Sunday, February 5, 2017

Communion - Riches of God's grace

"We have been bought through his blood,
the forgiveness of our trepasses
with the riches of God's grace"

Ephesians 1:6

This word “riches” in our world is measured in terms of monetary value.  Gold is considered riches because it’s worth a lot of money.  Food is like gold at the moment because it’s so expensive.  I went to the supermarket during the week and was shocked at what little amount of money can buy these days.  Everything is about 50% more expensive than a couple of years ago.  I used to buy lamb chops for $10 a packet and now it costs $15 a packet.  It’s only five dollars more but it adds up so that a $200 grocery bill is now $300.  That’s a whole $100 that we have to find while our wages haven’t gone up.

Then there is rent.  There are a lot of people who have had to endure rent increases every six months so that after two years, they now pay $200 more than what they used to, without a pay increase.  So each week we are paying $300 more for groceries and rent than just a couple of years ago.  To go to the doctor is more expensive, to get a Warrant of Fitness.  It’s all very depressing. 

On the positive side, registrations for cars came down.  That is a real bonus and now I can afford to register my car for six months at a time instead of three months (or one month when I was really poor).  This time of year lettuces are cheaper and I really love lettuce so this is great for me. 

The value of the New Zealand dollar compared to the American dollar can affect us quite a bit.  If the NZ dollar is a lot less than the $US then our exporters are happy because Americans will buy NZ products.  If the $NZ is closer to the $US then our importers are happy because us kiwis won’t have to pay so much for American products.

So in the world, what we consider riches goes up and down in value. But what God’s riches is His grace that never changes.  This is very comforting, to know that God’s riches are constant and always holds its value and is always true.  Jesus is our constant eternal value and while earthly riches may bring us bad news, Christ’s riches (grace) always brings good news.

The good news is that Jesus died for us.  Jesus paid the price for our sin and that price is constant, it doesn’t go up or down.  Jesus paid the price with his blood and with his body.  God the father accepted to pay the price for our sin with his own son.  Would you accept to let your child die to save someone who was a convicted murderer?  I wouldn’t.  Yet, God looked at me and said, “You are a murderer because you have hated people that I love, you are sentenced to death.  My only son will die in your place”.  What kind of judge would say that?  Only our God!

Then we sit at the right hand of the Father.  That means the Father is on our left.  Most women hold their babies on the left side.  Scientists believe that this is because when the child is held on the left of a person, that triggers the right side of the brain to work which is the side of the brain that helps us to listen and understand people.  So when the child is on the left side of the mother, she is able to listen and understand her baby. 

I don’t know God’s reason for putting us on his right (except that is a place of honour) but I want us to remember that now that we are His children, we have to be listening to God and understanding what He expects from us.  One expectation is to meet together and take communion so congratulations to all of us here this morning, we listened to God this morning and we obeyed His voice.  Well done to all of us because it’s not always easy.  Let’s keep listening to God’s voice and obeying Him.

It is also important to remember that God’s grace has an expiry date.  When Christ comes back, there will be no more grace.  If you know you are not living in accordance with God’s grace, then now is the time to ask God for forgiveness.  It’s important not to take the bread and juice if you are in sin.  Please make yourself right before God before taking it.  Making yourself right not only means to say sorry to God but also to make a decision not to go back to that sin anymore.

This morning as the bread and juice is passed around, let’s take time to search our hearts and ask for forgiveness where we have fallen short of God’s grace.  Then let’s remember Jesus and all that He has done for us.  Let’s remember His grace that is constant and true.  His grace which brings us good news of our salvation.  Let’s remember that God sent His only son to pay the price for our sin.  Jesus paid for us to be able to enter the Kingdom of God by dying.  This price is so much more valuable that money or earthly riches.  God Himself paid the price.  What could be more valuable than God Himself?

By Hayley Boud