Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost
28 September 2014
THIS MORNING'S SONG'S OF PRAISE:
148, 458, Ps 78, 347, 174, 290, (v 1, 2, 3).
FIRST BIBLE READING:
Exodus 17: 1-7; 'God gives water from a rock' (GNB)
The whole Israelite community left the desert of Sin, moving from one place to another at the command of the Lord. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water there to drink. They complained to Moses and said,
'Give us water to drink'.
Moses answered, 'Why are you complaining?
Why are you putting the Lord to the test?'
But the people were very thirsty and continued to complain to Moses. They said, 'Why did you bring us out of Egypt? To kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?'
Moses prayed earnestly to the Lord and said, 'What can I do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me'. The Lord said to Moses, 'Take some of the leaders of Israel with you, and go on ahead of the people. Take along the stick with which you struck the Nile. I will stand before you on a rock at Mount Sinai.
Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink'. Moses did so in the presence of the leaders of Israel.
The place was named Massah ('testing') and Meribah ('complaining'), because the Israelites complained and put the Lord to the test when they asked, 'Is the Lord with us or not?'
SECOND BIBLE READING:
Philippians 2: 1-13;
'The humility and exaltation of Christ' (ESV)
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Matthew 21: 23-32; 'Which son obeyed his father?'
And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, "By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?" Jesus answered them, "I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things.
The baptism of John, from where did it come?
From heaven or from man?" And they discussed it among themselves, saying, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will say to us, 'Why then did you not believe him?' But if we say,
'From man,' we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was a prophet." So they answered Jesus, "We do not know." And he said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.
"What do you think? A man had two sons.
And he went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work in the vineyard today.' And he answered, 'I will not,' but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, 'I go, sir,' but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?"
They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.
For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.
NOTES ON THE BIBLE READINGS:
God had shown his marvelous saving hand to the Israelites in their rescue at the Red Sea. He had also miraculously provided food daily with bread (manna) and quail. However, the pattern of grumbling, of unjust criticism of Moses and of God, together with the threat of rebellion, emerged again on this occasion when they reached a location without water.
They did not stop even to think whether God was testing them.
They rather put God to the test. God's patience was abundantly demonstrated by his orders to Moses to strike the rock from which poured out water.
Christ Jesus laid aside his eternal right to equality with the Father to become a slave under the human lot of misery resulting from the fall into sin. He became obedient to the Father's will even to bearing the punishment of death for the sins of all. Therefore, says St Paul, imitate the humility and service of Jesus in working the good pleasure of God through looking, not to your own interests, but the interests of others.
The religious leaders from their stand-point of confirmed rejection here query Jesus' authority to teach and work miracles. He answers their query and points to their hardheartedness through the story of the two sons.
God will always turn from those who stubbornly shut him out of their lives, and will find others who can be constituted on a spiritual basis to produce fruits from their new life created in and through the Saviour.
Bible readings for Sunday 5th October 2014:
Exodus 20:1- 4, 7-9, 19-20,Phil.3: 4b -14, Matt. 21: 33 - 46.
This week in the Lord's Service 28th Sept- 5th October:
1. This evening - Fellowship meal and movie at 'Our Redeemer' - 5.30 pm (soup/rolls) - Meal by gold coin donation. 6.00 pm - screening of Heaven is for Real'. All most welcome!
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 - Dist.Convention:
From 1st - 2nd October, District Pastors' Conference will take place at 'Our Redeemer' and then from 3rd - 5th October, Pastor Lester, Mark Gerhardy
and Graeme Huf as our two delegates will be attending District Convention at Werribee.
If any member wishes to make contact over the Convention, please phone the church office, 03 52 78 2443, or if unattended, leave a message.
3. St John's Bus Trip - 9th October
Another reminder that, St John's Evening Fellowship has organised a bus trip to Werribee mansion/ rose garden on Thursday 9th October, leaving from 'Our Redeemer' at 9.30 am, returning
at 3 pm. Costs will be $10 for the bus, $5.85 (concession) for a self-guided tour through the mansion. Bought lunch in the café - $15 - $ 20, or bring along a picnic lunch. If you would like to come,
4. 2014 Longest Lutheran Lunch :
A further reminder that flyers and registration forms for the fellowship Longest Lutheran Lunch at Araluen Lutheran Camp, Angelsea on Sunday 26th October, are now available from the church front foyer
As previously, there will also be a public divine service here at 'Our Redeemer' on that Sunday.
Coming up for your diary:
Sunday 5th October - Singer/songwriter Robin Mann performs at St John's Yarra St. Meal - 5.30 pm - (bring along food to share) - Sing-along -6.30 pm - Any donations taken on the night!
Tuesday 7th October - 7.30 pm - Deacons.
Thursday 9th October - 10.30 am - Ladies F.Group.
Friday 10th October - 9.30 am - Worship Team.
Tuesday 14th October - 7.00 pm - Church Council.
Sunday 19th October - Sunday School.
Tuesday 21st October - Kaffeestunde
Thursday 30th October - 2.30 pm - Reformation mid - week worship service (with Holy Communion), followed by fellowship afternoon tea. All welcome to come along!
Sunday 9th November - Nominations Committee
Sunday 23rd November - 2015 Elections meeting