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The Journal

Truth matters

Truth matters One of the major issues faced by the early church was how Jewish Christians would relate to Gentile Christians. In Galatians 2:11-21 Paul confronts Peter because Peter has stopped eating with Gentile Christians. God had showed Peter in Acts 10-11 through a vision that God accepts all people through the blood of Christi alone and so Peter was very comfortable to eat with Gentile Christians. But then some Jewish Christians from Jerusalem told Peter that the Gentile Christians needed to believe in Jesus’ death plus be circumcised and follow the law of Moses for salvation - see also Acts 15:1,5. Peter was afraid of these people and so stopped eating with Gentile Christians. Paul says that Peter is not acing in line with the truth of the Gospel 2:14. He expounds the heart of the message of Jesus’ death for our sins through using a term called justification. This means that through the death of Christ we are no longer under God’s condemnation and we are put right with God that we may enjoy friendship with Him. The way that a person is justified is through faith. That is it is a gift from God and so the Gentile Christians don’t need to be circumcised or obey the Law of Moses for salvation. In 2:21 Paul speaks about living the Christian life through Christ who lives in Him. This means that we are united with Christ through faith and our sins are forgiven and we have God’s power to follow Him through faith. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara 

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Commissioning Daisy with Interserve

Commissioning Daisy with Interserve today we are sending Daisy out to serve at a school in SEAsia with Interserve. We believe that it is right under God to send Daisy out to share the word of God and her life with people in the community where she will live and work. She will be looking to us to pray regularly for her and to give financially and also to keep in touch by email. The passage set for today is Galatians 2:1-10. It speaks of Paul defending the truth of the Gospel and of the fact that this Gospel of Jesus was effective because Titus , a non Jew who was not circumcised had come to faith in the Lord. Behind this passage lays the great issue of how the Jewish and Gentile Christians would learn to relate to one another. There were some who were seeking to impose Jewish practises upon the Gentile converts such as the need to be circumcised and obey the Law of Moses as a basis for salvation. Paul is directed by the Lord to go Jerusalem and is concerned that the future of Gospel message is at stake because of these false teachers who were perverting the Gospel. Paul is teaching us that it is through Christ alone that people are saved and come into the Kingdom. We see this conflict play out in Acts 15 as the Jerusalem Council discussed this issue of Gentile converts and what would be required of them. Paul makes a strong stand refusing to accept these requirements be added. He saw it as an attempt to attack the Gospel freedom which they had found in Christ. God accepts people from all nations who put their faith in Jesus alone. This is the message Daisy carries with her to SEAsia and we believe people will come to faith. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara 

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The one who forgives

SRE Invitational Sunday we have invited students and families to attend our services from local schools where we teach SRE to give thanks to the Lord for what He is doing in our schools and to pray for our local schools and principals and teachers. Shion and David teach SRE at Leichhardt and Kegworth PS and we have children from our church who also attend Orange Grove PS. At our evening service we will focus on Sydney Secondary College, Balmain and Leichhardt Campuses where Katie Stringer teaches. In Mark 2:1-12 Jesus heals the paralysed man whilst he has been preaching the word. This was Jesus’ core business to explain what is the Kingdom of God and how we enter through repentance and faith in Jesus. In this particular incident Jesus heals a paralysed man before He performs physical healing . He prioritises spiritual healing by first declaring that the man’s sins are forgiven. The sequence is instructive because Jesus indicates that our greatest need is forgiveness of sins. Further his declaration of forgiveness of sins is a recognition by Jesus of his identity as the Son of God. The teachers of the Law understand that Jesus sees himself as God, the son. David O’Mara 

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Leopards can change their spots

God’s amazing grace I remember growing up hearing an old saying - a leopard can’t change its spots meaning that people can’t change. Whilst we recognise that change is very difficult and involves hard work and discipline we do believe that change through the power of Christ is possible. Paul in Galatians 1:11-24 shares his testimony that in his previous way of life 1:13 he persecuted the church. He says that he was very zealous for Judaism but things changed when God broke into his life through a revelation of Jesus. Today many people think that it is too difficult for Muslims to come to faith in Jesus. However there are many well known and documented stories of Jesus revealing himself to Muslims and them coming to faith. Paul wants the Christians to understand that this message of Christ is not made up. He does this by indicating that he didn’t go immediately to see the apostles. In fact he went into Arabia for a time. Paul would have been praying and listening to the Lord and studying the Old Testament Scriptures because these testify about the Lord Jesus and the coming of God’s servant and Messiah. Paul sees that his conversion to Christ was purely by the grace of God. In fact he sees that this was no accident because God set him apart from the womb 1:15. This should give us confidence when we are sharing our faith. We can’t make people become Christians rather it is the power of the Gospel of Jesus which can transform people and open their hearts. Paul reports in 1:23-24 that the churches which Paul began to visit reported that the man that who previously persecuted us is now preaching the faith. Let us be bold to believe that God can break into the lives of unlikely people in our community. Rev David O’Mara  

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The uniqueness of the Gospel

The uniqueness of the Gospel Today we begin a new series on the book of Galatians. In 1:1-9 Paul informs us that the Christians at Galatia are being led astray by a false Gospel 1:6. It seems that there are other people, most likely false teachers who are perverting the Gospel of Christ 1:7. Paul is very strong in his use of words and says about those who preach a false Gospel :- let them be cursed. Some people may be surprised by this but Paul knows that a lot is at stake. A false Gospel has no power to save people because it ultimately depends on self effort. Right at the outset of this letter Paul affirms his credentials or his CV and says that he is an apostle sent by Jesus Christ. We remember that Paul was called by a vision of Jesus while he was on the road to Damascus to persecute and imprison Christians - see Acts Acts 9. We are reminded that our faith is not made up by people but is revealed through Jesus. We can only know what God is truly like because Jesus has revealed Himself to us. There is always a temptation to change God’s message and substitute it with our own ideas. That is why we can’t change the Gospel because to do so would distort God’s Word. Paul reminds us that at the centre of this Gospel message is Jesus and his death and resurrection see 1:1,3. It is a message about God’s grace. This is God’s favour and kindness offered to us even though we don’t deserve it. Grace is essential because we can’t save ourselves nor deliver ourselves from sin and so God’s grace provides hope that we can come to God and find Him and He welcomes us. Rev David O’Mara 

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