Well, it happened! Our annual Playgroup and Sunday School Celebration was a great event today. Children participating in Christmas-themed costumes, lots of singing, short and sharp videos of the Sunday School children acting out and talking about some of Jesus’ parables, and of course ‘Hot Dog’ came along to help us to understand God’s ‘big story’ and how the birth and death of Jesus fits into it all. Lunch was great too! Bring on next year!
Because of what Jesus taught in Matthew 5:38-42, some have concluded that Jesus was anti-war and others that he was a pacifist. Though his words have been misinterpreted over the years, Jesus did teach that in the lives of His followers there is no room for taking revenge, there must be much room for our lives for forgiveness and plentiful room in our hearts for love – even for those who would strike, offend or use us. There will be many times when our rights are trodden on. Jesus knew all about that. he chose to give us His rights for our sake and by doing so saved us, that we might be His and learn to live His way of forgiveness in response.
In a day when the Jewish religious found themselves every ‘loophole’ they could find in the Old Testament law about making oaths and promises, in Matthew 5:33-37, Jesus made it very clear that those who were quick to make oaths and promises that they never intended to keep, were avoiding a serious issue. God does not expect His people to only tell the truth when they are forced to swear on oath. The true disciple of Jesus will be known by their honesty and truth-telling. God’s standards remain hight, but there is grace freely given to all who seek it – even to those who have failed to keep their word.
In a day when the Jewish religious found themselves a ‘loophole’ in the Old Testament law about divorce, in Matthew 5:31-32, Jesus made it very clear that the issue goes much deeper than what was popular at the time. Jesus taught that the only ‘biblical ‘grounds for divorce are sexual immorality, and that those who divorce for other reasons end up breaking the seventh commandment if and when they remarry. This is a difficult topic for many, especially when the divorce rate is so high, however God’s standards are there to be followed and we must not forget that His grace is freely given to all who seek it – even to those who have failed to keep their marriage vows.
At our Reformation Sunday Celebration, Rev Dr Douglas Milne preached from Hebrews 13:7, reminding us of the great legacy left behind by the Christian leaders of the Reformation and of those who have walked with God in days gone by, encouraging us all to imitate their faith by trusting in the Lord Jesus to the end.
When dealing with false and slack interpretations of the seventh commandment ‘You shall not commit adultery’, Jesus, in Matthew 5:27-30, made it pretty clear that obedience to the commandment goes much deeper than just refaining from the physical act. Jesus pointed out that the root of adultery begins in the yes and spreads to the heart. Lust is the problem! To show how dangerous this is, Jesus the proceeded to tell men to ‘pluck out their eye’ if their eye offends in this way. He was not meaning this literally, but making a point to show that we should take extreme action to avoid this sin, so that we do not end up suffering more awful consequences.
Oops…human error (mine!) means that the first few minutes are missing from this audio…so what follows here is what was said and you’re welcome to follow the audio from the end of the written part 🙂 Continue reading