The Heart of the Matter
In this reading, the Pharisees and the Scribes travel from the headquarters of Judaism, Jerusalem, to the back blocks of Galilee to investigate this new preacher that was causing such a stir. There had been minor interactions with Jesus prior to this, but now this was needing serious investigation.
From the outset, a key question is this: Were they open-minded?
Did they approach this with open minds and hearts, with a genuine desire to find out what was going on, or were they coming with a clear agenda of their own?
The recorded service can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/7V5bE-1jNfA, and the written version can be found on our News page.
And Hamish is recommending a musician he came across this week – his singing will supplement the recorded sermon! Paul Zach sings the old hymns with a contemporary acoustic and blues feel. You can listen to him on Spotify or on YouTube. Hamish especially likes these: Joy Will Come; I Want Jesus to Walk with Me; and Just a Closer Walk with Me.
Ephesians 6: The Armour of God
We cannot gather in person this week, due to the Level 4 lockdown. Hamish has recorded his sermon, which can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/hhvNY63D9jo, and Anne’s sermon can be found on our News page.
The prayers for this week are on the theme of “putting on the armour of God”. You might wish to use them as a framework for your own prayers today.
Almighty God, thank you for providing us with spiritual armour
so that we may withstand temptation and gladly serve you and others.
When our faith is tested, help us to rely on the armour you have given us.
We put on the belt of truth.
We desire that truth and justice will be experienced by people in our community, our country and throughout the world.
We pray for those who suffer when truth is distorted or willfully abandoned.
Help us, and all your Church, to live with integrity as we seek to follow Jesus,
the Way, the Truth and the Life.
We put on the breastplate of righteousness.
We give thanks for all people who seek to do what is good and kind and right,
whether at home, in the workplace, or in positions of wide influence.
We pray that you will protect and strengthen them in their endeavours,
by the power of your Spirit.
We put on shoes of readiness to proclaim the gospel of peace.
Teach and equip us to be bearers of your peace, O God.
Protect and bless people who are peacemakers,
especially those working in dangerous situations at this time.
We hold the shield of faith.
Today we think especially of Christians who are persecuted or treated unjustly
because of their faith.
We pray for all people who are feeling overwhelmed by life’s challenges,
and for those whose faith feels fragile at this time.
In silence we bring before you people who have asked for our prayers
and situations of particular concern.
We wear the helmet of salvation.
Loving God, we recognise our need for forgiveness and renewal
and we pray that people who are burdened by regrets or shame
may turn to you and find healing within your church.
We hold the sword of the Spirit.
God, strengthen us so that we may stand firm at times of testing,
and always be ready to share with others the love and grace we have received.
We ask these things through Christ our Lord.
Text: Ephesians 4:17 – 5:2
Ephesians 1 – 3 has set out the riches of love, forgiveness and new life in the Spirit available to us because of the death and resurrection of Jesus. The vision is of a new humanity, at peace with God and others. The vision is of Church communities who demonstrate this new way of living to the world. Then, in chapter 4:1, the call comes to live this out! To live a life worthy of this calling! To walk in the way prepared for us by God.
“You were taught, with respect to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
The recorded version of this week’s sermon can be found here:
Soaring to the Heights
Text: Ephesians 4:1-16
Paul sets out a lofty vision for all humanity in the book of Ephesians. And the vision fits neatly into 2 halves. In chapters 1-3 he talks about Jesus on the cross and the coming of the Holy Spirit into the hearts of his people! He sees this vision as being ‘alienated humanity being reconciled to God, fractured human society becoming united and even a new and better humanity being created’ (Stott).
We have prepared a video on this week’s topic, and you can view that here: https://youtu.be/XQ01Fw9OpyE
Worship Services are held at 10am every Sunday. For those unable to join us in person, a recorded version will be available from 9am each week.