Friday, August 12, 2011

Preaching

"Perhaps the most prominent feature in New Testament preaching is the sense of divine compulsion" [R.H.Mounce, The New Bible Dictionary, Inter-Varsity Press, London, 1962, p1023]

I think R.H. Mounce is probably right.

Jesus said: "Let us go somewhere to the towns nearby so that I may preach there also, for that is what I came for" (Mark1:38)

Peter and John said: "Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge, for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard" (Acts4:19,20)

Paul said: "If I preach the gospel I have nothing to boast of for I am under compulsion, for woe is me if do not preach the gospel" (1Cor9:16)

Mr Mounce continues: "[New Testament] preaching is not the relaxed recital of interesting but morally neutral truths, it is God Himself breaking into the affairs of man and confronting him with a demand for a decision. This sort of preaching meets with opposition".

Makes you think, doesn't it?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A living sacrifice

"She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers" [Luke 2:37 re Anna, an 84 year old widow]

Old Anna had it figured (Luke 10:42).

Friday, April 29, 2011

Prayer is the substance

Everything I do in life is ultimately not enough. I'm always left aching. Career, home, photography, design, writing.... they're sugar snacks; they give you a hit, but it soon wears off. Prayer is the substance, the real deal. It always leaves me calm, satisfied and at peace. What a gift it is. Now when I get some free time I look at all my usual options and increasingly choose prayer. Its just a more profitable use of my time. "Pray without ceasing" the apostle wrote (1Thess 5:17). Yes indeed.

The quiet life is just fine

God wants Christians to lead "tranquil and quiet" lives says Paul in 1 Timothy 2:2. "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life" he writes again in 1 Thessalonians 4:11. Very different to what the world tells you is a worthwhile life isn't it? God isn't particularly interested in whether we're high-flying achievers or supermarket shelf stackers. He's more interested in whether or not we're saved (1 Tim.2:4)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The bottom line

There's been a lot of dismissive things said about Jesus in the media this Easter. I wonder what He would say if He read it all? Probably what He said to Pilate and not much more: "Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice" (John 18:37)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Drifting away

The writer of so-called "Hebrews" says that in the early days God spoke through the prophets but "in these last days has spoken to us in His Son" (Heb 1:1,2).

He continues: "For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard so that we do not drift away from it" (Heb 2:1)

For what reason?

The reason that God has now sent His Son to speak to us. "Ignore Him at your peril" the writer is basically saying:

"How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?" (Heb 2:3).

How indeed. The implied answer is "we won't".

There are a number of important lessons here:

Firstly, that its POSSIBLE for Christians to lose what they have. So much for "once saved, always saved" according to this passage!

Secondly, notice that this perilous state is arrived at GRADUALLY. We "drift" away. The trouble with drifting is you often don't notice its happening until you're in serious strife.

Thirdly, notice the cure for the problem: "We must pay much closer attention to what we have heard [so that we do not drift away]"

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Apollos - the right attitude to learning

I like Apollos. Would that we were all like him when presented with our shortcomings. When the gap in his knowledge was pointed out he embraced it, made the necessary changes and continued on (Acts18:24-28). No digging in to "save face" here. This was a man whose love of the truth was bigger than his ego.