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Monday, 30 November 2015

The unpopular necessity.

Today, of course, is the Feast Day of St Andrew - the patron saint of Scotland.  My thought, earlier today, was to publish a post about him.  However, as I thought about what I might say, I remembered that Andrew is portrayed, in the Gospel records, as one who brought people to Jesus.  John tells us that Andrew was, originally, a disciple of John the Baptiser who, having spent a day with Jesus, "... found his brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which means Christ).  He brought him to Jesus." (John 1:41-42).  It is John who also tells us that Andrew was the disciple who found the young boy with five rolls of bread and a couple of small fish, and brought him to Jesus - Who then miraculously fed more than 5,000 men (plus women and children!), with twelve basketsful of crumbs gathered up afterwards! (see Jn.6:8 ff.).  On yet another occasion, some Greeks asked Philip if they could see Jesus.  What did Philip do?  He went straight to Andrew, who went with him (and, one must presume, the Greek seekers) to Jesus. (see Jn.12:20ff.)

So, I thought to myself, thought I: "If I could speak with Andrew, and ask him what he wanted me to publish on this "his" day, I suspect that he would simply say, 'Brian - point them to Jesus!'"

The anonymous writer of the Letter to Hebrew disciples of Jesus wrote: "... without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins." (Heb 9:22).  As we begin to prepare for the Christmas season, with its focus (for some of us!) on the wonder of the incarnation - "Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see" - we do well to remember that it is only a part of the greatest story ever told!   If the birth of the Lord Jesus was the beginning, middle, and end, then it wouldn't be much more than a children's Nativity Play.  But, of course, it led to the greatest teaching that has ever been given on the face of this planet; and then to His passion and crucifixion; and on to His glorious resurrection, and His ascension to the right hand of the Father "from whence", as the Apostles' Creed affirms, "He shall come to judge the living and the dead"!  (see my second book, Foundations of the Faith, for much more on the Creed!).

Yes, the Babe in the manger became the Christ of the cross  And it had to be so.  Only His perfect, sinless, sacrifice could pay the debt that we owe, and bring us into a living, personal, fellowship with Father God.  How we need to emphasise, and appreciate more, that infinite Gift of grace that has delivered those who have put their trust wholly, and solely, in Him, from condemnation!  "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Rom 8:1; and I would encourage you to read the whole of that chapter!).  Regrettably, we live in an age when 'sin' is no longer recognised as such by the majority.  Because of that, there are too many who fail to understand their own need of redemption.

Without the all-sufficient sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, salvation is impossible.  That is a doctrine that does not find many friends today.  However, that does not make it any less true.  Think on these words of the old hymn:

"Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are you fully trusting in Hid grace this hour?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?"

I trust that you are able to answer those questions in the affirmative!  If you aren't, but you would like to know more, then either scroll down to the links on the right-hand-side of the blog; contact me at author@minister.com; or even treat yourself to either/both of my books (details at the top).  Alternatively, find a Bible-believing, Gospel-preaching, Christ-centred, fellowship of God's people, and make enquiry there.  Whatever you do - do something.  Your eternal destiny depends on it!

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