The Man Who Wrestled With God (1): Sermons on the Old Testament character of Jacob.
Reading: Genesis 25:19-34
If there is a word that sums up the story of Jacob perhaps it is the word struggle. Jacob struggled with his brother Esau, he also had to struggle to marry the woman he loved & he struggled with God when he wrestled with him. Here we learn this struggle began in his mother’s womb, God revealed to Rebekah; “two nations are in your womb”. In the New Testament, God also reveals to us there is struggle between two kingdoms. One thing is clear in both struggles; ultimately it is always God’s unstoppable purpose that progresses. This should give us great confidence in prayer & faith no matter what struggles we face.
Authentic Christianity (17): Sermons on the New Testament letter of 1 John.
Reading: 1 John 5:13-21
If “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” were the only words in this closing section of John’s letter it would be a depressing ending. However these words are found in a section underlining why believers can have certainty in the midst of a world under the sway of the evil one. Certainty in an uncertain world! We can know we have eternal life, we can know confidence in prayer, we can know victory over sin & Divine protection from the evil one, we can know we belong to God & we can know truth in Christ so that we can know the true God. This is the note the Apostle John signs his first letter off on.
This message was recorded at one of our Celtic Fire evenings. Celtic Fire is an opportunity to invite different speakers ministering in Ireland so we can connect with other churches & ministries & hear what God is doing across the Irish Church . This time we had Jeremy & Lesley Burke who are planting a brand new church in Carrick on Shannon, Co. Leitrim. Here Jeremy shares a bit about the reality of church planting in Ireland as well as encouraging us to be patient in the work God has called us to.
In this message we are encouraged to be faithful in sowing the seed of God's word while trusting God to bring the harvest. The parable of the sower teaches us that not all seed will fall on good ground. However it also teaches us that being faithful in sowing the seed is always worth it because there is good soil to be found.
Reading: Matthew 13:1-9
The Christians to whom the letter of Hebrews was written had started out well in the Christian life. However as the newness began to wear off & problems & trials came, they began to lose confidence in their faith. They were likely tempted to look back to their old ways... to focus on the suffering they were facing etc. Yet instead the writer encourages them to look to Jesus. This message helps show us how doing so keeps our faith alive even in the most testing times of our lives.
Reading: Hebrews 12:1-3
This message by Mark Horgan on the Armour of God was not recorded but you can read the notes by clicking on the file below.
Reading: Ephesians 6:10-20
In the midst of a book of conquest Joshua chapter 2 zooms in on the story of a local Jericho woman whose faith puts her into the 'Hall of Faith' in Hebrews 11 & into the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1. This message looks at the remarkable story of Rahab of Jericho & how it powerfully points us to the saving work of Christ.
Reading: Joshua 2
This week we enjoyed having Roddy & Terry Gallagher from Healing Waters Community Church in Ballina ministering to us at Amazing Grace. As well as sharing personal testimonies of God's power working in & through their lives Roddy reminded us that the gospel we've been entrusted with is one that brings salvation, deliverance & healing to those embrace it. It is good news for the whole person.
Reading: Mark 16:14-20
Authentic Christianity (15): Sermons on the New Testament letter of 1 John.
Reading: 1 John 5:1-5
Throughout this letter the Apostle John has highlighted 3 traits of authentic Christianity – belief, obedience & love. In these verses he ties these together tightly. Yet he also shows that authentic Christianity does not start with any of these three things. It begins when a person “has been born of God”. Belief, obedience & are the result of being born of God. John then introduces the theme of victory over the world & shows us it also is a certain result of being born of God. John touches on all these with great clarity in these verses in order to show they are the overlapping realities of authentic Christianity.
Authentic Christianity (14): Sermons on the New Testament letter of 1 John.
Reading: 1 John 4:7-21.
What does God want us to be consistently committed to? Why did he send his Son to die & rise again? Why has he given us his Spirit? Why is knowing & believing God's love for us so important? The Apostle John answers these questions. He desires Christians to be consistently committed to loving one another & he desires us to be free from fear of punishment! When we truly know & believe the love of God displayed on the cross we are left with nothing but confidence for the day of judgement yet it is at this same cross that we also hear Jesus' inescapable call to commit to loving one another within Christianity community.
In this encouraging Good Friday Communion message our thoughts are turned towards the atoning work of Christ. Drawing on Jesus' prayer in John 17 & the book of Hebrews we are shown the sufficiency & superiority of what Christ accomplished & we are pointed to the glorious inheritance it secured for those who believe.
Everyone knows about Jonah & the big fish but when we look at the story we realise there is much more to it. In fact the story isn’t about Jonah & the fish, it’s about God's lavish love & mercy towards an extremely wicked group of people who terrorised the world. We can judge Jonah for running in the opposite direction to God's call but when learn more about what God was actually asking of Jonah, & when we let the story judge us, we realise this famous story leaves us with a real challenge.
Reading: Jonah 1-4
Authentic Christianity (13): Sermons on the New Testament letter of 1 John.
Reading: 1 John 4:7-12
On June 25, 1967, more than 400 million people in 26 countries watched the Beatles perform the song “All You Need Is Love.” They had been asked to come up with a simple song that could be understood by all the nations. The song is very close to the truth & is certainly something we can resonate with. There is a cry for love in the human soul! Yet the apostle John would add just one little clause. He would say “All You Need Is [God Who Is] Love.” He teaches us that love flows from God. In these verses we learn where love comes from, what love looks like & why Christians ought to love one another.
The way a Jewish wedding was done at the time of Jesus is very different to most weddings we've been at. The wedding celebrations could last up to a week. The responsibility for organising everything lay with the groom - so every wedding was a bit like ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’. Also, to run out of wine was very embarrassing for the groom, almost unforgivable. It may even have opened him to a potential lawsuit from the relatives of the bride - not a good start to married life! So the groom in the story of the Wedding at Cana found himself potentially very embarrassing situation before Jesus stepped in and saved him from shame.
Reading: John 2:1-12
Authentic Christianity (12): Sermons on the New Testament letter of 1 John.
Reading: 1 John 4:1-6
There is a need for critical examination in the Christian life. We are not being cynical when we do not believe every spirit, we are being obedient. It is good, healthy and obedient to test spirits & ideas, to ask questions & use our minds in the light of Biblical truth. We should not just go along with everything but test everything so we can discern when God is at work. For not everything supernatural is Divine. John basically tells us to test the spirits & stick with the Apostles.
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