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Philippians – Sanctification

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The Reading:  Philippians 3:12-16 

… not that I … am already perfect …” (v.12) RSV

“Salvation” (last week) affirms our status and relationship with God through Jesus.  But “sanctification” (this week) spells out the gradual changing process that takes place in us.  As Paul says elsewhere, we “are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Salvation, or perhaps more correctly justification (peace with God) happens instantly when we hear and accept the good news of God’s love and acceptance of us.  Sanctification is a lifelong process whereby we “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12), so that we become increasingly what we profess to be.

Paul makes it quite clear that despite his Damascus Road conversion and his joyous acceptance by the Lord, he has a long way to go to be perfect.  He writes, “Not that I … am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own …” (v.12).  he will continue to “pommel the body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others he should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27).  Although he “knows whom he has believed” and though he has a “sure and certain hope”, he never presumes.  Daily he seeks to improve and press on, lest he should fall away and be lost.

But none of this means that Paul is unsure or in doubt.  He does not let past failures dog him.  As he says, “forgetting what lies behind” he is “straining forward to what lies ahead” (v.13).  Where he is at any moment of time is provisional.  He must continue to be changed and to become more like his Lord and master, Jesus Christ.

This vision and goal truly energises Paul, and it will do the same for us.  Settling down on our laurels will demotivate us.  Like riding a bicycle we cannot stand still.  We must forever go forwards and upwards.  How wonderful to have such a worthwhile task in our life!

Thank you Lord that you accept me in my imperfect development.  Inspire me to do better and be better.  Amen. 

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1 Who will be saved?

    Mark 13:13

2  When will we be perfect?

    1 Corinthians 13:10

Town Centre Chaplaincy

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“Part of the money raised from our successful Magdalene Fayre will go to our continued support of the Town Centre Chaplaincy. I was with the chaplain, Adrian Prior Sankey last week. We were walking towards Vivary  Park when we were beckoned into G G the latest Indian restaurant that has just opened. It specialises in curries from North India.  We chatted to the new owners and they asked us to pray for them and their business. It was a a very special moment! A couple of new placements are in the pipeline including an invitation from Tesco to explore chaplaincy in their Wellington Road store. We have a new Parks chaplain, The Revd Tony Cox, who is a retired Methodist superintendent minister. At a recent Trust meeting we had the first results of a survey of substantial conversations our chaplains have had in their placements. A quarter of the conversations were about faith or were invitations to prayer. This is a very high figure and is really encouraging. The chaplains are being “salt and light” in our Town.”

Rod Corke, Vicar

Magdalene Fayre Success!

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“Last week’s Today Sheet was written before the Magdalene Fayre took place so I was unable to give a full report. Today I can say the weather kept fine, we all worked as a team and realised a magnificent £2100 for the mission of the church. Well done everyone! It was a fun and enjoyable day. Lots of folk worked very hard, but a particular thanks to the small planning team that began work in January. All the hard work paid off.”

Rod Corke, Vicar

Please click here to view photos of the day.

Bells

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Do look at the John Taylor website taylorbells.co.uk  If you click on the Contracts/Works in Progress tab and scroll down there is a daily update on the progress of our bells together with some very good photographs. There are two more trips arranged to the foundry, 4th and 25th August.  If you feel you would like to go please contact the Parish Office or Margaret Laver.   There is a coach available and the cost for the day is £25 per person.

‘Together’ Thanks

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The new August edition of Together is out now. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Richard, Dennis and everyone who helps produce this excellent publication. We receive so many positive comments about it. Pick up your copy today!

Our Bookshop

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Have you visited our Bookshop lately? It really is worth a look. The new books are selling well and we are so pleased with our linkup with Aslam Books. Why go anywhere else for greeting cards – our range has been updated and expanded.

Philippians – Salvation

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 The Reading:  Philippians 3:1-11 

… that I may gain Christ …” (v.8) RSV

Amidst all the social and ethical issues of seeking to be a person of faith we must not neglect the heart and soul of it all: Salvation.  This ‘big’ word contains many strands which include salvation of a people (not just individuals) and salvation of the earth (nature).  But it also definitely includes the salvation of the individual.  Each one of us is able to know a personal blessing and deliverance from God.

Paul did not only speak in the first person plural, ‘we’, but also in the first person singular, ‘I’.  Thus our text today reads, “… that I may gain Christ” (v.8).  Whatever our future salvation contains it will not be the absorption or disappearance of the individual.

Paul’s personal salvation was so important to him that he described it as “the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord”.  This is why some people correctly affirm that God has no grandchildren; each of us needs to come into that saving knowledge of Christ Jesus for ourselves.  As far as he was concerned everything else by comparison was “refuse” (v.8).

This is also why he was so furious when anybody had a message that effectively robbed people of their salvation in Christ.  In today’s passage he refers to the ‘circumcision party’.  These preachers would not allow faith in Christ alone to be the means of salvation; they had to make people into Jews (by circumcision) and impose Jewish rules and regulations upon them.  Paul explained that he himself had tried to be saved/justified by those means.  It simply had not worked!

Through his Damascus Road experience he had come to realise that the death and resurrection of God in Christ Jesus was the only means of salvation: forgiveness and new life – a gift.  This same gospel is for us too.  We cannot add to or make more secure our acceptance with the Father.

Thank you, Lord, for the great gift of salvation in Jesus.  May my life be one of honouring and praising you.  Amen. 

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1  How shall each of us be saved?

    Romans 10:9-11

2  Note that salvation is resurrection now and in the hereafter.

    Philippians 3:10, 11

The Magdalene Fayre

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“Yesterday, we enjoyed the Magdalene Fayre. As I am writing this on Friday I cannot give a detailed report except to say the forecast looks good and lots of items for sale have come in. I would like to thank the team who have helped arrange the Magdalene Fayre. I will give a full report next week and include the amount raised. Meanwhile, here are some photos from the day.”

Revd Rod Corke

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