Pohutukawa Coast Presbyterian Church
Clevedon Presbyterian Church
Kawakawa Bay
Clevedon Kidz

Clearing away the Trippage

January 10, 2021
Mark Chapman

Clearing away the Trippage

January 10 2021


May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of our hearts, be acceptable in your

sight O Lord, our strength and our redeemer. Amen.

This morning I would like to do something with hell.

But by way of explanation talk about

trippage – and I may have coined a new word here,

trippage is the stuff that gets in the way when you are trying to do something

and you keep tripping over it:



debris of some kind

the stuff that just gets in your way.

Does that make sense?


Sometimes we call it clutter

I am notorious for having a cluttered desk

and I know to be able to get on with whatever

I really have to get the mess out of the way.


So I like to apply that to

my faith,

my trust in God.


And for me anyway

there was always a lot of trippage.

Mess that got into the way that confused me.

And what it did was simply stop me from having the peace that Jesus said He would

give. And because there was no peace

there was no joy.


I sensed there was in God

the joyous laughter of the universe.

That God delighted in His creation

that as the psalmist wrote:

The heavens declared the glory of God.

That to be a believer was to have outrageous joy.

And it would have been but for the trippage

I encountered

the major one being the idea of hell.


A place of torment where God would consign

people for various reasons.

For me as a teen it didn’t make sense and as I got older

it made less sense.

And whether or not you ended up there

came down to, what was a real Christian!

And there were so many different takes on it.

And there was always older Christians

and church groups

who wanted to tell me why I was wrong

and why my part of the church was wrong.

And so I found myself retreating

into a very simplistic faith:


“Jesus loves me this I know

for the Bible tells me so.

Little ones to Him belong

we are weak but He is strong.”


So there were all these trippages:

hell; which baptism is the right one;

which church group had the true faith;

baptism of the Holy Spirit

all kinds of things that divided the church.


And so joy seemed an unattainable thing.


And I wonder if non-church people looking in

see confusion and division.

So to hell!


The Psalmist wrote: And you can read it from the front of the bulletin

Psalm 139:7-10:  Lord, Where could I go to escape from you? Where could I get away from your presence?  (8)  If I went up to heaven, you would be there; if I lay down in the world of the dead, you would be there. (9)  If I flew away beyond the east or lived in the farthest place in the west,  (10)  you would be there to lead me, you would be thereto help me.


And I love that passage

because it speaks of

a person who

contemplates the possibility of escaping from God

and comes to the conclusion

that there is nowhere

he can go

that God will not be present

not to beat him over the head with a club

not to torture him but rather to lead him, and to help him.


So beyond the east is an immeasurable distance – infinity,

as is the farthest place in the west.

God’s love is immeasurable!

Or even if he went into the heavens

or died,

lay down in the world of the dead,

God, he says

would be there to lead him and help him.


Which is one of the most all encompassing pictures of God’s love.

You cannot, I cannot, escape from God’s love and care for us.

This is foundational.

Understand this

and nothing else is required.

This is the firm foundation that Jesus speaks of

this is building on the rock solidness of God’s love for you

that will never change.


Now what happened is that when the translators of the King James Bible came to the

word sheol

they translated it ‘hell’.


And it came to mean a place of eternal punishment

and then it got loaded with a whole lot of other images and metaphors

until we ended up with heaven

which was the abode of God

and hell which was a place of torment

and a wrong fear of God.

Which was never the intent of the Psalmist.


So in order to have the joy of the Lord

in order to live

with the peace that Jesus gives

we have to clear away the trippage

in order to have a firm foundation.

Otherwise we will get caught up

and tripped up

by every other person who comes along to tell us

it’s not enough to trust God

and to believe in the goodness of God

and the love of God

rather we have to do all these other things.


It’s not enough to rest in Jesus

you have to go through this checklist

and make sure

you’ve ticked all the boxes

and then God will love you.


But if you can trust that behind all of creation there is a heart that beats for you

and a love that won’t let you go

then you can go into life unafraid.

And you will have joy.

Remember the old song:


I am trusting thee lord Jesus

Trusting only thee

Trusting thee for full salvation

Great and free, great and free.


We don’t have to do anything

simply surrender

let go

and as you do open yourself to God’s love.


When I say we don’t have to do anything

it’s true,

We just have to stop doing something.

We have to stop hanging on to


You let go, and as you let go you find yourself falling into the arms of God

and as we do that

we discover we are being held

and at the same instance we are filled with God’s Spirit.

And joy bubbles out from us.


And then everything changes:

you enjoy all of life.

There will still be darkness but the darkness will not have power over you. You will be


You’ll find yourself free from petty religious debates

and you will simply begin to love the world as Jesus loves it.


And you will know

wherever you go

whatever happens to you

you will be held.

Even if you try to escape from God – you will know that you can’t.

That’s a major point in Jesus parable of the loving Father.

The son says I want to get away from you as far as I can, and I wish you were dead


And the Father says, sure. Off you go.

The Father knows there is life only in His house and one day the son will discover this.

He knows that the son may not think he needs Him

but in His heart there is nothing that will stop Him loving His child.


Once we get rid of the trippage

we discover the simple truth of

the love that will not let us go.

And whenever we cry out, God help me, in life or death

we know his arms about us.

So says the God who loves you.


Now unto God the Father, God the Son and God, the holy Spirit, be all the honour and

glory, world without end. Amen

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