The LORD God, There Is No Other 01

Text: Deuteronomy Ch 04 Part 01

Sermon by Andrew Zekveld

The South African Expositor’s Podcast

The Triumph Of Death – Special Episode

This is Clint’s Easter Sunday sermon, I post it in its entirety for your enjoyment. Lord willing we will be back on regular Luke next week

Text: Luke 24:21

Sermon by Clint Archer

The South African Expositor’s Podcast

Ascension Day

Today is ascension day. Did you know that? It is not a day much celebrated in the modern evangelical church. Yet on that day an important event happened and we would be wise to examine it.

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.
And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes,
and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. Acts 1:6-12

Christ's Ascension

The first things to know is that this day, the last remnant of Israel’s original idea of Messiah passed away. A fair number of prophecies are about how God will restore Israel, and also that His Messiah will come from the line of David and rule forever. Now bearing in mind the context of their bondage to the Roman invaders, the Jews of the time believed that when the Messiah comes he would overthrow the Romans, blast them out of Israel, then restore the Kingdom.

But that was not Jesus’ purpose at that time. His purpose was to live perfectly, die a substitutionary death on the cross, rise again, and then leave, sending the Holy Spirit. From heaven He will then build His church which He established. This was why for a while He told people He had healed to tell no one. Also, when after feeding the 5000 (plus women and children) He get on a boat. He knows that the people will try and make Him king because He gave them food. And they rush around trying to find Him.

However at the culmination of all the events, after 40 days of showing Himself and teaching post His resurrection, Christ is now returning to Heaven. His disciples, who are all Jews, still assume that He will be restoring the Kingdom of Israel then, in their lifetimes.

And so they ask Him “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (vs 6). He gently rebukes them, squashing all of their hopes, saying that it is not for them to know when the Father has ordered by His own authority. He then gives them comfort by promising the the Holy Spirit and commissioning them to be witnesses starting in Jerusalem and stretching to the ends of the world.

The next thing we see is the promise of the Holy Spirit. This is not the first time Jesus promises the Spirit, but it would be one of the most comforting. They would receive power (specifically to be witnesses), when (not if) the Holy Spirit comes. In this passage we also see the commission reaffirmed one last time. The apostles, and every disciple after them, began preaching Christ. Starting in Jerusalem, they scattered to their neighbours, Samaria, and till today, there is not a continent in the world where the Gospel is not heard somewhere. As disciples of Christ ourselves, we also take upon us this commission.

And then the event happens. Christ lifts up and goes up to heaven, in a cloud. The apostles, in obvious awe at what just happened, and probably still a little bemused at having their understanding of the Kingdom completely altered, stand around staring at the sky, two angels appear and tell them that Christ will return in the same way. They then return to Jerusalem to wait for the promised Holy Spirit, which will eventually come at Pentecost.

Disciples looking up to heavenAnd that is the story of the ascension. And we still wait for His return. That is maybe the most important lesson from this event. Christians have always, and should always be anticipating and be ready for the return of Christ, something that could happen at any time.

All the Lord’s best to you

 

I Will Be Their God!

One of the websites that has helped me very much is gracegems.org. They send out a free daily email with a quote, usually of a Puritan. Each quote is an excellent little gem of truth and well worth signing up for. I have collected a large number of these emails and thought I would promote them by posting one each week. Again sign up today at gracegems.org.

 

I will be their God–and they will be My people!” Hebrews 8:10

So has Jehovah purposed in reference to all the chosen of His love! In this gracious and holy purpose, is wrapped up all present and future blessedness. He who has God to be his God–cannot lack any good thing; but he who has not God for his God–lacks everything really and truly good.

If Jehovah is your God–then all His glorious perfections are engaged and employed for your welfare:
His mercy will supply all your needs;
His power will conquer all your foes;
His wisdom will direct your way;
His faithfulness will answer your prayers;
His justice will maintain your cause; and
His infinite love and grace will be displayed in all His dealings with you!

If God is your God, then . . .
His promises–are your heritage,
His precepts–are your rule,
His doctrines–are your present paradise,
His Son–is your Saviour and King,
His Spirit–is your Sanctifier and Tutor,
and He Himself–is your everlasting portion!

If God is your God, then He will freely confer on you all good things at present–and crown you at last with everlasting glory. He will . . .
guide you continually,
chasten you occasionally,
receive you graciously,
and bless you indeed!

If God is your God, then all things are yours; things present, things to come; life, death, the world–all are yours!

If God is your God, then all the resources of eternity and all the treasures of time–will, if necessary, be employed in your spiritual and eternal benefit. This is the highest point of blessedness and honour–and this honour have all His saints.

(James Smith, “The Believer’s Companion in Seasons of Affliction and Trouble” 1842)

Creation, Why God Made The World

In Part 1, we examined how God made the world, now I move onto the next question, why? The fact is, God is totally self sufficient and self satisfied in Himself as trinity. He certainly did not need to create a universe let alone fill it with creatures who rebel against him at every turn. So why did He?

The bible tentatively answers the question in the following way.

  1. The ultimate answer to this and every other question is For His Glory. This is the complete overarching tenant of scripture. The end for which all things happen is to ultimately give God glory. Ultimately, I believe that everything in the universe is created and will inact itself out such that God receives the maximum amount of glory possible.

    For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:36

  2. The next reason that God created the world is For Jesus Christ.

    For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for
    him. Colossians 1:16

    The verse pretty much says it all. One of the reason’s that the Triune God created the world was for Christ, but not only for Him, but also by Him.

  3. The final reason so that God can demonstrate His attributes. This is probably the most specific reason and the one that will take the most explanation.

    But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

    God has many attributes, holiness, grace, love, mercy, wrath, justice, omniscience, omnipotence etc. Now some of these can be clearly seen regardless of creation, however some can only be seen in the context of creation. Take the attribute of love, as described in the verse above. In one sense, God can show love within Himself as Trinity, but the love He has for us is a different love, it is a love for a father to his utterly rebellious son. A clearer example is the attribute of God’s justice. God cannot demonstrate justice unless there is something to be judged. Same with grace. If nobody had sinned, nothing could ever perceive or receive God’s grace. Also read about God’s call to Moses in Exodus 6 & 7 

    So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD. Ezekiel 38:23

    God created the universe so that His attributes could be seen and ultimately He would get more glory.

A Question Mark

This is a very quick look into the ‘why’ of creation. In a sense the bible is a bit quiet on the subject. Like many things, it never comes out and just says: “the reason for such-and-such is…” Now, in part, it is true that it would be a little idle to speculate on a subject the bible is directly silent on. God knows what He is doing and that should be enough for us. Yet, the bible is not completely silent. We can piece together a theology of “Why God…” from various clues left in scripture. Just be careful however. It   is never wise to speculate further than what is clearly written down in the text.

For a little more reading on this subject, I recommend this excellent alternate source at CARM

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