Monday, May 31, 2010

He calls his own sheep by name

I'm not sure the good people of Holy Trinity really got it - I'd worked hard on it and I thought it deserved a bit more of a grin, or at least a grown, but:

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, knows his sheep by name (John 10:3). Whether it's Lambert, Ewan, Barbara or Shawn, Jesus relates to each of his sheep individually and personally.

Other sheep names most welcome!

The Good Shepherd

Some jottings for a sermon on John 10:

John 10 (p1076): The Good Shepherd

I. (a) Who Jesus is:

(i) The Gate (v7, 9)

(ii) The Good Shepherd (v11, 14)

(iii) Christ (v24f) – cf. King David the Shepherd (Ps 23)

(iv) Son (v36) / One with the Father (v30, 38) – God (v33)

(b) Who are we?

Jesus’ sheep?

Sheep smelly, stupid, needy, defenceless – need a shepherd

“other sheep not of this sheep pen” (v16) = Gentiles

Divided / mixed response (vv19-21)

Not my sheep (v26)

Thieves and robbers (v8, 10)

Hired hands (v12-13)

Wolves (v12) cf. Mt 6:15; Acts 20:28-31; 1 Pet 5:8

II. (a) What Jesus, the Good Shepherd, does:

Gives full / eternal life (v10, v28)

Dies for the sheep (v11, 15, 17-18) – really cares (v13)

Matthew 9:36; Isaiah 40:11; Ezekiel 34

Knows his sheep (v14)

Calls his sheep by name and leads them (v3)

Keeps his sheep (vv28-29)

(b) What we, Jesus’ sheep, should do:

Believe (vv25-26, 42; 20:31) – Trust Jesus

Listen to his voice (v4, 16, 27), know him (v14), obey, follow only him (v4-5, 27), run away from strangers (v5)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sacramental World

Revd Douglas Wilson writes:

There are two sacraments, true, but there is only one sacramental. The world is a sacramental, and everything in it. Grace is everywhere, and gets into everything. Faith can dig it out of anything. The grandeur of God can flame out from anything, like shining from shook foil.

If understood, this results in mediated grace for everyone who is responding to God in true faith. God does grants immediate grace in various ways, true. When He converts a soul, when He visits someone with direct blessing, when He receives our worship, the grace can be immediate. But this immediate grace is supposed to be a radiant grace, spreading out through everything else, affecting everything else, causing everything else to become a mirror that reflects the glory of God.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Faith of Our Fathers

It's in my diary. Is it in yours?

Thursday, May 06, 2010

A Post-Election Prayer

When the new parliament gets going, you might like to pray this prayer from The Book of Common Prayer (Prayers and Thanksgivings upon several occasions, p41):

A Prayer for the High Court of Parliament, to be read during their Session.

MOST gracious God, we humbly beseech thee, as for this Kingdom in general, so especially for the High Court of Parliament, under our most religious and gracious Queen [at this time assembled]: That thou wouldest be pleased to direct and prosper all their consultations, to the advancement of thy glory, the good of thy Church, the safety, honour, and welfare of our Sovereign and her Dominions; that all things may be so ordered and settled by their endeavours, upon the best and surest foundations, that peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety, may be established among us for all generations. These and all other necessaries, for them, for us, and thy whole Church, we humbly beg in the Name and Mediation of Jesus Christ, our most blessed Lord and Saviour. Amen.

Evolution Song

Human uniqueness, value and significance: you've got thumbs! Enjoy this song from Doug Wilson.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Kevin Vanhoozer on Tom Wright

When I get the chance I'd like to listen to the rest of this lecture on What Paul Might Say Back to Tom on Justification given at Wheaton College, from the perspective of a systematic theologian. HT: Revd Dr Michael Jensen.

Dr Vanhoozer encourages peace talks between New Perspectives and Protestants. The legacy of the Reformation is at stake: is the Reformation something we must recover or something that we must recover from? Wright claims to be upholding the Reformation, of course.

Prospective MPs attitude to Christians

The Westminster 2010 Declaration people have been asking prospective MPs to "make the pledge" that they will 'respect, uphold and protect the right of Christians to hold and express Christian beliefs and act according to Christian conscience'. You can check out candidates in your area here.

Here's the blurb for our own constituency of Eastbourne. Waterston (Con) and Lloyd (Lib) have taken the pledge and Brinson (Lab)'s views are unknown.

Eastbourne (Held by Conservative, Majority 755, Swing required: 0.8%)
Nigel Waterson MPConservativeEastbourneEnglandHas made the pledge
Dave Brinson emailLabourEastbourneEnglandPosition unclear or unknown
Stephen LloydLiberal Democrat EastbourneEnglandHas made the pledge

How wrong can one man be?

According to Jonathan Bonomo, by the end of his review of J. W. Nevin’s The Mystical Presence, Charles Hodge had charged Nevin’s system with being nearly identical to or at least tending towards the following heterodox views at one point or another:

(1) Schliermarchian Mysticism

(2) Rationalism

(3) Pantheism

(4) Socinianism

(5) Eutychianism

(6) Mothelitism

(7) Romanism

(8) Sebellianism

Of course Nevin would not have recognised this description of himself. And Bonomo suggests number of these errors are mutually exclusive. As he says, no doubt Hodge would have said that Nevin was hopelessly confused.

In the light of this onslaught of accusations, Bonomo agrees with Gerish that Hodge employed an “essentially hostile hermeneutic” Tradition in the Modern World, p62.

Jonathan G. Bonomo, Incarnation and Sacrament: The Eucharistic Controversy Between Charles Hodge and John Williamson Nevin (Eugene, Wimpf and Stock, 2010) pp93-94

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

"superfluity of naughtiness"

Jottings towards preaching at our BCP Communion on Thurs. (The BCP epistle for 4th Sunday after Easter is James 1:17-21).

You’ve got to love the language of the Prayer Book and the King James Bible, haven’t you?

Here’s our old friend “the superfluity of naughtiness!” (James 1:21).

You don’t need me to tell you. I’m sure, that “superfluity” means a superfluous amount or nature of something, so James is saying there’s more than enough naughtiness, naughtiness that is needless and redundant, superfluous.

For “superfluity of naughtiness” the NIV has “the evil that is so prevalent”.

I’m tempted tell Jono next time he’s misbehaving that, “we’ve has a “superfluity of naughtiness” already, thank you very much!”.

The point is there’s a surplus or abundance of evil in our world, and who could disagree with that?

You don't need me to prove to you that our world is full of filth and evil and wrong.

Whether or not you agree with David Cameron that we live in Broken Britain, we know that we live in a broken world, don't we?

Everywhere there is injustice, suffering and pain.

Our epistle gives us some insight into the source of evil and it's solution.

So first of all, the source of evil: where does it come from?

First of all, certainly not from God!

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."

God is the Father of light, pure and radiant.

He is the giver of every good and perfect gift.

He is utterly consistent in his moral perfection.

No, the problem is not God but you and me.

At the heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart.

James hints at this when he tells us that "the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God".

Jesus tells us in the Gospel (John 16:5-15) of the Holy Spirit's work:

"And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment"

We're such inveterate sinners that we can't even recognise our own sin!

We need the Holy Spirit to open our blind eyes so that we can recognise not only the evil in the world around us, but the evil within each of us.

So what's the solution to evil? What's the answer to all that's wrong in the world?

It won't surprise us to discover its neither Brown, Cameron nor Clegg, nor any of the other parties standing for election today.

The power comes from God alone:

"Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."

We need to be born again by the Word of God in the power of the Spirit.

We are to "receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save our souls".

We depend on Jesus' saving work and we need him to send us his Spirit that we might receive his word.

So, by the power of the Spirit, will you "lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls"?

That is the only hope for us and for our world.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Lives Jesus Changed

I've been preaching my way through John's gospel for a while, and I'm thinkimg of doing some edited highlights for the leaders on camp this summer. There are, of course, a number of ways of doing this, including:

I am sayings
Farewell / Upper Room Discources
The Cross & Resurrection

Today I bought a book which looks at Lives Jesus Changed from John's Gospel. Revd Dr Simon Vibert invites us to meet Jesus and learn lessons about life by considering Jesus' encounters with:

John The Baptist
The Disciples
The Woman of Samaria
The Royal Official & the Paralyesed Man
The Crowds
The Jews
The Adulterous Woman
The Man Born Blind
Mary, Martha & Lazarus
The Greeks
Mary & Mary