As part of Christian Union Sunday, Steve Blyth from CU preached from Matthew 11:1-15. In this passage, John the Baptist introduces Jesus to the world but is a confused messenger. He asks to check if Jesus is the one we’ve been waiting for and what he has come to do. Jesus reassures him from the Old Testament prophecies concerning himself and commends John’s message as he prepared the way. Yet we now have a greater perspective than even John as we live on the other side of the cross and Jesus’ resurrection. We have the privilege of introducing Jesus to others as we share the hope that we have in him.
Rev Ian Brown preached from Romans 8:18-39, where we are encouraged to see beyond our suffering to our hope which comes through Jesus’ death and the life that comes in his resurrection. Our salvation is not based on our own goodness or anything else but Jesus. We groan under the weight of sin and long to see Jesus face-to-face. Yet we already have this inheritance and it shapes our prayers and our life now.
Guest speaker Len preaches from John 4:1-42. Jesus has an appointment to pass through Samaria, but the woman he meets needs that meeting. This passage about the Woman of Samaria is all about Jesus and his character – he did not see people as others did. How do we see people? Do we offer hope? Jesus asks the women for a drink from the well but offers her living water (compare with John 7). This living water is his Holy Spirit, that Jesus’ saving work at the cross might be applied to our lives. As the passage goes on, we learn more about who Jesus is. The woman – of low standing and bad reputation – realises that Jesus is the Christ, she has received forgiveness and forgets her task at the well to tell the whole town. Be sure that you have met Jesus. Like Jesus, be no respecter of persons (looking up or down on anyone). Drink deeply of that living water that you cannot help but speak of it!
In Psalm 100, we have an invitation to come into God’s presence and serve him with gladness. We do this because of his good character and his care for us, his people, in so many ways. The returned exiles might not have always felt that joy in worship and we might struggle at times too. They were looking forward and we look back on God’s greatest expression of his steadfast love – sending the Good Shepherd, Jesus. We reflect on God’s Word to “Know the Lord” and be reminded of his goodness, which shapes our lives of service.
Our series on Ezra is well underway, but you might like to keep reading. Check out this video overview of the Old Testament books of Ezra and Nehemiah from The Bible Project to whet your appetite!
The greeting in Titus 1:1-4, at the start of Paul’s letter, is a preview and an overview: the truth about Jesus accords with godliness. For the Christian, belief in Jesus ought to be reflected in our behaviour as we seek to be more like him. But our good works don’t save us – Jesus is the saviour. At Christmas, we celebrate God’s grace shown to us and have the privilege of reflecting that grace to others.
Len Pearce spoke from Luke 23:13-49 about the connection between Christmas and Easter.
On Christmas Day, Rev Russ Grinter asked, “Who do you worship?” Who or what is worthy to give yourself to? We all worship but worshipping people, stuff or self leaves us incomplete. In Matthew 2:1-12 we read about the Wise Guys who came to worship Jesus, the Wrong Guys who didn’t and see that Wise Guys today worship and have the joy of Jesus.