There’s no denying that Jesus born in Bethlehem has had a great impact upon the world. There is no-one like him nor has there ever been. So many things set Jesus apart from ordinary human beings, even aspects surrounding His birth. The gospel writer, Luke, set out to establish these things as fact and tells in Luke 1:26-38 that Jesus was born of a virgin. The virgin conception of Jesus has long been hotly disputed, but is so vital to so many aspects of the Christian faith which stands of falls on the test of truth. If it is true, then it is one of the most amazing events ever to happen and should cause us to view Jesus in a totally different light.
Rev Dr Jared Hood preached this message from Luke 19:16-31, reminding us that we live in a world where materialism and ‘worldliness’ seems to be everything that people strive after. But Jesus unmasked the whole idea of worldliness through this parable. The Rich Man had everything. He was clothed with purple and fine linen, but treated Lazarus, a beggar at his gate, with contempt. The real nature of worldliness is callous, selfish and idolatrous and it leads to death not life. Sadly the core of a worldly lifestyle is rebellion. Those who do not want to believe will be not be convinced even if there was the best evidence available – such as someone rising from the dead! The cure for worldliness is to humble yourself and submit to God in repeantance and faith.
Life has many surprises. So do the Scriptures. One of the great surprises in the New Testament is found in the unfolding conversation between the Roman centurion and the Lord Jesus. Although it appears that they never actually met in person, there was a great interaction between them, especially concerning the centurion’s servant’s ill-health. But while the approach the centurion made to Jesus was surprising, so also and even more was the surprising result of the faith the centurion exercised in Jesus that day. The same holds true for any and all who come to Jesus with the kind of faith the centurion knew.
Also, below are some ‘snapshots’ of our Naval Service 2016!
Theories abound as to the link between the suffering that happens on earth and the sin of people. Some say that God always punishes the worst and rewards the best. In Luke 13:1-9, Jesus put this theory to rest. When asked about the aftermath of Pilate’s depravity and the collapse of the Tower of Siloam, Jesus pointed out that the need of the hour was repentance rather than guessing the cause of the tragedy. God does not treat as as our sins deserve. National or personal disasters are a ‘wake up call’ to all, regardless of who is ‘good’ and bad’. Instead we are to produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
Luke 24:13-35 tells of two men who were sad and downcast because they were hoping that Jesus was the one to redeem Israel. But Jesus was handed over to the rulers and crucified. With his death, they lost their hope. But Jesus drew near to them and helped them to see that the plan has always been that the promised Christ must suffer and die, and then enter his glory. All of Scripture points to this, and rather than being the end of hope, His death was the exact opposite and His resurrection from the dead only confirmed the certainty of that hope because He triumphed over death as the risen Lord. Now, in the midst of all the troubles of this life, even with the news of our own impending death, we can know hope, if we come to the one who has died for our sin and risen as our Lord. (no audio available)
Throughout the history of time, people have always been weighed down by some kind of suffering. In Jesus’ day this was no different. in Luke 13:1-21 we find that the sudden deaths of some people who were killed by a murderous Pontius Pilate or by a falling tower, caused some people to approach Jesus and share their concerns with Him. In response, Jesus told them that the problem of suffering is caused by sin in the world, that the solution to the problem of sin is something that only He can deal with and the great incentive that believers look forward to is found in the coming of His Kingdom.
Luke 24 speaks about the great news of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, has a strong theme of ‘open things’. For one thing, the tomb was open and Jesus was no longer dead inside it! This is the strong hope that believers share and sets Christianity apart from other religions. Our founder is still alive and death could not hold Him! Then it speaks of ‘open minds’ as it tells us how Jesus opened the understanding of the disciples with regard to the purpose and message of the Scriptures. Then also it speaks of an ‘open heaven’ into which Jesus returned, but before doing so, challenged his disciples to go out into the world proclaiming the wonderful message of forgiveness of sins in His name.
Len Pearce spoke from Luke 23:13-49 about the connection between Christmas and Easter.
In this message, Rev John Sutherland explores the often overlooked aspect of the miraculous parts of the Christmas story in Luke’s gospel with the hope that believers may have a greater sense of wonder and awe at the great events that make up the birth of Jesus. We have no need to apologise that the very basics of our faith are founded on miraculous events, no matter how many of our own generation may scoff at these things. In our minds we can readily join with the shepherds who had seen the vision of angels and who received the glad tidings of the Saviour’s birth. “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass.”
Russ Grinter’s message on Luke 18 concerns the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax collector. Jesus told this parable to warn those who trusted in themselves and looked down upon others, or in other words, the self-righteous. Because ‘God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble’, it was the tax-collector and not the Pharisee who received the grace that saves. Even within our increasingly secular Australia, self-righteousness still remains and it is still a barrier to receiving the salvation that God offers.