Paul explained to the Christians at Colosse that he had become a servant of the gospel by the commission God gave him to present to them the word of God in its fullness. Col. 1v25 Pretty well that is still the calling and commission of every minister of the gospel. I have kept a list over the years of all the Bible books and themes I have preached on or which we have studied in various groups. You’ll be glad to know there is still quite a bit of the 66 books of the Bible to be covered and should I finish we just start again – there’s always more to learn.
In our Praise Services through this year we hope to unpack the great ‘I AM’ statements of Jesus, mainly in John’s Gospel and letters. How did the Son of God understand Himself in relationship to Father and Holy Spirit? I AM the bread of life, the light of the world, the Good Shepherd, the resurrection and the life etc. are full of Old Testament imagery and understanding and give us a rich insight into Jesus understanding of Himself that leads us to humility, wonder and worship.
Looking ahead under the inspiration of the Spirit of God the Prophet Joel saw a day coming, the Day of the Lord that would bring both judgement but also God’s mercy and grace. Like all of the Prophets his forward sight had fulfillments both in the shorter but also in the longer term. Joel saw a day of judgement coming like the destructive power of a plague of locusts, but further ahead he foresaw the day of Pentecost when God would open the flood gates of heaven and pour out His Spirit on all believers in a way never before experienced on earth. We also plan to look at Joel in the evening services.
Marriage and Family are very much in the media these days with the referendum in the Republic of Ireland, marches to Belfast City Hall and so on. It is difficult not to be swayed let alone convinced by the very powerful and emotive campaigning. Are we really talking about an equality issue? Is there a distinction between the state institution of marriage and the church-based covenant? After all the state had no part in marriage at all until a few hundred years ago! So what does the Old Testament and New Testament actually teach us about marriage and family and how does it relate to current debates? Well, that is what we plan to come on to in morning services from October onwards.
As we search the Scriptures together my prayer as always is that we all grow to know the truth and that the truth will set us free to live for Jesus.
In His name,