Reflection on 1 Corinthians 3:16-23

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+3.16-23

Scripture

Do you not know that you are God’s temple, and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

Observation

Together we are God’s temple. The Holy Spirit dwells n us. If anyone tries to destroy His Temple, God will destroy them.

Those who think they are wise in the world’s ways should become fools because God’s standard of wisdom is different to the world’s. We must not boast about our human leaders because we belong to Christ.

Application

We are God’s temple. Together the church “contains” or become a place of habitation for the Holy Spirit.

We read this verse and think it means “I am a temple of God.” But Paul says “You (plural) are the temple of God.” He does not say “You are temples of God.”

It is when we worship and work together in the unity of the Spirit that God is manifest amongst us.

This is not to deny that each individual christian has the Holy Spirit. Three is a special anointing that comes when the people of God come together and worship with one heart and one mind.

Prayer

Holy Spirit come and fill me. Empower me to worship you in unity with my brothers and sisters so that we truly become the temple of God. Amen.

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Sunday’s Sermon

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The sermon for February 12th is now available on the New Life web-site.

In this sermon, which is based on 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, I talk about Preaching With Power.

The first 5 minutes is missing from the recording, but the rest is pretty good.

Click here to listen on your browser, here to download the mp3

Book Review: “The Day The Revolution Began” by N.T. Wright

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One of the big problems with contemporary evangelical theology, according to N.T. Wright, is that we often have part of the answer but it leads to the wrong conclusions. For example, the theology of the cross comes down to “Jesus died so you could be forgiven and go to heaven.”. As Wright points out that is not what the New Testament teaches, or at least it is not all that the New Testament teaches.

So Wright goes back to Adam and Eve, right through the Old Testament and comes to the conclusion that the main sin that people have to face is idolatry. The people of God were constantly faced with the challenge of staying faithful to the one true God, Yahweh or worshipping the false gods of the nations around.

The problem with idolatry is that it undermines our calling or vocation as human beings. We were created in God’s image so how can we worship another image without damaging ourselves? For Israel, God’s covenant people, to worship other gods meant separation from God and the Land He had given them to live out their calling.

When Jesus comes on the scene, Israel has spent much of its existence either in exile or in subjection to other nations. The prophets knew that the solution they needed was national as well as individual salvation.

The cross then is not about a human sacrifice to appease an angry deity, which is what many christians think of. It is more like the one true representative of humanity (“the Son of Man” as Jesus frequently called Himself) dying for the world. He speaks of the sins of the nation, especially its idolatries, being heaped up and falling on Jesus.

A revolution of love, self-denying and sacrificial love, brings a new rule in the world- the Kingdom of God. This Kingdom, launched by Jesus’ death on the cross, sets us free to see and experience the true God and to follow in His ways.

The death of Jesus on the Cross at 6 pm on Good Friday is the start of the revolution. His resurrection before dawn on Sunday is the first sign that God’s kingdom of life, love and forgiveness is here.

Wright says that the gospel is bigger than “we get to go to heaven” (which is a pagan Platonist ideal). The true gospel message is that the Kingdom is here and God is overturning everything that is based on human idolatry, including relationships, politics, oppression and self-worship. Yes we get to live for ever in the new heavens and the new earth, but the Kingdom is more than that.

It’s hard to justice to a book of this size and scope in a few hundred words, but it is well worth reading. Wright covers deep topics in a way that many people find is easy to read. I think most people would want to read a few pages and mull it over for a few days.

I’ve always felt that the typical atonement theory whereby Jesus takes the punishment for our sins and as a result we go to heaven has a few gaps in it. This book goes a long way to filling the gaps.

 

 

 

A Week Away

Last week we managed to have a short break.

 

On Friday afternoon we drove to Newcastle where we stayed overnight before attending Margaret’s cousin Lorraine’s 60th Birthday Party.  The location was The Lakeside Cafe at Murrays Beach on Lake Macquarie.

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Lorraine, me, Margaret in the back row with Margaret’s brother Graeme and partner Suzanne and Margaret’s sister Cathy.

 

Forster is an absolutely beautiful place. Tourism is its biggest industry and oyster farming in Wallis Lake is a close second.

 

We stayed at the Sails Apartments located a block back from the beach. Fantastic location.

 

Tim and Philip cooked sausages on the balcony.

 

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We went on a 2.5 hour dolphin cruise and saw dozens of dolphins. I took many photos of water where the dolphin was a second earlier.

 

 

We paid $50 a head for the cruise which was value for money, but there were some stowaways

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A game of Jurassic putt-putt was a lot of fun.

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There was a “pirate ship” in the lake

 

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and lots of sting rays

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The mirrors in the lift  were a little confusing

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You know its a good holiday when you are exhausted.

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I always love the bright turquoise colour of the Lake on a sunny day. The water is generally very shallow, just a metre or two, and so the colour of the sand shines through the water creating a unique colour.

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So that’s a brief run down on our break.

You can see more photos on my Google page

Reflection on Matthew 5:13-20

Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/search?%s=Matthew+5.13-20

Scripture

“In the same way , let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Observation

We are salt and light. Salt must keep its saltiness or else it is no good. In the same way a light must shine out to be of any use. Our light must shine as good deeds that people see and then glorify God.

Jesus did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfil it. The Law will be present in all its fullness until the time of its completion. Therefore, anyone who teaches people to disobey it will be least in the Kingdom of God.

Application

Jesus tells us to let our light shine before others that in seeing our good deeds they will glorify God.

Don’t hide your light. People need to recognise the light of God’s Spirit in out lives. It is too easy to conform to the values and the deeds of the world in our daily life. We must enable the values of God’s kingdom to flow through every aspect of life. This is not just moral values but the power of the Holy Spirit, the light that has come into the world which darkness cannot overcome, the person of Jesus.

Our good deeds are deeds of love and grace which change the environment around us. When people are puling others down, we build up. When people mock Christ we praise Him. We shine forth the gospel in our love for God and for our neighbours.

The goal is for people to glorify God. Everything I do should draw people closer to a revelation of the living God. A light does not exist to shine for itself; it shines so that people can see something else. My good deeds do not serve to make people like me; they serve to make people like God.

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ let your light shine through me that people will glorify our Father. Please show me how to let the light out. Amen.