In view of his many mercies
I’m preparing a talk based on Romans 12:1, which urges us to be wholly devoted to God, in view of the fact that he has shown us mercy.
"Therefore, I urge you brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy…"
The word translated “mercy” is actually plural, so Paul is encouraging us to focus on all of the many different ways in which God has been merciful to us. I decided to read through the previous 11 chapters to see how many ways that was - I counted 101:
- 1:6 - We’ve been called to belong to Jesus Christ
- 1:7 - We are loved by God
- 1:7 - He has given us grace and peace
- 1:7 - God has become our Father
- 1:11 - He’s given us spiritual gifts
- 1:16 - There is power for salvation
- 1:17 - He’s given us righteousness
- 1:20 - God has revealed himself
- 1:25 - God has created us - there’s something rather than nothing
- 1:26 - God allows us freedom - doesn’t force us
- 1:32 - God is just and doesn’t leave sin unpunished
- 2:2 - God is truth
- 2:4 - He’s shown kindness, tolerance and patience towards us
- 2:6 - God is fair
Cranmer’s prayer for the Scriptures
God therefore, for his mercies’ sake, vouchsafe to purify our minds through faith in his Son Jesus Christ, and to instil the heavenly drops of his grace into our hard stony hearts, to supple the same, that we be not contemners and deriders of his infallible word; but that with all humbleness of mind and Christian reverence, we may endeavour ourselves, to hear and to read his sacred Scriptures, and inwardly so to digest them, as shall be to the comfort of our souls, and sanctification of his holy Name: to whom, with the Son and the Holy Ghost, three persons and one living God, be all laud, honour, and praise, for ever and ever. Amen.
Saved by Grace
St Mark’s Battersea Rise
8th June 2014
Source: SoundCloud / Charles Thomson
The reliability of the Gospels?
"Did some unknown creative genius take an ordinary man, Jesus, and and invent his deeds of power and his words of love and authority and authenticity, then present this invented Jesus to a church with such deceptive power that many people were willing from the outset to die for this fictional Christ?
Further, must we believe all the gospel writers swallowed the invention - and in the space of several decades while many who knew the real Jesus were still living? Is that a more reasonable or well-founded guess than the plain assertion that a real man, Jesus Christ, did in fact say and do the sort of things the Biblical witnesses say he did?”
- John Piper
Walking around in London
HTB Leadership Conference 2014
This is the rather good view St Mark’s had from our box (!) at the Royal Albert Hall this week for the Leadership Conference.
The highlight for me was Rick and Kay Warren’s candid conversation with Nicky Gumbel about the way God has carried them through the last year, following the tragic suicide of their son Matthew, who battled depression and mental illness. The way that God has used the Warrens’ public journey through grief to teach the rest of the world is extraordinarily powerful. Rick and Kay were able to reflect on their grief with remarkable clarity of thought.
Here are my notes from Rick’s Six Stages of Grief:
1 - Shock
This is the first stage, and is a purely human emotion. God of course is never shocked, since nothing takes Him by surprise.
2 - Sadness
The sorrow which follows is a Godly emotion however. You can grief because you’re made in God’s image.
3 - Struggle
When the dust settles, we want to ask the question, “why me? Why now? Why us?” etc. We see this in Job, who is searching for reasons for his plight. Although it’s fine to ask the question, God doesn’t promise to give us the answers. Rather, in the final chapters of Job, He says “pay attention to me!” Rick says you can never fully know the plans of God. We tell ourselves that if we know why tragedy has struck then we’ll feel better, but that’s actually not true.
"You don’t need an explanation, you need the presence of God."
4 - Surrender
"I’d rather walk with God and not have any of my questions answered than the other way round"
This is the Gethsemene prayer, "not my will, but thy will be done". There is tremendous liberty in submitting to the sovereignty of Almighty God.
5 - Sanctification
Once you surrender then God is able to start working in you. Romans 8:28.
“He loves to turn crucifixion into resurrection.”
6 - Service
Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:8 says “we despaired even of life itself" - if Paul got depressed it’s ok to get depressed. But God comforts us in our trials so that we can comfort others. The very thing that has hurt you the most will become your greatest life message. This very clearly seems to be the case with Rick and Kay.