Word from Scotland
by Sandy Shaw
Romans 15 verse 29 – “I know that when I come to you I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.”
“See Rome and die” says the proverb.
It was the dream of Paul, the servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to visit Rome before he died. He was determined not only to see it but to win it for Christ.
There was a small Christian community in Rome – holding on grimly – in a time of severe persecution, but Paul was willing to fling himself into full attack – with the love of Jesus Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit.
He had fought the centres of paganism in Cyprus and Syria and Turkey – now he was going to Rome.
Some hope! This was fantasy thinking! Almost sheer ridiculous absurdity!
We have the invincible marching of Roman legions – the Emperor’s ruling rod of iron – and this little Jewish believer in Jesus Christ, with no testimonials or references from important people, wants to go and transform the capital of the Roman Empire!
He had nothing except what he called his Gospel! “I know that when I come to you I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.”
Every word is like a hammer blow at the powers of darkness – a light shining in the gloom and fear of pagan Rome.
I am coming to you with Christ – not some new philosophy – not some fascinating ideas – not with a new political theory that will eradicate pagan influences. Many might have crowded into such gatherings – “I am coming to you with Christ”.
If ever there was a man with one subject it was this man Paul. He told the Corinthians – “I was determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him having been crucified!”
Paul only had one tune – I am glad he did not change it! And, if we ever change our tune the Church of Jesus Christ is finished.
When Paul was around the people may have wanted some other topic or theme, but all he would give them was Christ – and Christ more than satisfies.
This theme of Jesus Christ remains rich – and fresh – and fertile.
The early church had a strange name for Jesus – they called Him the Alpha and the Omega – he is everything worthwhile from A to Z.
Rome did not want this Christ of his – but Rome needed this Christ – just as Scotland needs this same Christ today – and wherever you live too.
Rome had problems of race and class and morality. They sought answers to these troublesome matters – and Paul knew that Jesus Christ was the only answer.
Paul, are you not being irrelevant – we need to learn how to get on with each other – how races can live alongside each other – how we can deal with these serious issues of immorality – even in Government circles, Paul. We need to know how to exercise self control!
Paul, can you not speak to us about our every day problems and various practicalities – to which his answer is Christ – Christ – Jesus Christ and His forgiveness and love and light and peace and reconciliation.
We cannot teach men to love each other and care for each other without the friendship of Jesus Christ the Son of God, and the Fatherhood of God, and the power of the Holy Spirit.
We must not try to solve the problem from the wrong end!
Paul refused to be deflected from holding up Jesus Christ.
“I am coming to you with the blessing of Christ.” This lies at the very heart of the Gospel – the good news.
Are you looking for good news – desperate for good news – longing for good news – then, you cannot get better news than this.
At the end of Luke’s Gospel, the risen Jesus was leaving his men – and He raised His hands and blessed them.
We can be so slow to bless people – sometimes we are unaware of the power of blessing people. Have you the courage to go and bless people?
This man, Paul, was once so broken – and he met Jesus Christ.
He was a bitter angry religious young man – and he met Jesus Christ.
In Corinth, he faced so much opposition and persecution that he was on the point of giving up – and the risen Christ appeared to him.
You see – forgiveness and reconciliation is not a doctrine – it is a practical reality!
Forgiveness can bring healing where you may have thought that some relationship has irretrievably broken down – and is spoilt – and ruined – never to be repaired – and you go and seek to offer forgiveness.
That is one of the blessings of the Gospel. Do you need healing? Do you need forgiveness – then I point you to Jesus Christ – “Father, forgive them because they do not know what they are doing!”
You can know that every barrier between you and God has been broken down – and that every barrier between you and some long lost friend can be broken down.
Blessing lights up man’s whole experience with joy and peace and courage and serenity.
Paul and Silas knew something of this even when worshipping in that Philippian jail – having been whipped and beaten and arrested illegally. It led to an entire family coming to faith in Jesus Christ.
I am coming to you with the full measure of the blessing of Christ.
You may know the blessing of Christ – but have you experienced the full measure of the blessing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
You may know deep down that God has something more for you – and you know it is there awaiting you – and as you join in singing the Psalms and the hymns and the spiritual songs – you are aware that there is something more because these create a thirst and longing for what Paul is speaking about here.
Many battle with this for years. It was in 1969 when I had my fiercest battle over this.
Paul knew the fullness of the blessing of God and he would have every believer in Jesus experience and enjoy that fullness.
There was a young man in the Gospels who came to Jesus Christ and he told Jesus what he had and what he had done – and Jesus said – You are lacking one thing! Jesus spoke to that young man about that one thing – Jesus put His finger on it.
It can be a variety of things for various people.
Is Jesus Christ placing His finger on something in your life today?
That young man turned round and walked away and as far as we know was never satisfied.
It can be one sin someone holds onto – and the rest of life is somehow dimmed and darkened.
It can be one barrier barricaded from Christ – you are not getting in there!
It can be one secret hugged from God – and its memory casts a shadow whenever it is remembered.
It can be one heavenly vision disobeyed – and you try and push it out of your mind once and for all – and you cannot. Only Christ can deal with that – and deep down you know it.
Be done with the misery of a divided life.
Jesus Christ does not want you to be spiritually impoverished.
Hear his servant – “I come to you in the full measure of the blessing of Christ”.
This is for you and for me – this is for each of us!
“Loving Father – in and through Jesus Christ, You have so much to give us – so many riches – such abundant blessings. We bow before You – enrich our lives with Your blessing – not so that we may just be spiritually rich – but so that we can share these blessings with people around us – those who may be so thirsty and hungry – with deep profound spiritual needs. Use us to bless others – in Jesus Name. Amen.”
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Heir of the World (Romans 4:13)Read Article »
Alexander 'Sandy' Shaw is pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship in Nairn, Scotland. Nairn is 17 miles east of Inverness - on the Moray Firth Coast - not far from the Loch Ness Monster!
Gifted as a Biblical teacher, Sandy is firmly committed to making sure that his teachings are firmly grounded in the Word.
Sandy has a weekly radio talk which can be heard via the Internet on Saturday at 11:40am, New Orleans time, at wsho.com.
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