June 17, 2011

Christians Are To Make Disciples of All Nations
(homily notes for Trinity, 2011, by Rev. John Gishler)

Jesus did not teach His followers to just attend church, be good and hire evangelists. He challenged them – and us to “...go and make disciples of all nations...”. (Matthew 28.19). “Make” is a verb – an action word. As Christians we have been baptized into a new covenant relationship with God who loves us, Jesus who died in our place for sin and the Holy Spirit who guides, heals and nurtures us. As we grow deeper in this relationship and discover our spiritual gifts we naturally want to share the good news of Gods’ grace, love and healing with everyone around us. This is a challenge in our time as many people have not had good teaching or have rebelled against God. It is not easy – but it is a wonderful gift to give others.

June 3, 2011

Easter 7 - Eternal Life Is To Know the Glory Of God

In the Acts Reading (1.6 – 14) the Risen Jesus is saying goodbye to His disciples and promising them the gift and power of the Holy Spirit before ascending into Heaven. This was followed by some detailed instructions from Peter (4.12-14, 5.6-11) warning them to expect trials and sufferings before they are restored, made strong and “...called to His eternal glory...”.

1.     “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you...” John 17.3
Jesus is giving us a new definition of eternal life. Notice that it is not just about performance or moral behaviour. Our good behaviour flows out of what we know and believe about God. Our eternal life, the one we are baptized into, is about personal knowledge of and relationship with God.  Jesus explains in great detail how He and God are one. He prays for His disciples saying “All I have is yours and all you have is mine...” (v. 10) Jesus and the Father are one in a bond of love. This is where the doctrine of the Trinity comes from. They are so close to each other they are one person. Jesus was with the father before the world was created. He came into the world to reveal the Father to individuals. The whole purpose of the exercise was to draw people into this same relationship of love. The problem was that human sinfulness and ignorance had separated people from their God. So Jesus mission was to reveal Gods’ love and glory to people and create a way to overcome human rebellion and sin. In the John Reading (17.8) Jesus reminds the Disciples that He “...gave them the words that you (God) gave me and they accepted them.” The Disciples believed in Jesus as the one sent from God to redeem humanity. By believing in and getting to know Jesus through personal experience, they were also getting to know God the Father. This was living the new eternal life that Jesus promised.