Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath

unnamedRemember when you were at school and you were told that science and religion were incompatible?  You were told to choose between scientific facts and religious faith? Well, not any more! “Scientists turn to God to save the planet” was the headline in the Independent on Friday.

“Two of the world’s leading scientists have made an unprecedented call on religious leaders to spark a “massive mobilisation of public opinion”, insisting that only through God can we save the environment.

Writing in the journal Science, Cambridge University’s Partha Dasgupta and Veerabhadran Ramanathan, of the University of California, have made an impassioned plea for help in curbing the “potentially catastrophic” effects of what they call “the ongoing abuse of the planet’s natural resources”.

Naomi Oreskes, professor of history of science at Harvard University, said the call was a remarkable development in the world of climate science.

“This is a watershed moment. For 20 years, scientists have been reluctant to speak out on the need to change business as usual for fear of being labelled ‘political’ and reluctant to address the moral dimensions of climate change for fear of being labelled ‘unscientific’,” she said… “I think a lot of people see the religious contribution as a cosy topic which we should only discuss on Sunday mornings, but it could prove decisive.”[1]

I think you will agree that so far, this sermon series on Jesus and Creation has been far from a ‘cosy topic’ only for ‘Sunday mornings’. Some of us have been troubled and disturbed as we have considered the devastating consequences of climate change globally, especially on the poor and vulnerable. From the scriptures we have been reminded that Jesus is Lord of Creation, and that we are responsible to him to be good stewards of the earth entrusted to us. Jesus is also Lord of the covenant God has made with the earth. All of creation is connected, all of creation is significant and all of creation is to be cherished.

Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath (Luke 6) from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

Howard Snyder says:

Here is the biblical basis for a theology of creation care. In the biblical view, earth’s creatures and species are to be “stewarded” for four key reasons: God created them; God delights in them; we depend on them; they are part of God’s larger plan…. [because] Salvation Means Creation Healed.” Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath rest too.  Continue reading

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The Acts of the Apostles: An Introduction

The Acts of the Apostles: An Introduction from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

We are going on a journey this term.[1] A journey back to the first few years of the life of the early church, from its small beginnings in Jerusalem to the day the gospel finally reached the centre of the known world, Rome. We will be discovering how the Holy Spirit inspired and energised the followers of Jesus to fulfil the Great Commission to proclaim the gospel and make disciples of all nations. Standing between the Gospels and the Epistles, the Book of Acts is a bridge between the life of Jesus and the ministry of the Apostles. As such, it provides invaluable insights into the Missionary strategy and methodology of the early Church. In this introduction we want to consider the authorship, the purpose, the themes, and an outline of the Book of Acts.

The Title of Acts

The title of Acts is somewhat misleading, for only a few of the apostles of Jesus are mentioned in the book. In reality, Acts relates primarily to the missionary journeys of Peter and Paul, and involves a time-span of about 32 years– from the Ascension of Jesus (about A. D. 30) to Paul’s imprisonment in Rome (about A. D. 62).

It could however just as easily be titled “The Acts of the Lord Jesus” or more accurately “The Continuing Acts of the Lord Jesus” for Acts 1:1 reads,

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Jesus is Lord of the Covenant: Genesis 9

Global sea levels rose about 17 centimeters (6.7 inches) in the last century. The rate in the last decade, however, is nearly double that of the last century. But that is only one indicator of global warming. CO2 levels reached record levels in 2013, according to new figures published by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). They show that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased last year at the fastest rate for nearly 30 years, and currently 142% higher than levels in 1750, before the start of the industrial revolution. Michel Jarraud, secretary general of the WMO said, “We must reverse this trend by cutting emissions … We are running out of time.” Atmospheric CO2 is resulting in the increased acidification of the seas. Every day, the oceans take up about 4kg of CO2 per person. Globally that equates to 24 billion kilos daily. Based on ice samples taken from deep under the Antarctic surface, the current rate of acidification is unprecedented in over 300 million years. What is the effect of all this? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2014 report insists that, at our present trajectory, we could see a devastating 5C or even 6C of warming by 2100.[1]

Want to know what 5C would look like? Not for the faint hearted.

Such a rise … would have cataclysmic and irreversible consequences for the Earth, making large parts of the planet uninhabitable and threatening the basis of human civilisation… It would cause a mass extinction of almost all life and probably reduce humanity to a few struggling groups of embattled survivors clinging to life near the poles… Very few species could adapt in time… With the tropics too hot to grow crops, and the sub-tropics too dry, billions of people would find themselves in areas of the planet which are essentially uninhabitable… Hundreds of millions will also be forced to move inland due to rapidly-rising seas. As world food supplies crash, the higher mid-latitude and sub-polar regions would become fiercely-contested refuges. The British Isles, indeed, might become one of the most desirable pieces of real estate on the planet. But, with a couple of billion people knocking on our door, things might quickly turn rather ugly.”[3]

To avoid this, we need a dramatic reduction in fossil fuel use replaced by the use of renewable energy. Jarraud says, “We have the knowledge and the tools … to try keep temperature increases within 2C to give our planet a chance and to give our children and grandchildren a future. Pleading ignorance can no longer be an excuse for not acting.”[4]

Last week, we began this short series of studies on “Jesus, Creation and Climate Change”. We read Psalm 24 and discovered “Jesus is Lord of all Creation”.

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Garth Hewitt, Reem Kelani, Beth Rowley, Blake – Gaza Benefit Concert: Saturday 13th September

All funds raised will go to humanitarian relief in Gaza via Amos Trust Partners.

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Psalm 24: Jesus is Lord of all Creation

Global sea level rose about 17 centimeters (6.7 inches) in the last century. The rate in the last decade, however, is nearly double that of the last century. All three major global surface temperature reconstructions show that Earth has warmed since 1880… the 20 warmest years having occurred since 1981 and all 10 of the warmest years occurred in the past 12 years. Glaciers are retreating almost everywhere — including in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska and Africa. NASA data show Greenland is losing between 150 to 250 cubic kilometers (36 to 60 cubic miles) of ice every year. Antarctica is losing another 152 cubic kilometers (36 cubic miles) of ice per year.[1] The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC (2,500 of the world’s top climate scientists) predicts temperature rises of between 1.5°C and 4.8°C by the end of this century. If global warming of more than 2°C is not avoided, impacts from extreme weather will lead to significant food shortages, large-scale migration and inevitable wars and conflict.[2]

But not everyone is convinced. Dave Bookless in Planetwise writes,

“Many people say climate change is the biggest threat our world faces today. I beg to differ. Its not that I doubt the scientific consensus on the threats posed by melting ice-caps, changing weather systems and warming oceans. Nor am I blind to the terrible effects these … are already having, on wildlife, the poor, and ultimately all of us. The reason is this: Climate change is a symptom of a far bigger problem. Imagine if… science had discovered a ‘cure’ for climate change: a magical solution to absorb all the excess greenhouse gases. Imagine that the … clock was turned back … 200 years of industrial pollution were no longer going to cause ice-caps to melt, oceans to expand, forests and coral reefs to die and hundreds of millions of people to be forced to migrate. Would we then have a perfect world with no environmental problems? Sadly… ‘no’. Forests would still be destroyed, oceans over-fished, resources over-exploited… Dangerous pesticides and chemicals would still be causing huge problems to ecosystems and human health. People in rich nations would still be consuming enormous amounts of the earth’s resources and living energy-hungry lifestyles, while those in poor countries would struggle just as hard to find food and water… Climate change is simply the most obvious symptom of a much, much deeper sickness… we have got our relationship with the planet all wrong… we have been living in a way that simply cannot continue. We cannot solve this problem simply by better technology and a few hard political choices. It goes deeper than that, right to the heart of who we are. We need to rethink not just how we treat the planet and its creatures, but who on earth we think we are as human beings.”[3]

Last week, US Secretary of State John Kerry said it was our biblical “duty” to confront climate change.

“Our faiths are inextricably linked on the environment. For many of us, respect for God’s creation also translates into a duty to protect and sustain his first creation, Earth, the planet. Confronting climate change is, in the long run, one of the greatest challenges that we face, and you can see this duty or responsibility laid out in Scriptures clearly, beginning in Genesis. And Muslim-majority countries are among the most vulnerable. Our response to this challenge ought to be rooted in a sense of stewardship of Earth, and for me and for many of us here today, that responsibility comes from God”.[4]

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Malachi and the Lord Jesus

malachiMuch of the news this week has focused on the murder of James Foley, the American journalist killed by IS in Syria. The US-based Committee to Protect Journalists estimates that about 20 journalists are missing in Syria. Many of them are believed to be held by Isis.

They have made the news because they are British and American. But the fate of the hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced peoples of Iraq and Syria who make up the minorities, the Alawites, Shia’s, Kurds, Yazidis and Christians has been less well documented.

On Friday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that a broad array of countries must unite to stamp out the “cancer” of the Islamic State group. Describing its “acts of sheer evil,” Kerry said the Islamic State group has “demonstrated the ability to seize and hold more territory than any other terrorist organization, in a strategic region that borders Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey and is perilously close to Israel.”

That is one reason why on Friday the UK’s terror threat level has also been raised from “substantial” to “severe” or “highly likely” for the first time since 2010.

The people of Malachi’s day were as frustrated as you may be over the lack of justice in our world. They were troubled by the corruption of their day, they were irritated by the inequalities, they were perturbed by the injustices they saw all around them. And they began to question whether God really cared. They blamed God for their suffering. They questioned God’s integrity. They even went as far as to accuse God of tolerating injustice. What did they say?

malachi from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

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Gaza Benefit Concert with Garth Hewitt and Friends

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King David and Jesus the Anointed Son: Psalm 2

crownWhich is your favourite Psalm? Which do you think is the most popular Psalm of all? Which is the most frequently quoted, the most likely memorised, or the most repeatedly sung? Psalm 23. But which is the most frequently quoted Psalm in the New Testament? This one. Psalm 2. What does that say about us? Perhaps we are closer to the sentimentality of Victorian paintings of shepherds and sheep than we are to the Early Church who saw this as a psalm of Jesus. In its initial sense, the psalm is clearly referring to the coronation of David.

It predicts the opposition he will experience as king and looks forward to the eventual subjugation of his enemies. But beyond any doubt one greater than David is described here. There are several phrases in this psalm, which are not at all applicable to king David. Not even the highest angel could warrant the affirmation, “You are my Son; this day have I become your Father.” (Psalm 2:7; Hebrews 1:5). And just as that title was inapplicable to David, so it could never be said of him, that God would make “the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.” (Psalm 2:8). Moreover, the expression, “Kiss the Son,” (Psalm 2:12) implies an act of divine worship.

It is clear then, that this psalm describes, not earthly, but heavenly things. Who then is “the Lord’s Anointed”?

King David and Jesus the Anointed Son: Psalm 2 from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

!–more–>History shows that this Psalm was understood to have Messianic significance well before the coming of Jesus Christ. Which perhaps is why Psalm 2 is quoted by the Apostles Peter and John in Acts (Acts 4:24-28). By Paul in Acts (Acts 13:32-33). By the writer to Hebrews (Hebrews 1:5; 5:5). And by John in Revelation (Revelation 2:26-27; 12:5; 19:15-19). Why?
Why was this psalm so important to the Early Church? Because they recognised in it a beautiful prophecy concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. What was it then that they appreciated and perhaps we need to rediscover? This short psalm contains four profound truths that reveal different aspects of the gospel.

1. Resistance to God is Foreseen: Because Jesus is Hated by the Nations

Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the LORD and against his anointed, saying, “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.” (Psalm 2:1-3)

This psalm plunges straight into the question that is on the front pages of every newspaper today. Why is this world in such a mess? The answer? Because our world is in a state of defiant rebellion against Almighty God. Because our world has fallen so far from God’s intention. Matthew Henry observes,

“One would have expected so great a blessing to this world should have been universally welcomed and embraced, and that crowns and sceptres on earth should have been laid at his feet; but it proves quite contrary.

Never were philosophers or princes opposed with so much violence as the doctrine and government of Christ.”

This psalm describes a great struggle. The struggle against God the Father and the Lord Jesus. Heaven and hell are contesting and the battleground is earth. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, writing at the height of the Cold War and living under Communist control in Russia saw the spiritual dimension in this way:

“But the fight for our planet, physical and spiritual, a fight of cosmic proportions, is not a vague matter of the future; it has already started. The forces of evil have begun their decisive offensive. You can feel their pressure, yet your screens and publications are full of prescribed smiles and raised glasses. What is the joy about that?”

From the very beginning of this psalm we are hurled headlong into this conflict.

1.1 The extent of the revolt

“Why do the nations conspire?” (Psalm 2:1)

1.2 The determination of the revolt

“The rulers band together (Psalm 2:2)

This It the same word used of the way Goliath defied God.

Around 297AD The Roman Emperor Diocletian was so confident he had destroyed Christianity from the Roman Empire, he had two monumental pillars raised in Spain on which was written,

‘Diocletian Jovian Mazimian Herculeus Caesares Augusti for having extended the Roman Empire in the east and the west and for having extinguished the name of Christians  who brought the Republic to ruin.’

and on the other,

‘Diocletian Jovian Mazimian Herculeus Caesares Augusti for having everywhere abolished the superstition of Christ for having extended the worship of the gods.’

Little did Diocletian know that within 40 years the entire Roman Empire would be declared Christian. Joseph Stalin tried the same strategy in the last century. He had no more success. The irony is that his own daughter Svetlana became a believer. This kind of deliberate, premeditated rebellion against God is not confined to atheistic regimes. It is endemic in our country too. The extent of the revolt. The determination of the revolt.

1.3 The purpose of the revolt

“Let us break their chains” (Psalm 2:3)

Defiant independence from God = cosmic rebellion. The barbarian influence on education began as early as the middle of the nineteenth century with the innovative and compelling ideas of Freud, Darwin, Fauerbach, and Marx. Each called into question the idea of a transcendent moral law. As a result, the former President of Harvard, Derek Bok said this:

“During most of the twentieth century, first artists and intellectuals, then broader segments of society, challenged every convention, every prohibition, every regulation that cramped the human spirit or blocked its appetites and ambitions… They have made it clear that their prime enemy is the Judaeo-Christian tradition of metaphysics. With that destroyed, terms like truth, good, evil and soul can be discarded.”

C.S. Lewis describes the subtlety of this rebellion in his book, The Screwtape Letters:

“The greatest evil is not done in those sordid ‘dens of crime’ that Dicken’s loved to paint… It is conceived and … moved, seconded, carried and minuted… in clean, carpeted, warmed and well lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars, and cut fingernails, and smooth-shaven cheeks, who do not need to raise their voices.”

It is endemic. It is instinctive. Just ask yourself whose name is the most frequently used swear word? Why?

Resistance to God is foreseen: Because Jesus is hated by the nations: The extent, determination and purpose of this rebellion. But…

2. Rebellion Against God is folly: Because Jesus is King of Kings

“The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.”(Psalm 2:4-6)

Notice: Christ’s rule is holy. Therefore this is an unrighteous rebellion: His law is legitimate. Therefore this is an unreasonable rebellion: Christ’s rule is omnipotent. Therefore it will be an unsuccessful rebellion: Three reasons:
The impotence of such rebellion is laughable (2:4)
The displeasure of such a God is ominous (2:5)
The purpose of such a God are overwhelming (2:6)

Resistance to God is foreseen. Rebellion against God is folly.

3. The Rule of God is Proclaimed: Because Jesus is Judge of all Peoples

“I will proclaim the LORD’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father. Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” (Psalm 2:7-9)

Having heard in the first six verses what people have to say about Christ’s kingdom, now the Messiah replies. Verse 7 is speaking of a coronation. This promise was first made to King David through the prophet Nathan.

“When your days are over and you go to be with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever.I will be his father,and he will be my son.I will never take my love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor. I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.’” (1 Chronicles 17:11-14)

Solomon in all his glory never fulfilled this promise. But the Lord Jesus did.

By divine appointment: Jesus is the King (2:6)

By divine nature: Jesus is the Son (2:7)

By divine inheritance: Jesus is the Heir (2:8)

By divine rule: Jesus is the Judge (2:9)

God the Father is speaking of when Jesus was publically declared to be the Son of God, when he formally took up his inheritance and his titles, after his resurrection.

“regarding his Son, who as to his human naturewas a descendant of David, and who through the Spiritof holiness was declared with power to be the Son of Godby his resurrection from the dead:Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 1:3-4)

Before the resurrection the deity of Christ was largely a hidden truth, glimpsed only occasionally by his disciples. We hear them when Peter answers Jesus’ question “Who do you say I am?” Peter replies,

“You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus replies, “for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in Heaven.” (Matthew 16:17)

These two titles, ‘Messiah’ and ‘The Son of God’ are only found together in the New Testament after the resurrection. But that revelation was disclosed here in this very psalm. That is why the psalm could so confidently assert the end of the reign of evil. Jesus is the King. He is the Son. He is the Heir. He is the Judge. This truth is not only messianic but missionary too. Because it is true, there is hope for the world. That is why Jesus echoed this psalm when he commanded his disciples to go and take the gospel to the ends of the earth. Resistance to God is foreseen. Rebellion against God is folly. The rule of God is proclaimed. Therefore…

4. Repentance to God is wise: Because Jesus is a refuge to all who seek him

“Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling. Kiss his son, or he will be angry and you and your ways will be destroyed, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” (Psalm 2:10-12)

In these concluding verses we are urged to respond to the Messiah. Passive indifference to the claims of Jesus is no better than active and wilful rebellion. The only hope for this world is ‘Islam’. That is right. You heard me. ‘Islam’ is the Arabic word for ‘submission’. Arab Christians use it when they sing “I surrender all…”

The only hope for this world is in submission to the Lord God Almighty expressed in submission to his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Submission is expressed in the willingness to ‘Kiss his son’. This is not the romantic kiss on the lips but the kiss on the feet, the kiss of the hand, of the cheek, of the shoulder. The kiss is deeply symbolic in Scripture. There is the kiss of agreement and reconciliation between brothers (Jacob and Esau). And there is also the kiss of betrayal (Judas). How should we understand the kiss described here in Psalm 2. Commentators tell us it has three dimensions.

4.1 The kiss of submission to his authority

When Samuel anointed Saul king of Israel, he kissed him, as a sign of his submission to the power that was now vested in him. Now Jesus is “seated as King upon God’s holy hill in Zion and demands that all should acknowledge him as their supreme Lord and only Saviour (Romans 14:11). While our human nature recoils at the idea of submission, this is what we must do if we are to be honest and truthful when we call him, “The Lord our Righteousness.” (Philippians 3:9; Jeremiah 23:6).
The kiss of submission to his authority.

4.2 The kiss of love for his sacrifice

In Bethany, shortly before his crucifixion, Mary expressed her love for Jesus when she “kissed his feet” (Luke 7:37-48). Jesus forgave her sin.

Faith in Christ is far far more than an intellectual assent to the gospel. We also must feel in our hearts, and express, in every possible way, a fervent love for him. Peter describes Jesus as ‘a precious stone’ Do you view Jesus as precious? We must delight ourselves in contemplating on his beauty, and maintaining fellowship with him. (1 John 1:3)
The kiss of submission to his authority.
The kiss of love for his sacrifice

4.3 The kiss of devotion to his service

Both Job and Hosea describe how Pagans worship their deities by kissing their images (Hosea 13:2; Job 31:26-27).

When Paul was about to leave his brothers and sisters on the beach at Miletus in Acts 20, it says “they all wept as they embraced him and kissed him.” (Acts 20:37). In Jakarta this week, we kissed a lot. It is an Middle Eastern tradition for men to kiss one another on the cheek as a sign of friendship and devotion. In this sense also we are to “kiss the Son,” in devotion to his service unlike Judas who through a kiss betrayed his Lord.

The kiss of submission to his authority.
The kiss of love for his sacrifice.
The kiss of devotion to his service.

By this kiss we enter a covenant of friendship. A covenant of grace. The final beatitude in this psalm reads, “Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” What fear and pride interpret as bondage at the beginning of this Psalm is shown to be in fact our very security and bliss. Herein is the gospel:

It is a universal promise: ‘rulers of the earth’
It is an unequivocal promise: ‘all who take refuge’
This is an unconditional promise: ‘Blessed are all who take refuge in him.’

In his book, Future Grace, John Piper says this:

“We do not earn or merit anything by taking refuge in God. Hiding in something makes no contribution to the hiding place. All it does is show that we regard ourselves as helpless and the hiding place as a place of rescue. The condition we must meet to have this grace is not a meritorious one; it is the condition of desperation and acknowledged weakness and need. Destitution does not demand or deserve; it pleads for mercy and looks for grace.”

This psalm leaves us in no doubt of the grace which inspires the call to come and enter a right relationship with God through the Lord Jesus. In Jesus we come face to face with the grace of God. God’s grace to those who haven’t sought it, for those who don’t deserve it, to those who can’t earn it, and who will never ever be able to repay him for it.

Let us pray together.

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Haggai and Jesus: The Chosen Servant of the Lord

6a00d8341fd10e53ef01543212b437970c-320wiWhen you were young, who were your heroes?  Who did you want to become like? Who did you pretend to be? Whose posters adorned your bedroom walls? 

As a child I can remember playing Cowboys and Indians and pretending to be the Lone Ranger. For some reason none of my friends wanted to be Tonto. Then it was Scott Tracy of Thunderbirds, then it was David McCullum as the Man from Uncle, then 007, James Bond. What about pop stars? Who did you idolise? While my mother probably wanted me to grow up to be like Cliff Richard, on a good day I presented to be Paul McCartney of the Beatles. On a bad day it was Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones. But, strumming a tennis racket and growing my hair long didn’t make me a rock star. 

In the 1970’s I graduated to the Beach Boys and even made myself a full sized surfboard at school but it didn’t float! In the 1980’s when Steve Ovette was competing against Sebastian Coe for an Olympic place, I bought myself a tracksuit and went through a jogging phase. My attempt to improve my fitness didn’t last more than a fortnight. 
In the 1990’s when Tiger Wood was winning every golf tournament, I went and bought myself a new cap and putter to improve my game but it hasn’t worked, yet… I suspect I am not alone.

Aspiring to be like someone else is natural. Whether it’s a positive or negative role model seems to depend on whether you are a parent or a child. Did your parents ever encourage you to be like Jesus Christ?
 The amazing truth is that God created you for nothing less than to become like Jesus Christ.

Haggai and Jesus: The Chosen Servant of the Lord from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

From the very beginning, God’s plan has been to make you like his Son, Jesus. This is your destiny and purpose. Rick Warren, in his book, The Purpose Driven Life, reminds us we were planned for God’s pleasure. We were formed for God’s family, and were created to become like Christ. This is our greatest privilege and our lasting motivation. That is why Sunday by Sunday we have been studying the Old Testament discovering that Jesus Christ is indeed in all the Scriptures. Jesus is central to every book of the Bible.

That is because God’s plan from the very beginning of creation has been that we come to know and love him through his Son, and that we become like him through His Spirit.

“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” (Romans 8:29)

Today we come to the Book of Haggai something special about Jesus, but along the way we are also going to discover what a little motivation and prioritizing can do for an entire nation. Please turn with me to the Book of Haggai. By the way, the quickest way to find it, is to look in the index for the page number. You’ll get there quicker than the person sitting next to you just flicking through at random…
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Zephaniah and the Day of the Lord Jesus

Zephaniah317When you think of God, what comes to mind?  For many he seems distant, remote, impersonal, unknowable. And that is tragic because until we know who God is, we can never know ourselves, or our purpose in life. In our series ‘Christ in all the Scriptures’ we have been discovering that the he is central to every book of the Bible. We’ve had a taster for the Bible study Jesus gave the disciples:

“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27)

Zephaniah has been called “The Compendium of all prophecy”. Zephaniah points to what the Gospels proclaim: Jesus is our Lord and Saviour, he is our Judge, our Prophet, our High Priest and King. And because he fulfills these roles on our behalf, wonder of wonders, he can be our friend too. There are three great themes in Zephaniah. The Day of the Lord (Zephaniah 1); The People of the Lord (Zephaniah 2); The Name of the Lord (Zephaniah 3).

Zephaniah and the Day of the Lord Jesus from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

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