The catechism teaches us that our purpose, our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. It’s worth noting the catechism points to our chief end. It’s saying our ultimate purpose is to glorify God. There are many things in life we must do, we have many purposes, many ends – yet the chief end. In other words, everything in life, everything we do, be it caring for children or an elderly parent, be it sweeping the streets or running the country and everything in between, the point of it all, is that we would glorify God.
Jealousy is at the heart of so much of what we know as sin. Think about the relationships we have the most trouble with. What’s at the heart of those difficulties… is it that we’re jealous. Jealous of how much a person is loved or appreciated; we believe we’re more deserving. The story of Christmas is one of humility, it’s the story, which is the opposite of envy, it is a story of self-sacrificial love. Jesus who set aside his glory, position, power, magnificence, his royal nature, his position of creator, his greatness and out of love gave of himself… in terms of the life he lived; he loved the life of a pauper, in terms of his appearance; unlimited glory for the form of an infant, child, adolescent and man, in terms of his life; death on a cross.
What is patience, the Greek word which we have translated as patience means to be long tempered, to have humility and gentleness. It’s a word that is connected to how we treat one another. Therefore, when scripture talks about patience it is talking about our relationships with one another. We also know that patience is one of the fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5: 22-23, ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, forbearance (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’
As a church we can have all the right words; stand for all the right things; have a perfect understanding of the gospel; preach the most powerful sermons; but if we don’t have love we’re only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
This morning's service continues are series asking some of the questions people have about God. This morning we ask do all religions lead to God? We will read John 14:1-6 as we try to answer this, showing why it is important for us that Jesus is only way, the truth and the life.
This morning as we gather around the Lord’s table, albeit in a different way to normal, we are confronted with our hope in the foreign land in which we live. As we peel back the top of our bread and wine this morning we see more than just food and water, we see an expression of the promise that God has made to each one of us who has come to trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. We see the debt of our sin paid and the way open to a new temple where God reigns and we are invited to join him.
This vision was a reminder that God had not forgotten his people or decided to withhold his mercy. It was a promise that one day there would be a life outside of exile. It’s worth noting that in this vision Ezekiel is being shown a life centred around God, life which is watered by the streams that flow through the temple, life that comes from God. This is the hope in which we come to God this morning, hope that regardless of who we are, or what’s going in in our lives, and I know for some of us life’s hard. Covid worries, job worries, family worries. I’ve talked to people who’ve told me they never imagined life would be like this. The hope of Ezekiel is the promise of a new life, a new heaven, a new earth. It is the hope of a new beginning when we come to Christ because we know the mess of the past will be left behind.