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

Preacher: Alan Cameron

Verses: Romans 7:1-6

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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...

The Gospel According to Isaiah - God’s Overture to His people

Preacher: Alan Cameron

Verses: Isaiah 1:1-31

‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’. The opening lines of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities is an apt description of the commencement of Isaiah’s prophetic ministry. The long reign of King Uzziah had seen the southern kingdom of Judah expand its territory and prosper materially. However, the fault lines of society preoccupied with material success and self-interest lay heavy upon Isaiah’s heart and he responds accordingly...

A Life Transforming Connection

Preacher: Jones Liwewe

Verses: John 15:1-17

Jesus' death is near

He has taught, healed, cast out demons and performed all kinds of miracles in the whole of Israel. Everywhere He has been people glorified God because of the fruit that came out of His life. Unfortunately, unlike Jesus, the nation of Israel has not borne any fruit. And now in chapter 15 of the Gospel of John, Jesus addresses their failure to produce fruit by using a parable of the true vine, with Him being the true vine, His Father the Gardener and His disciples the branches...

Pause to Reflect, Believing is Seeing.

Preacher: Gordon Hay

Verses: Psalm 46 and John 20: 19-31

Verse 10 of Psalm 46 has a special place in my heart. “Be still and know that I am God”. In 2002 I contracted cerebral malaria and spent 8 days in hospital drifting between times of being conscious and aware and times of incredibly real hallucinations with no sense of where I was. But through all of this what kept constantly in my mind was that verse:  “Be still and know that I am God”.

And as I recovered and had time to reflect I looked at those 8 words. And as I did so I came to see a deeper meaning in these words. It seemed to me to say the following...