A Series Investigating The Second Parts of Paul’s Epistles to learn how being in a New Covenant Union with Christ is going to transform your life.
Last Sunday Morning
Last Sunday’s Sermon
A regular occurrence in Pickering Market Place. Unfortunately!
This ancient Market Town wasn’t designed with motorists in mind, so when too many of them want to traverse its Market Place there is gridlock.
The number of older residents means there’s a higher than average number of disabled drivers for whom double yellow lines are a parking space. Add to them delivery vehicles and those who think the highway code is for other people, and scenes like this become a daily event.
For all our intelligence, ingenuity, and technology there are times when we get stuck.
Jesus’ Parable about the LOST sheep, coin and son in Luke’s Gospel chapter fifteen inform us that its our choices that get us in trouble, and that only when we are ready to admit we’ve come to an end of ourselves can our mess be untangled.
The sheep was lost because it was silly, the coin through someone’s negligence, but the boy is lost because he chooses to get far away from all who love and care for him.
Luke 15:14–16 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.
He’s fallen out of the good life, into a world where pigs eat better than he does! He’s in a jam!!
Back in the Market Place, there was a lot of maneuvering going on, and some even had to go into reverse.
As drivers acknowledged their mistakes, one by one the mess was unraveled and order was restored.
We don’t know how long the boy in Jesus’ parables was stuck at the end of his line, but we do know that when ‘he came to his senses’ he could see the way out: –
Admit He Was Wrong, Go Back Home and Cast Himself Upon His Father’s Mercy.
Jesus calls it ‘repentance’ – A change of heart that results in a change of mind and then of direction.
Matthew 4:17 (NKJV) From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Luke 5:32 (NKJV) I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
Luke 13:3 (NKJV) I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.To repent is to change your mind. However, this only defines the word, not the concept, for you need to ask, Change your mind about what? … If repentance is understood to mean changing your mind about your sin—being sorry for your sin—this will not necessarily save. There are plenty of criminals in and out of jails who are repentant in this sense. They are sorry for making certain mistakes, but this does not mean they give up a life of crime. People can be sorry for their sins without wanting to accept the forgiveness of a Saviour. But if repentance means changing your mind about the particular sin of rejecting Christ, then that kind of repentance saves, and of course it is the same as faith in Christ. C. C. Ryrie Repentance isn’t feeling. It is turning from sin to God. One of the best definitions was given by a soldier. Some one asked him how he was converted. He said:
“The Lord said to me, Halt! Attention! Right about face! March! and that was all there was in it.” D. L. Moody
The Way Out of His Jam was to turn from the tangled mess he’d made of his dead end life and go home!
Believing his father would receive him, he’s ready to consign himself to the most menial tasks necessary – To his great delight and benefit – When he reaches home there’s a welcome and he’s embraced as a long lost son.
This Is Jesus Message for All of Us –
Left to ourselves we get get into such a jam that there’s no way forward, someone has to give way – and when you do you will find the relief and freedom of forgiveness and restoration to the family of the God and Father of all mankind.
Luke 15:21–24 (NKJV) And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.
ISN’T IT ABOUT TIME
YOU RETURNED HOME?
The Older One Imagines They Know All There Is To Know About God.
This was certainly the case with the elderly man who thought he’d have the last word by asking about the old chestnut: ‘Where did Cain get his wife if Adam and Eve only had two sons?’
Apparently it had been enough to silence the priest during their preparations for his wedding. Shame on him!
But, then when I told him the answer to his conundrum, instead of admitting he was wrong and exploring the truth, he walked away, it was just an excuse!
Romans 1:20–21 (NKJV) For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
You will find the answer to this question and thousands of others here:
The Delusion of the 60+ generation is tragic!
War, Politics, Hardship, Family illness or tragedy, they all conspire to harden their unbelieving hearts. Add to this the utter confusion brought about by Liberal Christians, it’s no wonder the Established Churches are closing down!
Two wrongs don’t make a right, but they make a good excuse. —THOMAS SZASZ, TheSecond SinIt is never too late if we want to pursue a goal. No one can plead old age as an excuse for not changing, not learning a new habit, or not becoming a Christian. We still eat in old age, and sleep, and think. Why can’t we change habits in our senior years?
CONTRAST HIM WITH THESE LADS:
They’d stopped to take a leaflet, and after a few minutes stood to listen to the Gospel.
Here they learned that all are equally sinners, that God holds each individual responsible for their sin, and that unresolved sin would mean eternal separation from God in hell.
Then they heard the great Good News of God’s resolving the sin of believers through the work of Jesus Christ, whereby He paid our penalty and now sets free from sin and judgment all those who will take Him at His word, repent and believe on Him as Saviour. So Simple, yet So Hard to Accept.
You can watch a presentation of this Gospel Message here:
These lads listened respectfully, said they’d never heard this before and went off home. I pray that we will hear from them again soon.
WHAT A CONTRAST – I WISH MORE WOULD AT LEAST LISTEN
We are not out to force people to conform to our opinion, but to ask them to honestly consider the Good News.
Romans 6:23 (NKJV) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
A Free Gift
Remember, salvation is a free gift, and it is a free gift for us. Can you buy it? It is a free gift, presented to “whosoever” will accept it.
Suppose I were to say, I will give this Bible to “whosoever” will take it; what have you got to do? Why, nothing but take it. But a man comes forward, and says:
“I’d like that Bible very much.”
“Well, didn’t I say ‘whosoever’ will can have it?”
“Yes; but I’d like to have you mention my name.”
“Well, here it is.”
Still he keeps eyeing the Bible, and saying, “I’d like to have that Bible; but I’d like to give you something for it. I don’t like to take it for nothing.”
“But I am not here to sell Bibles; take it, if you want it.”
“Well, I want it; but I’d like to give you something for it. Let me give you a cent for it; though, to be sure, it’s worth about five dollars.”
Suppose I accept the cent; the man takes up the Bible and marches away home with it.
His wife asks, “Where did you get that Bible?”
“Oh, I bought it.”
Mark the point; when he gave the penny, it ceased to be a gift. So with salvation. If you were to pay ever so little, it would not be a gift.
D. L. Moody
HOW OUR COUNTRY
Where once dirt, soot and pollution were accepted as normal, now everyone is alert to the problem of global warming.
Today, such emissions would only be accepted as a tourist attraction run by enthusiasts of a former time.
Clean air and control of carbon emissions are accepted as normal, allowing us to enjoy a far better living environment.
THERE IS A FORM OF POLLUTION
WHICH IS ON THE INCREASE.
The pollution and corruption of the human heart and mind.
A young man stood reading the book titles from a distance:
When I approached him and offered a leaflet, he declined, so I asked what he had been looking at and thinking about. “I was wondering who this ‘John Blanchard’ is”?I was able to explain that he is an author who writes to defend the Christian Faith.
This is how he’s described on his web site:
Dr. John Blanchard is an internationally known Christian preacher, teacher, apologist and author. He has written 30 books, including two of Britain’s most widely used evangelistic presentations, Right With God and the booklet Ultimate Questions. The latter has over fourteen million copies in print in about 60 languages. His major book Does God believe in Atheists?, published in 2000, was voted ‘Best Christian Book’ in the 2001 UK Christian Book Awards, and immediately became a best-seller, described as ‘a brilliant defense of belief in God’. Other books he has written include: Truth for Life, Whatever Happened to Hell, Meet the Real Jesus, and The Beatitudes for Today. Dr. Blanchard is now heavily committed to Popular Christian Apologetics, a project involving writing, speaking, teaching and broadcasting in defense of the Christian faith. Following on from Does God Believe in Atheists? further books in the series include, Has Science got rid of God?, Is God past His sell-by Date?, Meet the Real Jesus, Is Anybody Out There?, Where Do We Go From Here?, Evolution: Fact or Fiction?, Why Believe the Bible?, Why on Earth did Jesus Come?, Why the Cross? and JESUS: Dead or Alive? Click here to find out more about this project or browse the links on the right. John Blanchard is a member of Banstead Community Church, located in the Surrey village in which he lives.
Interested in reading one of them? Simply request it by email, remember to include your address, and I’ll have one sent.
When I offered him any or all of the books on view free of charge, the pollution revealed itself.
“I’m one of those Atheists, I think the Bible is a fairy tale and Religion is rubbish”. I was quickly able to point out that the very opposite was true, but his mind had been polluted, no longer able to think for himself, he turned and walked away. This pollution is spreading fast as ignorance of God, and confusion of gods is on the increase.
Psalm 14:1a The fool has said in his heart,“There is no God.”
Romans 1:18–23 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
George Bernard Shaw(July 26, 1856–November 2, 1950),wrote: The science to which I pinned my faith is bankrupt. Its counsels, which should have established the millennium, have led directly to the suicide of Europe. I believed them once. In their name I helped to destroy the faith of millions of worshipers in the temples of a thousand creeds, and now they look at me and witness the great tragedy of an atheist who has lost his faith.”
Yet there is hope for all, let them once see the irrationality of unbelief, call on Christ and they and their world will be freed from the pollution of the sin of unbelief.
Put Him to the test, you will find what billions have discovered down through the ages, He cleanses and purifies men and will ultimately purge the universe of all pollution.
Matthew 11:28 (NKJV) Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
John 6:37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.
The moment you repent open your heart and invite Christ in, He cleanses you so absolutely that “though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18). He removes your sin “as far as the east is from the west” (Ps. 103:12), and then casts them “into the depths of the sea” (Mic. 7:19). He says, “I will remember their sin no more” (Jer. 31:34).
When you were saved, He made you absolutely pure so that you can enter into the presence of God covered in His absolute righteousness: “For he has made him, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor. 5:21). When you were saved, you were absolutely purified. Past, present, and future, every sin was done away with, and forever you’ll be pure.
STEAM, SMOKE AND SOOT – Wonderful!
Great Fiery Monsters Create a Sense of Admiration.
A Testimony To Human Genius and It’s Limitations.
Almost Every Vehicle in Town Today has had to be Saved from the Scrap Heap and Restored.
The People Come in Droves to Reminisce and Admire.
GOD, WHO GAVE MAN THE BRAINS AND SKILL, IS ALSO IN THE RESTORATION BUSINESS!
As ‘The Master Engineer’ He knows that you need a sound power unit before He manufactures a new chassis, body and wheels.
Ezekiel 36:26 (NKJV) I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
1 Corinthians 15:51–52 (NKJV) Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Acts 4:12 (NKJV) Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
Acts 16:31 (NKJV) So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
God has been in the business of restoration and maintenance from the beginning of life as we know it. You must be overhauled by Him or end up on the scrap heap of life.
HE’S OPEN FOR BUSINESS.
Are you just going to stand and watch or will you put yourself in His hands for a total overhaul?
If a tramp comes to us in dire need, down and out, in rags and tatters, and sick, even starving, it will be good to give him a bath and a change of clothing, but not enough. For he is ill and undernourished. So, in addition, he needs food and hospital treatment. Similarly, we come to Christ down and out, in the rags and tatters of our sin, spiritually sick and starving. In Christ, we are at once made welcome and accepted, and given a bath and a change of clothes. God sees us as righteous in Christ. This is our new status. But it is only the beginning. The Good Physician knows we are sick. So he puts His Spirit within us to give us new life and health, and He feeds us with His Word until we grow strong and vigorous. There are no half-measures with Him.
ANSWERS TO LIFE’S ULTIMATE QUESTION:
What Happens Next!
The Grand Journey of Life Moves on Relentlessly
OLD CARS CAN BE RESTORED:
BUT WHAT HAPPENS TO PEOPLE?
No, we are not left to guess, our Maker and Designer has spoken plainly.
Romans 2:4-6 do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honour, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honour, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
HOW CAN ANYONE PREPARE FOR THAT DAY?
That’s the purpose of the Bible and all that other literature on the table – it’s time to ‘HELP YOUR SELF’.
I was weeping in the most bitter contritition of my heart, when I heard the voice of children from a neighbouring house chanting, “take up and read; take up and read.” I could not remember ever having heard the like, so checking the torrent of my tears, I arose, interpreting it to be no other than a command from God to open the book and read the first chapter I should find. Eagerly then I returned to the place where I had laid the volume of the apostle. I seized, opened, and in silence read that section on which my eyes first fell: “Not in revelry and drunkenness, not in licentiousness and lewdness, not is strife and envy; but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” No further would I read, nor did I need to. For instantly at the end of this sentence, it seemed as if a light of serenity infused into my heart and all the darkness of doubt vanished away. – Augustine
Romans 13:14 (NKJV) But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. God.
Read about the amazing God who made us, His Holiness and Righteousness, His Love and Mercy. How He acted in time to bring about the permanent restoration of the human heart and mind so that men might live in His presence – Forever!
Romans 5:10 (NKJV) For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
Romans 3:26 (NKJV) to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Mary had a little pig and it was white as snow,
That is when it had had a bath, as you of course might know.
But Mary had an awful time to keep the piggy clean,
For it was just the dirtiest pig that one has ever seen.
She’d wash him and she’d scrub him, till he would squirm and squeal,
As if he wanted her to know it was an unfair deal.
And then inside his green backyard he’d plan from morn to night,
Unless he happened to sneak out and lose himself from sight.
And then when Mary found him he’d be blacker than ere before,
So Mary’d get the soap again and scrub the pig some more.
Poor Mary thought and wondered much what she could ever do
Until she figured out a plan, and this she carried through.
She took him to a doctor who put the pig to sleep, and then he
Took his heart right out, but not of course to keep.
And then he took a little lamb and took his heart out too
And put it in the little pig before the piggy knew.
When little piggy did awake he had no more desire
To wallow in the mud again or ever in the mire.
And try as hard as ere he could he never understood,
How such a pig as once he was could ever be so good.
And so you see, dear friends of mine, you need a new heart too,
Just like the little piggy did, the old will never do.
If you’ll receive a brand new heart, well, here is how you may.
Accept God’s son as Saviour now and let him in today.
NEED HELP TO UNDERSTAND ALL THIS?
But Life Continues, Each According to it’s own Timetable:
Though Buses Are Rare, They Trundle Through Town Each Hour.
Whether full or not they’ve a timetable to keep, making travel possible back and forth along the A170.
The car owning public usually ignore them, unless stuck behind one on our winding country roads!
Other people may need to use them, but not me, I’m independent, going where and when I choose! Perhaps I’ll even use a tractor!!
You never need to dig too deep to uncover this spirit, whether it be applied to the mighty omnibus or omnipotent God.
All is well until you find you can no longer drive, and if, for whatever reason, there is no suitable transport to hand, you are stuck!
A friend was 90 years old this weekend, he comments frequently on the brevity of life by using these words:
Job 7:6 “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and are spent without hope.
To which we could add:
Job 9:25 “Now my days are swifter than a runner; they flee away, they see no good.
Job 16:22 For when a few years are finished, I shall go the way of no return.
Psalm 103:15,16 As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
Life, Happiness in: Charlie Brown, pondering his plight in life, thought, “Yesterday, for one brief moment I was happy. But just when I thought I was winning in the game of life, there was a flag thrown on the play and life dealt me a blow.”
Life’s Journey has one direction, every step bring us closer to meeting our Maker!
Our mortal remains usually make one last journey in a procession traveling slowly,
Life here will have ended but you’ve been summoned to give account for your life by your Maker.
Genesis 50:12–14 So his sons did for him just as he had commanded them. For his sons carried him to the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, before Mamre, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite as property for a burial place. And after he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt, he and his brothers and all who went up with him to bury his father.
If this were all, then life is about enjoying what you have while you wait for extinction.
There is One Who can and does Transform Human Existence
Confronted by Life’s Futility, He Displayed His Power over It’s Claim On Us.
Luke 7:12–15 And when He came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother.
By Surrendering To Its Claims on All Mankind, He Broke its Cold Clammy Grip, And Triumphed Over it for All To See.
Acts 13:28–31 And though they found no cause for death in Him, they asked Pilate that He should be put to death. Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead. He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people.
His People Delight To Tell All And Sundry, that Though Life Might Seem Futile, IT ISN’T!
1 Corinthians 15:55–57 “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
One recent summer, a bee was drawn into the open window of a car traveling down the road. The bee was upset, and so was a boy in the car, who had previously suffered a severe reaction from a bee sting. But before things got out of hand, the boy’s father caught the bee in his hand and tossed it back out the window. Then he pulled the car over to comfort his son. The boy, however, was now desperately worried that his father would die from the bee sting. “Oh, no,” said the father, showing him that his hand was only slightly swollen. “The sting won’t hurt me like it would you, so I took the sting for you.” And that is just what Jesus did for us: He took the sting of death for us, and now that sting is gone.