Archive blog entries 10 2017

29th Oct 2017

Good evening everyone

Reformation 500 Anniversary:

Today is known as Reformation Sunday, & Tuesday, 31st October, will be the 500th anniversary of a German Augustinian monk, Martin Luther, nailing 95 Theses or points to a Church door in Germany in which he argued against the then prevailing view on a number of central doctrines of the Western Latin Catholic Church. This was a seminal moment & had a huge impact on the nature of the Western Church. The Eastern Orthodox Church & Western Latin Catholic Church had already split apart in 1054AD, & it was not long after Luther’s 95 Theses that a new Protestant Third Strand of Christianity emerged out of the old Latin Catholic Church in Western Europe. Today, in every continent, the effects of Luther’s stand against the later Middle Age’s malpractices of the Latin Church, the establishment of many Protestant denominations, the widespread acceptance of an Evangelical understanding of a personal conversion to Christ, & the emergence of the Pentecostal & Charismatic Movements as a Fourth strand of Christianity, all testify to the Reformation that took place as a result of that act.

The Reformation brought five primary truths to the fore: 1. Sola Scriptura (2 Timothy 3:15-16) – the supremacy of the Scriptures over the Church’s Traditions. Part of this was the translation of the Bible into the vernacular or common languages of the people; up to this point the Bible was largely written in Latin & only available to educated priests. In fact many priests had not read the Bible choosing to read other Church works or secular philosophies instead. Sola Scriptura affirmed the power in God’s Word to save, transform & be a trusted & effective guide for the Christian’s life under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

2. Sola Fide (Romans 1:16-17)  – the supremacy of faith over works as the grounds for salvation. This produced the doctrine of Justification by Faith. Instead of justification, being made right with God, being an ongoing external thing gained by participating in the Seven Sacraments administrated by a priest of the Church - Luther’s rediscovery was that being made right with God was by an act of faith by the one calling out to Christ & believing in Jesus as Saviour & Lord. It was a judicial act by God in that all guilt was immediately removed & placed on Christ, & all of Christ’s righteousness was accounted, as a free gift, to the account of the believer.

3. Solus Christus (1 Timothy 2:5; 1 Peter 2:5) – that Christ alone was the only Mediator between God & believers. This doctrine argued against the Latin Catholic view that only a priest properly appointed by a bishop of the Apostolic succession could administer five of the seven Sacraments of the Latin Catholic Church. Sola Christus states that only Christ is the One who stands between Father God & believers, & that, in Christ, every believer has the right to come directly to God & gain the grace necessary for salvation & to live out the Christian faith pleasing Father God thereby.

4. Soli Gloria Deo (John 16:14; 1 Corinthians 1:30-31) – that only God deserves glory. This doctrine sought to right the perceived wrong of the veneration of Mary, & of many of the saints which was seen as diverting people away from the true & ultimate aim of humankind, to glorify & honour Christ & the Father. The Holy Spirit was seen to be our chief Helper in enabling us to properly glorify Christ; & by glorifying Christ as He should be – we would be truly honouring & glorifying the Father. To seek to ascribe glory to God, & to live a life that brought honour & glory to God was seen as the noblest ideal possible.

5. Sola Gratia (Ephesians 2:8-9) – by Grace alone. The rediscovery of the central place of God’s Grace as the currency of heaven, in Christ, was perhaps the most liberating & transforming doctrine to come out of the Reformation. Up until the Reformation, salvation was seen as merit based; that is, based on doing good works, on the ministry of the Church through its bishops & priests, something that could be purchased by buying an Indulgence - a type of annuity against the future judgement that would guarantee entrance, through purgatory, into heaven. Grace was based on the complete work of Christ, & was given without merit to the one, in Christ, who would ask for it.


God Bless
Pastor Leslie

 

 


22 Oct 2017

 

Good evening everyone


A Wedding Sermon:
 
The following is the wedding sermon I preached at our son’s wedding on Monday. It considers God, & marriage in the context of His character & His Word.
A phrase from a chorus which was on my mind - Your promise still stands, great is Your faithfulness.
There are 3 things about God which I want to highlight:
1.            He is Honourable – Ephesians 5:22-23
2.            He is Faithful – Philippians 4:7
3.            He is Loving – 1 Corinthians 13: esp 13c
 
1. – Honourable: His honour includes the following two attributes: i. Righteousness, & ii. Truth
i. Righteousness is a right standing with God. It is the basis of His expectation for the heart reality of humankind. Therefore it is also the essential characteristic He requires for His relationship with humanity. It is an impossible standard to expect of Adam’s sons & Eve’s daughters. The only one who was truly righteous was Christ, & it is only by entering a living, vital relationship with the Lord Jesus that we are then covered by Christ’s righteousness. This Justification by Faith makes us right with God in Christ & thus able to have a living relationship with Father God. Christ’s righteousness included:
a. Peace with God;          b. Obedience to God;    c. Perfect worship of God
If you as a couple are going to be righteous - you can only be so by always remaining in Christ. Righteousness is a gift that is released through a saving faith in Jesus.
 
ii. Truth is one of the currencies of heaven, Jesus said, ‘I am the Way, the Truth & the Life, no-one comes to the Father except through Me.’ If you want your marriage to be strong, then choose to live in truth. Not the truth that some use as an excuse to hurt the other, but the sanctified truth inspired by God’s Word & His Spirit that opens the door of heaven & allows blessings to flow.
 
2. – Faithful: with His faithfulness comes i. Covenant, & ii. promise
i. Covenant is the complete & indissolvable basis for Gods saving relationship with humanity. He made a covenant with Abram [exalted father] that changed his name to Abraham [father of many] which also meant:
a. The establishment of Abraham’s descendants uniquely as God’s people - the Jewish people.
b. The promise of material sustenance & blessings - land & provision.
c. The salvation of those who will believe in God’s Messiah throughout the world, the Gentiles – all nations blessed
d.  That the covenant’s success would depend on God - not on humankinds obedience to it. He committed Himself by oath to uphold it, & to be the One that would fulfil all the terms for its success – through the Messiah Jesus.
 
ii.  Promise – there are countless biblical promises. RT Kendall says a promise is different from a covenant in that, when God is involved, a covenant depends on God – whereas a promise depends on our faith in Christ & obedience to God’s Word. In marriage, you both have promised:
a. To love the other only
b. To unconditionally comfort & strengthen the other.
c. To unconditionally honour & respect the other. If unconditional love is the currency that unlocks a woman’s heart – Denver...Monika - unconditional respect will unlock a man’s heart – respect is the currency that unites an honourable husband to his wife. Keep each other by prayer, materially by sharing your resources together through the good times & during the difficult days
d. To forsake all others – leave & cleave. We are to hold no-one else in our hearts & minds more dearly or more closely than our spouse; Jesus excepted of course, but He makes us a better spouse when He is Number 1 in our lives.
e. To be faithful to each other - a life-long commitment to each other
f. To be loyal to each other. Speak well of your spouse & be their most loyal supporter.
 
In marriage, husband & wife promise all these things to each other; on top of that God also makes a marriage covenant with you two (Malachi 2:14). Marriage is that covenant. He will unconditionally establish your marriage – your side is to uphold the promises you have made to each other. This will require faithfulness to each other & obedience to God’s blueprint for your lives together.
 
3. Loving – With God’s love comes grace, His favour, His discipline & His jealousy.
i. God’s jealousy isn’t destructive – but it does demand our total commitment to Christ.
ii. His discipline is not to be feared – it is His method for removing pollutants from our lives, God’s filter that removes sin, self & Satan’s control.
iii. God’s grace & favour are the most wonderful currency of heaven. He loves to shower or bestow it on us.

He pours the sacrificial Agape love into us – He sanctifies the Eros sexual & romantic love – He causes us to associate & be empathetic one to another through Phileo love – & He connects you as one by Storge love. He is amazing, & so will your marriage if you put Jesus first in everything. AMEN

 

God Bless

 

Pastor Leslie


 

 


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