Charles’s quotes


"It is surely ours to combine these elements of mourning for sin and joy in our salvation in one complex and composite experience which keeps us perpetually humble and yet perpetually joyful too."— Rev William Still

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Before the creation, there is the Creator .... (Genesis 1:1-12:9)

Genesis 1:1-2:3
Before the creation, there is the Creator.
* He is the chief focus of attention in the Bible’s first chapter. Wherever we look in Genesis 1, we see the word, God. This is about Him. Genesis 1 speaks about us. It tells us where we have come from. We have come from God. He is our Creator. Take away God, and our life has no meaning, no purpose, no direction.
* Move on from the Bible’s first chapter. Read the rest of Genesis, the rest of the Old Testament,the rest of the Bible. What do you find? The Bible is a Book about God. It’s not only a Book about God. It’s a Book that has been given to us by God. It’s His Word.
* What about our faith and our life? Our faith comes to us from God. Our life has been given to us by God. We are to put our faith in God. We are to live our life for God.
* “God said, Let there be light, and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). The light of God’s love and holiness. “He created us in His own image” (Genesis 1:27). Created by God - love. Created for God - called to holiness. The light of His love - a sure foundation for our faith. The light of His holiness - The Lord is calling us to walk with him in the light of His holy Word.
* “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). This was before our sin spoiled the world. We must not blame God for our sin. We are the ones who have spoiled His good creation.
* “God completed His work” (Genesis 2:2). This was the end of the beginning. When we come to Genesis 3, it seems like we’re reading about the beginning of the end. It’s not. It’s the start of a new beginning - God’s rescue plan (Genesis 3:15).


Genesis 2:4-25
Do what God tells us to do. This leads to blessing. Do what God tells us not to do. This leads to trouble. It’s been trouble ever since.
Here, on earth, things can be turned around. We can be set in the right direction. We are not yet at our final destination, but we’re travelling towards it.
When Adam and Eve sinned, they “died” spiritually. Immediately, we see conflict. The devil has won a battle. He has won many more battles. He will win many more battles. He will not win the war.
In Genesis 3:15, we catch a glimpse of God’s eternal Kingdom, in which “there will no longer be any curse” (Revelation 22:3).


Genesis 3:1-7
The tragedy of Adam and Eve: their fall into sin. We compare this with the triumph of Jesus - His victory over Satan.
What made the difference?- standing on the Word of God.
Adam and Eve believed the lie of the devil.
Jesus took His stand on the Word of God.
What about us? Do we stand? or Do we fall? Will we listen to Satan? or Will we listen to God?
We cannot be facing in two directions at the same time. We must make our choice.
Will our life be self-centred? or Will it be God-centred?
God is calling us out of the old life (the Adam life). He’s calling us into the new life (the Jesus life). When we choose to walk with Jesus, He walks with us.


Genesis 3:8-24
Here, we focus on three verses.
* Genesis 3:9 - "Where are you?" This is the voice of love: "The Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10).
* Genesis 3:15 - A prophecy concerning our Saviour and His mighty triumph over Satan
For Christ, there was suffering. For us, there is salvation.
* Genesis 3:22 - Salvation is not something we can reach out and take.
It must be given to us by the Lord. We must receive salvation from the Lord. It is always His gift.


Genesis 4:1-16
We read about Cain and Abel. We look beyond them to Christ. He offered himself as the perfect sacrifice for sin. He is "the Passover Lamb." He "has been sacrificed for us" (1 Corinthians 5:7). Jesus is "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).
We read here about the parting of the ways. Cain went one way - away from God. Abel went the other way - towards God. When we come to the Cross of Jesus Christ, we must make our choice. Our  life can never be the same again.
Will we be like Cain? - "He went out from the Lord's presence and lived in the land of wandering" (Genesis 4:16). What does God say to those who are wandering away from Him? He says, "Awake, sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you" (Ephesians 5:14).
We read about Abel, and we look beyond him to Christ. Let us walk with Christ on the way of faith and obedience, the way of His salvation, the way of holiness. When we read about Abel's offering being accepted by God, we must remember this - It's Christ who makes the difference. It's "His blood" which "cleanses us from our sins" (1 John 1:7).


Genesis 9:8-17
We look at the rainbow. We see the love of God. We look beyond the rainbow. We look to the Cross. There, we see the supreme demonstration of the love of God. There, we see Jesus, suffering for us. His suffering is the suffering of love. It wasn't the nails that held Him to the Cross. It was His love for us that sent Him to the Cross. It was His love for us that kept Him on the Cross.


Genesis 12:1-9
This was a major step for Abraham - and for God. Abraham would never be the same again. For him, this was the beginning of a journey. It was more than a journey into a new land. It was a journey into God's blessing. Notice that Abraham was "75 years old" (Genesis 12:4) when he set out on this great journey of faith and blessing. 75 years old - we don't normally expect big changes at this age. Big change - this was what God expected of Abraham. Can we ever say, "It's too late to make a new beginning with God?" No! We must never say this. Whatever age we are, we must be ready to say "Yes" to God, to move forward with Him. Pray that God will give you a new hunger for Himself, for His Word, for prayer. As we get older, are we getting colder or bolder? Do we say, "My best days are behind me? or Do we rise to new challenges?

You get nothing for nothing ... ?

“You get nothing for nothing. You only get what you pay for.” Is this cynicism – or realism? Let’s think together about something else – something that lifts us above all of this – the love of God, the grace of God, the mercy of God, the gift of God, the peace of God, the joy of God.
“Amazing love! how can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me? …  He left His Father’s throne above – so free, so infinite His grace. … ‘Tis mercy all, immense and free; For, O my God, it found out me!”
These words, from Charles Wesley’s great hymn of praise – “And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Saviour’s blood?”, lift us into a way of thinking that is, truly, out of this world. We leave the world and its way of thinking behind us. We turn our thoughts to Jesus, our Saviour. We think of all that He has done for us – and we rejoice. We think of all the blessings that He gives to us – and we give thanks to Him.
* God’s love is amazing. We see His love in the death of Jesus Christ, our Saviour. As we think of Jesus Christ, our Saviour, we remember His wonderful words- “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son … ” (John 3:16).
What’s so amazing about God’s love? It comes entirely from His side. There was no love for Him, coming from our side – “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Roman 5:8).
God’s love for us is His gift to us. We don’t earn the right to be loved by God. Our love for God can never be anything more than a response to His love for us.
When we think of how much the Lord has loved us, we can only say, “Thank You, Lord” – “Thanks be to God for His unspeakable or inexpressible gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15).”
* God’s grace is “so free” and “so infinite.” His mercy is “immense and free.”
Free – the grace and mercy is all coming from Him. God isn’t rewarding us – because of our great love for Him. In Jesus Christ, His Son, He’s reaching out to us – to save us.
“Infinite” grace and “immense” mercy – There’s no sin that’s greater than the grace and mercy of God. All of our sin was laid upon Jesus Christ, our Saviour – “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6); “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
* As we consider God’s great gift of salvation, our hearts are filled with His peace and His joy – “the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7);  “you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8). We rejoice in this – we were lost, and now we have been found by Jesus Christ, our Saviour, who “came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Before we can “seek the Lord while  He may be found”(Isaiah 55:6), He comes to us,seeking for us. He seeks for us, and He finds us. Before we can  “call on Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6), He comes to us with His call. It’s the call of His love, the call of His grace, the call of His mercy. We hear this call, as we think of Jesus Christ, God’s greatest gift to us. As we consider our Saviour, we are “found out” – He shows us our sin, and we are found – He gives us his salvation. We hear the call to turn from our sin – “Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts” (Isaiah 55:7). We hear the call to turn to the Lord: “Let them turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on them, and to our God, for He will freely pardon” (Isaiah 55:7). In God’s call of love, grace and mercy, we catch a glimpse of what He means when He says to us: “ ‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Amazing love, infinite grace, immense mercy – We can hardly begin to put into words all that this means. We can hardly begin to take it all in. All we can do is praise the Lord and give thanks to Him, giving all the glory to him and rejoicing in His free gift of salvation.

Who are we listening to?

 * Who are we listening to? Where do we get our understanding of life from? There are two very different stories. There's the world's story. It's the story of life without God. There's the Lord's Story. It's the Story of His salvation.
 *Who are we listening to? We listen to what we want to hear. If we don't want to hear what God is saying to us, we will listen to the world's story. If, in our hearts, we know that there's more to life than what the world tells us, we will ask the question, "Is there a Word from the Lord?" (Jeremiah 37:17).  
 * Who are we listening to? Many people tell us that we must live in the here-and-now. They tell us to forget about the past - to forget about the God of the Bible. They say that God isn't relevant to today's world. When we listen to God's Word, are we losing ourselves in the past? or Are we hearing a message from the past, which is also a message for today? Are the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament apostles to be left in the past? Is Jesus Christ to be left in the past? These are real questions. They're not questions we can answer if we're not prepared to take time to read the Bible.
 * Who are we listening to? Sometimes, we must listen to something we don't really want to hear. The world tells us, "Don't listen to all this talk about God?" We must, however, ask ourselves the question,
"How can we learn anything of any real value if we only listen to what we want to hear?" There may be something that we need to hear - but we're missing it because we're only listening to what we want to hear!
When we hear the old question, "Is there a Word from the Lord?", we must not be too quick to dismiss it - "That's not for us in today's world." It may be that God has something to say to us - but we'll only hear what He has to say if we're listening to Him.

“The days are coming.”

“The days are coming”: These words introduce a prophecy concerning the land (Jeremiah 30:3). The greatest blessing is not being in the land. It is belonging to the Lord. This is the blessing, spoken of by Jeremiah. When, speaking God’s Word, he writes, “You will be My people, and I will be your God” (Jeremiah 30:22).

God’s “everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3) and God’s “everlasting salvation” (Isaiah 45:17)

‘His love endures for ever’. This is the great message contained in every single verse of this Psalm. It’s a message worth repeating – over and over again! God’s love is an everlasting love – ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love’ (Jeremiah 31:3). God’s love is an unfailing love – ‘My unfailing love for you will not be shaken’ (Isaiah 54:10). Let us ‘give thanks’ to God for His love (Psalm 136:1-3,26). In His love, the Lord has provided for us ‘an everlasting salvation’. His ‘salvation will last for ever’ (Isaiah 45:17; Isaiah 51:6). We must not be like those who refuse to love the Lord – ‘Pharaoh… great kings… mighty kings …’ (Psalm 136:15,17-20). Those who reject God’s love will not receive ‘eternal life’. Their future will be very different – the ‘raging fire that will consume the enemies of God’ (John 3:16-18; Hebrews 10:26-27).

Real praise continues after we leave the place of worship.

Jeremiah 31:7-14
“Sing with joy” (Jeremiah 31:7,12-13).
This is to be our response to the Gospel. It’s more than a singalong. It’s “praise.” This praise continues after we leave the place of worship.
“Shout” - “I am not ashamed” (Romans 1:16).
“Proclaim” - Make the message known: “for the Good News” (Romans 1:1,5-6).
This for everyone (Jeremiah 31:8,10).
We come as we are - “blind” and “lame” (Jeremiah 31:8). We come to our “Shepherd” (Jeremiah 31:10). He has “ransomed” us. He has “redeemed” us from the “power” of Satan, Our enemy is stronger than we are, but he is not stronger than Jesus - “the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:40.
With Christ in our life, everything changes - “new wine, fresh oil... Their life will be... They will be no longer...” (Jeremiah 31:12). It is “abundant” life, a “satisfied” life (Jeremiah 31:14). We have received new life in Christ - “This is the Lord’s declaration concerning us (Jeremiah 31:14).

Sing with joy ...

Jeremiah 31:7-14

“Sing with joy” (Jeremiah 31:7,12-13).
This is to be our response to the Gospel. It’s more than a singalong. It’s “praise.” This praise continues after we leave the place of worship.
“Shout” - “I am not ashamed” (Romans 1:16).
“Proclaim” - Make the message known: “for the Good News” (Romans 1:1,5-6).
This for everyone (Jeremiah 31:8,10).
We come as we are - “blind” and “lame” (Jeremiah 31:8). We come to our “Shepherd” (Jeremiah 31:10). He has “ransomed” us. He has “redeemed” us from the “power” of Satan, Our enemy is stronger than we are, but he is not stronger than Jesus - “the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:40.
With Christ in our life, everything changes - “new wine, fresh oil... Their life will be... They will be no longer...” (Jeremiah 31:12). It is “abundant” life, a “satisfied” life (Jeremiah 31:14). We have received new life in Christ - “This is the Lord’s declaration concerning us (Jeremiah 31:14).

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Before the creation, there is the Creator .... (Genesis 1:1-12:9)

Genesis 1:1-2:3 Before the creation, there is the Creator. * He is the chief focus of attention in the Bible’s first chapter. Wherever ...