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The Journal

The privilege of being God's children

Adopted children of God One of the most dynamic truths in the Bible is that God adopts us as His children through the work of the Holy Spirit. Paul uses the expression that we are clothed with Christ and equates this with being baptised into Christ 3:27. This union with Christ is expressed through God sending His Spirits into our hearts so that He calls out Abba Father. This means that we are God’s children who are safe and secure and can enjoy our relationship with Him and thrive. Our Christian faith is first and foremost based on what Christ has done. There is great joy in this because it means that we can experience God’s love for us personally. The work of Christ on the Cross is external but the work of the Spirit is internal and He impacts our whole being. Paul is indicating that the Spirit helps and enables us to call God our Father. Our adoption as children of God means that all God’s resources are available to us to enjoy and to strengthen us to follow Jesus. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara  

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Promise and fulfilment

Promise and fulfilment one way to get a handle on understanding the Bible is to use the framework of promise and fulfilment. In Galatians 3:15-25 Paul teaches us that before the Law came God initiated the relationship with Abraham through a promise of blessing to those who put their faith in God and His promises. We are taught that the blessings we receive from God are not achieved by obeying the Law. Paul establishes the logic of this teaching by explaining that the promises to Abraham came before the Law. In 3:18 he teaches that our relationship with God is based on grace or God’s undeserved favour towards us. So much of life is built on earning and deserving god things but the Bible says that God operates differently. He invites us into a relationship with Him based on the promises He gave to Abraham. Importantly these promises to Abraham find their fulfilment in Jesus who is able to give life. The Law shows us our need of forgiveness of sins through Jesus. But the Law has no power to forgive sin and to change our lives. This means that because these promises find fulfilment in Christ when we put our faith in Jesus we find God’s favour because of what Christ has done. We no longer have to strive to win approval with God or justify our existence because God loves us and offers us the opportunity of eternal life and a relationship with Him based on His promise - a gift. There is nothing more secure than this because God doesn’t break His promises. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara 

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Gospel Impact

Gospel Impact today we welcome Rev Ted Brush from BCA. Ted will be sharing about the ministry of BCA supporting Gospel workers throughout Australia. We already support James and Brittany Daymond who serve in Narromine with BCA. The opening of John 1:1-18 sounds like Genesis and this is intentional because God is doing something new and momentous and creative, even greater than the creation of the world. He is sending the word of God who we understand in 1:14 is Jesus Himself who became flesh. There is a mystery about the opening 4 verses because the Word is separate from God and yet is God and is also with God. This is the doctrine of the Trinity being described and especially as later in 1:32 we learn of the Spirit descending on Jesus at His baptism. We learn in these verses that we were made by God for God. Jesus is the source of all life and it is clear that if we reject or ignore Jesus we are cutting ourselves off from the source of life. That is why this world and we as people are not functioning well because we have not recognised Jesus and have not received Him 1:10-11 and mess up ourselves and others. Yet the passage is very hopeful because God offers us the incredible privilege of being His children through faith in Him and the work of the Spirit 1:12. This is why organisations such as BCA put such a strong emphasis on telling people about Jesus through the Word of God where there is little Gospel ministry. We are reminded in 1:14,18 that we can know God because Jesus comes close to us and reveals Himself us. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara  

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Gospel Impact

Gospel Impact in chapters 1-2 Paul has explained that the Gospel he preaches is from God and is not made up and that he must at all costs stand up for the truth of the Gospel - see 2:5,14. Now in chapter 3:1-14 Paul addresses the Galatians that when they first heard the message of Christ crucified it made a deep impact. The use of the word “clearly” is from a Greek word meaning graphically and when combined with the phrase “before your very eyes” Paul is indicating that then message of Jesus touched them deeply. Paul uses the term “eyes” in Ephesians 1:18 when praying for the eyes of the hearts of believers to be opened to the hope of Christ - that they will have and experience eternal life. The preaching of the Cross is accompanied by the work of the Spirit which results in our adoption as God’s children. Our most powerful experience of the Spirit is when we experience God’s love as His children being free of condemnation. Paul says we receive this gift through faith 3:8. He explains justification by referring to Abraham 3:6 who we remember was justified by faith or credited with righteousness - Genesis 15:6. To be justified is synonymous with being blessed and means to have God’s favour. We can’t be justified by obeying the law 3:10-11 because none of us actually obeys the law. He urges us to trust in what Christ has done in dying for our sins alone. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara 

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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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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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