The sermon for December 10th, 2018 is now available on the New Life web-site.
In this sermon, which is based on Mark 1:1-8, I talk about Being John
John told the people, “Someone more powerful is going to come! And I’m not good enough even to stoop down and untie his sandals.”
The Good News starts with the appearance of John in the desert preparing the way of the Lord. His message is simple: “Turn back to God, be baptised and your sins will be forgiven.”
John also tells the people that someone is coming who will be more powerful. John baptises in water but coming one will baptise with the Holy Spirit.
Despite his boldness in telling people of all classes, even King Herod, to repent of their sins, John the Baptist was a humble man. He recognised that his ministry was not about him, but about Jesus. On one occasion Jesus said, “I must decrease and Jesus must increase.”
Our culture does not do humility well. From an early age we are told that we can do anything, be anyone. We are told to push ourselves forward and be self-confident.
The way of God, though, is to be God-confident, trusting the Holy Spirit to promote us when necessary.
How many ministers could say, in all sincerity, with John “I’m not worthy to stoop down and untie his sandals”? How many of us even think in these terms?
To be a follower of Jesus means that we are obedient to His call and to His commandments. He is the one who is greater than all of us.
We are accustomed to thinking of ourselves as equal to everybody else. Our classless democratic society tries to pull down all distinctions except those it approves of.
Jesus is in another class altogether. He is the one and only Son of God. He truly is greater than us and worthy of all praise.
Lord Jesus, please give me a revelation of your glory and help me to worship you as you truly are. Amen.
The Lord isn’t slow about keeping his promises, as some people think he is. In fact, God is patient because he wants everyone to turn from sin and no one to be lost.
Peter urges us to remember that God’s time scale isn’t the same as ours. A day and a thousand years are the same to Him. He isn’t being slow to keep his promises but patient. He is holding off judgement until everyone who will be saved is saved.
Judgement will come swiftly. The universe will be burned up in fire, and a new heaven and earth, perfect in every way, will be formed.
The Lord isn’t slow in keeping His promises. He does not delay unnecessarily. In fact, His timing is always perfect.
Peter here is talking specifically about the end of history and Jesus’ return. The principle applies to every promise of God.
We measure time in days. God measures in generations and centuries. We desire fast food and instant coffee, but He follows a better way with better outcomes.
God is perfect in all of His dealings with people. This is something that we should rejoice in, especially those who struggle with chronic sins.
When we are impatient with God’s promises we are in danger of falling into doubt and then unbelief. We can be tempted to deny that God will do what He has promised to do.
We must persevere in faith, believing that all of God’s promises come to pass in His way and at His time.
Lord, please help me to be patient in waiting for your promises to unfold. Grant me faith to hang on to you even when you seem to act more slowly than I would prefer. Amen.
“Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God.
“Comfort Jerusalem, speak tenderly to her,” says the Lord.
He promises someone coming through the wilderness preparing the way of the Lord.
People are short-lived like grass, but God’s word endures for ever. Yes the Lord is coming, and He will rule over His people with power and gentleness.
Hope is a force for life. When we lose hope and feel abandoned, we believe that life has no value.
Today I watched someone crumple before my eyes as a person in authority laid out a bleak future for her. He was laying out the worst case scenario- possible but unlikely. We spent the afternoon speaking to her words of hope and an alternative future,
For the people of Israel, the wrath of God smashed all hope for the future. The prophets painted a picture of hope, because the reality was that God had not abandoned them. Forced to a place of punishment for sin, God continued to love His people.
Christmas is a time of hope for christians as we celebrate the unfailing love of God who loved the world so much that He sent His one and only Son so that whoever trusts in Him should have eternal life (John 3:16)
No matter how bleak life seems, we have a God who refuses to abandon us and guarantees eternity to His followers.
That is great comfort for God’s people.
Lord, I thank you for not giving up on me. Your love never fails, and I will celebrate you today. Amen.
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“No one knows the day or the time. The angels in heaven don’t know, and the Son himself doesn’t know. Only the Father knows.”
Jesus tells His disciples about the end times. The powers of the sky will be shaken. Then the Son will return in glory with the angels.
Just as we know when trees sprout leaves and blossoms that summer is on its way, we need to be alert for the signs of Jesus’ return.
No one knows the day or the time- not even the angels of heaven or Jesus Himself. Like servants overseeing a household while their master is away, we need to be diligently serving the Lord.
No one knows the day. I get frustrated when I see a new prediction, always false of course. No one knows when this will be except our Father.
Jesus tells us that it could be any time so we need to live in eager expectation of His coming.
In this season called Advent, we prepare ourselves and wait expectantly to celebrate Jesus’ first coming. Although we assign a date to this event, we don’t really know the date of Jesus’ birthday. How much more then should we approach the timing of His return in humility and accept that we aren’t meant to know?
We know that He will come back to judge the living and the dead. We know that He will reign over all of creation and that the great enemies of mankind- sin and death- will be finally vanquished.
So we must wait expectantly. We must go about the Lord’s business each day serving Him as faithfully as if He was right here with us in visible form. He is right here with us (Immanuel- God is with us), but we sometimes forget.
If we daily live in submission to the Holy Spirit, we will be ready for Christ’s return whenever He comes.
Come Lord Jesus come! May I be found diligently and joyfully serving your purposes when you do return. Amen.