Its is a joy for us to baptise Joshua Trainor this morning.
It’s not the first time people have brought children to Jesus asking them him to bless them. Indeed Jesus illustrates that is how we all must come to him. Not with our power, our goodness, or our credentials.
The kingdom of God belongs to the least, the lost and the little.
It’s for those who have nothing to give to it.
It’s what Jesus gives that matters.
Adi and Jim talk about how our words have the potential to bring life or to take life. God leads us to bless others with our words and thoughts. Jim talks about his journey and how God has washed away the effects that words and circumstances have had on his life.
From the earliest days of his ministry Jesus called followers.
He gathered people around him to learn what he was doing so that they might continue his ministry of the Kingdom of God.
It was however never apart from him because Jesus knew that his followers didn’t just need training - they also need power. He has promised to be that power for the church if we abide in him. Jesus calls lifelong worshipers, but he also says I will be with you even to the ends of the age. Listening to his voice is the key to discipleship.
Caring for the poor is one of the major themes of the Bible. God showed Moses that He ‘defends the cause of the fatherless, the widows and foreigner living among you” (Deut 10:18). It is one of the identifying markers of the church that Jesus built. Jesus even used our care for the poor as a indicator of our faith in him in his end-time parable of the sheep and the goats (Matt 25:31-46). Today we will hear about the ministry of Mukti Australia, and meet Malvika Akhade and Chhaya Mhankale from the Pandita Ramabai Mukti Mission (PRMM) in India. We will see how Jesus transforms lives and communities through the care of his people. May it inspire us to be a people who really do care for the poor.
Reading through the Bible we discover that the church is a very different community from those around them. The early church saw themselves as aliens and exiles in the world (1 Peter 2:11) but citizen of heaven (Phil 3:20) with a deep love for God’s world and the people around them. They saw themselves as Spirit empowered servants of God, a sign of the kingdom of God, and ministers of reconciliation and justice.
Which makes me think? Is what we do, what we call church today what Jesus has in mind?
I think Yes and No.
We live in different days and although we have the same Spirit and the mind of Christ we need to let him constantly renew us. And he will as we continue to be a people focused on Jesus.
This Sunday we hear from two leaders in our Youth Ministry.
Seg Phiri and James Francis will be sharing on the theme of “Being Church’ in Part 2 in our series. Far from being the church of the future, our children and young people are the church with us today.
We eagerly listen to their voice because we pray that through their testimony we meet Jesus. Our young people will bring valuable, unique and challenging words for us to hear. That’s so good. It all an important part of us being Church.
God is love but this is not abstract. It is personal. He has set His heart upon you. His kingdom and power, His care for creation, his rule over the world, His intervention in the affairs of human history, His authority over evil and His conviction of our sin… is all an action of His love. You are the beloved. Let this penetrate your heart. It affects everything we do.
We come to the last instalment of our teaching on the book of Revelation. It concludes with a vision of perfect love and union with God with a whole bunch of people. Through symbolic pictures it seeks to capture the wonder for which all our hearts long. A life of people together, with no sorrow, no pain, no injustice, no evil, no darkness and the love and Glory of God at its centre. It is a new heaven and a new earth redeemed by the blood of Jesus where everyone is welcome. However, it is an invitation to be received. We may we refuse the invitation, but in doing so we reject love and life for eternity.
Revelation 20 is one of the hardest passages of the Bible to understand. But it also one of the most encouraging when understood correctly. It contains what is called the millennium, and also the final conflict, the lake of fire, and the last judgement. From the present reign of Christ to the time when God will be ‘all in all’ it is good for us to have a revelation of what’s what now, and what will be at the end.