There’s no doubt that the Scriptures are full of challenges to the reader. This is especially true in the account of Paul’s message to the people of Athens recorded for us in Acts 17:16-34. While the Athenians had many gods that they wished to acknowledge, their altar to the ‘Unknown God’ gave the Apostle Paul a great opportunity to address their ignorance and tell them of the God to whom all must respond with repentance and faith, as Ryan Smith explains as he opens up the text.
In this message on 1 Samuel 8:1-22, Ryan Smith explores the concept of finding security in the Lord alone from the time the people of Israel went to Samuel to ask them for a king to rule over them. They did this to ‘be like the other nations around them’ and in doing so they earned God’s displeasure, even though He gave them what they asked for! (Sometimes we ask for the wrong things!) It’s a challenge for us in this day of much fear about many things – who do you trust in for your security?
Prayer is something that should be fundamental to every Christian, yet we often neglect prayer while also taking prayer for granted (1 John 1:5-2:2). In this message, Ryan Smith reminds us again of the amazing provision that enables us, sinners, to come before a holy and righteous God, with confidence, and call on him as our Father (Mark 14:32-42). The good news transforms our understanding of prayer!
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?
We currently live in a super-hero obsessed culture and it can often affect the way we think about sharing the message of Jesus. We can fall into the trap of thinking the apostles are like ‘super-Christians’ and sharing Jesus is for other ‘super-Christians’, [pastors, trained-evangelists, extroverts, people gifted in talking and sharing]. We often think “I’m ordinary, I’m unimpressive, I’m unequipped, I can’t do it, Jesus can’t be expecting anything from me”. But according to Acts 1:1-11, Jesus is the real hero of the book of Acts. We don’t need to be super or a hero, but just need to be used by Him.
In Habakkuk 1:1-11, the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk was unafraid to let God know of his complaint. The world of his day was full of evil, and what was God doing about it? His apparent inactivity was a concern to the prophet. However God had an answer for the prophet that he was not expecting. God was not inactive at all, but was raising up a people who would come and dominate that part of the world bring His swift judgement. This was not only a shock to Habakkuk, but also to people today. How can God just let evil and injustice rule? The answer is that He isn’t and He won’t. In fact he sent His Son Jesus to suffer the graetest injustice of all by dying in the place of sinners. The world continues as it is for now, but when Jesus returns, and not until then, everything will be put right.
Luke 24:13-35 tells of two men who were sad and downcast because they were hoping that Jesus was the one to redeem Israel. But Jesus was handed over to the rulers and crucified. With his death, they lost their hope. But Jesus drew near to them and helped them to see that the plan has always been that the promised Christ must suffer and die, and then enter his glory. All of Scripture points to this, and rather than being the end of hope, His death was the exact opposite and His resurrection from the dead only confirmed the certainty of that hope because He triumphed over death as the risen Lord. Now, in the midst of all the troubles of this life, even with the news of our own impending death, we can know hope, if we come to the one who has died for our sin and risen as our Lord. (no audio available)
Ryan Smith spoke from Romans 5:12-21 about Jesus, Adam and us. Adam’s ‘one small step’ in the garden had giant consequences for all mankind falling into sin. Jesus is a man like Adam, but where Adam fell, Jesus is righteous and his death pays for all mankind. So while all are sinners by Adam (and by choice), we are righteous by faith in Christ.