Today’s readings are Ezekiel 42 and 1John 1
Last week I attended the funeral of Jim Shurley one of Figtree’s Saints who in recent years has lived in Tasmania before moving back to Gerringong. Jim and Val are well known to many from Figtree and all would agree that their ministry among us over the years was a joy and a privilege to behold.
What can we learn from today’s scriptures? Well we are told that the Gospel is no afterthought. It’s has always been in God’s plan. This gospel centres on one, Jesus who was a historical figure, one who was heard, seen and touched. His was a physical existence that none can deny.
The ‘life’ that is spoken of signifies the coming of Jesus (see John 14:6). John was an eye witness who proclaimed to others so that might have fellowship.
We are bound to God and this is ongoing. John tells us that his own joy is made full as others are brought into fellowship. Your joy and our joy go together.
Further we learn that there are conditions placed upon this fellowship. God is light and if he is light we must walk in the light. Words alone do not bring fellowship. It is truth lived out in the lives of his servants. God’s standards must be our standards.
We also are told that we cannot claim to be without sin. But it is more than this, it is the inner principle of which sinful acts are the outward manifestation. We must confess our sin but it is only Jesus’ blood that can free us. We are first and foremost sinners in need of salvation. To deny this makes God out to be a liar and his word is not in those that take this position.
As Jim’s funeral reached its conclusion I commented to Marian that almost nothing was said about Jim himself. Apart from a photo montage, the emphasis was on the gospel, on what God has done for us through the death and resurrection of Jesus, on the opportunity this places before all people. As we talked about this we realised it reflected the wonderfully humble nature of Jim Shurley himself, surely a man of whom it can be said, ‘Well done good and faithful servant’. And that was the simple verse written on the service sheet!