All Souls Anglican Church | 02 9569 2646
The Journal

The goal is love

The goal is love In Galatians 5:1-15 Paul reminds the Christians of who they are in Christ. They have freedom. They are free from condemnation, they are free from fear and guilt and so because of their new identity in Christ we are to stand firm and not allow ourselves to be burdened by the slavery of trying to obey the Law as a basis for acceptance before God. Standing firm is a military term and carries the idea of being vigilant and not letting yourself be robbed of Christ’s blessing through the lies of the devil. Anything other than faith alone in Christ is slavery. Jesus spoke about the yoke he gives which brings rest in Matthew 11. Jesus means that we rest from trying to prove ourselves or justify ourselves. If these Christians agree to be circumcised then they are committing themselves to obey the whole Law as the basis for salvation. The Christian life is lived through the power of the Spirit by faith. We make progress and grow in the Christian life in the same way that we first became followers of Jesus. It is through faith alone in what Jesus has done. We must not forget that we are righteous through faith v6. This new identity however is not an excuse to go about and sin. In fact if we have faith in Christ we have a new nature which is loved by God and so wants to please God because of the great security which we already have. Throughout this passage Paul highlights that our motive for doing things is very important. The Christian motivation is faith which expresses itself through love. True faith in Jesus leads to loving others. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara 

Continue Reading..

Depending on God for righteousness

Depending on God for righteousness In Galatians 4:8-20 Paul is shocked that the Galatians are leaving the Gospel which brings freedom and listening to the false teachers. Before these people became Christians they were Gentile pagans and worshipped a variety of idols which affected every part of their life. In 4:8-9 Paul says that their desire to return to the basic principles of this world which are weak and miserable and have no power to change them is like embracing idolatry again. In 4:10 he indicates that these Christians are adopting special days and and seasons as a basis for their confidence before God. We are always tempted to trust in what we do to be right with God. The Bible says that at the Cross Jesus completed the work of salvation and we need do nothing else to be right with God except trust alone in what Christ has done. This is humbling because in life we are use to earning things and the importance of our performance for our sense of value. But with God it is all about grace. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara  

Continue Reading..

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  

Continue Reading..

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 

Continue Reading..

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  

Continue Reading..

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 

Continue Reading..

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 

Continue Reading..

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 

Continue Reading..

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 

Continue Reading..

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  

Continue Reading..