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Sunday, 26 June 2016


Rev. Brian Wilkie
By Rev. Brian Wilkie                                                                                    

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

PODCAST LINK to CFRA broadcast - Sunday, June 26th, 2016:

Broadcast Notes:

Welcome to Good News In the Morning a program of words and music bringing a Christian message of hope and encouragement to those who are looking for intelligent meaningful and spirited approach to faith and to life.

This program is sponsored by Good News Christian Ministries PO Box 184 Rideau Ferry, Ontario K0G 1W0. I'm your host today, Brian Wilkie of St. Andrew's Christian Church in Rockland. As always I want to start by thanking you, our listeners. We are very grateful for your encouragement and support. Please remember that you can always visit our website for materials to encourage and support you in your Christian walk.

If you miss an episode of the show you can go to our website and download the podcast or the MP3 of our broadcast. Details can be found there on

Today our program is sponsored by an anonymous business in Ottawa. We're very thankful for their support and for the support of all of those who keep us on the air financially.

God's Abundant Blessings

Today I want to speak to you about some scriptures that have become rich and meaning to me, as a small group at my church has worked together to study them and to apply it to our lives. So I'm going to read to you today from the book of Ephesians, Paul's letter to the Ephesians, and just read to you a few verses of Paul's description of the blessings we have received in Christ. So Paul writes:

(Eph 1:1–14) (from) Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
(New International Version. (1984))

Well this is a passage filled with meaning and application for our lives and we're going to look at that in a few minutes, but first I'd like you to listen, with me, to just a brief version of the great old hymn Holy, Holy, Holy, which is so in this case being sung by the acapella group This Hope in their album Acapella Hymns. Would you listen to it with me?

As we begin to look at this wonderful passage of scripture about God's blessings that he pours into our lives, I've got to say that I'm a little bit excited about something that's not in the scripture here, something's happening in my life. As you listen to this broadcast on June 26th I'll be preparing to leave with a mission team to Cambodia to teach English for 2 weeks. I'm very much looking forward to the time especially since half of our team are youth from Redeemer Alliance Church in Orleans. It's going to be great opportunity to partner with Cambodian Church in giving a blessing to Cambodian students and also to work with youth from my community and help them to grow in their face and watch them as they experience God's provision and God's blessing as they step out in faith to serve him.

God's blessings come in so many different ways, in opportunities to bless others. To me that's one of the richest things. Paul is his writing to the Ephesians and he's writing out of the blessing that he's received from God. He's been sent by God, he's an apostle of Jesus Christ. and he's been sent to these people in Ephesus. He was the one who told them about the good news of Salvation. They can be described as Saints in Ephesus because they have received Jesus Christ. Not that they're perfect, but they have received Christ and are being made Holy by him. So when Paul writes to these people he's talking to people who have been greatly changed by the word of God.

When you get into the second chapter of Ephesians he talks about the state of the Ephesians before they came to know Christ. Paul knows exactly what that's about because he himself was changed dramatically by Christ. He had been a person who persecuted the church. He had thought that this word about Jesus Christ was a heresy of some kind; that it was leading people way from the true faith. So he tried to bring Christians and put them into prison. He looked on approvingly when Stephen was stoned for his faith and put to death, but Paul was grabbed hold of by Jesus Christ. The Risen Lord revealed himself to Paul on the road to Damascus and Paul was a changed man. So Paul, when he speaks about the blessings that the Ephesians have received, he can also say, "These are a blessing that I know, because I've received them through Christ!"  He talks about the blessings in these terms: he says that God in Jesus Christ has blessed us in the Heavenly Realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Now I think it is important that we would just recognize that Paul hasn't said, "every blessing that you can imagine" or, "every blessing that you could name or desire," because he speaks about spiritual blessings.

He wants the Ephesians to recognize that God's first priority is the well-being of our inner being: of our soul, of our spirit, and that God's blessings while they sometimes include material blessings and sometimes include physical blessings, that the most important blessings are spiritual. I think that's important for us to realize as we go through life and we do experience 'necessities,' difficulties, trials and tribulations; that we find ourselves sometimes in material want. Paul can recognize that! He himself was sometimes physically distressed by what he called his 'thorn in the flesh.' He knew that life wasn't always a bowl of cherries, but he was able to say that every spiritual blessing has been given to God's people through Jesus Christ. He names these blessings. He says, "We were chosen before the creation of the world God to be holy and blameless in his sight, because in love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ." Paul says that one of the greatest blessings that can ever be known is to be chosen by God; is to see God reveal his love for you.

Sometimes you may hear people talk about the election of God or the predestination of God and sometimes it can seem like a very harsh thing, depending on how people interpret the scriptures about it, but here Paul is talking about the very best, the very brightest of the idea: that God has chosen you.

Now there are many people that may not know that God loves them. But when God loves somebody it's because he chooses to love them. It's not because it's some kind of automatic thing that he has to do! He does it because he is love. He loves you! He doesn't first of all check to see whether he's loved the quota of people that he's allowed to love. No, God is love and when he chooses you it's love choosing you.

He decided that, knowing that the world was going to be fallen, he decided to give a remedy. He predestined that there would be a way for people to be returned and restored to God's family. That way is through the sending his Son, Jesus Christ.
As Heirs of God we become part of the family of God, sharing in the love that God has for his Son, sharing the relationship which God has with his Son. The Father and Son are one eternally and Jesus himself prayed that we would be one with him!

God decided that of all the possible or imaginable ways the people could be reunited and have an eternal life restored it was going to be through his gift of himself, giving his only begotten Son to die on the cross for our sins. This, of course, Paul says is God's pleasure. It's not God's duty. It's not something where God struggles to figure out what he must do and grudgingly goes ahead with it. Paul says that he has done this in accordance with his pleasure and his will. God wants to save. God wants to bless. God wants to restore. Of course, because this is who God is, it's glorious and it's to his praise that he has given us this grace in Jesus Christ.

Jesus has reached through to these Christians and he's reached through to them with the message of the gospel. Paul, in this passage, talks about himself being chosen. "He was chosen in accordance with the plan of the one who works out everything in accordance with the purpose of his will." He says that "You too," the Ephesians, "were also chosen because they hoped in Christ having heard the word of his grace," and his love. That is, in effect, saying that the Ephesians have the same kind of grace that Paul the Apostle does.

Now Paul was redeemed dramatically and you sometimes hear testimonies of Christians who can speak about an amazing experience of God and you may think that they are a special class of Christians, but Paul who was, literally, thrown off his high horse on the road to Damascus, who was actually blinded for a time until God restored his sight -- I can't imagine a more dramatic conversion than that -- but Paul doesn't describe himself here as a special class of citizen. He, in fact, tells the Ephesians that they too are included in Christ, just like him, because they heard the Gospel of Truth, the Gospel of Salvation; They believed in it and they were marked with the seal, the wonderful perfect sign that God has indeed redeemed them, and that sign is the Holy Spirit.

And we are going to take a look at more of what Paul is describing is our spiritual blessings in Christ and how this applies to our lives, but before we do that I would like us to listen to another piece of music this is sung by an older singer -- from Glen Campbell singing a beautiful hymn Sweet Hour of Prayer. This is from his album The Inspirational Collection .

Paul has been talking about the spiritual blessings that the people of Ephesus have received in Christ. He is talking about the primary thing, the main thing: the fact that we have Union with God through Jesus Christ, that we are being made holy and that we will one day be perfectly Holy, filled with his love, being able to do all that we do in his love. Now, we await that day end and we sometimes are impatient for those blessings to be fully realized in our lives but isn't it good to know that we have Redemption through his blood, we have forgiveness of sins, we have the promise of hope that is going to be made known to us as history comes to conclusion, that all things will be brought together in heaven on Earth under one head Jesus Christ!

We are part of God's will working out. We are included in his grace and we are here for the glory of his grace. I've been speaking about 'we' because what applies to the Ephesians also applies to Christians today. It's good to know a few things about these blessings and about the 'Why?'

Over and over again Paul speaks about how what has happened to us is to the praise and glory of God. That's an important thing for us to remember. Sometimes we can be discouraged about our own progress in the faith. Sometimes we might even wonder whether God is losing patience with us because we hear and read about all that we all that we could be doing in Christ, the better life we could be living, but we fall short of that. There may be times when you pray, just as I sometimes pray, wondering if God has had it! Whether he's finally lost patience with me, whether you can still forgive me, whether he still wants to work with me. Paul says God is glorified as he works with people like you and me! God is glorified as he brings us from darkness into light. God is glorified as he gives forgiveness too needy sinners. God is glorified when we are brought back again to repentance. God is glorified!

When John in another letter to the church says, "God is love." He says something very important there. I know that I'm not love. I know that when I love somebody it's kind of not natural for me. It takes a bit of work. Now there are people who are more congenial and people that I get along with more easily, but you probably find as well that actually making sacrifices for other people, actually giving up something for somebody else, there's a little bit of a drain. There's a bit of a cost and that cost eventually wears on us. If we don't get rest, if we don't get refreshment, if we don't get a little bit of love back for ourselves we find ourselves coming to the end of our rope. That's because we are not love. God is love and the more God loves, the more he's being himself. The more he loves the more he is just naturally expressing his being.

For us love is a reservoir which we draw from and we receive love from God and we draw from that Reservoir and sometimes we feel like the reservoir is almost empty. God doesn't have some limited reservoir of love. Love comes out of his very being and who he is.

Now for you and me to know that God is glorified in his patience is very important God is not going to run out of patience for his children. In Jesus Christ he has lavished Grace upon us.

Now, some of these blessings that we have from God are of a more temporal nature. The spiritual blessings that we have in Christ are constant and always with us and never diminish  and never fade. Other blessings we experience as sort of signs or reminders of the Everlasting blessing of God. Moments when the grace of God is extremely apparent to us. I wonder if you have some of those moments in your life? Something, perhaps that's happening now or something that you call back in memory and you remind yourself, when you're going through difficult times, about the manifest and tangible signs of God's blessing.

I think it's fair to say that the tangible blessings that we experience in Christ the times when we find God providing materially, or with healing, or physically, or with a word of encouragement that they just lifts our hearts.
These things often accompany stepping out in faith confident of the Eternal blessings we've already received.

I'm feeling very blessed to be able to go to Cambodia with this team of adults and youth and stepping out into a new culture, into a new situation to teach English in a place where English is not a common language. It's a stretch and I'll be working with the Cambodian Church there and being able to hopefully be an encouragement to them even as they are an encouragement to me. But through the process of stepping out, knowing that God wants to use us over there, we've discovered stories about God's provision. Likewise in my work in the church I'm just blessed to be part of a church where people are growing in faith and as I reach out into people's lives what I get back is often the stories of how in difficult times God is there with them, sometimes rescuing them from harm and sometimes just keeping them afloat when things are going very difficult. In all of this we find that God is providing some confirmation or some symbolic support to the message about those Eternal blessings we've received in what we experience in daily life.

I want to encourage you to ask God to help you to experience his temporal blessings as a reflection of the spiritual blessing you have in him.

Would you pray with me?

O mighty God, bless us all! Give us the courage to step out in faith in the confidence of what we have gained eternally in Christ. We pray that as we do so we might have a testimony to tell about your great provision for us in this life, that others might be encouraged to trust you and believe in your good work.
In Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

Once again I want to thank you, our listeners, for your encouragement and support. We do thank you because you keep us on the air week by week with your prayers with your encouraging words through the website and with your financial gifts thank you so much for helping us to meet the cost of that one vital expense the cost of broadcasting which enables us to reach you and over 7,000 listeners in the Ottawa River Valley if you can donate please make a check payable to Good News Christian Ministries and send it to P.O. Box 184 Rideau Ferry, Ontario K0G 1W0. We will be happy to send you a receipt at income tax time. If you listen to this over the internet you will find on our website donation buttons to enable you to support us in that way.

Be sure to worship in a church where the gospel is soundly proclaimed and lived out with compassion, integrity and resolve. Now to conclude our program I would like to have you listen to a song called This is my Father's Worlds sung by Mark Shultz from his album simply titled Hymns.

I do pray that the Lord will hold your heart and you would know Jesus personally and profoundly. May the Holy Spirit reside deep within your heart, may the heavenly Father surround you with his constant and abiding and accompanying love.

Good News In The Morning is produced in the Studios of News Talk Radio 580 CFRA.

Rev. Brian Wilkie
St. Andrew's Christian Community, Rockland, Ontario
To listen to the above broadcast, click on the following link: 

Sunday, 19 June 2016


Rev. Juliet Schimpf
By Rev. Juliet Schimpf   

Broadcast Notes

LINK to CFRA broadcast of Sunday, June 19th, 2016)

'Power In Christ'

The first half of Ephesians is doctrine, and the second half is ethics or duty—Paul bridges the two sections with prayer.

WARREN WIERSBE:  “This passage [Ephesians 3:14-21] is the second of two prayers recorded in Ephesians, the first one being Ephesians 1:15-23.  In the first prayer, the emphasis is on ENLIGHTENMENT (last week), but in this prayer the emphasis is on ENABLEMENT (this week).

  1. The Invocation
  2. The Petition
  3. The Blessing

1.  The Invocation (Ephesians 3:14-15)
Ephe. 3:14  “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, (15) from whom every family in heaven and earth takes its name.”

*  The first thing that strikes us is Paul’s posture:  “I bow my knees.” 
*  In Ephesians, there is an emphasis on spiritual posture.  As lost sinners, we were buried in the graveyard (Eph. 2:1).  But when we trusted Christ, He raised us from the dead and seated us with Christ in the heavenlies (Eph. 2:4-6).
* WARREN WIERSBE: “Because we are __[SEATED]__with Christ, we can ___[WALK]___so as to please Him (Eph. 4:1, 17; 5:2, 8, 15) and we can ____[STAND] against the Devil (Eph. 6:10-13).  But the posture that links ‘sitting’ with ‘walking’ and ‘standing’ is ‘bowing the knee’.”


*  WILLIAM BARCLAY:  “kneels”= it means that Paul prostrates himself.  The ordinary Jewish attitude of prayer was standing, with the hands stretched out and palms upwards.  Paul’s prayer for the Chruch is so intense that he casts himself face down before God in an agony of passionate request.

2. The Petition (Ephesians 3:16-19)

*  N. T. WRIGHT:  “Love (last week) and power (this week), power and love:  these are the two grand themes as Paul moves through His prayer.”

a.  strength (Eph. 3:16)
Ephe. 3:16  “I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit”

*  Recall in Ephe. 2:1:  the inner man or woman of those OUTSIDE OF CHRIST is DEAD, but the inner man or woman of those IN CHRIST is ALIVE!
*  The PRESENCE of the Holy Spirit in the life is EVIDENCE of salvation (Rom. 8:9), whereas the POWER of the Spirit is ENABLEMENT for Christian living.

*  What does it mean to say that the Holy Spirit enables a person for Christian living?  It means that our spiritual faculties are controlled by God—that we yield to the Spirit and let Him control the inner man or woman.

*  THE MESSAGE:  I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in.”

*  Why does Paul pray that we would be “strengthened” with power through the Holy Spirit?  Ephesians 6:10-12  “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His power.  Put on the full armour of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes [“wiles” in NRSV] of the devil.  For our struggle is not against enemies of flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”


*  THE BARNA RESEARCH GROUP, 2002:  Six out of ten Americans (59%) reject the existence of Satan, indicating that the devil, or Satan, is merely a symbol of evil. Catholics are much more likely than Protestants to hold this view - 75% compared to 55% - although a majority of both groups concur that Satan is symbolic.

b.  depth (Eph. 3:17)
Ephe. 3:17  “and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.”

*  Paul used 3 pictures here to convey this idea of spiritual depth, and the 3 pictures are hidden in the 3 verbs:  “dwell”, “rooted,” and “grounded”:

1.  The verb “dwell” literally means “to settle down and feel at home”. 
*  Christ was already RESIDENT in the hearts of the Ephesians--or else Paul would not have addressed them as “saints” in Ephe. 1:1.  
*  Here Paul is praying that the Holy Spirit would take up PRESIDENCY
*  What Paul was praying for was a deeper experience between Christ and His people.  He yearned for Christ to settle down and feel at home in their hearts—not a surface relationship, but an ever-deepening fellowship.

2.  The verb “rooted” moves us into the plant world.  The tree must get its roots deep into the soil if it is to have both nourishment and stability, and the Christian must have his spiritual roots deep into the love of God. 
*  Psalm 1:1-3 “Happy are those whose…… delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night.  They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season and their leaves do not wither.  In all that they do, they prospser….”

3.  “Grounded” is an architectural term; it refers to the foundations on which we build. 

c.  comprehension (Eph. 3:18-19a)
Ephe. 3:18-19a  “I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, (19) and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge”

*  The English word “comprehend” stems from the Latin word prehendere which means “to grasp”. 
*  We say that a monkey has a “prehensile tail.”  That is, its tail is able to grasp a tree limb and hold on. 
*  Our word comprehend carries the idea of mentally grasping something—of laying hold of it as our own.
*  In other words, it is possible to understand something but not really make it your own.  Paul’s concern was that we lay hold of the vast expanses of the love of God. 

*  The paradox here is that Paul gives us dimensions to the love of God, BUT the dimensions cannot be measured, because verse 19 explains that the love of Christ “surpasses knowledge”.  [This idea parallels Ephe. 3:8 which describes “the unsearchable riches of Christ”.]
*  THE MESSAGE:  “And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you'll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights!”
*  Why is it important to know the full extent of Christ’s love?
i.  Ephesians 5:1  “Be imitators of God, as beloved children”—AND GOD IS LOVE!
ii.  Ephesians 5:2  “and live [‘walk’ NASB] in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

d.  fullness (Eph. 19b)
Ephe. 19b  “so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God”

*  It is said that nature abhors a vacuum.  This explains why air or water will automatically flow into an empty place.
*  The divine nature abhors a vacuum; God wants us to experience His fullness.

*  THE MEANS of our fullness is the Holy Spirit (Ephe. 5:18—“do not get drunk with wine…be filled with the Spirit”);
*  THE MEASURE of our fullness is Christ Himself (Ephe. 4:13  “the fullness of Christ.”)
*  We like to measure ourselves by the weakest Christians that we know…we boast, “Well, I’m better than they are…”

*  N.T. WRIGHT:  “Paul speaks far more often of Christians being ____[‘IN CHRIST’]____ than of Christ being __[‘IN CHRISTIANS’]___.”

3.The Benediction (Ephesians 3:20-21)
Ephe. 3:(20)  “Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, (21) to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.  Amen.”

*  There is in the heart of every child, and teenager, and adult the need and longing to sing a doxology.  We may sing it to a hockey team carrying its captain and Stanley Cup on their shoulders; or we may sing it during a standing ovation at the N.A.C.; or we may express it through our waving and cheers as the troops come home from service in Afghanistan.
*  You see, we were made to worship and sing.  We were made to have a hero to brag about--the hero we were designed to sing about is God.
*  JOHN PIPER:  “God makes much of us, so that we can make much of Him!”

* (Ephe. 3:22) “to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations”
*  Paul conceives the church as the theater of the glory of God 
*  Ephe. 3:10 “through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.”


Our Heavenly Father, we thank you that all the power we need is available to us through your Son and His Holy Spirit.
We thank you, Father, that you have an offer for us, an incomprehensible amount of love, and it’s from that awareness of love that we can grow strong and grow deep roots, powerful roots for the days ahead.
My prayer for the listener, today, is first of all for the listener who is feeling week, and I do pray they’d know, but elsewhere in the Bible, Paul wrote that when we are weak, we can truly be strong, for it’s in our weakness that Christ’s power is made perfect.
Would you encourage the weak listener?
I pray that you would encourage and empower the listener whose up against some enemies, or some adversaries at work, or maybe at school. I pray that they would comprehend what is the full extent of your power.
I pray for the Christian who needs power to overcome sin or temptation. Would they fill up on your Spirit, today, and have overcoming power?
And we’ll be careful to give you all the Glory, just like Paul does.
We were made to worship you, Lord, and we give you the power and you the glory, and you the praise.
In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

Rev. Juliet Schimpf
To listen to the above broadcast, click on the following link: