Day 37 Sacred Season
37. 15th July Consuming fire : Heb 12:18-29 Pastor Andy Collins
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our âGod is a consuming fire.â (Hebrews 12:28-29 NIV)
Basis of Union Paragraph 1: the Church of God is committed to serve the world for which Christ died, and that it awaits with hope the day of the Lord Jesus Christ on which it will be clear that the kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of the Christ, who shall reign for ever and ever.
Our family has a nice holiday spot on the Myall Lakes. I spend most of my time there swimming, walking, catching fish and reading. Lots of reading! On a recent week away, I managed to get through an enormously thick book over 1,000 pages long on the rise and fall of Communism. It covered the formative years, full of hope and possibility as centuries of rule under the tyrannical kingdom of the Tsars was ended! People held onto the belief that life would be better under this new form of government and lived in such a way as to see this eventuate.
It was far from perfect. It was heartbreaking to read afresh the awful impact that Communism had on tens of millions of people as one repressive kingdom was replaced with another. Crippling poverty and severe oppression by hypocritical power mongers who lived so well whilst murderously crushing any opposition or cry for change. Anybody who felt differently was too afraid to speak out for fear of being found out and sent to jail, exile or worse. And then walls were ironically built up to keep people from escaping this supposedly utopian society.
Yet people held on for change, never giving up. And the walls of the âkingdomâ of Communism started to literally crumble. I shed tears as I read about the opening up of the Berlin Wall. Itâs hard to believe itâs been over 25 years since the wall came down; I still remember watching in joyful disbelief with the rest of the world. I can just imagine the sheer relief that families felt being reunited after decades of separation. What must it be like to live with such a history of relentless oppression? How on earth do you possibly find any hope for change when the opposition is so very strong?
Sometimes I wonder what Australia will look like in 40 years, as I prepare to go to my permanent home, if Iâm still around? All around me at the moment in Sydney, people are encouraged to build their own little kingdoms. It sounds so enticing, and I admire people taking on home loans. They will spend their entire lives paying off enormous mortgages just so that they can have a patch of land and a house to call their own. Everything they do for the rest of their lives will revolve around the decision they make to buy their own home.
Itâs pretty cosy now, but who knows what the future holds? God only knows. If thereâs anything we can learn from history, nothing stays the same forever. And we certainly live in a time like Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24: War and rumours of war. Nation rising up against nation and kingdom against kingdom. Against such a backdrop, Godâs people are encouraged in verse 6: âSee to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to comeâ. The end when worldly kingdoms will be replaced with A KINGDOM THAT CANNOT BE SHAKEN! Itâs not a popular message, and many are outspoken in their opposition to the Christianâs world view that âthis life is not all there isâ.
Peter states in chapter 3 of his second letter that the earth is âreserved for fireâ. All those things people currently spend their lives acquiring will be consumed because God has something FAR BETTER in store. Far better than 21st Century Australia? YEP! As somebody that God has chosen to receive this kingdom that knows no end, and as somebody who has âsigned on the dotted lineâ, make a decision today to devote yourselves to being âthankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and aweâ. Such a lifestyle echoes the words of Jesus, who encourages His people to devote at least as much energy to eternal, incorruptible things as they do on temporal things that eventually break down (see Matthew 6:19-21).
Prayer: Lord God, I ask for Your forgiveness. I get so consumed with things that are connected to this world. I take my eyes, ears and minds off You and the Kingdom that You have in store for us. It is my heartâs desire that I can be thankful for all that I have and all that You have done for me. Develop in me an attitude of gratitude, for with such an attitude, my worship truly becomes acceptable to You. You alone are worthy of the highest praise! In Jesusâ name, I pray. AMEN.
Pray for: Unitingworld partner – The Presbyterian Church of Korea
Pray for Assembly:
Continue to pray for Assembly as it meets. Remember to keep praying for Stuart McMillan as he chairs. Pray also for his wife Ros and his family for protection while he serves the church in this way. Last night the discussion on marriage began and will continue through the week.
11:00 â 12:30 pm Pray as Assembly Standing Committee proposals continue
the Chief Commissioner of the Royal Commission â Justice Peter McClelland will speak at 11.00am Responses from UCA will be either today or tomorrow
2:00 â 3:30 Agency proposals
3:10 the first ballot for president-elect will take place. Continue to pray for the Lordâs choice for our next President-elect.