Reflection on Luke 3:15-22


Scripture

“I baptise you with water, but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am- so much greater that I’m not worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandals. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”

Observation

People are eagerly expecting the Messiah to come soon, and they begin to ask John the Baptist if he is the one. John says that there is someone coming soon who is much greater, and who will baptise with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

One day, Jesus comes to be baptised by John. The heavens open, the Holy Spirit descends , and a voice from heaven says, “You are my beloved Son, and you bring me great joy.”

Application

The baptism of John was a baptism of repentance from sin. The baptism of Jesus is a baptism into the Holy Spirit and fire.

When we turn from our sins and ask Jesus to take control of our lives, we are immersed, soaked and filled with the Holy Spirit. This is the empowering to live for Christ and in Christ. The Holy Spirit comes with many gifts to enable us to have the power of Christ, and the fruit to give us the character of Christ.

Sometimes the expression of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is delayed. I have no explanation for that. I do know that at conversion we get all of the Holy Spirit.

There is another baptism, a baptism of fire. Fire represents judgement on sin. For those who do not follow Jesus it is a destructive fire. For those who so know Jesus, it is a purifying fire, a fire that burns away all of our sin.

Water baptism is a one-off event that symbolises our death to self and resurrection in Christ. Spirit baptism is a constant process in which we soak continuously in the grace of God.

Prayer

Glorious God, thank you for the baptism in the Spirit and of fire. Soak me and burn away all the chaff from my life so that I can be totally dedicated to you. Amen.

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Today’s Sermon

The sermon for December 30th 2018 is now on the New Life web-site.

In this sermon, which is based on Luke 2:21-28, I talk about Revelation and Faithfulness

Click here to listen in your browser, here to download the mp3

Reflection on Luke 21:25-36



Scripture

“Keep a constant watch over your soul, and pray for the courage andgrace to prevail over these things that are destined to occur, andthat you will stand before the presence of the Son of Man with aclear conscience.”

Observation

When the Son of Man returns, there will be perplexing signs in the heavens, raging of the seas, and earthquakes. Then the Day ill come when Jesus returns in clouds and with power and miracles.

The trees show the changing of the seasons and, similarly, when we see these prophetic signs cme to pass, we will know that the earth is yielding to God’s kingdom.

The Day will come suddenly, and we are to make sure we keep our hearts and souls pure.

Application

The doctrine of Christ’s return is not about looking for the signs of the end times so much as making sure that we are ready.

Jesus here tells us to “keep a constant” watch over our souls.” In other words, I must constantly be aware of the state of my soul. That means watching out for sinful attitudes, treating people in a way that confirms Jesus’s love for them, being in touch with God through prayer, Scriptures and corporate worship.

Jesus wants us to have the grace and courage to overcome the adversities and temptations in our lives. This is not about the Great Tribulation and the Antichrist, but our daily life in the world. Am I allowing bitterness or vengeance or secret sins to take hold?

The aim of this is simple. Jesus wants us to be able to stand before Him with a clear conscience. How can we enter spiritual worship if our sins condemn us, much less enter the divine throne room?

All of us sin, even after we start to walk with the Lord. We must confess our sins to Him and receive His forgiveness so stand guiltless in His glory.

Prayer

Thank you Father that through the Blood of Christ I am free from sin. Help me to stay clean in you. Amen.

Reflection on Luke 24:35-49

jesus-appears-to-disciples

Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+24.35-49

Scripture

And I will send the Holy Spirit just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”

Observation

Resurrection evening.

The two disciples from Emmaus tell the other disciples of their meeting with the risen Lord on their way home. While they are still talking, Jesus suddenly appears. The entire group is afraid because they think it is a ghost.

Why are you afraid?” asks Jesus. He invites them to touch Him to see that He is real. He eats some fish so that they can see He is not a ghost.

Jesus then teaches them about how the Scriptures had spoken of His death and resurrection and the forgiveness that He would bring.

He tells them to wait in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills them with heavenly power.

Application

Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would fill them with the power from heaven. These were ordinary men and women who would soon be filled with the Spirit. It must have been hard for them to grasp what this meant for them.

Jesus tells them not to leave the city until they are filled with the Holy Spirit. One problem with the church today is that we are too dependent on our own plans and our own wisdom, and not dependent enough on the Holy Spirit.

We need the Spirit’s power to achieve His plans for us. Jesus tells us to wait for the Spirit to come. We must seek His guidance, His wisdom and His power.

When He fills us, then it is time to go and witness to the grace and love of Jesus, even to the ends of the earth. It is the Holy Spirit dwelling in us that makes it possible to take the gospel everywhere we go.

Prayer

Holy Spirit come and show me your plans for my life. Fill me with the power of heaven to live and witness for you. Amen.

Reflection on Luke 2:21-40

presentation-of-jesus-at-the-temple

Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+2.21-40

Scripture

I have seen your salvation you have prepared for you all people.”

Observation

Eight days after Jesus’ birth, Joseph and Mary take Jesus to the Temple to be circumcised and the necessary offerings to be made.

A godly man named Simeon had been told by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he saw the Lord’s Messiah. The Holy Spirit leads him to the Temple where he encounters Mary and Joseph. He takes the baby in his arms and prophesies over Him. “This baby will cause many in Israel to fall but He will be a joy to many.”

Then Anna, an elderly widowed prophet, comes along while Simeon is speaking and she praises God.

The family returns to Nazareth where Jesus grows up healthy and strong.

Application

What a wonderful message is in the Christmas story. God has prepared salvation for all people.

Everyone may be saved through faith in Jesus Christ. You don’t have to be Jewish or born to a certain class of people. You don’t have to follow difficult rules and procedures. No sacrifice is needed because God has already provided the sacrifice.

This salvation is for all people.

This salvation is God’s gift for us- that is why we exchange gifts at Christmas. Jesus and His forgiveness come with no payment required, no hidden fees or penalties. It is God’s gift- simple and free.

If you know Jesus already, rejoice in His great gift.

If you don’t know Jesus then today is the day. Ask Him to forgive your sins and to come into your life. Decide in your heart to follow Jesus and to live the life He created for you to live.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, your salvation brings so much joy to my heart. Thank you for coming into the world. Amen.