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The Journal

God's Judgement is Just

Dear Friends,

Dear Friends, It is incredible how much turmoil there is the world. Apart from the current places of sustained conflict such as Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq there have recently been terrorist or unprovoked attacks in France, Japan, Ansbach, Wuerzburg, Munich, Reutlingen Germany. What is happening in our world? There is a growing level of violence occurring in unprecedented ways. Respect for traditional authority structures have broken down as well as a disregard for the sanctity of life. As we have been travelling through Genesis we have been reminded that people are created in the image of God and therefore are valuable. But as the human race began to disregard God and His laws there was an accompanying disrespect for the sanctity of life. In Genesis 6:11-12 we see a picture of corruption and violence in the world which has become an epidemic. In the days of Noah the world was a very unsafe place to live because people disregarded God and this led them to disregard people. Respect had gone out the window. As a result of this God states in 6:13 that he will send judgement and wipe out the world. When we speak about God’s judgement many people feel uncomfortable about this.  

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God's Boundaries

Dear Friends,

Thankyou for all who covered Cheryl and my responsibilities while we were away and for your prayers for our holiday. God graciously blessed us. Visiting numerous art galleries and museums across Europe was very stimulating and provided much material for reflection because art expresses the cultural context in which the artist lived. At the Pergamon Museum in Berlin there were various artefacts from the Babylonian period including items from the kingdoms of Nebuchadnezzar and Darius. 

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2 Ways to Respond to God

Dear Friends,

Today we have a brief interlude from Genesis as Rev Peter Adkins from BCA helps us think about mission to the lost within Australia from Matthew 7:13-29. Matthew ,a follower of Jesus and a Gospel writer is seeking to show that Jesus is the fulfilment of God’s promises in the Old Testament to send a Messiah or special king who will save God’s people. Matthew opens his Gospel with a genealogy to show that Jesus is the seed of Abraham and of David and so has the right pedigree to be the Messiah. In Chp 7 Matthew is showing us that just as God gave the Law in the Old Testament Jesus Himself has God’s approval and gives God’s law with authority. In Matthew 7 Jesus is calling people to listen to His Words and build their lives on His Word – Matthew 7:26. Jesus is teaching God’s Word and the people recognize His authority. In Joshua 24:15-16 the people are on the verge of entering the promised land so Joshua has set before them God’s Word and God’s call on their lives.  

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God Can Heal

Dear Friends,

In Genesis 5:1 the presence of God’s image in people is reaffirmed. Despite the failure of Adam and Eve (Chp 3) and then the growth of sin in (Chp 4) God has not abandoned the world. Even though God is still committed to the human race death is a present reality. Chapter 5 says 8 times that various people “died”. We are brought face to the face that when Adam and Eve sinned death entered the world and this sentence of death continues to hang over us. Paul teaches us 1 Corinthians 15:26 that the last enemy is death. I have just read an amazing testimony from Bishop Ivan Lee as he faces death. He has pancreatic cancer and is currently in remission. As a Christian we know that God can heal but our greatest hope is that death has been conquered through Jesus.  

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Where Sin Abounds - The Right Reverend Dr Michael Stead

Dear Friends,

Introduction: An avalanche of sin. It is a pleasure to be with you this morning, to continuing your sermon series in the book of Genesis. This morning, we are looking at Genesis 4. In the preceding chapter, humanity committed just one sin, one act of disobedience, as Adam and Eve sought to be like God. You may well think – “Look, it was only one piece of fruit - what’s the big deal?” The big deal is that one act of disobedience triggered an avalanche of sin in subsequent generations. By the time we get to Gen 6, it says that man's wickedness had become so great “that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time”. Genesis 4 sits in between Gen 3 and Gen 6 to show us how humanity moved from ‘one piece of fruit’ to ‘every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time’! It shows how sin took hold of Cain… and how sin takes hold of us. The chapter shows how God responds to sin, and it also gives us a hint about God’s solution to the problem. As we look at Gen 4 together today, can I encourage you to have your bible’s open + sermon outlines…  

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Do Not Allow Sin to Grow

Dear Friends,

As we make our way through Genesis chapter 4 teaches us that the sin of Adam and Eve in disobeying God and thinking they knew better than Him is present in their children. The Bible teaches us that all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory (Rom 3:23). The disease of sin affects all human beings. We see this sin expressed in rivalry and anger and jealousy and that this sin escalates. The story of Abel and Cain is a warning to not allow sin to grow and develop but to face it quickly and repent of it. Both Cain and Abel brought offerings to the Lord (Gen 4:3-4) but God looked with favour on Abel and his offering but not Cain and his offering & Cain’s response was jealousy. Abel brought the fat portions or the best portions of the animal and Cain brought some offerings of fruits of the soil.  

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The Sins of Today

Dear Friends,

Understanding Genesis 3 is so important for our understanding of life as we experience it today. Genesis 1 and 2 explain that God has made this world good and He has blessed us with everything we need to enjoy in life. Consequently we may ask why do so many things go wrong & why is there is so much suffering in the world today? To answer this question we need to understand Genesis 3 and how the sin of people has brought pain and death and suffering into the world. Many years ago The Times London newspaper posed the question – What’s wrong with the world today? GK Chesterton an influential Christian responded :- Dear Sir, I am. Chesterton’s response has encapsulated the teaching of the Bible that the mess of the world is caused by our sinfulness and disobedience to God’s Word. The New Testament assumes the historicity of story of the temptation by Satan and the deception of Adam and Eve.  

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The Panoramic View

Dear Friends,

The book of Genesis is as its name communicates is about beginnings. We need to under-stand what God is teaching us because then we will understand ourselves just like a manual describes the purpose of a product so Genesis describes God’s purpose for us and how we work best. Chapter 1 of Genesis gives a panoramic view of God and His world and His purposes. Genesis 2 pictures for us a more intimate detail of God’s relationship with people and with the world. Interestingly in chapter 1 the name of God is His general name God but in 2:4b he is the Lord God or Yahweh. This is His covenant name which indicates that God’s purpose is for relationship with human beings. Human beings are like animals in that they are formed from the dust of the earth 2:7 but we are unlike animals in that God personally breathed his breath of life into us. Even the way we have been created indicates that God wants to be involved intimately with us.  

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God & Science

Dear Friends,

In preparing for Genesis 1 I have been reading John Lennox’s book - Seven Days that divide the world. Lennox is a professor of Mathematics at Oxford University and an apologist for the Christian faith. He is an excellent communicator and has debated with Richard Dawkins who is a renowned atheist. He says of Dawkins :- “One of Richard Dawkin’s main God Delusion arguments is that if God created everything, we would have to ask who created God. But the very asking of this question reveals at once that Dawkins has in mind a created God. However, the God revealed in Genesis is uncreated so that the “who created argument falls to the ground. Dawkin’s difficulty must be that he cannot believe in something eternal. Why not? Science certainly does not tell us that there is nothing eternal. Furthermore if Dawkins question is valid, it can be turned back on him. He believes that the universe created him. Therefore we are justified in asking him: who created your creator…. Thus for the atheist the ultimate reality is the universe and for the theist the ultimate reality is God.” Pg 95 

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Blessed

Dear Friends,

The sermon on the mount is one of the most well remembered teaching segments from the Bible. The repetitive phrase “blessed” is key to understanding the passage. Some people have interpreted this as “happy”. This is however too narrow a definition because happiness is focused on how we are feeling. Rather being blessed is God’s favour towards us. The sermon on the mount is not teaching a simple formula that if we do A we will get B. Jesus is explaining that when these character traits are evidenced in our lives we have God’s favour working in our lives ! In Matthew 5:1-2 we learn that Jesus is speaking to the disciples and so He is explaining what it means to be in the Kingdom. This is consistent with the fact that becoming a Christian is a gift which is offered to us and we receive by repentance of sin and faith in Jesus’ death.  

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