In this message, Rev Peter Hastie, the Principal of the Presbyterian Theological College explores the times and situation of God’s people in Daniel chapter 1. The world and the devil has always stood against God’s truth. We are seeing it in these days, and it was no different in Daniel’s day. King Nebuchadnezzar carried off the religious articles from God’s Temple and put them in the one dedicated to his god, but he also took young men from Israel and sought to re-fashion them according to his plans and desires. Daniel resisted all this and remained true to the Lord, challenging us in these evil days to be and do likewise.
Luke 24 speaks about the great news of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, has a strong theme of ‘open things’. For one thing, the tomb was open and Jesus was no longer dead inside it! This is the strong hope that believers share and sets Christianity apart from other religions. Our founder is still alive and death could not hold Him! Then it speaks of ‘open minds’ as it tells us how Jesus opened the understanding of the disciples with regard to the purpose and message of the Scriptures. Then also it speaks of an ‘open heaven’ into which Jesus returned, but before doing so, challenged his disciples to go out into the world proclaiming the wonderful message of forgiveness of sins in His name.
After speaking about the blessing that belongs to those who belong to His ‘upside-down’ Kingdom in the Beatitudes, in Matthew 5:13, Jesus then spoke of the influence that He expected His people would have on the world, by being ‘salt’ in an often tasteless world. Why did Jesus describe believers as being like salt? Because of the way in which salt was highly valued in Jesus’ day, because of the way in which salt was also used as a preservative, the way in which salt creates thirst, and also the way in which salt could so easily lose its flavour and become useless. For all these reasons believers are to be in the world and so have a preserving, thirst-creating and godly influence on others and therefore on the world.
After speaking about the blessing of being poor in spirit, being broken over our own sin, the importance of meekness, the need to hunger and thirst for righteousness, the blessing that comes to those who know and give out mercy, the need for a pure, undivided heart,and the blessing that belongs to those who set out to make peace, in Matthew 5:10-12, Jesus then spoke of the blessing that comes to those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. It is a strange fact of life that those who seek to live the way that Jesus taught in these Beatitudes will face persecution. The world may approve of people having ‘their religion’ but when that very thing shows up the darkness of other people’s hearts and lives, then this will not sit so easy with others. Christians all over the world are facing this kind of persecution, because they are aiming to live for another kingdom, not the one of this world. Jesus was persecuted Himself – even to death on a cross! He said, ‘if they hated me they will also hate you’.
Medical Doctor and former Australian Navy Commander, Dr John Anderson, from Creation Ministries International will be speaking at a public meeting at our church on Friday October 2nd at 7:30pm. A freewill offering will be received.
You can read more about Dr John Anderson here.
After speaking about the blessing of being poor in spirit, being broken over our own sin, the importance of meekness, the need to hunger and thirst for righteousness, the blessing that comes to those who know and give out mercy and the need for a pure, undivided heart, in Matthew 5:9, Jesus then spoke of the blessing that belongs to those who make peace. While peace is often understood as the absence of war, it has a much deeper meaning in Scripture. Jesus was known as the ‘Prince of Peace’ and by his death and resurrection he made reconciled God’s people to God – bringing them into a relationship with Him. As those who know this peace, the followers of Jesus are called to be peace-makers by encouraging all to find peace with God through the gospel.