Sunday 23 October 2022. Sermon by Revd Bruce Woolley

Liturgy for Services: The full Service Slides, including the hymns, readings, prayers, other liturgy and notices may be found on our website.

NOTICES

Cell: 081 240 0964
031 305 4666

Date of Fete 29 October

There is a large box near the pulpit to receive items. Please make your donations there or to the church office.

There are different coloured envelopes available for you to make a contribution towards the fete fundraising.

Planned Giving (PG) forms –

PG forms are available at the desk. We encourage everyone to be on the PG Scheme. Thanks to all those who have been faithful to their giving.

Receipts for PG are available for collection. Please check your details are correct. In future, we would like to email the receipts.

Revd Thami Tembe:

Congratulations on being voted in as the next rector of St Pauls at our vestry last Sunday.

Service at Langeler Towers:

This will take place on Wednesday at 10.0 a.m.

Commitment Sunday:

At our service next week, forms are to be returned. Copies of our stewardship forms are also on our website and can be emailed to the office.

Employment in the Diocese:

The Diocese wants to recruit a Property Manager and a Finance and Compliance Officer. Please see the notice board for details.

All Saints/All Souls:

This will be marked on 6 November. On this Sunday we especially invite those who have lost loved ones during the difficult Covid times to attend our services.

Parish Council:

Next meeting on 13 November.

Looking ahead:

Our Thanksgiving/Ukubonga focus will be on Sunday 27 November.

Parish Council:

A special meeting to look at security will take place on Saturday 22 October at 10.00.

Rector on Leave:

The rector will be away from 19 – 28 October.

Rector’s farewell:

The farewell service for the Rector is on Sunday 20 November 2022. Please keep this date in mind.

Thanks and appreciation

Leslie Sigamoney & Yvette David- items for the Fete
Jabu Mpila items for the Fete
Furuha Ndarwa- items for the Fete
Nonhlanhla Nkonyeni- items for the Fete
Rector & Alison Warmback- items for the Fete
Loggie Pillay R250 for altar candles
Stuart Talbot- altar candles
AWF for their donation of toiletries to the Mission to Seafarers & for the soup
kitchen ingredients and preparing and serving the soup.
Dolly Ndlovu- candles, cleaning products & biscuits

Birthdays 23 30 October

23 Susan Meiring
26 Judo Saane, Mpumelelo Mtshawu, Sesethu Mqoqi, Athina Mahlati,
27 Egerton Hingston
29 Shirley Dickson
30 Isabelle Brooks, Lethu Mkhize
Wedding anniversary – 23 30 October
30 Brain and Irene Pill

Sermon by Revd Bruce Woolley

Jesus warns his disciples again

In many respects Jesus is simply repeating himself with only small distinctions between illustrations.

In today’s passage, there’s a positive promise for those who do the will of God, and there’s a negative consequence for those who do not obey the will of God. In fact, in Luke’s gospel account he records Jesus combining these two teachings in chapter 6, starting in verse 46.

Jesus is emphasizing the point that there are two groups of people, and both groups have been exposed to the word of God, both groups have heard the words of Jesus and what he has commanded, yet they’re distinguished by their response to his words. That’s why this text is particularly relevant to everyone at St Pauls today. All of us are hearing the words of Jesus, we are being exposed to his teachings, and many of us have probably been exposed to far more than what we’ve heard so far today.

Hearing and responding

And Jesus is warning all of us here in this church today, all of us who are listening to his words, that if we do not respond to him by obeying his words that we will be like “a foolish man who has built his house on the sand.” That there are disastrous spiritual consequences for those who hear the words of Jesus’ but neglect not do them.

Therefore, it isn’t enough that we gather together to hear the word of God preached, it isn’t enough to understand the Bible, it isn’t even enough to be interested in the Bible, no, rather it’s only those who hear and obey the words in this book who will inherit eternal life. It’s only those who obey the words of Jesus who will enter the kingdom of heaven. Obedience is the litmus test for those of us who call Jesus our Lord. Genuine obedience is the way we know that we’re not merely giving Jesus lip service. Are we obeying Jesus from a heart of faith, are we seeking to please him? Do our lives reflect such a reality?

So, in today’s Gospel, Jesus gives them an analogy of two houses to illustrate his point.

We’re accountable to Jesus’ words

Luke in his Gospel account records this same teaching by Jesus and writes, In this passage here today, Jesus continues his effort to warn his disciples of the dangers associated with calling Jesus their Lord, while ignoring his commands. And again, he demonstrates that their faith must be genuine, that their faith is proven by being doers of Christ’s words.

If you’ll remember, on the outset of Jesus’ sermon on the mount, his disciples were gathered around him as he sat down to teach, and the text seemed to indicate that a crowd that had been following him had also gathered around to listen in. But little did they know that as they listened to words of Christ they were becoming accountable to those words, that they would be faced with a choice, to hear and obey, or to hear and ignore. To be wise and build their house upon the rock or to be foolish and build their house upon the sand. You see, “to be there in the audience [was] no more [a]
guarantee of salvation than to have called Jesus “Lord! Lord!” and performed miracles in his name.”

The need for a foundation

Most of us are familiar with the need to build our homes on a firm foundation. It’s why we have construction laws that typically require building contractors to pour a cement foundation of a certain depth for the houses they build. These laws protect not only the homeowner but the homeowner’s neighbours. We understand that building a home without a foundation is dangerous, that it’s only a matter of time that a future catastrophic event, such as an earthquake or a flood, will displace and destroy the home. In fact, most home insurance companies know this and therefore will not insure a home that doesn’t have a foundation.

Judgement Day

Jesus isn’t speaking only about the storms of this life like losing your job, or suffering from disease, the Bible certainly speaks to those issues, but here he’s speaking of whether or not we will be protected from the wrath of God that is to come. There is a day that is coming when God will hold all men accountable for their actions (even every idle word), and unless they’ve taken refuge in the righteousness of Christ they will not stand.

Solomon

King Solomon in his book of wisdom (known as Ecclesiastes) concluded with these words in chapter 12, verses 13-14,

Chapter 12

13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

We read in Psalm 130 , verse 3, English Standard Version Psalm 130 3 If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?

The question is, of course, rhetorical – the answer is no one will stand, and Jesus is warning his disciples that unless their house is built upon the rock it will not stand. And how do we build our lives upon the rock? We rely wholly upon Christ for our salvation from the wrath that is to come, we become not merely hears of his word but doers of it.

It’s vitally important that we understand this because the unbelieving world believes that God will simply weigh a person’s good deeds against their bad deeds and if their good deeds are heavier If God were to mark iniquities

Now, the vast majority of the unbelieving world, and even many professing Christians, believe that they’ll go to heaven because of their good deeds. Many believe that they’re, generally speaking, a good person and that God will simply wink at their sin and welcome them into the kingdom of heaven. Yet, this simply isn’t the case. If God were to mark iniquities none of us would stand, none of us would be saved, and if he were
to not care about our sin he would not be just, he would not be a righteous judge.

Withstanding the wrath to come

So it’s why Jesus came, it’s why he lived a sinless life and it’s why he died, to save us from the wrath of God. He bore the wrath that we deserved, and obtained a righteousness that he gives freely to those who turn from their sin and trust in Christ for their righteous standing before God. He clothes that person in his righteousness.

With you there is forgiveness

We read in Scripture that no one will stand if God marks our iniquities, but here’s what the rest of Psalm 130 says, starting in verse 4,

This promise of forgiveness and redemption is also for the church, for God’s people.

This is the good news of verses 24-25 in Matthew 7,

Building on the rock

Those who build their lives upon the rock will withstand the coming storm. Those who build their lives upon Christ will stand on the day of judgement. That’s the good news of the Gospel, that because of the work of Christ, we will withstand the day of judgement, and be welcomed into the kingdom of heaven. Our sin will already have been judged, and its due penalty borne on the back of Jesus.

Therefore, Jesus’ closing reprimand to his disciples is to build their lives upon his, to build their lives on the rock.

The authority of Jesus

What made Jesus stand out above all the other teachers was that he spoke as though his very words were from God, and because he spoke with such authority his words came in power. “He did not speak as one who had opinions,” but as “one having authority.”

His words “were binding on the consciences of all who heard [him].” (R.C. Sproul,Matthew Commentary, p. 217)

While the scribes and other teachers of the law derived their authority from the Scriptures, Jesus derived his authority by the very nature of who he was as the Son of God. This authority was one that was given to him by his Father in heaven as seen in when Jesus said to his disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

The scribes

There’s an inseparable connection between those who are doers of the word of God and those who trust in his Son. Genuine trust produces genuine obedience. It’s the reason Jesus harps on the issue of obedience so much, not because we’re saved by our obedience but because obedience is the outworking of genuine faith in Jesus. When you repent and turn away from sin, you’re also simultaneously turning toward Christ
and obedience to his words.

In other words the person who rejects God the Father rejects the Son, and the person who rejects the Son rejects the Father. We cannot have the Father without the Son. They both share the same divine authority, therefore to reject the one is to reject the other.

And so it is with his Apostles, and it’s the reason we obey the words of the NT as though they’re from very lips of our Lord himself. Jesus tells his disciples In other words the one who rejects God the Father rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects the Father. One cannot have the Father without the Son.

Conclusion

And it’s because Jesus gives this same authority to his Apostles that we obey the words of the New Testament as though they’re from lips of Jesus himself.

Therefore, it isn’t the priest or pastor who carries with him any authority over God’s people, but it’s God’s word that carries with it divine authority, it’s the words of Jesus, and the inspired words of the Holy Spirit, both in the Old and New Testaments. It’s why the preaching of God’s word is so important to our acts of worship in our services each week. It drives everything that we say in our liturgy, everything that we sing, and everything that we do.

And it isn’t that we worship the print on the page or put on the screen, it’s that we cherish Jesus the author and seek to build our lives upon his words,
that we may know him, and that we might stand on the day of judgement.

And so it is today, it isn’t the preacher who carries with him any authority over God’s people, but it is God’s word that carries with it divine authority. It’s why the proclamation of God’s word is central to our service and liturgy. It drives everything that we say, everything that we sing, and everything that we do.

Contacts

Rector
Rev. Dr. Andrew Warmback 083 693 6745
Asst. Priest Rev Bruce Woolley 079 544 7566
Church Wardens
Dr. Egerton Hingston 073 080 4113
Mrs. Yolisa Mapasa 082 435 8170
Alternate Church Warden
Mr. Bheki Shabalala 082 086 9548
Church Treasurer
Mr. Lethu Mkhize 082 053 9004
E-mail: paulsdbn@mweb.co.za
Website: www.stpaulsdurban.org.za
Facebook: @stpdbn
Instagram: stpaulsdurban
Twitter:@StPaulsDbn

Giving:

You are invited to make a contribution to the ministry and mission of our church by making a donation to the following account: Account Name: St Paul’s Church Account Number: 50854628623 Bank: First National Bank (FNB) Branch Code: 22142