Our experience in Christ cannot be defined by obedience to physical observances and ceremonies. Today so many within the Church call themselves ‘Christians’, not because of a born again experience, a new birth, but simply because they are adhering to the teachings and traditions, of the ‘Church’. Church, as the world sees it, is more identified by its ceremonial, than by the reality of the new birth. So many things are considered to be the way into salvation, even the Roman Catholic Mass (communion) is seen as a sacrament, adding grace upon grace each time it is received. I take communion, I’m sure you do, but this does not replace Christ’s command that, in order to enter into your salvation and to see the Kingdom of God, you must be born again!
Our God SO LOVED! It’s not ordinary love, it’s not human love. Young people get so taken up with what they think is ‘love’, but it’s infatuation. Love, real love is something deeply emotional, life-consuming, life-changing. Jesus didn’t just say God ‘loved’ the world, but that God SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE! He gave the most precious thing that He had. And what God wants you to do is give back to Him the most precious thing you have – your own life, your own soul – that’s what He wants in return! Give yourself to Christ!
We are ‘two times’ God’s!!! He made us. And when we were launched onto the ocean of the world, when we were caught by the wind and blown far away, the Bible says, we were lost! And the only way God could get us back was to find us, pay the price and buy us back! So now we belong to God two times! Firstly, because He made us, and secondly, at an incredible price, He paid a ransom!
There is a story I love to tell. It’s about a boy who, with his dad, made a toy sailing boat. They carved the wood and shaped it, painted it, made sails for it – took it to the seaside and launched it. It was wonderful! It was floating and the wind caught the sail – and took the boat out of reach! They couldn’t get it back. It was lost! The boy was so sad. A few days later, looking in a shop window in the town, he saw a boat – HIS boat! He went into the shop, “Hey! That’s my boat in the window, I made it!” The shopkeeper said, “You can’t have it, it’s mine! I bought it. If you want it, you’ll have to pay the price!” The boy went back home in despair. Of course the father gave him the money, the boy went back to the shop, and now, clutching his boat tight to his chest, he ran home, shouting to his parents, “This is my boat! It’s two times mine!!! Because I made it, and because I bought it back!!!”
WHO IS JESUS? It’s still a question today, definitely among non-Christians and even in some churches. Yes, we celebrate ‘Christmas’ and ‘Easter’, and everyone recognises it’s all connected with Jesus. But so many, like Nicodemus, don’t recognise WHO JESUS REALLY IS, and why He came! John 3:16 is not an isolated statement, but part of the answer that Jesus is giving to Nicodemus. HE, Jesus, not a ‘preacher’, is saying – “For GOD SO LOVED the world…” This one verse, John 3:16, has been in my mind so much that I am bursting. I have to speak about it. It’s as if the Holy Spirit is burning something into my mind, and yet it’s probably one verse in the Bible that is preached more than any other: ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’
By faith, God has resurrected us by grace, TOGETHER WITH CHRIST! The Apostle Paul is quite clear that we are new creations in Christ. Water baptism by full immersions is symbolic of this. Paul says, we are buried with Christ in the water of baptism, and we come up out of the water as a symbol of recreation, resurrection, and new birth.
God chose us in Christ, before the foundation of the world! We have to understand the foreknowledge of God! BEFORE we were born, when we were in our mother’s womb, God foreordained a plan and a purpose for our lives! That we should be ‘holy and without blame before Him in love’! We live one day at a time, yet God sees all our days. I cannot over-emphasise the peace that I have, and the peace that you should have - and this peace is based on God’s foreknowledge!
If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has passed away, all things have become new! Don’t question it, don’t doubt it. If we have become a new creature, then we have lost all ties to the old. People come to me and I have to tell them, if you have come to Christ, the past is forgiven, it’s dead. That’s what God says. But some people have been told that, because of their past, and also because of their parents and ancestors and what they have done in their past, they are not free. No! This is a lie.
When you come to Christ the WHOLE of the past is dead, gone. Whether you were a drug addict, an alcoholic, or whether in your family tree there was witchcraft or freemasonry – all that is gone! You are literally a new creation by faith in Christ. You do not have a tattered, battered old life, but a NEW life in Christ. By faith in Him, we become sons and daughters of God. It's a miracle!
We have hope, because 2 Corinthians 5:18 says, ‘All things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation.’ When God made us in the beginning, we were one with Him! And through Christ we have been accepted into the Beloved.
Why is God allowing this pandemic? I don’t believe God has sent it, but I think it’s been permitted – for a reason! Just as here in 1 Kings you have three years of drought – in order that people may finally come to a decision, who will they serve? I believe Britain is in such a sinful godless state that God has to demonstrate and show His Power today. As Christians we have not only to pray, but to accept a challenge. It’s in my heart, it’s what I am praying over, that God will do something so incredible, so miraculous that there is no question – ONLY GOD COULD DO IT!
Our God is the Lord God who created Heaven and earth. We call Him Father, yet He is the greatest Power ever known in the universe! The Creator! Who is God? The word for God in Genesis is plural, Elohim. We understand Him as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus has been existent from before the beginning of time, the ‘I AM’. He doesn’t change! Understanding God as Creator is integral to comprehending His character: the Prophet Jeremiah says of Him, 'Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You' (32.17).