Reflection

 Welcome to our Blackheath and Halesowen online Service

 

Romans 1:20: “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.” 






Prayers of adoration and confession

 

Eternal Father we come together for Worship. We come to you with our worries, our needs, our wants, and our concerns. We come with all that has happened to us this past week and we lift it up to you.

 

Creator God, we can know your love and we exalt your name. your activity surprises us and we glorify your name. Your tenderness nurtures us and we praise your name.

We come together for worship with you: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

 

Lord Jesus, you are our Lord and creator, coming to your Sons and Daughters redeeming and renewing us. Holy Spirit you are Lord and creator, guiding, comforting, challenging, filling, and sanctifying us. Father, Son and Holy Spirit we lift up your name.

 

Creator God, forgive us when we take your Holy Word out of context, preferring to believe the worlds view over your eternal truth. Forgive us for focusing on ourselves and preferring our own way, denying your truth and love with one another. Forgive us when we fail to be like your Son Jesus Christ in our compassion with one another, and for our failing in having faith and trust in what you tell us by your revelation is truth. Change our hearts from our sinful nature, to wanting to be cleansed and sanctified by the blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ.

 

Lord Jesus Christ it is your redeeming work from the fall of man from perfection in creation, to the forgiveness of the cross, that we have true grace and salvation freely offered to us. This means that if we truly turn away from the world and the self, walking in the truth of God’s eternal word, we will have assurance of redemption.

 

So, we ask these prayers in the name of Him who was there at the beginning of Creation, and who will return at the end of days to redeem those who are truly given to Him. In the name of our King and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen. 


 


Romans 8:1-11 ESV


Reflection

 

Let me start my reflection from Davon Huss who said that as a boy he saw an advertisement in a comic book that appealed to his scientific nature. The product being offered for sale was called a "miracle plant." The ad declared that the plant would be dead when received by the purchaser; but when placed in water, it would soon "miraculously" return to life! He ordered this wonder of nature, and sure enough, when it arrived it looked absolutely dead, with leaves that were brown, dry, and brittle. He placed it in a pan of water and expectantly waited. He was not sure how long it took, but lo and behold: as the water was absorbed into this plant, it actually did "come back to life" again, becoming green and soft. He thought he had worked a miracle! However, he had learned since that the plant is actually called a "Resurrection plant." He goes on to say that “This natural phenomenon is a good illustration of the supernatural working of the Holy Spirit in the event of regeneration.”

I like this illustration because to those of us who know we are “Born again” from our dead sinful state, into our new life with Christ know that we are resurrected with Him. I do, however, see one major flaw in his understanding and that is when he says, “this natural phenomenon” because in these few words he takes out the creator from His creation.

Now I like Creation Science and if people asked me my stance in scripture it would be that I am a young earth creationist. Over the last few years, I have spent time watching ministries such as “Answers in Genesis” and Creation Ministries that show evidence for the Bible. I admit from the start of our reflection that I do not agree with those who teach the theory of evolution and then “claim” it is a proven fact (which is not true), because they suggest that we can use this to explain away God’s Creation in Genesis 1-3. One of their arguments is called the “day-age creationism” in which they believe that in the first week of creation there were “millions of years” in one day. They use this as a reasoning tool (created from their worldview) while ignoring the rest of the Bible that confirms God created the world in literally “one week.” It is also the same when trying to reconcile any form of evolutionary thinking with God’s Word. The two are incompatible.

Like the illustration from Davon Huss with the suggestion that “A natural phenomenon is a good illustration of the supernatural,” they try to reconcile the two (the flesh and the Spirit) while ignoring the plain truth of the text. What I find interesting is that it was the Holy Spirit who was there at the beginning of creation with the Father and the Son. Man was not there at the beginning, but the Bible tells us of the true eyewitnesses of creation and that was God the Trinity. Also going back to the opening illustration: The plant was called a “Resurrection Plant” because God created it so it could birth back into life, nature itself cannot create anything, and evolution theory is not an explanation of God’s creative power, it is a man-made theory from those who try and explain away God.

Now you might be wondering why I would start out our reflection this way since we are focusing on Romans 8, but if we look carefully at verse five Paul tells us clearly the double mindedness of this thinking: “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.” And if we think carefully of this statement it is clear we cannot have it both ways, this is because we try and reconcile man’s understanding of our existence, with the power and glory of our Heavenly Father, this cannot be done because God is Creator and Holy, and  we live in our sin nature. That part of us no matter how hard we try, still wages war within us, and interestingly I have heard it said that: “We cannot master hatred, or evil towards one another no matter what we do, or how hard we try. There is a reason for this: “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot,” (Romans 8:7). And if you choose to believe in the evolutionary approach to life, how do you reconcile the two (Spirit and Flesh) since one teaches life forming from years of death and decay, while the other teaches death into new life? One teaches that we are a special creation loved and created by God, while the other teaches that we came from nothing and that in survival mode we do not matter. One sounds like it comes from a loving Father, the other … well sounds Satanic in order to put man on his own throne.

This thinking has also led to man making excuses for sin, rather than face up to the fact that without Christ we are “dead in our sinful state.” We choose to believe anything contrary to God, so that we do not have to face up to the fact that we are accountable to Him. We profess “tolerance and acceptance for all” without thinking through the consequences of what this actually means, and what it is actually saying that “God did not really mean what He said in His Word, so why would we all need His salvation?” Our Generation believes that we can live how we want, and believe what we want, because Jesus loves us all. We think that we can coexist with all religions because they all apparently lead to God. We take God’s eternal word and pick and choose the scriptures we like, without thinking through what the whole of the Bible teaches us, and I find it tragic that I hear some people who profess to follow Christ, say that the Bible is a two thousand year old book that is irrelevant today.

What we need to do is to stop questioning God’s Word and start questioning the world. We need the resurrecting power of Jesus Christ in our own lives to be truly born again. Why? Because it is the Holy Spirit Himself who leads His elect unto the truth, and not the other way around. Trying to compromise the truth of the Bible with other philosophies and worldly reasoning for the way we are is in vain. The reality is that we are fallen creatures needing to be redeemed from our Spiritual death. This is why Jesus came in order to restore us to the perfect state and relationship with the Father that we lost in Eden. If we evolved over millions of years and God apparently stepped in one day, then we need to ask at what point was the World in perfection? Because according to Evolution, God never created a perfect world, and there was death and decay before the fall of man, and verse 2 from our Romans passage would not apply to us when Paul tells us that: “The law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Because according to Evolutionary thinking “this never happened.”

Now one of my favourite things in creation is that every creature is still created in its kind. For example, we see variations of a Dog, but it is still a Dog. Like one person put it: “A dog barks because it is a dog. It does not become a dog because it barks. Its ‘doginess’ makes it a dog, it is in its DNA.” And this is the ultimate proof of our creator. He has put His signature on His creation, and He has revealed Himself in His Eternal Word.

Listen to this from Walter L. Bradley in terms of our DNA, "Each cell in the human body contains more information than in all 30 volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. [It is] certainly reasonable to make the inference that [DNA is not] the random product of unguided nature, but [it is] the unmistakable sign of an Intelligent Designer. Today, it takes a great deal of faith to be an honest scientist who is an atheist." Like the words of the great Hymn “There is power, power wonder working power, in the Blood of the Lamb.”

Furthermore, “Humans are not proved to be human because we sin; it is because we are human that we sin … and when have you ever observed an Ape, or a Monkey being redeemed from sin? We still bear the image of God which makes us truly human, and we are not acceptable to God without radical change because that image is spoiled.” And whether those who question God’s creative power want to accept it or not, it will always be marred until He returns again.

But to me this is the icing on the cake. You have just heard me share in my reflection today. Throughout this service you have heard two different languages Hebrew and English. If you take a closer look you will see that I have put the “written version” of this reflection unto Facebook and our Circuit Website. Now would you argue that this was put there “by chance” or would you think that there had to be an intelligent mind who put this together? If you would suggest that it is obvious that someone had written and spoken this message, that someone created the material that you have heard, then why would you question “the Author of the Bible when He testifies to it Himself? When even the language of our own blood and the blood that was slain for us testifies to His greatness. The beautiful irony here is that language does not form through millions of years by chance. It was there from the beginning, and that beginning is God.

During this Lockdown I built a soundproof wall in our Son’s room to help drown out the noise from next door. I planned it, put to paper what I wanted to do, writing down the measurements. I purchased the materials I needed and built the wall in three days. If someone then decided to walk into my sons’ room and “claim” that the wall had “evolved.” As the Creator what do you think I would say? … When we question the architect of the Universe what do you think He would say? … 

I enjoyed building this wall because Christ showed me something interesting regarding Himself. He created the Heavens and the Earth, and in the flesh, He built furniture. The creator of the universe created things as a man.

I will close with Romans 8:9-10: “You … are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. And this righteousness is to believe in the one who created us, gave His life for us, and will return with us at the end of days. Our service was open with this passage from Romans 1:20 and I will read it again: “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So, [those who deny this truth], they are without excuse.” Paul tells us in the opening of our Romans passage that: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” because those who are Born again believe solely in His word, and are His Elect, and we are washed in His Created Redeeming Blood, Amen.



 

Prayers for the Nations

Father may your glory be seen in this. Every voice that is raised to the heavens, let it be in unison of spirit. Accept these prayers as a fragrance of humility and trust only in you.

Father grant us wise leaders whose hearts will set to know and to search out and to seek true wisdom by your word, and for our nation to repent of following false religions, philosophies, idols and worldviews that are not of your truth and word. Remove all leaders and men of authority that you did not set up. Give our nations selfless leaders, men and women of wisdom and understanding; leaders who will not cause your people to walk in error. Grant our leaders the ability to distinguish between righteous counsel and the deceitful counsels of the wicked. Surround them with righteous men and women who will give them sound advice. May government halls and buildings around the world be filled with wise counsel and understanding.

Father remove hatred and contentions from the hearts of men across the world, cause your love to reign in the hearts of men and cover all transgression between nations. Open our hearts and minds as nations that we may come to know the love of Christ which surpasses mere knowledge and facts, that we may be filled unto all the fullness of God and become nations wholly filled and flooded with you. Grant us the ability to walk in love towards all men, may we see beyond our racial and tribal differences, returning back to the truth of your creation of us in your Holy Word. Teach us to esteem and delight in on another as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a slain offering and sacrifice to God.

Father guard us and keep us in perfect and constant peace with our minds focused on You. Lord ordain peace for us, granting us the ability as nations to follow after the things which make for peace, and things which cause us to build up one another as nations. Lord may your peace rule in the hearts of men all over the world until you return. May our hearts be comforted and cheered as they are knit together in love, that they may become more intimately acquainted with Christ. Lord make us increase and excel and overflow in love for one another and for all people, just as we also do for you.

Father, raise more labourers of the gospel within our nations, may the good news we deliver enrich the poor in spirit, heal the broken-hearted, deliver the captives, bring recovery of sight to the blind and set at liberty them that are bruised. Open the minds of unbelievers in various nations across the globe to see the illuminating light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image and the true likeness of God. Remove those who aim to tarnish the power and truth of your eternal word and raise up your Sons and Daughters in these last days who profess your truth over all falsehood in every nation. 

Thank you, Lord, for committing the Gospel message of salvation and ministry of reconciliation to us, may those who hear our message, hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church and to the World. Father grant us the grace to live for you, not in revelling in drunkenness, in immorality and debauchery, in quarrelling and jealousy. Let us shun all idolism, fleeing from impurity in thought, word, or deed. Let us die to the flesh and live by your Spirit.

In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour, Amen. 


Blessing

 

Creator God

 

May Your Spirit open our eyes anew to the vastness and splendour of Your beauty all around us. May we hear, and smell, and see, and touch your glory evident in all of Your creation. Above all, let us see Your beauty even in the brokenness of our brothers and sisters, all of them, created in Your image, and waiting to experience that redemption that comes only through Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen.