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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Do not be afraid

27 February 2013

Opening Prayer/Worship

Hymn: Oh God Our Help in Ages Past

Theme: The Lord is our Strength and Refuge

Topic: Do not be afraid

Reading: Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.’ 2But Abram said, ‘O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?’3And Abram said, ‘You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.’ 4But the word of the Lord came to him, ‘This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir.’ 5He brought him outside and said, ‘Look towards heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ 6And he believed the Lord; and theLord reckoned it to him as righteousness. 7 Then he said to him, ‘I am the Lord who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess.’ 8But he said, ‘O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?’ 9He said to him, ‘Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtle-dove, and a young pigeon.’ 10He brought him all these and cut them in two, laying each half over against the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. 11And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. 12 As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram, and a deep and terrifying darkness descended upon him. 17 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, a smoking fire-pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. 18On that day theLord made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates,

God tells us severally in His Holy Scripture to not be afraid.  This is because He knows that the vicissitudes of life has the potential of weighing us down.  Hence, He encourages us to put our trust in Him and not to fear; He is and will ever be the Almighty God, bigger, stronger and mightier, than the challenges we encounter in life.  All we need to do is to hold onto His promise of salvation to us, not just from sin and flesh, but also from satanic attacks, sickness, fear of death, difficult relationships, depression and so on.  Note that God may allow us to pass through difficult moments and we may not understand why we have to go through so much pain and confusion, but He has promised to bring us through.  When things appear gloomy and it looks as if all hope is lost, may God through His Holy Spirit at work in us remind us not to fear for He loves us immensely and will surely deliver us.

1. What does it mean to be afraid and what are some of the things that cause us to fear?
Genesis 15:1-3, 7-8
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.’ 2But Abram said, ‘O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?’3And Abram said, ‘You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.’ 7 Then he said to him, ‘I am the Lord who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess.’ 8But he said, ‘O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?’

Mark 14:32-36; 66-72
They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ 33He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. 34And he said to them, ‘I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.’ 35And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36He said, ‘Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.’ 66 While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came by. 67When she saw Peter warming himself, she stared at him and said, ‘You also were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.’ 68But he denied it, saying, ‘I do not know or understand what you are talking about.’ And he went out into the forecourt. Then the cock crowed. 69And the servant-girl, on seeing him, began again to say to the bystanders, ‘This man is one of them.’ 70But again he denied it. Then after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, ‘Certainly you are one of them; for you are a Galilean.’ 71But he began to curse, and he swore an oath, ‘I do not know this man you are talking about.’72At that moment the cock crowed for the second time. Then Peter remembered that Jesus had said to him, ‘Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.’ And he broke down and wept.

2. Why are we encouraged not to be afraid?
Luke 12:4-7, 22-34
‘I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that can do nothing more. 5But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! 6Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. 7But even the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
22 He said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear.23For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.24Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 26If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? 27Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 28But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. 30For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them.31Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 32 ‘Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
1 John 4:15-21
God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. 16So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 17Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgement, because as he is, so are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19We love because he first loved us. 20Those who say, ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

3. How do we apply the encouragement not to fear in our lives?
Psalm 27:1-6
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 
2 When evildoers assail me to devour my flesh—
my adversaries and foes—they shall stumble and fall. 
3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident. 
4 One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. 
5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock. 
6 Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord

Psalm 46:1-11
1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
   though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
3 though its waters roar and foam,
   though the mountains tremble with its tumult.          Selah 
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
   the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
   God will help it when the morning dawns.
6 The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
   he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
   the God of Jacob is our refuge.           Selah 
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord;
   see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
   he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
   he burns the shields with fire.
10 ‘Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations,
   I am exalted in the earth.’
11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.          Selah

Isaiah 43:1-7
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
   and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
   and the flame shall not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.
I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you.
4 Because you are precious in my sight, and honoured, and I love you,
I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life.
5 Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east,
   and from the west I will gather you;
6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up’, and to the south, ‘Do not withhold;
bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth—
7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory,
   whom I formed and made.’ 

2 Timothy 1:3-14
I am grateful to God—whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did—when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 4Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. 5I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you. 6For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; 7for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. 8 Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, 9who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, 12and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him. 13Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.


In this life, we will encounter challenges that may cause us to fear.  Let us be reminded of God’s encouragement to us to be bold and fearless in loving and serving Him regardless of the trials and challenges around us.

Closing Prayer (Collect for Second Sunday in Lent)
Almighty God,
whose Son was revealed in Majesty before He suffered death upon the cross,
give us faith to perceive His glory, that being strengthened by His grace
we may be changed into His likeness,
from glory to glory; who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Trust in the Lord

20 February 2013


Opening Prayer/Worship


Hymn: Abide With Me


Theme: The Lord is our Strength and Refuge


Topic: Trust in the Lord


Reading: Romans 10:8B-13

(that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);9because* if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.10For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.11The scripture says, ‘No one who believes in him will be put to shame.’12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him.13For, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’



We all have inherent inclination towards weaknesses and faults; and the Lord our Maker knows and understands everything about us.  Whenever we face trials and temptations, one common strategy is to fight the issues in our strength.  However, it is clear from the Scripture, history and personal experiences that we cannot overcome our weaknesses by our own strength.  In fact, the harder we try, the more difficult it becomes and if we keep trying, we are most likely to become frustrated and discouraged.  The good news is that the Lord not only knows how to deliver us from all evil, but has given us His word that He will surely deliver us.  The key to overcoming trials and temptations is in putting our trust in the Lord and in His power to save us; but how?  In our study today, we will discuss on how to put our trust in the Lord at all times.



1.  How do we know that the Lord is able to deliver all who put their trust in Him? 

Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16

1 You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,*
2 will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.’
9 Because you have made the Lord your refuge, *the Most High your dwelling-place,
10 no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder, the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.

14 Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name.
15 When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble,

I will rescue them and honour them.
16 With long life I will satisfy them, and show them my salvation.


Psalm 107:1-32

1 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures for ever.
2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, those he redeemed from trouble
3 and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.*

4 Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to an inhabited town;
5 hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them.
6 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress;
7 he led them by a straight way, until they reached an inhabited town.
8 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind.
9 For he satisfies the thirsty, and the hungry he fills with good things.

10 Some sat in darkness and in gloom, prisoners in misery and in irons,
11 for they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
12 Their hearts were bowed down with hard labour; they fell down, with no one to help.
13 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress;
14 he brought them out of darkness and gloom, and broke their bonds asunder.
15 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind.
16 For he shatters the doors of bronze, and cuts in two the bars of iron.

17 Some were sick* through their sinful ways, and because of their iniquities endured affliction;
18 they loathed any kind of food, and they drew near to the gates of death.
19 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress;
20 he sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from destruction.
21 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind.
22 And let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices, and tell of his deeds with songs of joy.

23 Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the mighty waters;
24 they saw the deeds of the Lord, his wondrous works in the deep.
25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26 They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths;

their courage melted away in their calamity;
27 they reeled and staggered like drunkards, and were at their wits’ end.
28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out from their distress;
29 he made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad because they had quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.
31 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind.
32 Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.


Mark 4:35-41

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’36And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him.37A great gale arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped.38But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’39He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm.40He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’41And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’


2.  What are some of the lessons we can learn from the temptation of Jesus Christ? 

Luke 4:1-13

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness,2where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished.3The devil said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.’4Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, “One does not live by bread alone.”

5 Then the devil* led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.6And the devil* said to him, ‘To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please.7If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.’8Jesus answered him, ‘It is written,
“Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.”
9 Then the devil* took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here,10for it is written, “He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you”, 11and “On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.” 12Jesus answered him, ‘It is said, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” 13When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.


3.  How do we put our trust in the Lord? 

John 14:1, 15:1-8

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe* in God, believe also in me.

Jesus the True Vine

15‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower.2He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes* to make it bear more fruit.3You have already been cleansed* by the word that I have spoken to you.4Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.5I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.6Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.7If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.8My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become* my disciples.


Ephesians 6:10-18

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power.11Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.12For our* struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.13Therefore take up the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.14Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness.15As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.16With all of these,* take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.17Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.


Hebrews 4:12-16

Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.13And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account. 14 Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession.15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested* as we are, yet without sin.16Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.





God knows that we make mistakes and fall into temptations.  Let us remember that the Lord who called us and saved us is able to keep us blameless and holy until the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.


Closing Prayer (Collect for Fifth Sunday in Lent)

Almighty God, whose Son fasted forty days in the wilderness, and was tempted as we are but did not sin, give us grace to discipline ourselves in submission to Your Spirit, that as You know our weakness, so we may know Your power to save; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Called to be Holy

13 February 2013

Opening Prayer/Worship


Theme:  The Mystery of Christ

Topic:  Called to be Holy

Reading:  Isaiah 6:1-8
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. 2Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. 3And one called to another and said:
‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.’ 
4The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. 5And I said: ‘Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!’ 6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. 7The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: ‘Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.’ 8Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I; send me!’

A common dilemma in our journey of faith is the expectation to be holy- in the sight of God and of man.  It is a dilemma because we live in the flesh and at the same time have to live like Jesus Christ.  Scripture makes it clear that Christ lived a holy life all His days and commands us to be like Him.  However, we know from experience that living a Christ-like life seems to be unattainable, or at least erratic- some days we feel we are doing well, and at other times we feel so terrible or low due to things we may have thought, said or done.  This can be very discouraging, because as soon as we get determined to live a righteous life, the same cycle of trials/temptation or guilt from past failures or mistakes gets back to us.  How do we break this cycle of spiritual highs and lows?  By our own strength, it is impossible, but as we completely yield our hearts and minds to God on a daily basis through prayers and studying the Scripture, He strengthens us and makes us more and more like Jesus.

1.  How do we know we are called to be holy?  
Romans 6:1-7
What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? 3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. 7For whoever has died is freed from sin.

1 Corinthians 1:2-3
To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Finally, brothers and sisters, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus that, as you learned from us how you ought to live and to please God (as, in fact, you are doing), you should do so more and more. 2For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from fornication; 4that each one of you knows how to control your own bodyin holiness and honour, 5not with lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6that no one wrongs or exploits a brother or sister in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, just as we have already told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness. 8Therefore whoever rejects this rejects not human authority but God, who also gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Hebrews 12:14-17
Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and through it many become defiled. 16See to it that no one becomes like Esau, an immoral and godless person, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17You know that later, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, even though he sought the blessing with tears.

2.  What are some of the reasons we rise and fall in our Christian life?  
Romans 7:14-25, 8:1-4
For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am of the flesh, sold into slavery under sin. 15I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. 17But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. 22For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, 23but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.24Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin. 

Romans 7:14-25, 8:1-4
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set youfree from the law of sin and of death. 3For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

1 John 1:5-10
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; 7but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

3.  How do we live in victory despite our inherent faults and imperfections? 
Matthew 11:28-30
‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’

Romans 12:1-3
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. 3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgement, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

Colossians 1:21-23
And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him—23provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel.

2 Timothy 1:8-10
Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, 9who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

1 Peter 1:13-21
Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed. 14Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. 15Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; 16for it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’ 17 If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile. 18You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. 20He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake. 21Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God.


Holy God who calls us to be holy, has made a way for us in His Son Jesus Christ to be righteous and upright.  May we continue to yield to His power that saves us and keeps us from falling.

Closing Prayer (Collect for Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany)
Merciful Lord,
grant to Your faithful people pardon and peace,
that we may be cleansed from all our sins
and serve You with a quiet mind;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen