Important SCAM notice

 22/2/24

WARNING TO ALL RECIPIENTS OF THE WEEKLY BIBLE LESSON:

Dear Recipient of my weekly Bible Lesson - Please ignore any bogus messages purporting to come from my accounts asking you to send money, or buy Apple Cards, or any other nonsense.  

I will NEVER ask any recipient for money for any reason.  I have nothing for sale on my sites.  

I have within the past two days been in some manner 'hacked' by a Scammer with the email address hiamrod@gmail.com, asking Recipients to buy Apple Gift Cards (whatever they are!) for someone with cancer.  Please report any such internet activity to the authorities concerned with such 'hacking scams', and block the sender from your computer/telephones.

Sorry for any inconvenience or annoyance, I am placing this incident in the hands of the police.

Thank you. The Lord is not mocked by such anti-Christian criminality.  Praise His Name!

Dr C.K. McClinton

Ulster Christians

         www.ulsterchristians.org  

Jesus Only Saves Sinners! Mark 2:13-17

Text: “…They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

Mark 2:17.

 Good morning, redeemed sinner!  Every true and genuine Christian has a shared experience absolutely necessary to ever being graciously saved by the Lord Jesus Christ – we must ALL first confess that we have been, are, and shall always be Hell-deserving SINNERS.  Fact!

 

“…For there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (the absolute righteous Holiness of Christ Himself!).”  (Romans 3:22-23)

 

Our selected passage for Marching In Mark’s Gospel today, centres primarily on what we might refer to as ‘the calling to discipleship of the tax-collector, Levi’.  (V.14)

 

Tradition has it that Levi’s name was changed later, probably by the Lord Jesus Himself, to Matthew, the writer of Matthews Gospel.  However, one thing we know for absolute certain is that, the one necessary prior requirement for Levi’s calling, was the fact that he was a sinner, called to full repentance from his sin; repentance that was immediately followed by a ministry of discipleship in the close fellowship of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Genuine repentance is a two-way process: in Christian repentance, we turn a full 180% away from following hard after selfish-sin; to a full committed following of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Holiness.  The old life ends, the new life in Christ commences, and never ends.

 

“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed (or are continually passing) away; behold (look, and fully understand), all things are become (or are continually becoming) new.  And all things are of God, Who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the Word of reconciliation.”  (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)

 

Levi, the one-time vile and despised Tax-Collector, was called to follow Christ; given a new name; filled with God the Spirit; and immediately started to serve his Master and Lord in the ‘ministry of reconciliation’ – reconciling sinful men and women to a thrice Holy Lord God, though man’s one Mediator, Jesus Christ.

 

Preaching/teaching the Gospel of Christ and Him Crucified for sinners is the ONLY ‘ministry of reconciliation’ – an Eternal reconciliation between sinful mankind and a Holy Lord God, through the Atonement Sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.  Praise His Holy Name!

 

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For He (God the Father) hath made Him (God the Son) to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we (sinners) might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:20-21)

 

J.C. Ryle Comments:

 “The person who is called Levi, at the beginning of this passage, is the same person who is called Matthew in the first of the four Gospels. Let us not forget this. It is no less than an apostle and an evangelist, whose early history is now before our eyes.

 

We learn from these verses, the power of Christ to call men out from the world, and make them His disciples. We read that he said to Levi, when “sitting at the receipt of custom, Follow me.” And at once “he arose and followed him.” From a publican he became an apostle, and a writer of the first book in that New Tes­tament, which is now known all over the world.

 

“This is a truth of deep importance. Without a divine call no one can be saved. We are all so sunk in sin, and so wedded to the world, that we should never turn to God and seek salvation, unless He first called us by His grace. God must speak to our hearts by His Spirit, be­fore we shall ever speak to Him. Those who are sons of God, says the 17th Article, are “called according to God’s purpose by His Spirit working in due season.” Now how blessed is the thought that this calling of sinners is committed to so gracious a Saviour as Christ!

 

“When the Lord Jesus calls a sinner to be His servant, He acts as a Sovereign; but He acts with infinite mercy. He often chooses those who seem most unlikely to do His will, and furthest off from His kingdom. He draws them to Himself with almighty power, breaks the chains of old habits and customs, and makes them new creatures. As the loadstone attracts the iron, and the Southwind softens the frozen ground, so does Christ’s calling draw sinners out from the world, and melt the hardest heart. “The voice of the Lord is mighty in operation.” Blessed are they, who, when they hear it, harden not their hearts!

 

“We ought never to despair entirely of anyone’s salva­tion, when we read this passage of Scripture. He who called Levi, still lives and still works. The age of miracles is not yet past.” (J.C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels 1816-1900)

 

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God?  Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate (homosexual), nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the Kingdom of God.  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

 

By this verse from Paul’s writing to the Corinthian church, we see that, like the reviled Tax-collector, Levi, you and I were also reviled sinners, living far from our Holy Lord God.  However, the grace of God in Christ called us out of our darkness and sin, and gloriously redeemed us by Christ’s precious and sinless Blood.  Thank God He saves sinners like we!

Thought: The only way to become Holy saints, is by admitting that we are vile sinners.

God’s Forgiveness Mark 2:1-12

Text: “But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts...who can forgive sins but God only?”

Mark 2:7.

 

Good morning, forgiven Christian!  Being justified by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and in His Atonement for us at the Cross, we have perfect peace with God; that peace emanates from having one’s sins forgiven.  Hallelujah!  Peace with God Almighty! 

 

“Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ...”.  (Romans 5:1) (Isaiah 43:25-26)

 

Of all sicknesses, infirmities, and diseases - sin against God is by far the most deadly and dangerous.  Why?  For God hates even “...the garment spotted by the flesh...” of man/womankind’s sinful nature. (Jude 23) (James 1:27) (Joshua 24:14-22) (Zechariah 3:1-4)

 

God’s eyes are so infinitely pure and Holy that He cannot look upon sin, in any of its vile manifestations, without punishing the sinner for his/her iniquities.  (Habakkuk 1:12-13) (Psalm 119:102-104)

 

Our filthy, daily, failings and sins took the pure and priceless Jesus to Golgotha’s Hill.  Thus, to remain a Holy Lord God, God is bound by His own Holiness to punish every sin committed.  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God with sin on one’s heart and hands.  Yet, we who hear the Gospel message are not without hope.  Praise God!  He is gracious indeed.  (Hebrews 10:30-31) (Ephesians 2:11-19)

 

Today’s Bible reading reveals three main principles of Christian faith and practice:

 

          (a)  Jesus loves faith;

 

          (b)  Jesus hates sin;

 

          (c)  Jesus heals sinners.

 

Jesus Loves Faith: (V.5) Jesus loves to see faith in us - for it is His gift to us, and without faith it is impossible to please God.  (Ephesians 2:8-9) (Hebrews 11:1;6)

 

Jesus saw their faith in practical action.  True faith always inspires worthy actions. 

 

“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”  (James 2:17)

 

Jesus Hates Sin: (V.5) Christ, confronted by five faithful men, immediately saw their plight.  Yet, ‘...man looketh on the outward appearance, and God looketh on the heart.’  (1 Samuel 16:7)

Jesus hated the man’s disease, but He hated his sin all the more.  The man’s disease would kill his body, but his sin would damn his soul to an Eternity of separation from God’s Presence.  Jesus hates sin, and immediately forgave the man his trespasses and sins.  The creature can only sin, in the primary sense, against his/her Creator God.  Therefore, only God can forgive sins!  It’s ironic, but even the otherwise unbelieving Pharisees/Scribes knew this much truth!  (John 8:32)

 

Jesus Heals Sinners: (Vs.10-12) Disease, thorns, and sweat are the fruit of God’s Curse against sin.  We know this from our reading of Genesis 3:16-19.

 

Therefore, as our passage reveals, once Christ forgave the man’s sins - revealing He was, is, and always shall be God - He loved the man enough to also heal his disease because it was His own sovereign will to do so.  (Ephesians 1:11)

 

J.C. Ryle Comments:

“We see, in the last place, in these verses, the priestly power of forgiving sins, which is possessed by our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

“We read that our Lord said to the sick of the palsy, “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.” He said these words with a meaning. He knew the hearts of the Scribes by whom He was surrounded. He intended to show them that He laid claim to be the true High Priest, and to have the power of absolving sinners, though at present the claim was seldom put forward. But that He had the power He told them expressly. He says, “The Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins.” In saying “thy sins be forgiven thee,” He had only exercised His rightful office.

“Let us consider how great must be the authority of Him, who has the power to forgive sins! This is the thing that none can do but God. No angel in heaven, no man upon earth, no church in council, no minister of any denomination, can take away from the sinner’s conscience the load of guilt, and give him peace with God. They may point to the fountain open for all sin. They may declare with authority whose sins God is willing to forgive. But they cannot absolve by their own authority. They cannot put away transgressions. This is the peculiar prerogative of God, and a prerogative which He has put in the hands of His Son Jesus Christ.

“Let us think for a moment how great a blessing it is, that Jesus is our great High Priest, and that we know where to go for absolution! We must have a Priest and a sacrifice between ourselves and God. Conscience de­mands an atonement for our many sins. God’s holiness makes it absolutely needful. Without an atoning Priest there can be no peace of soul. Jesus Christ is the very Priest that we need, mighty to forgive and pardon, tender-hearted and willing to save.” (J.C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels 1816-1900)

 

It is not always God’s will to immediately heal folk who suffer from disease, yet all who are saved have been healed from the infinitely more fatal disease of sin.  Christ heals sinner’s souls.  Hallelujah!  What a Saviour!

 

Thought:  When one sins against God, God ALONE can forgive that sin.