Behold His Glory!

John, unlike the other significant contributors to the New Testament, Luke and Paul, keeps us in suspense as to his purpose in writing. He waits until the penultimate chapter of his gospel and the final chapter of his first epistle! To summarise: he wrote his gospel to explain how one might be saved (Jn 20:31), and his epistle, to describe how one might know that they are saved (1 Jn 5:13). His gospel is therefore evangelistic in purpose, while his epistle is pastoral. 

Haggai 2: Strength in Discouragement

When the Lord lifts us out of discouraging times, we may be tempted to look around for our recourse. Now that God has humbled us, we may think, it’s time to be put in our rightful place. Yet what if time goes on and the expected results still haven’t panned out? The Jews rebuilding the temple had relapsed into discouragement. They had been discouraged, and Haggai encouraged them to tend to the Lord’s house. The building project was in full swing. But now discouragement clawed back as a less-glorious version of the temple went up. Memories of past glory caused negativity to spread among the people. Graciously, God would meet them with another message to strengthen them to simply be obedient to Him. He will do the same for us.

News from a Far Country: Angola

Follow the Atlantic coast from the southern tip of the continent of Africa.  The third country on your path is Angola, formerly a Portuguese colony, and a land devastated by war and political instability for about four decades.  Peace has prevailed since 2002 and the nation is slowly rebuilding.  Frederick Stanley Arnot, a family friend of David Livingstone, opened up the Gospel route through Angola in 1884.  Since then many followers of Christ left their homelands to spread the Gospel in Angola over the last century.  Many missionaries were forced to leave during the years of armed conflict.  The Gospel work done over the last century stood the test of time and toil, and today there are many professing Christians and many assemblies in Angola.

The Sceptre of Life

The servant sun illumined the orient,
Threw back the sable curtains of the night
And introduced the day. It was dawn
Different from every other it had known
Since first its ordered functions it performed
At God’s command. A man had conquered death;
Not only for the future, but unlocked
Its ancient prison-house for all His own,
And kept the mighty keys. High heaven had mocked
The seal of Rome upon the Son of God:
An angel of the Lord rolled back the stone,
And sat on it. It was exceeding great;
Too great for feeble human hands to move.

Consider Your Ways: Build the House

Do you need to be encouraged? You carry about your day half-heartedly, routinely or unproductively. It could be that this discouragement is the reason why you don’t contribute like you ought to build into your local church. The origin of discouragement is ignorance of what God is doing and how God is working. We lose sight of His purposes. In the book of Haggai, we find about 50,000 who have been released from exile and begun to settle again in the land of their origin. Building the House of the Lord was once thrilling but now they’re discouraged to restart the project that was halted. The LORD raised up prophets Zechariah and Haggai to encourage the people. Hearing and obeying the voice of the LORD is the sure remedy to discouragement. May we all hear the word of the LORD by Haggai and be encouraged to build the house.

I Am the Light of the World

John’s ‘I Am’ statements are known the world over, by theologians and Sunday school children alike, they take a few moments to learn but a lifetime to ponder and appreciate. This morning as we consider the Light of the world, may we seefresh truth about the Lord Jesus, and worship him accordingly.

I have a Question!

Why did God save Lot out of Sodom?

There are several facets to what occurred when God dealt with Sodom and Gomorrah by destroying it with fire and brimstone. We are privileged to see the whole picture with Sodom regarding Lot, Abraham and even the LORD. Abraham’s conversation with God at the end of chapter 18 demonstrates God’s willingness to spare many for the sake of the righteous around them, but there were fewer than ten righteous. Yet Genesis 19:29 states that “God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow…” Though Abraham never expressed it to the LORD, He knew that at the heart of Abraham’s request was the deliverance of Lot. We could say that Lot was delivered because of Abraham, and we can be encouraged that likewise, the Lord knows the heart of our requests even if we can’t express them properly.

Glimpses of Christ in the Old Testament

Based on the words of the Lord on the road to Emmaus we have a legitimate foundation to see Christ in all the Scriptures (Lk 24:27). As we shine the doctrinal spotlight of the New Testament on the picture book of the Old it suddenly becomes alive with beautiful portraits and foreshadows of the Lord Jesus. As we walk through the Old Testament art gallery this morning and consider a few types, may the New Testament tour guide help us see the glory of Christ in his word – after all, he is the central theme of the Bible.

News from a Far Country: Mexico

Are you considering mission work? Gospel work abroad or in the homeland are the same, just with different circumstances. If we are praying or considering mission work, our life while secularly employed should be marked by similar work for the Lord we would do in a foreign field. The following thoughtsshould apply to both, though it is slanted more toward missionary focus.

The Breaking of Bread

The dawning of a new Lord's Day provides a fresh opportunity to answer the dying request of our Lord to 'remember' Him. We have fallen into the happy habit of referring to the gathering as the remembrance, but Scripture is on two occasions, much more specific: 'do this in remembrance of me' (1 Cor. 11:24, 25) This urges the question, do what? We need not look very far, for the very next clause states: 'as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup' (v 26). The Scriptures describe the taking of the bread and cup collectively as the 'breaking of bread.'

We Saw Thee Not

A well-known hymn on a Lord’s day morning is; “we saw thee not when thou didst come, to this poor world of sin and death …”.  These words are true for most of the human race down through the ages of time. The overwhelming majority of people in human history, have never seen the Son of God with their physical eyes. Initially this might concern us, until we are reminded of the words of the Lord Jesus; “blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (Jn 20:29). Though our mortal eyes have never seen him, the eye of faith has seen him very clearly, and we say with Peter; “we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God” (Jn 6:69). 

The Proverbial Leader

A leadership role should never just fall into someone’s lap. A path of spiritual education is needed to equip men for the tremendous responsibility of leading God’s people. Joshua was no exception. He too needed to be challenged, encouraged, and made willing to learn from others. This godly man saw victories for God long before he was formally recognized as Moses’s successor.

The Tabernacle: The Ark–The Covering above it (Part 3)

In this final instalment of these Tabernacle studies, we reach the Mercy Seat, the covering that sat above the Ark of the Covenant. We have seen already that together they formed the throne of God, the place where God dwelt and communed with His people. As the exact location of God's dwelling place, it is crucial within the Tabernacle, but we will discover that there are multiple layers of truth to this last article.

The Lord’s Prayer: The Son of God Prayed for Me

It is a humbling experience to hear another believer pray for you, systematically and deliberately laying out requests on your behalf. Greater yet for the believer is that before your parents even thought of you, the Son prayed for you. We can see this clearly in John 17:21 when He shifts His attention away from the apostles toward, “them also that believe on me through their word.” This is you and I; on the night of His betrayal He prayed for you.