We live in a world of constant change. In fact, it is not too much to say that today, one of the few constants is change itself. And the pace of change is increasing. In 1923, it took radio 38 years to reach a global audience of 50m people. In 1956, it television took 13 years to reach 50 million people. In 1991, the world wide web took 4 years. In 2006, Facebook took 12 months. And in 2011, Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday video’ took just 12 days to reach the same number of people.
Off course, we enjoy many of the benefits of change. Technology has made life quite different from previous decades, for example. In this week just gone, our washing machine broke – what a scramble there was to replace it ASAP.
Yet, technology also brings many drawbacks. Some commentators link the increasing incidence of depression and anxiety to the level of connectivity that is now available. Earlier promises of increased leisure time have failed, with current day lives busier than ever before. And in a world of constant change, there is increased uncertainty and stability.
Amidst increasing change, some things don’t. It was this weekend last year that our church celebrated its 125th Anniversary – what a weekend it was. At one level, our church has seen many changes: Facilities have changed. Technology has changed. Faces of people have changed. No doubt, changes of this nature will continue.
And yet, at the core of our church is the good news of Jesus Christ. This message has not changed in over 2,000 years. It has always been good news, and it continues to be. In fact, the Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
For 126 years, people have met at this site to Bring, build and Send people for Jesus. It is a great privilege. While our society may be changing, and even beginning to marginalise Christians, the truth that God tells us in the Bible has not changed: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
Jesus death and resurrection changes everything. If you do not know or are not sure if you know Jesus, why not join us for Christianity Explored this coming Tuesday? If you do know Jesus, perhaps you have been running well, and our current sermon series provides an opportunity for some reflection.
Peter Sholl, one of our link missionaries, has reflected on loyalty in his frequent travels for his work with MOCLAM.
He writes for gotherefor.com (17 Aug 2015):
How should we as Christians think of this concept of loyalty? Should we think of ourselves as people loyal to God, and if so, why?
Depending on the Bible translation you use, a concordance search for ‘loyal’ or ‘loyalty’ is not going to produce many results. But when we search for related terms like ‘faithful’, ‘faithfulness’ and ‘rely’, we soon have masses of verses to check.
There is no question that Christians are to be faithful people. Faithful to God; loyal to him, if I can put it like that. We are to serve him unswervingly, and consider him first above all others. Paul commends the believers in Ephesus for their faith (Eph 1:15), and urges them to take up the shield of faith (Eph 6:16). He exhorts the Colossians to continue in the faith, being stable and steadfast (Col 1:23)...
However, there is a fundamental difference between these exhortations to faithful living and the travel marketer’s desire to attract loyalty: motivation.
When I am considering my next flight or hotel stay, why would I consider being loyal to the program of which I am a member? Simple. Personal gain...
But God wants us to be faithful for a completely different reason. We are to be faithful because he is, a fact that is proclaimed in his words and seen in his works...
The Psalmist praises God because:
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy;
they are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. (Psalm 111:7-8)
Ultimately, we see the faithfulness of God at the cross, where his promises to redeem his people once and for all are seen in an astounding act of love and justice.
And the result of this demonstrated faithfulness, according to the writer to the Hebrews, is that we can be faithful, steadfast and confident. Perhaps, to use the language of the marketers, we can even be loyal?
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. (Heb 10:23).