December 2019

Carried by Christmas truth

As we approach Christmas, I’m reminded of the many wonderful truths we have explored together over the past year. For most of us it’s been a year splattered with highs and lows, with pains and joys, with victories and defeats. In spite of the unpredictable nature of life, Jesus Christ has remained the one true constant, faithful in all circumstances.

Carried by Christmas truthOver the next few weeks many of us will be bombarded by worldly concepts masquerading as Christmas. However, commercial marketing of goods most don’t need is the least of our concerns. It’s the incognito philosophies which exclude the Lord Jesus Christ which should really concern us. These worldly ideas spread the lethal fables of a Christless Christmas.

Christmas marks the spectacular event of God stepping into human history in the form of baby Jesus. God’s Word proclaims that “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature…” (Hebrews 1:3). An angel told Joseph; “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” [which means, God with us] (Matthew 1:23).

While such an event seems impossible, remember God’s involvement. As the angel explained to Joseph; “that which is conceived in her [Mary] is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21). Jesus was no ordinary baby. Following the Holy Spirit enabled conception, God employed all the customary means of birth, childhood, family, and Jewish culture. Throughout, Jesus remained perfectly God wrapped in perfect humanity.

From conception, Jesus’ purpose and destiny were clear; He was heading directly for the cross of Calvary. Again, this defies human wisdom. But remember, the Father’s intention was not to satisfy the world’s desires. In fact, Jesus said of Himself; “I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me” (John 6:38).

I encourage you to think of Christmas the way God does. Christmas is about God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It’s about God’s purpose of salvation fulfilled through Jesus. It’s about sinner’s transformation to become worshippers. It’s about Jesus doing for humanity what humanity could not do for themselves. So, as we enjoy family togetherness, great food, and gift giving; “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David…” (2 Timothy 2:8).

I shall be laying down my pen for the Christmas holiday session and hope to return in February 2020. I pray you all have a wonderful Christ centred and family enriching Christmas.

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Hold to the certainty of Jesus Christ

As in all of life, certainty and security go hand in hand in the Christian life. When secure, we act upon those things we are certain of, while assigning the rest to a lower priority. It’s healthy as believers to identify those things in the faith which convince us of spiritual realities beyond doubt. Those biblical truths which pervade our lives to such a degree that they become non-negotiable.

Hold to the certainty of Jesus ChristDoctor Luke wrote of life’s transforming encounter with Jesus Christ so that others, such as “Theophilus, …may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught” (Luke 1:3-4). Luke was not content that people think of the Christian faith as philosophical or mystical. No, faith in Christ grows from the absolute truth as taught in God’s written Word. Christ is knowable, He’s understandable, He’s believable, and He’s dependable. All this goes to the certainty of faith found in Christ and His resulting security.

The apostle Peter confidently proclaimed; “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ…” (Acts 2:36). They knew who Jesus was, and they knew the life changing power of the resurrected Christ (1Jn 1:1-10). They presented a clear and understandable message which enabled their hearers to know who they were being called to believe in. There were no questionable or weak ideas from biblical apostles.

They boldly declared truth “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19 ). Surely, this should be the desire of every Christian. To know Christ so profoundly that His identity becomes your identity.

In Thessalonica, Paul, accompanied by Silas, cut to the chase with the local Jews, “and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures” (Acts 17:2). They engaged the Jews through exposition on their religious ground, in their synagogue, and on their Sabbath days. They engaged them both spiritually and intellectually by reasoning from God’s Word. I imagine there would have been some passionate discussion from both sides of the synagogue on those days.

In fact, Paul and Silas engaged everyone present through the Scriptures, from both Jewish and Greek cultures. Consequently; some of the Jews “were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women” (Acts 17:4).

Epaphras laboured in his prayer life, always struggling on behalf of the believers at Colossae. He didn’t waste time with fluffy duck prayers; no, he was precise in his requests to God on the believer’s behalf. You see, Epaphras knew that they, like us today, needed to “stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God” (Colossians 4:12). Precision prayer motivates precise living to assist God in working out His perfect will in the lives of wayward Christians; which is all of us.

I encourage you to recognise and surrender to God’s will for your life. Invite the Lord to carry out the work of growing and maturing you. Give the Holy Spirit free reign of your whole heart and mind. Saturate your beliefs and thoughts with the absolute truths of God’s Word. Find at least one other person to take with you on your growing walk with Christ. They, like you, will be blessed and Christ will be glorified.

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