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Scott Wrigley

Philemon

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Philemon

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I love this letter that Paul writes to Philemon because you can hear the genuine love in Paul’s writing. There is an authentic deep love for Philemon and a confidence in his love for Christ and this is why he is so effective in the kingdom of God. We think this letter is about Onesimus but I think it is really about Philemon. Verses 4-7 is all about Philemon’s genuine love and faith, love for the saints and faith in Christ. These two go hand in hand when you follow Christ. Then verses 8-21 Paul pleads his case for Onesimus out of love for Onesimus and Philemon, stating that the gospel has made Onesimus a new creation. Paul has full confidence in Philemon’s faith and love to fully understand and accept Onesimus as a brother in Christ now. It is a beautiful story of faith and love working together for reconciliation first between Philemon and Onesimus to God and then that salvation in Christ reconciling Philemon and Onesimus together.  It is a letter about the power of the gospel.

Apply //

This is a letter to all believers. We can put ourselves in the position of Philemon and see what it means to be a Christian. We are called to love God and love others. It is that simple. Don’t make living the Christian life hard, just love whoever is in front of you every day with Christ’s love. We need to remember our salvation and all that we have been forgiven of and give that grace to others and point them to the only one who can bring life and forgiveness our Lord Jesus.

Oh, how amazing would it be if this was a letter written to all Christians! Paul so confident in our love for God and others, that he didn’t have to command, but simply ask knowing we would love like Christ loved!

Pray//

Lord I thank you for your great love and grace poured out on me and your church. Please help us pour out that love and grace on others that they may turn to you and give you the glory, praise and honour.

Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revelation Chapter 22

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REV 22

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Here we are, the very last chapter of the bible and John is overwhelmed with what he has seen in heaven. So, John falls down at the feet of the angel to worship him and that angel rebukes him and says “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!”. We see here in Revelation the problem of humanity and that is, we worship everything but God. But we also see the plan of salvation for all humanity and that is Jesus is the Alpha and Omega the one worthy of worship and the Spirit and the Church proclaim the gospel and say “Come! And let him who hears say, Come! And let him who thirst come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. Sin is the issue, Jesus is the answer and salvation is a free gift.

Apply //

Because of sin our hearts are idol making factories and we worship everything but God. We worship money, fame, status, Jobs, family, relationships, goods, angels, and the list goes on and on. We need to bring all these under the Lordship of Christ and when we do that they become instruments to glorify God, not ourselves. We will use fame to glorify God, we will use our money to glorify God, we will glorify God through our families, we will serve people, not use them. All in the hope to demonstrate and say to a lost world, God is the only one worthy of worship and that the Holy one Jesus, has died to forgive us our sins. We the church, are to join in with the Holy Spirit and proclaim the gospel of Jesus in all we do and invite people to come!

Pray//

Lord please convict me of sin. Show me what I am worshipping that is not you. Help me bring all of my life under your Lordship that I would be a representation of your love and grace to the lost. I thank you, God that you didn’t leave us in sin but by your great love and grace sacrificed yourself so we could freely come!

We love you, Lord.

Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revelation Chapter 21

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REV 21

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Chapter 21 is where Revelations gets really exciting. This is the part we have all been waiting for, the renewal of all things. It says “all things” and this is interesting because we think that heaven is the perfect place and earth is the second-rate shabby place we can’t wait to get rid of, but the scriptures say that both heaven and earth will be made new. We forget there was sin in both realms and war broke out in heaven and Satan and a third of the angels got kicked out. So now in chapter 21 God is bringing heaven and earth together forever, free from sin forever, to dwell with his children forever. Halleluiah

Apply //

How do we apply this knowledge? Well it is a sure promise from God and this brings hope into every situation we find ourselves in here on earth. I think the bible sums it up the best- Romans 8:24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?

25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Pray//

God, we thank you for your future plan in Christ Jesus. May people see the hope we have in you and want to turn to you and give you glory. Lord how wonderful will be the day we get to live in your presence forever more. All praise and glory be given unto you both now and forever, amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acts Chapter 10

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Acts 10:34-43

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This is the second time in the last 3 chapters where we see a man who is a believer in God but has not heard the gospel of Jesus and God sends a messenger to preach to him. God is continually searching for those that are seeking for the truth and he is seeking for those who are willing to be sent. Jesus said, “seek and you will find knock and the door will be opened”. So, we can trust God is faithful and always at work.

There are two things God is doing in this story, one he is again bringing salvation to the whole world and two changing the heart and mind of his servant Peter.

I love how Peter is so willing to be challenged by God and challenged in his former beliefs to be more and more like Jesus. His first reaction is “no I never have done anything unclean” and then he goes and meets and eats with a Gentile which was unclean for a Jew to do.

God shows no partiality, so neither should he.

Apply //

I wonder how often we don’t talk to people because they are different from us?

I’m not talking only culturally but also people who have had a different lifestyle in our own culture.

God calls us to love and serve all people not just the people you get along with or are comfortable talking to.

And I love that this is what ministries like Rahab in our church community do when they go into brothels here on the Gold Coast to love and preach the gospel to people most of us would avoid. They serve and love those ladies because they know God shows no partiality and loves those women as much as he loves us. The gospel is for all people and dare I say it? even those we class as our enemies because God classes them as lost sons and daughters in need of Jesus and so should we.

Pray//

Lord help me feel the love you have for all people

Help me see people through your eyes

May I have a love and burden for the lost and be willing to be challenged by you in areas that do not line up with your ways and love

God thank you that you do not show partiality, for you love me and have patience with me and your grace is poured out on me daily

So, may I have the same patience, grace and love for all people

Through your Holy Spirit

Amen

Acts Chapter 9

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Acts 9:31

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There is so much going on in chapter 9 it is crazy! So many miraculous events. Which one do you pick? Saul’s conversion?, the paralysed man healed?, the lady raised back to life?

Well none of them because the verse I want to look at is verse 31. It is just thrown in there and you can easily miss its significance in the mist of all the amazing miracles and stuff going on around it.

It says that the churches (the believers) “walked in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit and they were multiplied”.

I thought to myself why is that there? Is there something in that statement that we need to understand as a church today? The answer is yes, because I feel in the western church especially, we have lost what the fear of the Lord is and we can abuse the grace of God and his forgiveness as free pass to sin. And this is tragic because we see the fear of the Lord throughout the entire bible and a call to repentance and obedience. Now it doesn’t mean we need to be scared of God, but it means we need to have a reverence and awe of God and his holiness and know he is far beyond our comprehension and we are simply a creation of his, and a broken and disobedient one at that! This makes the fact that he died for us all the more astonishing and the early church had a good understanding of the fear of the Lord.

We can’t stay there though because if we just ponder his holiness and our brokenness we will feel unworthy of his love. That’s where the second part of the verse comes in and says “and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit”. They also understood and had comfort in the fact that God loved them so much and wants to restore us to right relationship with him through Jesus death on the cross. They understood their new position now as sons and daughters through Christ.

Apply //

The Gospel gives us access to forgiveness because Gods wrath and holy judgement was poured out on Jesus on the cross. And gives us access to the Holy Spirit to comfort and empower us for our good and his glory. We don’t use grace as a free pass to sin but the power to turn from sin. We need an equal understanding of the Holiness and the just judgement of God but also the love and grace of God through Christ and then we will multiply, because we will know him fully and we will desperately want others to know him fully too.

How do we know him fully?

Through daily reading the word, prayer, worship and community.

Pray//

God help me understand how holy, righteous and just you are

But also help me understand the depths of your love and grace for me

Lord you are awesome in majesty and might and power and are the just judge of all creation, worthy of all praise and glory

Lord thank you for your loving mercy and grace you have given us

You’re an all-consuming fire that no one can stand against but also all-consuming love that has been manifest in Jesus Christ for me

Acts Chapter 8

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Acts 8:26-38

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I love this story about Philip being told by an angel to go south along the road towards Gaza and he just obeys and heads off with no other instructions, faith step number 1.

Then on the road the Spirit says to Philip go to that chariot and again without hesitation he obeys! Faith step number 2.

The Ethiopian man in the chariot is reading Isaiah 53 and has no idea what the scripture is talking about and Philip engages the man and helps him understand that the text is about Jesus the messiah, the one they have all been waiting for, who came and died for our sins, and obviously how to be saved. Faith step number 3.

Then the man says “well here is some water what is stopping me being baptised?” And Philip without shame or hesitation gives the condition to be saved and says “If you believe with all your heart, you may”, faith step number 4.

And then he baptises the Ethiopian in the river. Faith step number 5

The whole story is full of the grace and love of God but also the faith and obedience of Philip. Here was a man searching for truth and God sends a willing servant, Philip to give the truth that he thirsts for and that truth can only be found in Jesus. Philip had faith in the call to go, then faith in the Holy Spirits prompting, faith to share the gospel with a stranger, faith to set the condition to salvation and faith in Gods saving grace through repentance, confession and baptism. What if Philip didn’t have faith and obey God? He would have missed out on an amazing adventure! and God would have got someone else to go for Him because God’s plan was for the gospel to go into all the world. Philip had faith in God not himself.

Apply //

How many opportunities to see God move in power and love through us have we missed due to lack of faith and obedience to the Holy Spirit?

It takes faith to trust God when we are led by the spirit to step out and engage people. We often feel unequipped to share Gods love for others but we need to trust that when we are obedient we will see Gods power and love work through us. Just like Philip, we need to have faith in God not ourselves. Sometimes we just need to take the next faith step God is calling us into even though we don’t know where that will take us, and then the next faith step and then the next and we will see the glory and love of God manifest in and through us.

Pray//

Lord may I become more aware of your prompting and have the faith in you to be obedient to your call, even when I have no idea where you are taking me or what lies ahead. God, I know you don’t need me but delight in including me in what you are doing in the world.

Lord I have faith in you and use me for you glory.

Amen

Acts Chapter 7

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 Acts 7:54-60

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In this passage of scripture Stephen (who we talked about yesterday) has been brought to face the religious rulers for essentially being so effective for the sake of the gospel in word and deed. So many people were coming to the Lord through his ministry the Jews couldn’t not notice his positive effect and they were so afraid that many more people would convert to Christianity so, they made up false accusations against him to have him killed.  Then Stephen filled with the Holy Spirit and in the process of being murdered by stoning says one of the most Christ like lines in the whole bible, he Knelt down and cried with a loud voice “Lord do not charge them with this sin”

Just sit and think about that line for a few days!

Really?

When you are being murdered!

Stephen had the mind to ask God to forgive them!

I thought only Jesus was that lovingly minded!

Again, this is amazing evidence of the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in a yielded Christians life.

Unfortunately, because Stephen was so effective for the spreading of the gospel through his humble ministry work, he became the first Christian to be martyred for the faith.

Apply //

Every time I read this passage I get convicted of the way I react in different situations when I feel I am under attack. It is not my first thought to be forgiving little lone ask God to forgive them. Generally, that comes days later when I have calmed down. Oh to be so heavenly minded in every situation to know and hear the prompting of God through the Holy Spirit. This is a stark reminder of the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:14-15 “for if you forgive people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will not forgive your sins”.

Forgiving others is a command of Christ, it is a non-negotiable, we are hypocrites if we accept the grace and forgiveness of God and don’t forgive others!

Who do you need to forgive from the heart?

Take a moment and ask God to reveal to you who you need to forgive.

Pray//

Lord forgive me for my sins and I forgive all who have sinned against me. Lord do not charge any sin to anyone on my account. I thank you for your complete forgiveness and I completely forgive all and lay aside any bitterness and hate. Lord fill me with your Holy Spirit that I will forgive even before the sin against me is over, just like Stephen and our Lord Jesus.

Amen

Acts Chapter 6

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Acts 6:1-8

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I love the picture this potion of scripture paints of the early church. We see here that the apostles were committed to leadership and the ministry of the word which we often think is a modern church structure. We often hear people say “we need to be more like the early church” and in some ways yes but in others we are continuing the model shown here. The apostles were committed to prayer and the ministry of the word and we see earlier in acts that all the people committed themselves to the apostles teaching. Even better is verse 5, it says “this pleased the whole multitude” that the apostles were committed to the word and not all the other jobs that would pull them away from teaching and evangelism ministry.

And I love the story of Stephen, just your average church member but it says he was “full of faith and power” full of the Holy Spirit and did many signs and wonders. He faithfully ministered in the calling God had put on his life and served the community humbly, but with great effect.

Apply //

Just like today with our lead minister Stu Cameron, we need to make room for him to lead us and have the space to seek God and dive deep into the word for teaching and edification, just like the apostles in the early church. He has been called by God to commit himself to the word. We as the church need to fill the other gaps in ministry to work as one body.

We do need leaders but if God has not called you to lead it by no means you have no effect or impact for the kingdom of God. If you are faithful in the gifts and graces God has given you, you will have a huge impact for the glory of God just like Stephen. We all need to be faithful in our call, full of the Holy Spirit and power to work together for the furtherance of the gospel message.

Pray//
Lord help me see my place in the body of Christ and be faithful in my position, filled with Your Holy Spirit power to love and serve whoever I come into contact with today for Your glory.

Amen

Acts Chapter 5

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Acts 5:12-43

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This is the second time in as many chapters that Peter and some of the apostles (the text doesn’t tell us who was with him) are imprisoned for preaching the gospel and for God confirming the word with signs and wonders. But this time an angel comes and opens the prison and frees them and then commands them to continue to preach the gospel. They immediately go to the temple and start preaching again! What boldness! What faith in God!

A third time they are arrested and this time they are flogged for preaching the gospel. And then the craziest verse in this section, verse 41, where it says that they departed rejoicing because they were counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Jesus. They were stoked to suffer! They were pumped that they were looked upon as shameful men, to them, it was confirmation that they were on the right path. This joyful reaction would have been more of a witness to the love and power of God than complaining and asking everyone to pray for them and complaining to God saying “why did you let this happen to me? That’s not fair!”

Apply //

I think to myself, would I continue to preach with such boldness if I had been thrown in prison? And then I think, would I be full of joy if I just got flogged! Probably not.  But the hallmark of a Christian should be joy and hope in the midst of suffering. This can be the greatest witness to the reality of God in our lives than anything else we can do, especially in the modern consumer world where we all feel like we never have enough and everything is unfair. Do people see hope and joy in you regardless of your situation? This should be our goal. People should see us and think why do they have such peace and hope in their current situation? I want that hope and peace in my life!

There is only one who can give us peace and hope in the midst of suffering and that is Jesus.

Jesus is what we Christians have to offer a suffering world.

Pray//

Lord help me to look to you in all of my situations. Lord empower me to have joy and hope even in suffering so that people would see you in me and want to know you, the only true God.
Amen

Acts Chapter 4

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They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?”Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is
“‘the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the cornerstone.’[a] 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say.
Acts 4:7-14

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In this passage of scripture Peter and John have been arrested by the Priest of the temple for healing a lame man at the gate called Beautiful in the name of Jesus. The great thing is many believed after seeing this miracle and that was why they were arrested. The Jewish leaders were not happy that more people were putting their faith in Jesus through the apostles teaching.

When Peter and John are questioned about the incident Peter is “filled with the Holy Spirit” and preached the gospel! He tells them that there is no other name greater than Jesus and He is the only one who can save us from sin.

I love the response of the Priests, because it was the boldness of Peter that they were shocked at. They were average men filled with excitement, boldness and wisdom that can only come from true belief in Jesus and empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

Apply //

I question myself when I look at this passage because I think of all the times I have been asked about my faith. How much excitement and boldness do I express when I talk about my faith in Jesus? I think we can avoid and be apologetic for our faith at times and this doesn’t send a great message of the hope, grace, power and peace we have found in Christ.

What if we sought out opportunities to share our faith knowing that when we do the Holy Spirit will empower us to witness. Wouldn’t it be great if people were shocked at our excitement, passion, wisdom, boldness, grace and love that we have in our lives and want to know the one we proclaim to be Lord and the giver of all those gifts.

Pray//

Lord I pray for boldness to share the gospel with passion empowered by your Holy Spirit. Lord may people see the love and grace You have poured out on me in the way that I love them and may you empower me to share the truth of you word and transforming power of your Holy Spirit. Lord I thank you for the opportunity to share your truth and thank you that you desire to work in and through me for my good and the good of others.

In Jesus name, Amen