February 9th 2020: Alan Davison

Alan Davison-Feb2020Titus 3:4-8

The doctrine of regeneration.

We glory in the fact we are redeemed, justified before God because of what Christ has done. When Christ rose, He rose to a new quality of life. He was transformed. He earned this for us too (Ephesians 2:5-6). This is what we will experience. By coming to faith we’re made spiritually dead to the world. Our spirit has been renewed (Colossians 3:1-2). We still have to deal with the same bodies, the same weaknesses and sicknesses, but we’re to seek heavenly things. The power used to raise Christ from the dead is the same power He uses to sustain us. If we try to do something in our own strength it is like going in second gear. We need to surrender to God, to truly trust in God, not our limitations (Ephesians 1:19-20).

When we fully trust in God He infuses every aspect of our lives. This starts with regeneration – it is only of God. Its impact upon our lives should be ongoing and obvious.

  • Regeneration is a work of God alone.

The life of faith is initiated by God (John 1:13). When we are born again all three persons of the Trinity are involved. It is the Father who initiated our faith (James 1:17-18, 1 Peter 1:3). The Resurrection of our Saviour is the means used to obtain our regeneration. Our rebirth is of the Spirit (John 3:8).

He has raised us spiritually from death to life, to the realities of the spiritual realm. It is mysterious to us. We don’t understand it but we still give thanks. Scripture tells us God’s ways are not our ways.

Whilst regeneration is of the Spirit, it should affect every aspect of our life (2 Corinthians 5:17). I still have the same physical body but it now serves God. God’s salvation is holistic, it saves the whole person. Our bodies are a creation of God, originally described as ‘very good.’ Regeneration – God has done it all

  • Regeneration comes before saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Once regenerated we come to a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. God has to work that in our hearts. We know that the faith we have can ebb and flow, but regeneration is from God (John 6:44, John 6:65).

Acts 16:14 is an example of this working out. God acted on Lydia’s heart so she would respond positively to Paul’s call. But the reverse can also be true (1 Corinthians 2:13-14).

Look for evidence to see if someone is regenerated. From the moment we realise we have been saved, we have a desire to read the Scriptures, a need to pray. We seek a meaningful ongoing relationship with God. God has done this and will not revoke it. God wants us to build upon the regenerated heart He has given us.

  • Regeneration is confirmed by a changed life.

It is an ongoing process fed by sanctification. The power of sin that used to be in our lives is no longer present. While sin continues to hamper us, God’s seed is in us. We penitently confess our sins, asking God to change us – we must have God’s help to do so.

We are a daily witness as we seek to put others first, not ourselves. Not to do this is to take on the world’s attitudes. (1 John 5:3-4). God has won the victory for us. Since we are regenerated we have overcome the world in God’s strength. Regeneration will protect us from Satan (1 John 5:18). Satan will bicker at us but God won’t let him succeed, He won’t let Satan pull us out of His grasp. Satan whispers doubts in our ears, but the fact you are grieving shows God at work in your life.

Regeneration is something we can depend upon as we live our lives (Galatians 5). The fruit of the Spirit should be nurtured. It is not a check list but character traits we will see as an ongoing basis in our lives.

Jesus tells us what He expects from our lives – fruit in the people we become. He looks at what we will become, not what we’ve done.

September 9th 2018: Mike Viccary

Mike Viccary -9thSept18Revelation 1:1-8: Who is this Jesus?

What does the future hold? What will happen to the world in the next decade? What new technologies will change and challenge us? Such questions are being asked continually. What does the future hold?

The Lamb that was slain is on the throne. There’s an appeal to all of us to come to Christ. We need to know Him more today than yesterday. Revelation is also a book of warning to those who choose not to love Christ.

This is the revelation of Jesus Christ. It came from the Father, about the Son. This is different to the book of Genesis. Genesis is a book of history, Revelation is a book of prophecy. It bears a close relationship with the book of Daniel. John was brought into heaven and witnessed these things. This books is a blessing to all those who read it, to those who heed this prophecy.

After the general introduction in verses 1-3 we are then given John’s greeting in verse 4. The greeting is not just from John but comes from the Trinity. How wonderful! The Trinity say to you this morning, ‘Grace, Peace.’

In verses 5-6 we hear a doxology. Every time we read the Word of God we should praise His name. Then, in verse 7 we are given a declarative warning. We look forward to the coming of Jesus Christ, but there’s a warning of judgement.

The opening is about the statement and revelation of God.

Christ Jesus is the second person of the Trinity. The Father is represented first. The seven spirits refers to perfection, completion, the action of the Spirit of God in all He does. The seven churches are representative of the churches in all the world. The order of the Trinity here is not the usual Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but Father, Holy Spirit and Son. The focus is on Jesus Christ.

In verse 5 we see three title given to Jesus Christ:
the faithful witness;
the firstborn of the dead;
the ruler over the kings of the earth.

Jesus Christ is the faithful witness. This is so comforting. We also read this in Revelation 3:14, 19:1, so it is not just a passing reference. He is the Amen. Why? He has given us this revelation. He is before all things. He alone has come from outside creation into creation and He spoke. He is the objective. He is also Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. He encompasses the entire span of history. He stood amongst the seven lampstands. He is here, at the lampstand of Penuel Baptist Chapel. He is walking amongst us. He knows our situation. He can see deep into the heart. He speaks truth. He instructed John to write down what he said so that we might benefit. When God speaks it is written down and preserved.

Christ is the only person to die voluntarily, to rise again and come back to new life in a new spiritual body. No-one has seen God at any time. When we see Jesus we see the Father – that’s how we see God. Only Jesus has seen God in all eternity.

Christ is the firstborn of the dead. He died in our place to pay for all our sins, to provide to us with the righteousness that comes by faith. He is the Lamb slain. He is the firstborn, the one who has the Father’s inheritance. He was prophesied in Psalm 89. In Colossians 1:15 we read He is the heir to all things. Will you share in His inheritance? The meek will (Matthew 19) inherit the earth, life forever (Matthew 25). We read of our inheritance in Ephesians 1:18. In 1 Peter 1:4 Peter writes we come ‘to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.’ Earthly inheritance doesn’t last but the inheritance we have will never be spoiled – and it’s eternal! We, as joint heirs, will inherit too.

He is from the dead, born into this world of dead (valley of dry bones – Ezekiel).Christ came into that and He lived amongst them. Nothing could harm Him. He had to submit to death but is risen (Revelation 1:18). He alone is the source of life, the author of creation and the new creation. Do we live to God or do we get caught up in the world?

He is the ruler over the kings of the earth. There are two kingdoms – the kingdom of this world (1 John 5:19) and then there are those of the kingdom of the ‘Son of His love.’ (Colossians 1:13) Nothing happens in this world unless God allows it. He always brings good out of things. For our comfort we need to remember He is the ruler of the kingdoms. The responsibility of believers is to demonstrate what it means to ‘Kiss the Son.’ Christ loved us, He actually washes us. As you read the Word of God, know His cleansing experience. He makes us kings and priests in the new kingdom.

In verse 8 we are given a self-revelation of Christ. There is a problem here if you are reading the NIV as there is an omission. The text is pointing us to Christ, Christ is the Alpha and Omega. Jesus is the beginning and end. Don’t worry! Before time began, after time has finished, Jesus is God. The Lord Christ is our faithful witness to salvation, to who God is, to who we are. He is the one who has told us how it is. Are we faithful? When we hear His word, do we say ‘yes?’

May 27th 2018: Gerald Tait

Gerald Tait January 18The Trinity

Although the word ‘trinity’ is not mentioned in scripture, the Bible is full of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. God is in total control of the three.  An illustration of the trinity could be an orange divided equally into three. Each part will have orange slices, pips and juice. God is equal with the Son and is equal with the Spirit. God is in overall control. When the disciples said to Jesus ‘When will you return?’ He replied, ‘Only the Father knows.’

There are three ways into an earthly family: being born into it naturally, marrying into it or being adopted into it. This happens when you become a believer (John 3:16). We come into a family. The New Testament describes coming into church. In John 1 we are born into the family. When we believe we receive the nature of a son. When we are adopted, we receive the position of a son. Paul says we are adopted by God into the church. God said the church is like a bride – one day, we the church will be the bride.

What is God doing now? All around the world thousands are coming to faith in Jesus today. They are being born into the family. God is actively adopting them and bringing them security. When Jesus finished work on earth He returned to heaven. What is He doing now? In John 17 we read the priestly prayer. Jesus is God’s love gift to the world. Christians are the Father’s love gift to Jesus.

What security we have does not depend on us, it depends on God. God will not allow any of those He has given to Jesus to be lost. What is Jesus’ activity in heaven? He has gone there as a high priest, He is actively being our High Priest right now. Jesus reminds God of the sacrifice He made. Jesus is there not only as a priest, as our solicitor, He is our top advocate. When I mess up, Jesus forgives. Part of our nature is still sinful but Jesus pleads for our security. God is in overall control.

God the Holy Spirit. In the Greek the word ‘spirit’ is ‘pneuma.’ We read of the Holy Spirit in Genesis 1:2. Throughout the Old Testament the Holy Spirit came upon people. They travelled and were good at using stones. Abraham took some rubble and built an altar to worship God and offer sacrifice to God. Jacob set up a stone altar when he wrestled with God. John 1 is a replica of Genesis 1. Jesus gave work to the Holy Spirit to carry on what He had started. The Holy Spirit is our paracelete, the one who comes alongside to help you and keep you safe.

We see the trinity in the grace. Grace in Welsh is ‘cymdeithas’ – the society of the Holy Spirit. Interesting – it’s a building society. The Holy Spirit assists us in the building of God’s church. The Holy Spirit came upon the patriarchs as they built stone altars to worship God. The church is living stones. He takes the rubble of my life and your life and He is dressing the stone and making it fit. How wonderful is that! We are a society of believers, made to fit in that temple. The Holy Spirit is the deposit guaranteeing our inheritance. Jesus is coming back. We’ve been marked with a seal, a deposit (Ephesians 1). We have confidence, assurance, knowing we have security in the trinity.