Sermon Notes: The Seventh Commandment – Faithfulness in Marriage

29 02 2016

“You shall not commit adultery.”

I went to our early service this week, which means these notes are from a different speaker than usual, but still on the seventh commandment!

Marriage was God’s idea right from the start.
“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” – Genesis 2 v 24

It wasn’t long before they thought they knew better. We have free will, so it’s no surprise we struggle.

Adultery can be committed mentally as well as physically.
“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

We live in a very sexualised culture. Not just in things that make sense to be romantic, but absolutely everything!

Our hearts may be given to the Lord, but we’re still susceptible – thoughts go round our head.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” – Philippians 4 v 8

It’s about thought life. Thoughts lead to feelings lead to behaviour. Thoughts work their way outwards.

External influences are important too. Be careful what you put in, because it tends to start to come out.

We should also consider spiritual adultery.

Adultery is by definition an act of unfaithfulness, and so spiritual adultery is an act of unfaithfulness in our relationship with God.

Hosea was told to marry a woman who would be unfaithful, symbolising Israel’s behaviour.

“you have forsaken the love you had at first.” – Revelation 2 v 4b

We will make mistakes, but God is gracious.
“You see the depths of my heart and you love me the same” – Indescribable, by Chris Tomlin

We shouldn’t treat our relationship with God lightly or carelessly. The enemy is looking for any way to trip us up.

Internet highlights – w/c 21st February 2016

27 02 2016

Four words even clever people get wrong

Helpful info on the referendum

EU Referendum debate to be held at Wembley

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Sermon Notes: The Sixth Commandment – Live and let live

22 02 2016

“You shall not murder.”

In the original Hebrew this commandment is two words: “Don’t kill”. The Hebrew language has 8 words for killing. This one is forbidding unlawful killing of a human being.

For further reading on the subject our Pastor recommended “Issues facing Christians today” by John Stott.

Life is valuable and comes from God. He is the author of life, He gives and takes away: “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” – Genesis 2 v 7

Issues of Life and Death:

  • War
    Most Christians would treat war as a last resort. Some would say that all war is wrong. Sometimes it can be the lesser of the two evils available, eg the Holocaust.
  • Capital Punishment
    Capital punishment isn’t an issue in the UK anymore, but people still being up the question of it after a major crime eg a mass murder in the news. The question raised is the idea of a life for a life, vs it being barbaric, and the risk of legal mistakes.
  • Abortion
    Life is valid from conception: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” – Psalm 139 v 13. This is the biblical understanding. All abortions are results of unwanted pregnancies, whether these be from rape, sex outside of marriage, or other, they’re all from situations outside of God’s perfect plan.
    But we must not forget there is still Grace. God comforts and heals.
  • Euthanasia
    The voluntary choice to end life goes against God having authority to begin and end life. Again there are complexities of course.
    All life is valuable and God given. This isn’t a popular view in our society, we want freedom to choose.
  • Suicide
    Again we don’t have the authority to choose when our lives will end. But again there are complexities. Issues of mental health, awareness of what one is doing.

All of these subjects are complex and require further reading than can be covered in a sermon. For anyone who has broken this commandment though, there is forgiveness available.

It’s much harder to keep this commandment than it initially seems.
“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.” But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.” – Matthew 5 vv 21-22a
Jesus raised the bar substantially. These are the things in our lives that can become seeds of much greater issues.

It’s ok to be angry about injustice in this world – we want to share God’s heart. How could God be indifferent to the freezing Syrian children?!

When there is damage in a relationship there may be anger, and it needs dealing with. “In your anger do not sin” – Ephesians 4 v 26a.

Often our anger is tied in with a desire for revenge, that is not ok.

There are four unhealthy ways in which we express anger

  • Pressure Cooker
    Blowing up easily at anything, running on a short fuse.
  • Passive-aggressive
    Won’t express anger in public, bottling it up so our bodies have to deal with it, both physically and mentally, leading to resentment.
  • Martyrs
    Thinking everything is their fault, life is a pity party to which only they are invited.
  • Manipulators
    This could come in many forms, silent treatment, sabotage, little comments, deliberately forgetting things.

We’re capable of any of these!

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” – James 1 v 19
This indicates that we will become angry.

When we are angry with someone we should go to them, but not to explode at them. It’s biblical to describe the hurt we feel and talk it through. We should do this before coming to the Communion table.

It’s not easy! We’re works in progress, and need to work on it.

The bible teaches us not to take revenge or bear grudges.
“See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” – Hebrews 12 v 15

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” – Matthew 6 vv 14-15

When we’re looking to deal with a broken relationship we need to do it slowly and humbly.

We’ve all broken this commandment, Jesus never did. Through Him we find forgiveness.

Internet highlights – w/c 14th February 2016

20 02 2016

Unwritten rules of social interaction that should be rules

What should have happened in Finding Nemo

Children drew inventions, scientists made them!

Massive changes to Eurovision voting

Excellent examples of extreme laziness

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War and Peace (In one sitting) – by Leo Tolstoy/Joelle Herr

18 02 2016

When the BBC advertised their six-part drama I assumed it’d be way beyond me, but I decided to give it a go. There were a lot of characters and I had to go back to the earlier episodes again once I’d worked out who everyone was, but I really enjoyed it.

So when I saw this version of the book, measuring just 8.5 x 7 x 2.5cm, and covering information on Tolstoy, and introduction, who’s who, and then a summary of the story, I thought it’d be a good way to cement the story I’d seen on screen! I printed off the BBC’s very helpful family tree to use as a bookmark as I went.

The book is pretty chatty:

  • “Phew. That’s a lot of names already in just the first couple of paragraphs! You still with me? OK, let’s keep going.”
  • “awkward alert!”
  • “It’s beautifully written and reasoned, but the section is a little boring – you should be very thankful that I’ve read it for you.”

But it’s not all silly, most of it covers the story at a high enough level to be able to follow it. Of course it feels rushed, it’s 1500 pages and 500 characters down into something smaller than my hand, but it’s definitely a good way of getting the main points. I guess I can now claim to have read War and Peace!


Sermon notes: The Fifth Commandment – Respect Authority

16 02 2016

“Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

In current society this can be a particularly sensitive commandment with all the family breakdown.

“If anyone fails to honour his parents, is there anyone he will spare?” – Augustine

Parents are ordinarily the first people we know, our first school, our first government, our first hospital.

Honour is a word meaning weighty or heavy, to give due weight to position.

“But mark this: there will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy” – 2 Timothy 3 vv 1-2

Parents deserve honour for the sacrifices they make for their children.

“Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” – Colossians 3 v 20. It pleases Him!

This commandment has a wider application of all authority. The Israelites referred to their Kings and spiritual leaders as Father.

We should be praying for our politicians. “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, […] Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honour the emperor.” 1 Peter 2 vv 13,17.

We should be praying for our employers. “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. […] because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.” Ephesians 6 vv 5,8.

Submission is often seen as a forceful suppression, but this is not the case. Submission means cooperating with the God given roles that others have, for His kingdom.

Therefore submitting to church leadership is cooperating with them. In turn, leaders are to exercise this in a way pleasing to God.

The balance to this commandment is Ephesians 6 v 4: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord”

We live in a society where there’s a lot of cynicism towards those in authority – police, politicians etc, so leaders have to work harder to build trust.

This commandment remains in force when children grow up and move out – caring for them as they age.

We all fall short of this commandment as we do with others, but Jesus paid the penalty for us, in doing so in obedience to His heavenly Father.

Internet highlights – w/c 7th February 2016

13 02 2016

Chocolate cake for breakfast can help you lose weight!

First time buyers have already spent on average £50k on rent

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Anne of Green Gables – by L M Montgomery

10 02 2016

If you haven’t read this book, read this book!

I had the pop up versions of this when I was little, and the VHS, because Anne of Green Gables is where my middle name came from, but I never read the actual book, or, as it turns out – books! The second book in the series is ordered and due to arrive tomorrow 🙂

Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert are an older brother and sister who decide to adopt a boy to help on the farm, when he arrives, it turns out it’s actually a girl, it’s Anne. Anne lives in a world of her own imagination, doesn’t stop talking, and is very keen you know that it’s Anne with an E.

#AnneOfGreenGables #AnneWithAnE

A photo posted by Ineke Clewer (@inekeclewer) on

Anne gets into all sorts of trouble, never intentionally, but living under strict Marilla’s eye, it takes a while to tame her. She also hates her red hair, and Gilbert Blythe.

I folded down a tonne of page corners in this book, some of my favourite lines are below, all bar one are from Anne herself:

  • “Am I talking too much? People are always telling me I do. Would you rather I didn’t talk? If you say so I’ll stop. I can stop when I make up my mind to it, although it’s difficult.”
  • “Now you see why I can’t be perfectly happy. Nobody could who has red hair.”
  • “It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.”
  • “Looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them”
  • “I know very well when we grow up that Diana will get married and go away and leave me. And oh, what shall I do? I hate her husband – I just hate him furiously.”
  • “It wouldn’t do, I suppose, for a minister to have a regally lovely wife, because it might set a bad example. Mrs Lynde says the minister’s wife over at Newbridge sets a very bad example because she dresses so fashionably.”
  • “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”
  • “I really think I’d like to be a minister’s wife when I grow up, Marilla. A minister mightn’t mind my red hair because he wouldn’t be thinking of such worldly things. But then of course one would have to be naturally good, and Ill never be that, so I suppose there’s no use in thinking about it.”
  • “It is ever so much easier to be good if your clothes are fashionable.”
  • “It’s always wrong to do anything you can’t tell the minister’s wife.”
  • “I don’t want to cheer up. It’s nicer to be miserable!”
  • And then just one from Mrs Lynde:

  • “It’s a great blessing not to be fat, Marilla. I hope you appreciate it.”

anne of green gables

Internet highlights – w/c 31st January 2016

6 02 2016

Highlights from Terry Wogan’s Eurovision commentary

Superb inventions

Honest Online Dating Ads (‘scuse the swears)

Trump Donald

If Disney films were directed by Tim Burton

Superdrug is giving the tampon tax back to customers in reward points

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