Displaying posts published in

July 2016

Hallowed be thy name

Isaiah 26:1-15; Matthew 5:5-15 This one needs some unpacking.  Firstly that archaic word “hallowed.” In modern English, the word “hallowed” is only really preserved for sports venues.  For a football supporter, Wembley is hallowed ground. For a cricket fan, Lord’s is hallowed turf. Hallowed means ‘regarded as holy.’ But “holy” needs explaining too.  It means […]

Our Father which art in heaven

Luke 11:1-12; Matthew 5:5-15 What does true prayer look like?  Luke chapter 11 gives us the ultimate picture: “It came to pass, that… Jesus was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray…”  (Luke 11:1-2) And from there, Jesus teaches them the Lord’s […]

Let not thy left hand know what they right hand doeth

Isaiah 64; Matthew 6:1-4 There are many people who do good. Which is good. And there are many people who care nothing for any reputation for doing good. Which is also good. But seldom do both qualities coincide in one person. And that’s bad. In this world there are those who do good – and […]

Love your enemies

Luke 6:27-36; Matthew 5:38-48 What does divine perfection look like? Usually we think of God’s perfect nature as that which excludes.  You know the sort of thing – “God is perfect, you are not.  You’ve got a snowflakes chance in hell with a perfect God, etc, etc.” When we think like this it shows that we […]

Going the extra mile

Matthew 5:38-48 We think “going the extra mile” means giving 5-star service when much less would do.  It’s when you go “above and beyond” the call of duty to offer something special. But that’s not really what it meant originally.   Here’s how Jesus puts it in the sermon on the mount: “Ye have heard […]

Turn the other cheek

Exodus 21:12-36; Matthew 5:38-48 When we were moving through Exodus we came across the Old Testament law: “an eye for an eye.”  It limited the kind of retribution the injured party could pursue.  The law says you may exact only as much as it cost you.  There is to be no escalation of violence according […]

Hell fire

Matthew 5:21-48 To put it mildly, hell is a stark reality. But, considered rightly, it’s also one of the most liberating doctrines in the Bible.  To understand it can bring health to your soul.  But you might need some convincing about that… We’ve already said that modern people seem far more fearful of “fire and […]

Every jot and tittle

Galatians 3:26-4:7; Matthew 5:17-20 We might say “He dotted every i and crossed every t”.  A Hebrew speaker would say “He swished every jot and swirled every tittle.” “Jot” was the smallest Hebrew letter (the letter yod).  “Tittle” was the smallest stroke of a pen – a tiny flourish that was the only distinguishing mark between […]

Hiding your light under a bushel

Isaiah 42:1-8; Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus used comedy.  A lot.  Jewish comedy.  Naturally. The juxtaposition of contrasting images was central to Jesus’ communication.  He would often show up the absurdity of our lives by placing two incongruous states side by side.  The resulting shock is the stuff of comedy, and of good preaching! Here’s today’s comic […]

Ye are the light of the world

John 8:12; Matthew 5:14-16 How can Jesus call us the light of the world? If you ask a typical non-Christian how they think of the church, “Light of the world” is unlikely to feature in their response.  Surely Christians are inconsequential, impotent – dim.  Or perhaps they are compromised by hypocrisy – murky.  Or maybe […]