Our journey through Colossians continues
– I truly believe the fundamental truths contained in this
special letter is condensed in this wonderful Psalm. Paul
assures us as believers that we have been enriched in every
possible way “IN CHRIST”, because in Him alone, all the
riches of wisdom and knowledge is hidden. We need only to
believe this, and make it our own!
“How blessed is everyone
who fears the Lord, Who walks in His
ways. When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands,
You will be happy and it will be well with you. Your wife
shall be like a fruitful vine, Within your house, Your
children like olive plants Around your table. Behold, for
thus shall the man be blessed Who fears the Lord. “The Lord
bless you from Zion, And may you see the prosperity of
Jerusalem all the days of your life. Indeed, may you see
your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel!”
The main point of
this particular Psalm is to say to us that the blessings
which we enjoy as the people of God are MUCH greater than
any of the blessings that the people of this world enjoy.
And in that sense,
this Psalm reminds us of the words of John Newton in that
wonderful hymn, Glorious
Things of Thee are Spoken; and you remember that line,
“Solid joys and lasting pleasures, none but Zion’s children
know.” And there is a sense, isn’t there, that this Psalm is
an apologetic for the day and age in which you and I live.
How necessary this Psalm is in a hedonistic age in which we
live: that true joy, that true blessing and happiness and
contentment is to be found for us, the Lord’s people, in the
work that we do and in the homes in which we live, and in
the worship which we offer to God.
And that’s a
message which the Bible is at pains to say over and over
again: 150 times, in fact, the Bible reminds us of the
necessary it is to fear the Lord. And we see that example,
in the person of Job; that one of the attributes, one of the
characteristics of Job, that was his in the middle of his
trials and difficulties, was that he feared the Lord. And we
could analyze that at some length, but my little clock here
is ticking away! So
let me just say that the essence of what it means to fear
the Lord is essentially the realization of and the response
to what we know about God. It
is the response of the child of God to the true nature and
character of God, and in particular, the greatness of God
and the majesty of God: that God is great; that God is
majestic; that God is greater than we can ever imagine Him
to be. And true biblical hedonism, true biblical enjoyment
and pleasure and blessing, is the response of the child of
God in terms of the words of the first answer to The
Westminster Shorter Catechism; that is, it is to glorify
God, and to enjoy Him forever. And there’s nothing more
fundamental than that. It doesn’t get more basic than that,
that what it means to enjoy the privileges of the Christian
life is to live the Christian life in the fear of God, to
walk before Him as He has revealed Himself as the great God
that He is.
happiness – this reminds me of the “beatitudes” – the
beautiful attitudes that Jesus taught:
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
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they
shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they
shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for
righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
The fear of the Lord is the very
root of the ideal life. It is so basic and important that it
is actually stated twice in this short psalm, (verse 1 and
4) The fear of the Lord is reverence, dread to offend,
anxiety to please, complete submission and obedience. In
other places is it said to be "the beginning of wisdom,"
(Ps. 111:10; Prov. 9:10) and "clean, enduring forever." (Ps.
19:9) His compassion (Ps. 103:13) and His loving-kindness
(Ps. 103:17) and His favour (Ps. 147:11) are on those that
This fear of the Lord is very
practical. It will cause us to walk in the way of God. When
we live the right way, the way that God directs, good things
flow as a matter of course. So the "the fear of the LORD
leads to life," (Prov. 19:23) and is "a fountain of life" (Prov.
14:27) which "prolongs life." (Prov. 10:27) If the life we
want is the life He wants for us, then our faithful labour
and His continual blessing will cause it to happen for us.
Do you want a life like this? Then
consider the words of David: "You who fear the LORD, trust
in the LORD; He is their help and their shield," (Ps 115:11)
and "O fear the LORD, you His saints; For to those who fear
Him, there is no want." (Ps. 34:9) Walking in the fear of
the Lord is very blessed life indeed. But I think the Psalm
is saying something much more profound, even, than that:
that true blessing comes from God, from God Himself. And
what this Psalm is saying to us is that we ought to be
captivated – captivated by the glory and majesty and
greatness of God, from whom, from whom alone, true blessing
In fact, it’s almost ideal – too
good to be true, yet despite all our circumstances, this
truth never changes, He that promised is true and faithful!!
Understanding the grace of God in all
it’s fullness and truth:
CHRIST IN US – THE HOPE OF GLORY
As we are continuing our venture
through the book of Colossians, I can truly say it’s more
than a venture – it’s an AD-VENTURE!!
Remember this: Christ is not simply the
reason we can hope for glory, CHRIST IS HIMSELF THAT GLORY!
The glory for which we long, the glory for which we have
been predestined, the glory that makes all suffering and
pain and disappointment in this life unworthy of comparison
is the person and presence of Jesus Christ himself. He is
our glory. Being with him, to know him, to see him, to
relish and rejoice in his beauty, is the glory for which we
Forgiveness of sins and justification and
adoption and all the other blessings of the gospel are good
and glorious, but only so far as they make it possible for
us to experience the permanent presence and vision and
splendor of Jesus himself.
John Piper put it this way: “If you could
have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you
ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all
the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural
beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever
tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters,
could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not
there?” ("God is the Gospel," p. 15).
I hope you said No to that question. Our
hope is Christ. He is our exceeding great reward. And he
lives in us now! Not figuratively or symbolically or merely
"as it were." He lives and abides in us now. And this is the
ground and assurance we have for the glory of being with him
and enjoying him forever. It starts with us now, we
experience HIM, and He is real.
Jesus asked "Who do PEOPLE say that the
Son of Man is?" (Mt 16:13) An anonymous author penned this
To the artist, He is the One altogether
lovely—Song of Solomon 5:15
To the architect, He is the Chief
Cornerstone—1 Peter 2:6
To the astronomer, He is the Sun of
To the baker, He is the Bread of
To the banker, He is the Hidden
To the builder, He is the Sure
To the carpenter, He is the Door—John
To the doctor, He is the Great
To the educator, He is the Great
To the electrician, He is the Light of
the world—John 8:12**
To the engineer, He is the New and Living
To the farmer, He is the Sower and Lord
of harvest—Luke 10:2
To the florist, He is the Rose of
Sharon—Song of Solomon 2:1
To the gardener, He is the Rose of
Sharon—Song of Solomon 2:1**
To the geologist, He is the Rock of
Ages—1 Corinthians 10:4
To the horticulturist, He is the True
To the judge, He is the only righteous
Judge of man—2 Timothy 4:8
To the juror, He is the Faithful and True
To the jeweller, He is the Pearl of great
To the lawyer, He is Counsellor,
Lawgiver, and True Advocate—Isaiah 9:6
To the newspaper man, He is Good News of
great joy—Luke 2:10
To the oculist, He is the Light of the
To the philanthropist, He is the
unspeakable Gift—2 Corinthians 9:15
To the philosopher, He is the Wisdom of
God—1 Corinthians 1:24
To the preacher, He is the Word of
To the priest, He is foreshadowed in the
To the sculptor, He is the Living Stone—1
To the servant, He is the Good
To the statesman, He is the Desire of all
To the student, He is the Incarnate
Truth—1 John 5:6
To the theologian, He is the Author and
Finisher of our faith—Hebrews 12:2
To the toiler, He is the Giver of
To the sinner, He is the Lamb of God who
takes the sin away—John 1:29
To the Christian, He is the Son of the
Living God, the Saviour, the Redeemer, and the Loving Lord.”
To those who belong to Jesus, He asks
"But Who do YOU say that I am?" (Mt 16:15)
FROM SCRIPTURE WE ANSWER...
Understanding the Grace of God in all
it’s fullness – the unsearchable riches of Christ.
As we venture through the book of
Colossians, I have been reminded that the Christian life is
one of constantly growing deeper, into and experiencing the
truth of “Christ-in-me” the hope of glory. I strongly
believe that this is done in community – in the fellowship
of other believers committed to seeking God in prayer,
praise and worship, the discipline of attending meetings to
hear, receive, and implement the teaching and preaching of
the word of the Living God. True spiritual life does not
consist of individualistic “lone ranger” type believers who
do their own thing, but people under the direct Lordship of
Christ, in a mutual loving relationship, willing to submit
to each other in wisdom and in reverence for who Jesus is.
When we are being discipled, and growing in grace and in the
knowledge of our Lord Jesus, we grow through the means of
grace that God made available in the life of the body, as I
mentioned earlier. God is looking for, and can use, more
“FAT” believers! Ones that are FAITHFUL, AVAILABLE
As your Pastor, my calling and gifting is
fulfilled only in as much as I am able to let you see the
glory, beauty and ,majesty and mystery of our God in Jesus
Christ – for me to leave you in awe of our gracious God, to
see Him not only move in our midst in the service times, but
for you to maintain a sense of His great love and
commitment to you, in the midst of your circumstances – your
busy work-week, and all the stresses of family-life. It’s
my joy and delight to see God working in you and using you,
growing and maturing us into His image. This is accomplished
through the direct agency of the Person of the Holy Spirit
energising His taught Word, and giving us the grace to
respond to it in life and actions, having our minds renewed
and refreshed by Is Living Word.
Our life is the Gospel, more accurately,
the Christ of the Gospel for who we live, and in Whom we
Often the Gospel is thought of something
you believe, and then move on. On the contrary. Our whole
lives are to be consumed as by sacrifice, upon the altar of
God, which is His Gospel.
Christ is the power of God, that is, He
is the one who exercises God’s power to save the ones
The Gospel has logical force: the
force of the facts of the teachings of the Gospel produces
The Gospel has emotional force:
it is the loved of Jesus that places a divine constraint or
pressure on us to live in His love and share it with the
The glorious Gospel has redemptive
force: the power in the blood of Christ cleanses us from
all sin and unrighteousness, and is sufficient for the
salvation of all who call on Him in truth.
Christ is the wisdom of God – that is He
is the one who has revealed the divine wisdom that has to do
with our eternal salvation. Christ is the personal
revelation to us, of who the Glorious Creator God our Father
is. He is the exact representation of God’s very being, and
He upholds all things by His Word, the Lord Jesus Christ –
He is the word made flesh for us. This is the good news of
your salvation – God is for you, not against you – He did
not spare His own Son, but freely gave Him up for us all,
and promised to give us our heart’s desire with Christ…
What hope is stored up for us! What great
promise! What a future for His children!
All this and so much more to come from
Colossians…God be with you, SHALOM!
BLESSEDNESS OF THE NEW.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the
Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in
the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him
nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and
that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in
the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." ~
As we enter the new year, I assume many
have already made, and even broken some new years
resolutions already! It is with great expectation that I'm
looking at 2013 - a time to trust God for the new, the
restored and the
better way. Not that the old was not
sufficient, or lacking, but a steady growth and maturity
into the perfect of what God has for us as His congregation,
and as individual believers.
The new includes God's rest.
It has been said that man proposes, but
God disposes, and while I agree with that sentiment, it does
not include passivity. So it is with the rest of God. The
author to the Hebrews states this truth as follows:
" Therefore, since the promise of
entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none
of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have
had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but
the message they heard was of no value to them, because they
did not share the faith of those who obeyed. Now we who have
believed enter that rest, just as God has said,
“So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They
shall never enter my rest.’" Ch.4:1-3
To continue in the life of faith, the
word of God declares that we only work out that which God
has worked in us. God is NEVER dreary and boring, on the
contrary! What an dynamic and ever "Fresh" God we serve! He
is the same,
Yesterday, Today, And Forever" yet ever
new, ever working in all our circumstances to conform us
into the image of our Lord Jesus.
The Gospel is God's powerful solution.
The purpose of God for us this new year,
is to continue to embody Christ's love, through preaching &
teaching, fellowship, service and community outreach within
our suburb, and beyond. I believe that this little building
on the corner, is the hope of the world - not the structure
and the property of course, but the glorious message of
reconciliation and forgiveness through the cross and
resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Let's continue in prayer for those God is
calling - the lost, broken, hurting and backslidden, that
they may come in and be restored to their
Heavenly Father. In Jesus Name.
The bedrock of
our faith and hope
What a wonderful reminder it is this this
month, with Easter still fresh in our memories, that this
same Easter message is the bedrock of our faith and hope. As
we share the communion table together, it’s like the life of
Jesus is poured out into us again, giving us new hope and
confidence that the holy week events was all done for me.
Our great need – his wonderful supply!
The Apostle Peter reminds us that we were
ransomed from the futile ways inherited from our
forefathers, “not with perishable things such as silver or
gold, but with the previous blood of Christ, like that of a
lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19).
We have been ransomed and redeemed, not
because the water in a filthy river has divine powers, nor
because someone took a pile of silver or a bag of gold to a
temple and gave it to some pagan god or goddess. We have
been ransomed because God the Father put forth the precious
blood of his Son, Jesus Christ, as the purchase price for
Why is the “blood” of Christ precious?
Peter doesn’t mean “precious” as we do when we first set our
eyes on a new born baby and say, “Oh, she’s so precious!”
Precious does not mean cute or cuddly or sweet or endearing.
Here it means priceless! Costly! Of infinite value! The
blood of Christ is precious because it is a spiritual
treasure of immeasurable proportions.
And why is it of infinite value and of
unfathomable worth? For many reasons -
First, it is “precious” because of him
whose blood it is. It is “precious” blood because it is the
blood of the Son of God, the most glorious and grand and
righteous and powerful and loving and gentle and good and
holy and humble man who ever lived: Jesus!
Then secondly, this “blood” is also
“precious” because of what it can do!
The blood of the cross can accomplish
what all the silver and gold and platinum and diamonds and
rubies and all the wealth of the world cannot do. Yes, money
is a wonderful thing. It can purchase comfort and physical
blessings and nice homes. But it is powerless to ransom
captive souls from sin!
The blood of the cross can accomplish
what education cannot. Yes, education broadens the mind and
enlightens the understanding and captivates the imagination,
but it is powerless to convert the soul and renew the spirit
and fill the heart with joy in Jesus!
The blood of the cross can accomplish
what science cannot. Yes, science can improve the quality of
our lives on earth and protect us from infectious diseases
and create devices that improve our communication. But it
cannot redeem us from sin, or forgive, or give us hope in
the face of death.
The blood of the cross can do what
technology cannot, we are grateful for technology, for the
airline industry that enables us to travel around the world,
for the laptop computer on which we do our work and write
books, for the heating systems that keep us warm and the air
conditioning systems that keep us cool. But technology
cannot renew our hearts or bring us into the true knowledge
The blood of the cross can accomplish
what all the alleged “holy water” in the world cannot.
Praise God for water and nuclear energy
and economic development and the entertainment industry and
athletics and the international banking system. But for all
their good, they cannot do what the blood of Christ can do.
They cannot ransom us from sin. They cannot redeem us from
judgment. They cannot give us God. But the blood of Christ
shed on Calvary’s cross can!
That is the religion of experience, of
truth, and of Christ. And that is the great persuasion of
our apostle Paul, "I know, I know, and I am persuaded. I
know whom I have believed and am persuaded. I have
believed, therefore, I am persuaded." Not, "I have followed
Christ and am persuaded. I have tried to be like Him and am
persuaded. I have attained into all of those objectives
that are Christly and heavenly and divine, and I am
persuaded.” No. “I have believed. I have committed, and I
am persuaded.” I am persuaded that neither death nor life
nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers nor things
present nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, or any
other creation shall be able to separate us from the love of
God which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Romans 8:38, 39
“I have believed, therefore, I am
foundation of our religion and of our faith is never in
ourselves. It is in Him. To look on the inside is to look
to despair, to futility, and frustration, and vanity, and
death, and nothingness. But to lift up your eyes and look
to Him is to be persuaded that He is able. Look, look and
live. "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,
even so must the Son of man be lifted up, up, up, that
whosoever believeth in Him may have eternal life" [John
Would you look unto Him and live? Not to
the doctrine. Not to the creed. Not to the church. Not to
the ordinance. Not to the preacher. Looking to Jesus…,
look and live!
2 Timothy 1:12, "Nevertheless, I am not
ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded
that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him
against that day."
Not what, but Whom, I do believe – John
Not what but whom I do believe That, in
my darkest hour of need, Hath comfort that no mortal creed
To mortal man may give ;
Not what, but Whom ! For Christ is more
than all the creeds, And His full life of gentle deeds Shall
all the creeds outlive.
Not what but Whom Not what I do believe,
but Whom !
Who walks beside me in the gloom?
Who shares the burden wearisome ?
Who all the dim way doth illume,
And bids me look beyond the tomb
The larger life to live ?
Not what I do believe,
But Whom !
But Whom !