Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 7:24-29 Two Houses and Two Builders

Sun, 24/11/2013 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

One of the most foolish things people say about Jesus is this: He was just a great moral teacher.

So many people would say that. They love his teaching. They think his ethics should be taught to everyone. His ideals of love and integrity should be a feature of public life. There’s nothing here for other religions or philosophies to disagree with. If only Jesus’ moral teaching was more widely heard, we’d be a happier society.

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Matthew 7:21-23 Two Disciples and Two Claims

Sun, 17/11/2013 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

Everyone wants to know that their life is going in the right direction. Heading to the right destination.

I’m sure you’ve had the experience of sitting on a train at the platform in Victoria. First stop is Ashford International. And just as the doors close, someone comes up and asks you if this train stops at Brixton. Sheer horror. They’re on the wrong train. They’re going to the wrong place. And it’s too late to change.

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Matthew 7:15-20 Two Prophets and Two Trees

Sun, 27/10/2013 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

I wonder if you remember the old children’s cartoons. Characters chasing each other, round and round a lamppost, knocking down the china, wacky races in their cars, Tom and Jerry. Ingenious and slapstick ways to trick or trip one of the other characters so that you get ahead, catch them in the neck of a bottle, or whatever it is.

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Matthew 7:13-14 Two Roads and Two Gates

Sun, 20/10/2013 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

Do you think Jesus is worth following?

If Jesus were to try and persuade you to follow him, how would he go about it? How would he say that it’s worth your while?

If you’re someone who’s still looking into Jesus’ claims, what would convince you to sign up? And if you’re already a Christian, we all go through phases when we wonder why we’re doing it. How do you counsel yourself to keep going?

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Matthew 7:7-12 Ask Seek Knock

Sun, 15/09/2013 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

So: How do you find praying?

Not a question many of us like to be asked. Prayer is a subject that makes us feel guilty. We don’t pray as much as we know we ought to. Or helpless. We don’t know where to start. Or both.

Jesus talks about prayer in the passage we’re looking at this morning.

But he doesn’t do it to make us feel guilty. He wants us to enjoy praying. He wants prayer to be something we all do. And to make that happen, Jesus focuses our attention on God. If we can start to grasp what God is like, that will transform the way we talk to him.

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Matthew 7:1-6 - Love your neighbour

Sun, 08/09/2013 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

I’ve got some good news for you this morning.

In our lives we make lots of mistakes. The good news of Jesus is that God does not always treat us according to our mistakes. He does not always judge us. He does not always condemn us. He provides a way we can be forgiven, and a way we can be helped to become better people

I’ve got some bad news for you as well this morning. When other people make mistakes, we aren’t always as kind, as lenient, as merciful as helpful as God is. If only we were.

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Matthew 6:25-34 - Worry, worry, worry

Sun, 09/12/2012 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

What ambitions do you have for your life?

Here are a couple of mine. I’ve never been to Australia, but I’d love to go. I’d particularly like to go to Sydney, to see the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. I have no aspirations to climb the Harbour Bridge.

One day, if I live long enough, I will retire. I’d love to have a comfortable house, and a good enough income for that to be an enjoyable phase of life.

What are your ambitions?


If you wanted a headline for the reading we had from Matthew chapter 6, it would be this: Don’t worry. Don’t worry.

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Matthew 6:19-24 - Money, money, money

Sun, 25/11/2012 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

If you pick up any of the Sunday papers today, you’ll find supplements and sections devoted to travel, to cars and motoring, to money, to business and to fashion. These are the things that our society lives for and treasures.

The problem with our love affair with money, clothing, possessions and travel is that we end up serving them. Like alcohol, like drugs, like so many things – we start off using them for our ends, but our money is always trying to turn the tables on us, so that it becomes the master, and we do its wishes.

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Matthew 6:7-15 - How to pray

Sun, 18/11/2012 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

Many people today think that the Christian faith is first and foremost about a set of rules. Do this. Thou shalt not do that.

The Bible contains many rules, but at its heart the Christian faith is not about the rules we obey. It’s not about what we do and don’t do. It’s about a relationship. It’s about a relationship with the God who made you.

It’s not about what you know; it’s not about what you do; it’s about who you know.

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Matthew 6:1-18 - Secret Sincerity

Sun, 28/10/2012 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

We all hate hypocrites. We don’t like the insincerity. When people only do the things they do because they know we’re watching. When people want to manipulate how we see them. We’re never sure if we’ve met the real them.

But of all the hypocrites, our society has the strongest dislike of religious hypocrites. People who claim to be devout followers of a particular religious system, but it’s all a show. Indeed, many people today dismiss the Christian faith precisely because there are so many Christian hypocrites.

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