Saturday, October 30, 2010

"Blessed Are Those Who Hunger And Thirst For Righteousness"


Matthew 5:5-6

Story & Lessons

To be ‘meek’ (5) means having a gentle and submissive disposition which accepts God’s dealings with us as good, without murmuring or resisting.

It is being submissive when we are provoked, being willing to suffer wrong rather than to inflict it.

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Many search after happiness, security and peace in our troubled and uncertain world, but not many seek for righteousness!

Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness" (6).

Righteousness is being right with God and leading a holy life which is pleasing to Him.

Reflection...

Meekness is not weakness!

Moses was very meek, but he was not weak!

The Lord Jesus is meek, but he is also ‘the Lion of the tribe of Judah’.

Christians must be meek and commit themselves to the righteous Judge when they are wronged.

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The words ‘hunger and thirst’ indicate desperation.

Do we have an intense desire to be holy?

If we have, it will show in our life!

We will love the secret place of prayer and we will delight in the word of God – reading it, hearing it preached, and obeying it.

We will be eager to worship with God’s people and we will shun everything that would hinder our walk with God.

The pathway of blessing according to Jesus is not to be found in chasing after sensational spiritual experiences, but in hungering and thirsting after righteousness.

Those who thirst for the things of God will be filled!

How are we doing?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Blessed are the poor in Spirit


Matthew 5:1-12

Story & Lessons

The Beatitudes describe the blessedness of those who belong to God’s kingdom.

The world says, "Blessed are the rich."

But the Lord Jesus declares, "Blessed are the poor in spirit".

This blessing has nothing to do with material wealth but with the recognition of our spiritual poverty.

Those who are ‘poor in spirit’ are very much aware of their need as sinners.

They cry, "God be merciful to me a sinner!".

Their pride has been broken and they have a humble and contrite spirit.

They realize their own utter helplessness, expect nothing from self, everything from God.

God’s kingdom is for ‘the poor in spirit!’

The mourning in the second Beatitude is not that of bereavement.

It is the mourning and grieving over sin of those who have recognized and felt their spiritual poverty.

It is the godly sorrow produced by repentance.

It also involves grief because the name of God whom we love is dishonored by wicked men.

Those who mourn over sin are blessed because they know the precious comfort of God.

Reflection...

Are we poor in spirit?

Do we mourn over our sins?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Follow Me, And I Will Make You Fishers Of Men


Matthew 4:12-25

Story & Lessons

A year had passed since the temptation of Jesus.

Herod Antipas had imprisoned John the Baptist but the Lord Jesus was now preaching the same message of repentance to far greater crowds.

His ministry was attested by many different kinds of miracles demonstrating his power over sickness and demons.

He left Nazareth to live in Capernaum and he preached in Galilee as prophesied by Isaiah.

Andrew had been a disciple of John the Baptist before following Christ.

Both he and Peter had followed Christ before John’s imprisonment.

Jesus now called them to leave their fishing business and to devote all of their time to his work.

He promised them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men".

They obeyed the Lord’s call; together with James and John, they responded immediately.

Reflection...

Millions of people still sit in spiritual darkness.

Their minds are blinded by Satan, the god of this world, so that they cannot see nor understand the glorious gospel of Christ.

We must be deeply concerned at the plight of those who are lost, who have no hope unless they turn to our precious Savior.

We must long to win souls to Christ.

Do we feel inadequate in our attempts to witness to others?

Take heart from the words of the Lord Jesus, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."

Follow Jesus as a disciple and submit to his will as it is revealed in the Bible.

Seek to lead a godly life and he will prepare you and use you in his service!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

If You Will Worship Me


Matthew 4:1-11

Story & Lessons

Adam and Eve were in a garden in paradise when they fell and Adam, as representative of the human race, brought ruin to all creation.

The Holy Spirit led Christ into a wilderness to be tempted by Satan.

He overcame temptation when hungry and weak after fasting for 40 days and 40 nights.

He is the last Adam who represents all who are saved.

He overcame the temptation to avoid the path of suffering and the cross.

God the Father had said, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased", but the devil cast doubt on the word of God asking, "If you are the Son of God...?".

In Eden, he did the same — "Has God indeed said...?" (Genesis 3:1).

He appealed to the appetite of Adam and Eve by dangling the forbidden fruit before them.

He suggested that Jesus turn the stones into bread.

Satan also tempted Christ to sinfully presume on God the Father in taking it for granted that he would be rescued by angels if he leaped from the top of the temple.

Adam and Eve presumed that they would be able to eat the fruit and not die.

Satan told Adam and Eve that they would be like God if only they would take the forbidden fruit.

He promised Christ all the kingdoms of the world, "All these things I will give you if you will fall down and worship me".

The Lord Jesus knew that he had to go the way of the cross to conquer and to take possession of these things.

Reflection...

Satan still attacks God’s word and tempts us to doubt it.

He will lead us into careless presumption if we do not take care and he will offer us the world to turn us away from Christ!

He will misuse the word of God, as he did to Jesus.

How did Jesus respond to the enemy?

He used the word of God, quoting from Deuteronomy on each occasion.

If we build ourselves up in the word of God, we will be stronger in the face of temptation.

We do not have to give in to temptation!

We do not have to sin!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

This Is My Beloved Son


Matthew 3:13-17

Story & Lessons

John baptized people who had repented of their sin.

He was surprised and hesitant when the Lord Jesus asked to be baptized.

Baptism speaks of the Lord Jesus' identification with sinners.

The sinless Lord Jesus took human flesh to identify himself with sinful mankind, being born under the law.

The law of God curses and condemns the sinner.

Our sin was laid upon Jesus who has redeemed us from the curse of the law through his death at Calvary.

God the Father punished him for our sin.

Baptism also speaks of the Lord Jesus' suffering and death to take away our sin.

Reflection...

The whole Trinity was involved in the baptism of Jesus.

As the Son came up from the water, the Holy Spirit descended like a dove upon him and the Father spoke from heaven, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”.

The Father loves the Son but did not spare Him as He died on the cross for sinners.

The Father accepted His perfect sacrifice so that we could be accepted in the beloved (Ephesians 1:6).

Let us rejoice and give thanks for our wonderful salvation!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Bear Fruits Worthy Of Repentance


Matthew 3:1-12

Story & Lessons

Jesus was probably born towards the end of 5 BC. It was probably AD 26 when he began his public ministry at the age of about 30.

John the Baptist’s ministry of preparing the way of Jesus was prophesied in the Old Testament.

John was a rugged figure who lived on a very simple diet.

His preaching attracted great crowds of people whom he baptized after they repented and confessed their sins.

The Pharisees who prided themselves in their religious zeal and the Sadducees who denied the resurrection of the dead came to see what was happening.

John did not mince his words when addressing them!

They were a "brood of vipers".

He warned them not to rely on their religious pedigree for salvation.

They needed to "bear fruits worthy of repentance".

John also warned them of God’s judgment and wrath.

Reflection...

‘Repentance’ is a radical change of mind and heart which completely changes the direction of our lives.

Our repentance is not real if it does not bear fruit.

'Fruits worthy of repentance' include forsaking sin and leading a life of obedience to God’s holy word.

Have we truly repented of our sins?

Does it show in our lives by "fruits worthy of repentance"?

John declared that there was One coming who was mightier than himself.

Jesus would baptize 'with the Holy Spirit and fire'.

Everyone who repents of their sin and trusts in Christ is baptized in the Spirit.

The disciples waited for ‘the promise of the Father’ which was given at Pentecost but we do not need to tarry or agonize for the coming of the Holy Spirit nor seek for ‘a second blessing!’

Every believer has the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9; Galatians 4:6).

Let us live as those whose bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19).

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

He Shall Be Called A Nazarene


Matthew 2:13-23

Story & Lessons

The visit of the wise men was a great encouragement to Joseph and Mary, confirming the wonderful things spoken of Jesus by the angel.

The Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream warning him to escape to Egypt because of Herod’s wicked plot.

God spoke to Joseph in the same manner after Herod’s death, telling him to return to Israel.

The prophet Hosea had likened Israel to a beloved son, called out of Egypt from the tyranny of Pharaoh. The Lord Jesus, who was also threatened by a tyrant king, was called out of Egypt to fulfil this prophecy.

The weeping over the slaughtered infants is also a fulfillment of a prophecy.

The Lord Jesus came to give us a living hope and to wipe away all our tears!

Jesus was "called a Nazarene". This was a term of contempt which refers to his rejection.

Reflection...

Jesus suffered shame and rejection to save us from our sins.

Surely, we cannot be ashamed of such a wonderful Friend who loves us so much?

Can we be ashamed to share our good news of Jesus with others?

Let us boldly confess him and proclaim his greatness!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

King of the Jews


Matthew 2:1-18

Story & Lessons

The wise men traveled many miles to see the Messiah.

But the chief priests and scribes who knew the Scriptures which promised his coming, showed little interest in his birth.

The Lord Jesus came as the "King of the Jews".

But He is also to be worshipped by Gentiles (e.g. the wise men).

Herod the Great, who was king at the time of the birth of Jesus, had been given the title "King of the Jews" by the Romans.

He was alarmed to hear the question, "Where is he who is born the King of the Jews?".

Herod was a power-crazed tyrant who ruthlessly ruled Palestine for 40 years; anyone who posed a threat to him was exterminated. He did not act out of character in his plot to kill the Lord Jesus.

Herod’s plot was thwarted when God warned the wise men in a dream that they should not return to him.

Reflection...

The Lord Jesus came into the world to die for sinners.

But it was not in God’s purpose for Him to be killed before the time that He had appointed.

Herod saw Jesus as a threat and his fear turned to murderous hatred.

Some 33 years later, the Son of God was rejected by his own nation and Pontius Pilate had the title, “the King of the Jews” put on the cross (John 19:17-22).

Are we like Herod who rejected Jesus?

Or are we wise like those who sought Jesus, found him, and worshipped him?

They Fell Down And Worshipped Him


Matthew 2:1-12

Story & Lessons

The wise men came to Jerusalem during the reign of Herod the Great who died late March/early April in the year 4 BC.

This means that the Lord Jesus was born in 5 BC or at the beginning of 4 BC.

The wise men came from the East, probably Persia or Chaldea (Iraq).

It is obvious that they knew of the Old Testament prophecies that a great King would be born among the Jews.

The wise men traveled far and were diligent in their search to find the Lord Jesus.

They knew that he was far greater than they were and far more wise.

The Lord Jesus was no ordinary man: they had come to worship him (2).

God helped them by providing the star which ultimately led them to their destination.

Reflection...

If you are not a Christian and if you are really eager to find the Lord, he will not send a star to guide you.

But he will bring people into your life and order your circumstances so that you will be led to him.

Keep reading your Bible which is God’s holy word.

When you have questions about the Christian faith, ask those who are mature Christians to help you.

The Lord Jesus promises, "Seek, and you will find" (7:7).

The Lord Jesus was no longer in the stable, but in a house.

When the wise men found him, they fell down and worshiped him (11).

Jesus is God and he is worthy of our worship.

Monday, October 11, 2010

He Will Save His People From Their Sins


Matthew 1:18-25

Story & Lessons

Betrothal in Bible times was far more binding than engagement.

Vows were made in the presence of witnesses but the couple did not live together as man and wife until after the wedding feast.

It was during this interval that Joseph discovered that Mary was pregnant.

Joseph did not want to have Mary punished for immorality and he planned a quiet divorce (19).

His attitude changed when the angel appeared to him in a dream and told him that Mary had conceived by the Holy Spirit (20).

He exercised great faith and obedience in taking Mary into his home as commanded by the angel (24-25).

Both Mary and himself would have to face the reproach of being branded as immoral people (John 8:41).

The angel told Joseph that Mary would bear a son, saying, "You shall call his name JESUS, for he will save his people from their sins" (21).

The Lord Jesus is also called "Immanuel – God with us" (23).

He came to save poor sinners so that God would be with us and for us instead of being against us. How wonderful!

Reflection...

Though the Lord Jesus is the ‘Savior of the world’, not everyone will be saved.

He did not come to save everyone but he came to save his people (his elect)!

The Good Shepherd gave his life for his sheep (John 10:11, 15).

Everyone for whom Christ died will be saved!

Theologians call his doctrine ‘Particular Redemption’ or ‘Limited Atonement.’

Jesus died for us because he loved us in particular before he made the world!

This should excite us to love him, to worship him and to obey him.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

She was found with child of the Holy Spirit


Matthew 1:1-20

Story & Lessons

Matthew begins his gospel by tracing the human descent of the Lord Jesus from Abraham and through David.

The genealogy contains 42 generations which are divided into three groups of 14.

There are some significant names in this family tree.

It contains the names of three Gentile women – Tamar, Rahab and Ruth.

Christ came to save Gentiles as well as Jews!

Some in the list were begotten through adulterous relationship – Perez and Solomon.

The sinless Lord Jesus was identified with sinful men!

The family tree begins and ends with a supernatural birth.

God enabled barren Sarah to conceive Isaac in her ninetieth year.

The word ‘begot’ comes to a halt in verse 16 because the Lord Jesus was not begotten by Joseph.

Mary conceived the Lord Jesus through a supernatural work of God – She was found with child of the Holy Spirit.

Remember...

The virgin birth of Christ was prophesied in the Old Testament.

The Lord Jesus Christ has always existed!

He is the eternal Son of God who was with God in the beginning, became a Man to save sinners (John 1:1-2, 14).

God was manifested in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16).

In him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

God's Love Is Forever


2 Samuel 22:50-52

The Story

As David closed his song of songs, he sang finally of the God Who secures.

As David examined all the years that had passed in his life, he saw the hand of God leading him, keeping him and blessing him. His past had been a time of absolute security.

As David looked around, he saw the hand of God still working in his life. David knew that regardless of what today might bring, God would keep him safe and secure.

As David looked ahead into the future, he saw God working in his life out into eternity. David knew that God would secure his future.

Lessons

As we look back to where we were when God found us, we can see how He had saved us and changed our life. We remember His security in days gone and we praise his name.

As we look around, we can be rest assured that God will secure us in the present. Whatever comes our way is part of His plan and is a product of His love and blessing upon our lives.

As we look ahead into our future, we have the same hope; God is working in our future and we are secure forever.

Remember...

The saints of God are secure in their relationship to the Lord God.

No matter what comes our way, we are in a permanent arrangement with the God of glory!

Praise the Lord!