Friday, September 23, 2016

Nehemiah as a type of Christ

The book of Nehemiah is often preached for leadership tips or with a view to a building project. It occurred to me today that I don't remember thinking about Nehemiah as a type of Christ in any sustained way.

But of course when you begin to think about it, it is pretty obvious. Who is it who leads and defends and unites people, faces down their enemies, guides, restores and blesses them? Who builds the kingdom and the city of God? God's people have been to some extent restored, the promises of God are partially fulfilled.

I thought The NIV Proclamation Bible might be the place to look for the book of Nehemiah in its salvation-historical context, how it points to Christ etc. Peter Adam gives just over a page to Ezra-Nehemiah. Jesus is not mentioned.

For my money on this particular point the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible does rather better on how the passage might be preached. Jesus is the ultimate saviour the people of God need and he is building us as living stones into his church.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Psalm of the Week

I am planning a sabbatical, and whilst there is a great danger of too many projects which don't really come off, I am thinking of having a Psalm of the week.

One could pray and sing it each day. Maybe have a memory verse from it.

Perhaps jot down some uses of the Psalm: for thanksgiving, confession, supplication and so on, and pray through those.

Maybe do a little bit of study and make some notes of headings and so on. It wouldn't be madness for example for a minister on sabbatical who is doing some travel and study to also listen to a sermon a day and write down the structure and anything that strikes him.

Above all this might do good to one's soul, but after 12 weeks of sabbatical you might have some groundwork done for a major sermon series too.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Relating to others

Some jottings from a sermon preached by The Revd Vaughan Roberts on Romans 12:3-end at St Ebbe's Church, Oxford.

So often a disjunction between what we believe and how we behave

Living in the light of the gospel, the practical outworking of what we believe

Specific application of the principles

Relational focus

In the light of the gospel, the Christian should be:

(1)   Defined by grace (v3)

What’s your self-image like?

How do you view yourself?

V3, “For by the grace given me…”


V2 – the change of our thinking applied in v3, think of yourself with sober thinking

An example of the renewal of your thinking

Define yourself in accordance with the gospel of grace – no merit involved

Faith is an empty hand held out to receive a gift

You are a sinner saved by grace

It’s grace all the way down

This prevents too high a view of ourselves or too low a view of yourself

(2)   Committed to community (vv4-8)

A profound challenge to our individualism

Think of yourself as member of a body

Church is not just somewhere I go or something I do. It defines who I am.

We belong to one another.


Putting number 1 first.

Me time.

Not me but we.

If I am joined to Jesus, I am joined to all his people down the ages and around the world.

Diversity and unity.

When we freeze water, we make ice cubes – all the same.

When God freezes water he makes snowflakes – each unique.

7 gifts mentioned. Eph 4. 1 Cor 12. All 3 gift lists different so not meant to be exhaustive.

A wide ranging list.

Verbal gifts and non-verbal gifts

Word gifts

1 to 1, small groups, children’s work, whole congregation

In accordance with the faith

Practical service / ministry

Every member ministry


Ministers: The whole church

Get on and do it.

If you’ve got a gift, get on and serve, use it.

Some are particularly gifted at giving.

In charities, often 80% of the giving comes from 20% of the people

Whether or not you are thanked

Not a one-man show

Church not like a concert – interaction, fellowship

Coffee an integral part of church

Remember who you are – not just an isolated individual

Could you aim to be here a little earlier? Conversation before the service


(3)   Marked by love (vv9-16)

Devoted to one another

You are not the audience at church – you are family – blood brothers and sisters

Status at church – classify – pecking order

(4)   Wedded to non-retaliation (vv17-21)

Your enemies?

Not only counter-cultural but counter-intuitive

Very hard to hate those you’re praying for God to bless

A tricky phrase

“Measure of faith” in Romans 12v3c is a tricky little phrase. According to Cranfield, measure has 7 possible meanings, faith 5, of 2, making 70 possible interpretations! (Stott, BST, p326)

Romans 12:3-end - a handout

Romans 12:3-21 (page 1139)

Relationships Transformed by The Gospel

Vv1-2: Our relationship with God – consecration and transformation

V3: Our relationship with ourselves – humble and grateful sober judgement

How you think of yourself (v3) is an outworking of the transformed thinking of v2 – “in view of God’s mercy” – a sacrifice

Grace excludes boasting (v3) – the empty hand of faith nothing to be proud of

Vv4-16: Our relationship with one another in the church – loving service

One body, many parts; unity and diversity (v4). Every member ministry

A devoted church family (v10) – not me but we

Vv14, 17-21: Our relationship with our enemies – seeking peace not vengeance

Very realistic – v18, “if possible, as far as it depends on you…”

13vv1-7: Our relationship to the state – submit to the authorities

13vv8-10: Our relationship to the Old Testament Law – love your neighbour as yourself

13vv11-14: Our relationship to “the day” – put on the armour of light

14-15: Our relationship with “the weak” in the church

(These headings owe a debt to John Stott’s highly recommended Bible Speaks Today commentary published by IVP)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

What I learnt at the Sussex Gospel Partnership meeting yesterday

Amongst many more important and useful things, of course.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had a switch which allowed them to lock their bedroom door without leaving their bed.

This and much more from The Revd Simon Allaby of Turn The Page.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Productivity tools

I read Getting Things Done a few years ago and found it immensely helpful but I am not as diligent at using its systems as I should be.

I've been reading Tim Challies' helpful little Christian book on productivity, Do More Better.

He suggests you need 3 main tools:

(1) A task management tool. For this I have a notebook but I often fail to review it as much as I should or to write everything in it. There are also some Postit notes on my desk right now and a pile of papers on the floor I need to get to.

(2) A scheduling tool - a calendar or diary. For this I use a paper diary, which seems to work pretty well and is often faster than the electronic devices other people sometimes use. Though it might be handy to have something Mrs Lloyd could easily look at or add to say online rather than waiting till I'm back home or indeed one of us having to go and fetch it!

(3) An information tool. For this I have a filling cabinet, a very messy desk, the computer and some use of notebook and diary.

Challis recommends doing all this digitally using:

(1) Todoist

(2) Google Calendar

(3) Evernote

Does anyone have any experience of using these?

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Why it's mad not to go to church

From The Rectory

In this article I tell you why you must be mad not to be in church on Sunday. Sort of.

Of course if you’re not a Christian believer, I don’t expect you to come to church. You are always most welcome, but I could see why you might rather not. I hope you’ll read on and see why you might like to join us.

But if you call yourself a Christian, I must say I really can’t understand where you would rather be.

Now, you might choose a different church for whatever reason. I would be sad about that, but I get that you might seek out the kind of music or preaching or children’s work you like. I think it’s a huge shame to drive past the parish church, but I could understand it. Frankly, in some circumstances I might even do it myself.

But what I can’t understand is calling yourself a Christian and failing to go to church on a Sunday at all – at least most of the time. Sure, now and then you might be ill. Sometimes there will be something urgent and important to do, of course. If you are an A&E doctor or one of your animals falls into a ditch, of course you might have to miss church. But you wouldn’t want to.

Why? Let me offer two reasons.

First, because church is meeting with your brothers and sisters in Christ. We are family and families get together. Failing to go to church is like belonging to a family but never turning up to the Sunday lunch mum and dad put on. You miss out. And your family misses out. We need one another. And a big part of the purpose of church is to encourage and help one another. Unless we are at the same local fellowship most weeks, it’s very hard for us to love and serve each other in the way the New Testament requires.

But it’s not just that. Going to church is something very human, but it is also something superhuman. It is more than any mere club or mutual support society. The second, and in fact the primary, reason why we go to church is to meet with God himself. Yes, God is everywhere. God does not live in the church building, sure. But the gathering of the people of God around the Word of God is where our Lord has promised to be with us in a special way to bless us. He speaks his Word to us. We speak to him together and sing his praises. When we receive the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion we receive Christ by faith in our hearts in a unique manner. And there is no such thing (ideally) as a solitary Communion service. As we meet together God renews his commitment to us and we renew our commitment to him. We’re equipped for his service in the week ahead.

The amazing teaching of the New Testament is that each Sunday (“Lord’s Day”) service is a mini outpost of heaven itself. God comes to us, which makes church heaven on earth. Our fellowship is not only amongst ourselves but with all the saints in glory (the Christian believers who have gone before us down the centuries), with the angels and with the church here on earth around the world. Or perhaps better, to put it the other way around, in our worship we “Lift Up Our Hearts” such that by the power of the Holy Spirit our service takes place in heaven itself. Warbleton or Bodle Street Green or Dallington churches are gathered up into the throne room of heaven for an hour or so each Sunday. And we would be mad to want to miss that. It might not always seem the glitziest show on earth, but it is literally heavenly. Or so we believe by faith, if not always by sight.

I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.

The Rev’d Marc Lloyd

The busiest church term ever?

It struck me at the prayer meeting last night that we have a pretty busy term coming up.

Of course in the Sept - Dec period you probably have harvest, remembrance and Christmas to think about.

School things get going again.

We also have our annual gift day. And a service for the bereaved. And a service to commemorate an airman who died in the parish.

Then there's the parish contribution and budget for 2017 to set.

Autumn calls for a church yard clear up.

We have deanery and diocesan synods.

The Gospel Partnership Annual Conference.

There's a deanery teaching day.

It's the Churches Together Annual Dinner.

There's a church bbq and bonfire.

Our termly book group needs fitting in.

There's a craft evening in the planning.

We happen to be welcoming a new archdeacon too.

And, what I think has made it extra busy is that since May, if I have thought of doing something I've tended to think, well, to organise and publicise this really well we ought to do it after the summer holidays.

So we are having a new Bible study at the rectory.

An any questions evening.

An evangelistic astronomy evening (which of course needs a dark night).

All the committees and regular meetings that have taken August off kick in again too.

See you in the new year!

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

I feel therefore I am

The Revd Dr Joe Boot was very interesting on the subject of Engaging Secularism at The Sussex Evangelical Ministry Seminar yesterday. The audio ought to be available in due course. And I am looking forward to reading in his big book, The Mission of God.

Of the many striking moments, I jotted down two thoughts:

(1) The creed of our age might be defined as "I feel, therefore I am". We have absolutized our feelings.

(2) Since man is made in the image of God, the human I is irreducible. Human beings cannot be fully explained in terms of anything else, for example, our material composition. Humanity is comprehensible only with reference to God.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Creation sacramental

Boersma writes:

this-worldly, created realities participate in the heavenly, uncreated reality of the eternal Word of God. Created being is merely derivative, and it receives its value from the divine "real presence" that gives it existence. To be sure, speaking of creation as "sacramental" in character has its dangers. When doing so, we should be careful not to undermine the qualitatively different sense of sacramentality that we encounter in Christ and in the church's sacraments, most notably baptism and the Eucharist. Kathryn Tanner's distinction between "weak" and "strong" participation, or we could say a weak and a strong sacramental presence, is important. We don't want to lose the distinct salvific character of the church. Nonetheless, it seems to me that the Christian tradition has rightly worked with a sacramental metaphysics, assuming that the appearances of the physical realities around us not only point to, but also make present, greater and more significant realities than the appearances themselves.

Sacramental Preaching p.xx citing Tanner, Christ the Key, CUP, pp11-12

Allusions in Revelation

According to Eugene Peterson, in the 404 verses of the book of the Revelation, there are 518 allusions to other Scriptures.

Foreword to Hans Boersma, Sacramental Preaching p.x

Bible as sacrament


Eugene Peterson quotes Hans Boersma's summary conclusion:

Christ himself is hidden in all the Old Testament. The biblical text is a sacrament, and Christ is really present in it.

Foreword to Hans Boersma, Sacramental Preaching: Sermons on the Hidden Presence of Christ (Baker Academic, 2016) p.ix

Friday, August 26, 2016

Romans 11 - a handout

I think we may be more or less ready for Sunday.

Romans 11 (p1138) – Israel past, present and future

The issue of Israel

-        in the world today

-        in the church today

-        in the church in New Testament times

-        in the Roman church in New Testament times

-        in the argument of the letter to the Romans

Did God’s word and promise to Israel fail?

Can God be trusted to do what he has promised in the gospel?

See Romans 9-10 for the answers Paul has given so far

Question 1: Did God reject his people [Israel?] (v1)

No because:

(1)   Israel’s hardening is partial not total

Question 2: Did they [Israel] stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? (v11)

No because:

(2)   Israel’s hardening is temporary not permeant

Israel’s transgression à salvation to the Gentiles à Israel becomes envious and accepts the gospel so that the fullness of Israel à even greater riches for the whole world (v11-12)

So what?

(a)    Do not boast over Israel since you depend on the Jewish heritage of the Old Testament (vv17-20a)

(b)   Do not be arrogant but be afraid because you will be broken off too if you are an unbeliever (vv20b-24)

(HT: John Stott & Vaughan Roberts & Penny!)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Lloyd Family and Melchizedek

My aunt has traced something of her family tree. The furthest we can get back amongst the Lloyds is to one Thomas Lloyd senior who was a collier, the father of Thomas Lloyd jnr (Iron Puddler / Engine Driver b. 1822 / 3, Swansea or Brecon or Merthyr d. < 1891).

In a sense Thomas Lloyd snr. is like Melchizedek (the King of Salem and priest of God discussed in Genesis, the Psalms and Hebrews) in that he is "without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life" (Hebrews 7:3). Not of course that Thomas or Melchizedek had a supernatural birth or did not die, but these things are not recorded of them. They play their brief part in the big story of the Lloyd family and of the Bible and they point forward to the generations to come, to my aunt and to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

On the blessing of same-sex "marriages" - in which I make one specific point

When I was an ordinand in training, one of the cries of the doctrine department was “we distinguish!”. And indeed we must. But we must distinguish discerningly.

Conservative evangelicals are convinced from the Scriptures and tradition and reason and experience, or so we claim, that same-sex sexual relationships are wrong.

But, one might say, is there not much in such relationships to celebrate and thank God for? Must we not distinguish? As with a heterosexual relationship, could we not ask for God’s blessing on all that is good in the relationship without condoning anything that is bad?

One approach might be to reject the premise of the question and claim that there is nothing good in same-sex sexual relationships. But this will not do. Or at least not in a way. Clearly same sex sexual relationships contain much that is good: love, kindness, mutual help, faithfulness and so on. Some are wonderfully moving and inspiring examples which put many heterosexual marriages to shame.

But moral actions are not only to be evaluated piecemeal and in the abstract. They must be taken as a whole and concretely too.

We must say that all that is proper only to a marriage which is found in a same-sex sexual relationship, however laudable it would be in a marriage, is out of place and misdirected in a same sex sexual relationship.

Allow me an analogy. Now, I know this is dangerous. The headline writers just love “Vicar compares homosexual marriage to X” but I hope you will see the very specific point I want to make.

Consider a bank robbery. Is there not much in it that is good and commendable? A man wants to provide for his children. He co-operates wonderfully with his friends to whom he is politeness itself. He has the most fantastic skill as a safe-breaker. Does it make sense to celebrate those things? Yes and no. Are they goods? Or could they be goods? Yes. But they are misdirected and out of place in a bank robbery. Do they make the bank robbery good? No. Could one bless the bank robbery? I don’t think so. Not on these grounds at least.

If a case is to be made for the blessing of same-sex relationships, it is not this one.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Some jottings from those greater than I on Romans 1:18-32

‘… there is nothing here to suggest that Paul only has some kinds of homosexual acts in mind. As a cultured and traveled Roman citizen, Paul would have been very familiar with long-term, stable, loving relationships between same-sex couples. That does not stop him from identifying them as not the Creator’s intention for human flourishing.’ (Keller, pp32-33)

Christopher Ash: 

A. The charge is stated (v18)

B. The charge is proved (vv19-32)

(a) what God has done (vv19-20) – God has revealed some things plainly about himself in creation

Acts 14:15-17

Ps 19

(b) what people have done (vv21-23) – people reject the knowledge of God which they have

Our thinking and our feeling and darkened by our rejection of God (v21)

(c) what God has done (vv24-31) – God gave people over to their sin

Because we do not love God as we should, all our loves become disordered.

We have a wrong relationship to our creator and a wrong relationship with creation and our fellow creatures follows.

 Homosexuality graphically illustrates an exchange (v23, v25, v26) of the God given created order.

Same sex desire is, for Paul, a clear example of disordered desire.

 From a Jewish point of view, homosexuality was a particularly appalling Gentile sin.

 V23 - Exchanged glory – Ps 106:20 (Golden calf, Ex 32); Jer 2:11

(Human beings were meant to rule the creation under God but they end up serving created things)

The foolishness of idolatry – Is 44:13

Dt 4:15-18

 Moral chaos is a sign of God’s judgement.

The mess of the world shows that God has handed it over to its sin.

 (d) what people have done (v32) – people not only do what is wrong, but they also accept and approve of wrongdoing

 Is 3:9

 Paul is showing us the need for rescue and that faith in Jesus is the only means of rescue.

Humanity is without excuse and cannot save itself.

 Lk 18:11

 We are really without excuse (v20)

 V21 – the great sin of forgetfulness of God and ingratitude

We live in God’s world as if he didn’t exist

We’ll take the good gifts he gives, but we don’t want him interfering in our lives

 There is level ground at the cross.

We are all the undeserving recipients of grace.

 Our world needs the message of God’s saving righteousness in Christ.

 Kruse’s headings:

(a) Humanity’s rejection of the revelation of God in nature (vv18-23)

(b) The divine reaction to human rejection (vv24-32)

Vaughan Roberts – 14th Oct 2006 – Why is God so angry?

 This passage holds up a mirror to us – and it’s not a pretty sight

 This bad news helps us to appreciate the good news.

Against this black back-cloth, the brilliant diamond of the gospel shines more brightly.

 3 surprising themes run through this passage:

 (1)   Revelation (v19) – we all know some truth about God

General revelation in creation to all people

The invisible God has to some extent made himself visible (v20)

We should all know from the world around us that there is a God and he is very powerful.

Of course the vast majority of people down the centuries and around the world have believed in God.

 The scale and beauty of the universe

 Time and chance?

 (about 16 minutes for statistics about the sun and galaxies)

 (2)   Rebellion (v18) – we’ve all rejected that truth

 We often claim our problem is lack of knowledge:

"If only God would make himself known!"

"Why doesn’t God reveal himself more clearly?"

Hide and seek?

People imagine God is hiding

It’s the other way round:

God seeks us, we hide from him (cf. Gen 3)

 Jesus came to seek and to save the lost

 John – men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil

 V21 – we know we ought to glorify God and give thanks to him

How often do we do that?

 We are all guilty of idolatry whether our idols are metal or mental

 (3)   Wrath (v18) – we all face God’s judgment

 God is not like a constantly smiling indulgent old uncle

 Sex outside of marriage damages and degrades and leads to the breakdown of society

 Homosexual practice not homosexual feelings

 It’s not as if homosexual sex is uniquely sinful.

All of us are included in this catalogue of sin.

Romans 1:18-32 - A handout

For what it's worth prepared for the camp leaders:

Romans 1:18-32 – Humanity’s Problem: Our Need for the Gospel

1:16-17 – Paul’s summary of the gospel

V18, “For…” – Why we need the gospel

V17 – The righteousness of God revealed

V18 – The wrath of God is being revealed (cf. 2v5)

The wrath of God – what it is and what it isn’t

(1) Everyone knows certain truths about God from creation (vv19-20)

(2) Everyone rejects the truth of God which they have (vv18, 21)

John 3:19

So in consequence (3) “God gave them over” (v24, v26, v28)

2 exchanges that reverse the created order:

(a) Idolatry (vv23, 25)

(b) Homosexuality (vv26-27)

Note also v24

And vv29-31

In the beauty of the world we can see God’s greatness.

In the brokenness of the world we can see God’s judgement.

This should drive us back to the grace of God in the gospel.

Everyone needs the righteousness of God to rescue us from the wrath of God. This is the good news we should receive by faith. And it’s the good news which we should play our part in bringing to our broken world.

Romans 1:8-17 - A handout

DV I am going to preach my way through the early chapters of Romans again for the leaders on camp. I think I may not have posted this when I preached it in church recently, so in case it is of any interest or use to anyone anywhere ever:

Romans 1:8-17 (p1128) – The Difference The Gospel Makes

Paul’s summaries of the gospel (vv2-6 & 16-17) sandwich this passage. In these central verses we can see the difference the gospel makes to Paul, and the difference it might make to us:

Paul gives thanks (v8) for the faith of the Romans

Paul prays (v9-10) for the Romans and for his visit to them

Paul plans (vv10-13) to visit Rome, but recognises God is in control

Paul is obliged / indebted (v14) to both Greeks and non-Greeks, to the wise and the foolish, to all people

Paul is eager (v15) to preach the gospel (to the Christians) in Rome

Paul is not ashamed (v16-17) of the gospel

Why is Paul eager to preach the gospel and unashamed of it?

The gospel is such good news!

The gospel is the power of God (v16)

Salvation / rescue is at stake (v16)

The gospel is for everyone (v16)

The gospel requires the response of faith (vv16-17)

The gospel reveals the righteousness / faithfulness of God, keeping his promises and justly making sinners right with him (v17)

Vv16 & 17 are crucial for the rest of the letter

1vv18-3v20 will show why everyone desperately needs this gospel

3vv21-end will show how the gospel works

May God make us thankful, prayerful, eager, unashamed planners of gospel ministry.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Romans 9 - a handout

A first draft for a sermon I hope to preach on 21st August:

Romans 9 (p1135): But have God’s promises to Israel failed?

8:28-39 – The certainty of God’s promises and purposes

Paul imagines a heckler asking: “But what about God’s promises to and purposes for Israel? Have they failed? Can God really be trusted to do as he says?”

(Implied) Question 1: Has God’s word failed? (v6)

No, because God’s promise was always to a true spiritual Israel within biological Israel not to every physical descendant of Abraham (vv6-7)

God’s miraculous promise was of Isaac, not Ishmael (vv7-9)

God’s choice not works meant he “loved” Isaac not Esau (vv10-13)

Question 2: Is God unjust? (v14)

No, as God has said, he is free to have mercy on whom he wishes to have mercy and harden whom he wishes to harden (vv14-18)

Question 3: Why does God still blame us if it’s all a matter of his irresistible will? (v19)

We creatures are not qualified to quarrel with our Creator (v20)

God the Creator has rights over his creation (v21)

God acted consistently with his nature, showing great patience and mercy making his wrath, power and glory known (vv22-24)

All this is consistent with what God had promised in his word for the salvation of the Gentiles and a remnant of Israel (vv25-29)

Question 4: What then shall we say (in conclusion)? (v30)

The Gentile believers are right to trust in Christ and pursue a righteousness that is by faith not by Law or works (vv30-33)

God can be trusted to keep all his great promises of mercy open to all in Christ

Small Encouragements

Free PDFs to download

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Romans 8vv1-17; 28-end - some further jottings



1.     The ministry of God’s Spirit (vv1-17)

a.     The freedom of the Spirit (vv2-4)

b.     The mind of the Spirit (vv5-8)

c.      The indwelling of the Spirit (vv9-15)

d.     The witness of the Spirit (vv14-17

Ash – Romans 8 – Living Under Grace

How safe are we living under grace?

Neither sin nor suffering can defeat God’s grace

8vv1-17 – The basis of assurance in the ministry of the Spirit

8vv18-39 – Suffering with assurance of future glory

8v1 – no condemnation from the wrath of God

8v39 – no separation from the love of God

The Spirit is named 15x in vv1-17 and 4 more times in the rest of the chapter

8v1 refers back to 5vv12-21, condemnation 5v16, 18 – opposite of justification 5v16

The statement v1

The explanation v2

The explanation expanded v3

God’s purpose: why did God set us free? Vv4-6

The first way: life in the flesh vv7-8

The second way: life in the Spirit leading to resurrection vv9-11

Conclusion 1: the Christian’s obligation vv12-13

Conclusion 2: the Christian’s privilege vv14-17

V29 – foreknew – cf. Amos 3v2

Unbreakable ties to Christ vv31-39

1.     The love of God and the work of Christ vv31b-34

2.     The love of God and the love of Christ vv35-39

Vv35 and 39 repeat the word “separate”

Because Christians walk by the Spirit now, they may be sure they are heading for future glory.

To be a real Christian means:

1.     To be under new management (vv1-8)

2.     … who gives us new hope for our bodies (vv9-11)

3.     … and guarantees us a great inheritance (vv12-17)

To be a real Christian means:

1.     No condemnation, because of the sacrifice of God the Son (vv1-4)

2.     Resurrection hope, because of the indwelling of God the Spirit (vv5-11)

3.     Present assurance in the security of God the Father (vv12-17)

1.     Christian security rests on the already paid penalty for sin (vv31-34)

2.     … and this proves the unbreakable love of God in Christ (vv35-39)

Vaughan Roberts:


Christ took the penalty for sin

The Spirit breaks the power of sin


Two truths:

The Spirit has given the Christian a new heart (vv5-9)

The Spirit will give Christians a new body (vv10-11)

Two applications:

We can be holy

We can have hope


Two further consequences of the Spirit’s work in us:

The Spirit gives us a whole relationship to sin – we are now sin’s enemies (vv12-13)

The Spirit gives us a whole new relationship to God – we are now God’s children (vv14-17)


Romans 8:1-17; 28-end - a handout

To go with tomorrow's sermon and powerpoint:

Romans 8:1-17; 28-39 (page 1134)

v1, “Therefore…”

1vv1-15:              INTRODUCTION

1vv16-17:            Paul’s MAIN POINT: The Gospel / Good News

1v18-3v20:         Our PROBLEM: We need the gospel because of our sin and God’s

holy judgement

3vv21-31:            God’s SOLUTION: Justification through faith in Jesus who died in

our place

4-:                         Paul explains and defends his gospel and shows the

consequences and implications of it.

(8-:                        Living in the light of the gospel)

V1, no condemnation…. because vv2-3

(1) FLESH / sinful nature: Law powerless to save (v3); condemned (v3); death (v6); hostile to God, does not and cannot submit to God’s law (v7); cannot please God (v8); will die (v13); (slavery and fear – v15)

(2) Holy SPIRIT: Set free (v2); Life and peace (v6); belong to Christ (v9); spirit alive because of righteousness (v10); resurrection (v11); put sin to death, will live (v13); sons of God (v14-15); not slaves to fear (v15); heirs (v16)

Vv28-30: God’s certain plan:

Foreknew à predestined à called à justified à glorified

FOR US: GOD who loves us, chose us and gave his own Son for us and justifies us;

JESUS CHRIST who loves us and died and rose and reigns in heaven now and intercedes for us

AGAINST US: ??? Trouble? Hardship? Persecution? Famine? Nakedness? Danger? Sword? Death? Life? Angels? Demons? Present? Future? Powers? Height? Depth? Anything else?

Summary:           V1: No condemnation in Christ

V39: No separation from God’s love

Live confidently and gratefully in the light of the gospel, trusting in Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit, putting to death the misdeeds of the body, knowing you are secure in God’s love

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Romans 8vv18-27 handout

I have revised this a little for tomorrow. Here it is just in case it is of any interest or use to anyone:

Romans 8vv18-27 – Groaning for Glory

God’s plans for creation and the New Creation (cf. Psalm 8)

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the [future] glory that will be revealed in us” (v18)

In the meantime, while we wait for the New Creation:

(1) Creation groans (vv19-22, esp. v22)

(2) We Christians groan (vv23-25, esp. v23)

(3) The Holy Spirit groans on our behalf (vv26-27, esp. v26)

So what? A guide to godly groaning this side of glory:

è Don’t worry: groaning and suffering are normal and to be expected.

è Don’t settle or despair: groan in this confident and great hope! We wait eagerly (v23) and patiently (v25). The best is yet to come (v18).

è You don’t groan alone: the whole of creation groans and our fellow-Christians groan, but especially look to the Spirit’s expert help!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Groans of Romans 8

You may wish to look away now if you are planning to come to the Marquee service on Rushlake Green at 11am on Sunday 31st July. Of course there's a long time to go and the sermon may well gestate further, but it might go something like this:

Romans 8vv18-27 – Groaning for Glory

(1) Creation groans (v22)

(2) We Christians groan (v23)

(3) The Holy Spirit groans on our behalf (v26)

è Don’t worry: groaning is normal!

è Don’t settle or despair: groan in this confident and great hope!

è You don’t groan alone: look to the Spirit’s help!

Monday, July 18, 2016

How do you imagine heaven?

From a sermon entitled The Spirit Helps Us in Our Weakness preached on 16 Nov 2008, available on the St Ebbe's, Oxford Church website, preached by Vaughan Roberts:

Someone has quipped that heaven is a place where the French are the cooks, the English the policemen, the Germans the engineers, the Italians the lovers and the Swiss have organised it all.

Hell, on the other hand, is a place where the English the cooks, the French the engineers, the Germans the police, the Swiss are the lovers and the Italians organise it all.

George Bernard Shaw once said: “Heaven, as conventionally conceived, is a place so inane, so dull, so useless, so miserable that nobody has ever ventured to describe a whole day in heaven, though plenty of people have described a day at the seaside.”

Christian Suffering

I am preparing to preach on Romans 8:18-27 at our annual all-age marquee service.

In a sermon entitled The Spirit Helps Us in Our Weakness preached on 16 Nov 2008, available on the St Ebbe's, Oxford Church website, Vaughan Roberts concludes with 4 truths about Christian suffering:

(1) Suffering can’t be avoided (v17-18) – we don’t seek it but we expect it
(2) It’s under control (v20) – suffering is part of God’s plan and he is sovereign over it. (God has a purpose in it).
(3) It won’t go on for ever (v18) – look to the future with confident hope
(4) We don’t have to face it alone (v26) – the Spirit helps us in our weakness

Monday, July 11, 2016


From The Rectory

As I write, I think it would be fair to say that our national life has been in a degree of turmoil over the last few weeks. The News is undoubtedly the most exciting and unpredictable programme on our TV screens at the moment.

The EU Referendum result surprised many, and some who voted for Brexit are allegedly experiencing buyer’s remorse. There have been calls for another vote from those who don’t like the outcome. Even those who campaigned to leave the EU would admit that, at least in the short term, negotiating our separation from Brussels makes for a more uncertain world. The value of the Pound and of the FTSE have reflected doubts about the future.

Very quickly after the result, and contrary to his previous assurances, David Cameron announced that he would be stepping down as Prime Minister. George Osborne and Boris Johnson, who once seemed the favourites to succeed to No. 10, didn’t even make it to the ballot paper. Only today the surprise candidate, Andrea Leadsom, has withdrawn from the contest.

The parliamentary Labour Party too is in disarray. 172 Labour MPs voted that they have no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn and Angela Eagle has today announced that she will be standing against him.

Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP, and Roy Hodgson, England football manager, have also resigned. Even Chris Evans has quit Top Gear. Few would have foreseen the success of Iceland or of Wales in the Euros and Wimbledon was not without its surprises as number 1 seeded Novak Djokovic was knocked out by Sam Querrey, who was ranked 41st.  

And who knows what else will have changed by the time you read this? One thing we know for certain about the future is that it is uncertain.

Amidst all this flux, it is worth us taking a few moments to remind ourselves of some constants. There is solid ground on which we can build our lives.

The Bible describes God as eternal. He is the creator and Lord of time and is unchanging. He is faithful to all his promises and entirely reliable in his goodness and love. His covenant commitment to his people is unshakable. God will never let us down.

The Scriptures tell us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He has promised to be with his people always even to the end of the age. He has said that he will not leave us as orphans. Jesus is the Good Shepherd and we can know his protection and guidance whatever we face. Although the future is uncertain, we do not face it alone. Nothing can snatch Jesus’ people from his hand.

Christian faith, then, is like an anchor for the soul in an uncertain world. Because of Jesus’ death for us, we can be sure of God’s love for us and of the forgiveness of sins. The resurrection is the guarantee of our acceptance with God and of eternal life to come.

Although we do not understand all his purposes, Jesus knows and governs all things. Whatever happens we can be sure that Jesus is on the throne of the universe, and that he, at least, is not about to resign.