#1 in series 'Courageous Faith' in the book of Joshua
16 These are the names of the men Moses sent to explore the land. (Moses gave Hoshea son of Nun the name Joshua.)
17 When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. 18 See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. 19 What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified? 20 How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” (It was the season for the first ripe grapes.)
21 So they went up and explored the land from the Desert of Zin as far as Rehob, toward Lebo Hamath. 22 They went up through the Negev and came to Hebron, where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, lived. (Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23 When they reached the Valley of Eshkol,[a] they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them, along with some pomegranates and figs. 24 That place was called the Valley of Eshkol because of the cluster of grapes the Israelites cut off there. 25 At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land.
26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anakthere. 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”
30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”
31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. 2 All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! 3 Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” 4 And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”
5 Then Moses and Aaron fell face down in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there.6 Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. 8 If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”
What do you do when you face obstacles, or the uncertainty of tomorrow? Are you inclined to think only in terms of the worst-case scenario? Do you tend to exaggerate the obstacles, overstate the problems, and magnify the difficulties you expect to encounter? Do you tend to overthink everything and then get paralysed into doing nothing! The people of God faced that exact situation.
They were literally knocking on the door of the Promised Land when their courage collapses. Today we will discover that it’s when the pressure is on, that we have the greatest opportunity to trust God and receive a power that comes living from the Promise. It will give you all the courage you need for every decision you face.
Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” Numbers 13:30
REMEMBER THIS WEEK
Fear nothing. Trust God for everything. When we trust the Lord and believe His promises, we have nothing to fear as we courageously live and move forward in obedience. For God will always come through.
READING: Acts 8:2-8
Sorry - no recording this week as technology failed. A printed copy of the sermon is attached
“On the run”. That’s the situation for nearly 19 African athletes and officials who failed to return home after the recent Commonwealth Games in Qld. They are on the run and in hiding, living in fear of being caught and deported. How different from the early Church. They too were on the run, forced out by the persecution Jesus promised would happen and scattered to all parts of the globe. They were under fire…under threat…living in a world that was against them. But rather than go to ground and keep a low profile, the early church had another plan. They carried with them an urgency to live out what Jesus had commanded with their first breath of the day and the last breath of the night knowing that somewhere in between might be their last moment on earth. Today, Jesus wants the Church to have that same urgency; to be a Church on the run preaching the good news wherever we are scattered.
Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Acts 8:4
REMEMBER THIS WEEK
The church on the run is at its absolute best not because it runs fast but because it moves faithful to Christ’s call to share with every living soul the good news he brings. In a hostile world, Jesus is still with us, scattering us throughout the marketplace of the world to be witnesses of his love, grace, compassion, mercy and the joy of new life in him that no threat on earth can ever take away.
Click on the Notes Tab below to make your own notes during the Sermon
THEME SET UP
“On Fire”----the phenomenon of combustion manifested in light, flame, and heat
a. being consumed by fire; aflame, eager, burning
b. fervent or passionate emotion or enthusiasm
c. to excite or stimulate
It may be a dictionary definition but it is also a description of what happened that first Pentecost, when God set the disciples and the Church on fire. So does that sound like you? Are you on fire? Is the Church on fire today? Or has the fire been tamed? Placed under control? Reduced to embers? This Pentecost, God wants to fan into flame and fill his Church again with his earth-shaking and earth-shaping fire. For when the fire of the Holy Spirit is unleashed on your combustible heart, it will consume you - igniting your life and infusing you with a power and enthusiasm which is impossible to contain. Come, Holy Spirit and set your ‘Church on Fire’.
They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit…
REMEMBER THIS WEEK
The fire and glory of God’s presence now resides in you, the Church, whose hearts are burning with fire and lives moving boldly with his power and love. So burn with fire and see what only God can do!
#5 and final in series: Visible Church
BIBLE READING: 1 John 5:1-21
Congruence: from the Latin congruere – “to agree”. In geometry two shapes are congruent when you can turn, flip and/or slide one so it fits exactly on the other. Personal congruence is when a person's values and beliefs are consistent with the way he or she lives his or her life. There is an agreement, an equalness between what we do and the way that we do it, between what we believe and our everyday lifestyle choices, activities and conversation. Today in the final week of our series Visible Church, John shows us how to live a visible faith – a congruent Christ-life in the Christ-way. What he shares, will help you live with courage and hope in all situations.
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. 1 John 5:11-12
REMEMBER THIS WEEK
Faith is full assurance in the heart; an awareness that we are brought by grace into a living and personal relationship with Jesus Christ forever. When we have that relationship, it changes everything for we already have all things – eternal love, abundant life, overwhelming victory. It leads to a visible faith that is congruent with the heart; a heart that believes we are more than conquerors in Christ.
#4 in series: Visible Church
BIBLE READING: 1 John 4:1-21
Insufficient funds…transaction declined. Ever experienced that? The embarrassment of seeing those words on the EFTPOS or ATM machine when making a purchase or withdrawal, when you were sure there was enough to cover what you needed. It’s a sinking feeling when you have overdrawn on your account and you didn’t even realise. But the same thing can happen in our relationships. It’s impossible to give when the relationship is overdrawn, when there is insufficient love in the heart. Today John reminds us of the one who makes an extravagant deposit in the account of our hearts that is more than sufficient and can never be overdrawn. It’s a love that will change not only your life but transform every relationship and every encounter; enabling you to generously give away a love that is visible and unfailing.
We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19
REMEMBER THIS WEEK
The Bible’s message is clear. God loves us whether we reciprocate it or not. He can’t but love us. That’s who he is. Full stop.
No other love will come close to it.
No other love can transform hearts like it.
His love, his perfect love creates our love.
So receive first a love worth living,
for it will fill you with a love worth giving.
#3 in series: Visible Church
READING: 1 John 3:1-24
He was known as 'Fighting Mac'. A Scotman who came to Australia in his teens and who gained a reputation as a good fighter while drinking and brawling in the pubs of Bundaberg, Queensland. But it was here his life changed. It was at a Salvation Army open-air meeting in Bundaberg that he saw the light” when he heard the testimony of two fellow Scotsmen who, like him, had been hardened drinkers, fighters and adept in the use of foul language. McKenzie became a Salvation Army officer who served in Gallipoli and on the Western Front as a chaplain. He worked in Newcastle and Raymond Terrace before the war and not only epitomizes the spirit of Anzac sacrifice but a visible sacrifice so much greater. After seeing many of Australia's finest young men needlessly sacrificed at the Battle of Lone Pine, Chaplain William McKenzie could not sit back and watch any longer. When the soldiers tried to convince him to stay in the trenches he responded: 'Boys, I have lived with you, I’ve preached to you and I’ve prayed with you. Do you think I’m now afraid to die with you?' What would motivate such a response? The sacrifice of love that he had received through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. A sacrifice that had given him a new identity and an eternal purpose. It's that same love that enables us as children of God to be visible sacrifices in this world today.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:16
REMEMBER THIS WEEK
Through the power of God's vulnerable, sacrificial and tenacious love in Jesus Christ, we have been given an identity and relationship that we cannot stuff up. Ever. It's a love that empowers us to act, without counting the cost, as we lay down our time, energy, talents and resources as a living sacrifice that makes visible his eternal purpose and presence.
Make-believe. Pretend. Every child does it. They dress up and role play - mums and dads, doctors and nurses, cops and robbers. But here’s the thing. Most children know the truth that pretend is make-believe; that it will all end when mum calls you in for dinner and you take the dress ups off! Today Grandpa John addresses those in the Church who are still playing make-believe or pretend; who have played a role for so long that they are actually living a lie dressed up as truth. But as John reminds us – the Church is not the supporting cast for a game of pretend, but the community where the visible truth of what Christ’s resurrection means for real living, is seen most clearly. It’s this visible truth we will explore today.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 John 1:7.
REMEMBER THIS WEEK
Jesus is truth. His resurrection makes it transparently clear that he has done all that is needed for us to live in the joy of his presence and the power of his love and life. Nothing will change this truth, but this truth will transform our life together, revealing an honesty, authenticity and transparency that is visible, real and life-giving
#1 in series Visible Church
Reading: 1 John 1:1-4
Fakeness. It's all around us. There's fake news - misleading or deliberate misinformation that is designed to shift public opinion in a certain direction against a person or institution. There's fruit juice that’s not really made from fruit; burgers not really made of meat, pictures in magazines that are so airbrushed, they bear little resemblance to the real picture. Then there's fake faith which has all the elements of the real deal but which falls woefully short of the life that Jesus gives us through his death and resurrection. The beloved disciple, John, now an old man and grandfather of the early church takes us back to what’s real and genuine and can be trusted for life itself forever. What is real is Jesus, who stands triumphant over all the fake, pretend & dying things of this world to bring us life with the Father....a life that he calis us now to make visible through the Church.
The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 1 John 1:2
REMEMBER THIS WEEK
Resurrection makes an eternal difference. It gives deep fellowship with the Father and the Son; access to everything God is and has. That fellowship leads to real and genuine love for others and community with others. It enables confident living that fills the heart with joy and overflows with infectious excitement that is plainly visible for the world to see.
The Images that were used at the start of the sermon can be found in the notes section below.
Think of a moment when someone that you least expected to see suddenly stands before you. A moment when something you had lost is found again and you can scarcely believe your eyes. Think of a moment when your fear was suddenly proved unfounded and you were surprised by joy. This morning is such a moment. We resign ourselves to the worst, and suddenly life turns around. So come this Easter morning, to be shaken from your conviction that nothing can change your situation. Come if you look at the world and feel overwhelmed by its chaos, or disillusioned by its promises. Come and be prepared to see your life and the world through new eyes, for nothing will ever make sense in your life without the sight of Easter.
But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” Mark 16:7
REMEMBER THIS WEEK
The story of what is doing in and through Jesus isn't over at the empty tomb. It's only beginning. It's only beginning and you have a part to play. Resurrection is not a conclusion, but an invitation; an invitation to meet up with Jesus and continue his work of redemption in the world, transforming what appears to look like endings into new beginnings by his grace.