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27th April 2014
The Bible tells us that creation itself is waiting and even yearning for Jesus to return, and every follower of Jesus is eagerly awaiting this too! We can read in the Bible about when Jesus will return, what it will be like and why He is coming back.
Many people have tried to predict when Jesus will come back – there’s even a book of 88 reasons why Jesus would return in 1988! But Jesus Himself is very clear on this: He said, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” (Matt. 24:36). The Bible also says that He will come “like a thief in the night” (1 Thess. 5:2), which clearly indicates that it will be surprising.
We are not expected to try to figure out when Jesus will come back; rather we are supposed to live ready. We are called to live in eager expectation of His return, making sure our lives reflect what we believe, not hedging our bets, ‘looking busy’ and hoping we can follow Him seriously at the last minute. Jesus isn’t like a naïve boss. He knows our hearts, our motives, everything. We are to preach the gospel, be the good news, love people and point them towards Him now. That’s how we stay prepared – by doing the things we’ve been commissioned to do!
Though we don’t know when Jesus will return, we do know something about what it will be like: the first time He came, it was in humility, vulnerability and obscurity; when He comes back, it will be totally different – it will be the biggest event in world history as He comes in power and glory, with the whole world knowing about it! It will be global, it will be awesome, and it will impact every single person on Earth – even the dead will rise!
We can also know why Jesus will return – what the purpose of it will be. Jesus will one day redeem all things. A new heaven and a new Earth will be created, and we will have new bodies, completely free from pain – even from sagging! There will be a day of judgment, where full and perfect justice takes place. And Jesus will separate those who follow Him from those who don’t. At that time it will be too late to change your mind. Those who don’t know Jesus will go to spend eternity without Him.
But for those who do know Him, once Jesus returns there will be no more pain, suffering, anxiety, disease, war, hatred, confusion, sin, or death. There will only be love, joy, peace and good things for all eternity. And for those ‘in Christ’, we will be glorified, just as He is glorified.
To download the recording of this sermon and the life application questions, click here.
Posted by Santino Hamberis
20th April 2014
When the women arrived at the tomb on the first Easter Sunday, they came to dress a dead corpse. They had seen Jesus die and were coming to prepare his lifeless body. But Jesus had risen from the dead!
Church isn’t a museum celebrating the life and death of a ‘good man’; church is a community of people linked to the Life-Giver where others can also encounter Jesus, who is alive!
Jesus’ resurrection is the crux of the Christian faith. What do you make of it?
Download the audio and the life application notes for this message here.
Posted by Paul Mann
13th April 2014
The cross is a familiar sight. People wear crosses as jewellery, some – footballers, rappers, all kinds of people – have crosses tattooed on their bodies.
We would probably be shocked if we saw someone wearing gallows or an electric chair, yet none of us is shocked when we see someone wearing a cross, which was one of the most gruesome and sadistic types of execution.
It’s also interesting that the accounts of Jesus’ life – the Gospels – spend about a third of their pages focusing on the week leading up to and including Jesus’ death. The apostle Paul says it’s of “first importance” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
The cross of Christ is at the absolute core of the Christian faith – nothing is more central to Christianity and, in fact, to history, than the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
At its root, the cross is about atonement, which means ‘making at one’, reconciling or bringing together those who have been separated. The cross is about bringing sinful, broken men and women to a place of being ‘at one’ with their Creator.
We are not what we should be. Most of us acknowledge we don’t live up even to our own standards. Most of us do things we know we shouldn’t have done or don’t do things we know we should do. The Bible shows us that our own dissatisfaction with ourselves isn’t actually the deepest problem we have. The fundamental issue is that sin has impacted our relationship with God, who created us. We are cut off from Him, with a huge gap between Him and us.
This problem is so deep that we can’t put it right, no matter how many good deeds we do. It’s like trying to make a bed with nice clean linen while our hands are covered in sticky jam: no matter how careful we are, we will make a mess. Everything we do is polluted and damaged by sin.
God is intrinsically holy. He is holy, righteous and just in His very nature. He is light and in Him there is no darkness at all. God’s wrath against sin is a factor of His holiness – He isn’t intrinsically wrathful or angry; God doesn’t delight to punish sin, but He is intrinsically holy and sin cannot co-exist with His holiness.
God is also intrinsically love. It is part of His very character. God IS love (1 John 4:16). Love comes from God. God hasn’t started to learn how to love since He created us – He is love and the Father, Son and Spirit have loved each other for all eternity. God isn’t learning about love; love is bound up in the very nature of God.
God wants to satisfy both His holiness and His love. How is that going to happen? It’s what the cross is all about! The way that God resolved this was at the cross. God providing a way for us to be saved was not inevitable – it was the action of a God who loves us and was moved by His grace and mercy to provide a way of salvation!
That Christ died as our substitute is loud and clear (see 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 2:24, 1 Peter 3:18, Isaiah 53:4-6). Jesus died in our place so that we could come to God! Our salvation is the work of One triune God. The three persons of the trinity work indivisibly – they were united in this plan of salvation, as they always are. Jesus made a willing decision to become a man and to be the sin-bearer. He chose the cross!
The three persons of the trinity are distinguishable and their actions can be distinguished too, but they are in complete unity and harmony. When we put faith in Jesus, we become united with Christ. At the cross, holiness and love met, and we are now one with Christ, which means He pays our debts and we have His righteousness and much more! We have been made holy by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ!
Download the audio and the life application questions related to this blog here.
Posted by John Groves
6th April 2014
I don’t know about you but throughout much of my Christian life, I considered the supernatural to be limited to signs and wonders and miracles such as healings. To live with the conviction that a supernatural God calls us to live a supernatural life, yet see limited amounts of healings and acts of the supernatural is a tension that we all face and work through in our journey of faith with Him.
However, I’m understanding more and more that living a supernatural life is far more than just these acts that we read about in the Bible and even witness in the modern day. In John 14, Jesus says that those who follow Him will do the works that He did and even greater things! What an amazing promise that those who follow Him will continue His work in proclaiming and demonstrating the gospel to the four corners of the globe in both word and works of power.
With this commission, we must understand what Jesus meant by works and how He would have us live for him over 2,000 years later. In John 13:15, Jesus says, “Look at the way I live, and do likewise." So here are three aspects of Jesus’ life that I want to highlight as key to living a supernatural life:
Light of the world
Jesus was light of the world from the very beginning. Before He led a large ministry, before He saw miracles, certainly before He was crucified, He described Himself as the light of the world because His life pointed people to the Father. What’s amazing is that the whole of the Bible up to the gospels is pointing to Jesus as the Messiah, the light of the world that would shine in the darkness and provide kingdom opportunities to the lost and the lowly. But in our salvation, an incredible transaction takes place: not only did He take our sin and credit to us his righteousness; not only did He remove our chains of bondage and declare us free; but He also removed our darkness and replaced it with the life and light of the Father. He passes the baton onto his disciples (that’s you and me) and says: “You are now the light of the world” (Matt 5:13).
If you’re a Christian, like Jesus, you are about something supernatural, not because of the miracles or the signs and wonders you may or may not have seen, but because you are called, because you are light and because you point people to the Father. Supernatural acts stem from a supernatural life, they don't make it one.
Identity and the Father
Jesus’ identity was centred around the relationship He had with the Father. He prioritised it beyond any ministry time or works of service; He gave time to relationship. Jesus made claims such as “the Father commanded me to say all that I have spoken” (John 12:49) and “I only do what I see the father doing” (John 5:19). Jesus’ ministry and works were at no point in conflict with relationship, but flowed through it to the point that He could say: “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father” (John 14:9). His life demonstrated what the Father's will was; does ours in the same way?
We do not so much represent the Father, but we present him to others. By our life and our works (miracles or otherwise), we present Him to those who are still in darkness. We must not forget that the Father instigated the Christian faith and our freedom; a gospel that is centred on Jesus and neglects relationship with the Father is no gospel at all. Is your identity centred on the Father or your ministry/gifting?
John the Baptist proclaimed that the “kingdom was near”. When Jesus arrived, he proclaimed the “Kingdom was at hand”, yet for so many Christians today, the Kingdom is now a distant history or at best a promise to come. I’d like to submit to you that the Kingdom is closer than we think; in fact it’s well within arms reach!
If we now have the light of life as Jesus says, it would be unwise and I fear unbiblical to not be active bringers of the Kingdom in the here and now. That is after all, the Great Commission we have. Jesus prayed: “Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10) and that is as clear as any instruction of how Kingdom faith and supernatural living is to be demonstrated. Those things of the Kingdom are to be loosed on earth and we have permission from God to bind the things of this world that are not of the heavenly Kingdom.
The 'greater things'
Now, about the ‘greater things’. Do not be disheartened when you fail to walk on water, demonstrate rapid fermentation or multiply mackerels at this summer's family gathering. In doing those things, Jesus demonstrated His divinity (John 2:11), but it was not to give us a model or formula that we need to follow. To my knowledge, no-one before or since Jesus has done all of these things, so it can’t be what He is saying here in terms of what we will do. So what are the 'greater things'?
We are about the supernatural, we are about the greater things, not because of the individual works that we will do, but because of the access of the Kingdom that is available this side of the cross. In some amazing way, when Jesus healed, forgave and performed miracles, it was in light of what he was going to do on the cross that He did those things. For us today, we have access to an open heaven because Jesus has now died, risen, is seated at the right hand of God and has been given all authority and the name above every other name (Eph. 1:20). The biggest evidence for this is by reading what comes next in the John 14 passage. He says, “You will do greater things, because I am going to the Father.”
Never forget, our confidence and faith in the supernatural is based not on a formula we’ve come to know, but on the Father we’ve come to know. God’s given us an appetite for the supernatural... Let’s continue to push into it!
You can listen to the audio of this message and download the life application notes here.
Posted by Aled Cousins