A glance at history or a quick read through any newspaper will almost certainly report on some act of violence committed somewhere in the world. Often what lies behind those acts are people who declare themselves to be a follower of a particular religion.
Does Religion cause violence – and how does that implicate Christianity?
Foundational to belief of Christianity, is the historical reality of the person of Jesus and with that comes his well-documented life, teaching, death and resurrection.
Whilst it is true that belief in the existence of Jesus may be a no brainer and acknowledging his death traditional – to allow his teachings to shape the way we live, or to hold to the idea of a resurrection – for some is a step too far.
There are a chorus of Atheist voices who have spoken loudly against religion. That is not new, every age in history since and including the time of Jesus has seen opposition to organized religion – and at times, sadly, the opposition has been well placed.
In a series of short talks, we look at what the ‘new atheists’ say about the resurrection, before examine the resurrection for ourselves. The hope that we might be able the weigh up what is said and reordered in scripture and history and make our own decisions about faith.
Through the twists and turns that has become the norm in King David’s household we see God painfully faithful to his word. His judgment remains on David’s house as Absalom rebels and David flees. Yet it is God who remains on the throne, and preserves David’s place on it, frustrating the usurpers, protecting his king and removing those who defy him.
In the ups and downs that we know in life, who calls the shots? How do you benefit by trusting God in the good and the bad?
What is love that is pleasing first to God? It has something to do with obedience in the context of truth. We have considered ‘Love’ (Part 3 of this series) and ‘Truth’ (Part 4 of this series), so this time let’s focus on ‘Obedience’.
Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them (1 John 3:21-24)
A love that is pleasing to God is a love that obediently follows his commands.
The “pattern” in Judges of God appointing a “judge” to deliver Israel is broken by Abimelek who sets himself up as a king, who rules not for God but for himself – with disastrous consequences for all watch/listen to Des Smith as he uses this story to teach us some lessons for church leadership today.
‘… whoever did the graffiti thought that Alex was a fool. Stupid enough to make jokes about him as if he’s worshipping a donkey. You see, it’s always seemed foolish, to loads of people, to worship Jesus who died on the cross.’ – Simon Marshman
Sermon ‘Your Dying King Lives’ (Mark 15:21-16:8) by Simon Marshman is available in audio and video: http://bit.ly/2oIavOb