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Showing posts from October, 2017

Christians and the civic authorities

Matthew 12:15-22 What does Jesus mean when he says that we should ‘give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s’? Has he just answered a difficult question in a way that gets him out of trouble, but doesn’t actually say anything. It is a very clever answer to a difficult question that is designed to stitch Jesus up. They asked him, ‘Should we pay taxes to the emperor?’ The tax that they were speaking about was a poll tax, a charge that was levied by the Roman authorities on every individual. When you paid your poll tax, it was usually when there were Roman soldiers around, and you knew that you lived in an occupied land. So, if Jesus says, ‘yes, we should pay taxes’, then he is spiritually hopelessly compromised. For a Jew there were so many reasons why they should not pay the tax. There was national pride. Quite a significant number of people had chosen armed rebellion. They read in their history, from the boo

An invitation to the Banquet of God

Matthew 22.1-14 In a few minutes time, we will be invited to come to communion. At one level, it is not much of an invitation: you’re invited to receive a wafer and a sip of wine. At another level this is the greatest invitation that you will ever receive: It is the invitation to participate in the Kingdom of Heaven, to live the life of God. It is the invitation to participate in the King’s wedding banquet for his son. Of course, what happens here is just the hors d’oevre, the zakuski, the taster of the wedding banquet in heaven, but it is still part of that banquet. And the parable that Jesus tells is 1.       About a great invitation An invitation to participate in God’s Kingdom. It is amazing invitation. It is a wedding feast: about new beginnings, love and joy and hope and deep intimacy. It is an invitation to start again; to know the deep love that God has for you; to receive the joy that he would give you - even in the face of the most awful

Four reasons not to worry

Luke 12.16-30 We worry about many things. About school, friends, our health, business, money, investments, visas; how to support the family, children or parents; what people think of us, whether we’re doing the right thing or not; whether we’re wearing the right thing, being given enough respect, whether I’ll get this talk completed on time – and then, to top it all, Jesus says that we are not to worry so I worry because I am worrying! But it seems here that Jesus doesn’t simply tell us not to worry. I think he gives us, in these verses, at least 4 reasons why we do not need to worry 1.       Jesus reminds us how foolish it is to worry! Worrying can’t really do anything. We certainly can’t make ourselves live even an hour longer by worrying (v25) In fact, if anything, worry can make it worse! One doctor wrote, ‘Worry affects the circulation, the heart, the glands, the whole nervous system, and profoundly affects the health”. And there is a danger that whe