This weekend we continue our series on ‘Romans: The Heart of Truth’, with Jodie speaking on the topic ‘The best motivation for love’ from Romans chapter 13 verses 8 to 14.
We will share the Lord’s Supper at 5pm Saturday, so be sure to join us for this important reminder of the death of Jesus. We will also have our popular weekly question and answer time, and Jodie will be answering these questions:
Our 8am Sunday service will be a Holy Communion First Order AAPB service.
This Sunday marks the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, so we will have a special prayer for Remembrance Day during our services.
If you’re wanting to check out our church we’d really love you to visit us on Saturday at 5pm for a contemporary service with kids’ program and dinner afterwards. Our youth group ‘Alive’ is taking a break for the holidays but returns next week. Or come along on Sunday at 8am for a Prayer Book service.
If you can’t make it in person, you’re welcome to jump online to watch the service (with the same sermon and many other items) at www.oakflats.tv.
I am reading a wonderful book at the moment called “Teaching the Psalms” by Christopher Ash. His main idea is that before we apply the Psalms to us, we must hear them as the prayers of Jesus.
But as he began to explain this I came across a statement that may take many people by surprise. Because our prayers arise out of sinful hearts, “God cannot and must not hear them”.
Most people believe that God will always hear them no matter what. But in our natural state God cannot hear our prayers.
James describes our prayers as spiritual adultery (James 4:3). Our natural prayers to God are something along the lines of this: “God, is it OK if I commit idolatry?”
That’s because our natural prayers do not arise out of single-hearted love and devotion to God. Even our best prayers will have a mixture of pure and impure motives.
Our hearts are filled with sin, and it is a presumption to think that God would hear our prayers.
However there is one that God will always listen to.
When Jesus heals a man born blind, some of the pharisees are outraged at Jesus. The man defends Jesus, saying “We know that God does not listen to sinners, he listen to the godly person who does his will” John 9:31.
When Jesus heals Lazarus, he does so by praying to the Father: “Thank you that you always hear me”(John 11:41). Lazarus comes back to life, because Jesus is godly person whom the Father always hears.
There is only one that this is true of. It is only through Christ that prayer becomes a possibility.
The Spirit brings Christ to dwell with us so that our prayers are united with his: “For through Jesus we have access to the Father by one Spirit.” Eph 2:18
It’s humbling to remember our natural state before God. But when we do, we can appreciate the gift of prayer in Jesus through the Spirit all the more!