Roger's Postings

Saturday, May 20, 2017


Acts 17:22-31                     The Unknown God???                                   21/5/17



{22) Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. {23} For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you. {24} "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. {25} And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. {26} From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. {27} God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. {28} 'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.' {29} "Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone--an image made by man's design and skill. {30} In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. {31} For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead."



Today we have many people acknowledging AN UNKNOWN GOD. Most people will say they believe in God; but they do not really know him; who he is or what he is like; or take him all that seriously. This god is someone out there who has set the world in motion and then left it to run by itself; and is a god who will receive them all into heaven when their time is up here on earth.



Sadly, we also have many today who claim that there is no God. They have hardened their hearts to such an extent, that their egotism will not allow even their conscience to remind them of the reality of the God who is there. They seek their meaning for existence in the goodness of humanity, but are all left in wonderment and despair.



However, just as in Athens of Paul’s day, so also we today have many objects of worship, but to the people who worship them, they have little connection to the true God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. On Anzac Day there was great reverence and crowds of people, all remembering the heroics of great men; and seeking to gain strength and courage for our nation from this. This is good, up to a point. We need to be thankful for those who lived and died for their nation.



Then we have perhaps the greatest religion of our time, football. Crowds of people will reverently attend and sing the praises of their team. Here is their great escape from the day to day life. Then of course, there is the great Australian dollar and materialism that is seen as that which will give us what we need so that we can be truly happy.



 All Australians look up to and see many things as being that which will give us what we need for this life and beyond. However, all these form of reverence and idealism that do not have their basis in the One True God, are a problem and will leave us short of what we really need.



On top of that we have people religiously following Allah, Budda and many other similar gods and new age thinking. The thinking is that here is the one who should be worshipped. However, they are not the true and only God: The one who is the Lord of heaven and earth. So we cannot accept them as being on the same path to heaven, or tolerate them as a real expression of Christianity. They are religious, but not worshippers of God Almighty himself.



Sadly, too often, even within Christian circles there are many people who are religious; but who do not know God. They know all kinds of facts about him, but they do not know him. Others believe and speak of a god and worship him, without understanding and accepting Jesus Christ as the Son of God who came and died on the cross for our salvation. Others acknowledge God; but they make no attempt to listen to or heed what he has to say. Others think that the only way they will be acceptable to him, is to live up to a certain standard of “Christian life” or have certain spiritual experiences.



Here in the face of all of this religious thinking, the true God, through Paul, is proclaiming very clearly who he is. He is the Lord of heaven and earth. In other words, he is the one and only true God that can be found anywhere. He is the Almighty God who is supreme over all. There are no other Gods besides him. He alone then is the one who is to be worshipped and glorified. He alone is the one who is to be looked up to and followed. Every other object of worship is a worthless idol and a distraction from what is right and true; and in the end will prove disastrous.

This Lord of heaven and earth we are reminded here is not a God who is limited to churches, statues, books or anything else at all. As much as he is there in all of those things, he is much more and beyond anything that we could possibly make him to be. He is not a God who conforms to our limitations and thinking. He does not even need us to serve him. He is one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Eph 4:6)  He is as we learnt in our confirmation lessons; omni almost everything; unlimited by time, space, and in power, knowledge and understanding. His greatness is way beyond human understanding.



Yet as we heard in our Gospel reading today; he chooses to live with you and will be in you. (John 14:17) That is all who believe, trust and desire to live in him. Jesus goes on to say; I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. (John 14:18-20) This great God has chosen to dwell with and in us human beings; his creation. Isn’t that something amazing!



Particularly when we remember that we are not the centre of the world. The world does not revolve around us; but the Almighty God is the centre of it all. He himself gives all men [all people] life and breath and everything else. And not just gives us life, but he determined the times set for us and the exact places where we should live. God did this so that all people would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. Even though he the Supreme Being he is at work in our lives and is close to us.



Even though we have sinned and chosen to go our own way, he allows troubles and hardships to be a part of our lives so that we would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him. He does not erase us from the face of the earth because of our selfish egotism, but works through all the mistakes we make and difficulties that are imposed on us by a sinful world. He is constantly seeking to draw us to himself; trying to make us aware that we need him and the forgiveness and salvation that Jesus won for us through his life, death and resurrection. 



Through Jesus and his death on the cross and our connection to him and his death and resurrection, through our baptism, we are assured that we are now God’s children. His Spirit now lives in us and goes with us as we live out our lives day by day. We are God’s offspring.



Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone--an image made by man's design and skill. Since he has done all of this for us and continues to live with us and in us, now we surely will treat him with much respect. We will trust him and take him seriously. He will mean much more to us than our money, material things and technology. We will not treat him as a possession or as one who should do what we want him to do.



Surely we will look up to him; wanting to live in a close personal relationship with him; wanting to be where he wants us to be and to do what he wants us to do. What is important to him will be important to us. We take what he has to say in the Bible as his Word, instead of twisting, changing and ignoring what it says. He will be our Lord and our God.



Here let us not forget those other words that he spoke also. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.



So we are reminded that he does look closely at who we are and what we think, say and do. His Son Jesus, who came into our world and died on the cross for us, will also come and judge us all on that last day. He knows if we have taken him seriously or not. He knows what we believe and whether we trust him and all that he has done for us. Take note; he knows and he judges.



So take heart; here we are reminded again that our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit is for real. He is the Almighty Lord of heaven and earth. He is the only true God and he seeks to be not far from each one of us. He loves us, forgives us and made us his very own. Believe him. Trust in him; and take him seriously. For to him alone belongs all glory and honour, now and always. AMEN.



Pastor Roger Atze

Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish

Saturday, May 13, 2017


John 14:1-14                       Show us God???                                                               14/5/17



1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.



We all have our own ideas of what God is like. All of us. Even those who try to convince themselves that there is no God. Deep down we all know that there is a God ‘out there’ somewhere. We also know that in the end we are answerable to him.



However, the question for us all is; who is he and what is he really like? If only we could see him and know what he is all about, then we could be sure. Particularly now as we reflect on the news of Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection. Is this for real? And can we be sure that it is not just a story, or at least a twisting of something that may have happened? “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Then we can be sure.



But of course that raises the real problem for us. Do we really want to know? You see, we know that there is a God and we also know that we have not taken him seriously and that we will be answerable for that. We have disobeyed him and we expect that he will punish us for it. Why else do we so often say, ‘I hope I will be in heaven’. We know that we are far from being the people that God would have us be. We know what we deserve, but we don’t want to think about it or acknowledge it.



Along with this, our sinful human nature wants ‘to be like God.’ Or perhaps more to the point, make God into the image that we want him to be. So God becomes in our thinking, the kind of god that we would like him to be. So we ignore those aspects of God in the Bible that we don’t like and highlight that which we like. So God becomes a god of our own making.



In this way we then can in some way appease our consciences and allow ourselves to live and do what we want. For instance, today many believe and teach that God is an all-loving and accepting God, but ignore his holiness, righteousness and wrath. So we ignore his Law and simply focus on the Gospel. Without the Law then, the Gospel – that is Jesus death on the cross for the forgiveness of sins, becomes a nonsense. Christianity becomes nothing but a feel good religion, with no real substance or meaning.



But again deep down we know that this is not the case. We know that there is much more to God than that. We are just trying to convince ourselves that we can ignore the hard stuff and in the end God will accept us no matter what. As long as I am “sincere,” and as long as I live a reasonably good life, then ‘she’ll be right mate.’ But we are merely hoping that this is the case and that our deep conscience is wrong.



Now, here in this reading we have Phillip struggling to come to terms with who this Jesus is and who God is, and how much to take seriously Jesus and what his Word says. He, like us, seemed to be struggling with who Jesus was and what God was about, in and through Jesus. How can we be sure about all this stuff that Jesus is talking about and more?



In response to Jesus saying that he is going to heaven to prepare a place for us, Phillip asks: “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” To which, Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”



So here we have Jesus laying it on the line for Phillip and for us. For starters, again the clear point is that Jesus alone is the only way, the only truth, and the only life. He is our only access to God and eternal life.



He is not one way amongst many. Muslim, Hindu, Good works ‘christianity’, Pentecostalism and many others are not other ways for us to gain access into heaven. Nor is living a good ethical life [whatever that might mean], or I am a reasonably good bloke so I will be okay. Jesus Christ and his death on the cross is our only way through the mess of this life and into heaven.



So also, He is not one truth amongst many other truths we might want to make as the truth. He alone knows what is good and right for us. After all he was the creator of all, so he knows how it all works and what is best. Because he is all-knowing he is far superior to our frail human nature that is turned in on itself. So what he has given us in his Word – the Bible – is the truth that we need to know in order to get through this life and into the next.



Then also we are told that: He is not one life here and in eternity, amongst other eternal lives that we might like to think there are out there. If we are to truly live as we are intended to, then we are to be connected to he who is life itself – Jesus Christ. He again knows what life is meant to be for us. Any other life that we might think is appropriate is futile and empty. In the end they all will lead to disaster and death. Christ alone is life and gives life.



Following on from that Jesus again reiterates the point the no one comes to Father except through him. He alone is the only way to God’s presence and eternal life. It has to be, because in the Old Testament God it quite clear that sinful humanity – that is all of us – cannot come into God’s presence. His holiness would burn us up and destroy us.



So how does God uphold his holiness and yet make it possible for us to come into his presence? His Son’s coming into our world was for that very purpose. He takes our sinfulness on himself and allows God to punish him. God upholds his holiness by punishing all sin. His love is fulfilled in his forgiveness being extended to all of believe and are connected to this Jesus.



In this way forgiveness and acceptance is made possible for all who are connected to this Jesus Christ. So now when God looks at those who are in Christ he sees the perfection of his Son. There alone then we have access into God’s presence and eternal life.

But again then the question is raised, how can we know that this is all for real? Are the people out there who say this is a made up story, right? It all sounds a bit far-fetched and odd? Phillip says what is in the back of our minds. “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Then we can be sure. Then we can take all this seriously.



Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?  Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.  



So there is our answer. There is our proof. Jesus and the Father are one – they are in each other. When Jesus speaks, he speaks what his Father would have him speak and have all the authority of God almighty himself. All that Jesus said and did was what God himself wanted said and done.



The works that Jesus did, themselves are clear evidence of this. All the miracles that Jesus did were clearly seen to be only that which God himself can do. Even when he spoke it was commented that he spoke with the authority of God. Then he goes to Jerusalem to die on the cross, just as was prophesied hundreds and hundreds of years before hand. There is absolute proof even today that this is the case.



But then most telling of all; this Jesus rose from the dead after dying on the cross. After three days he arises just as he said would happen. This is the miracle of all miracles. Again this could be proven in a Court of Law today, to have really happened, even though it is humanly impossible.



The works of God are clear. The evidence is there that this Jesus is every bit in the Father and the Father in him. God has shown himself to us so that we can know for sure. Everything that he has said, done and promised is true and can be relied on. So we can go forward with a sure and certain hope into the future. Jesus is who he said he is, and the life and salvation that he has won for us can be relied on. So to him again then, be all glory and honour, now and always. AMEN.



Pastor Roger Atze

Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish

Saturday, May 06, 2017


John 10:1-10.                      Jesus Christ - only gate to life!!                                   7/5/17



“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.

Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.



Very truly we have here another important message for us that results from Jesus’ death and resurrection. Here we are clearly told that this Jesus is our only access to God and all that he has in mind for us. To have the safety and security of being in God’s presence in heaven, we can only do so through Jesus Christ. And his death and resurrection is what guarantees and makes it a certainty.



There is no other way. Anyone who seeks access through any other way or means is a thief and a robber who is up to no good. This is an important message then, at a time when we are being encouraged to accept all kinds of views and ways as being equally acceptable.



Yet at the same time we have many desperately seeking to have the real sense of peace, hope and security that we know deep down should be there for us. We long for a life of no suffering, pain and death; Eternal life with the very best of everything. We all would like to have this. We long for it.



Here we are reminded that it is there for us, and the ‘gate’ to it is through Jesus Christ. There is no other way, despite all that is said by many around us. Jesus says: Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. He is very emphatic about this point. He only uses those words Very truly when he is making a very serious point; such as we have here.

To add to this, he says I am the gate. Now when he says I am, this is a direct reference to him being Almighty God himself. Remember when Moses asked God who he was at the burning bush, the reply came back; ‘I am who I am’ – Jahweh is the Hebrew word. This was the name that God’s people ever since knew this Almighty God by. This is the one and only true God that there is. He created, rescued and established them as people, and through whom he promised salvation for all people.



Here we have Jesus using a reference to this name for himself. Here God himself is speaking, so we had better ‘shut up and listen’ and take seriously what he is saying. The great ‘I am’ who created this world, and when it rebelled against him, he promised a way out for us all so that we can again be restored to the paradise that we long for.



Even more than that, he himself came into this world to be its saviour. He dies on the cross, taking the punishment that we deserve on himself so that we might be forgiven and once more be acceptable to God Almighty himself. Then he was raised again from the dead so that we can be absolutely sure that all of this is for real and important for us and our future.



Now here he tells us that this “I am”, himself, is the gate through whom alone we can enter this paradise. There alone is our hope for the future, in the midst of the troubles, disasters and death that we have created for ourselves, and yet long for a way out of. We are to look to and trust him alone to get us safely into paradise with himself.



He alone is the Lord of life and the only avenue through which to find the safety and life that is truly good. In him alone is salvation and eternal life possible. Freedom from everything harmful and bad is possible only through our Lord Jesus Christ.



Anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. They are seeking access through means that are not good or valid. Ultimately they will still not be a part of God’s family in heaven. No matter how much they might quote the bible and use nice words. If Jesus Christ and his death on the cross for the forgiveness of sins is not central, there is a real problem.



That same implication is there for those who are trying to tell us that there are any number of other ways for us to get to heaven. Jesus is addressing the Pharisees who telling the people they would be acceptable to God if they lived up to certain standard. So if they were good enough and did what ‘good Jews’ do they could enter God’s kingdom. But the focus was on themselves and what they were doing, in order to be acceptable. There was no acknowledgement of their sinfulness and inability to do so without God’s help.



Today if you are a sincere ‘Christian’, Muslim, Hindu or whatever you are acceptable. ‘We are all on the same path to God’ we are told again and again. So if you are good ‘moral people’, whatever that is, then you are okay. Even when it comes to non-religious people, as long as they are reasonably ‘good’ people then they will be up there too. Jesus is not necessary, other than as a good example.



Yet that is not what Jesus tells us here. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.



Those who listen to any other voice other than Jesus Christ are in trouble. Anyone who tries to tell us things other than what we have in God’s Word and which points to the centrality of Jesus and his death on the cross are not speaking on behalf of God. In fact, they are speaking on behalf of the great thief and robber, Satan himself.



He, and our sinful human nature, wants to put the focus on ourselves and what we are doing. It wants us to think that our thinking and reasoning is what is important. It wants to shift the focus from Christ and the cross to something else, for our confidence and hope. We can decide or not how we want to get through life and be able to access heaven. We are not to listen to and follow these voices.



Here Jesus says of us: But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice. So we are to be wary of what voices we are listening to. We are to run away from those who are avoiding speaking about the centrality of Jesus Christ and his death on the cross.



It is interesting in my time in the ministry that when people are grounded in and surrounded by this Good News of Jesus Christ, they righty become very wary of those who speak a nice, soft and easy message. They do not recognize a stranger’s voice. They know the importance of what Jesus came into this world to do by dying on the cross. They avoid that which seeks to lead them subtly away from Jesus.



I believe it comes down to the fact that they know and take seriously what Jesus has done for them through his death and resurrection. They as a result hold him alone up as the Lord of life. So they then accept what he says about him being the only access into his kingdom. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.



And he goes on to say: When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. So they know what is important because they take him and his word seriously. They accept that what is in the Bible as his Word in its entirety. They do not seek to twist and change it to their own whims and wishes. Nor do they downplay and lessen the importance of Jesus Christ and his death on the cross for the forgiveness of sins.



So they go forward boldly and confidently, know that as they follow their Lord through the gate they will find all that they need. The future will all work out for good. They will be led through the rough and tumble of this life and then into eternal glory where they will have all that they need – the very best of everything, with nothing more to worry about.  



This all being the case, let us here seek to ever listen to our Lord Jesus and all that he has to say to us. Let us also recognise that Jesus Christ and his death on the cross is our only access into God’s presence for eternity.



Jesus says: I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.



 To him then be all glory and honour, now and always. AMEN



Pastor Roger Atze

Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish     


Saturday, April 29, 2017


Luke 24:13-35.                   Jesus revealed?                                                30/4/17



{13)  Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. {15} As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; {16} but they were kept from recognizing him. {17} He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. {18} One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?” {19} “What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. {20} The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; {21} but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. {22} In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning {23} but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. {24} Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” {25} He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! {26} Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” {27} And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. {28} As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. {29} But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. {30} When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. {31} Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. {32} They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” {33} They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together {34} and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” {35} Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.



Here today we have a strange story of two of Jesus’ disciples, who after his resurrection, when they met him, failed to recognise him. The death and resurrection did not change Jesus’ physical appearance, except for the wounds in his hands and side, yet they did not recognise the resurrected Jesus. Their minds were too fixed on what they and the society around them thought and expected that they just did not comprehend that Jesus could have risen from the dead and been present with them. It is just not humanly possible, so it can’t be.



Now is this not also the case for many people today; even for many who claim to be Jesus’ followers?  Dare I say it? Jesus Christ and his Word does not fit with what is reasonable and so we just will not accept it. They, like those disciples, speak of the things that Jesus had said and done, and of his death and resurrection, but still fail to comprehend that Jesus was and is present with us, and the importance of why the Christ had to suffer these things.



The same lack of seeing and understanding of Jesus and the importance of his death and resurrection and his presence with us, seems to be there again and again across the church scene. The focus has shifted from Christ and what he has said and done, to us and what we say, do and think. We fail to see Jesus glorified presence with us assuring us of the full forgiveness of sins and of the certainty of salvation and eternal life. Jesus Christ is not the Almighty God who is all important for our lives, but more so an example for us to follow.



Even in our own church the same danger and concern is there. Here then each of us also need to look carefully into our own lives as well. We need to look and learn from this text that we have before us. There were two things here which enabled those two disciples to see and comprehend Jesus and the importance of his death and resurrection. It was in the Scriptures and in the breaking of the bread that Jesus was revealed to them, as they needed.



Here it is interesting to note, that even the resurrection and the women’s news of it, was not enough for the disciples to understand. It was only after Jesus said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!  Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. Only then did their hearts burn within them. It was when he broke bread with them that their eyes where opened and they finally recognised him.



So also for us today, it is the Word and the Sacraments which will truly reveal Jesus in all of his fullness to us. Yet it would seem that we want to look everywhere else for our answers and help. It is what the pope has said, or what Rick Warren or some other guru has said, not Scripture alone.



It is feelings, experiences and great crowds that are our revelations today, instead of in the breaking of bread of Holy Communion. Divine Service week after week, through which Jesus reveals and gives himself to us, is paramount for us to see Jesus and to live in that relationship with himself that he won for us through his death and resurrection. Without it we are left wondering why we are downcast and unseeing.



Even worse today, we seem to have this idea that we do not even need to look to the Scriptures and to worship regularly, to know who Jesus is and what he is like. We don’t need to read the Bible and hear what he says in worship, to know what is important for us and for our lives. So Jesus becomes a figment of our imaginations and a god to our own liking.



We have this basic idea that we are good people who have been created in God’s image and so we can have this innate idea of who God is and what he is like, so we are fine. We however fail to come to grips with the reality that because of our sin we are turned in on ourselves and the image of God in us has been totally corrupted.



The Scriptures make all of this very clear. It helps us to see quite clearly why we have all the troubles, difficulties and death that we have in this world. It tells us who this God is, that deep down inside us we all know is there. It also tells us of his love for us and the deep desire that he has to help us out of the mess that we have made for ourselves.



Throughout the Bible God tell us of his plan to help us out. He promised over and over again that he would send his own Son to be our saviour. He promised the Lamb of God would come to be the sacrifice which takes away the sin of the world. He promises through this One’s death and resurrection he would draw people back to himself. Forgiveness of sins, life and salvation would be extended to all.



The Scriptures make it quite clear that the Christ had to suffer and die and then three days later rise again. Jesus death on the cross was critical for our salvation. He had to be punished for all that you and I had done wrong, so that full forgiveness could be extended to each and every one of us. His death then ensures that each and every one of us has been forgiven.



So we are now already forgiven for all of our sin: nothing now stands in our way from being with God in heaven. His resurrection is our assurance that life and salvation is now there for all who are connected to Jesus Christ through faith. Just as he is risen from the dead, so also will we rise to be with him in eternity.



All this has been made known to us in the Scriptures so that we can know for sure that Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection is all important for us. Jesus is revealed to us clearly so that we can be certain of who he is and what his attitude is toward us.



At our baptisms we were joined to Jesus’ death and resurrection and given his Holy Spirit so that we can now simply trust that everything has been taken care of for us. Now we know that nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.



Then to top it all off, he comes to us personally week by week and reveals himself to us in Holy Communion. The two disciples in our reading suddenly came to the full realization of who Jesus really was when he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.



Here was something unique to the Jesus who celebrated the Passover with them a few nights earlier. In that meal he instituted the Lords Supper by taking the bread, giving thanks, breaking it and giving it them. There he gave them something as a continuing reminder of not only his death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins, but also of his presence with them always.



In the Lord’s Supper he personally comes to us and reveals himself to us. He gives us his very body and blood which he shed on the cross so that we can know for sure that we are forgiven and assured of life and salvation. Jesus himself says, given and shed FOR YOU, for the forgiveness of sins. There at the Altar rail he reveals himself to us as Lord and saviour and goes with us so that we can be absolutely sure that everything will work out for us.



It is true! The Lord has risen. Let us go forward with confidence and the sure hope, that now, in connection with Jesus Christ, we have all that is good and important. The Scriptures and the Sacraments has revealed it all to us. He is for real! He lives and rules eternally. To him alone then be all glory and honour, now and always. AMEN.

He is risen! He is risen indeed!



Pastor Roger Atze

Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish

Saturday, April 22, 2017


1 Peter 1:3-9.                     Glorious joy!!!                                                   23/4/17



Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.



He is Risen! He is risen indeed!

Yes, our Lord Jesus has died and risen again for us so that we can get on with life with hope and confidence. In a world that is full of bravado, but no sure confidence for the future, this is a welcome relief. With all that is going on around us, that is disheartening and distressing we have here in Jesus that which enables us to lift up our heads and get on with life.



We don’t have to look very far these days to see a world that has lost its way, and constantly chasing false hopes and coming up disappointed. Politically, morally, economically and in almost every other area, we are seeing this taking place. All this is taking its toll on people’s lives.



We can see the results of this in the ‘escapism’ that is so prevalent all around us. Most significantly we see it in the alcohol and drug abuse and the high rate of suicides. But all around us we face lives that are trying to avoid the reality of life in our troubled world.



Unfortunately, people have also lost hope in the churches in our society. They see them as also giving false hopes and false messages. There is some truth in that, but the media and the whole of society has worked hard at discrediting the churches and its message.



Too often also, the message presented to the public is that Christianity is simply about being good moral people. If you read the Easter messages from the religious leaders, you would readily get this impression that this is what Christianity is all about. It seems that we need to present a soft and pleasing message rather than the central truth about Jesus Christ and the importance of his death and resurrection and what that really means for us today.



Easter is much more than an example of love and sacrifice for us to follow. It is far more than some vague notion of new life that we can now live. It is more than having courage in the face of terrorism and war. It is more than us being able to care for those less fortunate than ourselves.



Unless we understand the real meaning of Easter, all these attributes are something more that we are to strive after, as a burdensome task. They also become another form of ridicule and disillusionment with the churches when we fail to live up to these ideals. These are just more works that we have to perform in order to be ‘christian’ without and real impetus to do so.



Without the real meaning of Jesus death and resurrection they are just another thing that we have to work at, without the power and help to do so. They are nice words and good things to be done, but without Christ they are just more things to be done and failed.



First and foremost, we need to know and understand that Jesus Christ died for all of our sin and failures. He took our punishment on himself so that forgiveness of sins, life and salvation can be extended to each and every one of us. We can again then be a part of God’s family and live in a personal relationship with him. Then he was raised again on the third day so we can be absolutely sure that here God himself is at work, and that all who are connected to him have the assurance that they too will be raised again to be with him in heaven.



It is this which makes Easter, Easter. Here is what enables life to be turned around for us as people who are living in a sinful, troubled world. It is this which gives hope and meaning and purpose to our lives. Here, life changes for us and enables us to now live in the face of all that surrounds us with confidence and certainty. This is spelled out in this reading that we have before us.



Now we can look to the Almighty God with thankful hearts, full of praise for all that he has done for us so that we can have a sure and certain hope for the future. In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.



But more than that: into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you. Think about that. Despite our sinfulness he has freely given us an inheritance, with himself in heaven. Absolutely amazing. Now we can go forward with the certainty that everything will work out for the good of those who are in Christ Jesus.



Just because the promises and realities of life in this world, perish, spoil or fade; not so what God has here to give. Even though we might get old and frail in this life; or we lose our riches and health; and the like, we have God’s assurance that when our life us up here on earth, we then will go on to share in the greatness of what God has for us in heaven. There we will be truly beautiful, healthy, and all the rest, with nothing to hurt and harm us.



This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. All that needed is for us to trust that God is true to his word about this. We can have this faith because of the certainty of Jesus’ death on the cross, and his resurrection three days later. That power that raised Jesus from the dead will also shield us so that we can sure that this will take place for us.



The last time, Judgement day, will truly reveal and bring to light the reality of what God tells us here in this reading. It will happen because God says it will happen. We can be sure of it. So we can praise God and get on with living boldly and confidently into the days ahead.



In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. So even in the midst of all the problems and difficulties of life that we might be experiencing here and now in this life, we can still rejoice. In fact, it says that we can greatly rejoice, already here and now. We know now that this is not the end of the story. There is always, better things ahead. So even though we are in a state of grief and suffering, we can have an underlying confidence and even joy.



For here we are reminded that even these trials and difficulties that we face here, are now seen as a good thing. They have their purpose in the whole scheme of things. We read: These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.



So the trials we face are there to test our faith and to show how genuine this faith is. What God has promised us is sure, so we can stand firm and solid. Jesus death on the cross and resurrection are our guarantee that everything he has said is true.



This faith and trust that we have in this, will be proven to be true and will result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed on the Last Day. As we endure our trials and sufferings we can have a sure and certain confidence that our faith is not in vain; but will be proven to be genuine.



This genuine faith we are reminded here is far more precious than refined gold. Gold only has value here in this life, whereas a genuine faith has great value for all eternity. This is what God sees now, and what will bring praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.



Peter then concludes this reading with words of encouragement for us who have not seen Jesus and who are living at a time of great scepticism. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.



Yes, even now we can love him and be filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. There is no need to see him and touch him as Thomas did after the resurrection. We can have every confidence that God is true to his word. It will all work out as he has said and promised. Jesus death and resurrection has happened and it has won for us forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. It is all sure and certain.



So now we can get on with life with confidence and joy. Because of Easter we are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. Of this we can be certain; and this then changes everything for us as we live out our lives every day. Even if are facing the lions as the people that Peter is addressing were.



We can have a great joy in our lives, underneath our grief and suffering. Jesus death and resurrection ensures it all. To him be all glory and honour, now and always. AMEN.

He is Risen. He is Risen Indeed!



Pastor Roger Atze

Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish

Saturday, April 15, 2017


Colossians 3:1-4.                               He is risen – Have you risen???                  16/4/17



{1)  Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. {2} Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. {3} For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. {4} When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.



He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed: Our Lord Jesus has risen from dead. He lives to ........... Ho Hum; and the world goes back to sleep, or gets ready for its picnic or whatever other recreation that they are into. Thanks for waking us up, so that now we can go and look for our Easter eggs. Let’s get on with our long weekend.



Sadly, the world today takes little notice of the message that come out from the churches on this day. It has got nothing to do with their lives. It is just some proclamation of an event that supposedly happened a long time ago; and it seems as though it is of no real importance for us today.



As a result, most of our fellow Australians are running hither and thither to enjoy a long weekend. Here is a weekend that they can go and get away from it all; enjoy the beauty of our Australian scenery and many other forms of relaxation. They know the joys and pleasures that can be got out of this Easter weekend. So they now aim to make the most of it. They will leave Easter celebrations to those of us who want to celebrate an event that is long past and seemingly irrelevant to their lives.



Yes, there are a good few who will take time out to spend 1 hour in church on this day and then rush back to what ever they were doing before. The message of Easter is again of no real great value to them; they sort of know that it is important and they will do the right thing and hopefully keep God happy. Then at the end of the year, at least they can say they have been to church.



But even amongst most of us Christians here today that message of the risen Lord Jesus makes little difference to our lives. Yes, we proclaim, quite readily, that Jesus rose from the dead; we hold to these truths of the Bible and pay lip service to their importance. But our lives display very little evidence to the relevance of this risen Lord to our everyday life. Our lives are little different to any others in our society. No wonder so many of our fellow Australians have lost interest in the real message of Easter; that life changing - life renewing message of Jesus crucified and risen again for you and me.



Sadly, so often, this change can't be seen. There is no evidence then, for those out there that this is for real. Too often all we do is pay lip service to this message; but where is the power and importance of this message for people’s lives? Where is its relevance for life today? When they look at you and me, do they see that Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection is all important to us?



Let us think back to those early Christians and their experience of the Easter message. To this point those first disciples were like ‘scared rabbits;’  that is until they heard the message that Christ is risen! Their master has risen from the dead just as he said he would. He really is the one he said he was. From that point on, everything he had said to them became important for their lives. His life giving Spirit filled them to overflowing and they became changed people.



The risen Lord - the Message of Easter transformed their lives. Now they could not help but speak of the things that they had seen and heard. They boldly lived by what they believed: right to the point of being flogged to death; or being crucified themselves; or even thrown to the lions. Their whole lifestyle changed. Their whole orientation in life was turned upside down. Their lives took on the whole thought of our text here.



Let us hear it again. Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.



With Christ's resurrection all who believe and are connected to him have been raised to a whole new life. The power which raised Jesus lifeless body is now at work in our lives. Instead of minds filled with how to survive this life and how to avoid persecution and hardship, our hearts and lives ae fixed on the Lord Jesus; on the one sitting at the right hand of God.



The Early Christians only concern was to live and do as the Lord wanted. And they could do it, because their life was hidden in Christ. He was the one who was all important to them. They knew that no matter whatever happened to them, they were sharing in his glory. Their whole life was now to be lived as Christ lived. They would seek to do as Christ did. And they could make a good fist of it, because He lived in them - he was their real life. So now they lived - now they loved - now their lives had a purpose and a direction.



No wonder people flocked to hear the Easter message. No wonder the church grew and grew. The power of God which raised Jesus was evident in his follower’s lives. They could see the changes God had made to their lives. They could see what the death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and the assurance of life and salvation meant for these people.



They could see how they were freed from the shackles that held them all back. They could see the truth of Jesus. They could see the love of God flowing forth from these people’s lives. The risen Lord Jesus had made such an impact; such a change. As a result, many of them wanted to know more: many wanted to be a part of this Jesus Christ.



That is surely the message that comes to us today. He is Risen! Our Lord Jesus has risen from the dead. The power of God has transformed life for us also. We too are given the new life that was given to Christ. To all who believe in him and are baptised, they have been raised to life with Christ.



We don't have to worry about death. We don't need to hassle ourselves and struggle in order to get on in life. Our life too is hidden in and with Christ. Trusting in him we have the certainty of eternal life; the certainty of sharing in glory with Christ. At our baptisms we were joined to Jesus and his death and resurrection.  We are a part of all this which is truly great.



Now then our minds also can be focussed away from ourselves and our own wants and desires. Now we can fix our minds on Christ and the things of his kingdom. Our whole life can take on a new meaning and direction: No longer looking down and around us; worrying about this and that. No, we can now look up - look out - we can live - we can love - we have true peace and joy in our lives. Our lives being transformed into the life of Christ. We are a part of this great One who died and was raised from the dead; and he assures us that now we too will be able to share in his glory forever more.



So now then our lives can reflect this Jesus each and every day of our lives. We can take up our crosses courageously and allow this Jesus and all that he has done be reflected to the people around about us. We know that this Jesus will work good out of the most tragic of situations, even if we can’t see how this can be.



We will continually speak of Christ and the forgiveness that he has won for us as being central to who we are and what we are about. Surely Jesus and what he says is important is what will be important for us. The things of this world that people strive after will fade from significance for us, compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing and being a part of Jesus Christ.



We too will take seriously what he says in his Word rather than change to the culture of our world today and the “I wants”. We now know that what he says in the Bible is what is good and right for us, even if it is out of step with the world around us.



Christ is risen! We too have risen. New life has come into the world - our world. We are changed people. We are people who can look up. No longer is our life the same as so many around us. We surely are different - we are new people. People who have what is important in life. A sure and certain hope the future is secure, no matter what we are facing in this life.



Now the power of God can also be evident in us his people. What a change has come over our world. A change that transforms our lives. New life has come to us also. New life has come to Christ and through him to us also. To him be glory and honour, now and always. AMEN.

Christ is Risen! - He is risen indeed!



Pastor Roger Atze

Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish