Sermons by Nicholas van Oudtshoorn
Pastor, Golden Bay Baptist Church
Not good enough?
Solomon’s temple must have been an amazing sight to behold. It stood for hundreds of years, a symbol of God’s presence with His people. According to 1 Kings 6:15ff, the entire inside, from floor to ceiling, was panelled with wood: cedar for the walls and ceilings, and cypress for the floors. The Most Holy Place in the temple was panelled floor to ceiling with cedar. And everything was covered in gold! There was an opulence and grandeur about the whole…
Slaves or Children
Have you ever come across someone who was absolutely convinced that they were right, whilst being absolutely wrong? We all have the potential to be like that. Usually, pride is at work in the mix: a certainty that we already know what the picture is going to be, while everyone else is still trying to get the puzzle pieces out of the box. When this attitude is full-blown, convincing people to see the truth can be a huge, almost impossible…
Women be silent?
Next month, the acting head of the Baptist Union of Western Australia will be coming to preach for us. Speaking with them at the annual pastor’s conference a few months ago, however, they told me they thought that only about 25% of Baptist churches in Western Australia would be open to the idea of them coming to preach. Why? Simply because the acting head is a woman. Many Christians have been taught that the Bible rejects the idea of a…
Examples of Faith: Abraham
What does it mean to have faith in God? We could simply say that faith is the same as trust. But what does that actually look like in practice? In exploring that question, we are following in the footsteps of Hebrews 11, we are busy making our way through the stories of different people of faith. As we do so, we will discover how faithful God is, and what it means to live in relationship with Him. So far, we…
If you only knew
She had no idea who He was – but He knew all about her. When we encounter the living God in Jesus, do we run away from Him or towards Him?
Could it be that at times our work for God could get in the way of God’s work? This week we’re focussing on how Jesus has to be centre-stage!
Now *that’s* impressive!
Nicodemus was impressive – but there were shadows in his life that Jesus’ light would illuminate. You might look impressive; like you’ve got everything sorted. But we all have shadows that we are ashamed of. Things we like to hide so that we can present a good face. We can often fool each other, at least for a while. But it is harder (aka impossible) to fool God.
The Sign at the Wedding
If you were setting out to point someone to the fact that Jesus is God our Rescuer, where would you start? John starts his gospel with a quiet sign, that hardly anyone knew about. What’s that all about?
What John Knew
John the Baptist called Jesus the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He also said that Jesus would baptise people with the Spirit. What was it that convinced John that Jesus was the Messiah – and what will we do with his testimony about Jesus?
The Joy of the Lord
Today’s Passage: Nehemiah 7:73 – 8:12 Last week, we saw how the exiles from Judah were allowed to return home to Jerusalem by King Cyrus to rebuild the temple. We saw them prioritising God in their lives, and celebrating His goodness to them as they laid the foundations for the temple. But there was a lot of opposition to rebuilding the temple – with it stopping and starting. But eventually, it was built. At some point after this, an influential…
A Fresh Start
Today’s Passage: Ezra 3 Over the course of the last few months, we’ve set out to get a birds-eye view of the Old Testament story. We saw the start of all things in Genesis 1 and 2 – and it was good. But the world we live in is not good any more. It is broken, as are we. Genesis 1 to 11 introduces us to the two biggest issues in our world. Firstly, there is sin and death, and the…
The Fallen Kingdom
Today’s Passage: 2 Chronicles 36:11ffYou might also want to read: 2 Peter 3, 2 Kings 24-25 This week, we’re continuing our journey through the Old Testament story of God and His people. Two weeks ago, we looked at 1 Samuel 8, where Israel went to the prophet Samuel demanding to have a king like all of the other nations around them. At first glance, it might have seemed sensible for them to want to have a king. But the problem…
Easter Sunday – The Risen King
This Easter Sunday, we remember the true King of the world. He died, but he was raised from the dead – and reigns right now!
Good Friday: The King
This Good Friday, we remember Jesus our King. But He was a different kind of king to what everyone would have expected.
The Kingdom Established
Today’s passage: 1 Samuel 8 This week, we’re returning to our lighting journey through the story of the Old Testament. We spent a few weeks in the introduction to the Biblical story: Genesis 1-11. There we saw that the way the world now is is a result of human rebellion against God. We have a sin problem. We also saw that we have a knowledge problem: we don’t know who God is or what He is like. As a result,…
More than Conquerors
Over the last few weeks, life has changed. Across almost all the world, humanity is struggling to deal with a virus too small for the naked eye to see. How can Christians respond to this crisis?
Today’s Reading: Judges 2:6-3:6 Also helpful to read: Judges 1-21 Over the last few weeks, we’ve slowly been making our way through the Old Testament, trying to get a birds-eye view of it’s story. It’s the story of God’s good creation, and of humanity’s rebellion against God. It’s the story of God acting to set things right. The main emphasis in the Old Testament is on God’s showing us who He is, in preparation for His arrival in Jesus to…
Wrestling with God
Over the last few weeks, we’ve started journeying through the Old Testament, and exploring the story of God and His people. We’ve seen how God created everything to be good, and how people sinned by not trusting God. Last week, we looked at the story of Babel, and how humanity had come to a point of not knowing who God is and what He is like. So God acted to change that. He chose one man, Abram, and called him…
The Tower of Babel
Today’s passage: Genesis 11:1-9 Have you ever bribed someone to do something for you? Every now and again, stories will come up about people or companies or countries trying to gain a competitive advantage over others by greasing a few palms. Mid 2018, an Australian company was found to have been bribing public officials in Vietnam in order to win work on aid projects in that country. There have been allegations made that people were bribed to vote for Qatar…
Today’s passage: Genesis 3 Have you ever had a sneaking suspicion that you were being hard done by? It hurts when when we are being slighted. But it can also be a problem when we act on an assumption of unfairness that turns out to not be true. In the British sitcom “The IT Crowd,” there’s an episode where one of the main characters becomes convinced that she is being slighted. As the manager of the IT department, she was…
This week, we’re starting a brand new series exploring the narrative books of the Old Testament. Our aim is to get a big picture overview of God’s story of redemption leading up to the coming of Jesus Christ. This week, we start at the very beginning of the Old Testament – Genesis chapters 1 and 2. Unfortunately, these beautiful chapters can be the cause of much confusion and hurt among Christians. Those who think that Genesis 1 teaches a young,…
Today’s Passage: Psalm 84In 1977, NASA launched a pair of probes into space, on a course, eventually, out of our solar system. On those Voyager craft, they put a golden record (the height of technology!) 30 years later, Annie Druyan, the creative director behind the project, said the following about what she chose to include in The Sounds of Earth: The first thing I found myself thinking of was a piece by Beethoven from Opus 130, something called the Cavatina…
Today’s Reading: Colossians 2:3-10 It seems like we’re getting more and more scam phone calls coming through in recent months. Often, these scammers try and convince us that we have a major problem, but that they can provide a solution for us very easily and very quickly, for just a small amount of money. They might claim to be from Telstra, the NBN, Microsoft or even the tax department. And they’re convincing. They keep doing it because they get enough…
Today’s passage: Colossians 1:1-8 This weekend, we’re starting a new series through Paul’s letter to the church in Colosse. What’s interesting about this church is that it wasn’t one that Paul founded. It seems like Paul himself didn’t get to Colosse with the good news of God’s Kingdom made available to us through Jesus. A man named Epaphras was responsible for sharing the good news there. Maybe Epaphras had heard Paul speak in Ephesus, some 160km away. We’re not sure.…
Life as a citizen
Today’s reading: Philippians 1:27-2:11 This Saturday just gone was Australia day. For some people, this day will be a painful reminder of the injustices of colonialism. For others, it will be a chance to have a good time with friends and family over food and drinks and perhaps to “ooh!” underneath fireworks. Just in time for Australia day, the government will also recognise the Australian of the year. Last year’s Australian of the year was a professor in quantum mechanics.…
Loving God, Loving People
Today’s reading: Colossians 3:11-17
Today’s Passage: John 12:20-36 Over the last three weeks, our morning service has been looking at God’s message through the prophet Hosea. Hosea tells of the greatest love story this universe has ever heard. It tells of God’s love for His people. It’s a story of God’s incredible faithfulness, contrasted with the unbelievable unfaithfulness of us – His people. Our God is the God who does not easily give up on us. He is certainly the God of justice, but…
Today’s Passage: Hosea 3 Hosea’s life isn’t, perhaps, typical of what you’d expect from a holy man. When he got married, he married not one of the nice girls in town, but one of the prostitutes. And although she stayed around for a bit, it wasn’t too long before she had walked out on him. She ended up with another man – perhaps a slave, or perhaps with debts to him that she couldn’t ever pay off. She was trapped.…
Lovers vs the Lover
Today’s passage: Hosea 2 In our Sunday morning service this weekend, we’re continuing our journey through the book of Hosea. Hosea is an interesting prophet; called by God to be a living demonstration to his people – and to us today – of the heart of God. As we saw last week in Hosea 1, God told the prophet to marry an adulterous woman, and to start a family with her. And Hosea did. He married Gomer – a woman…
God’s Amazing Love
Today’s passage: Hosea 1 This weekend, our morning service starts a new 4 week series looking at the book of Hosea. Hosea’s the first of the so-called Minor Prophets – the shorter prophetic books. He is, as one of the minor prophets, much less well known than prophets like Ezekiel, Jeremiah or Isaiah. Which is a great pity… because the message of Hosea is incredibly beautiful. Hosea did more than speak God’s words. In a way, Hosea’s life came to…
The Power of the Holy Spirit
Today’s Passage: Acts 8 This Sunday morning, we’re continuing our mini-series looking at the person of the Holy Spirit. As we saw last week, our relationship with God is not meant to be one sided. God is for us, and cares about us. And God speaks. If God lives with us by His Spirit, then why would we expect God to do otherwise? The Spirit of God who lives with us, however, is also the One who empowers us. Through…
Hearing God’s Voice
Today’s Passage: 1 Samuel 3 Have you ever heard God speaking to you? It’s a strange question to ask of a bunch of Christians, isn’t it? After all, we are those who claim to have a personal relationship with God. We often speak about how God is with us. We read through the Bible, and hear of God’s speaking with people time and time again. In the book of Acts, we read of Jesus speaking with Paul on the road…
Today’s Passage: Luke 11:1-13 This Sunday, our society takes a moment to celebrate our fathers. Personally, I have been blessed with a wonderful, godly man as my father. He’s a gentle man who consistently encourages his children – to this day! – to be the best that we can be. I know without a shadow of doubt that my father loves me – and that will always be the case. He (along with my mother – mothers are great too!)…
God’s Will… It’s all about Jesus!
Today’s passage: Galatians 3:15-29 The situation among the Christians in Galatia wasn’t good. They had put their trust in Jesus to save them. They’d heard the good news that God’s Kingdom was open and available to them through Jesus, who had dealt the death-blow to death and sin. They were a vibrant church, where there was plenty of evidence of God’s power in their midst. God’s Spirit was doing all sorts of miracles among them. God’s Spirit was living in…
Church Camp: What’s the Point of Church History?
The last session from our combined church camp. After all of our journey through the history of the church, we ask what we can learn from it for our life as Christ’s Church today. Passage for this session: Philippians 1:12ff
Today’s passage: 1 Corinthians 15 There’s an exercise that one can do to try and come to a better understanding of who you are as a person. On a piece of paper, drawn a straight line, representing time. On the left hand side, mark a line for your birth. Above your straight line represents good, and below the line represents bad. The exercise is to think back over your entire life, and to graph your life. When things go really…
Should we pay attention to… ?
Today’s passage: Galatians 1:10-2:10 This weekend, we’re continuing our journey through Paul’s letter to the Galatians. As we saw last week, Paul wrote to the Galatians in response to some very disturbing news that had reached him: the Christians in Galatia were in the process of abandoning God! They were giving up on the good news that Paul had preached to them in favour of a new so-called “good news” that was anything but. We heard last week that there…
This week’s passage: Galatians 1:1-10 This weekend, we’re starting a new series going through Paul’s letter to the churches in Galatia. Like so much of the New Testament, the letter to the Galatians came about as a result of some serious issues in the Galatian churches. The Galatian Christians had accepted God’s rescue in the person of Jesus, quite probably as recorded in Acts 13ff. They had heard the good news that there is forgiveness of sins and the offer…
What We Say
This week’s passage: James 3:1-12 “Oh, my dear, I would be very careful around that man. I believe he’s been in jail for stealing houseboats before…” “I don’t really know, but I’ve been told that Mrs Jones… Of course I don’t believe it, but, as they say, ‘there’s no smoke without fire!’” “In love, and just so that you know how to pray, have you heard the latest about Clarissa?” Gossip. We hate it when we’re the target of gossip.…
Science vs Christianity?
This weekend, we’re doing a one-off sermon looking at whether we Christians are forced to choose between science and Christianity. There are those in society who would have us believe that any choice other than science would be absurd. Science, after all, explains things. And science works. We don’t, we’re told, need to make up stories to explain things any more. We’re told that faith is a crutch for those who don’t know any better – or who refuse to…
Getting Grace: Paul
Today’s passage: Acts 9 Grace is wonderful. God shows us such kindness and love and gentleness. Even though we don’t deserve it, God invites us into a relationship with himself. Having shown us mercy – taking the penalty of our sin onto Himself – God graciously invites us into his family, adopting us by the blood of Jesus through the Spirit of God. I like the idea of grace. I love the fact that there are countless second chances. Every…
Getting Grace: Joseph
Passages under consideration: Genesis 37-54 This weekend, as we continue our exploration of God’s grace, we’re doing something a little different. Rather than looking at a single passage, we’re looking at a story that covers at least 10 chapters! Our focus today will be on the story of God’s using Joseph, and what that story reveals about the grace of God. To understand Genesis 37ff, we need to understand something of the family history. Joseph is a son of Israel…
Getting Grace: Adam & Eve
Grace is something that we cannot live without. Grace starts where mercy leaves off. It’s more than our not getting what we deserve. It’s our getting what we don’t deserve. Grace is, ultimately, God giving Himself to us. It’s by grace that we are saved. That is, we are saved not because we deserve to be with God, but simply because God chooses to save us. Grace is a gift. Grace doesn’t dumb down the immensity of sin. Grace isn’t…
Today’s passage: Luke 24:13-34 This weekend, we’re continuing our series looking at some of the “words of life” that are so important for us as followers of Jesus. Already, we have explored what grace is: God giving himself to us, even when we don’t deserve Him. And we’ve considered what exactly we mean when we talk of faith: putting our trust in God on the basis of who He is and what He has already done for us. The word…
Today’s passage: Hebrews 11:1-12:4 This weekend, we’re continuing our series looking at some of the most important – and often misunderstood – words describing the life of one following Jesus. Last week, we grappled with the concept of grace, discovering how essential it is. Grace is God’s giving of Himself to us – even though we don’t deserve Him. This weekend, we’re considering what exactly faith means. It might seem strange for me to include the word faith in a…
Today’s passages: 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 2, John 1:16-17, Romans 6 This weekend, we’re starting a brand new series exploring some of the important words that we use all the time as Christians: grace, faith, hope and love. These words represent key concepts for us in our lives as apprentices to Jesus. They’re also concepts that a lot of us Christians struggle with. This week’s word, grace, is certainly one of those concepts that a lot of people struggle to…
Do it again, God!
Today’s Passage: Habakkuk 3 This weekend, we come to the third and final chapter in the book of Habakkuk. The prophet Habakkuk lived in the time just before the Babylonians would come and all-but destroy Jerusalem and Judah. But Habakkuk’s vision, when his book started, wasn’t on the Babylonians. He was concerned with the state of his own people – with how wicked the so-called people of God had become. It seemed to him that things were going from bad…
God and Same-Sex Marriage
Sitting on my counter at home right now is an envelope from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, containing a survey question asking whether Australia should legalise same-sex marriage. It’s been a long road getting to this point, with many political turns along the way. The question is one that has been raised several times over the last few years. And, unfortunately, this is an issue where the Christian church has been seen to be unloving, unkind and ungracious. Christians are…
Two ways to live
Today’s Passage: Habakkuk 1:12-2:20 Last week, we started looking at the book of Habakkuk. Habakkuk is one of the shorter Old Testament prophetic books, but what it lacks in length it certainly makes up for in punch! As we saw last week, Habakkuk found himself living in a land that seemed to have gone to hell in a hand-basket. Evil and violence were everywhere, and the law (which in Israel was meant to have as its basis the law of…
How long, O Lord?
Today’s passage: Habakkuk 1:1-11 The song at the end during communion is Do it again by Elevation worship. Watch it here. This weekend, we’re starting a new series looking at the Old Testament prophetic book of Habakkuk. Habakkuk is an incredibly short book, consisting of only a few chapters. In it, the prophet Habakkuk brings his complaint to God about the state of his world. Although no definite information is given, it seems that Habakkuk lived in the era just…
Lead us not into temptation
Today’s passage: Matthew 6:9-15 How people communicate can tell you a lot about the kind of relationship that they have with each other. If they barely talk, you know that something is wrong. The same is true if one only sees one party talking and not giving the other a chance to speak. During his sermon on the mount, in which Jesus was describing the life fully committed to God and His kingdom, Jesus spent a bit of time teaching…
Forgive us our sins
Today’s passage: Matthew 6:9-13 I pity you. You’re pitiful. You’re so pitiable. Stop for a few seconds and think about what those words make you feel. Chances are, you’re first reaction might not be positive. In our culture today, the idea of being pitied is one that isn’t much appreciated. We assume that for somebody to pity us, they must think of themselves as being superior to us. We can equate pitying someone with looking down on them in pride.…
Give us today our daily bread
Today’s Passage: Matthew 6:11 Prayer: it’s both the easiest thing in the world, and something so many Christians struggle with. Prayer is simple talking with God – both speaking to Him and listening to His voice. Just as all relationships require communication, so too does our relationship with our God. Why then do so many Christians fail to have a thriving prayer life? Perhaps it’s because we have yet to fully appreciate that God really does love us, and really…
Your Kingdom Come
Today’s Passage: Matthew 6:10 Last week, we started looking at the model prayer given to us by Jesus as He taught the crowds around Him in Matthew 5-7. As in everything, there was something different about Jesus when it came to praying. He spent a lot of time praying. But I don’t think that prayer was ever a duty for Jesus, the way we sometimes think of it. When Jesus prayed, He was talking with His Father. He was speaking…
Children of God
Today’s passage: Romans 8:14-25 In our Sunday service this weekend, we’ll be looking at some more at the incredible 8th chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans. A fortnight ago, looking at the first half of the chapter, we discovered the incredibly good news that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Jesus died and took our punishment, our condemnation, for us. If we belong to Jesus, we don’t have to fear God’s wrath any longer.…
Dealing with Doubt
Today’s passages: Matthew 14:22ff, Matthew 28:15ff In his book on doubt, Os Guinness writes that “What is most dangerous to Christianity is not that Christians doubt, but that there seems to be so little open discussion and understanding of doubt. This must be changed.” This morning, we’re making a start on that sort of change. Are you a Christian who struggles with doubts? It’s not the sort of thing we like to admit to each other. We like to give…
Today’s passage: Matthew 6:16-18 In our journey through Jesus’ sermon on the mount, the last few weeks have focused on Jesus’ warning that we not do our acts of righteousness in order to get human praise. If the good things we do are not done for God, then we shouldn’t expect God to stand in the way of what we really want: the praise of people. But if we do our good deeds in secret – so that they are…
Praying to Impress
Today’s passage: Matthew 6:5-8 Last week, we continued our exploration of Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, considering what kind of person a “kingdom of God” person is. At the end of Matthew 5, Jesus said that we – his disciples – should be perfect as our Father in the heavens is perfect. But immediately after urging perfection – for that is what a person wholly made like Jesus is like – Jesus saw fit to warn us…
Today’s passage: John 21 Imagine yourself with Jesus on the night of his betrayal. The evening starts in an odd way – with Jesus washing your feet. And then He speaks about one of you – one of the twelve – betraying Him. He speaks about it matter of factly, saying that He’s telling you about it beforehand, so that when it happens you’ll believe that He is the Messiah. A little while later, he’s telling you that the time…
Today’s passage: Luke 23
The Woman at the Well
Today’s passage: John 4:1-42 Who are you really? This morning, we’re continuing our Easter series, considering the good news that our lives aren’t defined by our failures. Instead, we find that God offers us the chance for new life in the midst of our brokenness. In today’s passage, we get to look in on an encounter between Jesus and a Samaritan woman. For most of this incident, Jesus was alone with the unnamed woman; all the information that we have…
Jesus, Righteousness, and the Law and the prophets
Today’s passage: Matthew 5:17-20 God is King, and life in his kingdom is the best life there possibly can be. It’s a life that is perfectly in accordance with God’s will; in God’s kingdom, everything is exactly as God wants it to be. As creator of all that is, God is sovereign over all that is – he alone has the right (and the capacity!) to rule everything. The bad news of the Bible is that we humans reject God…
Salt and Light
Today’s passage: Matthew 5:13-16 God is king, and in his kingdom, things are the way that God wants them to be. Which, since God is God, makes God’s kingdom the best place for us to be. God is love, and his kingdom is a place of love. God is perfect, and his kingdom is a place sans any sinfulness or brokenness or imperfection. It’s a place where there are no tears, where there is no danger, and where there is…
Made Fortunate by God
Sermon passage: Matthew 4:23-5:12 I love attending men’s breakfasts. True, when I’m waking up at some unearthly hour my first thought is not one of joy. Yet that tends not to last too long: it’s great hanging out with my brothers in Christ, discussing life together, praying together, and thinking through our devotion together. Oh, and the breakfast… that’s quite nice too! But a while back I did something rather silly: I rocked up at a men’s breakfast sans my…
The Light in the Darkness
Sermon passage: Matthew 4:12-25 Matthew 4:12-25 One of the things Taryn and I did on our recent holiday to New Zealand was to visit a weta cave in Zealandia. The cave was actually an old mine tunnel, cut into a mountain. Taryn, her brother Nathan and I slowly made our way into the tunnel, using the torches on our phones to try and avoid the wetness in the middle of the tunnel floor. Coming from the brightness outside, the tunnel…
Dealing with Temptation
Sermon passage: Matthew 4:1-11 Do you ever find yourself tempted to do something which is wrong? What is it? Why is it tempting to you? Is it wrong in and of itself, or would it only be wrong depending on specific circumstances? When do you feel the lure of temptation the most? When are you most likely to give in to temptation? How do you feel when you experience temptation? Temptations are only tempting because, at some level, we think…
The Culmination of God’s Plan
Today’s passage: Matthew 1 God is the King of all that is, was and ever will be. The good news that Jesus came preaching was that God’s kingdom was near. He called us to repent and to believe that good news. He called us to become his disciples, to come to him: the way, the truth and the life; the only way to the Father. The Bible teaches that God is the creator of all things, and that we were…
The Reformer King
God is the king of all that was, is and ever will be. Our God – the only God – spoke all that is into existence. He created our world, and he created us to be his representatives on earth. Humanity was tasked to enact God’s will on his creation. Our kingdoms, the places where our wills are done, were meant to be lived in submission to the high King of Kings. But that isn’t the way the world is.…
Even the best fail
In Psalm 47:5-7 we read that God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise. The good news of Jesus is that God’s kingdom is near to us. Through Jesus, we can have the gift of new life – of citizenship in God’s kingdom; of being…
Whose kingdom is this anyway?
Have you ever forgotten – or even refused – to pay an electricity bill? What’s interesting is that if you do, Synergy won’t immediately disconnect you from the grid. They’ll send letter after letter, encouraging you to make things right with them. There are schemes of grace available should you be in financial difficulties. But should you steadfastly refuse their authority, you will rediscover the joys of living without electricity. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been considering the good…
The good news of Jesus is much more than just “here’s how you get to heaven one day when you die.” Jesus came preaching that the kingdom of the heavens was near. In fact, as God’s king, Jesus came to make it possible for all those who trusted in him to be welcomed back into God’s kingdom right here and right now. We’ve been invited to repent of our rebellion against this universe’s true King, and to instead follow him…
Seeking first the Kingdom
When asked by his disciples how to pray, Jesus taught them a model prayer: Our Father in the heavens. Hallowed by your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven… But what does it actually mean for us to pray for God’s kingdom to come? Last week, we discovered that the good news Jesus preached was bigger than simply “how to get into heaven when you die.” His news was that God’s kingdom…
What is the gospel Jesus taught?
One of the things I love about C. S. Lewis’ Narnia books is the fact that, in the words of one of the Dwarves, “Narnia was never right except when a Son of Adam was King… It’s not Men’s country, but it’s a country for a man to be King of.” Lewis was on to something. Our world, like Narnia, is also not “Men’s country” – it is a part of God’s kingdom– yet it is a country created for…
What is God’s take on marriage?
Passage: Matthew 19:3-12 This week, we’re starting a month-long series on marriage. For those in our congregation who are married, I hope that it will be a series that helps us to work through what it means to live as pprentices of Jesus in our marriages. For those who are not married, or who have been married in the ast, I hope that this series will help us understandthat we can live as apprentices of Jesus whatever our marital status.…
Text: Philippians 1:12-26 The good news of God is that through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, we can have a relationship with Him. Unfortunately, the good news is often met with antagonism, perhaps because it insists that we are sinners who fall short of God’s glory, having no means of our own to set ourselves right. We simply don’t like being told that we are wrong – or that our way of thinking might not be right. In Australia, we…
Text: Philippians 1:3-11 Often, our actions are a window into the desires of our hearts. True – we can put on a good show for others, but those who know us best often have an insight into what drives us. If we are desperate for power or insecure within ourselves, for example, we might be short-tempered at home. Truth will out. Our heart’s desire is to be important and in charge. Sometimes, our heart’s desire is evidenced by what we’re…
Text: Philippians 1:1-2 This morning, we’re staring a new series on Paul’s letter to the church that met in Philippi. Philippi was the first place in Macedonia (modern Greece) where a Christian church was established. Read Acts 16 for the story of how the church was started! Paul wrote this letter while in jail – probably from Rome in the early 60s AD, although some think he might have written from another of his jail-cells elsewhere. It’s important to remember…
Where does my hope lie?
Today’s text: Genesis 22:1-19 Over the last few weeks, we’ve been a fly on the wall of Abraham’s life. In Genesis 12, we saw how God called Abraham and gave him incredible promises: promises of descendants and land, a promise that God would bless those who blessed Abram and curse those who cursed him, a promise that through Abraham the nations of the world would be blessed. As we’ve explored Abraham’s journey with God, we’ve seen how those promises have…
Compromise and self-preservation
Todays text: Genesis 20 Abraham is an interesting character. In a world where we think we can make a name for ourselves, God promised to make a name for Abraham. He promised to bless him with land and descendants. He promised to bless those who blessed Abraham and to curse those who treated him with contempt. He promised that through Abraham, he would bless the world. As Christians, we recognise that God’s greatest blessing through Abraham has come in the…
The God who involves us
Text: Genesis 18-19:29 Over the last few weeks, we’ve been tracking along with Abraham as God reveals his character and promises to him. God called Abram in the context of the tower of Babel – a project that showed just how little humanity knew about who God is. They weren’t praising the one and only God who made everything. Their “god(s)” were more like humans, with needs and requirements that could be manipulated to enhance the reputation and prestige of…
Passage: Genesis 15
Camp 2016 Session 3
Session 3 – Nicholas van Oudtshoorn
Compromise and Self-Preservation
Passage: Genesis 12:10-20
God’s Call and Promise
Sermon passage: Genesis 12:1-9
Hope for the Helpless
Passage: John 3:1-20
Looking Forward, Living Today
Passage: 2 Peter 3:11-18
Remember: Jesus is Coming Back!
Passage: 2 Peter 3:1-10
Profile of a Deadly Minister
Passage: 2 Peter 2:17-22
Saviour and Judge
Passage: 2 Peter 2:4-10a
The Weeds Among the Wheat
Passage: 2 Peter 2:1-3
Knowing that Jesus is returning
Passage: 2 Peter 1:12-21
Resources and Promises
Passage: 2 Peter 1:1-10
Zechariah and Elizabeth
Today’s passage: Luke 1:5-25, Luke 1:57-80
Weary and heavily burdened?
Today’s passage: Matthew 11:25-30 Being religious is very hard work. As humans tainted by sin, we seem to have an inbuilt understanding that in order for us to have any significance in this life and success in the next, we have to be successful in the here and now. We assume that we have to prove our devotion to God in order for him to accept us. We know that God is holy and perfect, and we know that he…
Today’s passage: Ephesians 2:11-22 The gospel of Jesus Christ is amazingly simple. Mostly, religion is about proving ourselves worthy of God. It’s about living an upright, moral life. It’s about attaining a standard of life that is superior to the majority of others. It’s about being able to say that we have harshly disciplined ourselves, and that we have attained a level of perfection that is “good enough” for God. Many have assumed that Christianity falls into this same style…
Today’s passage: Ephesians 2:1-10 This morning continues our journey through the opening chapters of Ephesians. Paul started by praising God for all that he has done for us (only everything – he’s blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus!) Last week, he continued by praying that God would reveal more of himself to his readers, that they might live out of what he has done for them. This week, Paul continues on from where he left off. What…
Today’s passage: Ephesians 1:15-23 This weekend, we’re coninuing our journey through the first few chapters of Ephesians. Paul wrote to the Ephesian Christians to remind them of how amazingly wonderful the good news of God really is, and to encourage them in their living out of that. As we saw last week, what makes the good news of Jesus so incredible is that God has done it all! God chose us, rescued us and saved us. And what’s more we…
God’s Mysterious Plan – In Christ!
Today’s passage: Ephesians 1:1-14
What about the killing of 12000?
Should the history of Ai be an embarrassment to us? Today’s Passage: Joshua 8:1-29
Taking God Seriously
Today’s passage: Joshua 7
The Battle is not ours
Today’s passage: Joshua 5:1-12
Today’s passage: Joshua 3-4 It had been about 40 years since the people of Israel had been rescued from the land of Egypt – the land of slavery. The escape from Egypt had been incredible. There was no doubt in anybody’s mind that Israel’s escape was a “God-thing”. To experience not only the plagues (including the angel of death), but also the crossing on dry ground of the Red Sea could leave nobody in any doubt that the God of…
The Scarlet Thread
Today’s passage: Joshua 2
Strong and Courageous
Today’s passage: Joshua 1
Freedom to… Live!
Bible Passage: Galatians 5:16-26 If you visit the old Fremantle prison, you might hear the story of serial escapee Moondyne Joe. He twice escaped prison in country WA, and twice more in Fremantle – one time almost under the noses of his guards! Although Moondyne Joe had a flair for escaping, the law would invariably catch up to him. We are all a bit like Moondyne Joe. But our guilt is to a higher authority: God. But God loves us…
Freedom from… legalism
Today’s passage: Galatians 4:8-5:16 This morning, we’re looking at how we can find freedom from legalism. Legalism stands at the core of all human religions, each of which presents a different set of tick-boxes that one has to sign-off on to be in good standing with God and avoid his wrath. Of course, when these different sets collide, conflict arises! Unlike these religions, Christianity stridently says that you and I can never be good enough. Even if we manage to…
Freedom from… loneliness
Passage: Psalm 142 In 1 Kings 18-19, we read of a showdown between the prophets of Baal and Elijah, God’s prophet. The showdown is a resounding display of God’s supremacy. But as Elijah comes into the conflict he feels, I think, very lonely and overwhelmed. In 1 Kings 18:22, he tells the assembled people, “I am the only prophet of the Lord who is left, but Baal has 450 prophets.” Later, fleeing for his life from the wrath of Queen…
Freedom from… bitterness
Passage: Matthew 18:21-35
Freedom from… guilt and shame
Passages: Zechariah 3, Matthew 27:3-10, John 21 What do you do with your guilt? Like all emotions, guilt is a gift from God – but one that so easily turns from gift to curse. Properly, guilt reminds us that we have failed to live up to some standard. It’s not meant to be pleasant. But it is meant to bring us to a place where we repent, seeking forgiveness and turning from what we were doing wrong. But what about…
Freedom from… worry
Passage: Matthew 6:19-35 Jesus told a parable once about a farmer who went scattering good seed. Some seed fell on the footpath, and were eaten by birds. Some seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock, and withered when things got hot. Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Sill other seed fell on fertile soil, producing an incredible crop. Jesus explained the meaning of these different soils (Mathew 13:18-23), saying that the…
Blessed are… those persecuted for Jesus’ sake
Passage: Matthew 5:10-12
Blessed are… the peacemakers
Passage: Matthew 5:9
Blessed are… the pure in heart
Passage: Matthew 5:8
Blessed are… the merciful
Passage: Matthew 5:7
Blessed are… the hungry
Passage: Matthew 5:6
Blessed are… the meek
Blessed are… the mourners
Blessed are… the poor in spirit
Singing when life is broken
Singing on Cloud 9
Loving the Inconsequential
Hypocrisy and Secrecy
The Messiah, the Son of God: Jesus
Easter Sunday sermon – John 20:1-18
Easter Friday Sermon – John 19:12-30
I AM He
1 Corinthians 13
1 John 5
The fellowship of love
1 John 4:7-21
Protecting community fellowship
1 John 4:1-6
The fellowship of love
1 John 3:11-24
The Fellowship of those who please God
1 John 2:12-17
Finding fellowship in the Light
1 John 1:1-2:2
What motivates us as a church?
Living in light of the Day
The Resurrection – the Gospel Core
Paul reminds the Corinthians of the good news that saves us if we continue to believe it. What was most important? That Christ died for our sins, was buried and was raised from the dead – all as the Scriptures had said. The risen Jesus was seen by Peter, the twelve, and more than 500 at one time – many of whom were still alive when Paul wrote this letter. He was seen by James, the apostles, and finally by…
Why Jesus died
From Numbers 21, we see the punishment for rebellion against God. We also see God in his mercy providing a way of redemption: a bronze snake. A replica of the poisonous snake, all the bitten who looked on it lived. We see then from John 3 that Jesus too has been made sin for us – he is a replica of our sinfulness, bearing it all. Those who look to him – who believe in Jesus – are saved; those…
It is now a mere six days before the Passover celebration would begin. Jesus is visiting Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. During the meal, Mary poured expensive perfume over Jesus’ feet, wiping it with her hair. Jesus notes that she did it “in preparation for my burial”. Did Mary knowingly do so? Mary has abandoned all reserve in her regard for Jesus. She is willing to give up an incredible fortune to honour Jesus. Judas, meanwhile grumbles…
Jesus’ demand for 100%
The disciples have realised that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Now, Jesus starts telling them that he will go to Jerusalem, suffer, be killed, and on the third day rise from the dead. Peter reprimands Jesus for saying this. Jesus says “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me.” Peter was seeing things from a human perspective, not God’s. Jesus disturbed the disciple’s ideas of what the Messiah would be like.…
Jesus’ Rules, Not ours
Why is it that Jesus would eat with the “scum” of the earth? By refusing to play by the rules of status, Jesus shows us the heart of God – and highlights our own sinfulness. Why didn’t Jesus encourage his disciples to fast? By refusing to play by the rules of religion, Jesus shows us that what matters is not religious observance but relationship with him. He also shows us that dried-out legalism is like an old garment which will…
Jesus the Disturber – His Authority
As we approach Easter – what were some of the ways that Jesus “disturbed” the status quo and upset those who would kill him.
2014 Church Camp Messages
Session 1 Session 2 Sunday Session
Desiring Spiritual Gifts
Some controversial verses – but all for the encouragement of the church.
The Most Excellent Way
Sermon on 1 Corinthians 13.
Running the Race
The problem is that we’re all caught in a spiral of sin. Even today, sin still traps and ensares. But God is merciful – he has saved me. And he works to bring me to repentance. Sometimes when I am from God, I feel as though he had abandoned me. But he does not. God is faithful. By his grace, he reminds us of this. But he does challenge me to put off the sin which so easily entangles, so…
The Mighty Hand of God
An expected enemy, an unexpected judge, an unexpected leader and an unexpected act of deliverance. The story of Deborah, Barak and Jael shows us that what we need most is the mighty hand of God to be at work in our deliverance.
An unexpected Salvation
An unexpected man from a small tribe gets close to a tyrant, stabs him through and then escapes through the toilet. What does the story of Ehud, the second of Israel’s recorded judges, teach us about ourselves – and about how God brings salvation?
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it
Is our faith personal, or do we hang on the spiritual coat-tails of others? Do we know God and all that he has done for us?
The Glory of the Lord
Please note: This was recorded during a power failure – so the sound quality is not the best.
God’s Gift to the Church
This message is particularly for the Golden Bay Baptist church – but is applicable to all churches.
Living a life worthy of our calling
This message, although applicable to all – is specially for Golden Bay Baptist church.
Groaning and Glory
Sermon Questions What does it mean to share in Jesus’ sufferings? Why do we gladly suffer? What is glory? How is it linked to suffering? Groaning and Glory #1: Creation What is wrong with the universe? What does creation long for? Why? Why is it that creation groans? How does the state of creation speak to the human experience without God? What is it that brings meaning and purpose to both creation and people? Groaning and Glory #2: Christians What…
This morning, we’re starting our brand new series on Easter. Over the next six weeks or so, we’ll follow along with Mark as he takes us on a journey through the week of Jesus’ life centered around his death. Easter is kind of like Christmas, I guess, in that many people here this morning will know the story very well. And yet, like the story of Christmas, we need to hear the old old story again and again and again.…
A few years ago now, one of my mates signed up for a group called Toastmasters. I don’t know if anybody here knows about toastmasters? Basically, it’s a group of people getting together to improve their public speaking skills. Each week, a few of the members have to get up and give a speech to the group. It’s a great idea. I must admit to you though, that I had this brilliant plan all worked out in my head how…
Prayer and Mission
This morning, we’re continuing our journey with Doctor Luke through the second half of his gospel – the book of Acts. Last week, Luke told us about how we should be bold in what we pray for – because God is able to do so much more than we can even begin to imagine. Last week, we saw the apostle Peter being miraculously released the night before his almost certain death. This morning, as we look at Chapter 13, Luke…
This morning, I have a confession to make. I confess that there have been times when I’ve been praying with a group of people, and I’ve held myself back in what I prayed for. Have you ever had that feeling that you really should pray something BIG, but you just kept quiet? This morning, as we continue our look through the book of Acts, I believe that God wants to challenge us – challenge me and challenge you – to…
Jesus in the Temple
Over the last month or so, we’ve been looking at what it takes to grow godly families. We’ve explored the effect that our faith has on our relationships in our families. We’ve seen that God wants our families to reflect the relationship that he has with his church. Because at the end of the day, God has to be the most important person in our homes. As you’ve probably realised by now, I’m something of a reader. One of my…
Growing Godly Families – Putting God First
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been looking at what the Bible has to say about growing Godly families. Because our families – our homes – are incredibly important to God. As we saw last week, God wants our families to mirror the relationship that he has with the church. The Christian home is many ways an outpost of God’s kingdom in our communities. But I’m also aware that there are people in our church who have known the pain…
Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been looking at what the Bible has to say about growing Godly families. We’ve seen in Ephesians 5 and 6 how our being Christians changes the way we relate to each other. Husbands and wives are called to submit to each other. Children are expected to obey and honour the parents. And parents are to instruct them in the ways of the Lord. This week, I want to zero in a little bit…
Children and Parents
I have such an incredible respect for parenthood. Raising a family is one of the most awesome blessings that God gives us as humans. But that blessing comes with responsibility. Because God desires Godly families. Families where mum and dad teach and show and live out for their kids what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Last week, we started our series on Growing Godly Families by looking at how God expects husbands and wives to relate to…
Husbands and Wives
Families. They’re so important. They’re the place where our most significant relationships are. Husband. Wife. Children. Parents. They’re the place where we learn so much about our lives. In a Christian family, they’re where we first come face to face with the good news of Jesus. When you think about it, it’s not surprising how much the Bible speaks about families. God values families. The first commandment that comes with a blessing is one that involves our families. Time and…