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.
The early church outshines most modern day western churches in fervent and expectant corporate prayer. Even so, these first Christians at times expected less from God than he was ready to do. Two observations, then:
- God is ready to do more than we’re ready to expect;
- in the end nothing frustrates God’s purposes.
When Jesus satisfied the physical hunger of a multitude with bread, he wanted the people to see that he came to satisfy completely the spiritual hunger of all people. He is to our souls what bread is to our bodies. [Repeated from 13 July 2014]
Barnabas the encourager was first himself encouraged by ‘seeing’ the grace of God in the fledgling gentile church at Antioch. He saw spiritual fruit from physical suffering; he saw people added to the church; and he saw the church maturing. (I acknowledge the insights of Dr John Piper in a sermon on the same text. However I can’t find a link to it …)
God’s people have always been slow to catch on to the universal scope of his salvation purposes. His heart breaks for all the lost people he has placed us amongst – those who are like us and those who are not, just as it did for the household of Cornelius, the gentile leader and soldier of the hated occupying power of Rome.
Jesus presents himself as the antidote to mankind’s greatest and ultimate enemy – death. “If you put your faith in me”, he says, “you get life instead of death”.
Three close followers of Jesus see the same spectacle, but their responses are different. John saw just what Peter saw, but his seeing produced believing. He is our example in the kind of seeing that carefully weighs the evidence. When Peter and John have both gone home, Mary Magdalene remains before the open, empty tomb. Then follows one of the most dramatic personal encounters in the Bible. The Good Shepherd calls his sheep by name … and she knows his voice. Jesus rose to be trusted in and personally known.
The divine ‘dilemma’ was resolved forever on the first Good Friday. How could both God’s justice and God’s love be fully satisfied? The answer is here. It was all about ‘us all’, but it was all borne by one. That One was God himself standing in our place.
Fourth Sunday of Lent
Why did Jesus need to die? The simple answer is in this text. God loves us and we needed saving.
The best way to avoid being or becoming lost is to follow someone you can trust. Jesus presents himself as that someone, now and for eternity. He is not a prophet or guru who shows where the way might be; he is the way. If you follow him, you can be in the very presence of God now, for all of your earthly life, and forever.
Giving which is generous, sacrificial and regular, is a fruit of Christian joy. The joy of salvation, and the joy of imitating Jesus’ extravagant grace.