Third Sunday after Pentecost
29 June 2014
THIS MORNING'S MUSIC OF PRAISE:
501, 136, (N.C.) 142, 635, 839, (L.P.) 901, 900, 647.
FIRST BIBLE READING:
Genesis 22: 1-14
'The sacrifice of Isaac: God tests Abraham'
Sometime later God tested Abraham; he called to him, "Abraham!" And Abraham answered, "Yes, here I am!"
"Take your son," God said, "your only son, Isaac, whom you love so much, and go to the land of Moriah. There on a mountain that I will show you, offer him as a sacrifice to me."
Early the next morning Abraham cut some wood for the sacrifice, loaded his donkey, and took Isaac and two servants with him. They started out for the place that God had told him about. On the third day Abraham saw the place in the distance. Then he said to the servants, "Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go over there and worship, and then we will come back to you."
Abraham made Isaac carry the wood for the sacrifice, and he himself carried a knife and live coals for starting the fire. As they walked along together, Isaac spoke up, "Father!"
He answered, "Yes, my son?"
Isaac asked, "I see that you have the coals and the wood, but where is the lamb for the sacrifice?"
Abraham answered, "God himself will provide one." And the two of them walked on together.
When they came to the place which God had told him about, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. He tied up his son and placed him on the altar, on top of the wood.
Then he picked up the knife to kill him. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, "Abraham, Abraham!"
He answered, "Yes, here I am."
"Don't hurt the boy or do anything to him," he said. "Now I know that you honour and obey God, because you have not kept back your only son from him."
Abraham looked around and saw a ram caught in a bush by its horns. He went and got it and offered it as a burnt offering instead of his son. Abraham named that place "The Lord Provides." And even today people say, "On the Lord's mountain he provides."
SECOND BIBLE READING:
Romans 6: 12-23
'You have become slaves to righteousness' (GNB)
Sin must no longer rule in your mortal bodies, so that you obey the desires of your natural self. Nor must you surrender any part of yourselves to sin to be used for wicked purposes. Instead, give yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life, and surrender your whole being to him to be used for righteous purposes. Sin must not be your master; for you do not live under law but under God's grace.
What, then? Shall we sin, because we are not under law but under God's grace? By no means! Surely you know that when you surrender yourselves as slaves to obey someone, you are in fact the slaves of the master you obey - either of sin, which results in death, or of obedience, which results in being put right with God.
But thanks be to God! For though at one time you were slaves to sin, you have obeyed with all your heart the truths found in the teaching you received. You were set free from sin and became the slaves of righteousness. (I use everyday language because of the weakness of our natural selves.) At one time you surrendered yourselves entirely as slaves to impurity and wickedness for wicked purposes.
In the same way you must now surrender yourselves entirely as slaves of righteousness for holy purposes.
When you were the slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness. What did you gain from doing the things that you are now ashamed of?
The result of those things is death! But now you have been set free from sin and are the slaves of God. Your gain is a life fully dedicated to him, and the result is eternal life.
For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Matthew 10: 40-42
'Whoever welcomes you welcomes me' (GNB)
Jesus said to his twelve disciples, 'Whoever welcomes you welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes God's messenger because he is God's messenger, will share in his reward.
And whoever welcomes a good person, just because that person is good, will be given the same reward as a good person.
You can be sure that whoever gives even a drink of cold water to one of the least of these my followers, just because that person is my follower, will certainly receive a reward'.
NOTES ON THE READINGS:
This chapter presents us with a climax in Abraham's life of faith. With a long-awaited son and heir arriving beyond any human expectation in his old age, Abraham's love for Isaac could well have threatened and consumed his hitherto first love and loyalty to God. He therefore needed a soul-shaking test to help him correctly balance his spiritual priorities.
Isaac was a miraculous gift to Abraham and Sarah.
Although they were the parents in every sense, yet Isaac was really purely given by God. This means that if Abraham really believed that, then he would be prepared to give Isaac back to God. This test called on Abraham to set aside all the promises connected with future descendants, the land and blessing to the world, which presumed an heir to carry on his line. Abraham placed his reason second to his faith in this test and was graciously given the means of making a normal sacrifice.
This is the second part of St Paul's answer to his enemies' criticism that salvation through faith in Christ's work of redemption encourages more and more sin in order to receive more of God's grace. He answers here that not only did Christ die to set us free from sin and its terrible consequences, but the purpose of this freedom is to enable believers to cease allowing sin its power in their bodies, yielding them rather to be 'instruments of righteousness'. Being under the freedom of grace, opposed to slavery under strict and harsh law, means placing oneself under willing service to God with growth in personal holiness.The so-called freedom of sin brings death. The freedom of service in righteousness brings eternal life.
This reading contains the final words of Jesus to the twelve upon sending them out to the surrounding towns. It can be seen that these words can be applied also more generally to the continuing work of the church. When a representative of Christ proclaims his word, it is as though the Lord himself is being received. A 'prophet' here describes someone who proclaims the gospel. A 'righteous person' is someone who sincerely demonstrates faith by the manner of life. 'These little ones' are people who are lightly thought of, often unnoticed. The reward so clearly promised for even slight deeds of love is a reward granted by God's grace and not deserved by personal merit.
Bible readings for Sunday 6th July 2014:
Gen. 24: 34-38, 42-49, 58-67,Rom. 7: 15-25a,Matt.11:16-19, 25-30.
2. Bradford Family:
May God, with His mighty presence, comfort Dale, Carol, Di, Chris and families as they mourn the passing of Dale's mother Margaret Chaffey last
(The funeral service will take place tomorrow (30th June), at Trinity Lutheran Church, Warrnambool at 1.30 pm).
1. This week in the Lord's Service - 29th June - 6th July:
Studies continue on 'A Hearing Heart' -
11.00 am at the church and 7.30 pm on Wednesday 16th July at the home of Phil and Dorothea Worpel, 235 Scenic Road, Highton.
Saturday - 10.00 am - 11.00 am - 'Sing - along'time. 11.00 am to 12 noon - Choir practice.
Next Sunday - 9.30 am - Public Divine service - (Non Holy- Communion).
2. Pastor Lester - On Leave:
Pastor Lester will be taking leave from tomorrow- (30th June) to 13th July, 2014. During this period, contact may be made via the church office -
03 52 78 2443 or if unattended, leave message.
3. Araluen 500 Cards Camp 2014:
It's on again!! The Araluen 500 camp from Friday 11th to Sunday 13th July. Please see notice board near kitchen for details/application form.
4. Coming up for your diary:
Thursday 10th July - 10.30 am - Ladies Fellowship.
Tuesday 15th July - 12.30 pm - Kaffeestunde.
Sunday 27th July - 2.30 pm - 'An Afternoon of Delight' at the church - More details to follow!!
Tuesday 29th July - 7.00 pm - Church Council.
Sunday 3rd August - Sunday School resumes.
Tuesday 6th August - 7.30 pm - Deacons.
Thursday 7th August - 2.30 pm - Mid-week service with H.C. followed by fellowship afternoon tea.
Sunday 10th August - (A/W) - Half-Yearly meeting.