The goal in life for many people is happiness. Happiness is great but more important is Blessedness. Blessedness is not so much about how you feel about yourself and your life but how God sees your life. A blessed life depends on righteousness and obedience. It is marked by God’s favour, fellowship and fruitfulness. None of us are righteous enough to earn God’s Blessing . We are all sinners in need of mercy. But in Christ, by faith, we can inherit every spiritual blessing. The blessed life is not trouble free but is the best life we can possibly have!
Father God has a plan to make us like Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit is absolutely central that plan. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would come to bring conviction of sin, righteousness and judgement. Conviction is a work of grace. Conviction leads to repentance, which in turn, brings salvation and blessing to our lives. We need to get rid of the sinful things in our lives and allow the Holy Spirit to develop holiness and the fruit of love, joy and peace.
Jesus came proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom of God and He healed the sick. He commissioned the disciples to do the same. The Holy Spirit is still healing today through faith in Jesus’ name. We need to be honest; there are no formulas and we don’t see as much healing as we would like to. We need to pray with compassion, humility and respect. But we should not doubt Jesus’ words that ‘all things are possible’.
Dave kicks off the series by talking about the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The PROMISE – all Christians can be filled with the Holy Spirit – we see the pattern in Acts; Believe the good news, repent, be baptised, receive the Holy Spirit.
The RESULTS of being filled – A deeper awareness of God’s reality and presence, of joy, love, and faith.
HOW to be filled – Ask! God is good and wants to give us his best gift. Anyone who is thirsty can come to Jesus to receive and drink. It is not a one-off experience – ‘go on being filled!’
Bible Texts: Acts 1:1-9, 2:1-6, 2:15-17, 2:32-41
Simon ‘the Rock’ Peter really blew it when he denied Jesus three times, but Jesus saw it coming. He never makes mistakes or changes His mind. In this post-resurrection account, we see how Jesus graciously restores a broken Peter by reminding him of his original call and drawing out the most fundamental truth, ‘Do you love me?’ Peter has grown in self-knowledge and humility and will soon be right back on track, preaching boldly, catching ‘fish’ (men) and feeding sheep (the Church).
We don’t know a lot about the woman called Mary Magdalene (Miriam from Magdala), but we do know that she had seven demons cast out of her by Jesus. She lingers at the tomb, desperate to find the body of Jesus, and has the honour of being the first believer to see the risen Lord Jesus. The truth of the sins of our past do not define us or disqualify us. Through the grace of Jesus we are all equally forgiven and made holy, and Jesus is not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters, sent out in His name to proclaim the good news that He is alive. One day we too will receive a glorious body like Jesus!
The Mystery of the Cross, the Simplicity of the Cross, the Conviction of the Cross, the Finished Work of the Cross and the Ongoing Work of the Cross.
Exactly 100 years after the First World War, we remember the sacrifice of those who fought and gave their lives for the freedom we enjoy today. 2000 years ago, Jesus, the Good Shepherd laid down his life for the flock. The message of the Bible in a nutshell is ‘Sin is the Problem (Truth), Jesus is the Answer (Grace). At the Cross, God’s infinite love and infinite justice were satisfied when God substituted himself and took our place.
In a sudden turn of events, Jesus faces betrayal, arrest, hostility and violence. The High Priest, Caiaphas, abuses his position of power to condemn an innocent man to death. The Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, is indifferent to the plight of a random Jew facing obvious injustice. Jesus maintains his courage and dignity in face of it all. He continues to stand for Truth through it all.
John records Jesus’ final prayer for his disciples. He prays for three things:
1. Protection from the evil one, by the power of the name of the Lord
2. Holiness – kept clean in a corrupted world by the Truth of God’s Word and the blood of Jesus
3. Unity – One with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and living in harmony with one another – helping the world to believe the gospel.