New Westminster Chapel

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Posts Tagged ‘Sin’

Genesis 13

Posted by New Westminster Chapel on January 25, 2012

Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.” (Genesis 13:9)

Choices, choices, choices!  They are easier to make when we are thinking of what we will get for ourselves than when we are thinking about what we may lose.  Choices must be made and each choice brings its own set of consequences.  We cannot have it all!  Moreover, not everything we have or can have is good for us.  As human beings, we long for attachments – be it with God, people or things.  God made us that way so that we would desire and attach ourselves to Him. But alas! Sin has skewed that!  More often than not, our desires are ungodly, evil and spiritually unprofitable.

When God called Abram, He commanded him to leave his people and go to a land that He (God) was going to show him.  For some reason, Lot went along and that had grievous consequences for both. Indeed in their case the grass looked much greener on Lot’s “side of the fence” and yet that was only momentary. God gave Abram eternal blessings for separating himself from Lot and all the evil associated with Lot’s choice (Sodom & Gomorrah).

In life, many things occupy our attention, time and energies.  However, the wise know that only what is essential, beneficial and profitable will be good and worth pursuing.  Nothing is more worthy of our pursuit than walking with the Almighty God all the days of our lives!  In following Him we are given a blessed life here on earth on one hand, but we also lay up for ourselves eternal treasures in heaven on the other hand!

But as long as sin abounds in our hearts, it is impossible for us to truly and fully experience that blessed life in Christ. Sin entangles us and chokes that life within us.  Insatiable and lustful desires rage within us. O, how difficult it is to resist and how dreadful to separate ourselves from the things, people and activities which hinder us from fully realizing and embracing the blessings and promises of God in Christ!

Yes, the grass does often look greener on the other side of the fence, but beloved, we are not unaware of the devil’s schemes! True blessings are found in Christ.  In Him alone, can our lives yield true blessings to others. Therefore dearly beloved, “Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12: 1-2)

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Genesis 8

Posted by New Westminster Chapel on January 19, 2012

English: The ark of Noah and the cosmic covena...

And the dove came back to him in the evening, and behold, in her mouth was a freshly plucked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. (Genesis 8:11)

Have you ever been in a desperate situation? No where to go, no one to turn to, no loving, strong and able arms to run into? What did you do and how did you get through it? The depths we plunge ourselves into in our foolishness and “wisdom” is beyond worth saving. When I look at how desperately and helplessly sinful I am and how graciously God saved me in Christ, all I can say is, “I don’t deserve it Lord, but thank you.”

The rains had pelted for 40 days and the earth was immersed in water. Noah and his family waited, and waited, and waited. In desperation they sent out a useless raven. Have you ever noticed how we are “so smart” to come up with our useless “way out?” I am sure the Lord graciously looks on us with our failed self-made and self-inspired resolutions  and says, “O ye of little faith … have I been with you for so long and you do not know me?” We often act like that – acting like the Almighty God we serve is no God at all. TRUST HIM TRULY TODAY.

Next goes the dove. This scene reminds me of Jesus’ baptism. There John is immersing sinners in River Jordan’s waters – repent and have you sins washed away! In walks Jesus and down comes the Spirit of God like a dove! Beautiful analogy isn’t it! God “baptized” the earth and the “dove” goes all over the earth and finds  life bustling in it and brings it back to Noah. Finally, God was pleased to remember His people and receded the waters and gave life once more.

In your own life, have you received God’s message of repentance? Have you been washed by the blood of the Lamb? And does the Spirit of God bring new nourishment to you everyday through God’s Word? Is that life in you or are you being overwhelmed with sin, the weight of guilt and  life’s pleasures and business? In Christ, you are hid and nourished by the Spirit if you but “take and read” His Word. You will find Him to be a true, sure and able Anchor and Saviour.

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Genesis 7

Posted by New Westminster Chapel on January 7, 2012

And Noah did all that the LORD had commanded him. (Genesis 7:5)

Perfection of one kind or another is the desire of every man. It is natural for every one to want to be highly esteemed by others and themselves. Even the worst of criminals would have themselves believe they are perfect or good in some area or aspect of their life.

The Bible, however, shows the true picture of our hearts and lives. As one reads through the Scriptures, it is easy to find reflections of our hearts, minds, thoughts and actions clearly rebuked and condemned. It is a sharp and clear mirror of who we really are and great benefit will be found in it by those that daily devote themselves to reading it prayerfully.

The Ten Commandments always come to mind when talk of perfection is on that table. Can any of us really claim to keep all the Commandments daily and continually? No, we are evil through and through so much so that even the least of our attempts to keep the law is sin!!!

We all like to pat ourselves on the back for how good we are and how we have never stolen, killed, etc. That is exactly why God gave us His commandments – He wanted to reveal to us the sin in our hearts and how impossible it is for us to keep them, please Him and escape His wrath. Yes He expects us to live holy lives but he also knows how impossible that is.

In His grace, God planned from eternity to provide us a way by which we can obey him and be saved. Noah found favour before God and did all that God commanded Him and he and his family were saved. The Bible tells us that Jesus grew “in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men” (Luke 2:52) He alone truly lived a sinless and perfect life and He alone is able to save us and indeed all who believe and call upon His Name.

Noah was not a perfect man. He was a man born in sin and unable to please God and meet His requirements for holiness. However, God chose him out of His own will and goodness to teach us how profound our sin is, His wrath against sin and our need for a Saviour to deliver us into a safe haven. He saved him despite his sinful nature. God is able to save man from sin, death and hell. But most of us don’t realise or acknowledge our deep and serious need for God and His saving hand.

Friends, God is able to truly deliver us and “shut us in” Himself so that we are not lost. He is able to do this because of Jesus who lived a perfect life and died for our sins. Only by trusting in His merits can we be saved and kept for eternal life.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” (John 10:27-29)

Praise God for this great and glorious truth. May our hearts be drawn to hear Him who speaks from Heaven!

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Genesis 6

Posted by New Westminster Chapel on January 6, 2012

 The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually … But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD…  he did all that God commanded him.” (Genesis 6:5, 8, 22)

Self-righteousness is a trait I would have never dreamt of associating with myself. No one really would want to accept it. But truth be told, we all think we are perfect don’t we? We like to keep that sweet image of ourselves deep-seated within us so much so that anyone who points any wrong in us is quickly bashed down, ignored or hated. What would you do if everyone in the world knew the “real  you?”

God, however, clearly sees who we really are. When man fell and went about his ways, sinning more and more, God assessed the situation of man. He saw that every intention of the thoughts of our hearts was only evil and only evil continually. In other words, our hearts are bottomless pits filled with one evil intention after another – over and over and over again! Can you imagine that? Each of our hearts if split open and let loose could overly fill the entire universe with evil. It’s that bad.

I am always amazed to ponder on why a holy and pure God would take an initiative to save such wretched and deeply wicked men like me! It is one of those profound things that stagger me. Yet He mercifully and graciously promised and worked out His plan of reconciliation with man through  the life and death of His Son Jesus.The account of Noah and the Flood served to show the kind of punishment man deserved for his sins and how God would save some to be His people. Noah’s father had said that his son would be the one to bring them relief from all their  toil and labours of their hands.

Noah clearly foreshadows Christ in bringing the message of salvation from the wrath of God. In his day, people were called to believe that message and be saved from the flood. Something worse than a flood is coming  dear friends – God’s eternal wrath in hell. Yet through Christ Jesus, God freely offers us His Good News of Redemption. By believing in the Lord Jesus we will be saved and have eternal life with Him in heaven. Will you die when an offer so great, free, undeserved and unearned is freely given to you?  

Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 18:31)

RECEIVE THE GOOD NEWS TODAY!

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Genesis 5

Posted by New Westminster Chapel on January 5, 2012

 “Out of the ground that the LORD has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.”  (Genesis 5:29)

I often wonder what it was like that first day after the Fall. Guilt, shame, fear and alienation from God – I am sure those were just few of the emotions that surged in Adam and Eve’s hearts and minds.  They had lost God’s likeness in holiness and righteousness and were cut off from communing with Him.   But they had hope. God had promised them a Deliverer who would defeat the serpent that deceived them once and for all!

And so life went on and in keeping with God’s command to them, they “multiplied.” You see, though sin corrupted their ability to do good and please God in their spiritual walk, they were still able to fulfill His command to rule and subdue the physical world. And this is important to know because God will hold us accountable for what we do and what we don’t do in keeping with His purposes for us here on earth.

But things were not the same. Yes, their children looked like them but sin had distorted the image of God in them. Adam and Eve had been created in perfect holiness and righteousness, which they lost and their children followed suit! In other words, the children had the same rebellion and bent towards sin and like their parents, lost communion with God. Can you imagine the devastation that ripped their hearts knowing that if they had obeyed, Abel would not have been killed and Cain would not have been cast out by God? This is a solemn and sobering warning to parents. Remember that what goes on in your heart, mind and lives will have a bearing on your children – it may not be murder now, but eternal death in hell.

Living in such desolation and despondency, they had a hope. God had promised and they knew that unlike themselves, God would keep His Word and fulfill it. In His goodness, God began to reveal how He would save them from sin and Satan through the promise that He made to them in the garden (Genesis 3:15).  He also gave them another promise through the life and work of Noah which we will discuss later. Both of these promises were fulfilled in Jesus Christ – He alone is the “one who brings us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.

You may be struggling with sin and the issues of life at the moment.  Be comforted!  Take courage and have hope in Christ. He is able to deliver you and give you the rest and peace you need for this life and the next. He says, ” Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)

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Genesis 4

Posted by New Westminster Chapel on January 5, 2012

Cain and Abel, ivory panel from the cathedral ...

The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” (Gen 4:6-7

The greatest war in the world is not yet to come or gone by. It remains and rages on. Indeed, the biggest fights are not between siblings or enemies or countries or ethnic groups – the biggest of them all is that within our hearts.

We wrestle every day with one desire or another, with the next need or want or craving. Our minds are restlessly making decisions or avoiding them. Honestly, many of us do not win half of our battles and things go awry and not our way.

In this chapter, sibling rivalry was quiet intense to the point of murder. But God had assessed the situation for Cain and told him exactly what was going on, how to overcome and avoid the terrible the result of his bitterness and jealousy. He did not listen. He killed his brother.

Maybe in wrestling within yourself – about your desires, ambitions and feelings – you haven’t yet resorted to killing a man. But what about your own soul? James says, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”

Pause and think on this. Desires lead to sin and that brings death. How many of your desires are sinless? You may carry them out or keep them in your heart, but needless to say, your heart and mind are brewing and storing sinful desires that are accumulating into DEATH. This is not only physical death, but also spiritual death, eternal separation from God!

So when you think on this story, especially Gen 4:6-7, God speaks that word to each of us daily. Sin wants to overcome us unto death but we must master it! The only way we can do that is by God’s power and grace offered through faith in His Son Jesus. And then immerse yourself daily in His word to learn to discern and choose what is good (Heb 5:11-14). I urge you to take this devotional journey with me through the bible, one chapter at a time so that we may be equipped to resist and overcome sin.

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