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Archive for March, 2012

Here’s something I did for a school assembly 7 years ago.  I’ve been wheeling it out as an all-age sermon / kids teaching  ever since.  It’s a game and a song that teaches the Garden of Gethsemane.  Feel free to rip it off – that’s why I’m posting it :)

 

Drink up, Drink up, the poisoned cup!
Drink up, Drink up, the poisoned cup!
It’s full of gunk and it’s full of junk,
But without doubt, it must be drunk!

My Lord, my God, what will you do,
My Lord, my God, you jumped in the queue.
Jesus, Man! how can it be,
That you my God, drank the cup for me!?

Now I know, now I’m sure,
You love me so much, you couldn’t love me more.
You took the pain, so I could gain
Eternal life, forever more!

 

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This time I’m ripping off Steve Levy.  But I can’t do it like he does it.

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Audio  Video  Text  Powerpoint

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Here’s my first talk from Ask Eastbourne.

I ripped off stuff from Vaughan Roberts, Lee McMunn, Mike Reeves,  CS Lewis and probably others too!

 

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Audio  Video  Text  Powerpoint

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Happy Friday

Following the exciting news of an Anchorman sequel…

Coupla swear words at 5 mins

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I’m always coming across it.  Do you ever hear this kind of statement?

— It’s important to be Christ-centred, but let’s not forget about God.

Now this could mean one of a number of things.

It could mean “I need to hear about the Father and His Spirit of Adoption”

Or it could mean “We need to give equal prominence to the one god of philosophy.”

In either case, the answer is to give the person more Jesus!  The first person needs to know the Father and the Spirit in Christ (and in Christ alone) and the second person needs to replace their theological method with Christ (and with Christ alone).

Because if someone says “We need to focus less on Jesus and give more time to “God” or “the Father” or “the Spirit”… where does that leave the mediation of Christ ?  Do we really believe in Christ as Mediator?

Or do we think it’s about balancing our respect for the Persons?  As though ‘being trinitarian’ means standing before a loose association of deities and ensuring equal devotion.  That sounds more like speed-dating at the Pantheon.  Do we really imagine ourselves to be outside the Three, making sure we spend equal time at the feet of Each?  Have we forgotten that we are in the Son?  And nowhere else!  Have we forgotten that the Father and the Spirit are in the Son?  And nowhere else!

Or is that only an incidental point?  Is that only half true?  Or only sometimes true?  Because if it’s just true – true true – then there’s no way to be Patro-centric or Pneuma-centric except by being resolutely Christo-centric.

I know the Father as ‘Him Who makes the Son Son.’  I know the Spirit as ‘Him Who makes the Christ, Christ.’  And I don’t know them otherwise.

But a theologian making a plea for equal time for the Persons… once they turn their gaze from the Son, how exactly are they going to view the Father?  They’re not.  So this one to whom they turn when they look away from Jesus, who is that guy?

And what’s he doing?  Clearly he hasn’t committed all things into his Son’s hands.  He’s got a venture or two on the side that requires supplemental enquiries!

And where do they imagine themselves to be as they circulate around the trinity?  Do they think of themselves as a fourth individual at the heart of the Holy Huddle.  Well the Shack might put me there and some Christian art might put me there, and that might be an improvement on unitarianism. But that’s not really where I am.  I’m IN Jesus participating in His Sonship and Anointing.  This is my only access to the life of the trinity.  Jesus is not just One of the Three, He is The Way.

I don’t have a relationship with the Father and the Spirit except the relationship that Christ has with them.  I know the trinity not from some objective fourth perspective, but only from Christ’s perspective.  Only in Him, and all that He is and does for me, do I know His Father and Spirit.

So, absolutely, don’t forget the Father or Spirit.  Get to know the Persons in all their distinct glory and grace. But they are not outside of the Christ, the Son of God. And neither are you!

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Audio

There’s Q&A at the end that includes the excellent questions:

“Why does Paul call us sons but also slaves?”,
“Is there any place for self-offering to God?”,
“You dislike the “Omnibeing”, do you mean to say that Jesus is not all-powerful, all knowing, etc?”

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HAILSHAM LENT COURSE – The Outgoing God

Week 5: THE OUTGOING GOD

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RECAP:  The Trinity is not a maths problem, it’s the good news that God is love

The Trinity is the THREE-UNITY of God – God is Three Persons United in Love

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How is God Three? –  Eternally distinct Persons.

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How is God One?  (Deuteronomy 6:4)

Eternally united in love.  “Perichoresis” – the round dance of the Three

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Use of “one” in the Bible:  Genesis 2:24; 11:6; 34:16; Exodus 24:3; 26:6; Deuteronomy 6:4; Joshua 9:2; 10:42; 2 Samuel 2:25; 2 Chronicles 5:12; 30:12; Ezra 6:24; John 17:11,20-21

God is one the way a married couple or a united church is one.

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When Trinity Goes Wrong  (Heresies)…

Arianism:  Jesus is not as God as God is God!  (JWs)

Modalism: There’s one Person wearing 3 masks (Oneness Pentecostalism)

Tritheism: There are three Gods doings their own thing.  (Mormons)

Fourth Thing: Having a “God” beneath or beyond the Persons.  (Shamrock)

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Our biggest problem:

We try to reconcile the omnibeing with the Trinity.

We need to replace the omnibeing with the Trinity.

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The Roles of the Persons

2 Corinthians 13:14
Isaiah 11:1-5; Is 42:1-4; Is 48:12-16; Is 61:1-3

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The Father is the Loving Sender / Initiator

John 3:16, 35; 1 John 4:8-9

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The Son is the Beloved and Obedient Sent-One / Executor

Psalm 40:7-8: John 5:30

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The Spirit is the Personal Empowerer / Perfector / Applier

Acts 10:38; Romans 8:14-16

All things are FROM the Father, THROUGH the Son, BY THE POWER OF the Spirit.

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What does it mean that the Son is “eternally begotten”?

By the Spirit and through the Son, God is eternally outgoing

Life-giving, Communicating, Shining, Loving

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Richard Sibbes: “God’s goodness is a communicative, spreading goodness. . . . If God had not a communicative, spreading goodness, he would never have created the world.  The Father, Son and Holy Ghost were happy in themselves and enjoyed one another before the world was.  But that God delights to communicate and spread his goodness, there had never been a creation nor a redemption.  God useth his creatures not for defect of power, that he can do nothing without them, but for the spreading of his goodness.”

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If God is eternally outgoing, what is “godliness”, “faith”, “sin”, the Christian life?

“The Christian lives far above themselves in Christ through faith and far beneath themselves in their neighbour through love.”  (Martin Luther)

“God does not need our good works, our neighbour does.”  (Martin Luther)

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Philippians 2:1-18
:  An outgoing God makes for an outgoing people

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CONCLUSION:  Look again to Christ.  Be filled by His Spirit.  Know the Life-Giving Father.  And overflow to the world.  This is our participation in the divine nature!

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We’re in the middle of Ask Eastbourne at the moment – please be praying that folks keep coming and trust in Jesus.

Here’s a section of tonight’s talk I’ll have to leave on the cutting room floor.  I’m speaking about “What happens when we die?”

With Jesus we have the only gracious Judge the world has ever conceived.  I want to be very clear here: There is only ONE gracious Judge and His name is Jesus.

That’s a bold statement I know, but I thought I’d put it to the test by considering the top 5 spiritual beliefs in the world.  Let’s compare what they believe about judgement.

Christianity is number one, let’s look at the number 2 belief in the world: Islam.

Who is the Judge?  Allah.  Now Allah continually calls himself the compassionate and merciful.  But even Mohammed was utterly terrified by the prospect of judgement day.  He had no confidence that he would fare well on the last day.  Allah told him he would inherit paradise but, in the Quran Allah is known as the Best of Deceivers (Sura 3:54).  And Mohammed knew that he couldn’t trust Allah to save him.  His promise might be a deception.  So Mohammed did not trust Allah to save him.  And the Quran forbids you to trust him for that day (Sura 7:99)

Interestingly, the next in line after Mohammed was a man called Abu Bakr – the first Caliph in Islam.  When someone tried to encourage Abu Bakr that he would probably do alright on judgement day Abu Bakr said:

By Allah! I would not rest assured and feel safe from the deception of Allah, even if I had one foot in paradise.’”

No Muslim can presume to know how they will fare with Allah on judgement day.  And the very greatest Muslims were terrified of coming before that judge.

Let’s consider the third most popular belief in the world: No religion.  Now if you don’t believe in God, you have not escaped judgement have you?  You are still at the mercy of bigger forces than you, aren’t you?  You will be judged by decay and death.  And you will get absolutely no mercy from death.  No-one has ever avoided that judgement.  Death is, perhaps, the least merciful judge of all.  And it’s certainly the least hopeful.

What about the number 4 belief in the world: Hinduism.  Here your fate in the afterlife is determined by your Karma.  If you do good, you’ll accumulate good karma, maybe you’ll get reincarnated as a priest.  If you do bad, you get bad karma, you’ll get reincarnated as a donkey or something.  But it’s all down to you.  There is no mercy whatsoever.  It’s all about earning.

The number 5 belief in the world is Buddhism.  The Buddha started life as a Hindu, but he didn’t like the idea of continually being reincarnated.  So his hope for the future is “Nirvana” when you finally get off the merry-go-round of re-incarnation.  Then your soul is “blown out” like a candle.  That’s what Nirvana means – it means being blown out.  So Buddhism again teaches that your after-life is down to your karma – down to your performance.  And the ultimate hope is non-existence.

So have a look at the beliefs in the world and know that, apart from Jesus, there is NO MERCY from the Judge and NO CERTAIN HOPE for the outcome.

But with Jesus…

Here’s what the Judge of the world has done, according to the Bible.  Jesus is the judge who has stepped down off the judgement bench.  He’s put Himself into our shoes. He’s taken our side completely – we who are in the dock.  He has stood with us.  And then on the cross He stands for us.  On the cross He takes HELL on Himself.  He takes our Hell, to give us heaven.  And He does it so He can offer anyone and everyone eternal life.

This is the Judge in Christianity.  A Judge who is judged.  A Judge who pays the price for our sins and offers us free forgiveness.  What a Judge!  You will not find any other Judge like this Judge.  In religion, in atheism, in all the world – you won’t find a Judge like Jesus.  Run to Jesus.  He gives you immeasurable mercy and a certain hope for the future.

When you hear that Jesus judges the world – don’t hear that as bad news.  It’s GREAT news.  Jesus judges the world!  We should rejoice to know that Jesus is Judge.  He’s the Judge we want.

 

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Have you seen this parable of the Kingdom?

The one despised blows the roof off.

The one judged rises up in glory.

Those who had judged are themselves judged and made to look fools.

We thought she was carrying him.  No – he carries her.

He would have overwhelmed her if it weren’t for his grace.

“We’re going to stay as a duo” he says – and upward they rise.

This is Christ’s universe.  All Hail the Lamb!

 

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A friend and I did an hour of open air outreach this morning.  More were due to come but illness prevented.

I was all prepared to preach (on “Pray for Muamba” and on the budget / problem of debt) but there were too many buskers to compete with.  With such lovely weather we had singers every 50 metres all along the town centre.  So instead of preach, we set out a table with free gospels, bibles and tracts.

In an hour we handed out every tract we had (100+), gave out 2 New Testaments and about 10 Gospels.  Six different people stopped to chat and three of them (count it – three of them) said they’d come to church tomorrow. Please pray they do.

All we had was a literature table, a hand-made sign saying “Free, please take one” and we spent an hour in the sunshine smiling, offering free stuff and talking about Jesus.

Is that something you could do?

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Happy Friday

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It’s Trinity month in the blogosphere.  And it’s Thawed-out Thursdays on Christ the Truth.  So here are two posts from 2010 that (appropriately enough) I’ve combined into one.  It’s all about the one-ness of marriage as defined by the one-ness of the Triune God…

One-ness

Husband and wife are meant to be one.  Nothing could be clearer.  Think on each of these phrases from Matthew 19:5-6:

The two shall become one flesh.

They are no longer two but one.

God has joined together.

Let man not separate.

Oneness is a priority for married couples.  The question is – what kind of oneness?  Because not every kind of unity is good unity.

There are all sorts of dysfunctional unions – think of a couple feeding each other’s sins.

Or there’s the Abuser-Victim relationship, or the Rescuer-Victim relationship.  On the surface these marriages look very different, but in both there’s a sick one-ness in which the couples are locked into deeply dysfunctional roles with each other.

Then there’s the pathologically jealous spouse who is forever suspecting infidelity because their partner has interests outside the home.  They are looking for a kind of unity.

Or there’s the subtle and unspoken compromises we make with our spouses – I won’t challenge you here, if you don’t challenge me there. For the sake of unity we decide not to ‘rock the boat’.

Or there’s the couple who sing the Seeker’s song:

Close the door, light the light, we’re staying home tonight
Far away from the bustle and the bright city lights
Let them all fade away, just leave us alone
And we’ll live in a world of our own

We’ll build a world of our own, that no one else will share
All our sorrows we’ll leave far be-hind us there
And I know that you’ll find, there’ll be peace of mind
When we live in a world of our own

This is unity for unity’s sake, with nothing larger to guide or direct them.

So unity in a marriage is not good in itself.  There are some really unhealthy ways in which the two can become one.  So what kind of oneness does Jesus want us to have?

God’s Oneness

The trouble with all the above concepts of unity is that none of them model God’s unity.  In this post we want to examine God’s oneness in two regards.  First, we’ll think about how God’s unity as a unity on mission.  Secondly, we’ll think about how the Trinity models a unity that is held together with distinctions in equality.

Unity on Mission

So, first, the unity of the triune God is not unity simply for its own sake.  It’s a unity that’s going somewhere.  This is what the missio Dei is all about.  God is the ultimate Missionary.  His very being is a sending forth of Self in His Son and Spirit.  To wind the clock back into the depths of eternity you find that God is always the Sending God.  There is not a God who then decides to go out on mission.  There is only the Missionary God – the God who speaks His Word / shines His Light / sends His Son.  This is not just what He does – it’s Who He is.  God’s unity is a relational unity of Persons who go out and draw in.  God’s unity is (in Richard Sibbes’ phrase) a “spreading goodness”.  It is of the nature of this unity to be on the move.  On mission even.  And it’s of the nature of this overflowing unity to draw others in.  It’s not a unity that excludes others, but a unity that seeks to bring more into its own way of love. God’s unity is a unity on mission.

And this is the kind of unity we are to look for in marriage.  Our unity is not supposed to be one that closes the door so we can ‘live in a world of our own’.  It’s a oneness that is for others.  Our marriages exist to overflow – with natural children and with spiritual children.

This paints our marriages on a far larger canvas.  The purpose is not simply to become one.  The purpose is to have a oneness that’s going somewhere – i.e. a oneness that witnesses Christ to the world.  An undefined oneness can easily turn into idolatry.

(Note that this is exactly parallel to unity in the church – ecumenism for ecumenism’s sake is not the unity which we should seek.  We pursue unity in mission – not unity in unity.)

And just as God’s unity is a habitable unity – opened out in the Spirit to those adopted in the Son, so our marriages are to be habitable unities – opened out to spiritual and natural children.

We shouldn’t pursue a oneness that then has mission as an afterthought.  We should pursue a missionary oneness – a oneness for the sake of mission and a mission that forges and reinforces the oneness.

If we pursue this kind of oneness, when the time is right we’ll be able to challenge sin and complacency in marriage.  If done in wisdom and love, such challenges don’t compromise but rather uphold true marital unity.

If we pursue this kind of oneness, interests outside the home won’t be thought of as intrinsically threatening but quite possibly as opportunities for our missionary oneness.

If we pursue this kind of oneness, we won’t make our marriages into our own private heaven – seeking the kind of relational nourishment that can and should only come from Christ.  Instead we will experience the kind of healthy marital oneness that exists for a purpose far more fulfilling than cosy nights in.

Unity in Distinctions and Distinctions in Unity

We’ve seen that a married couple are supposed to be one.  But not every kind of oneness is healthy.  So what kind of oneness should we pursue?  First, it should be a unity on mission.  Now we’re considering the truth that our unity must embrace and uphold our distinctives. Again we’re beginning with the truth that our unity is modelled on God’s unity.

And when it comes to God’s unity, there are all sorts of illegitimate ways of understanding God’s oneness.  These are called heresies!  Here we’ll see how they map onto recognizable marital problems.

Trinitarian heresies…

Any orthodox account of the trinity needs to be able to answer three questions.  How are the three Persons united?  How are they distinct?  And how are they equal?

If you can only answer one of these questions well, you’re at the corner of the triangle and you don’t really have any kind of trinity.

If you can answer all three questions well you are inside the triangle – hopefully in the centre.  You are orthodox.

If you can only answer two of them then you’re at A, B or C – along one of the sides of the triangle.  You have two aspects of a good trinitarian theology but not three.  In other words, you’re a heretic.

At position A you have subordinationism (also known as Arianism).  Here the Persons are united and distinct but not equal.  So Jesus is the first creature.  God still mediates all his business with creation through him.  But actually Jesus is on the creature side of the Creator-creature line.  He is decidedly inferior to God.

At position B you have tritheism.  Here the Persons are distinct and equal but not united.  You have effectively three gods.  They might defer to each other and work really well as a team.  But there’s no substantial unity.

At position C you have modalism (also known as Sabellianism).  Here the Persons are united and equal but not distinct.  Effectively you have only one Person who wears different masks at different times.  The oneness is an all-consuming oneness that swallows up any ideas of difference/otherness/mutuality etc.

Where you want to be is in the centre of the triangle.  There you can respond to all the questions with the same answer:

How are the Persons united?  Asymmetrical mutual indwelling (i.e. love!)

How are the Persons distinct?  Asymmetrical mutual indwelling (i.e. love!)

How are the Persons equal?  Asymmetrical mutual indwelling (i.e. love!)

But if you get this wrong you drift away from the centre and towards one of the heresies.

I would suggest that if you attempt to answer those three questions in three quite different ways you’ll run into trouble.  But that’s a different post.

Marital heresies…

Other than the triune relationships, there are two other relationships in which humans particularly share in this kind of mutual indwelling.  The relationship of Christ and the church.  And the relationship of husband and wife.

In this post we’ll limit ourselves to the marriage side of things (though obviously this is derivative of the Christ-church relationship – see e.g. 1 Corinthians 11:3).

So let’s think about what it means in marriage to have a healthy sense of unity, distinction and equality.

It’s worth asking the questions of your own marriage:

On Unity:

Is there an intimacy between you deeper than what you experience in any other human relationship?

Do you have a oneness that is going somewhere (hopefully the same place!)?

To put it another way, Do you have a sense of ‘face-to-face’ unity and ‘side-by-side’ unity?

On Equality:

Do you look at your spouse as your equal?  Do you honour them, upholding and valuing them in love?  Or is there a sense of superiority – contempt even – residing in your heart?

Do you perhaps have an unhealthy sense of inferiority?  Do you meet your spouse as an equal or do you shrink away, allowing them to dominate (to theirs and your own detriment)?

Do you both play an equal part in where you’re going as a couple?  (Even though according to different roles)

On Distinction:

Does your relationship foster or smother distinctive strengths in each other?

Does your marriage foster or smother distinctive roles of head and body?

We have to die to our selfish, individualist selves when we marry.  But as you serve one another in love, is your relationship drawing out the real you?

If you’re doing well in only one of these categories, it’s unlikely you actually have a marriage!  If you’re doing well in all three then hopefully the distinction, equality and unity are mutually informing each other in a healthy way.  If you’ve got two but not three of these areas covered (which is where all marriages tend to be to one degree or another) then you’ve got problems.

What do Marital heresies look like?

These are the kinds of ‘heretical’ marriages we tend towards:

At position A we have the Arian marriage: unity and distinction but not equality.  This might take the form of  a Noble Rescuer married to a Poor Unfortunate.  Or an Abuser and a Victim.  Or your garden variety Superior Patroniser and their Silent Admirer.  Here we have the mystery of how such unity is maintained amidst all this inequality.  But codependency is a fascinating study!

There are all sorts of no-go areas within and outside the marriage since the power structure must be maintained.

The danger of an affair here is either the arrogance of the more powerful partner who feels entitled to it, or the amazement of the weaker partner to find someone “who actually respects me!”

In traditional churches, Arian marriages may go unnoticed as a problem.

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At position B we have the tritheist marriage: equal and distinct but not united.  The couple run on parallel tracks, more like a working co-operative than a marriage.  There is no ‘face to face’ closeness and this might well stem from a deep fear of personal intimacy.

In all this shallow engagement, the danger of an affair is the distinct possibility that either one will find someone “who actually touches my soul!”

In busy churches, tritheist marriages may go unnoticed as a problem.

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At position C we have the modalist marriage: united and equal but not distinct.  Here the couple get lost in each other.  Not in the Christ-like way of losing your life in order to gain it.  This is more like strategic people-pleasing, but they may not be aware they do it.  They won’t really know who they are but tend to think and act in the collective.

They have learnt well the no-go areas within the marriage and are very threatened by no-go areas outside it.

In these marriages there may be an abiding fear of an affair that is completely unjustified.  But the danger of the affair comes when one of them finds someone “who actually appreciates my gifts!”

In nice churches, modalist marriages may go unnoticed as a problem.

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Now these are sweeping generalizations and there are massive margins for error.  I’d be glad to hear any feedback you might have.  But, as with trinitarian theology, it’s always good to be aware of which particular heresy you’re most in danger of falling into.

It also means, when faced with a Superior Patroniser, you don’t have to call them a smug git.  You can call them an Arian!

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Emma and I are producing a little prayer letter every month or two.  If you’d like to support us in prayer, just email and I’ll send you one: glenscrivener at gmail dot com.

 

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I went into Eastbourne College yesterday to answer questions the students had been asking as part of Ask Eastbourne.

Their top three questions were:

How do we know you exist?

How come you allow so much suffering?

What about other religions, are they all wrong?

I tried to answer those briefly and then took questions from the floor.  Students were very keen to stay and chat afterwards.  Great chats and 8 people took John’s Gospels at the end to read further.  Please pray for them.

Audio (36 mins)

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Perhaps you haven’t heard me bang my ‘Christ in the Old Testament’ drum.  (In which case you must be very new to the blog!).  Welcome!  Here’s a half hour talk introducing the theme.

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Powerpoint Slides

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I consider the subject systematically, from the New Testament and from the Old Testament.

Systematically:  Jesus really is the Word of the Father – if the OT saints knew God, they must have known Jesus.

From the NT:  Jesus and the Apostles seemed to think He was known and trusted in OT times.

From the OT:  Moses and the Prophets proclaim Christ in their own context on their own terms.

If you want to take the issue further, this page may help.

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HAILSHAM LENT COURSE – The Outgoing God

Week 4: THE TRIUNE GOD

 

RECAP:  Knowing God is the stuff of life – (John 17:3; 2 Peter 1:1-11)

 

We know God in Jesus – He is the Word, the Image, the Way, Truth and Life of God

Therefore it’s Jesus who introduces us to an otherwise invisible Father.

Jesus shows us God’s true glory, lordship, majesty, strength, wisdom and holiness.

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THIS WEEK:  We will directly study a truth we’ve been circling around: The Trinity

We do this because understanding Trinity is the only way to understand Jesus:

Jesus is most commonly called “The Christ, the Son of God.”

Christ means “Anointed with the Holy Spirit.”

Son of God means “Eternally begotten of the Father.”

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Therefore to know Jesus is to be introduced to two other Persons

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Knowing Jesus means knowing Trinity – knowing Trinity means knowing Jesus

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GALATIANS 3:26-4:7

The difference between slaves and sons (4:1-3):

Slaves earn, perform, choose, decide, obey.

Sons rest, enjoy, depend, rely, trust.

Slaves have a Slave-driver over them.

Sons have a Father over them.

Slaves look to their performance to know what they’re worth.

Sons look to their Father’s love know what they’re worth.

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What was God doing in the beginning?

They were enjoying each other’s company!  (John 17:24)

NOT the Omnibeing – the God of Jesus is not the god of the philosophers.

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The Trinity – Three Persons United in Love  (Galatians 4:4-6)

Serving our God is very different!

God the Son becomes God our Brother (v4)

He works out our salvation in our name and on our behalf (v5)

We are “clothed in Him”

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Clothed in Christ  (Galatians 3:26ff)

Like Genesis 3

Like Genesis 27

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Filled with the Spirit  (Galatians 4:6)

He is the Spirit of Adoption – the Spirit of the Son

He sweeps us up into the Son’s communion with the Father

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Calling on our Father  (Galatians 4:6-7)

Through the Spirit, we can call God Most High what Jesus calls Him: Abba!

And we now inherit from Him as true sons!

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Now we ‘participate in the divine nature.’  (2 Peter 1:4)

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If God was not Trinity then

God is not Father…  He can only be a Slave-master

Jesus is not Divine…  He can only be an Example

The Spirit is not a Person…  He can only be a Force

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But no – God is my Father.  He loves me with an everlasting love.

Jesus is my Brother.  He brings me into an unbreakable fellowship.

The Spirit is my Comforter.  He personally reassures me of my place in God!

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The Trinity is NOT a maths problem.

It’s the good news that God is Love.  And we’re invited in!

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We’re holding our Ask Eastbourne events next week.  Do you know of good videos (under 5 mins) on any of the following questions:

27th March: What are you really like?

Do you exist?
How do you fit with science?

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28th March: What happens when we die?

Why should I believe?
What’s the meaning of life?

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29th March: Why is the world full of suffering?

Can you make things better?
Where do I stand with you?

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HAILSHAM LENT COURSE – The Outgoing God

Week 3: THE CROSS-SHAPED GOD

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RECAP:

Everyone has a god

Everyone turns to something as a source of meaning, purpose & satisfaction

The question for Christian and non-Christian is always “Which God?”

The Christian responds: The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ

Jesus is the Image of the invisible God.  (Colossians 1:15)

Jesus is God-sized

God is Jesus-shaped

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BUT WAIT… Is Jesus really THE Image of the invisible God?

Are there alternative routes to knowing God??

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Reason

Proverbs 3:5-7
Romans 8:7
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
2 Corinthians 4:4
Colossians 1:21
Colossians 2:8

The god of philosophy looks nothing like the God of the Cross!

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Religions

Numbers 33:50-53; Deut 7:1-6; 12:1-3; 29:16-18; 32:15-21; 1 Kings 18:21-40; Psalm 96:4-5; 106:35-40; Isaiah 41:21-24; 44:6-26; Jeremiah 16:19-21; Romans 1:23-25; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6; 10:20.

The gods of the religions look nothing like the God of the Cross!

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Old Testament

John 1:1
John 1:18
John 8:56-58
John 12:38-41
John 5:37-46

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Jesus has always been the Way to God

Abraham, Moses and Isaiah trusted Christ.

Jesus simply is the Lord God of Israel.

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Creation

Psalm 19:1-6
Romans 1:16-20
Romans 10:17ff
Colossians 1:23
John 12:24
Revelation 5:11-14

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Jesus is Lord – Creation’s Voice Proclaims It!

The creation reveals a very great deal about God

It does so by revealing Christ!

But our eyes must be opened thru the Spirit and by the Word.

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Martin Luther:  Theology of Glory vs Theology of the Cross

The Cross Alone is our Theology
The Cross Judges Everything

The cross reveals God’s glory, lordship, majesty, strength, wisdom and holiness

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Revelation 5; 7:17 – The Lord on the Cross is the Lamb on the Throne

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Next week we’ll study the triune God.  The Trinity is not a maths problem or an ancient riddle.  It’s the good news that God is love.  And we’re invited in!

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We’ve been asking Eastbourne their big question for God.  Here are the results…

Click here to view the spreadsheet (excluding school surveys).

Suffering accounted for more responses than the next three questions combined.

Bible-y questions were few and far between (3.5%), science-y questions even less common (2.5%).

To be fair the most common response I got to the question was blank incomprehension.  Whatever God people might believe in, he’s not to be bothered.  Perhaps it’s a case of: let him rule his universe and I’ll rule mine…

Anyway, if you’re in Eastbourne come to the Winter Garden from 7:45pm and hear our efforts at an answer:

27th March: What are you really like?

Do you exist?
How do you fit with science?

28th March: What happens when we die?

Why should I believe?
What’s the meaning of life?

29th March: Why is the world full of suffering?

Can you make things better?
Where do I stand with you?

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