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If my people, who are called by my Name, humble themselves and pray (Part One)

The text, for those who have trouble with a rather individual cursive, reads as follows: Scandal after Scandal. No institution safe....

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Fellowship as God intended and how to keep it. 1 John 1

These are my notes for a recent  sermon I preached. What I did not know until I arrived at church was that a former member had returned to make apologies for his behaviour and to restore his fellowship with us.God provided us with an illustration of the passage and the sermon. He also confirmed to the returnee the rightness of his repentance. 

The musical note at the bottom of the post should activate a recording of the sermon, but it was made on my smartphone so there are some issues with it. Most of it is quite audible.  

I pray that it blesses you.

What the fellowship is like.

John proclaims historicity of Christ from his personal experience and of others.
A generation that is dying off and many of his friends are already martyrs

Eternal Jesus
Eternal Life
Eternal Fellowship and therefore
Eternal Joy (complete)

Can we say “We”?

We need personal experience of Jesus that has a real testimony. This is what God has done, is doing and I believe He will do.

We need a corporate experience of Jesus etc.

There is a proclamation. This is two-fold. One is to the unbeliever but the other is to ourselves. The Bible often does this. The salvation history of the Jews is recounted, sometimes by way of encouragement and sometimes by way of rebuke.

There is a personal proclamation of Jesus.

There is a corporate proclamation of Jesus.  Come to our Church and see what God has done, is doing and what we believe that He will do.

There is Joy, deep, eternal Joy.

Maintaining and repairing the fellowship.

The message sets a challenge we cannot meet.

Verse 6. Walking in darkness breaks fellowship, if it existed. If we claim fellowship we lie and do not live according to the truth.

This is the religious ‘Christian’ who does not really know Jesus.

Verse7  blazes out with Hope. Come into the light and be made clean. It’s the opposite of religion.

Verse 8 is for everyone including the Christian

Verse 9 Confession leads to forgiveness and cleansing

Verse 10 If we deny our sin we make God a liar and lose the truth. This is perilously close to blaspheming the Holy Spirit.  Mark 3:28 – 30 Isaiah 5:20

We can lose the truth, the light and the word. It’s hell. No truth, no light and no Word of God to rescue us – if we do not confess our sin.

If we confess our sin, we gain all of these things. Consider –

We have the truth, we have the light and we have the Word – in us.

That means we are all able to proclaim, to witness, to preach, to teach and even to prophesy.

Individually and corporately.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Discipline and Discipleship - It's all about forgiveness.

Recently, for reasons that do not concern anyone outside my local church, I preached a sermon on Discipleship and Discipline. It was part of a series on 2 Corinthians and I had been assigned 2 Cor. 2:5 - 11. On these few verses I hung an overview of the disciplines that Paul would have taught the Corinthians plus what God reveals elsewhere e.g. Revelation.

It is serious stuff and is not to be preached lightly. God always makes sure that if a sermon is not part of a preacher's experience, it soon will be! Budding preachers take note!

God is returning discipline and discipleship to His True Church because He would have her a pure and spotless Bride. Those who resist these things declare their true allegiance, unless they should repent and seek His forgiveness - but it is all about forgiveness. God is merciful. 

Friday, 21 August 2015

Why I haven't posted for ages - I've been counting blessings

I used to have some regular readers and there are still people viewing assorted posts. I have had to put much aside whilst I fulfilled an assignment. I have this crazy dream of being ordained and I had to write my life story. However, I am not twenty-something and a lot has happened in my life.  I was very reluctant to write the story anyway as I belong to that generation where boasting is frowned upon. The idea of telling anyone why I think I would make a good vicar is anathema to me.

In the end I had to do it. I missed a great deal out otherwise it would have been much longer and I tried to show what God has been doing in my life. The interesting thing is just how much He has done. 

Whether or not I'll ever post some of it, I don't know, but it has been useful. It exmplifies what the old chorus taught us:

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

And it did too. I hoping it will surprise a few other people as well, not least the Dioscesan Director of Ordinands - and the vicar!

This was the best version, in my opinion, that I could find.

You can get the lyrics here.

Here is a picture of the author of the lyrics, Johnson Oatman Jnr.


Saturday, 2 May 2015

Something to think about.

If love is blind, 

                           what does that make Jesus?

True love knows the heart of the Beloved.

Ani v'dodi; v'dodi li

Image result for l'dodi

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Acts 12 - a different Easter Sermon. Christ in you, the hope of Glory

Hallelujah! Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!

This is an Easter Sermon recast as a Bible Study. Do have a go at it. There are amazing similarities between Jesus and Peter as well as differences.

The differences are explained by the fact that Peter is not the Christ and Jesus is, also most of the events in Jesus' life take place before Pentecost.

The similarities are explained by the fact that Peter is a member of the Body of Christ and the Acts 12 events take place after Pentecost.

I pray that you will be challenged and encouraged by this study.

Acts 12 – Christ in you, the hope of Glory.

1.  Colossians 1: 24 – 27. Who is suffering?

2. What is his hope?

3. Back to Acts 12.

Acts 12

The Gospel Story
Death of James (brother of John) at the hands of Herod Agrippa I

Matthew 14:1
Peter arrested during days of Unleavened Bread.

Matthew 26:17 ff.
Intending to bring Peter out after the Passover.
Note the difference in timing.

Matthew 27:15 - 23
Four squads (of four men) to arrest one man.

Matthew 26:55
Peter between two guards.

Matthew 27:38
Church prays for Peter.

Matthew 26:40 ff.
Sentries at the door.

Matthew 27:62 - 66
Angel of the Lord and a bright light.

Matthew 28:2 -3
Peter goes to the house of Mary, mother of John Mark

Matthew 28:1
Rhoda recognises Peter’s voice.

John 20:16

She does not open the door. Peter keeps knocking.

Revelation 3:20
You are mad – to Rhoda

Luke 24:11

It is his angel.

Luke 24: 36 - 37
Peter instructs them to tell the others. Which James is Peter referring to?

Matthew 28:10
Peter departs to another place.

John 20:17;  Acts 1:9;  John 16:5 - 7
How long from Peter’s arrest to his release?

How long from Jesus’ arrest to His Resurrection?
Death of guards.
Matthew 28:11 -15

Herod Agrippa I  acclaimed as a god.

Revelation 13:8
Death of Herod Agrippa I

Revelation 19:20
Herod’s plan failed. Acts 12:24

Revelation 21 - 22

4. The similarities and the differences are all instructive. Discussion question – What can we learn from these similarities and differences?

5. There are three Powers at work in Acts 12.           

The Power of Prayer
The Power of the Cross – which is implied by the timing and also the Prison. There is an allegorical interpretation which sees the Prison as sin entrapping the soul. Can you think of a hymn which takes a similar line?
The Power of the Resurrection – Romans 8:11; Who is the Power here?

6. See also Acts 5:30 and John 2:19. Who raises Jesus in these verses?

7. What does this tell us about the nature of God?

8. What does this tell us about Peter’s relationship with God? Is it just Jesus?

9. What does all this tell us about God’s plan for our lives?

10. Can you think of any instances where this pattern or some of it has taken place in your life or of someone you know?

Testify. Discuss.    
                                                                                          © G.I.G 15.04. 2015
Additional notes.

A.  Rhoda means rose.
B. Bernice/Berenice was Agrippa’s twin sister. She acted as Queen. Gossip, repeated by the contemporary historian Josephus but not by the Bible, has acting as Agrippa’s Queen in all respects.
C. Luke, the author of Acts and inspired by the Holy Spirit, has a very understated and dry humour, quite English in many ways. In Acts 12:18 we see an example of this understatement.
D. The Herod dynasty is confusing. Below is a simplified version. The complex version carries an adult rating.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Islam and Christianity in Australia

What is true of Australia is also true in the UK and the US. The Media generally hate Christianity. The video is an interview with Dr. Mark Durie and Anglican pastor and theologian. He's one of the good guys. You can find out more about him here and here. There may be issues with the latter 

I cannot post the video, but you can follow the link to see it here

Dr Mark Durie is a theologian, human rights activist, Anglican pastor, a Shillman-Ginsburg Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and Adjunct Research Fellow of the Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths at Melbourne School of Theology. He has published many articles and books on the language and culture of the Acehnese, Christian-Muslim relations and religious freedom. A graduate of the Australian National University and the Australian College of Theology, he has held visiting appointments at the University of Leiden, MIT, UCLA and Stanford, and was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 1992.

Essentially, he knows what he is talking about! 

Thursday, 19 March 2015

I, I AM the Man Born Blind. One of the other I AM sayings in the Gospel of John

My apologies for being so long away from my blog. I hope the following will help to make up for it.

At Bible College and the like we are rarely, if ever, told that there are other I, IAM sayings in the New Testament that are not from the mouth of Jesus.

It sounds almost like heresy so what does it mean? A full documentation of the I, Iam sayings in the New Testament can be found here. So it's prepared by a Jesuit? It still checks out.

My concern is why it is in the mouth of the Man Born Blind. The answer is that the whole chapter 9 of John is a microcosm of Church history. When Jesus says that 'We must work the works of Him who sent me...' He was not talking to the disciples.

The Powerpoint below outlines this claim.

You can read the text of John 9 here.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Exercises in Hypocrisy including OZ TV stiches up a muslim supporter of Israel

After the horrors of the Paris sieges, we will begin to see all sorts of attempts to rewrite history rather than face reality. The flood of outrage will be replaced by the steady drip, drip, drip of rationalisation and appeasement.

Just for starters:

Je suis Charlie. What about...?

Je suis "noon"

The ISIL marked homes and businesses owned by Christians with a red, painted ن (pronounced “noon”), the 14th letter of the Arabic alphabet and the equivalent to the Roman letter N. The ن stands for Nasara or Nazarenes, a pejorative Arabic word for Christians.  See here: http://www.religiousfreedomcoalition.org/2014/09/19/in-defense-of-christians-conference-struggles-to-identify-friends-and-foes/


jesui See this excellent article here:

You might care to read this satirical article about how the UK would have dealt with "Charlie Hebdo":

You will see more of this kind of revisionism that 'Spiked' so cleverly satirises.

Also from 'Spiked' is http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/the-myth-of-islamophobia/15336

And finally, for now, the Spectator has produced the following from a little earlier this year:

A Muslim’s ambush: how I was stitched up by Australian breakfast TV

Channel Seven producers shamelessly exploited my goodwill project
10 January 2015 
This is how it's done.