The Solas of the Reformation - Christ Alone

Preacher: Gordon Hay

Verses: Colossians 1:15-22, Philippians 3:10-14

Solas.jpg

It was 500 years ago that Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg launching what became known as the Reformation. If you were here last week you would have heard that we are looking at what have become known as the five “solas” of the reformation. These are:

  • Sola scriptura ("by Scripture alone")
  • Sola fide ("by faith alone")
  • Sola gratia ("by grace alone")
  • Solus Christus or Solo Christo ("Christ alone" or "through Christ alone")
  • Soli Deo gloria ("glory to God alone")

Alan commenced last Sunday by looking at “Grace alone”. And he said this:
Grace is “not simply a theological concept to discuss and debate, grace is the means whereby we start, continue and finish our faith journey on earth and beyond.”

As we look at “By Christ alone” this morning I want to continue with the picture of our faith journey and how we are to respond to the five solas. And I want to look at this:

  •  Against the context in which Luther found himself;
  •  The supremacy of Christ; and
  •  Our response.

The Solas of the Reformation - Grace Alone

Preacher: Alan Cameron

Verses: Ephesians 2:1-10, Titus 2:11-14

Solas.jpg

John Newton in his hymn reminds us that grace is truly ‘amazing’. Yet all too often grace has become such a familiar term that we lose the amazing nature of that wonderful truth. So, with Gods help, let us attempt to put ‘amazing’ back into grace. Grace is not simply a theological concept. It is not just an idea about God. Grace is all about the person and work of Jesus. Grace is Jesus personified. Throughout the Old Testament grace and sacrifice go hand in glove. A blood sacrifice of an animal was the substitute for the sins of the Israelites. In themselves they were not sufficient for the full forgiveness of sins, needing to be repeated time and again; thereby pointing to the coming of Christ...

The Gospel According to Romans - Living Under Grace 9: Christian Security

Preacher: Alan Cameron

Verses:Romans 8:31-39

grace.jpg

Prior to chapter eight, Paul mentions the Holy Spirit only four times. However, now he more than makes up for the absence. He speaks of the Spirit no less than twenty times in chapter eight. His concern is not so much who the Spirit is i.e. his person, rather what the Spirit does. And what the Spirit does is to impart the life and hope of God that have been the key themes since chapter five...

There Was Once a Man Who Planted a Vineyard. Accept or Reject?

Preacher: Gordon Hay

Verses:Romans Isaiah 5:1-7 and Matthew 21:33-46

vineyard.jpg

The mayor of Johannesburg is on a campaign to get rid of tenants who have hi-jacked buildings belonging to others. The tenants have moved in, refused to pay rental, refused to recognise the landlord and in some cases representatives of the landlords, have been killed when trying to intervene. It is not just tenants.
The law reports record many instances of employees, agents, franchisees, and representatives who have either misused or stolen the property entrusted to them.
These are persons who have been given every opportunity to do well both for themselves and for the owner, but have turned rogue and ignored the owner. The owner who had trusted them and entrusted to them the property in question.
What does the owner feel? Completely disappointed, let down, and betrayed. And retaliation follows. Applications for interdicts, termination of the contract and claims for damages.
And as we consider the passages read for us this morning we will realise that this is the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden....

The Gospel According to Romans - Living under Grace 7: Children of God

Preacher: Alan Cameron

Verses:Romans 8:1-17

grace.jpg

Roman chapter eight has rightly been described as one of the greatest passages of Scripture, dealing with three foundational truths of the gospel viz. Assurance, Life in the Spirit and Adoption in Christ.

The birth right of the Christian is ‘no condemnation’. The verdict of the final day has been brought forward and declared i.e. ‘righteous’ for those belonging to Christ. The verdict cannot be changed. We face judgement day with complete assurance. What lies ahead for the believer is not a life-or-death assessment of our lives, but the divine disclosure of acquittal...

The Gospel According to Romans - Living under Grace 6: Grace Trumps Law, The “I” of the Storm

Preacher: Alan Cameron

Verses: Romans 7:14-25

grace.jpg

‘Who am I?’ They mock me, those lonely questions of mine. Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am Thine’. The answer to Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s poignant probing is crucial as it will determine our values, lifestyle, future and ultimate destiny. It is here that Romans 7 enters the fray. Few passages of Scripture have been more influential in shaping how Christians think about themselves. However, the passage is not so much about the Christian life as about the law, the Torah and its effects upon the believer...

 

The Gospel According to Romans - Living under Grace 5: Grace Trumps Law

Preacher: Alan Cameron

Verses: Romans 7:1-6

grace.jpg

Paul has argued in Romans chapter six that as Christians we have died to sin. He now adds in 7:4 “you also died to the law”. If the law in Psalm 19:7 ff is described as “… perfect refreshing the soul… [and] The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous,” why then are we called to die to something which is inherently good, true and righteous. Paul would argue that the problem is not the law per se, rather sin which is provoked by the law and seeks to control us. Left to ourselves we end up serving sin as master of our lives. Bob Dylan protest folk singer of the sixties and recent Nobel Laureate for literature reminds us...

 

The Gospel According to Romans - Living under Grace 3: Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ

Preacher: Alan Cameron

Verses: Romans 6:1-14

grace.jpg

Thomas Schreiner aptly describes this as ‘one of the most complicated and controversial portions of Romans’. It has also been referred to, tongue in cheek, as a ‘good Baptist chapter for a Presbyterian to preach on’.

I would argue that Paul is not referring to baptism in a sacramental sense i.e. water baptism. Rather he is using it as a metaphor for conversion and new life in Christ. “All of you who were baptised into Christ have been clothed with Christ through the new birth” (Gal 3:27). “Our ancestors were all under the cloud and they all passed through the sea. They were all baptised into Moses in the cloud and the sea” (1 Cor 10:1,2). Moses was their representative head into whom they were baptised. Someone has cheekily observed that the only people who got wet that day were the Egyptians who drowned in the sea! Moreover Mark 10:38 speaks of the impending baptism which Jesus must undergo i.e. his death and suffering on the cross...

The Great Comission

Preacher: Jones Liwewe

Verses: Mark 16:15-18, Matthew 28:18-20

Matthew 28:18-20 is perhaps the most well-known version of the Great Commission but each of the Gospels expresses it in different ways. In Mark 16:15-18, for instance, we are told to "Go into the entire world and preach the gospel to all creation (all people)". In Matthew 28:18-20, the instruction is to "Go and make disciples of all nations (all peoples)". I believe that the Holy Spirit inspired each writer of the Gospel to write in the way they did. I also believe that what they wrote was in line with what Jesus commanded them. So the command therefore is to go into the world to preach the gospel to every creature, and to make disciples of all nations

The Gospel According to Romans - Living Under Grace 2: Grace Trumps Sin

Series: Living Under Grace

Preacher: Alan Cameron

Verses: Romans 5:12-21

Grace

This is one of the more difficult passages of Paul’s letter to the Romans: a series of running contrasts between acts of Adam and the acts of Christ and their respective consequences. N.T. Wright aptly describes it as ‘after the measured sentences of the first eleven verses of chapter five, verses 12-21 is like turning from Rembrandt to Picasso.’ Much of the language is new to the argument of Romans, and the style changes from the exhortation of vv1-11 to the resumption or argumentation in vv12-21. Moreover, Paul starts something in v12, gets side tracked in verse 13 like most preachers and only resumes the argument in v18. That said, the passage is crucial for a robust understanding of sin. However, sin is no match for the person and work of Christ, depicted as the second Adam...

The Gospel According to Romans - Living under Grace 1: Peace With God

Series: Living Under Grace

Preacher: Alan Cameron

Verses: Romans 5:1-11

grace

As we return to Romans, having looked at chap 1-4 in the first quarter, we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in which Martin Luther and Romans played a crucial role. In his Preface to the letter Luther writes, “The epistle is really the chief part of the New Testament, and is purest gospel… as the daily bread of the soul. Therefore, let every Christian be familiar with it and exercise himself in it continually.”...

Love in the Little Things

Preacher: Pierre Fourie

Verses: 1 John 3:11-18

ladybug

I want to ask ourselves today, what’s calling for your and my attention? What’s demanding to be done and requiring our energy and focus? Perhaps we could ponder on this, as we share the Word today. In our Old Testament reading, sandwiched between two verses about fearing our Lord are the words “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing”...

How beautiful are the feet!

Preacher: Lincon Hardouin

Verses: Isaiah 52:1-12

Isaiah 52:1-12 forms part of a much larger unit which actually starts with Isaiah 51:1 and ends with our text. The theme of redemption and restoration of God’s people runs strongly throughout these two chapters with Isaiah 52:1-12 forming the climax to this theme. The people that the prophet Isaiah is addressing in these chapters are those Israelites who have been taken into exile in Babylonia. Of course, these people are facing, yet again, turmoil as they have been forcibly removed from their lands; however, in facing such struggles, the Israelites are also facing the destruction of the city of Jerusalem. In facing these many struggles, Isaiah finds comfort in the promise of God to restore and redeem His people and so our focus is on Isaiah 52:1-12...

An Invitation to the Lord’s Banquet

Preacher: Jones Liwewe

Verses: Isaiah 25:1-12

Chapter 25 of the book of Isaiah is part of the prophecy of God’s judgement on the World. It begins in chapter 24-27 and it has to be understood in that context. However, it is a chapter is the part of the prophecy that explains God’s ultimate plan for humanity and shows God’s faithfulness. From verses 1-5, Isaiah talks of the things that God will do in the here and now; and this is the work of salvation. From verse 6-12, he explains God’s plan for the here but not yet...

The Gospel According to Isaiah - Part 6: Hope fulfilled

Preacher: Alan Cameron

Series: The Gospel According to Isaiah

Verses: Isaiah 11:1-16

Hope has been described as the oxygen of the soul. Unlike Robert Louis Stevenson’s observation “to travel hopefully is better that to arrive”, Christian hope is grounded in the promise of God. It is not a matter of human ability and potential, rather the sure and certain expectation that a faithful God will achieve that which he has purposed and planned. This is the touchstone of Isaiah’s prophecy about Jesus the Messiah. Not only is he “a shoot from the stump of Jesse” (v1), i.e. a descendant of King David’s father in royal lineage, he is “the root of Jesse” i.e. the one from whom Jesse receives life...

The Gospel According to Isaiah - Part 5: The Trustworthiness of God

Preacher: Alan Cameron

Verses: Isaiah 9:1-7

Series: The Gospel According to Isaiah

Having celebrated Pentecost and Trinity Sunday we return to our exposition of Isaiah. George Frideric Handel’s oratorio ‘Messiah’ made famous for all time Isaiah’s magnificent poem prophecy (vv2-7) preceded by a verse of prose in which the gloom and despair associated with the capable yet foolish king Ahaz is dispelled. The area which suffered most at the hands of Tiglath-Pileser of Assyria in 734-733 BC will be the first to experience something glorious that is to come.

Pentecost Sunday: The Indwelling Spirit

Preacher: Alan Cameron

Verses: Ephesians 5:15-21; 6:18-20

pentecost2017

Paul regards the Spirit-filled life as normal Christianity. In contrast to being filled with alcohol, Paul appeal to believers to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit inhabits the lives of believers. One cannot be a believer, let alone an effective one, without the Spirit’s personal transforming presence and power.

The Gospel According to Isaiah - Part 4: Misplaced Fear

Preacher: Alan Cameron

Series: The Gospel According to Isaiah

Verses: Isaiah 7 & 8

isaiah

The year is 734 BC, some six years after the death of King Uzziah and the call of Isaiah. Judah is threatened by a coalition of her northern neighbours, Israel and Syria. They intend to replace Ahaz with a puppet king thereby forming a tripartite alliance against Assyria. Isaiah tells Ahaz to trust the Lord for deliverance and not resort to political intrigue. His words “be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid… if you do not stand firm in your faith you will not stand at all” (7:9b) are ignored. Isaiah is accompanied by his son Shear-Jashub (a remnant will return) a sign and symbol that not all Judah follows the sinful example of their king. Ahaz contemptuously dismisses God’s further prophetic sign of Immanuel (God with us) and prefers to seek help from Assyria against the northern alliance, thereby catching a tiger by its tail. Ironically, Assyria once having dealt with Israel and Damascus would turn on Judah and lay siege to Jerusalem within a decade or so....

The Gospel According To Isaiah - Part 3: When things are at their worst

Preacher: Alan Cameron

Series: The Gospel According to Isaiah

Verses: Isaiah 5:1-7

Isaiah is given a vision which transformed his life.  The year is circa 740 BC with the death of King Uzziah perhaps the most successful king of Judah since Solomon. However, like Solomon, he failed the test of success and succumbed to pride towards the end of his reign.  He usurped the role of the High Priest.  Struck down with leprosy, he was banished from Jerusalem with his son Jotham serving as regent.  With the human throne empty, Isaiah slips into the Temple to reflect and pray and there he encounters God, seated upon his throne in majestic glory...

The Gospel According To Isaiah - Part 2: Lament for God’s Vineyard

Preacher: Alan Cameron

Series: The Gospel According to Isaiah

Verses: Isaiah 5:1-7

Isaiah exercised his prophetic ministry at a time of unique significance, a pivotal point between the birth of the nation under Moses and the coming of Jesus the Messiah. The old world was passing away. An entirely new order, the age of empires, was emerging. Where would Israel stand in that new world? Would she rely on God alone for salvation, or resort to the political machinations of her kings? Would she be swallowed up in a world empire or would she resist the march of the new world system. This was the scenario which confronted Isaiah...