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In the previous article on how to grow in faith we focused on the place of obedience to God and the inspiring power of the Word of God in stirring and increasing our faith. This week we focus on the nature of seed faith and its dynamics in increasing our faith. Continue reading
Every person who commits their life to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour will be challenged to grow in faith. Jesus challenged his disciples to stretch their understanding to see the impossible things they could do through and with Jesus Christ. There are three aspects of our life with God that enable us to stretch our faith and grow in wisdom and righteousness. They are: Obedience, the Word of God, and Seed Faith. Today we will look at Obedience and… Continue reading
In parts 1 and 2, we have looked at the three temptations presented to Jesus, by the devil in the wilderness. The first two temptations related to the gaining and use of power and challenged Jesus to prove the validity of His identity as the Son of God. The third pressed Jesus to yield his position of submission to the purpose and cause of Father God and worship the devil. The prize was luxury unbounded and all the glory that this world can offer. Jesus resisted the lure of all three temptations, submitted Himself again to the purpose and cause of Father God and rejected the devil and his wiles. All this stands as a sign to us to resist the devil’s temptations in like manner and submit our lives afresh to love God and serve His purpose and cause. Continue reading
Matthew 4:1-11 (as well as Luke 4:1-14) includes a description of the temptation of Jesus, by the devil in the wilderness – an interaction that occurred after he had fasted for forty days and nights. In The Temptations of Jesus – Part One we addressed the issue of the temptation for power. Not that power in itself is a problem, but the means by which it is acquired and used. Jesus calls us to use a servant-leadership rather than coercive lordship approach to leadership. In the third temptation the focus changes from power to the acquisition of material riches, honour and glory. The third temptation reminds us that a key point of weakness lies with hankering after riches. However, the possession of power and riches themselves is not the problem – it is the price we pay to gain them and the attitudes we develop in possessing them that matters.
What was at stake in this temptation was possession of… Continue reading
Both Matthew (4:1-11) and Luke’s (4:1-14) Gospels include a description of the temptation of Jesus, by the devil in the wilderness – an interaction that occurred after he had fasted for forty days and nights. The story is familiar to us, yet holds different levels of understanding, some plain and straight forward, others more complex. This story probably holds one of the most complex theological issues we have in the Gospels – the meaning of the temptations for Jesus Himself. Before exploring the more complex issues involved in the temptations (in the third of these articles), we are going to look at some of the significant truths touched on by the temptations themselves.
The temptations remind us that our points of weakness lay, on the one hand, around the desire for power, and on the other hand, with the hankering after riches. However, the possession of power and riches themselves is not the problem… Continue reading
John opens his gospel with the statement: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:1-3). In doing so John identifies Jesus Christ with a unique identity of God. It does that by placing Him squarely in the midst of a Jewish understanding of the belief in One God, but one that does not infringe its monotheistic nature. The proclamation of Jesus Christ as the Messiah and the development of a Trinitarian understanding God (as Father, Son and Holy Spirit) do not deny the oneness of God but expands the understanding of the internal nature of such a God. Continue reading
As we noted last week, Genesis 2 finishes with unity, togetherness and completeness in a world without shame, conflict and turmoil. This sense of paradise was only short-lived as the story quickly moved towards a shift away from God to a world full of good and evil – a world of which we are very much aware. If the world that we know constantly oscillates between good and evil, how real then is this sense of paradise? This sense of a utopian world hankers in many of us that search for a Shangri-La or a place that takes us out of the rat race to a place of tranquility and peace where men and women are truly human. Continue reading
In the second of our series concerning the nature of justice and humanity, I noted that God created men and women with the power to think, to choose, and to worship and commune with God. Although, sin has perverted these capacities, they are still apparent in the nature of men and women – noting that the term sin itself is a loaded word that needs some unpacking. However, before we can move further in understanding the movement to despair that afflicts our human experience and the frailty of the human identity; we need to pause to clarify the direction from which our discussion proceeds. Having noted two different approaches to understanding the creation stories – the mythical and literal – it is important to understand the background to these approaches. Continue reading
Last week we started looking at the theme of justice and the nature of humanity. There we took up the theme that God is a just God who is not indifferent to injustice and calls us to account for the things we do and the things we do not do. We also noted that the biblical concept of a just God did not see God’s application of justice as either harsh or cruel. Rather God’s justice is tempered by love, mercy and kindness. If the biblical testimony describes God as a just God then what does that mean when we come to consider the nature or state of the human person? What type of person does such a God create? Continue reading
Over the next few weeks we will be looking at the issue of justice and humanity, starting with looking at the concept of a Just God. By this we do not simply mean that there is only one God (that certainly is fundamental to our understanding of our Triune God) but also to what extent justice is important to God.
If, for instance, God is unjust or simply by nature indifferent to justice (such as the lack of difference between the concepts of good and evil in Buddhism and Eastern Mysticism) then we are alone in our efforts. It also means that anything goes, that is, to the extent that you can get away with it. Survival of the fittest plays a significant role and there is no accountability or responsibility for what we do or do not do. It implies that we can use other people for our own ends, rather than loving them for themselves. Continue reading