Festival of the Reformation
26 October 2014
Address: 'Find God' in Christ Alone! Romans 3: 19-24
THIS MORNING'S MUSIC OF PRAISE:
885, 195 - (Choir sings verse 1- then congregation joins in the remainder) 851, 'In Christ Alone', 308 (1,4), 197.
FIRST BIBLE READING:
Jeremiah 31: 31-34
'The Lord will write his law on our hearts'
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of humans and the seed of animals. And just as I have watched over them to pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring evil, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, says the Lord.
In those days they shall no longer say: "The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge." But all shall die for their own sins; the teeth of everyone who eats sour grapes shall be set on edge.
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt - a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord.
But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, "Know the Lord," for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
SECOND BIBLE READING:
Romans 3: 19-28 'Justification by faith'
Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For "no human being will be justified in his sight" by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.
But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.
For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith.
He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.
Then what becomes of boasting?
It is excluded. By what law? By that of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law.
John 8: 31-36 'In my word, you will know the truth'
Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
They answered him, "We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, 'You will be made free'?" Jesus answered them,
"Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever.
So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
NOTES ON THE READINGS:
JEREMIAH 31: 31-34:
Hundreds of years of failure by God's people faithfully to keep his law resulted in prophecies of dire punishment and their tragic fulfilment. However, this prophecy of Jeremiah offers the promise of full satisfaction both on God's part and for his people. God had himself always remained faithful to his side of the covenant. It had been the people who had created the barrier through their sin. God's salvation in this new covenant would be to remove the barrier of sin by his forgiveness so that his Law might become an intimate knowledge and experience of his grace. This reading anticipates beautifully the content of our second reading written some six hundred years later.
God's people had lived under God's law since the time of Moses, drawing no closer to God's required standards of righteousness than to remain the judged under the judge. Yet there had been a system always in place by which forgiveness was assured through the priestly atoning sacrifices of animals.
St Paul points out how these sacrifices foretold the all-sufficient sacrifice God made in the sacrifice of his Son. Through this all human sin is passed over. Whoever trusts Christ Jesus' purchase price receives God's own righteousness as a free gift. Here is where the previously distraught Martin Luther at last found perfect peace in realising that he was put completely right with God through simply trusting what God offered in Christ's perfect life and payment price to set us free.
JOHN 8: 31-36:
The truth which Jesus gives is the only means by which anyone can be truly free. That is, free from the slavery which sin unequivocally imposes on the sinner. The Jews thought that they had all the freedom they wanted. They had God's law and were descended from Abraham. The truth by which Jesus makes us free is his word of promise. He is the Saviour whose blood cleanses from all sin. This word of God, our heritage through the Reformation, remains the only means by which we dwell eternally with our Lord.
Bible readings for Sunday 2nd November 2014:
Revelation 7: 9-17, 1 John 3: 1-3, Matthew 5: 1-12.
This week in the Lord's Service -
26th Oct - 2nd November:
1. Thursday 30th October 2.30 pm - Reformation Mid - week worship service (with Holy Communion), followed by fellowship afternoon tea. All 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 - 'Commemoration of All Saints' – (Non Holy - Communion).
Members and visitors are invited if they wish, at the conclusion of the worship service, to come forward to the front of the altar, to light a candle (as provided), in memory of a loved one.
A fellowship morning tea will follow for which members are invited to bring along a plate of food to share.
Parents please note: No Sunday School.
2. Nominations/Elections 2015:
We again are blessed in the response by members last Sunday to the opportunities to serve as set out in the 'Ministry Opportunities' 2015 form. This opportunity will
again be available this morning for those members absent last Sunday. It is requested that on completion, this form be left at the church office before leaving.
Members are also reminded that they may nominate other eligible members for positions (provided that their consent has been obtained) as indicated in the
attachment to the 'Proposed Office Holders 2015' .
3. Lenten devotional booklets 2015:
As previously mentioned, a 2015 Lenten devotional booklet is to be prepared for the local Lutheran community. 'Our Redeemer' has been allocated
10 'slots' for a short reflection on a theme that stands out for the contributor in the Bible reading and a one sentence prayer. There are eight 'slots' remaining.
If anyone is willing to be a contributor, please contact Wayne Schulz ASAP, either in person, or by phone at the church office 03 52 782443, or email: administration@ourredeemer- geelong.org
It is preferable that responses be electronically prepared, however, legible written or typed versions are acceptable. Completed reflections should be made available to the church office, before Monday 17th November.
4. 'Red Frogs Australia':
If any young people are interested in 'joining the crew' and helping out/supporting this worthwhile and important service for schoolies/leavers, please see notice board near kitchen and rear church foyer of church or pick up a flyer from front foyer.
Coming up for your diary:
Tuesday 4th November - 7.30 pm - Deacons.
Sunday 9th November - Nominations Committee.
Thursday 13th November -10.30 am - Ladies Fellowship
Sunday 16th November - Sunday School returns.
Friday 21st November - 9.30 am - Worship Team.
Sunday 23rd November - 2015 Elections meeting (A/W)
Thursday 4th December - 2.30 pm - Mid-week worship service (with H.C.), followed by fellowship afternoon tea.
Tuesday 9th December - 6.30 pm - Church Council.