Category Archives: Talks

John 21 Jesus on the beach video talk for church


Today [17th May] I did a video talk for Ascension church for their online service. This is it it’s on John 21 Jesus on the beach

 

Finding peace 26th Jan – Talk notes for 26th Jan 2020


From Longing to Finding a journey

Finding peace

26th Jan

 

Readings –  John 14 15-27;                 Ephesians 2 11-22;                  Ps 77

Themes – How do we find peace? Where do we find Peace? Who do we find peace in?

You will find the recorded talk here, on the church’s website, for a couple of months

  • Back on Christmas day I spoke about longing for peace, how we all desire peace in our life, today I talk about finding peace the last part of our Longing to Finding Journey.

 

I said then that the Hebrew word for peace shalom is derived from a root denoting wholeness or completeness, and its frame of reference throughout Jewish literature is bound up with the notion of shelemut, perfection.

Isn’t that what we all long for a life of Wholeness, Completeness and Perfection?

 

Peace is vital and will determine the quality of life we live in this world. Often we believe more money, more possessions, more vacations, more social outings and more friends would bring us happiness and translate into peace in this chaotic world. But the truth is more stuff can never bring us true peace.

So how do we find it?

  • Peace is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of Christ.” Sheila Walsh

 

In John 14.7 Jesus says “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” Jesus is telling us that we can only get real peace from Him; that any peace that we can get from the world is not real peace, it comes and goes.

 

We find it in and through Christ and what He has done for us.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed’ (Isaiah 53:5).

 

One of Jesus’ titles is “Prince of Peace” – he is peace, peace belongs to him, and that is why only Jesus can give us real peace. In his conversation with this disciples, he said, “Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you.” (John 14:27a AMP).

 

The word “bequeath” means to leave or give personal property by will or to pass something to another; to hand down (Dictionary by Merriam Webster).

So of all the many qualities Jesus had he left for us the thing he saw we would need most in this world and it was not money or physical possession, but it was the peace by which he lived and operated while on earth. The world is searching for peace, but there is no real peace besides the Prince of peace. If you are a believer, then by right you have been given the peace which passes all understanding.

“When Christ died He left a will in which He gave His soul to His Father, His body to Joseph of Arimathea, His clothes to the soldiers, and His mother to John. But to His disciples, who had left all to follow Him, He left not silver or gold, but something far better – His PEACE!” – Matthew Henry.

 

So peace is found in Jesus and following Him day by day

 

  • My personal experience bears this out: when I first encountered Jesus I found a peace I had never experienced before.

 

Many times since, when life has been full of trouble and pain, I have also found that peace to help me carry on.

 

What are your personal experiences?

 

  • Peace Produces Miracles

 Our whole Christian walk should revolve around Jesus and most times we believe it is. We hear sermons about Jesus’ miracles, we sing about the greatness of Jesus and nothing is wrong with sermons and worship that is Jesus centred. But, have you ever asked yourself, ‘What caused Jesus to move and operate in such supernatural means even though he was always bombarded with both friends and enemies?’

 

The answer is peace; he maintained and operated in such a level of peace there was no room for fear. Therefore, there were no limits to what he could do.

Jesus sleeps in the middle of an outrageous and to his disciples a life-threatening storm. When he is awoken from his sleep by Peter he is not frustrated, angry or upset, he merely speaks to the storm, and it stops immediately. (Mark 4:38 – 29 NIV)

Jesus feeds a multitude of people from only five loaves and two fish. (Mark 6:41 NIV). Most of us get a panic attack just planning a birthday party for our children; We would have probably passed out from a just looking at the multitude.

Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead after he had been in the tomb for four days all the while maintaining his composure and continuing his ministry during the four days until he could get to Lazarus. (John 11:4 – 6 NIV)

Jesus pays taxes to Caesar by sending Peter to open the mouth of a fish where the money would be found. (Matthew 17:24 – 27 NIV)

The reality of daily issues presented itself in Jesus’ life, but at every juncture and every obstacle, Jesus ruled the situation with peace. So often we lose sleep over situations that only Jesus can handle, we worry about provisions, sickness, and disease. We are anxious about being embarrassed if we can’t keep up with our friends and culture and about having enough.

 

Well, today I want to encourage you to give over to Jesus all that you have no control of and everything that is bigger than you and rest in him, rest in his all-encompassing love for you knowing he is able to do anything.

 Just think about this, the very peace that Jesus operated in and performed all these miracles is the very same peace he left for you!

 

  • Personally I need to do this often.

So often I cannot even manage the day.

Coming to church to worship is often hard for me; I do it in Christ’s strength and peace.

Most of the time I have little control over daily life or the ability to do much, I have to trust in Jesus and live in His peace.

“Christ’s miracles were not the suspension of the natural order but the restoration of the natural order. They were a reminder of what once was prior to the fall and a preview of what will eventually be a universal reality once again–a world of peace and justice, without death, disease, or conflict.” Tim Keller

 “A great many people are trying to make peace, but that has already been done. God has not left it for us to do; all we have to do – is to enter into it.” Dwight L Moody

“All the glory and beauty of Christ are manifested within, and there He delights to dwell; His visits there are frequent, His condescension amazing, His conversation sweet, His comforts refreshing; and the peace that He brings passeth all understanding.” Thomas Kempis

 

  • Ephesians 214 For Christ himself has brought peace to us.

He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. 15 He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups.

 We often see others as the reason we do not have peace, but Jesus came to bring us all together as part of one family.

He showed his love for each of us by dying for us.

This showed how much we are loved and when we know we are loved we can have peace within us no matter what is going on around us.

 

  • I finished my talk on Longing for Peace with

Colossians 1:19-21 

19 For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled
everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

Christ Jesus brings the Peace we all long for and it is only through Him that Wholeness, Completeness and Perfection can be found.

 

Philippians 4:6-7   Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

How do we experience God’s peace?

By praying about everything, telling God about what worries and concerns us.

 

  • Prayer of Peace
    Together we say –

Father, today I want to just thank you for the revelation I have received. I want to ask you to forgive me for running for the temporary peace the world offers. I stand before you today knowing the inheritance Jesus left me is priceless and beyond comparison to any material possessions.

Holy Spirit, teach me how to activate and use my inheritance of peace, show me what I must root out of my heart so I can create space to cultivate a peaceful heart. Open my eyes to see Jesus in the scriptures I read every day, so I can grow in my knowledge of his greatness, faithfulness, and his character.

I want the inheritance of peace to be multiplied many times over in my life. Holy Spirit, help me to operate in the measure of peace that Jesus operated in so I may see countless miracles in my life and those around me, let fear, anxiety, and worry have no room in my life for the peace of God expands in and around me. Holy Spirit, please give me the wisdom, strength, and courage to enter the realm of the peace of God so all the blessings so freely given may be kept. Let my life be an example for those around me to see your glory. I thank you for hearing my prayer, and I believe peace is my inheritance. Amen.

 

Notice Sheet piece  – Finding Peace

On Christmas Day we looked at how we all long for peace in our lives. We have now reached the point in our series, ‘From Longing to Finding – a Journey’, where we can now look at where we can find that peace. In John 14.7 Jesus says “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” Jesus is telling us that we can only get real peace from Him; anything that we can get from the world is not real peace, it comes and goes. My personal experience bears this out: when I first encountered Jesus I found a peace I had never experienced before. Many times since, when life has been full of trouble and pain, I have also found that peace to help me carry on. Sheila Walsh said, “Peace is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of Christ.” This peace is something we can pass on to each other, by prayer, it is something we can continually ask the Father for. After all it is a gift to all of us and who doesn’t want to use and share the gifts they are given? This peace comes from being in a relationship with Jesus and through Him the Father, it comes from knowing we are loved deeply. It comes from being seen as whole, complete and perfect, which only comes from our relationship with Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

John 14

15 “If you love me, obey[d] my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate,[e] who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.[f] 18 No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. 19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. 20 When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”

22 Judas (not Judas Iscariot, but the other disciple with that name) said to him, “Lord, why are you going to reveal yourself only to us and not to the world at large?”

23 Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. 24 Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me. 25 I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. 26 But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.

27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

 

 

Ephesians 2

11 Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. 12 In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. 13 But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.

14 For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. 15 He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. 16 Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.

17 He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. 18 Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.

A Temple for the Lord

19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. 20 Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. 21 We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. 22 Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.

 

Talk notes for Christmas Day 2019 Longing for Peace


 Longing for Peace

Reading – Luke 2 8-20

  • Over the last weeks we have looked at Longing for Joy, Hope, Love and Truth these all come together in Longing for Peace in our lives and around us.

 

We all long for Peace rather than disturbance, annoyance, worry or fear.

 

Parents want peace on Christmas day from all the work and hassle.

 

We all want peace from the stress of work.

 

Can you tell me what brings disturbance, annoyance, worry, to your lives and Robert will write it up on the board?

 

  • Peace or the Hebrew Shalom is the opposite of all this.

One definition of peace means being free from disturbance.

From a biblical perspective, the absence of conflict is only the beginning of peace.

True peace includes personal wholeness, righteousness, political justice, and prosperity for all creation.

The state of not being interrupted or annoyed by worryproblemsnoise, or unwanted actions:

The Hebrew word for peace shalom is derived from a root denoting wholeness or completeness, and its frame of reference throughout Jewish literature is bound up with the notion of shelemut, perfection.

 

Isn’t that what we all long for a life of Wholeness, Completeness and Perfection?

 

  • The shepherds had to make a decision to look for the child and the peace that was promised or stay on the hills afraid

 

Ask children and YP what they think the shepherds might have been afraid of on the hills.

 

I am sure that like us they also longed for peace.

Free from Rome, free from danger and free from prejudice.

 

  • Mary had a lot to be afraid of;

Not having other women around at the birth;

Not having a good place to sleep;

Having the concern of what others might think about her child and how she had him;

How she was going to bring up Jesus, after all he was special.

 

She like many parents must have longed for peace of mind.

 

Mary found peace in her heart from this visit and the message the shepherds brought, confirming what she had been already been told.

 

  • The shepherds were afraid but overcame their fear and received peace from the birth of Jesus and visiting Him.

Christmas and life in general brings challenges in many ways but we are to have the peace of God in us rather than the fear of man about the future

 

Colossians 1:19-21

19 For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled
everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

 

Christ Jesus brings the Peace we all long for and it is only through Him that Wholeness, Completeness and Perfection can be found.

 

Philippians 4:6-7 

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Let us Pray

Father God we thank you for Jesus, whose birth we celebrate today, we thank you that through Him we can have Wholeness, Completeness and Perfection because He is Whole, Complete and Perfection.

We thank you that we can have Peace Shalom in our lives by being born again in Jesus name and excepting Him into our lives.

 

We stay in silence and ask the Holy Spirit to fill us with Shalom

 

Come Holy Spirit and Fill us with Shalom

 

Amen

 

Notes for talk – Longing for Love 15th Dec 2019


Longing for Love Notes   Recorded version here http://www.ascensionbath.org.uk/sermons/

Themes –

The need to be loved;  The desire to have someone to love;   We are built for relationship;   Completeness in God’s love

Readings – John 4 1-19;        Genesis 28 1-5 and 29 14b – 30;         Psalm   36

Also using                    Eph 1 4;          Romans 8 35-39

 

  • This is quite a personal and deep thing for me to talk about, as I will share as we go.

 

  • Something most people want is to be loved and to have someone to love. Films like ‘Love Actually ‘ are popular because they show that anyone can find that love.

 

Do you watch Big Bang or Friends?

What are they about?

 

Love!  Realationship! each character is trying to find someone who will love them or they can love.

Then you have many other programs about people wanting love from Take me Out to Love Island

Even adverts use love, Amazon somebody to love, to sell

 

It seems to me that nearly everyone is looking for love, we seem to have the desire to love and to be loved built into us.

Now like me, for many years, you can try to avoid or deny it, but it catches up with you at some point that longing for love.

 

Tell about rejecting love and becoming a Vulcan, pushing emotion away ect.

 

  • But what is Love and what is longing for Love?

 

“I am always thirsty for love; my longing for love is never enough.”
― Debasish Mridha

 

One meaning from the urban dictionary is

The most spectacular, indescribable, deep euphoric feeling for someone.

Love is an incredibly powerful word. When you’re in love, you always want to be together, and when you’re not, you’re thinking about being together because you need that person and without them your life is incomplete.

This love is unconditional affection with no limits or conditions: completely loving someone. It’s when you trust the other with your life and when you would do anything for each other. When you love someone, you want nothing more than for them to be truly happy no matter what it takes, because that’s how much you care about them and because their needs come before your own. You hide nothing of yourself and can tell the other anything because you know they accept you just the way you are and vice versa.

Love can make you do anything and sacrifice for what will be better in the end. Love is intense and passionate. Everything seems brighter, happier and more wonderful when you’re in love. If you find it, don’t let it go.

Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 says about love

“Love is patient; love is kind and envies no one. Love is never boastful, nor conceited, nor rude; never selfish, not quick to take offence. Love keeps no score of wrongs; does not gloat over another’s sins, but delights in the truth. There is nothing love cannot face; there is not limit to its faith, its hope, and its endurance. In a word, there are three things that last forever: faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of them all is love.”

 

  • In Genesis we find Jacob who searched for the right person to love (1), but the trouble is for a lot of us is we do not feel that anyone will love us or even want us. Then there are people like the Samaritan woman (2) who is on her sixth man, sometimes we are just not happy with our choice of partner… Finding the love we long for isn’t easy and often very difficult.

 

I know of many people who are always looking for that love just like Jacob they cover distance and trails looking for it. Then I know others who just go for the first person who shows they any attention, but more often than not later on find that it’s not love but control.

 

All may be longing for love but many never seem to find true love.

 

I was lucky I met someone who saw me for who I was and got past my defences.

 

Tell how I met Bern and the strange longing I had to be with her

 

  • We think about human love and long for it, many seem never to be able to find it and even when in a relationship are still longing to fill that hole with true love.

 

We long for love because we want to be loved, to know we are important to someone.

 

I am sure many of us know people who are continually looking for love or to be loved or most likely both.

 

However I think that that longing can only be filled once we find God’s love for us.

 

There is one who has always loved you and always will. Jesus showed how much He loves you by giving up all he had and was, God-hood, so He could die for you. This is true love, the love we were all made for, it fulfils us, fills the hole in us by giving us someone to love as well.

Romans 8.35, asks, ‘Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?’ I have found that when you know Christ’s love then you can find human love as well, because you are no longer driven to fill that hole.

Ephesians 1 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.

 

Finding Jesus filled the hole I had, the one I filled with hobbies, it opened me up to love others for the first time and my wife in a better way.

Tell how that happened and how he helped me to love others and children.

 

We love each other because he loved us first.
1 John 4:19 NLT

 

  • SO longing for Love is normal how we deal with that longing is what is important.

How will you deal with it, by filling your life with Hobbies; Things; Work; Pleasure; Or Jesus?

 

It is only though knowing the love of Jesus that you can fill the hole and be able to love others as a person who is loved.

 

Phil Andrews said

When we stop acknowledging God as the ultimate source of satisfaction in our lives we will look to other things to fill our need for significance and love which require less humility than acknowledging God. Which ‘idols’ still pluck at your heart? Work, money, power, family, fame, romance? Make a list of God’s faithful deeds to you and see those impostors off!

 

As Olive posted on Facebook

This Christmas we don’t need more stuff. We need more LOVE towards one another.

Let us pray

News Sheet piece

Longing for Love
Something most people want is to be loved and to have someone to love. Films like ‘Love Actually ‘ are popular because they show that anyone can find that love. In Genesis we find Jacob who searched for the right person to love (1), but the trouble is for a lot of us we do not feel that anyone will love us or even want us. Then there are people like the Samaritan woman (2) who is on her sixth man, sometimes we are just not happy with our choice of partner… Finding the love we long for isn’t easy and often very difficult, however there is one who has always loved you and always will. Jesus showed how much He loves you by giving up all he had and was, God-hood, so He could die for you. This is true love, the love we were all made for, it fulfils us, fills the hole in us by giving us someone to love as well. Romans 8.35 asks, ‘Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?’ I have found that when you know Christ’s love then you can find human love as well, because you are no longer driven to fill that hole.
(1) Genesis 28 and 29 (2) John 4

“BEING A GOOD SERVANT” TALK notes FOR 27TH OCT 2019


Being a good servant

Talk for 27th Oct 2019

Readings – 2 Peter 1 3-11; Matthew 25 14-30; Psalm 145

Do we use the gifts we have as Christians?    Can others feed from us?        Are we fruitful, increasing the masters wealth?

Being a good servant

This links with Tim’s talk on Doubting and Roberts last week on a Harvest of Peace. This is amazing as we each choose what was on our hearts to talk about separately.

Isn’t God just so amazing so wonderful?

 

  • If I gave you £1k what would you do with it, if you knew you had to give account of it at some time in the future?

How about 5k or 10k?

This has been done with children being given £10 to start with and its often quite interesting just what they did with it and how much more they made. Making things then going round neighbours selling it, or providing a service.

Jesus wants us to be good servants, using the gifts we are given with boldness.

 

  • Jesus told a story about three servants and what they did with the gift given to them to show how citizens of His Kingdom should be.

 

It might seem strange to be talking about us as Gods servants when we also talk about being His children.

 

I see it this way, we are Adopted children of God and so his children.

However we are also his workers or servants expected to expand His kingdom.

 

It is possible to be a worker in your parents business and still be their loved child.

 

So I believe that being a servant and a child of god are not incompatible.

A wife loves her husband but also serves him and vice versa

Children love their parents and make them breakfast, serving them in that way.

In Roman families all worked to improve the family name and dignity of the head of the family

We can both be a child of god and part of His workforce; in fact I think that is the whole point, as we are adopted into His family we also become part of the family’s workforce.

 

 

  • Let’s think about this story in a different way.

Rather than getting caught up in thinking about gold, money etc. rather let’s think about it as Jesus was in how people work for their master.

So who is our master?

 

Jesus is isn’t he?

 

Jesus wants us to think about how we use the gifts we have received by the Holy Spirit.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Are we using them to grow in faith and to expand His kingdom and His dignity or just sitting on them?

 

He expects us to show a return for the gift of the Holy Spirit and our place in His family.

Even a small return to better than not using what we have been given at all.

 

In Hebrews Paul says ‘So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do Gods will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.’   Hebrews 10:35-36 NLT

 

  • Jesus said this would be hard when He talked about the narrow gate

Luke 13 22-30

He said to them, 24 ‘Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, “Sir, open the door for us.”
‘But he will answer, “I don’t know you or where you come from.”
26 ‘Then you will say, “We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.”
27 ‘But he will reply, “I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!”

 

Daniel McGinnis says –

“After Jesus emphasises the smallness of the way the kingdom begins in a person’s life, yet the many who will feed on it, someone asks him whether only a few will be saved. This is a highly relevant question, which Jesus makes personal. Christians often talk about seeing Christ in another person, such as the stranger in need, and yet here the focus shifts to us instead and whether our lives will be filled with enough faith and love and hope to be saved.

Jesus’ answer is challenging. He emphasises that it is not enough to eat or drink with him, or to listen to his teaching; his response to these people will be ‘I don’t know you’ (v 27). It seems it is not enough to attend church services, to listen to many sermons, even to participate in communion. Going through religious motions is not adequate. Mere familiarity with Christ is clearly not sufficient. Many of these who assume they are first in line will have actually become last. These are the ones who will end up in a distressing place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.

By contrast, what Jesus emphasises is a knowing, an intimacy of real relationship. This passage is provocative, pointing us firmly towards a kind of relationship with Christ that is so different from ritual, proximity or religiosity. This is religion of the heart, which allows Christ to know us deeply and intimately. Jesus clarifies that these are the kinds of people who will be able to enter through the narrow door into the feast in the kingdom of God.

This is a clear call to focus on our personal relationships with Jesus – the way we know him and he knows us. “

 

 

·         Parable of the Barren Fig Tree

Luke 13

Then Jesus told this story: “A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed. Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’

“The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.’”

 

Again Jesus is looking for the fruit from a follower.

God will give us time to grow and mature ready to bear fruit, but we must bear fruit.

Fruit shows we are really a follower of Jesus and part of the tree.

 

From

Luke 3   Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.

 

John 15   “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.

 

John 15            8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

 

Romans 7 Paul says    So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.

 

Service is always more important in God’s kingdom than status or recognition. We need to be producing fruit; it shows that we really are part of Gods family not just looking on.

 

 

  • 2 Peter 3 From the Message

3-4 Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received!

We have been given an invite into the family of God, an invitation to become a family member.

 

We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you—your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust.

5-9 So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus.

Peter is telling us how we need to live growing in faith and influencing others into faith as well.

 

Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.

The invite removes all your past failures and errors, you start in this family with a clean slate.

 

10-11 So, friends, confirm God’s invitation to you, his choice of you. Don’t put it off; do it now. Do this, and you’ll have your life on a firm footing, the streets paved and the way wide open into the eternal kingdom of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

Our salvation is not based on our works but our works shows if we have been really saved.

 

 

  • If you were given a great job with great benefits, would you just stay at home with your feet up telling everyone what a great job you had?

No you would go and enjoy working at this job, the one you always wanted with all the benefits you need and then you would show people what a great boss you worked for.

This is what Jesus is getting at.

We have been give the great gift of salvation and entrance into the family of God

However that comes with responsibilities,

The responsibility to improve yourself with the help of the Holy Spirit, who will help overcome your doubts and enable you to grow in faith.

The responsibility to work for the family of god, showing others the wonders of belonging to the family of god.

 

Let us pray together.

Holy Spirit, I pray that this day you will fill me with yourself and cause your fruit to ripen in my life:
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control as I grow in faith.

Holy Spirit I pray that this day you will help me be a good servant and increase the size of the family by working hard for God, bringing glory to Jesus.

Amen

 

 

 

If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for him’ (CT Studd, 1860–1931). Do we sometimes calculate the possible rewards of doing something for God, rather than acting because of his great sacrifice of love for us?

Matthew 25

Parable of the Three Servants

14 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. 15 He gave five bags of silver[b] to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.

16 “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. 17 The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. 18 But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.

19 “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. 20 The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’

21 “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together![c]

22 “The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’

23 “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

24 “Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. 25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’

26 “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, 27 why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’

28 “Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. 29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. 30 Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

 

2 Peter 3

Growing in Faith

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.

The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.

10 So, dear brothers and sisters,[c] work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. 11 Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

From the Message

Don’t Put It Off

3-4 Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you—your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust.

5-9 So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.

10-11 So, friends, confirm God’s invitation to you, his choice of you. Don’t put it off; do it now. Do this, and you’ll have your life on a firm footing, the streets paved and the way wide open into the eternal kingdom of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

News sheet

Being a good servant

In some schools children have been given £10 and told to use it to make more, most make things and go round selling to the neighbours some do very well. It’s not about how much they make but the confidence and learning that come from it. They learn the value of things and grow.

 

Today we are looking at the Parable of the Three Servants [1] in this parable 3 servants are given money to look after, just like the school children, while their master goes away. Two used that gift to make more the other didn’t.

Jesus has given each of us a gift, the gift of salvation and eternal life, it wasn’t something we bought rather it was a gift. However Jesus does expect to see that gift used and used to further his kingdom.

Peter says ‘So, friends, confirm God’s invitation to you, his choice of you. Don’t put it off; do it now. Do this, [improving yourself and grow in faith pleasing God] and you’ll have your life on a firm footing, the streets paved and the way wide open into the eternal kingdom of our Master and Saviour, Jesus Christ.’ [2] It’s also like the Parable of the Fig Tree [3] how long would you leave an un-fruiting tree in your garden? What’s its point if it doesn’t give fruit?

Does the gift Jesus gave you bear fruit or is it something no one sees?

 

[1] Matthew 25 NLT  [2] 2 Peter 3 10-11 Message version [3] Luke 13 6-9

 

Talk Notes for ‘Suffering for doing good’ 18th 08 2019


18th Aug 2019

Suffering for doing good

Readings 1 Peter  3.13-22;             Mark 10 35-45                      Psalm 69

 Themes

Jesus suffered for us; we will suffer for following him, but we have a reward

Christ at the centre

How we deal with our suffering shows others our hope and faith

Gives us opportunities to share our faith 

Being picked on for doing good will rebound as others see what is happening

Isn’t it better to suffer for doing good than wrong

 

 

  • Suffering for doing good

We might wonder why we suffer when we are doing good

Peter says ‘who would want to harm you if you are eager to do good?’

 

A good question

However history and our own experiences tell us that often people do suffer even when they are doing good to others.

 

Suffering is never any fun, no matter what you are doing or what the suffering is

—   That is especially true when we feel that the suffering is unjustified.

—   We may be tempted to get angry with God.

—   “If He loves me, how could let this happen?”

—   Our challenge as believers is to find God’s purpose in the midst of suffering.

So let’s see what we can find out today.

  • Not long ago we looked at the Beatitudes

Matt 5 10  God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

 

And from 1 Peter 3  13 Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.

1 Peter 3:13-22 The Message (MSG)

13-18 If with heart and soul you’re doing good, do you think you can be stopped? Even if you suffer for it, you’re still better off. Don’t give the opposition a second thought. Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master.

Following God has always had a cost

From Noah, Joseph and the prophets to Jesus and his disciples

And onwards through history to us today

 

God says even when we suffer for doing good to others we are blessed, we are not to worry about what can happen when we do good. After all we know we are doing God’s will and we have a hope.

 

  • What is the Hope we have?

Paul in 2 Corinthians 4 says

‘because we know that God raised the Lord Jesus to life. And just as God raised Jesus, he will also raise us to life.’

 

1 Peter

18 Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.

 

Our hope is in Jesus the forgiveness of sins and eternal life with Him

Hope in a future with freedom from pain, death and suffering in eternal life with Him

 

Trust in the love of our Father who only wants the best for us.

Trust in the word of God, Jesus, who has told us we have a eternal future with Him.

 

  • But why do we suffer for doing good?

It’s the way of the fallen world; suffering is part of the world even Christ suffered

All of creation suffers we are not alone in that

Romans 8 creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children,[a]including the new bodies he has promised us.

 

Noah suffered even though he was trying to help, they thought he was mad

Joseph suffered due to his brother’s envy

Job suffered because the devil wanted prove of his faith

The prophets all suffered even though they were trying to help

Jesus Suffered even though He was only trying to help us.

In our Peter reading it says 18 Christ suffered[b] for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit

17 Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!

 

In Mark 10 38-39 – Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink? Are you able to be baptized with the baptism of suffering I must be baptized with?”

39 “Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!”

Then Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup and be baptized with my baptism of suffering.

 

God can use our suffering for good,

Job, Noah, Jesus, Paul, you and me.

 

  • So why should we do good?

Would we rather be doing wrong?

Did Christ do wrong as He suffered?

If all suffer isn’t it better to being doing good at the same time

If we did bad things how would that show what we believe in?

Because God can use our good actions to help others

Job, Noah, Jesus, Paul, you and me.

 

After all we believe in a God of Love who suffered and died for us and only wants the best for all of us.

So shouldn’t we do what we can for others just as Christ did for us.

The good Samaritan.

 

Shouldn’t we should help others rather than hurt them, because God does the same to us.

We do not deserve His love, help and support but He gives it anyway, others might not deserve our help but we in love should give it anyway.

 

Our response to what God does for us should be thanks and praise to God but it isn’t always. Is it?

 

Neither is the response of those we aid.

 

We are called upon to love even our enemies and to serve others

Mark 10

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 43 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

 

Slaves work for the good of their master, and who is our master?

 

  • It opens up the chance to tell others about Jesus

1 peter

15 ….if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.

 

I have found that people will sometimes want to know why you do what you do

Or why you put up with suffering without complaining, or why you help others even though you need the help.

 

This allows us to tell others about Christ and our hope in Him and then Christ can use His Spirit to direct them to Him.

 

Slaves are supposed to sing the praise of their master; the master would not be pleased if they don’t

Look at how Trump responds to those who work for him criticising him, we do not find many people saying how great he is to work for or about the good things he does for them.

 

As slaves of God we are to tell others as they ask about Him. Sing His praises and point them to Him.

Not to an organisation or denomination but to Jesus and through Him to the Father.

  

  • So How do we tell others?

Peter says by doing it

16  in a gentle and respectful way.

 

If they ask, tell then why you live the way you do.

 

2 Corinthians 4

13 In the Scriptures it says, “I spoke because I had faith.”

We have that same kind of faith. So we speak

 

Tell about what is it you believe what is your faith in?

 

Can you tell them why you believe or what God has done for you concisely?

 

Can you tell them why do you do good things even to those who do not like you?

 

Peter says that

Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.

 

2 Corinthians 4

8 We often suffer, but we are never crushed. Even when we don’t know what to do, we never give up. 9 In times of trouble, God is with us, and when we are knocked down, we get up again. 10-11 We face death every day because of Jesus. Our bodies show what his death was like, so that his life can also be seen in us. 12 This means that death is working in us, but life is working in you.

13 In the Scriptures it says, “I spoke because I had faith.” We have that same kind of faith. So we speak 14 because we know that God raised the Lord Jesus to life. And just as God raised Jesus, he will also raise us to life. Then he will bring us into his presence together with you. 15 All of this has been done for you, so that more and more people will know how kind God is and will praise and honor him.

Faith in the Lord
16 We never give up. Our bodies are gradually dying, but we ourselves are being made stronger each day. 17 These little troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all our troubles seem like nothing

 

Christ through Noah told the people of his age what God was planning and how to avoid it, however the people refused to listen and made life hard for Noah and his family.

 

Christ through the various Prophets did the same for  Israel and Juda and they didn’t listen.  However some always do and each one is a saved soul.

 

  • What is your Faith?

Paul said

“I spoke because I had faith.” We have that same kind of faith. So we speak 14

 

Spend a few moments thinking about what your faith is.

 

Is it in others?

 

Is it in the CoE?

 

Is it in Robert?

 

What is your faith?

 

Is your faith in Jesus, who suffered for you, so you could be forgiven and know the Father’s love?

 

  • Finally

So when you suffer, think of Christ, use your discomfort, pain, fear etc to show your faith in Christ.

As Christ suffered He pointed us to the Fathers Love, so we need to be doing the same.

 

All will suffer in one way or another, but we can choice how we deal with that suffering.

With the Strength of Christ in us, Helping others, having hope not despair

Living a life that is based on our future not our peasant.

 

 

Romans 12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

 

Let’s Pray

 

1 Peter 3:13-22 New Living Translation (NLT)

Suffering for Doing Good

13 Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. 15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way.[a] Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. 17 Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!

18 Christ suffered[b] for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.[c]

19 So he went and preached to the spirits in prison— 20 those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood.[d] 21 And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from[e] a clean conscience. It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

22 Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept his authority.

 

 

1 Peter 3:13-22 The Message (MSG)

13-18 If with heart and soul you’re doing good, do you think you can be stopped? Even if you suffer for it, you’re still better off. Don’t give the opposition a second thought. Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They’ll end up realizing that they’re the ones who need a bath. It’s better to suffer for doing good, if that’s what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad. That’s what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others’ sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all—was put to death and then made alive—to bring us to God.

19-22 He went and proclaimed God’s salvation to earlier generations who ended up in the prison of judgment because they wouldn’t listen. You know, even though God waited patiently all the days that Noah built his ship, only a few were saved then, eight to be exact—saved from the water by the water. The waters of baptism do that for you, not by washing away dirt from your skin but by presenting you through Jesus’ resurrection before God with a clear conscience. Jesus has the last word on everything and everyone, from angels to armies. He’s standing right alongside God, and what he says goes.

 

Mark 10 35-45

Jesus Teaches about Serving Others

35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came over and spoke to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do us a favor.”

36 “What is your request?” he asked.

37 They replied, “When you sit on your glorious throne, we want to sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.”

38 But Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink? Are you able to be baptized with the baptism of suffering I must be baptized with?”

39 “Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!”

Then Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup and be baptized with my baptism of suffering. 40 But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. God has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.”

41 When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. 42 So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 43 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Talk notes for 28th July 1 Peter 1.13-2.3 The call to holy living in Christ


Talk for 28th July

1 Peter 1.13-2.3

The call to holy living in Christ

Themes

Redeemed people;     to be separate from this world;       

Separate for God, living out the values of our new home;           

Authentic faith reveals itself in what we do in our works of holiness.

 

 Holy Living?

14 So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. 15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”

 

Or as the message says:- As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, “I am holy; you be holy.”

 

Peter tells his friends and us three ways this obedience should work out in practice and gives examples.

 

  • First, these believers must stop obeying their old sinful desires (v. 14), no longer being pulled into the old way of living.

These ‘evil desires’ belong to the bad old days when these believers, when we, didn’t know God.

Can you think of any?

How are you different now to before you gave your life to Christ?

 

In those days of ‘ignorance’, we just followed whatever sinful desires bubbled up in our hearts. But now we are children of God and we must obey him instead.

There is always a clash between what God wants and what sinful human beings want. Every thought, every action is a choice. Who will you choose to obey today?

God or culture?

  • The Second command is to ‘be holy’ (v. 15). These believers’ lives used to be a mirror of the sin in their hearts.

Now their lives should be a mirror of God’s holiness, “Pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness.”  Msg

Human children look like their parents; Christians should look like their Father too. God wants us to be just as pure and good as he is. Our home is with him.

So how should we look as children of Christ?

What is Holy Living?

Ask around

 

  • Thirdly, we must live ‘in reverent fear’ of God (v. 17). We need to do that because of the sort of judge God is.

16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”

17 And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.” 18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you

Or Msg  God said, “I am holy; you be holy.”

17 You call out to God for help and he helps—he’s a good Father that way. But don’t forget, he’s also a responsible Father, and won’t let you get by with sloppy living.

 

Our Father is holy (v. 16). He hates all evil. He is also a perfectly just judge. He is impartial (v. 17). God may be our father, but that doesn’t mean he has lower standards for us, just because we are in his family.

Wonderfully, God forgives our sin through Jesus’ death, but we are still to ‘live … in reverent fear’ of him (v. 17). God still hates sin. He wants us to stop it! We are not to settle down in disobedience. We can’t presume to slip all kinds of sinful behaviour past God, as if he will just look the other way.

 

God will still judge us even as followers of Christ, but we are judged on how we follow Christ, how we try to live.

Yes like Peter we will get it wrong but we can ask for forgivness as long as we are trying to follow Jesus’s way.

As the saying goes

Hate the sin love the person

Being obedient children sounds like a big ask, but did you notice the word ‘call’

God has called us into relationship with him and he invites us to call on him to help us live as he wants.
Living Holy lives is impossible on our own but if we call on the Spirit to help us it isn’t quite as hard.

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart Ezekiel 36:26

God’s Spirit will always be there to help us live Holy Lives, we just need to ask for that help.

 

  • Precious’.

18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God20 God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake.

21 Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.

22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth,

‘Precious’ means more than just ‘valuable’. It means valuable to you personally. Something precious is something very dear to your heart.

This is a strange thing to say about the violent death of a friend, but Peter wants us his readers to see just how precious Jesus’ blood is and why.

Do you think of Jesus Blood is to you?

 

  • What has Christ’s blood done (vv. 18–19)?
    From the Msg
    18-21 Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ’s sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb. And this was no afterthought. Even though it has only lately—at the end of the ages—become public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you. It’s because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God.

 

Jesus’ blood has redeemed us. To redeem means to buy or to buy back. Peter seems to have the Old Testament story of the Passover in his mind here. God redeemed his Old Testament people out of slavery in Egypt by the death of the Passover lambs. This pointed forward to Jesus’ saving death on the cross.

Jesus’ blood has now bought these believers out of an ‘empty way of life’ (v. 18). That does not mean Peter’s readers used to have blank diaries and nothing to do. They were probably very busy, doing life the way it had been done in their families for generations. But they did not know the God who made them. They were slaves to their own evil desires. They were trapped in a way of life which would end only in God’s judgment on their sin. Back then they were not God’s children. Back then they had no glorious future. But things are very different now.

 

  • How much do you think you are worth?

Jesus was willing to pay an enormously costly price to buy you out of spiritual slavery and make you his own. Jesus paid with his own blood. In Bible times, slaves were usually redeemed with silver or gold. We think of silver and gold as valuable, yet their value is fleeting; it won’t last forever. But the future God has planned for believers will never perish; it will last for eternity. All the silver and gold in the world could not buy what Jesus’ blood bought for us. No wonder Peter calls Jesus’ blood ‘precious’!

Peter’s point is very clear. His message is: look what it cost Jesus to buy you freedom from that old way of living.

Don’t take Jesus’ blood lightly.

Don’t go back to your old ways. Live your new life. Live it in reverent fear!

 

In the next verse Peter tells us more about this new life and new future.

21 Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.

What does Peter say about how we live now (v. 21)?

Peter begins by explaining why believers love one another. How has this happened (v. 22)?

 

22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters.[d] Love each other deeply with all your heart.  [ = with a Pure heart]

 

Peter writes of a new obedience, which leads to a new purity, which leads to a new love. This is a description of the beginning of the Christian life.

We have been purified by his blood. Now we are called to a new life of purity, living as obedient children.

We leave behind our old ways and begin a new life together. In this new family, the bond of love between us is real. It flows naturally out of becoming a Christian. Now Peter calls on believers to keep loving. We must love one another ‘deeply, from the heart’, whatever happens.

Many things will put this love under pressure, but we must love each other. Why must we (vv. 23–24)?

23 For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.

We should love one another because we ‘have been born again’. When a baby is born, a new life begins. We have been born again spiritually, so now we must live our new life together as God’s redeemed people.

This new life will last forever. That is what Peter stresses here. We have been born again through ‘the living and enduring word of God’ (v. 23). It is this ‘imperishable’ seed which has brought us new life.

Peter contrasts this ‘seed’ with ‘perishable seed’. Our physical human life begins from a perishable seed. However glorious human lives seem now, they are soon gone, like the bloom of a flower (v. 24). But the word of God, which has been preached to Peter’s Christian readers and to us, is eternal. The new life this word brings is eternal too. So, love your Christian brothers and sisters! The relationships in our new family will last forever. Let’s make them good ones!

 

Sin wrecks relationships. If these Christians are going to grow loving relationships which last, what must they do (2:1)?

They must get rid of any desire to harm each other. Slander, and the malice which prompts it, must go. These believers must get rid of all envy and hypocrisy too. Bitterness and spiritual one-upmanship will sprout and flourish from these dangerous seeds. Yet how easy it is to wish we had what others have or to pretend we are better than we are. Christian brothers and sisters must love each other deeply and get rid of anything that will spoil this love.

 

  • What else does Peter want his friends to do and why (v. 2)?

From the Msg

Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.

 

1 Peter 2

Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.

 

Peter wants them to crave spiritual food. Literally, he tells these believers to crave pure ‘wordy’ milk or ‘the pure milk of the word’.

Newborn babies cry out for milk. Babies will not settle until their hunger is satisfied. It is vital for their life; they will not live and thrive without it. Christians need the spiritual food of God’s word. Our hearts are to cry out for God’s word as babies cry out for milk.

Christians are born again through God’s word (1:23). Peter’s friends have begun the Christian life. They have ‘tasted’ the goodness of God in the gospel (2:3). Now they need to keep feasting on that life-giving word. Only then will they grow up in their salvation. The same is true for us today.

How is your spiritual hunger for God’s word?

Spiritual hunger works differently from physical hunger. With physical hunger, the more you eat, the less hungry you feel. But spiritual hunger works the other way round. The more you eat, the more spiritually hungry you feel.

So, if you aren’t feeling spiritually hungry, if you aren’t craving pure ‘wordy’ milk, it is a sure sign that you need to get on and eat something! Get listening to God’s word again. That is the way to feel more hungry spiritually. Try it!

 

  • So what is Holy Living?

Holy living is

 

Living with a deep fear of not knowing God

NO longer live as we did

Give up the ways of the world

Obey God’s commands

Know you were saved by the precious blood of Jesus

Having a hunger for God’s word

Having a hunger for the Spirit of God

Knowing that our precious to God

Love each other

Love others

Build a relationship with Jesus and Follow him

 

From Psalm 34

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
11 Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
13 keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from telling lies.
14 Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are attentive to their cry;

 

Let’s Pray

Someone once said that a Christian should be like the burning bush in Exodus 3 – ‘rooted in Christ, on fire for God, and drawing people towards Him.’

So today, if you, are feeling lukewarm or lacking in spiritual fervour, ask God to fan into flame the gift He gave you (2 Timothy 1:6).

Call on your Father to help you obey him today rather than your old sinful desires.

 

Call on the Spirit to help you love each other

Pray you would crave the spiritual food of God’s word so that you will feed on it and ‘grow up in your salvation’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 [NLT]  A Call to Holy Living

13 So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. 14 So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. 15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”[c]

17 And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.” 18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. 20 God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake.

21 Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.

22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters.[d] Love each other deeply with all your heart.  [ = with a Pure heart]

23 For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. 24 As the Scriptures say,

“People are like grass;
their beauty is like a flower in the field.
The grass withers and the flower fades.
25     But the word of the Lord remains forever.”[f]

And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.

So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.

 

(MSG)  A Future in God

13-16 So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that’s coming when Jesus arrives. Don’t lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn’t know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, “I am holy; you be holy.”

17 You call out to God for help and he helps—he’s a good Father that way. But don’t forget, he’s also a responsible Father, and won’t let you get by with sloppy living.

18-21 Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ’s sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb. And this was no afterthought. Even though it has only lately—at the end of the ages—become public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you. It’s because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God.

22-25 Now that you’ve cleaned up your lives by following the truth, love one another as if your lives depended on it. Your new life is not like your old life. Your old birth came from mortal sperm; your new birth comes from God’s living Word. Just think: a life conceived by God himself! That’s why the prophet said,

The old life is a grass life,
its beauty as short-lived as wildflowers;
Grass dries up, flowers droop,
God’s Word goes on and on forever.

This is the Word that conceived the new life in you.

1-3 So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.

 

Questions for Small Groups

 

  1. Peter tells his friends three ways this obedience should work out in practice. What are his three commands (vv. 14, 15, 17)? (Notice how Peter gives a reason for each one.)
  2. How does God, our Father, judge each person’s work?

 

 

  1. What does Peter describe as precious (v. 19)?
  2. What has Christ’s blood done (vv. 18–19)?

 

 

  1. What does Peter call Christ (v. 19)?

 

 

  1. In the next verse Peter tells us more about this new life and new future. What does Peter say about how we live now (v. 21)?

 

  1. Many things will put this love under pressure, but we must keep loving each other. Why must we (vv. 23–24)?

 

 

  1. Sinwrecks  If these Christians are going to grow loving relationships which last, what must they do (2:1)?

 

 

  1. What else does Peter want his friends to do and why (v. 2)?

 

Talk notes for ‘Blessed are the Pure in Heart for they shall see God’ 23rd June 2019


Blessed are the Pure in Heart for they shall see God  

Talk notes for 23rd June

 recorded version will be here for a couple of months  http://www.ascensionbath.org.uk/sermons/

Readings

Matthew 5 1-2 & 8     Gal 5 16-26    Psalm 24

Outline

God wants hearts that are in line with Him.

We will get things wrong but God still knows our heart

Do we know and accept the wrong we do and seek forgiveness?

 

Does our heart want to follow the Spirit and live God’s way? that is important

When our heart is in line with His ‘Pure’ then we see God in all around us and others see God in us.

We can also see God and hear from Him

 

  • Blessed are the Pure in Heart for they shall see God

I said in the notice sheet piece ‘The interesting thing is that so many people say that they want to see God but they don’t know how.

Here, in Matthew, Jesus tells us that those who are pure in their hearts will see God.

However the problem is often no one understands what being Pure in Heart means.

 

Pure the Greek word is katharoi, which means, “clean, pure, unstained, either literally, ceremonially, or spiritually; guiltless, innocent, upright.” It refers to that which is “without added mixture; separated (purged), clean (pure) because it is unmixed (without undesirable elements).” In the spiritual sense, it refers to being purified by God – being free from the contaminating influences of sin.

 

Heart: The original Greek word used here is the word kardia. It’s obvious we’ve carried this word over to represent the organ in our body responsible for pumping 750 gallons of blood through our body every nine hours.
But the biblical use of this word goes beyond a physical organ. It refers to the core of a person; that immaterial thing inside that makes us what we truly are. When you strip everything away, what’s left? That’s what this verse is really referring to here. It’s our irreducible minimum.
 

  • Those with Pure Hearts are contrasted with those who thought that they had satisfied God’s will through ceremonial conformity to tradition. Jesus insisted on simple, true heart – righteousness

 

Judah followed the rituals but their hearts were far from God and not pure

Jeremiah 7 3 – 11

This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “don’t be fooled by those who promise you safety simply because the Lord’s Temple is here. They chant, “The Lord’s Temple is here! The Lord’s Temple is here!” But I will be merciful only if you stop your evil thoughts and deeds and start treating each other with justice;only if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows; only if you stop your murdering; and only if you stop harming yourselves by worshiping idols. Then I will let you stay in this land that I gave to your ancestors to keep forever.

“Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It’s a lie! Do you really think you can steal; murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours, 10 and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “We are safe!”— Only to go right back to all those evils again?

 

  • Boast in the Lord not your things accomplishments

Jeremiah 9 23-24

23 This is what the Lord says:
“Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom,
or the powerful boast in their power,
or the rich boast in their riches.
24 But those who wish to boast
should boast in this alone:
that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord
who demonstrates unfailing love
and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth,
and that I delight in these things.
I, the Lord, have spoken!

 

  • We will get it wrong often We will fall into sin by doing wrong

 

After all we started as sinners made pure by Jesus

Romans 6

4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. 6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.

 12 Do not let sin control the way you live;[a] do not give in to sinful desires. 13 Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God

  • . 14 Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of Gods grace.

 

It is through the grace of God that are hearts become like Jesus’ pure and holy

It is through confession that we keep our hearts pure.

 

  • We need to acknowledge our sinfulness

Jeremiah 8 4-6

“Jeremiah, say to the people, ‘This is what the Lord says:

“‘When people fall down, don’t they get up again?
When they discover they’re on the wrong road, don’t they turn back?
Then why do these people stay on their self-destructive path?
Why do the people of Jerusalem refuse to turn back?
They cling tightly to their lies
and will not turn around.
I listen to their conversations
and don’t hear a word of truth.
Is anyone sorry for doing wrong?
Does anyone say, “What a terrible thing I have done”?
No! All are running down the path of sin
as swiftly as a horse galloping into battle!

 

And Paul says in Galatians  

  • The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

 

 

None of this gives us a Pure heart, rather a polluted one.

 

We need to recognise when we sin, and repent.

Allowing Jesus to purify our hearts again.

Asking to be filled by the Holy Spirit again so we can live pure lives with the fruit of the Spirit in us.

 

Again Paul says – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

 

Pure speaks of being free and clear of the effects of guilt and sin. It’s like a filter has been put over the heart so it becomes peaceful instead of hostile. What was wrong with the heart before has been made right by virtue of God’s influence upon it. Just as Jesus touched and purified the leper, He purifies our heart when He touches our lives.

  • We need to be more real on inside than it seems outside

Faith is not about outward acts or appearances but begins and ends with the transformation of the heart

 

Matthew 6 1-6; 16-18

“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

16 And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth,  that is the only reward they will ever get. 17 But when you fast, comb your hair[d] and wash your face. 18 Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

 

  • Do we live from the outside in – to please others and build our reputation in the eyes of the world?

 

Or do we live from the inside out – seeking to live good honest lives before God and leaving our reputation in God’s hands.

Do we have integrity?

What is the core of your life?

What is your worldview?

 

Jeremiah 17:9-10 MSG         “The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.”

Luke 3

John said about Jesus: “I’m baptizing you here in the river. The main character in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will ignite the kingdom life, a fire, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out. He’s going to clean house—make a clean sweep of your lives. He’ll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false he’ll put out with the trash to be burned.”

 

  • So today’s question is, what is your heart centred on, is it family, career, hobby, money, enjoyment something else or as Jesus said him?

 

How do you see the world around you?

 

Jesus said in Luke 18 “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

We have to be like Children, Pure in Heart.

 

Children are pure in heart as they are the same on the inside and outside, they have not learnt how to wear a mask.

 

What matters is not your status before man, but your status before God your Father.

Child of God, Pure Hearts come from putting Jesus our saviour God our father at the heart of everything

 

  • RESPONSE: Today, ask the Lord to search your heart for any impurities that may be clouding your vision of Him.

Lets pray

Father we want to see you

We want to see and hear from you daily.

We want to see you all around us.

 

So Father please Purify my heart today, wash it clean with the blood of your son Jesus our saviour

Fill me anew with your Holy Spirit

Help us to be pure in heart and blessed with the sight of you.

 

Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice Sheet piece

Blessed are the Pure in Heart for they shall see God [1]

The interesting thing is that so many people say that they want to see God but they don’t know how.

Here, in Matthew, Jesus tells us that those who are pure in their hearts will see God. However the problem is often no one understands what being Pure in Heart means. Jesus had made it clear in other places we have pure hearts when we put Jesus at the centre of our lives and treat others as He would and as He does treat us. It’s not about making sure we look good to others, or taking part in the rituals of church, or even being seen to do good works. No it is about what is important deep in our lives. So today’s question is, what is your heart centred on, is it family, career, hobby, money, enjoyment something else or as Jesus said him?

I have found that when my heart is pure, aligned with, centred on, Jesus then I see and hear God around me and in others and when I let my heart slip away then I lose that sight.

 

[1] Matthew 5 8

Talk notes for ‘When Jesus Speaks how do you answer?’ Palm Sunday 14th April 2019


When Jesus Speaks how do you answer Palm Sunday 14th April 2019 (2)

 

Recording of the talk will be here    for a couple of months

Counter Cultural Love – Notes from my talk in church 10th Feb 2019


Counter Cultural Love

Talk for Sunday 10th Feb 2019

 

Themes

* Looking at how hard it is to love those who disagree with us

* Who support a different view point

* Who dislike someone we like

* How we are led by culture to hate certain ideas and people

* How Jesus calls on us as God always has done to love even those who hate and hurt us.

Readings   1 Samuel 24.3-5, 7-13                    Luke 6.27-36

 

  • Last week Clare talked about the Power of Love and this talk builds on that.

How Loving even those who do not love us is God’s way.

 

  • I have used a piece from the Big Issue by Dr Harris in the notice sheet piece

He says our minds are “trained to disconnect” when we see a homeless person. “We readily help kids and cute animals, in part because we know that whatever trouble they’re in, they can’t really be held accountable.”

“We’re less likely to be so understanding and forgiving when it comes to homeless adults or drug addicts.

“This tendency to judge rather than help is partly the result of a spot in the prefrontal cortex which appears to modulate the degree of empathy by regulating the release of dopamine.

 

No dopamine means no reward from engaging with the other person, which makes it less likely that we’ll reach out empathically.”

 

This sense of disconnect could be at the heart of everything that divides society today. “Of course these kinds of responses occur, ultimately, in our brains; where else would they occur? But social processes have enormous power to change neural processes.

So is our humanity something we can turn on and off – if only we found the right buttons to push?

“We’re trying to figure out what brain mechanisms allow us to switch these responses on and off,”

 

Harris says. “We want to make empathy the default response because now, the default response is to switch off entirely. If we’re going to get that to change we need a complete cultural shift.

 

As Christians we believe that living God’s way will turn our response around we will love others as God loves us and them.  That is Counter Cultural Love

 

That is what we are going to look at together today.

 

 

  • ‘Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.’ Romans 12:2 NLT

From UCB Word for today – Thoughts produce feelings, not the other way around. Worried people tend to think anxious thoughts, and eventually those thoughts become so automatic that, like a lingering odour, you stop noticing and learn to live with it. You get used to ‘stinking thinking’! Your thought patterns become as habitual as brushing your teeth. You get so accustomed to thinking bitter, anxious, selfish thoughts that you stop paying attention to any other way of doing things.

 

Basically you respond as the world expects you to.

Love those who love and help you ignore most others and hate those who harm you or those you love.

 

David had been Hurt, Insulted, Hated and Hunted by Saul for a while and now he had his chance, his men where encouraging him to deal with the enemy once and for all.

However David had always followed God and knew that it was God’s job to deal with his enemies.

 

So he did the Counter Cultural thing and let him live.

He refused to kill the one who wanted to kill him and even got distressed at having cut his robe.

 

Can you think of situations in the world or even your life which are similar?

 

David had been transformed into a New Person because he tried to live God’s way.

 

Jesus taught his disciples saying, “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.

 

David did this, most of the people  then including the King, Saul, didn’t.

And it is still the same now people hold on to anger and hatred and that breeds more of the same.

 

Saul responded by saying how sorry he was and stopped hunting David, at least for a while and this situation happened again. In the end it was Saul who died but not at David’s hand and David became king.

 

  • Luke 6.27-36 From the Message

7-30 “To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.

 

This is hard teaching.

So how does not acting like those who dislike us, our enemies, bring out the best in us?

 

I saw a situation during the week

A red car was coming out of a junction when another car came down the hill and honked it and speeded off.

The red car honked back and gave chase and off they went honking each other.

 

The red car had not brought the best out of the other car in fact the situation just got worse.

 

What would have happened if the other car had just stopped or driven past?

 

 

If we react in the way we are being treated then we just ramp up the situation

whereas if we show love we show the best of ourselves and claim down the situation.

 

Think about how people react to each other over Brexit or many other points of view, or who hate those they like.

 

How does responding hate for hate help?

How does being angry to those who are not like us help?

How does ignoring the Homeless or the Migrant help?

It doesn’t it just produces more anger and hatred.

 

But what if we help in some way??

 

How did David respond?

 

  • When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person.

Now that is the way to respond, pray for them.

 

I know from my own experiences that it is hard to not respond in kind, and culture expects and encourages us to.

Just watch the soaps or virtually any drama

Watch how they act in parliament

 

Or just see how society around you act.

Culture tells us its ok to hate those who hate you, to want revenge on those who hurt you to only help if theirs something in it for you

 

However if I can just stop and pray it starts to make a difference to how I respond.

Its a bit like counting to 10 as I was told to as a child.

But in this case I am asking for help from my Father to act as He does.

I do not always get it right either, but then neither did David.

 

 

  • If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, gift-wrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.

 

Again, this is not easy, we tend to want to get our own back to get an advantage.

 

If someone says something about me I want to get my own back, is how our thoughts go.

That leads to personal insults and on the internet Trolling.

The word trolling is a word commonly used to describe a method of fishing. In trolling, a fisherman         casts a line out into the water, usually several, and pulls them behind a boat, hoping that he will catch            something.

A troller or someone that trolls is someone that casts a line out in the Internet world in hopes of hooking             someone into an argument, pretty straight forward right?

They get a kick out of winding others up or just being rude.

 

Jesus tells us to not respond in kind but to be generous to them in our response.

 

  • Luke 23 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”

Like Jesus we need to ask our Father in heaven to help us forgive.

 

When we forgive we help ourselves by not having that stress in our life anymore.

In an argument we just stop and let them have the last word or ignore them, Jesus did this with the Pharisees often.

 

Sometimes we just have to be the servant, a person who just takes orders and abuse from the master and can not respond.

 

Just think about Jesus and how He lived He never retaliated

 

Then there is what we say in the Lords Prayer

forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation.

 

31-34 “Here is a simple rule of thumb for behaviour: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them!

So think if someone else has sweets you might like them to offer one to you, wouldn’t you?

Then  you need to offer others some of your sweets.

 

If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back?

Its easy to give some of your sweets to a friend who has some to share back, not so easy to give to a stranger or outcast who can’t give back, but it is what God asks of us.

It is also what we expect from God if you stop and think about it.

 

Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal?

Garden-variety sinners do that.

If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity?

The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that.

God helps us in many ways, He forgives, He Loves, He Blesses all without anything in return.

We need to be the same

Always giving in Love to others with no thought of praise or reward.

 

John 3 16  Message version

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.

 

  • 35-36 “I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return.

 

Many people do good things for the reward.

Helping children or animals because it makes them feel good

Helping friends because they will like us and might give us something back

 

 

We need to teach ourselves to act as God does to us with Love and Forgiveness

Train ourselves so we move the pleasure switch to doing good to all no matter who they are, how they treat us or where they come from.

 

As with all re-training it needs to be done in small steps.

Start with one person who you would not normally engace in love with and go from there, slowly you will change how you think to become more Christ like in your actions.

And as in all things do not beat yourself up if you make mistakes or get it wrong, Jesus understands and He knows you are trying.

 

You’ll never-I promise-regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.

 

We know that God loves us no matter what, we do don’t we?

After all He gave Himself for our punisment.

He is kind and loving to us no matter how we treat Him

Isn’t He?

 

So we need to act that way to those around us.

Loving them even when they hurt us by their actions [Sin]

Loving them even when they ignore us

Loving them when they take advantage of us

 

Because when we do then our Father promises that we will be treated in the same way in heaven and by Him always.

forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation.

 

None of us want to be treated badly so we need to treat all we met, no matter how they stand with us, with LOVE.

This is Counter Cultural this is LOVE as GOD LOVES US not as Man loves.

 

1 John 2

15-17 Don’t love the world’s ways.

Don’t love the world’s goods.

Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father.

Practically everything that goes on in the world-wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important-has nothing to do with the Father.

It just isolates you from him.

The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out-but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.

 

So let’s adjust the switch by keeping close to Jesus Loving as He does rather than keeping close to the world and acting as it does.

 

 As John Harris says in UCB Word for Today

An honest reading of Luke tells us that true discipleship is based on following Jesus, seeing the world through his eyes and striving to act as he did.
Like the wise builder, we must come to Jesus, listen to him and do what he says. Unlike those who were learning to be disciples back then, we don’t have Jesus present with us – but we do have his Word. Like the wise builder, we must dig deeply and lay the foundation of our lives on the Word of God. We must not dig shallowly, selecting only those passages which suit us, as the Pharisees did. We must keep digging deeply until we encounter the Revelation of God in the person of Jesus Christ. Then we must model our lives on his.

Lets Pray

 

Readings

1st Reading 1 Samuel 24.3-5, 7-13

King Saul hunts David, and David has an opportunity

3 At the place where the road passes some sheepfolds, Saul went into a cave to relieve himself. But as it happened, David and his men were hiding farther back in that very cave!

4 “Now’s your opportunity!” David’s men whispered to him. “Today the Lord is telling you, ‘I will certainly put your enemy into your power, to do with as you wish.'” So David crept forward and cut off a piece of the hem of Saul’s robe.

5 But then David’s conscience began bothering him because he had cut Saul’s robe.

7 So David restrained his men and did not let them kill Saul.

After Saul had left the cave and gone on his way, 8 David came out and shouted after him, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked around, David bowed low before him.

9 Then he shouted to Saul, “Why do you listen to the people who say I am trying to harm you? 10 This very day you can see with your own eyes it isn’t true. For the Lord placed you at my mercy back there in the cave. Some of my men told me to kill you, but I spared you. For I said, ‘I will never harm the king-he is the Lord’s anointed one.’ 11 Look, my father, at what I have in my hand. It is a piece of the hem of your robe! I cut it off, but I didn’t kill you. This proves that I am not trying to harm you and that I have not sinned against you, even though you have been hunting for me to kill me.

12 “May the Lord judge between us. Perhaps the Lord will punish you for what you are trying to do to me, but I will never harm you. 13 As that old proverb says, ‘From evil people come evil deeds.’ So you can be sure I will never harm you

 

2nd Reading

Luke 6.27-36

Love for your enemies

27 Jesus taught his disciples saying, “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. 30 Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. 31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you.

32 “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! 33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! 34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.

35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

 

From the Big Issue

Dr Lasana Harris, associate professor of experimental psychology at University College London, studies neurological responses, specifically the way our brains engage with other people and the world around us. He says our minds are “trained to disconnect” when we see a homeless person.

“We’ve developed this as a strategy to help us get through our social environment,” he says. “Most people think, and rightly so, that homeless people are having very negative experiences and constantly suffering. We may not always want to resonate with that suffering. Because of that, we lose sight of the fact that these are just regular people.”

According to his research, our brains automatically censor our perception of homelessness on a biological level to stop us empathising and feeling hopeless.

“People aren’t being seen,” he says. “If I’m a busy person, going through a city like London where there are tons of homeless people, and I have to stop and consider the minds of all of these people, that might make me feel very uncomfortable. Moreover, if I don’t feel like I have the resources to help, there’s nothing I can do to alleviate that suffering. That feeling stays with you. Our brain says instead, if I take a second to stop and think about your suffering it’s going to make me feel bad. So, dehumanisation becomes a kind of emotion regulation strategy.”

 

Daniel Campbell-Meiklejohn, senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Sussex, says: “While we can’t be thinking about everyone’s feelings all the time, it would be a lonely life if we applied this strategy to everyone. So I think it’s interesting to think about how we choose who to care about, and why we might cognitively step over a person sleeping rough.

“Is it because we think we are not like the homeless man on the street? Are we afraid it’ll cost us something if we engage with his existence, or worry we might feel bad about our part of the inequality problem if we look one another in the eye? Is dehumanisation automatic or is there, at some point, some intentionality behind turning off our empathy machines?

“The answers will better our ability to counter the inequality problem – that is, if deep down, we actually want to look outside our cosy cognitive bubbles.”

The consequences of living in bubbles are all around us, as society in general appears to act increasingly insensitively towards the marginalised. Rough sleepers are not welcome and moved on by authorities without there being the necessary resources to help them properly. Hostels are often inadequate, but homeless people are put there long-term, out of sight and out of mind. Hostile architecture, designed to deter people getting too comfortable in public areas, is becoming a more common sight, and Universal Credit is still the government’s benefits system of choice despite the overwhelming evidence that it is making life for the people it exists to support more precarious.

“We readily help kids and cute animals, in part because we know that whatever trouble they’re in, they can’t really be held accountable,” he says. “We’re less likely to be so understanding and forgiving when it comes to homeless adults or drug addicts.

“This tendency to judge rather than help is partly the result of a spot in the prefrontal cortex called the subgenual cortex. It’s full of oxytocin receptors, and it appears to modulate the degree of empathy by regulating the release of dopamine. No dopamine means no reward from engaging with the other person, which makes it less likely that we’ll reach out empathically.”

“Think about your Facebook,” says Harris. “You probably have a few hundred ‘friends’. But they are casual acquaintances. You aren’t processing them deeply. We’ve developed this as a strategy to help us get through our social environment. And we think a version of this is what’s happening in the case of homelessness.

 

This sense of disconnect could be at the heart of everything that divides society today. Is there a refugee crisis because people don’t relate to them as fellow human beings? In the Brexit vote, it was areas with relatively low levels of immigration that were most concerned about it.

“Of course these kinds of responses occur, ultimately, in our brains; where else would they occur? But social processes have enormous power to change neural processes, and we should be doing much more to exploit their potential to overcome prejudice.”

This reflects projects Harris ran with the Museum of Homelessness last year. In his experiments, he made participants humanise people by, for example, asking them to consider questions like: ‘Does this person prefer broccoli or carrots?’ He also scanned people’s brain activity before and after speaking to someone sleeping rough. After this kind of interaction, Harris found that participants were far less likely to spontaneously disengage.

So is our humanity something we can turn on and off – if only we found the right buttons to push?

“We’re trying to figure out what brain mechanisms allow us to switch these responses on and off,” Harris says. “We want to make empathy the default response because now, the default response is to switch off entirely. If we’re going to get that to change we need a complete cultural shift.