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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Glory of God

The following is a sermon/talk I gave at the Parkrose Nursing Home sunday morning service at Everard Park in Adelaide on 30/1/11. geoff thompson

                        The Glory of God—

2 Corinthians 3:7-18

New Living Translation (NLT)
The Glory of the New Covenant
 7 The old way,[a] with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. 8 Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? 9 If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! 10 In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. 11 So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever! 12 Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. 14 But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. 15 Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.
 16 But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

Our Bible reading today talks about  the transformation that can be ours as we walk with God.

It talks about how in the Old Testament Moses received the ten commandments and it was a glorious revelation and his face shone but the glory on his face was even then fading and the Israelites could not look on his face at the time.Their minds were made dull.

Even now to this day, they and those of other nations, are also blinded but when anyone turns to the Lord the veil or the blindness is taken away.

The passage tells us how much more glorious is the revelation given to us of Jesus who brings life not death.

In Ephesians the Apostle Paul tells us if we are Christians we are already seated in heavenly realms.

Seldom though do we ever feel that we are.

If we are dissatisfied with our Christian lives and feel inadequate then that is not necessarily a bad thing.

If we think we have arrived as Christians we really have stopped growing more and more into the likeness of Jesus as our Bible passage tells us.

It is healthy to have a gap that we are seeking  to fill which is what is needed to make us more and more like Him.

On Friday we attended a memorial service for a dear older friend Patricia Raymond.

A lovely person who was one of the most diligent letter writers and gift givers you would ever meet.

She was well known in her local community. She reached out to all in her gentle and humble way.

She would travel by public transport and foot all over Adelaide to visit people and give cards and gifts of flowers.

A person who reflected the love of God but who herself battled through her life in her own health both physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Yet her niece summed her up in the eulogy.

“Maintaining her absolutely vital interest in the lives of others, right to the end.
Remembering pertinent details and asking in depth about what was happening in others lives and being genuinely engaged in every conversation.

That ever present gorgeous sparkle of life and love in her eyes.

You felt you were the centre of her very universe.”

Isn’t that how God treats us.

If no one else existed but you or me Jesus would still have GONE TO THE CROSS because He loves us so.

I was going today to read today some writings of Frank Laubach who was an amazing missionary in the Phillipines many years ago.

Suffice to say my lovely Lesley read my sermon based on his writings and also my chosen bible reading and told me that did I think anyone would understand any of that.

She said the words he used were too complicated and people just need to hear that God loves them.The bible verses I had chosen she said did not even fit what I had written.

Well she was right of course. If you want to know about Frank I can lend you one of his books or you can google him..

I often tell people who ask me how to be guided by God a formula for that I learned, and then I usually add at the end of it and “then I ask my wife.”
It is a good formula none the less and one of it's points is to ask another mature Christian how much of self they see in your proposal.
My wife is very good at spotting that straight away.

Last Sunday at Edwardstown Church of Christ our guest speaker who was one of the congregation told how when she meets people who don’t believe in God for various reasons, she says things along the line of haven’t you ever held a kitten in your arms, smelt a beautiful rose, watched a beautiful sunset. The Glory of God is all around.

Today you may not be feeling all that great.

You may really be struggling with poor health or things troubling you.

Well Jesus knows all about them. He knows all about you.He has prepared a place for you in His Father’s house.

He is just a prayer away. Just say  His name softly to yourself and He is there with you. He is here with us in this room as we are gathered in His name.

He experienced all of your pain and struggles in life on the Cross as he hung there dying. He did that for every one of us.

He wants to take you in His arms now and comfort you.

Reach out in faith  and touch Him today.

 He knows exactly how we feel.

He is our counsellor and healer.

He is the Prince of Peace.

I would like to close with this poem from Patricia.

We did not realise that she was a poet.

This poem was on the back of the memorial service programme.

It is my prayer that it will speak to many of us here today.

            His Call

Outdoors, the scene was bleak and dreary.
Indoors,anxious and fearful of the day,
Restlessly I turned pages, read verses.I found myself in a market-place.
A flute was playing,
The clouds had lifted, the air shimmered.
And a flute,His flute was playing for me.

The music,pure and peaceful,drew me nearer.
Its vibrant notes sang of joy and bounty and light.
insecure,imprisoned in myself,
All my yearnings, all my aspirations welled up.
The radiant grace of God opened my heart:
The sweetness and the warmth flooded in.
The flute,His flute was playing for me.

He calls me to come and follow Him, the prince of life.
He calls me from fear into the courage of faith.
He calls me from sin's trammels into the freedom of love.
He calls me from estrangement into the family of God.
He calls me from my sickness into the health of peace.
In my Saviour's plenitude of grace
The Flute, His flute, is playing for me.

Patricia Raymond  1928-2011

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