23 June 2013 Pentecost 5

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
23 June 2013

279, Ps 22 (tune LH 549), 883, 323, 327.

Hear the Word of the Lord as it is written in Isaiah 65: 1-9;

''The Lord will punish the rebellious but save those who serve him'
[The Lord said:] 'I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, "Here am I, here am I.
"All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations – a people who continually provoke me to my very face, offering sacrifices in gardens and burning incense on altars of brick; who sit among the graves and spend their nights keeping secret vigil; who eat the flesh of pigs, and whose pots hold broth of impure meat; who say, "Keep away; don't come near me, for I am too sacred for you! "Such people are smoke in my nostrils, a fire that keeps burning all day.
See, it stands written before me; I will not keep silent but will pay back in full; I will pay it back into their laps – both your sins and the sins of your ancestors,' says the Lord.' Because they burned sacrifices on the mountains and defied me on the hills, I will measure into their laps the full payment for their former deeds.'
This is what the Lord says: 'As when juice is still found in a cluster of grapes and people say, "Don't destroy it, there is still a blessing in it "so will I do on behalf of my servants;
I will not destroy them all.
I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah those who will possess my mountains; my chosen people will inherit them, and there will my servants live.

Hear the Word of the Lord as it is written in Galatians 3: 23-29;
'We are Christ's, justified by faith'

Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.
Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Hear the Gospel of the Lord as it is written in Luke 8: 26-39; 'Jesus heals a man with demons'

They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs.
When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don't torture me!" For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man.
Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.
Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" "Legion," he replied, because many demons had gone into him. And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.
A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into them, and he gave them permission. When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.
When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus' feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured.
Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left. The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, "Return home and tell how much God has done for you." So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.

ISAIAH 65:1-9:
God was ready for the people of Judah to come to him, but too many were intent on the abominations of idol worship to respond to his repeated invitations. His warnings here echo the close of the commandments that such hardened apostasy will provoke punishment on the people for the sins of their fathers also. However, the Lord will patiently establish the future emergence of those who are faithful. They will live in his kingdom and possess the inheritance promised long ago to the faithful ancestors.

GALATIANS 3: 23-29:
The Old Testament believers were saved by faith, but did not know of the free forgiveness of Christ. They were under the restraints of the law, with all the frustrations of never reaching the perfection that the rules of the 'schoolmaster' required. With Christ came assurance of the full and free forgiveness; simply through faith in what the perfect Son of God achieved for sinners. Through faith all believers have close and intimate relation with Christ. They have 'put on Christ'. Being children now, not wards of a schoolmaster, they are all on exactly the same wonderful footing in their salvation regardless of their gender, caste, race or socioeconomic status. They are also heirs along with Christ.

LUKE 8: 26-39:
The deplorable condition of this Gerasene man was indeed piteous. That it was a case of particularly violent demon possession was apparent from the hostile recognition of Jesus as the Son of God, shrieks of opposition to Jesus' orders of exorcism, the man's ability to break bonds, and the fear of the spirits to return to 'the abyss'. The departure of the spirits to their unexpected destination in the herd of swine demonstrated powerfully the power of Jesus over the forces of evil. Now the man was miraculously calm, spiritually hungry and touchingly receptive to Jesus' teaching. The angry reaction of the local people to the sight of their material loss over against a soul set free for eternal life is surely not without its current parallels within our own experience.

Bible readings for Sunday 30th June:
1 Kings 19:15-16, 19-21, Galatians 5:1, 13-25; Luke 9:51-62.


1. This week in the Lord's Service - 23rd - 30th June:
Wednesday - 11.00 am at 'Our Redeemer' and 7.30 pm on Wednesday 3rd July at Peggy and Errol Werner's home - Group study sessions continue.

Saturday - 11.00 am to 12 noon - Choir practice.
Next Sunday - 9.30 am - Public Divine service with Holy Communion.
Next Sunday - (following worship service) - Graeme Huf will give a briefing on the availability of a baptismal gift of an LLL savings account.

2. Slide Evening - Overseas Travels:
On Sunday 14th July, from 5.00 pm a slide presentation will take place at 'Our Redeemer',
hosted by Pastor Lester on his and Deidre' overseas travels. Light meal and supper provided.

3. Half-Yearly meeting:
The congregational Half-Yearly meeting has been set down (following worship) for Sunday 28th July.
If any member wishes to raise items of 'New Business', these might be emailed - ourredeemer@ncable or given at the church office,, together with a brief description by Sunday 7th July.

Coming up for your diary:

Thursday 11th July - from 2.30 pm - Worship service with Holy Communion for those in care,
families and anyone else who may wish to come along. Fellowship afternoon tea to follow.
Tuesday 16th July - 12.30 pm - Kaffeestunde.
Tuesday 30th July - 7.30 pm - Deacons.
Friday 2nd August - 9.30 am - Worship Team.
Tuesday 13th August - 7.00 pm - Church Council.

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