Before the Cock Crows

(Luke 22:28-34)

Many times in the Bible we see Simon Peter’s weaknesses exposed. He was upbraided by the Lord on occasion, and he was also upbraided by the Apostle Paul when he drew back from mixing with the Gentiles. Peter made mistakes and he showed his humanity in many ways. In this section of scripture where Jesus tells him, “Before the cock crows you will deny me three times,” we see the great example of Peter’s humanity and weakness.cock crows

But in spite of those things, he was the Apostle chosen by the Lord Jesus to take the gospel to the world. He was the one who would hold the twelve together and be the pillar of strength that would make the twelve a cohesive force to speak the truth of the gospel and show the way of truth to the world. This section of scripture shows part of the reason why Jesus put such trust in Peter.

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He Came to Save the Lost

(Luke 19:1-10)

There was a belief amongst the religious people, and perhaps all the people, at the time when Jesus appeared that he was coming to be king over the earth. They had an expectation that he would reign as supreme and all powerful and that the religious leaders would perhaps take positions of authority in His government. How wrong they were. But if Jesus did not come to rule and take over, why did he come that first time?zacchaeus

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Repentance and Forgiveness

(Luke 17:3-4)

Let’s face it, sin is a problem in the world. In addition we all make mistakes and mess up from time to time. Some people are callous and don’t care, but most people try to find a solution to their mistakes. That is where repentance and forgiveness come into play. Repentance and forgiveness are the two outcomes of sin where a person is seeking to make amends for their wrongdoing. Repentance on the part of the person who did wrong and forgiveness on the part of the one who was wronged.repentance

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The Prodigal Son

(Luke 15:11-24)

Almost everyone knows the story of the prodigal son, including non-Christians. The message has been widely and much used as a teaching of redemption and return. It is a wonderful parable and has a number of good messages for Christians. This is the third message of the Lord in this chapter of Luke that looks at seeking the lost so let’s have a look at it.pigs eating pods Continue reading “The Prodigal Son”

Seeking the Lost Coin

(Luke 15:8-10)

In the first few paragraphs of Luke 15 we see three very similar teachings. They cover different aspects of the same thing: seeking the lost. The Lord uses three different parable teachings to get the message across. In this one today it is about a woman seeking the lost coin. The fact that Jesus has given this similar message three times tells us that it is important and that Jesus is trying to stress this point. And although each of the three parables has the same outcome, they use different analogies and give a slightly different message. So let us look at the parable of the woman seeking the lost coin.silver coin Continue reading “Seeking the Lost Coin”

Looking for Lost Sheep

(Luke 15:1-7)

When you read the Bible it sometimes makes you wonder how some people think. In this section of scripture the Pharisees and scribes murmured amongst themselves saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” (Verse 2) It never ceases to amaze me why these people were so staggered at this situation. If they had spent just a few moments considering who Jesus was and what he was doing, then perhaps they would not have asked dumb questions…but then we would not have Jesus’ answers to learn from.lost sheep

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World Class Protection at No Cost

(Luke 13:1-5)

Sound too good to be true? If this was a website that was selling security and you saw a claim like that you would probably be thinking, “Yeah, right!” But you know there is a level of protection available that is even better than “world class” protection and security. And in this day and age of terrorism and all manner of evil on our streets, its an offer to important not to check out. So if you want to know about “God class” protectionsecurity…read on.

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Jesus and John the Baptist

(Luke 7:24-30)

Who was John the Baptist? There is not much spoken about him and yet Jesus made the comment in this section of scripture saying, “I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John” (Verse 28)

John the Baptist 2Incredible words for a man we know very little about. When you consider some of the “competition” for this “title” such as King David, a man after God’s heart; Moses, the servant of God; Abraham, the friend of God or Enoch and Elijah both of whom did not die but were taken by God. Then it becomes quite amazing that John the Baptist above all these other men and any other on the earth before or since was the one the Jesus said was the greatest of those born of women.

Who was John the Baptist?

In a physical sense he was the son of Zechariah, a priest of the tribe of Levi. His mother, Elizabeth, was a kinswoman of Mary, the mother of Jesus, so he was related in some way to Jesus in the physical sense.

He was a great prophet, but would/could have been considered strange in some ways. His manner of life was unusual for he lived alone in the wilderness, he ate only locusts and wild honey, drank only water and wore a garment made from camel’s hair. (Matthew 3:4)

But despite the unusual aspects of his life, all of the people went to him to hear his words for he spoke the words of God and taught with authority and power. Even the scribes and Pharisees came to hear him speak, and he rebuked them for their hypocrisy just as Jesus would do later.

The Ministry of John the Baptist

John came to do two things. His ministry was firstly to prepare the way of the Lord. He preached the baptism of repentance and ministered to turn the hearts of the people away from evil and beck to God.

The second purpose John the Baptist fulfilled was to bear witness to Jesus. His role was to prepare the people and teach them to “follow the one who came after him.” He started a ministry and Jesus brought it to full fruit. John the Baptist began the work of the New Covenant and then handed it across to Jesus who was to ratify the New Covenant with his death.

John came in the spirit and power of Elijah, as was prophesied of him. He was accepted by the people for he was providing the spiritual food they longed for. But to the scribes and Pharisees he was a problem for he showed up their faults and the errors of their actions.

Can we learn from John the Baptist today?

Yes. We can learn from all the men and women of God today. John stood for God. John the Baptist stood up for what was right and he stood for righteousness. He taught that we could repent and be made right with God and that is a lesson we should remember and take to heart.

John the Baptist taught baptism as a means for forgiveness of sin and repentance. This was not the baptism into the death of Jesus that was taught after Jesus died, but it is still a lesson worth remembering. In Jesus we are baptised into the Lord’s death for this is our gateway into the New Covenant and the kingdom of God. But John the Baptist became the forerunner of this teaching of the use of baptism, for his baptism also spoke of a new life of repentance and walking with God.

Take the lessons to heart and come to God. If you have not been baptised, seek to be baptised. It is important to do so. It is so important that Jesus, who had no need for repentance or baptism, was baptised as an example so that no one could say they did not need baptism and use Jesus as an example.

Yes there is much to still learn from John the Baptist and much we do not know. Jesus called him the greatest man who ever lived so it would do us well to consider his life and work as we can benefit from this knowledge.

(Picture sourced from ChristiansUnite.com http://clipart.christiansunite.com/)

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You Brood of Vipers

(Luke 3: 7-9)

John the Baptist did not mince his words when dealing with the people, especially the scribes and Pharisees. Calling them a brood of vipers, snakes full of poison, was quite extreme. But it got the message across that they were in need of change and the help that could only come from God.

viperHe makes a number of good points here that were specifically relevant to the people of his day, but also are a good warning to us as well. He encourages the crowd to, “Bear fruits that befit repentance.” (Verse 8) In this statement he shows them and us that it is not enough to say that you have repented. You must also show the outcome of your repentance through the changes you make in how you live and behave.

The fruits of repentance are our words, deeds and actions. Repentance, as discussed in my previous post, is about changing your thinking. It is about thinking a different way, specifically to be in alignment with God’s will. And if you change your thinking you will change your behaviour and your life as well. You will no longer desire to do the evil you may have once done because when your thinking is aligned with God, you will desire to do what is good, right and true. This is bearing the fruit of repentance and is as much a factor in our Christian walk today as it was in John’s and Jesus’ day.

John continues on in verse 8 saying, “…do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.” Now while he was addressing the people of his day and the Jews in particular, there is also a warning here for us too.

The Jews believed that they were God’s chosen people, and they were correct in this for the Bible says that is so. However some were arrogant in this belief and thought they could do as they pleased, with little regard for others believing they were the chosen people of God. But God is seeking a people who are humble and aligned to his will, not proud and arrogant. He shows through Paul that it is the children of faith who are the true children of God. Those who share the faith of Abraham, who believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness, are the true children of God and the chosen family of God. It is not a matter of bodily descent but through faith that people will be saved.

This is the point that John the Baptist was making with the people then. It is not about your lineage for God could easily create people and make them of the lineage of Abraham. Rather it is about walking in accordance with the will of God through repentance and changing your thinking to align with God.

Today there are some who likewise feel they are saved and above reproach. There is a movement among some churches that states, “Once saved, always saved.” I do not subscribe to that philosophy for it leads to licentiousness. If a person comes to the Lord and is saved, then goes out and does all manner of evil, how can that be in line with God’s will? And yet that is what “Once saved, always saved” suggests.

If this philosophy were true, why would the bible writers speak of those who had fallen away and would fall away? If they were once saved, why would they fall away and be lost? For that matter how could they be lost in this scenario if they had been “once saved, always saved?”

There other false teachings too that lead people to believe they are right with the Lord and thus are OK. However I would warn every person that we must continue to walk with Christ. We must continue to move forward with the Lord for he warns us saying, “Walk while you have the light, lest the darkness overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes.” (John 12:35) We cannot afford to stop walking for the darkness creeps along behind us. If we stop it will overtake and overcome us. That is why we must continue forward to learn and grow with Christ.

(Picture sourced from stock.xchng http://www.sxc.hu/ taken by Haakon Birkeland