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Archive for February, 2013

prodigal son3Four simple questions and four (perhaps) surprising answers regarding Colossians 3:10:

Put on the new self (the new man), which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

1) Who is the Creator referred to?

In context you’d think it was Christ, who is the Creator Image of God (Col 1:15-17)

2) What gets renewed?

The “new self” gets renewed.  It’s not simply that we are renewed by getting a new self.  And it’s not simply that we are given a new self.  We are given a new self and the new self is renewed.

3) How does renewal happen?

Knowledge.  Note all the knowledge language of the letter.  This is just from chapter 1:

“heard… word of truth… gospel… learned… understood… all its truth… knowledge… spiritual wisdom… understanding… increasing in knowledge… make the word of God fully known… Him we proclaim… teaching everyone with all wisdom.”

We desperately and continually need gospel knowledge to be renewed.

4) What does our Creator look like (given that we’re supposed to look like Him)?

He is compassionate, kind, humble, meek, patient, forbearing, forgiving – in a word: He is love (v12-14).  We know that these character-traits originally belong to the Lord because a) it says “Forgive as the Lord forgave you” and b) these virtues are outlined in the context of our becoming like Him.

So we don’t become forgiving, humble and meek because God will hold us to account and He’s big and powerful.  We are forgiving, humble and meek because He is forgiving, humble and meek.  And He has demonstrated it at the cross.

Therefore as we appreciate and know the goodness of this good news our new selves are being renewed to look like Christ – the compassionate and humble God.

Surprised by any of those answers?

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Taken from Mike’s series on justification here.

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Ephesians Sit Walk Stand

A Sermon on Ephesians 4:1-16

Sermon Text

Sermon Audio

Sermon Slides

The Christian life is a down-hill WALK.

It’s also a battle, we’ll see that in chapter 6. There are forces to STAND against. But we STAND because we hold the high ground.  And if you hold the high ground, you don’t need to advance, you don’t need to retreat, you don’t need to go anywhere. You just STAND in the strength of Jesus.

But this is the Christian life: First SIT at God’s right hand in Christ. Understand all that we have.  Then WALK out into the world and, all the while, be prepared to STAND against the enemy’s schemes.  But notice this: NOTHING in the Christian life is about uphill struggle. NOTHING.

There is a WALK out into the world. There is a STAND to take against spiritual powers. But there’s never a climb.  Jesus has climbed. He’s the only one.  We sit, we walk, we stand, we never climb. We are already on top of the world.  We have gone to heaven already, in Christ.  We have the fullness of God.  And now, what’s life about?

What’s the essence of this WALK? What’s the goal of this wonderful gospel?

In a word: CHURCH…

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Five Devotional Talks on Luke 8

four soilsI gave these short talks at the daily prayer meetings for Falmouth CU mission week.

Throughout Luke 8 we see the Word spreading powerfully though it’s opposed at every turn. Through death, darkness and much frustration, light and life does triumph.

Luke 8:1-15 – The Word like Seed

Luke 8:16-21 – The Word as Light, Investment & Adoption Papers

Luke 8:22-25 – The Word that rules creation

Luke 8:26-39 – The Word that conquers evil

Luke 8:40-56 – The Word that defeats death

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The True Myth

Lewis Tolkein

During mission week at Falmouth CU we showed The Dark Knight Rises. I was going to give a short talk at the end but we had some technical problems halfway through so I gave the talk in the middle instead. Thankfully it didn’t affect the talk too much since it wasn’t based on the plot of Batman but on the concept of myths.

Audio

Slides

JRR TOLKEIN: ‘The Gospels contain a fairy-story, or a story of a larger kind which embraces all the essence of fairy-stories… But this story has entered History… There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true, and none which so many sceptical men have accepted as true on its own merits.”

CS LEWIS: “The story of Christ is simply a true myth: a myth working on us in the same way as the others but with the tremendous difference that it really happened.”

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Evangelism Training Session 6

EvangelismHere’s the sixth and final 321Go evangelism training session.

The others are:

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4

Session 5

Session 6 Handout

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GOING IN HIS STRENGTH

Our Words – His Words  2 Corinthians 5:18-21; Luke 10:16

What does it mean to go in Jesus’ name?

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Prayer for Openings  Acts 16:13-15; Colossians 4:2-6; Ephesians 6:19-20

What does it tell you about evangelism that we need open hearts, doors and mouths?

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We’ve thought about these sentences:

“That’s what I love about Jesus…”
“That problem is far beyond me/us…”
“That’s what I love about being a Christian…”
“That’s what I love about my church…”

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A Final Sentence Up Your Sleeve

“What’s stopping you becoming a Christian?”

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Helping Them Make A Start  John 1:10-13

Explain that salvation is to know and trust Jesus (it’s a marriage union with Him)
We do this together with His brothers and sisters (talk about church)
We hear His word (talk about the bible)
We speak to Him (talk about prayer)

If they want to receive Him: Romans 10:9-13 – Believe, Confess, Call

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Who Do I Know Who Needs to Know?

How open are they to me?

1. Nodding acquaintance / rarely see em
2. We talk, not very deeply
3. A friendship is there
4. We could talk about most things
5. We talk about everything

How open are they to the gospel?

1. They don’t know I’m a Christian / Don’t want to know
2. They know I’m a Christian but not much more
3. We’ve spoken about gospel things once or twice
4. They’d come to something / read a book
5. They’re open to exploring Christianity in a deeper way

Spend time thinking of 3 friends and how they might meet with Jesus.

Pray for them and for opportunities to share Jesus with them.

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Evangelism Training Session 5

nixonHandout

321-GO! Part 5

BUT I’M SCARED!

Problems of the Head Luke 10:25-30ff

Coming to Christ is like getting to know a potential partner
Questions are involved, but questions are not the be-all and end-all!
At some point you just know enough to trust them.

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Answering Questions: Reframing, Reflecting, Revealing…

We reframe the questions around the Bible’s definitions. (You could use 321!)
We reflect the question back because they too must answer it.
We reveal the gospel focused on Christ and Him crucified.

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DISCUSS these questions using Reframe, Reflect, Reveal…

1) If God is all loving, all knowing and all powerful, how can he allow suffering?

2) Religion simply causes wars

3) How can Jesus be the only way to heaven?

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A Sentence Up Your Sleeve…

“Can I step back and tell you what Christians believe in 5 minutes…”

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Problems of the Heart  2 Corinthians 5:10-21

We want to feel ok with the world But Jesus hits a conversation like a sack of bricks.

We want to feel ok with God So I don’t want to get too involved with ‘the world’

We want to feel ok with ourselves But frankly we’re spiritually dry and it feels like a duty.

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How would the Apostle Paul handle these objections? (2 Cor 5)

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QUESTIONS

1. What problems of the head do you feel most keenly? How can they be addressed?

2. What problems of the heart do you feel most keenly? How can they be addressed?

3. Can you explain the Christian faith in 5 minutes using jargon-free language? Try it on each other.

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