Welcome to Brooklands Digital Church!
Today, Pastor Karl continues our New Year series of talks entitled “Four Reasons to be Thankful”.
The Bible readings are taken from Psalm 23 and Galatians 3:26-29.
The service starts with a 15 minute countdown, where we share some news and announcements. Please use the scroll bar to skip straight through to the service/message if watching the recording.
If you would like to support our ministry, all donations are thankfully received.
Two weeks ago, I talked about ‘the Transaction’, the phrase used to highlight the price Jesus paid for our salvation. Last week we looked at ‘the Transformation’ made possible by faith, by having ‘the mind of Christ’. This morning, perhaps quite naturally, I want to look at ‘The Transition’.
I was thinking about the upcoming transition – from myself to Rev Mick Kane taking up this pastorate in February. Such transitions can cause anxiety and unnecessary worry, but only if people have not sought the Lord’s will.
I have been thinking a lot about this. Indeed, as a church board, we have been trying to make the transition as smooth as possible. Whatever important tweaks might be required, they will receive the necessary prayerful attention.
The spirit of this transition is hugely important. Mick is looking forward to taking up the place of pastor at Brooklands, and I am good with this long-planned decision. We were certainly thrilled with the near-unanimous ballot last November, and so this morning I wanted to talk about transitions.
We find many ‘transitions’ in the Bible and they occupy a really important place in what God was doing in that situation. Firstly, there have been…
1. Many Transitions!
The Old Testament contains numerous important transitions! Some notable transitions are found in the renaming of certain people. One example is that of Jacob to Israel. The change of name marks a transition in his character too, for before this he was a devious scoundrel. The name Jacob means ‘deceives’ or ‘he struggles. His final struggle was for superiority and that was against the angel of God, when he ‘wrestles’ (another play on his name and character) all through the night with no less than God. (Gen. 32: 24)
As the story of the nation of Israel unfolds, we also have the transition of national leadership from Moses to Joshua! Moses had delivered his people from slavery (so this was always going to be a hard act to follow). And although Moses himself had made many mistakes, when it came to Joshua’s succession of Moses, many were anxious.
These worries were soon proved unfounded as Joshua leads them to occupy the Promised Land! It is worth noting that God had a plan for Moses, and to lead Israel into the Land of Promise was not part of it.
Another significant OT Transition is from a series of Judges to a series of Kings. From Samuel to King David! David, unlike Saul, was ‘a man after God’s own heart’ (a phrase used twice of David in the Bible, see 1 Sam. 13:14, or Acts 13:22).
The Kingship of David was unique; and although he, like any other mere mortal, also made mistakes, there was coming a greater King, referred to by many as King David’s Greater Son. So many people came to call Jesus, the ‘Son of David’.
The Transition from Old to New Testament needs to be mentioned here. What a singularly important transition that was. ‘The old was the New enfolded, and the New was the Old unfolded’. We still need both the Old and the New Testaments today, and we need wisdom to appreciate the transition.
Furthermore, in the New Testament, we find these three crucial and specific transitions…
From John the Baptist to God’s Son Jesus; from the Jewish nation to the Gentile world, and from the Law of God to the Grace of God! If you can appreciate the heightened significance of these three transitions, you might then begin to grasp how in each of them, GOD WAS AT WORK! God was in these times of change; they were part of His plan.
I just want to add that when God is at work, it is done gently, graciously and with the best for everyone in mind. God always ‘works for the good of those who love him…’
Friends, there are many important ‘Transitions’ in life, but there is only…
2. One Focus!
The Message of the Gospel must be our focus!
Jesus Christ is the promised ‘Seed’, the promised ‘Son’ and the promised ‘Saviour’ that God made to Abraham. While many transitions have been made, these connections are important because they bring our focus to bear upon One Lordof Heaven and Earth.
Here are a few examples: The focus brought to bear by John the Baptist regarding Jesus was this, “He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” (John 1:27)
What a revealing exclamation – ‘He is the One!’ This is the focus, but who is He? He is the central figure of the teaching of the Old Testament in all the Law, the Prophets & the Writings. John the Baptist’s teaching in the New Testament. pointed to Jesus with these words, ‘He must increase, I must decrease.’
It is also there in the teaching of Jesus, who boldly proclaimed the seven ‘I AM’ sayings… [The Way, the Truth and the Life, The Good Shepherd, The Light of the world’, the Resurrection, etc.]
It is also there in the teaching of Paul. Contrasting faith and law he writes, “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:29)
And Peter wrote to the scattered church with these words, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him [Jesus] who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
Friends, there are so many things calling for our Focus in life. There are many legitimate and worthy objects of our attention – such as family members, and especially those who are ill. There are friends we have known for a long time, brothers and sisters in Christ – some celebrating notable birthdays, others retiring (who could that be?); still others focusing on doing the right thing in all the situations of life.
But what or Who should be our main focus; one that won’t detract from the good things in life? In moments of crisis and turmoil, one focus rises above them all. King David said, ‘the LORD is my Shepherd’. Thomas said of Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Peter declared, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!’
All these and so many more have made that Grand Transition of faith in the LORD. What about you?