Author Archives: torycayzer

God the Father

The scandalous claim of Christianity is that we can know God. We have inside knowledge. That’s because God is Triune: three persons in one being.

You see, God’s character is personal and he wants to be known. He speaks and communicates. God sent his Son to earth so that we can know him.

While it might sound arrogant to claim we can know God, the Son bridges the gap between God and humanity. That’s the joy of Christmas: Jesus was born fully God and fully man.

So what did the Son reveal?

God is the Father.

That’s not an abstract label. It’s who he is. Father.

Now the guessing games are over. In fact, if we reject what the Son tells us we reject God.

Let’s pray that more people in our district come to know God the Father through his Son Jesus.

In Christ, Tory Cayzer.

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Our God is Three In One

God has revealed himself to us as Triune.  One God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is three distinct persons – each equally God – who are perfectly united. Complex, I know, but my prayer is we will come to know God at a deeper and wonderful level over the next four weeks as we explore the Trinity as revealed in the Bible.

But please don’t be scared!!!

We will never fully understand God’s Triune nature and are best to simply bow down and worship him in awe. One of the early church Fathers, Gregory of Nazianzus, said this about the Trinity:

‘No sooner do I conceive of the One than I am illumined by the Splendor of the Three; no sooner do I distinguish Them than I am carried back to the One. When I think of any One of the Three I think of Him as the Whole, and my eyes are filled, and the greater part of what I am thinking of escapes me. I cannot grasp the greatness of That One so as to attribute a greater greatness to the Rest. When I contemplate the Three together, I see but one torch, and cannot divide or measure out the Undivided Light.’ 6 Jan 381 AD

It would do us good to read that a few times this week!

While it would be easy to say the Trinity is too hard to understand, we must remember that Jesus chose to teach his disciples about the Trinity on his last night with them before being crucified (John 14–17). Let’s see why the Trinity is so important for us today, and is worth getting to know.

In Christ, Tory.

A Holy War

Few parts of the Bible create so much emotion as the holy wars of the Old Testament. In Deuteronomy 7, God’s people are told to totally destroy the Canaanites in the land of Canaan.

How could a loving God order such a shocking and severe command?

The command comes in the context of a holy God wanting his holy people to live in a holy land. God’s people were sinful. In his goodness, he made a way for them to be in relationship with him. It was the Levitical sacrificial system that ritually cleansed them to be holy like their God.

The only problem was if they came in contact with anything ‘unclean’ they would be disqualified from relationship with him again. The land of Canaan was full of unclean Canaanites and their gods. These unclean threats had to be removed so that God’s people could live in the land with Him. The purpose of the total destruction (sacred ban) was to keep God’s people holy in the land.

This is hard for us to appreciate since we underestimate how detestable (and deadly serious) our sin is to God. We fail to fathom what it means that God is holy.

Amazingly, though, when we come to the New Testament we see that God takes the total destruction on himself. He declares a holy war on himself on the Cross of Jesus Christ. He took the punishment and destruction of our sin on himself to make us holy!

When we appreciate the significance of how damaging sin is, as we read about the holy wars in the Old Testament and the punishment of Jesus on the Cross in the New Testament, we realise there is no where else for us to go but to Jesus to receive salvation from sin.

In Christ, Tory Cayzer.

Lest We Forget

We are prone to forget. Usually it only takes one generation to forget.

Moses was concerned that when Israel went into the Promised Land, they would soon forget where all the good things they enjoy come from. So he said: be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery (Deuteronomy 6:12).

Sure enough, they did forget.

An irony about us Australians is we say: ‘Lest we forget.’ Those words are from Rudyard Kipling’s poem Recessional. Kipling wrote the poem because of boasting, self-confidence, and self-entitlement sweeping through England. He was calling England to not forget the God of our Fathers, the LORD God of hosts, who has given all they have. His words ‘lest we forget’ were taken from Deuteronomy 6:12 (KJV).

The irony is I doubt many of us would remember the LORD God as we say ‘Lest we forget.’

We are prone to forget and ignore the LORD God.

Let’s help each other remember the LORD. Come to church each week. Say grace before meals. Read your Bible each day and pray. Let’s pass the gospel on to future generations so that we are not the generation that dropped the ball in our town. Lest we forget!

In Christ, Tory Cayzer.

A Christian Response to Euthanasia

The euthanasia debate exists because real people suffer real pain. And so, what is a Christian response that is compassionate to people’s pain and compassionate to the whole of society?

Euthanasia is when a medical practitioner intentionally ends the life of a person, at that person’s voluntary and competent request, for reasons of compassion. We must be clear that it is not increasing morphine to relieve pain. It is not turning off life-support. It is not choosing to not undergo treatment. It is not palliative care. None of these have the intention of killing the patient. Euthanasia is a deliberate step to kill someone.

Our laws in Australia already allow effective pain relief using palliative care. There are very few people who suffer untreatable pain.

The problem with changing the law is that it will leave our most vulnerable and weak unprotected.

Firstly, it makes our sick, elderly, disabled, chronically ill and dying feel like they are a burden; if euthanasia was legal they would be faced with a choice and may feel selfish or a burden if they don’t choose death.

Secondly, the trust in the patient-doctor relationship would be undermined. We would be asking our doctors to be killers rather than protectors of life.

Thirdly, what message would legalising euthanasia send to people contemplating suicide? If euthanasia was a good and compassionate option then all efforts of suicide prevention would be undermined.

Fourthly, palliative care funding, education, and research would be at risk.

None of these problems are religious, and so ignore people (like Andrew Denton) who say religious groups ought to stay out of the debate and mind their own business. Of course, human beings made in the image of God for loving relationships does gives more Biblical reasons to say no to euthanasia!

None of these problems are scare-mongering or slippery-slope arguments, we just have to look at where euthanasia is already legalised to see these problems occurring.

As Christians, let’s acknowledge the real pain but look for solutions that are compassionate for all involved, like palliative care.

In Christ, Tory.

 

For further thought:

Centre for Christian Living: https://ccl.moore.edu.au/2015/01/01/listen-euthanasia/

Australian Christian Lobby: https://www.acl.org.au/

Martin Isles (ACL) on darkness from legalising euthanasia: https://www.acl.org.au/euthanasia_s_dark_side

Sydney Dioceses Social Issues Committee: http://socialissues.org.au/euthanasia

Palliative Care Australia: https://palliativecare.org.au/

See the risks with euthanasia law where it is legal (Oregon, USA): dredf.org/…/HendinFoley_MichiganLawReview.pdf

A non-religious argument against euthanasia: https://www.smh.com.au/opinion/paul-keating-voluntary-euthanasia-is-a-threshold-moment-for-australia-and-one-we-should-not-cross-20171019-gz412h.html

Set free to love

We celebrate Reformation Day as it was re-discovered in the Bible that salvation is by grace alone: not what we do, but what Jesus done for us.

Ever since, our Roman Catholic friends have asked: if it’s not about what we do, then why should people do good for others?

A good question!

The Reformers said the grace of God means we are set free to truly love God and others. Martin Luther (Concerning Christian Liberty) said: ‘A Christian man is the most free Lord of all, and subject to none; a Christian man is the most dutiful servant of all, and subject to every one.’

Let’s try to unpack that.

The Christian doesn’t do good to appease God or for their own own merit. That’s because Jesus has done all that is needed to make us right with God (justified) on the Cross. To do good for God and others with the intention of appeasing or for our own merit is not real love, that would be self-love. The intention is not for others but for ourselves.

The Christian who knows they are saved by grace alone (we contribute nothing but sin!) is set free, and saved, to love others for their own benefit. That is, the Christian doesn’t love for their own gain or interest, but purely out of real love for others.

Hence, the Christian is subject to none (we have no debt or slavery to anyone) so is set free to serve every one with no self-interest or self-gain. We do good not out of debt or duty or profit for ourselves, but out of free love.

So, as we look at the Ten Commandments this week we don’t keep the Ten Commandments to earn our right standing with God or as a religious duty. Christians are set free to fulfill the Ten Commandments as ways to love God and others, through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In Christ, Tory Cayzer.

Happy Reformation Sunday!

The Christian life is one of constant change. God’s goal for us is to conform (change!) us to the image of his Son Jesus. What a glorious privilege that is.

Today we celebrate Reformation Sunday. 501 years ago the Reformers first protested that the church had strayed from the Word of God and lost the good news of salvation in Jesus.

Reformation didn’t only happen 501 years ago. We need to be continually reforming as we go to the Bible asking…. are we still proclaiming the one true gospel of grace? What do we need to change in our personal lives, and church life, that is not consistent with the Bible?

My prayer is that we’ll keep meeting together to help each other read and obey the Bible, to have the privilege of seeing one another change to be like Jesus, and to encourage each other to daily reformation through the power of the gospel.

In Christ, Tory Cayzer.