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?
How good it would be to have 20/20 vision? So many opportunities open up to you when you can see with clarity. Colossians helps the Christians person to see clearly. And as Colossians is written to a church, the gathering of disciples, it helps to set our sights on what we might be able to do in ministry and mission for the cause of the gospel. The core business of an assembled group of Christians is to fulfil the commission which our Lord gave us – to go out and make disciples.
‘Faith’ is the Christian calling. And one could ask: ‘How do I know my faith is real?’ or ‘Does doubt mean I have a shallow faith?’. Yet, you don’t need to be Christian to have questions about ‘faith’: ‘How do I get faith?’ or ‘What does faith achieve?’.
This talk, the second in a series on ‘Faith’, looks how faith comes to a person.
Jesus asked his disciples to be his witnesses. And that is what Jesus’ first disciples did.
To be a witness, you have to be willing to make a stand, to testify, to speak on behalf of the person or the event that you are bearing witness too. The aim is to provide enough reason or evidence for someone who is not a witness to ascertain the truth behind what you say.
Who in our world is perfect? Mother Teresa? Gandhi? Nobel Peace Prize Laureates? Is there anyone in your community or family who is without fault?
In this sermon, we will see that all people are broken. Paul, the author, paints a vivid picture of how all people fall short of God’s standards. Both the religious and unreligious people of the 1st Century fell short of God’s standards.
But how do we compare? Can we reach the standards God has set? And what happens if we fail…?
Have a look at God’s perfect solution for our imperfect world.
In the Old Testament we meet a brave prophet named Habakkuk (great name – imagine naming your child Habakkuk!). His role was to bring God’s people back to obedience to the covenantal promises which God has made with Israel at Mt Sinai. By the promises and under the law (10 Commandments and Covenant Code) Israel would know how to live as righteous ones. If the covenantal obligations were neglected, ignored, abandoned, then punishment would come. God’s gift had been the prophet Habakkuk, who spoke what was often thought to be an offensive message, for the sake of saving Israel and calling them to repent of their unrighteous attitudes or behaviours. In other words, to call God’s people back to the righteousness of faith.
Habakkuk admonished Israel by saying ‘the righteous person will live by his faith’ (Hab 2:4)
Fast forward to the Apostle Paul in AD57. He writes to the church of Rome. Similarly his message was often deemed offensive. To him he understands how the promises of God in the Old Testament find their fulfilment in Jesus. So, he proclaims God’s gospel and, like Habakkuk, calls people to faith.
Quoting Habakkuk, he reminds us that ‘The righteous will live by faith’ (Rom 1:17).
In this sermon, we look at Romans 1:5-17 and we should see that faith in Jesus is the most fundamental response to God’s gospel and the way by which Christians most honour Jesus as Lord.
“An open door to all the most profound treasures of Scripture.”
That – and much more – is what people have said about Paul’s letter to the Romans.
Without question, this letter has had a huge influence on our world. From Augustine in the 4th century to Luther in the 16th century to the evangelical revivals and the arrival of the gospel in Australia in the 18th century, all the major events of Christian history seem to have been ignited in some way by this magnificent letter.
In this sermon we begin with a wonderfully succinct yet profoundly deep summary of the gospel message – the core truths at the very heart of the Christian faith boiled down to just four words!
Ken Noakes’ farewell sermon at Trinity Church Adelaide considers the Great Treasure (the Gospel – the Good News about Jesus) which is given to those who follow Jesus. Ken points out from 2 Corinthians 4 the Great Responsibility that this brings as well as the Great Opportunity.