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Sermon Summaries

Sermon Summary: Lent Series Part 3, Sending

Ace shared a brief message to preach again from Matthew 4:1-11,

1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” 11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Matthew 4:1-11 (NIV)

Ace reminded us, during this very difficult time with COVID19 and other struggles, that we are called to pray to God not to ask for the removal of the challenges but for our faith to be maximised.

“When we are being sent out into the world, the greatest weapon is not our own knowledge or wisdom, but the Word of God.”

Ace’s sermon (approx. 8 minutes in)

Ace reminded us that in Matthew 4:16, Jesus come to fulfil what was prophesied in Isaiah: “the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned”. As Christians, this sudden darkness cast by COVID19 is our opportunity to reflect this “great light” of Jesus to be loving to our neighbours.

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Sermon Summaries

Sermon Summary: Lent Series Part 2, Calling

Ace preached from again Matthew 4:1-11,

1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” 11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Matthew 4:1-11 (NIV)

There are three challenges in this passage that connect to our daily living: (1.) food, (2.) identity, (3.) service.

(1.) Food (v. 2-4) – because this something that everyone needs! Admittedly most of us in OneHeart have no particular shortage of food, but this is still a very important challenge for our world.

(2.) Identity (v. 5-7) – especially as OneHeart, we often experience internal conflict with our worldly identity and our identity as Christians.

(3.) Service (v. 8-11) – because all of us serve something; Jesus chose to serve God the Father instead.

Generally we are not always great at making the right decisions about these challenges and our prayers are usually what Ace refers to as “immature prayers” for easy solutions to these challenges. Jesus prays differently (Matthew 26:38-39).

38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Matthew 26:38-39

Jesus is honest and expresses what he feels like he needs, but “yet not as I will, but as You will”. Ultimately we follow God’s calling as we journey through this temporary home in this world.

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Sermon Summaries

Sermon Summary: Lent Series Part 1, Fasting

Ace introduced the concept of Lent and Fasting during Lent for those not familiar with it. Fasting during Lent is a Catholic tradition that some Uniting Churches reinterpret to focus less on the actual abstinence from food, and instead focus more on our personal relationship with God.

Ace preached from Matthew 4:1-11,

1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” 11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Matthew 4:1-11 (NIV)

An important detail here is that Jesus was led by the Spirit – not led by the devil – to be tempted by the devil (v. 1). All of this was planned by God and Jesus knew this was coming: not only the 40 days of fasting (that was actually just the start), but also all the events of his public ministry and how it ended.

“Fasting is not about proving that you are a good man or woman. Fasting is about preparing yourself for going into spiritual warfare.”

Quote from Ace’s sermon

Fasting is something Jesus mentioned as a secret between God and yourself (Matthew 6:16-18). It is intended to be a private commitment to God, not a public display for other people. The same applies for worship and for whatever special commitment we choose to make to commemorate Lent.

To summarise,

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

Matthew 16:24

Therefore Paul writes,

10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Philippians 3:10-11 (NIV)

For Lent, then, the #1 focus is to do whatever fasting (not necessarily food, but whatever distracts us most) helps us to know Christ and appreciate the power of His resurrection.

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Sermon Summary: Good Soil

Ace preached about the importance of each individual Christian having their own relationship with God, independent of support from family, friends, church, etc.

Ace preached from Matthew 13:1-9 (this is all three of the synoptic gospels, which means it is important – it’s the same as Mark 4:1-12, Luke 8:1-8),

1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

Matthew 13:1-9 (NIV)

To provide a clear visual, Ace shared this picture (source: Claretian Missionaries, West Nigeria Delegation):

Type 1, “the path” – Ace describes, for example, the kind of church attendee who comes because they feel forced to but their hearts aren’t really there.

Type 2, “the rocky soil” – Ace describes, for example, someone who comes to church, enjoys some aspect(s) of it during church, but the feeling doesn’t last very long. Another example is someone who “puts on a Christian mask for Sundays”.

Type 3, “the weedy soil” – Ace describes, for example, someone who had a truly transformative experience, but is about to be choked by various secular distractions – “to be honest, the best thing that could happen for you in that moment is that you die right away, because then you’re sure to be in the Kingdom”. It’s important for us to acknowledge that the secular world is fun. Recall Paul in Romans 3:9-12,

9 What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

Romans 3:9-12 (NIV)

Finally, Type 4, “the good soil” – given how impossibly ideal this is, Ace points to Romans 3:22-26 as the explanation,

22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

Romans 3:22-26 (NIV)

An IMPORTANT WARNING Ace marks here is that many (mis)interpretations of this passage by less discerning preachers is to encourage people to “try harder to be good soil”. To clarify, Ace summarises: “our faith is not about what we are, it is about who Jesus is, and our journey is about allowing the spirit of God to impact and influence our lives to be more holy and holy as a daily battle every day”.

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Sermon Summaries

Sermon Summary: “Life and Sacrifice”

Ace continued from the previous week on the topic of “how God works”. Last week Ace preached about the Parable of the Mustard Seed to explain his vision of how OneHeart’s ministry will grow. This week, Ace preached from Matthew 17:14-20,

14 When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.” 17 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Matthew 17:14-20 (NIV)

Ace acknowledged how the current generation of youth and young adults face a large number of challenges and temptations. Therefore Ace alluded to how Jesus makes a deliberate contrast between the tiny mustard seed and the enormous mountain (verse 20: faith as small as a mustard seed, … mountain will move).

The mustard seed is significant for a number of reasons but the one that Ace wants to focus on is “life”. The mustard seed turns into a large tree because it is living. The question, then, is: what kind of life is within each of us? Specifically, to continue to metaphor, Matthew 7:16-20,

16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Matthew 7:16-20 (NIV)

The specific kind of life that Ace implores the audience to fill theirselves with is that which is mentioned by Jesus: “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). The profound learning that Ace personally took from the Port Augusta mission trip was that Aboriginal church leaders focus on introducing Jesus as their Saviour because Aboriginal culture already has an understanding of God as creator, but the life of Jesus changes everything.

However, the other consideration about the image of the mustard seed is “sacrifice”, based on John 12:24-26,

24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

John 12:24-26 (NIV)

Ace’s encouragement for us is that the most meaningful sacrifice that could be made is the sacrifice of our personal time. Our time in this world is limited but sacrificing parts of it is meaningful because, in Ace’s words, “this world is a temporary picnic area”.