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Sinners, Signs and Salvation. Jonah 12:38-42

Sinners, Signs and Salvation

Matthew 12:38-42

The Pharisees are back. But this was some of them, not all.  Perhaps just a small number who were having some doubts.  Still, they come with a request, if you like, a PRAYER, and in answering it, Jesus gives a very plain warning, about their unrepentant hearts, and makes the way of the Gospel very plain to them…

1 The Wickedness of a Whole Generation.  38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.

Let’s see this description of the heart of mankind in every generation.  39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign.

  • Evil.  They are evil. Mankind is evil in every generation Romans 3:10 -12  Paul was directly quoting from Ps. 14, a passage the Pharisees would have known very well indeed.  Psalm 14:1-3  The Pharisees knew this doctrine, but the next description must have cut them to the bone…
  • Adulterous.  These were the rigid keepers of the law, how can there be any suggestion of adultery with these well-behaved, religious people.  Of course they were hypocrites, and there may well have been adultery in their wicked hearts, but there is a deeper meaning here, that the Pharisees would well understand. The OT is full of references to Israel, as an unfaithful bride, betrothed to her husband, who loves her dearly, yet whoring after other gods of her own making.  (cf Hosea and Gomer the prostitute wife.) By calling them adulterous, Jesus is succinctly reminding them that they have wandered far from the God with whom they should be in a covenant relationship.   
  • Sensation seekers.  They want a sign. They want some great event, something to excite them and entertain them.  Just like every generation.  The written Word of God, – is not enough for them, they want to see something spectacular.  

So, in effect the Pharisees have come to Jesus with a prayer, a request to the Lord Jesus.  There’s a biblical principle, and it’s found in James 4:3  Their motive for asking was wrong, and their prayer went unanswered. and no sign will be given to it … They did not receive what they sought, YET, in mercy…

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Joel and the Church

Joel and the Church

Text Joel 2:28-32

There are two major sections of Joel that are fulfilled in the Church. God only ever had one church, one people, redeemed by grace through faith alone. The OT church, led by the patriarchs and to whom the prophets ministered, and the NT church, of which we are part, is in fact just ONE CHURCH.  Galatians 3:29   Hebrews 11:39  Let’s see Joel’s two specific prophecies about the people of God, fulfilled in the NT. 

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Jerusalem – Where Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost

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What are Words Worth? Matthew 12:33-37

What are Words Worth?

 Text Matthew 12:33-37

Why are words so important?  The apostle James devotes a whole section of his letter to our speech in James 3:1-10. 

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The Pharisees have used dreadful, vile words against Jesus.  He has healed a man, in in doing so he has demonstrated that he has defeated the devil, but the Pharisees, who hate him, for he has challenged their religious superiority, and exposed their hypocrisy; they become enraged, and attribute his good works to the devil.  It is a lying, vile, blasphemous slur.  (V24)   Jesus devastates their words with logic, he challenges them to repent, while there is still time, and now he reminds them of the importance of words on the day of judgement.  (V37)  Let’s see…

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Reformed Congregational Pastor’s Conference 2019

How great would it be to be at this conference – with such an important topic!

Paul Wannamaker writes:-

This year’s Reformed Congregational Fellowship Pastors’ Conference takes up Chapters 26 & 27 of the Savoy Declaration of Faith: “Of the Church” and “Of the Communion of Saints.” Please plan on joining us April 9-11 at the Wonderland Conference Center, Sharon, MA as papers prepared and presented by colleagues in ministry provide the stepping off point for our consideration of this profound creation of Divine love and mercy.

Click the link to find out more:

Reformed Congregational Pastor’s Conference 2019

 

Joel – Background and Themes

Joel – THE DAY OF THE LORD

Text  Joel 1-2:27

The book of Joel is just three chapters long.  ”Joel” means “Jehovah is God”, all we know about him is that he is “the son of Pethuel” (1:1),  Joel’s exact historical position is unknown.  Because of its foundational prophecies, many conservative commentators place Joel in the very early days of the divided kingdom, perhaps just after Solomon’s reign, around 900BC.  But there are those who date it much later, as recently as around 400BC.  

1. The Great Plague.  

The first chapter of Joel brings us face to face with a great natural disaster in the land.  

  • The great swarms of locusts. 1:2-3  Locusts are like big grasshoppers or crickets.   Harmless to humans – perhaps, singly – but locusts EAT CROPS.  They would swarm in over the fields, so many of them that the sky would be darkened, and they would settle on the fields, and they would strip the crops bare.  1:10-12. In Joel, there had been massive attacks of locusts, so large and destructive that the people would talk about them for years to come.  
  • The illustration of an even more serious plague.  For Joel, hearing from God, these waves of destruction were symbolic of a far great destruction to come.  Some older commentaries note that there are four plagues of locusts mentioned. What the chewing locust left, the swarming locust has eaten; What the swarming locust left, the crawling locust has eaten; And what the crawling locust left, the consuming locust has eaten.  They think this number may be significant – for later in her history Israel would face four great enemies, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Greeks and the Romans.  Whether this is so or not, for sure Joel is likening these destructive pests to the future enemies, who God would raise up against his impenitent people.  1:6 .  
  • The plea to call out to God for help.  When locusts attack, humans are powerless.  Similarly, there is no-one who can turn away the judgement of God.  In the bible, when God’s people grew cold, took his mercy for granted and began to stray away to worship other gods, he brought them back through chastening. There is only one thing to do in the face of such a terrible disaster.  Get on your knees!  1:19 O Lord, to You I cry out;  

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The Unpardonable Sin – Matthew 12:28-32

The Unpardonable Sin

Text Matthew 12:28-32

The kingdom of God has come in the person of Jesus.  But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.  He has proved that to the people and to the religious leaders. He has proved it by a series of proofs, but the Scribes and Pharisees are determined to destroy him and have accused him of healing and casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub, – a shocking blasphemy against Christ. See how he challenges them…

1 How Satan was Bound.   V29  

This is the illustration that Jesus uses to show the Pharisees how he has cast out It’s a PARABLE.  Let’s get to the bottom of this… 

  1. Who is the Strong Man?  It is Satan, – let us not underestimate his strength.  He is a powerful foe.  
  2. Where is his house?  
    1. RIGHT NOW, He has a kingdom, the kingdom of this world, that he holds in his grip.  He is a tyrant who enslaves its citizens.  
    2. IN ETERNITY. Eternally his dwelling place shall be the lake of fire Revelation 20:7-10. Satan will spend eternity in the fires of Hell, not as some kind of ‘king of hell’ as modern myth depicts but being eternally punished for his rebellion against God and he wants to take every human being with him.  
  3. How are his goods plundered?  By the GOSPEL!  Every time a soul is saved, he is plucked from the devil’s grasp, brought from darkness to light, from the devil’s kingdom to God’s kingdom.  
  4. How is he bound? Now this is the really important question, for there are many today who think that this reference to ‘binding the strong man’ is something that we must do. Nothing could be further from the truth.  Jesus gained victory over Satan, and Satan was bound at the CROSS!  1 John 3:8  
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Chained and bound

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Profiting from the Prophets.

Profiting from the Prophets!

 Introduction to ‘Men Spake from God’ Study Series.

Text. Hebrews 1:1f and 2 Tim 3:14-17

The Minor Prophets are a collection of twelve books, the last section of the OT.  They begin with Hosea and end with Malachi.    In our ‘Tabletalk Sessions’ we will be doing a survey of these books for they will help us to understand God’s redemptive plan, how he intervened in history to redeem us from the curse of sin.  In this lesson we will simply try to get an overview and introduction to the section. Of course, God spoke to his OT people through different avenues.  He spoke to them through the Law, and through the priests who administered the law, and ordered the worship of God in the tent of worship and the temple.  Wise men and women gave godly counsel,  2 Samuel 20:16  

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God spoke to His People by the Torah (The Written Law)

God also spoke to His people through the sacred songs of the Psalmist.  Then there were the prophets…

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