Teaching – Telling of God’s love

Audio: Podcast (MP3) —click-play–>

Mission statement Week 1 – 2013-10-06

Sharing our faith

Telling of God’s Love

NOTES: two links below, will take you to the two video clips. The bible readings are at the end of the sermon.

Clip 1 – The Un-spoken plea (opens in another window)

Clip 2 – The waiting (opens in another window)

For the next 4 weeks we are going to work through the different aspects of our church mission statement.

You’ll find that on the front page of the newsletter.

To love, worship and serve like Jesus…

Our mission statement is to love, worship and serve like Jesus.

While it is a simple phrase,
that is easy to remember,
it could be interpreted in hundreds of different ways.

How to interpret

So what does it mean to love,
worship
and serve,
like Jesus.

Vestry worked this through over a series of 6 meetings.

We came to a point where we adopted some work that had been done by others.

What we have come to,
was originally shaped by the World Council of Churches and the Anglican Consultative Council,
and later adopted by the NZ Anglican Church and the Auckland Diocese.

So the framework we have adopted,
has been tried and proven.

We reworked the ideas and language into something we though would be useful for us.

What we have is:

  1. Telling of God’s love for all people.
  2. Teaching, baptising and nurturing believers
  3. Responding to human need by loving service
  4. Seeking to change all unjust practices and their results
    Challenging Violence in every form
    Pursuing peace and reconciliation
  5. Caring and protecting God’s Creation

Week1

This week we are going to look at the first aspect,
Telling of God’s love for all people.

Now this will look different for all people.

Probably the most important thing about telling people about God’s love,
is our attitude and actions.

What we do,
or don’t do,
says a lot about us.

One of the statements I like is one attributed to St Francis,
and it goes like this:

Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”

The truth is that what we do,
speaks louder and with more authenticity than what we say.

Francis never actually said the quote I just gave you,
however he did teach along those lines,
and his thought and teaching was that you need to live your faith out,
as well as speak it out, you need to have integrity.

You can’t for example ask someone else to do something you’re not willing to do yourself.

And if you believe in something,
then you need to live it too.

< – video clip – >

Preaching the gospel then is about living and showing our values,
as well as talking about them.

We need to be authentic.

What is God’s love

So whatever we might think God’s love is,
we need to live it authentically.

I think one of the components of love is that it is a free choice.

Almost all romantic movies we see, or family movies that talk of relationships,
and in some way they all talk of free choice.

That is that love only happens through free choice.

Love is one of the key ingredients of humanity.

And because love is a free choice thing,
it almost always involves some waiting on someone’s part.

Love stories are stories of people waiting for each other.

Can you think of a story where two people had to wait for each other?

< – thinking time – >

Surely one of the key components of love is waiting;
and that must also be one of God’s key attributes too,
with how God constantly waits for us.

< – video – >

God is love

God is love
We were created in the image of God
We were created to love and be loved.

And that is waiting and being waited for is a part of love.

Whether it is us waiting on one of our children to go their own way and come back;
or whether it is God waiting on us like in the prodigal son.

A key aspect of God’s love is waiting.

The call to hear

When we picked up the Gospel of John today,
we choose the call of the disciples from John’s Gospel because it has the story of Andrew,
whose call was to bring Peter to Jesus.

Like Andrew and Phillip in the Gospel of John,
you don’t have to give everyone the full message of the Gospel,
sometimes you simply need to bring people to hear it.

Not everyone is an evangelist;
certainly Andrew and Philip weren’t renowned for it;
yet they played crucial roles simply in bringing people to hear the message.

And that is what all of us can do,
we can bring people with us to church to hear the message of the Gospel.

Philip

Philip then comes up again later in John’s Gospel at the feeding of the 5,000.

Philip thinks there is not enough.

But with God’s love there is always enough.

God calls us and equips us.

We might feel ill-prepared,
we might feel un-worthy,
we might feel poor,
as though we don’t have what is required;
but with God all things are possible.

Jesus says to Philip what have you got?

And Philip says: “Nothing.”

Andrew then adds: “There is just this boy.”

God and Jesus then say to us,
bring me what you have and we’ll make it work.

God in love makes miracles happen,
God regulary transforms what we have,
into what we need.

At the close

At the end of the Gospel,
at the close of Jesus’ time with us,
we have seen God in action.

We have seen God authentically living love.

We have seen God in love call us.

We have seen God in love wait for us.

We have seen God’s plans work,
through God’s love transforming what little we have,
to make amazing things happen in our own and others lives.

And why does all this happen?
Why does God show us love?

The end of John’s Gospel records it so well.

Thomas is doubting,
after everything that has happened,
he is still struggling.

Yet Jesus says to him one more time, touch me and believe.
Let me transform you little faith, into strong faith!

I guess we might say that God sometimes calls our bluff;
and here Jesus calls Thomas’ bluff,
Thomas realises that there is a God,
that God does love him and that things will be okay.

Thomas doesn’t actually need what it is he thinks he needs;
he thinks he needs to touch Jesus
but he doesn’t.

Yet all the same to allay his fears Jesus says “touch me.”

John is very clear that Thomas didn’t;
to Jesus’ invitation Thomas simply says: “My Lord, and My God!”

He wanted to touch,
but instead his fledgling faith is transformed into the strongest of faith.

We ask for something,
what we think we need,
and God reaches out in love.

And sometimes how God meets us is very different to how we have asked,
but if we honestly look at ourselves and who we are,
we discover that God’s love and the way God meets us is always better than we could have imagined.

And at the end of this story;
you job;
your call;
my job;
and my call;
is to bring others to hear the story;

John says this:

Jn 20:30-31 Jesus worked many other miracles for his disciples, and not all of them are written in this book. But these are written so that you will put your faith in Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God. If you have faith in him, you will have true life.

Our call,
our mission is to authentically share God’s love;
so that others may put their faith in Jesus.

Scriptures

John 1:35 – 51

35 The next day, John was there again, and two of his followers were with him. 36 When he saw Jesus walking by, he said, “Here is the Lamb of God!” 37 John’s two followers heard him, and they went with Jesus.

38 When Jesus turned and saw them, he asked, “What do you want?”

They answered, “Rabbi, where do you live?” The Hebrew word “Rabbi” means “Teacher.”

39 Jesus replied, “Come and see!” It was already about four o’clock in the afternoon when they went with him and saw where he lived. So they stayed on for the rest of the day.

40 One of the two men who had heard John and had gone with Jesus was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother and tell him, “We have found the Messiah!” The Hebrew word “Messiah” means the same as the Greek word “Christ.”

42 Andrew brought his brother to Jesus. And when Jesus saw him, he said, “Simon son of John, you will be called Cephas.” This name can be translated as “Peter.”

43-44 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. There he met Philip, who was from Bethsaida, the hometown of Andrew and Peter. Jesus said to Philip, “Come with me.”

45 Philip then found Nathanael and said, “We have found the one that Moses and the Prophets wrote about. He is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.”

46 Nathanael asked, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”

Philip answered, “Come and see.”

47 When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said, “Here is a true descendant of our ancestor Israel. And he isn’t deceitful.”

48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.

Jesus answered, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.”

49 Nathanael said, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God and the King of Israel!”

50 Jesus answered, “Did you believe me just because I said that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see something even greater. 51 I tell you for certain that you will see heaven open and God’s angels going up and coming down on the Son of Man.”

John 6:1-15

Jesus crossed Lake Galilee, which was also known as Lake Tiberias. 2 A large crowd had seen him work miracles to heal the sick, and those people went with him. 3-4 It was almost time for the Jewish festival of Passover, and Jesus went up on a mountain with his disciples and sat down.

5 When Jesus saw the large crowd coming toward him, he asked Philip, “Where will we get enough food to feed all these people?” 6 He said this to test Philip, since he already knew what he was going to do.

7 Philip answered, “Don’t you know that it would take almost a year’s wages just to buy only a little bread for each of these people?”

8 Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the disciples. He spoke up and said, 9 “There is a boy here who has five small loaves of barley bread and two fish. But what good is that with all these people?” 10 The ground was covered with grass, and Jesus told his disciples to have everyone sit down. About five thousand men were in the crowd. 11 Jesus took the bread in his hands and gave thanks to God. Then he passed the bread to the people, and he did the same with the fish, until everyone had plenty to eat.

12 The people ate all they wanted, and Jesus told his disciples to gather up the leftovers, so that nothing would be wasted. 13 The disciples gathered them up and filled twelve large baskets with what was left over from the five barley loaves.

14 After the people had seen Jesus work this miracle, they began saying, “This must be the Prophet who is to come into the world!” 15 Jesus realized that they would try to force him to be their king. So he went up on a mountain, where he could be alone.

John 20:24-31

Although Thomas the Twin was one of the twelve disciples, he wasn’t with the others when Jesus appeared to them. 25 So they told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But Thomas said, “First, I must see the nail scars in his hands and touch them with my finger. I must put my hand where the spear went into his side. I won’t believe unless I do this!”

26 A week later the disciples were together again. This time, Thomas was with them. Jesus came in while the doors were still locked and stood in the middle of the group. He greeted his disciples 27 and said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at my hands! Put your hand into my side. Stop doubting and have faith!”

28 Thomas replied, “You are my Lord and my God!”

29 Jesus said, “Thomas, do you have faith because you have seen me? The people who have faith in me without seeing me are the ones who are really blessed!”

30 Jesus worked many other miracles for his disciples, and not all of them are written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you will put your faith in Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God. If you have faith in him, you will have true life.

Liturgy

 

Theme

Telling of God’s love for all people

 

Sentence

Andrew said, “There is a boy here who has five small loaves of barley bread and two fish. But what good is that with all these people?” – John6:8-9 (adapted)

 

Collect

Jesus beside the lakeside, when we see there to be not enough, you see the potential of our hearts, and of our gifts. You call out our giftings, you call out the heart of us. May we in love and grace respond. Amen.

 

Call to worship

Jesus as you walked along the lake, the shore of people’s lives you called

May we respond

Jesus you called others to bring people to your message

May we likewise bring others to your message

Jesus you call us to worship together

May we with one heart and one voice worship you.

 

Confession

God of all humanity and all creatures, Creator of heaven and earth, you have given us Moses, and the prophets, and Jesus the Christ to teach us your way, to instruct us in how you would like us to live our lives. And yet, we are confused, resistant, fearful.

You call us to be faithful with our money, God.

Hear the confusion and fears we confess:

(a time of silent prayer).

You call us to recognize our neighbours in need and to care for them.

Hear the confusion and fears we confess:

(a time of silent prayer).

You call us to invest in your future, to trust your promises to restore the land, and to deliver those who love you.

Hear the confusion and fears we confess:

(a time of silent prayer).

We struggle to trust you, God.

Forgive us. Diminish our fears with your spirit of power, love and strength, and renew us, we pray. Amen.

Words of affirmation

Friends, we have called to God, and confessed the struggles on our hearts. Now, believe God’s promise to be with us in our troubles, and to rescue us.

Amen. Thanks be to God, Amen.

 

Affirmation of Faith

This is instead of the normal one from NZPB, 485

Friends, to whom do we pray?

To our faithful God, the giver of all good gifts.

From whom do we ask forgiveness?

The God of grace and mercy, who calls us, generation after generation,
to enter into a loving relationship.

What good news does God share with us over and over and over?

That the mercy of our God is from everlasting to everlasting.

Hear, accept, remember, and trust in this good news, this amazing gift.

With humble and grateful hearts, we hear, we accept, we will remember
and trust the amazing gift of God’s mercy and love. Amen.

 

Call to offering

God has given us good gifts: the gift of life, the gift of love, the gift of mercy,

the gift of this good Earth, our home.

The gift of teachers, the gift of presence,

the gift of people to love, the gift of a call to serve, and the gift of hope for the future of God’s world.

God has given us good gifts.

Let us return for God’s use a portion of what God has given us, to further God’s purposes in this world.

 

Blessing

Called to call others.

Blessed to bless others.

Proclaim the message, be persistent whether the time is favourable or unfavourable. Encourage with patience. Carry out your ministry fully, and be blessed by God.

May we tell others of God’s love.

May we share God’s love with others.

We go to tell, to call, to respond to God.

With and in the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

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