Month of Mission ii. God's Indescribable Gift(s)

Preacher: Alan Cameron

Verses: 1 Cor 12:4-11, Phil 2:5-11 & 2 Cor 9:12-15

month of mission 2019.png

Grace by its very nature is a gift which we don’t deserve.  We are saved to serve.  We are saved by grace and we serve by grace.  God is both Creator and Saviour.  Common grace gives us natural gifts.  Saving grace gives us supernatural gifts, albeit with an overlap between the two.  By its very nature a gift is a spontaneous act of generosity and the gifts of the Spirit are no different. 

Some have argued that some of the gifts of the Spirit, especially the more spectacular ones, were confined to the age of the apostles.  One would have to argue along theological and historical grounds to sustain this point of view.  However, we must allow Scripture to speak with its own voice.  When we impose even a well-meaning grid causing the text to conform and confine to our particular perspective, we do a dis-service both to the Scriptures and the people of God.  But there is an equal and opposition reaction whereby the gifts of the Spirit become the central focus of the church and we become preoccupied with them rather than the giver.

Month of Mission i. The Ascended Christ Gifting His Church

Preacher: Alan Cameron

Verses: Ephesians 4:7-16

month of mission 2019.png

Letters written from prison are particularly poignant be they Dietrich Bonhoeffer writing to his fiancé shortly before his hanging at the hands of the Nazi’s, Alexander Solzhenitsyn imprisoned writing from the Gulag in Siberia or Bram Fischer, Afrikaner revolutionary serving a life sentence in Pretoria writing to his family not long after the tragic death of his wife Molly.  Perhaps the most moving from a Christian perspective are the prison letters of Paul not least Ephesians written in the early to mid-sixties AD from Rome whilst awaiting death at the hands of Nero. 

Ephesus was the centre of worship of the goddess Artemis (Diana) whose massive temple, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, four times the size of the Parthenon in Athens, straddled the city.  Paul’s three-year ministry at Ephesus in AD 52-55 had impacted the sale of artefacts associated with the worship of Artemis resulting in a riot which caused Paul to leave for Macedonia.

UPCSA Month of Mission: All People Need God's Love

Preacher: Alan Cameron

Verses: Acts 16:11-34

God's Love.jpg

How does God guide his church to the right place and time for mission?  The passage before us provides important principles for our consideration.  There will be sanctified common sense and planning (Acts 15:36).  There will be “closed” as well as “open doors” (Acts 16:7,8).  There will be guidance by way of circumstances, sometimes extraordinary (Acts 16:9,10), given to individuals as well as the whole team.  Discernment and receptivity are the keys.  Specific guidance comes to these already on the road as it were, living out the Great Command and Great Commission.  Being able to say God sent us with the wind of the Spirit at our backs and his indwelling presence empowering us is a great incentive to mission.

UPCSA Month of Mission: Seeing God’s Heart for the World

Preacher: Alan Cameron

Verses:

Until the whole world hears.jpg

The New Testament scholar Stephen Neill once quipped “If everything is mission, then nothing is mission”, to which the Old Testament scholar Christopher Wright responded “If everything is mission, then everything is mission”.  Little wonder that the missiologist David Bosch retorted, “Ultimately mission remains undefinable”. Since the 1950’s there has been a remarkable broadening of the term.  Caring for the environment is mission.  Community renewal is mission.  Blessing our neighbours is mission.