Posts tagged ‘Preachers’

February 24, 2012

Daily Devotionals: (Feb. 24th) It’s All About Christ

by colinmercer

The New Testament Church: Learning from the first disciples of Christianity

Reading: “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Acts 2:46–47

It’s always good when reading scripture to note words, phrases, or themes that appear regularly. The repetition of a certain subject is not by accident. If God speaks on an issue once, we must pay attention. But when He speaks numerous times and sometimes with the same words on a particular theme, we would be fools to ignore it.

For the third time God highlights that the early New Testament church was in one accord. That is an amazing statement given the political and social makeup of the church. There were people from different backgrounds, political persuasions, and cultures, but they are all in one accord.

From a human perspective this kind of unity would be impossible! So what was the uniting factor? It was Christ! They had a common Saviour; their hearts were knit together through Him. But we need to note also that this harmony was promoted in the absence of selfishness and pride.  The saints worshipped together and looked out for each other. They fellowshipped together and they laid aside financially so that others could be helped. There was a spirit of sacrifice, humility, and selflessness.

If there are two things that threaten to destroy the witness of the church, they are selfishness and proud individualism. The Christian life is not about me. It is about Christ.


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February 23, 2012

Daily Devotionals: (Feb. 23rd) Smile, Jesus Loves You

by colinmercer

The New Testament Church: Learning from the first disciples of Christianity

Reading: “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Acts 2:46-47

When bumper stickers were more in fashion a few years ago one of the most popular said, “Smile, Jesus loves you.”

But that slogan really misses the point of the gospel. It doesn’t address the great issue of sin or make clear that the real joy that Jesus gives is freedom from sin. It falls horribly short of the core truths of the gospel. True Christians—those who have been born again of the Spirit of God and who have therefore been brought into a saving union with Christ—and only true Christians have cause to be glad!

Real happiness is inseparably linked to salvation. That’s obvious from our text for today. The newly converted saints in Jerusalem continued daily in a spirit of gladness. They enjoyed being Christians. Despite the persecution of the church and the difficulties they faced, the early disciples knew that they had been delivered from their sins, from their guilt, from the wrath to come and that’s reason to smile!

The psalmist said, “Happy is that people whose God is the Lord.” Does your knowledge of the Lord make your heart smile? When you read His Word or hear it preached do you praise Him? As you face the trials and troubles of life do you grit your teeth, grin, and bear it? Or do you rest upon the Lord and rejoice in Him and trust Him in every circumstance? Can you smile because you know Jesus loves you?


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February 22, 2012

Daily Devotionals: (Feb. 22nd) Christianity “Day by Day”

by colinmercer

The New Testament Church: Learning from the first disciples of Christianity

Reading: “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Acts 2:46-47

The phrase “nine days’ wonder” has come to signify that the novelty of something has worn off quickly. The first impressions didn’t last. The initial enthusiasm was short lived. Many things in life fall into this category. However, the spiritual experience of the thousands converted on the day of Pentecost was no nine days’ wonder!

This was real and the reality of it is indicated by the phrase “continuing daily.” These new converts did not blow hot and cold; they did not fade away. Rather, they continued to have a daily walk with God. Their lives were marked with spiritual devotion. Their days revolved around spiritual things. I’m not suggesting that they did not attend to other daily business. But the thought here is that as they went about their other business, they did so in fellowship with God and with a desire to honor Him.

Their Christianity was not once-a-week Christianity. This was daily experience, day by day with the Lord, day by day living out the gospel. Day by day—through all the struggles of the day—remembering the Lord and walking with Him.

Is my Christianity put on with my Sunday clothes? Is my piety and reverence for the Lord occasional? Does Monday morning bring me back to the cutthroat business of life, suspending Christianity until the next Lord’s Day?


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February 17, 2012

Daily Devotionals: (Feb. 17th) The Glad Reception of the Word

by colinmercer

The New Testament Church: Learning from the first disciples of Christianity

Reading: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” Acts 2:41

Part of my seminary training involved reading Hamilton’s History of Presbyterianism in Ireland. In that book Hamilton recalls the details of the Ulster Plantation and the arrival of many godly ministers from Scotland. Many of those godly men were fleeing from persecution, but in the providence of God what was Scotland’s loss was Ireland’s gain. Among that illustrious band was Rev. James Glendinning, who ministered in Carrickfergus and in Antrim. His ministry was different in that he preached nothing but “law and wrath and the terrors of God for sin.” It was what was needed in that area and many felt deep pangs of conviction.

It is recorded that the people “fell into such anxiety and terror of conscience that they looked upon themselves as altogether lost and damned.” Although Glendinning had preached the law with power, he seemed unable to present the answer effectively. However, other ministers came to help and brought the great news of the gospel. As a result multitudes were converted. One observer described that move of God as a “bright and hot sun-blink of the gospel.”

That is what Acts 2:41 is all about, but on this occasion Peter not only preached about sin, he also preached the remedy for sin and souls were regenerated. Clearly, the convicting work of the Spirit was followed by the converting work of the Spirit. The opening of hearts and the ready and glad reception of the gospel was all of God. This was the evident working of the Spirit in hearts. Mysteriously but powerfully souls were turned from darkness to light and from spiritual death to life. The apostles were the preachers but the power—and therefore the glory—belonged to God. In cold, hard, dead sinners and in cold, hard, indifferent saints we need the hot sunshine of the gospel and the glad reception of the Word.

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February 16, 2012

Daily Devotionals: (Feb. 16th) Convicting Preaching

by colinmercer

The New Testament Church: Learning from the first disciples of Christianity

Reading: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Acts 2:36

The Jews were a self-righteous people. They prided themselves in having Abraham as their father, boasted of their special relationship to God, and reveled in ceremony and customs. A proud Jew was a common sight in Jerusalem. But on the day of Pentecost, Peter delivered a convicting and devastating blow to that pride.

With laser-like accuracy Peter charged them of a particular sin—the crucifixion of Christ. They had refused Him as the Messiah, hounded Him throughout His earthly ministry, falsely accused Him before Pilate, and demanded His death. While the Roman soldiers carried it out, Jewish hands were all over His crucifixion. And Peter did not miss the point. This was no easy task for the apostle-preacher. He was standing before his own countrymen, but he came right to the heart of their guilt.

There are times when the preacher must preach hard words. Sin needs to be exposed. The sharp sword of the Spirit must be thrust in again and again so that the guilt of sin can be revealed and the sinner made to sense his sin. This is not an easy or popular task. Raw nerves are often hit and angry responses usually follow, but faithfulness to God and love to souls will allow no other approach. Peter’s message was owned of God for it was followed by the conversion of over 3,000 souls. Pray for the convicting of God in the preaching of His Word—it is to be desired, not despised. It is the work of God in the pulling down of the strongholds of sin in the life (2 Corinthians 10:4).

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