The Christian Church has been long divided over whether or not the children of Christians should receive the sacrament of baptism or not. As a Presbyterian Church we believe they should, and that the covenant promises of God to Abraham still stand. While this is an important aspect of what we believe, it is still not the gospel and not worth breaking faith over. Even so, God’s promise of salvation is to ‘you and your children’ (Acts 2:39)
Psalms 132,133 and 134 are three psalms that are linked by a common theme of being part of the ‘songs of ascent’ that were sung by the people of Israel going up to Jerusalem. Psalm 132 highlights that the city of Jerusalem was the city where God’s King lived. Psalm 133 celebrates the unity of the people of God in that city, and Psalm 134’s focus is upon the worship of God’s Name that happened there by day and night. Heaven will be all this and more for God’s people upon a ‘pilgrim journey’ to that heavenly city. (First preached March 2013)
Bendigo Presbyterian will be meeting in person this week, 21 February. Our radio service podcast will also continue on 105.1 Life FM from 9.30am. Please continue to pray for those who are sick, vulnerable and our medical workers and leaders, and the roll out of vaccines, asking that the virus will continue to be contained.
We are constantly bombarded with news, but what our world really needs to hear is truly good news! Mark wrote his gospel to give us the truly good news of Jesus the God-Man king, who came to conquer Satan, Sin and death (Mark 1:1-15). This is amazing news that when understood rightly will turn your life around. Will you believe it?
“You cannot serve God and money.” Jesus illustrates his teaching in Luke 16:10-31 with a story about a rich man and a poor man who live very different lives and come to very different lives after death. The warning is not only for those who are rich, yet poor toward God but also a warning to heed the Scriptures.
In Luke 16, Jesus tells another parable where an unjust steward—or dishonest manager—wasted his master’s possessions. This reminds us of the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) where in the far county he wasted his inheritance in reckless living. Yet here the steward is commended as wise since “the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light”. Our Lord would have us be exceptions to the rule by using our wealth wisely and making friends for ourselves by mean of unrighteous wealth, so that they may receive us into the eternal dwellings. Heaven cannot be bought – but we can invest for eternity.
Is that all there is? For the Christian there is more and a great hope. While we wait, how is our focus? Fixed on the distance or stuck on foreground? In 2 Peter 3:1-13, Peter warns that there will be scoffers, just as always. Are we waiting like Joshua and Caleb (Numbers 13) or like the other ten?
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury Signifying nothing.
Relationships. According to the way the world thinks, they’re everything. The best that life can offer. In some ways that is true…but what happens when relationships go sour? In 1 Corinthians 7:6-11, Paul gives some answers towards those questions. Not everyone will end up in a relationship. Not every relationship will stay together. Singleness is a gift of God. Divorce needs to be thought about in the light of the Word of God. If we do not allow God the control of our relationships, then the idol we make them into can surely crumble.
In 1 Kings 18:20-40, the rubber really ‘hits the road’. All that Elijah has been through in chapter 17 and all his interactions with King Ahab have been leading up to the showdown that these verses describe – fittingly, upon the top of a mountain (Carmel). Lots of important events happen on mountain tops in the Scriptures and this event is no less important in pointing us to the ‘Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29).
Being incarcerated for preaching the gospel of Jesus would be no fun. Especially not if you were being held there until your imminent execution. While that was the case for the Apostle Peter in Acts 12:1-25, God had other plans and these plans not only brought about peter’s release, they also served to spread the gospel message of Jesus even further than before. The whole incident brought two things together as well – the mystery of the will of God and the prayers of His people – somehow they fit together!