Faith in Christ rests on credible witnesses.
It all depends on whether you think ordinary people can be credible
witnesses. Without knowing anything much the first century people
involved, we often write them off as credulous country bumpkins. Peter,
the owner of a fishing trawler, is impetuous rather than credulous.
Matthew is well educated and cynical. Paul is well educated and willing
to go to any depths to crush what he considers a dangerous religious sect.
All these men report what changed their minds and hearts convincing
them that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God, our Redeemer – far
more than a religious teacher from the mists of history.
Consider the story: Jesus in the boat, asleep. The storm, the boat filling,
the danger, the fright, the hopelessness – then they wake Jesus – the
sudden calm. Who is this? Who have we come to?
“A picture is worth a thousand words!” A saying of 19th Century
Jesus went on to tell three more Kingdom parables after the Parable of
the Soils with its focus on the mystery of the Kingdom.
People then as now faced many things that pull a person away from faith
in the God of Abraham. These three pictures build a vision of God’s
sovereignty and power that heartens perseverance and hope in our
The parable of the soils! The purpose of this parable does not fix
us eternally into one category or the other. The categories are real
but they bring us to the great mystery at the heart of Christ’s
At its very heart is the mystery of God’s judgment on all sin, and
His purity, love, grace and mercy towards sinners. The mystery of
His covenant, of His covenant promises!
But before we look at this passage today, I want to take a minute to just firstly talk about 9/11. We would all remember this that tragic event that happened in America, that changed the world in so many ways. But the reason I mention 9/11, is for something that happened the week after it. Not 9/11 itself, but something that came as a result of 9/11.
The week after the terrorist attack, President George Bush addressed a special sitting of congress. Obvious after such an event there was a lot to say, and something very memorable was said. This is what George Bush said the week after 9/11…
"Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."
But before we look at this, passage, John 6. I want to go completely off topic by quickly talking about something else. I want to talk about… Star Wars.
I’m sure everyone here has seen a Star Wars film, and if you haven’t, I’m sure you have at least heard of it. It think it would be pretty much impossible to have never heard about Star Wars before.
It was a once a cultural, movie, revolution. And as long as there is money to be made they will keep spitting out new films no matter how rubbish they may be.
Now whilst I’m having a knock at how bad the latest movies have been, I am a true Star Wars fan. Just in recent weeks, I have been re-watching the films and reading the new books, preparing myself for what will hopefully be the final in the Skywalker sage just next month
Isaiah 65 sounds like paradise doesn’t it? The new world order. Let’s take a look what it’s going to be like.
What is this talking about in our language? It’s infant mortality isn’t it.
they will plant vineyards and eat the fruit that’s productive farming.
Why would that happen? Invasion, burglary. Security.
Let me ask you to open your bibles to the passage that we heard earlier from 1 Thessalonians and let me say right at the very start, “how good is this?” Here is message of great joy and encouragement to every believer who has or will be until the day that Jesus returns in glory. Even better we are told to use these words for that very purpose of encouragement and building each other up.
From this passage it would be very easy to get bogged down in the mire of distraction instead of looking at the beautiful truth and awesome promise every believer has from our God. In this light we have a couple of verses that really drive home the wonderful truth and promise of God. Look at Ch.4:16-17; “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call…………………..” Then moving over to Ch. 5:9-10; we read, “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation………”
You will also notice that each of these verses is followed up with the message of encouragement for each other. The encouragement is that every believer whether having died or still alive will meet the Lord. But it will not just be a g’day how are you but something so beautiful and complete joining together of all the saints.
Tamworth Community Presbyterian Church