DIG for Wednesday the 27th of July…..forgiveness; an easy concept to understand, but sometimes not so easy to put into practice…..Luke 23 v 34

To me forgiveness is an easy doctrine and concept to understand; the Bible (through the words of Jesus as one example) is clear that we are to forgive people.

We are to forgive all people for all things they have done against us, our family, our friends and even our country; as a people we are supposed to forgive everyone for everything.

That is easy to understand but not so easy to implement.

We have all seen the senseless atrocities in mainland Europe that seem to be happening daily; as a minister and pastor my heart went out to Father Jacques Hamel and his fellowship the other day after his murder.

“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”, is what Jesus said; can we say that this evening, should we be forgiving those that perform these atrocities?

I know this will be hard for many; I’ve seen numerous “I can never forgive” and “I will never forgive” comments on social media in the last few days.

I believe that we can only truly forgive others once we realise how much we have been forgiven ourselves.

God the Father has given every man unconditional and absolute forgiveness for all sin and iniquity through the shedding of the blood of Jesus (Ephesians 1 v 7 and Colossians 1 v 14).

We can only truly forgive when we know we have been forgiven first (Ephesians 4 v 32).

If we are struggling to give our forgiveness to others maybe we need a deeper revelation of our own forgiveness from God.

Speak this out today….”Thank you Lord that through the blood of Jesus you have given me absolute, complete and unconditional forgiveness”.

Luke 23 v 34…..The said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots

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DIG for Thursday the 14th of August…..acceptance from Jesus comes before performance…..John 8 v 11

I’ve been thinking about a conference on forgiveness that we plan to run as a church and have been looing at accounts where Jesus provides forgiveness and acceptance to people.

My favourite such account can be found in John 8.

Jesus has a woman taken in adultery thorough in front of him by the scribes and Pharisees (John 8 v 3) and expected to pass judgement.

What we see instead is Jesus, moved with compassion, showing the woman acceptance and turning the judgement onto the religious people instead.

Jesus asks if anyone is left to condemn her (John 8 v 10), but they have all gone.

Jesus then offers her His acceptance and in a real sense forgives her for her past misdemeanours.

Yes, He tells her to go and sin no more, but He says this AFTER His forgiveness and acceptance.

What I hear in the church today is that if we perform then we will be forgiven and receive acceptance from God; many of us are told that forgiveness is conditional.

This is the wrong way round.

Performance can only come from the knowledge that we have been forgiven and have been accepted.

We have forgiveness and acceptance unconditionally because of the finished work of Jesus Christ, not because of anything we have done.

If we could gain acceptance and forgiveness through our own works then Jesus need not have bothered coming; His finished work would not have been required.

But His work was required as we could do nothing about the “sin situation’ that we were in.

The shedding of blood was required as the payment for sin, and in order to remove the effect of sin altogether perfect blood from a spotless Lamb was required, and that Lamb was Jesus.

Forgiveness and acceptance from God has nothing to do with our performance and everything to do with His perfect and finished work.

All we can do, like the woman taken in adultery, is receive forgiveness and receive acceptance, and out of that go and life a more holy life.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that I have complete and absolute forgiveness and acceptance today because of the finished work of Jesus Christ”.

John 8 v 11…..And she said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more

DIG for Wednesday the 9th of July…..there are only two types of people in this world, those with Jesus and those without Jesus…..Exodus 12 v 13

The account of the first Passover is a wonderful picture of the power of the blood of Jesus.

In the first Passover the blood was that of a spotless lamb (Exodus 12 v 5), and the blood was splattered on the side posts and upper posts of the door on the homes of the Jewish nation.

As the Lord went throughout the land bringing His judgement He passed over those homes that had the blood.

He did not look inside the houses at the people; He just looked to see if there was blood on the doorposts.

Those in a home with blood were safe and those in a home without blood were not.

Jesus is our spotless lamb and our Passover lamb (1 Peter 1 v 19).

On the day of judgement if you are “covered” by the blood of Jesus you should have no concerns.

Your sins will not be examined and you will not be checked over to see if you have been good enough to deserve to enter into eternity with the Father.

He will look at you to see if you have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus, to see if you trusted in His Son or not.

If you trusted in Him you will be safe and if you did not trust in Him you will be lost; it really is that simple.

God will not look into you to see your performance, He will look at you to see if He can see Jesus.

The only sin that will send a man to hell is the sin of not trusting in Jesus (John 16 v 9).

The only thing that saved a man at the first Passover was the blood of a spotless lamb and the only thing that can save any of us now is the blood of THE Spotless Lamb that is Jesus Christ.

Trusting in His blood is the only way to salvation, the only way to the Father (John 14 v 6).

The Egyptians and Hebrews could not do anything to effect the outcome of the first Passover, other than trusting in the blood of a lamb.

Praise God that we can trust in the blood of THE Lamb.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord for the blood of Jesus Christ, thank you that it is trusting in this that brought my salvation”.

Exodus 12 v 13…..And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt

DIG for Tuesday the 10th of September…..communion; all about Jesus and not about you or your sin…..Luke 22 v 19

At the end of our elder’s meeting tonight we had a time of communion, as we always do.

It was a wonderful time of focussing on Jesus and on His finished work, and that is what communion is supposed to be all about.

Communion is not a time to examine yourself for sin, to get yourself right before God or for confessing your sin.

Jesus instigated communion for His disciples, and therefore for us, in Luke 22 and gives us a clear reason as to the purpose of this event.

It is to remember Him (Luke 22 v 19).

Can you please read this section of scripture and tell me where Jesus tells us to examine ourselves for sin during communion.

Indeed, I can extend this question further, and ask where in the whole of scripture does it say that communion is the time where we should examine ourselves for sin.

The answer to both questions is nowhere!

Nowhere in scripture are we told to examine ourselves for sin during communion, yet I have heard that phrase in church too many times to count down the years.

What about 1 Corinthians 11 v 28 I hear you cry?

What about it I would ask you?

Even this verse does not mention examining yourself for sin; it is asking you to examine how you are discerning the Lord’s body; or asking you to think about Jesus (1 Corinthians 11 v 29).

This passage of scripture also tells us that communion is about remembering Jesus (1 Corinthians 11 v 24 and 25).

Communion is a time for you to focus on Jesus and His finished work; it is not a time to focus on yourself or your sin.

Communion has been hijacked by religion and is for many people just a tradition of man (Colossians 2 v 8); a time where people focus on themselves and their sin and get pushed down the road of guilt and condemnation.

Do not let religion make communion a time to focus on sin; let it be a time to focus on Jesus and His finished work.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord for communion, and thank you that this is a time to focus on Jesus and on His finished work”.

Luke 22 v 19…..And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which was given for you: this do in remembrance of me