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The Wednesday Word: Jesus, the Real Bread for the Hungry Soul

In John’s Gospel, we find the seven ‘I Am’ scriptures, spoken by Jesus to declare His Deity. Among them, we find John 6:35,

“I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”

Listening to this, we must conclude that, if Jesus is not God, He can hardly be viewed as a repository of deep humility. Here, He declares Himself as the Bread of Life; the one who gives life to the world. What a cheek …that is if He is not God!

Indeed, when we read this discourse, in John 6, we discover that Jesus makes a sevenfold reference to Himself as the Bread of Life (see verses 32-33, 35, 48, 50 -51, 58). According to Jesus, this is the very bread that must be eaten, by faith, to receive everlasting life (see verses 50, 51- 53, 54, 56, 57, 58).

We should note that the Roman Communion makes much of these statements to establish her wretched doctrine of the Mass. They painstakingly fail, however, to point out that this discourse has nothing whatsoever do with the Last Supper… They also fail to note that Christ’s language in this passage is figurative, not literal, the Lord’s Supper not being in existence until about a year later.

The bread to which Christ refers is Christ Himself. He, as our High Priest, offered Himself on the altar of Calvary, redeemed His people and answered the sin question as He satisfied the justice of God. When we receive Him by faith alone, we are figuratively eating His flesh and drinking His blood.

In verse 33 He says, “For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and gives life unto the world.”

Notice how Jesus referred to Himself as, “He which cometh down from heaven.” By this term, Jesus is again asserting His deity! In the Old Testament, to “come down from heaven” meant a divine descent from the throne of God to accomplish a task of either grace or judgment.

“In Genesis 11: 4 and 7, for example, God “came down” in Judgment against the Tower of Babel.

In Genesis 18:21, God, regarding Sodom, says “I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me.”

Regarding the people of Israel in Exodus 3:8, the Lord says, “I am come down to deliver them.”

In Exodus 19:20, God “comes down” upon the mount of Sinai to give His law.

In Psalm 18:9 He “… bowed the heavens and came down” in answer to cries of distress.

Since to come down from heaven is God’s work and prerogative, we once more see the Master making the grand declaration that He is God manifest in the flesh.

In summary,

Jesus as the Bread of life is the sustainer of life that means He is God.

Jesus declares He has come down from heaven … again that means He is God.

Jesus claims that union with Him is essential to eternal life … again that means He is God.

Now here’s the question. Have we eaten of the Bread of Life? Have we tasted and seen that the Lord is Good (Psalm 34:8)? Are we still looking anywhere but the Gospel for satisfaction?

In Greek mythology, Tantalus was made to stand in a pool of water, right under the branches of a fruit tree. However, when he tried to reach for fruit, the branches would go higher and out of reach. When he tried to drink a sip of water, the waters of the pool would recede. A symbol of utter frustration, his name is immortalized in the English word “tantalize.” So, too, the world may at times tantalize the Child of God. It promises much but delivers nothing. Only Christ can give us a cleansed conscience. Only Christ can remove our guilt and give genuine peace. He is the Bread of Life.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

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The Wednesday Word: Gospel Peace

And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, (Colossians 1:20 a)

The blood of Christ gives us a profound insight into God’s estimation of sin. God, being the God of justice, will by no means clear the guilty (Exodus 34:7). Sin has earned an awful debt, and all debts must be paid. We ought not to fool ourselves into thinking that God is some easy going, doddery, old grandfather who doesn’t notice sin. He notices and has done so from the beginning. And because He saw our sin, the Lamb of God went to the cross with this scripture in mind, “It is the blood that makes atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11). Because Christ poured out His blood, peace has now been established between God and us. Indeed, there is only one foundation for peace, and that is the blood of Jesus. To enjoy this peace, therefore, our daily spiritual occupation is to, “Behold the Lamb of God” (John 1:29). He is the one who has paid for and taken away our sin.

In Luke 15:2 we are told, “This man (Jesus) receives sinners.” That means that, when we come to Christ our mercy seat, we are fully accepted, and the free gift of eternal life is ours. But you say, I don’t feel that I have a right to go to Him, my sin ‘s too big! Well, it’s your word against His. He says to come to Him, and he knows what He is talking about.

Old Tom Farrell, a Scottish blacksmith, had lived a God-defying life. But, in His mercy, the Lord brought him to trust in Christ alone. Some years later, he was on his death bed, and his wife asked him if he were scared to die. He looked at her, smiled and then said, “What would I be afraid of? I’m going to be with the Man who died for me.” Old Tom knew that peace had been made by the blood.

God’s grace is demonstrated to us through the shed blood of our substitute. In the Old Testament, the High Priest came to the Mercy Seat with the blood. In bringing the blood, he was confessing that both he and the people were sinners. When he came with the blood, he found God waiting to be gracious. Was God gracious because the High Priest confessed everyone’s sin? No! God’s graciousness flowed because the demands of His justice had been met by the blood of a substitute. Because of the blood, there never was a flash of angry lightning there. Because of the blood, there never was one faint rumble of wrathful thunder there. Because of the blood, God looked and seemed to say, “I am well pleased with the blood of this substitute because it points towards the blood of my Son. Because of My Son, I will spare sinners.”

Not only did God gaze upon the blood, but the High Priest, as representative of the people, also fixed his eye on the same blood that lay on the mercy-seat. As he stood gazing on the blood, it was as if he said, “Lord, there is my death and the people’s death for each sin; there is my wrath offering; there is your law’s demand.”

And this is the position of all believers. Our eye is on Jesus, the Christ who was crucified. Our hearts believe that because of the blood, God has given us eternal life (1 John 5:11). Because of the blood, our mouths boldly confess, “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes” (Romans 10:4). In other words, the believer is free from having to present His strenuous efforts at law-keeping as the method of gaining favour with God. The law, as a means of saving righteousness, is now obsolete. There is no peace, therefore, available to the man who tries to establish his righteousness other than by the doing, dying and rising again of Christ.

I hear the words of love,

I gaze upon the blood,

I see the mighty sacrifice,

And I have peace with God.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com

The Wednesday Word: The High Priest who Purged our Sins

September 21, 2016 Leave a comment

Hebrews 1:3, “Who by Himself purged our sins.”

What a stunning statement. Jesus, our High Priest, purged our sins. In other words, He removed them! That’s the kind of High Priest we need. Let any other religious leaders try to do this and their efforts will come to nothing. Buddha could not take away the sins of his people. Mohammed didn’t eradicate the sins of his followers. But, Christ Jesus, our High Priest, by Himself, purged our sins.

When Jesus purged the sins of His people, it was the fulfillment of that which had been pre-figured in the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:30). On that day, Israel was temporarily cleansed from her sins. Now, fast forward to Calvary. There, Jesus, by Himself, permanently purged our sins. He is the fulfilment and the reality of the great Day of Atonement.

But, how did He purge our sins? By His teaching? No! By His Doctrine? No! By His Spirit? No! He purged our sins, “By Himself.” What an excellent word! “Himself.” Some Bible versions leave it out, but it is Gospel Truth. Take these verses, for example. “Who His own self bore our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:22). “By His own blood, He entered in once into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption for us (Hebrews 9:12). “…..how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience (Hebrews 9:14)?”

By Himself, He purged our sins. All that He had and all that He was, He gave as our ransom.

By Himself, He purged our sins. What power! Think about it, He purged our sins before we had ever committed them. Before we had ever sinned, he fully exercised His ministry of purging. What authority, ability and grace! What a Saviour!

There’s an ancient fable that tells of how Hercules cleaned out the Augean stable. But, think about it,… that was an easy task compared to the purging of our sins. The stench of our sins was fouler than the most putrid of dunghills, Yet Jesus purged our sins, by Himself.

Who was this man, this Priest, who purged our sins? He is the heir of all things. He is the brightness of the Father’s glory and the express image of his person (Hebrews 1:2-3). He is the eternal God made flesh (1 Timothy 3:16). He is the one who was and is uniquely God and Man. He is not only our High Priest but also our Prophet and King. He offered Himself. The entire Christ was offered by Christ Himself!

He was High Priest, the Lamb, the Altar and the Sacrifice. It was His blood, His life, which was poured out. Because of that purging of our sins, by Jesus, our High Priest, both God and the believer can righteously approach each other and meet face to face. The distance between us has been destroyed. It has disappeared.

The sins are gone.

The guilt has gone.

The condemnation has gone.

The separation has gone.

The one sacrifice has been made and accepted. Christ, by Himself, purged our sins. It is finished!

Our approach to God is now secure. The High Priest has purged our sins. The door to eternity is open. The High Priest has purged our sins. The veil is torn from the top to the bottom. The High Priest has purged our sins. The dread of God has been removed, the hiding is over, because our priest, by Himself has purged our sins.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com

God teaches us the truth that He alone is God by commanding us to look to Him alone for salvation, instead of a priest

Spurgeon 12. But the second thought is, the means of salvation. It is, “Look unto me and be ye saved.” You have often observed, I am sure, that many people are fond of an intricate worship-an involved religion-one they can hardly understand. They cannot endure worship so simple as ours. Then they must have a man dressed in white, and a man dressed in black; then they must have what they call an altar and a chancel. After a little while that will not suffice, and they must have flowerpots and candles. The clergyman then becomes a priest, and he must have a variegated dress, with a cross on it. So it goes on: what is simply a plate becomes a paten, and what was once a cup becomes a chalice; and the more complicated the ceremonies are, the better they like them. They like their minister to stand like a superior being.

Charles H. Spurgeon- Sovereignty and Salvation-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, January 6

Abounding Grace Part 3

Grace is threefold: It is for the past, present and future. We see this threefold grace demonstrating itself in the Incarnation … one of the supremely important truths of the gospel. At the Incarnation, God became a man and was thus able, as a man, to die. The writer to the Hebrews puts it this way,

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; (Hebrews 2:14).

In other words, the death of the cross could not have happened if Jesus Christ had not assumed human nature. That’s grace for the past! But in the Incarnation, we are also instructed about grace for the present. At this very moment, we have a great, merciful and faithful high priest in Heaven. He is one of us. He is appearing even now for us before the presence of God. As He appears, He continually supplies His perfection to our constant imperfection. That’s grace for the present!

Listen to these grace-filled words,

“We do not have a high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities (our weaknesses) but (one who) was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

The man who is God, is the God who became man. His incarnation not only gives us grace for the past and present but also pledges us grace for the future. He is coming back for us as the reigning rightful King of the Earth and the cosmos.

In 1 Timothy 1:1, we discover that Christ Himself is our future hope. We read, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope; Grace is abounding towards us. Consider this scripture; “Of his fullness have we all received, and grace for grace” John 1:16.

In Christ, grace is replaced by even more grace. That’s the heritage of every believer. But, what do we do when the grace runs out? The answer is nothing. Why? Because grace never runs out! In this New Covenant, we have grace following grace, following grace, following grace. It’s like standing on the seashore and watching wave after wave coming in one after the other. When one wave crashes, another is on the way. We don’t make this happen, we are not called upon to contribute anything to the scene. So it is with grace. It is never ending in its supply to us.

Colossians 2:9 says, “In him (Christ) dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Fullness is the Greek word ‘Pleroma’ which means, among other things, ‘complete totality.’ It is stunning to grasp that the complete totality of the Godhead dwells bodily in the Lord Jesus Christ. Compare this with what is taught in John 1:16; “For of his fullness (Pleroma) have all we received.” This means that we, therefore, have limitless resources in the Lord Jesus Christ. In Christ, grace is abounding to us.

Celsus, a Greek philosopher of the 2nd century, used to jeer at Christ. He didn’t deny Christ’s historical existence but, rather, said that Jesus was both illegitimate and a sorcerer. According to Celsus, every reputable teacher typically attracted the noble and wise people of his day, but Jesus attracted the down and outs and the scum of society.

Yes, that part is correct. Thank God it’s true. Christ Jesus demonstrates His grace by the kind of people he chooses. But, although we are morally down and out, He does not leave us like that. He clothes us with His righteousness. He saves us by grace and makes us Heavenly royalty. When He returns, we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is. That’s grace! Salvation is all of grace! Abounding Grace,

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Counted Dead

“For you are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).

Here’s the good news: our salvation rests entirely upon the penal, substitutionary sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. He, as our substitute, by Himself and on our behalf, exclusively satisfied the righteous demands of divine holiness and justice.

In the Old Testament, when the priest sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice on the worshipper (Exodus 24:8; Hebrews 9:19), that person was counted or reckoned as being dead! Being dead, it was further reckoned that he had, therefore, paid the penalty of the broken law. The worshipper was counted as having died in the person of his substitute. As long as the worshipper had not paid the death penalty, he was counted as unfit for God. However, as soon as he had paid the death penalty, through the death of his substitute, he was reckoned as now being unsoiled and fit for the Lord’s service.

For peace of conscience, we really need to grasp the great gospel truth of Christ our Substitute!

During the American Civil War, Union Army recruiters arrived at a certain home demanding that the man of the house join the army immediately. The man replied that he could not do so because he had already been killed in action two years ago. As it turned out, a neighbour had signed a ‘Substitute Volunteer’ paper and had gone to war in this man’s place. It was all done legally and since the substitute had died, the man the army had wanted to recruit was now reckoned as having already been killed in action. He, therefore, did not have to go to war as he had already been there and had died in the person of his substitute.

Because of the work of the Lord Jesus, our substitute, we are now reckoned as having already been punished for our sins (Isaiah 53:5). Yes, I know we weren’t physically punished at the cross, but legally we were (Romans 4:25). When Christ hung upon the cross, we legally hung there with him. His death was our death; His punishment was our punishment. We are now cleansed by His blood—- which is another way of saying that we have been made partakers of the death of Christ. The blood of Christ cleanses us by totally identifying us with the death of our Substitute.

We were once covered with guilt and under sentence of death, but our substitute, the Lord Jesus shed His blood (Matthew 26:28). In God’s eyes, that blood represents both his death and ours. He died as our substitute. The blood is shed for us, and in that way death, which is the law’s penalty, is reckoned legally to us. Legally we have died. We have been crucified with Christ and have undergone the death sentence; as a result, our guilt has passed away. We are cleansed! The fires of Hell have been doused for us with the blood of Jesus. This is good news we can live in!

Furthermore, our sin is taken away and Christ’s own righteousness is reckoned to us in its place (Philippians 3:9). This is how the believer makes use of the blood of Christ. Faith simply embraces and enjoys what the blood has already accomplished.

At the cross, Jesus was treated as having our sin. He was reckoned as the greatest sinner and rebel who had ever existed. All our sins were put on Him.

We know this, but have we ever paused to think about what it means? It means that our blasphemies and adulteries were reckoned as His. He took responsibility for all our lying, thieving, fornications and murders. This was awful for Him but wonderful for us. Martin Luther grasped this truth and wrote to a friend saying, “Learn to know Christ and him crucified. Learn to sing to him, and say, ‘Lord Jesus, you are my righteousness, I am your sin.”

Spurgeon said it like this; “The man, Christ Jesus, is exalted at the right hand of the majesty on high; and we, His elect, are in Him, crucified with Him, risen with Him .”(Ephesians 2:6)…….

We were:

One, when He died;
One, when He rose;
One, when He triumphed over His foes;
One, when in heaven He took His seat
And angels sang of hell’s defeat.

And that is the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Just As I Am

February 18, 2015 2 comments

It is true that the highest motive we can have is to seek the glory of God. However, such a motive is not required to come to Christ. If it were, we would all be in trouble. In the beginning, we came to the Lord with selfish fears and concerns for our future and final destiny. It was all about us! But Jesus is wonderful for, even in the midst of our selfishness, He welcomed us. We were concerned neither for Him nor His glory. Nevertheless, in spite of our selfish approach to Him He saved us. Why? There’s but one answer, GRACE!

Let’s just say that the standard God demanded before we came to Him was that we had a perfect and pure motivation for His glory! Think about it, if we could have met that standard we would have been sinless, and sinless people have no need of a Saviour! The very thing that qualifies us for the Saviour is the fact that we are ‘dyed in the wool’ sinners. Each one of us, individually, has fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 6:23, Romans 4:5).

So let’s say it again, having a heart that exclusively seeks God’s glory does not qualify us for Christ. In fact, we need to be careful not to replace the cross with a passion for His glory. A passion for His glory is an excellent thing, but it not the basis of our approach to God. As we grow in grace, we learn to seek God’s glory in all things (1 Chronicles 16:29; 1 Corinthians 6:20; Psalm 29:2). However, we dare not qualify ourselves to come to Him because we have learned to long for His glory. Longing for His glory is neither a pre-requisite nor a qualification for coming to Him.

We must free ourselves from the enslaving idea that we come to him with unselfish motives. Christ receives sinners, not people with good motives. If good motives saved us, who then could or would be saved? And while we are at it, let’s ask ourselves is anything we do, actually pure and free from tainted motives? There are people who will answer “yes” to that question, but they are deceiving themselves!

As we grow in grace, we continue as we began! In other words, we continue to go to Christ Jesus, just as we are, flawed motives and all, (Hebrews 4:16). At His throne, we receive mercy and grace to help in the time of need. We bring nothing to the throne of grace, not even good motives for being there. To qualify ourselves to be there, we don’t have to tell our High Priest what we desire to be, or what we ought to be, but what we are. We tell Him the honest truth about our condition at this very moment. We confess the impurity of our bad motives; the sin that we feel; the hardness of our hearts and all things contrary to His glory. He wants us to come to Him exactly as we are; He wants us to come knowing that we cannot make ourselves fit to be there. He wants us to know that He alone is our fitness and qualification.

Jesus receives sinners and only sinners! A number of years ago, some children were visiting a church service. The preacher was speaking on Luke 15:2, “This man receiveth sinners and eateth with them.” Afterwards, one of the children, an eight year old girl, went up to the pastor and said, “Excuse me, sir, but I didn’t know that my name was in the Bible.” He asked, “What’s your name?”

“Edith, sir.”

“No,” the kindly preacher smiled, “Edith is not in the Bible.”

“Yes, it is,” she replied. “I heard you say, ‘This man receiveth sinners and Edith with them.”

Bless her! This little girl had misheard the text, but she had applied its truth to her heart. May we also learn to apply the good news of our substitute to ourselves. We need to stop trying to improve in order to get Him to accept us. We need to learn to say “This man (Jesus) receives sinners, and receives me just as I am.”

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com