19th May 2019

I Believe

“…because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart the God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Romans 10:9 (ESV)

I believe many things. I believe the sun will rise each morning and set in the evening. I believe the stars are too numerous to count. I believe water is wet and fire is hot, and that apples are the best fruit God created. Of course, I grew up on an apple orchard, so I may be a bit biased.

I also believe if people became more selfless, many of the problems in the world would be alleviated. I believe in marriage and love. And I believe in a God who loves me and wants the best for me. Not only do I believe in who God is, but also in what he promises—salvation to those who believe. Let’s look at what apostle Paul says: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (Romans 10:9-10).

So is it because of our belief and confession that we become saved? Think of it this way—though I believe that the sun will rise and set, that does not make it true or more real. I could go around believing that the sun does not rise or set. But that would not change the truth and reality of what the sun is doing. In the same way, my belief or confession in Jesus’ sacrifice for all humanity doesn’t make it true or real. The confessing with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believing what God has done through him is saying yes to God’s ‘yes’ for me. I‘m just responding to his response for me. It is confessing Jesus has done everything for me. He has forgiven me, he has redeemed me; he has reconciled me to the Father, who has adopted me. He has proven his love for me in his life, death, resurrection and ascension—all of which he says he went through for me. And the good news continues: “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’” (Romans 10:12).

My hope is that you come to understand the reality that Jesus loves you, died for you, and has already saved you. Not because of anything you or I have done, but because of what he has already done. For Jews, Greeks, slave, free, male, female, young or old. This, I believe, is Good News for all.

Holy Father, belief alone to us can seem insufficient, but this is what you assure us is what is necessary. So we ask for your help in our unbelief. And this we ask in Jesus’ name.

Study by Greg Williams

About the Presenter:
The Day by Day each Sunday is taken from ‘Speaking of Life,’ ( https://www.gci.org/videos/media-speaking-of-life/), a public resource video on the USA website of Grace Communion International. Greg Williams is President of Grace Communion International and lives in North Carolina, USA.

Local Congregation:
You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.church under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Email: admin@daybyday.org.uk

18th May 2019

Light in the World

“You are the light of the world.”
Matthew 5:14 (NIV)
“You are the salt of the earth.”
Matthew 5:13 (NIV)

Last week I spoke about how others had been salt and light to me. But we are called to be salt and light to others. Often we find ourselves doing this without realising and this is what I have found in my own life.

I have a family member who is not a Christian and had told me so. On hearing about my illness she spoke to an acquaintance who happened to be a doctor. He gave some helpful advice then said he had recently become a Christian and suggested she should pray. So she did.

I have another friend who told me that she would like to believe in God but had trouble with this because of the things that had happened in her life. On being told of my illness she told me she was going to pray.

I have been unable to walk my dog recently and the job has fallen to my husband. On meeting a dog walking acquaintance of mine he had to tell him about my illness. And guess what? He said he would pray for me.

I had no idea my casual conversations about my faith to these people had had any effect. I now realise that by speaking to them about my beliefs, I had given them an opportunity to consider what they believed.

Jesus invited people to follow Him but He never forced anyone. He simply gave them an opportunity to examine their own lives and come to their own decisions. Let’s do the same wherever He has put us, sprinkled as salt, and let’s shine a little light to those around us.

Dear Father in Heaven, thank you for making us salt and light. Wherever you have scattered us, please bless our conversations so that our light may shine into the lives of others.

Study by Debbie Thomas

About the Author:
Debbie Thomas attends the Northampton Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK and edits their local church magazine, ‘Signposts’.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Northampton
Ecton Village Hall
78A High Street

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Gavin Henderson
Phone: 01858 437099
Email: gavin.henderson@gracecom.church

17th May 2019

The Substance of the Gospel

“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God…regarding his Son…”
Romans 1:1, 3 (NIV)

We don’t write letters like we used to. Today it’s all emails, texts, tweets, or Facebook messages. When we do write letters, the modern convention is to address our correspondent first (Dear Jack…) and only identify ourselves at the end (Yours sincerely, Jill).

In the world in which Paul wrote, the convention was to reverse the order with the writer introducing herself first and then mentioning the correspondent (Jill sending greetings to Jack). When Paul wrote the letter to the Romans the opening salutation takes a similar form, but on this occasion he expands each part of the greeting, so much so that the recipients of the letter are not mentioned until verse 7. This is probably because Paul did not found the church in Rome, hadn’t yet visited it, and felt the need to establish his credentials and summarise the gospel message. For us reading this piece of correspondence in the 21st century, we can be grateful to Paul for opening the letter in this way, as it reveals the substance of the gospel. The gospel of God (verse 1) is about his Son Jesus (verse 9). God’s good news is about Jesus. As Calvin wrote, ‘the whole gospel is contained in Christ…[therefore]…to move even a step from Christ means to withdraw oneself from the gospel.’

Paul describes this Jesus as a descendant of David (verse 3), the Son of God who rose from the dead and who is Lord (verse 4). Here Paul references the birth (as to his earthly life), death (required for his resurrection), resurrection and ascension (to Lordship) of Jesus. Paul is showing both the humanity and Divinity of Jesus as a descendant of David and the Son of God, and thereby sums up succinctly the content of ‘God’s gospel:’ Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, is the one who saves humanity through his life, death, resurrection and ascension. This is the good news which Paul felt compelled to preach, (1 Corinthians 9:16) that has power to bring salvation to all people (Romans 1:16); it is good news for everybody. Its scope is universal. All are included without exception or distinction.

If we are to be committed to spreading the gospel to the whole world, then we must not be ashamed of Jesus (verse 16), but proclaim loud and clear that “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12)—for this is the Gospel of God to human beings. Now that’s a message worth communicating, whether it’s by letter or email, text or tweet, or a message on Facebook.

Father, thank you for the good news of Jesus, may we spread it through all available means of communication.

Study by Barry Robinson

About the Author:
Barry Robinson is an Elder and part of the National Ministry Team directing Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. He is also a pastoral worker in the South of England, particularly the Camberwell and North London congregations of the Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion International Camberwell
The Salvation Army Hall
105 Lomond Grove

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11 am

Local Congregational Contact:
Barry Robinson
Email: camberwell@gracecom.church

16th May 2019

Prayers of Intercession

“And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.’”
Luke 22:41-42 (NKJV)

Jesus was about to face His greatest trial and Jesus was praying fervently. Let’s for a moment put ourselves in Jesus’ place: what would we have prayed about when facing torture and death? It’s very interesting to see what was on Jesus’ mind as He prayed. Jesus prayed not only for Himself, but also for His disciples and for us! John 17:18-21 reads, “As you sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify (holy or holiness) myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.” Jesus prayed for all believers!

We, too, are instructed to pray for others. In 1Timothy 2:1-2 Paul exhorts us that “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for Kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” So why does God want us to pray for others?

1-Intercessory Prayer reflects God’s own character of outgoing love and mercy. We notice in the above scripture that Jesus did not focus inward as He prayed. He is our intercessor (See Romans 8:34 & Hebrews 7:25, and He wants us to learn to be intercessors too.

2-God wants us to think like He does, and praying for others helps us to think beyond ourselves and to grow in compassion for others. Ephesians 6:18-20 exhorts us to be, “praying always with all…perseverance and supplication for all the saints” and for those who preach the gospel, “that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel…”

3-People are often encouraged when they are told that other people pray for them. Jesus prayed for his disciples while he was still on earth, but it is even more encouraging to know that the risen Lord prays for us at the father’s right hand.

Almighty God, we thank you for your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who intercedes for us. In Jesus name.

Study by Dennis Payne

About the Author:
Dennis Payne attends the North London Congregation of the Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion International London
Indian YMCA
Mahatma Gandhi Hall
41 Fitzroy Square

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2:30pm

Local Congregational Contact:
Barry Robinson
Email: london@gracecom.church

15th May 2019

Grace Is Not Fair!

“I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?”
Matthew 20:14-15 (NKJV)

My husband recently gave a sermon on the parable of the vineyard workers found in Matthew 20. This parable follows the discussion Jesus had with his disciples in chapter 19, where he told them it was easier for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle! The disciples asked, “Who then can be saved?” To which Jesus replied, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (verse 25-26). The parable in Matthew 20 follows on from this to show that it is by God’s grace that we are saved.

When you read the parable it is easy to think it is about salary and that God is being unreasonable and unfair by paying those who worked all day the same as those who worked only the last hour. But look at it again, because it begins “the kingdom of heaven is like…” It is using vineyard, landowner and workers to illustrate that we attain the kingdom of heaven by God’s goodness, mercy and grace, not by how long or how hard we work! Matthew 20:14 says “I wish to give to this last man the same as to you.”

The landowner (representing God) goes looking for more labourers at the third, sixth, ninth and eleventh hours. At the eleventh hour he finds some still waiting to be hired and says “Why have you been standing here idle all day?” and they reply “Because no one hired us” (Matthew 20:6-7). In many countries there are places where the unemployed know to come to stand and wait for someone to come hire them. The skilled, healthy and strong would be hired first, then the unskilled and less able, and often at the end of the day those left would be the lame, the elderly and those less able to work. This illustrates that God wants everyone to come to repentance and inherit the Kingdom of Heaven! (2 Peter 3:9).

So bearing this in mind, read the parable of the vineyard workers again through the lens of God’s grace—the parable is not about being fair and just, but about grace, which is totally unfair. What we deserve is death—for all have sinned and come under that penalty if true justice were done! I certainly do not want this kind of justice from God, but rather love, mercy and grace.

God of grace, thank you that in your love and mercy you extend forgiveness and grace.

Study by Nancy Silcox

About the Author:
Nancy Silcox attends the Watford Congregation of Grace Communion International in the UK. Nancy prepares and uploads the Day by Day studies submitted by members of the Worldwide Church of God UK/Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Gracecom Watford
St. Peter’s Church
61 Westfield Avenue
Watford, Herts.
WD24 7HF

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11AM

Local Congregational Contact:
George Henderson
Phone: 01923-855570
Email: george.sueann.henderson49@gmail.com

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