Matthew 8-9

Matthew 9:35-38 The Lord of the Harvest

Sun, 10/05/2015 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

We’ve just baptized Arianne and Arthur.

Does it matter? Does it matter whether they grow up as Christians, as followers of Jesus Christ?

Does it matter whether any of us do that? Or is it just a lifestyle choice like many others, and it’s really neither here nor there?

We had a Bible reading from the end of Matthew chapter 9. Just to fill us in on a bit of background, we’ve just had two amazing chapters. Matthew wants to show us Jesus’ total authority. He could heal the sick, give sight to the blind, forgive our sins and even raise the dead.

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Matthew 9:27-34 The Messiah

Sun, 26/04/2015 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

What do you make of Jesus?

He’s a fascinating character.

Most people today don’t want to dismiss him too quickly. He’s a big figure in history. He’s impacted the world in more ways than you could list.

But at the same time, many people want to keep him at arm’s length. Jesus may be interesting. He did some amazing things. But let’s not get too involved!

Of course, it all depends who Jesus is.

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Matthew 9:18-26 The Two Dead Daughters

Sun, 19/04/2015 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

Two certainties in life. Death and taxes.

So said Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of America, in 1789. “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Daniel Defoe, the author of Robinson Crusoe actually said the same thing 60 years earlier.

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Matthew 9:14-17 The Killjoy?

Sun, 22/03/2015 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

“Jesus is a bit of a killjoy.”

So the objection goes – it’s an increasingly common one from people today. “Following Jesus sounds potentially interesting. But one thing that bothers me is that it’s no fun. If I set out to follow him, he’d sap all the joy out of my life.”

Maybe it’s even been your experience as a follower of Jesus. At times, the list of things you have to do to be a proper Christian, and the things you have to avoid doing, turns life from a fun adventure into a dreary, serious slog.

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Matthew 9:9-13 The Crook

Sun, 15/03/2015 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

Father Christmas, so it is said, only brings presents to boys and girls who have been good.

And Jesus, many people suspect, is not so very different from Father Christmas. In particular, he wants people to be good, If you want to know Jesus, there are standards to maintain, especially if you want to stay in his good books, be a proper member of his church.

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Matthew 9:1-8 The Man who Couldn't Walk

Sun, 08/03/2015 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

Let me ask you a question. What is your biggest need? What do you need more than anything else? I it good health or improved health? Is it to have love and friendship, to know that we are valued, that other people cherish us, not to be alone? Is it to be able to contribute to the needs of others, not to be just wrapped up in our own affairs, but to have something to offer to the wider world. What is your greatest need?

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Matthew 8:28-34 The Evil Spirits

Sun, 22/02/2015 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

Today, we’re going to talk about the problem of evil.

I don’t mean the philosophical problem of evil. There’s no shortage of questions about that. If God made the world good, where did the devil come from? Why does God let good things happen to bad people? What exactly is evil? Why does God not stamp out the badness in the world right away?

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Matthew 8:23-27 The Storm

Sun, 15/02/2015 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

There are times in life when you become aware that there are forces beyond your control.

We all like to live in a bubble that says we can determine our own destinies. But then something goes badly wrong, an unexpected illness cuts across our plans, life bowls us a ball we’d never seen coming, and we start to realise we’re not in control.

How do you feel when it sinks in that you’re not in control?

Matthew tells a story about when this happened to Jesus’ disciples. They came face to face with the forces of nature, and they were not the ones in control.

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Matthew 8:18-22 The Cost

Sun, 08/02/2015 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

Jesus would have made a terrible salesman.

At times, it almost seems as if he’s trying to put people off from following him.

Bible passages like this are hard to preach from. I’m instinctively a salesman. I’d love everyone to follow Jesus. I want to sell him to people. I want everyone I know to sign on the dotted line. So passages like this are a bit of a nuisance. Jesus takes the small print, and makes it the largest writing on the page, with bright highlighter pen through it. It makes it much harder to sell Jesus to people when it feels like you’re putting them off.

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Matthew 8:14-17 The Malaria and The Crowd

Sun, 25/01/2015 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

Many of us struggle with poor health. Some of us just have coughs and colds, scratches. Others have more serious things wrong.

Nationally, the NHS is at breaking point. We’re all living longer, and with that come more health problems. The system was never set up to handle the loads that doctors and other healthcare staff are facing.

What does the Bible have to say about our health? Unless the Bible addresses the real issues we face, Jesus is not a saviour worth following.

In Matthew chapter 8, we discover that Jesus came to heal.

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