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.
Encouragement to a bruised and wavering church: Despite earthly appearances, you serve a King and Messiah who is far above any earthly power. Take heart. Do not give up on the church; for God has not given up on the church.
Ordinary Sunday 28, Year B
Even for people who’ve truly grasped who Jesus is, human ambition for power is never far from a sinner’s heart. Jesus needed more than once to teach his followers that in his Kingdom, leadership is not power but service.
God is a renovator with a dream. His dream is to restore all that sin marred in the world of humanity and the creation. And in his loving character, dedicated to humanity, he will use people as his channels and instruments in his saving mission. The mission starts with his call to a man in spiritual darkness, named Abram (Abraham).
The world will remain stricken by sin for as long as people persist in worshipping (= trusting) themselves or anything that is not God. Only God can repair a broken world.
Everything looks perfect after the flood, until we realise that sin and death still mar life on planet Earth, and that not even righteous Noah is good enough to save the world. Noah is but one of many people of faith recorded in the Bible, whose hearts are frail. Truly, there is only one hero in the Bible. He alone, who gave himself on the Cross, is the one to trust and worship.
The account of Noah and the flood has been preserved in Scripture to tell us how very serious sin is, how extraordinary God’s grace is, and how desperately we depend on that grace – today, every day, and forever.
The further people drift from fellowship with their God, the further they drift from one another. We see this played out as the first sin in the garden leads in to the first murder, as enmity and distrust give way to jealousy. We note the beginnings of a cyclical pattern of SIN, JUDGEMENT and GRACE. God’s once perfect world of trust degrades further and yet further. But from the start, grace shines through.
The news couldn’t be worse from planet Earth! The people God created in love have stepped out of alignment with his plans and purposes, damaging the once perfect relationship between God and humanity. The effect of this is that the once perfect relationships between humans and one another and between humans and the created world, are also damaged. But even so, God has already mounted a rescue mission …
The particular and unique relationship of marriage serves the grander purpose of imaging the sense of companionship and belonging in relationship for which God uniquely created human beings.
There’s no middle ground in assessing someone who makes the kinds of claims Jesus makes. He can only be either God incarnate or a total lunatic. Every person must decide which he is for themselves, with eternal consequences. For he makes eternal claims about himself. He claims that people who obey his words escape death. Then he claims that Abraham, the father of the faithful who lived thousands of years earlier, longed for and welcomed Jesus’ coming. Then to top it off, he claims to be far more significant than Abraham – being eternal. Christians are people who weigh his claims and declare him the Son of God and key to life. What will you make of Jesus?