Not everyone at BAC will be familiar with the Church Missionary Society. They are an evangelical missions society of the Anglican church both here in Melbourne and around the world. They have a long standing record of depth and quality in sending gospel workers around the world to make Christ known.
At our church we support Brad and Michelle Jackson. They are a Melbourne family who now live and serve the local church in Japan. Today Brad is preaching and they will be reporting on their gospel work. Please feel free to invite them to visit your Growth Group to share in more detail about the gospel in Japan. You can also subscribe to receive their prayer updates directly or you will get them if you have subscribed to our BAC prayer email list.
CMS runs an excellent January Christian conference called “Summer Under the Son”. There is also a youth conference at the same time at Philip Island which my kids love. Both these conferences are great opportunities to hear God’s Word taught and hear from the front lines of global gospel missions.
It is a delight for our church to work together through this great New Testament book. Romans is famous for outlining with great clarity the way of salvation in Christ. As we progress in the second half we are entering lots of fresh territory. The first 8 chapters of Romans are much more well known than the final 8 chapters. We could structure the book in this way:
Romans 1- 8: salvation and perseverance through faith in Christ (NIV)
Romans 9-16: the identity and life of the people of God in Christ (NIV)
Roughly speaking, the first half of the book deals with our fellowship with God. The second half of the book addresses our fellowship with other Christians. The latter depends on the former. However we cannot have Christ without being part of the body of Christ. Only in Christian community can we grow up in Christ together. The second half of Romans needs as much attention as the first half!
Our BAC vision and values statement has the first value as ‘Growing in Christ’. I have no greater prayer and passion than this! What specifics do I have in mind?
Firstly, I hope we are joyfully knowing Christ better. God’s eternal Son. The one who is fully God and fully man. The unique and only mediator between God and mankind. The ascended one who lives to intercede for us. The one who is our King who rescues.
Secondly, I hope we are growing. Not stagnating. Not standing still. Not relying on yesterday’s walk with Christ. Searching the scriptures daily to find more beauty and glory in Jesus. Increasing joy and dependence on him as our sufficient Saviour. Forsaking self-dependence. Forsaking vain attempts at meritorious duty. Clinging to the cross in deeper ways with empty hands.
Thirdly, I hope we are doing it together. Praying for each other. Praying with each other. Worshiping Christ together. Sitting under the Word preached together. Speaking of the goodness of Christ to each other. Reminding each other of the sufficiency and perfection of God’s grace to us in Christ. Evangelising and growing new believers in Christ.
Jesus Christ meets our greatest needs and he is our only true need.
In our church budget we financially support five unique Christian mission partners. One of those five is Compassion Australia.
Compassion are an openly Christian interdenominational aid agency working all over the world to meet physical and spiritual needs amongst the poorest of the poor.
You can find out more about Compassion from the information table in the foyer, or you may like to look them up on the World Wide Web: www.compassion.com.au
Jesus said: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48 NIV). We have been given much in this life and also promised eternal life through the blood of
Christ. Let us demonstrate our confidence in Christ through extravagant giving towards the poor. May he receive all the glory for
I love this quote from Amy Carmichael: ‘… a cup brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, however suddenly jolted.’
Jim Wilson expands on this metaphor:
‘Jolts only bring out of the container what’s already in the container. If you’re filled with sweetness and light, and you get jolted, you’re going to spill sweetness and light. If you’re filled with honey, the honey will come out. If vinegar comes out, what does that prove? It shows what was already in the container. In other words, much bitterness is not based upon what the other person did at all. It is the result of what we do and are.’
CS Lewis makes the same point with his own illustration:
‘Surely what man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of man he is?… If there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man: it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am.’
Difficult circumstances are not my fault, but a bitter heart is my responsibility. May joyful trust in Christ our Saviour transform what is in our hearts!