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 faith, and how the faith that justifies is never alone.
The most important thing for Christians to do – especially when we find ourselves continuing to sin – is not to do, but to be; to be “in the Spirit” – that is, to belong to God through Christ and submit to his rule. Pleasing God is the work he does in us by his Spirit, as his Spirit leads us and confirms that we are God’s children and heirs, and enables us to call him “Father”.
Read the Bible Text – Romans 8:5-17
– Dave Swan
What does scripture say?
‘Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness’ (Genesis 15:6)
When the apostle Paul cites this verse in Roman 4:3 he uses it to make the claim that a person is justified by faith alone.
James in his epistle also cites this verse in James 2:23 yet he used it to suggest that ‘a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
It appears the Paul and James are at odds.
It is one thing to say that you believe in what Jesus had done to save you – it is another step to act on that belief.
James 2:14 asks the question: ‘What good is it brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith, but has no deeds? Can such a faith save them?’.
This third talk on the topic of ‘faith’ looks at faith in action.
– Ken Noakes
‘Happy’. He said to me.
As I looked into the face of my friend, with the dark rings under his eyes, hair a little dishevelled, hands grasping the double shot expresso, which was his heart starter for the day, he said:
‘My goal in life is just to be happy’.
So much about what we relentlessly pursue in life aims to create an end result in which we will be happy. Burden now, achieve lots, sacrifice in the present – so that at some point it will all be worth it. We will be able to count up the coins, list off the achievements, bow to acknowledge the praise that is being directed our way – and then, we hope, we will be happy.
Some people call it the rat race.
There is nothing wrong with working hard, striving to reach goals, aiming to achieve much – that is the world we live in. In fact, it can be quite satisfying. Does it make us ‘happy’?
Yet, when it comes to faith, God works on a different spectrum – and for that reason Christians do well to recognise works, although they might be good, are not the measure used to determine godly happiness.
‘Happy is the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works’ (Rom 4:6). Let’s look at how…
Read the Bible Text – Romans 3:27-4:25
Does Christianity work? Do Christians offer anything of value to our modern, contemporary, progressive world today?
The answers could be offered in well-articulated arguments which aim to defend and describe the true faith established by the gospel of Jesus Christ. The answers could be influenced in the way that followers of Jesus Christ pass on their faith from generation to generation. Both are valid.
Yet there is a way that the established and passed on faith can be most clearly valued by our world today – it is when the faith is lived out and visible to the world around.
The salvation offered in the gospel should be lived out in the godly lives of those who have been saved and for the benefit of those who might be saved through the proclamation of this true faith supported by the testimony of transformed lives.
This talk is about how Christianity works, when it is seen in Christians devoted to doing good works.
Read the Bible Text – Titus 3:1-15
– Ken Noakes
Faith and Works and Grace
What does it mean to be saved through faith by God’s grace?
It means that God, through Jesus, and only through Jesus, has made the effort to save us. It is his gift and it is freely given. That’s grace.
Why is salvation by grace so hard to accept?
This doctrine is one of the many points where the Bible is totally out of step with our society!
Romans 5 helps us:
5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.