The Incarnation / Week 51 – December 18th

The Incarnation / Week 51 – December 18th

2016Devotional 2016Devotional

                                                                The Third Week Of Advent 2016

 

                                                “And without controversy great is the mystery

                                                 Of Godliness:

                                                                God was manifested in the flesh,

                                                                Justified in the Spirit,

                                                                Seen by angels,

                                                                Preached among the Gentiles,

                                                                Believed on in the world,

                                                                Received up in glory.”

                                                                                                                1Timothy 3:16

 

The greatest event of all time was The Day when God became man and dwelt among us. This Day altered our world forever and that of the destiny of every human being whether they acknowledge it or not. There is of course great mystery to the incarnation but the facts of history confirm it. Therefore:

  1. 1. The Incarnation punctuates history.

A decree went out from Caesar Augustus requiring all people in the empire to be registered. (Luke2:1) This was the law that brought Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem and the rest is indeed history. From that time to the present the world generally orders its affairs according to the birth of the Son of God. This alone is amazing!

  1. 2. The Incarnation unveils the nature and character of God.

John declares that no one has seen God at any time but the, “the only begotten God in the bosom of the Father has declared Him.”(John1: 18) Jesus is nothing short of God in the flesh and He clearly affirmed this especially when He addressed the doubts and misgivings of His followers. For in John 14 and verse 9, in response to a question from His Disciples asking Him to show them the Father, He said, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known me…” Not only is Jesus a godman but He is also The Creator!

                “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,

                                 and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.

                                 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing

                                 was made that was made. In Him is life, and the life was the

                                 light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the

                                 darkness did not comprehend it.”

                                                                                                John 1:1-3

(Note also: Colossians1: 16-18; Hebrews1: 1-3)

All of this is quite literally mind blowing but true!

  1. The Incarnation has purpose.

This purpose may be summed up in three ways: Firstly; to satisfy the demands of God’s character by the cross. (Hebrews2: 14-18) Secondly; to defeat the powers of darkness and sin who dominate our lives by the cross. (Hebrews 2:14) And, thirdly; to reconcile us to His Father by the cross. (Hebrews2:8-10)

Thanks be to God for His wonderful gift!

  1. The Incarnation is instructive.

That Jesus left the glory and splendor of Heaven to become man and dwell among us, as a servant in this veil of sorrow is amazing.  This truth should challenge us, by His grace, to walk in the same love and humility. He had status and gave it away in order to serve us! (Mark10: 45) We, because of sin, have no status but we falsely seek it and claim it in our pride and arrogance. We too often have forgotten His incredible example by the incarnation. (Philippians2:5-11)

Who will be like Jesus? This Christmas let us think on these things, share them with our friends and family and praise God for them. Merry Christmas!

 

Malcolm and Cheryl Hedding.

 

The Hope of the World – Week 50 / December 5th

The Hope of the World – Week 50 / December 5th

2016Devotional 2016Devotional

 The Second Week Of Advent 2016

 

                                                ‘Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary,

                                                 for you have found favor with God. And behold, you

                                                 will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and

                                                 shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be

                                                 called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will

                                                 give Him the throne of His father David. And He will

                                                 reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His king-

                                                 dom there will be no end”

                                                                                                                            Luke 1:30-33

 

Here in this simple passage of scripture we have a proclamation that changed the world forever and gave it hope. This passage dispels the gloom of human existence and assures us that God loves us all and has stepped down into this world in His Son to save us and fill us all with eternal hope. The work of Jesus is “forever” and those who travel life with Him will never die since His kingdom will have no end. Good news indeed and worthy of celebration. We should note the following and meditate upon them this Christmas time:

 

  1. A Son whose mane is Jesus

Jesus, or Yeshua in Hebrew, means Savior. The Bible most certainly defines the human being as being “fallen.” That is, lost in hopelessness and gloom because they have rebelled against God and have been banished from His eternal presence. This rebellion against God is called sin. This sin has impacted our natures and consequently our actions in a way that we cannot find our way back to God. We cannot attain to His righteousness and we cannot escape His penalty for our state of existence but God has sent us a Savior whose mane is Jesus. We may ask, “Why did He do this?” The answer is clear; because He loves us!

 

  1. A Son who is the Son of the Highest

Jesus was born of a virgin in order to escape our fallen natures. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit! However, this means that He was begotten and was therefore God in the flesh. That is, perfect God and perfect man, truly a Godman. He lived His life out in a broken, sinful and dark world, resisted temptation, never sinned and then atoned on the cross for our sins. So, by the power of an indestructible life He saves us and reconciles us to God. We are declared righteous and made righteous by His life in us. Rightly do we worship Him and give Him praise.

 

  1. A Son who is King of Israel

Jesus is of David’s line, and is therefore the King of Israel and will come back to reign over the house of Jacob. He will not abandon His people Israel and the promise of her deliverance and blessing is bound up in His soon coming. He will not fail His people Israel and even in this dark hour when anti-Semitism is on the rise everywhere Jesus is getting ready to defend a Jewish Jerusalem and take up His throne. What wonderful news to meditate upon at Christmas time.

 

  1. A Son who will reign forever

Mary’s boy child will rule the universe forever! This is the promise of the Angel sent from Heaven. It is a sure promise and will not fail. Not everyone will share it with Him as only those who have linked their lives to His will go into His eternal kingdom. The world has a King and by Him can live forever but sadly too few embrace and love Him. Upon this simple response hangs the eternal destiny of all people. Quite a thought.

We will shortly celebrate the Son of God’s birth into our world so many years ago and, as we do, let us meditate on these things and hold them dear and close to our hearts just as Mary did. Merry Christmas!

 

Malcolm and Cheryl Hedding

The Season of God’s glorious Light – Week 49 / December 3rd

The Season of God’s glorious Light – Week 49 / December 3rd

2016Devotional 2016Devotional

The First Week of Advent  2016

 

                                                “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us

                                                 and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only

                                                 begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

                                                                                                                John 1:14

Scripture declares that the world is in the grip of a demonic fist. (1 John 5:19) Generally speaking the human race walks, “according to the prince of the power of the air,” (Ephesians2:2) and indeed, as Paul affirms, the devil is the “god of this age.” (2Corinthians 4:4) We should therefore not be surprised at the darkness and evil that envelops our world and sadly, sometimes even our own hearts!

 

Nevertheless, at this time of the year we remember, with much joy, that God’s light dispels the darkness and will ultimately conquer it. The Feast of Dedication (John 10: 22) or Hanukkah reminds us that the Lord of Glory penetrates the darkness by the strength of His love and therefore by His saving light, does great things for Israel and for all those who love Him.

 

The very first Hanukkah celebration took place some 160 years before Christ. Israel was overrun by the evil Seleucid Antiochus Epiphanes who committed the abomination of desolation by placing a statue of Zeus in the Temple in Jerusalem. After a great struggle, which raged for three-and-a-half years, he was finally defeated by the Hasmoneans and by Judas Hasmoneas in particular. The Temple was cleansed and rededicated with a miracle that kept the Menorah burning for eight days until pure Olive Oil, that could only be obtained from the Galilee, was able replenish it. The reality was that they only had sufficient oil for one day! Jesus celebrated this miracle and thereby recognized the intervention of God on behalf of Israel. (John 10:22-23)

 

The message was clear; God’s light will deliver Israel and save her. Today the Iranians, their many proxies and others threaten Israel, as Antiochus did, but they will also fail because they have not reckoned on Israel’s light! Time will most definitely prove this to be true! We thank God that He is the same, yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) and we can then pray with confidence about Israel’s protection and deliverance. Scripture affirms this when it states that the nations will increasingly fall into intense darkness but God’s light will increasingly shine brighter over Israel.

                “Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the

                                 Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover

                                the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will

                                 arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The

                                 Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the

                                 brightness of your rising.”

                                                                                Isaiah 60:1-3

 

Also, at this time of the year, we celebrate the birth of the Light of the World; Jesus of Nazareth. The incarnation story is simple, beautiful and worthy of annual celebration, regardless of the date. God became man and dwelt among us so that we could perceive who He really is and be saved from our sins. John the apostle declares, “No one has seen God at anytime, the only begotten God in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” (John 1:18) What a beautiful way of putting the essence or nature of Jesus. The Father is fully reflected in His life and this reflection is nothing short of glorious and divine! By His death and resurrection Jesus has dispelled the darkness in countless millions of lives down through the centuries and in the world today. In short, His star has brought real hope and joy to the world. Rightly then do we celebrate His birth, as the Wise Men did, and also join the choir of Angels in their songs of praise of the Christ child. This we do with the great expectation that very shortly Jesus will inherit the throne of His great grandfather David and rule forever and ever. (Luke1: 30-33) This is the sure promise of God and when it happens, light will at last cover the whole earth “as the waters cover the sea” and the world will at last be at peace. (Isaiah 11:9) This alone is our true hope and joy.

 

This year Hanukkah and Christmas fall together and this most certainly reminds us that God’s saving light will never be vanquished and that we must place our trust fully in Jesus who is the true light of the world. Without Him our world will only continue to experience darkness and hopelessness.

 

May the God of Israel shine His light on you and your loved ones at this special time of the year and thereby fill you with His love and joy! Even so Lord Jesus come quickly!

       Merry Christmas to you all!

 

Malcolm and Cheryl Hedding

 

The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit / Week 47 – November 14th

The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit / Week 47 – November 14th

2016Devotional 2016Devotional

“Behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in
the city of Jerusalem until you are clothed with power from on
high.”
Luke 24:49

Definition of terms
1. Salvation
The Bible teaches that there is a work of the Holy Spirit upon the repentant sinner’s life whereby he or she is regenerated and receives the gift of eternal life. The nature of this saving work of the Holy Spirit is described by Paul in Titus 3:5-6:

“But when the kindness and the love of God our Saviour toward
man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have
done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the
washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.”

2. Power
The Bible teaches that there is a work of the Holy Spirit upon the believer whereby he or she receives power to witness and serve Christ in the world. This work is called the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. The nature of this work of the Holy Spirit is described by Jesus Himself in the Gospel of Luke chapter twenty four and verse forty-nine.

Exposition.
In Ephesians 1:13 Paul clearly states that after they believed and were saved they were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. Once again the wording is similar to that of Jesus in that Paul refers to the, “Holy Spirit of promise.” This promise they received after they had accepted the Gospel and had believed. Jesus, in John’s Gospel, gave a similar understanding of the twofold work of the Holy Spirit as defined above in John seven and verses thirty-seven to thirty-nine. That is, those believing, meaning the saved Disciples would receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. The Disciples were not saved or regenerated by the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost! They were in fact saved when Jesus called them and that’s when they were “born again”

Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus in John three illustrates this as He rebukes Nicodemus for not being born again even though he is a “teacher in Israel.” This life giving born again experience is imparted, according to Jesus, by the Holy Spirit who comes to the repentant person like the wind. (John 3:8) It is important to note that it would not be right of Jesus, or even rational, to rebuke Nicodemus for something that he could not experience until the resurrection of Jesus. Nicodemus and the Disciples were all saved and regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Without this life giving work in their hearts they could not go out as Jesus commanded them to teach and heal! The unsaved or unregenerate cannot heal the sick, cast out devils and even preach.

The Day of Pentecost, as confirmed by Jesus’ own words, was the reception of power by the Holy Spirit by which the disciples could go out into the world and be Jesus’ powerful witnesses. It is important to note that this remains the exclusive context of Jesus’ admonition to the Disciples in terms of being baptized with the Holy Spirit. This is certainly undeniable! Note: Acts1:8.

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has
come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in
Jerusalem, and all Judea and Samaria, and to the end
of the earth.”

Evidence
The position put forth above is borne out by the historical record of the preaching of the Disciples as we find it recorded in Acts.
1. The believers were baptized with power on the day of Pentecost (Acts2:1-4)

2. The people in Samaria received the message of the Gospel and when the Disciples in Jerusalem heard of it they went down to them to pray for them to receive the Holy Spirit. (Acts 8:14-17) So this demonstrates that they were not baptized in the Holy Spirit when they first yielded their lives to Christ; they were instead regenerated or “born again” by the Spirit. In fact, they were even baptized in water as a public confession of their faith but had not received the Holy Spirit in power. If they needed to be saved this is indeed strange terminology and practice because it means that people baptized in water were not actually saved! Unsaved people need to be led through repentance and the reception of Christ. These were not unsaved people; they were saved and had already been baptized in water!

3. Acts 19:1-6 is a very clear example of this twofold work of the Holy Spirit in that there were believers at Ephesus who had become such through the powerful preaching of Apollos. The context makes this very clear. Paul found them and asked if they had received the Holy Spirit when they came to faith. In one way, of course they did but they didn’t know it because they had received Christ into their hearts by the Holy Spirit. They were just not baptized with the Spirit and thus after baptizing them in water Paul laid hands on them and they were filled with Spirit.

4. The early Disciples were baptized in the Spirit on the day of Pentecost but thereafter they were filled time and again with the Spirit (Acts 4:31). This is precisely why Paul exhorts all believers to be constantly filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18) This is not a reference to the losing of their regenerated life in Christ but to the fact that we allow things to creep into our lives that weaken our power in Jesus to serve Him effectively in the world. We must receive the command to be filled with the Spirit as by doing this we will keep our lives clean before God since He gives his Holy Spirit to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32).

History
There are those who reject the position I have outlined above and instead assert that believers in Jesus get everything the Holy Spirit can give them, including the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, when they repent, receive Jesus and are saved. The problem with this theory is that the church groups that teach it have no manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in their congregational life. That is, if you attend their meetings you will never hear tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy and singing in the Spirit! The churches that do embrace what I have written above do.

 

This leaves the “nay sayers” in a dilemma in that they have to do one of three things:
1. Humble themselves accept that they are wrong and change their theology and practice.
2. Reject the reality of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit as a separate experience and thus, 3. Assert that what Pentecostal churches experience is fake! In some cases, they even claim that it is demonic!

Most will not humble themselves in this respect, as many of us had to, and so they reject the teaching of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with its manifestations of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and instead claim that these are indeed fake as they ceased 2000 years ago. To support this notion, they invariably quote 1 Corinthians 13:10 out of context. Paul is here speaking about the perfection of eternity and is in no way claiming that the gifts of the Holy Spirit passed away with apostolic period.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are the tools that God in Christ gives us in order to impact the world with the love of Jesus. The disciples needed them before going out into the world and so do we. They will only come to our lives when we are Baptized with the Holy Spirit and clothed with power from on high. It is no coincidence then that the fastest growing part of the Church of Jesus Christ today is the Pentecostal one or is it all fake?

Malcolm Hedding

The Lesson of the High Holy Days – Week 42 / October 12th

The Lesson of the High Holy Days – Week 42 / October 12th

2016Devotional 2016Devotional

                  Leviticus 23: 23-24; 1Corinthians 10:11

(A)    The Three Great Pilgrim Feasts of the Lord
1.    The Feast of Passover…The entrance to the Kingdom of God.
2.    The Feast of Pentecost….The power of the Kingdom of God. (The Word and the Spirit of God)
3.    The Feast of Tabernacles….The triumph of the Kingdom of God.
Paul attended these; not as an obligation but as a celebration. (Acts 20:16)

(B)    The High Holy Days
1.    Rosh Hashanah……The “head” or beginning of the year.
2.    Yom Kippur…….The great Day of Atonement.
3.    Tabernacles…..The triumphant dwelling of God with man. (Rev 21:3)

 
(C)    Rosh Hashanah………….The New Year!
Passover constitutes the beginning of spiritual life. God says, “This will be the beginning of months (new life) for you.” (Exodus 12:1-2)
Rosh Hashanah constitutes the preservation of spiritual life! It is a trumpet or wake up call to God’s children to take stock of their spiritual lives. It is therefore characterized by the blowing of trumpets (Shofars). Or, it is God’s alarm clock calling us to awake from our spiritual slumber! (Ephesians 5:13-21) It mirrors the coming day of the judgment of believers. (Romans 14:10-12)(1Corinthians 3:13-15)

It’s all about how much we love Jesus. If we truly love Him with our first love we will happily and easily live out His life within us. (Rev 2:4) I loved my wife so much that when I was courting her that I happily cycled 12 miles to see her for twenty minutes and then cycled back home a further twelve miles!! Are we cycling for Jesus?

 
(D)    Yom Kippur
The wonder, awesomeness and beauty of the message of the cross. (Gal 6:14) Yom Kippur takes place ten days (2times 5) after Rosh Hashanah. Five is the number of grace in the Bible. So, David picked up five stones by which to slay Goliath and the church is beautified by a five-fold ministry of Apostles, Prophets, teachers, Evangelists and Pastors. (Ephesians 4:11) God’s work in us from beginning to end is one of grace! (Ephesians 2:8)

On Yom Kippur two Goats are brought into focus; the Lord’s Goat and the Scapegoat or Azazel. The Lord’s Goat is sacrificed and its blood placed on the Mercy Seat in the Temple by the High Priest for atonement. A beautiful picture of Christ’s finished work on the cross! The Scapegoat has the sins of the people confessed over it and it is released into the wilderness; a picture of our freedom from sin and guilt but also of our freedom from the oppression of the Devil. Azazel in Hebrew means, “the one that opposes” and is considered by Jewish theologians to be a
reference to the Devil and Demons! Jesus not only delivered us from our sins but also from the hands of the Devil! (Hebrews 2:14)(Acts 10:38) We have much to praise Him for.

(E)    Tabernacles
The Feast of Tabernacles is a celebration of God’s sovereignty, provision, care and triumph for His redeemed people. It recalls the wilderness wandering of the Israelites and how they lived in unstable booths with leafy coverings and were thus exposed to the elements and many enemies. God cared for them, filled them with joy, delivered them from their enemies and brought them to the Promised Land.

It is a Feast for the entire world to celebrate as God in Christ has redeemed for Himself a people from every tribe and tongue (Revelation 5:9-10) and will shortly, by Jesus’ coming, gather them all to His visible Kingdom. (Zechariah 14:16-17; Acts 1: 11). It is primarily a Feast of joy and gladness since it exhorts God’s people to rejoice in all that He has done for them. Until that day arrives we will trust Him for everything, be thankful and joyful and remember that, before Him, we are giants and our enemies are grasshoppers!

Malcolm Hedding

Prayer Horizons – Week 40 / September 29th

Prayer Horizons – Week 40 / September 29th

2016Devotional 2016Devotional


 

            Now in the morning, having risen a long while before day-

            light, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and

            there He prayed.”

                                                            Mark 1:35

 

            “And take up the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the

            Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all

            prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this

            end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”

                                                            Ephesians 6:17-18

 

 

 

Prayer can be defined as talking to God. This, of course is a very simple definition of the practice and yet it is true. More definitely, prayer is working with God to bring forth His purpose in the world. This is a privilege that every Christian should shoulder. The Bible clearly teaches us that all of life is to be handled with prayer but indeed there comes a time when prayer must move away from concentrating on ourselves but rather on the will of God for the world around us. The great intercessor Rees Howells bore the prayer burden of saving Britain from Nazi invasion during the Second World War. God heard him and did just that!

 

Jesus invites us into a meaningful prayer life and in this study I want us to lift our horizons to see what types of prayer we can move into if we are prepared to enter this adventure with God. Prayer is hard work, it demands discipline but God does nothing without it! It is also rewarding because we observe the hand of God moving in response to it. Prayer is thus the ultimate demonstration of a life that is fully submitted to god!

 

The Call to Prayer

 

“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers,

 intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,

 for Kings and all those who are in authority, that we may

 lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”

                                                1 Timothy 2:1-2

 

      It will be noted from this passage that there are different types of prayer. Namely; those that plead with God (supplications), those that please God (prayers), those that do for others what they cannot do for themselves (intercessions) and those that give thanks. It will also be noted that our state of national security and peace is dependent upon the people of God praying in these ways! No wonder Jesus said that His house should chiefly be a “house of prayer for all nations.” (Mark 11:17)

 

The Nature of Prayer

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according

to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal

but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the

knowledge of God……”

                                                2 Corinthians 10:3-5

 

There are five types of prayer in the scriptures and these, as far as Paul was concerned, constituted our mighty weapons for the ”left and right-hand.” At some point we need to learn how to pick them up, as our effectiveness is dependent upon it!

 

Responsive Prayer

This is caring and instant prayer that introduces the recipient to the love and grace of God. Jesus employed it when upon the cross He prayed, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.” We call it the “Let’s pray model.”

 

Conditional Prayer

Prayer is made powerful and effective by lives that reflect the character of God. Clean lives attract the power of God. James wrote that “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much”. (James 5:16) Peter warns that if husbands do not treat their wives in a godly way God will not hear their prayers! (1 Peter 3:7) God honors the prayers of godly men and women.

 

Importunate Prayer

This is the type of prayer that never gives up. It is sincere and earnest and those who utter it cast themselves on the grace and mercy of God like Cornelius did. (Acts 10:1-4)  The early church also employed it on Peter’s behalf. (Acts 12:5) Jesus said, “Keep knocking and the door will be opened up to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

 

Battle Prayer

This type of prayer takes hold of the Word of God and its promises and holds them up before God until He does what His word proclaims.  (Isaiah 62:6-7) Daniel prayed in this way and consequently great spiritual strongholds, that held the people of God captive, were brought down. (Daniel 9:1-3) A great spiritual stronghold in our nation is that of abortion. The Word of God is against it and believing Christians can bring it down but this will demand dedication and commitment. Paul acknowledged this realm of prayer when he wrote that out conflict is “not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)  Meanwhile other spiritual strongholds are growing and threaten to engulf us with evil. We must lift our prayer horizons urgently and deal with these dark powers.

 

Regular Prayer

The early Church believers were together all the time in regular prayer meetings. (Acts 2:42) Prayer was undoubtedly  “the lungs of the Church.” They could not survive without it and so the book of Acts states, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication…” (Acts 1:14) It is from regular prayer that the local Church derives its power and we would see more evidence of the power and presence of God amongst us if more people would gather in this manner. The fact that too often the prayer meeting is the smallest weekly meeting of the local church is evidence of our spiritual weakness. We will not change our world until this changes. Indeed we will sing and shout the victory but it will remain just words! (Exodus 32:18)

 

The Content of Prayer

As far as Paul is concerned prayer should cover all things in life. He again wrote, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known unto God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) Prayer has more to do with our mental well being than we imagine or care to admit.. Anxiety leads to fear and fear to depression and prayer is the way out of these crippling mental disorders.

 

I firmly believe that we should employ the “Lego Principle” in living this out. That is, enlarge your prayer life by adding new issues and topics to it all the time; just as one adds one Lego piece to another. If you are faithful and regular in this you will not believe how God can use this and thereby entrust to you a memorial that will be raised up in heaven before Him. God answers prayer like this.

 

Malcolm Hedding

 

 

False Teachers – Week 36 / August 29th

False Teachers – Week 36 / August 29th

2016Devotional 2016Devotional

 

“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways.”

2 Peter 2:1-2

 

 

The Bible warns that the end time, designated by the restoration of Israel, will be characterized by false teachers. These will introduce destructive heresies that will lead the people of God into deception and error. These days are certainly upon us and we should be aware that deception is close enough to the truth to be embraced as truth! Only a close walk with Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit, will protect us from these spiritual delusions.

 

Deception almost always attacks the truths surrounding the cross, the nature of Jesus and the truth about end time events. Paul teaches us that if teachers come preaching strange doctrines about the cross they should be resisted and damned. (Galatians 1:8-9) Strong words indeed but if the message of the cross is corrupted we end up with no gospel. Martin Luther struggled against this problem and at great cost restored the meaning and significance of the cross to the Church. Jesus alone saves us by enduring the wrath of God on the sinner’s behalf on the cross. We cannot save ourselves and it is only He, by His substitutionary death on the cross, who saves us. It is all grace and not of works lest we are tempted to boast. We are put right with God by faith alone!

 

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.”  1 Peter 3: 18

 

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,”

Ephesians 2:8

 

One of the great false teachings besetting the church today is that of Kingdom Now or what is called Dominion theology. Its popularity lies in the fact that it is very triumphant and promises the believer power and influence in and over the world. A positive message like this is easily embraced and indeed the scriptures can be twisted to make it look and feel like truth. It is not.  In fact, it is a great deception.

 

Its essential nature is that Jesus cannot come again until the world has been Christianized. That is, the Church must take dominion over the structures of the world and become the dominant influence in all spheres of society before Jesus can come again. They call this assuming control over the so called “seven mountains” of human endeavour. One strong propagator of this deception recently stated that one’s eschatology must be influenced by one’s missiology. What he meant was that Jesus told us to disciple the nations and thus our vision of the end time must be that of global conquest and dominion for Christ. This will be achieved, we are told, by a new type of anointing of the Holy Spirit that the Church has not witnessed before. For many unsuspecting Christians this teaching is exciting, very positive and triumphant. However, it is not biblical as it totally side lines the significance of Israel’s modern day restoration which enjoys huge biblical verification.

 

The truth is, the kingdom of God, in its final glorious nature, will be ushered in by the coming of Jesus to a restored Jewish Jerusalem. This is the clear teaching of scripture and indeed, just prior to this glorious day, the Church in all the world is going to suffer a great persecution and a great falling away. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3; Revelation 13: 7) This my friends is the picture scripture paints of the end times. Very dangerous days are ahead of us and we need to be sounding the alarm. The warning signs are everywhere. Beware of false teachers!

 

This in no way means that the Church should huddle away in fear. No, we must do all we can to preach the Gospel as a witness to the world and we must strengthen our spiritual lives by coming out of the world and living holy lives. (Revelation 18:4; Hebrews 12:14) Anything less than this will leave us weak and unprepared for all that is coming. So then our eschatology should not be defined by our missiology but by the word of God! This precious “word” must be read and taught in context and not in pretext.

 

Malcolm Hedding

Denominational Leaders – Week 35 / August 22nd

Denominational Leaders – Week 35 / August 22nd

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“…besides the other things, what comes upon me daily:  my deep concern for all the churches.” 2 Corinthians 11:28

“The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the messengers of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.” Revelation 1:20

“For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are la King, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you.” Titus 1:5

 

 

While attending various meetings of late, including prayer meetings, I have noted the disdain that people have for denominations. Disparaging comments about these are made as if it were spiritual and a badge of maturity to put denominations and their leaders down. Sadly still, others stand by and let this happen. Now of course I realize that exclusivism is dangerous and unacceptable but, to be honest, I mix with and preach for a lot of denominational leaders all over the world and I have rarely found any of them caught in the sin of exclusivism and pride. On the contrary I have found them to be open minded, kingdom orientated and determined to harness their strengths as a movement in order to do more for the expansion of the Kingdom of God. Truly those who put them down are saying more about themselves.

 

Who can deny the amazing impact that denominations have had on the world. Multiple thousands of people and in some cases millions of men, women and children have been and are being swept into the Kingdom of God. Just last year I visited the Apostolic Faith Mission denomination of Namibia only to find out that in just twelve months they had reached 219,000 people for Christ and this in a country of only two million people. They had successfully harnessed their churches to ” assault” the nation for Jesus. An independent non-denominational church would never be able to do this. Now I could go on and on talking about the multiple hundreds of thousands of people that denominations are winning to Christ everywhere but the point is made. We must stop being sectarian and carnal and appreciate all the various manifestations of the true church in the world. We grieve the Holy Spirit when we denigrate His work in the world and we should desist from doing so.

 

Now I am certainly not endorsing denominations that depart from the truth of God’s word, embrace liberal and liberation theology and deny the place that Israel holds in God’s plan of world redemption. These certainly exist as do independent churches that propagate these errors as well. I am simply drawing attention to the fact that we must honour God’s work everywhere and those who pursue it no matter the banner flying over them.

 

It is worth remembering that the denominate expression of the Church in the book of Acts is the denominational form of it! Paul went out from Antioch to plant churches and these he strung together under the care of an Apostolic Band from which he gave correction, ministry and care to the churches. They were, in a good way, his churches and consequently they had a common way of working and thinking and thousands of people were won for Christ. In fact, it is because of the denominational work of Paul that we have the many wonderful Epistles of the New Testament. So, we should be a little more humble and careful when talking about denominations, The Wesley brothers built and left us a denomination that in its hay day swept millions into the Kingdom of Heaven. One can have and should have concerns about Methodism today but one cannot deny that for two centuries and more it was God’s engine to save souls on a scale hardly seen before. Powerful denominations came out of the Azusa Street revival and some of these are still winning millions to Christ all over the world.

 

We must pray for denominational leaders and bless them. Jesus wrote to the seven churches of Asia and viewed them as being strung together by the “messengers of the churches.” These “messengers” are gift ministries or preachers that hold them together and bring Christ’s message to them. The whole denomination was His concern and still is!

 

Malcolm Hedding

 

The New Motivational Speakers – Week 34 / August 15th

The New Motivational Speakers – Week 34 / August 15th

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   “But there were also false prophets among the people

even as there will be false teachers among you, who

     will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying

the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves

swift destruction.” 2 Peter 2:1

 

 

For some time now a new breed of Pastor has appeared on the horizon of Christian endeavor. This new preacher is a motivational in style and content. For these preachers the major themes of the Bible are neglected in favor of what they call “positive projection”. All of this is designed to make the hearer feel comfortable and not challenged. Consequently, the great doctrines of the Bible having to do with the wrath of God, sin, hell, the cross and repentance are neglected if not totally ignored. The call to live crucified lives is never made and so what we have is churches filled with people who really know very little about their faith, if anything at all. One wonders what type of Christians these people are and no doubt when trouble, trial and suffering comes they will fall away and abandon what little faith they have. The problem lies with unfaithful preachers who use their pulpits to “tickle the ears” of their people.

 

Both Peter and Paul warn us about preachers like this and so even the early church was filled with false teachers who led people astray. Paul calls them wolves as behind all the sweet talk and positive projection was the ravaging teeth of a beast determined to corrupt the body of Christ.

 

          “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock,

         among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers,

         to shepherd the church of a god which He purchased

         with His own blood. For I know this, that after my

        departure savage wolves will come in among you, not

         sparing the flock.” Acts 20: 28-29

 

All this means that we must seek refuge in churches where the whole counsel of God is faithfully preached. The most blessed style of preaching is that which wounds and heals by addressing the great biblical themes of sin, the wrath of God, repentance, the cross, grace, a crucified life and the soon coming of Christ. Don’t be fooled by the motivational preachers and get yourself into a local church where Jesus is really preached and honored. The time is really too short to play around.

 

Malcolm Hedding

Having Been Justified by Faith – Week 31- July 28th

Having Been Justified by Faith – Week 31- July 28th

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                        “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace

                         with God through our Lord Jesus Crist, through whom

                         also we have access by faith into this grace in which we

                         stand, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not

                         only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that

                         tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance

                         character; and character hope. Now hope does not dis-

                         appoint, because the love of God has been poured out in

                         our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

              Romans 5:1-5

 

Definition:

The term justification means that all the legal and righteous claims that God has against you are fully met and settled and no longer count against you.

  1. The nature of God’s claims against us

That we:

  • Rebelled against Him thus questioning His love for us.
  • Transgressed (sinned against) His laws and thereby questioned the nature of His character.
  • Became His enemies and thereby revolted against His rule.
  • Willingly partnered with His antagonist Satan and thus questioned His power.

Consequently we were:

  • Given over to death and separated from God
  • Given over to the wrath of God
  • Given over to bondages of all types….and;
  • Given over to despair
  1. The nature of our deliverance

Is by faith. This implies that we trust someone other than ourselves to save us and it underscores the fact that we can do nothing to save ourselves. We were truly helpless and given over to what the Bible calls “dead works” (Hebrews 6:1). Our very best efforts at attempting to do good could not satisfy God’s righteous claims over us; we could not be justified by them! We were truly doomed and only a perfect Godman could save us. As John the Apostle discovered no such person could be found on earth. (Revelation 5:3-4)

Jesus, by His death, burial and resurrection satisfied every single claim that God ever had against you or will have against you. By His death He brought the blessing of being justified to our lives. This is what we mean by being free! It is by having faith in Jesus finished work on the cross that you can begin a new chapter in your life with very blessed eternal consequences! (Romans 5:6-11)

  1. The nature of our new life in Christ

We have:

  • Peace with God
  • Access to God’s real presence. Note that we “stand” in this glorious place.
  • Much joy. This joy is inspired by the expectation of a fully transformed life; body, soul and spirit! The very image of God in all its brilliance will be restored to our lives. This will happen when Jesus comes again (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
  • A firm foundation upon which to stand as life’s troubles assault us; all the while knowing that these troubles become redemptive.
  • A true hope because, by virtue of being in Christ, we have received and already enjoy a real deposit or down payment of our heavenly future. The Holy Spirit, the very agent of Jesus, makes this unique blessing real to us!

 

Malcolm Hedding