Judgement – Psalm 94. RBT Notes, 16th May

1.   What do people who reject God forget about Him, and what do they need to remember (vv.4-11)?

2.   What do believers who are struggling need to remember about God (vv.12-19)?

3.    Does the thought of God’s judgement scare you? Why / Why not?  Spend some time reflecting on vv.20-23 in the light of the Cross.

 

A Prayer to Pray

Lord, as the old prayer asks, make me as holy as a pardoned sinner can be. So often I forget that You have judged my sin at the Cross, and so I can praise You; and I forget that You will judge all sin at the end of Time, so I can rest confident in You. Write these truths on my heart, so that I truly believe in You, and strive to live a holy life, trusting and obeying You. Amen.

 

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Perfect Power – Psalm 93. RBT Notes, 14th May, notes by Graham Thomson

Large stormy waves in Cook Strait, New Zealand.

 

1.   In what ways does the Psalmist want to remind us of who God is and how He rules over the world (vv. 1-4)?

2.  How does v. 5 help us to see how God rules over His people, with His law, in order to bless them?
3.  How does this reminder of God’s might, grace and holiness help us to have confidence in a changing and fallen world?
A Prayer to Pray
Father, thankyou that You are mightier than anything in the world You have created.  Thankyou that You reign over all things for Your glory and Your people’s good.  Thankyou that You rule over our hearts in order to make us more like Jesus.  Lord, please give me grace to live with confidence in Your sovereignty and Your goodness.

First Loves, and Few Regrets – Revelation 2.1-11. RBT Notes, 3rd February

The King now addresses His subjects. Here, Jesus speaks to His church, to seven local churches. John has seen how Jesus walks among them, and holds their servants (2.1, compare 1.12,16). Now as He speaks, He gives both judgement and grace, cutting through sinful behaviour and false belief, and promising grace for those who receive His Word (1.16). When we’re tempted to believe that Jesus isn’t with us, doesn’t care, or doesn’t speak, these words are a great challenge, and a comfort.

Hard work for the Lord might be a cover for hard hearts. Knowing the right truths doesn’t mean having the right love. This is the problem with the church at Ephesus. It is a particularly evangelical church sin. No amount of labour and doctrine can make up for an absence of love for Jesus (vv.1-4). We’re not saved by our soundness, but by the love of Jesus, known and responded to. Do we need to come back to Him (v.5)?

And when the Christian journey is costing us so much, we need the reminder that we’re not losing, but winning. We believe in a Resurrection God (v.8). We need to weigh our problems in the scales of eternity. We are not home, yet, and things might get even worse (v.10). But there is a crown of life to come, and not even death can take it from us (vv.10-11). Hallelujah!

 

A Prayer to Pray

My Saviour, You are all I need. But You know how I get distracted, and discouraged. Fix my heart on You and Your promises, Lord. Grab my heart, strengthen my faith, purify my love. For Your sake. Amen.

 

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Brilliant – Revelation 1.9-18. RBT Notes, 2nd February

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Why don’t we use the word “brilliant” when we’re talking about the Lord Jesus Christ? For one thing, it means “shining”, and Jesus shines out the glory of God into a dark world. Because of that, there is no one like Jesus. His dazzling power, beauty, holiness and love put Him in a category of one. He is brilliant. Can you think of another, better word?

The Jesus John sees on Patmos is brilliant. A voice comes to him, giving him a message to record to seven churches (vv.10-11), and he turns to see his Lord. His description of Jesus reaches deep into images from Ezekiel and Daniel, and they are all pictures of majesty and lordship (vv.12-16). These details teach us that Jesus rules, sees, and commands. Jesus is dressed as a priest, and John can never forget that His offering for sin has reconciled him and all believers to God. The vision also teaches that He is eternal. Doesn’t Jesus Himself proclaim the good news we so need to hear (vv.17-18)?

Like us, John doesn’t need a pat on the back in his suffering, he needs to know that ruling over all things is a God of unimaginable greatness, who has conquered death. That is a message for all the world and the church to be confronted by (vv.19-20).

In the world we distrust power. Power spells pride, manipulation and worse. In Jesus, though, we see true power. Jesus is the brilliant majesty of God. His power comes to us in salvation and assurance. He is the only power we can fall down before with absolute trust, and with joyful surrender. Will we?

 

A Prayer to Pray

Lord Jesus Christ, Glory of the Father, Lord of all, Judge of the World, Saviour of the Church, I bow before you. In Your hands are my life and my eternal hope. Lord, above my trials today, let me see Your majesty, resting confident in Your work, completed at the Cross. And may it be a delight to call on Your saving name this day. Amen.