John Hosier

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Hospitality and the Nature of God

August 16th, 2011

Revelation 19:6-9

The aim of this first sermon is to launch the “Welcome Home” series and to provide a theological background to the issue of hospitality.

Is there something in the nature and character of God which models hospitality?

A useful clarification to make is that hospitality does not only mean welcoming people into your homes. This series will be using the term
in a wider sense of welcoming people.

Four key words to remember:
• Invitation
• Acceptance
• Fellowship
• Celebration

(1) INVITATION

The marriage supper of the Lamb involves an invitation from God to his church. Of course, the church is united with Christ now, but the marriage supper takes this union a step further – it is a celebration of the church being caught up in the final victory of Christ and never being separated from him.

v. 9 Who is invited? The church. But the church is the bride, how then can the bride be invited? The church corporately is the bride
of Christ. The wedding invitation puts the emphasis on individual believers being welcomed.

God issues personal invitations to us (see James 4:8, Hebrews 4:15-16, Hebrews 10:19 and Matthew 11:28). It is in the nature of God to invite people to himself.

(2) ACCEPTANCE

With us, wedding invitations can be issued out of a sense of duty, but this is not so with God. His invitation to share the wedding supper of the Lamb shows his total acceptance of us. We can be accepted as those who have been justified (i.e. declared righteous) through the sacrificial death of Christ on our behalf. Justification is total acceptance.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 “… and such were some of you.” Whatever our background, whatever our past sin, God has accepted us in Christ.

The practical application if this for us is found in Romans 15:7 “Therefore accept one another as Christ has accepted you.”

Hospitality goes beyond duty and must involve acceptance. We should accept one another and associate with people who are not like us, even as Christ left heaven to associate with us. We should keep in good relationship with one another and put things right with one another when they go wrong.

(3) FELLOWSHIP

The world translated “fellowship” is the Greek word koinonia which is basically untranslatable. It speaks of sharing, of relationship and also can be used of marriage. At the marriage supper of the Lamb, we will have eternal fellowship with Christ.

We can offer hospitality out of position, as paying guests. We do indeed have a position as those who are “in Christ” but we have been given this status in order than we can know God and have fellowship with him every day.

Revelation 3:20 – Christ desires to have fellowship with the local church.

(4) CELEBRATION

The strongest element of the marriage supper of the Lamb as described in vv 6-9 is celebration. Jesus ate with sinners in celebration of their redemption. Just by sitting and eating together (even if it is just a cup of tea) we too can celebrate.

Celebration is in the very nature of God.

One practical application of this is the way in which we practice the Lord’s Supper. Communion should be a celebration, not a grim
ritual. Yes, we remember the death of Christ, but, through the bread and wine, we celebrate our redemption and look forward to that day when the Lord’s Supper will pass away and be replaced by the marriage supper of the Lamb, to which Christ has invited us, where we are accepted, where we will have fellowship with him and where we will celebrate his victory and our redemption.

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The Lamb of God

August 8th, 2011

Leviticus 1-17

  • Lev 1: 1 God is a speaking God, but we are not always a listening people. In the Old Testament He speaks through Prophets but in the New Testament he speaks to us through the words and teaching of Jesus.
  • The offerings that they bring in this passage are something given to God. The word for offering is ‘corban’ which also means
    ‘to come near’. We can understand offering as an invitation from God to draw near to him. He is inclusive and anyone can come.
  • The offerings given were animals and the type was determined by money and position. The rich would bring a bull, the not so rich a lamb and the poor a pair of birds.
  • The offerings were burnt and the passage instructs how to bring the offering but what can we learn from this (imagining that the worshipper brings a lamb)?

Burn the Lamb

  • God loves passion in our worship. The worshipper brings an offering to get near to God – is it in our heads every Sunday to draw near to God?
  • God is with us all the time, but it says in James 4:8 ‘Come near to God and he will come near to you’.
  • Offering was expensive, to burn a whole lamb would have been costly the lamb was without blemish or defect; the worshipper chose the best one – what will our worship cost us? Today, the most costly thing tends to be time.
  • There are so many possible distractions on Sundays nowadays that we must make sure that we don’t make church on a Sunday just one of a list of options.
  • Passion for God is not just experienced on Sundays but we experience God’s presence most strongly when we meet with God’s community of people. We should be expectant to meet with God on Sundays in a fresh and exciting way.
  • It will cost us time to be passionate to worship God and to spend time in prayer.
  • The worshipper cuts the lamb and washes it and gets blood on his hands. He is very involved and hands-on, he isn’t just
    expecting the priest to do it for him. Are we demonstrating that kind of worship?
  • You can be worshipping with your body and your voice but not your heart. Get involved and get engaged.
  • God loves the smell of the burnt offering – the passion of the worshipper is like wonderful perfume to him.

Look to the Lamb

  • Personal offering – the individual wanted to get near to God to get atonement for sin.
  • Genesis 3:21, when Adam and Eve were fallen andashamed of being naked, God clothed them in animal skins to hide their shame and sin.
  • John the Baptist points to Jesus Christ as the lamb of God who has taken away the sin of the world. Jesus is the lamb who was slaughtered.
  • The OT animal sacrifices foreshadow Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice in the NT. The old system of sacrifice could never wipe out
    sin for all time. Jesus was given a body of flesh which he laid down for us to wipe out sin in the one perfect sacrifice.
  • The priests in the tabernacle/temple (where offerings were brought) worked for two weeks non-stop to deal with the sacrifices of worshippers.
  • Hebrews 10:11 – after Jesus’ single sacrifice, he is now sat down at the right hand of God. His sacrifice never has to be repeated. It is finished.
  • Stop fretting and being anxious and look to the lamb – we are clean and righteous before God.

Lean on the lamb

  • When worshippers brought lambs to be sacrificed, they would place their hands on the lamb’s head to make atonement.
  • They would lean on the lamb in prayer and confession of sin, and to identify themselves with the animal.
  • It was symbolic of transferring the sin – a slaughter and death took place. Leviticus 17:11,  the life is in the blood of the lamb. The sinner’s blood is not shed, despite sin but it is the lamb’s blood that is shed.
  • For us, the cost has been paid by Jesus Christ which perfectly fulfils the OT sacrifices. His life was taken, he carried the punishment and has paid the full cost.
  • There is an open invitation to draw near to God but there is only one way – lean on the lamb.
  • We must be careful not to lean on other things; fear, materialism, the world, ideas, ourselves.
  • Be full-on in passionate worship to God.
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Romans 3: 1-8

February 16th, 2011
  • At the beginning of Romans Paul is teaching about why we need the Gospel
  • Later on in Romans, he is sharing the joy of the Gospel
  • Romans 1: Paul explains to the Gentiles that they are sinners
  • Romans 2: He is explaining to the Jews that the law itself won’t save them
  • Romans 3: He answers three questions:
  1. The faithfulness of God
  • The Jews had been given the oracle of God
  • There is great advantage to growing up in a Christian home – you get off to a flying start, but this isn’t enough – we need to encounter God
  • The Jews thought the problem was God – in today’s world the objection is to sin, war, sex trafficking etc.
  • Vs 4: Paul’s response is from the Greek translation of Psalm 51
  • King David was judged for his sin with Bathsheba – God is just and His will be done
  • Revelation 4 & 5: key theme – the throne of God à however messy and chaotic the world is, God is sovereign – we need to look up and see God
  • God’s purposes and promises come to pass as God is faithful
  • God is in control – He is always on the throne
  1. The righteousness of God
  • Argument: God is being unrighteous because He could just forgive us – people ask: what gives God the right to judge me?
  • Vs 6: how then can God judge the world?
  • People want justice and judgement, just not for themselves
  1. The grace of God
  • God seeks us out
  • People think that more evil is needed so God can do more good – this is not true! – Paul says if you think like this than your condemnation is just
  • Romans 6 – Paul asks the same question and his answer is “by no means!”

What they teach us:

  1. We are not the first people to face objections and challenges
  • Even Jesus faced trouble – people tried to trick Him and catch Him out
  • The Gospel demonstrates the wisdom of God
  • 2 Corinthians 4: 2-6 – we understand the Gospel because God let the light in
  1. Take care how we speak
  • Sometimes we are logical not Biblical
  • Titus 2: 11-12 – grace teaches us to say “no”
  • Don’t abuse grace
  1. We need to be clear on the principles
  • God is faithful
  • God is righteous
  • God is full of grace for us
  • Jesus Christ is sovereign over all and one day every knee will bow to Him

Hebrews 2:1-11

August 2nd, 2010

Hebrews deals with the glorious theme of the Supremacy of Jesus Christ.

Here in this passage there are 3 main ideas.

Don’t Drift Away

Sadly some do drift away out of church fellowship. But here are compelling reasons not to do so.
• Because of the supremacy of Christ. This is particularly described in Hebs 1:1-3
• Because of the anger of God. The writer asks here; how can we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? (vs.3)
• Because this message of salvation is the Truth. It was spoken first by the Lord himself who is the Truth. It was attested to by first hand witnesses. It was confirmed by signs and miracles.

The Plan of God

The writer quotes from Psalm 8 which exalts the greatness of man as God’s plan was to bring everything under his feet. Men and women are meant to rule on the earth but because of sin we’ve mucked it up. However through the death of Christ not only have our sins been forgiven but we have been restored to the position that God intended – but we don’t yet see it! (See vs. 8).
However right now we recognise that Christ created the earth, so we should be living responsibly with regard to the environment and also anticipating the new earth which is part of the fruit of Christ’s redeeming work at Calvary.
Also, God’s plan will be fully worked out in us when finally we rule with Christ over a new creation. Rev 11:15 says that when the final trumpet blows then the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever. Yes, and we shall reign with him.

Jesus is the Perfect Saviour

Vs. 10 says that Jesus is made perfect through suffering. This is not a reference to his character, but simply to the fact that he became our perfect Saviour when he died for our sins, as nothing else needs to be done to achieve our redemption.
He is our perfect Saviour because:
• He sorts out creation. He will rule over it forever with joy.
• He sorts out our destiny. He is leading many sons to glory (vs.10) and glory includes the fact that we will reign with him.
• He sorts out relationship. Through his redeeming work Jesus makes us his brothers and sisters. (vs.11).

Jesus is the ‘founder’, or better the ‘Champion’ (vs.10) of our salvation.
We cannot drift away from such a great salvation.

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The Supremacy of Christ – Hebrews 1:1-3

July 14th, 2010

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The writer of Hebrews compares Christ to what he knows about Judaism – that He is the supreme version of everything (High Priest, sacrifice, etc).

Christianity is not about rules but about the person of Christ.

God has spoken
1. Many times, many ways
2. Last days – spoken through His Son
3. God speaks through what Jesus is

  • Prophecy today is judged by the Word
  • Prophets do speak today, but God speaks to all of us by His Son – not just by what He said but by what He is, which is the very Word of God

Jesus is supreme (v.2-3)
1. He is the heir of all things

  • Jesus conquers all people groups through love
  • Christianity is not a lost cause that will one day fade away – God’s plan is to unite all of creation in Christ, restoring the created order under His headship

2. Through Him, God created the world

  • God spoke and the universe came into existence

3. He is the radiance of God’s glory

  • God speaks to us about His glory through Jesus – in grace and in truth

4. He is the exact imprint of God’s nature

  • We now have access to God through Christ

5. He upholds the universe

  • He sustains all with purpose, moving it all towards a glorious consummation
  • The Son holds it all together

6. He made purification for sins
7. He sat down

  • High Priests in the Old Covenant could never really sit down – the work was never finished
  • Jesus is on the throne – the work is finished – and He is waiting to come back
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Joy…Because of You

May 18th, 2009

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Joy…Because of the Church

May 11th, 2009

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In this talk John uses the NIV instead of the ESV

Ephesians 3 vs 7-13 (New International Version)

7I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.

Eph 3 vs 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms (NIV).

Paul’s passion is that Christ should be made known.
In Eph 3 vs 8 Paul speaks of preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ. There are infinite riches in Christ and unlimited wealth in his salvation. The Incarnation and the Cross have always absorbed the thinking of men and women and still do. For time and eternity we will be explorers of the infinite riches of Christ. Heaven will not be boring!
Eph 3 vs 9 speaks of making plain the administration of this mystery. Again this is about making Christ known. God has a plan – previously it was hidden (a mystery), but now God’s great rescue plan in the work of Christ for men and the world has been revealed. We must make it known.
Eph 3 vs 10 tells us that the manifold wisdom of God should be made known. ‘Manifold’ means multi-coloured or richly diverse. Supremely Christ is the wisdom of God. See 1 Cor 1 vs 22-24, 30. Christ is God’s wisdom as through Christ we have the answers to life, death and eternity. We should make him known.
Eph 3 vs 11 tells us that finally everything is summed up in Christ. Salvation is not just personal; it is cosmic as Eph 1 vs 9, 10 make clear. This comprehensive saving work of Christ must be made known.

Who is meant to know?
Verse 10 tells us that Christ is to be made known to rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. Certainly he is to be made known to the peoples of the world and we are engaged in that mission through evangelism and church planting. But he is also to be made known to angels and demons; to cosmic powers.  But why? Again it reveals the cosmic dimensions of the saving work of Christ. Finally, all that God has created, visible and invisible will submit to Christ. Believers are saved, creation will be renewed and every cosmic power will submit. See Eph 1 vs 20, 21.

How is Christ to be made known?
The thrilling answer is given in verse 10 – ‘through the church’. God’s purpose right now is that through the church Christ should be made known to cosmic powers. How we do this implies some wonderful truths about the church.

By the church’s very existence. The wisdom of God in Christ brings down the barriers between people whether it be race, colour, language or social standing and forms them into one great community. The church is a miracle, a phenomenon, and speaks of God’s wisdom
By declaration. The proclamation of Christ changes people. Sinners become worshippers. Atheists become believers. Persecutors become church planters. Cynics become witnesses. God’s incredible wisdom!
By faith and prayer. Confident approach to God and believing him for great things and therefore doing great exploits reveals a people changed by the wisdom of God. Angels love it and demons tremble when the Church prays and believes.
By her weakness. See verse 13 – there is a link between weakness and glory. The world thinks of the church as weak and failing. Angels and demons see it differently; they see an ever increasing number of people becoming worshippers of Christ from among all the peoples. Glory!
What dignity the church has – there is nothing else like it – what a privilege to belong – Joy…because of the church.

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Joy… Because of Salvation

May 4th, 2009

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In my last 3 messages as an Elder at CCK we are going to ‘go out with Joy’ as we consider first of all ‘Joy…because of Salvation’.

Hebrews 10:14 ‘Because by one sacrifice he has made perfect for ever those who are being made holy.’

Firstly, One sacrifice. The priests of Israel offered up daily sacrifices for sin in the Temple. But despite the daily and continual sacrifices permanent cleansing from sin was never accomplished. The Priest of the new order, Jesus Christ offered up himself in sacrifice for our sins once and for all. This good news is so good that throughout Christian history so many have been unable to accept how good it is and have tried to add their own offering to the offering of Christ. But Christ sat down at the right hand of God (Hebrews 10:12) to demonstrate his work was finished and his sacrifice was accepted. Nothing else is necessary to achieve the forgiveness of our sins other than this one sacrifice.

Secondly, Perfect for ever. The logical outcome of one sacrifice for our sins is that we become perfect for ever. Challenging as this concept may appear it is:

  • Our legal status. 2 Corinthians 5:19
  • How God sees us. Ephesians 1:4
  • The very meaning of eternal salvation.
  • The way we ought to live, actually reckoning ourselves dead to sin. Romans 6:11
  • An assurance of our salvation. Cf. Hebrews 10:14 and Hebrews 7:25

Thirdly, Being made holy. ‘Perfect for ever’ is justification which must be accompanied by sanctification – ‘being made holy’. This is the most succinct statement of these two great doctrines in one verse. Being made holy is not a matter of going back to the Law for our sanctification. We are joined to Christ who is our righteousness and holiness
(1 Corinthians 1:30). As we draw our life from Christ we will grow in holiness.
If you’ve lost the wonder of your salvation think and pray this verse and go out with joy!

2 Corinthians 5:21

November 11th, 2008

This is arguably one of the most important verses in the Bible. One commentator puts it like this ‘There is no sentence more profound in scripture; for this verse embraces the whole ground of the sinners reconciliation to God.’ Certainly all the other great truths already stated in this chapter are dependent on the truth given to us in 2 Corinthians 5:21.

 

It tells us what God did … he sent his Son. The biggest question in the Universe must be, why does evil exist? The Bible doesn’t actually give us an answer to that, but it tells us that evil does exist; we see it in the terrible things that happen in the world but we know there is evil also in our own lives. God took an initiative against evil in sending his Son. This means that God was fully involved at the Cross. He made Jesus sin for our sake. See also Isaiah 53:4 and Acts 2:23.

It tells us who Jesus is… he is sinless. One of the most astonishing things about this claim is that Jesus was himself aware that he was sinless. See John 8:46. It is also the consistent testimony of the New Testament. See Hebrews 4:15, 1 Peter 2:22, 1 John 3:5. (3 different writers here). To state that Jesus is without sin is not to be understood just in a negative way; he was utterly righteous. We sin and fail to do the will of God. Who can help us? Only someone who is utterly righteous and without sin. That is the person that God sent. That person is Jesus.

It tells us what Jesus did… he was made sin. This happened at the Cross. This does not mean that Jesus became a sinner. John Stott says the meaning of this is that Jesus bore the legal consequences of our sin. This is beyond illustration for there has never been an event like the Cross of Christ, nor will there ever be. Jesus was punished for our sin and in our place.
Also Jesus dealt with all our sins. Time may be a great healer, but it is not a great forgiver. Only God can forgive us our sins. God sees all our sins past present and future equally clearly because God stands outside our limitations of time. They all stand as a record of charges against us; none of them are expunged because of time. But they are expunged by the death of Christ at Calvary. See Colossians 2:13-14. The something extraordinary happens; God remembers our sins no more. See Hebrews 8:13. This does not mean that God forgets our sins (we do and that is part of our problem) but God chooses no longer to bring them to mind.

It tells us who we are… the righteousness of God. In context this verse is not telling us that we are righteous; because we aren’t! It is telling us that we are covered with Christ’s righteousness and that is how God sees us; dressed in Christ. Christ took our sin; we are covered with his righteousness – an amazing transfer has taken place.

It tells us where we are… in him. To speak of a person being ‘in’ something identifies that person and tells you a lot about them. To be ‘in Christ’ identifies us with all the privileges of being a Christian. ‘In Christ every part of our salvation is complete.’ (John Calvin). There is no small print giving exceptions like you get with an insurance policy, In Christ everything to do with salvation is covered. This includes my sin, my body, my death, my future.
Wesley put it like this:
No condemnation now I dread
Jesus and all in him is mine
Alive in him, my living head
And clothed with righteousness divine.
Bold I approach the eternal throne
And claim the crown through Christ my own.
Charles Wesley (1707-1788)
2 Corinthians 5:21 – no sentence is more profound in scripture.

You can watch or listen to this sermon here

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