The Bible teaches us that all of Scripture is God-breathed, that is, the Scriptures are inspired by God (2 Tim. 3:16). The words of the Bible therefore are not like words you find published in any other book – where words become dated and loose relevance. The words of the Bible are words with power and authority, they are words that have life, words that touch our hearts and awaken us to experience the riches of God’s grace – and this, for all generations who open their hearts to hear God.

The words of the Bible are not just records of conversations that took place in history. If you read a history book today, you can read about conversations that took place between certain people, but you understand that was their conversation, you weren’t included in it. You read as an observer, and are excluded from the conversation. That limitation however, does not exist when we read the Bible. For example, when we read about God speaking to Abraham, we are not just observing what God said to Abraham. We are hearing God speaking to us, and calling us to a life of faith. Or when we read of Jesus rebuking His disciples for a lack of faith, through those same words, He rebukes us for our lack of faith.

So let’s not be mere observers when we read the Bible. May we have ears to hear that God is speaking to us. May we always seek to have open hearts to understand what God is speaking to us, so that through the power of His word we can be renewed and strengthened daily.

There is no other book like the Bible, where by reading it with faith, we become a participant in the conversation, and a participant in the blessing!

The disciples had great joy when they saw the risen Lord. It is our desire at Bethel Baptist Church to stir a joy in the truth that Jesus, after giving His life as a sacrifice for our sins, was raised from the dead, and is now seated in victory at the right hand of God!

Each Sunday night this month we will be focusing on this amazing truth of Jesus’ resurrection. We pray that God will use these services to help us live every day in the triumphant joy that our Lord is alive!

If you would like to be encouraged to live in the joy and power of Jesus’ resurrection, we would love for you to join us. This is a new multicultural, english-speaking ministry that aims to give glory to Christ by making Him known and calling people from different cultures to unite under the banner of “Jesus Christ is our Lord”.

If you live in the Brisbane area, and would like to be part of this, please feel free to join us for worship this Sunday night 11 April at 6pm.

The message of the cross of Christ has always been a message that both saves and offends. There are people who are offended by the cross, while there are others who experience the saving power of the cross.

“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” – 1 Corinthians 1:18

Why is the cross offensive? After all, surely the message that God sent His Son to die for our sins is good news for all? Why would anyone be offended by such an offer of grace?

It is our desperate need for the cross of Christ that makes the Christian message offensive. We need the cross, because we have no power within ourselves to save ourselves – salvation is beyond our human powers. This can be deeply offensive when people want to be proud of their own achievements. There are people who want to be saved, want to be accepted before God, but they don’t want Jesus to make them right with God. Such people want to be able to boast before God of their own achievements. They want their own merit to be good enough. That is exactly how each and every one of us was before we came to Christ. We may have had good desires to be pleasing to God, but we wanted to do it in our own power so we get the glory. We must each face the reality that we are in desperate need, we have been seperated from God, and only Christ can bring us back! Therefore, the glory for our salvation belongs to God!

The cross of Christ tells us that we have nothing to boast of before God. No amount of religion or good works can replace our need for a Saviour. The cross shows us that even despite all our best efforts, we cannot do enough to be cleansed from our sin. The Son of God had to come and sacrifice Himself on our behalf – without Him we have no hope. That is offensive for those who don’t think they need Jesus.

Who were the people who were most offended by Jesus? The religious! The very people who boasted of their own religious works, were the very ones who were offended by Jesus. They were offended because Jesus clearly showed them that their man-centred religion which depended on human power, was empty.

The cross continues to offend people today. However, the cross doesn’t only offend – it saves with power those who believe! Just like a dead man cannot do anythying to lift himself from the grave, so too, no spritually dead person can rise unless the power of God raises them from the dead. Jesus is alive, and all who put their trust in Him, are made alive by His divine power.

“Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” – John 20:30-31

Don’t be offended by the cross. Don’t let your pride stop you from seeing your need for a Saviour. Come to Christ, and experience the power of His saving work!

No Other Saviour

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12

We must be saved.

This cannot be overemphasised. Salvation implies that there is a great danger for those who are not saved. It also implies our inability to save ourselves. No one has the power to rescue themselves from the judgement that we all justly deserve from a holy God. We need to recognise this, and admit that we have disobeyed God, failed to honour Him, and that He is just to punish us. This means that we owe God a debt that we can never repay.

The good news is that we can be saved from this dangerous position. God in His great love for us has made it possible for us to be saved. God hasn’t prvovided many ways to be saved. He has provided one way, that magnifies the love of God, and helps us to see His infinite glory. This one way of salvation helps us to see the indescribable greatness of God.

How can we be saved?

“There is salvation in no one else.” Only Jesus has the power to save us from the dangerous position we got ourselves in by disobeying God. He is mighty to save. Through the blood that He shed on the cross, He made the payment that was necessary to settle our debt with a holy and righteous God. This mighty act of God displays the glory of God. If religion does not lead you to see the glory of God, then it is useless. Look to Christ, because there is no one else (and no other system) that can reveal the greatness of God in a way that satisfies your soul’s deepest needs.

We are either saved by Christ, or we are not saved at all.

Jesus said:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because He has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” – John 3:16-18.

There is nothing more important for us than to be reconciled to God through the glorious work of His Son. It’s such an amazing manifestation of the love of God, that He was the One who took the initiative, entered into human history, and laid down His life for us. People try and to think that they can do just fine without Jesus. They may even try to be religious, try to be good citizens, but they will not realise their need for Jesus, because they want to be proud of themselves. It’s a beautiful thing to come to the point of surrender and realise we are not good enough, we need a Saviour, and the only One who can be our Saviour is the Son of God, who can identify with our humanity, and who being fully divine is able to reconcile us with God.

There is no other Saviour.

Last Sunday, Peter Malins shared with us about his work in Japan, and alerted us to the importance for missionary work in Japan.

Writing for The Gospel Coalition, Mark Rogers writes about the need for mission work in Japan:

“Molds need to be broken among the Japanese people, the second largest unreached people group in the world. After nearly 500 years of Christian witness, the evangelical Christian population is only 0.25%. Missionary work is legal there, but many missionaries labor for years and see very few come to Christ.”

We should pray for Japan and in particularly pray for the gospel workers in Japan who are labouring to see people come to Christ. We should not be discouraged by the statistics. God is at work, and He will make Himself known to every nation! We need to get involved in what God is doing to make Himself known to the world.

You may ask, why should we be so concerned about the progress of the gospel in other countries? The Bible makes it very clear that God is at work across the entire earth to make His glory known among all people groups, in all nations. Here are some verses to remind us of this important truth:

“All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You.” – Psalm 22:27

“I will cause Your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore nations will praise You forever and ever.” – Psalm 45:17

“And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the scroll and to open its seals, for You were slain, and by Your blood You ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” – Revelation 5:9

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20

“Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let Your glory be over all the earth!” – Psalm 108:5

God is glorified where Christ is proclaimed. Christ must be proclaimed throughout the whole earth for the whole earth to be filled with the glory of God, because Jesus is the radiance of the glory of God!

So let’s pray that Christ is proclaimed in every nation, in every language, so that the glory of the Lord will cover the whole earth. God will most certainly do this, and Jesus will be worshipped by people from every tribe, in every language, from every people group in every nation. We have been given this grace to participate in this amazing display of God’s glory among the nations. Let’s be active participants in this mighty work, and begin on our knees, praying for those whom Christ has sent to countries just like Japan, to be His witnesses.

Don’t underestimate the importance of prayer for missionary work. Jesus said:

“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” – Luke 10:2

“For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” – Psalm 1:6.

Many of us don’t like being watched. We don’t like the feeling of someone looking over our shoulders while we are working. It makes us nervous.

However, the Lord watching over us is not something that we should try to avoid, it is a truth in which we should rejoice and depend on! In this Psalm, the Lord promises to watch over the way of the righteous. This does not mean that God sees what the righteous are doing, but doesn’t see what the wicked are doing. It means rather, that God watches over those who are righteous, just like a father watches over his children whom he deeply loves.

This is such good news for us!

  • Why should we fear, when God has promised to watch over us?
  • Why should we be anxious about the future, when God has promised to watch over us?
  • Why should we be afraid of what may or may not happen to us, when God has promised to watch over us?
  • Why should we be afraid of what other people think or say about us, when God has promised to watch over us?

Watching means much more than to see. Another translation of this verse says “The Lord knows the way of the righteous.” God doesn’t just see the needs of the righteous, He is with them! He personally cares for them and guides them.

This blessing of the Lord personally watching over us, caring for us, guiding us, is a blessing for the righteous. It is for those whose joy is in the Lord, and who have been reconciled to God through the glorious work of Jesus Christ. Those who live independently of Him however, will perish.

How should we live under this amazing blessing?

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”

– Psalm 1:1-2

What a great encouragement for a child of God, that wherever we are, or whatever circumstance we face, God has promised to watch over us! “Thank-you Lord!”

Renewed day by day

Champions emerge from the midst of a great battle. A tennis match that is one-sided is not as interesting to watch as match that is a tough, long battle, with one person enduring the pain and difficulties to become the champion. We respect those who refuse to give-in, who endure the pain, and who come out of a battle in victory.

Not every battle however, is worth fighting. A champion chooses which battles to engage in, and doesn’t waste time on small battles that don’t have any significance. The world’s number one ranked tennis player wouldn’t waste his time competing against me! He has more important battles to worry about.

We need to make sure we don’t waste our energies on battles that are not important. The battle that matters most is not an earthly battle, but a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12).

This is the greatest battle we will face, and for such a battle we need strength, and we need a spiritual armour. Human strength won’t do, we need strength from God to win the spiritual battle that we face every day.

The good news is that God provides strength to those who are willing to receive it, and He has an armour for those are willing to take their stand (Ephesians. 6:14-20). He is able to renew our strength each day, each moment. Even though none of us can escape the effects of ageing, we can rejoice that each day we can be spiritually renewed in our inner being.

The Bible says:

“Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16

What grace! Irrespective of what circumstances we are facing now, today is another day to be renewed by the power of God in our inner being. Let’s not miss the opportunity we have today to seek God and be renewed!

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