is right is not of God, especially the one who does not love his brother.
11 For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another,
12 unlike Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil, and his brother’s were righteous.

Rhinestone cowboys   "Rhinestone Cowboy" served as the basis for the 1984 movie Rhinestone, starring Sylvester Stallone and Dolly Parton.

I've been walkin' these streets so long
Singin' the same old song
I know every crack in these dirty sidewalks of Broadway
Where hustle's the name of the game
And nice guys get washed away like the snow and the rain
There's been a load of compromisin'
On the road to my horizon
But I'm gonna be where the lights are shinin' on me
Like a rhinestone cowboy
Riding out on a horse in a star-spangled rodeo
Like a rhinestone cowboy
Getting cards and letters from people I don't even know
And offers comin' over the phone
Well, I really don't mind the rain
And a smile can hide all the pain
But you're down when you're ridin' the train that's takin' the long way
And I dream of the things I'll do
With a subway token and a dollar tucked inside my shoe
There'll be a load of compromisin'
On the road to my horizon
But I'm gonna be where the lights are shinin' on me


Rhinestone christians…   … not the real deal…with a load of compromising…

F W Boreham perceived that a symptom of the prevailing blindness in society was the growing popularity of artificial things. His aversion to the artificial was focused on shows about which he said, “very few things look their best when on exhibition.” However, it was the artificiality of life portrayed by the cinema that received Boreham’s harshest criticism. Describing an evening at the cinema, sometime prior to 1915, he observed that the audience was full of admiration for the film’s lifelikeness but in Boreham’s assessment it was “a very stilted, flickery kind of affair.” Reflecting later, Boreham said, “The next day I saw the real thing .… It is a mad world truly! We go into ecstasies over the scene in the cinema; the scene as God paints it only makes us yawn.” Fake money, fake designer clothes, fake addresses, fake names. 1 John is all about fake Christianity.

John wrote this letter at a time when churches were under an ever increasing threat from Gnosticism. Full blown Gnosticism had not yet developed but it was in the makings and Church after Church was falling victim to false teachers who were teaching a more “enlightened” way concerning Jesus and sin. John wrote to expose this fake Christianity. He does this by presenting three main features of authentic Christianity – three characteristics that will be present in anyone who has a genuine faith.

These are: a) an obedient lifestyle b) a loving character c) a true knowledge of Jesus.

This is how God’s children—and the Devil’s children—are made evident.

Sin is breaking the law. 4 Everyone who commits sin also breaks the law; sin is the breaking of law.

"Whosoever [continually, habitually] committeth sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law."

That translation is not very good. The text actually says, "Whosoever is continually doing sin is doing lawlessness." The phrase "transgresseth also the law" is the word anomia in the Greek text. It means "lawlessness" or "without law." John is not referring to someone who accepts the law and breaks it, but to those who live as if there were no law.

There are many definitions of sin in the Bible. Romans 14:23 says, "Whatever is not of faith is sin." To doubt God is sin. James 4:17 says, "To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." First John 5:17 says, "All unrighteousness is sin." But the best and clearest definition of sin is right here in verse 4: sin is lawlessness. To live as if there were no law is to live as if there were no God. A Christian can't live that way because Christianity is about living in a relationship with God. John says Christians don't habitually practice sin because that would violate the very nature of God's law.

Don't ever underestimate sin. Whenever you or I sin, that constitutes open rebellion against God. God has standards. When you became a Christian, He didn't change them or lower them. You still have to obey His moral law, and He gives you the capacity to obey. Sin breaks that law we know so well. It rebels against the God we serve. And it denies that God even exists. Sin is practical atheism, and Christians are anything but atheists. Sin is totally inconsistent with the Christian's life. So John is saying that if certain people claim to be Christians, yet habitually sin, they aren't true believers.

The Delight of God's Law

As a Christian, I have submitted to God and His law both lovingly and willingly. My greatest joy is to obey Him and fulfill His will.

a) Psalm 119

(1) Verse 1--"Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord." Characteristic of a believer's manner of life is his obedience to the law of the Lord.

(2) Verse 34--"Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart."

(3) Verse 44--"So shall I keep thy law continually forever and ever."

(4) Verse 51--"The proud have had me greatly in derision; yet have I not declined from thy law."

(5) Verse 55--"I have remembered thy name, O Lord, in the night, and have kept thy law."

(6) Verse 70--"Their heart is as fat as grease, but I delight in thy law."

(7) Verse 77--"Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live; for thy law is my delight."

(8) Verse 92--"Unless thy law had been my delight, I should then have perished in mine affliction."

(9) Verse 97--"Oh, how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day."

(10) Verse 113--"I hate vain thoughts, but thy law do I love."

(11) Verse 163--"I hate and abhor lying, but thy law do I love."

(12) Verse 174--"I have longed for thy salvation, O Lord, and thy law is my delight."

As far back as Old Testament times, it has been characteristic of a believer to love God's law.

Romans 6:16-18--"Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are whom ye obey" (v. 16). If you've yielded yourself to God, it's obvious that you're going to obey Him. Verse 17-18 say, "God be thanked, that whereas ye were the servants of sin, ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being, then, made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." A Christian is a servant of righteousness who loves and delights in God's law.

Hebrews 8:10--"This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord: I will put my laws into their mind, write them in their hearts." The law of God becomes internal with the New Covenant (cf. Heb. 10:16).

Romans 7:15-16, 22-24--Here is a portrait of a Christian who loved the law of God. Verse 15 says, "That which I do I understand not; for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I." The apostle Paul had a problem: He didn't do the things he should do and wanted to do, but he did what he shouldn't do and didn't want to do. Even though there is the capacity for sin in our new nature as Christians, our desire is to obey the law of God. Verse 16 says, "If, then, I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good." He loved God's law; He wanted to fulfill it. Verses 22-24 say, "I delight in the law of God after the inward man; but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. Oh, wretched man that I am!"

That is a picture of a Christian struggling with sin. But what proves to me he is a Christian is his delight in the law of God. Christians are going to sin at times--they're going to do the things they don't want to do, and not do the things they want to do. But their delight will be in the law of God. As a result, they will never be characterized by perpetual sin, only occasional sin. The struggle will always be there. The Spirit gave Paul victory. Romans 8:4 says, "The righteousness of the law [will] be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." More than anything I want to fulfill God's law, but I can't do it on my own. Only the Holy Spirit can do it through me. In Romans 7 Paul shows us how he tried to fulfill the law on his own. In Romans 8 he shows us that we can fulfill the law only through the power of the Holy Spirit. As Christians we are called to fulfill God's law and are empowered to do so.

In 1 John 3:4 John is telling the assembly that if they want to know who the true believers are, they need only find those who love and obey God's law. The false will stand out because they habitually practice sin. Romans 10:10 says, "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness." First John 2:29 says, "If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that everyone that doeth righteousness is born of him." A true believer is righteous--he obeys the law. The believer and sin are incompatible because sin is incompatible with the law of God.

1. The Saviour‘s Purpose Was To Destroy Sin

5 You know that He was revealed so that He might take away sins, and there is no sin in Him.
'How can you call yourself a Christian, and then live in the denial of why Christ came in the flesh, why He died, why He rose again?'. Indeed, to continue in sin would be a denial of the name that we bear, for in Him, Christ, is no sin. How could we call ourselves Christ's ones, in whom is no sin, and take upon ourselves the complete existence of a sinful habitual lifestyle.

There are three New Testament passages that deal with the sinlessness of our Lord Jesus. Peter, that great man of action, said: 'Christ did no sin'. Paul, that man of great thought in the mysteries of God's word, says: 'Christ knew no sin'. John, who was the disciple whom Jesus loved, the one who had an intimate fellowship and communion with the Lord, says: 'In Him was no sin'. He was without spot and blemish, as the Levitical offering in the Old Testament being offered to God. He had to be, to bear the sins of the universe. But John's point is this: how could anyone take His name, and claim to bear His likeness, and then relish a life of sinfulness? It is impossible! It is a denial of Christ's character!

2. The Saviour’s Presence Was To Destroy Sin

That is why He was incarnated. Everything about the Saviour’s coming into our world was about saving us from our sin. That saving from our sin includes Saving us from the Penalty of our sin, the power of our sin and the presence of our sin.

3. The Saviour’s Purchase Was To Destroy Sin

5 You know that He was revealed so that He might take away sins, and there is no sin in Him.
Then not only is it a denial of Christ's character, but he tells us it is a denial of Christ's cross. This is why Christ came into the world, John is saying in verse 5, to take away our sins. Doesn't the Scripture say that He was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world? The first time John the Baptist lays eyes on Him in the ministry of Christ, what does he say? John 1:29: 'Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away' - takes away - 'the sin of the world'. Now that phrase 'takes away' is interesting, it literally means 'to lift up and to haul off'. 'Behold, the Lamb of God, who will lift up the sin of the world and haul it off!'. Now, I think it's on a Friday we get our bins collected, and you know what happens when the bin lorry comes round your way - I shouldn't call it 'bin lorry' or 'bin men', the 'waste disposal technicians' I think is the correct terminology. They gather the rubbish up, and then they throw it into the lorry, and they haul it off for you and you never need to see it again. It's wonderful, throw all your rubbish in your own domestic bin, put it out in the wheelie bin, and before you know it, a week later it's all gone. That is the sense here, Christ is lifting up our sin, He's hauling it off. When the Lord Jesus died on the cross and shed His precious blood, He took away all the rubbish, all the trash and the garbage of our lives, and He has hauled it off forever. Here's the wonderful thing: when God hauls it off, we don't need to look at it again! 'There is now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus', but better than that: when God hauls it off, the devil can't haul it back.

The Psalmist has said: 'As far as the east is from the west, so far has God removed our transgressions from us'. How far is that? It is an immeasurable distance, East from West, it keeps going, one away from the other. Not only do you never see your sin again, and the devil can't haul it up in your face again, but perhaps greater than those two things: even if you go looking for it, you'll never find the dump where God has put it. It's gone forever, for Christ took it, died, buried it, and three days later rose again without it - it's gone! The chorus says:

'Rolled away, rolled away,
And the burden of my heart rolled away'

Now here is John's point: there is something wrong if a so-called Christian is a bin-hoker, if they're looking for their sin again. My friend, is that you? I know people can backslide, I know the prodigal son, Luke chapter 15, and I know where he found himself after he spent all his inheritance in riotous living. He finds himself among the pigs, eating the swill - but remember this please: he couldn't be satisfied eating it, and he came to himself, and he got up and he went to his father. There's something wrong if you can live a lifestyle which is a complete denial not only of the character but of the cross of Christ, and it doesn't figure on you at all! The prodigal didn't stay with the pigs!

Now the positive in this point of John's for us is that if we are defeated, if we are constantly falling into sin - well, first of all, we need to question whether we're truly saved - but whatever the condition is that we find ourselves in, there is an answer. It's inherent in this verse 5, the answer is found in the victory of the cross of Jesus. This is why Christ has been manifested: to take away our sins, for in Him was no sin. The message is this: there is deliverance! My friend, whatever your particular sin is, even if it is an habitual lifestyle of sin and you're not even converted tonight, the wonderful message of the gospel, the good news of Jesus, is that you can be. The power of God's Son at the cross is the dynamite of God that is able to deliver all men.

4. The Saviours’ Preeminence Will Destroy Sin

6 Everyone who remains in Him does not sin; everyone who sins has not seen Him or known Him.

2 Cor 6:14 Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? 15 What agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement does God’s sanctuary have with idols? For we are the sanctuary of the living God, as God said: I will dwell among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people.17 Therefore, come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord; do not touch any unclean thing, and I will welcome you.
18 I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty.1 Therefore dear friends, since we have such promises, we should wash ourselves clean from every impurity of the flesh and spirit, making our sanctification complete in the fear of God.

If the Saviour dwells in us, how can we ever go back to sin? 1 Cor 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

The sign of a Christian, John is saying first of all, is that they will have a surrendered will to God's will. What is God's will? Well, we've already learnt this in chapter 2 verses 3 and 4: 'Hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him'. We are to be obedient in love to the Lord Jesus, His principles and His precepts, as He in His completeness has fulfilled the law of God. What did He say? 'If ye love me, keep my commandments'. So I'm asking you tonight: do you have a desire, is the ruling principle of your life trying to get at breakneck speed to lawlessness before God? Or is there a desire, even though you fail and fall at times, like all of us do, is your desire to be obedient? Or is your desire to continually rebel? My friend, if it is to rebel, John says it's doubtful if you're one of God's children.

5. The Saviour’s Power Will Destroy Sin

8 The one who commits sin is of the Devil, for the Devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the Devil’s works. 9 Everyone who has been born of God does not sin, because His seed remains in him; he is not able to sin, because he has been born of God.

Following the relocation of MacArthur to Australia in March, to serve as Allied Supreme Commander, South West Pacific Area, Wainwright inherited the unenviable position of Allied commander in the Philippines. Also that March, Wainwright was promoted to Lieutenant General (temporarily). On April 9, the 70,000 troops on Bataan surrendered under the command of Major General Edward P. King. On May 5, the Japanese attacked Corregidor and on May 6, in the interest of minimizing casualties, Wainwright surrendered. By June 9, Allied forces had completely surrendered. Wainwright was then held in prison camps in northern Luzon, Formosa and Manchuria until his liberation by the Red Army in August 1945.[1] He was the highest-ranking American POW, and despite his rank, his treatment at the hands of the Japanese was not pleasant. After witnessing the Japanese surrender aboard the USS Missouri (BB-63) on September 2, together with Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival he returned to the Philippines to receive the surrender of the local Japanese commander, Lieutenant-General Tomoyuki Yamashita.

One day a plane landed with the news that the war had ended, and the next day the Japanese, out of sheer habit, came to the compound with the General and started to torture him and beat him as they did every single day. They hadn't recognised that the war had ended, and they were defeated, and the General effectively was on the victory side. Just as the soldiers came in and started to lay into him, he said: 'Wait a minute! Put down your weapons, I'm in charge! You're my captives!'. They put the weapons down, because that was the fact - what had changed? Nothing had changed, they were in the same environment, the same forces, but what had changed was historical fact: the Allies had won the war. The fact of the matter is this: Christ is the Captain of our salvation, but Satan is the captive! Christ has sapped all his power, and we need no longer be under his control. Whilst the devil, at times, may throw us to the ground - praise God, he cannot pin you to the ground!

Is the ruling principle of your life trying to get at breakneck speed to lawlessness before God? Or is there a desire, even though you fail and fall at times, like all of us do, is your desire to be obedient?

Have you been born of God? If you have then sin will not rule over you. His Spirit indwells you and you cannot go back to sin.

6. The Saviour’s Principle Will Destroy Sin                    love.

10 This is how God’s children—and the Devil’s children—are made evident.

Whoever does not do what is right is not of God, especially the one who does not love his brother.
11 For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another,
12 unlike Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil, and his brother’s were righteous.

Romans 13:8--"He that loveth another hath fulfilled the law." The objective of the Christian life is to obey God and fulfill His will.

Galatians 5:14--"All the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (cf. James 2:8). That states the simplicity of fulfilling the law through love.

Galatians 6:2--"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law."

As Christians we love God's law and delight in it. The desire of every believer is to fulfill God's law. If that is not your desire, you are not a Christian. That's not my opinion; that's what the Word of God says. To live as if there is no law and no God contradicts all that Christianity is. We have been saved to be righteous (1 Pet. 2:24; Eph. 2:10). When you were saved, you died to the dominion of sin and were made alive to the dominion of righteousness (Rom. 6). The believer loves God's law. Occasionally he violates it, even willfully, but not persistently and habitually.

Deuteronomy 30 :6 "Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.

…8 "And you shall again obey the LORD, and observe all His commandments which I command you today

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Matthew 20 The Lord’s Type of Leadership


17 And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them,

18 "See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death

19 and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day."

20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something.

21 And he said to her, "What do you want?" She said to him, "Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom."

22 Jesus answered, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?" They said to him, "We are able."

23 He said to them, "You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father."

24 And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers.

25 But Jesus called them to him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.

26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,

27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,

28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

An Australian Epic Matthew Flinders
This is the birthday No name in our annals shines with as rich a lustre as that ofof Matthew Flinders.. Flinders stands as a brave Homeric figure against the empty skyline of a newly-discovered continent. As Prof. Ernest Scott has eloquently pointed out, there never was, until Flinders applied himself to the task, any deliberately planned, systematic, persistent exploration of any portion of the Australian coast. "The continent," Prof. Scott says, "grew on the map of the world gradually, slowly, almost accidentally. It emerged out of the unknown, like some vast mythical monster heaving its large shoulders, dank and dripping, from the unfathomable sea and was metamorphosed by a kiss from the lips of knowledge into a being fair to look upon and rich in kindly favours." It was Flinders who laid his vigorous and practical hand upon the misty and nebulous realm that was just emerging from primeval chaos. He transformed it into an actual geographical quantity and gave it status and recognition. Indeed it was he who, brushing aside the old unsatisfactory designation of New Holland, gave to the new continent a name, inscribing the word Australia in bold capitals across the map of the world.
In Tasmania particularly, the name of Flinders deserves to be held in deathless honour. The story of the hazardous voyage in the course of which Flinders and his friend Bass sailed round this island has taken its place among the stateliest epics of the sea. But our obligations neither begin nor end with that classic adventure, for it was largely owing to the glowing description of Tasmanian products and possibilities which Flinders published in England that Capt. Collins was sent here and the settlement of Hobart first established. Moreover, one of the first monuments to Matthew Flinders in Australia was erected by Sir John Franklin when that illustrious navigator was Governor of Tasmania.
Earth's Greatest Discoverers Pay Heaviest PriceIt is with a start of surprise that we recall the fact that the intrepid and dauntless navigator whose audacity and erudition enabled him accurately to survey our interminable Australian coastline, and to present to the old world the first reliable maps and records of Australian territories, was only 40 years of age at the time of his death; and that, even then, six of the last years of his life were spent as a French prisoner at Mauritius. The story of his voyage in the Tom Thumb, a tiny vessel only eight feet in length, will probably be told and retold as long as a love for tales of adventure holds its place in the hearts of men. He sailed for thousands of miles along our Australian coasts in a crazy old craft in which today men would scarcely risk their lives on the most tranquil rivers. Provided only that a vessel could be coaxed to float, however dilapidated it might be, it was good enough for Flinders. The Investigator, the ship which he eventually commanded, had to be abandoned at Sydney as rotten and utterly incapable of repair; and finally, after suffering shipwreck in the Porpoise, he undertook, in the teeth of everybody's advice, to attempt to reach England in the Cumberland, a vessel that every sailor expected to founder or to fall to pieces as soon as she got well out to sea.
At Mauritius he was captured by the French, who were then making frantic efforts to obtain recognition for themselves as the real discoverers of Australia, and who were extremely anxious that the revelations of Flinders should be obscured or delayed until their own book had been published. Suspecting some design of this kind, the astute Flinders had, however, taken the precaution to send a duplicate set of his invaluable documents to England by another vessel, and the nefarious schemes of the wily Frenchmen were thus ignominiously frustrated. And, after enduring six years of totally undeserved incarceration, Flinders hurried to England, wrote his book and died on the very day on which it saw the light.

Yes No good deed goes unrewarded. Often the rewards are not as we would wish.

1. The Problem Of Position

Position breeds self interest and self love. Secularism breeds self interest.

The hardest instrument to play Is second fiddle, so they say
And I believe this is so I've tried, but haven't mastered it though
It takes more grace than pen can tell To play the second fiddle well.
To softly play in harmony While others shine in melody
At times to even pause and rest While others give their best
It takes more grace than pen can tell To play the second fiddle well.
While others are honored so It seldom plays a grand solo
Yet in the background keeps its place While others in the spotlights face
It takes more grace that pen can tell To play the second fiddle well.
The second fiddle compliments All the other instruments
While faithful to keep time and tone Tis of great price and worth unknown
It takes more grace than pen can tell To play the second fiddle well.
The master looks for those who he Can use in his great symphony
Tis but a few can bend and blend On whom he always can depend
It takes more grace than pen can tell To play the second fiddle well.

The purpose of the second fiddle is to play a supporting role and compliment the first fiddle, thus making the first fiddle look and sound good. The audience does not realize that the second fiddler is playing his heart out in order to make the first fiddler look good; yet the second fiddler does not get any credit for what is played. Thus, this part is unglamorous.

Leonard Berstein, the famous conductor of the New York Philharmonic said, “I can get plenty of first violinists, but to find someone who can play the second fiddle with enthusiasm—that’s a problem. And if we have no second fiddle, we have no harmony.” The problem of our current day is that there is a tendency to forget people. Men have a tendency to be task oriented: they must achieve their goals, and are not always mindful of the people they are hurting in the process of achieving those goals.Faithfulness in the work place is lacking because workers don’t trust their bosses to do the best thing by them. High employee turn-over speaks of high levels of mistrust.

Power breeds Perverse Uses Of Power

Ron Laura writes “Throughout much of my work, I use the phrase the ‘technologisation of nature' to refer to western society's preoccupation with the task of reducing the whole of the inanimate and animate world to structural and conceptual representations amenable to quantification and thus predictable control.  In the hope of redressing this in balance of perspective, I have argued that the reductionist reconstruction of the world achieves the goal of predictable control only by ignoring or gratuitously eliminating the qualitative elements of human experience from scientific discovery and the form of knowledge it enshrines. In essence technological education thus encourages a primarily intellectual, left-brain and empiricist theory of knowledge in which the qualitative components of and particulatory consciousness and empathetic connectedness are systematically marginalised. From this it follows that the more we instruct people to interact with the world technologically, and the more technological the world becomes, the less articulate and compassionate our culture becomes with respect to the matters of heart, self-purpose and love, without which the world of technology has little lasting meaning on value.  The technological mind-set may make us feel as if we are intellectual giants, but it also distracts us from recognising the truth that in so doing, we have become blinded giants. We become intellectual giants without vision of the value of life beyond the materialist and palpably commodified symbols to which we have reduced it. Far from being value-free, I argue that the form of knowledge we embrace is motivated by our insatiable appetite as a culture for power, dominance and predictable control over the world in which we live. Against this, I am urging that because the conventional and covert rationale which drives technology is to manifest power over nature, its deployment will inevitably lead on the on hand to the degradation and exploitation of nature, while on the other to our alienation and increasing detachment from the world of nature and the earth which sustains all life. This being so, I believe that our technological transformations of nature lead, perhaps inadvertently, to the systematic violation of the natural world and thus eventually, in an important sense to the death of nature, and thus humanity itself. In so doing, we become more forgiving of the failings of our machines, while becoming less tolerant and forgiving of the shortcomings of others.”


Pride breeds Contempt of Others Pride is a terrible thing and has proven to be the downfall of many people. The common saying we here is "Pride goes before a fall." This is actually a bible principle. God warns us through the wise writer of Proverbs: "Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18). Pride causes some to view others as less worth, less valuable to God and our world, than they themselves are. Pride causes some to abuse or misuse someone they should cherish as God's creation. Pride causes some to be lost because they won't submit themselves to God. Perhaps some just cannot make themselves serve God without the praise of men.

2. The Problem Of Perspective

What matters most to you? Tasks or people?     People are hard to service, tasks are easier.  If you think you are doing the job in any form of Christian ministry, you are in for a shock.  People hurt, and people hurt you. We are sinners. And because we are sinners we hurt.  Because ministry is about people and serving people, then there is a cost attached.

Samuel Brengle wrote: Spiritual power is the outpouring of spiritual life, and like all life, from that of the moss and lichen on the wall to that of the archangel before the throne, is from God. Therefore those who aspire to leadership must pay the price, and seek it from God.


SELF-SACRIFICE  Self-sacrifice is part of the price that must be paid daily. A cross stands in the way of spiritual leadership, a cross upon which the leader must consent to be impaled. Heaven's demands are absolute. "He laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren" ( 1 John 3:16). The degree to which we allow the cross of Christ to work in us will be the measure in which the resurrection life of Christ can be manifested through us. "Death worketh in me, but life in you." To evade the cross is to forfeit leadership.

"Whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ran­som for many" (Mark 10:44-45, italics added). Each of the heroes of faith immortalized in Hebrews 11 was called to sacrifice as well as to service. Willingness to renounce personal preferences, to sacrifice 'legitimate and natural desires for the sake of His kingdom, will characterize those marked out by God for positions of influence in His work. Bruce Barton quotes a pertinent advertisement at a service station: "We will crawl under your car oftener and get ourselves dirtier than any of our competitors." Is that not the service station you would patronize?

Dr. Samuel M. Zwemer recalls the striking fact that the only thing Jesus took pains to show after His resurrection was His scars .3 His disciples recognized neither Him nor His message on the Emmaus road. Not until He broke the bread and they possibly saw the scars were their sensibilities aroused. When He stood in the midst of His demoralized disciples in the upper room after the resurrection, "He showed them both His hands and His side."

Scars are the authentic marks of faithful disciple­ship and true spiritual leadership. It was said of one leader, "He belonged to that class of early martyrs whose passionate soul made an early holocaust of the physical man."' Nothing moves people more than the print of the nails and the mark of the spear. Those are tests of sincerity that no one can challenge, as Paul well knew. "From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus" (Gal. 6:17).

Hast thou no scar? No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand? I hear thee sung as mighty in the land,

I hear them hail thy bright ascendant star: Hast thou no scar? Hast thou no wound?

Yet, I was wounded by the archers, spent. Leaned me against the tree to die, and rent By ravening beasts that compassed me, I swooned: Hast thou no wound? No wound? No scar?

Yes, as the master shall the servant be, And pierced are the feet that follow Me; But thine are whole. Can he have followed far Who has no wound? No scar? AMY WILSON CARMICHAEL

That Paul was willing to pay the price and carried the authentic scars incidental to leadership is attested by an autobiographical paragraph in one of his letters. “On every hand hard-pressed am I—yet not crushed! In desperate plight am I—yet not in despair! Close followed by pursuers—yet not abandoned by Him! Beaten to earth—yet never destroyed! Evermore bearing about in my body The imminence of such a death as Jesus died, So that the life, too, of Jesus might be shown forth In this body of mine Always, always while I yet live Am I being handed over to death's doom For Jesus' sake! So that in this mortal flesh of mine, may be Shown forth also The very life of Jesus” 2 CORINTHIANS 4:8-11

How do we get a servant heart? Can we trick ourselves? No we have to love others.

3. The Problem Of Payment If we do this for the reward we have lost our reward.

Matt 20 parable says that! It’s the Sovereign God who delegates rewards.

20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. 21 And he said to her, "What do you want?" She said to him, "Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom." 22 Jesus answered, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?" They said to him, "We are able." 23 He said to them, "You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father."

There Is Sovereignty involved in Spiritual Leadership

22 Jesus answered, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?" They said to him, "We are able." 23 He said to them, "You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father."

In the latest issue of Southern Cross (the monthly magazine of the Diocese of Sydney), John Woodhouse provides a stirring exposition of faith in the sovereignty of God as 'the secret of lasting joy in Christian service'. It is worth reading in its entirety, but what strikes me as remarkably timely is his application of this vital doctrine to our thinking and practice of 'gospel work'. I am astonished at how glibly we sometimes speak of gospel work — as though leadership skills, ministry strategies or entrepreneurial flair is what is needed to make the gospel effective. Leadership is not what makes the blind see. Strategies do not make the deaf hear. Entrepreneurs do not make the dead walk!

It is God who calls out his elect, chosen by him before the foundation of the world. They could not have saved themselves and nor could we have saved them no matter how clever we are. And he hardens the heart of others in their chosen state of lostness… What I am saying must not be taken — as it can be taken if distorted — as a reason for complacency or laziness. The sovereignty of God, rightly understood, does not undermine human responsibility. It sets human responsibility in its true context. Human responsibility is a consequence, not a contradiction, of God's sovereignty.”

Here are truths we need to take very seriously in the current climate. Some feel under siege in a world of militant atheism. Others are burdened by expectations, real or imagined, placed on them by others. As John says elsewhere in the article, we need to be reminded that 'the sovereignty of our great and good God is the secret of contentment'. And trusting in this God, we can go on today, confidently and fearlessly, to do those good works 'which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them' (Eph. 2:10).

There is Suffering involved in Spiritual Leadership

22 Jesus answered, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?" They said to him, "We are able." 23 He said to them, "You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father."

LONELINESS It was Nietzsche's contention that life always gets harder toward the summit—the cold increases, the responsibility increases. From its very nature, the lot of the leader must be a lonely one. He must always be ahead of his follow­ers. Though he be the friendliest of men, there are areas of life in which he must be prepared to tread a lonely path. That fact dawned painfully on Dixon E. Hoste when Hudson Taylor laid down the direction of the China Inland Mission and appointed Hoste his successor. After the interview during which the appointment was made, the new leader, sensible of the weight of responsibility that now was his, said, "And now I have no one, no one but God!" In his journey to the top he had left behind all his contemporaries and stood alone on the mount with his God.

Human nature craves company, and it is only natural to wish to share with others the heavy burdens of responsibility and care. It is often heartbreaking to have to make decisions of far-reaching importance that affect the lives of loved fellow workers—and to make them alone. It is one of the heaviest prices to pay, but it must be paid. Moses paid the price for his leadership—alone on the mount, and alone in the plain; the crushing loneliness of misunderstanding and criticism and impugning of motive. And times have not changed.

The prophets were the loneliest of men. Enoch walked alone in a decadent society as he proclaimed the impending judgment, but he was compensated by the presence of God. Who could have experienced the pangs of loneliness more than Jonah as he proclaimed the message of an imminent judgment, which could be averted only by immediate repentance, to a heathen city of a million souls? The loneliest preacher today is the man who has been entrusted with a prophetic message that is ahead of his times, a message that cuts across the prevailing temper of the age.

The gregarious Paul was a lonely man who experienced to the full the bitterness of misunderstanding by his contemporaries, misrepresentation by enemies, and desertion by converts and friends. How poignant is his word to Timothy: "You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me" (2 Tim. 1:15).

"Most of the world's great souls have been lonely," wrote A. W. Tozer. "Loneliness seems to be the price a saint must pay for his saintliness." The leader must be a man who, while welcoming the friendship and support of all who can offer it, has sufficient inner re­sources to stand alone, even in the face of fierce opposition, in the discharge of his responsibilities. He must be prepared to have "no one but God."

On without cheer of sister or of daughter, Yes, without stay of father or of son,

Lone on the land, and homeless on the water, Pass I in patience till my work be done. F. W. H. MEYERS

FATIGUE "The world is run by tired men." Although that statement may be challenged, there is more than a grain of reality in the assertion. The ever increasing demands made on a leader drain the nervous re­sources and wear down the most robust physique. But he knows where to go for renewal. Paul was familiar with the secret. "Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day" (2 Cor. 4: 15-16). The ministry of our Lord wearied him, so He rested by the well (John 4:6). When the needy woman touched the hem of His garment in faith, Jesus was aware that power, nervous force, had gone out of him (Mark 5:30). No real lasting good can be done without the outgoing of power and the expendi­ture of nervous energy. The man who has absorbed the spirit of the wel­fare state is not of the caliber required in a leader. If he is not -willing to rise earlier and stay up later than others, to work harder and study more diligently than his contemporaries, he will not greatly impress his generation. If he is unwilling to pay the price of fatigue for his leadership, it will always be mediocre, unless he is a man of unusual physique and resilience. If he is wise, however, he will seize every legitimate opportunity for recuperation and recreation, or he will limit his own usefulness and ministry.

Writing to the secretary of the Church Missionary Society, Douglas M. Thornton of Egypt said:

But I am weary! I have only written because I am too weary to be working now, and too tired to sleep ... I am getting prematurely old, they tell me, and doctors do not give me long to live unless the strain is eased a bit. My wife is wearier than I am. She needs complete rest a while. . . . Oh, that the church at home but realized one half of the opportunities of today! Will no one hear the call? Please do your best to help us.

Here were missionary leaders willing to pay the price of fatigue in order to grasp the swiftly passing opportunities of their day.

When Robert Murray McCheyne, the saintly young Scottish minister, lay dying at the age of twenty-nine, he turned to a friend who was sitting with him and said: "God gave me a message to deliver and a horse to ride. Alas, I have killed the horse and now I cannot deliver the message." There is no virtue in flogging the tired horse to death.

CRITICISM "There is nothing else that so kills the efficiency, capability and initiative of a leader as destructive criticism.... Its destructive effect cannot be under- estimated. It tends to hamper and undercut the efficiency of a man's thinking process. It chips away at his self-respect and undermines his confidence in his ability to cope with his responsibilities."No leader is exempt from criticism, and his humility will nowhere be seen more clearly than in the manner in which he accepts and reacts to it. In a letter to a young minister, Fred Mitchell once wrote: I am glad to know that you are taking any blessing there is about the criticism brought against you by , in which case even his bitter attack will yield sweetness. A sentence which has been a great help to Mrs. Mitchell and myself is: "It does not matter what hap­pens to us, but our reaction to what happens to us is of vital importance." I think you must ex­pect more and more criticism, for with increas­ing responsibility this is inevitable. It causes one to walk humbly with God, and to take such action as He desires.' Samuel Brengle, who was noted for his genuine holiness, had been subjected to caustic criticism. Instead of replying in kind or resorting to self-justification, he replied: "From my heart I thank you for your rebuke. I think I deserved it. Will you, my comrade, remember me in prayer?" On another occasion, a biting, censorious attack was made on his spiritual life. His answer was: "I thank you for your criticism of my life. It set me to self-examination and heart-searching and prayer, which always leads me into a deeper sense of my utter dependence on Jesus

PERSECUTION Dr. Tson was a pastor in Romania during the communist years. He was repeatedly arrested, interrogated and tortured for sharing the gospel. Dr. Tson "During an earlier interrogation at Ploiesti I had told another officer who threatened to kill me, 'Sir, let me explain how I see this issue. Your supreme weapon is killing. My supreme weapon is dying... Everyone will know I died for my preaching. And everyone who has a tape will pick it up and say, 'I'd better listen again to what this man preached, because he really meant it: he sealed it with his life.' So, sir, my sermons will speak 10 times louder than before. I will actually rejoice in this supreme victory if you kill me...' As long as I tried to save my life, I was losing it. Now that I was willing to lose it, I found it." - Dr. Josef Tson

There is Self-sacrifice involved in Spiritual Leadership

Becoming a Servant takes God's Sovereignty, Our Sufferings and Self Sacrifice? How can you experience this? By God's Sovereignty He will lead you to positions of suffering and self sacrifice.  I received a letter the other day as did all our pastors:However, MSD and MC jointly have come to the view that as pastors, as churches, and as a denomination, we need to lift to greater prominence the task of growing new pastors.

Friends, the Lord said it would cost. If we do not make His requirements clear, then those who aspire to leadership will quit after the first year of Pastoral ministry. Burn out for pastors is extremely high. I am the only pastor in my year still serving as a pastor of a Baptist church. Of the 100 who were in college at the same time as I was, barely 10 still remain as pastors.  Many that have dropped out have dropped out broken and bitter men.

It is not easier tasks that we need, but better men. Better men are not built by lying about the task.  They are built of better stuff than that.

With thanks to Spiritual Leadership by J Oswald Sanders, FW Boreham and Ron Laura

Saturday, February 06, 2010


1 John 2:28-3:3 At His Appearing


1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. 2:29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Assurance is an important ingredient in a stable emotional state. Do you have a full assurance of faith?

Is your hope good and firm and reassuring?

Assurance.. what are its opposites? Shame. Anxiety and fear. Apathy. Assurance puts a sprng in one’s step and a smile on one’s face. Its opposite brings displays itself in dread and the debilitating emotions. Which would you rather have? Which would you rather be?


We sing : “I’m not ashamed to own my Lord, Or to defend his cause, Maintain the honour of his word, The glory of his cross”

Jesus said Mark 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

‘What is shame? Is it not a sense of unfitness, a sense of defilement, a sense of self-dislike, even contempt, because we feel we are not worthy? Therefore, its manifestation is a desire to hide. John suggests this in the Greek word he uses, which is rightly translated "shrink in shame," to hide.

Do you remember the first manifestation of this in the Scriptures? In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, after the Fall, hid from the Lord God as he walked in the Garden in the coolness of the day. God called out "Adam, where are you?" {see, Gen 3:9 ff}. Adam at last acknowledged the call, and the Lord said, "Why did you hide?" And Adam said, "Because we found we were naked." That is symbolic, suggestive. They were naked, i.e., they had nothing besides themselves, nothing to show for being alive, just them, we they were, that's all. Unfruitful, unproductive, no purpose beyond themselves, waste. If Jesus were to come right now, would you have "confidence" or be "ashamed." It is nakedness that causes shame, and that possibility is set before each of us. The one thing that is absolutely certain about your existence and mine, as a believer, without any doubt whatsoever, is that one of these days we will stand before the presence of the Lord Jesus. ‘Ray Stedman

In that day every hidden thing will be revealed. Jesus said in Luke 12:2-3, "For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops." Who you really are is not what you look like or sound like on Sunday morning. Who you really are is what you think, say or do when no one is else is around. In that day all the things you hide so well right now will be brought to light. That hidden pornography habit will be revealed. That clandestine adulterous relationship you hidden so well will be made known. Those under-the-table fraudulent business deals will be on the table. Those hot checks, tax short cuts and bills you skipped over will come out. All our lies, deceit, dishonesty and infidelities will be laid bare in the blazing light of Christ’s holiness. Our secret prejudices, hatreds, bitterness and unforgiving spirit will be disclosed. The demeaning and defaming comments we whisper shall be shouted aloud. The real you and me will be made known.


I was so nervous in turbulence one time, that I called the flight attendant over and I asked, "miss, how often does one of these things crash?" And she said, "usually only once." So many things about airplanes and airports: why do they call the building the "terminal"; why do they have to say, "we're preparing to make our FINAL DESCENT..."?

Anxiety causes a majority of illnesses.

1) Ulcer - if don't have one, you're not trying hard enough.

2) "Nerves" - not nervous system, but emotional one.

And the Cure is often sought in drugs.

1) Valium was most prescribed drug in 1970's.

2) Mylantum (stomach ulcers) is most prescribed. These help symptoms, but are not a cure they are only a cover-up, treating the symptoms not the cause.

Time magazine recently said: “Black statistics of murder, suicide, alcoholism, and divorce all betray anxiety. And not just these but also innocent everyday acts – the limp handshake, the second pack of cigarettes or the third martini.”

Are you prepared for the second coming? No as a Christian it makes me anxious. I know there is a judgement for believer’s coming. 2 Cor 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or bad.

Apathy pathos.. emotion.. unemotional.. so flat that we can’t get excited about anything.

Apathy.. a deadening of our feelings because of the darkness of our soul.

Sometimes we get so depressed by it all we just become apathetic. You know… chagrined. Cheesed off! Cheesed off means we become apathetic. We become cheesed off from our anxieties.

We become cheesed off from our Shame.

And we stop having assurance and hope. We don’t look forwards, we look backwards.

And looking backwards we despond. When we despond we become apathetic. “Why should I share the gospel with others, they don’t care. Why should I attend church, they don’t care! Why should I care about anything?” Who the hell are you listening too when you think like this? Hell! The devil wants frozen apathetic Christians! That’s his goal. The Lord wants us to be looking forwards.

Apathy.. a deadening of our feelings because of the darkness of our soul.

Assurance = Hope

1. Hope is in God Our hope is to be in God and in God alone. Psalm 43:5 says, "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God." God is our only refuge, resource, and hope. Psalm 78:7 says, "That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God." We can trust God for the future because of what He has done in the past and present.

2. Hope is a gift from God Second Thessalonians 2:16 says, "Our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father ... hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace." God grants men hope, confidence, assurance, and security in the future if they will accept them as a gift.

3. Hope comes from Scripture When you understand and believe the Word of God, you will have hope. Romans 15:4 says, "Whatever things were written in earlier times [the Old Testament] were written for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope." If you don't believe the Bible, you will be hurting for hope and confidence in the future.

4. Hope is secured by Christ's resurrection We can believe God when He tells us we can trust in Him to have victory over death. But Christ's death and resurrection assure us all the more. We know by example that it is possible to conquer death. First Peter 1:3 says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to His abundant mercy, hath begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."

5. Hope is confirmed by the Holy Spirit Romans 15:13 says, "The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit." One of the ministries of the Holy Spirit is to convince the believer he has hope for the future.

6. Hope is a defense against Satan When the Holy Spirit confirms hope in the believer, it acts as a defense against Satan. The devil is always trying to make us doubt and worry about the future. He'll say, "How do you know you're really saved?" But when the Holy Spirit confirms our hope, we won't fall prey to Satan's attacks. First Thessalonians 5:8 says, "Let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and, for an helmet, the hope of salvation." Satan wants to spilt you wide open with his great broadsword of doubt, but you have the helmet of the hope of salvation to protect you against his blows.

7. Hope is to be continual The believer should never lose hope. Psalm 71:14 says, "I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more." The psalmist wrote this in his old age. He is an example to us because he did not lose hope through the years.

8. Hope produces joy Psalm 146:5 says, "Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord, his God."

9. Hope removes the fear of death When we truly hope in God and Christ, there is nothing to fear. Colossians 1:5 says the believer's hope is laid up in heaven. There is coming a day when we will meet the Lord and receive this promise: "You ... hath he reconciled ... to present you holy and unblamable and unreprovable in his sight, if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature that is under heaven, of which I, Paul, am made a minister" (Col. 1:21-23). Verse 27 says, "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of the mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." We have hope for the future because Christ resides in us now. In 1 Corinthians 15:20 Paul indicates we have hope because of Christ's resurrection. Christ is our hope, and the fear of death has been removed.

10. Hope is secure Nothing can take away the believer's hope. Hebrews 6:18 says, "By two immutable things [two things that can't change--God made a promise and He swore by it], in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us." Our hope is secure because God established the oath. And because of who He is, we know he will never break it. He can't lie. Verse 19 says our hope is "an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil." Christ attached the anchor of hope directly to the throne of God. That's how secure our hope is!

11. Hope is fulfilled in Christ's return Titus 2:13 says, "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ." Jesus is coming; therein lies the fulfillment of our hope.

12. Hope is purifying Hope for the future has a tremendous affect on the present. First John 3:3 says, "Every man that hath this hope in him [Christ] purifieth himself even as he [Christ] is pure." John is saying hope in Christ has a purifying effect. Our hope isn't just theological; it's ethical--it has behavioral consequences. If I believe Christ is coming again and that I will be brought before His judgment seat, that will make a difference in the way I behave. Paul said there's a crown of righteousness laid up in heaven for all who "love his appearing" (2 Tim. 4:8). That means you love the Second Coming enough to do something about it.

1.Abiding Causes Us To Be Assured

Shame stops us being assured. Abiding causes us to be assured.

Abiding in Him John 15:  I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

Stick close to the Lord!

Abiding In His Word 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you,

Abiding in Righteousness 1 John 2: 28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. 29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him

Abiding In Prayer. First John 3:21-22 says, "If our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatever we ask, we receive of him." And 1 John 5:14 says, "This is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us; and if we know that he hear us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him."

2.Acceptance Causes Us To Be Assured

Anxiety stops us being assured Acceptance causes us to be assured

1 John 3 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God,

A Word Of Amazement!

A Word Of Attention Keep beholding. Proverbs 23:7 says, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." What do you think about most? What dominates your mind? Whatever you think about the most is what you're becoming. We always move toward what we're focusing on. If you want to become like Christ, you think about Him. Fill your mind with the Word of God

A Word Of Admiration For Undeserved Love

Ashamed of Jesus! yes. I may, When I’ve no guilt to wash away;

No tear to wipe, no good to crave, No fears to quell, no soul to save.

A Word Of Admiration For Unselfish Love

A Word Of Admiration For Unique Love

During the Great Depression, department store chain founder J.C. Penny suffered tremendous financial losses. He worried about them to the extent he had a nervous breakdown. He was institutionalized for months. His doctors were unable to do him any good. Mr. Penny grew progressively worse. Finally, one night he decided he was about to die, so he wrote farewell notes to each of his loved ones. The next morning, however, J.C. Penny was still breathing. He could hardly believe it! He woke up and heard music. Struggling out of bed and into his robe, he walked down the corridor until he found a group of people having a prayer meeting. They were singing: Be not dismayed What e're betide God will take care of you;

Beneath his wings of love abide, God will take care of you.

J.C. Penny remembered that song from his childhood. It awoke within him an overwhelming sense of the care and the concern and the love of almighty God. Suddenly he realized that God did care! That he could cast his anxieties and worries upon God, that God would take care of him!

A belief that was once dead was alive again! After that experience, healing came rapidly to Mr. Penny. His doctors marvelled and could not explain it. J.C. Penny was soon well and went back to business. He lived to be 95 years of age! During his long life he never forgot the old song that enabled him to replace his fear with faith, and to trust God with his worries!

3.Anticipation Causes Us To Be Assured

Anticipating His Appearance Destroys Our Apathy

Apathy.. a deadening of our feelings because of the darkness of our soul.

1 John 3:2 Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure.

In 1989, a terrible earthquake in Armenia killed 30,000 people. Among those uninjured were a man and his wife. Their son, Armon was in an elementary school that collapsed. The father had always told his boy that he would come to him if there was trouble. At the school he worked tirelessly removing debris. After 38 hours he heard Armon’s voice and with the help of other rescue workers freed his son and several other children. Armon said, "I told my friends you would come because you had promised. I told them you would always be there for me. I knew you would return" (Great Stories, v.7, i.25, p.11). The consistent theme of the NT is that Jesus is returning for His children. He said in Jn.14:3, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." Until then, like Armon, we are to watch, wait and tell others about our Father.

Armon didn’t know when his dad would come, he simply had complete confidence that he would come. We don’t know when Jesus will come, so we must be ready. In the Olivet Discourse in Mat.24-25, Jesus taught this in The Parable of the Talents. He said in 25:13, "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming."

"Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as he is pure."

If you know someday you'll be like Christ, that builds within you a desire to become like Him now. We all operate on the basis of motive, and knowing that Jesus is coming ought to motivate you. Just before Jesus ascended into heaven He told the disciples that they would be His witnesses (Acts 1:8). As the disciples watched Him ascend, two angels appeared and said, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner" (Acts 1:11). Why did the angels say that? To motivate the disciples to serve Him because He is coming back. Our lives ought to be purified by the knowledge of His return. When Jesus comes back, what would you like Him to find you doing? Serving Him and loving Him should be your answer. If you believe He is coming to give you rewards and make you like Himself, that is motive enough to make you purify your life.

Assurance is Hope. Are you a hopeful Christian or a despondent despairing Christian?

Its your choice!

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