Monday 4 August
Malcolm Duncan returned to New Horizon as the speaker for the Evening Celebrations where he will be speaking on the Sermon on the Mount. Here’s a taste of Monday evening’s message:
Towards the end of the 19th Century the idea of the brotherhood of man was popular. People hoped for Utopia – a new age of love and compassion. The world may have advanced technologically but we have not advanced morally. There is still pain and conflict, hatred and greed.
What if there was a manifesto for living that could change the world? Bringing…
GK Chesterton said, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and not tried!”
The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5 – 7)
People don’t know what to do with the Sermon on the Mount. Our Lord taught these things and He expects us to live them. If you read the lives of the heroes of the faith you will find that every time, they have been people who have taken the Sermon on the Mount seriously. If we can capture hold of this in our lives and churches, our communities would be transformed
So often people look at the church and see a pale imitation of society. How do we live in a way that is radically different? How do we demonstrate what God has called His people to be like?
Humanly the beatitudes do not make sense. They seem to be such a contradiction in terms.
Grief, injustice, persecution and poverty don’t seem like blessing! Jesus tells us that when you get to that place of loss and emptiness, you discover that God can meet you in your weakness. As we yearn for Him, He comes and fills us!
Salt and Light
If meat goes off, it is not the meat’s fault – that’s what happens to meat when there is no preservative (salt). If our society is a mess, we are partly to blame because we are failing in our purpose. Salt preserves, cleanses, protects… If our society is in darkness, is it because our light is not shining?
Sometimes we are trying to be light and salt in the wrong ways. We need to be dispersed across our society. It is about learning the truth and power of living as God’s people in God’s kingdom.
Don’t think that the only way a church is involved is through a programme or project. If you are working in education, you are God’s person there. If you play a violin, then you are God’s person in your orchestra. As we allow God to shine through us in our situation, we fulfil our purpose.
Radical and Faithful!
There are four types of people in every church:
- The radicals – they want change NOW
- The progressives – they want to move things along but at a nice easy pace… little by little.
- The conservatives – it has worked for 50 years, why try something new?
- The traditionalists – it is their job to make sure that nothing EVER changes!
Jesus was a radical traditionalist. He was absolutely radical in the way He challenged attitudes and undermined those who were self-righteous. He was radical in the way He came against hypocrisy. He welcomed the poor. He touched lepers.
But He was also a traditionalist – completely faithful to God’s law. Jesus tells His disciples, “You think I’ve come to abolish the Torah, which was written for you on stones. I haven’t come to abolish it… I am it! In the past it was written down, I’ve come to live it!”We have to be radical enough to try new things but traditional enough to submit ourselves to the Scripture. Let the word of God shape the people of God!
The kingdom is the reign and rule of God exhibited in us and through us. Grace doesn’t lower the bar, it raises it.
Of course we should be serving the poor and rolling up our sleeves. But don’t allow yourself to think that you have shared the Gospel by being nice. We must use words!
It is not up to us. I’m not strong enough to do this on my own. We need the continual abiding, in-dwelling power, anointing and help of the Holy Spirit.
Be careful that you don’t rule out the power of the Spirit to enable you to live this way. We cannot function with a Trinity where one of the person’s of the Trinity is absent. Without the Holy Spirit we can do nothing. By the power of the Holy Spirit, God can give us ways of thinking and living that will transform our communities.