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First Service Ulladulla

October 13th, 2017
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Our tradition at the Ulladulla Festival is to rehearse last year’s messages.

Grace can sound like a wishy washy word. Very religious without much meaning. But at last years festival we learned how powerful it is. When one stands in the presence of a mighty waterfall, we sense the power –like an irresistible force that overwhelms all around it.

Ulladulla 2016

The Mighty Water Fall of God’s Grace
Where sin increased grace increased all the more (Romans 5:20(b))

We want to be assured that nothing can stop God’s grace achieving his purpose on this earth and the entire universe. And grace isn’t just a force or a quality of God. He is grace. Sin will not be able to resist who God is.

Andrew Purves:

Romans 5 Paul talks about grace. Overflowing. Three times he says, “Grace overflows.” perisseia Again he says grace overflows, and the third time he puts it in the superlative—grace super-overflows hyperperisseuō —it’s a Niagara Falls of grace, not just a little trickle-down effect. It’s with this huge grace so that sin has no chance.

But the really big question is “Is God’s grace really sufficient to take care of our sinful nature? Can God put right us and the world right when sin abounds so much?”

In his Son God provides the human faithfulness that we have failed to provide.

And so the human faithfulness of the man Jesus is the superabundance of the grace of God.

Thus in the place where sin abounded – within Israel itself –as they mocked and crucified their very Creator – he became the true Israelite who in his faithfulness to God, even unto death became the suffering righteous servant who by bearing their iniquities justifies many.

Colossians 2:6-7

“6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

The Christian life is a life overflowing with thankfulness.

We watched three messages from Cathy Deddo on the subject of Grace.

The first one showed that grace is a lot bigger than undeserved pardon. Jesus Christ is grace and through him God is extending his love to his creatures and drawing them into his life. God initiates grace. Grace is not just his response to our sins. In Christ the fullness of God’s grace breaks into time and space.

This changes reality forever. His grace makes everything right. God’s love wants perfection of the beloved. His grace is who he is.

Kerry spoke about how we can have a false response to grace like anything goes, or the opposite, we are motivated by fear. But it is the kindness and goodness of God that leads us to repent – to think again about our life. Grace in us is the life we live because he made us acceptable to him— not so that we are acceptable to him. We live out of a desire to know him better, to please him, to have a friendship.

Godspell: To see thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, to follow thee more nearly, day by day.

We rejoice because God rejoices. We are receiving this good pleasure of God to give us the kingdom. We saw the delight of Jesus in the healing of the leper.

Our friendship with God rejuvenates us –to be relaxed, informal in our faith. Just delighting in being with God.

God’s grace is like a river of life, cascading, never ending, healing, rejuvenating.

Cathy Deddo said we are receiving everything. We are only here because God is gracious.To receive with thanksgiving. God is already here, faithful, knowing what is happening. He already knows our children. Thanksgiving helps us to receive the truth of who God is. Receiving God’s grace is to be free no matter what happens in life.

Helen Callaghan spoke on growing older in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. It is not good to get anxious about growing old. It is like we want to avoid it—we see suffering. The Bible does not put down older people. It respects the hoary head. Those that walk with God have learnt humility and patience. Death is a bridge we all have to cross to reach our final goal. A lie is that older people are irrelevant. We miss out on the elders by the label elderly.

Our hope is in the resurrection. It is not longevity but faithfulness that matters. We can waste away, but we are not worried about looks, strength. We are renewed.

2 Corinthians 4:16-17

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

We remember throughout our life his blessings, his presence, his constant love with us. Our story is in him: his suffering, death and resurrection is our story. Only the grace of God can lead us gracefully into our senior years. Suffering does not break up our story. We are gathered up in to the grace of God in to a pain free, no more death and suffering for eternity.

Cathy Deddo gave a concentration camp story: I am willing to stay here for the rest of my life only if I know you better. Sanctification is receiving and living in God’s love. We are to abide, never moving from a position of receiving. Always looking to Jesus. We can be tempted to live in anxiety, guilt, past sins and mistakes. Our perfection is perfectly received. The more we receive the more perfect we become. Too often we are more concerned about what God is doing through me. God is concerned about what he is doing in us. Every day God’ s grace is at work, giving us his life, his ministry. We can see where he is working and join him. His grace is always sufficient and full. He is fully present. He breaks in and reminds us I am here – deeper than ourselves. He is faithful and nothing can separate us.

Randal Bourchier said we need to know our limitations with one another. We need to bring matters to our High Priest. He lives forever. Fully human he is the leader of our worship.

Hebrews2:12

He says,
‘I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
    in the assembly I will sing your praises.’

As Jesus leads us in our worship to the Father, he reveals the Father to us. We are filled with gratitude for what he has and is doing in our lives. We offer the entirety of our lives and share in the life and work of our High priest. We have the freedom of standing in the wonder of the only acceptable offering to the Father.

Kerry Gubb asked if our focus is on the process of salvation with its pain or the joy of the outcome? When we look at Jesus prayer in John17 we see him presenting us as a finished product.

John17:6-8

6 ‘I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.

This is the mind who is judging us.

13‘I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.

The joy of the done deal, very intense. This is the one who intercedes for us. And the whole world will be put right. This joy will flow over the whole earth until God sees his image in us.

Drew Garratt referred to

Ecclesiastes 12:1

Remember your Creator
    in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
    and the years approach when you will say,
    ‘I find no pleasure in them’–

Remembering requires action. Don’t waste time. Build a habit today to serve his people. What can you give to others. Strong, healthy, understand technology, have a license, can speak clearly –use whatever you have to serve.

We concluded with another emphasis on the Superabundance of God’s grace in three areas:

God ‘s grace can offend – we saw that in the parable of the workers and Jonah’s reactions.
Jesus is the superabundance of God’s grace.

God is restoring beauty into this world. His weaving his beautiful tapestry. God is beautiful. Humans are beautiful, the Gospel is beautiful and Jesus is the most beautiful life. At the cross we see the beauty of God’s inner life.

The superabundance of God’s grace includes all. He has broken down the barrier that separate Jew and Gentile to God and to one another.

The superabundance of God’s grace is at its most glorious in this new reality.

Ephesians 2:15(b) -22

15(b) His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.

All have sinned. Grace superabounded in the very place sin abounded. And if both Jew and Gentile needed this superabundance of God’s grace it removes any human superiority and resultant hostility to one another. By removing the hostility with God, by the peace of reconciliation, he destroyed the basis of hostility between Jew and Gentile.

18For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

The key to all of this is the Holy Spirit. There is an unifying fellowship of the Holy Spirit. This was the evidence to accept uncircumcised Gentiles into the people of God.

The Holy Spirit works in a way that brings glory to Christ as the Saviour of all mankind.

19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.

21In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

To view a song by Chris Tomlin Waterfall about the outpouring of God’s grace over our lives please click here.  

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