My passion is to preach Christ from all of Scripture. Should you wish to listen, I invite your reflection (and comments if you wish) as to whether the words you hear bear His character. Are they, like him, “full of grace and truth”? (John 1:14)
Note: If my sermons look to have been few and far between lately, it’s because they are. Since July 2012 I’ve been in a kind of unofficial sabbatical, with only a little formal ministry engagement. During that time I’ve joined my family in worshipping in our local Anglican parish. I’ve been pleased to occupy the pulpit there, as a guest from time to time.
A practical alternative to playing or downloading individual sermons from this page is to use Apple’s iTunes to access my sermons as a podcast. Click to view my podcast in your iTunes software. From there you can play or download particular sermons, or subscribe to the podcast. You can read about podcasts in the iTunes help menu.
NB: The iTunes application must be installed on your computer in order to access my podcast. If you use a Mac (and I mean honestly, why wouldn’t you?!), you will already have it. If you have a Windows PC, it’s available as a free download from the Apple website. Click to download iTunes.
Advent 1, Year B
What do you say to a very imperfect church? For all the correction and rebuke that may be necessary, the Apostle Paul’s starting point is to tell them they’re the Church of God, made holy through Christ. Don’t give up on the church, however imperfect it may be. It’s there among God’s people that you can know Christ, and his power to transform people and change the world.
The Reign of Christ (last Sunday of the church year)
The Cross brings together the earthly appearance of a world out of control with the heavenly reality of a world truly ruled by Christ, the King enthroned on a cross. Like the second thief crucified with Jesus, anyone who wishes may now receive from the hand of this true King the right to eat from the tree of life and live forever in God’s Paradise.
The church exists to demonstrate, by practical unity, that God was supremely wise in sending his Son to the Cross for the reconciliation of divided people.
As the Cross changes us from God’s enemies to public exhibits of his grace, so it reconciles divided and alienated people to one another, and builds them all into one spiritual house displaying the power of the Cross to bring reconciliation. The church is therefore intended to serve as visible proof that the Gospel ‘works’. Reconciliation must be core business for the church.
Jesus is in his own words “the Good Shepherd”. ‘Good’ in that he is everything a perfect shepherd should be. He’s someone you can follow because he is both a leader and one who has put himself on the line for you and your interests.
God is a master artist who takes the raw material of our frail, self-seeking lives, applying to them the brushstrokes of his love, mercy, grace and kindness. He does this so that he can then put our lives on public display, to serve as images of his splendid grace at work, thus creating a spiritual thirst for himself.
God’s plan for the church is nothing less than that the world would look at the church, in doing so see Christ, and thereby be drawn to worship him.
Beginning a series on God’s big picture for history, the universe and the church, from the letter to the Ephesians. God’s purposes are literally universal and eternal, and the church is at the heart of those purposes. A church which understands this will think and pray ‘big’, whatever its current size and influence.
After the pattern of Paul (1 Cor 9) and Jesus the Good Shepherd (John 10), we will do whatever we must, change however we must together, to be effective in reaching the people who are not here. This will be true of us to the extent that:
- we are concerned for the interests of the Gospel
- the interests of those who need Christ take precedence over our own.
Jesus paints a pastoral scene with words, to illustrate how people who choose to follow him have open access both to eternal security and a meaning-filled life now.