The True Temple of God – a sermon for Advent

In the book of Isaiah we read of his prophecies of the temple of the Lord where in the future all nations will come to worship. What he said of the temple would come true in the true Temple, Christ himself, in whom God dwelt and was present to the world, and who ultimately became the sacrifice for sin which would end all other sacrifices in the temple in Jerusalem. This message has a special significance for Advent as we reflect on the first coming of Christ; on our calling to follow him and to live as the temples of God in purity and holiness, especially in married life; and on the return of Christ which we await with hope, for the new earth to come where there will be no temple, since God himself will dwell there with us.

Sermon: The True Temple of God

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The Ten Commandments in contemporary life

The Ten Commandments are still of relevance for us today, not as a moral code or a set of requirements by which we can please God, but as a summary of the whole law of God. That law was then summarised again by Christ – “Love God totally and love your neighbour as yourself.” The Ten Commandments fit within the covenantal relationship between God and Israel, and by taking them out of that context so as to make them into an independent moral code, we distort what they are and conceal their meaning. It is only when we see the Ten Commandments as a call to faith in God and love for neighbours do we truly understand them.

Sermon: The Ten Commandments Today

Freedom in Christ – freedom from condemnation

We frequently encounter the phrase “in Christ” in Paul’s letters. By this he seeks to explain what it means to be a true follower of Christ – to be “in Christ” is to be incorporated into his new body, the church of all believers, in which we all have a part to play. We are all members of that one body, the body of Christ, of which he is the head.

While judgement is to come on those who rebel against God, those who are “in Christ” are free from condemnation – but this is true only if we continue “in Christ” and turn from sin and rebellion.

Sermon: Free from condemnation

Not life as we know it

The lives many people lead does not seem to reflect the richness, the wholeness and the satisfaction which they aspire to. Christians also do not seem to have a better quality of life than non-Christians. Why is that? Does their Christian faith provide no benefits for the here-and-now, or is it all to be expected only after death? The reason for this disjunct between the expectation of a rich and full life and the rather sad reality is that we still seek to pursue our own path in life. In short, we are still given to idolatry, seeking the meaning and direction for life in anything other than the true God. And the sacred-secular split which many Christians embrace with a passion perpetuates this idolatrous attitude. Christ came to give life in all its fullness, but only if we are prepared to foresake our idols and follow Him only.

Sermon: Not life as we know it

Reformation Sunday

Reformation Sunday is the commemoration of the events of the sixteenth century when the renewal and revival of the church commenced with the actions of Martin Luther posting his “95 Theses” to the door of the church in Wittenburg. But while the upheaval that resulted brought about significant changes in the churches across Europe, we are still in need of a new reformation today, as the church is again in distress, troubled with superstitious beliefs, superficial and un-Biblical teaching, and a focus on money and the construction of enormous buildings – just like in the sixteenth century! We need to rediscover the truth of the Gospel and seek for God to renew his church again in our day.

Sermon: Reformation Sunday

Unexpected Grace 3

Concluding our series on unexpected grace, we look at how Christ came into the world, born of a virgin, despised, rejected, condemned and dying as a criminal as a result of our rebellion and sin. Yet God’s unexpected grace is shown specifically in Jesus, since not only is the one we rejected the one who was above all others the recipient of the grace of God, but also through his suffering and death he became the means whereby God’s grace was made available to us. In his resurrection we see the one despised and forsaken being vindicated by God and the one in whom he delights, and from whom we receive all grace from God.

Sermon: Unexpected Grace 3

Called according to God’s Purpose

Many people do not have a purpose in life which gives them a sense of meaning. God has called everyone to a task in the human commission to care for the earth as its stewards. The Gospel, clearly and correctly explained, shows how we are to show those without a sense of purpose how the meaning which faith gives to all can be of benefit to them.

Sermon: Called according to God’s purpose