The greatest Christmas present.

 

 

 

It’s Christmas time again, it comes around every year, shops are packed with people, Christmas music playing everywhere and TV channels taken up mostly with Christmas films. Then someone comes along and makes a video or writes a blog saying:

Put Christ back into Christmas.

Save Christmas!

In this post I am, in a way, asking for those things… but I am not here to attack the commercialisation of Christmas. Instead, I will try to make clear some truths about Christmas. That, yes indeed we want Christ back in Christmas, but not just little baby Jesus meek and mild. We need to think of Jesus as Lord and saviour, King of kings.

I will base a lot of this post around the verse:

 
 
1 Timothy 1:15 (ESV)

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost

 

Yes Jesus did come as a baby but we cannot and should not stray away or dwell on that which will take us from the real reason of Jesus’ coming and that he was to be a sacrifice, as a sacrifice for our sins, so that in his coming he would save all those who trust in him. We must remember this “oh so familiar story” of a child being born in Bethlehem but see it as the coming of a king, The King of Kings, the coming of The Lord of the Earth, the one who would come and save all those who believe in him. We must stick to this, we must not stray or focus for too long on little baby Jesus, but see what this whole event points to…

It points to the child who is a king.

It points to a child who will become a sacrifice.

If you are reading this and you are a non believer you may be sat there wondering, “What is this guy going on about?” But I am saying that to a non -believer Christmas is a time of a hope, that because we are all sinners and we all mess up, that God did not just sit back and watch us destroy ourselves but instead gave us hope.

Hope in Christ…

 

Isaiah 9:6 (ESV)

6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

This child mentioned in this passage is the hope of our salvation, this child is Jesus, prophesised 400 years before Jesus was born. At Christmas time, at the time of Jesus’ birth he had the expectation of being the messiah/ the saviour resting on his shoulders. 33 years later at the cross Jesus has the sins of the whole world upon his shoulders. So that all those who trust in him will be saved. God gave this the greatest Christmas present, this amazing gift of mercy and forgiveness out of love for us.

 

John 3:16 (ESV)

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

So to sum up if you are a believer reading this, stay steadfast and firm to this truth, that Jesus’ coming was the beginning on the steps towards salvation. But don’t sit back this Christmas, tell people about God’s greatest gift, this Christmas share this gift with others, tell others of the love that Christ has for them. If you are a non-believer reading this, please trust in the hope found in Jesus, trust that in him your sins are forgiven. In Jesus you are saved.

Trust the hope of Christ this Christmas.

Have a blessed Christmas.

Gareth

 

Please check out the Facebook page- https://www.facebook.com/scriptureguides?ref=hl

Advertisements

I Could Do A Better Job Than That!

We can not avoid in the news today yet another disaster. Another killing. Another case of child abduction or abuse. This can and does put people off the idea of God. It is easy when you see these things to wonder “if there is a God, why is he idly  watching by? letting these things happen?”

The answer to this is Sin.

The effect of sin is bigger than the damage it has on humans, but also its impact on creation. We live in a fallen world. A world which could be perfect but because of sin is marred.

So where did this all start then, well in Genesis 3.

 

Genesis 3: 17-19

17And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

In this passage then the key verses are 17-18. Because of the sin of taking from the tree of knowledge which God told Adam and Eve to not take from, God cuts them off from all the potential knowledge and power of the tree but also because of their sin informs them that certain things will not work in creation as well as they had done before “The Fall”. When God created the world he declared it good having made it perfect. But now, “Post Fall” the world is not so good, the word used in verse 17 “Cursed” meant the ground was now not considered good but instead fallen, broken.

The way to imagine all this is that now the world is sick from sin. It needs to be given a cure to the disease of sin.

Sin is the cause of all the pain and suffering, all the natural disasters, Pre-fall there is no sign of hurricanes, typhoons, tsunamis and suffering and death. It is only after sin entered the world that the world becomes broken, becomes fallen and imperfect. Soon following the first sin is the first murder, so powerful is influence of sin.

So the reason for all the shocking things that we see on the news are because of the fallen world we live in, because of the sin of our first parents Adam and Eve.

But does this mean God has done nothing about it?

No… Quite the opposite.

 

 

Romans 8: 18-23

18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

 

God had a plan. A rescue plan for creation and for us. One in which he would give his only son up for us and creation.  God saw the effect and damage that sin had on the world. To tackle the infection of Sin, God sent his only son to be a sacrifice for our sins. He came to make us and the world right with him. Jesus came to take away the power of sin by dying on our behalf.

Jesus came to make us and creation righteous. Righteous meaning right with God.

In the passage above we see that as we look and long for the return of Christ, the one who has taken the punishment for our sins, so does creation, it “waits with eager longing”. Creation looks for a release from the bondage of sin just as much as we do.

Does all this mean then that as soon as you become a Christian there is no suffering in your life and in the world around you. Well no. Until Christ returns again there will be death, and there will be natural disasters and famine. But when Christ comes again and we are taken to Heaven we will be in a place of no more tears and no more sorrow. 

 

 

Revelation 21:1-4

1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

This glorious picture of what life will be like when Christ returns, shows us that there is hope. There is hope and an end to suffering. We know that through Christ and only through Christ can the world be healed more importantly only through Christ can we be forgiven “healed” of our sin.

God bless.

G.

Please like the blogs Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/scriptureguides?ref=hl

 

Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: Is it out dated?

Over the past 30 years or so, there has been an increase in radical feminism that has grown out of an outrageous time of male chauvinism, this changed with more women choosing to concentrate on their work life, getting higher up the ladder, and one influence of this in England was with Margaret Thatcher being elected Prime Minister. We now seem to have reached a stage in culture where men are trying to one up women and women one up the men. It seems to be the agenda of the day is more I have to prove I am better than that of the opposite sex. This is not helped with programs like loose women on ITV where a group of women moan about life and their husbands, which is not the best place in which to do that.

The sad thing about all of this is that the biblical view of Manhood and Womanhood is seen as ancient, oppressive and almost like slavery especially in the context of marriage.

I believe this to be an incredible shame. I hope in this post to go through why we should return to these ways, a way which many Christians seem to drift from. Sadly.

So to begin we are going to look at where it all began, where Manhood and Womanhood where first found in The Bible. Genesis.

Genesis 2: 15-18

15The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” 18Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

This is a fantastic passage before God creates Eve, where he realises that Adam the first Man, needs a partner, God says “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” We were created to love, out of love from God. God did not need our love, but we needed something to love. God notices Adam will need someone with him. Now the word God uses is “helper.” DO NOT BE PUT OF BY THIS! It does not mean God created Eve to be Adam’s slave, but someone to aid Adam in his task which God has given him to do, which is to tend the Garden of Eden. So the role of the woman is to help the man in his tasks.

So a woman should seek to support and help the man in her life, she should seek to be his helper. For those who are single should seek in a man someone she should feel she can help and support. All of this desire to help and support should spring out of love.

Genesis 2: 23-25

23Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones

and flesh of my flesh;

she shall be called Woman,

because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

This is shortly after Eve has been created, this is Adam’s reaction to the blessing of Eve’s creation. He rejoices at the fact they came from one. One became two. This fantastic way of creation that God chooses to do, is symbolically put back together in verse 24-25. These verses are marriage based, this shows firstly Marriage is between a man and a woman. But that marriage means more than is sometimes seen in the 21st century. Marriage is the reconnection of a man and a woman together as one.

This is the way men and women were meant to be.

But then the fall…

This is the moment where sin entered the world, it infected it and made everything fallen, as in no longer perfect and how it was created and meant to be.

Genesis 3:16

16To the woman he said,

“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;

in pain you shall bring forth children.

Your desire shall be for your husband,

and he shall rule over you.”

Verse 16 of Genesis, just after the snake has got Eve, then later Adam, to eat of the tree they were not to eat of, Eve is told that she will desire to be for her husband. This means it will be to dominate and try to overpower his rule. To outdo him. This sounds familiar to the state that we find the world in now. Man and woman trying to one up or overpower the other. This is not how Biblical manhood and womanhood should look like.

In the context of a Christian couple trying to live in this way, as with all things it should point people to Jesus. Always to Jesus. The reason why they should choose to live as a couple according to how the Bible says, is so that in that people see Jesus. In a previous post called Marriage is not for me: it’s for Jesus, I gave the argument from Ephesians 5 for the way a Christian marriage should be with a wife showing biblical submission out of Love and the husband loving self sacrificially. The reason why they do that. Well as it says wife submit like the church does for Christ, and husband love your wife as Christ loved the church. If both parties which in marriage are one work together like this, Jesus will be seen in how you live.

As for all Christians even down to the topic of Biblical manhood and womanhood, which yes may not be like preaching or street evangelism is still an effective tool to help people find Christ, because people watch and see how Christians behave and act with God and with each other and through that they could see Christ, and find salvation through him.

To summarize Biblical manhood and womanhood is not outdated, it should not be cast to the side as “the old ways of doing things” but instead should be seen as a glorious way we can point and show people to Jesus. How people can come to know of his love and his grace through the way we are with each other, people can come to know the love of Christ through our love for each other.

God bless,

Gareth.

Like the Blog’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/scriptureguides

True Love Is the Centre, True Love is at the heart, True Love is Jesus!

Before we begin, thanks for all the support and shares from the previous post. I hope and pray it encouraged you, as seeing people soak up what scripture says on marriage did for me.

After my last post, some people have posted certain comments suggesting that I ‘belittled’ marriage, because it was a biblical view of marriage. This post is not to recant of my previous post, but instead this post is to support it. At the end of my last post I spoke about how love is at the centre of a marriage and how love is the reason the wife is willing to submit to her husband, as the Church is willing to submit to Christ because of love. In this same way a husband is willing to sacrifice all for his wife out of love in the same way Christ did for the Church.

Now we have the context of the post let’s look at love. The dictionary definition is:

1. A strong feeling of affection.

2. A great interest and pleasure in something.

But that just doesn’t quite cut it for me. I have a great interest in rugby and maybe I have occasionally in the past said I loved it, but it’s not love. Not true love.

Some scientists have said that love is just a working of the emotions or an accident of evolution. It just happens. But what a mockery of love!

When you meet the person you know you are going to spend the rest of your life with, you are quite literally “head over heels” in love, you don’t think, ‘what a fantastic evolutionary mistake this is!’ No instead you say things like ‘what a reward, what a blessing!’ This is almost as though love is a gift  or something which is engrained in us. We can’t help but love.

Well let’s look what Scripture says, firstly:

1 Corinthians 13

    1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

    4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

    8Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

 13So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

This passage is a famous wedding verse, ‘Love never fails’, it is a great verse for a wedding because this passage should remind couples of one thing, that love is an essential ingredient. You need love in your marriage because otherwise it will fail! This is seen in verse 1 as it says without love you are just a clanging cymbal. Love is important.

Though this love that we have for one another is great and in marriage it is because you have met the person you want to be with forever, what other reason does scripture give for loving?

    1 John 4:19

    19We love because he first loved us.

We should love all. We should love our partners in marriage because Jesus loved us first.

You may be sat there thinking, Jesus doesn’t love me, look at what has gone wrong for me. Well, can I say, Jesus does love you. He loves you so much that when He came to earth, He gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins which we all commit. Jesus was willing to give himself wholeheartedly to be a sacrifice for us. He died so that we may have new life in Him. When God sent Jesus, he looked at you and said “I can see how sinful that person is, and imperfect that person is, BUT I love them! I love them so much I will give my only Son for them!”

THAT’S LOVE!

So when John says we should love because Jesus loved us first, he is right. The love that we show to others, our husbands/wives, boyfriends/girlfriends, our family and our friends should be an outpouring on the unstoppable perfect love that Jesus has for us.

Please understand that Jesus loves you and came and died for you, so that you may have life.

Use that to go and love others.

God bless

Like the Blog’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/scriptureguides

Marriage is not for me: It’s for Jesus!

I was struck recently by a blog that was trending on social media, about a man who had blogged on his revelation that marriage was not for him but instead it was for his wife and future family.

This seems like a romantic gesture which may make us thing “awww isn’t that sweet”. But the reality of marriage is far greater than romantic gestures. We get a sense in the New Testament that the Love between married couples should be deep and profound, but in looking a little more depth we find that the love involved in marriage is a deeper much more beautiful truth.

We are going to focus on the passage found in Ephesians chapter 5:

22Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

This passage which so often can be mistreated, missused or even ignored is a beautiful statement of what marriage should be.  We find in this passage, in Verse 22:

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

Now how many of you stopped reading right there, because that sounds terrible? Why should a wife submit to her husband? Why should she give into him as the leader?  Well that is looking at it in the negative light as is seen so often because of those who claim to be Christians who misuse this verse as an excuse to abuse their wife’s. Well this verse does not condone violence if anything later on in these verses it basically condemns that sort of behaviour. Instead the explanation of the submission that the wife should have to the husband is explained in these verses:

23For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

So verse 23 suggests that the husband is the head of the family, this is a creation institution, pointing back to the time of Adam and Eve, but the key verse that defends the biblical submission of the wife to the husband is mapped out in Verse 24. If the husband is the head, that means he is like Christ (verse 23) so because of the that the wife is like The Church (verse 24). This means the Church seeks to serve and submit to Christ. Any Christian out there part of the Church wants to glorify Jesus and serve him in everyway they can. So the wife should be willing to do this because this is like Paul saying, “Look, what you do for your husband should be a mirror of what you do for Christ in the Church.” You want to serve Christ in the Church and from that should be an overflowing to serve your husband as you serve Christ. All of this is to point people to Jesus. In 1 Corinthians Paul states that if a wife who is a believer has an unbelieving husband and serves him in Biblical submission, it will help point him to Jesus. Now, I am not suggesting for a moment this means the wife does not have to love her husband. That is nonsense. Paul also says in 1 Corinthians that if you do not have Love you are useless, “like a clanging cymbal”. The wife needs to have love for her husband, so through that love she will understand the need to submit to her husband.

So that’s the verses about the wife sorted now we look at the husband.

25Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

So now having seen the wife’s submitting, the men reading this may think they have it easy. But I assure you the men do not have the easy task of these two commands for marriage. To truly understand the enormity of the husbands tasks we need to go back to the Greek.

25 Οἱ ἄνδρες, ἀγαπᾶτε τὰς γυναῖκας, καθὼς καὶ ὁ Χριστὸς ἠγάπησεν τὴν ἐκκλησίαν καὶ ἑαυτὸν παρέδωκεν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς

This may look confusing but trust me this will help explain a lot of things. The word used in this command for love is  αγαπε (ag-a-pae). Two variants of this word come up in this passage. The first is the love that the husband should have for his wife, and the second is the love that Christ has for the Church. Now there are a number of words for love in the Greek language. But here Paul uses the same word. This means that husbands need to love their wife’s in exactly the same way as Christ loves the Church. What does that mean?  Well I’m sure all of you reading this know that means that like Christ who loved the Church so much he came and he died on the cross so that those who believe in him will be forgiven. Which means husbands need to love their wife’s self-sacrificially, being willing to give all they have for their wife’s. This may sound like romantic love, the kind that makes you all warm and fuzzy inside, the kind which makes a good movie. But actually this love, this example of Love that we have for one another can point people to the most amazing, perfect and awesome example of Love that has ever been shown. That is Jesus. Through His sacrifice on The Cross for those who believe in Him. As the well known verse from Johns Gospel says:

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

So please let us see that marriage is about love yes! But Love of Biblical proportions. A love that has lead to the salvation of all who trust in Jesus.

My prayer is that your marriage, your future marriage will not only model this but also that you will come to know( if you do not already) the amazing love, the perfect love which Christ has for you!

God Bless

Gareth.

Like the Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/scriptureguides

Rugby, Beer and God.

In my current post as a Ministry Trainee, I have just enough free time to go and play for the local Rugby Club. I enjoy playing and watching Rugby, but obviously with Rugby there are the obvious things that come with it, The beer… The “man chat” and this post i guess is to see really how a Christian Guy can fit into a Rugby Club, Is this even possible, should Christians be found in such places. Well I can report in my situation I have found that you can have a number of good conversations with people about God. I will look firstly at the biblical reason why we should be there, my personal experience and how we need to be careful, and some tips for anyone else in a similar situation.

Biblical context:

So what does the Bible say about being in a Rugby Club well nothing particular about rugby clubs but certainly about what happens in Rugby Clubs, it says a lot. Firstly drinking, drinking in Rugby Clubs is a common practice, mostly after the games with drinking games for Man of the Match’s and other such trophies. So this drinking culture what does The Bible say a Christian say should have to do with this:

Ephesians 5:17-19

English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK)

17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.

So here it quite clearly states that as Christians we should not be getting drunk which means moderation in the drinking games, it means moderation in the way you behave around Beer and its consumption. It is understanding that drinking is acceptable, but drinking till you are plastered is not good. So moderation of alcohol is acceptable, “watch yourself” It is a case of protect yourself from possible temptation by enjoying drink but not becoming on overly reliant on it.

Secondly Girls, In the Rugby Club context there is a great deal of alpha male, testosterone talk which always ends up about girls, with how many women, lads  have slept with and what they did to/with them. Well lets see what the Bible says about this issue:

1 Corinthians 5

English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK)

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges[b] those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

So this passage seems to suggest that we should not associate with them, that talk about the sexually immoral things they do, but as well as this we do need to be there in those conversations to rebuke and to stand firm that you haven’t gone out and had sex yet because you believe in no sex before marriage, that you do not believe in the sexual immorality and the misuse of the body.  So we do need to be in situations to try to tell people that they need to change from these ways and not that they are the right view to have. We cannot avoid these people and their conversations otherwise we will be seen as hypocritical pious weirdos.

My personal experience:

I have experienced the conversations about sex, the crazy nights out drinking. The great thing about being there in those situations is that I can have conversations with people about Jesus. The usual situation I find my self in, is when I will buy a beer from the bar, there will always be someone who will ask if as a christian I can drink. Apart from being able to get rid of that incorrect view of Christianity, but also because it’s a path into a conversation about God. The reality is, that to get the Gospel to the men of rugby clubs, is not by hoping that one day they will be tempted to come along to church, but we need to get alongside them, love them and tell them the truth of the Gospel.

But we do need to be careful, that by sitting in on the conversations we are not involved in provoking the conversation. we need to make sure we are not equipping people for the conversations and situations, so that we will not be seen as a hypocrite or a liar.

Philippians 1

English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK)

27 Only let your manner of life be worthy[h] of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.

Please do feel free to comment,

Gareth