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Chris Appleby Ministries

Chris Appleby Ministries

 

Scandalous Wisdom  Audio

1 Cor 1:20-31   1 Cor 1:20-31  

John 13:1-17

As Steve mentioned last week, Justine Toh in her research on current social needs has found that two of the greatest issues for people in Australia is a lack of cohesion in social life and an increasing tribalism. We have the illusion of community through our social networks but often no personal connection with the people we live amongst.

That’s the current world reality that we live with even as we read the words of a different time to ours, written in what was in so many ways a quite different world to ours.

In our passage today from 1 Corinthians 1 Paul is writing to a church that was very proud of its cultural and intellectual heritage. Corinth was the ancient world’s equivalent of New York. A huge trading and financial centre, set on the narrow isthmus between the Adriatic and the Aegean Seas, it was a hub of Mediterranean commerce. It was a city that was large, sophisticated, and generally well educated. This was no backwater of the Roman Empire. This was a large metropolis populated by people who’d seen it all and who were used to hearing the best of the Greek philosophers sharing their wisdom with anyone who’d listen.

Forgive Us Our Sins    audio

Luke 15:11-32

If you’re driving around on a Saturday morning, chances are you’ll see men jogging along the footpath keeping fit and it’ll be nothing particular to comment on. But when Jesus told a story about an older man running down the road it would have had the opposite effect. It would have shocked his audience. In his day the older you were the less likely you were to even walk fast let alone run. To run was to show a failure of dignity. But when they realised the reason he was running down the road it would have been even more shocking. Jesus story tells of a father whose son has disgraced the family, brought shame on them. Yet when the father sees this rebellious son coming down the road he runs to greet him and to welcome him back.

Jesus tells this confronting story to illustrate the nature of the forgiveness that God offers to his people. It’s that story that explains what Jesus meant when he told us to pray “Forgive us our sins”.

It’s interesting that in this postmodern world we’re a bit conflicted about the notion of forgiveness. When it’s all just a matter of personal choice, when the social mantra is “If it feels good do it!” why would we need to ask for forgiveness? If you feel hurt by someone you’re likely to be told that that’s your problem, get over it. When someone does say sorry, too often they’re expressing regret for the consequences, not for the action that was the cause of the offence or for the hurt they’ve caused.

The Key to Gaining the Kingdom  audio

Matt 5:1-15 

What does the word blessed – or bless-ed mean to you? I remember it was the closest thing to a swear word that my mother used to use: – “Those blessed ants are back in the kitchen!” More seriously though, it’s used to describe saints – “Blessed Saint Patrick”, “The Blessed Virgin Mary. If an ordinary person is described as blessed we generally mean they’re enjoying good fortune; God has been kind to them; they’ve received the rewards for their good life.

But what does Jesus mean when he describes this list of people as blessed? What did his hearers understand by it?

As we so often find in English the one word can mean various things, depending on the context. But in Hebrew and Greek there were two different words used for blessed. The first was used when you were talking about God doing something good for you. e.g. “The Lord bless you and keep you” is a prayer that God will look after you and bring you prosperity” But the other word that’s used speaks of a state of blessedness, or being at rest, at peace. It’s a bit like the idea of “Shalom”.

Give Us This Day  audio

Matt 6:5-8 

We come today to the third petition of Jesus’ model prayer. If you’ve been here over the last 2 weeks, you’ll have seen that Jesus’ economy of words can hide a depth of meaning and that’s no less true today as we think about what it means to pray “Give us today our daily bread”.

But before we look at it in detail I need to point out that there are 2 mistakes we can make when we get to this line of the Lord’s Prayer.

a. We can think it’s all about getting what we want, or

b. We can think it’s irrelevant.

Jesus Enters Jerusalem  audio

Matt 21:1-27 

Everyone likes a parade don’t they? Whether it’s the Moomba Parade or the Anzac Day Parade, or the Grand Final Parade, we all love to get out and watch our heroes. Probably for some Australians the greatest parades are when the Queen comes to visit - or these days William and Kate. People come out in their thousands with flags to wave, cheering as they pass by. 

Well that’s a bit like what happened when Jesus entered Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday. The city was buzzing. The word had got around. Jesus, the great teacher and healer was coming to Jerusalem, despite the danger from the Jewish leaders. Word was that he'd even been talking about death, predicting that he was going to be crucified, and saying that people had to be willing to take up their cross if they wanted to follow him. But that hadn’t stopped him from teaching and healing people and he was still arguing with the Pharisees.

A New Start  audio 

Col 3:1-17 

As the year rolled over last Monday night did you think to yourself, “That’s one year I’m happy to forget”? Or “Let’s hope next year is better than last year”? I can’t be sure that 2018 was worse than any other year but it sure felt like it. When you think back on 2018 there was no shortage of controversies, scandals, bad behaviour at every level of society. Domestic violence, murder, house invasions, gangs terrorising suburbs, 2 Royal Commissions, reporting, first, sexual abuse by priests, school teachers, scout leaders, etc. added to by accusations against parliamentarians, actors, movie producers, international aid workers, etc., then banks and other financial institutions who’d been ripping off their customers. And let’s not forget national leaders who’d committed fraud and embezzlement, or threatened their own citizens or other nations, closing borders, inciting civil war and so the list goes on.  It’s not a pretty picture of the world we live in is it?

Who is the Greatest in the Kingdom?    audio

Matt 20:20-34 

I had to get a new pair of glasses a few years back. These weren’t everyday glasses. These were ones that are made so I can see what’s on my computer screen without ending up with a cricked neck. They’re fantastic. They make the characters on the screen look perfectly in focus. They just have one drawback. If I forget to change them over when I leave my office I can’t see anything clearly unless it’s right in front of me. It’s not that I’m totally blind. It’s just that everything is blurred.

Of course being unable to see things clearly doesn’t just apply to physical sight, does it? There’s an even worse affliction of sight that some people suffer from. That’s the sort of blurred vision that comes from prejudice or from unthinking acceptance of a particular set of presuppositions or perhaps from listening to too much talk back radio. For example it’s the sort of blindness that might prevent us from understanding the various issues in the debate over asylum seekers or youth gangs. It’s the sort of blindness that leads some people to suggest that the Churches have no right to speak out about social issues.

Well, both of these sorts of blindness appear in Matthew chapter 20. There’s physical blindness in the two blind men, mixed with clear spiritual sight, and there’s spiritual blindness on the part of the disciples and others we meet in this passage.

Contact Details

Phone: 0422187127
 
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