christ’s return

JOHNWILLOUGHBY (2)

PROPHETIC UNDERSTANDING OF LAST DAYSpart 4

(All scriptures in New King James Version, unless otherwise stated.)

IV. SIGN OF RETURN OF CHRIST – THE RAPTURE OF HIS CHURCH.

Lk 17:34-36. This future event is also referred to as, ‘the taking away’ or the ‘bodily translation’ of the church. It will be the greatest sign of His return to rule on earth.

1/. PREVIOUS BODILY TRANSLATIONS

The following gives us a preview of what will happen:-

* Enoch. Gen 5:23-24. The Bible says, “before he was taken, he had this testimony, that he pleased God” (Heb 11:5). Enoch walked with God for 365 years in close spiritual fellowship, then one day suddenly he was miraculously taken up to heaven. In the same way we can also walk with Him in deep fellowship 365 days of each year, then suddenly in His timing, He will miraculously take us to be with Himself forever!

* Elijah. II Kings 2:11, 16-17. The sudden translation of Elijah separated him from Elisha. Later they tried to find his body, but could not. In the same way there will be a sudden separation from others at the time of the rapture, nor will anybody be able to find the bodies of the departed – for as with Elijah they will be in heaven!

* Old Testament saints. Mt 27:50-53. Here we see that many rose with new heavenly bodies after the Resurrection of Christ. These joined Enoch and Elijah in heaven.

2. A FUTURE BODILY TRANSLATION

His return will be sudden and unexpected to us, but will be orderly and planned by God. Let us study I Thess 4:16-18.

a) Firstly. In v16 we read that Jesus Himself will “descend from heaven with a”:-

* “shout”. As part of the Jewish culture, when the groom arrived to collect his bride, he would give a loud shout, just outside where she was waiting. This “shout” declared his arrival to take her away to the marriage supper and to the house he had already prepared for her.

* “The voice of an archangel”. An ‘archangel’ is a ‘chief angel’. Perhaps Jesus will give instructions to all the ministering angels (Heb 1:14), who accompany Christians.

* “The trumpet of God”. This speaks of a warning to wake up and to be on the move.

b) Secondly. “The dead in Christ will rise first” (v16). Those Christians who have died since His Resurrection will suddenly be supernaturally changed and will rise to meet the Lord (see v13-15).

c) Thirdly. “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (v17). The generation of Christians who are ready and waiting for His return will also be given supernatural bodies, similar to the resurrected body of Christ. Paul wrote, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump …. We shall be changed” (I Cor 15:52). Somehow God will also supernaturally lift us all off the earth and into the sky at the same time.

d) Fourthly. “And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (v17-18). This wonderful event is something all Christians can look forward to with excitement and anticipation, infact it will be the most important event in our lives. On that day we will see Jesus in all His glory, give an account of our lives and receive rewards from His hands, enter heaven, see loved ones who have passed on and then enter the wonderful dwellings He has prepared specially for each of us – and this will only be the beginning of our life in eternity!

3. JESUS WILL COME AT AN UNEXPECTED TIME.

II Pet 3:8-9. The EarlyChurch were expecting the soon return of Christ. Since then nearly 2,000 years have passed and we could become weary in waiting. His return will come unexpectantly:-

* Nobody but the Father knows the actual timing (Mt 24:36).

* It will be at a time we do not expect (Mt 24:42-44).

* It will be like a snare for those caught unawares (Lk 21:35).

4. JESUS WARNS HIS CHURCH TO BE READY

Lk 21:36. It is wise to listen to and obey this instruction of our Lord.

a) Be diligent in watching our hearts. Lk 21:34. When speaking about His return Jesus said, “remember Lot’s wife” (Lk 17:32). Her heart was still in Sodom, even after she was warned to flee the city.

b) Be diligent in serving. Mt 24:45-51. In this passage Jesus divides His servants into two categories – the “faithful and wise” (v45) and the “evil servant” (v48). Both are given responsibilities (v45), but only the wise are faithful to their Lord’s command and as a result are greatly blessed at His return (v46-47). The “evil servant”, however, has no fear of God, returns to the sins of the world and verbally abuses his fellow servants (v48-49), as a result he is cut off from the rewards and blessings of God (v51).

c) Be diligent in preparing ourselves. Mt 25:1-13. This parable warns the bride to prepare herself for the return of the Bridegroom. Let us note the following points:-

* Jesus is referring to the Church. A “virgin” speaks of a person whose sins are forgiven (II Cor 11:2). Oil speaks of the Holy Spirit. They call Him “Lord” (v11), also they are all looking for the return of Jesus (v1) – only those born again of the Spirit do these.

* Half are wise and prepared because they, “took oil in their vessels with their lamps” (v4).

* Half are foolish and unprepared because they, “took their lamps and took no oil with them” (v3).

* Both the wise and the foolish hear the cry, “Behold the bridegroom is coming, go out to meet him” (v6). All Christians are called to be ready for the coming of the Bridegroom.

* Only the wise are prepared and join the bridegroom, then “the door was shut.” (v10).

* The foolish call out in desperation, “Lord, Lord open to us.” (v11), but it is too late.

* The reply of the bridegroom to the foolish is very significant, “I do not know you” (v12), which means ‘I do not have a deep, intimate relationship with you’. As a result they are left behind (v10).

d) Be diligent in using the gifts He has given us. In Mt 25:14-30 we read that the talents speak of the gifts and ministries the Lord has given to each one of us. There are again two groups of Christians:-

* The “good and faithful servant” (v21). These are given 2 and 5 talents, which they use diligently (v16-17). At the return of the Lord, they will be richly rewarded (v19-23).

* The “wicked and lazy servant” (v26). He is given one talent to use, but instead of using it for the glory of God, he hides it (v18). As a result we can see that such lazy Christians will not only have no reward (v27-29), but will also miss the rapture (v30).

5. RETURN OF JESUS FOR HIS BRIDE – OUR RESPONSE

Rev 19:7. His coming is likened to that of the Bridegroom returning for His bride. She is both preparing herself and is being prepared by the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:25-27). Our response to the following is important:-

a) Am I born again of God’s Spirit? Jn 3:3, 5. It is impossible to partake of the Father’s glorious kingdom in eternity, if we cannot see or enter it!

b) Am I living a holy life? I Jn 3:2-3. The Bible says, “Pursue …. holiness, without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb 12:14) and “Let our whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thess 5:23).

c) Am I diligent in serving the King? Lk 19:16-17. All of us have been given at least one gift with which to bless others and glorify God.

d) Am I putting Him before all else in my life? Heb 9:28. The last words of Jesus in the Bible are, “Surely I am coming quickly” and the joyous reply of the bride is, “Even so come Lord Jesus” (Rev 22:20). The bride will thirst after Christ Himself by spending time daily in prayer, worship and in His Word. To know Him intimately we need to spend time with Him.

Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you. 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” (Jn 14:2-3).

boats 1

Advertisements

womens’ page

marion meyers

Marion Meyers

THE ALTITUDE OF LIFE AND YOUR ATTITUDE

Marion Meyers shares five principles to help us have a Christlike attitude

One definition of attitude is an inward feeling expressed by behaviour. The Oxford Dic­tionary breaks it down into two areas: a settled way of thinking or feeling and a posture of the body. In other words, you wear an attitude; it’s not only inward and hidden, but manifests itself outwardly in all that you do and say.

Our attitudes determine how we handle life, deal with our failures, and manage our relationships. Ultimately, as American author Edwin Cole says, Attitude determines the altitude of life.’

Philippians 2:5-8 tells us that our attitude should be patterned upon Jesus; it is the one underlying principle that we should adhere to in all our relationships. We are instructed to be imitators of Christ and our attitude needs to be a copy of the original. Here are five easy to remember vowels to help you act and respond well in all your relationships: 

Adopt an attitude of appreciation. If you want to be appreciated, make it a daily habit to appreciate, value, affirm and thank others. One of the deep­est needs in human nature is to be appreciated. Whenever you meet someone, try to say something within the first 30 seconds of conversation that shows you appreciate them. It will set the tone for your time together as it will give them a sense of worth. Most of us think wonderful things about people, but they never know it because we are too stingy with our praise.

ENCOURAGE

Appreciate who people are and encourage what they do. We avoid people who put us down and seek out those who believe in us and lift us up. Our close friends are those who encourage us. Serving others and investing in them is not demeaning, but fulfilling and rewarding. Likewise, the un-happiest people are those who wonder how the world is going to make them happy.

INCLINE YOUR EAR

There is a difference between hearing people and really listening to them. Listening is wanting to hear and being interested in what is being said. If you are the type of person who arrives in a room and says, ‘Here I am’ rather than, There you are’, you will always be self-focused and showing honour only to yourself. Listening attentively, carefully and intelligently to others will give them a sense of value. Form a habit of showing an interest in the details of other people’s lives.

OVERLOOK OFFENCE

Pride is often the biggest stumbling block to releasing forgiveness. If you want others to forgive you and take into account your intentions as well as your behaviour, then be quick to forgive. We all have a deep sense of desire for total forgiveness. A forgiving spirit is one of the basic and neces­sary ingredients for a healthy relationship.

UNDERSTAND

Vital to good communication, understanding is essential to a healthy relationship. Don’t be arrogant, thinking that you know it all. Everyone wants to be understood properly, so strive to understand where people are coming from and what their intentions are, not just their outward behaviour. How badly does it hurt and stress you when you feel misunderstood?

If you start obeying God’s Word by appreciating, encouraging, inclining your ear to, overlooking the offences of and understanding others, you will truly have the same mind and attitude as Christ Jesus.

boat 2 

sermon to note

Rev. E. Anderson

THE FAVOUR OF THE LORD

Reading     Luke 2: 40-52

Text          vv40, 52

Introduction

BIBLICAL REVELATION: One of the vital disclosures of the Scriptures both from the Old and New Testaments is that of the revelation of the favour of the Lord. It expresses its greatest manifestation in the life of Jesus Christ and, as God’s Word points out, it was upon and expressed in and through Him at an early period in his earthly life. It affirms: “and the grace of God was upon Him”, and, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” It also worthy of note and consideration that ‘favour’ stands in a healthy relationship with blessing. Where the divine favour is, there will also be the flow and liberal display of blessing. One translation puts it: “and God poured out His blessings on Him.” Without doubt, because the Lord was approved of the Father and appeared in His good graces, He knew what it was to enjoy His boundless blessing both upon His life and work.

It becomes a real focus of attention in the Scriptures and merits inquiry. Looking at the lives of the patriarchs’ one discerns this singular factor. They knew what it was to enter into and experience in a tremendous manner and measure the profusion of the favour of God. This factor marked them out in an outstanding degree. They stood approved and accepted of God and as a result knew what it was to experience not only God’s smile of approval but His rich bounty and goodness. It is quite a thing to be singled out to be the recipient of His favour;

Illustration: Mary – Luke 1: 28, 30 The angel recognised the distinguished grace to this woman

DEFINITION: It is always helpful to know what a word means and be reminded of it from time to time. It proceeds from the Old French favour-em – favere which is ‘to show goodwill to.’ There are many instances in Scriptures where people needed to know what it was to experience the goodwill of God and others – Hannah required it when she was desperate straits concerning her barrenness. Ruth also needed to see the display of it and so in Boaz it was revealed in great measure. So did Esther before her husband, the king. Nehemiah felt he must have it at a significant moment as he appeared before the monarch etc.

GOSPEL OF CHRIST: It is essential to appreciate that the Gospel of Christ is rooted in this divine idea, knowledge and experience – ‘God’s grace and favour.’  In and through Christ and what He has wrought comes the disclosure in an abundant degree the favour of God – Titus 2: 13 “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.” This is the age and period of God’s favour and is known as a time of the dispensation of the grace of God.  It has to be said and recognized that this is the year of the Lord’s favour. One does not have to wait for it: it is here and to be entered into fully. As Christ is received in all of His fullness then there comes the rich demonstration of God’s favour in marked and memorable ways. This unique favour and grace is not only be perceived in Christ alone but to be clearly ministered to us and manifested through us in a marvellous fashion – see John 1: 16 “And of His fullness have all we received, and grace upon grace.” The moment we come into Christ it is in order to participate in all that He is and all He desires to bestow.

1/.  THE FAVOUR IS A SITUATION OF SPECIAL PRIVILEGE AND STATION

This is especially so when considered in relation to God and must be fully perceived and appreciated. There is the concept of partiality and preference implied and manifest within the expression and experience. People are set aside and apart to be the recipients of choice tokens and benefits.

  • It is reflected at an individual level – Genesis 12: 1-4. All will acknowledge without difficulty that Abraham stood in a unique relationship with God. He appears to have been sorted and singled out to know God, and to know the blessing of His favour and goodwill. The history of the man reflects in a personal and power way God’s ability to choose and place a man in a high and favourable position in order to bless and use him in an extraordinary fashion. One thing that registered with this OT saint, patriarch and worthy, was his sense of the position and role given to him. He had a wholesome respect for the Lord and a spiritual awareness of his own special placement before Him.
  • It is revealed on a national plane – Deuteronomy 7:7. Israel as a people held a very singular relation and position with God and He let them know about it. Moses makes the point to them of their special standing with Him – “For you are an holy people unto the LORD your God: the LORD your God hath chosen you to be a special people unto Himself, above all people upon the face of the earth.” Their history, as made known in the Scriptures, makes it plain that they appeared in a close bond with Him and that He had tremendous things to be outworked in and through them. His goodwill can be seen towards them both and word and deed and is apparent that He wanted them to become an outstanding people through His grace and favour. The deliverance from Egypt, preservation in the wilderness, entrance into the Promised Land and greater conquests were a clear demonstration of His love, kindness and grace. He wanted them to become an exhibition model to nations on this front so that all the other nations would become switched on to Him. The seeming exclusiveness was in order to make all the other people and nations inclusive. It was them influencing nations not the other way round.
  • It is manifested in an international position– Ephesians 2. What failed to be realized by the nation, however, has become birthed in and through Christ. By and through Him there comes the abolition and removal of the barrier that existed and He unites all, Jew and Gentile together, so that they can wholly experience God’s favour in a new and marvellous way. He comes to regenerate all men so that they can become one new people in and through Himself so that they can taste God’s grace in a greater capacity and form them into a new community expressing their privileged status. The world of mankind is to be the recipient of this amazing and extraordinary outpouring. The Church of Christ as a composite whole is to know in remarkable ways the disclosure of this privileged position.
  • It is demonstrated at a local stage – Acts 11:23.What is witnessed on a world-wide scale is also to be view at a local level. Each community of saints gathered by Christ unto Himself is called upon to be an expression of this divine standing. When Barnabas came to Antioch to oversee the body of believers there, He beheld what had occurred. The believers had come into this privileged status and experience and it was achieving significant factors. A spiritual sense prevailed in him that here was a community that had grasped the fullness of divine grace and where aware of their new station and vocation.

2/.  THE FAVOUR OF THE LORD IS THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIS KINDNESS  AND GOODNESS 

It has to be underlined what His favour means in spiritual and practical terms: it is the demonstration of His goodwill in deeds and words of kindness. There comes an overflowing of His life and nature to us in Jesus Christ that is to be sensed in so many ways. Expressed in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is the truth of the divine favour and is found in the terms ‘according to the riches of His grace’ – 1: 7.  In 2: 7 it refers to such grace being expressed in kindness through Christ and is revealed in positive acts. There are three basic experiences made known in chapter one that underline this great and initial demonstration of favour.

  • In salvation is known in the forgiveness of sins – 1:7. The first thing that God had to do was to clean us up and cleanse us from the filthy effect of sin in our lives and beings. Sin not only threw man out of favour with God, it also brought a defiled and corrupt state that made man obnoxious. In OT language, he is arrayed in the filthy garments of unrighteousness that makes him off-putting and unwanted. One sees it visibly portrayed in Joshua the high priest – Zechariah 3: 1, 3. In the NT it is portrayed in the untoward state of the returning prodigal – Luke 15: 22.            The priority at the start is to bring about the release, washing and re-robing of being and life so that an apt and appropriate standing can be sensed before God. In 2: 1-3 one sees the vicious circle that the sinner is in till grace moves in terms of forgiveness and new life.

This is somehow gathered up in the hymn: “Jesus your blood and righteousness, My beauty are, my glorious dress” – Isaac Watts

  • In adoption and experience in being placed in the family of God – 1: 5.This unveils the glorious truth and fact of what God the Father has been planning and working from the eternal ages past and is now made manifest in the present. What He has been desirous of and what He wisdom has been determining is the birth and production of a choice divine family that on whom God can confer His blessing. It is a favourable thing to be birthed into His Family in order that He might then further exhibit His favour. This is not something of time born in time but has its origins in eternity. It is not the upshot of a moment but the foresight and intention of eternity pregnant in God the Father, the Eternal One – see John 1: 11, 12.
    •   In confirmation in the bestowment of the Holy Spirit – 1: 13, 14. The grace of His favour is to be noted in the way that He has destined the way that His offspring should be sure of their identity and relationship. There is given the blessing of the Holy Spirit, given as the attestment to the new status wrought. Those who are within His favour are to possess an inward testimony which leaves them in no doubt of the God-relationship. It is His will that His offspring should truly know their divine sonship in order that they can live from this new position and relationship – Romans 8: 15, 16. The purpose is that life and work should be opened up on a much wider and greater front that will give full evidence that His favour and grace has been introduced and is making a bigger valid and valuable contribution.

We are cleansed by the blood and word of God and so divinely cleaned up. We are clothed with the robe of divine righteousness and so are properly and perfectly dressed ready to deal with life. And we are crowned with the Holy Spirit so possessing the divine fragrance and influence.

3/.  THE FAVOUR OF THE LORD IS TO BE MARKED IN GREATER  MEASURE AND WAYS

In moving in grace and favour to achieve these beautiful factors, such is but the foundation and beginning of what He desires to perform in a bigger fashion. Within that favour is a large agenda as far as the Lord is concerned in terms of evidencing His love and goodness in bounteous degree and manner. Salvation, adoption and the blessing of the Holy Spirit are introductory into something much vaster and this must be perceived, believed and entered into. There has to be no staying still or stopping short. What the Lord has in mind embraces both time and eternity and both are integrated in His disposition and doing. The short and the long term are both embraced – Ephesians 2: 1-7. One has been quickened raised and made to sit together with Christ in order to know the blessings of this favourable location. The final consequence is in v7 – “That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches in His kindness toward us through Jesus Christ.” 

Illustration:  It was an act of grace and favour to deliver Israel from Egypt and then to adopt them as His people, but He had something bigger in mind. David was not only interested in raising Mephibosheth but of giving him a glorious future under his favour – 2 Samuel 9.

  • This favour is to be revealed in the fulfilment of so many gracious promises in the now of our existence – 2 Peter 1: 3-4; 2 Corinthians 1: 19-22. The Christian life is to be one full of promise and one that promises divine fullness. The program that the Lord has set is one of bringing so much into being and to pass in the lives and experiences of those that are in association with Him through His Son. A careful examination of the promises of God, assure and guarantee so much here and now for those that are in liaison with His Word and purposes. The divine promises are given not for mere mental consideration and meditation but for actual realization. He seeks to impart and build into those whom He favours the block of His assurances for the life now as well as that which is to come.

“The promises of God are a divine legacy of life and hope that are to be known, believed and experienced to the full. They are like the stars that shine and stand out in the dark night of life, lighting up life and experience with God and His sacred assurances”.

Some are more vivid than others, like the pole star, whilst others other appear in cluster and there are those as pin heads but all make up the spiritual constellation, but all have a real part to play. Through them there is a partaken of His divine nature but that, also, there should be an entrance into all that the promises guarantee – e.g. – Psalm 23 gives such a cluster of the divine titles that promises much. It holds much in sacred and sure promise and hope.

  • The favour of the Lord is to be seen and witness in the total development of our characters so that we become perfected in the best way and like Him – 2 Peter 5-8; Romans 8: 29. His objective is that there will be in evidence a constant change for the better as He graces life with His presence, power and providence. The challenge is not only initial conversion but the complete and full transformation of the person so that it truly takes on the full, divine image and likeness. Grace is able to bring us on and forward until we absorb and reveal Christ in a fuller way.

“Grace taught my wandering feet  To tread the heavenly road, And new supplies each hour I meet,   While pressing up to God.”    P. Doddridge

  • The favour of the Lord is that this is but preparation for something bigger that He has in view in the eternal world – 1 Corinthians 2: 9, 10; Matthew 25: 14-46. The Lord always has the end and long term vision and purpose in view. Whilst engaged in the present time existence His plans move on to a more permanent and increased feature of grace and glory. His overall plan is ‘to bring many sons to glory’ that He might extend and increase the riches and benefits of His grace. In no way is He going to fail, alter or stop short until He achieves this because He wills to demonstrate His kindness and goodness on a far greater scale.

There has to be the forward looking factor within those who are the participants of grace now” –

4/.  THE FAVOUR OF THE LORD IS TO DEMONSTRATED THROUGH US

It has to be noted and truly realised that this favour and grace is not a one-sided matter. There has to be the recognition that His grace comes to and “That man is worthless who knows how to receive a favour, but not how to return one”      –    Plautus 

Let us to ignite and initiate works of grace through us. The matter is not static but dynamic. Divine favour places us in a Christian body and community with a ministry of grace so that we can serve with divine gifts of a varied order that expresses the divine favour to others. It does not become locked up in the individual but is to be revealed in varied ways. The favour of the Lord is that we might be the recipient of grace gifts that will aid us in functioning within His body in a positive, spiritual and practical manner in increasing ways – 1 Corinthians 12-14; Ephesians 4; Romans 12. There is a clear directive given as to where grace is to be directed and employed.

  • The workmanship of God in His grace is to create a people that are committed and devoted to good works – Ephesians 2: 10.  What the Lord wills and chooses to see reflected in His own offspring through Christ is His boundless love, kindness and favour. Sin makes people graceless and like the opposition, the devil. The purpose of regeneration is to produce a new kind of people, inspired by His grace, that desires to do good and enrich others. No longer is the person imbued with a spirit of selfishness but selflessness. There is a new man with a new self but it is not in any away governed by selfish interest and desire. The impulsion and compulsion is altogether different: it is no longer of a natural order, it is divine; no longer carnal but spiritual.
  • This is motivated to the world at large, and especially to those in the family of God – Galatians 6: 10.  Grace releases so that it can embrace those that are in direct opposition to it. It is not hemmed in to any sinful bias or prejudice but is free to exercise and exhibited itself to those that would conflict it but shows its ministry and mastery – Romans 12: 14-21. It possesses the capacity to go the extra mile and do the unique and extraordinary thing – Matthew 5:38-48. The world is to feel and sense the impact and inroads of the dispensation of God’s favour. It is also expressed especially to those who are within the household of faith. There are some classic examples in NT – Barnabas, Dorcas, Lydia, Priscilla and Aquilla, Onesiphorus etc. The word of god’s grace and favour states: “Distributing to the necessity of the saints; given to hospitality” – Romans 12: 13. The most winsome attitude to be seen in the Christian Church, and certainly at aa local level, is the profusion of God’s favour and grace. It must influence life and labour.

“O let Thy grace Thy grace inspire”  – Philip Doddridge

5/.  THE FAVOUR OF THE LORD CONCLUDES IN GREAT GLORY TO HIM

What grace truly does is make God the focus and reveals the outstanding quality characteristic of His being. The attention is directed towards Him and all are compelled to consider what moves and motivates Him at all times. 

  • He is referred to in Scriptures as the God of all grace – 1 Peter 5: 5.There is no deficiency with God on this front, only an all sufficiency. He is full of grace and favour and it is the one thing that He loves to demonstrate and in the birth of the Christian Church He has manifested it in a marked degree. There is no limit to what His grace can bring about in the raising of a sinner to sainthood and sonship and to give such fantastic prospects. Peter, to a large degree, knew what it was to come to know the God of all grace and now focussed in on this particular aspect. There is a need to glory not only in grace but the God of all grace because we have tasted it in no small measure.
  • As His grace abounds in us then His glory should abound through us at all times and in everything 1 Peter 3: 18.  The plea is to make sure that we “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This growth and development in the likeness of God through His input and inspiration must conclude in the magnification of Him and His nature. It should be inevitable that the consequence just extends God and this noble and honourable characteristic. Paul discovered that when he was put under extreme trial and pressure the release of divine grace and favour enabled him to glorify God all the more. The weakened situation he found himself in gave opportunity for God to show the grace of His grace and the grace of His strength and so was glorified all the more by this process and procedure – 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10. Paul discovered that his problem and painful experiences gave opportunity to glorify God’s favour and grace all the more.

CONCLUSION

There are things that must regulate our thought and action in relation to this wonderful factor.

  • We must appreciate that this is the time of the Lord’s favour and grace.  The spiritual faith and conviction must dominate our consideration in this particular factor. It is not postponed to certain time periods in the future but it is an integral and important fact and force in God’s dealings here and now. The whole truth has to be grasped in the immediate and allowed to formulate life and conduct.
    • We must make sure that we do not receive His grace in vain knowing the loss to be sustained if we do.  This means that it is possible to permit the favour and grace of God to be wasted on us by reason of our negligence and lack of spiritual sensitivity. It must assume reality and be a driving spirit and truth always. 
    • We must apply ourselves to allow His grace and favour to have maximum inroad and impact and keep divinely motivated by its dynamic and inspiration.  No matter how much His favour and grace has invaded and affected our lives and ministries there is so much more that God desires should be released and produced. Grace must abound so that we abound in it and thus reach the destined end planned by God.

 

wisdom’s ways

Rev. A. Linford

BE DILIGENT

“Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks”Proverbs 27:23-27

The wise man condemns that spirit of laisse-faire that characterises so many people. You have flocks – care for them: you have prospects – nurture them: you have abilities – use them. Diligence is the path to prosperity.

BE SENSIBLE IN YOUR APPROACH TO LIFE. “Riches are not forever”. A bank balance must be maintained by frequent in-payments. You cannot draw unless you deposit. So is life. The world does not owe you a living, you must earn it: and in that earning you develop character as well as gain profit. The “crown” of success can be lost in one generation – or even in less time. A farmer successfully manages his estate, a fool of a son neglects it: a business-man piles up a heap of gold, a prodigal son scatters it to the winds. But a diligent man not only woos the present, he wins the future by sensible foresight.

BE SEASONABLE IN YOUR ACTIVITIES OF LIFE. The seasons produce their “tender grass” for herd and flock, and the “hay” for winters sparse and stormy days. To know and exploit the seasons is the mark of a wise and workful man. He toils when he should: he relaxes when he may. At the appropriate time he strips the hillside of fodder for future needs, at the right season he sows the seeds to grow by nature’s laws. He becomes a servant of the soil that he may be master of its produce.

BE SUCCESSFUL IN YOUR APPLICATION OF LABOUR. The diligent man will fleece his sheep to clothe his family, milk his goats to feed his household with butter, curds and cheese, and maintain his ménage throughout the year with needful, nourishing and acceptable comestibles.

Modern life may not provide rural employment and amenities for all. Some are condemned to existence far from fresh fields, growing crops and wooded vales. But diligence can still secure benefits, and, opportunity provided, a man who is prepared to toil wisely and well can still build up sufficient substance to nurture a family and provide for future contingencies.

PRAYER:

May I never fail through lack of effort, O Lord!

sermon starters

Rev. E. Anderson

This is a simple outline for you to think about and meditate on. The introduction, main thoughts and conclusion need further material to be added. It is an outline for you to expand, develop more fully and fill in to spiritual profit and inspiration.

THE ULTIMATE VISION ISAIAH 16-20

The messenger of the Lord in this section has much to predict with regard to a number of nations showing what is to be their lot: Moab, Damascus, Israel, Ethiopia and Egypt, in the main a great deal of it is of judgements but here and there in some cases he reveals some good prospects. Most is doom and gloom but there are occasional hope granted of a good and godly order that is to occur at the end. There is, quite remarkably and unexpectedly, a gem that shines out with regard to the ultimate vision and hope for God’s people in chapter 16: 4,5. Somehow a glorious shaft of light shines through to the seer and he beholds a definite certainty concerning the elect household that offers much assurance in the time of untold turbulence regarding nations. They are not to be left in the dark without some assurance. There are two main considerations: the when and the then, the time sequence and the real consequence.

1/. THE TIME SEQUENCE OF THE VISION – v4

It affirms: “When oppression and destruction have ceased and enemy raiders have disappeared.” This discloses very important factors: one, that God’s people will be subjected to continual invasion difficulty and conflict. There will be inevitably the relentless effort by enemies and opponents to reduce them to nothing and make life and existence difficult. They will never be able to be at ease because there will be the constant threat of oppressors. This has been their lot throughout history. The records reveals that their existence has been one tortured by those who will her removal. Even now this is the case.

Two, that ultimately it is going to come to an end. It will not last forever because there is to be a divine intervention that is to change their fortunes. The when suggests a time factor. There is going to be a tremendous finale to the oppressors and the oppression. They are to disappear and something new and fabulous is to be known that spells well for all their future.

2/.  THE REAL CONSEQUENCE OF THE VISION-v5

It declares: “Then David’s throne will be established in love . . .”. There will come into being of a person of the Davidic order and procedure. A King and kingdom will appear of tremendous significance and worth. This can relate to none other than the Messiah, Jesus Christ. There will not be a throne but a worthy and unique monarch on the throne – Psalm 2 & 110: 1. Christ is to come and espouse the cause of this oppressed people and institute His rule.

What a rule and kingdom it will be! It will be one of love, justice and righteousness. No wonder the principal city is called Jerusalem – the city of peace and righteousness because He is none other then Jehovah Shalom and Zidkenu. Everything that secures its well being and prospect is founded by Him.

CONCLUSION

There is to be intervention and there will be no King or Kingdom like His!

 

powerful quotes

Rev. Leigh Goodwin

POWERFUL QUOTES 

BAPTISM (WATER)

During the course of his sermon at a baptismal service, the minister looked down at the water in the baptistery and said, “There is nothing magical about this water. It is the same water that we shall use to make the coffee with later!”

BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT

“To lead a person to Christ & not to bring them into the experience of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is like recruiting someone for the army & not providing them with adequate weapons”  -(Michael Harper)

One little girl once prayed “Lord fill me with your Spirit. I can’t hold much but I can overflow a lot.”

BEATTITUDES

THE DEVIL’S BEATTITUDES

Blessed are they who are too tired & too busy to go to church on Sunday, for they are my best workers.

Blessed are they who are bored with the minister’s mannerisms & mistakes, for they get nothing out of the sermon.

Blessed is the church member who expects to be invited to his own church for he is part of the problem instead of the solution.

Blessed are they who gossip, for they cause strife & divisions that please me.

Blessed are they who are easily offended, for they soon get angry & quit.

Blessed are they who do not give their offerings to carry on God’s work for they are my best helpers.

Blessed is he who professes to love God but hates his brother & sister, for he shall be with me forever.

Blessed are the trouble- makers, for they shall be called children of the devil.

Blessed is he who has no time to pray, for he will be easy prey.

(Douglas Parsons, Pulpit Helps)

“Blessed are the flexible for they shall not break” – Don Price- YWAM

BEAUTY

In her book `God by moonlight’, Amy Carmichael describes an Atlas moth emerging from it’s cocoon in the mountain forests west of Dohnaiur, India. She writes, “It hangs from a twig, like a small brown bag…. & however often we see it we are never prepared for the miracle that emerges… it has wings of crimson & pink, & blended green of various stones, shading off into terracotta, brown old-gold. Each wing has a window made of clear substance like a delicate flake of talc, & on the edge of each is a pattern of wavy lines or dots, or some other dainty device. From wing tip to wing tip, nine, sometimes ten, inches of beauty, one of God’s lovely wonders – that is what comes out of the brown paper bag.” There is an even greater miracle for the Christian – 1John 3:2 & 1 Cor.15: 52.

“Beauty without virtue is a flower without perfume“ –  (French proverb)

 

prayer dynamics

Rev. E. Anderson

EMERGENCY SERVICE

Taken from the Word for Today

“For we do not know what we should pray for . . .” – Romans 8; 26 NKJV 

PRAYER works like the 999 emergency system. All you need to do is dial those numbers and you’re instantly connected to an operator who is trained to keep calm in emergency situations and is able to connect with the emergency service required to help straight away. You might not be able to say what the problem is. Perhaps a loved one has just suffered a beart attack and you are so out of control that all you can do is scream into the telephone. No problem. The operator doesn’t need all the details. He knows where the call is coming from, and help is on the way.

There are times in our desperation and pain when we pray 999 prayers. We’re overwhelmed. Sometimes we don’t the words to speak. But God hears. He knows our name and situation. Help is on the way; He’s already begun to bring the remedy. ‘Likewise the Spirit helps in our weaknesses for we do not what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now he who searches the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit is, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” vv26-28NKJV. Speaking of prayer, John Bunyan said, ‘In prayer it is better to have a heart without words, than words without a heart’.

points to ponder

Rev. E. Anderson

WATCH  YOUR  HATRED

A young lady named Sally relates an experience she had in a seminary class given by her teacher, Dr. Smith. She says that Dr. Smith was known for his elaborate object lessons. One particular day, Sally walked into the seminary and knew they were in for a fun day.

On the wall was a big target and on a nearby table were many darts. Dr. Smith told the students to draw a picture of someone that they disliked or someone who had made them angry, and he would allow them to throw darts at the picture.

Sally’s friend drew a picture of the woman who had stolen her boyfriend. Another friend drew a picture of his little brother. Sally drew a picture of a former friend, putting a great deal of detail in her drawing, even drawing pimples on the face. Sally was pleased with her overall effect she had achieved.

The class lined up and began throwing darts. Some of the students threw their darts with such force that their targets were ripping apart. Sally looked forward to her turn, and was filled with disappointment when Dr. Smith, because of time limits, asked the students to return to their seats. As Sally sat thinking about how angry she was because she didn’t have a chance to throw any darts at her target, Dr. Smith began removing the target from the wall.

Underneath the target was a picture of Jesus. A hush fell over the room as each student viewed the mangled picture of Jesus. Holes and jagged marks covered his face and His eyes were pierced.

Dr, Smith said only these words: “In as much as you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me” – Matthew 25: 40

pastor’s weekly thought

Rev. Ian Williams

PRAYER AND ACTION

Nehemiah was a man of prayer and action who rose up, saw a need, captured a vision, laid out a plan and mobilised others to help him! Nehemiah was heartbroken after hearing news that his home city lay in ruins, a mocking point for other nations. However this news challenged Nehemiah to take action by completing an amazing rebuild project of the city walls in just 52 days!

Nehemiah achieved his vision by:

  • Identifying the problem and taking the initiative
  • Developing, managing and executing his vision plan
  • Approaching key influencers to help
  • Stationing workers in logical positions
  • Motivating and encouraging workers to complete their task
  • Choosing not to be distracted by the opposition and ridicule of the spectator

I am convinced as we become men and women of prayer and action we will see our community transformed on a scale like never before.

 

past illustrious ministries

Edward Irving – (1792-1834)

The first report of speaking in tongues in Britain which laid the foundation of British Pentecostalism.

YOUTH

Edward Irving was born at Annan, Annandale. On his father’s side, who followed the occupation of a tanner, he was descended from a family long known in the district which had ties to French Huguenot refugees. His mother’s side, the Lowthers, were farmers or small proprietors in Annandale. The first stage of his education was passed at a school kept by Peggy Paine, a relation of Thomas Paine of the Age of Reason, after which he entered the Annan Academy taught by Adam Hope, of whom there is a graphic sketch in the Reminiscences of Thomas Carlyle.

 

SCOTLAND

 

At the age of thirteen he entered the University of Edinburgh. In 1809 he graduated M.A.; and in 1810, on the recommendation of Sir John Leslie, he was chosen master of an academy newly established at Haddington, East Lothian, where he became the tutor of Jane Welsh, afterwards famous as Mrs Carlyle, one of the great letter-writers of the nineteenth century. 

He became engaged in 1812 to Isabella Martin, whom, in 1823, he married; but it may be at once stated here that meanwhile he gradually fell in love with Jane Welsh, and she with him. He tried to get out of his engagement with Miss Martin, but was prevented by her family. It was Irving, ironically, who in 1821 had introduced Thomas Carlyle, the essayist, to her.

 

(Confusingly, Irving was also influential in the life of another Scottish Thomas Carlyle, born a few years later, whom he eventually gave a position of some responsibility within his new church.[1]) 

His appointment at Haddington he exchanged for a similar one at Kirkcaldy, Fife, in 1812. Completing his divinity studies by a series of partial sessions, he was licensed to preach in June 1815, but continued to discharge his scholastic duties for three years. He devoted his leisure, not only to mathematical and physical science, but to a course of reading in English literature, his bias towards the antique in sentiment and style being strengthened by a perusal of the older classics, among whom Richard Hooker was his favorite author. At the same time his love of the marvellous found gratification in the wonders of the Arabian Nights, and it is further characteristically related of him that he used to carry continually in his waistcoat pocket a miniature copy of Ossian, passages from which he frequently recited with sonorous elocution and vehement gesticulation.

 

In the summer of 1818, he resigned his mastership and, in order to increase the probability of obtaining a permanent appointment in the Church of Scotland, took up his residence in Edinburgh. Although his exceptional method of address seems to have gained him the qualified approval of certain dignitaries of the church, the prospect of his obtaining a settled charge seemed as remote as ever. He was meditating a missionary tour in Persia when his departure was arrested by steps taken by Thomas Chalmers which, after considerable delay, resulted in October 1819 in Irving being appointed his assistant and missionary in St John’s parish, Glasgow. 

Except in the case of a select few, Irving’s preaching awakened little interest among the congregation of St John’s. Chalmers himself, with no partiality for its bravuras and flourishes, compared it to Italian music, appreciated only by connoisseurs; but as a missionary among the poorer classes he wielded an influence that was altogether unique. The benediction “Peace be to this house”, with which, in accordance with apostolic usage, he greeted every dwelling he entered, was not inappropriate to his figure and aspect, and it is said he took the people’s attention wonderfully, the more especially after the magic of his personality found opportunity to reveal itself in close and homely intercourse.

LONDON

This half-success in a subordinate sphere was, however, so far from coinciding with his aspirations that he had again, in the winter of 1821, begun to turn his attention towards missionary labour in the East, when the possibility of fulfilling the dream of his life was suddenly revealed to him by an invitation from the Caledonian Church, Hatton Garden, London, to make trial and proof of his gifts before the remnant of the congregation that held together. 

Over that charge, he was ordained in July 1822. Some years previously, he had expressed his conviction that one of the chief needs of the age was to make inroad after the alien, to bring in the votaries of fashion, of literature, of sentiment, of policy and of rank, who are content in their several idolatries to do without piety to God and love to Him whom He hath sent; and, with an abruptness which must have produced on him at first an effect almost astounding, he now had the satisfaction of beholding these various votaries thronging to hear from his lips the words of wisdom which would deliver them from their several idolatries and remodel their lives according to the fashion of apostolic times.

 

This sudden leap into popularity seems to have been occasioned in connection with a veiled allusion to Irving’s striking eloquence made in the House of Commons by Calming, who had been induced to attend his church from admiration of an expression in one of his prayers, quoted to him by Sir James Mackintosh. His commanding stature, the symmetry of his form, the dark and melancholy beauty of his countenance, rather rendered piquant than impaired by an obliquity of vision, produced an imposing impression even before his deep and powerful voice had given utterance to its melodious thunders; and harsh and superficial half-truths enunciated with surpassing ease and grace of gesture, and not only with an air of absolute conviction but also with the authority of a prophetic messenger, in tones whose magical fascination was inspired by an earnestness beyond all imitation of art, acquired a plausibility and importance which, at least while the orator spoke, made his audience entirely forgetful of their preconceived objections against them. The subject-matter of his orations, and his peculiar treatment of his themes, no doubt also, at least at first, constituted a considerable part of his attractive influence. 

He had specially prepared himself, as he thought, for teaching imaginative men, and political men, and legal men, and scientific men who bear the world in hand; and he did not attempt to win their attention to abstract and worn-out theological arguments, but discussed the opinions, the poetry, the politics, the manners and customs of the time, and this not with philosophical comprehensiveness, not in terms of warm eulogy or measured blame, but of severe satire varied by fierce denunciation, and with a specific minuteness which was concerned primarily with individuals.

 

A fire of criticism from pamphlets, newspapers and reviews opened on his volume of Orations, published in 1823; but the excitement produced was merely superficial and essentially evanescent. Though cherishing a strong antipathy to the received ecclesiastical formulas, Irving’s great aim was to revive the antique style of thought and sentiment which had hardened into these formulas, and by this means to supplant the new influences, the accidental and temporary moral shortcomings of which he detected with instinctive certainty, but whose profound and real tendencies were utterly beyond the reach of his conjecture. 

Being thus radically at variance with the main current of the thought of his time, the failure of the commission he had undertaken was sooner or later inevitable; and shortly after the opening of his new church in Regent Square in 1827, he found that fashion had taken its departure, and the church, though always well filled, was no longer crowded. By this desertion his self-esteem, one of his strongest passions, though curiously united with singular sincerity and humility, was doubtless hurt to the quick; but the wound inflicted was of a deeper and deadlier kind, for it confirmed him finally in his despair of the world’s gradual amelioration, and established his tendency towards supernaturalism.

Forerunner of the Catholic Apostolic Church

 

For years the subject of prophecy had occupied much of his thoughts, and his belief in the near approach of the second advent had received such wonderful corroboration by the perusal of the work of a Jesuit priest, Manuel Lacunza, writing under the assumed Jewish name of Juan Josafat Ben-Ezra, that in 1827 he published a translation of it, accompanied with an eloquent preface. Probably the religious opinions of Irving, originally in some respects more catholic and truer to human nature than generally prevailed in ecclesiastical circles, had gained breadth and comprehensiveness from his intercourse with Samuel Taylor Coleridge but gradually his chief interest in Coleridge’s philosophy centred round what was mystical and obscure, and to it in all likelihood may be traced his initiation into the doctrine of millenarianism.

 

It was through Irving that Lacunza’s theory was introduced to the early leaders of the Plymouth Brethren such as John Nelson Darby, who had attended one of the conferences on biblical prophecy at Powerscourt House (the home of Lady Powerscourt) and various other localities in County Wicklow from 1830 to 1840. The Letters and Papers of Lady Powerscourt has been published.[1] 

The first stage of his later development which resulted in the establishment of the Irvingite or Holy Catholic Apostolic Church in 1832 was associated with the Albury Conferences at his friend Henry Drummond‘s seat, Albury Park at Albury, Surrey concerning unfulfilled prophecy, followed by an almost exclusive study of the prophetical books and especially of the Apocalypse, and by several series of sermons on prophecy both in London and the provinces. His apocalyptic lectures in 1828 crowding the largest churches of Edinburgh on summer mornings.[2]

 

In 1830, however, there was opened up to his ardent imagination a new vista of things spiritual, a new hope for the age in which he lived, by the revival in a remote corner of Scotland of those apostolic gifts of prophecy and healing which he had already in 1828 persuaded himself had only been kept in abeyance by the absence of faith. 

At once, he welcomed the new powers with an unquestioning evidence that could be shaken by neither the remonstrances nor the desertions of his dearest friends, the recantation of some of the principal agents of the gifts, his own decent into a subordinate position, the meagre and barren results of the manifestations, nor their general rejection both by the church and the world. His excommunication by the presbytery of London in 1830 for publishing his doctrines of the humanity of Jesus Christ, and the condemnation of these opinions by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in the following year, were secondary episodes that only affected the main issue of his career insofar as they further isolated him from the sympathy of the church; but the irregularities connected with the manifestation of the gifts gradually estranged the majority of his own congregation, and on the complaint of the trustees to the presbytery of London, whose authority they had formerly rejected, he was declared unfit to remain the minister of the National Scotch Church of Regent Square.

 

After he and those who adhered to him (describing themselves as of the Holy Catholic Apostolic Church) had in 1832 removed to a new building in Newman Street, he was, in March 1833, deposed from the ministry of the Church of Scotland by the Presbytery of Annan on the original charge of heresy. With the sanction of the power, he was now, after some delay, reordained chief pastor of the church assembled in Newman Street, but unremitting labours and ceaseless spiritual excitement soon completely exhausted the springs of his vital energy. He died, worn out and wasted with labour and absorbing care while still in the prime of life, 7 December 1834. He is buried in the crypt of Glasgow Cathedral near to the tomb of St. Mungo.

 

 

« Older entries