What Jesus Says to a Complacent Church
Saving Grace

Saving Grace

June 11, 2020
Message by: Peter Godwin

Everything about our way of life teaches us that we get what we earn in life, that there’s no ‘free lunch’ and that we ‘make our bed and then we lie on it’.  We’re very aware of the values of competition, winning and we know what it means to work hard.  We value effort. We tell people ‘you get what you deserve in life’ and ‘If you want to make something of your life it's up to you’.  

It’s sometimes called the ‘christian work ethic’.  
The only problem is God doesn't operate on the same work ethic.  And that makes it difficult for us to relate to God because we're in this driven work mentality.  

Psalm 145:8 tells us that God’s ethic is - "God is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love."  

The Bible says God is a gracious God.  That means He loves to be gracious to us.  God loves to bless people who don't deserve it.  That's God’s nature.  

I'm glad that God blesses people, who don't deserve it.  

The True Nature of Happiness: Five Daily Habits for Happiness

The True Nature of Happiness: Five Daily Habits for Happiness

May 26, 2020

In the third chapter of Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he gives us five habits we can practice that will nurture our happiness –

  • Every day: relax in God’s grace.
  • Remember what matters most.
  • Get to know Jesus better.
  • Review where we need to grow.
  • Forget what can’t be changed, and 

focus on the future.

Paul says - “For my determined purpose, is that I may know Christ that I may progressively become, more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving, and recognising, and understanding Him more strongly and more clearly ...”  Philippians 3:10 

The True Nature of Happiness: Happiness Can Be Learned

The True Nature of Happiness: Happiness Can Be Learned

May 21, 2020

In the second chapter of Philippians, Paul describes his relationship with Timothy and Epaphroditus.  He’s planning to send them back from Rome to Philippi and he says –
“So that I may be cheered” – (Verse 19) and “so that you may be glad” – (Verse 28). Paul says, that sending these men – “will make me happy and lighten my cares”.

These two men clearly have some life qualities that create ‘happiness’. They include –

  • a focus on others
  • being trustworthy
  • working well with others, and
  • having a life purpose

In Mark 8:35 Jesus says - “Only those who give away their lives for my sake and for the sake of the Good News will ever know what it means to really live.” 

The True Nature of Happiness: A Happy Heart

The True Nature of Happiness: A Happy Heart

May 21, 2020

Paul, writing to the Philippian church says - “You must continue, to work out your salvation, with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to act according, to his good purpose” – (Philippians 2:13-14).

Now there’s an incredible thought – God first works salvation “into” us so we can then “work out” our salvation in the way we live our lives.Because salvation is God’s gift and is given us by God’s grace, Paul says we can find
happiness, if:

-we remember that God is with us, in us and for us (Verse 13),
-we’re grateful and never grumble (Verse 14),
-we keep our conscience clear (Verse 15),
-we remember God’s word and live it (Verse 16), and
-we use our lives to serve God by serving others (Verses 17 &18).

It’s all part of God’s promise that we first find in Ezekiel 36:26 - “I will give you a new heart, with a new and right desire, and I will put a new spirit within you. And I will take out, your heart hardened by sin, and I’ll give you a new heart of love.”

The True Nature of Happiness: The Humble Path To Happiness

The True Nature of Happiness: The Humble Path To Happiness

May 6, 2020

If we were to go out and ask people what they think is the path to happiness, most people would say something like - get an education; get a job; get married; have a family; make a lot of money and retire. The Bible, however, says that the path to happiness is through humility. Philippians 2:3 says – “Don’t do anything from selfish ambition, or vain conceit. Instead, be humble and give more honour to others than to yourself.” Philippians 2 is very practical. Paul tells us that the habit of humility is the key to reducing conflict in our lives. He gives us four pieces of counsel - 1. Never let our pride be our guide. 2. Be humble. 3. Listen and pay attention to others, and 4. Keep asking ourselves what Jesus would do? May God help us to be humble as we relate to all the people in our lives this week.

The True Nature of Happiness: How to Be Happy No Matter What

The True Nature of Happiness: How to Be Happy No Matter What

April 30, 2020

In his letter to the church in Philippi, Paul says that - he has learned to be content, whatever his circumstances (Philippians 4:12). That’s a lesson that takes some learning. Often our contentment, our happiness, is determined by our circumstances, especially if those circumstances involve pain, difficult people, pressures and problems. We easily fall into the trap, of ‘when’ and ‘then’ thinking. ‘When’ such-and-such happens, ‘then’ we’ll be happy. In Philippians 1:12-30, Paul says that we can address some of the “killjoys” of life, if we - look at our circumstances from God’s point of view, don’t let others control our attitude, trust God to help us work things out, and stay focussed on our purpose. Paul sums it up this way - “Whatever happens, conduct yourself, in a manner worthy of the good news of Christ” (Philippians 1:27).

The True Nature of Happiness: Healthy Relationships

The True Nature of Happiness: Healthy Relationships

April 30, 2020

We can walk down many roads searching for happiness but find nothing is ever a good as it promises to be. Paul’s letter to the Philippian church is one of the most joyful parts of God’s word. When he’s writing about happiness Paul begins with relationships. In the first 11 verses Paul encourages us to – be grateful for the people in our lives pray with joy for them expect the best from them, and love them like Jesus does.

Easter Sunday -  How the Resurrection Gives Us Hope

Easter Sunday - How the Resurrection Gives Us Hope

April 30, 2020

When Jesus was crucified, he had around 100 followers. Today, around 2.3 billion people claim to be followers of Jesus (that’s around 1 of every 3 people). How did that happen? How did Christianity spread so quickly and so widely?

It’s the resurrection! Not dead Jesus! Easter Sunday.

When God purposed, to come to earth (that’s Christmas), and die for the sins of all humankind (that’s Good Friday) and then raise Jesus back to life three days later (that’s Easter Sunday), that becomes the single most significant event in history. Nothing else comes close.

Jesus’s resurrection gives us good reason to be people who live with hope, because –
we’ve been completely forgiven
we’re no longer afraid of death
we now have God’s spirit empowering our lives
we know God will never stop loving us
we know the purpose for which we’re created, and
we have an eternal home waiting for us.

Good Friday Message

Good Friday Message

April 30, 2020

John 19:30 records Jesus’ last words – “it is finished”. Later, as the early Christians read John's Gospel and heard those words again, it dawned on them just how powerful these dying words of Jesus were. “Tetelestai” is the Greek translation of Jesus’ words – it was part of the common language of the time carrying the idea that something (a job, a temple sacrifice, a transaction, a work of art, a task) was completed; there was nothing further to do. When Jesus spoke those final words, he wasn't just saying - "this is the end of me", as if there was nothing else to do but to give in to his enemies and die. His last words weren't a final surrender to the powers of evil as if to say - "you've won. I'm done for". These words don't tell us that Jesus was dead now and that's all there is to it; he's finished and so is everything that he stood for and promised during his earthly life. All those who heard the word – “tetelestai” understood that Jesus was saying that his job of saving the world has been completed? He has finished that task and nothing can be added to what has been done. Jesus has paid the price in full; he has cancelled all debt. His sacrifice has been a perfect one, acceptable to the heavenly Father who looking down on his Son hanging lifelessly from the cross said - "This is my dear Son with whom I am well pleased". “Tetelestai - it is finished. Everything is complete!”

Give Anxiety Away

Give Anxiety Away

April 30, 2020

Matthew 21:6-9 is Matthew’s account of Jesus entering Jerusalem. Matthew says - The crowds in front of him, and behind him shouted: “Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed is he, who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!” It’s hard to imagine the “ticker”, the intestinal fortitude, the tenacity, the “love-courage” of Jesus as he sets out for Jerusalem and all he knew would unfold for him there. Surely, neither his disciples nor this Palm Sunday crowd had any idea of what was to come. Now, there was no turning back for Jesus. And he was determined, to see it through to the end, and trust it all into the hands of his Father in heaven. In an age of anxiety and in this time of anxiety “love-courage” is the same for us. Trust in the love we know God has for us and the love we have for God. God’s love is the source of the security we have the drives out fear and anxiety.

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