August 13th 2017: Peter Gleave

Peter-Glave -August 2017Luke 5:1-11 – Jesus calls the last disciples.

In 1869, Thomas Huxley, an avid supporter of Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, often gave speeches on the subject. After one of his speaking engagements, Huxley was in a hurry to catch his train to his next engagement. He took a horse-drawn taxi and assumed the driver had been informed where he wanted to go. “Hurry!” Huxley exclaimed. “I’m almost late. Drive fast!”

The driver sped away. After a while Huxley looked out of his window and realised they were travelling in the opposite direction to the train station.

“Do you know where you’re going?” Huxley asked. The driver shouted back, “No, but I am driving very fast!”

There’s no use in driving fast if you don’t know where you are going. We need to spend time away from the business of the world, and spend time knowing what Jesus wants us to do. Put the brakes on and slowly walk beside the seaside.

Imagine you’re in this passage of scripture; it’s a warm sunny morning, a gentle breeze sounds around you, the Sea of Galilee lies before you, with its pebbly shoreline.  To the other side of you, six miles away, lie the mountains. Take in the scene, where there is a crowd following a man, pressing in on Him. We move in and start to listen to what He has to say. We need to see what God has to say to Penuel Chapel, to you and me and other churches.

This was not the first time Jesus had met the disciples, He had encountered them before (John 1 & 4). It is perhaps surprising then that these men, who Jesus has already invited to follow Him, where still at their business – fishing. We too can distance ourselves, tending to our everyday business and being too busy for God. If the disciples were to answer Jesus’ call they needed to make God their number one priority. Not even family, or work in Church should be more important than God. He has to be our number one priority. We don’t need to give up work or family, but in thought we should prioritise God and make Him first in our choices.

Jesus got into Peter’s boat and the boat was pulled a little further out. ‘He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon (Peter), and asked him to put out a little from the shore.’ (Luke 5:3). Now Jesus had Peter’s attention. Has God been trying to get your attention recently? God wants you in a position so He can speak to you and you can focus on Him, draw closer to Him.

We need to hear Jesus and see Him. What better way is there then seeing Him in the scriptures? Read, search, and study the Bible. What is God trying to teach us today? Look in the scriptures, it will help you become better fishers of men. Each of us can bear testimony to the fact the scriptures are life-changing. We need to study, study, and study some more – in personal life and essential Bible study with others. Be prepared.

One way of reaching out to the community is to participate in projects such as the ‘Community Bible Experience’, in which, a church buys a little gospel for members of the community, inviting them to later discuss what they have read. This is a great way to engage with a community.

Peter lends his boat to Jesus. He used what He had and gave it to Jesus. God will bless all we do in His name. Jesus says to Peter,

Luke 5-4

Peter may have wondered why Jesus, a carpenter, was telling him, am experienced fisherman, how to do his job. However, because Jesus had asked him to do this, he did so. I wonder, has God said something to you that is counter-intuitive – something which doesn’t seem to make sense to you? Perhaps it could be to try some evangelism that in the past didn’t work. Remember Peter’s response,

Luke 5-4-5.jpg 

There was a certainty that didn’t rely on Peter’s skill but on the Master.

Has God called you to a specific evangelism in Roch? If so, then do it. Be encouraged in faith, believe God will provide all you need for a great catch. It’s not our work that changes hearts and convicts, but the work of the Holy Spirit. We’re called to do the fishing, to let down the nets. Because God says so, we will let down the nets in Roch. Against all the principles of fishing, the disciples caught so much. Imagine you evangelise and the nets are so full. Jesus sent the fish to where the boat would be. God is all-knowing and in control. If God determines to fill your nets with men, women and children, it’s a reality waiting to happen. He wants you to be where the fish are.

Such was the catch, the disciples signalled their partners to help them. “When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that there nets began to break. So they signalled their partners in the other boat to come and help them.” (Luke5:6-7). Spreading the news in the deep waters of Roch village is a job for all partners. All of you have a job. Maybe you’re not called to be a preacher or evangelist, but you’re called to use your gifts – whether it is knocking on doors, leafleting, praying, etc. You’re needed to serve God here in this church, in this community. Your role is just as important as everyone else’s. Be obedient and faithful.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” ” (Luke 5:8). Peter became aware of his own sinfulness. He recognised Jesus, not just as Master but as Lord. The closer we are to God, the more we realise our own sinfulness, the more we have a desire to serve him. Peter could have been so preoccupied with the wealth of fish, but he was no longer focused on fish, but on the new Lord of his life – Jesus. He now realised who Jesus was and where he stood in that relationship. Have we got a sense of the presence of God, so that everything else become insignificant and Jesus become central?

Then Jesus says something unusual to Peter, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” (Luke 5:10). What fear had Jesus detected in Peter? Possibly the fear of not having enough money to pay the bills if he gave up his job to follow Jesus. Possibly not being good enough for Jesus, that his sins precluded him from future service? What fears do you have? You may have fears and failures but Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid”. If you repent, Jesus can take all your fears and failures and restore you and commission you. What will you do today- will you answer Jesus’ call, make Him the Lord of your life?

Anniversary Service: August 7th 2017: Dave Norbury

Dave Norbury - Aug 2017John 20

We have a gospel and a faith, which to some extent is under attack. There are groups of people in the U.K. who would say our faith is a blind faith with no evidence. I beg to differ.

Our faith is rooted in history. There is objective evidence to what we believe. Jesus Christ lived, died and rose again. We have solid, reliable evidence on which our faith is built.

‘Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.’ (John 20:1). Here we have the reality. Mary Magdalene was a wonderful lady who loved the Lord deeply. Mary had watched the unjust trial and was with Jesus every moment of His awful suffering. She had suffered the trauma of seeing Jesus crucified, losing the one she loved most. She turned up at the tomb and found His body had gone. The stone was taken away to reveal an empty tomb. ‘While it was still dark’ tells us Mary Magdalene had not had much sleep.

Jesus had told his disciples repeatedly that He would die and rise on the third day:

‘The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.’ (Luke 9:22).

‘And He said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course.’” (Luke 13:32).

‘For He will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging Him, they will kill Him, and on the third day He will rise.” (Luke 18:32-33).

This is pretty clear. It was the third day yet nobody thought, they didn’t believe Jesus would rise from the dead . . . Yet they came to believe. Why? The Bible tells us the disciples saw Him a number of times. They ate with Him, they touched Him. 500 people saw Him at one time.

Some people say they made it up. Let’s examine this. If you were to make it up, the last person you would say Jesus would meet would be a woman. Women in those days were not seen as reliable witnesses and were not even allowed to give evidence in court. Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus, even though she was of low status.

‘Then the other disciples, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise from the dead.’ (John 20:8-9). Did Jesus show Himself first to Peter and John as a risen Saviour? No, He showed Himself to Mary Magdalene. What an amazing, wonderful Saviour we have. He broke the cultural norms.

This is powerful, clear evidence, therefore the resurrection happened, then everything is OK. Jesus is really who He says He is. It is really true.

We have a faith that rests in the risen Jesus Christ. ‘But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb.’ (John 20:11). Notice the wonderful way John opens this truth to us. Mary Magdalene had been through a terrible trauma. Jesus had gone. She saw two angels in front of her, ‘And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain,’ (John 20:12). She saw Jesus but did not know it was Him, ‘She turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.’ She had two angels in front of her and Jesus behind her. When we’re overwhelmed, remember there are two angels before you and the Lord behind you. You are not alone. Mary Magdalene finally understood when she heard her name being spoken by Jesus. If you could hear Him today, He would be saying your name tenderly. Mary Magdalene then clung to Him as she put her arms around Him, but , ‘Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father, but go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”’ (John 20:17).

Our faith experiences God Himself. This is not just objective, it is subjective. You and I, with all our sin, can be forgiven and experience God Himself. Mary held onto Jesus, but Jesus said not to hold on to Him. There are different interpretations of this. In my view you don’t need to hold on to Jesus now because He has ascended. We now have the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is a greater experience than holding onto Jesus personally. The Holy Spirit is with us.

Have you known the touch of God on your life? Have you received a glimpse of His glory? There’s a personal, close experience you can know. You and I do not have blind faith. Our faith is rooted in history, it’s a faith that rests in the risen Jesus Christ. He comes to us in His Holy Spirit. He is known to us in a personal, subjective way. Our faith experiences God Himself.

 

Anniversary Service: August 6th 2017

Dave Norbury - Aug 2017

David Norbury

Penuel Chapel will be holding a mission weekend in October followed by a Mission Week next Easter. The EMW has helped 50 churches in mission weeks and all 50 have churches have said they have been felt blessed. It’s a big thing to reach out and go beyond your comfort zone. That’s what we’ll be doing. Everyday should be like a mission. It is challenging.

volvo


The car manufacturer Volvo was the first to invent safety belts in cars. This invention could have made the company millions. However, they gave away the design and patent to everyone. The reason for this, the chairman explained, was that some things are too important to keep to yourself and somethings are too good not to give away. If it’s good enough for safety belts, it’s good enough for the gospel! You can be safe for eternity.

The woman of Samaria: John 4: 1-42

‘A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (John 4:7). When the Lord Jesus was speaking to the woman of Samaria, where were the disciples? Shopping! “For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.” (John 4:8). The Lord Jesus draws into conversation with the woman. Even more interesting, the disciples didn’t come back until after the conversation had taken place. When they returned they saw Jesus speaking to a woman – a woman of ill-repute and a Samaritan.

The disciples’ minds were focused on caring for Jesus, ‘Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” (John 4:31). Then He tells them He has other food, “Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work.” (John 4:34)

The disciples were not thinking about a Samaritan woman of ill-repute being converted. They couldn’t see the revival happening. Jesus says to them, ‘What are you thinking about? There’s something major happening and you just can’t see it.’ How often have we said, ‘Nothing can happen here.’ God is working in a remarkable way. Sometimes we make excuses – what can one person do? One person is the Samaritan woman and she leads the town! John 4-29 Come see a man

The gospel is the power of God’s salvation. We may say, ‘I’ll speak to someone tomorrow.’ Why not today? We can make excuses, go shopping. We may say, ‘It’s not my gift.’ But we are all gifted with the glorious gospel. 

‘Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.’ (John 4:35).

The Lord Jesus is very clear with the disciples. He understands where they are at. Our God knows what suffering is. He knows our concerns.

Jesus says four things to the disciples:

  • Do not say ‘Not now, in the future…’
    Something is happening today. Do not say Why? What we say is from our hearts. Jesus says, ‘Think differently, change your desire, there’s a harvest out there. Change the way you think.’
  • ‘Look can you see it?’
    You have to start looking in a different direction. The gospel is happening now.
  • ‘Lift your eyes.’
    Change what you see. The Samaritan woman came with all the people.
  • ‘The fields are white for harvest.’
    It’s happening now. The people are coming towards us. Look for God’s blessing.

‘Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.’ (John 4:36). There are wages. Wages are given and fruits are gathered for eternal life. Look at the blessings. In verses 37-38 we see there is a partnership between you, me and the Lord Jesus Christ. We’re not on our own, He is with us. There is a mutual partnership with God.

‘Many Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” After listening to Jesus they declare, ‘We know that this is indeed the Saviour of the world.’ (John 4:42). What a statement! They didn’t see it before, but they do now. The whole town has been converted. A woman of ill-repute has been converted and brought about a remarkable work.

Matthew 9:35-38: People are like sheep without a shepherd. The Lord of the harvest can change our thinking, change the way we see the lost, even those who despise and look down on us. Pray to the Lord of the harvest. ‘Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest.”’ (Matthew 9:37-38).

Jesus speaks to the disciples in helpful ways. The Lord Jesus, as He spoke to the woman, did so in a winsome, loving and caring way. He is transcendent in the way He operates. We need to be winsome – full of grace and truth.

In John 4 verses 1-9 what does the Lord Jesus do?

  • He breaks down the cultural barriers. The Jews had no dealings with Samaritans. Who are the people you think you can’t talk to? He challenges us not to out up barriers. The Lord Jesus asks a simple question. He creates questions. Questions are wonderful. Use questions that you might find interesting. Change the way people think. Be winsome, use wisdom, desire to see people saved. Good questions are so useful – questions about eternity, questions about the gospel.
  • After breaking down cultural barriers, Jesus speaks of a spiritual dimension. The Samaritan woman heard something she had never heard before. Jesus steps into a spiritual relationship (John 4:10-11).
  • The Lord Jesus steps into the gospel (John 4: 10-26). He demonstrates the gospel and ends by gloriously declaring that He is the Messiah.
  • The Lord Jesus steps into a challenge – to the woman and her thinking (John 4:21). We should never be afraid of challenges.

This passage is so rich. Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send us to reach out. Take one step to speak to the person across the room. The first step is the hardest. The gospel we have is too good not to give away, too good not to share.

volvo

July 30th 2017: Gerald Tait

Gerald Tait July 2017The Mis-understanding of God’s Love and the reality of it.

People ask where God’s love is when disasters happen, such as the Grenfell Tower. God’s love is not like human love, which starts and stops, people fall in love, marry and divorce. How sad that picture is – it is nothing like the love of 1 Corinthians 13, which is the exact opposite. Human love looks after itself, looks after number one.

God’s chosen example for His love for us is marriage. In the Old Testament God gives a shocking example of the marriage of Hosea, which describes the way God saw His people. It is a picture of what is happening in our world today. In the Old Testament the Jewish people were described as the adulterous wife of God, in the New Testament they are the Bride of Christ. Satan is trying to destroy the very image God is using to portray His love for us. Satan is at work, working against the church, destroying married life.

The reality of God’s love is demonstrated on the cross of the Lord Jesus. The only way you can understand the love of God is by looking at the cross, it is the starting place. In the event of you are not confident in your faith, if church has become a drudgery, if you’re losing your appetite for God, the place to go is the Easter story.

We have to return the love that is given to us. We love someone for what they do for us. We love the Lord Jesus for what He’s done for us and what He’s still doing for us.

‘And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ (Mark 12:30).

‘I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.’ (Ezekiel 36:26).

‘Clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the loving God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.’ (2 Corinthians 3:3).

Our love comes from within us. God has given those who trust in Him, a new heart. We need to tell Him we love Him. Let’s return the love that has been showered upon us. The cross as a symbol will stand the test of time. God’s love doesn’t start and stop, He doesn’t divorce us. The Prodigal Son is about a father waiting for his son to come home, waiting to embrace him.

Here is love, vast as the ocean,
Loving-kindness as the flood,
When the Prince of Life, our Ransom,
Shed for us His precious blood.
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten,
Throughout heav’n’s eternal days.

On the mount of crucifixion,
Fountains opened deep and wide;
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy
Flowed a vast and gracious tide.
Grace and love, like mighty rivers,
Poured incessant from above,
And heav’n’s peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love.

William Rees

Tell the Lord how much you love Him. Thank Him for what He has done for you. Let His love become a reality for you.

Philippians 2-2

 

July 22nd 2017: Alan Davison

alan davision - july 20171 Thessalonians 1: 9-10

1 Thessalonians is generally considered to be one of the first epistles written by Paul. Thessalonica was an important port city, strategically places by the Aegean Sea, therefore a very good trade route. Paul recognised this made the city a very good place to spread the gospel. In Acts 17: 1-9 we read that initially Paul’s message was well received but after three weeks this changed. The frustrations of the people were taken out on Jason, one of the first converts. In the first chapter of 1 Thessalonians Paul continued to think of the Thessalonians with thanks. Their reputation needed no defending. ‘For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything.’ (1 Thessalonians 1: 8). The Thessalonians had made good progress in the faith.

What can we learn from the Thessalonians?

First, they turned to God from idols, ‘you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.’ (1 Thessalonians 1:9). This is a picture of repentance.

Secondly, the turned away from idols. This tells us they were likely to have been Gentiles. In Greek culture, the twelve main gods were set in gorges in Mount Olympus. Each of the gods would have had a temple. People would have looked to Mount Olympus and would have been reminded of these gods. But the Thessalonians ‘turned away’ from their idols. Every family would have had their own personal idol, something that had been important to them in their past, but now they had turned away from these.

In our society today there are many idols, such as love of money. The Thessalonians had not only turned away from their idols but they had turned to God. They replaced idol worship with worship of the one true God. They had a purpose in their lives. We too need to have a purpose in our lives, a focus for our existence. Following true conversion the Thessalonians acted differently. They found real life comes from the God of the Bible.

The Thessalonians served a living, true God. Slavery was common practice of the day. However, this was not slavery as we think of today. In Greek culture, slaves were cared for by their owners. The slaves did the menial tasks but there was a reciprocal relationship. At the end of their period of service a slave could opt to remain in their master’s service. Whole-hearted service was to serve a master who was so good the slave would want to remain with him. We are in service to a Master who really cares. Ownership came at a great price – Christ’s death for us as He set aside His glory. God’s justice had to be met. Once we are His we are always His. We can never pay back the price. ‘And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.’ (John 10: 28-29).

There are two descriptions of God:  ‘you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.’ (1 Thessalonians 1:9). The people serve a living God. This is in contrast to the inanimate idols. We have a relationship with God which deepens over time. Scripture tells us Jesus is the only way we can obtain access to God. We can come to God in different ways; some have a sudden experience, like Paul on the road to Damascus, others have a gradual awareness, like Timothy. We each have an individual relationship with God.

God is also described as ‘true.’ The idols were false gods. Our God is eager to help. It is a liberating experience.

‘Vindicate me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation; oh deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man!’ (Psalm 47:1) The Psalmist is being taunted and slandered by his enemies but his plea comes in verse 3: ‘Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your tabernacle.’ By appealing to God’s truth, the Psalmist is vindicated. No matter what accusations Satan throws at us, Jesus Christ’s blood vindicates us.

The Thessalonians had a desire to serve God. There’s an internal change. They waited. Doesn’t that grate on our human nature? They waited – not sitting idly around, but waiting expectantly for the return of Jesus Christ. ‘For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.’ (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10). The term ‘wait’ comes from the Greek ‘perusia,’ awaiting a royal visit. There is great debate about what form the second coming will take. There are even suggestions what some American airlines will not allow two Christian pilots to fly together in case the rapture occurs. Whatever one believes, what is clear is that Christ will return and Christians should eagerly await His return, ‘Even so, come, Lord Jesus!’ (Revelation 22:20).

The second coming also brings with it judgement. We will be judged by what we have done in Jesus’ service (Matthew 25:21). No-one knows when Jesus will return, ‘But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.’ (Mark 13: 32). We need to live our lives as if Christ would come today, always looking to do God’s Will in our lives, which Wayne Grudem refers to as ‘responsible egesis.’

We know there is a day coming when Jesus will return. Accept the Lord Jesus as your Saviour. ‘Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.’ (Luke 21:28). The Thessalonians were going about the Lord’s business as if He would return at any moment. We should be living as if Jesus is on the point of returning now.

The Thessalonians turned from idols to God, they repented of their sins and looked to the living God. They sought to serve God whole-heartedly. Critically, they lived their lives in the knowledge that Jesus will return again. On that day Christians will be protected from God’s wrath. We need to know Jesus will most certainly return again. Let us all echo the closing prayer of Revelation, ‘Even so, come, Lord Jesus!’ (Revelation 22:20).

Revelation 22-20

 

July 16th 2017: Ian Jones

Ian Jones-July 17Luke 7:36-50 A Sinful Woman Forgiven

Puzzling questions:

Why did the Pharisee ask Jesus to eat with him?
Normally, there is always a good reason to invite someone to dinner or others to invite us. But here, there seems no reason why Simon, the Pharisee, should invite Jesus, ‘One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table.’ (Luke 7:36). This was not like the occasion when Jesus was invited by Mary and Martha to their home, where Jesus was welcomed. It was not like the occasion when Jesus invited himself to Zaccheus’ home and was warmly welcomed by Zaccheus. In Simon’s home there was no welcome. Jesus says, ‘I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oi, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.’ (Luke 7:44-46). Jesus received none of the customary greetings of the day. So why did Simon ask Jesus to come to his house? Because he was one of those who wanted to discredit Jesus, to prove that Jesus was not a prophet, not the Son of God. Therefore he did not give the normal hospitality to Jesus.

Simon was quick to judge the woman and Jesus. There are many like Simon today; when we meet them they want to discredit Jesus. We even have an example in the apostle Paul, who persecuted Christians until he met with the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus, He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4). People want to resist Jesus, to resist the grace of God. Many have come to a meeting to cause havoc but have been struck by the word and come to Jesus. None are too far from the Kingdom of God – Christ’s message is for all, that all might receive Him gladly.

  • Why did this woman enter Simon’s home?
    It would have been easy for the woman to have stayed away, she knew she would not have been welcomed. She came because the Lord was there. The custom of the day was that anyone could come into another one’s home. We would find this difficult today! There, they would have been onlookers – not participating in the meal but standing by the walls, looking at the table and chatting with those around it. Luke tells us, ‘And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment.’ (Luke 7:37). Luke draws out attention to the woman, ‘behold, a woman of the city.’ The men would have recognised her. They classifies her as a sinner. She brought an alabaster flask of oil. It would have been a shock when she entered the house. Possibly she was a prostitute – which would have been even more shocking. She stood behind the Lord Jesus with a costly flask of fragrant oil and began to pour it over his dusty feet. His feet wouldn’t have been washed. Her tears fell onto those feet. She undid her hair, which would have been another shocking thing. She used her crowning glory to wash his hair, and kissed His feet in a loving, respectful way. Ointment was poured. All eyes were on her. Everyone was silent. Watching.

Why did she come to Simon’s house? She wanted to show her love and devotion to the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus had obviously changed her life. She was no longer a practising sinner as she had been before. Jesus changed that when He came into her life. Has He has changed our lives? Do we have the same love as she had? Have we come today in that same manner, wanting to express our love?

  • Why did Jesus come into this house, knowing what Simon was like?

Simon was not a seeker, like Mary, Martha and Zaccheus. Why did Jesus go into his home when His time on earth was short? He would have known all about Simon, ‘Now when the Pharisee who had invited him say this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.”’ (Luke 7:39). Jesus answered him. He knew what Simon was thinking as well as his guests. So why did Jesus come? It was for a very important reason – to teach an important truth. He distinguishes a contrast between Simon and the woman.

Jesus has a parable, a very simple parable: a creditor had two debtors. One owned a lot, one very little. Both couldn’t pay. The creditor freely forgave both. Then Jesus asked a question of His own – which debtor would love the creditor the most? There is any easy answer, but Simon struggled, saying, ‘The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.’ (Luke 7: 43). We see, as Simon answers, ‘I suppose,’ that he didn’t want to give an answer. Jesus tells him that he has judged rightly (before he had wrongly judges the woman). Then Jesus turns to the woman and says to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.’ (Luke 7:44-46). He wanted Simon to focus on the woman. He directed his attention to her. The important truth was, ‘Her sins, which are many, are forgiven – for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.’ (Luke 7:47). The reason Jesus came to that house was to declare to Simon and us, the more we recognise our sin, the more we realise we are indebted to our God, the more we love Him. The more we see why Jesus went to the cross and bore our sins, the more we will love Him.

  • Why should we want to come into that house?

If we could go back in time, why would we want to go there? ‘And He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”’ (Luke 7:48). Those who sat at the table asked, ‘Who is this, who even forgives sins?’ Do you and I need to do something amazing to have our sins forgiven? The Lord Jesus gives us the answer, ‘And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’ (Luke 7:50). We won’t be saved by our good works or our family connections, but by faith. Salvation is by faith. How do we come by faith? By the word of God. Turn from sin, express your thanks to God. Jesus told the woman, ‘Go in peace.’

Luke 7-50.jpg

No matter how many times we hear the gospel message, we need to be reminded of the truth, that by faith we are saved. When we leave this world and face death, we know we have been saved by faith if we have repented. Faith saved the woman, she can now go in peace. Might we have the peace of God as we know the Lord Jesus.

July 9th 2017: Ian Middlemist

ian-dec-2016Romans 1:18-20

What has been done?
What is expected?
No excuses!

What has been done?
What has God done to render no excuses from man? ‘For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.’ (Romans 1:19). Some people are glad to hide at the back of a room because of their shyness, others are glad to be conspicuous and wear their heart on their sleeve. God has been pleased to allow Himself to be known to all. He has revealed Himself to mankind and through creation. He is a powerful God. He knows how much men and women need Him. He reveals Himself through creation. We all experience this. ‘The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.’ (Psalm 19:1).

Romans 1-20

This is enough for men, women and children to know Him. When you think about your relationship with unbelieving friends, you have a connection with them, you have all seen creation. The external testimony of creation. God has given man a conscience in which he can understand creation. Children play on beaches, holding the sand in their hands – creation is in their hands. It’s for all. We are His creatures, we must worship Him. Some refuse to act on this knowledge, they do not want to turn to God, they hate Him.

What is expected of us, having been given this knowledge?
God has given creation, knowledge and conscience. We are all under the same judgement. We see the big sin, ‘For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.’ (Romans 1:18). Ungodliness is a religious sin. Unrighteousness is a moral sin. The two go hand in hand. Some may have more of one than the other; some attempt to live good lives but with no repentance to God. Others claim to worship God but live immoral lives. Unrighteousness and godliness is seen in one thing – suppressing the truth. ‘Suppress’ means to put in detention, to lock up. Whilst men and women force the truth of Jesus into the subconscious, all awhile it is there. People push it aside. No-one can destroy what God has done. We need to allow the truth of God to dominate – sing to God new songs of worship. Repent of sins, acknowledge the truth. There is not enough knowledge in creation to save. We need the Holy Spirit, it is God’s work alone. As He comes to us we can repent of our sins.

No excuses!
When we become a Christian all our excuses are nothing but an embarrassment. It’s an embarrassing thing to see someone pleading their innocence when everyone knows they’re guilty. Our desire is everyone comes to humble repentance. There are no excuses we can bring on that last day. The gospel begins with the wrath of God but ends with the mercy of God. You cannot have a gospel without the wrath. Many people are not interested in the gospel, they don’t realise the wrath of God. ‘Wrath’ has to do with a passion. God isn’t simply annoyed with sin, it’s a personal matter. God is passionate in His wrath, it means something to Him. He is passionately filled with holy indignation.

The wrath of God is a fearful thing. A judge sums up a case, sometimes using very emotive language in response to evil. It’s a pointed anger against sin. Everyone is condemned – but there is wonderful news! Jesus Christ was sent to die for us, He gave His life for us. How can we begin to thank God, to thank Jesus, when we have so not deserved His love? Praise Him!