Monthly Message Aug 2023

“I have set my rainbow in the clouds”  (Genesis 9:13)

Dear friends,

What does the rainbow, or its colours, symbolize to you?  For many today it indicates LGBT ideology or, during the Covid pandemic, it appeared in some way to represent the NHS.  Some children’s nurseries also like the rainbow.

But was does it really mean?  Scientifically, we know that when sunlight hits rain droplets, an electromagnetic spectrum is formed.  This is made up of light with many different wavelengths, and each is reflected at a different angle producing a rainbow.  And we call it a rainbow because it is shaped like an archer’s bow.

In Genesis 6:5 we are told that “the Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time”. Such total wickedness deserved the utmost judgment of God and so he determined “to put an end to all people” by sending a devastating flood.  But in his anger he remembered mercy and chose to save a remnant (Noah and his family) through whom he started afresh with the human race.  But more than that, he made a promise and entered a covenant with mankind.  “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood” (8:21).  He then went on to confirm that covenant with a lasting sign.  In v13 he declared: “I have set my rainbow in the clouds”.

God saw the rainbow as symbolizing his promise: “Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life” (9:15).  It is a bow!  And God has hung up his bow for within his covenant of peace, hostility is over!.  When God hung up his bow it was like a foreshadowing of the cross, with Jesus’ cry: “It is finished!” Revelation 4 describes a throne in heaven, encircled by a rainbow and the unceasing worship of the One seated upon it: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come”.

How the devil loves to distort the truth.  The rainbow is God’s sign of peace through his grace and mercy to rebellious men and women, if only they would turn back to him.  It is emphatically not the symbol of Human Pride but of Divine Redeeming Grace.

In Christ,

Tony Mason

PS   Have you booked in for September 16th? 

Monthly Message Jul 2023

“He came and preached peace to you…”  (Ephesians 2:17)

Dear friends

In some churches, what used to be referred to as the ‘sermon’ is now called the ‘talk’? The word ‘talk’ suggests to me an interesting discourse such as might occur at a meeting of a local Historical Society or the W.I., whereas ‘sermon’ suggests something altogether different.  Am I quibbling over a word?

In Ephesians 2:17 Paul writes that Christ “came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near”.  Jesus never went to Ephesus at any point during his earthly ministry, and yet Paul asserts that he came to those Ephesians and preached peace!  So,  what he is saying, in effect, is that when men came to Ephesus and preached the gospel it was actually Christ himself who was preaching through them.

Preaching is a noble and holy calling; and so it matters what we call it because it matters how we regard it.  It matters that we realize that when the Word is preached, it is the Lord himself speaking through his chosen instrument.  What power there is in preaching!

The sermon is more than a talk.  It is that event when our Lord Jesus Christ deigns to use the earthen vessel of a preacher to give to his people the priceless treasure of his truth.  The Thessalonians seem to have understood this when Paul wrote of them: “when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers”.

Writing around 1658 the Puritan Paul Bayne observed: “…Paul preached to the ear, but Christ to the heart of Lydia.  This must teach us to look upon Christ as the chief Prophet among us, and the chief Preacher whosoever speaketh”.

May this encourage us as we pray for Jonathan Lamb and for all who will gather at Bible Focus on September 16th.  I look forward to seeing you there!

In Christ,

Tony Mason

Monthly Message May-Jun 2023

“Enoch walked with God” (Genesis 5:24)

Dear friends,

What a wonderful picture: Enoch walking with God!  Amos 3:3 poses the question, “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?”  Such sweet agreement and common purpose there must have been between Enoch and God, and between God and Enoch.

Noah also “walked with God” (Gen 6:9) and of Abraham it is said that he walked before God (Gen 17:1).  All three were men of faith and consequently of obedience; and that is the implication of walking with God.  Indeed, Micah 6:8 points out that what the Lord requires of us (i.e. obedience) includes “walk(ing) humbly with your God”.

But how can we walk with God? Do we not so often part company as we wander down a by-path? Couldn’t we just leave it to the spiritual ‘experts’?  After all Enoch clocked up some 300 years’ experience of walking with God.  But notice what happened to Enoch: “…then he was no more, because God took him away”. Does that not foreshadow our Saviour, Jesus Christ?  He walked with his Father in total and utter obedience.  That walk took him to the cross, and through death to resurrection and ascension, returning to his Father’s side – mission accomplished!  God ‘took him away’ and then sent the Holy Spirit to come alongside, and indwell, his people empowering them to ‘walk with God’ until, one day, we too will go to the Father!

Because Jesus ‘walked with God’ all who are ‘in Christ’ can do so, too.  “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:6). As with Enoch, so with us, it is possible to walk with God.  But as with Enoch, so with us, it is not by our merit or by God’s free grace.

May he richly bless you as you continue in your walk with him wherever that walk may lead, because ultimately it leads us home to his Father and ours.

In Christ,

Tony Mason