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28th June 2015
Sometimes when I take my boys to see Gillingham football club, they are so busy eating their sweets that they miss the rare occasion when a Gillingham player scores a goal! They’re so distracted that they miss the main event.
We see a similar thing happening with Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8:9-25. Simon was amazed at the miracles – and we can probably all understand that. He was a magician himself and we read that many people were amazed at what he did. But then Philip turned up and preached Jesus, and someone greater than Simon turned up! People responded to Jesus and were baptised. It says that even Simon believed and was baptised. But he was so amazed at the signs and wonders that he missed the One to whom they were pointing.
Whether or not Simon was a Christian is unknown. It says that he believed and was baptised, but Peter’s rebuke seems to imply he wasn’t. It is possible to show some signs of responding to Jesus but to then not bear the fruit that is to be expected when someone is following Jesus.
Jesus said that not everyone who called Him Lord is actually saved (Matthew 7:21). Peter rebuked Simon and told him to repent from his ways – repentance is a transformation of how we think about God and how we think about ourselves: it is a change of mind that leads to a change of behaviour. When we are genuinely captivated by Jesus, we bear the fruit of that.
We could conclude that we’d better not do signs and wonders because people can easily be distracted from Jesus by them. Not at all! The Church is meant to be supernatural – it’s meant to be full of the Holy Spirit, the place where the sick are healed and the oppressed are set free.
There are lots of things in our church that point to Jesus, but if you’re coming on Sundays for the great kids work, for the sense of community, for the way we care for the poor, for the style of worship, for healings and miracles – these are all good things, they’re awesome, but they’re not as awesome as Jesus. They all just point to Jesus.
Simon should’ve looked at where the miracles were pointing and seen the glorious Saviour, Jesus Christ. He should have been captivated by Jesus Christ enthroned above all else. He should have been amazed at Jesus coming in human form, dying for the sins of the world and rising again. The cross should have amazed Simon – he should have realised that Jesus died for him, in his place, to take away his guilt.
There are countless things that Simon could have marvelled at, but he missed it. Simon’s amazement finished at the miracles, but they’re only the start. Jesus will amaze us for all eternity. The apostle Paul wrote: “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Philippians 3:8)
Do you? Are you amazed at Jesus? Are you captivated by Him?
Posted by Paul Mann
5th April 2015
Our Easter Sunday meetings today featured a powerful performance of 'the Lifehouse skit' from our youth and 20s. Here is the video of the performance from the morning meeting...
To listen to the sermon from Easter Sunday, Does the resurrection matter?, click here.
Posted by Natalie Williams
6th May 2014
What’s got your attention at the moment? Your job, your family, your income, or the lack of any of those? When Sam Akrasi preached on Sunday he reminded us that Peter’s gaze was on fish (Luke 5:1-11), or rather the lack of them. He had fished all night and caught nothing and, as Sam said, he was probably thinking what on Earth was he going to tell his wife!
Then Jesus came into the picture and His gaze was on Peter. He stepped right into Peter’s life and turned it around. But the strange thing was, in that moment, Peter had all the fish he could ever have wished for, and he left them behind to follow Jesus.
About 100 years ago, I remember singing a chorus:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face. And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.
It’s a bit twee compared to the songs we sing now, but it captures something of what Sam was talking about on Sunday. We can be struggling with our circumstances and trying to find the best way through, and really what we need is an encounter with Jesus.
So the important question is not: what’s got your attention? But, how deep do you want to go with Jesus?
Listen to Sam's sermon 'Going deeper with Jesus' here.
Posted by Kevin Rose
27th April 2014
The Bible tells us that creation itself is waiting and even yearning for Jesus to return, and every follower of Jesus is eagerly awaiting this too! We can read in the Bible about when Jesus will return, what it will be like and why He is coming back.
Many people have tried to predict when Jesus will come back – there’s even a book of 88 reasons why Jesus would return in 1988! But Jesus Himself is very clear on this: He said, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” (Matt. 24:36). The Bible also says that He will come “like a thief in the night” (1 Thess. 5:2), which clearly indicates that it will be surprising.
We are not expected to try to figure out when Jesus will come back; rather we are supposed to live ready. We are called to live in eager expectation of His return, making sure our lives reflect what we believe, not hedging our bets, ‘looking busy’ and hoping we can follow Him seriously at the last minute. Jesus isn’t like a naïve boss. He knows our hearts, our motives, everything. We are to preach the gospel, be the good news, love people and point them towards Him now. That’s how we stay prepared – by doing the things we’ve been commissioned to do!
Though we don’t know when Jesus will return, we do know something about what it will be like: the first time He came, it was in humility, vulnerability and obscurity; when He comes back, it will be totally different – it will be the biggest event in world history as He comes in power and glory, with the whole world knowing about it! It will be global, it will be awesome, and it will impact every single person on Earth – even the dead will rise!
We can also know why Jesus will return – what the purpose of it will be. Jesus will one day redeem all things. A new heaven and a new Earth will be created, and we will have new bodies, completely free from pain – even from sagging! There will be a day of judgment, where full and perfect justice takes place. And Jesus will separate those who follow Him from those who don’t. At that time it will be too late to change your mind. Those who don’t know Jesus will go to spend eternity without Him.
But for those who do know Him, once Jesus returns there will be no more pain, suffering, anxiety, disease, war, hatred, confusion, sin, or death. There will only be love, joy, peace and good things for all eternity. And for those ‘in Christ’, we will be glorified, just as He is glorified.
To download the recording of this sermon and the life application questions, click here.
Posted by Santino Hamberis