Reflection on 1 Peter 1:17-25

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Peter+1.17-25

Scripture

You have been born anew, not of perishable but imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.

Observation

If we call God “Father” we should live in reverent fear. We were ransomed from the ways of our ancestors through the precious blood of Christ. He was destined to die before the foundation of the earth and is now revealed at the end of the age.

We have been born again with an imperishable seed through the living and enduring word of God- the good news that was announced to us.

Application

Our first birth was in the flesh or from a perishable seed. Tainted by the spirit of death that now pervades the cosmos, we too were destined for death.

The sin of Adam, passed through the generations, put us on the road of death. Our own sins cemented us on the road.

Then came Jesus, the perfect sacrifice. He took away the power of sin and death. We were born again to a living hope through the imperishable seed of Christ’s death.

Born again” does not just mean a new start or a second chance,although it does include that. It really means an entirely new nature. The Holy Spirit brings spiritual life, living water that washes away the power of sin in our lives.

Because I am born again and filled with the Holy Spirit, I have a new connection with God through the Holy Spirit in me. I can talk to Him any time without going through priests or cleansing sacrifices and rituals.

The vehicle for this process is the living and enduring word of God. This takes four different but related forms.

  1. The written word of God is inspired or God-breathed, and so it always caries the life of the Holy Spirit.

  2. The announced word of God (v. 25). When the message is preached or proclaimed it again carries the life of the Holy Spirit,

  3. The Word of God is of course Jesus Christ Himself (see John 1). He embodies the message of Scripture, the word become flesh. Every word of Scripture is ultimately about Him.

  4. Revelations from the Holy Spirit- words of knowledge and wisdom, prophecy etc. This is a lesser form of the word because it is so easily corrupted by our sinful nature. It must always be corroborated by the written word or the Living Word. It should not be dismissed because God still speaks to His people today.

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, the Living Word, may I hear your word in its various forms and respond always to your love and your will for me. Amen.

Reflection on Acts 2:36-41

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+2.32-41

Scripture
Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Observation
Peter finishes his Pentecost address to the gathered crowd by declaring that Jesus is Lord and Messiah.

The people are cut to the heart by his message. They ask, “What should we do?” Peter tells them they must repent and be baptised for the forgiveness of their sins. Then they will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

So Peter continues to exhort them, and three thousand people receive the message and are baptised.

Application
God calls on us simply to repent and be baptised.

All we have to do is turn from our sins in response to the gospel. Baptism is the outward sign that we have died to our old nature and risen to new life in Him.

A simple step of faith accepting that He is Lord of all.

As we take this step of repentance, He meets us with forgiveness and the Holy Spirit,

All my sins are gone, washed away by the blood of Christ, deleted from the record, all because of God’s grace given to me in Christ.

Because I am so weak and unable to live God’s way in my own human strength, He places His Spirit in me.

My decision to follow Jesus activates a whole new life, a gift from God.

This is awesome!

And it’s not just for those who were immediately hearing Peter’s message that day so long ago. It is for everyone, for those who are near and for those who are far away- in space and time.

The power of God to change lives is not restricted in any way. Nobody is too old or too young, too sinful or too good, too rich or too poor,

Everyone who call son the name of the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved.

Prayer
Thank you Lord for reaching down to me. I was lost in my sin, but you brought me home to you. Thank you Lord that your grace is even bigger than my sin. Amen.

Reflection on John 20:19-31

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+20.19-31

Scripture

Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

Observation

The evening of Easter Sunday, the disciples are meeting behind locked doors, Jesus appears in their midst, showing them His hands and side to confirm it is Him. Jesus then breathes on them to impart the Holy Spirit.

Thomas isn’t there at the time and so He refuses to believe that Jesus is alive. A week later Jesus again appears to the disciples. He invites Thomas to touch His wounds, but Thomas answers, “My Lord and my God!”

Application

Thomas is often described as the “Doubter”, but who can blame him for being sceptical about an event that seemed too good to be true?

What is often overlooked is his passionate heart-felt response to the appearance of Jesus. “My Lord and my God!”

The other disciples rejoiced to see the risen Lord, but Thomas proclaims that He is Lord and God.

Rejoicing at the presence of the Lord is an appropriate response. I love a powerful worship time. I revel in hose personal times when Jesus seems so tangibly present.

But we don’t live only on experience.

There were lots of people partying in the presence of the Lord on Palm Sunday, but very few stood with Him on Good Friday. Many people are happy to celebrate Christ but it takes the confession and conviction, “My Lord and my God!”, to make a true disciple.

To say Jesus is God means that we recognise that He is more than a man. He is God with us,

To say Jesus is Lord is to give Him the right to direct every part of our lives. We are here to serve Him, not the other way around. Every part of my thinking, speaking and doing must be surrendered to God.

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, I declare that you are God and Lord . I surrender all that I am into your hands, and I rejoice that you are always with me. Amen.

Reflection on Colossians 3:1-4

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Colossians+3.1-4

Scripture

When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.

Observation

We who are born again have died in Christ and are raised with Him. Because Christ is above, that is where our desires and affections must be.

I have died and am now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ is revealed in glory, I will also be revealed with Him in glory.

Application

We live in a materialistic culture, and everything is about what can be seen or touched. Consequently, we tend to think of eternity as pretty much like this life. We just cannot imagine what heaven must be like.

Paul tells us that we who are born again are born to a higher level of existence. At the moment our true nature is hidden with Christ, but when Christ’s glory is revealed to the world, we will also be revealed.

We are not ordinary people although we look like ordinary people. We are children of glory awaiting our transformation and unveiling.

We have an eternal destiny. We will rule over angels and all created beings. We will share in the glory and majesty of Christ.

We are the ones who have recognised the truth of the gospel. We are the ones who have joined ourselves to Christ, saying “Yes” to his offer of salvation. We are the ones who will overcome and stand firm in Him until the end.

Having passed through all the temptations and trials of this life we will be raised up with Christ to share His glory.

For this reason we must live as people of destiny. As Paul says, we must set our minds on what is above. This is what we were created and saved for.

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for the destiny, the glory that awaits me in you. Thank you for dying on the cross to set me free from sin and death. Thank you for the assurance that I will share in your resurrection. Amen.

Reflection on Acts 10:34-43

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+10.34-43

Scripture

They put him to death by hanging him on a cross, but God raised Him to life on the third day.”

Observation

Peter is testifying at the house of Cornelius. He says that God accepts those from every nation who fear Him and do what is right. There is peace with God through Jesus Christ.

God anointed Jesus with Holy Spirit and with power. Jesus went around doing good and healing all. Men crucified Jesus, but God raised Him to life. He ordered His disciples to testify everywhere that Jesus is the one appointed to judge all people, the one the prophets foresaw who would bring forgiveness to all who believe in Him.

Application

This week is called Holy Week in some churches. It is the week we spend particularly contemplating the Easter message. Men killed Christ by nailing Him to a cross, but God raised Him from the dead.

It wasn’t the Roman soldiers who nailed Jesus to the the cross. That blame is shared by everyone who ever sinned. That includes me.

My sins took Jesus to the cross, but God demonstrated His love by raising Him from the dead.

That simple phrase, “But God” is such a powerful reminder of the power of God’s grace.

  • Jesus was dead in the tomb, but God raise Him to life

  • I was lost in my sins, but God forgave me

  • I was headed for Hell but God rescued me and put me on the path to heaven.

  • I was sick but God healed me.

What an awesome God!

God loved the world enough to heap up all the sins that people have ever committed and dump them on Jesus on the cross. Then He showed us that sin no longer has any power to bind us by raising Christ from the dead.

All my sins are gone because of Calvary.

The greatest part of this is that we don’t have to be perfect, or even good, to qualify. God’s forgiveness is here for everyone who receives the gift.

Prayer

Thank you Lord Jesus for dying for me. Now help me to live for you. Amen.

Reflection on Matthew 21:1-11

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+21.1-11

Scripture

When He entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking “Who is this man?”

Observation

Jesus and His disciples arrive at Bethphage, near Jerusalem. He sends two of the disciples into the village to collect a donkey and a colt. This was to fulfil the prophecy.

The disciples do as Jesus directed them, and He mounts the donkey to enter Jerusalem. People cut down branches to throw on the road before Him, and everyone shouts “Hosanna to the Son of David!”

His arrival stirs up much turmoil in the city/

Application

Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem stirred up much excitement, interest and discussion in the city. People were asking, “Who is this man?”

The way we answer the question , “Who is Jesus?” is fundamentally important, as our answer determines our life direction and our eternal destiny.

Some people say that He was a good teacher of a good moral example. But He portrayed Himself as the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. If this was not true, He was neither a good teacher nor a moral example.

Some say He was a political revolutionary. Yet He failed to deliver any political gains against the establishment. Within a week Jesus would be dead, a public failure. He said, “My kingdom is not of this world,” denying any political objectives.

So we are left with the conclusion that Jesus truly was the Son of God. He alone can save us by forgiving our sins and reconciling us to God.

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, people still ask, as they did then, “Who is this man?” I declare that you are my Lord and Saviour, the one who brings freedom, healing and direction to my life. Help me to show others how to follow you. Amen.

Reflection on Philippians 2:1-11

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians+2.1-11

Scripture

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.

Observation

Paul exhorts us to be of full accord and of one mind. We must do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but regard others as better than ourselves.

Instead we are to let the mind of Christ be in us. He did not grasp equality with God, but instead emptied Himself, taking the form of a human servant. He humbled Himself all the way to death on the cross. Then God exalted Him to the highest place, giving Him the name above all names, so that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Application

Our society exalts individuality and selfishness. Everything is directed at self-centredness.

To let the mind of Christ dwell in us, we must learn to think of others first and put the will of the Father above everything else. Our whole way of thinking must be reversed to understand that we belong firstly to Christ and not to ourselves. We were bought with a price, and our primary duty is to find out God’s will for us and then get on with it.

Our minds are infected by the strongholds which dominate our attitudes and ways of thinking. These strongholds of satan are ways of thinking that seem so right to us that we do not even notice that they are there, much less that they are wrong.

As we let the Holy Spirit come into our thinking, He demolishes these strongholds and shows us a more godly way to think.

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ please teach me to think like you think and to love others the way you love them. Please take away all self-centredness and replace it with an attitude of God-centredness. Amen.