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The Journal

Growth is from the Lord

Growth is from the Lord Today we welcome James and Brittany Daymond from BCA working in Narromine. James operates as an evangelist which involves both telling people about Jesus and also training people to do evangelism. He is ably supported by Brittany as they see their marriage as a partnership in the Gospel. This is a nice segway into our passage today as it speaks about a partnership in the Gospel and co-operating together. In 1 Corinthians 3 Paul is reminding the church that the key player in the work of the church is Jesus. We all have a part to play but when we realise that growth comes from God we learn to work co-operatively and without envy. Paul’s emphasises this co-operative aspect of church ministry by stating in 3:9 that we are engaged in God’s service and that we are God’s field and that the church meaning people is God’s building. Ministry is all about the Lord and what He does rather than all about me. The original sin in Eden Genesis 3 was to become obsessed with what we wanted and this meant that we ignored God and His purposes. Envy destroys people working together because we are threatened by the success of others. Each of us is valuable in God’s service but we must remember that this is the Lord’s church. There is a warning in 3:10-15 that we are accountable to the Lord in the way in which we serve and so we are encouraged to serve depending on the Gospel. It is encouraging that we are reminded of being rewarded and that reward is Jesus. Rev David O’Mara 

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More Grace please Lord

More Grace please Lord We continue our series in the sermon on the mount as Jesus corrects the teaching of the Pharisees who have twisted the Law. We know from Matthew 19:7-8 that the Pharisees challenged Jesus’ teaching on marriage and divorce. They said Moses commanded a certificate of divorce be written whereas Jesus says that he permitted it to be written because our hearts are hard. We know that this teaching was abused and in particular women were treated badly so Moses provision was to protect women against mistreatment. Matthew 19:1-9 instructs why Jesus says the only condition for divorce is immorality. In marriage 2 people come together and are made one flesh before God. This refers to sexual union but also recognises that that marriage entwines people physically, spiritually & emotionally & provides an opportunity for children which brings ever deepening bonds. God’s purpose for marriage is a lifelong commitment and this means that we need to be careful about not entering into marriage lightly as the Anglican Marriage service exhorts us. Jesus then speaks about the need to be truthful and to keep our Word which is an important compliment to the teaching on marriage. We recognise that marriages do fail because of various reasons. Any divorce is painful and difficult and we believe that in the midst of the high standard of this teaching there is always the offer of God’s grace which brings healing and forgiveness. Rev David O’Mara 

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Integrity in relationships

Integrity in relationships Whenever you reflect on the teaching of Jesus it is important to remember that however hard God’s commands seems they are for our good. Jesus continues to show us that our righteousness must surpass that of the Pharisees - Matthew 5:20. For Christians we are more righteous than the Pharisees because we have Christ’s righteousness credited to us by faith. But we also learn that God is not only interested in outward obedience but is concerned for what is happening in our hearts which is where sin comes from - see Mark 7:20. Jesus teaches us that murder flows from anger and we must deal with this issue. At the heart of anger is pride and treating people with contempt and looking don on them i.e. calling them “Raca” or “fool”. In the same way Jesus affirms that adultery, sex outside of marriage is wrong and this time he focuses on the consequences of this disobedience with a warning of judgement. Why is Jesus so strong about adultery ? For Christians sex is a gift that can’t be separated from the whole relationship of love and commitment. Marriage is about a covenant or commitment of all we are and all we have. The wrong attitude behind adultery is to approach sex from the perspective of being a consumer and what I can get from the person. This attitude is essentially selfish. In fact the word Jesus uses for “lust” is a word connected to greed. This means that adultery or lust is about being greedy and making an idol out of sex. Marriages work well there are no idols and we seek Jesus as the centre of our life. Rev David O’Mara


 

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Blessed by God so we may bless others

Blessed by God so we may bless others In the next section of teaching from Jesus in Matthew 5:13-20 Jesus shows us how the new life that He is growing in us is to be expressed in the world around us. He uses 2 pictures of being Salt and light to communicate God’s purpose for our lives. Salt was used in the ancient world to stop food from rotting and so Jesus expects that we will engage in the world around us and bring hope in Christ. Salt also brings flavour to food and the Christian life invariably points to the beauty of Jesus. The other picture is that of being the light of the world. This implies that our world without Christ is in darkness and needs the light of Christ. As we engage with the world and do good works we will point people to Jesus and what He offers is much better than what the world offers. In the last section 5:17-20 Jesus says that He has come to fulfil the Law. This is great news for us because even though we have failed to obey God’s Law fully Jesus has completely obeyed the Law on our behalf and so now we can rest in His obedience. The Law is still very important for the Christian because through the Law God shows us what He is like and what He requires in terms of Christian living. Our great hope is that in Ezekiel 36:25-27 God writes His law in our hearts so we may obey Him. God’s Blessing - Rev David O’Mara 

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