All Souls Anglican Church | 02 9569 2646
The Journal

We are God's beautiful poem

Dear Friends, 

Continue Reading..

A new community of hope

Dear Friends,
The great theme of Ephesians is that through Christ God is creating a new 
community which is His church - see Ephesians 5:32. For Christians today the centre of God’s activity is in His church. One of the church’s main tasks is the proclamation of the Gospel to both itself and the world and the response which God is looking for is that not only will people yield to Jesus as Lord and Saviour but they will also recognise that Jesus places them in His body the church. It is hard to be a Christian if you are not connected with God’s people the church. Christian growth comes in the context of both giving and receiving from His people the church. Paul has shown us in Ephesians 1:1-14 that through Christ we have every spiritual blessing and then in 1:15-23 he prays for the Christians at Ephesus to be able to grasp and take hold of these blessings. Too often Christians live as spiritual paupers who fail to appropriate all the blessings we have in Christ. So his prayer in 1:15-16 recognises that the priority of the Christian life is first of all faith in Jesus and this leads to love. Faith involves what we believe about God. The critical way to grow in faith is to let your faith be continually informed by what the Bible , God’s Word says about who Jesus is. In our society today many people have confused ideas about what God is truly like because they have formed a picture of him from their own minds. So Paul thanks the Lord for the faith of the Christians which reminds us that this is a gift from God. He then launches into praying for them to know Christ better 1:17. We recognise that to grow in our knowledge of Christ we need the work of the Holy Spirit. The knowledge of God includes understanding but is more than information. Knowledge of God includes a personal experience of God through Jesus. Paul’s prayer continues v18-20 that we may know our inheritance and the power of God. This hope and power is our calling to follow Jesus and to be holy and blameless in our life. Further as Christ’s power has defeated sin and death so we will share in this victory and see our lives changed to become more like Jesus. Please be at prayer for one another because praying to God sees His power released as He delights to answer our prayers. The passage tonight is the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. It shows the true faith which is needed. The irony is that Luke 18:9 teaches us that the occasion this parable was the fact that some including those who were religious were confident in their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else. True faith recognises that only God is holy and that we are all this sinners. This leads us to humble ourselves and call out for mercy. May we have faith like this. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara 

Continue Reading..

Jam packed with goodies

Dear Friends,
Today we begin a new series on Ephesians continuing our theme of being a healthy church. Many theologians divide the book of Ephesians as follows :- chapters 1-3 teach us doctrine about God and people or what Christians believe and then chapters 4-6 teach Christians the implications of this teaching and how to live as Christians. Effectively healthy church follow this pattern by ensuring that the Gospel is preached so that people come to faith in Jesus and then they have God’s power to live the Christian life. If we teach just about behaviour without the connection to Jesus and His saving power then our churches become moralistic and lack power. Healthy churches place an emphasis on the proclamation of Jesus’ death and the power of His death to both save and forgive our sins.
Ephesians 1:1-14 is jam packed with Christian doctrine. In particular we learn that in Christ we have every spiritual blessing. Throughout the chapter the phrase “in Christ” is used repeatedly ensuring that we understand that all spiritual blessings are received through Christ and what He has done. You cannot follow Jesus without encountering Him personally and receiving the power of the Holy Spirit. God’s purpose for our lives is that we will be holy and blameless. This makes sense because God adopted us v5 to be his children. Children physically resemble their parents and so God wants us to spiritually resemble Him and so grow in love and joy and many other qualities. We receive all this through believing in the death and resurrection of Jesus 1:13. Through faith in Jesus we have been redeemed 1:7 and this means that Christ has paid for our sin and bought us. We are His and we belong to Him. When we understand that we belong to Christ we recognise that means we have been given a great privilege to know God and to be saved from sin and judgement. Please don’t take Your salvation for granted because it is a great gift. Not only does God save us but He also gives us the Holy Spirit who seals us or protects us and ensures that we will make it to heaven 1:13. All this is received through faith or trusting what God says rather than what we feel. The parable for the evening in Luke 18:1-8 teaches us about the importance of prayer & is linked to not being discouraged. It is easy to be discouraged as a Christian because of the trials we face in the world as well as the awareness of our sin. Prayer is the key to being strengthened in faith because when you you are nourished by God. To pray is to decide to follow Jesus in His strength and not in your own. This parable teaches us about perseverance and trusting that in the midst of all the evils that occur in this world our God is just and will be vindicated. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara 

 

Continue Reading..

Suffering for Jesus

Dear Friends,
Today we welcome Michael & Caroline Clark speaking about their work with CMS in Germany. Michael will be speaking on
Revelation 2:8-11 which is Jesus’ letter to the church in Smyrna. It is interesting that Jesus identifies himself as the First and the Last and the one who was dead and is alive again. He is writing to a church which is about to suffer persecution and some of them will be thrown into prison. The key exhortation is to not fear 2:10. So often we allow fear to dominate our lives. It can be fear of tomorrow or fear of rejection or fear that we won’t cope in a certain situation. The great antidote to fear is that Jesus is the First and the Last. Jesus is in total control because He is Lord. Further He identifies himself as the one who was dead and has come to life 2:8. Jesus has power over death. We are all subject to the fear of death. The great news is that Jesus has faced death and has conquered it by rising from the dead. His conquering of death is more than just being stronger than death. Jesus has dealt with the original cause of death that ushered death into the world. His death has paid the price for our sin so we can be raised from the dead and come into God’s presence free from guilt and condemnation. To conquer fear means to recognise that Jesus is stronger than the issues which we face. We notice also in this passage from Revelation that the devil is involved in the persecution of Christians 2:9-10. This persecution is fuelled by the devil’s hatred of those who belong to Jesus. Friends, there is a spiritual battle and we need not fear this battle because Jesus has won the victory but we do need to engage in the battle resisting the devil and the lies that he trades in. Some of his lies include - if this happens to me it is the end of the world. No it isn’t Jesus is in charge of the world and Jesus has a way through whatever problem you face. Another lie is that I fear that I won’t cope with a situation I am facing or anticipating. That is a lie because God’s grace is sufficient. Stop looking at your problems which generate fear and start looking at Jesus the one who has conquered death and controls everything and you will find that He calms our fears. In the evening passage from Hebrews 9:11-14 we are reminded that the whole Old Testament System of sacrifice was a shadow that pointed to the reality of Jesus sacrifice for our sins through His blood shed. The Old Testament sacrificial system couldn’t remove sin but it reminded us that we needed a sacrifice for sin and with the coming of Jesus we find that His blood is better. That is it is effective because He cleanses our consciences so we may serve Him. Please note that coming into a relationship with God and being forgiven is so you can have a clear conscience and serve God in freedom. Are you doing that and enjoying that ? God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara 

 

Continue Reading..