Imagine being the younger brother of Jesus Christ. Always following in the footsteps of the glory child!! James is refreshingly matter of fact and down to earth. As we read the letter by James, we read his concern that those following Jesus don’t only listen, but actually walk in his footsteps. For him righteousness matters, and it is the practical righteousness that you can hear in the words and see in the actions of the follower of Jesus that really counts. This talk explores perseverance in faith.
A true friend chooses to love us, unlike family who we are stuck with. True friendship involves choice to love at cost and should be held onto dearly. Hence a true friend will seek our best, even if this is not easy. Again, for this reason, Jesus proves to be the ultimate friend. This sermon explores what Proverbs says about friendship.
Easter 2020 worldwide looks different. Not the message, but indeed the form.
The Easter message of death followed by life in Jesus is a glorious message of hope and perhaps as relevant and important for all to hear in the midst of a pandemic. If life matters, as it clearly does given the extraordinary measures that are being taken worldwide to stop the spread of this virus, then now is the time to proclaim the Easter message!
What has changed is the form. The opportunity to physically gather together with others to proclaim that ‘Christ is risen, he is risen indeed’ is not possible. And so we gather online and in many new and creative ways. Never before has there been such an opportunity for folk to connect into Easter without having to put a foot outside their front door. What an opportunity.
Anyone (with an internet connection) can step into church without the fear of having to make small talk, or the worry about what to do or where to sit, or the concern that they might ‘out’ themselves as someone who might just possibly be open to considering Jesus or his message. They can sit hidden behind their screen, undetectable to those who are proclaiming the Easter message.
It is not unusual for all religions to be lumped into the same basket and dismissed collectively. Yet, even a cursory reading of the core texts of any religion will expose clear differences. What does Christianity offer that might helpfully encourage a person to look more deeply into the truths that the Bible reveals?
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.
Easter is a special time for many around the world – a time to reflect, to be thankful, to lift our minds and hearts above the day to day and to appreciate the world we live in.
Arguably, more than any other event in history, Easter has shaped our world. The coming of the man Jesus and then his arrest, trial, crucifixion and then resurrection stunned the world. What Jesus taught about life, love, good works, sin, justice, forgiveness, hope has shaped cultures, governments, legislation, education, tradition and so much more. Yet his death and resurrection transformed people’s lives and gave a personal hope beyond the grave. Love him or loath him, he has left his mark for the benefit of generations across history.
In this trilogy of Easter talks, we walk with Jesus through the pages of John’s Gospel from his arrest to his resurrection.
We all like and want justice – yet justice is not possible unless there is judgement (vindicating the good and condemning the bad). In Jesus you have a judge – who is just, right and good. Can we say the same about our own judgements?
Without love, truth will not be valued. Without truth, it is difficult to know how to obey. Without obedience, it is impossible to demonstrate true love.
To understand Love, it will help to understand how it is integrally connected to Truth and to Obedience, such that you cannot separate the three. These three ideas intersect with one another at almost every point.
Taking our lead from the letter of 1 John, we have looked at Perfect Love (Part 2 of this series). We turn our attention now to the relationships between Love, Truth and Obedience.