Hebrews 11.29-12.2 Heroes of the Faith (2)

Hebrews 11:29-12:2

We need each other
We also need men and women of faith from the past.

1.They are our inspiration
They are described here as a ‘host of witnesses’ (12.1)
I am not a runner. Run and fun are not two words that I put together. I think people who run for fun are crazy. And I am astonished to discover that there are even people who claim to enjoy running marathons. But I am told that when you do run a marathon, you are usually dead at about the 25 mile mark. But something strange then happen. For the last mile or so, as the crowds increase, and as you hear them urge you on, you come alive again. It is what gets you over the finish line.
Well, the men and women who are described here in Hebrews 11 are our crowd. They are cheering us, urging us on as we get toward the finishing line of the Christian life. And they know what it is all about, because they already have run and completed the race.
If you go into one of the Kremlin churches you will see in front of you a wall on whi…

Hebrews 11:1-16 Heroes of the Faith (1)

Hebrews 11:1-3,8-16

This is a great chapter.  It is a hymn to all the men and women of faith in the Old Testament, and an encouragement to faith. But not just faith in itself
Yes, the chapter does begin with a general definition of faith: ‘Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen’.
We all live by faith, even atheists – whether that is sitting down on a chair or agreeing to meet someone for coffee.
But faith in itself is not enough.
There is the song: ‘any dream will do’. Actually, it won’t! Some dreams are disastrous. And in the same way, there is the assumption that what is important is that you have faith: and ‘any faith will do’.
But faith can be in good things and bad things, in true things or false things. The story is told of a young man who was climbing a skyscraper. He sees something that looks solid and has to let go of his hold in order to reach and grasp it. But he falls to his death. And they found him clasping in his hand a spiders web. What h…

Colossians 3.1-11: Think like Jesus, Live like Jesus

Colossians 3:1-11

Think differently. Think as a new person Live differently. Live as a new person.
That is what Paul is saying here.
You are, as a Christian, a new person.
Last week we were looking at the idea that when we put our faith in Christ, and when we are baptised, we do not only come into a relationship with Jesus, but we are placed in Christ
It is like going to Sheremetova airport. You put your trust in the plane – that it can fly – and you walk into the plane. You are now in the plane. When the plane is on the ground, you are on the ground. When the plane is in the air, you amazingly are in the air. Beneath you and the ground there is nothing – just 35000 feet!
And when we put our trust in Jesus we are in him. Where Jesus is, we are.
That means that when Christ died on the cross, we died with him. That is why we are told in v3, ‘for you have died’. And last week we saw that when I was baptised, the old Malcolm, who wants to live for the things of this world and in the strength …

Colossians 2.6-15: Jesus is everything we need

Colossians 2.6-15

Jesus is everything that we need
That is one of the things that our verses from Colossians 2 are saying.
We are full, we are authentic, when we are 'in him'. 
That is a difficult phrase to understand. What does it mean to be 'in' Jesus?
I guess it is about being ‘in’ a relationship with him. We know him and we are known by him. When you know the Jesus who already knows you
But it is more than that
I often use this illustration.  Imagine that this book is Jesus.[hold up a bible] And this piece of paper is you. [hold up a piece of paper] And you are placed in Jesus. [place paper in bible]
This is, though I say so myself, quite a helpful illustration (although of course it has its limitations).
This [hold up a bible] is a human book, written by men (and as far as we know it was men) at particular times in particular situations - with all their limitations.  But it is a Bible, and we believe that through the power of the Holy Spirit, this is not just a human book, b…

Galatians 5.1-25: The Christian idea of freedom

Galatians 5.1,13-25
Verse 1: For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm therefore and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery Verse 13: For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters
Paul is getting passionate here – because it is about the very heart of the gospel.
He is writing to people he loves, people who have heard his message, who have come to believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God, who have put their trust in him and who have received forgiveness and acceptance, who have become part of God’s family, and received the Holy Spirit – all as a gift. They realise that there is nothing that they have done to deserve it or earn it, but that it is a gift that God has freely given them.
But now teachers are coming and are telling them that they are not proper Christians. They are telling them that if they want to be proper Christians then they must follow certain rules: the most dramatic of which is that they (or at least the men) must be circumcised.
And Paul…