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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Hospitality on the Way

Published: Monday, 29 August 2016

This sermon, given by Geoff Pound at ABC on 28 August 2016, is the seventh in a series entitled, ‘People of the Way’. Check out the introduction to this series and Study 7 for personal and group study that accompanies this sermon.

Reading: Luke 14:1, 7-14 Hospitality 0816 GP

14:1 On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely.

14:7 When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable.

14:8 "When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host;

14:9 and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, 'Give this person your place,' and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place.

14:10 But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, 'Friend, move up higher'; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you.

14:11 For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."

14:12 He said also to the one who had invited him, "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid.

14:13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.

14:14 And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

Hospitality on the Way

Several decades ago I served as an Interim Pastor of a church in the Pacific. I decided to get the pulse of the church by meeting one by one, the leaders responsible for all the different ministries.

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Division on the Way

Published: Monday, 15 August 2016

This sermon, given by Geoff Pound at ABC on 14 August 2016, is the sixth in a series entitled, ‘People of the Way’. Check out the introduction to this series and Study 6 for personal and group study that accompanies this sermon.

Division GP 0816

Reading: Luke 12:49-56

12:49 "I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!

12:50 I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed!

12:51 Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!

12:52 From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three;

12:53 they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."

12:54 He also said to the crowds, "When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, 'It is going to rain'; and so it happens.

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Expectancy on the Way

Published: Monday, 08 August 2016

This sermon, given by Geoff Pound at ABC on 7 August 2016 is the fifth in a series entitled, ‘People of the Way’. Check out the introduction to this series and Study 5 for personal and group study that accompanies this sermon.

Reading: Luke 12:32-40

12:32 "Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

12:33 Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.

12:34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

12:35 "Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit;simplify GP 0716

12:36 be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks.

12:37 Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them.

12:38 If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.

12:39 "But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into.

12:40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour."

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