Gospel Freedom.

‘This blog series is based on one idea from the sermon each week. This week’s blog is written by Anne Rennie. It’s based on the sermon ‘Gospel Freedom’ which you can listen to here: https://soundcloud.com/livinghopeinverness/godly-freedom’

missional
Over 95% of people in Inverness don’t go to any church of any kind.

So how do we let people know the good news of Jesus Christ if they’re not interested in coming to church to hear it?

We go to them.

Paul explains through Timothy in Acts 16 that we have been given a ‘gospel freedom’ or an opportunity to meet people where they are, in order to bring the good news to them. As Christians we’re free from following one specific cultural code, we’ve been given the freedom to adapt to the culture we’re in.

Therefore we have the ability to participate in the culture God’s put us in. We’re free to get along side people, to get to know them, to eat where they eat, to watch TV programmes with them, to go on work nights out with them, to walk our dogs with them, to drink coffee with them, to climb a hill with them and be to them what they need us to be.

But we aren’t to use our freedom as an excuse to sin. We’re to use it to make Jesus famous.

Christ Jesus came to us. He met us where we were. He denied Himself in order to make us His family. He gave up His rights in order to give us an inheritance. He gave up His life in order that we can have true life.

There is no way we would have ever met Him if He left it up to us.

What a beautiful example to motivate our hearts to go to those around us.

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The Desire for Conflict.

‘This blog series is based on one idea from the sermon each week. This week’s blog is written as a poem by DI Murchison. The poem is based on the sermon ‘Godly conflict’ which you can listen to here: https://soundcloud.com/livinghopeinverness/godly-conflict’

The Desire for Conflict

Hello dear readers, it’s time to prepare,
for a report on the sermon in a manner deemed fair.
That which looks at the conflict of kin,
And the potential to harbour unrepentant sin.

Alas, it was told by the good reverent Rennie,
That community is to be shared by the greater many.
And where two or more meet, there’ll be He,
Yet with hearts still sin-tainted we’d be sure to disagree.

On many simple matters, families have been breached,
Over worship, prayer or how the Word be preached.
Among these are matters so painfully trivial,
There could be no hope of a church as convivial.

But how may you ask, is there desire for this?
We want to be a church that’s united, not a church that’s remiss!
For that my dear reader I must take the time to explain,
That for a child to grow there must be some sort of pain.

An example may be, a small scar on your arm,
No doubt to obtain it you experienced some harm.
Say it was caused by a fire, tell me what did you learn?
That to reach into the fire will result in a burn!

The same is with people, that when life is on life,
We’ll be partial to sorrow, stress and much strife.
If people see us at both our worst and our best,
Then we can show them how with grace we are blessed.

And with conflict we’re given the chance to mature,
To repent and agree, we’ll either obscure or procure.
We ought not to pinch splinters with logs in our eyes,
But in love, discuss, and give sin no disguise.

To do so is hard, and not a cultural norm,
But by doing so, to Christ we will slowly transform.
And through each battle, and person offended,
We have a chance that through grace the friendship be mended.

Just as Pete said, a boil must be burst,
But doing so without love makes dear friends accursed.
Yet in love, we may see both our sins laid to rest,
But to do this we must see said sins being addressed.

To know how to do this, we need just look to Christ,
Who for fellowship with man, became our sacrifice.
If the Son of God can humble Himself so low,
Forgiveness and reconciliation is something we can give a go.

If we want to be seen as a church that serves,
We’re likely to get on at least one person’s nerves.
Even as Christians we’re prone to doubt and lie,
Even the disciples gave Jesus many reasons to sigh.

Just as our Father has both forgiven and forgot,
We remember that through a great price we’ve been bought.
And if God can forgive the sins of our past,
We can live in unity without a soul being outcast.

If there’s only one thing you ought to remember,
It’s to love the Church, yes indeed every member.
To conclude, please look up Japanese ‘Kintsugi’,
Until next, God-bless, your faithful servant, DI.

Why do we make disciples?

‘This blog series is based on one idea from the sermon each week. This week was our weekend away where Doug Fell taught on ‘disciple making disciples.’ You can listen to two of Doug’s talks here: https://soundcloud.com/livinghopeinverness.’

This weeks blog was written by Jodie Murchison.

As Christians, we are far better at talking about discipleship than we are at actually doing it. This is true of people in general; we agree something is a good idea, but things change when we’re asked to actually do it. However, I believe that when our motives behind disciple making is correct, then the overflow from that will drive us into action. As Paul Tripp teaches if the roots are healthy, the fruit will follow.

There are numerous motivations that can be given for disciple-making but here I will offer only two:images

1. Obedience: Making disciples is rooted in the great commission; in Matthew 28:19 Jesus tells His disciples to ‘Go and make disciples of all nations’. This is often called the great command. Jesus does not offer a suggestion here, something He feels is a good idea; He issues a command. Our job, as disciples, is to obey Him, to put disciple-making into action.

2. Love: Our obedience towards Jesus should not be one that is driven by fear or duty. In John 14:15 Jesus tells us that if we love him, we will keep his commandments. Jesus does not want our sterile obedience. He wants an obedience that is driven by love for Him, we should obey out of an overflow of our hearts.

When love driven obedience motivates why we make disciples then we can move from merely talking about making disciples to actually doing it. For Christians, disciple-making isn’t an option; it’s a command. For Christians, disciple-making isn’t a duty; it’s a natural overflow of a heart that loves Jesus. For Christians, disciple-making is the call because it’s through disciple making disciples that Jesus is fulfilling the great commission by gathering a people for Himself.

Here’s some questions to ask ourselves this week:

1 – Am I motivated to make disciples?
2 – If yes, why? What are you doing about it?
3 – If no, why not? What holds you back?

What is true faith?

‘This new blog series is based on one idea from the sermon each week. You can listen to the full sermon here: https://soundcloud.com/livinghopeinverness/unity-and-diversity’

 

Salvation by grace alone through faith alone

At the heart of the Christian faith is the declaration that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone. Which means that human beings are forgiven of their sin and made right with God, on the basis of what Jesus has done not what we do and that we receive that forgiveness by faith alone, we do not earn it. That is the good news of Christianity.

That message is all over the Bible. On Sunday we saw it in Acts 15:9 where Peter declares that “God cleansed the Gentiles (non-Jews) hearts by faith”. So since we are saved by grace alone through faith alone it’s really important to ask ‘what is faith?’; after all our forgiveness from God depends on it. So what is it?unknown-2

What faith isn’t

Let me start by saying two things that faith isn’t:

1 – Faith is not just mental agreement. To have faith is not just to know the facts about Jesus. Faith includes knowledge of what Jesus has done but true faith is more than knowledge.

2 – Faith is not a one time event. To have faith is not to say a prayer for forgiveness once and then go on living as we were. Faith includes asking for forgiveness but true faith is more than just a one time event that leaves us unchanged.

So if faith isn’t just mental agreement and it’s not a one off event. What is it?

What faith is

1 – True faith means to have put your trust in Jesus. It means to acknowledge your sin and your need of a Saviour, to see that through His perfect life, death and resurrection Jesus is that Saviour. He has lived the perfect life none of us can live, He has died on the cross taking the punishment for our sin and He has risen again to prove that our sin has been paid in full. True faith means to trust in Jesus as your Saviour, the only one who can make us right with God.

2 – True faith means a new life. The Bible doesn’t talk about a one-time decision to follow Jesus it talks about us being born again. To be a Christian means to become a new person; someone who obeys God. That’s why James 2:26 says “Faith without works is dead.” The evidence that your faith is real is that you live differently.

True faith means to have trusted in Jesus for forgiveness and the evidence of it is the change in your life.

So how do I know if I’m a Christian?

1 – You are professing faith in Jesus. You cannot be a Christian without faith so if you do not trust Jesus as your Saviour then you are not a Christian.

2 – You are changing. You don’t have to be perfect, none of us are but you will find that your thoughts and behaviour are changing. Some of the things you used to do you won’t want to anymore, and some of the things you didn’t want to do you now will. The most obvious example is that you weren’t interested in Jesus or Church but now you are and you want to find out more, you want to be around Christians, you want to pray. A Christian isn’t perfect but a Christian is changing.

Test yourself

So think about your life. Do you see the evidence of true faith? Have you asked Jesus for forgiveness? Are you different than you were 6 months ago? If you see that evidence then you can be confident that you’re a Christian and if you don’t then you shouldn’t be.