Friday, June 30, 2017

EMA Day 3: Closing Sermon - Vaughan Roberts - Rev 11:1-13 - The God Who Sends

Closing sermon – Vaughan Roberts – The God Who Sends – Revelation 11:1-13

A missionary summary, a brief period of service, 2 missionaries who serve for 3.5 yrs, who then lie unburied and are raised

Visual symbols

A series of 7s – 7 letters in ch 2 & 3, 7 churches, an appeal to persevere, endure faithfully to the end

4:1 – trailblazing of what is to happen – chapters 4 & 5 two foundational visions

A throne in heaven with someone sitting on it – the sovereignty of God

The lamb who was slain – a saving God

A context of victory, conquest

7 seals

Suffering & security

7 trumpets – wake up calls, delay, 7th trumpet

Ch 11 – the church in the last days – a delay, an opportunity for a gospel call to go out

These 2 representing the whole church – lampstands represent the churches

Jesus sent the disciples out 2 by 2, 2 witnesses required in a law court

The church in the age of gospel proclamation & mission

We are missionaries. What should we expect? What would Jesus say to us as he commissions us?

(1) You will suffer

OT imagery – Ezekiel 40-48 – new temple imagery – 1 Pt 2 – church as temple

Measuring a sign of ownership, commitment, plans cf. Measuring up a new house

Gentiles standing for the world in opposition to X

42 months – Daniel 12 – tribulation – 3.5 yrs – 42 stages of journey to promised land

A long time but not for ever – the same as the period of mission

Proclamation and persecution together

The experience of the church parallels the experience of X – despised, rejected, opposed, killed

Today we are regarded not just as repressed for holding to traditional biblical morality but repressive

(2) You are not alone

Don’t despair!

V4 – olive trees provide oil to keep the lamp burning

The witness of these prophets will never go out. There is a constant supply of power.

V5 – Jeremiah 5:14 – words like fire

V6 – Elijah and Moses in a context where they were largely rejected, but powerful – no rain for 3.5 yrs

Water into blood, plagues (Moses)

Mt 18:18 – power in what is said, authority to preach the gospel, to announce the gospel, the response to which will have eternal consequences

The preaching of the gospel might seem weak but its powerful – God’s word never returns empty. It always brings judgement or salvation

(3) You won’t regret it

V11 – Is it worth it? Take the long view. We share in X’s cross; we will share in his resurrection (v12)

Cf. The resurrection of the church in China, Cambodia, Iran

John Patten who went to the New Hebrides in the South Pacific. An old man said to him, “Don’t do, you’ll be eaten by cannibals.” / “you’ll be eaten by worms. If I can serve X, it will make no difference whether I am eaten by cannibals or by worms”

Elijah – 7000 remnant that did not bow the knee to Baal

Give glory to the God of heaven – saved?

A vast numberless multitude

D L Moody mission to Cambridge – mockery but then many saved, Guildhall packed, “My God, this is enough to live for”

Yes, ministry is tough, there is suffering, but you are not alone and you wont regret it. My power is with you.

EMA Day 3: Kevin De Young - Session 2 - The Mission of the Church

Kevin De Young – Session 2 – The Mission of the Church

The ministry of church / gospel / mission

Mission – not a biblical word in our English Bible – but Latin, sent, Gk, apostle, sent

Not every good thing Xians may do but what is the church gathered as institution and scattered as organism sent to do? What is the church’s task?

How do gospel proclamation and social action / justice / mercy ministry relate in the mission of the church? 2 wings of a bird / plane?

The ministry of J and the mission of the church – Mk

(1) Jesus ministered to bodies as well as to souls

A prototypical day in Jesus’ ministry

(a) teaching

(b) exorcism

(c) healing

Mk 3 – apostles sent to preach and cast out demons – cf. Mt 10 - healing

Compassion for hurting people motivated J to minister to bodies – healing of the Leper – moved with pity

Mk 8:2 – compassion on hungry crowd

Mercy on Bartimaeus

Lk 7:13 – compassion

The heart of Jesus is moved with compassion for hurting suffering people and their bodily needs

Kevin de Young, What is the mission of the church? (Book)

(2) Within this ministry to body and soul, Jesus made preaching his priority

Opening summary: Mk 1:14ff – proclaiming the gospel of God and saying...

G E Ladd, Gospel and Kingdom, passive verbs related to kingdom – you enter and receive the kingdom – not build the kingdom

Gospel proclamation of J as king / lord is only good news if you preach repentance and faith, the means of entering the blessings of the kingdom, being reconciled to Jesus as your king and Lord


1:38 – the disciples want to prioritise healing but Jesus wants to preach elsewhere – that is why Jesus came

Jesus never went into a town with the explicit purpose of healing or casting out demons. He came out to preach, though of course he healed and cast out demons along the way.

Mk 2:17 – I came to call sinners – proclamation

Mk 6 – the people of Nazareth scandalised by Jesus – v5, their unbelief was so counter to his purpose that he would not heal there – he did not come just to put on a show nor to be useful to them in their physical infirmities

Feeding of the 5000 – 6:34 – compassion because they are like sheep without a shepherd, so he begins to teach them many things – compassion ministry is bible teaching, telling lost sinners how to be saved

(3) In the end Jesus ministered to body as well as souls and made preaching his priority so that those with ears to hear might see his true identity and have faith in him. This was his purpose, his ultimate aim. He came to die for sins and he aimed for people to know who he was and trust in him. The healings and exorcisms intended to show who Jesus was.

1:1 – the purpose of Mk, what Mk wants to prove

3 Acts in Mark

1:1-13 – prologue / introduction

Act 1: 1:14-8:21 – Jesus demonstrates he is the X the Son of God, most miracles here, wonder and amazement about Jesus – 5:43; 7:37 – reactions to Jesus, what the miracle says about J – Mk 2 – healing of the paralysed man, priority of forgiveness of sins, the miracles demonstrate J’s authority and true identity

Parable of the Sower – faith

Calming of Storm

Who is this man?

Act 2: 8:22 – end of Ch. 8 – Jesus clarifies what it means to be the Son of God

Turning point: Peter’s confession

The Father and the demons have said who Jesus is but now for the first time a human being gets it

Peter does not really get the nature of X’s messiah-ship as suffering servant

3 miracles in this act, all to do with clarifying Jesus’ identity and true faith in him

Healing of the boy in ch 9 – what is real faith?

2 healings of blind people – ch 8 & 10 – Bethsaida and Bartimaeus – humility of Bartimaeus and the pride of James and Jn

Ch 8 – 2 stage healing – men like trees walking – Peter sees something but cannot yet see clearly – Peter is like this blind man

Act 3: Ch 11-end – Jesus proves he is the X

Only the cursing of the fig tree (and the resurrection here) – the overthrowing of the temple / Israel

Jesus finally says I am the Son of the blessed one (ch 14)

This man truly was the Son of God, the centurion confesses at the cross (ch 15)

The promise of the title of 1:1 proved at cross and resurrection

16:8 – the ultimate cliff hanger – what about you, your response, who do you say that I am?

In Mark, then, Jesus DEMONSTRATES, CLARIFIES and PROVES who he is

Applications / conclusions:

(1) If we are becoming more like Jesus, we will have compassion on the needs of the world and we will want to help

Gal 6:10

1 Tim 5

Priority of family and church family but do good to all as we have opportunity

(2) Proclamation must remain the church’s priority

Jesus could have just had a great healing mission and avoided the cross

If the church only does what would make Bono and Oprah proud, we are not being Christ-like or

The Great Commission – the task that the church was sent to do

Making disciples of X as servants of others is the task of the church

(3) Whenever we engage in compassion / mercy ministry, there should always be an aim that Jesus might be known and believed in for salvation

Finite time, resources etc.

Peter Ducker: You don’t really have priorities until you have posteriorities

What are you not going to do so that you can do what you have really be sent to do?

The church as church is sent primarily to proclaim the gospel of salvation

Keep the main thing the main thing

J Gresham Machen at height of depression and liberalism – what is the purpose of the church in this new age? The same as in every age to testify about human sin, God offers communion with himself, no other salvation full and free that whoever possesses it has a treasure which all the kingdoms of the earth are as the dust of the street

EMA Day 3: Andy Gemmill - Ephesians Session 3 - (3:1-13)

Andy Gemmill – Ephesians session 3 - Ephesians 3:1-13

A big question always there in the Christian life, under the surface: God, is your heart really in this enterprise? Why don’t you do some more visible reigning supreme and save a few more people, help your people more, defend your cause more powerfully? Is God really committed to this?

Are we doing something wrong?

Pl’s imprisonment at the heart of this letter, the reason for his writing

No longer like Acts 19. Has it all gone wrong?

Acts 20 warning that things will change after Pl’s departure: he is going to prison – Pl goes to jail at the hands of his Jewish Ephesian opponents

4 or 5 yrs on, Pl in prison in Rm

Had Pl been prevented from writing before?

6:21 - Tychicus – has he brought news from Eph which has provoked Pl to write?

Human conflict – those who call themselves the circumcision

Pl’s imprisonment – for longer than he had been in Eph – Pl no longer looks like the victorious minister of the risen and reigning X

Pl’s message is relatively new. The Ephesians have only been Xians for about 5 yrs.

The Judaizers seem more impressive than Pl and seem to have tradition and history on their side

3:1, 13; 4:1

3:13 the key purpose statement of the letter – the second imperative of the letter

Pl wants them not to lose heart because of his sufferings but rather be strong in the Lord and in his might, standing firm in the gospel he gave them.

This is fundamentally a do not lose heart letter. This is the do not lose heart passage.

Pl’s message seems a new-fangled novelty.

Where is the power in Pl and his message?


V8 unsearchable

Manifold wisdom of God

Immeasurable love

Big bold expansive language of God and his love; weak language about Pl: the prisoner, the sufferer, the leaster of all the saints – constraint

These things are not just juxtaposed but linked. He is a prisoner for their sake, suffering for them which is their glory.

His sufferings are linked to the wonder of what God has done for them

(1) Pl’s message is new, but its always been in God’s plan

Mystery – not a puzzle to investigate – a secret that was kept hidden – v5, not made known before but now revealed to the Apostles and especially to Pl vv3-4

V9 newly revealed but not new

Just cos my middle name hasn’t been revealed doesn’t mean it hasn’t always been there

V6 – the inclusion of the Gentiles through the gospel – not news that Gentiles can be in God’s plan

Is 2 – nations flooding to Zion, law going out

How the gentiles can be in – through the gospel – is newly revealed

1v13 – the Ephesians were included by hearing and believing the gospel and sealed by the HS – God sets up his dwelling when someone hears a message over the garden fence – not becoming Jewish etc.

Pl the Apostle to the Gentiles

(2) Yes, I am in prison, but it remains a powerful message, even though it doesn’t seem so

The power seems to have gone but it remains v8 – progression of ideas: Pl is responsible to preach X to the Gentiles and to bring to light for all the plan of the mystery of the creator – by Pl’s preaching to the Gentiles the plan of God is made visible – through the preaching of the gospel the church comes into being and the plan of God is revealed, v10, even to the powers in heaven

Who is this who can do this?

The power and plan of God will be fully revealed on the final day, but the powers can see the seed and sign of it now

Cf. Tsunami – the sign of the coming Tsunami is the sea receding, going out

Jew and Gentile sitting down for tea together doesn’t seem earth shattering to us, but to the powers, it shows 1:10 is coming: Christ is unifying humanity and all things

Every time you behave together in a 4:2 way etc., no stealing, lying, loving wife etc., the power of God is displayed to the powers. Jesus is Lord he has delivered people from slavery. He will be seen to be Lord of all.


(a) Be reassured by faith not by sight. God’s power may not seem obvious. 1:18 – we need the eyes of our hearts open to God’s power

How often do we look for reassurance in visible things rather than the invisible but soon to be revealed victory of J?

(b) The presence of an invisible audience – the powers – makes very action significant. The Lord sees and the powers see. The unseen is worth keeping going at. Every small unnoticed thing done for the building of the body is part of a bigger battle.

Vv11-13 sum up this argument. God’s eternal plan is being fulfilled. Bold confident access to God. Real if not yet fully seen. It looks bad now, but don’t lose heart.

The prisoner of X Jesus / the Lord – visibly Pl is the prisoner of Rm. He is the prisoner who belongs to the Lord and endures imprisonment for the Lord. But he is also the Lord’s captive. He has been imprisoned by J. Pl has himself been conquered, defeated, taken prisoner, set free – no longer enslaved by sin but now by Jesus. Pl’s imprisonment flows from his ministry. Pl’s preaching has got him in to trouble. His suffering is for the Gentiles, from his Gentile ministry. But further his sufferings are congruent with him having been humbled by a conquering king whose prisoner he is. Not just the prisoner of Caesar but of the Lord. Humbled.

End of the book of Acts – Pl humbled and imprisoned. As for Jesus, faithfulness means suffering, false accusations, imprisonment.

Why doesn’t God stand up and fight?

This is how he fights with humility and gentleness. X and all X’s people. Cross then glory. Life through death.

This pattern overflows to all X’s servants.

4:1-8, 11-2, psalm 68 – psalm of procession to temple, journey from Egypt to promised land, warfare and victory, conquered enemies, celebration of triumph centred on the temple sanctuary, tribute from all the world, praise from all the nations

Who is this warrior? Ps: Yahweh - V8 – X

Who are the conquered? Pl is head of the list

The ones the Lord gives to his people are themselves the conquered: apostles, prophets, but also evangelists and pastor teachers, and no doubt youth workers and women’s workers too

We are conquered enemies of J. Humbling’s and sufferings should not surprise us.

Pl sufferings are for them, their glory.

If we are suffering in ministry, we are in such good company!

God’s power is on display in ordinary church life and relationships. The humiliations of the Apostle show the power of God.

J God’s conquering king is supreme.

We are part of a much bigger unseen battle. God is fighting. All that goes on really does have significance.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

EMA Day 2: Graham Beynon - sermon: 1 Peter 2:4-10 – The God Who Gathers

Do you typically by default think I or we?

Individualist and collectivist cultures – defined by relationships, groups?

Top 3 individualist countries: USA, Australia, UK

Church – God saves people into a gathered church

(1) God is building a new temple (v4), a spiritual house

Forget about the temple in Jerusalem

Eph 2 – the people are the temple

Living stones, people

God presences himself, meets with his people

Also a holy priesthood offering spiritual sacrifice – whole life offered in worship to God

God is all about relationship, dwelling with his people, present to them, living with them

People come into this new temple through Jesus v4

People come to see Jesus as God sees him and to view him as precious and trust in him

But others reject Jesus as useless rubbish – reversal – rejection to exaltation

How people respond to Jesus and to the message / word cf. Ch 1: the word that was preached to you, the word about J

The gospel does not just result in saved people, it results in a saved people: it creates the church, churches, a temple

Cf. Belonging and believing – it is by believing we belong – individual to collective, not automatic or by association or osmosis – personal trust essential – to the one who believes

Not just a matter of background / upbringing

Belonging before believing? Evangelistic and apologetic power in non-Xians interacting with Xians, but you can’t belong without believing

If you believe, you belong – church membership is not optional – belong to J, belong to his church

Distinguish faith in Jesus and church-going nominalism – but church essential – joining the church is integral to conversion

Eph 2 – in X you are part of the new humanity

1 Cor 12 – baptised by the Spirit into one body

We come to faith as individuals and no one can believe for us, but faith is not purely vertical or private

Church is more than useful / helpful

Conversion results in a new corporate identity – a building, founded on J, not just a whole load of stones!

Xianity is not just a you and J thing

We should define ourselves not just in distinction to others but in relationship with them

God dwells amongst us as a people not just privately in my heart

(2) God is gathering a new people through Jesus (v9)

The language of Ex 19 – redemption, treasured possession, kingdom of priests, holy nation

Church as new Israel, new people of God – “replacement theology”, fulfilment, transformation, multi-ethnic people of God through J

Unique privilege, access to God, treasured, valuable to God

Holy, distinguished from the dark world, set apart, foreigners and exiles, not belonging to the world

Changed, transformed

Recipients of mercy

Corporate identity, united, brought together

Covenant promise: I will be your God and you will be my people

Implications for our view of church:

Challenges a functional view of church – church not just a tool, what it does, a means – not merely utilitarian – the collective nature of the church is not accidental or pragmatic but essential

USA: drive in church

Listening to sermons online not the same as church!

Church not just meetings I go to for the sake of my relationship with God – church more than a filling station

Not just in and out – drive through church without the car!

The homogeneous unit principle a functional view of church, merely pragmatic means to an end?

Who we are not just what we do

Families do things but they are not just means – they are a thing!

Francis Shaffer – we need an orthodoxy of doctrine and of community, and understanding of who we are as God’s people and how it is lived out

Church as more than good meetings

What is the mission / goal of the church? What is the aim here in 1 Pt?

God wants a chosen and treasured people who belong to him and proclaim him and live as his people

God sent Jesus so there could be church! The story of the Bible is the story of gathering of the church. Fall, loss of church. Promise of church. Model of church. Fulfilment of church. Future church.

Church is not only the agent but the goal.

Philip Jensen: what if God doesn’t have a purpose for the church? What if the church is the goal not the instrument, more like a diamond than a hammer it exists for the pleasure and glory of its owner not as a tool for another end.

Obviously the church still does stuff!

Eph 4 – the body grows and builds itself up. The goal is a mature body suitable for Christ.

Or the perfecting of the bride for X.

I and we, of course. Trinity. I trust in Jesus and then we! So we. I belong to the people of God. That defines me. I belong to God’s temple, people, nation, family.

Church not just a priority over TV & sport but how people think of themselves.

When we serve the church, we are about God’s mission. God sent Jesus so there could be church. The future is church.

EMA Day 2: Justin Mote - The Preacher & Connecting - Application

Application often squeezed out / neglected

Tag on applications that don’t really arise from the text

Always read Bible, pray, give, use gifts, evangelism etc.

Eph 4-6 belong with Eph 1-3 and not identical to Rm 12ff – doctrine leads to application; application must arise from doctrine

Think about the people and how the text relates to them

Application often bland

Could people say what the aim sentence of the sermon was? What change was intended?

What do we mean by application?

God’s unstoppable plan – Rm 8:28f – God is conforming us to X so that J might be the first born among many brothers

How should this sermon make people more like J?

Not merely about doing – thinking too – think like J not just behave like J

Thinking rightly about self, God, world, unbelievers etc.

Recover confidence in the sufficiency of Scripture – everything we need for life and godliness, to make us like J – 2 Pt 1:3; 2 Tim 3:16f – the Scriptures will do this work

The Bible is not just for information but transformation

The Bible is full of application – OT law lots of application, prophets, correction, warning, rebuke, wisdom literature, almost all of Prov is application, J’s own preaching, Pl, doctrine then application

Application runs through the Bible like words through rock

Application is a work of the Spirit of God – Jn 16 – 1 Thess 1, power and the HS and full conviction, with the joy of the HS, 1 Thess 4, God gives his HS

Pray for God to do this work and change people!

Application is also the work of the preacher – 1 Thess – Pl applied the gospel, he preached application, what to believe and how to behave – 3:4; 4:2, instructions for sanctification

The listener must apply the Scriptures – Heb 5 – people ought to train themselves in godliness, in living out God’s word, help people to think through what this means for them, their family, our church etc.

This is of course a spiritual battle in study, in pulpit, in hearers – Satan does not want people to be more like Jesus!


Wise and foolish builders – hears and puts these words into practice – same information

A real and dangerous battle

The storm of the return of Jesus is coming

(Don’t be too overly directive unless the text clearly warrants it)

(1) We must apply from the big idea of the text


(a) Primary application – expositional

(b) Secondary application – systematic

1 Thess 2 – Pl’s motives, praise of men not praise of God; the manner of his ministry: gentle like a mother and exhorting like a father; reminder

Secondary application: minister like this – from Pl to us

Not only what is the text about but what is the text for? Why was this written?

1 Thess 2 not a manual for Xian ministry

What impact did Pl intend?

Of course secondary systematic applications are legitimate but they are not primary

1 Thess 2 is a reminder that Pl is an authentic word minister, genuine, not a sham. They can trust Pl and his gospel. We should believe Pl’s gospel. Pl wants to encourage and reassure them in the face of mud slinging by others. Much mud is of course slung at Pl today. People play off J against Pl.

God has not chosen to give us an encyclopaedia or dictionary or text book of theology / Xian life

Respect the way God has revealed himself. Let application flow from the big idea. What is this text meant for?

Help people to read and apply the Bible for themselves by flagging secondary application

(2) Context is crucial

(a) Where are we in the whole bible? Biblical theology – the story line of redemption history

Our context between Pentecost and the return of X

Preaching on OT legislation? How to apply in our context?

e.g. OT animal sacrifice – shadows and fulfilment

Israel – Jesus – the church – an unbelieving people?

(b) where are we in this Bible book?

Why did Pl write Romans? Rm 15:14

How do the bits fit in to the whole?

(c) context immediately before and after?

Practical tips on application

The importance of editorial comments

End of Ex 2 – God heard and was concerned – this is what the writer wants us to know – though God seemed to say and do nothing, he heard and remembered and was concerned

Lk 18v1 – Luke tells you the application! Do not give up. Keep praying

Lk 18v9 – Do not be self-righteous and treat others with contempt

How does the immediate context help with application?

Let the little children come to me – Luke 18 – Pharisee & Tax Collector, blind beggar, rich ruler, disciples – people you would think are in are out and vice versa – spiritual apartheid? Gospel for all

Think about your hearers! Be deliberate.

What assumptions are you making?

Are they believers? New believers or mature? Young or old? Etc.

Application that will get under their skin

Illustrate how the text might apply without being legalistic

Think of individuals

Are there applications for all people everywhere?

The kingdom of God is near; repent and believe

There are lots of different ways to explain the same reality

What do they need to repent of / believe on the basis of this passage?

How will this passage help them to take up their cross daily and follow Jesus?

What would the evidence be if I don’t believe this? What would people miss out on if they didn’t get this passage?

How does this text apply to me? How has it changed me?

What would the devil want me to do or think with this text?

Prepare early and leave lots of time to wonder about application. What does God want to do with me and with the congregation from this text?

Eph 5 – marriage in the context of Ephesians – unity in the local church – 3:10 – the unity of a marriage proclaims the wisdom of God

EMA day 2: Kevin de Young on The Mission of the Church

Sin & Salvation

The doctrine of sin and how it ought to shape our ministry and sense of mission in the church

The essence of sin: What is sin?

The essence of it

Rebellion against God

Sin is lawlessness – breaking God’s commandments either knowingly or unknowingly

Leads to death

Missing the mark


Spiritual adultery



The problem of the universe which redemption answers








Failing to listen to God


The primordial sin? Paradigmatic

Sin to disbelieve the word of God

Sin as pride, thinking you know better than God

Trying to be like God in our own way

The pursuit of illicit pleasure

The origin of sin: Where did sin come from?

Probation in the garden – tree of k of gd and evil

Knowing / deciding good and evil

Lady Gaga, I’m born this way – defining ourselves apart from God

Shame, guilt, fear, blame, pain, broken relationships, curse, judgement

Thorns and thistles

Creation groaning and subject to decay

Our fundamental problem not circumstances etc., upbringing

We are born with a bad heart – Heidelberg catechism – I have a natural tendency to hate God and my neighbour

Mark Dever prays people will come to an awareness of their sin – people don’t believe in the chasm of sin between them and God, sin an offence to God almighty, work of the Spirit required

Titus 3:5; Gen 6:5

Total depravity – every area of person and life affected by sin – all faculties of person affected, rational faculties affected, the noetic effects of the fall – on thinking – we can do no spiritual good without the work of the spirit

Original sin – pollution, guilt

Ps 51

Job 15

Jn 3 – necessity of new birth

Rm 3

Eph 2

Gal 3

1 K 8:46

Ps 143

Ecc 7:20

1 Jn 1:8-10

We do not want a soft Pelagianism

Aug Confessions: grant what you command and command what you will – you tell us to do what we cannot do unless you empower us to do them

The bondage of the will

We can only accept God’s grace by the grace of God

Monergism not synergism – the one work of God not our own contribution

Distinguish freedom of will – Calvin – freedom from necessity, misery,

The will is in bondage to sin, not by external compulsion – not just a puppet on a string / robot

We sin because we want to – not God / devil made me do it

Synod of Dort – we are not stocks and blocks, sticks and stones, we will, but we have lost the freedom of the will to choose right

We are not just sick but dead

God doesn’t just throw the dead a life preserver – he gives new life

Unable to please God without the Spirit or come to X unless drawn

The transmission of sin: How did sin spread?

Pelagius – only sinful acts by imitation not the imputation of Adam’s sin

Sin a condition as well as acts, an inherited nature

Parenting is the great antidote to Pelagianism! You do not need to teach the kids to sin!

Rm 5 – Adam our representative, federal head in the covenant of works – we sinned in him

Born with original sin (nature) and guilt (culpability)

Cf. Western individualism – strong sense of family

We participated in Adam’s sin – we sinned in Adam

We all inherit the same nature and stand in need of the same grace – a unity in diversity

God has the right to judge us because we have sinned and we sin in Adam

Implications: What difference does this doctrine of sin make? How does this translate into practical actions, aims in ministry etc.?

(1) We ought to have a proper recognition about ourselves as sinners prone to wickedness. You are capable of great evil. You should know your weakness / limitations

Alexander Solzenitskin – the line between good and evil passes through the human heart


My biggest problem in pastoral ministry is me, my own people pleasing, weakness, lack of self-discipline, defending self, fighting back etc.

(2) it ought to give us a realism about the world

Rev John Witherspoon – James Madison – human nature requires division of powers and of government – angels would need no government – men must govern men so how will the governors be governed? Checks and balances – men are generally not to be trusted with great power

The greatest problems and challenges are within

No utopian schemes.

Everyone can be selfish, cruel and arrogant and is hard wired to behave in these ways. This is wrong and we have fallen from primal innocence. Only supernatural power can save us.

This makes sense of the world.

Original sin is the only doctrine that can be proved by human observation.  

(3) We should be resolute in our task. We understand the real problem so we must offer the real solution.

Responsibility for sin

The death of Satan: how Americans have lost their sense of evil (1990s book)

Moral categories, God, the devil, evil, not just therapy etc.

Euphemisms for sin – sin as brokenness – yes, but also...


Confess rebellion, disobedience, evil not just that something is not right

C S Lewis – miserable offenders

The Bible v strong on sin and its God orientation

We do not need a handyman but a Saviour!

The problem is God defiance not lack of trees, or unemployment or....

The gospel!

(4) Rejoice in salvation! Don’t be miserable. Be an advert for good news. Preach on joy joyfully. Forgiven! Blood bought freedom. The worst thing that can happen to you is death and that is also the best thing that can happen to you. Be a winsome warrior for Christ with the best news possible for a sinful world.

EMA Day 2: Andy Gemmill on Ephesians 2

Your actual church as it really is is what the victorious rule of Jesus looks like in this age, though that might seem unbelievable!

Surely God intends something more special looking than this?

Cf. The viral sore throat – antibiotics will not help – rest, be patient, take ibuprofen - Where are the special magic pills and why am I not being given then and why isn’t it all sorted out?

There are no special magic church pills. God wisdom and power in this age look like your ordinary church as it is. This church is the climax of God’s purposes in this age though it looks unpromising. Our churches is what God is doing.

Nearly all the imperatives are in second half of the letter (ch 4-)

2v11, remember, v12

3v13, I ask you not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you


Vv1-10 – what you were to what we are

You were dead (v1)

2:10 – we are recreated that we might walk in good works

From death to life

The following section has the same movement from the past to the present and from you to we.

2 v similar sections:

You once were; we now are

You once didn’t have; we now have

So remember

V11 an alien voice – called the uncircumcision – a voice from those concerned with human activity

2 totally different assessments of the gentile Xians

You gentiles lack something and are inferior – this chapter is written to counter this voice

A voice from outside the church or from within the church (Acts 20) – Christian Judaizers – gentile believers are not quite the full shilling

The whole chapter is intended to undo the impact of this voice

The attitude of v11 is the typical shape of all the challenges the church faces in every age: there is something vital you still lack – you need this missing secret ingredient / magic pill – a very easy line to follow – tell them you can give them what they need

4v14 – crafty, cunning, human scheming

Notice the you and we language

You mainly you gentile believers in contrast to we Jewish believers 1:12 for all of us who believe, Jew and Gentile

2v1 – their lives as unbelieving gentiles – you & we all, like the rest

A huge surprise: the logic of the argument does not appear to demand the change in personal pronouns

V5 – it is by grace you have been saved – v8 – personal pronoun shift emphasises:

We all once belonged to this world of death and enslavement

The Jewish world is lumped in with the Gentile world theologically

Cf. Jn 8 – “The Jews” who oppose Jesus children of Satan

Access to salvation is all you language – Gentile salvation is in focus here – by grace, through faith, not works, no boasting

The Jewish and Gentile plight are the same

Gentile salvation is a grace and faith thing, not a works and boasting thing – you don’t want to go for Judaizing!

Eph 1 – all God has done for us in Christ, both Jew and Gentile – Gentile believers already have these wonderful blessings and are the genuine article

Pl does not want this confidence of Gentile believers undermined

V11 – Remember v12 what they were, but also the whole of vv12-22

V12ff – movement from vertical focus in previous section to horizontal dimension of what God has done

Fellow citizens, the very temple of God

Spatial language v17 – far, Gentile, and near – Is 52 & 57 – peace based on the work of the servant brings restoration and joint access for Jew and Gentile in the temple, the house of prayer for all nations

Law was removed v14f to make peace between Jew and gentile

The undoing of the dividing wall of hostility and the annulment of law. The law, Torah, was a dividing wall of hostility making those under law proudly hostile towards the nations

In the work of Christ, something entirely new has come, a recreated humanity, one man, a new household, foundation not of Moses and the prophets but JX

They need to be reassured that the church they now belong to is the big thing God is doing in this age

The talk of v11 is a manifestation of the old-world order, not new freedom in X

God’s handiwork and human handiwork: We are God’s handiwork; the circumcision is human handiwork – a man made, self made system

God’s handiwork is us, us in Christ, the church, the faith in J community. Though it may look weak it is the real thing and where the action is.

This chapter determines the shape of distinctive Christian life:

Walk no longer as the Gentile do, not by Judaizing 4:17 but because of joint membership of a new creation body – 4:24-5, 28

A new creation ethic

They are what Israel never was – 5:8 – they are light for the world


1:20 – Ps 110 – conquest total victory of the forever priest king smashing his enemies for the church (v22)

Timothy Gombass (sp?) – God fights in the OT, rescues his people, proclaims his victory, builds his new temple – vv21-22

Jew and Gentile loving one another is a sign of the recreating, uniting power of God

The variety of people in church shows new creation raised to new life power

Cf. School children meeting a friend’s husband at church incomprehensible to her peers

Some implications / applications:

(1) Something to watch out for: when someone makes you feel inferior or lacking, your alarm bells should sound – you have every spiritual blessing and are one with the ascended X – you are God’s handiwork, no human supplementation is needed

(2) Something to be thankful for: praise God for all the small signs of new creation power – you are not the creator! Not building your empire but grateful for the new life, new community Jesus has given

(3) We need to do church by faith not by sight – 2v6f – for ever God’s brilliance will be demonstrated by the new thing, the church, which God has created

Only God could do this brilliant think of the church – such power, kindness, merciful etc. Fantastically wonderful

Your church is central to God’s plan for ever. This is what God is doing and will do.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

EMA Day 1: Closing Sermon

DENESH DIVYANATHAN - Jn 3:16-21 - The God Who Saves

what would God's mission support postcard say? What would the tag line / slogan be?

Not help the poor, save the environment, seek the welfare of the city

SAVE HUMANITY - that is God's mission, our work in the world

cf. creation care, holistic mission, justice and mercy, cultural mandate

Salvation? Is that the hole in our mission?

Salvation often assumed in our mission agenda

The church so easily distracted, feels she ought to reinvent herself in new Avant Gard relevant ways

But what could be more relevant than salvation?

Mission is not everything we do or God does. God's mission is to save humanity.

Mere Xianity - The church exists for nothing else than to draw men into X - all else simply a waste of time

God became man to save people

Stick with the gospel, stick with mission

Luther - Jn 3:16 - the gospel in miniature

Jn 2 and 4 - 2 miracles in canna of galilee showing J as the long-awaited messiah who has come to save, to grant kingdom access, to give eternal life

(1) God loves the world

The wonder of God's love for a wicked world

1:10 - the world did not know him

7:7 - the world hates me, its works are evil

14 - world needs to be convicted

world ruled by Satan

The world not as big but as bad

New birth, rescue from wrath and perishing needed


The only way of escape is to believe in J

2 loves - God loves the world - The world loves darkness - vv19-20 - we hate Jesus and we flee from him cos we fear exposure

A damning picture of our world, but obvious from history, news, ministry

Our world treats God like SPAM email to be filtered out of our inbox

The world has the do not disturb sign out to God

We treat God like an annoying tele-marketer we can't wait to hang up on and get rid of

J speaking to a clergyman!

Is this how you see yourself and our world?

Our fundamental problem spiritual and moral not financial, educational, environmental etc.

We face wrath, perishing without X

Gospel fruit? Blessing others or seeking their salvation?

Lots of good things can be done without an evangelistic focus. This fails to see and address people's greatest need.

1870s D L Moody in London - clergy seek the secret of his success - what do you see out of the window? In tears he said, I see countless thousands of souls that will one day spend eternity in hell if they do not find the saviour


A condemned, rebellious world, heading for perishing

A shimmering silver lining in our text

God loved this wicked world and therefore:

(2) God gave his only Son

He says this 3 times in 3vv

The infinite worth of God's gift shows the burning passion of God's love

Calvin - only son - the passion of God's love is magnified towards us by this phrase

I would not sacrifice any of my children to save you or me. The mind-blowing love of God.

My sister's keeper movie - donation of blood, bone marrow, organs to save her sister - cf. X - born to save us, sacrificed for us

The love of the Father means the life of the Son given for his enemies

When did you last marvel at the love of God for you?

cf. the world's view of love - steamy sex and soppy songs

cf. Dawkins or Stephen Fry on God as not loving - cosmic kill joy - wrong, tragic, blasphemous

God loves! Not a retribution mission to punish us but a rescue mission to save us

The gospel is such good news of a loving God who gave his only Son for rotten rebels like us

Not that we have to tell people about God's love, but that we get to!

(3) God saves anyone who believes in Jesus

How to be born again - believe in the Son

God's salvation is both exclusive / limited and extensive / unlimited

Only J offers salvation but he offers salvation to all those who believe in J

Whoever! Really means whoever. Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman. The scope of the gospel offer.

Council estate and country estate etc.


(1) We should be personally assured of our own standing before God. Even you and I can be saved if we trust in Jesus.

Assurance does not depend on how ministry is going. God loves you even though you fail! You need God's rescue even when the sun is shining and all seems well.

The faith that God has given not works save. Keep trusting in J the rescuer.

(2) This ought to galvanise our mission. All religions do not lead to God. Only Jesus leads us to the mercy of God. But the field is wide open to anyone who will believe.

All ethnic groups, all social classes - whoever!

Who could you evangelise, equip and export for the gospel of JX?

Our God saves whoever believes. Let us get the gospel out there.

Even though we are cautious and conservative Brits and not Americans we need to take the gospel out there.

The British Empire, the English language, Hudson Taylor, Carey

Bold gospel proclamation to the world should be part of the British Xian character

Will you mobilise your church? Recruit! Train! Send!

The heart of the gospel: God's love for the world compelled him to send his son on a rescue mission to save humanity, whoever will believe in Jesus

Do we assume the gospel and are we distracted from single minded gospel proclamation?

cf. cultural mandate and evangelistic focus - redeeming culture, transforming cities

Are people confused about the gospel and mission?

Of course the gospel has implications for the whole of life, but the gospel is not about everything and we are not called to do everything. Salvation. Evangelism. SAVE HUMANITY

Spurgeon: if sinners be damned, let them leap to hell over our bodies... in the teeth of our eversions, let not one go there un-warned.