Isaiah Insights - The Gift of Light

Published: Monday, 28 November 2016

This sermon was given by Keren McClelland at Ashburton Baptist Church, on 27 November 2016. It is the first in our Advent series – Insights from Isaiah. Isaiah 2: 1 - 5

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The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

In days to come the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it.

Many peoples shall come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths." 

For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD! 

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Discerning the Way Together

Published: Monday, 14 November 2016

This sermon was given by Geoff Pound at Ashburton Baptist Church on 13 November 2016. It is the fourth in the ‘Journey in Discernment’ series. The first sermon in the series is posted at this link(with the podcast), the second in the series is a podcast at this link and the third script is here with a podcast. The format for the series is based on the book, Making Life Decisions.

Scripture Reading: Acts 16:6-10 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) closed door GP 1116

They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. When they had come opposite Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them; so, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.

Before the Second World War a man was strolling among the tulip beds in some public gardens in England. He loved the ‘riot of colours’ as he admired one flower bed after another.

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The Surrender in Discernment

Published: Monday, 24 October 2016

This sermon was given by Geoff Pound at the Ashburton Baptist Church on 23 October 2016. It is the third in the ‘Journey in Discernment’ series. The first sermon in the series is posted at this link (with the podcast) and the second in the series is a podcast at this link. The format for the series is based on the book, Making Life Decisions.

Scripture Reading: Romans 12: 1-8 archaeological dig GP1016

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 

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Journey into Discernment: Into the Desert

Published: Monday, 10 October 2016

This sermon was given by Geoff Pound at ABC on Sunday 9 October 2016 and is the first in a series entitled, Journey in Discernment. The ‘journey’ being encouraged at ABC involves Sunday sermons, Group Studies and personal daily reflections. The format is based on the book, Making Life Decisions, which includes forty chapters for personal reflection and weekly studies for personal and group study.

Scripture Reading: Matthew 4: 1-11 desert GP 1016

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished.The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written,

‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,

‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”

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Grand Final Faith

Published: Monday, 03 October 2016

This sermon was delivered by Geoff Pound at Ashburton Baptist Church on 2 October 2016, a day after the AFL Grand Final between the Sydney Swans and the Western Bulldogs (winners). Notes related to this sermon for personal study and group discussion are posted at this link.

Scripture: Luke 17:5-10 [the sermon focuses on the first two verses] Grand Final GP 1016

17:5 The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"

17:6 The Lord replied, "If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.

17:7 "Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, 'Come here at once and take your place at the table'?

17:8 Would you not rather say to him, 'Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink'?

17:9 Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded?

17:10 So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, 'We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!'"

At the beginning of last week I received an SOS from an Aussie couple in the US. The details of what happened haven’t been spelt out but it seems that their three year old son got into difficulties in the water.

When he was dragged out, resuscitation was attempted, and an ambulance took him to the ICU where he’s been fighting for his life. The parents are keen Christians and they’ve asked hundreds of people to be praying for their little boy.

Unfortunately on Tuesday came a further note to say:

“It is with crippling sadness that we share the news that our little boy has died.”

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Listening on the Way

Published: Monday, 26 September 2016

This sermon, given by Geoff Pound at ABC on 25 September 2016, is the tenth and final sermon in a series entitled, ‘People of the Way’. Check out the introduction to this series and Study 10 for personal and group study that accompanies this sermon.

Scripture Reading: Luke 16:19-31 Dives and Lazarus GP 0916

16:19 "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.

16:20 And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,

16:21 who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man's table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores.

16:22 The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried.

16:23 In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side.

16:24 He called out, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.'

16:25 But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony.

16:26 Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.'

16:27 He said, 'Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father's house—

16:28 for I have five brothers--that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.'

16:29 Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.'

16:30 He said, 'No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.'

16:31 He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'"

Earlier this year we were doing some mountain training up and down the 1,000 Steps in Ferntree Gully.[1] A couple with their two teenagers passed us on the descent and, looking at the packs on our backs, the guy asked, “Are you training for a Camino?”

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Grumbling and Rejoicing on the Way

Published: Monday, 12 September 2016

This sermon, given by Geoff Pound at ABC on 11 September 2016, is the eighth in a series entitled, ‘People of the Way’. Notes for personal and group study are posted at this link.

Scripture Reading: Luke 15:1-10 SHEEP GP 0916

15:1 Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him.

15:2 And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, "This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them."

15:3 So he told them this parable:

15:4 "Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it?

15:5 When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices.

15:6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.'

15:7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

15:8 "Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it?

15:9 When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbours, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.'

15:10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

I used to think that a good church was a church where everything was calm and peaceful and people were full of sweetness and light. But my view has changed the more I’ve read the Gospel story. For wherever Jesus did his work there was always both great joy and great grumbling.

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Cross Purposes on the Way

Published: Tuesday, 06 September 2016

cross purposesThis sermon, given by Gary Heard (Dean of the Theological School & Lecturer in Pastoral and Ministry Studies, Whitley College) at ABC on 4 September 2016, is the eighth in a series entitled, ‘People of the Way’. Please note that this is a full but not a complete transcript.

Scripture Readings: Luke 14:25-33; Psalm 139

Introduction – Text and Context

ILLN – Today I find myself in an interesting situation. It is Father’s Day and the first words of the text read “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father…”

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