Guided by the Beatitudes

 be_atitudesGuided_by_BeatitudesCompassMap

Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:

Guided by the Beatitudes

© June 22, 2014 by Steve Mickelson

BLCF: Bulletin June 22, 2014

Originally Published October 18, 2009

BLCF: Sermon-on-the-Mount-Graphic

 

Announcements and Call to Worship: Responsive Reading #664 (About Spiritual Gifts – 1 Corinthians 12); Prayer

Hymn #22: Hymn 204: There’s A Quiet Understanding; Choruses

Tithing & Prayer Requests: Hymn #572: Praise God from Whom All Blessings

Today’s Scriptures: Exodus 20:1-17, Galatians 5:22-23,and Matthew 5:3-11

 

Exodus 20:1-17 (ESV) The Ten Commandments

20 And God spoke all these words, saying,

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

“You shall have no other gods before[a] me.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands[b] of those who love me and keep my commandments.

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

13 “You shall not murder.[c]

14 “You shall not commit adultery.

15 “You shall not steal.

16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

Footnotes: a. Exodus 20:3 Or besides b. Exodus 20:6 Or to the thousandth generation c. Exodus 20:13 The Hebrew word also covers causing human death through carelessness or negligence

 

Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Matthew 5:1-11 (ESV) The Sermon on the Mount

5 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

The Beatitudes

And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

Footnotes: a. Matthew 5:9 Greek huioi; see Preface

 

BLCF: fruit-of-the-spirit1

 

Let us pray…

In spite of our sinful nature, that began in the Garden of Eden, the Bible records that God has faithfully provided mechanisms for guiding believers along the “Paths of Righteousness”.

 

Before the advent of Jesus, whose sacrifice on the cross, subsequent resurrection, and ascension allowed those who believe in him to be sanctified by the Holy Spirit, God gave the People of Israel the Ten Commandments, which we find in Exodus 20:1-17. These laws gave a nation of former slaves’ rules to guide the people along God’s path.

 

BLCF: Exodus_20_1_17_The_Ten_Commandments

 

Over time, the Commandments were been expanded into what is commonly called the Laws of Moses or Mosaic Laws, comprising three Codes. The first Code is composed of the 10 Commandments. The second Code consists of the Ordinances, a set of Spiritual specifications which include: description of the Tabernacle, Holy Days, acceptable offerings and activities or responsibilities of the priesthood. The third Code may described as a set of Social rules governing such things as diet, sanitation, quarantine, soil conservation, taxation, marriage, slavery, etc. Many consider these comprehensive Mosaic Laws as the foundation or template of our modern legal system.

 

While the first code was given by God to Moses by God, the second and third were a human attempts to expand or embellish the original ten by covering every possible facet of society. Most importantly, as the manmade Laws grow in number and complexity, in an attempt to address each new situation, there comes a tendency to forget the importance of the original 10 Commandments and Who authored them among the books of minor laws, rules and guidelines.

 

Jesus came to do away with the Laws of Moses, as we read in Mathew 5:17, Jesus said that not that he came to destroy the law, or the prophets: but he came to fulfill them, and by his death and resurrection bring the Holy Spirit to those who believe. All of humanity is guilty of breaking one law or another, which brings a judgment of death. Jesus came and took upon himself that judgment to all who believe in the Lord. The influence of Holy Spirit is the key to God’s plan for providing guidance to Christian believers to keep following along His path.

 

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What is the Holy Spirit? Let us go to wikipedia.org for our Wiki bits answer.

What is the Holy Spirit?

Within mainstream Christianity the Holy Spirit is one of the three persons of the Trinity. As such he is personal and also fully God, co-equal and co-eternal with God the Father and God the Son. He is different from the Father and the Son in that he proceeds from the Father (or from the Father and the Son) as described in the Nicene Creed. His sacredness is reflected in the New Testament gospels (e.g., Mark 3:28-30, Matthew 12:30-32, and Luke 12:8-10), which proclaim blasphemy against the Holy Spirit as unforgivable.

The Holy Spirit is believed to perform specific divine functions in the life of the Christian or the church. These include:

  • Conviction of sin. The Holy Spirit acts to convince the unredeemed person both of the sinfulness of their actions, and of their moral standing as sinners before God.
  • Bringing to conversion. The action of the Holy Spirit is seen as an essential part of the bringing of the person to the Christian faith. The new believer is “born again of the Spirit”.
  • Enabling the Christian life. The Holy Spirit is believed to dwell in the individual believers and enable them to live a righteous and faithful life. The word Paraclete is specifically applied to the Holy Spirit in this regard. A paraclete is one who intercedes on our behalf, a comforter or an advocate.
  • Inspiration and interpretation of scripture. The Holy Spirit both inspires the writing of the scriptures and interprets them to the Christian and/or church.

 

The Holy Spirit is also believed to be active especially in the life of Jesus Christ, enabling him to fulfil his work on earth. Particular actions of the Holy Spirit include:

  • Cause of his birth. According to the gospel accounts of the birth of Jesus, the “beginning of His incarnate existence”, was due to the Holy Spirit.
  • Anointing him at his baptism.
  • Empowerment of his ministry. The ministry of Jesus following his baptism (in which the Holy Spirit is described in the gospels as “descending on Him like a dove”) is conducted in the power and at the direction of the Holy Spirit.

 

And most importantly the Holy Spirit is God’s way of pouring his love into our hearts Romans 5:5(NIV): And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_spirit

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As a Christian, I believe that the Holy Spirit enables direct communication with God giving discernment of God’s will. The Holy Spirit guides and empowers. But what can a believer do to draw closer to our Lord and to facilitate or augment the Holy Spirit’s guidance in our lives?

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First, as believers, God, through the Holy Spirit makes available to us what is described as fruit of the Spirit. The fruit is described by the apostle Paul in Galatians 5:22-23:

“The fruit of the Spirit is charity, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”

BLCF: Fruit_of_Spirit_Galatians_5_22-23

 

Evangelist Rick Warren believes that fruit of the Spirit becomes evident as a sign of Christian Maturity:

Rick Warren’s Session – INCREDIBLE!

 

What causes relational conflict? Immaturity. It’s easy to measure financial and evangelical growth…but how do you measure spiritual growth?

Marriage counseling can be summed up in two words–GROW UP!

The proof in spiritual maturity is love! I Corinthians 13:11

Most churches are full of people who talk and relate to others in childish ways.

Maturity is relational–not intellectual. Jesus said love God and love others are the two MOST IMPORTANT commands.

A person can attend church all of their life and never mature…they are cranky, rude, irritable…how can some people attend all of their life and not love people?

The church should focus on two main aspects of meeting together–large group and small group.

Sometimes you have to kill something in order to start something new.

Rick said at one time his prayer was not, “Oh God, build a great church,” but, “Oh God, get me through Sunday!”

Discipleship is about turning the audience into an army!

“We practice church discipline in this church.  we’ve disciplined people for not paying their bills.  We’ve disciplined people for borrowing money from other church members and not paying them back!”

If maturity was perfection then none of us would be mature.

One day pastors will stand before God and be held accountable for their spiritual maturity!  (DANG)

How do you know when a church/person is mature?  Simple–when something is mature it bears fruit! (Matthew 7:17-20 and John 15:8)

http://perrynoble.com/blog/rick-warrens-second-session-incredible

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However, Fruit of the Spirit given through salvation, which the gift of the Holy Spirit is free, not of works, lest anyone should boast. To grow the fruit of the Spirit does require conscious effort on our part as believers. For any of you who have grown fruit in the garden, must realize that it takes time, you may not get fruit in the first season. You must plant, water, prune, fertilize, spray, and protect a tree. You must provide the right soil and climate to allow the fruit to grow and prosper. And you must be persistent and patient to see fruit grow and mature.

BLCF: beatitudes-image

But you may ask what are some concrete examples or evidence of these spiritual fruit? Jesus began his Sermon on the Mount with eight statements known as the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-11).

1. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

2. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

3. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

4. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

5. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

6. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

7. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

8. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the

Kingdom of heaven.

9. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

10. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

 

BLCF: beatitudes_tablets

 

Some Biblical scholars consider the 9th Beatitude as part of the 8th one. One is Ronald G. Falconberry, writing in Moral Ethics and the Beatitudes: Righteous Code of Conduct is Revealed in the Sermon on the Mount helps us understand the meaning of this scripture:

Each beatitude reveals a moral philosophy or code of ethics which God desires in everyone. Those who embrace those moral values will receive God’s blessings.

While the Law of Moses judged men by their actions without looking at their motives, the Beatitudes reveal that God looks at each person’s heart because whatever is in the heart is what leads one to actions:

Jesus began his Sermon on the Mount with eight statements known as the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-10). Each beatitude reveals a moral philosophy or code of ethics which God desires in everyone. Those who embrace those moral values will receive God’s blessings.

While the Law of Moses judged men by their actions without looking at their motives, the Beatitudes reveal that God looks at each person’s heart because whatever is in the heart is what leads one to actions.

Blessed are the Poor in Spirit for Theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven

The “poor in spirit” in the first beatitude are those who are not self-centered. According to Proverbs, “The Lord detests all the proud of heart” (16:5) but God will bless those who acknowledge their need for God’s grace and humble themselves.

As James writes, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:10)

Blessed are Those Who Mourn for They Will be Comforted

The second beatitude refers to a spiritual mourning. Those who recognize that they are lost in sin can, in their sorrow, accept the gift of salvation from God and be comforted to know they have the promise of eternal life in heaven.

As it is written in Revelation 7:17, “For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

Blessed are The Meek for They Will Inherit the Earth

The word meek in the third beatitude does not refer to a weak or spineless person but to a strong person who submits to God’s control. Although Jesus was meek, he overturned tables in the temple and drove the money changers out on two separate occasions (John 2:2-25; Matthew 21:12-17) and publicly denounced the Jewish leaders’ corruption of the Law (Matthew 23).

The meek are those who submit to God’s will but are willing to stand up and confront evil and injustice. As Jesus stated in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Blessed are Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

The fourth beatitude alludes to those who desire to live moral and virtuous lives. Those who accept Jesus as their savior and attempt to live Christ-centered lives will receive righteousness. Paul writes, “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:22).

Blessed are the Merciful for They will be Shown Mercy

In the fifth beatitude, the merciful are those who reach out to help those in need or forgive those who wrong them. God will remember their love as James, the brother of Jesus, wrote, “because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!” (James 2:13)

Blessed are the Pure in Heart for They will See God

The pure in heart work to keep themselves unpolluted by the spiritual filth of the world. The sixth beatitude promises that God will bless those who try to keep themselves morally clean. In Ezekiel 36:26, the prophet writes, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you” and, as Paul writes, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20)

Blessed are the Peacemakers for They will be Called Sons of God

The seventh beatitude refers to those who love peace and work to prevent or resolve conflicts or disagreements. This does not mean simply appeasing people or watching quietly while contentious activities occur; instead, peacemakers attempt to establish a healthy relationship based on truth and righteousness.

Romans 14:19 says, “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.”

Blessed are Those Who are Persecuted Because of Righteousness for Theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven

Paul writes that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). Even Jesus died for his righteousness; however, the eighth beatitude promises the ultimate blessing.

As Paul later wrote, “Now, there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8)

Beatitudes Help Develop Quality of Character

People work their entire lives to accumulate or achieve wealth, fame and power, which bring material rewards. Christians believe, however, that those who live by the code of conduct outlined in the Beatitudes and pursue righteous lives, will develop the quality of character God wants his followers to have and will ultimately be blessed with an eternity in Heaven.

https://suite.io/ronald-g-falconberry/1txm2fy

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I was fortunate to attend a high school in Richmond Hill which had no bells between classes. If you were absent you wrote your own notes to sign yourself in or out. The expectation was if a student were given responsibility, he or she would grow and mature if the rules of conduct were minimized. The slogan of Langstaff Secondary was and is “Maturity through Responsibility”.“ As believers in Christ, God has removed the old rules or laws and provided, through the Holy Spirit, provided a beautiful and simple way for us to grow and mature, by accepting the responsibility of our spiritual maturity. He has given us his Beatitudes by which each of us may use to measure our spiritual growth on a personal level.

Through the gifts from God’s Holy Spirit, believers are expected to apply Spirit-given gifts in a manner described by the Lord’s Beatitudes in order to grow in the Spirit and bear fruit of the Spirit. And when we bear fruit of the Spirit, we draw closer to His presence with the help of the Holy Spirit. While each of us may have been given different gifts from the Spirit, we only are blessed by our gifts when we use those gifts in a manner, as for the common good described in the Lord’s Beatitudes, which the Apostle Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 12:4-7.

 

1 Corinthians 12:4-7 (ESV)

BLCF" 1Corinthians_2012

 

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

Let us pray…

Closing Hymn #451: I Have Decided To Follow Jesus

Benediction (Numbers 6:24-26):

 The Lord bless you and keep you;  

the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;

 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

 

BLCF: The-Beatitudes

 

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Advent: With Angels Announcing the Good News of Peace, Salvation and Glory of Christ

Advent Love Candle

Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Thirdh Sunday of Advent

Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:

‘Advent: With Angels Announcing the Good News of Peace, Salvation and Glory of Christ’

©December 15, 2013 by Steve Mickelson

BLCF Bulletin December 15, 2013 

Announcements and Call to Worship: Responsive Reading #610 (Christ in Prophecy – Isaiah 11 and 42; Jeremiah 23; Malachi 4); Prayer

Opening Hymn #104: It Came upon the Midnight Clear  

Today’s Scriptures: Luke 1:26-35; Matthew 1:18-25; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Luke 2:8-20

 Advent Candle

Let us pray…

Welcome to the BLCF’s observance of the third Sunday of Advent.  Sunday, two weeks ago, we lit the First Advent Candle, which is commonly called The Candle of Hope or The Prophecy Candle. Last Sunday, we lit the Second Advent Candle, also called The Candle of Peace or Bethlehem Candle.

Today we celebrate the Third Advent Sunday prior to Christmas Day, where we will light the Third Advent Candle, which is referred to as The Shepherd’s Candle, or the Candle of Love.

According to Scripture, the year of the birth of Jesus, the Christ child, was a busy tine for Angels, God’s Heavenly Hosts, particularly the angel known as Gabriel. The angel, Gabriel’s name appears numerous times in the Bible, as we find in our Wiki bits:

In Abrahamic religions, Gabriel (Hebrew: גַּבְרִיאֵל, Modern Gavri’el Tiberian Gaḇrîʼēl, God is my strength; Arabic: جبريل, Jibrīl or جبرائيل Jibrāʾīl) is an angel who typically serves as a messenger sent from God to certain people.

Christmas Angel

Angel Gabriel

In the Bible, Gabriel is mentioned in both the Old and New Testament. In the Old Testament, he appeared to the prophet Daniel, delivering explanations of Daniel’s visions (Daniel 8:15–26, 9:21–27). In the Gospel of Luke, Gabriel appeared to Zecharias, and to the virgin Mary foretelling the births of John the Baptist and Jesus, respectively (Luke 1:11–38). In the Book of Daniel, he is referred to as “the man Gabriel”, while in the Book of Luke, Gabriel is referred to as “an angel of the Lord” (Luke 1:11). Gabriel is not called an archangel in the Bible, but is so called in Intertestamental period sources like the Book of Enoch. In the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches, the archangels Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel are also referred to as saints.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriel

Art%20Advent%204B

If you look at the back of today’s bulletin, you will see the first of several  Biblical accounts of angels bringing word of the birth of Jesus.  Our first
scripture passage, an angel visits Mary delivering an important message from God, Luke 1:26-35 (ESV), having the sub-heading::

Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed[a] to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”[b] 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”[c]

35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born[d] will be called holy—the Son of God.

Footnotes: a. Luke 1:27 That is, legally pledged to be married b. Luke 1:28 Some manuscripts add Blessed are you among women! C. Luke 1:34 Greek since I do not know a man e. Luke 1:35 Some manuscripts add of you

BLCF Angel visits Jospeh

Our second Scripture account of an angel bringing word from God, this time to Joseph, is also listed on the back of today’s bulletin, comes from, Matthew 1:18-25 (ESV) with the title:

   The Birth of Jesus Christ

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ[a] took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed[b] to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

Footnotes: a. Matthew 1:18 Some manuscripts of the Christ b. Matthew 1:18 That is, legally pledged to be married

BLCF Josehs Dream

The birth of Jesus was foretold in several verses of the Old Testament, including the first of today’s Scripture verses found on the inside of our bulletin, Jeremiah 23:5-6 (ESV):

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’

BLCF A Branch Of Jesse

 

Though the birth of Christ child is prophesized in numerous verses of the Old Testament, God would sent one of His angels to ensure that the individual or individuals understood the purpose of an event, typically a Supernatural miracle, as part of His Devine plan for the persons visited as well as the rest of humanity. Which brings us to today’s second Scripture, also found inside today’s bulletin, Luke 2:8-20 (ESV), entitled:

    The Shepherds and the Angels

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”[
a]

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Footnotes: a, Luke 2:14 Some manuscripts peace, good will among men

Advent

I find it interesting that all of heaven, including God’s angels celebrate, when a sinner accepts the gift of Salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, as the Lord the Lord explained at the conclusion of his ‘Parable of the Lost Sheep’, as we read in Luke 15:7 (ESV):

Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

I think it is fair to conclude that the Heavenly Host broke into song at the birth of the Christ child, because through Jesus would come, by his act of love, reconciliation between God and all people, of their sins and the promise of a New Covenant for all who have faith and trust in His Devine plan. Thus sinners who repent receive His forgiveness, because He loves us, John 3:16 (ESV), entitled:

                                   For God So Loved the World

16 “For God so loved the world,[a] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Footnotes: a. John 3:16 Or For this is how God loved the world

And with the birth of Jesus, let us reflect upon the message and joy of the angels witnessed by the shepherds, as well as the love of God, who gave us through His only son Jesus, a path to reconciliation and salvation by lighting this third Advent Candle.

Lighting of the Third Advent Candle, ‘The Shepherd’s Candle’, which is also called ‘The Candle of Love’. Based on the Scripture verses we read this morning, we may like to view this candle, also, as ‘The Angels’ Candle’. And as the candle is lit, let us read from Isaiah 52:7 (ESV), which is found on the inside of today’s bulletin:

How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
who publishes salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

Let us pray…

Closing Hymn #106: Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Rejoice

Benediction – (2 Corinthians 4:6)):

 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

“May you be filled with the wonder of Mary, the obedience of Joseph, the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the determination of the magi, and the peace of the Christ child. Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit bless you now and forever.”   – John Armstrong

Advent

Perseverance through Troubled Times

BLCF: Seeking Healing through Christ

Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:

‘Perseverance through Troubled Times’

©October 6, 2013 by Steve Mickelson

BLCF Bulletin October 6, 2013

 

Announcements and Call to Worship:

Responsive Reading #648 (A Challenge to Faith from Hebrews 11 and 12); Prayer                                              

Opening Hymn: #43: Praise to the Lord, Almighty

Let us pray…

Welcome to our Sunday morning Prayer and Worship Service here at Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship.

Today’s lesson is entitled Perseverance through Troubled Times. I would like to share my experience of a time of trouble and personal challenge.

Four years ago, this month, indeed from this Sunday, I faced one of my most difficult challenges to my personal health, as well as a test of faith. For it was in the middle of October right here in this church sanctuary, following the Sunday morning service that I started to see what appeared to be flashes of light in the corner of my eye. It looked as if I perceived, in my peripheral vision, flares of light as if someone were taking flash photos nearby. Then, just as suddenly as the flashes had begun, they stopped, not to return until the next Sunday, accompanied by dark spots of jet black floating in my field of vision. By alternately closing each of my eyes, I determined that the flashes and spots were only viewed by my right eye. My brain had somehow merged the images so I thought I was seeing them by both eyes.

I recalled reading an article some years ago that described visions similar to what I was experiencing as symptoms of when the retina of the eye had become detached. The next day, I arranged to get an emergency appointment to see (no pun intended) my Ophthalmologist. After a careful examination and some tests, the doctor told me that he could see no evidence of a detachment or in his words a hole or tear of the retina and that my symptoms are likely caused when the fluid in the eye thickens with age and slides down in front of the retina. I was sent home. However, over the next few days, my symptoms progressed and worsened. Now I could see the shadow in my field of vision that bothered me so much that I resorted to covering my right eye with a tissue. The next morning, I returned to the Eye Doctor and was informed that not only did I have a retinal tear, but one so severe that I needed emergency surgery as soon as possible in order to save the vision in my eye! The Doctor apologized that he did not see the tear at my previous visit.

Of the two hospitals in Toronto that could perform the procedure, only St. Michaels Health Care could take me in on such short notice and an appointment was made for the next day. That night, with all the lights out and even my eyes closed, the hole made it appear as if I were viewing some strange green moonscape, its illumination indirect, much like a full moon. My worry and concern about losing vision to the eye were high. I had done all the right things: recognizing the significance of my symptoms and by promptly seeking out a specialist. Still, I faced the prospect of losing the vision in the eye, unless I underwent surgery in the same hospital that both my sister and father had died. I was stressed and overwhelmed beyond belief until my phone rang.

On the phone was Diane, a sister in Christ who attended Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship, who had called to find out how my visit with the doctor went. It was interesting as Diane was blind from untreated Diabetes in her youth. When I told her that I was to undergo surgery the next day on my eye, Diane offered to say a prayer with me. As we prayed, I felt the peace and presence of God’s Holy Spirit fall upon me. The peace continued at the Hospital and throughout the three and half hour emergency eye surgery,  during which I was not totally under the anesthetic, so I was able to hear, throughout the procedure, the dialog between Dr. Louis Giavedoni, one of Canada’s top ophthalmologists and his student Dr. Casey (not Ben).

Later, after the procedure, a couple from our church dropped by the hospital to visit,  to whom remarked that for the week before the operation, I felt like a person without a vision, (pun intended). But a year later and two more procedures, one for a new lens and another to clear the sheath by laser, the eye is like it was before the tear. Actually, my visual acuity improved by the new lens.

 

From this experience, the Spirit had taught me patience, trust, and the importance of prayer when facing adversity. I find that the Lord has made me more empathetic than before. I recall tears welling up in my eyes as those Chilean miners who were trapped for month’s deep underground were rescued. With restored vision, the Spirit gave me an extra dose of compassion to others who suffer.

The Bible has a wealth of verses that tell believes how to persevere in times of trouble. The following verses found on the inside of today’s bulletin cover many aspects of how we may cope with adversity and by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit, in the process becoming  both stronger and more confident in our faith in God:

  1. Perseverance: Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.  –  James 1:12 (ESV)                                                     
  2. Have Fun: A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.   – Proverbs 17:22 (ESV)                                                                                            
  3. Preparation: Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” –  1 Peter 1:13-16 (ESV)                                                                                              
  4. Forget Yesterday: Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. – Isaiah 43:18-19 (ESV)                                                                                                               
  5. Confidence: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”  – Joshua 1:9 (ESV)                                                                     
  6. Be Humble: Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”  – 1 Peter 5:5 (ESV)                             
  7.  Don’t Forget: But the  Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. – John 14:26 (ESV)                                                                      
  8.  Finally, Follow Jesus’ Example:

Jesus, Founder and Perfecter of Our Faith

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Do Not Grow Weary        

 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.                                                                      – Hebrews 12:1-3

Let us pray…

Our Closing Hymn is #126: Amen! Amen!

Communion: Luke 22:7-20 (See back page of the bulletin)

The Passover with the Disciples

7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 So Jesus[a] sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.” 9 They said to him, “Where will you have us prepare it?” 10 He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house that he enters 11 and tell the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 12 And he will show you a large upper room furnished; prepare it there.” 13 And they went and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.

BLCF Communion

The institution of the Lord’s Supper

14 And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. 15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you I will not eat it[b] until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.[c]

Footnotes: 1. Luke 22:8 Greek he 2. Luke 22:16 Some manuscripts never eat it again 3. Luke 22:20 Some manuscripts omit, in whole or in part, verses 19b-20 (which is given… in my blood)

Benediction (1 Peter 5:10): And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. -Amen

Remember don’t go to church. Be the church!

BLCF: Be the church

Cherishing HIS Gift

The Grat Commission

The Great Commission

Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:

‘Cherishing HIS Gift’

©September 8, 2013 by Steve Mickelson

BLCF Bulletin September 8, 2013

 

BLCF Call to Worship: Responsive Reading #632: ’God’s Redeeming Love’  (- taken from John 14 and 16)

         Opening Prayer Hymn #102, Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus

Let us pray…

It was not that long ago that my son Jeff purchased his first pair of prescription lenses. Unlike the lenses available in my youth, the frames and comfort available for the youth today are far better today. However, I found it interesting that Jeff’s comments regarding what he could now see with his new glasses were identical to my own and my first pair. Jeff marvelled at the fact that he could now see the individual leaves on the trees. No longer were the leaves a clump of green. Before he had glasses, Jeff’s view of the world could be characterized by the expression of “not being able to see the trees for the forest”. The improved focus brought a better understanding as to the detailed nature of each tree.

At times, our view of our surroundings often lack clarity and we miss an appreciation for what it is we see. Sometimes we need to focus on the small details like the leaves to understand the whole tree.  In other words, while it is good to be able to get the big picture or the general overall view of one’s circumstances, often it is more important to see the small details, so that we correctly understand what it is that we see.

Now to see the gospel of Jesus and the details in the Bible, God has provided us with the Holy Spirit, so that we may view both with a spiritual perception or. Without the Holy Spirit our vision is missing the spiritual details and our understanding is greatly diminished. For non-believers, it is a matter of receiving, by faith, the gift salvation through Jesus and then receiving the Holy Spirit.  We have in the Holy Spirit, the Lords perfect prescription for our spiritual nearsightedness.

BLCF: discipleship

And for believers in the gospel of Jesus, it is allowing the same Holy Spirit help see the path that God has intended us to follow.

We need to appreciate what we see, as God intended it to be seen, from a spiritual perspective. In our faith walk, as believers in the Resurrected Christ, we need to allow the Spirit’s guidance to help us see the scriptures from a Spiritual rather than worldly perspective. The Holy Spirit allows us to see and understand the Lord’s Way and truth, as well as to see the path which he desires us to follow.

When asked their opinion as to which chapter in the Bible is the most important, Biblical scholars can give one of a variety verses, including Psalm 23, John 15, or Revelation 5. Many Biblical scholars choose a chapter from the Book of Romans.

Why Romans? Here are a cross section of scholars and their reasons for choosing Paul’s epistle:

  • Ray Stedman: “the most powerful human document that has ever been penned.”
  • John Piper: “Which of us, who has tasted the goodness and glory of God in this great gospel, does not count the book of Romans precious beyond reckoning? . . . there is no greater exposition of the Gospel of God than the book of Romans.”
  • Donald Grey Barnhouse: “Every movement of revival in the Christian church has been connected with the teachings set forth in Romans.”

And within Romans, which is the greatest chapter? Opinions differ, of course, but most will answer, “Romans 8.”

Romans Chapter 8 includes the following familiar verses, which give us a better understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ:

                             

  • 1-6) Life in the Spirit:  1There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.[a] 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you[b] free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,[c] he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
  • 12-17) Heirs with Christ 12 So then, brothers,[d] we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons[e] of God.  15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
  • 28)  Future Glory: 28And we know that God causes all things to work together for good[f] to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
  • 31-39) God’s Everlasting Love: 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be[g] against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.[h] 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Footnotes:

  1. a.       Romans 8:1 Some manuscripts add who walk not according to the flesh (but according to the Spirit)
  2. b.      Romans 8:2 Some manuscripts me
  3. c.       Romans 8:3 Or and as a sin offering
  4. d.      Romans 8:12 Or brothers and sisters; also verse 29
  5. e.      Romans 8:14 See discussion on “sons” in the Preface
  6. f.        Romans 8:28 Some manuscripts God works all things together for good, or God works in all things for the good
  7. g.       Romans 8:31 Or who is
  8. h.      Romans 8:34 Or Is it Christ Jesus who died… for us?

Paul is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest proponents of the Christian Faith in general, and specifically the Gospel of Christ. Paul’s contribution to spreading the Gospel of Jesus included authoring over half of the books of the New Testament, as well as performing the Lord’s Great Commission by actively spreading the gospel of Jesus. The Great Commission, which in the Christian tradition, is the instruction of the resurrected Jesus Christ to his disciples, that they spread his teachings to all the nations of the world. It has become a tenet in Christian theology emphasizing missionary work, evangelism, and baptism.

If we look in Matthew 28:16-20, we read the instructions the Resurrected Christ gave the disciples before His Ascension to Heaven, referred to as The Great Commission:

Matthew 28:16-20 (ESV) The Great Commission

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

BLCF: great_commission

This was not the first time that the disciples had doubts, and possibly misgivings as how to embark on such a Commission. Having received the power and blessing of the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room, at Pentecost, one would think that understanding the Lord would not be a problem, particularly for the eleven disciples, who had first hand exposure to lessons that Christ taught. But many times we read those students of Christ would take a parable for a factual story or tend to mistakenly take either a literal or worldly view on a statement intended to be strictly spiritual parable. Perhaps because of these doubts, and the tendency of both believers and non-believers, to take Christ word’s literally, when they were not intended, we see that the disciple Paul was called by Jesus, as Paul was on the Road to Damascus.

Paul’s conversion was significant to us, and Christ’s Commission in many ways. Paul was raised in the Jewish tradition, and had Roman citizenship. Interestingly, before his conversion, Paul was known as Saul of Tarsus, a non believer, employed as a persecutor of Christians, having watched the garments of those who stoned Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Saul’s profession was to see that believers in the Resurrected Christ arrested and eventually executed, as a threat to the State of Rome.

Several years ago, I had an interesting exchange with an American Customs Officer at Pearson Airport while passing through U.S. Customs on a business trip to the States. It was a year or so before 911, and Canadian visitors to the U.S. could enter if they provided two pieces of identification such as a birth certificate and valid driver’s license. The American Customs Officer, having noted that I was born in the US told me that I could get a US Passport, to which I replied that I was a Canadian Citizen. The officer replied that that did not matter, that being born on US soil entitled me to citizenship by right of birth. I tried to explain that in order to become a Canadian Citizen, I had to renounce my US Citizenship.

In the Rome of Christ’s time, a similar attitude of entitlement existed, based on your status of citizenship. On the top of this pyramid of class distinction was the Roman Citizen, which gave the person rights and freedoms under Roman law.

Next were the so called free individuals, though not entitled to the benefits of a citizen, they had many freedoms of travel in the Empire and to practice commerce, within limitations. This group included foreigners who did not have birthright. One way these individuals would be able to earn status of being a citizen of Rome, was to enlist in the Roman Legion or Army. If you managed to survive five years of service fighting wars and insurrections, you would be granted your status.

Finally, on the bottom rung of the Roman social ladder, we have the slave, who had no status or entitlement under law. The slave was considered to have equal status as chattel or property, and could even be put to death at the whim of the master, with no legal repercussions under Roman Laws. There was no legal protection for the life of a slave. A slave had to remain within the confines of his master’s property or suffer punishment or death. On rare occasions, slaves might be granted their freedom, at the whim or discretion of their master. A slave’s legacy to his descendants is enslavement, sadly this is their birthright.

In some respects, many Jewish believers viewed themselves as Citizens of God’s Kingdom, with a birthright to God’s favour similar to the Roman Citizen’s view of having a birthright to Caesar’s favour. A non-believer, under certain circumstances, could convert to Judaism, provided they were deemed acceptable. Any perceived history of violation of Mosaic Law, such as divorce, adultery, disease or even physical disability was believed justification to disallow conversion of the gentile and expulsion from the faith congregation for existing members. Such judgement should be reserved solely for the Lord.

In some respects, we tend to apply the same harsh judgement upon ourselves and others within Christ’s Church. This is why the Lord elected to send Paul to correct this mistaken view. If all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, who are we to judge or say who may or may not enter God’s church? Remember the criminal who was crucified beside Jesus at Cavalry? He was given the promise to  join the Lord in Paradise within the day, because of his faith, in spite of his transgressions.

Though we were still sinners, Christ died for our sins, giving all the gift of salvation and sanctification, without discrimination or qualification. This removes any restrictions to receiving God’s gift to the Jew and Gentile, Greek and Roman, man and woman, alike. As we are all born into slavery of sin, what sins we have committed, and what good deeds we have done does not cut it with the Lord, we all share the judgement of death.

However, if we confess our sins and accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, we are washed of sins, no ifs, ands or buts about it. In other words, through Christ, we are freed from the shackles of our sins, and are born again free from further judgement or persecution. We are exempt from condemnation and the judgement of death. In return, the only expectation of us by the Lord is to agree to undertake the Lord’s Great Commission. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV)

In his response to Christ’s Commission, Paul made three Missionary journeys to spread the Gospel. Paul’s work included visits and letters to Church’s to help clarify the Gospel message to many of the new Christian churches. This clarification was necessary, to bring a better vision and understanding of the important details found in the Gospel Message.

Paul's Vision

Paul’s Vision

When we read John 8:34, we see a reference to being a slave to sin:

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.

 

If we were to interpret the reference to a slave in John 8:34 literally, we might see someone in chains forced to do the bidding of a master. And take this view with the fact that an Angel of the Lord freed Paul, who was chained in a prison; it is easy to see that someone might tend to misunderstand what is being said.

Paul helped to clarify the meaning of enslavement caused by sin in Romans 8:2:

For the law of the Spirit of the life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

But how is it possible that we, as Spirit led believers in the Resurrected Christ, confuse the meaning of the Lord’s Word?

The idea of mistakenly taking a literal view of enslavement could come from thinking confusing thinking that Jesus was talking about the Hebrews, who were enslaved in Egypt. If we recall how obstinate and ungrateful the people were after God freed them from Egypt, it seems that Moses was not chosen to free his people from enslavement to Pharaoh, but rather to end their enslavement to worshiping worldly idols such as the golden calf and separation from the Lord.

We see this in Nehemiah 9:1 and 16-17:

1Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the people of Israel were assembled with fasting and in sackcloth, and with earth on their heads.

Cross references:

A.Nehemiah 9:1 : Nehemiah 8:2

B.Nehemiah 9:1 : 1 Sam 7:6

C.Nehemiah 9:1 : 2 Sam 3:31

D.Nehemiah 9:1 : Josh 7:6

16“But they and our fathers acted presumptuously and stiffened their neck and did not obey your commandments. They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them.

The encouraging aspect of this verse in Nehemiah is the hope that in spite of all that they heard and saw, they chose to turn away from God’s leadership and return towards a life of slavery in sin, God still loves enough to forgive and not willing to forsake them.

The Bible is a powerful work, with themes and quotes often used in many of the great works of literature. Leaders, politicians and social activists have used the scriptures to illustrate their cause or to put “punch” in a speech.

When Dr. Martin Luther King, a renowned  minister and social activist gave the speech where he said  that the “ truth will set you free”, he was speaking more about social injustice towards the Black American, including a history of literal enslavement, rather giving a Gospel Sermon on spiritual freedom as found in John8:31-37(ESV):

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.  The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you.

Jesus speaks of believers or followers who desire to kill him because they have yet find the faith to accept the truth of his words. This is in line with what is said 1Corinthians 1:18:

“For the message of the cross seems folly to those on their way to destruction, but to us, the saved, it is God’s power.”

The challenge for us as believers and teachers of the Gospel, is to keep our focus on the words of the scriptures, and in that sense understanding what is written to be taken literally and what is written to be taken as a parable. This is where we need to allow the Holy Spirit to temper our understanding of the scriptures, rather than relying on our worldly knowledge to misinterpret God’s Word.

BLC: until_the_end_of_the_age

As the descendants of Adam and Eve, we all are born as slaves to sin. It is our birthright and legacy. Alone, we cannot overcome sin’s judgement of death. If, however, we have faith in God’s gift of Salvation from sins condemnation through the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf, confess our sins, and trust in Him. We are rescued from sin, no longer a slave to the world. The truth of the gospel of the ‘Word made flesh’ who is our Lord Jesus has set us free as found in Luke 2:68 (see front of the bulletin):

May the Lord God of Israel be blessed indeed! For God’s intervention has begun, and he has moved to rescue us, the people of God.

BLCF: discipleship_def

Even though our birthright is death through sin, we are also entitled through Christ, to being rescued from death, and to receive the gifts of salvation and sanctification, through the Holy Spirit, as heirs with Christ, we see in Romans 8:12-17:

So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

While our choice in faith does not preclude us from suffering, it does promise that we may share, with Christ, salvation and glorification as a reward for our faith.

The gift of salvation is free. Let us cherish God’s Holy gifts of forgiveness and sanctification through Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit, to convict and guide us. And may we honour these precious gifts by our keeping faith in the Lord and sharing His Gospel throughout the world. This is all the Lord expects in return. God has corrected our spiritual vision by way of the Holy Spirit. He has given the means to see, but it is up to us to use it in the manner God intended.

Let us pray…

BLCF: Ascension-of-Jesus

Hymn #413: God Is My Strong Salvation

 

Benediction (Philippians 4:5-7): A Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

BLCF: Commission_wordle

Baptized with the Holy Spirit and the Refiner’s Fire

God revealed as a Burning Bush

God revealed as a Burning Bush

Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:

‘Baptized with the Holy Spirit and the Refiner’s Fire’                        

   © July 28, 2013 by Steve Mickelson

BLCF Bulletin July 28, 2013

 

1 Kings 18:20-40 (ESV) The Prophets of Baal Defeated

20 So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel. 21 And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. 22 Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men.23 Let two bulls be given to us, and let them choose one bull for themselves and cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it. And I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood and put no fire to it. 24 And you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, he is God.” And all the people answered, “It is well spoken.” 25 Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many, and call upon the name of your god, but put no fire to it.”26 And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made. 27 And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” 

28 And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. 29 And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention.

30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” And all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been thrown down. 31 Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord came, saying, “Israel shall be your name,” 32 and with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord. And he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two seahs[a] of seed. 33 And he put the wood in order and cut the bull in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.”34 And he said, “Do it a second time.” And they did it a second time. And he said, “Do it a third time.” And they did it a third time. 35 And the water ran around the altar and filled the trench also with water.

36 And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. 37 Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” 38 Then the fire of the Lordfell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.” 40 And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.” And they seized them. And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slaughtered them there.

Footnotes: a. 1 Kings 18:32 A seah was about 7 quarts or 7.3 liters

Let us pray…

The invention of fire had a profound effect upon our world. Fire brings us heat to counter the cold, cook our food and to illuminate our surroundings. Fire enabled members of society to work through the night and led to the advancement of the civilization of mankind.

The first use of fire is lost in prehistory and the subject of much conjecture and speculation. According ancient mythology, Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to mankind. Fire was likely first discovered by accident event, as a result of natural causes, such as volcanic eruption, ignition of marsh gas or more likely from a lightning strike.

There are numerous references in the Bible to the use and significance of fire. In most scriptures that associate fire, we observe a manifestation of the power and presence of God. We find a clear example of His power and presence in this morning’s Scripture from 1Kings 18.

A severe drought and famine in region of Samaria led to God’s Prophet Elijah facing off against some 450 prophets of the god Baal. Elijah was critical of the people wavering between this god and the true Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel.

Elijah proposes to the people the building of two altars, each with its own sacrificial bull. To one, the prophets of Baal will call upon the god Baal to ignite the wood of the altar. And with the other, Elijah will call upon God, Jehovah, to ignite to wood. The people and the 450 Baal prophets accept the challenge.

For hours, the prophets of Baal called in vain, upon their god, Baal to ignite their altar.  The prophets even resorted to cutting themselves to illicit a response from Baal. And no fire came; Baal did not reply.

Now it was Elijah’s turn. But to make things interesting, Elijah instructed the people to douse the offering and wood with four jars of water, not once, not twice; but three times!

I recall camping this summer and trying to ignite some wet wood. It was not easy. Just when you have some flames, the fire dies out.

The wood on the altar constructed by Elijah wasn’t just damp, being soaked by a dozen jars of water to the point that excess water collected in a trench surrounding the altar. But this did not deter Elijah’s faith, not deter him from calling upon God. Elijah had proceeded as the Lord instructed. He acknowledged the soveirnty of the Lord saying “I am your servant”. He asked that God would start the fire not as a response to a request to do the bidding of Elijah. Instead Elijah implored the Lord to start the fire to change the hearts of those who had turned away from God and to restore their faith.

God’s response was to send a fire of such intensity, that it not only consumed the offering, wood and stones, so all that was left was dust. And all the water, including that in the trench, had evaporated. God’s response was clear and definitive, leaving no doubt in the minds of the people of Israel. The people fell on their knees, acknowledging that “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.”

And the 450 prophets of Baal were executed. Such was the judgement of God. And afterword, the Lord kept His promise by bringing rain to end the drought.

If you look at the back of today’s bulletin, you will see a list of several instances in the Bible, where the power and glory of God is expressed in some form of flame or fire.

Most of us are acquainted with the Prophet Moses’ encounter with the Lord, who revealed Himself as a Burning Bush.

 

Moses and the Burning Bush

Moses and the Burning Bush

 

Exodus 3:1-6 (ESV): The Burning Bush       

3 Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. 3 And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” 4 When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 6 And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

At the time of this account, Moses was 80 years of age. Having been expelled to die in the dessert by Pharaoh, Moses had lived the next 40 years as a shepherd, and had seen most that the dessert had to offer. But something had caught his eye. The English translations translate what Moses saw as a bush, but a more accurate translation of the Hebrew word seneh is brambles. While we could spend the rest of today’s sermon debating the inaccuracy of the translation and the merits of the original Hebrew over inaccuracies of English translations, such discussions have no real bearing on the lesson our Lord is trying to convey and only act as a distraction from the main theme of the passage. Now back to Moses.

Moses noted that while the bush or brambles burned, it was not consumed by fire. And when he drew close to the bush, Moses saw an angel in a flame of fire in the midst of the bush. And when the Lord had seen that Moses turned aside to see, God admonished Moses to not come closer and to remove his sandals, as the ground that Moses stood upon was Holy ground. And the Lord identified himself as the God of Moses father, of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God reveals Himself to Moses as a burning bush, the flames burning supernaturally without ceasing.

After God used Moses to deliver the Hebrew people from enslavement in Egypt, He did not forsake them, Exodus 13:21-22 (ESV):

21 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. 22 The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.

We must remember that that light is not just a tool of mankind, but an expression of the presence of the Lord, Exodus 24:17 (ESV):

17 Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel.

But the fire and flame of the Lord is not only a source of comfort to the faithful, but will be an expression of God’s judgment upon those who are not of value to His Kingdom, considered to be like thorns and brambles, Isaiah 10:17 (ESV):

17 The light of Israel will become a fire, and his Holy One a flame, and it will burn and devour his thorns and briers in one day.

This same fire is as an expression of God’s ability to refine and cleanse us of impurity and filth, Malachi 3:2 (ESV):

2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap.

Refiners use fire to melt and separate precious metals such as silver and gold from non-precious metals found in the ore. Each stage extracts purer metal. And fuller’s soap is used in a process to wash and clean raw wool of impurities and odors.

We find a more direct description of the Lord’s fire, by John the Baptist in Matthew 3:11 (ESV):   

11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.   

You will note that the Prophet’s indicates that water baptism is an act we do for repentance, but only the Lord can baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. So when the believer receives the Holy Spirit, the same fire which is an expression of God, also is received, Acts 2:1-4 (ESV) The Coming of the Holy Spirit:

2 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.   

Pentecost

 

So the followers of Jesus Christ are given the Holy Spirit as a Comforter and the gifts of fire which is the glory of God, Hebrews 1:7 (ESV):                

7 Of the angels he says, “He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire.”

To better understand Hebrews 1:7 let us back up to the first four verses of Hebrew 1, Hebrews 1:1-4 (ESV):

The Supremacy of God’s Son

1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

In the above passage, we see that Jesus is described as the radiance of glory of God, and like a refiner purifying precious gold, He purifies us from sin, through His son, Jesus Christ.

In Matthew’s account of the Transfiguration of Jesus, we see that Christ is talking with two prophets, Moses and Elijah, who had experienced the power and presence of God by fire and flame. And we have an idea of this radiance in the description of Jesus in the account, in Matthew 17:1-8 (ESV):

The Transfiguration

17 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. 3 And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4 And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 5 He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son,[a] with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” 8 And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

 Footnotes:  a. Matthew 17:5 Or my Son, my (or the) Beloved

 

The Transfiguration of Jesus

The Transfiguration of Jesus

 

I believe Matthew’s of Transfiguration of Jesus gives us some idea as to how it will be with Jesus after our own resurrection. Just like Moses and Elijah, we will be able to see our Lord, present in all His glory; radiant and full of light, bright like the fire of the sun. May this vision ignite a fire of passion and faith to share with all those around us the love of God as is expressed in the gospel of Jesus Christ, for this is the Savior’s final commandment our Lord gave to us. For it only takes a spark of faith, to ignite the fire that is found in the presence and power God’s love.

Let us pray…

 Hymn #484: Pass It On (It Only Takes a Spark)

Benediction (Numbers 6:24-26): The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Overcoming the World with the Help of the Holy Spirit

BLCF: Be The Change

Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:

‘Overcoming the World with the Help of the Holy Spirit’

© May 5, 2013 by Steve Mickelson

BLCF Bulletin May 5, 2013

Let us pray…

This Communion Sunday, we shall see how God keeps believers in the Resurrected Christ on track both in our faith practices, and how He communicates to us. Before Jesus ascended to Heaven, he promised the disciples that he would not leave of forsake us. For Jesus said that he would send us a Helper, in the form of the Holy Spirit, as we read in John 14:15-31 (ESV):

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper,[a] to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be[b] in you.

18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.

25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.

Footnotes: a. John 14:16 Or Advocate, or Counselor; also 14:26; 15:26; 16:7 b. John 14:17 Some manuscripts and is

The Helper, or as some translation call an Advocate or a Counselor, being the same Holy Spirit that came upon Jesus after being baptised by John, the Baptist. This same Spirit of Truth came upon the disciples in the Upper Room on the day of Pentecost. Remember Pentecost refers to the number 50, being the number of days that Jesus walked between His resurrection and Ascension (which is 40) combined with the number of days between His Ascension and the day of Pentecost (being 10). The day when the promised Spirit came upon the followers of Christ is the same day most scholars attest to be the day the Christian Church was born.
Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship - BLCF Church - Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is sent to those believers in Christ who have kept the Lord’s Commandments or Royal Law discussed last Sunday being as follows:
37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. – Matthew 22:37-39 (ESV).

Golden Law

Golden Law

You will see that the John 14 passage tells us some characteristics if the Holy Spirit. Verse 17 indicates that it is the Spirit of truth. Interestingly, the preceding verse refers to the Holy Spirit as another helper, Christ being the other helper. Though each helper serving different functions. Christ came to atone for our sins by His crucifixion on the cross. And through His Resurrection from the grave, we believers are given the assurance of our own resurrection from the grave, as demonstrated by Christ.
But God, being wise and just, had planned for our need for continued guidance and direction by sending us the Holy Spirit. John 14:17 indicates that those without faith in the world can neither see nor know him. And while the world will no longer be able to see Jesus, believers will continue to see Christ’s presence by way of the Holy Spirit. Verse 25 indicates that the Spirit will teach us all things and bring to mind remembrance all the things Christ has spoken to us. We see that the Spirit is God’s way of communicating to His flock. Line 30 indicates that the ruler of the world, who is Satan, is coming. This is the same world whose ruler is Satan, can neither see nor know the Holy Spirit.

So how does receiving the Holy Spirit affect our way of life? We get an answer to this question in Paul’s Book of Romans 8:1-11 (ESV):

Life in the Spirit

8 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.[a] 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you[b] free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,[c] he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus[d] from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Footnotes: a. Romans 8:1 Some manuscripts add who walk not according to the flesh (but according to the Spirit) b. Romans 8:2 Some manuscripts me c. Romans 8:3 Or and as a sin offering d. Romans 8:11 Some manuscripts lack Jesus

Here in the first 11 verses of Romans 8, we see a distinction between those worldly people who live for and desire things of the flesh, living in sin verses believers in Christ, who also live in the Spirit. Romans 8:16 indicates that through the interaction between the Holy Spirit and our own spirit, we are considered to be children of God, Romans 8:16 (ESV):
 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God

Jesus and Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit and Christ

So we understand that God communicates to us through the Holy Spirit. But how are we able to communicate with God? The answer is found in Romans 8:26-28 (ESV):

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because[a] the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[b] for those who are called according to his purpose.

Footnotes: a. Romans 8:27 Or that b. Romans 8:28 Some manuscripts God works all things together for good, or God works in all things for the good

Godhead Holy Trinity

Godhead Trinity

The Spirit allows God to know our hearts, to understand our needs, and intercedes on our behalf, provided our prayers and petitions come from those who love God and accept His purpose and will in our lives.

But the Holy Spirit not only acts to facilitate between believers and God, but the Holy Spirit that raised Christ from death, we do the same for us who believe and follow the Way of the Lord, overcoming death, 1 John 5:1-12 (ESV):

Overcoming the World

5 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Let me just interject here that the scripture reminds us of the Trinity Godhead, Jesus Christ is the Son God, baptised in water, receiving the Spirit, who shed his blood for our sins and was resurrected by the same Spirit. We are reminded of the Water of Life available to those who believe, as we continue in 1John5, verse 6:

Testimony Concerning the Son of God

6 This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. 9 If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. 11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Salvation through Christ

Salvation through Christ

So to receive salvation or forgiveness for our sins; resurrection from death which is the penalty for sin; and to receive the Holy Spirit to admonish, teach and comfort us, we must believe and accept Jesus Christ as Saviour. We must surrender to the authority of God, to restore the relationship that was broken by Adam and Eve, and thereby overcome the world or Satan. Both Satan and the world of unbelievers will suffer God’s Judgment, as we read in John 16:5-11 (ESV):

The Work of the Holy Spirit

5 But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

Let us pray…

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Holy Communion

Communion

Communion, Luke 22:14-20:

Institution of the Lord’s Supper

14 And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. 15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

Hymn #334: More Like Jesus Would I Be

Benediction, (2 Thessalonians 3:16):

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.

Peace through the Holy Spirit

Peace through the Spirit