We continue to ask the question: Can you really believe? We’ve looked at what the Bible says about creation, humanity, and marriage. Today we ask whether you can really believe what the Bible says – about sin.
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We come today to the second part of our look at the question: Can you really believe what the Bible says about marriage?
I planned to spend these weeks looking at the early chapters of Genesis long before the government announced the timing for the debate that has made this topic so contemporary. Rather than change tack, it seems to me all the more worthwhile to revisit that question. Can you really believe what the Bible says about marriage.
Today, in the West, traditional marriage seems to be under attack. In March 2011, the office of national statistics released some figures, showing that the marriage rate was at its lowest since 1895. From 1981 to 2009, the number of marriages conducted in the UK had fallen by a third. We’re not talking about church weddings here, just about weddings full stop.
Many people today feel a little lost.
We’re often not sure who we are, or why we’re here. What does it mean to be human? Why are we on planet earth?
So here’s the question: Can you really believe what the Bible says about creation?
Many people today dismiss what the Bible says about creation. It’s out of date. It comes from a pre-scientific era. We wouldn’t read a 3000-year old document for advice on medical matters, or to learn about civil engineering. Modern science has explained our origins. So why would we read an even older book to learn about them?
And how about how we take care of our planet? We don’t need the Bible to do that, do we?
Actually, the Bible has quite a lot to tell us.
Last time, we asked the question: Are we ready for Jesus to come back?
Jesus himself clearly taught that the day will come when he returns to this earth. He won’t come back as a baby, he’ll be a grown man. He won’t come back in obscurity, in one Middle-Eastern village; he’ll come back in a way that nobody will miss. He won’t come back in weakness; he’ll come back in splendid power and glory, as king of the world and judge of every human being.
We're in the period of advent, which is the period of 4 weeks running up to Christmas, when traditionally Christians prepare to celebrate the coming of Jesus.
But there’s a deliberately two-edged feel to advent. We prepare to celebrate Jesus’ first coming, his birth at Bethlehem. But we also remind ourselves that Jesus will come again, and the other focus for Advent is preparing ourselves for that great event.
And so the question for this morning is this: Are you ready for the day when Jesus will come back?
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.
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.
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.