Matthew 5:33-37 - Honesty

Sun, 09/10/2011 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

I don’t know about you, but I find it depressing that honesty is so hard to come by today.

Let me give a few examples.

We’ve just come to the end of the annual party conference season, when it often seems that the leaders in all the political parties just say what they think we want to hear, and a large part of the conference is them justifying why they haven’t done something they said they would do just one year earlier.

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Matthew 5:21-26 - Anger

Sun, 28/08/2011 - 09:30 -- James Oakley

The world we live in can be a very angry place.

This is part of what lies behind the riots of recent months. People were angry. Angry at the government. Angry at large businesses. Angry at who knows what. But when given the opportunity to form a crowd and take that anger out on something, they do so.

Sure, I know there’s more to be said than that. The looting was caused by greed, which is a different subject entirely. And we have to ask what has caused the anger. But one of the things behind the rioting was anger.

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Matthew 5:27-32 - Adultery, Lust and Divorce

Sun, 21/08/2011 - 09:30 -- James Oakley

Those words of Jesus we just heard are hard words to hear. They are hard to think about. They are hard to preach on.

They are hard because Jesus is talking about two subjects that cause us more pain emotionally than just about anything else. You don’t need me to tell you how much pain there is because of adultery and divorce. The divorce rate in this country is going down. But each year, the proportion of married people who divorce is still over 1%. And each time it happens, it hurts, and the ripples of people who are hurt spread very widely.

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Matthew 5:17-20 - What is a Christian to do with the Old Testament?

Sun, 23/01/2011 - 09:30 -- James Oakley

Many of you will know that I try to talk to people who don’t come to church. I love to try and find out: What do they think? What do they believe? What questions are they asking?

One issue I encounter fairly regularly, as a barrier to the Christian faith, is the Old Testament. It seems a number of people find the Old Testament difficult. Perhaps the Old Testament half of the Bible is one of the things that puzzles you. If we’re honest, most of us who are Christians find it hard from time to time as well.

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Matthew 5:13-16 - A better world?

Sun, 16/01/2011 - 09:30 -- James Oakley

Do you ever wonder what it would take to make the world a better place. Less rotten? Less foolish? Less stupid? Less tasteless? Less dark? Less base?

I do. People at large would come up with a range of suggestions. Some people put their confidence in the political system. The government is there to improve things, and once a decade we change who is in power because we’re not convinced the current lot are fixing things well enough, so we try somebody else.

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Matthew 5:1-12 - God's congratulations

Sun, 09/01/2011 - 09:30 -- James Oakley

Well, congratulations!

What am I congratulating you for, you are wondering? Well that’s how I start most sermons that I preach at a wedding. It’s what someone will say to you when you’ve passed your driving test. It’s what you say to someone who has just got a new job. It’s what you say to someone when they’ve just had a new grandchild.

We say: Congratulations! You’ve just achieved something that was well-worth doing. You’ve done something to be proud of. Well done!

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