To venable (verb): To randomly muse upon this and that.

Archive for the ‘Christ Jesus our LORD’ Category

Red-Letter Bibles

They really should be banned should they not? That is red-letter bibles. I understand the good intentions behind them to have the words of Christ our Lord highlighted so that special attention is drawn to them. And it is beautiful to know of the words actually spoken by our Saviour.

However, the big cost is found in the fact that all other scripture is regarded as being “also-rans”. Yes it is a Word from the Lord, but is is not as good as the Word of our Lord Jesus. This is just no good. Paul tells Timothy and us. that All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

The words spoken by our Lord are not more important than other words recorded in scripture. They are all equally part of the revelation that the Lord has given to us in His Word.

This also saves us from all false notions about how Paul or Peter had a lesser view, or alternative view, of the faith. Not at all! They all stand on a level with our Lord Jesus in terms of revealing the same faith.

This has to be so because it is the same God who spoke through the apostles who also spoke in Jesus Christ.

Accordingly, we receive the Word as one whole Word from our Lord.

You Must Have Time With The Lord

This is essential for the Christian; you must have your personal time alone with Him. You put your life in peril if you do not. Church fellowship is essential and we need to be experiencing that to grow in the Lord. Worshipping in the family at home  must also be there in our schedules. But we must not neglect being in the secret place with the Lord.

You have to find out what works for you. You may be able to operate on a spontaneous basis, whereby in the natural flow of life you are having space to worship the Lord and be with Him. However, for most of us, I suggest, that this is not the case, We need to be more disciplined. we need to set aside a specific time to be alone with our Father and our Lord Jesus. Regular habits are normally good in this respect.

And if your Quiet Time or personal time with the Lord is becoming dull and lacklustre then mix it up. Try whatever works. Try reading a few passages of good Christ centred books. The Puritans are good here and Richard Sibbes is always a good place to start. Try prayer lists. In all this make sure that your prayings and worshippings are Bible framed so you must have the Word.

Living Christians are always God’s presence Christians. No time in the presence of the Lord means death to your soul and impoverishment in spiritual desires and worship.

And of course our Lord Jesus sets the pattern here. He was so keen to spend time with his Father that he would get up early to make sure it happened. Perhaps that is what you need to do (and me). You need to be thinking about getting up a bit earlier and having time in His presence.

I have written about personal devotions at further length here if you are interested.

Humility

I am left musing upon the lack of humility that there is around. There is plenty of faithfulness, a good amount of giftedness and ample supplies of knowledge. Yet I am left wondering about the quantity of humility that is seen amongst the people of God.

This key spiritual attribute should be palpably in evidence among us. After all humility is at the heart of our faith. It is such because humility pulses through everything concerning our Saviour coming from glory into humanity and enduring the cross for us. We read in Philippians 2:5-8:

 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross

Without humility there is neither incarnation nor salvation.

Moreover, how can it be that the true Christian is anything other than humble. We are after all so incredibly blessed. We have come to realise, through God’s enlightening grace, how bad we are. We have been so blessed by God through the cross of our lord Jesus, notwithstanding all of our badness. Being totally undeserving of that blessing because of our sin we now have acceptance in Christ Jesus. And now being so wonderfully provided for through the saving work of our Lord and Saviour, how can we be anything, but humble?

After presenting the truths of how the God of glory rescues destitute sinners and brings them into such blessing according to the Lord’s eternal plan then Paul moves into exhorting the Ephesians believers to live worthy lives. And so he says:

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 

At the heart of his exhortation is the call to humility.

Humility is seen in a spirit of self-effacing, setting oneself in lowly way. It is seen in the honouring and exalting of others.  So Paul says to the Philippians 3:2b in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

I wrote about a man who visited Feltham last year here. If there was anything that was the secret of this man’s attractive demeanour it was his humility.

And this all leaves me pondering upon myself. How much do I display this beautiful grace?

Oh and I must remember that there is one place which it is key to visit in order that humility will be cultivated in my life. When I go to Calvary and the cross of my Lord Jesus then there is only one reasonable outcome for my character; humility.

And perhaps that’s why there is so little humility it is because we are so little at the cross.

Talk Normally

When potentially meeting people and thinking about talking with them I have often been deterred from doing so because of a mental malfunction. I reason it out that as a Christian I should talk to them about the Lord and His salvation. However, in the presenting situation, I feel that that would be difficult and perhaps awkward. So I conclude in my deluded way that I won’t speak to them at all!

What I have sought to do of late is to ditch that way of thinking and rather just speak to people normally. I have sought to simply interact with people about this and that; anything that might be of mutual interest. In doing this I have desired to enjoy the interaction with the other person. In taking this approach I am to freed myself of the perceived burden of having to introduce spiritual things.

So if nothing about scripture or the bible develops then I hang loose about that. However, should the opportunity arise to move things on to a more spiritual level then I trust the Lord to take advantage of such opportunities.

In all this I feel that the ministry of the Lord was of this ilk. As i read the gospels i sense a calm reasonableness to His approach to the general circumstances of life. When he was interacting with people there was nothing off putting about him. There was no Bible bashing or contrived spiritual conversations. He simply talked to people and naturally introduced spiritual matters

Of course He was the ultimate Holy Spirit led man who was always anointed into the right way. However, He is also our example in all things. And when we are enabled and anointed by the Holy Spirit we will be ministering in a way that is in the likeness of our Lord.

Our Sins Are Gone.

The LORD Almighty, the God of Israel (see Jer. 50:18a) says in Jeremiah 50:20. 

In those days, at that time,’
    declares the Lord,
‘search will be made for Israel’s guilt,
    but there will be none,
and for the sins of Judah,
    but none will be found,
    for I will forgive the remnant I spare.

This is such good news. Guilt resulting from the committal of sins is the fundamental problem of the human race. It is because of sins that we will eternally die. It is not poverty, disease or a miscellany of a myriad of things that will damn us, it is our sin. We stand guilty before the eternal judgement throne of the eternal Judge. We face the sentence of “guilty” and the punishment of death.

Then the good news comes there is no guilt; it is gone. There are no sins; they are gone. We are in Romans 8:1 territory: there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Because of our Lord Jesus taking our sins and our guilt to Calvary’s cross we can rejoice with Israel and Judah about removed guilt and removed sins. Oh precious is the fact of our Lord Jesus giving himself. So let us believe in Him afresh and rejoice in Him afresh.

If these fundamental truths grip our hearts we will be set for a good Lord’s Day tomorrow.

For Whom Christ Died

1 Corinthians 8 addresses the issue of how we interact with one another when we see things differently. In particular it is when we see that we have freedom in Christ to act in a certain way, whilst another Christian does not feel comfortable in engaging in that same behavior.

In such a situation we need to be careful about how we speak and act towards such a fellow Christian. Our freedom should never be a means for bringing the other brother to stumble in their faith.

Paul reaches the apogee of his argument when he speaks of how the brother you souls stumble is one for whom Christ died (see 1 Cor. 8:11. Christ gave up all of His freedom. That freedom entailed eternally and joyously being in the favour of God and heaven. He relinquished that in order to go to the degradation of the cross.  And he did all that in order to bring eternal blessing to your brother.

In view of that won’t I (and won’t you) be very careful about indulging our freedom in Christ. We should always act circumspectly to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Moreover, the passage continues in 1 Corinthians 8:12 to say:   Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. How serious this all is. When you act to hurt your brother you hurt one who is in the body of Christ. Thereby you hurt Christ. 

It is one of those things to have always in our minds in dealing with fellow Christians that they are ones for who Christ died. “One for who Christ died” is the label they wear.

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His Name Is……….?

I am left wondering about the prevalence of simply using the name “Jesus” for our beloved Lord. Almost without exception now I hear our Lord referred to as “Jesus” when the preaching of the Word occurs. Now, the name Jesus is ever so special because it tells us the One who will save his people from their sins (see Matt. 1:21). However, in scripture He is revealed in a far fuller way through His names and titles. He is our Lord Jesus Christ, for example. And there are so many other names and titles associated with Him.

Jesus, is the the name of His humanity. I don’t want to say we should never use that name, but when His disciples address Him, in the gospel records, they generally called him Lord. The Muslims get carried away with all the paraphernalia of what they have to attach when certain names are used. However, at least there is some gravity for the naming of their important figures, although this is falsely conceived.

I am just urging that we be thoughtful about this. How beautiful it is to hear Him called Lord Jesus and appreciated for all His majesty.

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