Sermon: Unshakeable Confidence (Romans 8:31-39)

Romans 1-8 Slide

‘We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him’ (Rom 8:28). What a promise! Yet, the promise here is not that ‘all things’ will be good – but that in ‘all things’ God would do what is good.

How do we know?

Read the Bible Text – Romans 8:28-39

Talk – Romans 8.31-39 (Outline)

– Ken Noakes

Sermon – Whose Slave are You? (Romans 6:1-7:6)

Romans 1-8 Slide

The gospel of free grace – justification by faith apart from works – is not a licence to sin. Our old life of sin was put to death by Jesus’ cross, and we have been given a new life of righteousness by his resurrection. That means we are no longer slaves of sin, yet slaves of God, and so we are to live out our new life, by grace not law. It is unthinkable that a Christian should continue to sin – is that possible?

Read the Bible Text – Romans 6:1-7:6

– David Shead

Sermon – Nothing to Fear (Romans 5:1-21)

Romans 1-8 Slide

Hope is a funny word. It’s such a positive thing, and yet it can seem so fragile.

Psychologists tell us that hope is crucial for healthy functioning. People without hope die, while people with hope thrive. We all want something to look forward to; something to live for; a ‘destination’ in life.

And yet, who can predict the future? Life can often seem like little more than a wrecking yard of dashed hopes. What do we really have to live for? Can anyone have any certainty about what’s to come?

The fantastic message of the Bible’s letter to the Romans is that we can! – and not just a vague sense of wishful thinking, but real, grounded, impregnable confidence! – not just for now, but for all eternity!

Read the Bible Text – Romans 5:1-21

Talk Outline – Romans 5

Talk - Romans 5 (PPT Image)

– Ken Noakes

Sermon – Just Justice (Romans 3:21-26)

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We all love justice and hate injustice. From earliest childhood this has been the case. One of the first complaints we learn to utter is, “That’s not fair!”

But how do we go when the finger of justice is pointing at us? Are we still as passionate about it? Or is there something else we love even more?

And what about God’s justice? How do we feel about that? Is justice beneath God? Does his justice betray a cranky side of him? And how will we go when God’s finger of justice is pointed at us?

These are very important questions!

Read the Bible Text – Romans 3:21-26

– David Shead

 

Sermon – Betrayal and murder – the dishonourable king (2 Sam 11-12)

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In this sermon you will hear about how King David, high on worldly success and power and secure in his earthly position, demonstrates the all-pervading reaches of human depravity as he defies God’s law, defiles his marriage bed, deceives and destroys others.  Yet in awesome contrast, God prefigures and demonstrates his judgement, grace and everlasting love, even through the death of a son.

Read the Bible Text – 2 Samuel 11-12

– Ken Noakes

 

 

Sermon – #1 After the death of Joshua …

What can we learn from the way God deals with a disobedient Israel? The people of Israel had promised faithfulness to God but they repeatedly turned away to the idolatry of the surrounding nations, nations that were there because of their repeated failure to do what God had directed.

Preacher: Des Smith

Watch the Sermon

Listen to the Sermon

Read the Bible text – Joshua 24:14-28 and Judges 2:6-23

English Support Handout – Joshua 24:14-28 and Judges 2:6-23

Sermon- The God Who Seeks!

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Are you lost?

In the Gospel of Luke chapter 15 (the parables of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin and the Prodigal Sons) we learn that God only sees two sorts of people – those who are lost (estranged from him) and those who were formerly lost but are now back in relationship with him.

Guest speaker, David Cook explains that God is waiting with outstretched arms, seeking to welcome back the lost. David invites anyone who is lost to echo the prayer that is in verse 18 saying to God “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me part of your family”.

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Listen to the Sermon

Read the Bible text: Luke 15: 1-32

English Support Handout

Calvin – The Majesty of God

By Adam Smith

March 26th, 1538 – Easter Sunday, Geneva

My dear William,

It’s me, John Calvin.

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As I write to you now, I hear a mob at my door

An army of people calling, I can’t ignore

They want silence. They want me gone, William;

A pack packed with pitchforks and torches and clubs

Angry at truth, and calling for blood.

I came to Geneva, after your relentless pursuit

I accepted your offer and came to be absolutely firm in my conviction

To preach the gospel of Christ, and Christ alone.

But against your prediction, and depiction of this city, I’ve felt nothing but friction against the good news I bring, and now here I am threatened with eviction.

They don’t want to hear it. They don’t want a part.

They’ve put up a wall of hostility around the void in their heart

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For once in the past, an intervention divine,

when God subdued and made a teachable heart of mine

I saw in that moment all power and glory

The majesty of God revealed in the story

Of God and his people, in scripture complete

revelation of who he is and how to know him

Man creates a model of God, in one single plane

That is put in a containable box and constrained

To our weak definition, a flawed exposition

That fails to capture even a glimmer of God’s awesome composition

Continue reading

The Reformation Overview (& the five ‘Solas’)

October 2017 is the 500th Anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation.

What is the Reformation?

Back in the 1400s people began to study in a new way. Universities were developing and there was a spirit of enquiry and questioning. It was the period we know as the Renaissance, which means ‘new birth’. A new age was dawning.

People (especially across Europe) began to question. Instead of merely reading what previous writers had said there was a great desire to go back to the sources, to the original documents. People were fascinated by the Greco-Roman empire and philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle and Socrates and Seneca and so on. Scholars translated the secular original texts and studied them in detail, and along with the philosophers they also began to study the biblical texts in the same way.

Now at this point in history, the late 1400s, early 1500s nobody read the Bible. The church told people what to believe and how to ensure their salvation. Many priests and monks had never read the scriptures. Some, like Ulrich Zwingli from Zurich were scared to even open the pages. Martin Luther (who would become a great German reformer) had studied to become a monk and a priest but did not even look at a Bible until he was 20 years of age.

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Ulrich Zwingli

When people like Luther and Zwingli and scholars such as Erasmus and others began to read they were amazed. They realised that what was recorded in scripture was very different to what was taught in the canon law of the church. They began to question the practices of the church and they began to question the doctrines that the church promoted.

Now Martin Luther was incensed that the church taxed people, fined and oppressed them and then offered salvation through good works. He began to speak out. He read in the Bible in the letter to the Romans that salvation is through faith alone, not through doing what the church told you and going through their practices and rituals.

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Martin Luther

He saw that faith in Jesus Christ is what is necessary for salvation. He wanted everyone to be able to read the scriptures just as he did so he translated the Bible into German. He no longer thought that you had to believe in what the church told you, if you wanted to know about the Christian faith then you only need to read the Bible, scripture alone.

During the 1520s Luther spoke out and people listened. A major upheaval began. People realised as they read the Bible that they did not have to pray to Mary, that statues of saints were of no value and that transubstantiation –  the idea that in the ritual of the communion mass the bread and wine becomes the actual body and blood of Christ –  had no scriptural foundation.

In Zurich at around the same time Ulrich Zwingli was coming to the same conclusions. The city took a vote to either follow the traditional thinking or to embrace the ‘new’ ideas. They chose the new way. Zwingli was appointed as priest of the cathedral and began preaching the New Testament to the people.

Across Europe the old ties with the Roman Catholic Church were being broken and people embraced the newly discovered, or recovered message of the scriptures.

They began to understand that it was by God’s grace alone, and not through any earned merit, that salvation was offered. And how does this come about? It comes about through Jesus Christ when God sent his son to take away our sins. It is by Christ alone that we can be saved. This is not what the church was teaching.

And they also learnt why this is so. It is for God’s glory, not for the church or the arch-bishops or the pope.  God did this for his glory alone. They called on the Church to reform.

Five Solas

And so, reform swept through the church and new churches and denominations were formed and more and more people were taught the biblical truths. They recognised that there were five key doctrinal points that were at the basis of the reform. Today we call them the five solas, using the Latin word for alone or only.

Sola Scriptura (“scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.

Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.

Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.

Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is Saviour.

Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.

 

What does the Reformation mean for us today?

Five hundred years later it means the same as it did for those reformers. Through their reclaiming of the truths that are found in scripture we know that our salvation is secure. We know that Jesus has made that one true, perfect sacrifice for our sins. We know that the Bible is the record of God’s revelation of himself in Jesus Christ. And we know that we live for his glory.

The work of the Reformers reclaimed the eternal message that faith in Jesus brings salvation. Our lives are shaped by this fact. Our church is shaped by this fact. And our world is shaped by our Christian witness as we share the gospel which is the message of salvation, assurance and hope that we find in Jesus.

 

Glenn Clarke – Lecturer in Church History, Bible College of SA