392. How God Sees Us As His Children. 2Thessalonians 2.

When Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica he wrote to assure them that Jesus had not yet returned to the earth. He wrote to assure them they had not missed out on Jesus’ coming which was still in the future, but they would have to go through trials and persecution until that time.

In the letter he recognised that their faith was growing and their love for one other was increasing. In fact he told them he boasted about them in God’s churches about their perseverance in faith in all the persecutions they were enduring.

As he encouraged them to stand firm in their faith, he reminded them of what God had already done in bringing them to Himself. 

A Thanksgiving To God For His Work In Them. 13-14. 

13. But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 

  • God loved them, “brothers and sisters loved by the Lord”. They were growing in love for one another but that was motivated by the incredible truth that God’s love had touched their lives and that they were all recipients of God’s undeserved love and grace.
  • He had chosen them to belong to Himself, “because God chose you.” As Paul reminded the Ephesian believers, Eph1:4, “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” Chosen by God to belong to Him before the world was even made! That’s grace!
  • They were chosen to be “first fruits to be saved.”  The believers in Thessalonica had been among the first to respond to Paul’s preaching of the gospel and had been saved as they responded to the message in faith. 

God’s Method In Calling Them To Himself. 13

Through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14. He called you to this through our gospel.  

  • They were to remember that God had taken the initiative in calling them  to belong to Him. That call came to them as they heard the preaching of the good news of the gospel. They had realised that God was offering them forgiveness and a new life if they believed in the truth of the gospel message about Jesus. They had believed.
  • But the love and grace of God was also to be seen in their acceptance of the gospel message. It had been the ministry of the Holy Spirit in opening their eyes to the truth about Jesus. He had “sanctified” them.  The word “sanctify” from hagiasmos, ἁγιασμός means the process of making holy but it also refers to the fact that God by His Spirit had “set them apart” from the unbelieving world, to be saved as they believed in the gospel message.  What amazing grace they had experienced in the whole process as they responded to the gospel. 

God’s Purpose In Calling Them To Himself. 

“that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

  • God’s grace was not only to get them saved but something much deeper. They were to share in the glory of the Lord Jesus. The word here for “share” is peripoiēsis, περιποίησις from peri meaning around and poieo to make or do. That is, “to make around oneself” or to “purchase” or “preserve.” They had obtained for themselves Christ’s glory. As Paul wrote to the Ephesian believers, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18. That glory they had received could increase as they were more and more transformed by the Holy Spirit. 

The Exhortation To Stand Firm. Vs 15.

15. “So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.”

  • “Stand firm” is from stēkō; στήκω and is in the perfect tense of the verb. That is, you are already standing firm, but keep on standing firm!
  • “hold fast to the teachings.” “Hold fast” is from krateō; κρατέω meaning to seize, take hold of,  retain and is present tense, “keep on holding fast.”  
  • “Teachings” here is from paradosis; παράδοσις meaning that which is handed over, such as tradition or a body of teaching. 
  • “Passed on” is from didaskō; διδάσκω to teach. 
  • Paul is commending the Thessalonian believers for their firm stand for the Lord but encouraging them to continue on in the teaching they had brought to them by word or by epistle.
  • He then turns to prayer as he prays that the Lord would encourage and strengthen them in their faith.

The prayer for encouragement. 16-17.

Paul describes God as “God our Father who loved us.“ Not only that but he again refers to God’s grace in giving them eternal encouragement  and good hope. 16. “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope” God’s grace is not just His unmerited favour towards us but is also His enabling us to do the things we want to do. He is able to do it eternally and because of that we have a good and sure hope. 

The prayer concludes with Paul writing, 17. [May our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father] –“encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”

He is praying that God would continue to do what He had already done in bringing them encouragement and strength in everything they said and did. 

It is a shame that a magnificent passage such as this one is often overlooked as we read the Bible. But it reminds us of so much of our Christian faith. For in it we see the wonderful love that God has for His children and the effort He made in Christ to bring them to Himself in His mercy and grace.

How great it is to realise that God had an eternal purpose for us before we were born, that we should be saved and come to share in the glory of Christ.

How humbling to know that our hearing and responding to the gospel message was only made possible through the ministry of the Holy Spirit in setting us apart from the unbelieving world in order that we might believe and enter into the Christian family.

How blessed we are to know that God will not leave us alone as we seek to live for Him but will keep on strengthening us in His eternal grace and love in our every good deed and word.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!

Blog No.392. Posted on Wednesday 01 December 2021

Posted in Forgiveness | Leave a comment

391.Thoughts on Remembrance [Armistice] Day 2021

[This can be found in audio format on Spotify under Jim Holbeck]

Over the years I have often had sad thoughts on Remembrance Day as I thought about the very young men and women who went to war for Australia and for other nations and who never returned home. Such a tragic loss for so many families around the world. Oh, why don’t people seek peace rather than resort to the stupidity of war! No wonder Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Mat 5:9. I suppose that saying of Jesus has motivated me to attempt to be a peace-maker throughout my life.

Just 2 years ago today [11thNovember] it was an especially sad Remembrance Day for me because at 11am the Thanksgiving funeral service for my late wife Carole was about to begin at St Thomas Anglican church in Port Macquarie NSW.  That was the exact time the nation stops to remember those brave men and women who served our nation during so many military conflicts. 

The Rector had arranged for someone to take part at the beginning of the service who led us in prayer for those who had served in military service. My mind went to my father who at 19 years of age had sailed to England in 1916 to fight in the trenches of France and Belgium in World War 1. A fine man, humorous, hardworking and fair. I remembered thinking of Carole’s uncle who had travelled from India to also fight in that war in the British army. With just a few days to go before the war ended, he had been fatally shot by a sniper and never returned home to India. He was never to know that his much younger brother [and Carole’s father] would become a legend in field hockey history with 2 Olympic Gold medals and perhaps the best in his position ever. In front of me in the church was my nephew who had served 2 tours of military duty in the Australian Army as a medical doctor in Afghanistan and praise God, had survived those battles. 

Then my mind returned in the thanksgiving service for my wife beloved Carole. She had passed away from a long bout with cancer just 11 days before. They had been very sad days missing her so much after 53 years of a wonderful fulfilling marriage for both of us. I realised as tributes were read to her which had come from all over the world, that she had been admired and loved by so many people. She in turn had poured out her love to a multitude of people in different situations. I had been the recipient of her very special love and I had begun to feel the emptiness of my life without her. She had been the most special person in my life for over 55 years and it was difficult to imagine living without her. However we had produced 3 wonderful children who had loved her so much and were there with me in the service. 

The world changed on that Remembrance Day 2 years ago. Many people had been unable to get to the funeral service because the disastrous bush fires had cut off access to the town for people outside our area. When the fires ceased there had been a massive flood and it not long after that, that the Covid 19 virus arrived forcing people to isolate. We have been living in a different world since then with little access to friends and family. Now we are beginning to live with Covid 19 in the world but I think I will find it still hard to live without my beloved Carole as we get back to “normal.” But I do so with a tremendous sense of gratitude to God for having brought her all the way from her birthplace Kharagpur in India to meet and marry me in Australia, to enrich my life and the lives of so many people for so many years. 

Memories are often wonderful and humbling as we remember the love and graciousness of our God in His blessings to us. I can identify with King David as he wrote in Psalm 143:5, “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands. I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.” What wonderful memories so many of us have, as we reflect on the Lord’s loving kindness to us throughout our lives!

Blog No.391. Posted on Friday 12 November 2021.

Posted in Bible verses. Comments, Coping With Personal Grief, Creation, Evangelism, Faithfulness, Glorification, Healing, Mental Health, Prayer, Real Life Stories, Salvation, TOPICS, Tributes | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

390. A SERMON ON JOHN 14:12-14.  God can fulfil His promises. [The text of a sermon I preached at a healing service in St Andrew’s Cathedral. Sydney probably in the early 2000’s.]

[This can be found in audio format on Spotify under Jim Holbeck.}

“It sounds just too good to be true.”

We may have often thought something like that when we heard something that sounded really exciting. It sounded unbelievable. Surely it couldn’t be as good as it sounded.

It may have been an advertisement we heard that promised something valuable for almost nothing. But we were disappointed as we later read the small print, and found the promise wasn’t so good after all.

When we first start to read about God’s promises in the Bible, they sound almost too good to be true.  Jesus’ promise in Jn 14:13,14 is like that.

Tonight let’s face up to His promises to us in His word, and the conditions that might apply for the receiving of those promises.

  1. We must have faith and ask in Jesus’ name.

(John 14:12)  “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I  have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going  to the Father.”(John 14:13) “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may  bring glory to the Father.”(John 14:14)  “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

The promise is that God will do for us whatever we ask for, or anything we ask for.  But the condition is that we need to have faith in Jesus (14:12), and that we ask in His name.

In other words, the promise is for those who have received Christ into their lives by an act of faith, and who trust in Him as their Saviour and Lord.  Then as they ask in His name, the answers come.

We need to understand what it means to ask “in His name.”

In the Bible the “name” is important. It represents all that the person is, and all that the person has done. So as we come to ask in Jesus’ name, it is on the basis of Who He is, as the Son of God, the Creator, and the Lord of the universe.

It is also on the basis of all He has done as our Redeemer; in dying on the cross to take away our sins and our infirmities, griefs and diseases.  Because of that, forgiveness and healing are now available.

It’s on the basis that He is risen from the dead, that He is alive, and has given us the gift of His own Spirit to live in us to enable us to know Him and His word and His will, that we might know and act on His promises.

  1. Lack of faith hinders God’s power

Jesus and His disciples were in a boat at night when a storm arose and the boat began to sink. They were filled with fear, and surprised that Jesus remained asleep in the boat.

When they woke Him, He not only rebuked the wind and the waves and told them to be still, but He rebuked them for their little faith. (Mark 4:40)  “He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” There was no need for fear when He was present with them.

Jesus returned to His own hometown having accomplished many healings and miracles in other places. But we read of Nazareth in (Mk 5,6, “He could not do any miracles there, except lay His hands on a few sick people and heal them. And He was amazed at their lack of faith.” Many healings and miracles could have taken place, but the people of Nazareth refused to act in faith towards Him and they missed out on what they could have received.

Peter was moved to ask Jesus to bid him to walk on the water to Jesus.  Jesus told him to do so, and he stepped out in faith and began walking on the water. But he looked away from Jesus and as he looked at the storm about him, fear entered in and he began to sink.

I would have thought it was a great effort to begin to walk on the water, a gigantic step of faith. But Jesus rebuked Peter, (Mat 14:31) “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”” He could have walked to Jesus if he had trusted in Jesus’ promise to him, but doubt entered in and he sank. How often do we take our focus off Jesus and begin to focus on the difficulties around us? Doubt is so unnecessary in the light of Jesus’ promises and power!

  1. Doubt hinders the reception of answers to prayer.

The disciples were standing amazed as they looked at a fig tree that Jesus had cursed the night before, and now it was withered up. They had seen a demonstration of His power.  He encouraged them to act on His power as He said to them, (Mark 11:23) “”I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.” (Mark 11:24) “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

As we face the mountains of life, those seemingly impossible situations, we can invite Jesus to manifest His power in removing those mountains, and by asking Him to give us what we need.  Having asked in faith, we are then to believe that we have received what we need in Him.

A father had brought his son to be set free of an evil spirit which was trying to kill the boy. Jesus’ disciples hadn’t been able to help the boy, so the father brought him to Jesus.  He asked Jesus to heal the boy, “If you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.”. Jesus’ reply was a challenge to the father and to us.  He said, “If you can? Everything is possible to him who believes. ”

The father began to exercise more faith as he replied, (Mark 9:24)  “Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” He had approached Jesus in faith for his son to be healed, but he wanted to be free of all pockets of unbelief so that more might happen for his son.

You and I may have faith for God to work in some situations, but we need to let Him deal with those areas in which we find it hard to believe that God can intervene and work a miracle. We could well pray, “Help me overcome my unbelief.” That is an acknowledgement that none of us has perfect faith. It is a further step of faith to ask that God might remove all pockets of unbelief that HE sees in us.

James wrote about prayer, that if we need wisdom from God, we should ask God to give it to us, expecting that He will.  But he qualified it by writing, (James 1:6-8) “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who  doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double minded man. unstable in all his ways.”

Doubt says, “I’m asking for it Lord, but I don’t expect to get it.” That’s double-mindedness. Faith says, “I ask in faith trusting in Your promise, and I thank you that I have received it.”

  1. An active faith brings the answers.

Jesus says to His people in all ages, that if they believe and act on His promises, they will receive the answers they need. (Mat 7:7-8, cf., Lk 11:9-10) “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

He concludes those sayings by stating, “If you then (as earthly fathers) who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts (Lk. the Holy Spirit) to those who ask Him? ”

Jesus stressed the need for Christians to be united in prayer, and promised, (Mat 18:19) “”Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about  anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.”

The Ruler of the synagogue Jairus came to Jesus to get Him to go to his home where his daughter was dying.  As they journeyed, servants came from the home to tell the father that her daughter was dead. We read in (Luke 8:50)  “Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just  believe, and she will be healed.””

They continued on their journey in faith, and Jesus restored the daughter to life.

A Roman Centurion had a servant who was seriously ill. He asked Jesus to come to his home and heal the servant.  When Jesus replied that He would, the Centurion showed incredible faith by suggesting to Jesus that if Jesus just spoke the word of healing his servant would be healed.

Jesus was astonished at such faith in a Gentile, and told His hearers, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” Then He told the Centurion, (Mat 8:13) “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” The result? “And his servant was healed at that very hour.” Sometimes it is the most unlikely people who have the greater faith in the Lord!

Two blind men were following Jesus. They asked Him to heal them. He replied, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” He called for their affirmation of faith in His ability to bring them the healing they needed.  When they responded, “ Yes, Lord” He brought them the healing they had asked for.

Paul reminded the Galatian believers of what God was doing in their midst as they responded to Him in faith. (Gal 3:5) “Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?”  It was because they had faith in the power of God that they saw Him perform His miracles and healings.

John reminded believers of all ages, that we need to respond to God in faith and obedience.

(1 John 3:22) “and [we] receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his  commands and do what pleases him.”

God’s people were to act on His promise that they were to pray for the sick.  If they did so, then, “the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.” (James 5:15.) The prayer offered in faith can open any situation to the power of God.

The principle of faith at work. What faith does.

(Heb 11:1) “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what  we  do not see.”   ie., Faith brings substance to our hopes. That is, we learn about the promises of God in His word, and they inspire hope within us. As we claim those promises in prayer before the Lord, He brings them to pass; the hoped-for thing becomes substance (reality) in our experience.

  1. God can do more than we ask or imagine.

The promises of God are truth, not fiction. They seem to be way out of this world, almost unbelievable. They seem to be too good to be true. But God loves people who will take Him at His word, and who claim His promises, expecting them to come true in their experience.

But let me encourage you with this final truth that God can do more than we can ever ask for. He can do far more than we can ever imagine. As Paul wrote, (Eph 3:20)  “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,”

Tonight as you prepare to receive prayer for your needs, or for the needs of a loved one, come trusting in the promises of God. Come:-

  1. In faith, asking in the name of Jesus.
  2. Confessing your need for your faith to grow, and
  3. Asking God to remove doubt from your mind about His promises.
  4. Come with an active faith, and come
  5. Expectantly, knowing God can do far more than you can ever ask or think.

Blog No.390 posted on Wednesday 10 November 2021

Posted in Forgiveness | 1 Comment

389. God Works Through His People. John 14. [No2 in a series of 2]

[This can be heard in audio format on Jim Holbeck on Spotify]

God loves to work through people. *

  • He began with  Adam and Eve to form the human race. He could have manufactured millions of people at once and breathed life into them, but He began with just 2 individuals. 
  • God used an individual, Moses to prepare the people of Israel to leave their bondage in Egypt.  He could have saved His people by making a sign in the sky, “All Israelites must flee immediately towards the Red Sea, while I kill all the Egyptians”, but He used Moses to lead His people out of Egypt. 
  • Moses received the law at Mt Sinai.  God could have engraved 2 tablets with the commandments without Moses having to go up on the mountain, but He used Moses to receive His law.  
  • He used Joshua as a military leader to lead them into the promised Land. 
  • He used Kings like Saul and David to lead their armies to defeat God’s enemies.  God could have destroyed them directly by natural disasters and plagues, but He used people to fight for Him.
  • When Jesus became a human, He didn’t suddenly appear on earth as an adult human, but He was born as a dependant baby to a human mother. 

God loves to work through people.   


I think we often have a wrong picture of Jesus as He ministered on earth.  We think rightly that He was the Son of God, Who created the universe before He came to earth. But we may be thinking incorrectly when we think that He did all His miracles on earth by using His supernatural power to do so. 

St Paul reminds us that Jesus laid aside all His divine privileges, when He came to earth, so that he might become true man, and live by faith in His Heavenly Father.  He lived as humans should live,  in an intimate relationship with God for every moment of His life, and so God was able to work unhindered through Him.

That’s what Jesus said about His ministry in John 14 and other places. 

  • Early in His ministry, Jesus said that God was working through Him. (John 5:17)  “Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very  day, and I, too, am working.” and (John 5:36)  … the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the  Father has sent me. What God wanted to do through Jesus, He was able to do, because of Jesus’ perfect commitment to Him. 
  • In Jn 14, Philip said he wanted to see the Father, and Jesus rebuked him saying, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been  among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:10)  “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is  in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.” John 14:9-10)  
  • When people saw Jesus, they saw God in Him. When they heard Jesus speak, they heard the words of God through Him. Jesus taught, The words I say to you are not just my own. Jn 14:10.
  • When they saw the works He did in healings and miracles, they saw God at work through His human instrument Jesus. “Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.” Jn 14:10. 

In other words, Jesus saw the origin of His teaching, and the origin of His miracles, as being in God the Father. The Father was the source of the teaching and the miracles, Jesus was the willing perfect instrument He used. 

Jesus affirmed that in John 14:11, when He said that the miracles were the sign of the perfect unity He had with the Father, so that the Father could do His work through His Son.  “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.” In other words, “In me you see God at work.” 


Jesus promised His followers that God would work through them.  (John 14:12)  “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I  have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”

Jesus meant that after He had died and ascended back to heaven, He would send His Spirit to come and live in the lives of all His people, so that they too might be able to be used by God as His human instruments to do His work on earth. 

They would be able to do the things that He had done, and as He said, even “greater things”. 

They would be able to pray prayers of power that would accomplish great things. eg., (Mat 21:21)  “Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not  doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say  to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.”

The apostles testified that God was working through them.  Paul and Barnabas had been sent out by the Holy Spirit, and by the church in Antioch, and when they returned to Antioch they told the church about all “that God had done through them and how He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.” (Acts 14:27)  They had preached the gospel and been used in healing, but it was really God at work through them.

Paul wrote of his ministry and that of Peter in these words, (Gal 2:8)  “For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to  the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles.” Different ministries to different people, by Paul and Peter but it was really God at work through both of them. 

He reminded the Galatian Christians that it was God who gave them the Spirit and it was God who kept on working miracles among them. “Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith—”[Gal 3:5.]

Paul summed up his ministry in his letter to the Romans when he said,  “I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done, by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Holy Spirit.”  Rom 15:18. Paul had done the preaching and the ministry, but it was God Himself who had worked powerfully through him through the power of the Spirit 

Peter wrote of the need for Christians to exercise their gifts for the sake of the body of Christ, especially as the day of the Lord drew closer. (1 Pet 4:10) “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: “ They would do the ministry, but God would pour out His grace into the lives of those to whom they ministered.  

Those with gifts of speaking or serving were to be God’s instruments through whom He worked. “If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”(1 Pet 4:11)ƒ.  The origin of the teaching and of the power was God Himself. They would be His instruments through whom He worked.  


The promises of God are eternal, applicable to His people in every generation.  Let’s look again at those in Jn 14. 

i. The first is in verse 12 where Jesus promised to work through His people to exercise the healing ministry He had on earth.  (John 14:12)  “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I  have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”

In the 37 years that the Healing Ministry has been operating in this Cathedral, it would be true to say that people have experienced the power of the risen Christ in wonderful healings.  People  who have prayed for others have claimed that promise of Jesus, and have asked in faith for God to work through them, and the prayers have been answered, as the healings came. 

Cancers have disappeared, tumours have gone, arthritis has been healed, curved spines have been

straightened, hard hearts have been softened, empty lives have been filled, broken hearts have been mended, spiritually dead people have come alive, and spiritual renewal has taken place.  These and many other things have happened in answer to believing prayer as believers trusted God to work in answer to prayer. 

ii. The promise is that as we minister in Christ’s name, praying with the prayer of faith, it allows Christ to do His work through us.  Jesus said, (John 14:13)  “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may  bring glory to the Father.”(John 14:14)  “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” We do the asking in faith, as we pray for people, but the Risen Christ works through His body, His people, to do what is prayed for. As He said, “I will do it.”  

Again it is the same principle we have seen throughout the Bible.  God loves to minister through His people.

We do the praying, but He does the healing and the blessing. He is the origin of every healing and every blessing. But we have the privilege of often being the human instruments He uses to impart His blessings.  

We want to be involved in what he is doing, because He has give us the desire to do so, eg., Phil 2:12-13)  “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in  my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your  salvation with fear and trembling, for God is at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure. ” As we seek to work out our salvation, it is God at work in us who gives us the willingness and the ability to do what He wants to do through us.  Our expectancy for God to work in and through us grows as we turn away from our own weakness, and learn to depend on His strength. 

Paul’s doxology in Ephesians 3:20 reminds us of the mighty power of God that can exceed all we can ask for in believing prayer, or even in the realm of our great imagination. (Eph 3:20)  “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or  imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” Our expectancy is based on His promise and His power. 

So the basis of the Healing Ministry is that God has called us to respond to the needs of people, and we offer our ministry on the basis that we have nothing to offer, other than what God can do through us.  Even with the faith we have, we have to humbly admit that He can do in and through us, even more than we can ever ask or imagine. 

What a privilege it is to be used by the Lord in fulfilling His healing and loving purposes for the benefit of, and among our fellow humans. BUT it needs a total commitment to Him on our part to 

be His effective instruments through whom He can achieve His loving and gracious purposes.

  • [This is a republishing of a sermon I preached as the Leader of the Healing Ministry in a healing service in St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney, in 1997.]

Blog No.389 posted on Wednesday 10 November 2021.

Posted in BIBLE PASSAGE OUTLINES, Bible verses. Comments, Creation, Evangelism, Faithfulness, Forgiveness, Healing, HEALING MINISTRY Core Teaching, Holy Spirit, Justification, New Covenant, Prayer, Salvation, Sanctification, Sermons on John's Gospel, TOPICS | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

388. The Basis of a Healing Ministry. [A sermon I preached in a healing service in St Andrew’s Cathedral in1997.] No1 in a series of 2.

[ This can be heard in audio format under Jim Holbeck on Spotify.]


One of the reasons why God has blessed this healing ministry over 37 years is the place we have given to Jesus Christ in the ministry. We recognise and welcome the presence of the Risen Christ amongst us as we gather together, and we pray in His name for our prayers to be answered.

What’s so important about Jesus that we focus on Him, and pray in His name? 

The passage for tonight gives us the reason. Jesus had been preparing His followers for His departure from them. It would be through death by crucifixion. He speaks to comfort them.  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in  me. {2} In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have  told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. {3} And if I go and  prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you  also may be where I am. {4} You know the way to the place where I am going.” {5} Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can  we know the way?” 

Jesus’ reply is one of the most concise and important statements He ever made about Himself,  as He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by Me.”

Let’s see the significance of what He said. 


i.   He is the truth about the Way to God.

All of us have had wrong views of how one can get right with God. Some people think it’s by belonging to a Christian family that gets you accepted. 

* Others think it’s by doing more good things than bad things that tips the scales in your favour, and so you are entitled to entry into heaven.

* Some think it’s by trying to be good, and by trying to obey the law, that gets you there. 

* Others haven’t got a clue on how to get to heaven, and are just hoping for the best. 

But Jesus said, No one comes to the Father but by Me.

When Jesus died on the cross, He was bearing in His own body the sin of all the world.  It meant that the barrier of sin that stood between God and ourselves was broken down, and forgiveness was now available to humans in Christ. Now as the writer to the Hebrews puts it, He is the new and living way through whom we can come to God. 

ii. He is the pattern of the way to live, by faith in God.

From the beginning of His life, He lived by faith in God, so that at the age of 12 as he remained behind in Jerusalem after the feast, he explained to His mother Mary and Joseph, Don’t you know that I must be about my Father’s business.

Throughout his life, He expressed His dependence on God for the things He said and did. 

As he prayed He often looked up to heaven or prayed, and then healed the sick or did something else like feeding 5,000 people, that showed that the answer was coming from God in answer to His prayers. 

In Gethsemane, as He decided to go ahead with the last part of His life of perfect obedience to God’s will, which meant going to the cross and being made sin for us, He prayed, Father remove this cup from Me. Nevertheless not my will, but your will be done. 

At the end of His life He could affirm to His Father in heaven, “Father I have accomplished all You have given me to do.”

At His death, He committed His spirit to God in faith. Father into Your hands I commit my spirit.


i.  He is the truth  about God.

Jn 14:8} Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for  us.” {9} Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been  among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How  can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? {10} Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.

* The truth about God was expressed in the words Jesus spoke.

* The truth about God was seen in the works that Jesus performed, which he said, was the evidence that the Father was working through Him. 

*  The truths about God’s love and mercy were seen in His healing of the sick, and in setting people free of evil spirits.

*  The truth about God’s power was seen in the nature miracles and other signs Jesus performed in His ministry, which He attributed to His Father in heaven.   Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. John 14:10.““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““`

ii. He is the truth about being human. 

* In Jesus we see how humans should live by faith in God, and in dependence of Him. 

* In Jesus we see what it means for humans to love God with all their heart, mind, soul and strength. 

* In Jesus we see how we are meant to live in a deep intimacy of relationship with God. 

* In Jesus we see His perfect obedience to God for every moment of His life, so that He always did what the Father wanted Him to do. 

* In Jesus we see how humans are meant to be able to show the appropriate emotions, and not be emotionally crippled, or live with giant hang-ups. 

He  wept when confronted with the grief of Mary and Martha, at their brother Lazarus’ death. 

He wept in anguish as he saw that Jerusalem would suffer destruction because of their rejection of God in rejecting Him.

He was angry at the money changers and merchants who had set up their tables in the place reserved for the Gentiles to come and pray and seek after God.  

He rejoiced when His disciples returned after preaching and healing in His name, rejoicing because of what God had done through them. He told them not to rejoice so much in what they had done, but on their status as God’s children, Luke 10: 20  However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke records in Lk 10:21,  At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. He was delighted with their delight at being used by God in His healing purposes. 

No one is perfectly emotionally whole, but Jesus as a human was, and His emotions were always

appropriate in every situation. Part of becoming more like Him, is learning from Him how to have the appropriate emotions at all times, and not living as we do as emotional cripples.  


He is the Creator of all things, responsible for all creation, for all life. Through Him all things were made,  without Him nothing was made that has been made.  In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.  Jn 1:3,4. He is the sustainer of the universe.  Col 1:17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.  He can do things in His universe, for “He’s got the whole world in His hands”. He can do things in answer to our prayers. 

  • He revealed the life of God. Life was manifest in the life of Jesus. “The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to  us.” (1John 1:2) Jn 1. (John 14:7)  “If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
  • He imparts the life of God.  Eternal life to be found in Christ. To receive Christ as Saviour and Lord into one’s life, is to receive eternal life. In Him.  1 Jn 5:11-13. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life. He has not the Son, has not life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

Eternal life, the life of God begins in us from the moment we ask Christ to come and live in our lives. Life begins anew. We are born again people, new creatures in Christ, with the old things passing away and all things becoming new. 


As we come to God in prayer, we’re not praying to Him on the basis of our goodness, our status, or even on the basis of all the things we have achieved in life. 

Rather we come on the basis of who Jesus is as Creator and Redeemer, and on the basis of all He’s done for us on the cross, and in His death and resurrection, and in His being seated at the right hand of God in glory and honour. Rom 8: 34 says that Jesus who died and who was raised to life is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 

That’s why we can pray with confidence, knowing that He will hear us, and that He can do something about any situation for which we pray. 

{Then came the invitation to raise one’s hand to receive prayer for healing or God’s blessing and trained pray-ers would go those people and ask “What would you like the Lord to do for you?” Then they would lay hands on them and pray in faith accordingly.]

388. Posted on http://www.jimholbeck.blog on Tuesday 09 November 2021

Posted in Bible verses. Comments, Creation, Evangelism, Faithfulness, Forgiveness, Glorification, Healing, HEALING MINISTRY Core Teaching, Holy Spirit, New Covenant, Prayer, Salvation, Second coming of Jesus, Sermons on John's Gospel, TOPICS | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

387. THE UNIQUENESS OF JESUS CHRIST! He cannot be ignored!

I thought it might be helpful to put a link to the articles on the 4 recent topics on the one page so that folk might be able to tap on a gIven link and open up any of the 4 articles they wish to look at.

Jesus Christ is unique in history. He cannot be ignored! He must be accepted as Saviour and Lord of every human life! Those who refuse to do so miss out on receiving His love and grace in this life and face eternal separation from God for eternity.

God wants every single person to humble themselves in repentance and to invite Jesus into their lives to be their personal Saviour from the penalty of sin and to be the Lord and Master of every aspect of their lives from that time onwards.

1]. Jesus the CREATOR.


2]. Jesus is the SAVIOUR!


3]. Jesus is the Lord of the universe and of the church.




Blog 387 posted on Thursday 04 November 2021

Posted in Bible verses. Comments, Creation, Evangelism, Forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Judgement, Justification, Prayer, Salvation, TOPICS | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

386. Topic 4 of 4. Jesus the Judge.

[ This is the final topic of Jesus The Creator. Jesus The Saviour. Jesus the Lord. Jesus the Judge. We can’t ignore the topic if it’s in the Bible.  ESV Bible, has 469 references to “judge” or “judgment”. But praise God, Love  occurs 896 times. So we have to take the concept seriously. We look primarily at the Final judgment when Jesus returns.  

The talk was recorded and posted on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EptXVwJ-_WA  I have added some suggested Questions and a few answers.


Gen 18:25  … Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?”

Psa 9:7  But the LORD sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice, 8  and he judges the world with righteousness… with uprightness. 

Ecc 12:13  … Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  14  For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.


(Joh 5:22)  The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son,

Joh 5:27  And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 

(Joh 8:16)  Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me.

(Act 17:31)  because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” 

 (Rom 2:16)  on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by (dia = through) Christ Jesus.


Rom 14:10  Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11  for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” 12  So then each of us will give an account of himself to God

1Co 4:5  Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

2Co 5:10  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

(2Ti 4:1)  I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:

Heb 9:27  And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment


I).        One’s Attitude To Jesus

Joh 3:17  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 

Joh 5:28  Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice Joh 5:29  and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

2Th 1:6  since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7  and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8  in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9  They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,  10  when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marvelled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.

II).        The rejection of Jesus and His words

(Joh 12:48)  The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.

III).      Ungodly Behaviour And Speech 

Mat 7:22  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Heb 13:4  Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

Jud 1:14  It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15  to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

Rev 20:12  And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13  And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done

IV).      Refusal to repent

Mat 11:20  Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. Mat 11:21  “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 

Mat 11:22  But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 23  And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24  But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”

Rom 2:4  Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5  But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. Rom 2:6  He will render to each one according to his works: 7  to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8  but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.

Act 17:30  The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31  because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” 



Jesus’ illustration about the sheep and the goats, and people’s failure to care.

Mat 25:31  “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32  Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33  And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 

The “sheep” are rewarded for caring.  Mat 25:34  Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 

Why? Mat 25:40  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ 

The “goats” are punished for not caring. Mat 25:45  Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46  And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”


2 Th 1:6. God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you ….8  inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9  will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,  

III).      Rewards for those who trust and obey

1Co 3:14  If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward

(2Ti 4:8)  Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.


Through repentance and trusting in Jesus Christ

Joh 5:24  Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. 

Joh 5:28  Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice :29  and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.


2Pe 3:9  The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.


I).         We become friends by trusting and obeying God

(Jas 2:23)  and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”–and he was called a friend of God.

(Joh 15:14)  You are my friends if you do what I command you  15)  No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

II).        Jesus can help us as no other friend can

Mat 11:28  Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”           

III).      Jesus wants to be our close friend 

(Joh 15:4)  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.

(Joh 15:7)  If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

(Joh 15:9)  As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10)  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.

 (1Jn 2:28)  And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.

IV).      We can be confident when He comes

 1 Jn 2:28, 1Jn 2:28  And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.


SUGGESTED QUESTIONS [and Some suggested answers.]

1]. What evidence do we have that God will be just in His  judgement?

  • God declares that He is perfect in righteousness and impartial in judgement.
  • We are no position to judge Him for we cannot grasp the total truth about God or even ourselves.

2]. In section 2, what do you think it means that God will judge the world through Jesus?

  • The Bible shows that both God and His Son Jesus will judge the world. 
  • Jesus affirmed that the Father has given the task of judgment to Jesus. 
  • Yet as Jesus said in John 8:16. “Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me.”

3]. As you look at section 3 do you think there is any cause for Christians to be scared of the judgement of God?

  • Judgment is certain. However it will be just for everyone.
  • So there is no need to worry if we belong to Christ.
  • The judgement for believers is on the basis of our faith and what we have achieved in serving Him. It is for rewards. 

4]. In section 4 do you think there’s anything unjust in the basis of God’s judgement? Which part of God’s judgement causes you to have concern for your unbelieving friends and family? What can you personally do about it?

  • God has told us what is involved in His judgment. He assures those who belong to HIm that they are safe in Jesus and will live with Him for eternity.
  • He has also warned all people that they need to repent of sin and to put their trust in Him. 
  • Each person is responsible for their own personal decision.
  • We should have a concern for those who have not yet put their trust in Jesus and be committed to praying for them to repent and believe. 

5]. As you look at section 5 is there a cause for Hope for believers?

  • There are rewards for those who trust and obey.
  • Rewards are promised to those whose work [built on the foundation of Christ ] survives the judgement.

6]. In sections 6,7 and 8, what encouragement does God give us in His word to trust God in His coming judgement?

  • Jesus assured His disciples throughout all ages that they will not come into judgement 
  • Those who have done good [believers] will rise in the resurrection to life.


YouTube recording of talk at St Thomas Parish Hall on Topic 4.Jesus the Judge. Click on the following link

[or find it on the Jim and Carole Holbeck channel when searching on YouTube.]

Posted in Audio material, Bible verses. Comments, Creation, Evangelism, Forgiveness, Glorification, Judgement, Justification, Prayer, Questions and Answers, Salvation | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

385. Topic 3 of 4. Jesus The Lord


The NT word for Lord is “Kurios” which can mean Lord, master, owner. It is also used as the New Testament Greek equivalent for the Old Testament Hebrew word “Jehovah” or “Yahweh”. It was used for a person who owned or controlled property, people or the state (Roman Emperor). It was also used as a title of respect in greetings. It was used of Jesus in the New Testament as “Lord Jesus” 101 times, or “Lord Jesus Christ” 61 times. In what ways then, is He Lord?

We see the answer in 3 areas.

Jesus is Lord of the Universe

Jesus is Lord of the church.

Jesus is or must become Lord of all individuals



  • 1Cor 8:6  yet for us there is one …. Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. (Creator and sustainer of all things and all people.) 
  • Col 1:17 … And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (He existed before creation and He sustains the universe. “He’s got the whole world in His hands.” 
  • Heb 1:3  …he upholds the universe by the word of his powerHe sustains the universe and keeps it going, by His word of power. 


  • Col 1:13 “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins”. 
  • Before Christ came humans were in bondage to the powers of darkness. But through faith in Him they can be delivered and transferred into another kingdom. The kingdom of His Son, the kingdom of God. 
  • Thus redemption [freedom] came through Christ and forgiveness of sins became available to those who receive it in Him. 
  • Col 2:15 “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” The powers of darkness still exist but their power has been broken [disarmed] in a public display in Jesus’ victory on the cross. 


  • Col 1:19, “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” All fullness dwells in Him and He is the author of all things on earth. The Fall tore relationships apart but Jesus makes reconciliation with God and with one another a possibility, as people respond to Him in faith. He accomplished this through His shed blood on the cross .
  • Eph 1:9  “making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10  as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” (HCSB,-to bring everything together in the Messiah, both things in heaven and things on earth in Him).
  • “Unite” here is ἀνακεφαλαίομαι (anakephalaiomai) and the process is called (anakephalaiosos) or “recapitulation” and means to sum up, gather together in one, or literally unite under one head. 
  • That is what Christ has done through His death and resurrection. He is the head of the body and all believers become members of the one body through faith in Him.
  • 2Pet 3:8 ”But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfil his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” The delay in the second coming of Jesus is not a sign of His weakness or inability. Rather it is a sign of His patience and love as He gives people opportunities to respond to His love and come to faith in Him. He wants all to repent and come to Him but He does not impose His will upon those who do not want to respond to Him.

v).       JESUS IS RETURNING TO THIS WORLD.  “Coming ready or not!” 

  • 2Pet 3:10  But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, … .The day of his coming will come suddenly and unexpectedly. However the time for that coming is no surprise to God. He knows the exact time and date. 
  • He told us there would be signs that would signal His coming, but it would still be unexpected for those alive at the time. 


 i).       THE CHURCH IS BUILT ON THE TRUTH THAT JESUS IS “The Christ, the Son of the Living God”. 

  • There came a time in Jesus’ ministry when He asked His disciples the question, “Who do people say that I am?” Mat 16:16.
  • Peter perhaps surprised himself as he burst out the words, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!” (Mat 16:18) 
  • Jesus responded to Peter, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”
  • Peter had received a divine revelation about Jesus. Peter had proclaimed that Jesus was the long-promised Messiah and the Son of God! 
  • Jesus replied in these words, “You are Peter [Greek word is Petros] and on this rock [Greek word is petra] I will build my church.” Opinions differ as to whether Jesus was saying that He would build His church on the person of Peter or whether He would build it upon the confession of faith that Peter had just declared [namely that Jesus was the long-promised Messiah and the Son of God.] 
  • In a sense both concepts are true, for Peter did become the leader of the apostles and the first Bishop of Rome. It is also true that the declaration that Jesus is the Messiah who came to fulfil all the Old Testament prophecies, is also true and church doctrine is based on that truth. 


St Paul explained his ministry to the elders of the church at Ephesus, and encouraged them to exercise their ministry [Act 20:28  “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.”] He is Lord of the church, for He purchased it with His own blood. 

He also wrote to the church in Ephesus, “Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Saviour, and (Eph 5:25)… as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”  The church [the ecclesia] as the “called out” ones consists of those who trusted in what Christ did for sinners upon the cross. These words show how it was established, “with His own blood”; He is the Saviour of those who belong to it; He gave Himself up to die on the cross for sinners. 


Jesus IS the head of the church. 

  • (Eph 1:22) “And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church.”    
  • (Col 1:18) “And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.”

Christ is the head of the body emphasizing both His superiority over all the members and the fact that it must operate under His direction. 

Leaders and all believers must submit to Jesus as the head of the church. 

  • (Act 9:31)  “…. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied”.   
  • (Act 14:23) “And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.”     
  • (1Cor 1:2) “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.

Multiplication came as believers lived with respect for Jesus as their Lord and as they were comforted and strengthened [the word has both meanings] by the Holy Spirit. They called upon His name showing their utter dependency on Him as the head of the church, and relying on what He had done on the cross. 



Paul wrote, 2Cor 5:15 “and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” Some have called this a ‘divine exchange’. He died for us as our Saviour. Therefore we must live for Him as our Risen Lord.


Paul saw that all of our lives belong to Him. Even the things we do! Col 3:23 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” There is no part of our life that should be beyond His control. Everything we do should be done as though we were doing it for Him. We are working out what He is working in us, while giving us the willingness and the ability to do so! [“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. 2:12.“]


As we maintain our focus on Him, He brings about an inner transformation within us. To be like Him! 2Cor 3:16 “But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” We do the gazing at Him in adoration, praise and thanksgiving. As we do so, He does the inward transforming by His Spirit within us. It is an ongoing process as we are changed from one degree of glory to another to become more like Him. The right focus on the Lord brings about the radical transformation.

As we present all we are to Him. 

Rom 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Our part is to present all we are and have to Him. His part is to bring about the inward transformation as He renews our minds. Then and only then can we know His will and be able to do it.  

As we ask Him to fill us with His Spirit. Eph 5:18  “… be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ”. 

  • To be filled with the Holy Spirit has consequences. It means commitment. They are listed here as having a commitment to one another [addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.] 
  • Having a commitment to the Lord Himself as we worship Him in praise, adoration and thanksgiving. 
  • Having a commitment to all people as we willingly submit our own personal plans and desires to a greater good by serving others as though we were serving Christ Himself. 

SUGGESTED QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION [and some suggested answers]

1]. What difference would it make to people’s lives if they believed that Jesus was in control of the world?

  • More peace knowing the world is not totally out of control.
  • The need to submit to the Ruler of this world. 
  • Having a sense of purpose in life knowing we were created for a purpose by our Creator.
  • The value of prayer knowing that they make a difference by One who can do things in His world.

2].  It is wonderful to know that Jesus has conquered the powers of darkness. Why does it seem then that the world seems to be out of control when there is so much darkness in the world today? 

  • Unless we submit to the Lord He cannot help us overcome the powers of darkness.
  • We need His discernment by His Spirit to recognise the devil’s strategies and thus learn to overcome them.
  • People need to be committed to the Lord to walk in the victory He has provided for us in himself.
  • Darkness is only overcome in individuals as they turn to the Lord.

3]. What does section 1. iv teach us about the need for repentance and turning back to God? From 2 Peter 3:8-10.

  • Jesus’ 2nd coming is certain. We must be ready for Him.
  • There may seem to be a delay in his coming which is not due to any weakness or inability on his part but His desire to give people time to repent and turn to Him for salvation. 
  • This is why judgment has not fallen on guilty sinners. He is giving them time to repent and turn back to Him.

4]. How would you use the truths in section 2.ii to help those who dislike the concept of Jesus dying on a cross for sinners? 

  • Humans were lost in sin until Jesus died for them.
  • It was God’s plan from eternity for Jesus to die for those who repented and believed in Him.
  • Jesus’ death on the cross was God’s idea as the only way sin could be atoned for.  We are in no position to judge it as being too ghastly or inhumane. He had to choose the best [and only] way to redeem sinners. 

5]. From section 3 what would you say was the hardest part about submitting to Christ as Lord of our lives? Why is that so? 

  • We want to control our own lives and not have to submit to anyone.
  • We want to be the centre of our own universe and have everything revolve around us so we can control our own little world.
  • We are submitting to someone whom we have never seen and whom we know only in part. That is a difficult thing to do unless we have come to know their love through His actions and words recorded in the Bible.

6. From section 3. Do you think there is anything scary about asking God to fill us with His Holy Spirit? If so, what might it be and how can we help people overcome that fear?

  • Because the Spirit is unseen, it is difficult to imagine what being filled with His presence might look like. 
  • Knowing how some people behave inappropriately who say they were filed with the Holy Spirit, makes us hesitant to ask for His infilling for ourselves. 
  • However when we do ask God to fill us with His Spirit we are radically changed in every way and become more open to Him changing us into His likeness.2 Cor 3:17-18


YOU TUBE recording of talk at St Thomas in Parish Hall of Topic No 3

Jesus. The Lord. 

Posted in Audio material, BIBLE PASSAGE OUTLINES, Bible verses. Comments, Evangelism, Faithfulness, Forgiveness, Healing, Holy Spirit, Justification, Salvation, Sanctification, spiritual warfare, TOPICS | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

384. TOPIC 2.    JESUS THE “SAVIOUR.”   Topic 2 of 4 on Jesus as Creator, Saviour, Lord and Judge.

In the previous article No 383 we looked at Jesus as THE CREATOR of the world. Now we look at Him as the One who willingly became THE SAVIOUR of the world. We will be looking primarily at the words used for salvation in the Bible and also the tenses of salvation in the Bible for describing what that salvation means for humans today.

The Meaning Of “Salvation” [sōtēria,  σωτηρία]

1) The Noun. Soteria. salvation, preservation, freedom from sin, wholeness. 

2) The Verb. Sozo. Σώζω. to save, heal, make more whole, preserve, restore.

3) The Noun.  Sōtḗr. Σωτήρ. Saviour or Deliverer.

The Tenses Of Salvation for those who are saved.

·      PAST TENSE. We have been saved from the PENALTY of sin. 

·      PRESENT TENSE. We are being saved from the POWER of sin 

·      FUTURE TENSE. We will be saved from the PRESENCE of sin. 

1)  PAST TENSE. We have been saved from the PENALTY of sin

JUSTIFICATION.  It means being made right with God. Through what Jesus did for us to reconcile us back to God. 

·   It was while we were still sinners.   Rom 5:8  but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9  Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

·   It was a free gift to us in Christ and accepted by us through faith.   Eph 2:8  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

·   We could do nothing to deserve it. It was all of grace.   2 Tim 1:9, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 

·  It was offered to us because of His mercy and grace.    Titus 3:4  But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared, 5  he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour

What it means for us that we “have been saved”

i)    Salvation is offered to us individually now. 

Rev 3:20  Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. [Christ standing at the door of individual hearts knocking and asking to gain entrance into human lives. [See this portrayed in the painting by Holman Hunt called The Light of The World.]

ii)   We can have assurance of our salvation. 

   God’s salvation is for eternity. Those who refuse Him perish for eternity. Those who accept salvation by accepting Christ, live for eternity with Him. Joh 3:16  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

·   There is no ground for human boasting. It is by accepting the gracious gift of God, in Him.   Eph 2:8  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

In this life we have the opportunity to receive Christ as Saviour or to continue to reject Him. 1Jn 5:11  And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12  Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13  I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.

iii) We can live with humble assurance and not arrogant presumptionEph 2:8 By grace you have been saved… And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God

iv)    NOW we have peace with God. 

God’s peace is available to us from the moment we receive Him as Saviour of our lives. Rom 5:1  Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

v)     NOW we are no longer condemned by God.  

We are no longer condemned as believers in Christ. Rom 8:1, There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

vi)    NOW we belong to the family of God. 

·   In receiving Him as Saviour we received the privilege of belonging to the family of God. Joh 1:12  But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

·   Jesus is real. The first disciples saw, heard and touched Him. John wanted to assure later disciples to know His reality.   1Jn 1:1  That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—2  the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—


(Sanctification – Jesus lives IN us)

What it means for us that we are “being saved”

i).        We are being empowered by the gospel we CAN understand. 

Those who heard the preaching of the gospel were saved from the penalty of sin as they believed in the message. Now God is continuing to save them from the power of sin. 1 Cor 1:18, For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. Only the “saved” can understand what God has done for us in Christ. The gospel empowers us to live for Christ in our everyday living. 

ii).   God is pleased with those in whom Christ lives and moves. 

Believers in Christ are pleasing in the sight and nostrils of God and to one another in Him. Cor 2:15, For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing 

iii).       CAUTION! GOD IS AT WORK IN US! And He works through us!

·   Our appreciation for our salvation is shown as we willingly work out in our lives what He is working in us by His Spirit. He gives us the willingness and the ability to do so in pleasing Him.  Phil 2:12, … work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13  for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. 

·      Those being saved  have to work OUT in everyday living what God is working IN them as “saved” people. They are being motivated (to will) and empowered (to work) by God Himself to live for His good pleasure (His will). 


God doesn’t just save us from hell. He also helps us as we seek to live for Him and especially through His ongoing prayers for us. Heb 7:25  Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. 

2 things are necessary for our victories in our Christian lives from beginning to end on this earth. 

a. We need to keep drawing near to Him (We must play our part.)  Faith involves accepting Him as Saviour. It also involves accepting Him as the Lord and Master of our lives forever. 

b. Jesus keeps on praying for us. (This is 100% certain as Heb 7:25 reminds us.)

3)  FUTURE TENSE. We will be saved from the PRESENCE of sin

(GLORIFICATION– Jesus is coming to take us WITH Him to glory)

We will be saved from God’s wrath  

i).  The wrath of God is certain to come, but believers will not have to face it. Rom 5:9, Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.   

ii). The believers in Thessalonica had warmly welcomed Paul and were saved by His message. They knew that Jesus, when He came again, would save all believers from the wrath of God. 1Thess 1:9  For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10  and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

Our bodies will be set free from weakness. 

iii)  When people receive Jesus as Saviour He gives them His Spirit to make them inwardly new. But they still have the same outward bodies which age and grow weaker in time. We are bound by the weaknesses in our bodies and so we long for even our bodies to be set free. When Jesus comes we will receive new bodies which have no weaknesses or pain. Rom 8:23, … but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 

What it means for us that we will be saved from the PRESENCE of sin!

The wrath of God will be released when Jesus returns but believers will be saved from it because

1).  They have trusted in Jesus’ death for them. Rom 5:9, Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. They have been made right with God and are at peace with Him. So they will be saved from the wrath of God as He has borne it for them on the cross.

2).    They have turned to God. 1Thess 1:10, … to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. A reminder thar=t salvation has its future aspect

Our bodies will be set free from weakness when He returns to take us to be with Him in glory.  

3).  Rom 8:23, … but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 


Jesus is the ONLY Saviour. The A.B.C.D. of making Him our Saviour. 

[The prayer of commitment to Christ that I prayed near midnight on New Year’s Eve 1958 was based on the truths in the ABCD format below.]

  1.  Admitting we are sinners in the sight of God.
  2.  Believing that Christ died in our place on the cross.
  3. Considering the cost of our salvation. It was free in Christ for us but it cost Christ His life, and it cost God His Son. It was VERY COSTLY.  

But it costs us our lives as we willingly hand our lives over to Him.

  • Doing something about it. We need to open the door to the Christ who is knocking on the door of our hearts and to ask Him in. Thanking Him for being our Saviour from sin and inviting Him to be the Lord and Master of every part of our lives from that moment on. 


1]. In Section 1, what place does the grace of God play in our salvation?

2]. In Section 1 what part do we need to play to achieve our salvation?

3]. Section 2. If we have already received our salvation in Christ, what does it mean that we are still being saved?

4]. If God is at work in us as believers, how can we personally help the process of working out in practice what He is inwardly working in us?

5]. How do we know from Section 3 that we will not have to face the wrath of God?  

6]. From Section 3, what other benefits will come to believers when Christ returns? 


A You Tube recording of this topic [Jesus. The Saviour of the world  [38 minutes.] taught at St Thomas Port Macquarie in 2010 is available on this link or by searching on Jim Holbeck channel on YouTube directly.

Blog No.384 posted on http://www.jimholbeck.blog on Thursday 14 October 2021.

Posted in Audio material, Bible verses. Comments, Creation, Evangelism, Faithfulness, Glorification, Holy Spirit, Judgement, Justification, Prayer, Salvation, Sanctification, Second coming of Jesus, TOPICS | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

383. Jesus the Creator. Number 1 of 4 topics.

[This is the first of 4 topics, the others being, Jesus the Saviour, Jesus the The Lord and Jesus the Judge.]

This is suitable for personal reading or for using as a study in a Bible Study group. It has the teaching, followed by some suggested Questions to be answered. Finally at the end there is a link to a YouTube http://only recording of the talk which is helpful listen to as you read the text of the blog.


l   No human was there to observe it

l   Our knowledge of the origins of the earth must come by revelation and not by human investigation. 

l   The Bible contains God’s revelation of as to how and why the universe was created.

Why we should think about Jesus as the Creator of the world

1). Because He IS THE CREATOR. God told us so, in His word. 

2). Because many do not acknowledge Him as such. They need to!

3). Because we all owe our origin to Him. Creatures must recognise and respect their Creator!

4). Because we are offered the privilege of being used in His purposes

5).  Because we are accountable to Him for how we live


Jn 8:58.  “Before Abraham was, I am”

Jn 17:5. “And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.”


Some of the “I AM’s” of Jesus. 

Jn 6:35, “Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Jn 8:12, When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Jn 10:7-10, Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8  All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9  I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. 

Jn 11:25-26, Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26  and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27  “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”



Jn 1:1-3. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Jn 1:10-11. “He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11  He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.” 


3).     WHAT ST PAUL WROTE OF JESUS. Creator and Sustainer

l  1 Cor 8:6  yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

l  Col 1:15. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16  For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. 17  And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 


Heb 1:1-3. Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2  but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3  He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high 


l   Everything that exists was created by Jesus

l   Every person ever born owes their origin to Him. 

l   Creation was made by Him, through Him and for Him

l   Creation is His. It exists for His purposes

l   All people are His by right of creation [and redemption].

l   All people should humble themselves before Him as their Creator


2Cor 5:17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Gal 6:15  For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.

l   It consists of those who believe in Him 

l   They are united to Him by faith and are becoming more like Him. 2Co 3:18  And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.




We are created by Jesus for Himself

We should submit to Him in everything. [He is Lord and Master]


To become more and more “new creatures” in Christ as we live as His creatures in His creation.  It is our choice to enter “into Christ” by putting our faith in Him or to refuse His offer

The choice is ours as creatures, choosing for or against our Creator



1). Does it really matter whether we see Jesus Christ as the Creator of all things? Give some reasons for your answer. 

2). As you look at John 8:58 and John 17:5 under section 1, would you say it was certain that Jesus claimed to exist before creation? If so, why do many people today fail to acknowledge what He clearly claimed about His pre-existence?

3). If Jesus is the Creator of all things, what difference should that make in our attitude to Him today? How could we more openly live out the implications of that truth today?

4). Which verses in Section 3 could be used to support the words of the hymn, “He’s got the whole world in His hands?” What sort of comfort can the verses in Section 3 bring us. Why?

5). What do you think is meant by the phrase “a new creation?” How does one become a “new creation” or “new creature” in Christ? [Section 6]

6). In section 4, what titles could be given to Jesus as you look at those verses in Hebrews 1:1-3? [For example “Creator” would be one of them.] How many others can you find and what should they mean to you?


On You Tube under “Jim Holbeck”.

A talk given at St Thomas Parish Hall, Port Macquarie is recorded on You Tube http://only and can be found by clicking on this link 

Blog No.383 posted on http://www.jimholbeck.blog on Tuesday 12 October 2021.

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