DIG for Thursday the 30th of October…….Be strong in the Lord, be strong in His might……Ephesians 6:10

At the midweek Bible study this week I was asked if I could “rerun” the DIGs that I did in July 2013 about the armour of God from Ephesians 6; these were written by Nunsy and were excellent teaching, so I am more than happy to post these again over the next 8 days……..

Our enemy has no power – all he has is deception, and he is very good at it!

He is scheming and wily, and he is doing all he can to deceive mankind.

His only battle plan is to try and win our minds for the purpose of stealing, killing and destroying (John 10:10).

He is after how we think, because our life follows our thinking. We go where we think (Proverbs 4:23).

If he can get us thinking his way, according to the world and the flesh, then our minds are diverted from the truth of God’s Word.

This is why guarding our hearts (Proverbs 4:23), renewing our minds (Romans 12:2), and being spiritually minded (Romans 8:6), is so important.

If our hearts and minds are full of God and His Word, the enemy can’t touch us.

Right thinking is our defence against the enemy.

Right thinking is our armour and our weapon.

Strength, power and might come directly from right, Godly, Word thinking.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord, that knowledge of Your Word gives me strength, power and might”.

Ephesians 6:10…Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might

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DIG for Wednesday the 29th of October…..is this the worldview of church…..Hebrews 10 v 24 and 25

I saw a performance from Sinead O’Conner on the bbc iplayer the other night and initially I started to get offended; she was wearing a minister’s dog collar and a huge crucifix around her neck and I thought she was mocking the Christian faith.

However, when she started to sing I was amazed at the lyrics and I was left pondering a huge question; does the wider society think about church in the way that this song portrays?

Have a read of the chorus for her song…….

 

Take me to church, oh take me to church

I’ve done so many bad things it hurts

Ye, get me to church but not the ones that hurt

Cause that ain’t the truth and that’s not what it’s for

 

Can you see what she is implying here?

I hear that she is unhappy with her sin yet when she has gone to church in the past she has been hurt. She can see what church is for, but she has not found a “good’ one yet that has not hurt her. She has not found a “good” one where the truth is preached and practiced.

That is a very sad thing to sing about.

Church should not be about hitting people over the head with their sin, church is a place where the goodness of God should be preached (Romans 2 v 4).

Church is a place where people can edify, exhort and encourage one another (Hebrews 10 v 24 and 25).

Church is place where the gospel and the grace of Jesus Christ and His finished work are preached; a place where the focus is on the Son and not on sin.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord for church and fellowship and thank you for the exhortation, edification and encouragement this can bring”.

Hebrews 10 v 24 and 25…..And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much more, as ye see the day approaching

DIG for Tuesday the 28th of October…..your neighbour could be a complete stranger…..Luke 10 v 37

Jesus told the parable about the “good Samaritan” in response to the question, “who is my neighbour?”

The man who was beaten and left for dead was a Jew and he was passed on the road by a couple of Jews who did nothing to help him (Luke 10 v 31 and 32).

Now the Scripture makes clear that these men did see him, yet they did nothing.

The man that helped this unfortunate chap was a Samaritan (Luke 10 v 33 and 34).

Samaritans and Jews did not “get on”; they were from different nations and cultures so were not neighbours in that context, and the individuals concerned would not have known each other.

The Jew was clearly in need and the Samaritan was in the vicinity and in the context of this parable that made him a neighbour.

He was there and another human being was in need, so Jesus was saying this was his neighbour.

Neighbours, in the words of Jesus, are people who need help and people who can help!

It has nothing to do with proximity, culture or nationality; it is simply to do with human beings in need and others showing mercy.

We are all called to be neighbours as we wander through this thing called life; we can be in need of help at times and at other times we can show mercy and minister help.

That is being neighbourly, simply showing mercy to our fellow men.

Don’t walk by like the Levite and the priest, be like the Samaritan.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord for the example of mercy and compassion that we see in your Word, help us today to be a neighbour”.

Luke 10 v 37…..And he said, He that showed mercy in him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise

DIG for Monday the 27th of October…..He wants you to rest in Him, not do works for Him…..Luke 10 v 41 and 42

Mary and Martha is a perfect picture for us to see the difference between grace and law, between grace and legalism.

Martha was very busy, serving Jesus and doing a lot of work (Luke 10 v 40).

Mary was just sitting at the feet of Jesus, resting in Him (Luke 10 v 39).

Martha resented the fact that Mary was doing nothing while she was working.

I also think that she resented that Jesus did not seem to notice this.

People under legalism or with a law mentality like to be recognised for what they do; they are looking for attention and affirmation. We can see this in Martha.

People under grace just like to rest in Jesus, spending time with Him and having relationship with Him. We see this in Mary.

Mary was not lazy, she just recognised the importance of being with Jesus compared to anything she could do in her own strength.

Grace results in peace while law and legalism results in cares and troubles; this is what Jesus says to Martha (Luke 10 v 41).

Martha, the “worker”, was troubled while Mary, the “person at rest”, was at peace.

The Lord does not want your work if it is to impress Him and aimed at improving your relationship with Him, that is law and legalism.

He wants you to spend time with Him, listen to Him and rest with Him.

He was asked in John 6 about what works people should do for God (John 6 v 28).

He did not say, do this and do that, stop this and stop that; He simply said to believe on Him (John 6 v 29).

Yes, we all should want to serve God but this should come from a love for Jesus and His finished work and not from a desire to earn anything through our own efforts.

Martha wanted to work and earn something from Jesus, that is law and legalism.

Mary just wanted to rest in the presence of Jesus, that is grace.

As new covenant believers we are not under law but under grace (Romans 6 v 14) and as such should behave more like Mary than Martha.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that through the finished work of Jesus Christ we now live under grace and not under law”.

Luke 10 v 41 and 42…..And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her

DIG for Sunday the 26th of October…..there is only one gospel, there is no other…..Galatians 1 v 6 and 7

I preached from Galatians this morning, using Paul’s letter to warn about legalism and trying to relate to God through your own self efforts (law or religion).

Paul came from a history of law and legalism and could therefore see the danger it had for the born again believer living under the new covenant.

Paul instead (after meeting with the risen Christ) preached grace, preached about the grace of Jesus Christ.

This grace of Christ is what Paul called the gospel (Galatians 1 v 6).

The word gospel could be translated as good news, and the grace of Jesus Christ is indeed good news.

Anything other than the grace of Jesus Christ is not good news and is therefore not the gospel.

And this is what Paul tells us, that anything other than the grace of Christ is not the gospel, or even a gospel (Galatians 1 v 6 and 7).

Paul tells us that anything other than the grace of Jesus is a perversion of the Gospel (Galatians 1 v 7).

This word “pervert” means to corrupt, and this is what law, legalism and religion does to the Gospel.

Trying to relate to God through your own self-efforts (law, legalism and religion) is a perversion of the gospel and goes against the grace of Jesus Christ.

We can only (or should only) relate to God through what Jesus Christ has done and not through what we have done.

Our relationship with God depends upon the performance of Jesus and not upon our performance, I for one am glad about that!

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that our relationship is dependent upon the finished work of Jesus Christ and nothing else”.

Galatians 1 v 6 and 7…..I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there would be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ

DIG for Saturday the 25th of October…..what an encouraging letter…..Ephesians 1 v 3

If Galatians has quite a hard and harsh start to the epistle, Ephesians is nothing but encouragement.

Paul writes to the Ephesians and starts by blessing them with the truths that they have through the finished work of Jesus Christ.

He tells them that they have all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1 v 3).

He tells them that they are holy and blameless (in other words righteous) in the eyes of the Lord (Ephesians 1 v 4).

He tells them that they have been adopted into the family of God (Ephesians 1 v 5).

He tells them that they already have acceptance from the Lord (Ephesians 1 v 6).

He tells them that they have been forgiven through the shed blood of Jesus (Ephesians 1 v 7).

The good news (or should I say wonderfully amazing news) is that the same is true for you if you have trusted in Jesus and His finished work.

What is true for the recipients of this epistle is also true for you.

You have all spiritual blessings, you have been adopted by God, accepted by God and been forgiven.

Now, isn’t that good news?

Take some time today and read the start of Ephesians, telling yourself that Paul wrote this to you!

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that through the finished work of Jesus Christ I have been accepted, adopted and forgiven”.

Ephesians 1 v 3…..Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ

DIG for Friday the 24th of October…..do not look back…..Hebrews 11 v 15

Hebrews 11 is the “faith chapter”, where we see accounts of men and women of faith as an example to us.

It was not what they did in faith that drew me this morning however, it was what they did not do, and in particular Sarah and Abraham.

They were promised that they would form a huge nation, with descendants at would outnumber the stars in the sky or sand on the seashore (Hebrews 11 v 11 and 12).

They actually did not live to see this but knew it would happen through faith (Hebrews 11 v 13).

They stayed faithful and did not even think about or look to the past and what they came from.

If they had looked back they might have gone back (Hebrews 11 v 15).

They kept looking forward in hope through faith to the truths that they had not see yet, but knew were coming (Hebrews 11 v 1 to 3).

If they had looked to the land where they had come from this May have tempted them to return and fail in the plan God had for them.

Have you come out of somewhere or something this morning knowing God has a better plan for you?

Has that plan not come to pass yet?

My advice for you is to wait, keep looking forward in faith and hope for that plan and do not look back.

If you do not look back you will not go back; that is the lesson form Hebrews 11 for you this morning.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that you have a great plan and purpose for my life, help me to focus on that today”.

Hebrews 11 v 15…..And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had an opportunity to have returned

DIG for Thursday the 23rd of October…..dead in vain; what a strong statement…..Galatians 2 v 21

The book of Galatians is a very strong message to the church; it was strong when it was written and it is still strong.

It is a warning about legalism and about how dangerous that is for the church.

Paul calls legalism (the man made rules that are used to try and relate to God) a perversion of the gospel of Christ (Galatians 1 v 7).

He says if anyone preaches this perversion that they should be accursed (Galatians 1 v 8 and 9).

He compares legalism to the yoke of bondage (Galatians 5 v 1).

But the strongest statement Paul makes in my opinion is in Galatians 2 v 21.

He says that if we try and come before God and relate to God according to our performance and works (law and legalism) then we are saying that Christ died in vain.

Wow, what a strong statement!

Christ died so that we would be reconciled and forgiven, us allowing us to choose to be saved and then move into relationship with God.

We come before God because of what Jesus has done not through what we do.

By trying to adhere to law and by being legalistic we are saying what Christ did was not enough.

We are saying His work was the “not quite finished work”, when it truly was a finished work.

Rest in His grace today, do not try to strive to perform trying to be good.

Rest in the fact that Jesus good and that is what God is satisfied with!

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord for the finished work of Jesus Christ, and thank you that this is the basis for our relationship”.

Galatians 2 v 21…..I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain

DIG for Wednesday the 22nd of October…..I love my “encouragers”…..Hebrews 10 v 24

I am at a ministers’ conference this week and having a great time of fellowship and teaching.

One of the greatest joys of this conference is getting time with who I call my “encouragers”.

I still class myself as “young” in the ministry and I know many ministers that are further on in ministry with more maturity than myself.

I don’t often meet these friends face to face but when I do they just love me and encourage me.

T and S, J and S, J and K, C and J are men and woman of God whom I highly respect and all they do is encourage me, edify me and exhort me.

I come away for these events more confident and bolder because of their input.

I hope that I copy them by being an encouragement to others in return.

That is what church is all about, being there for others as an encouragement (Hebrews 10 v 23 to 25).

I love Hebrews 10 v 24 that talks about provoking one another into love and good works, that is encouragement.

Have a think about this; who can you encourage and build up today?

Or who are you thankful to God for as they are your “encourager?”

We all need encouragement and we can all encourage, this should be an integral part of our life as a Christian.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you lord for placing people in my life who are an encouragement to me”.

Hebrews 10 v 24……And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works

DIG for Tuesday the 21st of October…..the grace message = the gospel = Jesus…..Galatians 1 v 6

I was preaching at a meeting recently when a lady interrupted me and said, “you are like Joseph Prince, you are one of those ministers that preach grace”.

I said, “well yes, but I prefer to call it the gospel of Jesus Christ”.

You see there are a number of words and phrases that can be used interchangeably in Scripture and included in these are grace and gospel, indeed the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The gospel of Jesus, the true gospel is the message of grace.

The message of unconditional love and unconditional forgiveness is the message of grace, it is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The grace message is indeed good news.

Paul warned the Galatians about removing themselves from the true gospel of Jesus Christ, away from grace (Galatians 1 v 6).

He likened this to going back into bondage and away from freedom (Galatians 5 v 1).

Grace, the gospel of Jesus is the gospel that will set you free from the bondage of sin and death (Titus 2 v 11 and 12).

Law, or the preaching of law in your life will actually strengthen sin in your life (1 Corinthians 15 v 56).

Grace sets you free while the law will take you into bondage.

The good news of Jesus is that He has set you free from the curse of the law (Galatians 3 v 13).

You now live under grace and not law, now it is up to you to stay in grace and not put yourself under the law.

It is also up to you to never let any other man put you under law!

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that because of the finished work of Jesus Christ I live under grace and not under law”.

Galatians 1 v 6…..I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel