There’s no doubt that the death of Jesus was one of the world’s greatest events for all the wrong reasons. Not only was He inncocent of all charges laid against Him and not only did the situation show itself to be one fuelled by anger and hatred, it was also true that it was possibly the greatest injustice ever handed out to a man. It’s telling that when the Son of God appeared on earth, mankind rejected Him and put Him on the cross. But that’s not the whole story and in Mark 15:1-15, the other side of the coin is made clear. Jesus went through with all this in obedience to God’s plan and in the madness of it all, we can trace the love and mercy of God.
There’s something about love that means that thousands of songs are written about it and everyone seems to want it! In 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, the Apostle Paul speaks about love quite extensively in a well-known text that has been used at many a wedding, but what he has to say really applies in the first instance to the church at Corinth, who had forgotten that the grace of love is better than any spiritual gift. And what he wrote was really for the church to put into practise – in loving each other – and loving in the way that Jesus loved the church, by laying down His life for her. Ultimately, our lack of love or lovelessness, is because we have moved far away from the cross – where we learn what love really is.
There’s no doubt that the human body is a wonderful invention. The fact that we can move, breathe, talk, eat sleep, is so often taken for granted. So much has to happen for everything to work together. If the church is the ‘body of Christ’ as 1 Corinthians 12:14-31 indicates, then it’s likely that the same holds true. Every part of the body not only has its own place but its own purpose and function. And every part of the body, each individual in the body is linked to the One who is the Head of the body for His purposes. That’s the wonder of being part of ‘the Church’, which exists for His glory and not that of the individual parts!
The Old Testament book of Joshua tells the story of the people of Israel taking possession of the land of Canaan according to God’s promise and instruction. By the time Joshua 9:1-27 comes around, not all has gone according to plan for God’s people – mainly through their own disobedience and failure to keep in touch with the Lord and His plans. This message of the chapter preached by Chris, tells us of a similar story, but ends up with a striking parallel for the those who are saved by His grace and included in the number of His people today.
The Church. What is it? Some say a building. This is true, but only one aspect of the answer. The idea of the Church being a ‘body’ is found in the New Testament, especially in 1 Corinthians 12:1-13. The church is made up of individuals, all saved by grace, and all united to the one Head (Jesus) who brings us together and makes us part of His body. It’s this that unites us and this unity should be evident to the whole world throughout all generations as witness to the the one truth, ‘Jesus is Lord’.
There’s little doubt that 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 is a difficult text that over the years has been interpreted and applied in many ways. But, as difficult as it is to grasp at first glance, the text must be and is there for a good reason. It seems there was a fair bit of confusion in Corinth about gender roles (is anything new?) and this seems to be at the heart of Paul’s words – which apply to us today in the realm of what you have in your heart, rather than what you do or don’t wear on your head.
The Christian Church has been long divided over whether or not the children of Christians should receive the sacrament of baptism or not. As a Presbyterian Church we believe they should, and that the covenant promises of God to Abraham still stand. While this is an important aspect of what we believe, it is still not the gospel and not worth breaking faith over. Even so, God’s promise of salvation is to ‘you and your children’ (Acts 2:39)
Psalms 132,133 and 134 are three psalms that are linked by a common theme of being part of the ‘songs of ascent’ that were sung by the people of Israel going up to Jerusalem. Psalm 132 highlights that the city of Jerusalem was the city where God’s King lived. Psalm 133 celebrates the unity of the people of God in that city, and Psalm 134’s focus is upon the worship of God’s Name that happened there by day and night. Heaven will be all this and more for God’s people upon a ‘pilgrim journey’ to that heavenly city. (First preached March 2013)
We are constantly bombarded with news, but what our world really needs to hear is truly good news! Mark wrote his gospel to give us the truly good news of Jesus the God-Man king, who came to conquer Satan, Sin and death (Mark 1:1-15). This is amazing news that when understood rightly will turn your life around. Will you believe it?
“You cannot serve God and money.” Jesus illustrates his teaching in Luke 16:10-31 with a story about a rich man and a poor man who live very different lives and come to very different lives after death. The warning is not only for those who are rich, yet poor toward God but also a warning to heed the Scriptures.