I want to found where we’re going from and understand that this is an area of great confusion – perhaps one of the areas of greatest divergence between Christian denominations. I want to address how we as a church stand and practice baptism.
If you would like to turn with me to Psalm 16, we are talking about “Mature in Christ”. We are looking back to the Old Testament, but it’s a Psalm that looks forward into the New Testament, and it may well be one that Bob will mention this afternoon as he deals with Christ in the Old Testament. Psalm 16 and Psalm 22 are two of the most well known Messianic references in the Psalms, amongst others. I hope this will encourage you.
As it has spoken to us, particularly verse 11, which is where our main conclusion comes, that you may know fullness of joy on the path of life.
“Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.
I said to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord;
I have no good besides You.’
As for the saints who are in the earth,
They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;
I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood,
Nor will I take their names upon my lips.
The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You support my lot.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.
I will bless the Lord who has counseled me;
Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.
I have set the Lord continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will dwell securely.
For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to Or see corruption or the pitundergo decay.
You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”
Alongside agape [ἀγάπη] love, as we touched in recent messages, joy is a key marker of the maturity in Christ that we are to grow into. In fact, joyless Christians are a paradox, an enigma, or (as I’ve said before) even an oxymoron. If we’ve truly received salvation as a gift from God, received by faith in Him, a faith which is itself a gift from Him; and are being transformed from glory unto glory into His very image, then both love and joy ought to be the markers of our belonging to Him. We have great reason to rejoice, no matter what our circumstances may be. Of course the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, and self-control. Love and joy are right there at the beginning, at the pinnacle of that list of aspects of the fruit of the Spirit. Paul says in Philippians 4:4, “rejoice in the Lord always“ – you know it! Do you do it? “Again,” just in case you didn’t get it the first time, “again I will say, rejoice.” And in 1 Thessalonians 5:16: “Rejoice” (there’s that word again) “always“.
Psalm 16 is about experiencing joy and pleasure in God. …
If you would like to turn in your Bibles to 1 Peter 2:1-3. They may be fairly familiar words to you, but we trust that as you dig and delve into them, as we do that together, that you will be blessed, encouraged, and challenged – to do what that song said – that we would hear God as He speaks through His word. Our subject is Nourished for Growth.
“Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.”
In the Last Days newsletter, Leonard Ravenhill tells about a group of tourists visiting a village who walked by an old man sitting beside a fence. In a rather patronising way, one tourist asked, “were any great men born in this village?” The old man replied, “no – only babies.”
Babies have four distinctive desires: to be clean, to eat, to grow, and to be loved. Peter uses the picture of that basic form of life – the earliest stages of human life – to describe for us what’s necessary to accomplish what he’s already brought out that God is doing in us: preparing us for heaven. By the way – heaven will be nothing like anything we’ve ever seen upon this earth. Why? Not only because it’s the domain of God, but because He will have stripped everything from us that is not of Him. We will be a radiant reflection of Him, we will be pure love, pure grace, because we will be in the presence of eternal love and grace. There will not be one contrary aspect to our lives.
Sometimes, if you’re not careful, it’s easy to rest on your laurels: “well, I am the way that I am – and you just have to put up with it.” God doesn’t want to put up with it. He wants to change you. He started when He first drew you to himself. He isn’t finished with you yet – in case you think you’ve arrived – you’re still a work in progress. …
We are going to come in our Word to Philippians 1:9-11. This is number 7 in our series “Mature in Christ”. One of the things out of the previous series on the life of Joseph that really struck us was the contrast between the spiritual maturity of Joseph, and the immaturity of his brothers – even at the later stages of life when they feared that he would have retribution on them; they had not understood that all the way along the principles upon which Joseph’s life was operating. It’s deeply concerned me that often in church life we see an inconsistency between the length of time folk have been in Christ, been in the church, and some very irreconcilable behaviours. It lay on me as a burden that we look at the issue of Maturity in Christ. Continue reading →
Our series title is “Mature in Christ”, this is the sixth in the series. We are reflecting on what it takes to grow into the image of Jesus – the process that’s involved, and so on. Our passage is Colossians 3:15-17. We’ve been looking these last three messages at chapter 3, looking at what Paul was saying, countering the false teachers that were affecting the Colossian believers. This is the summation of his argument; and he goes on in the next part to application in the home, in the workplace, and so on. Continue reading →
Well, in case you hadn’t noticed, today is Father’s Day (we’ll get to the headlines in a minute) and I think it’s a somewhat unprecedented Father’s Day – Father’s Day is not, of course, a Biblical celebration, it’s one that came about after Mother’s Day was intended just as an appreciation of mothers, some years later it was suggested also to have a Father’s Day. Who would have thought that Father’s Day would become controversial? Have you heard during this week, some people are thinking about changing it to “Significant Person’s Day”? “Do away with Mother’s and Father’s Day” 🙂 – because we want to do away with the image – it’s a very serious and important issue, of course. And then, FreeTV Australia, the lawyers for that industry group, pulled the ad for Dads4Kids which they’ve been running for 15 years – although they have made reference to opposition to gay marriage in the past, this ad had nothing to do with that – but it’s seen as being a “political statement”. Continue reading →
If you would like to turn in your Bibles to Colossians 3 verses 1 to 4. As you know, in this series we highlighted in Colossians 1:28, 29 that Paul’s goal, as he expressed to the Colossian people was to present them mature, perfect or complete (as the word teleos means) unto Christ. That is the challenge of which he’s countering the false teachers that have started troubling the Colossians and teaching them that they needed something other than Jesus. It might have been from the Jewish perspective – it was likely legalism, going back to Old Testament law; from the Greek side, it was a sort of Gnostic teaching that they needed more than Jesus – they needed “special” knowledge, the needed to have special “keys”.
This is number #3 in our series “Mature in Christ”, and as you’ve seen in the theme our focus this morning is “Walking in Him”; or, “Walk in Him”.
Some people go to the gym to get fit; personally, I’ve felt that like that was self-torture (although I have been to the gym, myself)! But walking is one of those things most lacking, today. We’re too busy; it’s too easy to hop in the car. We lack the exertion of physical effort. We’re too often seated, rather than active. Slowly we become passive – with all the negative health consequences that come with it.
We started last week a new series, entitled “Mature in Christ”. We are looking at the goal and the objective of our Christian living. We looked last week and we found that Paul’s comments to the end of chapter 1 is that his goal is to present every man mature, teleos is the word: perfect, or completed in Christ. And as we looked at that, the issue was that the standard is not relative human maturity, the standard is Jesus himself. Just as Peter tells us, God said “Be holy as I am holy”. The goal of maturity is to be like Christ, and to be presented before Christ complete, lacking in nothing. Continue reading →
It is a great joy when a child is born. Whether as parents, grandparents, or extended family, there is nothing sweeter than having a new little life. But can you imagine if that little baby, stayed a little baby forever? It’s kind of cute for a time, but parents soon find out that the baby stage isn’t all cute. It has its challenges: sleepless nights, changing nappies… because a baby is just the beginning. A baby is meant to grow into an adult who begins to act and function in a mature and responsible way. Continue reading →