Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Post-modernism post-pudding...

Good food, good friends, and good discussion were on the menu at 10 George Street tonight. Much chat about the gospel, how we present, do we present it the whole gospel in a fair balance. Here's a brilliant quote from Marcus H that I found as I was pondering it all - kinda spun our discussion the other way round for me...
“The real shock is not that God punishes, but that he provides any way out at all. The unfairness is not that he doesn’t rescue everyone, regardless of their deeds, but that he rescues anyone, in spite of our rebellion… Postmodernism has turned the offense of the gospel upside down. It says that Christians are offensive in proclaiming only one way of salvation. The reality of the situation is that we should be offended that there is any way of salvation. We should be offended by the cross, offended by our sin and guilt, and then immensely grateful, from the depths of our souls, for such a great and magnificent Saviour” (Marcus Honeysett, Meltdown p191)

Also, some words from the big J himself...
“…whoever does not believe stands condemned already
because he has not believe in the name of God’s one and
only Son…. whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but
whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath
remains on him” (John 3v18, 36).

But the saints of the Most High shall recieve the kingdom and possess the kingdom for ever, for ever, and ever'.

What an exciting promise from Daniel 7.18 - it's been really exciting to get stuck into the first seven chapters of Daniel this term. As the series drew to a close last night it's incredible to look back on so much fulfilled prophecy, and looking forward to it's total fulfilling when the Lord Jesus returns!

It's been sad to say, or avoid saying, 'goodbye' to so many leavers this week - the old classic 'See you in Heaven if not before' couldn't be more true, and it certainly helps to cement the fact that we are a people who have a hope. One day we shall share in the kingdom of the Most High - 'the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High' (7.27).

I was reading an article about a burglary at Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek's house, and how so much of his medals, football shirts, and other memorabilia had been stolen. A Liverpool FC spokesperson made some remark about it being the "memorabilia of someone's career and also a lifetime". But the reality is that nothing on this old earth can match the treasure of being in Jesus, of possessing the new heaven and earth. No CD collection, no hoard of KCB's (keen Christian books), no nothing!

"I've thrown it all away, that I may gain a life in you. I've found all else is loss, compared to the joys of knowing you. Your beauty and your majesty are far beyond compare, you've won my heart, now this will be my prayer: Take the world but give me Jesus - you're the treasure in this life. Now I've seen you as the Saviour, I will leave the rest behind..."

Matt Redman, with a little help from Fanny Crosby and Paul and Mark and Jesus.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A flippin' brilliant book...

Have been reading Dig Deeper! by Nigel Beynon and Andrew Sach - it's really, really brilliant! Billed as a toolbox of tools to help you unearth the Bible's true meaning, it does exactly what it says on the tin. In fact, I can't recommend this book enough; short chunky chapters each focus on a different 'tool', e.g. 'the Repetition tool', 'the Bible Timeline tool', before giving a worked example of that tool in action and a passage to apply the tool yourself. Definitely a great resource enabling individuals to get to grips with the Bible in their own time, and to help others.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Ryle on Assurance...

I believe we have here one chief reason why so many in this day are inconsistent, trimming, unsatisfactory, and half-hearted in their conduct about the world. Their faith fails. They feel no assurance that they are Christ's, and so feel a hesitancy about breaking with the world. They shrink from laying aside all the ways of the old man, because they are not quite confident they have put on the new. In short, I have little doubt that one secret cause of "halting between two opinions" is want of assurance. When people can decidedly say, 'The Lord, He is the God,' (1 Kings 18.39) their course becomes very clear.
J. C. Ryle, Holiness

Friday, June 09, 2006

Complete in Christ

Just arrived back from a few days in Appleby, Cumbria, where a group of us from two of the college CU groups spent time reading and digesting Paul's letter to the Colossians.

Despite my initial proud and shallow thoughts, studying Colossians was wonderful. It's such a clear book, and just hit me with it's simple but awesome truths. The absolute supremacy of Christ, the encouragement and rebuke that our salvation is complete, the call of the gospel to a new life.

We were very fortunate to have a top guy journey up from London to open the Bible with us and to point us to Christ honestly and passionately. Often Colossians is ear-marked as a quality book to ground new Christians in the faith, but to pridefully suggest that is its only purpose is so wrong.

We have been genuinely transformed by the genuine gospel, and continue to be as we continue in Christ, the One who is supreme in creation and supreme in reconciliation. Heaven is our destination, so to heaven we must set our compasses, relationships, and lifestyle.
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you will also appear with him in glory... And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3.1-4,17

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Old but never out of date...

Have been reading Ryle's brief account of the life and death of John Bradford, one of the English reformers of the sixteenth-century who was burnt at the stake.

Here are some words of Bradford's in a letter to the Earl of Bedford in 1554:

Remember He lost more for you than you can lose for Him. Remember you lose not that which is lost for His sake, for you shall find much more here and elsewhere. Remember you shall die; and when and where and how you cannot tell. Remember the death of sinners is most terrible. Remember the death of God's saints is precious in his sight. Remember the multitude goeth the wide way which windeth to woe. Remember the strait gate which leadeth to glory has but few travellers. Remember Christ biddeth you strive to enter in threat. Remember he that trusteth in the Lord shall recieve strength to stand against all the assaults of his enemies.

These are the words of a man who would rather be burnt to death than compromise the gospel message. Immense grace at work.