Deep People in a Shallow World

Notes from talks at a recent weekend away with our mid-week Bible study group:

Deep People in a Shallow World

(1) 2 Corinthians 2:12-3:18
1. Introduction
We live by faith, not by sight – the world, however, is looking for the visible.

2. God’s sovereign processions 2:12-17
Is not without its problems.
2v14 – put your Bible glasses on! – see things rightly.
I believe, therefore I have spoken.
Letters written on human hearts – are the letters the Corinthian converts? Probably not – on our hearts – real ministry not authenticated outside a person (they came, because of their love for the Corinthians).
3. God’s spiritual transformation 3:1-6
It is easy for humans to fall into law-keeping – remember that God gave the law to His saved people.
4. God’s superior ministry 3:7-18
How can the new New Covenant be more glorious than the Old Covenant?
The OC surely more spectacular? Paul traditionally thought to be weedy, bow legs.. just walked into a town and started speaking.
“You are all going to meet the Lord. Don’t walk backwards towards Him”

(2) 2 Corinthians 4:1-18
1. Introduction
Ouk eg kakoumen (sp??) – we do not lose heart – 4v1, 4v16
We cannot change blind people ourselves.
God is a god who enlightens – light out of darkness.

2. Confident ministry despite trouble in our listeners vv1-6
v5 we make sure people know they must go to Jesus.

3. Confident ministry despite trouble in ourselves vv7-18
We are jars of clay.
Biographies can be encouraging – how great Jesus is to use them.
Resurrection confidence v13
Renewal confidence v16
Walking out of a church and putting a green sticker on everything that will remain, and a red sticker on everything which will pass away…

(3) 2 Corinthians 5:1-21
1. Introduction

2. Perspective vv1-10
The world is obsessed with food and clothes and homes.
v7 – we walk by faith, not by sight.

3. Incentive vv11-15
Fear (godly fear) v11
Love v14
v14 – is Christ teaching universalism? His death is sufficient (for the world) and efficient (for those who respond. BUT – the gospel does not sit on a table waiting for someone to respond.

4. Directive vv16-21
v18 – autobiographical?
v17 – new creation ready for the new creation
v21 – several PhDs could be written on this verse!
v20 – God’s ambassadors – no ‘you’ added (Ambassadors must convey the message they are given – not their own response).

(4) 2 Corinthians 6:1 – 7:4
1. Introduction
The grace of God is (also) for the believer – not a case that (to the unbeliever ) “The Grace of God is for you” but (to the believer) “Get yourself together!!”

2. A decision about the gospel vv1-2

3. A decision about Paul vv3-15
vv3+4 – we aim to help people believe
vv6+7 practise godliness
v8 – we put up with assessment.
Widen your heart before opening your mouth.

4. A decision about lifestyle 6v14 – 7v4
What partnership can there be? Difficulty (e.g. righteous/unbelievers), and impossibility! (light/darkness).
In the same way – what harmony between Christ and Belial – spiritual battle.
Pray that God would help you not grow cold.
How often do we say (these days) that someone is “on fire” for Jesus – clear-headed, warm-hearted, Kingdom-focussed, love of the Lord Jesus.
Work on what cools and kills. Feed fellowship in the Father.


Acts 13:13-52

Acts 13:13-52
Sunday Morning
4 October 2009 (posted 6 October 2009)

Introduction: Certainty

1. God’s message of salvation in Jesus is for all people.
a) God has sent his saviour to Israel, vv16-25

Paul’s summary of early OT history
v17 – Genesis 12 – Exodus 15
v18 – Exodus 16 – Deuteronomy
v19 – Joshua
v20 – Judges and 1 Samuel 1-7
v21-22 1 Samuel 8 – 2 Samuel

b) God has sent his message of salvation to us, vv26-37
c) God offers complete forgiveness to all people, vv38-41

2. God’s bearer of salvation to all people is the Apostle Paul
– his conversion: Acts 9:15-16
– his commission: Acts 13:2
– his conquest over magic: Acts 13:9-11
– his command: Acts 13:47

Conclusion: Unashamed

A New Light For The World?

A New Light for the World?
Acts 13:1-12
27 September 2009 (posted 6 Oct 2009)
Audio available online here

Introduction: Marching orders

In ch. 13 the focus shifts to Paul, operating out of the church in Antioch. Chapters 13 and 14 are a unit. The mission, the message, the man. This week, the first ‘M’.

1. God commissions the church’s deliverate mission to the nations (vv1-4)
– divine
– deliberate

V3 – the ‘others’ send them, but v4 – the Holy Spirit sent them.
Acts 13 encourages us to make bold and deliberate plans for the spread of the gospel.

‘gossiping the good news of Jesus’

2. God will prosper the church’s deliberate mission to the nations, despite opposition (vv5-12)
– the word proclaimed
– the word opposed
– the word triumphant

Conclusion: Confidence!

Over 2000 language groups do not have the Bible in their own language. 15k more professional practitioners of the occult in France than gospel workers. The need is great.
Take note of the spread of the gospel in the last century – Nepal, China, Iran, S.Korea

Sermon notes: Psalm 119:153-176

Having an afternoon of sorting things out in the office/study/office (I think that it varies, depending on how much work stuff I’ve brought home with me …. at the moment – office).
The urge to procrastinate is being diverted into the more useful pursuit of revisiting last week’s sermon notes (26 July 2009)… (bold are the headings on the handout, normal font denotes my scribblings!)

Preacher: WTT

Psalm 119: 153-176

The psalmist makes it clear to us that God’s Word is refreshing, reviving, re-energising. Some repeated phrases:
9 x ‘I love Your Law’
10 x ‘Your Law is my delight’
8 x ‘I meditate on Your Law’

1. A painful awareness of weakness
A deep consciousness that enemies are forever present

– personal vulnerability
v.23 – princes plotting against me
vv67, 95, 110, 150

– debilitating frailty

God in His Greatness brings frailty upon the psalmist, to keep him clinging tightly to Him – vv 92, 71 & 75 – the ‘adversity gospel’ (not the ‘prosperity gospel’)

– enduring sin
despite the psalmists protestations – vv. 176

2. A rich appreciation of the Word
‘clings to the dust’
The psalmist is like a sick man with a recurring ailment – he knows where to go in the medicine cabinet – God’s word is an all-encompassing elixir.

– safety
vv9,11 – WTT’s first memory verses
– life
vv156, 159
– liberty

– truth
vv96,97,32,44 – coming to the living God is not restrictive – the Genesis 3 lie
– wisdom
– permanence

3. An urgent appetite for the Word
The psalmist is passionate v131

Christian meditation is not like Eastern meditation – rather than emptying your mind, you should fill it – with the Word of God.

A bit like a cow – ruminate! Meditation in order to obey.

1 Corinthians 4:1-21: A Gospel of Power (5)

Sermon notes: Sunday Evening 31 August 2003 (posted 20 September 2008 as I trawl my sermon notes box for 1 Corinthians notes in advance of the new term starting).

Dominant issue is power in the church. Problems in Corinth – failure to live with the cross at the centre.

A) Genuine Christian ministry is apostolic in its authority, vv1-7, 14-21
The underlying issue is that the Corinthian church is in danger of parting ways with the Apostle Paul – v3 – judging Paul, v6 gone beyond what he has written to them, v7 they think that they are v. special, boasting of selves v18 arrogant.
v1 apostles – servants of Christ and stewards of mysteries of God.
cf. ch. £ the Apostles inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Responsibility of Christian ministers is to follow in line of apostles’ teaching – not adding, not taking away.

B) Genuine Christian ministry is apostolic in its nature, vv8-13
The ministry that looks weak and foolish = God’s ministry.
We live in the overlap of ages (between the First and Second Coming).
v8 – mocking – if they had this, they would be in heaven and he would be there with them.

Isaiah 53:3 – v3 he was despised and rejected by men … Apostles treated like Christ.
Philippians 2:6-8 – did not count equality with God something to be grasped … humbled to the point of death.

Church in Corinth wanted to leave the Cross out of the message and out of lifestyle.

1 Corinthians 4

Sermon notes from a friend’s son’s baptism at the barge in November 2007

How should we cope within a world which regards us as the scum of the earth?

Contrasting judgements – God or man (vv1-5)
v4a – not aware of anything against myself
v4b – the Lord who judges me.

Paul comits himself to the judgement of God, not the Corinthians. Corinthians were judging by worldly values.
Look to the right judgement.

Contrasting expectations – kings or scum? (vv6-13)
Root of the Corinthian problem – pride
Paul’s experience was very difference.
Corinthians had an overrealised eschatology – thinking that we have them now.
v8 – repetition – alerady.

Contrasting examples – Paul or someone else? (vv14-21)
– imitating Paul’s leadership
n.b. he doesn’t say imitate Christ. Imitate in his leadership – warm, tender, intimate, tender words of love
– imitating Paul’s life
Genuine Christian ministry – not glamorous – instead, blood, sweat, toil and tears. May not be liked, but will be saved.

Are we imitating Paul?
– the power of the cross

Testing Times: Stop!

Sermon notes from this morning – really good, and excellent service (lots of Psalm-singing). Really useful as well, as we are just beginning to study Judges in Central Focus, and so it was helpful to go back a little in Israel’s history and understand the ‘backstory’.

This is about coming so close, but being so far from glory. About the agony of loss. About the rewards of perserverance for those who never stop believing. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Numbers 13-14

Research (13:1-33)
Gathering Intelligence
Spies are sent out into Canaan to gather intelligence. They report back that it is a land of milk and honey – BUT – the people are strong, the cities fortified and large.

Minority Report – Caleb reports back and is v.positive – ‘we should go up at once! we are well able etc.’

Majority Report – the other spies persuade the people that they are not able. The people of Canaan are stronger. Spin the news – v32b – land devours its inhabitants, ‘we are like grasshoppers’.

Response (14:1-10)
The people panic
Focussing on God’s enemies, rather than God’s power.
The faithful preach
Do not rebel, do not fear – ‘they are bread for us’ – ‘their protection is removed’.
Danger of making people big and God small

We are so often immobilised in our spiritual lives due to fear of what pressing on with Jesus might mean (oh, so very true).

Reaction (14:11-38)
Disinheritance threatened
God would disinherit – look back – only Joshua and Caleb remain from the generations in the wilderness who refused to go in.
Prayer for God’s glory
v17 – appeal to God’s character as revealed in Exodus 34.
Moses recognises that God must be just.
The final straw
All the grumblers – vv36-37. 10 spies die (the majority report). v29 – all your numbernumber who have grumbled against me will die in the wilderness. Look back at Numbers 1 – a great nation then – all died in the wilderness.
The faithful few

Today if you hear his voice ….

No loss is so gut-wrenching or permanent as losingout on heaven. Do not surrender to the flesh and devil.