Archive for October, 2014

Exciting or Scary

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Matthew 22:34-40

“Bodie the dapper Shiba Inu pulls in $15,000
a month as a dog model.”

That was a headline from a newspaper this week and considering that Elvis Presley’s dad once told to him there’s no money in playing music I wonder what Bodies’ Father said to him. I must admit Bodies ’a good looking fellow and good luck to him although I doubt he has any idea of what’s really going on.

We live in a changing world that’s exciting and sometimes beyond comprehension and I heard a scientist say that the only thing limiting us is ourselves because he is now to the belief that if we can think something up, it will only be a matter of time before we can make it happen and if that’s true, that is both unbelievably exciting and unbelievably scary because going on our track record our inventions are normally used for both the good and the bad. But above all, does this not sound like the tower of Babel ringing in our ears where the goal was to be as God. A goal that I would suggest that in our world of Babel is not something that we wake up in the morning with on our mind, but rather has crept in like the analogy of “When in Rome do as the Romans do.” Not a targeted attitude but a sub conscious “birds of a feather flock together situation” because there are some things we do that we know are not in line with being a Christian and in our own way we fight them as best we can, but there are other things that have crept up on us and become part of our makeup. Things not inheritingly bad and things that we are free to do, but things that fit the description as mentioned by Paul in 1st Corinthians 10:23: “I have the right to do anything,” but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive.

How true that statement is because free in Christ we are free. Free to muck up and free to make mistakes. We know that because of Jesus love for us, His never ending forgiveness and the redemption He brought for us on the cross. Fall down, get up. Get up, fall down that’s life as a Christian just as it is for those that are not.

My point today is not about being forgiven of our sins in Christ because that’s the show stopper.  Because you are, as is every repentant person who turns back to God and asks forgiveness in the name of Jesus. A repentance that may not stop what we do, but more like the addicted that wakes every day to a desire to no longer follow that path but then in weakness of body and spirit falls of the wagon as the day goes on and the process starts again. The inner fight that God sees. The fight he fights with, alongside and for us and whatever the earthly outcome, a heavenly fight that has been won by Jesus Christ who turns to His Father and says, Father, I have walked those shores and I know what they are up against and for them to keep the faith in such times is enough and so I ask that you forgive them.  And forgiven you are. Just as you are free in that forgiveness.

Forgiveness in Christ is not my point because that’s a given to all who trust in Christ. My point today is about discernment. Not discernment leading to our salvation, but discernment because of our salvation.

The discernment of things that we cannot base on brief and changing portions of time, but discernment based on the only sure words in an unsure world which is that of scripture. Scripture, God’s Word that is not to be torn apart and used as the right to start wars or used for selfish or misconstrued beliefs and conquests. But the whole of scripture in its entirety. A statement that rolls easily off the tongue but to actually get a full grip on is somewhat impossible through the eyes of fallen human beings and so thankfully, Jesus in today’s Gospel helps out and when asked mischievously by the Pharisees who are trying to set him up of “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment of the law?” Jesus replies: “You shall love your Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and Prophets.”

And if loving your neighbour as yourself isn’t difficult enough, in John 13:34 Jesus goes further and adds:  “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

Jesus has somewhat upped the ante because this is not just some fuzzy feel good love, it is the love of action. Love of action as best shown in God the Fathers sacrificing his son Jesus Christ for you and me. And in that action, in Jesus walking this earth we see God the Father of love.  Our God who created this world so that His love might be shown. His love that is more than a motive for doing something good for someone; but is an actual activity or event. Our English word “love” is used in four different ways. Firstly, in the sense of strong preference for something, like “I love chocolate”; secondly, mutual desire, as in “I want you and you want me”; thirdly, in the sense of an emotion, i.e. the tone of a desire, being warm rather than cold; and fourthly, a love that puts the other person first, a love that’s full of goodwill, even to one’s enemy, critic or opponent.

No one demonstrated that fourth love better than Jesus Christ, who is Love Incarnate, love in visible human form. The kind of love Jesus showed in all situations was new and different. A love that Jesus did more than speak about, but the love he showed and did with no strings attached to those in greatest need, regardless of their past or present standing in the community. A love so intense yet given so freely that no wonder He was constantly attacked by those who felt He was playing down the need to keep the laws of Moses.

And so asked by these Pharisee’s, the master law keepers of what is the greatest commandment, Jesus first of all makes clear to them that there isn’t just one, but two greatest commandments that belong inseparably together and yet again we see Jesus constantly resisted every attempt to drive a wedge between love for God and love of neighbour, insisting on their vital interconnectedness. These two commandments stand or fall together. Take away these two commandments, and the Old Testament falls in a heap. Nothing in Scripture coheres unless these two are observed. Jesus reminds His audience that the Old Testament consists of the writings of the prophets as well as the laws of Moses. The prophets constantly sought to bring God’s people back to what’s central: God’s covenant with us, a covenant that involves showing the same mercy to others as God has shown to us and we cannot turn a neighbour away without turning God away because Christ’s love for you gives depth, richness and joy to life. His love is a liberating love, liberating you from fear, doubt and disappointment. Nothing can separate you from His life-changing love. “We are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us (Romans 8:37).” Our Lord therefore invites us to love our neighbours as He has loved us. He opposed any narrow definition of who our neighbour is. In His parable of the Good Samaritan, He changed the lawyer’s question from “Who is my neighbour?” to “Whom am I going to be a neighbour to?” Our neighbour isn’t simply someone who is in need, but someone who is an indispensable, inseparable part of our lives – they are an extension of us in our daily interactions.

Our neighbour is a moving target. It may be someone who’s crying on a bus to whom we offer a tissue, or someone who falls over at the supermarket whom we help lift up. We don’t need to waste time wondering if we love the other person before your eyes. We can act as if you do, and consequently we will grow in love for him or her. To love our neighbour is evidence that our love for God is real and genuine. Love of God endears our neighbour to ourselves as we thank God for all the people who have shown love to us. To love our neighbour is not a chore, but a gift given to us from God.

It’s so easy to say “I love everyone” and yet fail to practice love to someone who’s a part of your life every week. A Russian novelist wrote about an evangelist who travelled Russia telling about God’s love. Yet that same man couldn’t stand to be in the same room with anybody else. One man slurped his soup; a woman cackled when she laughed, another person snored when asleep. And so the author concluded, “Although he loved God in general, he couldn’t stand people in particular.”

In contrast in the story, “The Great Hunger”, an anti-social newcomer moves into a rural community. He put up a fence with “No Trespassing” signs. To keep out trespassers, he put a fierce dog behind the fence. One day his next door neighbour’s little girl crawled under the fence to pet the dog. The dog killed her. The rest of the community ostracised him. No one sold him grain to plant his crops, and he became destitute.

One day he looked out to see a man sowing grain in his field. He discovered it was the father of the little girl.

“Why are you doing this, you of all people?”

“I am doing it”, her father replied, “To keep God alive in me.”

That father knew of the inseparable link between love for God and love for neighbour, and he knew to put it into practice. That is the love we strive for.

A love we may never achieve this side of heaven, but in knowing of His love for us, there is reward in the striving, the reward that we’ve heard God and come to understand that even the smallest fraction of His love worked through us can ease the pain of others, increase their happiness and even can change lives.

A love like that doesn’t travel the world like a tourist on his or her own and return with only things to talk to people about, but love that travels with companions who share getting lost and being found, share the joys and hardships of situations and don’t think to leave the other behind, but slow down so they can catch up or even better, go back and ask if they would like to rest for a while.

“Witlessly Witnessing”

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

 

It may or may not surprise you that the other day, Josh and I were talking about Aussie Rules Football and in particular-coaching where we ending up matching up a current AFL coach doing very well to a legendary Rugby league coach and excluding tactics and just focussing of what would in this modern day be called “people management”, it appeared to us (and as both coaches have mentioned from time to time) the basis is honesty out without thoughts of manipulation. Honesty out that is then replicated by the players both back to coach, to their team mates, to supporters and indeed in their work results-being there efforts in training and playing. This is not unlike what we see at work in the second reading for today, from Thessalonians.

The Apostle Paul has been the founding pastor of this congregation at Thessalonica and has lived and worked with the people there for some time – certainly some months, perhaps even for a year or more.

The church began in this Greek city of Thessalonica through Paul’s missionary preaching, and through the baptism of converts who came to believe as a result of this preaching.

But Paul has done much more than preach. He has lived his faith. He has been living the Word and this is what has made the biggest impact and over time the people in this little congregation at Thessalonica have come to pick up what his attitudes and priorities were and adopted them for themselves and ultimately, imitate them.

This is what has happened and Paul makes mention in his letter to them – written after his time with them – of two particular special qualities they have. In verses 5 and 6, he mentions their conviction and their joy as Christians. Somehow they have learned these things and are putting them into practice.

And that somehow is through Paul himself because when Paul looks at the church in Thessalonica, he is looking in the mirror! During his time at Thessalonica, Paul shaped this church with his own values – so much so that after Paul left, they carried on in the way he had shown them. Paul’s great faith and conviction about Jesus Christ and his love for all people had rubbed off. They watched and they noticed and they imitated. In same way they had made Paul’s joy in the good news of salvation their own.

So much so in fact, that this little church had become famous not only in their own area but in surrounding territories and even beyond and so he makes note that the word of the Lord has “sounded forth” from them and made a huge impact on people near and far, so that now others were being inspired by them and had begun imitating them. Paul’s great passion and enthusiasm for telling the world about Jesus Christ had powerfully shaped them and they were now shaping the faith of others.

There’s a chain reaction here: Paul imitates Christ. The Thessalonians imitate Paul. And other Christians then imitate the Thessalonians. It is like throwing a rock into a pool – the ripple effect goes out further than we ever imagine and affects others in ways we never dreamed of.

As I look at the life of this congregation (through the eyes of Christ) I see the same thing at work. Not through me because you were like this when I arrived, but through your previous Pastors, your parents and family and others that have help shape your faith life and many people have grown and learned how to live out God’s love as they see others doing it.

We learn Christ through seeing and meeting Christ in each other. There are small acts of service in response to peoples’ needs, there is understanding and gentleness given to those with problems in life, there’s care and encouragement. And others watch as this happens and then imitate. It is beautiful and we help one another grow in this way.

But it’s not just inside the church that this happens. The ripples go out. As I look at families in our church, I see the powerful witness some of you parents give your kids by your own worship and service, especially the young kids who are still at home. When they see you worship and watch you sing and pray and see how this is part of your life, they are being formed in their faith.

But it is also the same with you parents of older kids that have grown up and left home and possibly left the church. Don’t under-estimate the power of your example of faith and worship and love. Never think that it is not being noticed and having an impact. It definitely is, even though you may see no visible response to it now and can be said towards your friends and work colleagues.

Of course there is of course an important role for teaching and instructing people in the Scriptures and the doctrines of the faith (Paul certainly did that at Thessalonica too); however the most powerful teaching was his example. What people see us do, what attitudes we display, what values we show. As Paul says, when this is happening, when the Holy Spirit is using us to lead and shape one another in God’s love, we often have no need to say a lot about it because our lives speak louder than words.

One thing lots of people in the church do not understand is that this is the mission of the church at work. The church works not through programs or buildings or spectacular attractional events or dynamic pastors – but through you, through us –imperfect us and sometimes struggling us, because though that is the case, we are by God’s grace, Christ’s children and his disciples.

As we live in this relationship with Christ each day, as a mother, a father, a child, an employer, an employee, a friend, a marriage partner and in all our roles, relationships and vocations in life, Christ is holding up our life before others so that in us, they may see him:

Does that worry you? It sometimes worries myself-especially if the focus is wrong and thinking of the dynamic: Don’t let it worry you because believe me, on a level playing field you are showing others Christ in the way that:

you might practice forgiveness;

  • In the way you might show compassion and understanding;
  • In the way you act and treat others with integrity instead of self-interest;
  • In the way perhaps that you do not judge others in their problems but listen to them.

Things that you might not even be aware of doing yourself, but things you do because they are just part of who you are in Christ, and it comes out of you.

Some of you might know the story of Malcolm Muggeridge – a journalist and sceptic, who rejected the Christian faith. He was full of cynicism and ridicule about the Church and criticised it at every opportunity. As part of an article he was researching he visited one of the Hospices in India run by Mother Theresa (long before she became famous). He met her and interviewed her, and a lifelong friendship began.

When he, a couple of years later was converted and became a Christian, he said that meeting Mother Theresa was the great turning point in his life. Why? Because of her example of Christian love and compassion. It was what she lived more than what she said. He had no arguments against that. He had no way of attacking it. He saw God’s power quietly at work in this woman. As he put it, in her eyes, he met Jesus Christ for the first time.

In turn, Malcolm Muggeridge has influenced an enormous number of people towards Christ through his repentance and faith in Christ, and the way he has shared this in his writing and his books over the years. It’s that ripple effect again.

When we live in daily relationship with God the Father, through Jesus Christ, others see, and are powerfully impacted.

Perfect, no. People of some great skill, not an issue either way. Of great outer physical beauty-that’s in the eye of the beholder. In people believing that in Jesus Christ they are released to be able to get over themselves for the benefit of others-I think yes and that and the small things that surround that attitude is very a powerful and quietly dynamic way that God brings his Kingdom in the world.

In a court of law a witness says of what they have heard or seen to be true and through fallen sinners lifted up and having been saved in Christ we have no need to embrace the silly sideshows of life like holding grudges and carrying jealousies and so forth, but lifted up in Christ see that we are free of such petty and destructive activities and just get on getting on-and in this day and age-that’s  witnessing. Amen.

(With thanks for reference to work from Pastor Stephen Pietsch)

For whom the bell Tolls

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

Matthew 22:1-14

Attending weddings sometimes can be a little traumatic. Going as a quest we may wonder if we’ll know anyone and stick out a saw thumb as the outsider.  I experienced that often which thankfully was always unfounded as after a bit of chatter and so forth most people didn’t seem to care much and ironically, often felt the same and were just happy to be happy.

For me though, my most fearful and nearing embarrassing moment came at my own wedding. The instructions were that once the bridal cars came into view and the bell ringer started doing his business, the groomsman and I would stand up and face the front until their entry. All normal stuff until the entry did not come because unbeknown to us one of the girls had left something behind so when nearing the church the cars kept driving to retrieve the missing item.

Unperturbed, the bell ringer persisted and for what seemed like hours, there we were standing at the brideless alter. Eventually the odd snigger was heard and finally after toiling away the bell ringer missed the note by a fraction of a second at which time the best man leant over and said “he’s weakening”.

Weddings can be a big deal for all involved but not as intensive as I would suggest as in those early times of the bible such as when Jesus walked the earth when a wedding feast was frequently very large. In fact a king or a wealthy person could invite an entire city to one and given that the Jewish norm was that it would last seven days, this was quite a commitment. A commitment aristocratic landowners with time for such leisure activities may have found serviceable. But a commitment that would prove difficult for peasants working the land trying to stay afloat.

Problem was that if a king was throwing the wedding feast, firstly it would be considered alike to treason to not turn up and which would almost certainly invite his wrath and secondly, if one did turn up not dressed in suitable clothing they were offered such a garment by the kings helpers and should they refuse it they too at the least, would certainly be under his watchful eye for the disrespect it brought to him.

These wedding feasts were a big deal and as an aside it opens up some meaning of when Jesus as a guest of a wedding in Galilee and being made aware that after only three days of the seven had past that the wine had run out. A situation that should it have remained would more than been just un-Lutheran like, but would have resulted in public disgrace and ridicule and so without access to a local BWS outlet, Jesus steps in as he often did. Not essentially to show his miraculous powers but more so from his concern for those involved and turned approximately 570 litres of water into wine and this wedding scenario is the background and imagery that Jesus uses before the listening audience in His Parable of the wedding feast where he takes something culturally well understood towards their understanding of a greater meaning and truth.

Today’s parable, the last of the three that Jesus tells in response to his audience of religious leaders who have been constantly questioning Jesus’ credentials with pointed allegations of who are you and how can you claim to speak for God when we are his mouthpieces here on earth.

They wanted to silence Him but Jesus will have no part of it and decides to get to the tin tacks and cutting through the theological red tape says since day dot you’ve been waiting for the promised Messiah to arrive and now that I am here, not only have you not listened or understood those previous prophets telling of this: but denied them, jailed them or killed them-soon not only will you refuse what I bring and the robe of righteousness I offer-soon I too will be refused to the point of death. This is clearly a conversation of the times and though we know the end it is not up to us to heap ridicule for those of that time because we have our own issues here: being that we are the ones, the Gentiles that Jesus speaks of by way of the king telling his servants to “Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.”

So here we are at the feast and thank God the Father for the invite, Jesus for delivering it and the Holy Spirit for letting us understand it.  The feast, the wedding reception and celebration of life with Christ not from beginning at 6.00 PM till late at the local winery gardens, not from 8.45 am  till 10.30 am every Sunday morning at Dubbo or 11.45 till 1.00pm at Gilgandra and not even for the seven days as in times of past. But the completed feast of not seven days, not of seven times seventy days but of the unending completion.

A celebration with no “BYO” clauses, no need to scan over the bridal gift register and see what you can afford and not even the need to mortgage off the house to buy a new suit or dress because a glowing white garment made from the fabric of heaven is supplied at the door.

To not turn up would seem to rank as either gross stupidity to if not at least, a complete and unfortunate miscalculation of priorities. The unfortunate misunderstanding of priorities as seen in the Priest running  late for the temple worship and so crosses the road away from a person in need only for a good Samaritan to pick up the pieces. The misunderstanding of priorities that afflicts us all in our pageantry of vanity on this earth to where we see that though not like the religious Leaders of past who missed the promised messiah, we are not unlike them in the way we hold to preconceived and misunderstood ideas of where we derive our bodily and spiritual safety, happiness and contentment from.

Sounds pretty harsh but it is a truth that hurts and unfortunately this side of heaven that will be the case until we draw our last breath. That truth may hurt, but THE TRUTH does not. The truth that is Jesus Christ who doesn’t take back the robe of righteousness he gave us on entry, but continually cleanses it from our wayward ways threatening stains and soils.

This is the good news of Jesus lesson to us in the parable. A parable that doesn’t talk negatively or ridicule the people present because of their behaviour, but only in such a sense to those that flatly deny the invitation and or the robe He supplies.

The people though that are still on the guest list and though as yet they have not sent back a positive RSVP, these are that one’s that we at the feast are given the freedom to meet. To not just set in our designated table but to roam the city seeking out those yet in attendance and tell them of what they do not know or are missing.

Our relationship with Christ, like in all good relationships is based on trust, acceptance and love and though we are but a feeble member in this marriage, it is a match made in heaven to not bring in the loss of our identity in this world, but to find our identity in this world through our Saviour, our partner and our all, that is Jesus Christ.  A relationship that whether for rich or poor, strong or weak will bring joy because of Jesus who loves us without measure.

My own wedding day, though after a few early nervous minutes waiting at the alter without a bride, was a thing of joy and yet a few weeks after my wife Cathy seeing me in tears came to me to both enquire and give comfort. I explained that after knowing of the inner loneliness that can come from a life apart and now knowing the opposite through the gift of finding someone to travel in a life of love with, I was thinking about my best friend who had a journey not unlike that as mine. But for him he was still on it and in the joy of knowing the love I had found, I was overcome with sorry for my friend that was not only still on his own, but as for then, maybe even more so.

When we come to know Jesus we come to know that love. The same love he holds out with a yearning heart that others refuse his hand no more and see it clearly for the first time. His hand of salvation in heaven and His hand of hope here and now. His powerful hand that can turn water into wine, and His gentle hand that shows love and care and brings healing and joy as said so well in this “poem” (song-heal me).
For a moment there
I felt just like dying
But now I see that something inside
Is coming alive
No use running from a revolution
I just surrender to this evolution

Heal me lift me
Take me to the other side
Amazing grace
Has touched my face
And the sweet sound doesn’t lie

For a moment there
I just gave up trying
But now I see
You can let the light in
You can begin again

Heal me lift me
Take me and my soul will fly
My battered heart will make a new start
Let everyone know
I’m coming home again.

Amen.

“Déjà Who”

Saturday, October 4th, 2014

“Déjà Who”

Isaiah 5:1-7, Philippians 3:4b-14,

Matthew 21:33-46

Last week’s message, as with this week’s was and is based on God’s call for our repentance and for those who may not have been there or had been driven to sleep, I begin today with how it finished:

“Here today, should you believe in Christ as your Saviour and yet carry the pain of having fallen short, I urge you leave knowing that those issues have been taken care off and are no more. You have been set free from the past to the dawn of your new life. A life that may not be easier, but a life where the load is carried by Christ.

The saying life sucks is wrong, it’s just that my way sucked and if you can relate to this in parts of your life, I urge you to leave in repentance. To join me not in just the repentance and asking for forgiveness of past sins and actions, but the repentance of turning from self to God and letting His will be your will and gain freedom with yourself as you come to  know the freedom that is in Christ.”

To know freedom in Christ by repenting and turning away from self and our desires and back towards God and what he desires. Freedom in Christ sounds quite wonderful and it is because in Christ we see God’s unrelenting and forgiving love. His love that beckons all and his love that never turns away. His love that prowls around looking to save the lost and pick up the pieces of our lives so that we can see the masterpiece he has made. The jigsaw pieces of our lives he reconstructs not so he need see the picture it displays for he already knows the beauty while still broken, but so we can see it.

God The Father is love. Love as seen displayed on Mount Sinai when he gave Moses the Ten Commandments and his love as seen displayed on a hill called Golgotha when his Son Jesus Christ died hanging from a Cross that we may live, and live in His Freedom that was won for us that day.

Two aspects of the love of God to his people, to us that are good and yet for some in this day and age the Mount Sinai aspect is deemed akin to Cyanide poisoning and in a way they may be right because the scriptures do instruct us that the law leads to death. Just as Jesus instructs us that the law is good and after today’s readings intentionally producing the questions to each of us that when the vineyard owner comes–how healthy is our own harvest?  And by the power of God, are we producing fruits of repentance? And if you’re feeling a little uneasy with this than welcome to the party because as said many times the Commandments are Commandments and not the ten suggestions seen clearly when Jesus Him very self said He did not come to change them in any way, shape or form, and thank God He didn’t otherwise imagine the chaos that would be upon us should they have been given the flick. I imagine we would see a world where the main aim of the game would be unrestricted self-gratification with off shoots such as greed, slander, murder, theft, unrepentant adultery, lack of respect between family members and all manner of ills.

God’s way and rules are good because the alternative of only our ways eventually leads from the seemingly insignificant right up to the “one world Government” type scenario which consequently at some time would lead to ultimate power, and ultimate corruption and that’s why the first, the last and all in between has to be God’s word and God’s alone.

I mentioned last week that King Solomon blessed with wisdom said that there’s “nothing new under the sun” or as we might say history repeats itself, repeating itself I would suggest here and now before our very eyes.

In the book of Kings Israel wishes to be like the other nations and asks for an earthly king to rule them and low and behold God appeases their request but with a notational warning and the later to be seen outcome that yes, if that’s what you want so be it, but there will be consequences.

Not seen later in God’s raining down fire and brimstone but seen later in that earthly kings make mistakes. Mistakes that ultimately gradually lead Israel further and further from God to the point that in order for them to see the truth, he let them over to their own desires and ways that ultimately resulted to unwise coalitions, defeat in battle and captivity as “prisoners of war” so to speak and then and only then ironically did they see the truth of God and his ways and their need for him and in calling on him, he led them home once again only for the cycle to start again.

A cycle not of days or weeks but of decades and generations.  A cycle that we may be apart of here in our own land. A cycle that we as individuals are apart of daily as we live out our freedom in Christ. The freedom Jesus gave not by throwing the baby out with the bathwater and altering or getting rid of the law of God in the Ten Commandments but by fulfilling it.

This is the freedom of Christ we have in relationship with Him and the freedom King David had in relationship with God the Father. David a spindly boy who took on and defeated the giant Goliath and King David the adulterer and at least guilty of second degree murder. And King David who God said was “a man after his own heart” and in that we may ask how can this be so.

King David was the earthly king appointed by God just as the others were that ended up in captivity. David was a good bloke as were the others and just as David mucked up so did the others . So why this “man after God’s own heart business?

The answer is as simple and yet as overwhelming as our relationship to God the Father through our Saviour Jesus Christ because unlike some other kings who made mistakes which ultimately lead further and further away from God, King David when shown by God the error of His ways would fess up and say, yep your right again-please forgive me.

Is this not our relationship in Jesus?  Jesus who said the law is good but fulfilled it because we cannot.

Our relationship through Jesus were we stuff up continually but fess up and ask and receive forgiveness in His name.

It is and is seemingly so simple that some have come to term it as “cheap grace”.

There is nothing cheap about grace. The grace earnt for us on that hill when like a raging river every sin, anguish, fear, hatred of others and of self-rushed onto a sinless man called Jesus. The Jesus that was one with the Father but under the crushing weight off our sin cried out not to His Father, but for the first time called not to His Father, but with a remoteness  of: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

Jesus Christ the Son of God. The Saviour, the performer of miracles and the only person to walk this earth sinless and in total love-the only one forsaken.

That is no cheap grace and that is the grace that gushes towards us like a raging river to sweep us off our feet and into the hands of Christ and before others to serve, forgive and respect them as we’ve been given from our Father, His Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The Freedom we have, but the freedom we use for the benefit of those around us.

As you know, this weekend is double de-merit points weekend. A weekend that doesn’t affect me because it’s hard to add to the pain any further by doubling the penalty when you’ve only got one point left.  But that’s the point, when we lived up North the outback roads in the Northern Territory had no speed limit. Brilliant because if I was still there I’d have all my points left. But that’s not the point because even though there’s no speed limit rule, there is because if you hit a cow at 160 kilometres an hour-there’s more than points to be lost.

In Christ ours is not a case of losing points or gaining them because He has cashed us up for a never ending supply. But like in N.T., reckless driving is not about my safety as much as the safety of those with me in my car or the one coming the other way, never mind the police, ambo’s , emergency services people, doctors, nurses, family and friends that need to pick up the pieces. Pieces that may affect them for the rest of our lives.

You are free in Christ and no one can or ever take that away from you because in Christ God will never forsake you.
That’s freedom, and so is it freedom to walk with him as we take his forgiveness, love and care to both those that dwell in it and to those that do not-because to either, we are not their saviours-but we do know him and He knows us, and that is not beside the point, that is the point.

 Amen.