1st October 2018

October 1, 2018

Personal Resurrection

“I am the Resurrection and the Life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
John 11:25-26 (NRSVA)

My own personal understanding of the resurrection has grown over the years. As a young Christian, I imagined millions of believers being raised to glorified life all together. The world would become the largest stadium in history, with us all singing: “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:10). Wow! Now that will be a great worship service to join in with!

But there is a missing part to that vision: the personal face-to-face encounter with Jesus. My huge concert of praise would have me somewhere “lost” in the massive crowd, looking at God and Jesus Christ from afar. The Gospels show Jesus to be someone who loves to personally encounter the children of God. Think of the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4), Nicodemus (John 3) or Thomas (John 20); 3 stories among many told by the New Testament. God did not love them from a distance—Jesus Christ engaged them in direct conversation.

Perhaps the raising of Lazarus in John 11 is a good indication of what the resurrection will be like. “When [Jesus] had said this, he cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’”(John 11:43). Will that be the same for us? Could it be that one day I will be raised from death by the cry “Ian, come out!”? Jesus himself told us: “Do not be astonished at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and will come out” (John 5: 28-29).

Certainly, we know that “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him” (Revelation 1:7), but I guess the full itinerary of the day of Resurrection has not yet been published. But, like a small child in the back of the car on a long journey, I’m impatient to find out more! It is good to look forward with excitement to the full unveiling of God’s kingdom, as such meditation fills our hearts with hope.

The Resurrection will be such a wonderful event. In that hour we will all sing together in great praises to God. In fact, will the angels be able to shut us up?! Even better than that, we will all personally meet our Saviour, the One who made us, became just like us and then died for us – so that we can live forevermore.

Prayer
Father, thank you for the wonderful hope of the resurrection from the dead. We look forward to the day when will will see Jesus face-to face and when all Christians, from all ages, will sing praises to you. We anticipate this in the Name of our one and only Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Amen

Study by Ian Woodley
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About the Author:
Ian Woodley is an Elder and Pastoral Council member of the Edinburgh Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK, a part of Grace Communion International (Gracecom for short).

Local Congregation:
Gracecom, Edinburgh
Gilmerton New Church
Ravenscroft Street
EDINBURGH
EH17 8QJ

Meeting time:
Saturday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
Peter Mill
Email: peter.mill@gracecom.church

May 21st 2009

May 21, 2009

Ascension!

“Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
Acts 1:9-11 (NKJ)

The resurrection of Jesus is reported in each of the four Christian Gospels in considerable detail, but the ascension of Jesus, His return to the right hand of the Father, is mentioned only briefly, and only in the Gospels of Mark and Luke. It is in the book of Acts, also written by Luke, where we find a more detailed description of this crucial event in Jesus’ atoning work on behalf of humanity.

Our world is far more familiar with astronauts than with angels, and with space shuttles blasting off into the heavens than with Jesus’ ascension into heaven.

But the ascension is a vital part of our understanding about Jesus, and about what He is doing for us and in us moment by moment. The ascension tells us that Jesus now sits at the right hand of God the Father. This is a poetic way of saying that all power is in Jesus’ hands, and that Jesus and the Father dwell in perfect unity and love. Jesus, not only reigns with God the Father over all the Universe, He and the Father, with the Holy Spirit, are one.

But perhaps even more amazing is what Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:4-7, that God “made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus”. In Jesus, God has brought us into the loving relationship that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit share. In Jesus, we are accepted, wanted, and we are included. No wonder we read that after Jesus ascended into the heavens, His disciples returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the Temple blessing God!

It was so important that more than 30 years later, Peter was still talking about it. In Peter’s first epistle to the Christians in Asia, he wrote that “Jesus has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him” (I Peter 3:22).

In the first century, every Roman soldier proclaimed his allegiance to the emperor by saying, “Kyrios Kaisar!” “Caesar is Lord!”

But the Christians could not, would not, say that. They said instead, “Kyrios Christos!” “Christ is Lord!”

And many of them paid with their lives for that faith, knowing they awaited a personal resurrection into the new life of the kingdom of God. They knew that the proclamation, “Christ is Lord,” spelled the beginning of the end of all tyranny, because the Saviour Himself had ascended to the throne.

The ascension of Jesus also declares to us that as a man, as God in the flesh, Jesus took our sinful humanity and, having redeemed it through His life, death and resurrection, He presented it clean and perfect to His Father.

In Jesus, we have fellowship with our Father in heaven, and just as Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, so we too, with Jesus our Lord, our Saviour, our Friend, and our Brother, dwell in the Father’s presence forever.

Prayer
Thank you, Father, that Jesus sits at Your right hand. Thank you that through Him we dwell in Your presence forever. Thank you that that we are included in the fellowship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Amen

Study by Joseph Tkach

9th December 2019

December 9, 2019

Is There Hope?

“If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days…I will wait, till my change comes. You shall call and I will answer You; You shall desire the works of Your hands.”
Job 14:14-15 (NKJV)

No one likes to think or talk about death, yet God has talked about it from Genesis to Revelation. There is no escape from it. Some die prematurely in wars or through deadly incurable diseases or through abortion, etc. and others die at ripe old age. Death was introduced by Adam, but through Jesus the second Adam we have hope of eternal life at the resurrection, which was God’s original plan (Romans 5:12-21). If Adam had obeyed God’s instruction to eat of the tree of life, and not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, I would most likely not be writing about death.

But there is hope for all. The Creator God is mindful of man, for He has crowned him with glory and honour and given him dominion over all His works (Psalm 8:4-9). By His will we exist and are created according to His pleasure (Revelation 4:11). In fact, we are formed for His glory according to Isaiah 43:7, “Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him.” Everyone who will believe in the name of Jesus, the Son of God, who died for all mankind, accepting Him as personal Saviour, shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

All those who have died not knowing Him will rise on the day of judgment according the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 11:20-24, “Then He began to upbraid the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: ‘Woe to you Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.” In Luke 11:31-32 we read, “The queen of the south will rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.” God is just and righteous and all mankind is precious to Him. He does not want any to perish for He says “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11). There is a reference to this great day of judgment when all those who have died having not heard of the Saviour Jesus Christ will be resurrected to life and judged by Jesus whom God has given all authority to judge the living and the dead (Acts.10:42 and Revelation 20:11-15).

There is glorious hope for all in Christ. He indeed is the hope of glory, an anchor of our soul.

Prayer
Holy Father, gracious and most merciful God, I thank You for offering the free gift of salvation to all mankind, making it possible through Your Son Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name I pray.
Amen

Study by Natu Moti
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About the Author:
Natu Moti is a Deacon in the Birmingham Congregation of Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Gracecom Birmingham
All Saints Church
George Road
BIRMINGHAM
B23 7QB

Meeting Time:
Saturday 1pm

Local Congregational Contact:
David Gibbs
Phone: 07777-667635
Email: birmingham@gracecom.church

3rd September 2019

September 3, 2019

Believe In Him

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
John 3:16 (NKJV)

There is such great power in this scripture, for it promises eternal life to those who would believe in Jesus. Further in verse 36 we read, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son, shall not see life…”

It was because of disbelief in God that sin entered the world through Adam—they did not believe God when he said that if they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would die. As it is written in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” In the Old Testament, Israel could not enter the Promised land through disbelief because they did not trust God, and all those over 20 years of age died in the wilderness (Numbers 14).

When Christ came to this earth nearly 2000 years later, many rejected Him, only the few believed that He was the Christ, the Messiah. To Martha, Jesus said in John 11:25-26, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” Again in 1 John 5:10-13 we read, “He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself…this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may have eternal life and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”

Today a fraction of humanity believes in Him, even though, through His name only is salvation (Act 4:12.). The Apostle Paul said, “…for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day (2 Timothy 1:12). Personally, I know whom I have believed and echo my belief in the Son of God. I believe that the Father sent His Son as the Saviour of the World. I urge everyone that we believe and come to know Him intimately, for He is the Author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him (Hebrews 5:9).

Prayer
Abba Father, thank You for sending Jesus as Immanuel to save the world through Him. We believe in Him as our Lord and Saviour. I pray and praise You in His mighty name.
Amen

Study by Natu Moti
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About the Author:
Natu Moti is a Deacon in the Birmingham Congregation of Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Gracecom Birmingham
All Saints Church
George Road
BIRMINGHAM
B23 7QB

Meeting Time:
Saturday 1pm

Local Congregational Contact:
David Gibbs
Phone: 01213420609 (answer phone)
Mobile: 07974440580
Email: birmingham@gracecom.church

22nd August 2019

August 22, 2019

Do You Know Your Redeemer?

“But as for me, I know that my redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!”
Job 19:25-27 (NLT)

I once attended a funeral and the minister quoted the above scripture. Of course this was not new to me, but at the end of the sermon that minister asked this question “Do you know your Redeemer?” This was over two years ago, but somehow this question still stuck in my mind.

Notice in the above three verses the personal pronouns. Job said I know that my redeemer lives. For one thing, Job could not redeem himself, but he knew that if he could bring his case before God, that God would vindicate him. Job’s knowledge did not stop at the redeemer for he also knew there would one day be a resurrection. Job’s hope was in the resurrection. No matter how bad things got for Job on earth he knew he had a redeemer that was alive.

The New Testament promises that there will be a resurrection of our bodies (See John 5:28-29), and we also know for sure, living now in the Christian age, that there is a redeemer who died for us to purchase us out of the hands of the evil one, so that we can have hope of Eternal life with God.

As a believer I must come to know my redeemer more personally every day, then one day I will be able to say like Job “I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes” (Job 42:5). ‘I know that my redeemer lives’ is a personal statement that all Christians must be sure of.

Prayer
Almighty God, thank you for that sacrifice your Son made in paying the price at the cross to redeem us. In Jesus’ name.
Amen

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

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion International London
Indian YMCA
Mahatma Gandhi Hall
41 Fitzroy Square
LONDON
W1T 6AQ

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2:30pm

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

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