Sermons

Our Weekly Message

November 3, 2017
03 Nov 2017

Matthew 22:34-46

The Greatest Commandment
34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Whose Son Is the Messiah?
41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”

“The son of David,” they replied.

43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says,

44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies
under your feet.”’
45 If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” 46 No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.

This passage on the Greatest Commandment is about love – both of God and our neighbours – but also about truth. Once again the pharisees try to trick Jesus with their questions but only lies can be caught out in this way while the truth can not. The Old Testament scriptures said that the Messiah would come from the line of David, and Joseph (who was married to Mary) was indeed directly descended from David in human genealogy (Matt 1 6-16). Jesus though always refers to “My Father in Heaven” meaning that He is the Son of God and David too referred to the Messiah as his Lord – not his son.

Our Weekly Message

October 22, 2017
22 Oct 2017

Matthew 22:15-22

Paying the Imperial Tax to Caesar
15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?”

18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They
brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”

21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.

Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.

The Pharisees – in the way of those who have turned away from God, again try to trick Jesus into giving them an excuse to arrest him, but this fails with the answer He gives them. The money that is paid to Caesar was created by Caesar and therefore is his to demand. Today’s parallel might be the government. God though created and owns the Earth and all that is in it, including us humans. What then can we give to Him who already owns us?

We were made with our own free will, so we can use that free will and choose to follow God, and devote our time and effort to Him rather than to other things…

 

Our Weekly Message

October 16, 2017
16 Oct 2017

Matthew 22:1-14

The Parable of the Wedding Banquet
22 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.

4 “Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’

5 “But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. 6 The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

As in the Parable of the Vineyard, this parable tells of the people turning away from God and rejecting the ones (prophets) that He sends to speak to them. They are too busy to listen and would in any case rather do their own thing.These people then lose their place in the Kingdom of Heaven and others are invited in their place – both good and bad. The one not in wedding clothes represents the ones who have still not accepted God’s Word and Jesus as Lord, and who continue to trust in other things. They shall not enter the Kingdom.

 

Our Weekly Message

October 8, 2017
08 Oct 2017

Matthew 21:33-46the tenants in the vineyard

The Parable of the Tenants
33 “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.

35 “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. 37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.

38 “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ 39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”

41 “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”

42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:

“‘The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
the Lord has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. 44 Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”

45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. 46 They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.

In this parable the vineyard represents the world, and the farmers the pharisees and religious leaders entrusted with it. God is represented by the landowner, and the prophets he sent by the servants, while Jesus is the landowner’s son. So those appointed to do God’s work rejected his word along with those He sent. Their inability or unwillingness to learn was illustrated when, even after hearing the parable, they plotted to have the Son Jesus arrested. God will instead entrust the world and all in it to those who listen to his word and follow Him while those who reject Him will perish.

Our Weekly Message

October 1, 2017
01 Oct 2017

Matthew 21:23-32

The Authority of Jesus Is Questioned
23 Jesus entered the temple courtyard. While he was teaching there, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “Who gave you this authority?”

24 Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 Where did John’s baptism come from? Was it from heaven? Or did it come from human authority?”

They talked to one another about it. They said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But what if we say, ‘From human authority’? We are afraid of the people. Everyone believes that John was a prophet.”

27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”

Jesus said, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I am doing these things either.

The Story of the Two Sons
28 “What do you think about this? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’

29 “ ‘I will not,’ the son answered. But later he changed his mind and went.

30 “Then the father went to the other son. He said the same thing. The son answered, ‘I will, sir.’ But he did not go.

31 “Which of the two sons did what his father wanted?”

“The first,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “What I’m about to tell you is true. Tax collectors and prostitutes will enter the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 John came to show you the right way to live. And you did not believe him. But the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. You saw this. But even then you did not turn away from your sins and believe him.

The chief priests and elders behave like the second son who pays lip service to his father’s request but fail to act on it. They are supposed to be the spiritual leaders of their people but fail to see the authority of God in John – or in Jesus- preferring to trust in their own importance instead. Maybe they did believe John to be a prophet but if they acknowledged him to be so it might have undermined their own authority for that was all they were interested in – not the truth so they would rather avoid the question. How many of today’s politicians behave like this?

The first son refused his father’s request but when he thought more about it he did as instructed. Likewise the tax collectors and prostitutes did the same; they were not perfect – sinners even – but they did come to believe John and Jesus had been sent by God which was more than the religious leaders did. They therefore would enter the Kingdom of Heaven ahead of the self righteous leaders.

Our Weekly Message

September 24, 2017
24 Sep 2017

Matthew 20:1-16

The Story of the Workers in the Vineyard
20 “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who owned land. He went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to give them the usual pay for a day’s work. Then he sent them into his vineyard.

3 “About nine o’clock in the morning he went out again. He saw others standing in the market doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard. I’ll pay you what is right.’ 5 So they went.

“He went out again about noon and at three o’clock and did the same thing. 6 About five o’clock he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

7 “ ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.

“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard spoke to the person who was in charge of the workers. He said, ‘Call the workers and give them their pay. Begin with the last ones I hired. Then go on to the first ones.’

9 “The workers who were hired about five o’clock came. Each received the usual day’s pay. 10 So when those who were hired first came, they expected to receive more. But each of them also received the usual day’s pay. 11 When they received it, they began to complain about the owner. 12 ‘These people who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said. ‘You have paid them the same as us. We have done most of the work and have been in the hot sun all day.’

13 “The owner answered one of them. ‘Friend,’ he said, ‘I’m being fair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for the usual day’s pay? 14 Take your money and go. I want to give the one I hired last the same pay I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Do you feel cheated because I gave so freely to the others?’

16 “So those who are last will be first. And those who are first will be last.”

In this parable God is represented by the vineyard owner and the people by the workers in the vineyard. God’s reward for those who choose to follow Him is everlasting life and this is the case regardless of when you  do so. In other words it is the same for those who have followed Him all their lives as for those who begin to follow Him much later. The “payment” is not then a reward for how long you have followed God but a free gift for all his followers both lifelong and new.

Our Weekly Message

September 18, 2017
18 Sep 2017

In the following parable Jesus explains not only how forgiveness works; but also that we must treat others how we would want to be treated ourselves. The bad servant – even after having been forgiven himself – did not forgive the second servant and so ended up being treated how he had treated the other man. If he had learned his lesson and forgiven the second servant then he too would have remained forgiven.

Matthew 18:21-35

The Servant Who Had No Mercy
21 Peter came to Jesus. He asked, “Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but 77 times.

23 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to collect all the money his servants owed him. 24 As the king began to do it, a man who owed him 10,000 bags of gold was brought to him. 25 The man was not able to pay. So his master gave an order. The man, his wife, his children, and all he owned had to be sold to pay back what he owed.

26 “Then the servant fell on his knees in front of him. ‘Give me time,’ he begged. ‘I’ll pay everything back.’ 27 His master felt sorry for him. He forgave him what he owed and let him go.

28 “But then that servant went out and found one of the other servants who owed him 100 silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he said.

29 “The other servant fell on his knees. ‘Give me time,’ he begged him. ‘I’ll pay it back.’

30 “But the first servant refused. Instead, he went and had the man thrown into prison. The man would be held there until he could pay back what he owed. 31 The other servants saw what had happened and were very angry. They went and told their master everything that had happened.

32 “Then the master called the first servant in. ‘You evil servant,’ he said. ‘I forgave all that you owed me because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on the other servant just as I had mercy on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers. He would be punished until he paid back everything he owed.

35 “This is how my Father in heaven will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Our Weekly Message

September 10, 2017
10 Sep 2017

Matthew 18:15-20

Dealing With Sin in the Church
15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Our Weekly Message

September 3, 2017
03 Sep 2017

Matthew 16:21-28

Jesus Predicts His Death
21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

28 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

What Jesus is saying here is that to properly follow Him we need to leave behind the things of our old lives that hold us back. These are worries of the World and the desire for material things. He is saying that we can leave them at the cross and go on without them in freedom with Him. How often though do we come to church intending to leave those things behind, only to pick them up again on our way out? Only without them will we be free.

 

Our Weekly Message

August 13, 2017
13 Aug 2017

In the well known passage below, Peter initially has the faith and trust to get out of the boat but is distracted by the other things around him – namely the storm and the waves – and takes his eye off Jesus. When he does this he begins to sink but Jesus immediately takes told of him to save him. How many times – even though we may have faith in Jesus – do we get distracted and take our eye or focus off Him? We sometimes decide to go our own way influenced by other things, and forget what he has taught us.

When that happens, if we call on Jesus he is there and puts us back on the right path. Maybe if we had never took our eyes off Him, we would not have gone wrong in the first place but we are human and to stray is perhaps in our nature. As long as we do our best to let Him guide us, we know that if we do fall He will be there to catch us.

Matthew 14:22-33

Jesus Walks on the Water
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying,
“Truly you are the Son of God.”

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