Some Sermons

Big apologies to everyone who hangs out for our weekly sermons from New Life. I just have not uploaded them to the internet.

Today’s sermon is based on John 13:31-38. Click here to listen in your browser, here to download the mp3.

Last Sunday, I talked about Two Cultures, from Revelation 21,22. Click here to listen in your browser, here to download the mp3

The 3rd was our church’s 23rd birthday. Click here to listen in your browser, here to download the mp3

I will try to return to my former pattern of uploading sermons every Sunday afternoon.

Reflection on John 14:1-14

Scripture

“There is more than enough room in my Father’s house. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?”

Observation

Jesus encourages the disciples not to be troubled. He will come back when He has prepared a place for them in the Father’s house.

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Him.

Philip says, “Show us the Father.” Jesus says that anyone who have seen Jesus has seen the Father.

Anyone who believes in Jesus will do even greater things, and anyone who asks for anything in His name will receive what they ask for.

Application

The gospel of salvation is available to every person who puts their faith in Jesus. There is plenty of room in the Father’s house.

Salvation is not limited to a certain group or nationality or the 144,000 of Revelation.

God desires that all people should be able to receive salvation. There is plenty of room in heaven.

The reference to going and preparing a place and then returning is part of the Jewish wedding process. After the engagement, the groom- to- be would prepare an extension at his father’s house. When all was ready, the marriage itself would take place, and the bride would be taken to the place prepared for her.

Jesus is using the analogy to compare the way of discipleship to the covenant of marriage- an intimate, life-long relationship.

His love for us is never ending. He loves us passionately and eternally, and He will never let us go.

Prayer

Dear Jesus, thank you for your great love for all people, especially for me. Thank you for the assurance that you will never let me go or abandon me. Amen.

Reflection on John 13:18-38

Scripture

“A new command give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples.”

Observation

Jesus reveals that one of the Twelve will betray Him. He hands the bread to Judas and tells him to do quickly what he is planning to do.

Jesus goes on to tell the disciples that He will shortly leave them. Peter asks Him where He is going, but Jesus tells him he cannot follow Him there. Peter says, “I will lay down my life for you,” but Jesus warns him that Peter will disown Jesus that very night.

Application

The new commandment, the new ethic for the christian community is to love one another in the same way that Jesus loves us.

That’s easy- love God and love people.

We make christianity so complicated at times. This church believes different things about the Holy Spirit than we do. Those people worship differently.

If they are Jesus followers we have to love them sacrificially. We can agree to disagree on some issues, but never let those things become a barrier to love.

Jesus goes on to say that by our love, all people will see that we are His disciples. It is said that the reason that the church became dominant across the Roman Empire after only a few generations is that they loved one another, cared for their widows and the sick, and rescued abandoned babies.

They literally loved the Empire into faith.

In a hostile, unbelieving culture, the church needs to rediscover real love- the love of Christ for His people. This is not Government- funded programs, but one- on- one love that shows the world what Jesus really looks like.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, you command us to love one another. Please fill my heart with your love so that I can give it to others. Amen.

Jo Nova: In 1946 — 800 miles of fires “stretched from Brisbane to Townsville”

The media and some politicians are claiming that the current bushfires are “unprecedented.” In July 1946 most of the Queensland coast was on fire from Brisbane to Townsville- a distance of 800 miles or 1260 km.

Back then, of course, the Queensland coast was sparsely settled, even Brisbane was a large country town. The resources available were far more primitive than today. But I don’t think climate change was an issue back then.

Jo Nova writes:

In 1946 — 800 miles of fires “stretched from Brisbane to Townsville”

In 1946 fires burned in an “almost unbroken chain from Brisbane to Townsville”. They lit up the sky at night, pushed plumes of smoke 3,000 ft in the sky, that looked like “Bikini Atoll”. And this was July…

Qld 1946: Now that’s what I call Hazard Reduction

Believers of man-made-weather say that warmer drier conditions and longer fire seasons are preventing hazard reduction burns. Aside from the fact that a warmer world is not a drier world, and rainfall trends have gone up not down, this is a snowflakes excuse. Even if it were true, the answer is to get more serious about burning off when conditions are cooler.

Thanks to Siliggy, Lance Pidgeon for the pointer. This is what Queenslanders used to do when they were serious about stopping wildfires. Their view of dry brush was that it was waiting like tinder…

Fortunately yesterday, Armageddon didn’t come to the East Coast. But it might have.

800 Miles Of Fires Along the North CoastThe Courier Mail, Monday July 29th, 1946

800 miles of fires stretch across QLD in 1946

Trove, National Library of Australia

By a Staff Correspondent

TOWNSVILLE, Sunday. —

Fires are burning to-night in an almost unbroken chain from the edge of Brisbane to Townsville, 800 miles distant.

The coastal fires provide air travellers with a graphic picture of parched Queensland.

Deeper inland, even greater areas of dry brush and grass areburning or waiting, like tinder, fora careless match or spark.

From Rockhampton to Gordonvale, farmers are burning off cane.

Forestry officers in other areas are burning fire breaks.

Long Smoke Trails

Columns of smoke loom from hills above some coastal towns, In the hills north and south of Mackay to-night smoke from two separate groups of fires stretched in trails for many miles.

South of Maryborough there is another group of fires.

From some of these the smoke was rising yesterday afternoon to a height of 3000ft.

One air traveller said: ‘They look like pictures of the Bikini bomb explosion.’

Some fires are blackening areas of dry grass on which ‘small and large graziers depend for fodder while the drought lasts.

A Forestry Department management officer (Mr. Pohlman) said tonight that no fires had been reported in forestry areas, but burning off operations were continuing.

Brisbane Fires

Grass and rubbish fires round Brisbane increased yesterday after the light rain on Friday morning.

Fire engines were called to 10 fires in the metropolitan area. No damage was done.

Ephesians 1:15

Here is my commentary on Ephesians 1:15. I am publishing these once or twice a week, but you can read all of the available articles at our web-site.

Ephesians 1:15

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love to all the saints…

To Paul the christians in Ephesus are legends! Paul has heard of them in other places, particularly in Rome where he is in prison. Hundred of kilometres away, people are bringing him reports of the faith and love of the christians in Ephesus.

They didn’t seek fame, but were just doing what God was leading them into. Perhaps this was rare enough even in the early days of the church to be noteworthy.

I have been on the receiving end of this kind of praise. A few times our church has been wonderfully generous in projects which have come to the attention of agencies and even of governments overseas. We just did what the Lord laid on our hearts, expecting that this is just normal.

Paul hears great reports about the church in Ephesus. Yet in Revelation they are warned to return to their first love or they would have the lamp removed from its lamp stand. Ephesians was written about 62 AD while Revelation was probably written late in that same decade.

It is so easy to lose the edge, the joy of our salvation, the first love for Jesus. We must protect our hearts lest we grow cold in our love for the Lord.

The Ephesian saints were famous for their faith in the Lord Jesus. There was something that st apart this faith from normal every day faith. They knew that they knew that Jesus was their Lord. They had committed their lives into His hands. They were “All in”, holding nothing back.

Jesus was their focal point, their heart’s desire, their first love. They trusted Jesus, were faithful to Jesus, believed in Him– as the true Lord, the true Redeemer, the true friend.

The Ephesians were also famous for their love for all the saints. The word for love here is agape which is the God- shaped love that knows no discouragement or refusal, but insists on only wanting what is good for the other person. This church was invested in the whole church.

They loved one another first of all. They made sure that nobody was in need. They shared all that they had with those who had nothing. They gave themselves to each other, being Christ for one another.

The Ephesians loved all the saints. This suggests that they looked beyond their own organisation, beyond their own city. We know that Paul helped to organise appeals among the churches to help those who were going through hardship such as famine. Perhaps the Ephesians were the first to step up, being an example to “all the saints” of how to show love to “all the saints.”

Key points from this verse:

• The Ephesian christians were legendary across the Roman Empire
• They had extraordinary faith in Jesus and love for the saints.

Reflection on John 12:20-36

Scripture

“The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

Observation

Some Greek Jews ask Philip to take them to Jesus which, along with Andrew, he does.

Jesus says that His time to be glorified has arrived. A seed must die in the ground to multiply. A person who loves his life will lose his life.

Jesus calls out, “Father glorify your name.” A voice from heaven answers Him. Some of the onlookers hear it as thunder, while others say that an angel spoke to Jesus.

Jesus goes on to say that they have their light with them for just a short time. He urges them to put their trust in the light so they may become sons of light.

Application

The person who lives as though this life is all there is will ultimately lose their life. The person who lives for eternity will gain eternal life.

Many people, even christians, are consumed with the things of the world- career, marriage, family, housing. These things are important, but must not be the focus of our attention.

Many people talk about work- life balance. What is the point about juggling career and family when all of it will pass away so quickly?

We need to put God’s will at the centre of all our thinking. If you are to be a doctor or engineer, electrician or mechanic, do it all for God’s glory.

If God calls us to move to another town or another country, let’s do it because it is God directing us not our personal ambition or the directive of some boss.

Jesus tells us to “hate” our life in this world. He doesn’t mean that literally, but He is saying that what we do for Him must be more important than the concerns and worries of this life.

He also promises that if we seek His Kingdom and His righteousness, then He will provide all the other things for us.

Prayer

Lord it is so easy to be captivated by the things of this world. Please help me to let go of these things and let you direct every part of my life. Amen.