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

Archive for the ‘Salvation’ Category

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.

Cain and Abel.

Cain and Abel first appear in the Bible in Genesis 4. They are the first offspring born on this planet. They represent the division of humanity from that day on. Cain relied on his own achievement to win the favour of God. Abel relied on the sacrifice of another to achieve acceptance with God. Let us look at the differences.

Cain.

He was a Genesis 2 man and therefore was a fantasist who operated as though he was living in a day that was long passed. In Genesis 2 everything was good, pure, wholesome and perfect. Accordingly, all the labour appointed for Adam alone initially, and then subsequently with Eve, led to the produce of the earth being acceptable to God. Alas all things changed as sin entered the world and the world fell under a curse. In Genesis 3:17b-18 we read:-

‘Cursed is the ground because of you;
    through painful toil you will eat food from it
    all the days of your life.
 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
    and you will eat the plants of the field.

Cain brought his offering from that which was cursed. He may have laboured long and hard, but that was the essence of his offering – it was cursed. He was a fantasist because he ignored the implications of Genesis 3. He ignored the fact that, as a result of sin entering the world, what he was bringing was cursed. This is how so many people view themselves before God. They think that their efforts will bring them acceptance with God. Essentially they, in a Cain-like way, view themselves in the land of Genesis 2. To do so before the fall was realistic. But now to view themselves as accepted before God on the basis of Genesis 2 type performance is a catastrophic fantasy.

Dare I say behind all this religiosity from Cain was an unwillingness to accept the testimony of his parents. They had set forward through their actions that a covering is needed and that covering comes through the offering up of another (see Gen. 3:21)

Abel.

Abel, by way of contrast, is a Genesis 3 man who was a realist. He accepted that the ground was cursed. He accepted the principles which had been established in Genesis 3 that our acceptance now came not through the fruit of the earth, fig leaves, but the giving up of another life, coats of skins. We read thereby that the Word says that But Abel also brought an offering – fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favour on Abel and his offering (Gen. 4:4). His offering is redolent with devotion and thoughtfulness. The fat portions indicate the best part of the animal, whilst the first-born always had a place of honour. Abel was bringing the best. All of this, of course reminds us of our Lord Jesus who was the perfect offering for our sins who gave up his life for us.

I note also, concerning Abel, that his offering was not mixed. Not a bit of fruit of the crop and a bit of animal sacrifice. Rather, he looked totally and wholly to the value of the sacrifice and so should we.

Finally, we read the testimony of the Lord in Hebrews 11:4: By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead. And if we continue to listen to Abel we will do well.

Dead and Content.

My persuasion about the spiritual state of the white indigenous population of the UK at the present time is that they are dead and content. There is no life towards God and people are, give or take a few perturbations, happy in that state. I accept that this is a vast generalization, but nevertheless I feel (and fear) that it bears much truth.

A meeting I had with a man outside church was emblematic of this. He was from Hull delivering stuff to the retail park across the road. I happened to get talking to him. He was there with time on his hands waiting for others to arrive. I offered him a booklet from the church, but he refused. We got talking and he seemed completely indifferent to really considering the issues of life and death and Jesus Christ. He was happy in his view that we will all be reincarnated. He had absolutely no grounds for this belief, but that did not matter, he was happy with it. I offered my booklet again and he refused. There was just no willingness to explore anything that might challenge his presumed beliefs.

It was overall a good-natured conversation, but it summed up much of my dealings with people of white-British backgrounds. There is just an indifference to spiritual matters. So where does that leave me? Here are some thoughts:

  • Pondering upon the observation that there is a veil over the hearts and minds of the white-British population. I do not want to speculate, but has God withdrawn gospel blessings from our race because of the history of rejecting the gracious gospel of the grace of God which has been offered over many years?
  • Thankful, oh so thankful that I, as white-British, have been rescued by the Lord’s grace. What is impossible with man is possible with the Lord. Thank you Lord.
  • Praying that God might yet be gracious and yet cause a turning back among the white-British of this nation.
  • Thankful for what God is doing in drawing different ones here and there to Himself.

Why Are They Not Happy?

The average person on the street lives life believing that ‘the more money I have then the more comfort I will have and the more enjoyable life will be’. That is what motivates a lot of people to keep on living. So they just can’t handle it when they find that the wealthiest on the planet are often the ones who are enjoying life the least. Wealth and misery, rather than being aliens existing apart from each other, are often found existing together. Yes they exist very unhappily together, but they are together.

So what does the average person do in response to this empirical evidence? He shrugs his shoulders and says effectively it will be different for me. With me it won’t be like that. And so they go on striving after the money/mammon that perishes and think that the acquisition of such stuff will secure a full life for them.

These musings derive from overhearing a conversation about George Michael who passed away on Christmas Day last year. It was observed that George Michael had so much. Yet the participants in the conversation were aghast that his life could be such a mess. The assumption of course was that wealth and fame in this life must guarantee happiness.

Oh how sad and pathetic is all this. It is like living a perpetual delusion. People always living with the allure of wealth driving them, but failing to process the truth that the palaces of this world are generally not filled with happiness.

And how it should stir us to compassion. Compassion towards those trapped in the ways of this world and foreigners to the life that only comes through Christ. But what about me? Do I have a different life? As a believer in Christ I surely should have.  And so we see in Matthew. 6:19-21 how things should be:

‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Oh Lord, that’s the life that matters.

“I am from Paraguay”.

Let us think of a hypothetical man who stands before you and says “I am a Paraguayan.” You then proceed to quiz him a little further about his identity. Whereupon you find out that:-

  1. He does not have a Paraguayan passport.
  2. He was born in the UK and has been resident there for his whole life.
  3. He has never been to Paraguay.
  4. His parents were born in the Philippines and have never been to Paraguay.

Having established those facts you think for a while and conclude it is most unlikely that this man is a Paraguayan. His profession is denied by the evidence.

So let us think about the sadly not so hypothetical man who stands before you and says “I am a Christian”. You then proceed to quiz him a little further about his identity. Whereupon you find out that:-

  1. He does not go to church.
  2. He believes that being a Christian is about seeking to do lots of good works.
  3. He has neither been baptised nor ever been a church member.
  4. He does not have any display of the fruit of the Spirit (see Gal.5:22-23) in his life.

Having established those facts you think for a while and conclude it is most unlikely that this man is a Christian. His profession is denied by the evidence.

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