A group of men at our Church are meeting up early on Saturday mornings to read through and discuss Tim Keller’s book, Counterfeit Gods. The tag line of the book is “when the empty promises of love, money and power let you down“. Below is a video of Tim explaining the book. If you’re in Sydney and want to join us, we meet at 7:30am for about 1 hour in the Grace Chinese Christian Church building at the corner of Premier & Kensington Streets in Kogarah.
Tag Archives: Kogarah
Starting at Grace Church in Kogarah, this Sunday August 1, in the 9am English Service.
This is the final part of a multi-part transcript of a sermon delivered at the Grace Chinese Christian Church annual Christmas combined service. The text was 1 Peter 2:9-10. Read Part 1 here & part 2 here.
6. There are NO “Foreigners” in God’s Eternal Kingdom!
You and I may have be born in different countries. We may have been born to parents from different nationalities. We have vastly different physical features, language, food preferences, clothing styles and musical tastes. Yet God has called us both to himself through the life and words of Jesus Christ. Together we are built into a “spiritual house” for the purpose of proclaiming God’s excellence.
God gave Jesus so that whoever believes in Him will not perish as an outsider in eternity, but will be adopted into God’s family and enjoy an everlasting life. Here and now, we are strangers and are not at home. We will never find satisfaction, safety or security outside of God. The gift of Christmas is a promise that God has given himself to us so that we will never be the “m’zungu” or the “banana” again. Once we were not a people, but now we are the people of God. Once we had not received mercy, but now we have mercy.
With God’s help, turn away from your doubt and surrender yourself to Jesus. Celebrate by joining with others in God’s spiritual house and publicise his life, goodness and mercy.
3. A Christian is a “Foreigner”
There is a sense, brought to mind by the apostle Peter, that as a Christian, we are all “m’zungu” (foreigners). Belief in Christ means we are not true citizens of this world. Our Father is not of this world and the character traits we inherit from him mark us as foreigners. We are called to a life that makes us distinct from everyone else. We are called to announce, discuss and publicise this distinction as a means of inviting others to know and experience our Father God.
There is also a sense in which we are all “bananas”. On the outside, we look just like everyone else. However, on the inside we think and feel differently because we have have a different spirit. Our identity does not come from how others know or understand us. It does not come from a self determined validation. It comes from God who chose us for himself to be his very own people. God has not chosen us only as individuals but has chosen us together to build his family – as a holy nation of representatives with Jesus as our foundation and head.
4. Jesus was a “Foreigner”
Before I was a “m’zungu”, Jesus was an outsider that called men and women to forsake everything and follow him. Before you were a “banana”, Jesus was God living amongst us as a man. He surrendered his privilege and the exercise of his power in order to fulfill God’s purpose and design to call us to himself.
5. The Gospel is a “Foreign” Message
Each year the birth of Jesus is given brief recognition at Christmas. Many are happy to accept the unusual circumstances of his birth. Some celebrate his arrival, heralded by the angels as the prince of peace. The Bible tells us he was rejected by his own people because his invitation to receive God’s peace was a call to repent and surrender. It was offensive and unpalatable to the culture of his day. If we are honest, it is uncomfortable for us today. A baby Jesus in a manager scene with a donkey and a cow doesn’t confront or offend anyone. A Lord and Master that commands our affections and loyalty as citizens of his kingdom is confronting and is a message that offends. It offends because it calls us to be “m’zungu” and “bananas”: People who do not fit in because they are distinct from everyone else.
Jesus did not come to give us a story to tell children in December. He did not come so we could give each other gifts and enjoy a public holiday. He came to offer us God’s mercy and to transform us from darkness to light. His arrival is a cause for celebration, singing, laughter and joy. As we unite together and proclaim his excellence, some of those who taunt and reject us for being members of a foreign kingdom will also join with us and honour God when he uses us to call them to himself. But it doesn’t end there.
To be continued…