Posted on December 24, 2012 by Rev. George Sinclair
Dear Friends and Family,
Merry Christmas! At Church of the Messiah we want to help ordinary people be confident, joyful disciples of Jesus Christ. We desire to humbly make ourselves available to God so that He will build us into a prayerful Bible-teaching evangelical church in the heart of the city with a heart for the city (and the world). So to that end, some simple affirmations at Christmas.
I believe that Christianity is all about Jesus. At its heart, Christianity is not a religion, because both religion and irreligion are ways to avoid the living God. True Christianity is simply responding to the news of what God has done — and with gratitude, personally accepting what God has done for me and you through His Son Jesus Messiah. Jesus Himself referred to “the Way”. We enter the Jesus Way one-by-one but we walk the Jesus Way with Jesus and other people.
The good news about Jesus Messiah is that He is God of God; the Son of God; the Second Person of the Trinity. Out of obedience to God the Father and out of love for fallen human beings, God the Son of God set aside His glory and splendour and divine prerogatives and appearance as God — yet remaining God by nature — took unto Himself our human nature to become one person, Jesus son of Mary. This same Jesus was truly born over 2000 years ago in Bethlehem of Judea. It is His birth we celebrate.
God sent the angel Gabriel to Joseph so that Joseph would know what to name the baby in the womb of Mary the virgin. The baby was to be named Jesus — a name which means “good news”. The baby was also to be understood as Immanuel, which means “God with us”. Jesus is God with us to redeem us. He came to live a life of obedience and intimacy with God. He came to die on a cross, bearing in His person the judgement you and I deserve and offering to ordinary people like you and me to bestow on us the judgement He deserved! We enter into His ‘bearing our judgement’ and His ‘bestowing of His standing before God’ by repentance and faith. We turn to Jesus. We trust Him as Saviour. We ask to enter into his saving work and we ask Him to enter into us as Saviour and Lord. At Christmas we remember the birth of the Saviour. Merry Christmas.
Posted on January 1, 2012 by Rev. George Sinclair
Today is the day we remember the circumcision of Jesus Messiah.
Some of you might have re-read the first line. Today is Jan 1. It is New Year’s Day. What on earth does the circumcision of Jesus Messiah have to do with New Year’s Day? Is this just another example of Christians being out of touch with the modern world?
At Church of the Messiah we follow the old ‘liturgical year’. We are very mindful of Jesus’ comments on the Old Testament law and on the Sabbath, namely, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” [Mark 2:27]. If Jesus says this about the Sabbath, rooted as it is in the Ten Commandments and the law and creation, then when it comes to a human devised system like the liturgical year, we should not follow it slavishly. The liturgical year was developed for Christian men and women. We are not made for the liturgical year. But why was the liturgical year developed and why the circumcision of Jesus Messiah on New Year’s Day?
In the Bible text I quoted earlier, the verse which follows is very important. Jesus says, “So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Jesus Messiah is the Son of Man. A key aspect of becoming a Christian and being a Christian is to acknowledge Jesus as Saviour and Lord. Jesus is the Saviour and Lord of all of my life — and of all creation. So the question comes, given that time itself is part of creation and really important in our lives, how does Jesus become the Saviour and Lord of time? In our culture, time is shaped by employers and birthdays and seasons and merchants and sports. They tell us how to live in time and experience time and they tell us what time means. But if Jesus Messiah is truly Saviour and Lord, how do we develop habits and disciplines to bring ‘time’ under His Lordship? The ancient Christian answer is the liturgical year. It is an attempt to structure the year around the life of Jesus Messiah and the great doctrines and themes of the Bible. We are invited to learn how to let the sacred story shape how we experience time. The good news and godly disciplines which flow from a saving faith in the good news is to shape how we experience time.
So, in the Bible, if Jesus was born on the 25th, then today was the day He was circumcised. Jesus was Jewish. He received the mark of an earlier covenant and submitted to its terms for us. He did this as He set the stage for His own sacrificial death. By His death for us, He fulfills all earlier covenants and brings in a new covenant, one we can enter into by repentance and faith. He is Saviour and Lord. Alleluia!
Under the mercy,