Saturday, October 31, 2015

Romans 1:1-7 A handout / summary / outline

If you are coming to church in Bodle Street or Warbleton tomorrow you might like to look away now. It might go something like this:

Romans 1:1-7 – A Gospel-Filled Introduction

Paul is introducing himself and his gospel message

(Likely Paul wrote this letter from Corinth around AD 57)

Two reasons for the letter to the Romans:

(1) Paul plans to visit the church at Rome and hopes they will help him on his projected mission to take the gospel to Spain (1v10-13; 15v23-33)

(2) Though Paul has never visited Rome, he is well informed about the church there (ch. 16) and likely wants to address some of their issues. In particular, it seems there were tensions between Jews and Gentiles in the church. Likely the church at Rome was originally mainly Jewish, but the Emperor Claudius had ejected the Jews around AD 49 (Acts 18:2). Gentiles would have taken on the leadership of the church. But then after Claudius’ death in AD 54, some Jews had returned. One can imagine some friction!

In summary, Paul writes to promote humble, loving, united partnership in gospel mission both within the church and with himself.

Paul – an apostle (v1) – one who is sent out with authority (cf. an ambassador)

The Apostolic Gospel:

Is this how you would summarise it?

The Gospel of God (v1)

Gospel = Good news, announcement of an epoch changing event, e.g. the birth of a new king or a victory in battle

So as God’s gospel it is true and powerful. We are not to tamper with it and we don’t need to

… promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures (v2)

This helps to authenticate Paul’s gospel – it fulfils the Scriptures

… about God’s Son (v3)

All about Jesus! A person not an “-ism” or merely rules etc. A personal relationship of trust and obedience

… who as to his human nature was a descendant of David (v4)

… and who through the Spirit of holiness (= The Holy Spirit) was crowned / appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead (v4)

In his earthly ministry Jesus was the Son of God in weakness


Christ = messiah, anointed one, the long promised rescuer-king

The response the gospel requires:

Jesus Christ calls all the nations to the obedience of faith (vv5-6)

How are we responding to this gospel?

Do we recognise that this gospel is for all people?

This is the kind of gospel ministry to seek out, to support (in prayer, financially, practically), to engage in.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Thoroughly equiped for every good work (2 Tim 3:17)

Paul is laying it on thick here, isn’t he?

The Bible thoroughly equips us for every good work

It doesn’t just partially equip us.

And it doesn’t just equip us for come good works.

It thoroughly equips us for every good work.

Of course the Bible doesn’t tell you how to make a soufflĂ© or fix a Skoda.

But it tells us what to believe and how to live.

This is the doctrine of The Sufficiency of Scripture.

The Bible is God’s complete and sufficient word to us.

It tells us all we need to know about God, salvation and Christian living.

It answers every moral question in principle, although we need to wrestle to understand and apply it.

Sometimes the Bible tells us to use our minds.

It tells us to look at creation.

It tells us we need Bible teachers and the whole church.
And prayer.

But it is the only and sufficient Word of God to us.
God hasn't left us in the dark.
His word is light to our path and enables us to walk by faith.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Jesus' Use of the Old Testament

If you can believe what you read on the internet, Jesus quoted the OT 78 times, citing 49 different verses.

By the power of Facebook, a friend kindly emailed me Appendix C from RT France, Jesus and the Old Testament (London: Tyndale Press, 1971), pp 259-63.

If I have counted correctly, France seems to list 144 quotations, allusions or references to specific OT texts, excluding parallels and not counting general stuff like 'it is written that the Messiah must suffer' etc. in the Synoptic Gospels alone.

France classifies these from A, verbatim quotations with introductory formula to F, possible references without verbal allusion. He admits that some instances are hard to classify.

Sermon Notes / Handout / Outline for a Sermon on 2 Timothy 3:15-17 for Bible Sunday

Look away now if you plan to be at Dallington or Warbleton on Sunday morning.

Bible Sunday 2015 – 2 Timothy 3:15-17 (page 1197)


v15 – ‘holy’, sacred, special, unique – not like any other book

v16 – All ‘God-breathed / Spirited’ – therefore true, authoritative, reliable, trustworthy / infallible / inerrant – reflects God Himself - 2 Peter 1:20-21

The Bible is God’s words to us today - Hebrews 3:7

Jesus’ attitude to the Bible - ‘It is written…’ - Matthew 22:43 - John 10:35

(Wenham, Christ and the Bible; Andrew Wilson, Unbreakable)


(see also e.g. Psalm 19:7-11; Psalm 119:9)

v15 – ‘able to make us wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ

The Scriptures bring us to Jesus - John 5:39-40; Luke 24:25-27, 44-47

v16 – ‘all … useful’ – even the less obvious bits!

v16 – teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness

v17 – ‘so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work’ – The Sufficiency of Scripture – the Bible tells us all we need to know to be saved and live a godly life – the Bible also encourages us to think, consider creation, listen to Bible teachers & the church etc.  


Pray! Plan! Try different stuff; find what helps you; variety? Slow and fast reading; think about it; reflect; pray; pray again!

The sermon – in so far as it is faithful to the Bible, it is the Word of God - - re-read the passages – discuss

Personal Bible reading, study, memorisation -

Little and often – start with something easier e.g. a gospel;  e.g. a Psalm most days; OT, NT & Ps a day; a regular time may help you (habit)

Notebook and pen

Family / Household Bible times

1 to 1 / small group

Homegroups etc. (Ladies’ group, Good Book Club, Topics Group)

A wealth of resources for all ages - -

A good modern translation (NIV) – different versions – - e.g. ESV (more literal) Study Bible, The Message or Living Bible (paraphrases)

Bible on your mobile phone / tablet / laptop etc.

Audio Bibles – David Suchet – in car, while ironing -

Bible reading notes / study guides / commentaries

Some include the Bible text (e.g. for use on train), some undated

Scripture Union – Daily Bread, Encounter with God

Good Book Company – Explore, Engage, Ichthus File etc.

Bible reading plan / in a year - / record what you read (tick off books to ensure you read the whole over time)

Songs with the text of Scripture – versions of the Psalms -

How To Benefit From The Bible

So, this Sunday (like all Sundays!) is Bible Sunday.

What practical tips / advice would you give on how people can benefit from the Bible? What practices and resources would you recommend?

Pray! Plan! Try different stuff, find what helps you, variety?

The sermon – in so far as it is faithful to the Bible, it is the Word of God - - re-read the passages – discuss

Personal Bible reading, study, memorisation

Little and often – e.g. a Psalm most days; OT, NT & Ps a day

Family / Household Bible times

1 to 1 / small group

Homegroups etc.

A wealth of resources for all ages - -

A good modern translation (NIV) – different versions – - e.g. ESV Study Bible, The Message (paraphrase)

Audio Bibles – David Suchet – in car, while ironing -

Bible reading notes / study guides / commentaries

Some include the Bible text, some undated

Scripture Union

Good Book Company – Explore, Engage, Icthus File etc.

Bible in a year / record what you read - Notebook and pen

Songs with the text of Scripture – versions of the Psalms -

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Ordination in the Church of England

The audio of The Revd Nigel Atkinson's talk on Ordination in the Church of England from the Church Society Junior Anglican Evangelical Conference 2015 is available here.

He discusses the necessity, purpose and power of ordination interacting with Calvin, Cranmer, Hooker, Jewel and the Ordinal - oh, and the Bible, of course!

Along the way you get some good stuff on the nature of the church. Hooker argued (against the radical puritans) that the church is not only a supernatural society but also a society, a politic society, a natural body.

Some random jottings of favourite / noteworthy bits:

Calvin argues that ordination goes back to Jesus' appointment of the apostles and is necessary to the existence and continuation of the church as an organised society. If we think the ministry is only of minor importance, Calvin says we plot the ruin and destruction of the church. The ministry is more essential to the continuation of the church than the light of the sun or food and drink.

Hooker says there will be utter confusion if the church depends only on claims to be led by the Spirit and not on customs, traditions and laws. Order and constitution are vital.

Ordination confers real spiritual power - the power to preach the word and administer the sacraments.

Hooker says the church was never from the beginning without a government, a regiment.

The church is primarily led by the preaching of the word and the ministry of the sacraments.

Hooker insists that the church has abolished sacrificing priests and has presbyters (Book 5).

Hooker regarded Bishops as first of all types of (senior) presbyters, as the Apostles were.

Hooker himself received the Supper from a non-episcopally ordained presbyter, Hadrian of Soravia, a Dutchman, on his deathbed.

Hooker is the Reformed theologian of the Church of England.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

One point preaching without notes

One day I might get round to watching some of the sermons at

The blurb for the website says:

"When Jesus preached, crowds flocked to hear him. He was relevant,empathic,insightful and passionate. Lives were changed as a result. How much contemporary preaching has the same impact?

Can 21st century preachers be off-notes AND in control, compassionate AND challenging, exegetically deep AND daringly creative? When I watch these I see the word of God come alive and I’m excited. I hope you feel the same!"

Friday, October 16, 2015

Rural churches and church buildings (CofE)

 "Some 78% of the Church of England’s 15,700 churches are listed. Over 57% of churches are in rural areas, where only 17% of the population lives. 91% of rural churches are listed, compared with 63% in suburban and 55% in urban areas. The Church of England is responsible for around 45% of the grade I listed buildings of England and almost three-quarters of these are in rural areas. "

See also Giles Fraser's article:

"a quarter of rural churches have fewer than 10 people in the pews on a Sunday. Half of them have fewer than 20."

"the C of E is mired in nostalgia ... for a parish pastoral in which the local vicar, who knows everyone, wanders around in some wheel of benevolent aimlessness"

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Some biblical texts relevant to money & giving

For the most part in no particular order and perhaps with some mentioned more than once: (!)

Philippians 4

Mt 13:22

Mt 13:44

Lk 3:11-13

Lk 19:8

Acts 2:45; 4:32-35; 19:19

Mk 12:44

Lk 12:20

Mt 19:21

Ps 119:162

Mt 6:19-21

Mt 6:24

Ephesians 5:5

Prov 23:5

Mt 19:29

Phil 3:7-11

Ps 49:16-20

Job 41:11

Ps 24:1

Hag 2:8

Dt 8:10-18

1 Cor 6:19-20

2 Cor 9:7

2 Cor 8

Ex 36:5-7

1 Chron 29:14

Num 18:24

Gal 6:6

Prov 21:13

Is 58:6-10

Mt 16:27

Rewards in heaven:

Rev 20:6

Mt 25:21, 23

Lk 19:12-19

1 cor 6:3

Eph 6:8

Rm 2:6, 10

Mt 19:21

Mt 10:42

Lk 16:11-12

Phil 4:17

Lk 14:13-14

Heb 11:26

Lk 12:15

Heb 11:13, 16

Phil 3:20

Ecc 5:10-15

1 Tim 4:3-5

1 Timothy 6:6-10

1 Tim 6:17-

Rev 3:14-18

Lev 27:30

Prov 3:9

Mal 3:8-10

Mt 23:23

Heb 7:2-9

Dt 16:10, 16-17

Prov 13:22

Lk 6:38

Gal 6:9

Prov 30:8-9

1 Chron 29:6-9

Acts 20:35

Gen 13:2

Ps 50:9-12

Some principles concerning money and giving

I preached along these lines this morning. The readings were Psalm 49 & 1 Timothy 4:1-5; 6:3-10, 17-19:

(1) God is the maker and owner of all things.

 (2) Everything we own is a trust, given to us as stewards

 (3) Like all created things, money is a good thing

 (4) But money – or indeed poverty – can be a snare

 (5) Money can be a false god that keeps us from God

 (6) Giving is a great antidote to materialism

 (7) God is the great giver

 (8) We give in response to God’s generosity to us

(9) In the Old Covenant, God’s people were commanded to give the first 10% of their income back to him.

DV audio here in due course

See also this from a few years ago: 8 principles of Christian giving from 2 Cor 8-9

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

How much money did he leave?

After his death, someone asked J. D. Rockefeller’s accountant, “How much money did he leave?”

The answer, of course, was all of it!

It always is.

(Randy Alcorn, The Treasure Principle, p17)

New Peeple people-rating app - Parish Magazine Item

From The Rectory

On the whole, I think there is no doubt that we should regard the internet as a great blessing. And social media (such as Facebook and Twitter) has its uses and can be lots of fun. It helps people stay in touch or be informed. All that’s is good.
But we all know there is a darker side to the internet. Like anything, it can be misused. And the same goes for social media.

You probably will have heard on teenagers being bullied terribly on-line, and sometimes being suicidal as a result. There was a time when someone who was bullied at school might at least be safe at home and close the door on the abuse they face. But today, wherever your smart phone goes, malevolent messages can follow. And once something is posted online, it’s tricky to remove. A quote or an image could potentially be seen by millions all around the world in a few quick clicks. Teenage mistakes are not so easily forgotten in the internet age.  

One especially worrying possible new app which was said by the BBC to be due to launch this month is Peeple. Extending the idea of review sites such as Trip Advisor or Yelp, Peeple, it was reported, will allow users to review people and give them star ratings.

If people are sometimes anxious about how many likes or “friends” they have on Facebook, it’s easy to imagine the distress which such a website might cause. Who wants to receive one star? And I guess some people will be disappointed not to be talked about. Some might prefer negative reviews to being ignored.

The Christian faith offers an increasingly counter cultural view of human worth and dignity. We are created in the image of God – and you can’t get much better than that. Whatever others might think about us, we are thoroughly known and loved by God. Our value does not depend on our performance or achievements, or how we manage to present ourselves in the real or virtual world.

Yet, if we’re honest, we know that there are times when we don’t measure up to our own standards, let alone God’s. None of us could expect a perfect review. It’s a worrying thought to consider how an all-knowing God would rate our integrity, or kindness, or patience, or honesty or …. You could probably fill in the blanks of ways in which you are not the person you know you ought to be.

The good news of the Christian faith is forgiveness and grace – the undeserved love of God which we can’t earn and don’t have to pay for. The Christian life is not about notching up points with God or trying to work our way into his good books. Jesus took the punishment for his people, so that their relationship with a holy God might be restored.

If we put our trust in Christ, we are united to him by faith. His righteousness, his record, his performance, his rating with God his Father, is credited to us. When God looks at a believer, he sees his perfect beloved Son whom he loves. We are counted righteous in him, despite the bad things we’ve done and the good things we’ve failed to do.

The believer in his or her right mind, ought to care above all else what God makes of him or her. He is the one we seek to please. Of course we like to be liked, but the assurance of the love of God can free us from what the Bible would call an insatiable people-pleasing. What others might think of me matters less when I remember that my loving heavenly Father cares for me, warts and all.

but see also

Monday, October 05, 2015

Harvest All Age / Children's Talk / Gimmick

Naturally this is not original: I got it from a clergy colleague, so all thanks to him.

You will need some objects in a bag (one the colour of each of the colours of the rainbow). I used foods. Get people to pull them out, say what they are, hold them up for everyone to see, and try to guess the connection between them.

If no one guesses, get the people with the objects up the front. Put them in rainbow colour order.

The readings we had were:

Genesis 8:15-end - this obviously calls for a reminder of the story so far

2 Peter 3:3-15a, 17-end - this reading is a bit long and complicated but it does allow for a contemporary application and some discussion of what it means today to live in the light of God's judgement and mercy and the hope of the New Creation.

Talk about the meaning of the rainbow according to Genesis 8. God has hung up his war bow.

Every day and all God's good gifts to us are a sign of his mercy and his faithfulness to his promises. The rainbow reminds us of God's kindness but so does everything around us. Life and breathe and food and the world are all good and gracious gifts of God which we don't deserve.