Reflection on John 14:15-22

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passsage/?search=John+14.15-22

Scripture

“On that day you will realise that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”

Observation

Jesus tells the disciples that if they love Him they will obey His commands. He will send the Comforter, the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him because the world does not know Him.

Jesus is going, but because He lives we also will live. We will know the unity of the Father with the Son and with us.

Application

Often we fail to understand the true unity of the believer with God through the Holy Spirit. Jesus says that He is in the Father and also in us, and that we are in Him.

To be born again is to be born of the Spirit. We share in Christ’s death and resurrection, and the Holy Spirit comes and dwells in us.

There is a close unity within the person of God- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When we are born again, we are brought into the union.

I am in God and God is in me. This is not some Eastern mystical idea where “god” is in the creation and everything is “god.”

No, this is about relationships. God invites us into a relational unity with Him that we were created for and which sin destroyed.

Because I am now in God, I need to protect this unity through a commitment to holiness. I do not want to risk this unity by offending God’s perfect holiness. This would be like defiling my marriage relationship by sleeping with a woman other than my wife.

We were created for a close relationship with God. Jesus died on the cross to restore the relationship. He gives us the Holy Spirit to be the centre of the relationship.

Prayer

Lord, this concept of being united with you is very hard to get my mind around. I don’t understand it, but I receive it. Please help me to repent and turn away from everything that would rob that relationship. Amen.

Reflection on 1 Peter 3:13-22

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Peter+3.13-22

Scripture

In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

Observation

Even if we suffer for doing what is right we are blessed. We should always be ready to give an answer for the hope we have in Christ, but with gentleness and respect.

Christ died for our sins once for all to bring us to God. We was put to death but then raised to life by the Holy Spirit. He preached to spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago. Noah’s ark is a type of baptism, the pledge of a good conscience towards God.

Application

Evangelism starts with a heart dedicated and sanctified to the Lord. We must repent of sin and live a life that honours God. This does not mean we have to have it all together before we can share our faith. It does mean that Christ must be the highest priority, the most precious desire of our heart.

Christ must be Lord in our hearts and not just the means to getting to heaven.

We must be always prepared to give the reason for our hope. People ask questions about faith at all kinds of times- often at inconvenient times. Will we take hold of the opportunity as it presents itself, or fob off a seeker because we have other things on our mind?

“Always be prepared” means to understand in our hearts how to share the gospel. It manes that we know who Jesus is and why His death saves us,

This must be done with gentleness and respect. People are not won by arguments and insults. They are won by humility, gentleness and respect. This person asking me about my faith is someone who was created in the image of God and for whom Christ died. Our faith sharing must always be done with this in mind.

Prayer

Lord, who are you leading me to talk to today, this week? Let my life, my attitudes and my words speak highly of you to all that I speak. Amen.

Reflection on Acts 17:22-34

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+17.22-34

Scripture

“In the past, God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.”

Observation

Paul is in Athens where he has a dispute with some of the city’s philosophers. They take him to the Areopagus to present and argue for the Gospel.

Paul notes that the city is very religious, even having an altar dedicated to an unknown god. Paul says that this is the true God who created all things and all people. He did this so that people would turn to Him and find Him.

In the past, God overlooked the ignorance of paganism. But now He calls all people to repent, for He has set a day of judgement by Christ whom He raised from the dead.

Some sneer at this talk of resurrection, but others believe Paul and his message.

Application

Since Christ came into the world, the gospel has left us with a stark choice- we can accept it or reject it.

The commandment given to all people now is “repent.” The Kingdom of God has arrived, and we must turn from our sins and follow Jesus.

There once was no kingdom, but now the King has come and established His Kingdom. Once we could live as we pleased, whether it was to worship idols or to worship our bodies.

Now King Jesus tells us to worship only Him. There is a grace period but a day of judgement will come.

Jesus is justified in judging those who reject Him. He died to pay for our sin. Now we must honour Him with our lives or pay the price for rejecting His grace.

This is not religion by obeying rules. This is freedom to live the lives we were created for. I once was lost in sin, but now I am found in Him.

Repenting does not just mean turning from sinful actions. It is letting go of all our false loves to embrace the true lover of our souls.

Prayer

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for delivering me from sin. Help me to honour you in every part of my life. Amen

Reflection on 1 Peter 2:1-10

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Peter+2.1-10

Scripture

So like new born babies you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.

Observation

We are to crave spiritual milk so that we can grow in the Lord. We have come to Christ, the cornerstone of God’s temple. We are like living stones that build the temple, even priests offering daily sacrifices that are pleasing to the Lord.

Jesus is the cornerstone but He is a stumbling stone to those who reject God’s word. We are God’s chosen people, royal priests, a holy nation.

Application

When we first come to Christ we are described as being born again. Spiritually we are babies. New born babies are dependent on others, don’t know much, and cry when provoked. While babies are delightful, nobody wants them to stay that way.

Yet we have many spiritual babies who have never matured in their faith despite being saved for 10 years, 20 years, even 50 years or more. They are content to stay the way they are- infants in their thinking and unable to do much in the body of Christ.

Peter tells the new-borns they must crave pure spiritual milk. That means reading the Bible, listening to teachers and pastors, being mentored by mature christians, learning to pray and to minister to others.

We have taught people to fall over the starting line of the race and to stay there rather than running to the finish line. Too many christians remain dependent on others when they should already be growing in Christ and helping others to do the same.

There are many churches that feed their people Diet Coke Zero rather than milk, let alone meat. People go to be entertained but never challenged or shown how to grow.

We take God’s grace, and that should move us to cry “More, Lord!” His tender mercy is meant to move us into deeper intimacy with Him, which is then expressed in the way we relate to others, the way we relate to God and our behaviour and motivations through life.

Prayer

Lord, I need you to mature me, to grow me, to show me how to live for you. Please help me to crave your spiritual food. Amen.

Reflection on Acts 7:55-60

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+7.55-60

Scripture

And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honour at God’s right hand!”

Observation

Stephen is testifying before the Sanhedrin. As the leaders become increasingly enraged by his assertion that Jesus is the Messiah, Stephen sees the glory of God with Jesus standing at God’s right hand.

The elders drag him out of the city to stone him, laying their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.

Stephen calls out to the Lord, “Lord Jesus receive my spirit” and then “Lord don’t charge this against them.” Then he dies.

Application

It is quite awesome to have a vision of heaven, to see what is happening in God’s throne room. There are times when, if we ask, God will grant us this kind of vision. It gives us a greater insight into what God is doing and where we fit into His plans.

The important thing in Stephen’s revelation is that he sees God the Father on the throne with Jesus standing at His right hand.

Jesus is not just a historical figure. He is alive now, interceding for us and representing us before the Father.

Jesus is in the place of authority and power in God’s kingdom. In fact, He is the way we get into the Kingdom. Through Jesus we have total access to the Father, all the time.

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, you are my saviour and my Lord. Thank you for the knowledge that you have opened the way for me and all who trust in you. Amen.

Reflection on John 10:1-10

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+10.1-10

Scripture

When he has brought out all his own [sheep], he goes on ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.

Observation

Anyone who does not enter a sheep pen by the gate is a thief and robber. The shepherd enters the paddock by the gate and calls the sheep by name. They follow him because they know his voice. They will never follow a stranger because they do not know his voice.

Jesus says, “I am the gate for the sheep.” Those who came before, the false Messiahs and false teachers, were like thieves and robbers. Thieves come to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus has come to give life to the full.

Application

Jesus calls us by name. He knows us. We are not a blank face in the crowd or a six-digit number.

The true follower of Jesus knows His voice and follows Him where He leads. We follow because we know the voice.

There is a depth of intimacy in our relationship with Jesus. He knows us more deeply than we know ourselves. He is the Good Shepherd who loves His sheep.

Jesus knows me and loves me!

I know Him. I recognise His voice as He speaks to my heart. I hear His voice in Scriptures and in good preaching. I hear His voice when He speaks to me in dreams and visions. I hear His voice in the stillness and quiet places.

He leads and I follow that voice; it works best that way. Sometimes I try to follow other voices, but it usually ends badly.

It is so much better to follow the shepherd of my soul.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, please help me to hear your voice and to follow your voice alone. Amen.

Reflection on 1 Peter 2:19-25

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Peter+2.19-21

Scripture

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree so that we might die to our sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

Observation

This passage is primarily directed at slaves being punished by harsh masters, but it is applicable to every believer.

It is commendable to bear up under unjust suffering because of our trust in God. It is not worthy if we suffer for doing wrong. The experience of suffering unjustly is a part of our calling in Christ, for He suffered on our behalf even though He committed no sin.

Jesus did not retaliate or threaten those who afflicted Him. Instead He entrusted Himself to His Father. As a result, we are set free from our sins.

Application

Jesus bore our sins on His body when He hung on the cross. He died to set us free from sin and death.

Everyone who receives this gift and dies to their sins can now be raised to new life in Him.

Sin had a hold on us in every way. We could not escape it on our own. But when we died to ourselves and received new life in Christ, then we were dead to sin and alive to righteousness. We were born again to a new life in the grace of Christ.

Part of the benefit of being born again in Christ is that we can know healing from sickness. Sickness is a part of the old covenant of sin and death. Now that we live in Christ we are healed by His wounds.

In this life healing is only partial, in the same way that our freedom from sin is not yet complete. And so we pray and sometimes people are healed and other times they are not.

The healing that we do receive points us to the future when sickness and death will be no more.

Prayer

Thank you Lord Jesus for dying for me. Than you for taking my sin and my death on your body and promising eternal life with you. Amen.