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Partakers Bible Thought

6 June 2021

G'day! The world is in love, with love! Love sells everything! But what, or rather, who, started love? God did! The Bible tells the story of this God of love and we are going to very briefly in our time together talk about this great subject! Perhaps more books are written about the love of God than anything else! How is God love?

"LORD, give me your unfailing love, the salvation that you promised me." (Psalm 119:41)

Long ago the LORD said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself. (Jeremiah 31:3)

"Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them." (John 14:21)

As Christians, we proclaim God is love! Today we briefly explore how God is love, what kind of love this is and how this love is seen! What does that mean for us as Christians today? Listen to the podcast to hear more about this amazing aspect of God and its impact on your life and the world around you.

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 Daniel 8 - Worlds In Conflict

We are looking today at an intriguing piece of Scripture - Daniel 8! In Chapter 7, the prophet Daniel had a dream of 4 animals, which were a winged lion, a bear, a winged leopard and a beast.  So let us read together Daniel 8.

v1-4 In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared to me, even to me, Daniel, after that which appeared to me at the first. I saw in the vision; now it was so, that when I saw, I was in the citadel of Susa, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in the vision, and I was by the river Ulai. Then I lifted up my eyes, and saw, and behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; and no animals could stand before him, neither was there any who could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and magnified himself.

v27 I, Daniel, fainted, and was sick certain days; then I rose up, and did the king's business: and I wondered at the vision, but none understood it.

Here in Chapter 8, we look at the bear, which is described here as a ram, and a winged leopard that is described as a goat. Unlike his previous two visions which occurred at night, this one occurs during the day. Daniel was transported in the Spirit to Susa, a major city of the Babylon & Persian empires. He sat down beside the Ulai canal, nine hundred feet wide and connected two large rivers so that boats could easily pass from one to the other. Spiritually seated by the river, he lifted up his eyes. He saw a ram, a male sheep, that had two horns, and as he watched, one of its horns became larger than the other.

Grab your Bible, and listen to the podcast to find out more about this intriguing and wonderful piece of Scripture!

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David's Final Prayer

1 Chronicles 29:10-20

10 David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly, saying,
‘Praise be to you, Lord,
the God of our father Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
11 Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendour,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all.
12 Wealth and honour come from you;
you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all.
13 Now, our God, we give you thanks,
and praise your glorious name.

14 ‘But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. 15 We are foreigners and strangers in your sight, as were all our ancestors. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope. 16 Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you. 17 I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you. 18 Lord, the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep these desires and thoughts in the hearts of your people for ever, and keep their hearts loyal to you. 19 And give my son Solomon the wholehearted devotion to keep your commands, statutes and decrees and to do everything to build the palatial structure for which I have provided.’

20 Then David said to the whole assembly, ‘Praise the Lord your God.’ So they all praised the Lord, the God of their fathers; they bowed down, prostrating themselves before the Lord and the king. (1 Chronicles 29:10-20)

Here is the great King David!

Here 1 Chronicles 29, we have King David in his final days before handing over the crown to his son, Solomon. David is no longer the shepherd-boy who slew Goliath. He is at the end of his life. He wanted to build the temple himself, but God told him in 1 Chronicles 28v3 "You are not to build a house for my Name, because you are a warrior and have shed blood." The building of the Temple was to be ultimately achieved by his great son Solomon to do! Download or listen to the podcast to hear more about this amazing final prayer of King David!

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The Lord's Prayer

Matthew 6:9-13
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
For yours is the kingdom and the power
and the glory forever.
Amen.


We come to perhaps one of the best known passages of the Bible, in what we call the Lord’s Prayer. Most of us here tonight are I am sure familiar with it, if not over familiar with it. It is a prayer which is common to all churches of all denominations, just as it is known to those of others faiths and indeed, no faith at all.

Why the Lord’s Prayer? Personally, I find it helpful to regularly go back to basics, to what should be familiar territory for somebody who has been a Christian for about 35 years now. I need to be reminded of the things that we commonly cal the basics. So reflecting upon and pondering upon what the Lord’s Prayer means, is part of those basics to me. And if you are not like that, it is still a good thing I think to go back every so often and be reminded.

This prayer is recorded for us by both Matthew and Luke. Luke’s account is written to enlighten those who need to know how to pray, and Gentiles were his main readership. Matthew however is writing primarily to Jews who knew how to pray but wanted to know how to pray correctly. So that is where we are as we commence. Download the mp3 using the link below to hear the rest of this message!

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Sermon - The Humanity of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 2:5-18)

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Hebrews 2:5-18 (NIV)

5 It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6 But there is a place where someone has testified:
‘What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him?
7 You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honour
8 and put everything under their feet.’
In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. 9 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
10 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. 12 He says,
‘I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
in the assembly I will sing your praises.’
13 And again,
‘I will put my trust in him.’
And again he says,
‘Here am I, and the children God has given me.’
14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

1. Jesus made fully human

  • Be focussed only upon Him

2. Humanity of Jesus Christ

  • Jesus the man
  • Major Errors Concerning
  • Jesus’ Humanity
  • Why would Jesus become a man?

Conclusion

As Christians, because of God the Son becoming a human, in the man we know as Jesus Christ:

  • we were bought at a price
  • we have a new position before God
  • we were bought out of slavery to sin, into being servants to, of and for God the Son, Jesus Christ alone
  • we are Jesus’ personal possession and family
  • we are in an amazingly intimate and dynamic relationship with God.

Oh how easy it is to forget these things. Is it just me that forgets such things easily? I know that when I am disobedient towards God, have sinned against Him and others, that I have indeed forgotten these things – at least subconsciously.
Because of Jesus: you are his brother or sister, he loves you and because of his death and resurrection, you are in His family, if you have made that decision to be so. Because he loves you, you are being transformed into His image. You still have, and will continue to have your own identifiable personality and traits, but you are being changed and transformed into the likeness of Jesus. One day you will be normal just like me. Remember, because Jesus Christ died, rose again and ascended back to the Father, so will all those who claim Him as their saviour – we as Christians will live, die and rise again to ascend into glory. The Apostle Paul tells us that in Colossians 3.

God is wanting all people to be in relationship with Him. But it is our responsibility to choose that way! God does not force – He leaves it as a choice for humans to make as individuals. God’s love does not force, because if it did, it would not be love but tyranny. However, God’s love is compelling, magnetic and attractive, calling people into relationship with Himself. God’s love for humanity is exemplified in the Cross of Jesus Christ as we saw in part tonight. Let’s go from here to tell somebody this week about this God of love! We can at least ask, can we not?

Just as God loves each of us, as individuals, we are also to love others in our Christian family and those outside it. Jesus said that those outside the Church will know who we Christians are, by the love that we have for each other. Loving others within the Church is evangelism, a witness to those outside the Church, of and for the God of love we proclaim and live for. For example, if you know somebody has a need, and you can fill that need, why not be the answer to their prayers? That is love in action.

You and I are loved by God, as exemplified and exhibited in the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ – fully God and fully human. Let each one of us go love other people with this love to the glory of God the Father, through the name of Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within you, seals you as God’s child and unites the Church as family.

Let’s go tell and show others about this Jesus and how he can help people – just as he has helped you and I and countless others today and down through history. Will there be one other person in heaven because of you and what you have said or done?

If you are not a Christian yet, and you want to hear more about becoming a follower of this Jesus, do ask somebody here to help you. Jesus is calling you by name to be in a loving, dynamic and intimate relationship with God. Jesus died so that you could be.  Jesus, the ideal man, the God-man says: “Come and follow me.” Will you start following him, even from right now?"

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April 11, 2021

Sermon - Revelation 21-22

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When Jesus comes back as King

Revelation 21-22

 

Introduction

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At Christmas, we celebrate Jesus Christ coming to earth as a human. At Easter, we celebrate, Jesus' deather, resurrection and ascension. We celebrate knowing that Jesus Christ is coming back again. His first coming was a baby.  Society in general, is comfortable with leaving Jesus as a baby.  However, Jesus is not a baby now. Jesus is a King and what a King.  Jesus is coming again, not as a baby this time, but as King and judge. This idea is affirmed by Jeremiah in the Old Testament and John in the New Testament, as well as other writers in the Bible.

Christ's reign

Have you ever wondered what the book of Revelation was all about? The writer is the Apostle John, now approaching 100 years of age and he is almost blind.  John was in exile on Patmos, put there by the Romans due to his witness for Jesus.  There was open persecution of Christians at the time.  This is the same John, who was the apostle Jesus loved.  John saw Jesus walk on the water.  He seen and heard Jesus command a storm to cease! He saw Jesus weeping.  He saw Jesus in righteous anger clearing the Temple courts.  He seen Jesus heal the sick, raise the dead and cast out demons.  He had his feet washed by Jesus.  He saw Jesus transfigured.  He saw Jesus die. He had seen Jesus risen and ascended. John now sees Jesus in all the fulness of His glory and Jesus shows him the new city!

We see that Heaven is:

  • Prepared
  • Pure place
  • Pearly gates

Conclusion

Be encouraged, heaven is for you if you are trusting and obeying Jesus and have Him as Lord of your life!  Remember, that whatever your attitude and how you judge Jesus in this life, is how He will judge you when He returns!  Are you following Him and treating Him with respect and reverence?  If you aren't, then it isn't too late to change your mind and then the reward of eternal living in heaven will be yours! Are you suffering?  Suffering will soon be gone.  When you sin against God, keep a short account and ask for forgiveness as soon as you recognise that you have sinned and the Holy Spirit has convicted you of it. We yearn to be with our King for ever and ever.  Yet, we are to keep one part of our mind on Heaven and the other on the responsible work we have been set to do, here on earth.  We are not to be so heavenly minded, that we are of no earthly use. 

Conversely, we are not to be so earth bound, that we are not tied to King Jesus in our eternal home. Go tell somebody.  Won't you go tell somebody this week, this message.  Heaven is a great big place, and there will be room for everybody in this town, this county, this nation and this world to enter through one of those twelve gates!  Go and share this good news with somebody this very week, so that there may be somebody in that magnificent City, because you told them. Christ is our King of Righteousness.  Trust Him and live a life worthy of Him.   Look for His coming! Be expectant, the King is coming back for us soon!  Critics of the church sneer "Where is your God?" and "The end of the Church is surely near".  They are so impatient!! 

Well... our God will appear soon.  He is coming back as King of Righteousness, judging evil and rejecting those who reject Him whilst rewarding those who patiently trust and obey Him.

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March 23, 2021

Chocolate Christianity

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Chocolate Christianity

Have you ever noticed that chocolate melts under pressure & heat? If you haven't, take a piece of chocolate and hold it between your fingers! It will soon melt! If you are a Christian, you need to be active in your local church so that you don't melt under pressure and you will remain firm in your faith! Otherwise you will be a chocolate Christian who easily gives up under the stress and pressure of every day life! At a church local to where you live, you are needed regardless of who you are! Perhaps this is you?

  • Interested observer but not a committed Christian
  • Not bothered
  • Not good enough
  • Just want to be left alone
  • Don't know how to be involved
  • Don't know why being involved is important
  • Too busy

But why should you be involved? Download the mp3 to find out more!

Why? You have talents to be used!!

Why? We are dependent on each other

Why? Improve your serve!

Why? To follow Jesus

GO!

So if you find you are currently inactive in your local church, then please go and make yourself available to serve there! Ask your pastor or church leader how you can help out! By doing so, and submitting yourself to the Holy Spirit who indwells you, the lives of other people could be changed for God's greater glory because of your acts of service and worship.

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Sermon: Food Sacrificed To Idols (1 Corinthians 8)

1 Now about food sacrificed to idols: we know that ‘We all possess knowledge.’ But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. 2 Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. 3 But whoever loves God is known by God.

4 So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: we know that ‘An idol is nothing at all in the world’ and that ‘There is no God but one.’ 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords’), 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

7 But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. 8 But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.

9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling-block to the weak. 10 For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.

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Ancient Corinth was one of the largest, wealthiest and therefore most important cities of the ancient world. It had a large mixed population of Greeks, Romans and Jews. The streets of Corinth were lined with temples to all manner of gods. Not only Greek gods but also because Greece was now under the Roman empire, temples paying homage to Roman gods. This of course included those giving homage and worship to the Roman Emperor, who at the time this letter was written, was probably the Emperor Nero. More than that, some of the Greek gods were merged with Roman gods, in order to make new gods and therefore more temples were constructed.

In these temples, sacrifices were made to appease these gods and were acts of worship to and of them. For if the gods were not appeased then it was thought that all manner of things may happen to a person, internally and externally, for the gods would be angry and send their demons and spirits to inflict all manner of ill on a person. The meat from these sacrifices was then, in part, given to be eaten by the priests conducting the sacrifice, and the rest sold to the general public for consumption.

We see therefore, from a Christian perspective, Corinth was a city deeply immersed in idolatry and immorality. What of the Church there in the midst of such a place? Paul had helped start the Church about 6 years ago. You can read about that in Acts 18. To discover more, please listen or download the mp3 using the links available

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God Comes To Town!

Ezekiel 1:1-4, 24-28 to 2:2

Introduction

I wonder if there anybody here that is 25 years old?  Anybody turning 25 this year?  How about those who wished they were turning 25 this year? Imagine you are a 25 year old and being trained for the family business.  Then suddenly your enemies invade your city and take you away to a foreign land.  That's what happened to Ezekiel 5 years before this passage of Scripture, Ezekiel 1-2, when the Babylonians, led by Nebuchadnezzar in 597BC took 3000 Jews back to Babylon.  This was the first deportation.

1. Ezekiel - who was he and how did he get there?

2. How does Ezekiel describe this vision of God?

3. God is Holy God

4. God is Universal: Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Mission minded & Personal

5. What does all this mean? Worship & Tell others

6. We speak God's word

Conclusion

I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel like I am in exile.  I don't mean as an Australian living in England, the mother country! Although sometimes it does feel like I am in exile!  We are living in a country, which despite its Christian heritage, evangelical non-compromising Christians are being increasingly marginalized by a society, which decrees that, all religions or none are equal, and that to declare otherwise is simply arrogance and divisive.  How are we to react? When you are faced with a crisis or some trouble, how do you react?  Are you like the ancient Israelites that Ezekiel was sent to?  Do you trust in the holy, all-powerful, all knowing, personal God or do you trust in other things?

  • God is coming again!
  • Be Holy and be obedient!
  • Live a life worthy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
  • Trust fully in the God of your salvation
  • Go tell somebody!

Finally, if you need prayer for something related to what I have said today, then find somebody to pray for you.  And if you cant find somebody to pray for you, then come and find me.

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David's Final Prayer

1 Chronicles 29:10-20

Introduction

Tonight, we delve into the book of 1 Chronicles and this great and perhaps last public prayer of the great King David! It is a fabulous piece of Scripture, I am sure you agree, that tells us a lot about God we as Christians claim to know and love, as well as how we are to respond to Him. Originally 1 & 2 Chronicles were one book. It was the final book of the Jewish Canon, probably written by Ezra and was also known as the "the events of the days", "the things omitted" which would suggest that Chronicles were to be regarded as additional to the books of Kings and Samuel. It's a book which was written for those from the nation of Israel who are now in exile, to remind them of their spiritual heritage - the journey & history of Israel as a nation. For us though, not least I, it issues certain challenges to us all.

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Here is the great king David!

What has happened so far?

1. WOW factor of God! (v10-13)

2. David - its all God (v14-20)

3. So what?

Firstly, we saw the wow factor of God: a God who exudes greatness, power, glory, victory and majesty. Then we saw David's utter adoration and dependence upon the God that he knows intimately. So, finally, what does all this have to do with us? How often do we receive from our God, but not thank Him for it? We are to be thankful for every good gift that is given to us. We offer praises and thanks to Him, for who He is and for His generosity and grace towards us. Tonight's bible passage was a superb piece of thanksgiving.

When was the last time you thanked God for all the things He has given you? How can we put this thanks and praise into action? Lets see quickly! Firstly, I am convinced there are enough wealthy Christians sitting in churches in the West, who could make significant donations and virtually eradicate a lot of the poverty in the developing world and indeed their own countries. This would be active Christian giving on a radical scale. In biblical stories, such as this from 1 Chronicles 29, its always those who had the most, gave the most as an example to others of God's generosity. After all, God owns it all anyway and it's only given as a loan from God and not a transference of ownership.

As Christians, we are to desire to mature spiritually - growing in adoration, obedience and commitment to God. Perhaps the greatest indicator of today, concerns our giving. Giving is to be done whole-heartedly and cheerfully. It is also not so much about how much is given, but how much is left after giving and the attitude behind it. God looks beyond that which is given to the motive and attitude behind it. All our money and possessions belong to Him anyway, as we have seen, so giving is to be in response to this. Our money and possessions are a leasehold agreement not a freehold one. Giving done willingly is also not done to boost our own egos or for the feel-good factor, but rather to bring glory and honour to God as a thankful response to His giving all things to us.

Many prayers seemingly go unanswered because God is waiting on people to be obedient to Him, in order to answer the unanswered prayers of others. . We are to be generous with everything we have, not just in the area of money but with our very lives. We all have time, information, knowledge imagination, gifts and talents. All these too are to be given back to God . That may well take radical action to do, but radical giving is what we are called to do. God has given everything so that you and I may live and have life, so by caring and giving, we will reflect that. Let's be radical church together and encourage others to be likewise.

But, as we have seen, it's not only about giving money and resources. Giving is also to include skills, information, imagination and knowledge. Remember, the priests and craftsmen were waiting to give in the building of and service within the Temple. Churches, particularly these days, need to capture the imagination of those looking for a church home, and get them involved. Involvement in such a way that it builds up commitment to God and a growing adoration of Him. If people are involved, they will stay. It means training them up, to be fit for service within the church. If training for service doesn't occur, then commitment and dedication to God is likely to be diminished. If the same people do the same thing year after year, that local church will eventually die out. Each local church is only one generation away from closing its doors permanently. Giving, as we saw in tonight's passage, is also a community affair. This Church is to be a community, both within the church and outside of it, where the strongest members support the weakest members - including their time, possessions, money, knowledge and wisdom.

But, as we also saw tonight, it is not just for leaders to give! Giving is to be for everyone! Every church has a fantastic array of knowledge, wisdom, possessions and imagination. Let us share that with people outside the church. Who knows what our caring and giving will do for them as it reflects the glory of God! Too often, we are found turning a blind eye to the suffering of others where the necessities of life are in sparse existence. Too often we neglect to give up our personal space, time, imagination, information and money generously to help the poor and needy in our local, national and global communities. By doing this giving collectively, we will show our faith to be real and practical. There are people out there in our local community just waiting for somebody to give generously to them. We need to be seen to be radically giving to all - of our money, our possessions, and also our time, imagination, knowledge, practical help, care and love. Let us show our relevance to our local community, particularly at this time of Corona Virus Pandemic. So if I could summarise all this up in one sentence, it would be something like this

"Ask not only what your God can give to you,

but what great things you can do and give to your God."

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