Sunday 03 July 2022 is the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost.
The basis of this week’s sermon from Rev. Geoff McKee is from the New Testament – the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Church in Galatia: Galatians 6:1-16.
Paul had witnessed a dominant group of Christians imposing “their way or no way” on the others. Paul used his letter to challenge the circumcision party in the church to
think again: to stop thinking about themselves and to consider the others.
We need to be asking God to give us the courage to be true disciples. We know the “world outside” can be challenging – and yet others watch us as we try to witness to God through our words and actions. We need the wisdom to better reflect God’s actions of love and mercy, so that our families, our communities, and our countries might understand what God’s kingdom is all about. Part of that is making sure they know that “all are welcome”.
Main Scripture for today
Galatians 6:1-16 (from The Message translation of the Bible)
Nothing but the Cross
6 1-3 Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.
4-5 Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.
6 Be very sure now, you who have been trained to a self-sufficient maturity, that you enter into a generous common life with those who have trained you, sharing all the good things that you have and experience.
7-8 Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.
9-10 So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.
11-13 Now, in these last sentences, I want to emphasise in the bold scrawls of my personal handwriting the immense importance of what I have written to you. These people who are attempting to force the ways of circumcision on you have only one motive: They want an easy way to look good before others, lacking the courage to live by a faith that shares Christ’s suffering and death. All their talk about the law is gas. They themselves don’t keep the law! And they are highly selective in the laws they do observe. They only want you to be circumcised so they can boast of their success in recruiting you to their side. That is contemptible!
14-16 For my part, I am going to boast about nothing but the Cross of our Master, Jesus Christ. Because of that Cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate. Can’t you see the central issue in all this? It is not what you and I do—submit to circumcision, reject circumcision. It is what God is doing, and he is creating something totally new, a free life! All who walk by this standard are the true Israel of God—his chosen people. Peace and mercy on them!
Video of today’s service
This song is a heartfelt prayer asking God for help to be close to Him again.
There are times that we are so busy doing things for the Lord, that we sometimes lose the closeness of feeling God’s holy presence in our lives. Maybe it’s because we are doing things on our own and not keeping God at the centre of all we do (Psalm 145:18).
Kelly Carpenter composed this devotional song, “Draw Me Close”.
Kelly caught “the worship bug,” as he calls it, while attending a worship conference at his California Vineyard Church. He was on the worship team and was able to spend some time with Canadian worship leaders, Andy Park and Brian Doerksen. A couple of years after the conference, he started leading worship, as well as writing worship songs. In the midst of being busy serving God, he was feeling that God wanted more of him.
But, of course, God is always near. He has brought us near through the atoning sacrifice of His Son.
This song may not be lyrically complex or theologically deep but it does reflect much of the longing for God expressed in many of the Psalms.
As Kelly Carpenter says:
“This song has a universal application of daily surrender. Do we lay down our own agendas for the “greater thing” of following Christ and asking what he would like us to do? Is that something we are willing to do daily?”