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The Wednesday Word: Behold your God!

“He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young” (Isaiah 40:11).

Pause a while and think of this verse. It gives us a wonderful picture of the Lord Jesus. Let’s unfold some of its treasures word for word.

‘He’

Who is this ‘He’?

He is the Messiah (Matthew 1:1).

He is Immanuel; God with us (Matthew 1:23).

He is God manifest in the flesh ( I Timothy 3:16).

He is the one Who is revealed in the Word of God under a vast array of titles, names, characters and offices. For example, He is,

Our Hope – 1 Timothy 1:1

Our Peace – Ephesians 2:14

Our Prophet – Hebrews 1:1-3

Our Redeemer – Job 19:25, Galatians 3:13

Our Rock – 1 Corinthians 10:4

Our Sacrifice – 1 John 4:10

Our Saviour – Luke 2:11

The Supreme Creator Over All – 1 Corinthians 1:16-17

The Resurrection and the Life – John 11:25

The Door – John 10:9

The Way – John 14:6

The Eternal Word – John 1:1

The True Vine – John 15:1

The Truth – ” John 8:32

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace – Isaiah 9:6

‘Shall’ – Without doubt, or fear, or uncertainty.

‘Feed’ – Nourish, provide for, sustain.

‘His Flock’ ––His own, peculiar, personal, property. The Flock is given by the Father (John 6:37), redeemed by the Son (Ephesians 1:7) and brought alive by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:1); therefore, the flock is ‘His’ by gift – by purchase and by the conquest of grace.

‘Like a Shepherd’ In verse 10 it says, “Behold your God who shall come.” Do you really want to see what God is like? The 11th verse gives us the answer. Did you notice it? Look at the 11th verse. It says, “He shall feed His flock like a shepherd:” He’s a shepherd. This is our God. This is His portrait. He goes before His sheep, removing hindrances and difficulties; to shield us from danger and protect us from enemies. He seeks us when we go astray and provides the best pasture for us.

‘He shall Gather.’ That’s what a shepherd does. He gathers. He doesn’t scatter. No ‘shape up or ship out’ message comes from His lips.

‘The Lambs’ – He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them in his bosom; these are strong arms. Verse 10 says ‘The Lord will come with strong hand and His arm shall rule for Him.’ The Father’s arms neither grow tired nor weary carrying His children.

“What have I to dread,

What have I to fear,

Leaning on the everlasting arms?

I have blessed peace

With my Lord so near,

Leaning on the everlasting arms.”

Leaning, Leaning,

Safe and secure from all alarms

Leaning, leaning,

Leaning on the everlasting arms.”

Remember how Jesus told it? He said, “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11). He also declared, “I am the door. By Me if any man enters in, he shall be saved and shall go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9). He is also the Great Shepherd. That is why we read in Hebrews 13:20, “Now the God of peace who brought again from the dead, that Great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant.”

Our Lord is the Good, Chief and Great Shepherd.

Behold your God!

He is pictured as a shepherd with little lambs in his arms.

Behold your God!

He is the shepherd with lambs in his bosom.

Behold your God!

He gently leads those that are with young.

Behold your God!

Our God is our Shepherd. What a Shepherd! He encircles His flock with tender care and love. He loses none of us. I want to shout, Hallelujah! This is our God. He is the God who comes as a shepherd with the lambs in His arm.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

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The gospel is to the true believer a thing of power

The gospel is to the true believer a thing of power. It is Christ the power of God. Ay, there is a power in God’s gospel beyond all description. Once, I, like Mazeppa, bound on the wild horse of my lust, bound hand and foot, in capable of resistance, was galloping on with hell’s wolves behind me, howling for my body and my soul, as their just and lawful prey. There came a mighty band which stopped that wild horse, cut my bands, set me down, and brought me into liberty. Is there power, sir? Ay, there is power, and he who has felt it must acknowledge it. There was a time when I lived in the strong old castle of my sins, and rested in my works. There came a trumpeter to the door, and bade me open it. I with anger chid him from the porch, and said he never should enter. There came a goodly personage, with loving countenance; his hands were marked with scars, where nails were driven, and his feet had nailprints too; he rifted up his cross, using it as a hammer; at the first blow the gate of my prejudice shook; at the second it trembled more; at the third down it fell, and in he came; and he said, “Arise, and stand upon thy feet, for I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” A thing of power! Ah! it is a thing of power. I have felt it here, in this heart; I have the witness of the Spirit within, and know it is a thing of might, because it has conquered me; it has bowed me down.

His free grace alone, from the first to the last,

Hath won my affection, and held my soul fast.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- “Christ Crucified,” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, February 11, 1855

The Wednesday Word: The Gospel: Our Best Friend

How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Hebrews 9:14.

We often feel that we are not worth saving … and this, of course, is an accurate assessment. As Spurgeon said, “When you feel yourself as totally unworthy you have hit the truth.” That is why, as we grow in grace, the Gospel is our best friend.

Let me illustrate. The story is told of how the devil sought to discourage the mighty reformer Martin Luther by continually making him feel guilty. Satan, it seems constantly reminded the great preacher of the list of his sins. When the devil had finished, Luther purportedly said, “Think harder: you must have forgotten some.” And the devil did think, and he listed more sins. When he was done enumerating the sins, Luther said, “Now, with a red ink write over that list, “The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin.” The devil had nothing to say in the light of Luther’s best friend … the Gospel.

As we look by faith to the Lord Jesus, and see His shed blood, we find healing for our wounded conscience. By faith, we understand that His blood has satisfied all claims that unalterable divine justice made against us.

The Gospel is our best friend.

Our sins have been purged perfectly by a perfect offering made with perfect blood. These are the truths to continually feed to the troubled conscience.

If we are regularly condemned by the consciousness of our past sins, we have an evil conscience (Hebrews 10:22). However, the Gospel gives us a perfect conscience that is free from the guilt and condemnation of sins.

The Gospel is our best friend.

I will admit that the legalist in me is sometimes uncomfortable with this arrangement. Maybe you are like me, resistant, at times, to the accomplishments of grace? This is why we need to continually saturate our minds with the Gospel. When we find ourselves more conscious of our former sins than we are of the accomplishments of Christ on our behalf, we need to cleanse our thinking by applying Finished Work teaching to our thinking.

The Gospel is our best friend.

Do you know that your sins are forgiven? Someone says, “I can’t say that they are, but I am doing my best to change my life.” That’s great, but it will never work! You can do your best to reform, but that will never purge your conscience. Only applying the blood of Christ can do that.

The Gospel is our best friend.

Christ, as a man, was the Servant of Yahweh, the one in whom the Father delighted. It was the Father’s purpose to save and cleanse a people for Himself, and His plans were flawlessly executed by His beloved Son, the God/Man. It is only by the shedding of His blood that we are saved, and that blood was shed 2000 years ago at Calvary. The work is finished. He gave His life a ransom for the sins of His people (Isaiah 53:10). Do you know this? Is this truly personal to you?

Our best religious efforts cannot cleanse the conscience. But the Lord wants us to hear him say “Be of good cheer; your sins, which are many, are forgiven” (Matthew 9:2).

What can prevent us going to Him? Our sins? No, it is our sin that is the reason to approach Him. Let us go to Him with freedom of speech (see Hebrews 4:16) to obtain mercy and grace to help in the time of need. He alone can purge the guilty conscience and give peace to the troubled mind.

The Gospel is our best friend.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

If a man never in his life knew himself to be a Christian, he never was a Christian

But if a man never in his life knew himself to be a Christian, he never was a Christian. If he never had a moment of confidence, when he could say, “Now I know in whom I have believed,” I think I do not utter a harsh thing when I say, that that man could not have been born again; for I do not understand how a man can be born again, and not know it; I do not understand how a man can be killed and then made alive again, and not know it; how a man can pass from death unto life, and not know it; how a man can be brought out of darkness into marvellous light without knowing it. I am sure I know it, when I shout out my old verse,

Now free from sin, I walk at large,

My Savior’s blood’s my full discharge;

At his dear feet content I lay,

A sinner saved, and homage pay.”

There are moments when the eyes glisten with joy; and we can say, “We are persuaded, confident, certain.” I do not wish to distress anyone who is under doubt. Often gloomy doubts will prevail; there are seasons when you fear you have not been called; when you doubt your interest in Christ. Ah! what a mercy it is that it is not your hold of Christ that saves you, but his hold of you! What a sweet fact that it is not how you grasp his hand, but his grasp of yours, that saves you. Yet I think you ought to know sometime or other, whether you are called of God. If so, you will follow me in the next part of my discourse which is a matter of pure experience; unto us who are saved, it is “Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- “Christ Crucified,” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, February 11, 1855

The Wednesday Word: Grace! Grace! Grace! Part 3

In the entire Bible there is no scripture that indicates that we can be saved without Jesus Christ!

In the Old Testament, He is the coming Messiah. He is the promise of grace. In the New Testament, He is the realized Messiah who makes us alive by grace.

Grace always leads us to Christ Jesus who by grace procured our salvation (Romans 5:8).

He Himself is our salvation (John 11:25).

He Himself is the grace of God (Titus 2:11).

Grace is embedded in His very name, for the name of Jesus, means salvation. Do you remember this verse “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12)?

Grace leads the Lord’s people to Christ Jesus, and no one else. Grace enables us to “look unto Him” by faith to be saved.

But what about repentance brother? Yes what about it? Is it not important? Yes it is! But let me ask you…where do we get repentance? It’s the goodness of God exhibited in His Grace that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). Dear pastor, do you want to see genuine repentance in your church, then preach Christ crucified. There is no other way! It’s Grace, Grace, Grace! Sometimes we pastors find ourselves trying to motivate our listeners by the Law and its demands instead of by the Gospel. However, it takes no spirituality whatsoever to get behind the pulpit and demand change as we warn about bad habits and lax living. This is not Gospel preaching!

But I digress.

We can say that grace is:

1) Free Grace—the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8)

2) Saving Grace—it brings us to eternal salvation (Ephesians 2:8).

3) Sovereign Grace—not of ourselves, but by God’s sovereign will (Ephesians 2:8)

4) Sustaining Grace—created in Christ Jesus unto good works. He ordained beforehand that we should walk (move forward) in them (Ephesians 2:10).

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me

I once was lost, but now am found

Was blind, but now I see.

T’was grace that taught my heart to fear

And grace, my fears relieved.

How precious did that grace appear,

The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares

I have already come

‘Tis grace that brought me safe thus far,

And grace will lead me home

John Nelson, a preacher in the 18th century had been a stonemason before God saved him. And God used him mightily to lead people to Christ. One day he was talking to a self-righteous individual who said, “I don’t need your Saviour. I live right, and I’ve done good things. I’ll take my chances with the rest of the people.” Mr Nelson replied, “Well look here my good man, if God let you into heaven, you’d bring discord there, because all the others would be singing ‘worthy is the lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and blessing,’ and you’d be singing ‘worthy am I, glory to me, because I lived a consistent Christian life.’ He said, “If an angel heard you sing a song like that in heaven, why he’d throw you over the wall.” And the redeemed folks will all chime in and say, “My soul shall make her boast in the Lord, and nothing else.”

There’ll be nobody in heaven singing about what they have done

It’s Grace! Grace! Grace!

God saves us because He is gracious, not because He sees any goodness inherent in us!

It’s Grace! Grace! Grace!

Our certain hope stands on pure Grace, sovereign, unqualified Grace!

It’s Grace! Grace! Grace!

God saves us because He is good, not because we are!

It’s all of Grace.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

Unto us who are called of God, it is the power of God, and the wisdom of God

III. Now we come to our third point, A GOSPEL ADMIRED; unto us who are called of God, it is the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Now, beloved, this must be a matter of pure experience between your souls and God. If you are called of God this morning, you will know it. I know there are times when a Christian has to say,

Tis a point I long to know,

Oft it causes anxious thought;

Do I love the Lord or no?

Am I his, or am I not?”

Charles H. Spurgeon- “Christ Crucified,” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, February 11, 1855

The Wednesday Word: I am a Member of Christ

“For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” Ephesians 5:30.

A dear friend of mine, when he was young, was approached by a gang of teenagers demanding to know whether he was Protestant or Catholic. Perhaps I should give you some background. This happened at the beginning of the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland when tensions between Roman Catholics and Protestants were raging high. I also should mention that my friend was a very dark-skinned young man from India. He smiled at his antagonists and said, “Lads, I am a Hindu.” The leader of the gang then sternly looked him up and down and said, “Yes, but are you a Protestant Hindu or a Catholic Hindu?”

Many times, I also have been asked what I am. In other words, what camp do I belong to spiritually?

That’s easy to answer.

I am Catholic. The word ‘Catholic’ means “universal.” I am not, however, Roman Catholic. I am not under the authority of the man who falsely claims to be the head of the ‘True Church’. He is not the Vicar of Christ and I give heed neither to him nor to his imagined infallibility. The truth is, all Believers are Catholic. We are discovered right across the world (Colossians 1:6). We are those who trust in Christ alone for salvation. Simply put,

We are members of Christ!

I am Baptist. Basically, a “Baptist” is one who baptizes or has been baptized by immersion. In this sense, I am Baptist. However, I am a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and like all true Baptists put no confidence for salvation in having been baptized, albeit by immersion. Our trust is in Christ Alone!

I am a member of Christ!

I am Presbyterian. Presbyterians believe in leadership by a body of leaders. Paul appointed such qualified elders in the various groups of Christians he worked with (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5). In this sense, I am “Presbyterian,” I believe in elders but I am not a devotee of any particular Presbyterian denomination.

I am a member of Christ.

I am a Congregationalists. This term, Congregational, indicates the independence of a Christian assembly in a given locality. Congregationalists hold that there is no such thing as a central government that presides over many churches. The New Testament communities practiced autonomy (Acts 20:17,28). In other words, each assembly was responsible for its own affairs.

In this sense, I am a “Congregationalist,” but I am not a member of The Congregational Church.

I am a member of Christ!

I am an Adventist. This term signifies one who is looking for, expecting and waiting for Christ’s second coming. (Philippians 3:20; 1 Thessalonians 1:10). I am an “Adventist” in this sense, but I am not a member of The Seventh Day or any Adventist Church.

I am a member of Christ!

I am Brethren. Jesus said to His followers, “You are all brothers” (Matthew 23:8). I am one of the brothers (brethren), but not a member of any Brethren Assembly whether Closed or Open.

I am a member of Christ.

I am Pentecostal. Around AD 30, on the Feast of Pentecost, the Spirit was given in His fullness (Acts 2:1,4,16-17,33,38-39). The Spirit came with the chief purpose of magnifying and exalting the Lord Jesus. I fully endorse and adhere to this pre-eminent work of the Spirit. In this sense, I am “Pentecostal,” but I’m not a member of any Pentecostal Church.

I am a member of Christ!

As believers, we are first and foremost members of Christ. Every blood washed, saved person is a member of Christ. That does not mean we are independent of each other. No indeed! Every believer will want, if able, to join with other like-minded believers to worship, receive the bread and wine and to be instructed in the Word. Although we are members of various kinds of churches, believers are first and foremost Christians (Acts 11:26).

We are members of Christ.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Mile Mckee

www.milesmckee.com