Sermon Notes: The First Commandment – No Other Gods

18 01 2016

Gradually catching up, these are my notes from last Sunday from the sermon on the first commandment:

“You shall have no other gods before me.”

John 14 v 6 comes straight from the first commandment: “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Our culture is suspicious of exclusive truth claims.

The book and film “Life of Pi” follow a boy who manages to commit to three of the worlds main religions, at different times, but never giving any of them up. He says:
“”Bapu Gandhi said, ‘All religions are true.’ I just want to love God,” I blurted out, and looked down, red in the face.”

Only in the west is it deemed arrogant to say that only your religion is correct. To say they’re equal is arrogant itself.

Religious freedom is good, but pluralism takes that to saying that you can’t say yours is true for any religion.

Tolerance and respect are good things, but you need to be able to offer your faith to others.

The government wants to Ofsted church groups – we may be penalised for making truth claims.

This isn’t just an issue in this day and age. The Egyptians were worshipping just about everything, with the Israelites caught in the middle of it all.

God demands the exclusive worship of His people.

We could take this commandment to read that long as God is number 1, then you can still have other gods below Him. But we aren’t to worship any other gods in the presence of God, and we can’t escape His presence!

There are risks of us worshipping all sorts of things, including: wealth, comfort, control, sexuality, power career, family, heath, fitness, leisure, pleasure and food. These can all be good things, but any good thing can be an idol if it pushes God out of the centre.

“He answered, ‘“Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart and with ALL your soul and with ALL your strength and with ALL your mind”” – Luke 10 v 27a

Who or what do we love? Do we mean it when we sing “Jesus, we love you”? Try some diagnostic questions:

  • What do we desire most when we are free to roam?
  • Who do I trust? Who do I turn to in times of trouble?

Behind al false gods we serve is the God of self. “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance” – Oscar Wilde

The solution is to fall in love with God again and again and again. No one else is worthy.

“There is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.” – David Foster Wallace

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.”





Internet highlights – w/c 10th January 2016

16 01 2016

Some of the most AWFUL things people have done to their Sims – ‘scuse the language

J K Rowling’s brilliant revenge on Stephen Fry

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Sermon Notes: The 10 Commandments – “Written in Stone”

11 01 2016

It’s been a long time since I’ve written up my sermon notes from church. Partly due to being on so many rotas on Sunday mornings I haven’t often been able to take any, and partly because I just keep falling asleep on Sunday afternoons. That said, we’ve just started a great new series on The Ten Commandments, and I’ve been in church for the first 2 sermons (an intro, and then the first commandment) so I thought I’d see if I could get back into routine. (and you can listen to any of the sermons in the series as they get uploaded, here)

So for week one we had an introduction to the whole topic, and the reading was Exodus 20 vv 1-17, all 10 commandments!

“Written in Stone”

  • The 10 commandments can be seen as instructions for living
  • These days, the popular line in schools is “making good choices”
  • All authentic relationships and friendships are based on disagreements and how we handle them
  • A society created around choosing the bits we want and leaving the rest is what the book and film “The Stepford Wives” was based on. We can’t just choose the rules we want and ignore the rest, or we’d just have a “Stepford God”

  • We need to submit to God in everything
  • God saved the Israelites from Egypt before giving them the law. We are saved not because we obey the law but so that we can obey it. Else that’d be legalism
  • There’s nothing worse than chameleon Christians, trying to blend in with culture. We’re called to stand out as a light in this dark world.
  • John 1 v 17 and Romans 6 v 14 could be read that as we’re no longer under the law we just have Grace. Yet 1 Corinthians 9 v 21 and Luke 16 v 17 show that we’re under Christ’s law and that not a stroke will drop out of that. This could seem like a contradiction, but there are different types of law.
    • Moral Law – This is the 10 commandments. Jesus’ sermon on the mount doesn’t contradict this, but raises the bar from it!
    • Civil law – The laws that applied to the nation of Israel. These contained useful principles, but were superceded by Jesus, and were no longer binding
    • Ceremonial law – All Israel’s laws on clean/unclean etc. Christ’s sacrifice fulfilled this law once and for all – Colossians 2 v 17
  • The 10 commandments can be categorised under the two greatest commandments
    • “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” – Commandments 1-4
    • “Love your neighbour as yourself” – Commandments 5-10
  • In the same way that a father always loves his son, but is even more delighted when his son tries to please him, God doesn’t love us because we keep His commandments, but He’s delighted when we do, shouldn’t we want to please Him?
  • There are verses in the New Testament to back up each of the 10 Commandments
    1. You shall have no other gods before me – “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” – John 14 v 6
    2. You shall not make for yourself an image – “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.” – 1 John 5 v 21
    3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God – “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” – Matthew 6 v 9
    4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy – “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God” – Hebrews 4 v 9
    5. Honour your father and your mother – “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 ‘Honour your father and mother’– which is the first commandment with a promise” – Ephesians 6 vv 1-2
    6. You shall not murder – “‘You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, “You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.” 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, “Raca,” is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, “You fool!” will be in danger of the fire of hell.” – Matthew 5 vv 21-22
    7. You shall not commit adultery – “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” – Matthew 5 v 28
    8. You shall not steal – “Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.” – Ephesians 4 v 28
    9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour – “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbour, for we are all members of one body.” – Ephesians 4 v 25
    10. You shall not covet your neighbour’s house – “What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.'” – Romans 7 v 7




Internet highlights – w/c 3rd January 2016

9 01 2016

Gilmore Girls “plotholes” – some are more just observations than plotholes…

Christian Board Games

How well do you know Ross Gellar’s freakouts?

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Dream a little Christmas Dream – by Giovanna Fletcher

2 01 2016

Giovanna Fletcher seems to be another author whose books I’ve gotten into the habit of reading, so when she brought out a little Christmas Novella like last year, based on the novel she had published this summer, I thought, why not?!

I was so keen to finish my last book that yes, I have read this one in January, but it’s only 85 pages and I managed it in about 3 sittings.

It’s warm, fuzzy, and predictable – I had the ending pegged from only a few pages in, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t still give me goosebumps at the end, very feel good, pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a mini Christmas chick-lit read. Delightful.

dream a little christmas dream





Internet highlights – w/c 27th December 2015

2 01 2016

Notes left by postmen

Fuel economy – Automatics aren’t always the worst!

Key differences between men and women

Cat or Dog person? What about Rabbit?

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