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Archive for the 'Sermons' Category

Sermon - Leviticus 9-10

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Obedient Service of God

 

Introduction

How to read Leviticus today? What is the best way for us in the 21st century to read these ancient laws of Leviticus? Is it just to simply ignore them or are we to slavishly follow them? Perhaps the best way is to simply let Scripture interpret Scripture and see what the New Testament says about the Leviticus laws.

Take for instance the food laws. We know in the New Testament that all food is now permissible, whereas under the Old Testament, certain foods were not permitted to be eaten. In the New Testament, the Apostle Peter had a dream in which all food was declared clean!It is also wise, not to see them as merely a list of "not do" statements, but also as "do statements".

Rather, we should see them as a love letter from a God who wants to save His people from distress and anxiety in order to give them a life of peace, unity, health and a joyful life in all its fullness.All these laws were to lead ancient Israel to be a holy nation. Holiness was about being set apart for a purpose and making wise, conscious decisions about what was right or wrong. It involved being obedient to God and keeping His decrees and regulations.

Being holy, involved having a lifestyle, which was contrary to the cultures surrounding them. To be holy was a lifestyle choice of worship, to reflect their holy God.They were called to be loyal! Called to be distinct! Called to worship! What has all this got to do with us? Where does the Day of Atonement and these laws fit into the life of a Christian in the 21st century? We will take a look in the third part in al little while!

Outline:

Introduction

  1. Great joy Leviticus 9:22-24
  2. Great tragedy Leviticus 10:1-11
  3. A God of Judgement
  4. A God of Wrath
  5. So what’s all this got to do with us today?
  6. New Covenant?
  7. Called to service
  8. Judged for our service

Conclusion

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Sermon - Keep Loving

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Has your love gone cold?

Revelation 1:12-16 - I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone "like a son of man," dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

That figure is the risen and ascended Jesus Christ! The one we Christians down through history have proclaimed as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! He was the greatest gift of all, freely given, in order to save the world! Salvation, as a gift of grace, imparted to all those who would accept Jesus Christ as saviour! And one group of people had taken Him up on that offer,  a church we read about in Revelation 2:1-7

 

Revelation 2v1-7 - "To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.  You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.  Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.  Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. But you have this in your favour: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.  He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

(more...)

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Sermon - Romans 5:1-11

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Count Your Blessings, Christian!

Romans 5:1-11 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, let us have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.
Not only so, but let us also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Introduction

Part 1

1. We have peace with God.
2. We have access to God.
3. We have a glorious hope.


Steve Testimony

Part 2

4. We develop Godly character.
5. We have God's love.
6. We have the Holy Spirit.
7. We have salvation from future wrath of God.
8. We have reconciliation with God.

Part 3 - Recap and Conclusion


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 Daniel 8 - Worlds In Conflict

 

This is an amazing and very interesting passage of Scripture. I am sure you will agree. In this book of Daniel, from Chapter 2 to 7, we have had a wide angled panoramic view, and now, in Chapters 8 to 12 we zoom in on specific areas which were previously covered in Chapters 2 to 7. In Chapter 7, we have seen that 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.

Daniel 8 - 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.

As I was considering, behold, a male goat came from the west over the surface of the whole earth, and didn't touch the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. He came to the ram that had the two horns, which I saw standing before the river, and ran on him in the fury of his power. I saw him come close to the ram, and he was moved with anger against him, and struck the ram, and broke his two horns; and there was no power in the ram to stand before him; but he cast him down to the ground, and trampled on him; and there was none who could deliver the ram out of his hand. The male goat magnified himself exceedingly: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and instead of it there came up four notable horns toward the four winds of the sky.

Out of one of them came forth a little horn, which grew exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the glorious land. It grew great, even to the army of the sky; and some of the army and of the stars it cast down to the ground, and trampled on them. Yes, it magnified itself, even to the prince of the army; and it took away from him the continual burnt offering, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. The army was given over to it together with the continual burnt offering through disobedience; and it cast down truth to the ground, and it did its pleasure and prospered.

Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who spoke, How long shall be the vision concerning the continual burnt offering, and the disobedience that makes desolate, to give both the sanctuary and the army to be trodden under foot? He said to me, To two thousand and three hundred evenings and mornings; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. It happened, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, that I sought to understand it; and behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man. I heard a man's voice between the banks of the Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.

So he came near where I stood; and when he came, I was frightened, and fell on my face: but he said to me, Understand, son of man; for the vision belongs to the time of the end. Now as he was speaking with me, I fell into a deep sleep with my face toward the ground; but he touched me, and set me upright. He said, Behold, I will make you know what shall be in the latter time of the indignation; for it belongs to the appointed time of the end. The ram which you saw, that had the two horns, they are the kings of Media and Persia. The rough male goat is the king of Greece: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.

As for that which was broken, in the place where four stood up, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not with his power. In the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors have come to the full, a king of fierce face, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper and do his pleasure; and he shall destroy the mighty ones and the holy people. Through his policy he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and in their security shall he destroy many: he shall also stand up against the prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. The vision of the evenings and mornings which has been told is true: but seal up the vision; for it belongs to many days to come. 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 here is described 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.

We can be in no doubt that this ram is symbolic of the Medo-Persian Empire, because it is told to us in verse 20. The horn that grew large was the Persian empire, which gradually took over from the Medes. The king of Persia also carried the image of a ram in front of him whenever he went into battle. It is natural for rams to be aggressive and to butt. The ram here goes in every direction, but east. Historically we know that the Medo-Persian empire did not gain much territory to the East. Suddenly - the dream changes. Coming in from the West, races a male goat that is travelling so fast that its feet do not touch the ground.

Verse 21 tells us that this is the Greek Empire, and the horn is its 'first king' Alexander the Great. In actual fact he named one of his sons, Alexander Goat. The feet not touching the ground signified the speed with which Alexander won battles over a vast area from Africa to India. The goat in verse 6 collides with the ram, breaks the rams' horns and humiliates it, crushing and destroying it. This reflects how the Medo-Persian Empire fell to the Greeks.

Then we read that the goat, at the height of its power, was broken by the unseen hand of God. Alexander the Great became inflated with pride at the speed and number of battle victories, but his arrogance was short lived and he died at the age of 32. The goat, Alexander, was replaced by 4 horns. These historically are - Macedonia under Cassander; Thrace and Asia Minor under Lysimachus; Syria under Seleucus; and Egypt under Ptolemy. Again, history has followed what Scripture said would happen.

 In verse 9, Daniel notices that 'Out of one of them came a little horn.' From a small beginning it grew to great power, and its power stretched south and east, and then into the 'Beautiful Land' of Canaan. There is no doubt that this refers to that horrible man of history, Antiochus Epiphanes. He, as predicted, came from the Seleucid section and took Egypt with an immense army, following that by taking Elymais and Armenia. Then he invaded Canaan. This man, the little horn referred to, arose as the great persecutor of God's people.

There were 5 main things that we learn about his rule from this passage -
1. v10/24 - No justice. He persecuted the Jews. Stars being either leading Jews or authorities.
2. v11/12a - No righteousness. He exalted himself higher than the Prince of Peace, and blasphemed God by holding idolatrous sacrifices in the temple.
3. v12b/25 - No truth. He attacked truth consistently and practised deception. He would often wait until he had someone's trust before turning upon them. 
4. v12b - No peace. Evil prospered
5. v25 - No mercy. He was struck down by the invisible hand of God.

It is documented that he fell ill in a small town in Egypt, and while on his sick bed, wrote to the Jews saying that he himself would become a Jew if only God would save him. God showed him no mercy, for the evil that he had performed on God's people and the attacks upon God Himself.

In verse 14, we are told that it would last about 2300 evenings and mornings until the sanctuary will be made holy again. Some scholars say that this is about 6.25 years. Antiochus Epiphanes rule lasted from 171 to 165 BC. Other teachers say that this is about 3.5 years. The temple was used for heathen sacrifice for the last 3.5 years of Antiochus Epiphanes life. The end of time referred to in verses 17 - 19, could refer to 2 things.

Firstly, it could refer to the end of Antiochus Epiphanes reign of terror over the Jews, when the Jews could expect the Messiah to come and end God's indignation with the Jews. Secondly, it could mean the period of the Gentiles, which is from Nebuchadnezzar's reign to the 2nd coming of Jesus. Whichever theory is correct, there are still applications that apply to our lives today.

Firstly, rampant evil and not peace will rule on earth until Jesus comes again. We look around the world and we see conflicts and wars everywhere - Iraq, Afghanistan, throughout Africa & Asia. There will be always people like Antiochus Epiphanes. People like Hitler and the slaughter of the Jews in the 1930's & 1940's; or Idi Amin in Uganda; or Pol Pot and the Khemer Rouge in Cambodia/Kampuchea; Stalin and the former USSR Communist bloc; Ceacescu and Romania. The submission to the state or government of all citizens, being forced to accept government decrees. There will also always be the limitation of freedom to worship. I can still see the remains in the mass graves in the destruction of Cambodia coming from my television screen, where even to think any kind of individual thought was suppressed and all books were destroyed. Or the pictures of the desecration of the millions of Jews during the 2nd World War. Or how about the persecution of religious peoples under the regimes in China, Romania and the former USSR.

And here in England, or the USA or even Australia, the threats to us and our Christianity are probably more subtle. We see the media laughing at people like Cliff Richard, Billy Graham and other well-known Christians, whenever they are in the spotlight. In many countries around the globe, where Christianity is illegal, suppressed or forced to fit into the confines of Government thinking. The attacks upon us here in the West are not so direct, but much more subtle. Frogs, when placed in a pot of cold water do not feel the subtle rise in the water temperature when the pot is placed on a stove with a low heat. Let us not be frogs. One day we are going to be attacked because we are Christians, and to think otherwise is clearly unbiblical.

Secondly, what do we do when it comes. It is natural for us when persecution hits us to ask why, but our reaction should probably be like the 2nd angel and ask "How long?" We shouldn't be surprised when persecution comes to us, and be like the Romanians who also asked, not why, but How long?

Thirdly, notice that the people who commit such atrocities, and are great powers here on earth, are described as 'little horns' and are just that, little.  Little in comparison to our awesome God. He is the invisible hand, who merely sweeps them away with one quick brush of his 'invisible hand'. Is this not a God worthy of our praise and worship? These men could only harm the flesh, not the soul. Their power was brittle, like the horns on the goat and ram, and broken by the hand of God. Where is Hitler now? Dead and buried. Where is Stalin? Dust in the frozen ground. Where is Antiochus Epiphanes now? Dust blown in the wind. Where is Alexander the Great? Dust spread across the deserts he so easily conquered. All these men are dead, but where is our God? Alive forevermore!

Fourthly, we bow the knee not to a rampaging ram or a galloping goat, but to the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who is our horn of Salvation. When all other horns have come and gone, we still have our horn of salvation in Him. When all the rams and goats have crossed the stage of history, God has His Lamb (Rev 5:12-13). All through the Bible, and all history as we know it, there have been dominions and powers that have lasted only a short passage of time. The kingdom of Jesus, however, is not a passing fad or temporary kingdom but an everlasting one with Jesus Himself as the Lamb and Horn of Salvation. That is why we can take Jesus into our place of work and study and into our cities with power. Even if all our friends and family reject Jesus, we should still identify with Him. All other powers are simply passing in the wind. No other power will prevail, and His peace will rule upon earth. All that harms His people will come to nothing, and we will live forever with Jesus as our Horn of Salvation.

Fifthly and lastly, we need to deal with the 'little horns' of sin within our lives. Horns, throughout the Bible and history have been symbolic of power. Whatever sins are hidden in our hearts, we need to get rid of them and repent of them. For the longer any individual sin is within us, the more power it tries to control us with, if we do not hand it over to the Lord in prayer and action. The less we repent of sins, the less we grow in spiritual maturity and personal holiness. Let each one of us destroy the power of the 'little horns' of sin, by repenting and turning away from them, and allowing our Horn of salvation, destroy them by continuing to hand them over to Him. You may not be yet a follower, so I would urge you most strongly to accept His call upon you.  You may not get another chance. 

This Jesus Christ said he was coming back again.  Not as a baby next time, but in full glory, power and majesty.  He will be coming back to gather those who are in relationship with Him and to wipe the tears of suffering and joy from their eyes.  Those who are found not to be in relationship with Him will spend eternity without Him.  He gives each of us, innumerable opportunities to enter into relationship with Him.   This Jesus wants to connect with you in an intimate, spiritual relationship - His eyes wander the earth looking for those willing to submit themselves to His authority.  If that is you, then please do let us know, so that we can help you to start this relationship with the Living God, Jesus Christ. He calls you by name.

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Sermon - Devotional Life

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Sermon - A Devotional Life

What do we mean by a devotional life? A good place to start is the question: what do we mean by a “Devotional life”? For the Christian, it can be defined as the obedient submission in all facets of life to God. That is the historical meaning. That means the use of our time, money, energy along with prayer, worship, Bible Study, and other religious activities that are done in private rather than with other people.

As Christians, we are called to be God’s light into the world. A world, a community, where we Christians work, rest and play with other humans. In doing this, we need to have a devotional life where we spend time each day in simple prayer and Bible study. A time where God encourages and energizes us. This devotional life of Bible Study and prayer which goes on to affect every aspect of our life, as God the Holy Spirit who lives within us, helps, encourages and transforms us. Bible Study and prayer which are used by God to develop our lives, both as individuals and as a Church, into showing God to a society which is apart from God.

To be a Christian is to be in a relationship with God. It is a developing and maturing intimacy between God and the Christian. Could the same be said of you and me? We develop our intimacy with God through simple prayer – both speaking and in listening. The major way we can hear God speak, is through the Bible. That is why prayer and reading the Bible go hand in hand. How is your prayer life and your reading of the Bible?

A devotional life shows the Christian to be in a dynamic and living relationship with God and has a developing intimacy with God. Intimacy with God which is going on with the Christian life, developing that relationship and refining that unique bond between God and yourself. It is a reminder to me constantly that I am loved by God, regardless of how I am feeling and how other people treat me. Could the same be said of you? How is your devotional life with God going? Let's have a look at prayer and the Bible.

Part 1. Prayer

12 One day Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Take these people up to the Promised Land.’ But you haven’t told me whom you will send with me. You have told me, ‘I know you by name, and I look favorably on you.’ 13 If it is true that you look favorably on me, let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor. And remember that this nation is your very own people.”
14 The Lord replied, “I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you.”
15 Then Moses said, “If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place. 16 How will anyone know that you look favorably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us? For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.”
17 The Lord replied to Moses, “I will indeed do what you have asked, for I look favorably on you, and I know you by name.”
18 Moses responded, “Then show me your glorious presence.”
19 The Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh,[a] before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose. 20 But you may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live.” 21 The Lord continued, “Look, stand near me on this rock. 22 As my glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and let you see me from behind. But my face will not be seen.” Exodus 33:12-23

Part 2 – The Bible.

10 But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.
11 Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, 12 looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. 13 But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.
14 And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.
15 And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him— 16 speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.
17 You already know these things, dear friends. So be on guard; then you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. 18 Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen.
2 Peter 3:10-18

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Christmas 2018 - Light of the World

 8. Mary’s Song

Luke 2:39-56 - 39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
46 And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”
56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

Introduction

There is much to be said about this time of year we call Christmas. Worldwide there are about 250 babies born every minute. Yet, the birth we celebrate at Christmas, is like the celebration of no other birth of a human in human history. That birth of the man Jesus Christ, 2000 years ago, caused the world to change. The birth of Jesus Christ causes more of the world today to pause amidst the busy-ness of life, take a breath amidst the noise of daily life and celebrate in many different ways and fashions - regardless of the person's religious belief or none.

John Calvin - “Now follows a remarkable and interesting song of the holy virgin, which plainly shows how eminent were her attainments in the grace of the Spirit.”

Isn’t that a beautiful thing for him to say about Mary?

Martin Luther - “In order properly to understand this sacred hymn of praise, we need to bear in mind that the most blessed Virgin Mary is speaking out of her own experience, in which she was enlightened and instructed by the Holy Spirit.”

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My Jesus

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My Jesus

(This was written during a particularly difficult week)


Jesus Christ the man who splits history BC & AD! The man who we claim is the messiah and saviour as spoken about by the prophets of old and written about by those who met Him...

The man who healed the sick, fought for justice, did many great deeds, filled with compassion, driven on by joy and in constant conversation with God the Father.

Jesus Christ the man who claimed to be God and was God! Jesus who emptied Himself, made Himself nothing, so as to take on human form. Jesus Christ, fully human and yet fully God.

Jesus Christ the most amazing man who ever lived, born of a woman, in a humble stable. Jesus Christ, the man born to die that he may come back alive and give all people a chance to live forever.

Jesus Christ, who died on a grubby Roman cross, pierced, battered, bruised and scarred. Jesus Christ, the God-man who died physically. Jesus Christ, buried within and sealed into a cold empty tomb.

Jesus Christ who conquered death, came back alive as witnessed by uncountable others. Jesus Christ who defeated the sting of sin, so that humanity may choose to live forever!

Jesus Christ, whose death and resurrection we celebrate at Easter, who ascended to the right hand of God the Father. Jesus Christ, who with the Father, sent the Holy Spirit to transform into the image of Jesus Christ, all who choose to follow Him.

Jesus Christ, who covers His followers in His own robe of righteousness so that they would be acceptable to the Father.

Jesus Christ, coming again soon in glory to judge humanity and claim those who follow Him.

Jesus Christ calls "Come and follow!" To learn more, download the mp3 using the links below...

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Sermon - Method of Evangelism

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’

16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed our message?’ 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. 18 But I ask: did they not hear? Of course they did:
‘Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.’

19 Again I ask: did Israel not understand? First, Moses says,
‘I will make you envious by those who are not a nation;
I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.’

20 And Isaiah boldly says,
‘I was found by those who did not seek me;
I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.’

21 But concerning Israel he says,
‘All day long I have held out my hands
to a disobedient and obstinate people.’

(Romans 10:14-21)

Last week we learnt about the message and this week we will look at what we are to do with that message. But first another question.
What is God’s responsibility in salvation and who decides who is saved?

I will quote John Calvin here from his commentary on Romans: “I shall not engage you long in reciting and disproving the opinions of others. Let everyone have his own view; and let me be allowed to bring forward what I think.”

With that in mind, as you are probably aware, there is a question which has been debated for centuries: Who decides who is saved? Is it God’s overarching and sovereign will that decides which person will be saved? Is it God’s permissive will, which allows a person’s freedom of choice to be saved or not? As I said, it is a question been asked for centuries! Is it just a small group of people of elect: those who are saved by God and nobody can do anything about it – whether they want to be saved or not? Or is everyone eventually just going to be saved – whether they want to be or not?

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Sermon - Message of Evangelism

1 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4 Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

5 Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: ‘The person who does these things will live by them.’ 6 But the righteousness that is by faith says: ‘Do not say in your heart, “Who will ascend into heaven?”’ (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 ‘or “Who will descend into the deep?”’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? ‘The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,’ that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 if you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, ‘Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.’ 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ Romans 10:1-13

In this part of Romans, from chapters 1 to 11, Paul has been drawing a word picture of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel which demonstrates that God gets his hands dirty. The Gospel, the Good News from God, which tells us that God has done all He could do, in order that all of humanity could be saved. The Gospel which claims all people can be in a living and dynamic relationship with God, if they choose to be so. All without favouritism. Paul then goes on to investigate in depth about this Gospel, the nation of Israel and the Gentiles. That is where we are in Romans 10 for the next two weeks. This week we are looking at the message of salvation. The who, what, why, where and wherefore. Next week we will look at what we are to do with that message of salvation.

Paul explains in his letter to the Church in Rome, that there cannot be salvation for anybody apart from the true salvation which is borne from faith in Jesus Christ alone, through the grace of God alone. That is our Gospel message, is it not? In chapters 9 to 11, Paul is elucidating that the Jewish people weren’t saved simply because they were Jewish. By no means, no! They were to be saved by faith, calling on God through their Messiah, the man of history known as Jesus Christ. That is what Abraham, Moses and all the Prophets down through the ages had told them to look for – a Messiah who was to come. But mostly those words had fallen on deaf ears and been ignored.

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Sermon - 1 Peter 1:3-9

1 Peter 1:3-9 - Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Introduction

Last week we looked at 1 Peter 1:1-2 & 2:11-12, under the title “Living in the face of alienation and its cure”. The Apostle Peter was writing to a group of people, followers of Jesus, spread throughout what we know as modern Turkey. These believing sojourners were undergoing trials, suffering & persecution. Peter instructs them toward Christian stability, and the proper expression of this stability and growth.

Throughout the letter, Peter stresses a hope so alive, so glorious and so very certain, that any persecution, trial and suffering can be endured. These people are sojourners or pilgrims on a spiritual journey! Last week we discovered that Peter reminds them of the God they worship and live for - a missional & relational God of salvation. A loving God who is Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God the Father has chosen and is calling all people to Himself, out of amazing love for them. God the Holy Spirit sanctifies and cleanses to allow people to enter God’s holy presence through the obedient sacrifice of God the Son.

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