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Tenth Sunday after Pentecost
28 July 2013
¯ THIS MORNING'S HYMN'S OF PRAISE:
426, Ps 138(LH 218), 424, 829, 839, 437('Now thank we all our God') - Choir and Cong.
FIRST BIBLE READING:
Genesis 18: 20-32
'Abraham pleads for Sodom'
Then the Lord said to Abraham, "There are terrible accusations against Sodom and Gomorrah, and their sin is very great. I must go down to find out whether or not the accusations which I have heard are true."
Then the two men left and went on toward Sodom, but the Lord remained with Abraham. Abraham approached the Lord and asked, "Are you really going to destroy the innocent with the guilty? If there are fifty innocent people in the city, will you destroy the whole city? Won't you spare it in order to save the fifty?
Surely you won't kill the innocent with the guilty.
That's impossible! You can't do that. If you did, the innocent would be punished along with the guilty. That is impossible. The judge of all the earth has to act justly."
The Lord answered, "If I find fifty innocent people in Sodom, I will spare the whole city for their sake."
Abraham spoke again: "Please forgive my boldness in continuing to speak to you, Lord. I am only a man and have no right to say anything. But perhaps there will be only forty-five innocent people instead of fifty. Will you destroy the whole city because there are five too few?"
The Lord answered, "I will not destroy the city if I find forty-five innocent people."
Abraham spoke again: "Perhaps there will be only forty."
He replied, "I will not destroy it if there are forty."
Abraham said, "Please don't be angry, Lord, but I must speak again. What if there are only thirty?"
He said, "I will not do it if I find thirty."
Abraham said, "Please forgive my boldness in continuing to speak to you, Lord. Suppose that only twenty are found?"
He said, "I will not destroy the city if I find twenty."
Abraham said, "Please don't be angry, Lord, and I will speak only once more. What if only ten are found?"
He said, "I will not destroy it if there are ten."
SECOND BIBLE READING:
Colossians 2: 6-19
'Not philosophy or legalism, but Christ'
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord,
continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him,
strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also
circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ.He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.
Luke 11: 1-13
'Jesus' teaching on prayer
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, 'Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.
Jesus said to them, 'When you pray, say this:
May your holy name be honored;
may your Kingdom come.
Give us day by day the food we need.
Forgive us our sins,
for we forgive everyone who does us wrong.
and do not bring us to hard testing"
And Jesus said to his disciples, 'Suppose one of you
should go to a friend's house at midnight and say to him, "Friend, let me borrow three loaves of bread. A friend of
mine who is on a trip has just come to my house, and I haven't got any food for him".
And suppose your friend should answer from inside,"
Don't bother me! The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can't get up and give you anything".
Well, what then? I tell you that even if he will not get up and give you the bread because you are his friend, yet he will get up and give you everything you need because you
are not ashamed to keep on asking.
And so I say to you: Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks will receive, and everyone who seeks will find, and the door will be opened to everyone who knocks.
Would any of you who are fathers give your son a snake when he asks for fish? Or would you give him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? Bad as you are, you
know how to give good things to your children.
How much more, then, will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!'
NOTES ON THE READINGS:
God announced to Abraham his intention to inspect the moral state of Sodom and Gomorrah. This suggests his fairness in reserving punitive action until every opportunity for repentance has been exhausted. Abraham's intercession on behalf of others came from a deep compassion for the righteous. A monumental faith which is certain God will not reject him out of hand led him to bargain to the point of risking God's ire. God's answer shows that while his justice and anger over hardened and persistent sin must finally be fulfilled, yet he is prepared to act in mercy towards those who are faithful to him (e.g. Lot and Noah).
COLOSSIANS 2: 6-15(16-19):
False teachers at Colossae claimed that one could relate to God only through attaining a special 'fullness'. This had to be through the offices of a long line of angels or demon beings between oneself and God. Paul demonstrates that the 'fullness' of God resided bodily in Christ, and that Christ gives this 'fullness' as a free gift. Paul then proceeds to illustrate the process by which baptism bestowed Christ's demolition of the power of the law over us through his death and resurrection. There is no need therefore for circumcision. The ritual laws of the Old Testament were simply shadows pointing forward to a future reality.
This reality is Christ with his free redemption.
Upon the disciples' request to be taught to pray, the Lord gave this model upon which other prayers could be fashioned.
Luke's version is slightly shorter than the one in Matthew's gospel.
Perhaps each rendition was actually given by Jesus on a separate occasion.
In either form there is a sandwiched arrangement, so to speak, of spiritually directed prayers being balanced either side of one single prayer for bodily
blessings in the middle. Encouragement for the timid in prayer is given by the comparison of the attitude of the loving father to his child. The Holy
Spirit is the best gift of all.
Bible readings for Sunday 4th August:
Ecclesiastes 1: 2, 12-14, 2 18-23,
Colossians 3: 1-11,
Luke 12: 13-21
1. This week in the Lord's Service - 28th July - 4th August: This morning - Half-Yearly meeting.
Tuesday - 7.30 pm - Deacons.
Wednesday - Group Bible study sessions continue on Galatians - 11.00 am at the church and 7.30 pm at the home of Taria and Adam Schulze.
Next Sunday - 9.30 am - Public Divine service - (non communion).
Coming up for your diary:
Thursday 8th August - 1.30 pm - Ladies Fellowship.
Tuesday 13th August - 7.00 pm - Church Council.
Friday 16th August - 9.30 am - Worship Team.
Tuesday 20th August - 12.30 pm - Kaffeestunde.