Fifth Sunday of Easter
18 May 2014
THIS MORNING'S HYMN'S OF PRAISE:
761, 770, 175, ('In Christ Alone'), 191.
FIRST BIBLE READING:
Acts 7: 55-60
'The death of Stephen'
Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. "Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."
At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.
While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep.
SECOND BIBLE READING:
1 Peter 2: 2-10
'God's chosen people, a royal priesthood'
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
As you come to him, the living Stone - rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him - you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
For in Scripture it says:
"See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
"The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone, and,
"A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall."
They stumble because they disobey the message - which is also what they were destined for.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
John 14: 1-14
'Jesus the way to the Father'
Jesus said: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."
Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."
Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us."
Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own.
Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
NOTES ON THE READINGS:
ACTS 7: 55-60:
Stephen, 'a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit', had in the course of his witness for Christ become embroiled in arguments with some Jerusalem synagogue leaders.
His references to the Jews' hard-heartedness throughout their history, despite the grace of God towards them, so enraged them that they seized him to execute him for blasphemy.
Saul had an active role in this stoning. In high contrast to the fanatical and angry violence of his persecutors, Stephen's Christlike death reflected the Lord's last words on the cross. The glory which once had been part of the temple was seen by Stephen now, and Jesus at God's right hand.
1 PETER 2:2-10:
Peter's abundant use of Old Testament texts referring to the temple, the priesthood, the people of God show that the church is the New Testament Israel which is to serve as God's light in the world. There is constant ongoing growth into salvation, a living sacrificial service that emanates from Christ himself the cornerstone. Thus each stone (believer) in the building (church) takes its correct position from him. Anyone who leaves Christ out of their building will stumble over him to their own destruction, which eventuality was foreseen by God. Christ wants those called into his marvellous light to take that light out into the world by their proclamation.
The Lord had been foreshadowing his impending betrayal, suffering and death to the disciples. Their hearts were depressed and heavy. His reassurance that the way of the cross would be the way to God's presence not only for him but also for them, through him, was met by their mere confusion. In answer to Philip's question Jesus promised that the way to the Father was through the truth and life which he makes and gives. No one receives any other entrance. Anyone who has seen Jesus has seen the Father because of the mysterious unity of the persons of the Godhead. The believer, being united with him by faith, will therefore share in the works of God.
Bible readings for Sunday 25th May:
Acts 17: 22-31, 1Peter 3: 13-22, John 14: 15-21
1. This week in the Lord's Service - 18th - 25th May:
Parents please note: Sunday School this morning.
Tuesday - 12.00 noon - Kaffeestunde.
Wednesday - Study on 'A Hearing Heart' continues - 11.00 am at the church and 7.30 pm at the home of
Phil and Dorothea Worpel, 235 Scenic Road, Highton.
Saturday - 10.00 am - 11.00 am - 'Sing - along' practice time. 11.00 am to 12 noon - Choir practice.
Next Sunday - 9.30 am - Public Divine service - (With Holy Communion).
2. Araluen 500 Cards Camp 2014:
The Araluen 500 camp is on again from Friday
11th to Sunday 13th July. Please see notice
board near kitchen for details/application form.
3. Christian Life Weeks - Tandara:
Notice is given of upcoming CLW camps for youth 13 to 18 years at Tandara Lutheran Camp, Hall's
Gap - 30th June to 4th July, 22nd to 26th September and 29th September to 3rd October 2014.
For those interested, parents / campers letters and registration forms are available from the front foyer.
4. Family Camp - Tandara:
Notice is also given of a Family Camp at Tandara Lutheran Camp, Hall's Gap, theme 'Amazing Love'
for all ages, from 11th to 13th July, 2014.
Full details of what's on offer, cost together with Registration forms are available from the front foyer.
Registration closes 30th June.
Coming up for your diary:
Thursday 29th May - 2.30 pm - Worship service with H.C., followed by fellowship afternoon tea.
Friday 30th May - 9.30 am - Worship Team.
Tuesday 3rd June - 7.30 pm - Deacons.
Tuesday 10th June - 7.00 pm - Church Council.
Friday 13th June - 7.30 pm - YP Q&A.