All Souls Anglican Church | 02 9569 2646
The Journal

Dealing with Joseph’s doubts

Dealing with Joseph’s doubts Dear Friends, Matthew in 1:1-17 has established that Jesus is God’s anointed King or Messiah who is descended from both David and Abraham. He now turns to the miraculous birth of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:18-25 points out that Joseph and Mary were pledged to be married but they had’t come together. There is a believability about this account because we also learn that Joseph couldn’t understand how Mary could be pregnant without having a relationship with another man. Joseph is described as a righteous man who decides to divorce Mary quietly because even though they weren’t married being engaged was binding and could only be broken by divorce. The Lord watches over his plan and intervenes by visiting Joseph in a dream and confirming that the child that Mary is carrying has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. It is interesting that Joseph is addressed as Son of David confirming again that this child is a royal descendent of David and so qualified to be the Messiah. Further Joseph is instructed to name the child Jesus which identifies his Messianic role to save people from their sins. This is the chief reason why Jesus came - to rescue us from our sins. Being born through the power of the Holy Spirit is also very important because it means that Jesus hasn’t inherited our sin and so He can be a perfect offering for sin because He is sinless. Matthew reminds us that this miraculous conception and birth of Jesus is the fulfilment of God’s plan and he quotes a prophecy from Isaiah 7:14 written about 700 BC. Matthew also is explaining that this Jesus who is Messiah, son of David is also Immanuel which is God with us. It is absolutely remarkable that God comes to earth and takes on human flesh. Marvel at this wonderful truth this Christmas and also be encouraged that the Gospel of Matthew has been written to convince us that this Jesus is the Christ so we can be confident in our faith and can grow. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara  

Continue Reading..

Origins

Genealogy or the origin of Jesus Dear Friends, Matthew opens his Gospel with a genealogy. This is a word which is used in Genesis meaning an account of the origins. Matthew is wanting us to know where Jesus came from and who He is. These days many people are getting their DNA tested to see what ethnicities they have in their past as well as sign up for ancestry website searches. Our origins and background is fascinating and none more so that Jesus. He is clearly identified as the Messiah & as Son of David and Son of Abraham in 1:1. This identification is confirmed by His ancestry because He is from the tribe of Judah which Jacob prophesies in Genesis 50:10 that a ruler will come from this family origin who will rule and He will command the obedience of the nations. This Messiah is a world ruler. God promised that He would send His Messiah or anointed King who would come and help His people. Matthew wants us to know that Jesus is the one who was promised by God in the OT. The genealogy of Jesus is also interesting because unusually Matthew highlights 4 women which is amazing to include them as significant in the family tree. These women had unusual or even unsavoury aspects to their inclusion in the family tree. Matthew is reminding us that God at times does the unexpected and unorthodox and this helps set the scene for Mary who will give birth to the Messiah as an unmarried but engaged virgin through the power of the Holy Spirit. Expect the unexpected with God. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara 

Continue Reading..

Contentment

Contentment Dear Friends, Paul concludes his letter by urging the Christians to find their contentment in Christ - Philippians 4:10-23. It is Christ alone who can satisfy our deepest need to be loved and accepted and forgiven of our sins. If we try to find contentment in other things or people we experience restlessness. Twice in 4:13 and 4:19 Paul explains that Christ alone is the one who can meet our deepest needs. On the cross when Jesus died He carried the punishment for our sins. When he cried out “My God My God why have you forsaken me ? He was not only experiencing the separation from our Heavenly Father that God’s judgement on sin brings but He was also experiencing the frustration of being restless and not content which is a consequence of sin. This contentment in Christ also leads to a deep fellowship or partnership or sharing with other Christians. It is encouraging to know that we are not alone in the Christian life but God provides us with friends and fellow travellers in the journey of faith who share the burdens as well as the joys with us. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara 

Continue Reading..

Rejoicing

Rejoicing Dear Friends, Paul gives us some very good reasons why we can rejoice. We are not alone because the Lord is near and this means that He is interested in us and he cares about us and He wants to help. Paul also teaches us that because the Lord is near we can be gentle. It is easy when we think that everything depends on us to boss people around or be pushy. Paul is teaching us that we can be gentle because the Lord is near and He helps us and we are given the privilege of casting our burdens on the Lord. We don’t have to carry them ourselves. Notice that the invitation comes with an expectation of giving thanks which means that we trust that God is good and we begin to already see the benefits He provides for us - not least of these is forgiveness of sins and friendship with God and the gift of His church and people. The giving of our burdens to God leads to 2 benefits. One of these is that as we let go of trying to keep control over our problems and hand them over to the Lord and we will find His peace come upon us. Notice that this peace transcends all understand. It is not about manipulating the mind or just the power of positive thinking but a tangible experience of God’s presence touching us personally. We do however still have a responsibility to exercise quality control over our minds. God’s peace is a gift which God gives and this also leads us to ensure that we think about what is pure and good. Conversely if we fill our minds with fear or untruths then it becomes a breeding ground for anxiety ! God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara 

Continue Reading..

Eyes on the prize

Keep your eyes on the prize Dear Friends, We live in an age of distraction. Technology and multiple options mean we struggle to focus. In Philippians 3:12-4:3 Paul calls us to focus. He reminds us that Jesus has taken hold of us and this power from God at work in us moves us to forget what is behind and strain ahead to the prize we have in Christ Jesus. The prize we have in Jesus is to know Christ 3:10 and be resurrected from the dead where our bodies will be transformed into the likeness of Christ’s heavenly body 3:20. All the parts which don’t work well now will work well again. It is a glorious hope and one which is very encouraging. Paul offers himself as an example. We need good models because the Christian faith is both taught and caught. The importance of examples also reminds us that we need to spend time with God’s people so we can observe how mature and godly Christians behave. It is good to ask ourselves what type of models do I have in my life ? Paul warns about ungodly models in 3:18-19. These are people who are enemies of Christ and they are driven by their stomachs or bodily instincts. They have their minds set on earthly things whereas Paul tells us to have our minds set on heavenly things 3:20. He continues this theme of the importance of models by speaking of a pastoral problem in the church of 2 women who are not getting on well. We don’t know the details of the problem but Paul requests an elder to help them. These women are co-workers with Paul and yet even they have got into problems. None of us are immune from conflict or disagreements and we need godly people who will encourage us to be gracious to one another and forgive one another and choose to have a fresh start with people . Often conflict doesn’t resolve but we still need to forgive ! God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara  

Continue Reading..

Right not wrong

Being righteous Dear Friends, We have really enjoyed a number of celebrations recently. There has been a number of birthdays including my own. We also rejoiced with Eva Jones who has reached 100 recently as well as our baptism service with Freddie and Rory. One of the distinctives of the New Testament is that we are to be people of joy and celebration. Today in Philippians 3:1-11 Paul chiefly celebrates the righteousness of Christ which means that before God because of what Christ has done and through faith in Him we are counted as right before God. God sees us as beautiful and perfect because of what Jesus has done. It is hard for us to appreciate this because we are so use to doing things to achieve our value whether in education or work but salvation is totally a gift based on what Christ has done. Paul says this gift is so much more valuable than anything else and he calls it the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus. He says that everything else is a loss compared to knowing Christ. He uses quite strong language to warn the Christians at Philippi to not lose their joy and to warn about people who would change the gift of God’s righteousness into something we achieve or earn by our own merits. He calls these false teachers dogs and he reinforces this perspective by saying that his old life despite the high status he had as a Pharisee and a Jew was rubbish or dung compared to knowing Jesus. This righteousness is won for us by Jesus as we remember that he died on the cross for our sin and carried God’s judgement for our sin and conferred on us the status of being righteous. This is what actually builds joy when we remember this incredible gift of God won at the cost of Jesus’ death and suffering for our sin. This is a precious gift which brings joy to us. We must turn away from all attempts at self salvation where we justify ourselves or find value in what we do as a basis for salvation. We trust alone in what Christ has done ! God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara 

Continue Reading..

Joyful Service

Joyful service Dear Friends, Today we will be engaging in the Festa Celebration Event at the end of this service. I am excited that we have many people from church who will be helping with the event as we promote our church as a place of sanctuary and have food available & run an Anglicare Pop Up clothing store. Joyful service is a mark of our church and in Philippians 2:19-30 Paul speaks about Timothy and Epaphroditus his fellow workers who serve Paul and the churches with joy. Their joy is a product of sacrificial service. May their example grow in us. God’s blessing Rev David O’Mara 

Continue Reading..

Party Invitation

Party Invitation Dear Friends, Today we are celebrating the baptism of Freddie and Rory Lawrence. Their sister Poppy is a regular at AllKids and at SRE and we are thankful that our relationship with the whole family (Flora and Rob) is growing. The passage set for today is Luke 5:27-32 and Jesus is eating a meal at a tax collector’s house. His name was Levi. For all intents and purposes Levi was a religious outsider but Jesus is offering “party invitations” to all people to come to faith and accept His love and friendship. Jesus loves people and loves eating with them. Recently I attended a children’s party and it was a wonderful day with party games, great company and of course great food. The banquet is a picture of heaven where people are invited to the heavenly banquet with Jesus as the host. Eating a meal is a very important picture in the Bible because it speaks of us being considered friends with God & able to enjoy intimacy with Him and the benefits of His gifts, especially forgiveness of sin. Celebrate ! God’s Blessing Rev David O'Mara 

Continue Reading..

Blessing Machine

Blessing Machine Dear Friends, We are learning in Philippians that the foundation and source of all our blessings is the death of Jesus for our sins. This is not only a truth to believe, though it is not less than that. This work of Christ on the cross is God’s power for salvation to both forgive our sins and give us new power to obey God and for the church to be a blessing machine. Faith in Jesus means we are united to Christ 2:1-4 and then God commits Himself to help us obey Him. In 2:12-13 God through the Gospel and the work of His Spirit works to direct our wills to obey God. Carson says God himself is working in us both to will and to act: he works in us at the level of our wills and at the level of our doing. God works in us not merely with us. The thought of synergy which is my work plus God’s work gets it done shrinks the scope of what God actually does within us. This is very important. Listen to Augustine “Our deeds are our own, because of the free will producing them and they are also God’s because of his grace causing our free wills to produce\ them. Augustine continues - God makes us do what he pleases by making us desire what we might not desire.” This is pure grace and God wants us to learn to bless others and this begins with those in our church. We must shun complaining and arguing with our fellow church members because they are precious gifts to us. God’s Blessing Rev David O'Mara. 

Continue Reading..

Called to Serve

United with Christ and with each other to serve Philippians 2:1-11 is one of the most beautiful passages in the NT describing how Jesus as God humbled himself and became a man. His death for our sin takes the punishment for our sin so we can united with Christ 2:1. Not only are we united with Jesus but we are also united with other believers. In 2:6-11 we see the enormity of what Christ has done and this is both the power for us and the example for us to have the same attitude as Jesus towards others. Our culture is focused on being consumers & we can bring this same approach into the church looking for what we can get out of church & we in effect become spectators only. God has something greater for us. He wants us to be servants who look for ways in which we can build others up and honour Jesus because one day all people will either willingly or grudgingly bow rot Jesus and honour Him ! God’s Blessing Rev David O'Mara 

Continue Reading..

Calendar

SuMoTuWeThFrSa
1
234567
891011121314
15
161718192021
22232425262728
293031