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God’s heart for all humanity (1 Timothy 2:1–7)

Tensions are very high in our community at the moment. Take the illegal anti-lockdown protest on 23 July 2021 in Sydney. The protesters were expressing a fear and anger that’s clearly present amongst many. They were wrong to express it in this way. But you can feel it, can’t you? I know right now many of us are feeling the frustration. Some of us are in almost impossible situations: climbing the walls! And it’s hard. The catch-cry of the protest was freedom: freedom of movement, of work, of association. And while the protest itself was way out of line, freedom does matter, doesn’t it? It matters for us and our community. The Bible teaches us to live as humans among humans and human authorities, by helping us to see God’s heart for all humanity, as we pray.

Grace in ministry: Avoiding the shipwreck (1 Timothy 1:12–20)

“There was a widespread view expressed by participants that within [the church] culture there was an over-emphasis on sin and an under-emphasis on grace”. The report describes how this grace problem permeated the culture. It affected membership commitment expectations, views of authority, pastoral care, and more. And yet, the thing is: Nobody would deny that this church believed in grace. They preached a conservative evangelical reformed doctrine of grace. But on the ground, in so many instances, grace was not a key feature of this church’s ministry and relationships—with disastrous results. Today I want us to grasp that in Christian ministry, grace can’t only be the content we preach. Grace also must permeate and transform everything about us personally. And I want to give some suggestions for things we can do even now in lockdown, to wage the warfare of grace. (a sermon)

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