Christmas service times for Walgett, Collarenebri, Cryon, and Rowena. Regardless of your religion or beliefs, all are welcome to come share in what makes Christmas so special!
I wonder if we would celebrate Christmas better if we had the Old Testament prophets with us today?
We look back at the events of Christmas, but what about those ‘Before Christ’ (BC) who looked forward to Christmas, not knowing what events would unfold?!
Take, for example, Ezekiel the Prophet (6th Century BC). He looked forward to a day when God would restore his people bringing those dry bones back to life. He prophesied: ‘I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.’ (Ezekiel 37:14).
What joy and excitement Ezekiel would have at Christmas time seeing how God done it – by sending his Son into the world as a human!!! What joy those living ‘BC’ would have this Christmas!
The Father sent the Son, and then sent the Spirit on all who believe in the name of Jesus. He lives in us restoring our life to eternal.
Let’s celebrate that God has kept the promise he made ‘Before Christ’ and that now we have inside knowledge of God. He freely gives his Spirit to live in us who love and obey the Lord Jesus. God lives in us and we live in him… WOW!!! Happy Christmas!
In Christ, Tory.
The unthinkable has happened. In fact, it is the central belief of Christianity. It’s what puts the Christ into Christ-ianity, the Christ into Christ-mas. God entered our world as his son Jesus the Christ.
The central claim of Christianity is that Jesus is fully God and fully human. While that is hard for us to comprehend, it is the wonderfully good news of Christianity.
You see, if Jesus was not fully God he could not reveal God to us. We would be still in the dark. But now the true light has shone (John 1:9).
If Jesus were not God he could not save us. To atone for our sins he had to be perfect without sin.
To stand in our place Jesus had to be fully human in every way (Hebrews 2:17). If he were not fully human he could not have taken the complete wrath of God for the sin of humanity.
My prayer is that this Christmas we will delight in who Jesus is: the incarnate eternal Son of the Father. It’s easy to be ho-hum about Christmas, or lose sight of the joy that God came into our world as one of us so that we can know him and come back to him. Let me encourage you to read prayerfully the Bible passages about who Jesus is from today’s sermon.
Let’s pray for our district to know how good Christmas really is and that we have good reason to celebrate the Christ of Christ-mas: the eternal Son of the Father.
In Christ, Tory.
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.
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.
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.