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Living Lives of Love

As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, Living lives of love, was given at Devonport Salvation Army on Sunday 16 February, 2014. The Bible reading was Matthew 5:17-37.

I wonder what your families were like when you were growing up. Were there any topics of conversation that you didn’t talk about? Maybe football was completely off the table – bring it up and you’d get sent to your room. Or maybe it was politics, or religion. In my Dad’s family, the taboo topic was divorce. You didn’t talk about it when my grandparents were in the room – it just wasn’t done. And I don’t know why, because it was the sort of thing that, while we did ignore it, it didn’t ignore our family. In fact, the only one of my Dad’s family who hasn’t got divorced is my Dad. All this in a family where Divorce just wasn’t talked about. Looking back, I would say that the divorce was a good thing for all of my aunties and uncles. So when I look at today’s reading, and I read Jesus speak out so harshly against divorce, I have a bit of trouble accepting that. I’m not saying that I advocate divorce – I think it’s a shocking indictment on the church that there are just as many divorces within the church as there are outside of the church – but I feel like there must be more to this passage than the first, initial reading. Continue reading Living Lives of Love

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Let your light shine

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:14,16
This passage from the Sermon on the mount is rather famous. It is part of a number of instructions to how his disciples should behave. Here, he is calling his disciples to be examples to the rest of the world, that their good deeds may encourage others to glorify God. In the Tyndale commentary, he writes,

But the disciples of Christ must not, through fear of being an unworthy influence, remain silent about their religion. They can, and they must, bear witness to the faith that is in them through personal example. This is the truth underlying the metaphor used by Jesus when He tells them they are the light of the world.

So the disciples must not hide themselves, but live and work in places where their influence may be felt, and the light that is in them be most fully manifested to others – not for their own glorification, but that others may see that the light of real Christian goodness, finding expression in practical acts of loving-kindness and service, is a light not of this world but coming from God, and may in consequence be led to give honour and praise to its Giver

The Gospel According to St Matthew, The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (General Editor Prof. R.V.G. Tasker), 1979 printing page 64.

I’ve heard this manifested in many different ways. People, like Major Brendan Nottle who runs the Melbourne 614 corps, working with the homeless, the poor and needy. I’ve heard it in suggestions to Christians that they should start each day with a bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other, meaning that they need to not only be in touch with God, but also in touch with the world. I’ve heard of it being manifested in people who are known as “the Christian” at work, who anyone can turn to when they’re going through a rough time.

What sort of things do you do to let your light shine?