150th Anniversary Service and message

On Sunday September 11th, 2022, the St John’s congregation celebrated its 150th anniversary (yes, the congregation was formed on September 8th, 1872). To praise God for His faithfulness and blessing upon us, a celebration service was held at which the PCV Moderator, Rev Peter Phillips, preached the message entitled ‘God’s Word for God’s World’ (the theme chosen by the Session for our anniversary year!)


Full service

‘All of God’s free grace’ (Luke 18:9-14)

In this message, Rev Peter Phillips reminds us that in the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in Luke 18:9-14, Jesus gives us a very clear picture of how salvation is never earned or merited, but is always given freely by God to those who are undeserving. It is the not the self-righteous ‘good’ who make it in God’s eyes, but those who come to Him in complete humility and repentance. All this, is of course, a gift of God’s free grace.


00:00 Welcome
Song: And Can It Be
00:17 Introduction
00:35 Prayer
03:30 Bible reading: 2 Chronicles 33:1-20
Song: We Are His People
08:31 Kids’ Talk – Colin Buchanan (with thanks to Compassion)
18:08 Bible reading: Luke 18:9-14
Song: Jesus Strong and Kind
Sermon: Luke 18:9-14
Song: Rock of Ages
19:19 Closing

Moderator’s Address

Moderator Peter Phillips and Lorraine Phillips

On Tuesday, 5th October 2021, Rev Peter Phillips was appointed as the Moderator of the General Assembly of Presbyterian Church of Victoria.

This address was recorded on the 23rd September at Bendigo Presbyterian for the Assembly, which was held remotely.

Congratulations to Peter and we look forward to having you and Lorraine represent the Presbyterian Church of Victoria.

‘The parable of the persistent widow’ (Luke 18:1-8)

This sermon on Luke 18:1-8 by guest preacher, Rev Peter Phillips, tackles some of the biggest questions in life. “Why is there injustice in the world? What is God doing about it? What should the response of God’s people be to injustice?” All these questions circle around us and pervade our society everyday and while it is easy to get waylaid by their pressing nature, this parable urges God’s people to prayer, patience and perseverance – all things that we need God’s help to do and do well!

Full service

00:00 Welcome
Song: Come Thou Almighty King
00:17 Introduction
00:40 Prayer
04:50 Bible reading: Psalm 10:1-18
Song: See Him Coming
07:09 Kids’ Talk
Song: Revelation 3:20
11:48 Bible reading: Luke 17:11-18:8
Song: By Faith We See the Hand of God
15:56 Sermon: Luke 18:1-8
Song: Be Still My Soul
45:00 Closing

‘The Graciousness of God’s Grace’ (Luke 17:1-10)

On what basis are we accepted before God? In Luke 17:1-10, Jesus says his followers are unworthy servants. God owes us nothing and we owe him everything because he has accepted us by grace through faith alone. Hearing him, the disciples ask Jesus to increase their faith but they – and we – don’t need more faith so much as true faith. Having been forgiven, we forgive others – not to impress anyone but merely having “done what was our duty” (v10).

‘Using worldly wealth wisely’ (Luke 16:1-18)

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.

‘Welcomed into God’s Kingdom’ (Luke 14:15-24)

God spreads a banquet for all peoples yet the self-righteous are unwilling to enter the kingdom. They give weak excuses to justify their unbelief and despised the sinners who came readily. Sinners who know they need a saviour enter the kingdom instead of those who rejected the invitation. Jesus tells a parable in Luke 14:15-24 that shows our need – are we willing to accept the invitation and welcome others into God’s kingdom?