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)
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.
Jesus challenges a zealous crowd of materialistic political activists to invest their energy on the kind of food that lasts. This, the fourth ‘sign’ recorded in John’s gospel, points us to the raging spiritual hunger Jesus really wants to satisfy – forever.
Hebrews is a warning letter. The first of several warnings against ‘spiritual drift’ opens this chapter. We’re warned against sliding away from following Jesus by neglect. Having paused for the warning, the writer returns to extolling the perfections of Jesus. Jesus became one of us, and as such he is able to be the complete Saviour we need.
The message of the writer to the Hebrews might be summed up like this:
I want you to know just how gloriously splendid Jesus is, that he has no rivals. I want you to be left in no doubt about his matchless supremacy, so that from now on the very idea of giving up on him, or drifting off into some kind of spiritual half-life, or trying something else – will seem pure madness.
Jesus is uniquely God in person and action, superior to everything the old covenant could offer. (Just for starters, in this first chapter, there’s no comparison between his dignity and that of any angel.) Most importantly, his high priestly work of providing purification from sin is complete.
Ordinary Sunday 17, Year C
Jesus gives his friends a prayer to pray, now known to us ‘The Lord’s Prayer’. It seems to be an actual prayer he intended us to pray when together, in the best tradition of the synagogue. It’s a very Jewish prayer, which also captures many of the themes prominent in Jesus’ teaching. But for the whole breadth of Christian prayer according to the Scriptures, we need more than this prayer alone. Just for starters, Jesus moves on to a ‘parable sandwich’, which encourages us to pray with confident expectation of being heard.
The gospels invite us to ‘look’ at Jesus through reading the record of his life, actions and teaching, and then to form our own conclusions on what we observe. This, the third of John’s recorded ‘signs’, invites us to observe Jesus doing what only God can do, and then to decide the implications.
Ordinary Sunday 14, Year C
Jesus has come not only to be the Messiah of Israel, but the Saviour of the whole world. With such a vast mission (plentiful harvest), many many more labourers are needed. So pray … but don’t pray unless you’re willing to be among those who go as one of the gospel workers. And the kinds of gospel workers Jesus seeks are those first captured by the joy that all their sins are forgiven and that God knows them forever.
God has always been more ready to than even his most fervent intercessors are to pray, and his purposes are the ones that carry the day in the end.
Ordinary Sunday 12, Year C
Depression has been a blessing for my ministry, shaping me as a compassionate pastor, and building trust. In one way or another innumerable servants of God have experienced the disillusionment or even despair voiced by Elijah in 1 Kings 19.
Depression is simply one of many frailties experienced by human beings in an imperfect world. God’s purpose always is to use pain to build Christ-likeness and channel his grace to others.
My first sermon on return from extended sick leave due to a bout of depression. Strikingly, the lectionary for the day included the very passage I had in mind.
When the Apostle Paul met Christ he came to see that his impeccable religious record was worthless, and that Christ’s blood was all he needed. Today is a good day for us to learn (or relearn) the same thing. Never confuse performance with relationship. Trust Christ, only and fully.
Many of the psalms encompass the very human element of ‘lament’, honest complaint to God about pain or injustice. Some such psalms major on lament, while nearly always ending with praise or affirmation of God’s dependability. Others such as Psalm 71 major on God’s dependability, while reflecting very frankly on life’s unfairness. Two particular insights from the psalm for those times when life seems unfair are:
- Hang on to God, who is your ‘rock’, the one secure thing in the universe;
- Choose the habit of praising God for the perfections of his character and his works of faithfulness.