The Word–Jn.1:18 [10]

We have already seen some of the attributes of the Word, in that he is full of grace and truth. But now we see the character, nature and essence of the Word since he is the only begotten of the Father. The title ‘the Word’ conveys to us the disclosure of God’s mind but as the only begotten Son we see the disclosure of God’s heart.

Teaching in the Upper Room: Comfort for the Troubled Heart – A Spiritual Perspective [4]

Doubts swarm as life takes a hairpin turn away from the expected path, and you wonder: did I really know God as well as I thought? Perhaps I misunderstood the Scriptures that I thought were speaking directly to me. Perhaps I was mistaken after all. Have you been there, dear believer? As we will observe in the Upper Room, this very issue pressed upon the disciples. God’s ways are higher than our ways and accomplish more than the singular goals we conceive, so naturally there are times when we don’t understand how things are unfolding. We are not unlike young children, given a pat answer in order to pacify us for a time because we have no framework for understanding the great undertakings the parent has planned on our behalf. In time, as we grow in spiritual wisdom and knowledge, the Lord will give us eyes of understanding, upholding us with sustenance that the world knows nothing about.

The Word–Jn. 1:15-17 [9]

After the mountain top statement of “the Word was made flesh” we see again that John the Baptist gives testimony to the Lord Jesus. This is a parenthesis in the narrative between v14 and v16. It’s an uncontainable interjection, John is almost bubbling over as he declares the arrival of the Messiah. This echoes the feeling of the Psalmist when he said “my heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King” (Ps. 45:1, NKJV). Just as “the noise of the trumpet” (Ex. 20:18) signalled the presence of God in the wilderness, the trumpeting of John’s voice announced the coming of the Word.

Teaching in the Upper Room: Comfort for the Troubled Heart–You’ll Never Walk Alone [3]

In difficult times, having someone come alongside to help and strengthen you is a breath of life. Here, the disciples are confused. The Lord Jesus had been this helper to them, and now He announces His departure. They are filled with fear of abandonment. Their expectation of a Messiah who would reign in power and glory, like the prophets said, is unravelling. In John 14, a chapter full of interrupting questions, the gracious and patient Lord reveals that He is sending a Strengthener and that He Himself will not be gone for long. We learn for ourselves that we don’t need to wait for the Lord to send someone to help because the promised Paraclete is in us presently to strengthen. Even if everyone abandons you, you’ll never walk alone.

A Great King Over All The Earth

One of my favourite hymns is Daniel Whittle’s classic, The Crowning Day is coming. In four carefully crafted verses, drenched in theology, he takes the congregation from our Lord’s current rejection, to the Crowning Day when ‘our pain will all be over.’ The sentiment of the hymn is clear; the Lord is rejected now, but will be crowned as King in a day to come. 

The Year In Review: Top 5 Posts Of 2018

I thought it would be interesting to post a piece analysing the top 5 posts of 2018. The data is slightly skewed by the fact that contributions made towards the end of the year don’t have as much time to become popular as those published towards the beginning, (and I am ignoring this perennially popular post as it was written in 2016), but still it makes for interesting reading. Here are the top 5 posts from 2018 in order of popularity;

The Gate of the Year

Originally penned by Minnie Louise Haskins (1875-1957), this poem was popularised in 1939 when it was included at the end of King George VI’s Christmas speech. The words remain relevant and poignant 80 years later in 2019, but are largely ignored. Maybe they’ll be a guide and cheer to you in this New Year?

The Pilgrim Ark

The Ark of the Covenant is a beautiful picture of the Lord Jesus. It was the single most important vessel of the tabernaclebeing the very throne of God. It was constructed of shittim wood (incorruptible humanity) inlaid and overlaid with gold (deity) – how blessed to remember that God (gold) was manifest in the flesh (shittim wood)! These were twoseparate and different materials, but one glorious vessel. Likewise the Lord Jesus is perfect humanity and full deity in one glorious person. This Ark was the meeting place between God and His people – so the Lord Jesus is the one Mediator between God and men (1 Tim. 2.5). But, as one year closes and another opens, I would like to leave a word (or three!) of encouragement in relation to the movements of this most holy of objects. The Ark was…

Why I Am Not An Atheist

This is a longer read but well worth the effort. As the author points out, Atheists will argue about ‘evidence’ forever, and no matter how much you produce it will never be enough. But the power of a testimony is irrefutable. After a gospel meeting a few years ago, two atheists told me that although they disagreed with me on a number of points, they could not deny that the people at the church had something that they did not. It made me think of the blind man in John 9; “This is a remarkable thing, that you don’t know where he comes from, and yet he caused me to see” (v 30, NET). If you are a Christian then read this and rejoice; if you are an atheist, read this and reconsider. (The Editor)

O, Day of Deepest Sorrow

Today we publish a hymn written by John Nelson Darby, a prolific nineteenth century theologian and gospel preacher. While he is famous for the depth, intensity and oftentimes the complexity of his writings, his hymns are more accessible, Christ exalting and deeply poignant. As we go to remember our Saviour again today, let us remind ourself of His day of deepest sorrow. 

Teaching in the Upper Room: Comfort for the Troubled Heart–Words Of Strength [2]

If you address an audience with word of comfort, there will always be a listening ear. Speaking a word of consolation to an individual can be refreshment to their soul. When the Lord Jesus addressed His disciples, He had a room full of young men who were deeply troubled. In this article, we will resume considering the confusion and sadness that the disciples were experiencing in the upper room and how the Lord sought to comfort their troubled hearts.

Magnify The Lord With Me

Every week we get another opportunity to do exactly as David instructs in this Psalm: "O magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together."

What a call! "Magnify" means ‘make strong' or 'declare the greatness of.” “Let us exalt" or ‘raise up' or ‘lift high.’ To be clear, the Lord does not need us to declare His greatness, for He is great; nor does he require us to lift His name high, for it is already so. But, He wants us to, and commands us to, for no other reason than He delights to hear His people worship Him. David knew this, and he understood the immense spiritual benefit that came as a result.

The Trial of Faith

Luke has just finished writing about the parables of the Lord, where he has pressed the point that genuine faith is evident faith (v1-21). If there is no fruit on the branch then there is no faith in the root. Faith that begins is faith that preserves – “faith without works is dead” (Js. 2:20). A person that is saved can never be lost but it is equally true that a person who is saved will overcome; “for whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1 Jn. 5:4).

Teaching in the Upper Room: Comfort for the Troubled Heart–The Diagnosis and Remedy [1]

“In every pew sits a broken heart.” If the title of the book co-authored by Billy Graham’s daughter Ruth is true, then surely in every pew there must be multiple troubled hearts. Circumstances tend to send our minds swirling as we ponder the hypothetical outcomes of our present dilemmas. We have all been there: distracted in our seats by events that are affecting our lives, tuning in and out of reality. For the disciples in the upper room, bewilderment was agitating what should have been a peaceful Passover meal. However, the Master of the gathering was near to assure them that their heart didn’t need to be troubled if they would just have faith. We will examine this cause and cure that the Lord presents to the troubled heart.

The Word—John 1:14 [8]

John has described the Lord Jesus in some fairly abstract terms until now; we have seen him as life and as light, but here in wonderful succinctness we read that “the Word was made flesh”. This is personal, relational and close. The eternal Word who was in intimate union with God and is essentially God became man.

God's Question To A Sufferer

The patience of Job has become an idiom reserved for those with exceptional fortitude and self-restraint. As I read Job’s story, I’m not sure what he deserves more credit for; the way in which he persevered under the direct attack of Satan, or the manner in which he tolerated his four unhelpful, uncharitable and self-righteous friends. ‘Miserable sympathisers you are,’ was about as rude as he got.

What Job Knew

It is possible to fall into the trap of assuming that Old Testament saints knew very little compared to what we know. This is especially true of some of the early saints, such as Abraham, Moses and Job. However, we must bear in mind what the scriptures say about such individuals; the Lord Jesus told the Jews that ‘Abraham rejoiced to see My day; and he saw it, and was glad’ (Jn. 8:56, KJV). What degree of revelation Abraham had is the matter of debate, but one thing is certain; he believed in a coming Messiah. Of Moses, the Hebrew writer states; ‘He regarded abuse suffered for Christ to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for his eyes were fixed on the reward’ (Heb. 10:26, NET). He didn’t know Christ in the way we do, but again, he believed in a coming Messiah, and considered Him worthy of his suffering. Far from being unenlightened, disadvantaged saints, these were individuals who had received revelation from God directly.