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Passover People – Simon the Crossbearer

Simon the Crossbearer

Mark 15:16-32 Esp.Mark 15:21 And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.

I wonder how many times it has happened – someone is just walking along a road, minding their own business, when they stop to look at something unusual happening, something that distracts them from the everyday events of life – and suddenly they find themselves caught up in an unexpected drama, – maybe even becoming an unwilling participant in a life-changing incident? That was what occurred to me when I read the story of Simon of Cyrene, – probably just an ordinary man, going about his ordinary business. One minute he was an unconcerned passer-by, a foreigner visiting Jerusalem for a religious pilgrimage, and the next he was suddenly thrust into the greatest drama ever, God’s eternal plan of redemption.


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Peter’s Denial

Mark 14:53-72  

In this study we see another man who betrayed the Lord, but who, when he repented had a totally different outcome than Judas – Simon Peter, a man who was a failure as a Christian, as a follower of Jesus, – just as we all are today, no matter how successful in life we may be – Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Yet Peter is the opposite of Judas – for when Peter repented, he returned to Christ and was forgiven and was useful as an apostle, a preacher, a church leader, – a believer.  But how did Peter become synonymous with failure, when he seems to have had such strength of character? Think about this for a moment…

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Secular Humanism

Read: Romans 1:18-32

The secular humanist is not a person to be sneered at, or to be mocked or to be regarded as a rare specimen and forensically examined. In Romans 1:18, Paul speaks about how “…the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness” The righteous wrath of God against sin is demonstrated in many ways, both in this world and in eternity, but surely one of the most damning and dreadful forms of expression of that wrath must be when God totally abandons a soul to its fate. God has given them up.  


Of course there have always been unbelievers and atheists and sceptics, but where did ‘humanism’ come from? Let’s do a very quick and sketchy survey of the history of humanism:-

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Judas the Traitor

Text: Matthew 26 and 27

In this study we are looking a little at a very solemn and serious subject –  we are looking at the man who betrayed the Lord, – Judas Iscariot. It is an important subject, – important for the unrepentant sinner who needs to prepare to meet God, important for the Christian who has grown cold in heart, or fallen by the wayside, and in so doing has heaped more pain upon the Saviour’s head – a serious warning to persevere. Hebrews 6:4. Let’s see:-

1. The Character of Judas.

So, what kind of a person was Judas Iscariot:-

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The Repentant Life

Catechism Class. LD32 Q87

1st Corinthians 6:9-11  

Our catechism class deals with REPENTANCE.  Christians will agree that you cannot come to Christ without acknowledging that you are a sinner, repenting of your all sins and trusting Christ.  But there are some who believe that no further repentance is necessary.  That is untrue.  The Christian life is a life of repentance.  The Christian who thinks that when you are converted you no longer sin is living in total delusion.  We are forgiven, but we are not yet perfect.  That is still to come. 

The Heidelberg Catechism is arranged into three sections, Guilt, Grace and Gratitude.  Sin, Salvation and the Believer’s Thankful Response, – the Christian life. The catechist places Q87 in section 3, our grateful response, emphasising that repentance is on ongoing aspect of our Christian lives is one of the evidences of conversion, a grateful response to God’s work in us. So he asks this question:-  

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From Death to Life!

Text: Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.  Ezekiel 37:1–14.

We have reached chapter two. Ephesians chapter one is full of superlatives, – an amazing charge through the wonderful works of God on behalf of his people, his elect, his church. Now we come to Paul’s clear declaration of the Gospel of Free Grace in Ephesians 2.

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The Head and the Body

Text: Ephesians 1:22-23 (Supp. Readings 1st Corinthians 12:4ff, Col 1:15-19).

Paul is going to remind us that Christ is ALREADY the head of the church, which is his body. So, Paul is illustrating our relationship with the risen ascended Christ like this: “CHRIST is the HEAD and the church is HIS BODY.”  Let’s explore those two important ideas…

1. The Head of the Church. and gave him to be the head over all things to the church  

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The Downpayment

Text: Ephesians 1:13-14 

Paul tells us that the Ephesians were ‘sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise’ Let’s ask some relevant questions about this strange phrase:-

  1. When Does This ‘Sealing’ HappenIn whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 

I’m going to suggest to you here that this ‘sealing with the Spirit’ is an essential part of our personal salvation, that his is all something that happens to every believer at conversion. I’m emphasising this, because there are good, gospel preaching pastors and preachers who believe that this ‘sealing’ is a separate event a spiritual work in the believer, where they obtain a second work of grace, or a second blessing, or come to a realisation of assurance in the faith. This is a view held by entirely orthodox preachers. For example, Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones viewed the sealing of the spirit as a separate, later spiritual dealing in the life of the believer, and one that must be SOUGHT by the believer. Now, despite my admiration of Lloyd-Jones, I do strongly disagree with him on this matter. Here’s why:-

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Catechism Class. Lord’s Day 30 Q81-82

Who May Take Communion?

We’ve been looking at the Lord’s Supper, and learning about the true meaning of the bread and wine that we see spread before us on the communion tables of our churches. There’s one final consideration. We must ask “Who may come to the table, and partake in the Lord’s Supper?”  The catechism steers us on a moderate course, and does so with great warmth and encouragement in two questions and answers, Q81 and Q82. Read 1st Corinthians 11:17-34.  

1 Who is worthy to come to the Lord’s Supper?

Well of course, we all know that only Christians, believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, trusting in him alone, are invited by the Lord Himself to His table, but there are conditions, as our catechism will point out in Q81 We are asked, “Who are to come to the table of the Lord?” The answer is “Those who are truly displeased with themselves because of their sins and yet trust that these are forgiven them and that their remaining weakness is covered by the suffering and death of Christ, and who also desire more and more to strengthen their faith and amend their life. But hypocrites and those who do not repent eat and drink judgment upon themselves.” We are all unworthy communicants who could never clean up our lives enough to come into the the presence of Christ. Even as Christians we are sinners, until the day we die, and even our best works, are tainted by sin, because we ARE sinners. It is AS sinners, saved by grace that we come to the Lord’s Table. Q81 teaches us:-

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The Holy Spirit of Promise

Text: Ephesians 1:13-15

We need to look at this passage of Paul’s first chapter to the Ephesians very carefully, and in these few verses, quite a few important questions confront us. Questions like, Who is the Holy Spirit? Why is He the Spirit of ‘promise?’ What does it mean to be ‘sealed?’ When does this ‘sealing’ occur? What does Paul mean by the ‘Earnest of our inheritance? What is this ‘purchased possession, and how was that ‘possession’ purchased? Whose glory is Paul speaking about? In this lesson we will look at that most basic question, “Who is the Holy Spirit of Promise?”

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