The Bible is very comfortable with the idea that you can talk to God. Depending on the Bible version you look at ‘prayer’ is referenced over six hundred and fifty times!
The clearest way to know God is to listen to what he says!
One of the first things that we learn about God in the opening Chapter of the Bible is that he talks. ‘In the beginning God created’ and how did he do that? By his word ‘And God said: ‘Let there be light’…., and then God said: ‘Let there be an expanse between the waters…, and then God said: ‘let there be sky’… and so it goes on for seven days (Genesis 1:1-2:3).
Each of the special acts of creation come about by the word of God. What he creates is new and wonderful and he does that by uttering his words.
If the significance of that is lost on you, give it a go! Test the power of your words. Create something by your words and only your words – ‘Let there be a ham sandwich’! How did you go? I think I can guess!
Christians are word people. I don’t mean simply that ‘Christians are people of the WORD of God’, although that is true. I mean, that Christians need to listen, read, think and speak words with great intention and purpose.
Let me see if I can explain, starting with some background.
Sermon ‘A Vision Shaped By Love’ (2 Corinthians 5:1-10) by Ken Noakes is now available in audio and video: http://bit.ly/2gBQWRi
Read the Bible text: http://bit.ly/2ggMHr4
English Support Document: http://bit.ly/2ggJLux
Sermon on James 2:14-26 ‘James vs Paul’ by Ken Noakes – available to stream or download: http://bit.ly/2cy1cZz.
Read the Bible text: http://bit.ly/2chYc32
In this talk, the question of whether James and Paul are at odds theologically over what it means to be justified by faith alone or by works is raised. The discussion is large and so the sermon deals with it briefly, but suggests this paper (‘Is James at odds with Paul?’) for further reading if so inclined.
Please note: This is an academic paper, so it is long, at times detailed, and uses technical language (including greek). Further, the paper was written several years ago and since then I have changed my position on the late dating of the letter of James (as you would hear in the sermon, I know think it is dated early). Regardless, it I think is still helpful for an inquiring mind.
What part do we play in faith? How does that relate to the promises of God? All through the Bible it seems a person has a great deal to do – for example David didn’t wait for God to slay Goliath?
Living in faith means to live trusting in the one you have placed your faith. Christians live by faith in God through Jesus Christ as enabled by the Holy Spirit.
In that sense ‘faith’ is the basic requirement of the person of God. It is not that faith saves (Jesus does that), but that faith is the way the saved person lives.
What does that have to do with the promises of God?
Two good questions here. First one, ‘How do we decide God will keep his promise?’ – simple answer is that we don’t!
To be a Christian is to be someone who recognizes, more sharply and clearly than our world, that the creation story is not the end.
As early as Genesis 4 we are introduced to Lamech who took more than one wife, even the great Abraham had more than one wife and also had concubines.The Old Testament accounts report polygamy but they never hold it up as an example to be imitated. By the end of Genesis we’ve seen adultery, incest, rape, homosexual rape, prostitution – quite a bit more than we really were bargaining on.
The fall has damaged all of our relationships, especially and profoundly the marriage relationship.