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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 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 

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 

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 

The Wednesday Word: A Spiritually Peaceful Death!

Sin introduced death to the human race: however, according to the book of Hebrews, Christ purged our sins before He sat down in cosmic authority (Hebrews 1:3). We need to let this sink in! At the cross, Christ did away with our sins and uncleanness. At the cross, our sins were judged, punished and paid for before we had even committed them!

If you believe this you will have a spiritually peaceful death.

So how did Christ purge our sins? Was it …

By His teaching?

By His kind words?

By His miracles?

No, He purged them, “By Himself” (Hebrews 1:3, 7:27).

He is the Lamb who has taken away our sins (John 1:29). He is the one, “Who his ownself bore our sins in his own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). He is the One who “By his own blood entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Hebrews 9:12). He is the one who “offered himself without spot to God” (Hebrews 9:14).

Believe this and you will have a spiritually peaceful death.

So where are your sins? He has purged them (Hebrews 1:3)! That means they are gone! Our sins and their filth have been effectively taken away, once for all! Look around you, where are your sins? —They don’t exist—they are purged—they have been, not merely forgiven, they have been removed. Because of the cross, we have been rendered clean!

Believe this and you will have a spiritually peaceful death!

We sometimes forget that in the Old Testament the atonement, left the believers clean. Leviticus 16:30 says, “For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the LORD.” How much more then does the true priest, the Lord Jesus by His atonement declares us clean before God.

Believe this and you will have a spiritually peaceful death!

So where are your sins? I’ll tell you where; God said, “I will cast all their sins behind my back.” Where is that? Spurgeon tells us, “It is nowhere, for God is everywhere present, seeing everything. So that is where my sins have gone; I speak with the utmost reverence when I say that they have gone where Jehovah himself can never see them. Christ has so purged them that they have ceased to be.” Our sins are now done away within Him.

Believe this and you will have a spiritually peaceful death!

We were guilty, vile, helpless and worthy of death (Romans 1:18-3:20), but in the Gospel, God Himself came alongside us in the Person of the Son and stood up for us. This is unspeakable mercy and immeasurable love. Christ Jesus, because of His great love for us, became our representative and bore our sins on the terrible cross. And He was glad to do it; He was willingly judged and found worthy of death, not for His own sins, but for ours.

Believe this and you will have a spiritually peaceful death.

Being justified, we are now accounted as innocent and free from our sins in the eyes of the Judge. Our sins have already been punished and it is, therefore, not possible for God to find any sin in His people. In God’s courtroom, there is no double jeopardy. A penalty cannot be legally demanded twice. No believer can be charged, therefore, for a debt that has already been fully paid.

Believe this and you will have a spiritually peaceful death!

Christ has gone on to prepare a place for us that where He is we may be also. He is already in Heaven, His work is finished, His salvation is perfect, complete and all-sufficient. Do you, from your heart, believe this? The Lord Jesus Himself has personally removed every barrier that blocked our access to Glory. We will not perish, we have eternal life—this is a guaranteed gift to all believers (John 3:16).

Believe this and you will have a spiritually peaceful death!

The Christ who was crucified has risen and you are reckoned in Him as perfect and righteous before the Father (Colossians 2:10). That’s the way the Father sees it and who are we to argue with Him? We are free from sin, already judged righteous, pure, perfect, and are sitting at His own right hand in heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3).

Believe this and you will have a spiritually peaceful death!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Grace! Grace! Grace! Part 2

by D. G. Miles McKee

Ephesians 2: 8-10.

“For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast…..”

Matthew Henry’s commentary on our text says: “Every converted sinner is a saved sinner. Such are delivered from sin and wrath; they are brought into a state of salvation and have a right given them by grace to eternal happiness.

“The grace that saves them is the free, underserved, goodness and favour of God; and He saves them, not by the works of the law, but through faith in Christ Jesus, by means of which they come to partake of the great blessings of the gospel; and both that faith and that salvation on which it has so great an influence are the gift of God.”

Salvation is entirely by Grace. Paul says in Ephesians 2:1: “You has he made alive who were dead in trespasses and sins.” We were spiritually dead. We had no spiritual understanding. What did we deserve but a good burial? …If even!

In Ephesians 2:2-3 however, as we read on, we learn the strangest thing, we discover we were dead but walking .. literally we were “walking dead men”…. We were zombies-like walking according to the world system, which is against God, and following “the prince of the power of the air,” which is Satan.

There’s a story about a graveyard in an area in Ayrshire, Scotland, where once a stranger was buried. It greatly distressed the people of that particular parish, so much so that they put a notice up on the outside of the graveyard that read, “This graveyard is reserved exclusively for the dead who are living in this parish.” Funny!

But we were living dead people. We were alive, just like Adam was physically alive after he had sinned, but nevertheless spiritually dead. We were living and were dead, but God made us alive. Grace! Grace ! Grace!

Here’s a good way of looking at grace… Notice in Ephesians 1:1 the apostle calls believers saints. However, look at what we once were. Ephesians 2:1-3..

Dead,

Walking in the devil’s path,

Children of disobedience,

Children of wrath.

And what made the difference? It was grace.

In addition, 2 Timothy 1:9 tells us we are chosen by grace;

In Ephesians 1:7 we learn that we have redemption by grace;

We are adopted by grace Ephesians 1:5.

By that same grace we are accepted Ephesians 1:6.

By grace we have the forgiveness of sins Ephesians 1:7.

By that same grace we have been made alive together with Christ Ephesians 2:5.

He has glorified us by grace Ephesians 2:6.

Nowhere in the Bible is credit given to man regarding his salvation. It is all of grace! The making alive, the undeserved favour, the faith, the union with Christ, the good works that follow after salvation are all the gifts of Almighty God!

Is it any wonder then that Paul would write in Galatians 6:14 “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

To “glory” is “to boast”. Paul is saying that we cannot boast in anything except the cross of the Lord Jesus. That’s another way of saying that we are saved by grace. All our prosperity, all our accomplishments, all our doctrinal understanding, and even all the accumulated knowledge over our lifetime is nothing to glory about. We can boast only in the grace of God as seen in the cross, the cross of Christ! Glory to His name!

To be continued.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Grace! Grace! Grace! Part 1

Ephesians 2: 8-10.

“For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Ephesians has been called the Alps of the New Testament because some of the things taught in it are amazingly glorious. Here are but two of them …

1) We are saved by grace plus nothing, and

2) We are saved by grace minus nothing.”

The Greek word for grace is “Charis.” It means, ‘unmerited and undeserved favour.’ It is, ‘God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.’

Martyn Lloyd Jones said, “There is no more wonderful word than ‘grace.’ It means unmerited favour or kindness shown to one who is utterly undeserving. It is a free gift to those who deserve the exact opposite, and it is given to us while we are ‘without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).

We are saved by grace!

We are delivered from the wrath to come by grace (1 Thessalonians 1:10).

We are given eternal life by grace (Romans 5:21).

Religion knows nothing of grace. Religion seeks to find favour with God by doing something (Romans 10:3). In religion, good works are a premium. But under grace, the sinner is freely declared not guilty. Have you grasped that for yourself?

But there’s more. The believer is not only forgiven he is also acquitted. And how is this done? It is done simply on the merits of another person, the Lord Jesus Christ (Leviticus 16; 1 Peter 3:18). Now that’s grace!

In Ephesians 2:6-9, Notice what grace isn’t!

‘It is not of ourselves.’

There was and is nothing we could do to deserve salvation. We may say, “What about faith? Isn’t that something I do?” No! Faith is a gift of God. It is not of works lest anyone should boast.

Have we then no work to do in this great matter of our justification? In a nutshell, NONE!

What work can we work to obtain personal salvation? NONE! What work of ours can buy forgiveness or make us worthy of Divine favour? NONE!

Has the Lord commanded that we crawl around the earth on our hands and knees? NO!

Has He decreed that we should whip ourselves and deprive ourselves of everything good? NO!

So, what work has God commanded us to do to obtain salvation?

Once more …NONE!

Romans 4:5 “To him that works not, but believes in Him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” There is only one work which can save us, and that work is not ours, but the work of the God/Man. And that work is finished (John 19:30). It can never be repeated. Salvation is all Grace, Grace, Grace!

SAVED!

‘Saved’ is another great Bible word from our verse. It means deliverance. It means life in contrast to the death. It must be remembered that God is obliged to save no one. All of us have sinned and rebelled. All of us deserve death, not salvation. God was not and is not bound to come and rescue a defiant humanity….that’s why we love GRACE!

In Ephesians 2:1 the Word says, “You has he (God), quickened (made alive), who were dead in trespasses and sin.”

He is speaking of spiritual death here and in the past tense. We were dead! But, things are different now. We have been made alive. We are saved. We are no longer under wrath…..we are saved. And how did we get saved? … Grace! Grace! Grace!

John Stott puts it this way: “You were saved through faith, and even this faith by which you are saved is God’s gift.” This is an essential truth. We must never think of salvation as a kind of a transaction between God and us in which He contributes grace, and we contribute faith. For we were dead and had to be brought alive before we could believe.”

To be continued.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com