Good Morning! Welcome to this mornings service
Worship today is led by Tony Richmond and Barbara Saville
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Thank you to all those who have been part of putting together this weeks service.
Message - Tony Richmond
The words we heard from Matthews Gospel will be familiar to us all. If they are recorded chronologically then they some of the last teaching that Jesus gave to his disciples and as such are, I am sure, important.
They seem to suggest that people will be judged on their actions, on the way they have lived. This seems to be at odds with my understanding of the Gospel which is that Salvation comes through the Grace of God.
How do we reconcile the words from the hymn we have just heard “And every offender who truly believes that moment from Jesus a pardon receives” and the words of Jesus “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry etc” Over the decades it is a question I have needed to come back to on more than one occasion - Grace or works?
I would like to suggest that in the next days you sit and read the letter of James, it won’t take you long, it always helps me when I come back to this theme.
The answer to the apparent dilemma I find in a few words where James in Chapter 2 v 17 says “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.“
The message of the Gospel is that we cannot earn our way to Heaven, it is something that we receive in faith through the Grace of God. But as we receive the Grace and Love of God in our lives we are called to live it out.
To me the key words in the parable are these “They also will answer, “When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you ill or in prison and go to visit you?”
They are being recognised for the love they shown to people without even realising it.
Sometimes we set out to DO GOOD and that is no bad things but what is being recognised in this story is lives that do good, that show love, as a matter of course because of the living presence of God’s love and grace in them.
The challenge to me is to accept Salvation through Grace, there is no other way, but then to allow God to so fill my life with His Grace and Love so that I can do no other than share it as I go through life. What is God’s challenge to you?
May we all hear those words “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” Amen