20th of September 2017

Welcome to church. It is great to able to join with you to worship God & to take the Lord’s Supper together. Today our focus is on reconciliation. This is one, if not the, greatest benefit of Christ’s death for us. It has implications for our relationship with God, with others, and with ourselves.

Of course the desire to be reconciled with others is of great issue at the moment. The same sex union debate questions not only where we stand with God but where we stand with family, friends and fellow Christians. These are not easy days.

There are of course great resources available. Eternity newspaper on the back table has different people with different views. The Diocesan website sydneyanglicans.org.au has links to particular articles by the Archbishop and others. Here are my thoughts on the vote.

Firstly the issue is personal for everyone. What we need to do is to make a personal decision based on our relationship with a personal God. He must come first. Jesus himself asked his disciples to put Him before everyone else, even their family (Matt 10:37). Our decision needs to be made under Him.

Secondly I think we need to have the purpose of marriage in mind. The Prayer Book says that marriage is for the good order of society (how many times have I said that?). It gets this from Ephesians 5. The Scriptures say the true marriage is the union between Christ and his church. Christian marriage then is a picture of what God is doing, bringing together two different people and making them one. That’s amazing! One day all things will be brought together under Christ, willingly or unwillingly. This is because In Christ, God is reconciling all things to himself (Cols 1:20). This is God’s purpose.

Finally I think we need a perspective, a perspective on past, present and future. Where are we? Where have we come from? Where does this lead us? This is not an individual debate but a corporate one. Part of what is causing so many issues is not knowing what any legislation would look like. This is why the Archbishop and others have sought the same from the Prime Minister. The passage for today is Romans 5:1-11, looks back to what has been, looks forward to what will be and looks down (if you like) at what is. These same perspectives seem to me to be needed in this debate and vote. We, I think, tend to be a bit here and now, a bit me centred. The Bible wants us to look more broadly and more eternally.

Of course the greatest ‘p’ of all is prayer. We pray for God to be glorified. Please don’t vote before you pray. Whatever the outcome the victory will be His. In the end, we are all sinners and the only way we can be saved is by the grace of the Lord Jesus. Let us proclaim that truth in the way live, serve, speak, and vote.   Stuart