The 11 disciples must again become 12 as they replace the one who betrayed Jesus. To do this they rely on prayer, the scriptures and God's own leading as they continue to trust Him as he builds His church.
Concluding our series on Esther we see that no matter how bad it gets, Christians have the good news of the gospel of Jesus, and God is already victorious! He has defeated his enemies and a day will come when all people will bow the knee before Jesus. Because of God's victory there will be a great celebration for God's people, delivered, rescued, redeemed, and rewarded.
In Esther 5-6, we see the hidden hand of God most clearly revealed and above the powers of the world. No amount of human wisdom can surpass God's sovereign rule. What people meant for evil, God will turn it for our good.
Threats to God's people from earthly powers and supernatural evil have been rife in history. God is not deaf, nor inactive against such threats and cries of his people, and has provided a great mediator to save us.
In the Old Testament book of Esther, God is not mentioned. His underpinning work of salvation is everywhere. This gives us hope for our age where anti-Christian forces seem more powerful than ever, so that we may wonder, where is God?
Jesus is challenged by the religious leaders who refuse to believe in the basis of his authority. In response Jesus shares two parables that should leave no one with any doubt of who he is and what he has come to do
Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem followed by his cleansing of the Temple and then a bit of strange run-in with a fig tree. In all of this we see Jesus being revealed as God's long-promised King, a King who comes humbly and who will bring about a great salvation as he establishes a new covenant at the cross.
As we come to the story of the rich young man, we see that salvation is a work of God’s divine mercy in our lives, and not based on what we do or what we ourselves possess. Rather, we are called to surrender all for the greater possession of having Jesus Christ as our great treasure.
As we continue to listen to Jesus’ teaching about life in his Kingdom in response to the Pharisees seeking to test him Jesus speaks about marriage, divorce, and singleness. Jesus highlights God’s original purposes for our relationships, and we are challenged to emulate little children in approaching and listening to Jesus’ words
Jesus continues his teaching about life in his Kingdom as he speaks about the centrality of forgiveness. Here is another example of a concept that is increasingly foreign to the world’s way of thinking, but central to the kingdom that Jesus has brought near. We consider not only the importance of forgiveness for those who are members of Jesus’ kingdom, but also what it is that enables us to forgive when wrongs are committed against us.
This week we resume a series in Matthew’s gospel, and we pick it up in Matthew 18 as Jesus speaks about greatness and what that looks like in His Kingdom. His words are a challenge to us about how we view status and greatness, and a call to an attitude of humility toward one another as we recognise that we are all ‘little ones’ welcomed by a gracious and merciful God.
Today we see the commitments of God's people as they return to live in the city and commit to following God’s law, ending with a great celebration around the wall. All of this leads us to see God’s faithfulness to keep his promises and causes our eyes to look further to see his promises fulfilled through Jesus. We can commit to God because he first commits to us.
With the walls of Jerusalem completed it's time to celebrate, but the celebration of this chapter is not about the physical restoration it's all about the joy that is found in God's word. Because the joy of the Lord is to act with grace and compassion, we can be filled with joy in any and every circumstance.
How will you face opposition in the Christian life? Many a time throughout the New Testament we are called to persevere in the face of strong opposition, whether it be through clear and apparent resistance and attack, or through the more insidious means of Satan and sin. In Nehemiah, we see perseverance in action as he stands firms, with God’s help, through the trials of opposition before him. We will see that with God’s help, those who persevere till the end will be saved!
We see in Nehemiah that great progress has been made rebuilding the walls of the city, but what progress has taken place in the hearts of the people? Instead of obedience to God’s law, there is greed and injustice among some of the people. As Nehemiah calls them to respond to God’s word it’s an opportunity for us to consider what God desires most from his people.
As we continue in our series in Nehemiah we see how God’s kingdom advances against opposition. As we seek to serve God today we should be aware of the biblical expectation of opposition and persecution, and amid that we can find strength in knowing that God is with us and will ultimately be victorious as he builds his church through the proclamation of the good news about Jesus.
After the people of God said they would get to work on rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, that’s what they did, they united together in the work of God’s kingdom. Today we have the great privilege of being called God’s fellow workers, he has saved us and it’s our joy to serve him in his kingdom work today.
Last week we were given a special insight into the prayer life of Nehemiah, and a great example for us to follow. He prayed God’s Word and trusted in His promises. Today we see that Nehemiah’s long planning to build the wall is seasoned with prayer and trust in God’s mighty hand. What God has said, he will do!
Nehemiah is well known for his leadership in building a wall against various opposition. We will see, however, that Nehemiah’s deeper concern was not a wall, but worship! In chapter 1, Nehemiah’s distress for his people is displayed in his deep commitment to God through prayer, a prayer of confession and repentance and a reliance on the promises of God found in his word.
Today we conclude our short series in 1 Peter considering God’s vision for his church. As God has given us new birth through the gospel, we are now God’s representatives in the world. This is a great privilege as God calls us his royal priesthood who now declare his praises to a watching world.
We continue our short series in 1 Peter considering God’s vision for his church. As God has given us new birth through the gospel, we are born into a new community marked by love. Today we consider how this reality plays out among us at St Aidan’s.
We begin a short series considering God’s vision for his church. 1 Peter is written to believers calling them to live out their faith as God’s new people in the world, we are now to live for His praise, glory and honour as we treasure Christ and look forward to our certain heavenly inheritance.
As we come to the end of Hebrews, the author gives a final word to encourage the Hebrew Christians to endure in their faith as they remember the faith of their leaders and remember their saviour, even unto death, as we offer a sacrifice of praise through the only one who can make our sacrifice acceptable: Jesus!
As we come to the final chapter of Hebrews, we are shown what it practically looks like to live in a way that worships God and is pleasing to him. Three ways we express our love for God is by loving others in the church, avoiding sexual immorality, and keeping ourselves from the love of money.
Like God’s people in the Old Testament who went before us, we are called to live by faith in a world where we will endure rejection, suffering, and difficult circumstances. Unlike them, we have seen God’s promises of salvation fulfilled in Christ and can look to him for hope and perseverance.
None of us knows the future, but we do know the promises of God and His character. Like the Old teTestamentstament examples of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph we are called to live and act by faith as we look forward to heaven trusting the faithful God who through Christ fulfils his promises.
The well-known figures in the Old-Testament were saved in the very same way we are: by faith in God. New Covenant believers receive salvation by faith in the same way, and therefore, should emulate those who came before us.
Obedience, endurance and faithful living are crucial for the Christian who places their faith in Christ. Through trials and persecution and temptation, our confidence must be in the saving work of Jesus, whose promise of return fills us with great hope so that we might strive to be obedient, endure and remain faithful to the end.
Hebrews' great statement on the priesthood of Christ concludes by focusing on how the sacrifice of Christ makes us Holy. Having received this new status as a gift, we are urged to draw near to the God who has served us and to give ourselves in service to one another.
How can we come near to God? How can we be cleansed from our sin? How can we have security for eternity? There is much that is uncertain in our world, but in Hebrews chapter 9 we are told of the certain hope that we have through the sacrifice that Jesus made for us which has obtained eternal redemption.
As we return to our series in Hebrews, we look in chapter 8 at the difference between the Old and New Covenants. The human priesthood anticipates the priesthood of Jesus, who serves in heaven! The New Covenant is superior and will reveal to us the grace and forgiveness of God in Jesus Christ.
This week we begin a new series in the letter to the Hebrew’s. It is a book of the Bible that helps us to see the supremacy of Jesus, and how the whole of God’s plan of salvation through history finds its climax in Jesus Christ. As we begin today we see how Jesus is God’s best and sufficient word to us, as we have heard God speak to us in Christ we are encouraged to pay close attention as we listen.