Core Mandate

The mandate to bless the nations began with Abraham.  God’s promise to bless all nations through Abraham provides the biblical foundation and the proper heart attitude for ministry.

“Blessings” refers to God’s gracious favour and power bestowed on those who respond to Him by faith.  The blessing so His favour draws us into relationship with Himself, resulting in peace, well-being and salvation.

In Christ, we discover the demonstration of God’s liberating power,  Paul highlights the relational and powerful dimensions of blessing in Christ most explicitly in Galatians.

Implicit in the Abrahamic blessing, we find our mandate as well as our message.

 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.” – Galatians 3:8

Our core message of the blessing which is in Christ aligns with our core mandate to bring Christ’s blessing to all nations.

Latter days

We cannot forget the possibility and the promise of revival, the refreshing of the latter days of the outpouring of the Spirit promised.  That will happen right up to the advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. – Billy Graham, Lausanne Congress, 1974

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The Latter Days

 

Massive turning to Christ

The massive turning to Christ by people from the four corners of the earth will prepare the way for the coming of the King.  Our Lord’s return may be waiting now on this spiritual revolution —

So wait patiently, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits [expectantly] for the precious harvest from the land, being patient about it, until it receives the early and late rains.  You too, be patient; strengthen your hearts [keep them energized and firmly committed to God], because the coming of the Lord is near. – James 5:7-8

The fact that our Lord has not already returned to establish His kingdom is evidence of His desire to see the Church perfected and the gospel presented to every person for whom He died. But we dare not presume upon His patience, though none of us can be so sure of our understanding of prophecy as to preclude His return at any moment.

As we anticipate the coming world revival, prayer is our greatest resource. Surely it is time.  There is no other way to bring life to the Church and hope to the barren fields of the world.

As the first Great Awakening was sweeping America in 1748, Jonathan Edwards, responding to a proposal from church leaders in Scotland, published, A Humble Attempt to Promote Explicit Agreement and Visible Union of God’s People in Extraordinary Prayer, for the Revival of Religion and the Advancement of Christ’s Kingdom on Earth, Pursuant to Scripture Promises and Prophecies Concerning the Last Time. It was an appeal for the Church to unite in earnest intercession for world revival —

We may observe who they are that shall be united in thus seeking the Lord of hosts: the inhabitants of many cities, and of many countries, yea, many people, and strong nations, great multitudes in different parts of the world shall conspire in this business. From the representation made in the prophecy, it appears rational to suppose, that it will be fulfilled something after this manner: There shall be given much of a spirit of prayer to God’s people, in many places, disposing them to come into an express agreement, unitedly to pray to God in an extraordinary manner, that he would appear for the help of his church, and in mercy to mankind, and pour out his Spirit, revive his work, and advance his spiritual kingdom in the world, as he promised. This disposition to prayer, and union in it, will gradually spread more and more, and increase to greater degrees; with which at length will gradually be introduced a revival of religion, and a disposition to greater engagedness in the worship and service of God, amongst his professing people. This being observed, will be the means of awakening others, making them sensible of the wants of their souls, and exciting in them a great concern for their spiritual and everlasting good, and putting them upon earnestly crying to God for spiritual mercies, and disposing them to join in that extraordinary seeking and serving of God.

In this manner religion shall be propagated, till the awakening reaches those that are in the highest stations, and till whole nations be awakened, and there be at length an accession of many of the chief nations of the world to the church of God. Thus after the inhabitants of many cities of Israel, or of God’s professing people, have taken up and pursued a joint resolution, to go and pray before the Lord, and seek the Lord of hosts, others shall be drawn to worship and serve him with them; till at length many people and strong nations shall join themselves to them; and there shall, in process of time, be a vast accession to the church, so that it shall be ten times as large as it was before; yea, at length, all nations shall be converted unto God. Thus (Zechariah 8:23.) “ten men shall take hold, out of all languages of the nations, of the skirt of him that is a Jew,” (in the sense of the apostle,

Romans 2:28, 29.) “saying, We will go with you; for we have heard, that God is with you.” And thus shall be fulfilled, “O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.” (Psalm 65:2)

 

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‘We are living in the midst of the greatest turning of Muslims to Christ in history’

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Bold prayer without being presumptuous

In many cases God allows an even greater witness for His glory in which God displays His own favour, as He did in the case of Stephen, whose last words repeated Christ’s last words of forgiveness.

If we are going to pray, we need to pray with zeal for the glory of God, then a deep compassion desiring the well-being of the people.  And then with Esther’s attitude, we leave the rest up to God.

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Bold Prayers

The Prayer That Honours God

Boldness in Prayer

Praying Boldly

7 Reasons to Pray Bold Prayers

Praying boldly, in community

Faith Versus Presumption

 

The resurrection of Jesus

At the conclusion of his message to the inquiring Athenians, Paul says —

“For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” – Acts 17:31

Despite all of Jesus’ teaching about His mission, even His disciples are bewildered by His death.  On Easter Sunday, when the women share the news of the resurrection as reported by the angels —

But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. – Luke 24:11

Once the disciples know, however, that Jesus indeed is risen, they cannot be stopped.  They go straight to the hostile people in Jerusalem and proclaim that Jesus is the Messiah.  Peter declares that the Resurrection of Jesus demonstrates that —

“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”  Acts 2:36

The New Testament, then, insists that the Resurrection was God’s authentication of the supremacy of Jesus.

resurrection-of-jesus_christ_

Why the Resurrection Matters to You

The Resurrection of Jesus

The Resurrection of Jesus

The Resurrection of Christ – The Best-Proved Fact in History

Resurrection of Jesus Christ

 

A new humanity – the Body of Christ

Jesus talks about this new humanity —

 I have [a]other sheep [beside these] that are not of this fold. I must bring those also, and they will listen to My voice and pay attention to My call, and they will become [b]one flock with one Shepherd. – John 10:16

Jesus is saying that His death is going to bring non-Jews into the flock also. It’s implied in the statements that present Jesus as the Saviour of the whole world.  The result of bringing the sheep into the fold is creation of a new humanity “in Christ.”

Paul contrasts the new humanity with the old as well.  Those who are in Adam experience the consequence of Adam’s sin, where those who are in Christ experience the result of Jesus’ saving act.

While the death of Christ makes it possible for other sheep to come into Christ’s flock, the way this will happen today is through the Church going out and bringing them in.  John 10:16 then is a missionary verse.

This saying of Jesus becomes very personal; for it is a dream which every one of us can help Jesus to realize. Men cannot hear without a preacher; the other sheep cannot be gathered in unless someone goes out to bring them in. Here is set before us the tremendous missionary task of the Church. And we must not think of that only in terms of what we used to call foreign missions. If we know someone here and now who is outside his love, we can find him for Christ. The dream of Christ depends on us; it is we who can help him make the world one flock with him as its shepherd. – William Barclay

It is fitting that taking this verse in context which describes the death of Jesus climaxes with the missionary challenge.

The author examines the New Testament strand by strand in a way that will be quite familiar to those who have been brought up on Vincent Taylor. And he begins with the Synoptic Gospels. Our Lord did not identify Himself with men in such a way as to obscure the difference between His life and ours. Denney sets out to emphasize the difference rather than the identity, and for that reason prefers the word ‘ substitute ‘ to ‘ representative ‘. The Passion sayings are examined in turn, and the significance of the Baptism and Temptation of Jesus, implying His double role as both Messiah and Suffering Servant, is fully recognized. The word from heaven at His Baptism was indeed the true index of His life. That is why from the outset Christ sees the two paths that lie before Him and chooses the one ” which He knows will set Him in irreconcilable antagonism to the hopes and expectations of those to whom He is to appeal “. That there was a divine • must • about His· career is increasingly evident as the gospel narratives proceed, and this ‘must’ included death. Messiahship as He unfolded it spelt death. ” This was the first and last thing He taught about it, the first and last thing He wished His disciples to learn.” It is the very soul of His vocation. Our Lord’s thought dwells constantly in that circle of ideas to be found in the Old Testament concept of sacrifice and supremely in Isaiah liii. This culminates in the Last Supper. What Jesus does and says there is “the focus of revelation, in which the Old Testament and the New are one “. The meaning of His death as propitiation is demonstrated there, “for propitiation is merely a mode of mediation, a mode of it, no doubt, which brings home to us acutely what we owe to the Mediator, and makes us feel that, though forgiveness is free to us, it does not cost Him nothing ”. – James Denny

We also have in this verse the first statement about the universal Church.  This is a theme the Church has often failed to preach and practice, but it is certainly a unique feature that the gospel can offer to a world torn by communal prejudice and strife.

Kim Davis

 

 

 

Sermon for Easter 

 

 

 

Jesus as the life

One of the important aspects of the supremacy of Christ is Jesus as the life. Eternal life is a primary result of Christ’s saving work. Jesus often says that this life comes through a relationship we have with Him.

Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true[supreme and sovereign] God, and [in the same manner know] Jesus[as the] Christ whom You have sent.           John 17:3

Jesus teaches that the relationship we have with Him is based on His commitment to us —

[a]I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd [b]lays down His[own] life for the sheep.– John 10:11

Then Jesus immediately contrasts that with selfish people who fail us, people who do not have Christ’s commitment to us.  They desert us in our time of need and do not care for us as Jesus does.  Jesus knows this world is full of relationships that fail.

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]. – John 10:10

It is a completely fulfilling life because of a love-relationship with God.  Francis of Assisi took on a lifestyle of poverty, but he did not miss the riches he gave up. Jesus explains this fulfillment —

Jesus replied to them, [a]I am the Bread of Life. The one who comes to Me will never be hungry, and the one who believes in Me [as Savior]will never be thirsty [for that one will be sustained spiritually]. – John 6:35

Without that we, we are as good as dead —

He who has the Son [by accepting Him as Lord and Savior] has the life [that is eternal]; he who does not have the Son of God [by personal faith] does not have the life.                    1 John 5:12

When people who are created for life do not have it, they are restless.

“To him who tastes God, all the sweetness of the world will be but bitterness. Taste, therefore, and see how sweet the Lord is, and thou wilt never weary of enjoying Him. It is quite otherwise with the love of the world, for the love of worldly things produces many fruits of sorrow ; thus, if thou lovest wife, children, possessions, houses, or honours, when these die or perish they procure for thee as much sorrow as thou hast had affection and love for them.”  Francis of Assisi

 

Great are You, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is Your power, and of Your wisdom there is no end. And man, being a part of Your creation, desires to praise You, man, who bears about with him his mortality, the witness of his sin, even the witness that You resist the proud, — yet man, this part of Your creation, desires to praise You. You move us to delight in praising You; for You have formed us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in You. Lord, teach me to know and understand which of these should be first, to call on You, or to praise You; and likewise to know You, or to call upon You. But who is there that calls upon You without knowing You? For he that knows You not may call upon You as other than You are. Or perhaps we call on You that we may know You. But how shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? Or how shall they believe without a preacher?Romans 10:14 And those who seek the Lord shall praise Him. For those who seek shall find Him, Matthew 7:7 and those who find Him shall praise Him. Let me seek You, Lord, in calling on You, and call on You in believing in You; for You have been preached unto us. O Lord, my faith calls on You—that faith which You have imparted to me, which You have breathed into me through the incarnation of Your Son, through the ministry of Your preacher. – Augustine

 

“There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.” – Blaise Pascal

jesus as the life