Not overthrown, but changed

I was reading Acts 1 this morning. This is commonly titled, “The Ascension of Jesus”.

Acts 1:6-11 – So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking Him, “Lord, has the time come for You to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” 7 He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be My witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere–in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 After saying this, He was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see Him. 10 As they strained to see Him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday He will return from heaven in the same way you saw Him go!”

In this passage Jesus was with the Disciples and then He ascended to heaven before their eyes. Two men in white appeared and told them Jesus had gone, but He would be back one day.

The interesting thing I found was that the disciples asked Jesus when He was going to overthrow the Roman oppression and restore the Kingdom on earth (v1). That is what they wanted to know.

As important as that was, Jesus had a bigger picture. He was interested in changing the world, not just one location. Not only the world at that time, but all the time in between until He came back.

Jesus told them to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came. When the Holy Spirit came they would have new power to share Christ with others.

God’s plan has always been about salvation and mankind spending eternity with Him. He moved heaven and earth when Jesus came. He sent the Holy Spirit to reach out to us. He stretches His hand out to us today.

God loves you and He wants to be a part of your life right now. He also wants you to spend eternity with Him.

I would encourage you to visit my “Peace with God” page right now to make your connection with God. You can find it here.

God Bless,

Joshua told the people three things

In my last post I looked at six things God told Joshua about going in to the promised land. In this post I want to look at three things Joshua told the people in Joshua 1:10-18.

Joshua 1:10-18 – Joshua then commanded the officers of Israel, 11 “Go through the camp and tell the people to get their provisions ready. In three days you will cross the Jordan River and take possession of the land the LORD your God is giving you.” 12 Then Joshua called together the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. He told them, 13 “Remember what Moses, the servant of the LORD, commanded you: ‘The LORD your God is giving you a place of rest. He has given you this land.’ 14 Your wives, children, and livestock may remain here in the land Moses assigned to you on the east side of the Jordan River. But your strong warriors, fully armed, must lead the other tribes across the Jordan to help them conquer their territory. Stay with them 15 until the LORD gives them rest, as He has given you rest, and until they, too, possess the land the LORD your God is giving them. Only then may you return and settle here on the east side of the Jordan River in the land that Moses, the servant of the LORD, assigned to you.” 16 They answered Joshua, “We will do whatever you command us, and we will go wherever you send us. 17 We will obey you just as we obeyed Moses. And may the LORD your God be with you as He was with Moses. 18 Anyone who rebels against your orders and does not obey your words and everything you command will be put to death. So be strong and courageous!”

1. Joshua told them to get ready (v10-11) – Joshua told the leaders to go through out the camp to get the people ready as in three days they would begin to take the promised land.

2. Joshua told specific instructions (v12-15) – Joshua reminded the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh that they needed to help in the whole battle. Previously they had asked Moses to have the first area in the promised land.

3. Joshua told them to be brave (v18) – Joshua repeated God’s command to be strong and courageous. It seems Joshua knew this would be important for the battle ahead and He wanted to encourage them.

In this passage I like the way Joshua told the three tribes they would have be there until the battle was done. It would be easy to get your part of the land and stop fighting with the others.

But they were obedient to what they had previously promised to Moses and was repeated by Joshua. They were so obedient that they agreed to put people to death is they disobeyed. That is commitment!

God Bless,

God told Joshua six things

In the beginning of the Book of Joshua God told Joshua six important things to do. This happened just after Israel’s great leader Moses had died.

Joshua 1:1-9 – After the death of Moses the LORD’s servant, the LORD spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant. He said, 2 “Moses My servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. 3 I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you– 4 from the Negev wilderness in the south to the Lebanon mountains in the north, from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, including all the land of the Hittites.’ 5 No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you. 6 “Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. 8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. 9 This is My command–be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Here are six keys from Joshua 1:1-9…

1. God told Joshua to lead the people (v2) – Moses had just died and they needed someone strong to lead them to the promised land. Joshua was the one God had chosen.

2. God told Joshua of the promise (v2-5) – God promised He would give them land, help and victory. In verses 3-4 God spoke of the promise of land and in verse 5 He said “no-one would be able to stand against them”.

3. God told Joshua to be strong (v 6, 7, 9) – Three times in four verses God told Joshua to be strong and courageous. He would need to be if he was going to fulfil all God wanted him to do.

4. God told Joshua to obey Moses (v7) – Moses had been a great leader and Joshua was his close to him. Now Joshua had to remember all Moses’ instructions and to not deviate from them.

5. God told Joshua to study the Book (v8) – A key to Joshua’s success would be to study the Book – God’s Word. He was told to study it and reflect on it deeply (meditate). This is a key to being successful.

6. God told Joshua of His presence (v9) – The final things God said in this passage is that He would go with them. He would not have t be afraid because God would be with them wherever they went.

In this short passage of nine verses is everything Joshua needed to know and do to lead the people well. If we are in leadership or taking on a new venture, they are good things for us to remember today.

God Bless,

Saved with a new life

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

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

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

v4 – God revealed His kindness and love to us.

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

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

v6 – God poured out the Holy Spirit on us.

v7 – God declared us righteous.

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

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

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

I think these things are worth reflecting on today.

God Bless,

We are sealed by the Holy Spirit

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

In these two verses there are some amazing truths.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God Bless,

We are redeemed by God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God Bless,

Chosen and adopted by God

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

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

In this simple verse there are four great truths.

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

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

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

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

Again, verse five has a number of great truths.

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

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

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

God Bless,

Chosen, Redeemed and Sealed by God sermon

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

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

You can find the full text here.

God Bless,