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Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson


October 2022

A prayer for the day

Recently, Jilly and I have been re-visiting F.B.Meyer’s ‘ Daily Prayers.’ This one actually appeared on 1st October, but it is relevant for every day of the year:

‘If I have loved darkness more than light, if I have left some brother or sister wounded by the way, if I have preferred my aims to yours, if I have been impatient and would not wait, if I have marred the pattern drawn out for my life, if I have cost tears to those I love, if my heart has murmured against your will, O Lord, forgive.’

1 Corinthians 1:14,15: ‘Not to us, O LORD…’

I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptised in my name.

Paul’s all-consuming zeal was for the honour of the Name of Jesus, and not that of his own little name.

Apparently, on the day of the Queen’s funeral, one media commentator said words to the effect that, ‘Today is all about Her Majesty; no-one else.’ Of course, it’s a totally understandable sentiment, and I’m sure that if I knew the context I would understand the statement all the more. But I read an article which pointed out the irony, because the Queen had clearly set up the whole day to point to Jesus. By 5 pm on Monday 19th September 2022, I felt like we had been treated to a day’s Christian viewing on the BBC!

In Boston Spa Methodist Church, near to the new main entrance, there is a plaque commemorating the life and ministry of a former incumbent who served in the early  years of the 20th century. It  states sparingly that he ‘tried to preach Jesus.’ I am taken by the humility and simplicity of that comment.

Similarly, an inscription on a plaque in ‘All Souls Langham Place’ reads:

‘Many friends of John Stott combined to give this pulpit and communion table out of deep gratitude for his dedicated ministry as evangelist, teacher and pastor during 25 years as Rector of All Souls (1950-1975). He taught us to make God’s Word our rule, God’s Spirit our teacher and God’s Glory our supreme concern.’

“Not to us, O LORD, but to your name be the glory…” (Psalm 115:1a).

1 Corinthians 2:4,5: The floodlight ministry of the Spirit

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

Every conversion is a miracle, a supernatural event. We need the power of God in our preaching, in our churches, in our service, in our personal lives. Let us not settle for anything less. We can’t manufacture anything, but let us pray fervently for “a demonstration of the Spirit’s power.”

Jim Packer, in a book entitled ‘Keep in step with the Spirit’, wrote about what he called ‘the floodlight ministry’ of the Holy Spirit. He pointed out that when floodlights are functioning properly we are not aware of them, but the building they are illuminating.

The Holy Spirit came He to glorify Jesus (John 16:14). The Spirit has been referred to as ‘the shy member of the Trinity.’ He is self-effacing. He wants to train the spotlight on Jesus. So if we covet the “demonstration” of the Spirit’s power in our preaching, let’s keep the focus on the central realities of Christ and His Cross. The Holy Spirit will inspire and help us to do this.

1 Corinthians 2:1,2: Christ-centred and Cross-centred

And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

As anyone who has read John Scott’s magisterial book, ‘The Cross of Christ’, will be able to attest, keeping the focus on Christ and His Cross does not necessarily mean saying the same thing over and over again. There are so many aspects to consider and potential angles of approach. The Cross is like a sparkling multi-faceted Jewel. We will find Him – we will find it – in all the Scriptures. We will, for example, find ourselves preaching the Cross if we expound Genesis, as surely as we will if we are working through the gospels and the epistles.

Nevertheless we can affirm that, although there is so much to say on the subject, the simple proclamation of the Cross is full of an immeasurable power. May God help us to keep Christ-centred and Cross-centred. It is relatively easy to get off-centre.

Prayer: Jesus keep me near the Cross…

Thought: “The law discovers the disease. The gospel (the cross and resurrection) gives the remedy.” (Martin Luther)

A prayer for mid-week

‘Take my love, like the five barley loaves and two small fish, and multiply it, so that it may be pleasing to you and a blessing to others.’ F.B.Meyer.

1 Corinthians 1:30,31: No boasting

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

Why are you a Christian? At one level you may be able to give a number of different answers to this question. But the biggest answer we can give is that it’s because of God. I could point to the part my mother played in my conversion, and the key role played by a husband and wife child evangelism team who were leading a week-long mission at our church. I could also write about the wonderful example of godly, praying people in that church. These are just a few of many factors I could highlight. But I know the ultimate reason is “It is because of him…”

So, we have no right to brag. As Andrae Crouch expressed it in his song ‘To God be the glory’:

‘IfI should gain any praise, let it go to Calvary.’

1 Corinthians 1:26-29: ‘Royalty without a crown’

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him.

“Humility is nothing else but a right judgment of ourselves” William Law

‘’I’m one of God’s ‘are nots’ “, she said to me.

I only met her the once, but I’ll never forget her. She made quite an impression.

Her name was Miss Rose. She was probably in her 80’s, even possibly 90’s. I was a young assistant pastor in my very early 20’s, and I’d been asked to visit her in a Care home in Southport. I was told she’d had a very influential ministry, teaching the Bible to large groups of women. But her own humble estimation of herself was that she was one of “God’s are nots,” because, she explained, the Bible teaches that God chooses “the things that are not – to nullify the things that are…”

I knew it wasn’t mock modesty. She really believed it was true. It was easy to see why the Lord was able to use her so greatly.

“Humility is royalty without a crown.” Spencer W. Kimball

A song, a prayer and a quote for the week-end

Here is another song we learned recently at our church in Leeds:

Also, F.B. Meyer’s prayer for 7th October:

‘Lord Jesus, you have revealed the Father; you have brought us near God. I thank you that I may look boldly  at the glory of your eternal throne and know that all the attributes of God are on my side.’

Finally, a quote from C.H.Spurgeon in keeping with what we’ve been studying this week:

“I take it that the highest proof of Christ’s power is not that He offers salvation, not that He bids you take it if you will, but that when you reject it, when you hate it, when you despise it, He has a power whereby he can change your mind, make you think differently from your former thoughts, and turn you from the error of your ways.”

1 Corinthians 1:26: Starting point

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.

Paul did not say, ‘Not any’ but “Not many.”

‘That was my bedroom’, I said to my youngest sister, as we sat in her car outside a bungalow in Hindley Green last week. Although she too lived there she can’t remember it. She was probably only around three years old when our family moved to another part of Wigan.

It occurred to me only a little while later that this was also the room where I knelt by my bed and gave my life to Christ as a boy of 7,8. That changed everything for me.

But what was I when Christ called me? An anonymous nobody. A shy, sickly, weak boy who was often the object of ridicule and regularly bullied. My education was of a pretty average Secondary Modern Variety. I got a handful of O’ Levels and a couple of poor grade A’Levels, and later on a University Diploma in Theology. But I have never been anyone great or significant in the world.

The bottom line is this: I have nothing about which I can “boast.” But God called me to Himself, put me into Christ, and I believe He has graciously used me through the years. For this I am eternally grateful.

It is good for us all to remember where we came from and what the grace of God has done with us.

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