Wednesday, September 11, 2013


One of the attractive things about sunny Queensland is the turquoise ocean, palm trees and the golden beaches on its coast. Sun, sand and surf! It was on the third day of formation week that God ‘placed the sand as the bound of the sea’ Jeremiah 5:22. On the fourth day He made the sun, the moon and the stars. Afterwards the earth’s topography would have been altered by the global flood. The volcanic turmoil during that time would have brought on the ice-age, the subsequent melt-water of which would have helped produce the seas as we know them today.

The sea is the lungs of the earth. It is also its kidneys. Its saltiness is a disinfectant of sorts. Micah says that God ‘will cast our iniquities into the depths of the sea’ Micah 7:19. Its evaporative-cycle produces rain that cleanses the earth. Says Elihu, ‘He draws up drops of water, which distil as rain from the mist, which the clouds drop down and pour abundantly on man’ Job 36:27-28. Says Solomon, ‘All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; to the place from which the rivers come, there they return again’ Ecclesiastes 1:7. Peter likens the Flood to baptism symbolising the washing away of our sins, ‘In it [i.e., the ark] only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolises baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God.’ 1 Peter 3:20b-21a.

The Gulf Stream, from the Gulf of Mexico, helps keep Scotland temperate. Indeed, a lush, tropical garden can be found at Inverewe in western Scotland. David spoke poetically of sea-channels three thousand years ago, ‘The channels of the sea were seen, the foundations of the world were uncovered, at the rebuke of the LORD, at the blast of the breath of His nostrils’ 2 Samuel 22:16.

Isaiah uses the sea to illustrate, ‘The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt’ Isaiah 57:20 (with Jude 13). Perhaps Jesus calming the sea (and walking on it!) also symbolises His subduing the wicked with His Word. Indeed, the priests were to wash with water from the calm sea depicted in Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings 7:23-26; 2 Chronicles 4:2-6 with Exodus 30:18-21). John saw in his vision on the Island of Patmos, ‘Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal’ Revelation 4:6a. Reginald Heber paints the picture, ‘Holy, holy, holy!  All the saints adore Thee,/ casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;/ cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,/ which wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.’

Around 2,000BC God invited Abraham to number the stars, (if he was able!), saying, ‘So shall your descendants be’ Genesis 15:5. With the naked eye Abraham would not have seen much more than 2,500 stars yet he trusted God’s Word that they were without number! For later the Angel of the LORD said, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore. And your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed’ Genesis 22:17b-18. ‘If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise’ Galatians 3:29. As Abraham’s seed Christians will become a multitude without number (Rev. 7:9). Then ‘the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea’ Isaiah 11:9b.  

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Reece Harper-Green was a good man – not a perfect man, for who is? but, by general definition, Reece was a good man. His family loved him. He loved his family. His friends and his workmates loved him. And he loved his friends and his workmates. During the Eulogies we heard stories about Reece, about his life. We have laughed together. We have shed tears together as we remember this “good man.”

We live in a world where bad things happen to good people, even people like Reece. Reece’s young life was cut short by that great leveller – death. None of us ultimately escapes death. It’s just that some of us postpone it longer than others. But death comes to us all – sooner or later. I think we are agreed that it was too soon for Reece.

Reece was a tender man, a gentleman, a gentle giant. He wanted to learn how to play “Clair de Lune” on the piano – apparently so that he could impress the girls! Reece lived life to the fullest. He touched so many lives along the way. Has natural friendliness gave him the ability to win the affections of people from all walks of life.

But Reece was also a warrior! It wasn’t just his 6’ 7” height that made Reece stand out in a crowd. It was his belief. Reece believed in something – something profound. Something honourable. In fact Reece believed in an ideal so much so that he had it tattooed onto his body: “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” That’s a noble ideal!

One is reminded of that poem written by a Christian minister at the time of Hitler’s rise to power, a version of which is:

First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the socialists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn’t a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.” (Pastor Martin-Niemöller)

It’s all very well having ideals, but how would you put a belief like this into practice? – “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” Reece Harper-Green, “H-G,” put his belief into practice. When he joined the army he spoke for us! This “good man” didn’t believe in doing nothing. Reece fought against evil. Not in the halls of academia. Not while leaning on a bar in some pub. No! Risking his own life to protect our freedom Reece fought evil on the battlefield. He fought alongside some of you who are here today – his “brothers-in-arms.”

Reece sought to triumph over evil. He didn’t just think about it. He spoke up. Reece did something about it. In this we see a clear reflection of a greater battle that is going on, an invisible war, a spiritual war for the souls of men and women.

We see what God in Jesus Christ has already done about evil. Jesus is the One God sent into this world to crush the head of evil. Jesus is the One God sent onto the battlefield to fight to protect us from the evil-one and his minions, our enemy.

“Scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus Christ laid down His life. He died on the battlefield. For God’s friends? No! For His enemies! As the Scripture says, “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son…”

Enemies? That’s what the Bible calls those for whom Christ died. After we believe in Him He calls us His friends. As His enemies we are sinners in need of reconciliation with God. If we are in need of reconciliation we must be out of sorts with God. Jesus spoke for us before God. His cross, His death on the cross speaks loudly and clearly to God and to all who trust Him to be their spokesman. Jay Adams said,

The cross was not merely an act of compassion and mercy directed toward mankind; it was a cosmic event in which God demonstrated who and what He is before all the universe.” Jay Adams “The Biblical View of Self-esteem: Self-love: Self image” p. 89

God demonstrates who He is in His perfect likeness, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ did not let evil flourish. This good Man did not do nothing.

None of us is perfect, not even Reece Harper-Green, but Jesus Christ is perfect. He is the Man of God’s own choosing. He lived a perfect life before God on behalf of all who trust in Him to save them from evil, and ultimately to save them from death. His death is the death of death. For His resurrection has brought us life, everlasting life. “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”

Jesus Christ was dead but is now alive forevermore. Right now He is with His Father in Heaven. Only with Jesus as your Head, as your Champion, as your Representative, your Spokesman before God will you be able to triumph over evil. For evil, like Hitler’s Nazis, has come for you. But be encouraged. Look to Jesus for protection, for life, for everlasting life, for reconciliation with God.

The Bible speaks of your human body as if it were tent. We might chuckle at the picture of Reece trying to sleep with his feet sticking out of the door of a tent because of his height. A tent is a pretty fragile thing in a world surrounded by evil. So is the human body. But don’t despair. For Scripture says, “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” (2 Corinthians 5:1)

On account of His triumph over evil all those who have been reconciled to God by the death and resurrection of Jesus “have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”

We can triumph over evil because Jesus Christ has already triumphed over evil. “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” Reece, we thank you for what you did to help to protect us from evil. However, we thank the Lord Jesus Christ for conquering evil by His work on the cross and saving from judgment on the Last Day all who trust and rest in Him!