Mondeor Community Church

 

04/07/2013

01/06/2013

03/05/2013

05/04/2013

New Year 2013

 

 

04/07/2013

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!

PSALM 128:

“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.

Blessedness means happiness – this reminds me of the “beatitudes” – the beautiful attitudes that Jesus taught:

       “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 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 fear Him.

 

      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 comes.

       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!!

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01/06/2013

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 hope.

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 response...

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 Righteousness—Malachi 4:2

To the baker, He is the Bread of life—John 6:35

To the banker, He is the Hidden Treasure—Matthew 13:44

To the builder, He is the Sure Foundation—Isaiah 28:16

To the carpenter, He is the Door—John 10:7

To the doctor, He is the Great Physician—Jeremiah 8:22

To the educator, He is the Great Teacher—John 3:2

To the electrician, He is the Light of the world—John 8:12**

To the engineer, He is the New and Living way—Hebrews 10:20

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 Vine—John 15:1

To the judge, He is the only righteous Judge of man—2 Timothy 4:8

To the juror, He is the Faithful and True Witness—Revelation 3:14

To the jeweller, He is the Pearl of great price—Matthew 13:46

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 eyes—Proverbs 29:13

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 God—Revelation 19:13

To the priest, He is foreshadowed in the Tabernacle—Exodus 25:8

To the sculptor, He is the Living Stone—1 Peter 2:4

To the servant, He is the Good Master—Matthew 23:8–10

To the statesman, He is the Desire of all nations—Haggai 2:7

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 rest—Matthew 11:28

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...

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03/05/2013

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 and TEACHABLE.

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 live.

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 believing.

The Gospel has logical force: the force of the facts of the teachings of the Gospel produces faith.

 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 lost.

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!

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THE 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." ~ Jn.1:1-5

 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.

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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 our lives.

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 of God.

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 persuaded."

The great 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 3:14]

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 Oxenham

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 !

Not what,

But Whom !

 

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