18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Canticle - We praise you, O God. Click to view and download Luke 1:68-79 Mark 1:9-12 Exodus 3:1-4:17 Philippians 1:3-11 - before the prayers Psalm 16:1-11 - at the end
Representing God to bring Salvation - Exodus 3:1-4:17 & Mark 1:9-12
This Old Testament passage is long and given that the flow and account is fairly self explanatory I am going to look at 4 things but not in the order as they appear in the text. The second point will be an attempt to highlight the whole passage with its almost ironic humour as well as its seriousness.
Last week the heading was - Saved to be Called, today:
Exodus 3:1-4:17 - Called to Speak
1. Who is in the Bush? 3:2 & 5-7
The angel of the Lord - v 2, or God and the Lord himself vv 3 & 5, and the rest of the passage?
Ask the simple question - who is the ultimate angel of the Lord given angel = messenger in both Hebrew and Greek? The son of God who we know since he was born as Jesus. I suggest, and I am going no further, we have another OT appearance of the eternal son of God, the true and ultimate messenger of the Lord.
God is unchanging and here, in these verses, is a glimpse of that.
2. Arguing with God! 3:11-4:17
Coleman's - the mustard people - once produced a little and amusing book of excuses. As we listen to Moses he really is mustard!
In Isaiah when God is looking for someone to send to the people - Isaiah, effectively, puts his hand up to volunteer.
Moses puts his hands up and says - no way! What's more, he keeps it up until God is getting angry with him having answered it all and demonstrated his power, and given Moses, the authority to perform these signs and wonders.
The most hilarious bit is v 
Moses said to the LORD, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” What goes before suggests this isn't quite the case and certainly later on, with Pharaoh, it appears that he is the key spokesperson although Aaron seems to take that role earlier on.
Who has he to go and speak to? Pharaoh. Who is Pharaoh? The King of Egypt and the most powerful man around, but, who else is he in all likelihood? Moses stepbrother who he sat next to having lessons with in the king's place and lived with until he fled aged 40, 40 years before.
They played scrabble as kids - ever tried that with tiles with hieroglyphics on - what he face is now is something that will end up as a master chess situation and certainly no game with high odds and thousands of lives and livelihoods at stake. For Moses all this may be deeply buried in his mind but maybe not!
Nope, says Moses, that's the wrong call. Yep, says the Lord, it's the call and off you go! 4:11-17.
Do we argue with what God wants of us or even hide behind excuses? Do we try and neglect our God given gifts or fail to accept, which is part of what he says here to Moses in v 11, that he gives what is needed to do what he asks. When God truly calls he will always equip so we can do what he wants of us - not necessarily what others in a similar role may do.
As pride and arrogance about our abilities is no good so also is hiding them and being unduly modest! Many are called to be evangelists but only one was called to the sort of ministry Billy Graham exercised.
Many are called to be bible teachers but few are called to be academics. We could go on. What does God want of you and your life be you younger or older? And I recall telling many an older saint who has worried about being physically inactive in service for the Lord that prayer is vital, use your time for prayer for the kingdom. Prayer against the darkness of evil in the world and the streets of it.
3. The name of the LORD 3:13-15
What's in a name - nowadays not often a lot. Nicknames can carry significant meanings and descriptions but sadly may of those were unkind and destructive to the person concerned.
Abram = exalted father
Abraham = father of many
Isaac = he laughs
Malachi = my messenger ; Malach = angel = messenger
Keep on making a way, making a wayJust for meYou keep on making a way, making a wayJust for meYou keep on making a way, making a wayJust for meJust for meMany doors you've closedJust for meSometimes you will say noSo I'll beTested in your fireTo purify my desiresSo my blessings won't beJust for meSo caught up in myselfI couldn't seeThe world did not revolve around meSo storms are in your willSo I can feel what others feelTheir needs, if I could speak honestlyIt don't feel goodBut growing never doesIt don't seem fairFor you to call this loveBut if necessary painIs the ingredient for changeEven when life may be bittersweetIt's workingJust for meAll the moments I missedThat were just for meBecause I chose not toWait patientlyBefore every mistakeWas the same amount of graceThat kept my blessing waitingJust for meBut trust in your timing is not easyAnd what I want's not always what I needSomewhere I forgotYou are God and I am notI see, if I could speak honestlyIt don't feel goodBut growing never doesIt don't seem fairFor you to call this loveBut if necessary painIs the ingredient for changeEven when life may be bittersweet (yeah)It's workingYou got me like (ooh, la la)I'm being broken like (ooh, la la) c'monAnd now my heart is like (ooh, la la)(la la la la la) singI'm singing, ooh, la laAnd now I'm growing like (ooh, la la)'Cause it was painful like (ooh, la la)(la la la la la) background, singIt don't feel goodBut growing it never doesIt don't seem fairFor you to call this loveBut if necessary painIs the ingredient for changeEven when life may be bittersweet (truth is)It don't feel good (let's go)But growing it never doesIt don't seem fair (yeah, can you feel me)For you to call this loveBut if necessary pain (yes)Is the ingredient for change (yes sir)Even when life may be bittersweetIt's workingJust for meKeep on making a way, making a way, just for meJust for meKeep on making a way, making a way, just for me, just for meJust for meKeep on making a way, making a way, just for meJust for meKeep on making a way, making a way, just for meJust for me
Psalm 119:33-40 Psalm 149:1-9 Psalm 108:1-13 Luke 1:26-38 Exodus 1:1-2:8 Luke 1:39-56 - at the end
Note - this month we are looking at key passages from Exodus following the journey to the crossing of the Red Sea.
Exodus 1 - 1These are the names of the sons of Israel who went to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family:2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah;3 Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin;4 Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher.5 The descendants of Jacob numbered seventy[a] in all; Joseph was already in Egypt.6 Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died,7 but the Israelites were exceedingly fruitful; they multiplied greatly, increased in numbers and became so numerous that the land was filled with them.8 Then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt.9 “Look,” he said to his people, “the Israelites have become far too numerous for us.10 Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.”11 So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh.12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites13 and worked them ruthlessly.14 They made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly. 15 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah,16 “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.”17 The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.18 Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?”19 The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.”20 So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous.21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.
22 Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.”
Called to confess Jesus, serve Him and live for Him
Readings of the day
1“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the Lord: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; 2 look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was only one man, and I blessed him and made him many. 3 The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing. 4 “Listen to me, my people; hear me, my nation: Instruction will go out from me; my justice will become a light to the nations. 5 My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way, and my arm will bring justice to the nations. The islands will look to me and wait in hope for my arm.
1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. 2 Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. 3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever.
4 to him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever. 5 who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever. 6 who spread out the earth upon the waters, His love endures forever. 7 who made the great lights— His love endures forever. 8 the sun to govern the day, His love endures forever. 9 the moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever.
10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt His love endures forever. 11 and brought Israel out from among them His love endures forever. 12 with a mighty hand and outstretched arm; His love endures forever.
13 to him who divided the Red Sea[a] asunder His love endures forever. 14 and brought Israel through the midst of it, His love endures forever. 15 but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea; His love endures forever.
16 to him who led his people through the wilderness; His love endures forever.
17 to him who struck down great kings, His love endures forever. 18 and killed mighty kings— His love endures forever. 19 Sihon king of the Amorites His love endures forever. 20 and Og king of Bashan— His love endures forever. 21 and gave their land as an inheritance, His love endures forever. 22 an inheritance to his servant Israel. His love endures forever.
23 He remembered us in our low estate His love endures forever. 24 and freed us from our enemies. His love endures forever. 25 He gives food to every creature. His love endures forever.
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[b] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[c] will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[d] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[e] loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” 23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life[f] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. 28 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
Called to Confess Jesus, Live for and Serve Him
Too often the Church is considered to be a cruise ship with a crew who look after the needs
of the passengers and see they have 'a good time'.
The better picture is that the Church is like a naval or, merchant or cargo ship where each
person has responsibilities to fulfill for the needs and progress of the whole ship so it fulfills
its aims and reaches its goals. The only exceptions are those in the sick bay and the church
does need to see that there is the need for space for those who need TLC and the space to
rest and be refreshed according to their needs.
1. Called - Matthew 16:13-28
I have taken last weeks as well as this weeks readings from Matthew for completeness sake
but only want to look at this passage summarily as we have covered some of this ground
1.Confessing - vv 13-20
The key question is - who is Jesus? Answer - the Messiah i.e. The true King of God's people
and the whole created order
2. Accepting - vv 21-23
Jesus' establishing of the Kingdom is not through political means or revolt against the regime
but through self-sacrifice for sin on the cross,resurrection for the conquering of death, and ascension for his ascendancy to the throne where he is seated at the right of the Father.
3. Following - vv 24-28
As I have said before, the way Jesus addresses this would have been difficult for those
present to make sense of as people carrying a cross were sentenced to death but, Jesus says
what he has to say whether understood, at the time, or not. It would be understood later, as
it is today - hopefully, and we pick up the theme in what Paul writes.
2. Living & Serving - Romans 12:1-8
1. Given - v 1-2
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your
bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of
your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good,
pleasing and perfect will.
I think that many cultures are familiar, or were familiar with, sacrifices but the term 'living
sacrifice' jars as sacrifices were usually dead! What's more, I think Paul may have intended
that so folk would sit up and listen. What he is saying ties in with the phrase of Jesus, 'take
up your cross and follow me'. Paul, in the footsteps of Jesus is saying that 100%
commitment is the deal. Also, this is true worship - think about that. Worship that is 100%
24 / 7!
Jesus gave that command because he is the ultimate and supreme sacrifice, given by God,
once and for all and therein is God's mercy - we who receive have been have been freed
From there, and this looks at the same concepts as Romans 8:1ff, is the whole idea that we
don't conform to the ideas and ideals of this world but with our minds being transformed
and renewed, we conform to the will of God. So, I say it yet again 'Your will be done . . . .' It
is so simple yet so difficult because . . . . I need say no more!
To know and grow in the will and mind of God we have to engage with Him through reading
the word, seeking him and living in trust. I encourage that for us all.
Then Paul gives a reminder:
2. Humble - v 3
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more
highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance
with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
Is he sort of saying, 'don't be holier than thou'? We live in a world filled with arrogance,
pride, stubbornness and the like but we have just thought we don't conform to this world
and these words I just used sum up some of the attitudes we are to de-conform from or
better, be transformed from.
Humble - it can bring up a sense self-debasing - but it is not that.
In Philippians 2:5-11 Paul
writes about how Jesus humbled himself by not claiming his 'rights' but laying them aside
for the cross which he went to for us.
I am going to read it:
 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Have the same 'mindset / attitude'.It also resonates with verses 1 & 2 from Romans 12 which we have just looked at.
I think it is amazing how much and how many of these concepts hang together, intertwine
and overlap. Jesus / Peter / Paul - but then, it is a whole and not people's fancy ideas or
Paul moves on and we will too:
3. Integrated - vv 4-5
 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all
have the same function,  so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each
member belongs to all the others.
He has been talking about individual who form a whole corporate people and now he spells
it out - as our human bodies are complex yet function as a united whole (sickness of course
creates problems), in a similar way, the body of Christ should also function as a united
When it doesn't, say no more, it is actually a sign of something being wrong.
How much do we actually see ourselves as belonging to all the others who are in Christ?
Tough one that, especially when we take it locally and further afield.
4. Contributing - vv 6-8
 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.
If your gift is
then prophesy in accordance with your faith;
 if it is serving, then serve;
it is teaching, then teach;
 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement;
if it is giving,
then give generously;
if it is to lead, do it diligently;
if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Just a few observations and in no particular order:
• 1 Corinthians 12:12-20 and Ephesians 4:1-16 are expansions of the same ideas as in vv
• That suggests that there is no exhaustive list of the gifts for service and ministry.
• There are other complementary passages as well as these
• In looking at them we do well to consider, how we contribute and what is neglected.
• There are times when we need some gifts more than
• There are some which should never be neglected.
• These are not really about how the church runs as an organisation, rather'
• They are the blocks for building the church, building up the people of God, so they are
Back to vv 3 & 4, your body is most useful and functions best when it is in
harmony with each part of the whole otherwise, chaos or worse!
• 1 Corinthians 12 (plus chapters 13-14) and Ephesians 4 really spell out how each
person functions individually as part of the whole so that God's people are maturing in
love, faith and hope.
• From there, they go out and draw others in and lead them to Christ so the people of
God grows in other ways.
All this bears reflection under these unusual and changing circumstance.
How when we are not meeting in the more usual way can we do this now?
How can we do these sort of things for the better when we are?
Given there may be no fast solution, hopefully meeting under changed
circumstances when practical, what more can we do now and then?
I would encourage prayer.
Prayer that what we are in does not stop the people of God being
that, rob us of effectiveness in ministry and outreach, but that we grow and develop and as
the church has to do in all sorts of challenging circumstances, find fresh ways of functioning.
I would also encourage talking and exploring fresh ideas even if they aren't feasible or
Finally, we are under the sovereignty of God and the victory of the cross. So, we seek His
We recall and rejoice in that we are a called people, called to confess, called to follow and
called serve. Let's just do it!