On this opening morning at Banner we were addressed firstly by Warren Peel from Northern Ireland. He spoke helpfully on the life and liberty of the church from Romans again. The burden of his message was that in the gospel the believer has both an answer to his conscience and reason not to rely on his own performance. Describing both a typically good day and a bad one in a way that we all recognised, he encouraged us neither to despair at one or to put confidence in the other.
After coffee, Mike Reeves (pictured) spoke on God's glorious missionary heart. With liberal reference to Puritan Richard Sibbes, it was a delight to hear this stimulating and passionate call to understand God and act accordingly.
He spoke first of God's loving fatherliness and then of his glory.
Sibbes says "The sun delights to spread his beams and his influence in inferior things, to make all things fruitful. Such a goodness is in God as is in a fountain, or in the breast that loves to ease itself of milk. Would we be like our heavenly Father? Let us labour to have large affections, to have a spreading goodness."
He closed noting how Sibbes once said that a Christian singing God’s praises to the world is like a bird singing. Birds sing loudest, he said, when the sun rises and warms them; and so it is with Christians: when they are warmed by the Light of the world, by the love of God in Christ, that is when they sing loudest. The knowledge of the living God and his grace warms us so that we want to make him known and, as our understanding of his kindness deepens, we begin to share his passion for the lost. Good theology both informs and fuels good mission!