Romans 3:21-31 The best news ever - Simon

The book of Romans is Paul carefully laying out his case (or his defence or apology) for his controversial ‘law-free’ gospel, a new way of understanding God and relating to Him.

Paul’s whole message is not about doing for or giving to God the right or righteous things, so that God will accept you, but it is about receiving the right things or righteousness from God. It is no longer about us being accepted by God because of what we do, but it is about being accepted by God because of what God does!

“But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.”
What is it?

Righteousness – defined as “the quality of being morally right or justifiable”. It means exactly what it sounds like: it is being right, or ‘right-being’, and making things right, as good as they can be, or ‘right-making’. It’s a word of status or position: that you are in the right, you’re in right and good standing with others. Another helpful way that I’ve heard it described is right-relatedness in all your relationships, with each other, with society, with God.

The Bad News: Up until this point, the way that God related to people was through the Law – the expression of who God is – through the Law, God shows his love, faithfulness, justice, to human beings. The Law showed human beings how to be God’s people, how to be righteous (in right relationship with God) and enters into a covenant-relationship with Israel. And Israel was then given the mission to show the rest of the world (the Gentile world) what God is like, who He is, and through the way they lived and followed God’s law. They were called to be a blessing to the nations, to point people back to their Creator.

But because of our sinfulness and brokenness, our rebellious hearts are unable to keep God’s laws faithfully. All through the story of the Bible, God’s people fail in their mission to be a light to the nations; they fail (as do we) to love God and to love neighbour. And the very law that was given to show us what God is like, also uncovers what we are like – it shows us the righteousness of God, but it also shows us our righteousness (or lack thereof). That why Paul says in v.

“For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

Based on our record of righteousness, what hope do we have of being in relationship with God in the way that we were meant for? How can we live faithfully as His people, and show the world what He is like? 



The Good News: “But now”, God has revealed to us a new way of relating to Him, something that the entire Story has anticipated and waited for… God’s righteousness is being made known to us, put on full display for us to see, in a completely new and entirely unheard of way! God has intervened and revealed who He is, and has made Himself known to us. And this has always been part of the plan – all through the Story there have been signs, whispers and pointers preparing us for the this revelation, this unveiling of God, the curtain is about to rise.

“But now” – there are no more wonderful words in the whole of Scripture than just these two words. – Martin Lloyd-Jones (Examples: Romans 6:21-22; 7:5-6; 16:25-27; Eph 5:8; Col 1:21-22; 1 Peter 2:10; 2:25)

What is it? Who is it?

It’s Jesus – God’s righteousness revealed. God coming into our world to act in bringing people back into right relationship with Him, is done through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

God’s Righteousness Given “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew or Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified (declared righteous) freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

How we receive it: Through faith The news gets even better. Paul goes on to say that this righteousness of God that has now been revealed to us in Christ is given to us. Given to us.

God’s righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ. To all who believe. We receive God’s gracious gift of God’s righteousness with the hands of faith and hearts that believe.

It means that Jesus Christ is the object of our faith and belief. We place the full weight of our trust, hope and belief in Him, and what He has done.

“The man who has faith is the man who is no longer looking at himself, and no longer looking to himself. He no longer looks at anything he once was. He does not look at what he is now. He does not look at what he hopes to be … He looks entirely to the Lord Jesus Christ and his finished work, and he rests on that alone.” (Romans Chapters 3:20 – 4:25, page 45) – Martin Lloyd-Jones

The Bad News: We have all of us, fallen short of the glory of God, no matter who you are. On the basis of our own records of righteousness, none of us have a case. Because we are all of us under the power of sin, and we have all missed the mark, we cannot share in the glory of God, to be in right relationship with him, in the unrighteous state that you and I are in.

The Good News: But now, all, anyone, everyone who puts their faith in Jesus Christ, can receive God’s righteousness; it is given to you, God’s righteousness in place of yours! V. 24 says that we are justified and redeemed, freely by the work of Jesus.

1) We are justified – the word used is the same word for ‘righteousness’, and so when we are justified by God, it means that God declares us ‘righteous’! Justification is a word used in the courtroom. When two parties come for a trial, what they are there to do is to make their case before the court, and the judge decides who is right. Who is righteous, who is justified. And so when we are justified, it means that God looks at us and declares us righteous. Why? More on that later.


2) We are redeemed – the word ‘redemption’ means “to liberate by paying a price”. Our freedom has been “bought back”. We are now free from our bondage to sin and death because we have been freed by the work of Christ on the cross.

The Problem: How can God remain righteous—maintain a perfect record of being just and always doing what is right—and make sinners, who deserve justice, righteous? Or to put it differently, how can there be a righteousness of God and a righteousness from God?

How can a just God justify justifying sinners like you and me?

We long for a world free of sin, brokenness, and evil, and long for a world of love, freedom and peace. We live in a world where so much has gone wrong, and we keep trying to find a way to fix it. But we are all contributors to the evil and sin and brokenness that we see in the world – we are both victims and perpetrators of crimes against humanity.

So how does God deal with the sin and brokenness of this world, as he should in his justice, while showing his love, grace and mercy to justify and redeem humanity? How can a just God justify justifying sinners like you and me? How does God remain righteous – true to His characteristic of justice and love, without compromising on either?

Paul tells us exactly how God does this.

We get now to the heart of the Christian faith – the deeper you go, the more beautiful it becomes, and I hope you see it too. Right at the heart of the Christian faith, is Christ himself.

“God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood…”

Atonement – what does that mean? A clue is in the word itself – it is the act of “at-one-ment” – to reunite, to repair, to recompense, to repay, to reconcile, to make right what was wrong, to bring back together (into one) what had been split apart. Atonement is what it takes to make things whole again, to make things right again.

Demonstration of God’s Righteousness – How is the work of Christ demonstration of God’s righteousness?

On the cross, God’s glory and righteousness are displayed in their clearest definition. 4K HD, it does not get much clearer than that.

It is the place where God’s justice and love meet. At the cross, God Himself, shows us the full extent of His righteousness – divine justice and divine love shown completely in the cross of Christ.

“If God forgave us by becoming indifferent to sin—if the only way he could justify his people was to give up his role as Judge—then that would hardly be loving to the victims of sin, it would give us no assurance for the future, and would make God deeply compromised within his character. No, God should, must, and will judge us. The wonder is that he judged us in the person of his own Son; that, as John Murray writes:

“God loved the objects of his wrath so much that he gave his own Son to the end that he by his blood should make provision for the removal of his wrath.” (The Atonement, page 15)

God does not set his justice aside; he turns it onto himself. The cross does not represent a compromise between God’s wrath and his love; it does not satisfy each halfway. Rather, it satisfies each fully and in the very same action. On the cross, the wrath and love of God were both vindicated, both demonstrated, and both expressed perfectly. They both shine out, and are utterly fulfilled. The cross is a demonstration both of God’s justice, and of his justifying love.”

This is why Paul says that God is both just and justifier of those who have faith and who put their trust in Jesus Christ.

The heart of the gospel is this: That you and I are so flawed, so unrighteous, so sinful, rebellious and broken before God, that it took nothing less that the death of Jesus Christ to atone for my sins to save me, but you and I are so loved and valued and cherished by God that Jesus did it. He did it! He was glad to do it. Justice and love.

If you’ve never heard the gospel before perhaps this is all new to you, and you’ve never heard about God like this before. Maybe you feel far away or distant from him. God and me? Nah, it can’t be. The news may sound good, but maybe it’s just a little too good. Too good to be true.

Which do you struggle with? God’s justice? Maybe you think, ‘why should God have to judge’? Why does he have to punish sin? Why can’t God just forgive us without punishing sin? Why can’t God just be loving?

I could love a God of love and grace and compassion, but when I think about the anger and the wrath of God, and how he has to deal with sin, that doesn’t make me want to love him at all!

Well, dear brother or sister, there is good news for you. Do you know what the opposite of love is? The opposite of love isn’t hate. The opposite of love is indifference.

“If God was indifferent to sin, we would actually feel no real love at all. We (rightly) hear a lot about abusive, overbearing parents who do not show love to their children. But completely permissive parents who set no limits, give no guidance, and never confront their children are also unloving, and also destructive. The world is full of people raised with a supposedly enlightened view of a “loving,” “anything-goes” God, so they feel spiritually like orphans with no certainty or real love, because they are. They have ended up with a God who is uncaring and indifferent; and, of course, non-existent.”

God is concerned about justice because he cares about this world. He is not indifferent, he is not unloving. He is deeply concerned about sin, because in his holiness and perfect righteousness, he is deeply concerned about us, about this world. And it is His justice and righteousness that makes him a God we can depend on, a God that is worthy of our devotion and worship.

Maybe you struggle with God’s love? Maybe you are aware of your record. No one knows the things you have done, how broken you really are. If God knew what was on my record – He would want nothing to do with me, let alone be in relationship with me?

Maybe all you feel is that weight of God’s judgement, and you know that’s all that could be waiting for you. God is going to judge me, just like everyone else has. A holy and righteous God could never love me.

There is very good news for you. God knows exactly what you’ve done, he knows you, better than you know yourself. He knows everything about you – and you know what? He loves you anyway. He knows you’re deserving of judgement – we all are. That why Jesus came, to live the life you should have lived, and dies the death you should have died. He bears the full weight of God’s judgement so that you and I don’t have to.

If you put your trust, your hope, your faith in Jesus Christ and what he has done for you, God looks at you, standing on the dock, and he declares you “righteous”. He looks at you, and he sees the righteousness of his beloved Son, Jesus, that you have received through faith in Jesus. He looks at you, with the eyes of a loving Father looking at His beloved child.

This is the best news you will ever hear.

Romans 3:5-20 The effects of sin - John W

Rom 1-3, how God deals with the question of sin.

How has it affected NZ?

March 15, 2019, the Christchurch mosque killing was probably the most violent act ever experienced in NZ. Why did it happen. Why did the gunman hate the victims so much? Where is the justice?

Why are there so many reports of sexual abuse and unreported cases of violence on young men and women in hostel care at university when they should expect to be safe?

Why do people have no respect for the goods of others and steal the goods of others meant to bring wellness and happiness. 

This post Christian NZ, 2019. Have you ever felt angry because of someone else’s sin? Have you felt bullied or threatened? Do you feel safe? If someone in your family was innocently killed would you be angry? But John asks whether we have ever been burdened or upset at our own sin. About habits you cannot break. Lying, stealing, ignoring the needs of others. Have you ever wanted a second chance to put things right? Have you ever sought forgiveness or wept over your sin?

Would the world be a better place if you could put right the things that are wrong?

How do we deal with sin? Intellectually we try and deny it exists but practically we spend vast sums of money to counter its effects with police, defence, secret service, and hospitals because we have to live a world that is safe.

How does God deal with sin? In the first three chapters of Romans, God gives the treatment that all have sinned and the next 5 chapters He gives the treatment. Eternal life in Christ Jesus. The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ.

Romans 1 tells us that the natural man is controlled by sin. Chapter 2, the moral person fails to meet their own standards. You have no excuse you who pass judgement on someone else. The speck on in your brother’s eye is not as severe as the plank in your own eye. Both you and your brother have a problem, but we tend to look past our own failings and amplify the failures of others.

By taking reflection on our own failings we learn to be more understanding and sensitive to the needs of others.

Rom 3:5 tells us that sin effects the whole person, even our reasoning ability. If our falsehood enhances God's glory, then why don’t we just sin more to make God look even better. An illogical argument because it favours us. We want to replace truth with clever arguments and finish up arguing that the exact opposite true. God shouldn’t be angry with us because we somehow make God look better. But God will judge the world.

Rom 3:8 let us just do evil that good may result? Illogical. But we also argue that we don’t have to do demonstrate our faith by good works, or we can continue to live in sin so that grace may increase. Flawed, self-interested arguments. We have died to sin so how can we continue to live in it?

A principle of living a righteous living is deciding to die to sin. When we accepted Jesus, we made a decision to die to sin. When we think and talk about our sin, we are not neutral parties. We distort the facts. We need to listen to what God says and understand his righteousness is that we have a correct view of our sin.

All Jews and Gentiles are under the power of sin because no one can keep God's standards. There is no one righteous. No one who understands. No one with a character of moral excellence. No one who completely desires to search out God. No one who never sins.

We are all created in the image of God and can do good things but no one is immune from the stain of sin and our heart motivation is short of God's holiness.

The sin impacts all aspects of our life. The way of peace we do not know. What we say, what we do, what we think. It leads to speech that destroys others, the poison of a viper, cursing and bitterness. Destructive speech is quick to become destructive actions. Sin makes false promises of peace and never delivers. War and conflict continue dominate the world. We have no fear of God before our eyes and the mindset of sin is to remove God from our thought, thinking we can live independent of Him.

The solution for sin does not come from within but only by an intervention from God to provide a different type of righteousness, the righteousness of God.

The good news of Romans is that God will share His righteousness with us.

Romans 2:17-3:4 The position of the Jew

Our speaker explains the unique position of the Jew before God and the mistakes that are made regarding assumptions of privilege for having God's word and rituals such as circumcision. He explains that nobody is without sin before God and it is only the shed blood of the Lord Jesus who opens the way for our adoption, and inheritance of spiritual blessing and eternal life.

He also explains that all the promises to Israel will be fulfilled because when God makes a promise he is faithful. To be otherwise denies His nature. Our disobedience and sin do not undermine the faithfulness of God.

A Prayer for Christchurch

For Christchurch

17 March 2019

Let us pray.

Our God and Father,

We praise you for your kindness and care towards each of us. There is hope and peace found in you. John 3:16 reminds us that you so loved the world and that you want none to perish, and offer life and hope through your son Jesus Christ.

Yet we also know the truth of your word when read the heart of humanity is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

As many in our nation at this time consider life and death, their minds and hearts will turn to matters of religion and faith and the meaning of it all.

Help each of us to have a word of encouragement and wisdom to draw all to you, the one true living God and your Salvation through Jesus Christ.

We have witnessed a terrible act on the Muslim community in Christchurch. A city so near to our hearts for many of us and a place that has seen more than enough death and destruction.

As a nation we have reeled in shock and horror at the actions of one individual who has murdered so many in a senseless act that can only be described as evil in the extreme.

This sad and heart-breaking tragedy Lord is too close to home. There is dreadful sense of sadness and a feeling we have all lost something as a nation.

The loss of 50 lives is terrible; such evil and hatred is abhorrent to us.

It will be so difficult for the victims’ families overseas who will be experiencing great sadness and frustration being so far away. We pray Lord that you can comfort them and ensure the government will do all it can to aid the supply of names and information which will help their grieving.

The enormity of the tragedy is difficult to grasp. We pray for all the families who have suffered the loss of loved ones. We pray for the quick identification and the return of their loved ones for burial.

We also pray for the 48 that are injured and pray for speedy recoveries. We thank you for the dedication of the many medical and ambulance staff who have worked so hard. We thank you for their skill and healing hands that have saved so many. We pray there be no more loss of life of among those currently wounded.

We also thank you for the efficiency and bravery of the Police….. and that they and the security authorities will continue to be diligent and successful in the prosecution of any and all involved.

We also thank you so many did escape from the Mosque. Lord we pray that you will comfort ALL who have seen things that cannot be put into words……as many will have wounds… to the mind and soul… that are hidden from view.

We pray that they may seek you and find you and gain comfort as you are the true God who heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.

We also pray for all New Zealanders, that the people will not be overcome with fear and worries in regards to safety and security, it is so easy to allow anxieties to overwhelm the senses, instead let us as a nation unite in concern for our neighbours.

We pray that there be NO thoughts of revenge. That all will allow and respect the authorities to do their job and allow justice to take it’s course.

We also pray that the Muslim nations will not perceive these murders…. as a Christian act…. and as an excuse to attack churches in their nations. It seems ironic that many Islamic nations have offered support to NZ when they are so willing to endorse or ignore similar actions at home. We pray as nation states they will see they have a responsibility to protect all their citizens and places of worship. We pray for your protection upon all our brothers and sister in the persecuted lands.

We pray for the perpetrator of this evil crime…….. may he feel guilt and remorse. We pray for his family who must also be feeling great shame and loss over an evil son, may they seek solace in the living God.

We also pray that others do not use his actions to validate or advance their own hate filled agendas. Lord comfort us….. even in Dunedin… as it seems incomprehensible that our city is linked with this terrible crime.

We pray you continue to keep us safe in this place….and all those who attend churches, mosques, temples and synagogues in New Zealand. Experience from overseas, and now in NZ, shows many have murderous intent against places of worship.

We also pray the government will act responsibly and with great wisdom as it reviews various activities and laws. Many decisions and changes to the law and how we live, will affect us all….. possibly adversely.

We pray nothing will take away from the freedom of speech and the opportunities to preach the Gospel to everyone…. as we long to see all New Zealanders come to saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus, including our Muslims neighbours.

Finally, as believers we claim and know the living God as our refuge and strength, our ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear. The Lord God Almighty is our fortress, our shield and our stronghold.

This we pray in the name of our Lord Jesus our redeeming King, our Salvation and Deliverer, until He comes for us.

AMEN

John 13:1-15 Ministering to Each Other - Bill Randles (Christchurch)

A RESPONSE TO THE CHC TERROR ATTACK

In the wake of the Friday 15th March 2019, terror attack on the two Christchurch mosques, with the killing of 50 men, women, and children Bill reminds us that this is but a further confirmation that we are in the last days before Christ returns. NZ is not exempt from the maladies of evil and disregard for life; the death of people whom are created in the image of God.

Bill takes us to John Ch 13 and exposits the significance of Jesus washing the disciples' feet, where Jesus took the form of a servant, rising from the place of honour as the master of the feast, stripping to just a towel and demonstrating selfless love for his disciples. In the same way, Jesus rose from His place of authority in heaven, took on human form, humbling himself, Phil 2:5-8, and became obedient to the point of death and has now returned to be with His father at His right hand.

John 13:12, When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garment and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you?”

The example given to us is to love each other, wash each other's feet, forgive each other and minister forgiveness to each other. Wash each other with the Water of the Word. Not just loving each other as we would love ourselves but love one another as Christ has loved us, with a love that is willing to lay down our life so that others might live.

Romans 2:1-17 Works and Conscience Adrian M

Romans is the first place a person needs to look for doctrine on salvation. The full doctrine of the true Christian faith. What we believe and why we believe. Rom 1:18-32 gives us the true nature of sin. No one has an excuse.

The sinner from birth is spiritually dead, self-destructive and divine justice is certain. Spiritual death leads to physical death and finally eternal condemnation.

Romans is a call for all believers to spread the gospel, pray earnestly for our city, country and our families to escape the wrath that is to come. Last week was depressing but it is only going to get worse. The truth hurts.

2: 1-4, we have no excuse. A promise that God will repay each person to the deeds we have done. The state of all unbelievers.

The world objects to being judged. Who are we to pass judgement on someone else? But God continually judges the evil deeds of the self-righteous and proud. The world thinks everyone is basically good but are we really a good person. Have we ever stolen something....have you ever taken a sick day without genuine need. That makes us a thief. Are you a liar....?

People are not good. We are thieving lying blasphemers. Everyone.

2: 7-11. There is a false conception of what justice really is. People think that justice is modelled by Lady Justice where the good endeavours of life tip the balance in a person’s favour. Reward from works. Do more good than bad, but most believe they just have to do enough to keep the balance level but this is not God's justice. Religious adherence and practices are also thought to accumulate life, good character credits.

Persistence by doing good. Seeking glory, eternal life. What is God's thought on the matter of doing good.

Ps 53:3  Everyone has turned away, there is no one who does good, not even one.  The natural position of humanity.

We turn away from God. You can only do good if you are a true believer. Everything else is piety and self-deceit.

John 5:23  We must honour the Lord Jesus Christ if we are to get honour, as God will not those who do not honour Jesus.

2 Tim 1:10 Only Jesus brings eternal life, not our goodness or self-promotion and works.

Rom 6:21 Benefits we reap lead to holiness and the result is eternal life. Works cannot reap eternal and holiness because it is only Jesus who can set us free.

Col 2:18 Worship of angels anything other than Christ disqualifies us. False religion. So many cults and religious groups worship things other than Christ.

Rom 2:7 Is not about what the individual brings. We cannot earn our way into heaven. Only those who love the Lord Jesus Christ.

The unbelieving Gentile has a God given conscience. People seek justice because it is in-built to give witness of God's law along with the witness of Creation. The world is full of people seeking justice who

The Jew has the Law and will have to give an account for their keeping and honouring of God's law. The Gentile will be shown to be a law unto themselves.

The Jew has a greater obligation to God because they have the Law but no one is without an excuse. But the believer, when we are the before the Lord, our sin is forgiven. We will be accountable for our performance, how we used the gifts and talents that God has given to us. Fire will tell the quality of each person's work and yet we will be still be saved.

Rom 2 v 17 God will judge rightly.

Our only hope is the Lord Jesus Christ, a body given, blood-shed, a price paid, a rescue offered, a deliverance assured, a redemption gained. We were the living dead without hope but if we are true believers then we await his return and justice from the Throne.

 

 

 

Romans 1:18-32 Jeff Coleman

Jeff outlines this section of Romans with 12 points:

1. Overview of Romans.

2. The Biblical worldview is logical and just. Faith is based on reason and logic.

3. General revelation declares that God exists.

4. We suppress the truth of God. If we let the knowledge of God expand and fill our world we are accountable so man does everything to keep truth constrained. Our reason has been corrupted. Our ability to reason about God correctly is corrupted.

5. Out of our emptiness we create idols to worship because we have to have something to worship. We exchange the truth about God for a lie. We worship the creation rather than the Creator. The most fundamental sin is our refusal to worship the one true creator God who made us; idolatry.

6. We are without excuse. In a courtroom we are unable to speak in our legal defense. We will have nothing to say. Creation puts us on notice, declaring that God exists and we refused to worship God. Through creation God has provided sufficient evidence of Himself to hold us accountable.

7. God's wrath is justified on account of our idol worship and our suppressing the truth. God's holy anger and firm resolve to destroy evil. The exercise of His righteousness and holiness. Always appropriate, measured and proportional because He is righteous and good and just.

8. God actively hands us over to sexual perversion to the dishonoring of our bodies. The just exercise of His wrath. The bad news before the good news of Jesus in Ch 3. The wrath is the handing over to practice of sexual impurity, not the cause of God's wrath.

9. God further hands us over to dishonorable same sex passions. The second 'handing over'. Men and women are inflamed with strong passion and desire but how we carry out these passions can lead to disgrace and dishonor of our bodies.

10. God hands us over to a worthless mind, 3rd handing over’’, to fulfill what ought not to be done. Twenty one different measures of becoming rebellious and evil minded.

Romans 1:29–31

They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. (ESV)

11. All we can humanly do is to live for today, eat and be merry and hope that God does not exist because we are without excuse or defense. We call evil to be good and good to be evil. We celebrate and approve things that are wrong to avoid being out of step with the decay in society. We want to be seen to be progressive when actually we are approving the regressive.

12. God has provided a way for us to reverse the exchange. Turn from worship of idols to worship the true and living God through faith in Jesus Christ. 1 Thess 1:9-10. We can turn back to worshiping the creator through faith in Jesus Christ. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, Rom 8:1. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Romans Introduction - Ross

The first of our new series for 2019 reading through Paul’s letter to the Romans.
Editors note that the sound quality here is not high as the recording accidentally came in via a laptop pinhole mic rather than the PA system, so my apologies. It comes with back of church infant noises and door squeaks.

Daniel 4 - Nebuchadnezzar's testimony - J Coleman

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This message about Nebuchadnezzar examines the fall of mankind when we try to become more god like and instead we wind up becoming more base in our conduct and living. God humbled the greatest king the world had known. Dan 4:30, “is this not the great Babylon which I have built by my mighty power..”

Nebuchadnezzar was humbled and brought back to his senses after 7 years of living like an animal, after which he gave glory to God and praised His name. This was Nebuchadnezzar’s testimony that he shared with his kingdom and subjects.

Jeff proposes a challenge to all of us to take time write down the circumstances of our conversion and receiving new life after being dead in our trespasses and sins as a testimony that can be shared with colleagues and family.

Esther 4-7: How do we respond to God's sovereignty? - Andrew S

This message is second in a series of 3 on the book of Esther, given in 2014. Here Andrew takes us through chapters 4 to 7 and asks the question of How do we respond to God's sovereignty? The same question applies to 2019. Message 1 is not available due to recording quality.

These chapters give us the account of Mordecai and his response to the decree by Haman to kill and annihilate all Jews, young and old, women and children in one day, Esther 3:13, and how he appealed to Esther for her intervention before King Ahasuerus.

We notice 4 things:

1. Mordecai and Esther fasted for 3 days. Fasting is an act of doing without to engage with God. It is setting aside something in exchange for focusing and listening to God's direction. It is not an attempt to be more pious as if the more sacrificial you can be the more God will notice through your will power. It can equally be a fasting from listening to music or social media or TV or other pleasure that takes your focus off listening for God's leading. It is a replacement with something spiritual, focusing your heart on seeking the Lord.

2. As God is sovereign He is in complete control of all circumstances. When we have to act in faith regarding events that seem threatening or risk to our comfort levels there is no neutral ground. We either grow in faith by trusting the promises and nature of God or we retreat and shrivel up like seeds on hard ground. It is a question of belief. Do we believe in the power of God who is calling you. Eph 2:10 tells us that we are created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Divine happenings require faith and courage.

3. We need spiritual discernment for the works that God has prepared for us, and discernment only comes by spending time in prayer and in God's word letting the Lord speak to you, Psalm 119:18. Exercising your faith grows your faith.

4. We must leave the consequences of responding in faith to God.

Andrew closes this message with an excerpt from Martin Luther King's sermon entitled "But if" (12 minute mark)

 
 

2nd Thessalonians: Book Series 2013 - Ross

Living in the Light of the Return of Jesus

In this series Ross works through Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonican church and considers the issues and doctrine presented regarding the second coming of the Lord Jesus, our response to persecution, correction of error, apostasy, the Day of the Lord, the Rapture of the Church, Antichrist, and church discipline; all topics that are often misunderstood or cause for disagreement. The letter covers a lot of ground but all come back to the question of how we should live in the knowledge and light of Jesus’ imminent return.

A reminder to the persecuted that Jesus will return

 

Apostasy and error needs to be confronted.

 

The Word of God is useful for teaching, correction and rebuke.

 

Mothers' Day 2018 - a Biblical Perspective - J Coleman

Today's message explores the importance of Motherhood, and how valued mothers are in God's redemptive plan for the family, church and nation. Encouragement and advice is given where motherhood is impacted by the additional burdens of solo parenting or career choices. The message is an encouragement for everyone, from fathers to grandmothers, young men and women, and boys and girls.

Hebrews 6:4-12 Falling Away

As we work through the Book of Hebrews we come to the controversial and difficult topic of whether a person who has made a profession and walk of faith can, over time, fall away and it be impossible for them to be restored to repentance and lose their salvation.

The text challenges our understanding of the Perseverance of the Saints, John 10:28-29, and yet we can all bring to mind people who no longer walk in fellowship and bear no sign of the Holy Spirit working in their life.

Ross carefully unpacks the verses by going to supporting texts that are clear to help us understand that at the centre of the writer's warning is the neglect of Repentance.

Editor note; apologies for the poor recording quality during the scripture reading (Jacob).

Tyranny of Desire - Maxon Mani


Maxon brings us another insightful illustration about life through use of story and narrative. He takes us to Gen 3 to propose that battle for our mind is the battle for our intellect. Our intellect is changed by the perspectives that society pushes on us. Perspectives of others, not God’s, eventually corrupts our will to decide.  Our corrupted will to decide becomes our warden. Tells us exactly what to do even if we don’t want to. It leaves behind a trail of victims. 

Everything and all things corrupts our will to decide. When we will do anything to fulfil our desire we multiply our victims. We harm those around us in pursuit of what we want. God is out of our mind. Adam and Eve decided against God and the generations that came after them.

Everything we are seeing and learning will eventually lead to the corruption of our will to desire for good and Maxon shows that this applies to all areas of life including matters of gender identity and sexuality.

Recorded 1.10.2017

Message 4 of 4: What determines my identity? - Ross P John W

Our value as a human being is much greater than our sexuality. We are of infinite value because we are created in the image of God.

This message uses the audio from three sources:

Sam Allbury address to 2017 Anglican Synod, London, Feb 15, 2017
His brief remarks were very compelling as he challenged the assembly on their approach to the Christian doctrine on marriage. “My question to the bishops is not, ‘Will you preserve this doctrine?,’ but ‘Do you really believe in it? Is it good news for the world?,'” he said. “Many of us have found it to be life-giving, as the message and teaching of Jesus always is.”

Rosaria Butterfield, The Gospel Coalition, 'What Most Surprised Her About Christians When She Became One'

Rosaria Butterfield, The Gospel Coalition, 'Sexuality and Identity' Aug 21, 2015

 

Message 3 of 4: Pornography - Looks that Kill - Jandre N

Message three of this series on a biblical perspective on Identity and Sexuality tackles the difficult but pervasive problem of pornography that effects a conservative estimate of 90% of all boys and young adult men, and an increasing percentage of women. Its is as much on the inside of the church community as it is outside. All men have fallen short and we are all wired the same way.

Rather than resorting to an analysis that exegetes meanings and words, Dre instead walks over this heavy ground with a light foot and an understanding heart that encourages us to bring this darkness out into the light. He recounts the pain and and addiction he sees in student ministry.

His central passage is 1 John 1:5-9 and also goes to Prov 27:17 where he encourages us to find some one who can be trusted and can hold us accountable for the things we view and dwell upon.

The message also references an interview given in 2011 at Northpoint Church, Atlanta, between Andy Stanley and a couple Michael Leahy and Patty Onorato. Michael opens up to his lifelong addiction to pornography that eventually lead to the loss of his marriage, his family and his job. The portion of the video viewed is recorded in this message.
Exposed - Looks that Kill

Dre finishes with the encouragement to bring the problem out into the light, to find someone who will keep you accountable, and to take practical steps with your devices and situations you find yourselves in to break the slave master control over our lives.

Matt 7:26-27
26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

 

  

Message 2 of 4: My Body My Choice - Intergenerational perspectives : Sam M and Ross P

In this second message in the series on Sexuality and Identity we have two speakers, Ross and Sam. Ross begins by summarising his message from last week on the origin of sex, gender and marriage and foundational understanding that men and women are image bearers of God who created us. We are created to glorify God and to find enjoyment in him.

Ross reads through Gen 3:1-7 and makes the observation that the deception of Eve starts with Satan

1. questioning what God says,…”did God really say..?”
2. contradicting what God says, “you won’t surely die..”
3. debating what God says, “God knows that you that your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God..”

The area of sexual sin and identity is a battle for the mind. Facing temptation is a battle of the mind. 2 Cor 11: 3.  Our thoughts are lead astray from sincere and pure devotion.

Sam then brings insight from the perspective of a ‘millennial’ generation person about gender, identity. He identifies that conversations about sexuality between generations is difficult and avoided since both sides are coming from a completely different set of 'rules' about the world and relationships. 

He tells how sex has become a recreational sport between people on the basis that if it felt right then there was no reason not to indulge so long as you were being true to yourself.  Individual expression became the moral wallpaper of his generation. There was no need or even concept of looking outside ourselves to an objective standard. 

He explains however that under the test of being authentic to yourself and absolute freedom actually brought about crises of anxiety and not knowing who you really are. Identity is sought from within rather than in the creator who made us. We are made to be in relationship with the One who made us. 

The crisis of anxiety comes from a deep desire to be fully known and fully accepted. Sam shared his own experience of finding caring friendships from young men and women who turned out to be homosexual and lesbian who were nonetheless, seeking to be known and loved. He identifies that our identity is only meaningful when it is anchored to Christ and is an ongoing relationship project where we are slowly being healed and restored to fellowship.

Ross then finishes by sharing about the privilege of being able to study the human body throughout his career and testifying how wonderfully and fearfully it is made. Ps 139. He implores us to flee sexual immorality, 1 Cor 6:12-20. Our body is a sacred and special place and we need to chose how we use it to either honour or dishonour it.

So to tie the two generational perspectives together, the millennial and baby boomer, the challenge we face is a battle for our mind how we view God’s plan for sexuality and how we use the temple of the Holy Spirit to honour God and to honour one another.

 

Message 1 of 4: Sexuality , Gender and Marriage - God's Design : Ross

We begin a series on the topical but very difficult subjects of sexuality, gender identity, and pornography and how should believers in Jesus Christ and His Gospel respond to these divisive issues that effect all aspects of life.

In this message, Ross starts in Gen 1:26-28 and Gen 2:18-25 and reflects on the origin of sex, gender and marriage.

He concludes this message with the observation that it is not our sin that keeps us from gaining eternal life but rather, unbelief.

Every person has fallen short of the Glory of God but the penalty for our sin has already been paid at the cross of Calvary. All the distortions of sex, gender and marriage come about because of our sin nature, and it is only through the forgiveness available to everyone who believes can we have our relationships restored with each other and God the Father.

https://cbmw.org/nashville-statement

Overview of Daniel - Ross P

Prophecy brings numerous responses from ridicule, fear, indifference, scoffing, or excitement. Why study prophecy?
1. It promotes the scriptures. 30% of scripture is prohetic.
2. Prevents ignorance, 1 Thess. 4
3. Proclaims Christ. All scriptures point to Christ. Not about us, its about Jesus.
4. Promises personal benefit, Rev 1
5. Promotes holy living. Prophesy gives you perspective on the times to come and changes our conduct with this knowledge.
6. Persuades action now. Romans tells us our salvation is nearer now that when we first believed. We need to study prophecy to motivate us into repentance and action.

Look at the book of Daniel and how it fits into the scheme of prophesy.
Three prophecies:
1. Overview of the gentile domination of Jerusalem. Ch2
2. Seventy Sevens prophecy. Ch. 9
3. Nature of the final ruler, or Antichrist.

Principles of interpretation:
A When the plain sense of scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense.
B Perspective. Sometimes prophets did not see the difference between the near and far. Foreshortening.
C Prototypes. Partial fulfilment of something early that is completely fulfilled later.
D A text, apart from a context, is a pretext. Need to be careful with taking verses out of context and drawing incorrect conclusions.

 

Overview of Eschatology - Andrew S

A future and a hope secured, 1 Cor 2:9

Eschatology can be controversial. It creates division as the study of end times is not perfectly knowable. The scriptures tell us a lot but there are still gaps that require thinking about the whole arc of God's redemptive plan in order to make sense of matters. In some churches and denominations there may never be a sermon on end times but at a church in the US you could hear sermons on end times all the time.

You may have heard too much or not enough. The risk is we can become too convinced that we see things clearly so that we can become judgemental and flippant about someone else’s enquiry on the subject that the answers should be obvious.

If we don’t talk about it then we miss large sections of God’s word that deals with it. A minimum of 50 chapters of the bible dealing with end times. Did God waste His time giving us this? If we ignore it we are not being faithful stewards of the Word. It is important that we take a healthy, informed middle ground. The aim is to hold these matters with an open hand and not be too dogmatic on topics that are not central and not as obvious as some people think they are.

Eschatology is not just a creating a timeline of history with people and scriptures plugged into the plan. These are a part of it but eschatology is actually the climax, the unification, the weaving together of EVERYTHING of devine revelation both in the old and the natural world. Everything that God has done, is doing and will do in His creation. Eschatology is every passage in scripture. The big picture of God’s entire plan.

Four major views that the Church has adopted and also dominated the history of the church.
Amillenialism
Pre-millenialism, (dispensational, historic)
Post-millenialism

Four views attempt to piece together things that will happen in the future and create a framework. Each view is, as-well, an interpretive approach to scripture.

Andrew takes us on a very quick tour through each of the positions and concludes with encouragement that our aim is not to stop at Rev 20 but to see the beauty and wonder of Rev 21 - Rev 22 where we will be forever in the beauty of God’s presence.