Northern Men's Convention 2017
Last weekend on Saturday 6th May a group of us went to the Northern Men's Convention held at St Andrew's Church, Leyland. It cost fifteen pounds, what a bargain! I reckoned it the best fifteen pounds I had spent this year.
Michael Reeves, President and Professor of Theology at Union School of Theology in Oxford gave three talks throughout the day, which were broken up by a morning, lunch and afternoon break during which we were provided with coffee, tea, doughnuts and cookies to help reinvigorate us for the next session (what a bonus!). He preached on the Reformation and living by faith alone, living in Christ alone and living for the glory of God alone. What a treasure store was opened to us on that day! Also hearing around 300-400 men singing praises to God at the top of their voices was truly beautiful, it didn't matter if you were singing in the right key or not, as we were all worshipping this great and wonderful God together!
We were reminded that God shows His love to us before we loved Him, and as followers of Christ our sins are covered by His perfection and we are clothed in His righteousness. We are made righteous in Christ as it says in 1 Corinthians 1:30 “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.””. We appear before the Father in Christ, by faith believers are made one with Him and members of His Body (Hebrews 2:11-18). And because we are united to Christ and share in His identity we shouldn't sit there idly, but rather we should live in His slipstream and do the things He does. Therefore, we can be bold to claim the crown of life! “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12). For a healthy Christian life we have to keep coming back to the foundation of Justification!
Mike Reeves also talked about grace in Christ, the glory of God and the mission. In grace we get Jesus Christ, and it's in Him we get every blessing and everything else. Grace does not give us eternal life, only Jesus can give us that. Christ died for us to bring us to God “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit” (1 Peter 3:18). And we become like Him by looking at Him, being transformed by the Spirit of the Lord “But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 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: 16-18). To bring glory to God we have to imitate Christ and go out into the world and be that shining light in the darkness. To love Him first and to love others. To live for the building up of your Christian brothers and sisters. There is no light better than the Glory of God, in Him we can find comfort no matter how tough things might be (Psalm 113). We are made to glorify God and to find joy in Him forever! This is the heart of Christian living.
The recordings of the 4 sessions of last Saturday’s NMC are now available on line. They can be found at:www.christianconventions.org.uk