September 4th 2016
The Goodness of God
God’s goodness is always a demonstration of His love for us.
God is good all the time.
That is easy to say but I think it is very hard for us to understand what that means.
When you try we must begin by recognising God is infinite.
Infinity is something that doesn’t fit into our lineal mind set.
We work from the time line from the beginning to the end.
Infinity goes beyond and it is beyond our comprehension.
Have you ever stood on the shore of an ocean?
Water over our toes but we can’t see over the horizon; but there is more.
The goodness we receive is like the seawater over our feet.
There is so much more that right now we can’t see.
The word Goodness is only found 20 times; most in the OT.
Only 5 times in the NT mostly about the holy spirit in us.
When we receive Jesus we are receiving God and God is love.
We have love within us. Does is show?
Like Jesus we are here to serve not to be served.
But we are so busy all day but you can always.
Hold the door open. Let others go to the cashier before you.
There are what are called Random gifts of goodness.
But at the end of the day we can still show love and kindness by a phone call to let someone know you care.
Then there is prayer. A beautiful anonymous gift for someone you know.
May the Lord bless you as he guides you in His goodness
To know someone, you have to have had time to discover their strengths and weaknesses and their gifts and short comings. What do they think? How do they act? Are they true to their word? To gain this kind of information requires time and it is best when you have opportunities for a close relationship.
But Jesus is not that easy. To begin with He already has several what you might call personas which in them selves are confusing.
The lamb and the lion. Alfa and Omega He is the beginning and the end. The suffering servant yet the king eternal, enthroned and worshiped.
We can begin with Prayer and Quiet times; knowing that we are having a One-0n-0ne with the creator of the universe. Jn. 1:3
We need also to study and search the scriptures and meditate on them.
In Lk 5:2 Jesus is teaching crowd of people on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. And more kept coming
Jesus needed more space. He saw two boats and asked one of the men who were cleaning their nets, to take him out a short way
The man he spoke to was Peter who may not have been listening before but now was a captive audience.
After dismissing the crowd, he suggested that they should push out into deep water and let down the nets for a catch.
Peter must be thinking ‘This guy is not a fisherman! Their shallow nets would not work out there plus we have been fishing all night and caught nothing and daytime is not the best time to fish and I’m tired.”
But perhaps just to humour him and to let the others finish cleaning the nets Peter took him out and you know what happened. Peter had to call on his brother and partners (James and John} to help land the massive load of fish.
Peter was overcome and knelt before Jesus and said “Leave me, for I am a sinful man.” In other=words I am not worthy to be in your presence.
But Jesus overrides this and calls the four of them to follow him in spite of their sin, thus demonstrating the new covenant of grace.
For three years, day and night they had a close relationship with him. But, they still did not know who he really was.
Then came that terrible Saturday. They were lost he was dead it was all over. They thought he was the Messiah. And, he was, but not just for Israel but for the whole world.
We are this side if the resurrection and know him as our saviour.
But do we really know him?
We need to study the gospel writings for they are the record of Jesus’ ministry and a great way to come to know Him.
But some times we discover him through meditation.
A couple of weeks ago I was at a meeting where we were led into a meditation on the story in Lk 18:16. You know the “Let the little children come to me” We were to put ourselves into the story and choose to take on the character of someone in the story and listen to what Jesus is saying to you. I chose to be a child and as the story unfolded I found myself cuddled up next to Jesus with his arm round my shoulder and he said to me “You are mine” He was like the big brother I never had. I had thought of him for many years as a friend but this was closer.
Who is Jesus to you? Do you really know him.?
I would venture to say that we all have a lot more to study and learn.
Of course we will only know him fully when we meet him in glory
This month the sermons will be based on the theme of “The workings of the spirit of God” Being the first Sunday this will be an over view.
John 1:1 “In the beginning” The Word was there. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus is the Word and was there at the beginning.
Gen 1:1 “In the beginning …………………………….. and the spirit hovered over the waters” The Spirit was also there in the beginning.
It was all the work of the trinity
In Hebrew the word for spirit is Ruach but also means breath, Life giving spirit. God made man out of the dust. Then God breathed on the Man who became a living soul. Humanity was born by Life giving spirit
The works of the spirit on the old testament
The spirit under the old covenant was only given to single people at special times.
Ex 31 Moses needed a tent of meeting
Bazalel was the man who built that ten through the Spirit’s anointing of knowledge and skill in design and craftsmanship
Jud. 6 Gideon.
The spirit of the Lord came on him and Gideon blew a trumpet and raised an army but was told to cut down the numbers and ended up with just 300 men
The300 only with trumpets and earthenware pots caused panic in the enemy camp at night so fought with each other. This was all directed by HS
The spirit and the new covenant was promised by the Father
Jerem 31:31 the promise of a new covenant
Eze 36 I will put a new spirit in you
Joe 2:28,29 Read
In Lk. 1:8 Zachariah, John the Baptist’s father had a visit from Gabriel who told him that he was going to have a son who would be filled with HS from his birth.
In Mk 1:7 John said I baptise with water. There is one who more powerful than I He will baptise with the HS
Then in Lk. 1:25 Gabriel tells Mary that the Spirit of God would come upon her and and the power of the Most High will overshadow you
Towards the end of his earthly life Jesus said he would not leave them as orphans the father would send a comforter.
At pentecost he came; the ruach of God the life-giving spirit
New covenant no longer single people at special times
Everyone who receives Jesus as his saviour receives that life-giving spirit and like Adam has been born, this time, this is the second birth; into a new life. And as 2 Cor 5:17 We are a new creation The old has gone the new has come.
He is there to guide, encourage, prompt, and call each one of us to serve him just as he did to Gideon and Basalel.
Then of course Holy Spirit has been known to come upon the church as a wave. But, never comes the same way.
In Wales the people flocked to the churches and most pubs closed down as the result of much prayer.
In the Hebrides people were falling down in the streets crying out for God’s mercy and it was in answer to some elderly ladies, praying
Then we had the Toronto blessing. It was said that it was an answer to the depth of worship.
When and where will He come again?
We cannot make Him come. Yes, we can pray and worship and be prepared.
Keeping our ears and eyes. Just watching and waiting.
The best has yet to come.
Holy Spirit we thank you for your presence and pray that we may be used of you to fulfill the Fathers will. Let your kingdom come and your will to be done. Help us to be prepared and to always follow where ever you lead.
This is the day we remember when the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles and all the disciples that were with them. 120 in all.
In the reporting of the event Luke includes what I call a hooker. These are small asides that at first glance are of little importance.
“Were they were seated” What were they all discussing? They had waited 50 days and I’m sure they were wondering when the comforter Jesus had promised would come and what could they expect. Just like the way we wonder about Jesus’ second coming.
This is important that they were seated because no self respecting Jew would be seen sitting if he or she were praying or worshiping.
This is Jesus’ timing. This meant no one could claim it was because of their prayers or their worship that had made it possible for the spirit to fall.
The wind blows where ever it pleases you hear its sound but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.
There was a sound like a mighty wind but the noise went beyond the house because it attracted people around from all over the known world and they were hearing the gospel in their own language.
Some said these men are drunk.
Peter, full of the Spirit, began to preach the good news and as a result 3,000 people were baptised that day.
How do we see the spirit working today in you and me.
There are gifts. Some are very evident like healing words of knowledge and tongues prophecy while others such as teaching, encouraging, helps and contributing are more mundane. Read 1Cor. 12:7-11
The last line is important The Lord gives one as he determines.
This means when the Lord in his grace wants you to use the gift when you receive it. Then he takes it away after it has been use or rejected;
The gift will only remain when He calls you to that ministry
The other way is as He came at Pentecost; this is the infilling; when some become so full of the spirit they can’t remain standing while others find themselves laughing or crying for an extended period. Those of us who have been attending the Tuesday prayer meeting have experienced a touch of the Lord there. Come and join us.
I have to admit that I once fought shy of going forward to receiving this ministry. Not sure that this wasn’t getting a bit out of control till God put me on my back and told me that HE was in control.
However The infilling doesn’t remain. We seem to leak and from time to time we need a fresh top up. So today if you come to the front we will pray for you to receive .
The First Garden of Eden
Satan said that if you eat the fruit of the tree you will not die, and he was right. They didn’t die.
God said that if you eat the fruit of the tree you will die and He was right too. They died.
God was referring to a spiritual death.
When they ate, they were saying “My will, not yours”
From that moment their spiritual life ended. Their relationship with God was dead. God’s response is to evict them from the perfect world into this world we know now and we have inherited this spiritual death.
The second Garden was Gethsemane.
When Jesu, the second Adam, in spite of not wanting to go to the cross, said “Never the less not my will but Your will be done.” So, as the second Adam, he reversed the curse.
As He carried out God’s will and died on the cross He made it possible for our spirit to be born again. So as we submit to His will and ask him to come in to our hearts our spirits are reborn by His spirit and a personal relationship with Him is rekindled.
“I tell you the truth” Jesus said, “no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit, flesh gives life to flesh but the spirit gives life to spirit.”
So we are back in the will of God; in His Kingdom.
As spirit filled children of God our answer to Him, when ever He calls, is,
“Never the less not my will but Thy will be done.”
Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women came to the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain other women with them.
And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.
But when they entered in, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
As they were wondering about this, two men stood by them in shining robes:
In their fright, the women bowed their faces to the earth, but the men said to them, Why do you look for the living among the dead?
He is not here, he is risen: remember how he spoke to you when he was in Galilee, saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.
And they remembered his words,
When they returned from the sepulchre, they told all these things to the eleven, and to all the rest.
Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and the other women that were with them, told these things to the apostles.
But they did not believe them. Their words seemed as nonsense to them,
Peter however got up, and ran to the sepulchre; and stooping down, he saw the linen clothes laid by themselves. He went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
What difference has the resurrection made in your life?
For example; does the resurrection excite you?
Are you full of joy of knowing the living Jesus as you saviour and friend?
Is life with the living Jesus, exciting for you?
Do you accept the resurrection as just a fact or does it go deeper than that?
Is Jesus alive for you. And is He Almighty God himself?
What I think we have to recognise, is that God’s Love expressed in the cross gains its meaning through the resurrection.
If no resurrection?
Without the resurrection the cross is meaningless,
Do you know that this confirms that your sins have been forgiven or are there still things in the past that still trouble you?
Is your faith in the living Christ help you in the midst of difficulties either in the resolution or in the courage to work though those troubles?
Does your hope in eternal life remove all fear of dying or death itself?
Imagine it is only a matter of day or two that you have to live. Would hope in eternal life enter your thoughts?
Does the living Jesus hear your prayers?
How close is your relationship with Jesus do you talk with him much?
Are you aware if Jesus’ presence? Not just now but daily?
Do you sense His Holy Spirit as he guides you each day? Paraclete. Comforter.
Does He reveal truths to you as you read and study His word? Concordance?
I pray that we all regain that kind of enthusiasm of the disciples had in the early days.
But to close now I want to take you back first, to that awful Saturday. It was a day of mourning.
Then there was the Sunday evening .
Can you imagine how the disciples felt when Jesus turned up in that upper room. Only ten of them at that time. Judas was gone but where was Thomas?
He doesn’t believe them. When Thomas sees him he believes, but Jesus says “Blessed are those who believe though they have not seen”
Are you blessed?
Blessing from Jesus.