Sermon #4 – Gideon the weak judge

Many of us “know” the story about Gideon -how he successfully defeated the massive Midianite army, confusing them with trumpets and hidden torches. But do we really understand what happened? Listen to Ken Noakes, has he helps us understand from the book of Judges what Gideon was really like and what we need to learn about trusting in our sovereign God and not relying on human wisdom.

Preacher: Ken Noakes

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Listen to the Sermon

Read the Bible text – Judges 6:33 – 7:25 and 1Corinthians 2:1-5

English Support Handout – Judges 6:33 – 7:25 and 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

Upholding Singleness

Song of Songs is a beautiful book that millions of Christians, both single and married, have read and studied with great profit. However, for some – and in particular those not currently in a relationship – it can be difficult.

In any church family there will be folk who are single – those who have never been married and those who have been married and are now single. Due to a breakdown in relationship, divorce, death of a spouse, a struggle against same-sex attraction, or other reason, Song of Songs may push some unhappy buttons.

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The Church – universal and local! (Part 3 of 5)

When you became a Christian, your membership in the church took both a universal and a local shape – a wide and narrow view if you like.

Universal Church

The Church universal is the worldwide body of believers who meet in various locations and times around the world and throughout history who all profess faith in Jesus as Lord.

Brothers and sisters who are fleeing for their lives from the Islamic state fighters in Iraq and Syria, those who are on the mission field, those who meet as Christians around your country, and those that meet in the churches in suburbs around your city – are all members with you of the universal church – because we all have the same Lord and Saviour in Jesus.

Jesus speaks of the universal church. When he said to the disciple Peter in Matthew 16:18, ‘I will build my church’ he probably did not have in mind a specific local church on the corner of King David street and Goliath Avenue in Jerusalem! What he meant was that he would build together all those in the years to come, who would be his followers, the members of his body – his universal church.

The Apostle Paul addresses the universal church in Colossae when he says he ‘suffers for the sake of Christ’s body, which is the church’ (Colossians 1:24) and then to Timothy when he speaks of ‘God’s household, which is the church’ (1 Timothy 3:15).

Scripture testifies to the importance of being part of the universal church where we stand shoulder to shoulder with others in faith – even though we may not speak the same language, be from the same culture, have the same lifestyles, live in the same kinds of material circumstance, or even live in the same era of history.

Whenever I spend time with Christians of other cultures or languages, I recognise a beautiful reality – I have more in common with these brothers and sisters in faith than I do with many who don’t yet know Jesus even when they live in my own suburb or city!

Local Church

But scripture also testifies to the ‘Local church’.

The Church local is your immediate church fellowship – the group of Christians with whom you share life with, face to face, week in and out. Those brothers and sisters who know you by name, who pray specifically for you, who help carry your burdens, who celebrate your successes and mourn your losses, and who help you to love and know God better and to serve him and others as you work to grow God’s kingdom.

Paul addresses the local church in 1 and 2 Corinthians (’to the church of God in Corinth’), and in Ephesians (‘to the saints in Ephesus’), 1 & 2 Thessalonians (’to the church of the Thessalonians’), Philippians (‘to all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi’). In Colossians he sends a greeting to ‘Nympha and the church in her house’ (Col 4:15). There is a very particular local church which he has in mind.

As you meet each week with a body of believers, you express your membership in a local church.

Both/And

As Christians, it is important to recognise you belong to both the universal and local church. Why?

For one, quite obviously, there are many more Christians in the world than would be able to meet in your particular church space – but there is a time coming when all Christians will gather around the throne of Christ in eternity and worship as the full universal church. It is a wonderful blessing to recognise our place alongside so many others in Christ.

Yet, it also matters that we meet together as a specific local church, on a regular basis to serve God and others. Christians cannot gather as the universal church to hear the Bible taught and proclaimed, to baptise new believers, to sing songs of praise, to take the Lord’s Supper together, to reach out to the community they come out from, to serve one another, to hold one another accountable, to physically care for, to urge one another on towards love and good deeds.

Meeting in local churches is important for the life and well-being of all Christians.

 

For other articles in this series:

Belonging to Church

Membership

The Church – universal and local!

Draw Near to God and to Others

Core in Membership

 

Book Review: 666 and All That

666 and All That: The Truth About the Future by John Dickson and Greg Clarke (Sydney: Blue Bottle Books, 2007).

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Reviewed by Katy Annis

What happens in the End? What does the Bible say will happen in the future?

The theological term most often used to describe the end of times is ‘eschatology’. 666 and All That by John Dickson and Greg Clarke addresses the topic of eschatology, a subject that both fascinates and concerns many people.

Dickson and Clarke treat this subject with a clear, concise and ‘no-nonsense’ approach. This book has a simple underlying argument; that is, Scripture itself does not provide a literal ‘play-by-play’ description of what the future will be like, therefore, we have little to gain by attempting to understand it in this way. Rather, they suggest that our focus should be on the promises, the hope and the joy that Christians can anticipate in the future Kingdom.

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Imagine a World Where Death Wins…

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In some ways it’s not hard to imagine a world without Easter. Even though most are pleased to enjoy the blessing of a long weekend, most live without Easter making any difference to their lives.

It’s not that the public holiday is the issue. Many of us enjoy other public holidays, without making much difference to our own lives. If our theme was  ‘Imagine a world without the Adelaide Cup’, we’d probably think we’d be all the better for it!

When Tom Playford was premier during the war years, he shut down the racing industry. Apparently the Prime Minister of the day had issued the instruction to close non-essential services because of the war effort, and Playford thought racing fitted the category (this was reportedly not what the PM had in mind, and the industry was reinstated a year later).

What would happen if we shut down the Easter ‘industry’?

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