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

Archive for the ‘Salvation’ Category

Funeral Statement

Below is a somewhat unique document. Jerry Haglund who passed away to be with the Lord on August 13th 2007 wrote this so that it could be read at his funeral.  I have set it down exactly as Jerry wrote it.

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Some funerals are less sad than others! You may think that this is a strange statement to make, so let me explain what I mean.

Christians believe the words of the Lord Jesus Christ (as God incarnate) when He said,”Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3. Again “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish , but have everlasting life.”John 3:15 and “For God so loved the world , that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”   John 3:16

I believe that in June 1952, when I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour, I received the gift of eternal life. Further, I believe that at the moment that I died I went into the presence of God. Paul under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, when he was writing to the Christians in Philippi said, “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better: nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.”

Therefore my funeral is less sad for those present here today who are Christians, for they know that I am in the presence of the Lord . Many who conduct funeral services will, I believe, have a lot of explaining to do to God for deceiving people. To sum up their messages to their congregation is ‘rest assured that your loved one is now at peace and in the presence of the Lord.’ even though they may not have committed their lives to God, or prayed, or read the bible, or worshiped God , that somehow it will all be forgotten of God.

It is a fact of human nature that we are to accept the pleasant facts of life, but ignore the unpleasant ones. To sum up, there is a hell to be shunned and a heaven to be gained ; and heaven is not gained by good works, but by accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as one’s personal Saviour, believing that when he died on the cross it was able to pay the penalty for our sin. I do hope that all present here today, by faith, with assurance that they know their eternal destiny will be in heaven in the presence of God.

Peace With God.

I was clearing some things out at home yesterday and decided to discard an old frame with a decorated text in it. The frame was falling apart and so I thought I would throw the whole thing away. So it ended in the bin.

However, I pondered upon it this morning and felt uncomfortable about binning the text. And as I have pondered I felt I needed that text. So I have retrieved it from the garbage and have placed it in front of me at my desk. The text is: Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1).

This justification is ours now if we are in Christ. The acquittal before the judgment throne of God took place those years ago at Calvary’s cross. And I stand righteous before God in Christ totally righteous. Amazing. Whether I feel it; whether I remember it; or whatever, I am accepted and that forever. Praise the Lord.

Worth taking a look at at least once day I reckon.

Goats Can’t Act Like Sheep.

Recently I was speaking to a man and generally seeking to exhort him to live out his profession of Christ. This was all very much resisted. Towards the end I sought to bring him back to the essentials of the gospel. At this point it became clear that he really did not have a clue. He did not understand the basics of the gospel.

This all led me to ponder upon something that I have regularly considered and even chastised myself about. It is the fact that you can’t expect goats to act like sheep. Someone who is a foreigner to the grace of our Lord Jesus, no matter how vehemently they might make profession of Christ, cannot be expected to act like a Christian. Paul gives insight when he writes: The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit (1 Cor. 2:14).

I am left wondering how much of my pastoral engagement with people has been misdirected because I have failed to establish of first importance, whether or not I am dealing with a sheep or a goat. If I am speaking to a goat exhorting them as regards to discipleship is not what is required. What is rather required is to exhort them to come to Christ and find salvation in Him.

You Have Got to Say “No”!

In Titus 2:11-12 we read For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” This is a key verse for Christian living for all Christians. But I can’t help thinking that for young Christians it is particularly essential reading and implementing.

There is so much pressure when young to follow the crowd and conform to the ways of friends at school, work, university and college. Peer pressure is immense and all kinds of negative responses can come if you don’t flow with the crowd. Having a deep and settled conviction that yo going to say “no” to ungodliness and worldly passions is essential therefore.

There is an important pre-requisite here though and that is of having an awareness of the salvation we have in Christ. The great gospel of forgiveness of sins through the Saviour who once appeared to put away sin forever is the great testimony of the loving favour of God. When that message reaches and changes us then we will be different. But we can slip back and be slack if we lose vital acquaintance with these themes. Upon a captivation with these themes though, there is the propulsion to godliness. There is the inclination to reject the bad and destructive and embrace the good and godly.

The gospel transforms, and it is only the gospel transforms. All other ways leave young people vulnerable to the tendancy to “give-in” to the pressure to conform to the immoral pressure of this world. Young Christian you must be persuaded on these things or you are vulnerable to a multitude of salacious traps. You will only be protected if you have the juices of gospel grace pulsating in your being.

Still Waiting.

Some little while ago I realised we had a message on voicemail on the phone at the church building. I wondered whether, at last, it might be someone who wants to know about how to obtain salvation in Christ. Alas it was not so. Rather, it was (once again) someone enquiring about renting our building for some purpose or other.

This is one small reflection upon how we are still waiting here in Feltham for the time when we see Feltham seeking the Lord. Indifference still prevails. We seek to give out good literature. We seek to contact people and engage with people about the Lord and His gospel and yet still the mood of indifference prevails. Yes, on the street there does, I feel, seem to be more willingness to interact. But still, largely, there is indifference.

Oh yes you could criticise us as regards to our methods for reaching out.  I confess there is much weakness in this. But that still does not alter the fact that there is so little response. And so we continue to long and wait and pray and expect. The gospel is still the power of God unto salvation. The desperate state of the world is proven theologically and empirically. Lives are messed up all around. The palliatives of the world distributed to the people in the various manifestations of materialism and hedonism leave an aching heart. Yet the One who is the Bread of Life and is the source of living water is still the despised and rejected one.

Oh Lord have mercy. I leave you with this song by Stuart Townend. A song that reflects many of these yearnings I feel.

Yet may it be that these islands see a turning to the Lord. Could it even be this weekend when we start to see Feltham seeking the Lord.

Destruction From The Lord.

In Joel 1:15 we read:-

Alas for that day!
    For the day of the Lord is near;
    it will come like destruction from the Almighty.

The shocking thing about this verse is that we read about destruction coming from the Almighty. We so very easily operate on a dualistic approach to life. This means that we determine that anything bad that comes into our lives comes from Satan and anything good comes from God. Verses like Joel 1:15 upset that reasoning. Here destruction (and that sounds pretty bad)  comes from the Lord.

So our notions of a dualistic universe need to be corrected. A better way of expressing the reality of how things function is to say that this is a unitary universe with one Lord and King who determines all. He is the sovereign Lord.

Moreover, we read that the Lord did not just allow destruction He is the author of such destruction. If we have a thorough Biblical theology this should not surprise us because it is established that God’s whole nature is repulsed by sin. Sin is an offence to His holy being. Sin is a breaking of His holy law; that law reflects who God is through indicating what he loves and hates. When His law is broken His holy wrath comes forth and is poured out upon all those whose lives are contaminated by sin.

Thus we return to the day of the Lord which Joel speaks of. The day of the Lord is a time when God breaks openly in history. It is a time when the curtain which hides His workings is removed and His workings are “in your face”. What we see in Joel 1:15 is eternal judgement invading time. Today, we see, God’s workings hidden in so many ways. Faith can see them, but the natural eye does not. In the day of the Lord the activity of God are indisputable.

As we ponder on the reality of God’s judgment against sin and sinners, well might we be led to thanksgiving when we realise that all destruction from the Lord fell upon my Saviour, the Lord Jesus at Calvary. He was destroyed for me there, so that I might never need to be under destruction. Praise Him.

Noah’s Flood and Disaster.

It is one of the great travesties of how the Bible is commonly appreciated by people that the account of Noah and the Flood is represented to be a fairy story about animals and boats. In Scripture it is not so. It is an utterly frightening event and when we read it we should be shocked to our core. And we should be provoked to be asking lots of questions.

Consider this scripture in Genesis 7:20-23:

The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits. Every living thing that moved on land perished – birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.

Please ponder that scripture and be sobered by it. If you had not entered the ark then you were wiped out: Every living thing (including mankind) that moved on the earth perished. Ponder the account as it developed in Genesis 6-7:

  • The Earth was wicked
  • Noah sought to follow the Lord and was found to be in His favour.
  • The Lord promised judgment.
  • The Lord commands Noah to build an ark
  • The requisite animals and birds went in the ark
  • Noah and his sons and the four wives went in to the ark
  • The Lord shut the door.
  • Then the rain came.
  • Then utter total devastation.

If you went into the ark, you had salvation! If you did not go in you perished! Today if you respond to the gospel and go into Christ you are saved. If not, if you refuse the gospel offer, you face a greater perishing event than those in Noah’s day; an eternal perishing.

Please ponder that.

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