Monthly Message Dec 2021

Dear friends,

In October I reflected on Revelation and then, last month, on Reconciliation as two aspects of the Incarnation.  This month we consider Redemption. 

Titus 2:14 – Jesus Christ “gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own eager to do what is good”.

When someone frees a slave he pays a ransom for his freedom.  That is exactly what Jesus said he had come to do – for us.  Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”.  Some have asked to whom has the ransom been paid, and have argued that it was to Satan.  But the idea cannot be pressed that far.  God is under no obligation whatever to pay anything to Satan; nor does Satan, having been cast down from heaven, have the power to make any demands on God.  No, the focus is not on the one to whom the ransom has been paid but on the glorious One who willingly paid it, out of sheer love and grace towards us sinners who deserved nothing of the sort.  But consider the enormous power exerted by Christ when, by his death, he ransomed sinners, for “the whole world is under the control of the evil one”- I John 5:19.

Colossians 1:13 “He (Christ) has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins”.  Every time a sinner repents and turns to Christ, not only do the angels in heaven rejoice, but Satan loses one more soul from under his control!  Christ delivers us from death, the penalty for sin, and thereby the very fear of death.  In Hebrews 2:14,15 we have a great setting forth of the purpose and accomplishment of the Incarnation, the wonderful event and act of God we celebrate at Christmas time: “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death”. 

Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven, who like me his praise should sing?

Your brother in Christ,

Tony Mason

PS Look out for information in the New Year about our Spring Mini – Event on Saturday, March 12th at the URC Hall in Saffron Walden from 9.45am until 12.30pm.  Do keep the date free!

Monthly Message Dec 2021

Monthly Message Nov 2021

Dear friends,

I can still vividly remember seeing them, though it was way back in the 1960s: two men walking side by side down the aisle of a Hertfordshire Baptist church, carrying the offering they had just taken up.  Nothing remarkable in that, you might think. But one of those men was British and the other was German.  The latter had been brought to the UK as a prisoner-of-war during World War II and had decided to stay.

He was a Christian and had joined this particular church and, on getting to know the other man, discovered that both of them had fought in the same battle against each other!  Here they were now, no longer enemies but fellow servants of the Lord Jesus Christ!  But they had been, in fact, brothers in Christ even when they were in opposing armies.  Both of them had been reconciled to each other because both of them had been reconciled to God through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Last month I reflected briefly on Revelation as one purpose of the Incarnation, now I turn to Reconciliation.  “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them”. II Cor 5:19).  Wonder of wonders!  God, the holy and sinless One takes the initiative in reconciling lost, rebellious, unclean sinners to himself.  And he doesn’t just brush off the dirt and leave us in our unrighteousness; rather “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”. (v21).  Christ took our sin in order that we might receive his righteousness.

If God could effect so great an exchange, how deeply offensive our sin must be to him. If God could effect so great an exchange, how great must be his grace! “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (v17).

“Love so amazing, so divine, demands my life, my soul, my all.”  (Isaac Watts)

Your brother in Christ,

Tony Mason

FOR YOUR ENCOURAGEMENT AND PRAYER

The Bible Focus Team have been considering the possibility of a “Reunion” in the Spring of 2022.  It would be something of a mini-version of the September event, but more informal and interactive. There would be opportunity for worship and to minister to one another in prayer and in sharing in the Word of God, to renew friendships made on previous occasions and even something to which you could invite your friends.

Further details will be available in due course, but in the meantime please join us in prayer about this, and let us know any thoughts on the matter that the Lord may lay on your heart.

Monthly Message Nov 2021

Monthly Message Oct 2021

Dear friends,

Already mince pies are in the shops.  Already there are fears that, due to a shortage of HGV drivers, there may not be enough turkeys and toys for Christmas. If the world is starting to think about its version of Christmas as early as October, certainly Christians can start preparing for a true Christmas now.  So, God willing, between now and December I’d like to reflect on three aspects of the Incarnation – revelation, reconciliation and redemption.

  1. Revelation

What is God like?  He has revealed himself to us in creation, and in his written Word and supremely in Jesus.  “[I]n these last days he has spoken to us by his Son” (Heb 1:2).  Philip once said to Jesus: “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us”.  Jesus’ reply is staggeringly glorious!  “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father”.  We ourselves have not seen him (yet!) with our physical eyes but we can meet with him through the accounts we find in God’s inspired Word. And those accounts are so trustworthy that Jesus could say to Thomas, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”.

In Colossians 1:5 Paul describes Jesus as “the image of the invisible God”; and in John 1 he is referred to as “the Word” which “became flesh and lived for a while among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth”. Man’s sin places us in a state of conflict and confusion.  The answer to both is to be found in Jesus Christ, for grace (undeserved love) addresses conflict (with God and with one another), and truth (the way things really are) addresses our confusion, our determination to think and do as each of us sees fit.

God has made himself known.  There is so much about God that we do not know or understand, but he has revealed just so much as we need.  “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law”  (Deut. 29:29).   In these days of widespread and longstanding ignorance of God surely our great need is to focus more on knowing Jesus and proclaiming him.  So much that we consider important issues of the day pale into insignificance when we set them against God’s self-revelation in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

“God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him.”  (Colossians 1:19)

Your brother in Christ,

Tony Mason

Monthly Message Oct 2021