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Saturday, 11 January 2020

'THIS GOSPEL IS FOR YOU'

Rev. Brian Wilkie
By Rev. Brian Wilkie                                                                                    

Pastor of St. Andrew's Christian Community
Rockland, Ontario



_______________________________________________________
PODCAST LINK to CFRA broadcast - Sunday, January 12th, 2020:
(This is a re-broadcast of a Program first aired on CFRA, December 16th, 2012.)
 


Broadcast Notes:
*************************************************                    
‘This Gospel Is For You
Segment 1: This program is sponsored by the Good News Christian Ministries, Box 184, Rideau Ferry, ON, K0G 1W0. This is Brian Wilkie speaking.
Today our theme is “This Gospel is for you
Here are a few words from the Word of God. Isaiah 30: 15 (NIV) reads,
 
This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.”
 
And Later the prophet Isaiah speaks these words of hope from:

Isaiah 49:1-7 - ‘Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the LORD called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name.  He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver.  He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.”4 But I said, “I have laboured to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing. Yet what is due me is in the LORD’s hand, and my reward is with my God.” And now the LORD says— he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honoured in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength — he says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.” This is what the LORD says— the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel— to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation, to the servant of rulers: “Kings will see you and rise up, princes will see and bow down, because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”
 
This is a Gospel lesson, a prophecy, a message that is so in tune with the season of Christmas, which is rapidly approaching. It is a prophecy about Christ, it is a prophecy concerning the one that God has sent to not only restore Israel to himself, but also to bring back all the scattered people of the earth to himself. It is a message that the Gospel is for you! IT is a message that God has laboured to reach all his people, every person in the world with the message of salvation, so that you can receive Christ, so that you can have forgiveness, so that you can be reconciled to God and have eternal life in Him.
 
The Gospel is for you. It is a gift of forgiveness, and it is for you. It is a call to a new way of living, and it is for you. It is a demonstration of God’s love, and it is for you. It not business as usual, the world going on as it always has, a small adjustment to our daily grind- it is world shattering, total renewal, a whole new creation,  and it is for you.
 
This is the theme of our message today: that this Gospel is for you, and for me and for all the earth.
 
But for a moment, let’s listen to a familiar expression of the joy of Christ’s birth -- in the hymn O Come All ye Faithful sung by the Mississauga massed Choir.
 
Segment 2: (introduction of Message)
 
The message O Come all ye Faithful is a message calling all people to faith. God calls us to come and in coming to him we are faithful. He has issued an invitation, and to all who respond He offers repentance and new life. The Gospel is for you. It is for you because God loves you.  Because he made you, and knew you before you were born. He has watched you lovingly, attentively all your days. He has held you, carried you and taught you, though you rarely knew it was Him who guarded your life. He knew all your faults, and still loves you. He suffered on the cross, and still loves you, He was betrayed and abandoned by you, and still loves you.
 
The Gospel is for you because you need salvation. You are lost without God; you are terminally ill with sin; you are infected with a selfishness that will destroy you, and God wants to save you. You need salvation whether you are on top of the world, or at the bottom of the heap. Such circumstances don’t change the main feature of your life- you are in a mortal body, in a mortal world, and like that world you are passing away. Death is ahead, and only salvation will carry you over that flood. Once saved you wear that salvation like a suit of armour, for you need it every day, you need God’s life in you to survive the daily decay of this present life.
 
The Gospel is for you because the Father has honoured Jesus with the glory of saving you. The Father did not surrender his Son for nothing. Jesus did not endure the cross to no effect. God is committed to saving you. He is not satisfied that your life should continue dark, and purposeless, filled with grotesque pride, fiery temper, stubborn bitterness, festering sadness, and sin.
 
It is a gospel of repentance and faith.
 
I want to read to you a portion of Scripture that speaks of the need for repentance, even for those who have already accepted Christ. When John received a revelation on the Island of Patmos, the first part of the revelation was very clear, and it was a series of massages to the churches of Asia Minor. Here is God’s word to the church of Ephesus. 
 

Revelation 2:1-5 (NIV)  “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:  These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.  You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.  Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”
 
The message of Repentance is for us. It is a message of repentance that begins with the moment of surrender of our lives to the Lord Jesus and continues throughout our lives. Repentance seems like a bad word, but actually though it is often painful, it is actually a great gift from God. Repentance is not only about the need to turn from sin, but it is also God saying that it is possible to be transformed, to enter into a new life: he gives us the capacity to do that.
 
We’re in the season of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, of thinking about that little baby in the manger, when the angels and the shepherds rejoiced; when the wise men bowed down in worship. Worship is joy, and even turning away from sin, old habits and selfishness is actually the route to joy. Many people stay away from Christ, thinking that he will not bring them joy, but rather sadness. Yet the message of the Gospel is to come and see what Jesus brings.
 
Let’s pause here to listen to “Mary did you know” performed by Kathy Mattea.
 
Segment 3: (Conclusion of Message)
 
The Gospel which is for us, the Gospel which comes in Jesus Christ -- the deliverance that He brings -- is a Gospel of repentance and faith.
 
It is a Gospel of holiness- not merely demonstrating the holy love of God in the face of human sin, but creating for himself a holy people, a royal priesthood, a fellowship of sanctity for the glory of the Son. This means that the Gospel is a gospel of change for us. It is not just information it is a gospel of transformation.
 
Let me just take a moment for those who may feel alienated from the church, who feel that the church is perhaps a cold and difficult place to be part of. Do you realize that every Christian is someone who has recognized that they are sinners? That doesn’t stop them instantly from being sinners. We are going through a process of transformation. We are all going through a process of transformation. It can be difficult to see people in the process of recovery. That does not mean that the church is filled with hypocrites, but rather with people on a journey to toward holiness. Often God can use these very circumstances, of meeting people warts and all, to teach us to love one another more. Entering into a body of believers, not just loving God by yourself, but loving God AND your neighbour is the message of holiness that God brings us. And when we go into a gathering of other people who are trying to learn how to love one another, we do, sometimes get bruised; we do sometimes say the wrong thing and hurt someone else. But God, by His Holy Spirit, wants us to learn holiness in that mix of personalities and temperaments. And so as this Gospel of holiness works into our lives, we join in loving one another as God has loved us.
 
This Gospel of holiness is a gospel that calls us to turn. And this repentance is due to sin and due to the birth of love within us. Due to sin: because sin is wrong and hurtful. Due to love: because we want to honour God, and bless our neighbour. Jesus died to put an end to sin, and so we who love Jesus seek to cease from sin and follow Christ. We also put sin to death in our lives. Note we do not put sin on a short leash, we put it to death. Repentance is because of love- for love constantly turns from selfish goals, and offers the sacrifice of time, possessions, comfort, etc. as a gift to the beloved. We offer to God the energy and time that we used to use for sin, and he directs us into the life of faith, service and love.
 
It is a gospel of faith because repentance is a change of mind – it’s a change from trusting self, to trusting Jesus, from believing the principles of the present culture to believing the revelation of God. It is a gospel of faith because it takes courage and trust to invest in heavenly treasure, to risk this tangible life and body for a heavenly future and an immortal life. It takes faith to let go of those things that you trusted in past that you thought secured you.  Perhaps it was putting others down that made you feel that you were better, and you need to turn from trusting in scorn and mockery.
 
Maybe it was trusting in financial security and using all kinds of schemes to get the better of others. It takes trust to take our earthly treasures and invest them in the Kingdom of God in the service of others, knowing that our only hope is in the heavenly treasure that  God is storing up for us.
 
It is a gospel for you, and it is a gospel for NOW! It is a response in you to Jesus’ call. Some describe the moment of conversion as though God himself were pushing them to the altar, as the Spirit wells up in them, overcoming their resistance, and moving them to say “Yes, Lord” at the invitation to surrender all to Jesus.
 
You become a Christian when you begin to repent, and repentance marks every step of the Christian walk. Not always a repentance of tears, more often a joyful discovery of the right path, the opportunity for service. But often we do need to return to our first works (Rev 2:1-5 )- to remember again that our life is no longer our own.
 
How many times has God caught us drifting- our love grown cold, our faith weak, our flame all but extinguished? How many times has our “Yes” become “Later,” “Maybe,” or “No?” The same Jesus calls again “Repent and believe.” He calls us deeper in to the glory and mystery of his grace; he calls us onward and upward in the wondrous adventure of holy service.
 
So I want to give you the opportunity to show what God is doing in you right now, to give voice to what the Spirit is saying in your heart. Pray with me, as we say “yes” to Jesus, that says “no” to sin, “yes’ to salvation the graceful gift of life he is pouring over you. Pray, receive the Lord, rejoice anew in His salvation; and fix in your heart, again, to receive the gift that we celebrate in the Christmas season; the gift of a Lord and a Saviour who comes to dwell within us, and who promises to be with us always.
 
Let’s take a moment now, to pray: 
 
Loving God, We give you thanks for this season of Christmas, when all around us are reminders of your love: the carols that are being sung, the warm greetings that are being exchanged, even the secular symbols of Christmas: the commercial sales and the lights and the decorations; they all remind us that the world was turned upside down by your great love; that this day marks, not just a birth in a stable in Bethleham, but the birth of a new hope.
Thank you Jesus.
Accept us Lord, as we receive the love that you have given us. Accept us, and renew us, and restore us, in your holiness, in your grace, and in your love.
We pray this in your name, Jesus. Amen.
 
Thank you, listeners, for your encouragement, prayer and financial support. You keep us on the air week by week.  If you can, please make out a cheque payable to Good News Christian Ministries, and send it to Box 184, Rideau Ferry, ON K0G 1W0. We will send you a receipt at income tax time. Please also tell others about this program, and don’t forget to visit our website. You will find several of our programs available on podcasts.                             
 
Don’t forget to worship in a church where the gospel is soundly proclaimed and lived out with compassion, integrity, and resolve.
 
Now to conclude our program here is a song by Canadian singer, Carolyn Arends “Is Bethlehem too far away” from the album “The irrational Season.”
May you know Jesus Christ personally and profoundly. May the Holy Spirit reside deep within your heart. And may the heavenly Father surround you with his constant and abiding and accompanying love.
 
Rev. Brian Wilkie
 
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To listen to the above broadcast, click on the following link:

Sunday, 5 January 2020

'GOOD NEWS OF CHRISTMAS MORNING'

Rev. Brian Wilkie


By Rev. Brian Wilkie                                                                                  
Pastor of St. Andrew's Christian Community
Rockland, Ontario



_______________________________________________________
PODCAST LINK for Sunday, January 5th, 2020:
http://proxy.autopod.ca/podcasts/chum/6/10378/good_news_032_dec23.mp3
____________________________________________ 
(This is a re-broadcast of a Program first aired on CFRA, December 23rd, 2012.)

Broadcast Notes:
*************************************************                    
‘Good News of Christmas Morning
Segment 1: This program is sponsored by the Good News Christian Ministries, 96 Pheasant Run Drive, Ottawa, ON  K2J 2R5, Canada, (new address). This is Brian Wilkie speaking.
Today our theme is “Good news of Christmas morning
 
You know our show is called good news in the morning, and there are two mornings in all of history that stand out as “Good News.” The morning of the Resurrection, when Mary found Jesus risen from the dead, she spread the good news to the other disciples. The other morning is what we celebrate at Christmas, the birth of the Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
 
I want to read to you from the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 2, about that first evening and morning when Christ was born.
 
2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to his own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest,  and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.  (Luke 2:1-20, NIV)
 
Now would you listen with me to a carol written and performed by Carolyn Arends “Come and See “ from her Christmas Album, “An Irrational Season.”
 
Segment 2: (introduction of Message)
 
The Good news of Christmas morning is good news indeed. It is not just about a baby being born, it is about the Son of God, coming into his creation to save the world, given to us for our salvation. From the very beginning of the prophecies concerning the Christ, it is emphasized that saviour came to give his life to deliver us from sin. And so as we celebrate Christmas morning, it needs to be celebrated in light of Jesus gift.  He came “not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom to many.” Now how can we say that Jesus dying is good news? We can say it because he accomplished what he came to do. He came to take upon himself the burden of our sin in this conflict that has spanned the ages from the first human to the present day, In this conflict between humanity and God has decide to bear the pain, sorrow and wickedness of humanity upon himself. He has decided to cancel the debt against us, and he invites us to come to him and receive a new life, a life that lives out the holy goodness of God overcoming sin with all its pain. What good news this is! We often find ourselves burdened but in this season of Christmas we remember the great promise and purpose of God to bring joy and peace to his earth.  Just last week as I participated in the Capital City Chorus Christmas Show, and it is just a delight to sing and hear the stories of Jesus birth, and life and love. And it is wonderful that in your churches you are celebrating with pageants, carols, cantatas and communion, with beautiful music and candle light, feeling the joy and the love of God’s gift.
 
Isn’t it a gift to be able to gather together with others, and feel the warmth that God intends for us to have eternally. Let’s not forget those that in their relationship with God who find this season difficult. How is it good news for them, as they face loneliness, while others join with family, who face need while others celebrate abundance. Who face loss, illness, or financial crisis while all the world seems to smile and laugh? How is it good news for them?
It is good news that God overcomes all these things, so that someday all these burdens will pass... But I’d like to challenge you, our listeners, and challenge myself with the challenge of the Gospel, that we should share God’s blessing with others,  by offering  our love, compassion, generosity and hope to others who are troubled. Whether the troubles are circumstantial- financial, loss of employment, stress, or personal illness, emotional hurt or physical injury, or loneliness, distance from home, or mental distress, let’s ask ourselves- or better yet let’s ask God, how we might bring some light into  another’s life this Christmas. 
 
I’m sure that if we just take a little time to pray, God will show us something extra-ordinary for another. And by extraordinary, I don’t mean something grandiose, rather just something beyond your normal Christmas routine. It might be a telephone call you’ve been putting off, or sending a card to someone you haven’t written to in a long time. It might simply mean listening a little more carefully when you ask someone how they’re doing, and they say they’re fine.
 
This Christmas can be good news for more people; this Christmas must become good news for more people.  What we do as Christians to celebrate Christmas is so different than what the world does. It might be alright for others to think only of their joy, their comfort, their own kin and their own friends; and we do that as well, but the Lord we worship calls us to a wider, greater love. Jesus taught us to go beyond loving only those who love us, and to reach out to those who cannot repay us.
 
We can help to make Christmas good news for others. And as we are being transformed by the Holy Spirit, we can become people who find our joy in bringing blessing to others. Is this the difference that Christ is making in you?
 
Let’s think about that as we listen to the beautiful hymn Silent night, sung by the Cape Breton Chorale.
 
Segment 3: (Conclusion of Message)
Now I want to change direction somewhat and talk about the meaning of Christmas and the sensibility of the events. I this day and age there is abundant criticism and attack on the historic record of Christmas and the life of Jesus. There are people who dispute the every miraculous event, every teaching of Jesus, and the nature of the God revealed in Scripture.  Christmas reminds us that God has made his nature and power very clear. He is a God who spans the heavens and the psalmist can say “the earth is his footstool,” yet he can also declare “what is man that you are mindful of him?”
 
There was a book written in the 1960s, by J.B. Phillips, titled “Your God is too small.” The theme of the book was to address those who thought of God in very narrow parochial ways: who merely confirmed their own attitudes, prejudices and concerns. For such people their god is not big enough to change their lives. Their god can be just a national mascot, or just a reflection of their own culture.  And Dr. Phillips was right, that it is possible to believe in a God who is too small.
 
But at Christmas we see that for some, their god is too big. What do I mean by this? We have people today who have become overawed by their knowledge of science and the universe, and think that they are the first generation to appreciate how immense the universe is, and how small our planet, and our species is in the grand scheme of space and time.  It is true that our solar system is too small to be visible in a model of our galaxy, and that our galaxy can be lost in the vastness of the billions of light years of the universe. It is inconceivable to them that God could be concerned about individuals on this little planet.
 
Is it ridiculous to think that God could be mindful of humanity? Is God too big to be concerned about us, about you and me, made of dust on this little speck of dust? Is God too big to love us?
 
Well the Gospel says, “NO!” God is not too big to love us. God is not too great to notice what is going on in each person’s life.  In fact the Gospel tells us that God is extremely attentive to our plight. It’s hard to believe! It’s astounding! But it is historical fact that God became flesh: a few pounds of dust in vast universe in order reveal his love, and save our helpless race.
It’s refreshing that even in the wisdom of Dr. Seuss, a children’s author, the truth that the very great can hearken to the cry of the very small is the centerpiece of “Horton hears a Who.” In fact it is Horton alone who has ears big enough to hear the tiny inhabitants of a speck of dust.
 
We in our pride and “bigness” often dismiss the weak, the small, the “unimportant.” But God isn’t that kind of big. He cares for the sparrow, and he cares for you. He sees the humble and contrite. He loves those who are at the bottom as well as at the top, and he became small for our sakes. He made us, small as we are capable of responding to him and living in relationship with him. He made us for himself, and seeks to bring us into eternity with him.
Ours is not a speculative religion of armchair philosophers, but conclusions drawn from the public working and speaking of God, through his prophets, apostles, and above all in Jesus Christ. In the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, and in the ministry of Moses, Judges, Kings, Priests and prophets, and now, finally, in giving his Son, God has made it clear that his love is real his concern is great, his salvation is offered at great cost.
 
Our confidence in this is confirmed in the testimony of those who saw the miracles of Christ from his birth to resurrection, and in the gift of the Holy Spirit to his disciples, by which he confirmed their testimony over and over again. Remember that Peter wrote to early Christians, ‘We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.’ (2 Peter 1:16–18) God the Father deigned to reveal unmistakably that he was in Christ revealing his will to the world.
 
I want to remind you that if your God is too big to fit into a manger, he is not the God who created the universe. IF your God is too grand and grandiose to care about the individual person, he is not the only true God, who sent Jesus Christ to save sinners. Many people want to say “all gods are the same.” But far from it! Here is a God who loves us, HE is the only God, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that his character and love are anything other than the character and love shown in Jesus Christ and declared in Scripture. This is the only true God, and He loves you. This is the real and living God, and he calls you. This is our God, the servant King, and he died so that you can live.  Trust in this Good News, that God is not too big to hear you as you cry out to him, whether in pain or need, or in thankful love.
 
Would you pray with me? 
 
Loving God, Thank you for the Good News of Christmas. Thank you for your love.
Lord, receive us. Fill us with your spirit and lead us into the life that you have prepared for us in Jesus Christ.
In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen
 
Thank you, listeners, for your encouragement, prayer and financial support. You keep us on the air week by week.  If you can, please make out a cheque payable to Good News Christian Ministries, and send it to 96 Pheasant Run Drive, Ottawa, ON  K2J 2R5, Canada, (new address). We will send you a receipt at income tax time. Please also tell others about this program, and don’t forget to visit our website. You will find several of our programs available on podcasts.                             
 
Don’t forget to worship in a church where the gospel is soundly proclaimed and lived out with compassion, integrity, and resolve.
 
Now to conclude our program here is Joy to the World sung by the University of Manitoba Singers
 
May you know Jesus Christ personally and profoundly. May the Holy Spirit reside deep within your heart. And may the heavenly Father surround you with his constant and abiding and accompanying love.
 
Rev. Brian Wilkie
____________________________________________________
To listen to the above broadcast, click on the following link:

Sunday, 29 December 2019

'A PRAYER FOR THE NEW YEAR'

Rev. Jonathan Griffiths

by Rev. Jonathan Griffiths                           
Senior Pastor, The Metropolitan Bible Church,  Ottawa, ON.
_______________________________________ _
 
PODCAST for Sunday, December 29th,  2019
___________________________________ 

Broadcast Title:

  "A Prayer for the New Year"
 
Reference passage: Psalm 16   (NIV)

A miktam[a] of David.

Keep me safe, my God,
    for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
    apart from you I have no good thing.”
I say of the holy people who are in the land,
    “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
    I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
    or take up their names on my lips.
Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
    you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    nor will you let your faithful[b] one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 16:1 Title: Probably a literary or musical term
  2. Psalm 16:10 Or holy
 _________________________________


Rev. Jonathan Griffiths


2176 Prince of Wales Dr, Nepean, ON K2E 0A1

Phone: (613) 238-8182
www.metbiblechurch.ca/

__________________________________________

To listen to the above broadcast, click on the following link: