Vindicate me, O God!

Psalm 43 Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause. Psalm 43, whatever else might be true of it, is not a happy Psalm. Or rather, is not the Psalm of a man feeling that all is right and well with the world.

Love Your Neighbour

Leviticus 19:15-18 So, you don’t hear many sermons about the book of Leviticus. Although Rob Bell famously spent every week of the first year of his time at Mars Hill Church speaking on the book, it’s got to be one of the least frequent subjects for the preacher. I’m fairly sure that in the ten […]

I am the Lord

Isaiah 45:1-7 Thus says the Lord. That you may know that it is I, the Lord I am the Lord, there is no other I am the Lord I the Lord do all these things It would be hard to read or hear this passage from Isaiah without spotting the central theme. That the author […]

The Wedding Banquet

Matthew 22:1-14 Last week the lectionary gospel reading gave us the difficult parable of the dishonest tenant, with its edge of violence and of judgement on those who have misused their positions of power and privilege to look after themselves at the expense of others, at the expense of justice and the good of all. […]

The Two Sons

Matthew 21:23-32 Some of Jesus’ parables are hard to get our heads around. Some of his parables challenge our image of God, or people, or justice. Some of Jesus’ parables call on us to struggle to understand them, to make them makes any sort of sense. This is not one of those parables.

Workers in the Vineyard

Matthew 20:1-16 This is, without doubt, one of my favourite parables. It’s just so brilliantly unfair, so provocatively counter-cultural, so deeply offensive. I’ve had more people say to me that they don’t get or don’t like this parable than, I think, anything else in the gospels. Which is, I’m fairly sure, exactly what Jesus intended […]

Seventy Times Seven

Matthew 18:21-35 It’s almost as if Jesus thought that forgiveness was important.

Where two or three…

Matthew 18:15-20 Now here’s a phrase that we certainly hear and use in the community of Christian faith: Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.

Love is the Law

Romans 13:8-10 So today we come to the end of our series on Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. And if you’ve only taken one thing away from the whole series, I’d like to think that it is this: Paul’s theology, Paul’s understanding of God and his understanding of our place before God, is […]

Rules for living

Romans 12:9-21 So in Christ, we talked about last week, in Christ we are one body, each of us members of one another. This unity, Paul reminds us, is something we have, like everything we have, by grace; we did not create the unity of the people of God (let’s face it, we’re actually pretty […]

Sacrifice and Gifts

Romans 12:1-8 Last week we came to the end of the first half of the book of Romans, the conclusion of Paul’s argument from grace; that we, each of us, stand before God justified, adopted, beloved children of God by God’s free gift, given to us in Jesus Christ, received by faith; a gift that […]

Inseparable from God

Romans 8:31-39 And so today we come to one of the great promises in the book of Romans – a passage that I think I’ve probably had read at the vast majority of funerals that I’ve ever presided at: For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, […]

The Spirit Intercedes

Romans 8:26-30 Over the past weeks we’ve been exploring the central theme of Paul’s letter to the Church in Rome – the amazing gift of the grace of God, the undeserved, unearned, life-changing reality that we have been declared righteous despite the obvious evidence to the contrary, and that we have been named as beloved […]

We are… Children of God

Romans 8:12-25 So after all his talk of grace taking the place of law in control of our destinies, of this amazing free gift of righteousness received by the act of faith that is receiving, after all the talk of freedom from addiction to sin, and of the struggles that we still experience in taking […]

We are… not condemned

Romans 8:1-11 There is, therefore, now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. It’s fairly common to see the book of Romans as divided into two main halves, with the first eight chapters being dedicated to Paul’s proclamation of salvation as a gift of grace, received by faith. So as we move into […]