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!
One of the most famous Bible chapters is Philippians 2. It tells the incredible story of the divine Son leaving heaven to take the form of a servant, to die for our rescue, and then rise into eternal glory to the praise of God the Father.
The chapter goes on to call Christians to “shine like stars”, living pure and blameless lives in a dark and depraved world. We are to hold out the Word of life, being filled with glad rejoicing.
In such a rich chapter it is easy to miss something that could significant. A verse in Philippians 2 that has convicted me recently is: “Do everything without grumbling or arguing” (2:14 NIV). Another translation has: “Do all things without murmurings and disputings”.
It might just be my problem – if I give into grumbling then I miss out on all the other good promises of this chapter. Please pray for me that I would not give into temptation to grumble. Whatever our mood or tiredness or situation, God has commanded us: do not
This term we begin a new sermon series on the second half of Romans. One of the great topics Paul addresses is God’s sovereign goodness in choosing people to receive salvation. This is sometimes called election or predestination.
Our Anglican doctrinal confession in the 39 articles calls us to embrace this Biblical doctrine:
‘Predestination to Life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour.’
We are encouraged in the 39 articles that this doctrine is joyful to consider:
‘As the godly consideration of Predestination, and our Election in Christ, is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons…’
However the 39 articles also warn that this concept can be easily misunderstood or misused:
‘for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God’s Predestination, is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the Devil doth thrust them either into desperation, or into wretchlessness of most unclean living, no less perilous than desperation.’
Let us embrace Christ together without fear. We have full security in God’s electing love.