From time to time I put sermons I give up here. Not because I think they are particularly good, even less that they are model sermons. I can't even guarantee that I agree with everything I said then - I am (of course) learning all the time. But someone may be interested.

You can use the filters below to restrict which sermons you see. Sermons will be sorted newest first, which means that they appear in reverse order from that in which they were delivered.

1 Corinthians 13: Love

Sun, 30/09/2018 - 10:00 -- James Oakley

I take it we all agree that love is important. If I told you that I’m going to try to convince you that love is important, you’d probably switch off. We know that already.

What’s not so obvious is what we mean by this. What is love? How is it important?

Nearly every world religion teaches that love is supreme. Whether it’s one of the 5 Sikh virtues. Whether it’s required by Allah to enter paradise. Or whether it’s the ancient religions with many gods – including Aphrodite, Cupid, Eros and Venus.

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1 Corinthians 12: Gifts

Sun, 23/09/2018 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

Churches can easily become competitive places. People jockeying to be noticed, treated by others as the significant ones.

Or you get a two-tier system. There are the keen members, the spiritual ones. And then there’s everybody else, who feel less part of things.

Competitive. Elitism. We get enough of those two attitudes in the wider world. We don’t need it here as well. And yet it so easily happens.

This morning, we continue our journey through 1 Corinthians. The second half of this letter tackles some issues in a letter they’d sent to the apostle Paul.

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1 Corinthians 11:17-34: Christ's Body

Sun, 16/09/2018 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

Just imagine the shock as 1 Corinthians chapter 11 was read out loud on Sunday morning in ancient Corinth. Verse 17: “In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good.” “More harm than good”. In other words, the world would be a better place if you weren’t meeting together. Ouch.

What were they doing? They were holding services of Holy Communion, the biblical name for which is the Lord’s Supper.

How could Communion do more harm than good? Read on. Verse 20: “So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat.”

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1 Corinthians 11:2-16: Gender

Sun, 09/09/2018 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

This text is a strange one to our ears. It’s like entering a period drama. Downton Abbey. Longer ago, maybe: Poldark. Troy, even.

It’s all about the need for women to have their heads covered, and for men not to do so.

What kind of head covering? All we can think of is posh hats at a wedding, or at Ascot. Or we think of some of the veils worn by women in Muslim countries, which have sparked debates in several western countries including our own.

But it’s not about that. So what are these head coverings?

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1 Corinthians 10:1-11:1 Idolatry

Sun, 12/08/2018 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

Many people today think that it doesn’t really matter which religion someone chooses. It’s a lifestyle choice, a bit like choosing your diet or your car. It’s part of your culture. Either way, there’s no better or worse to religion. It’s just another way in which we’re different.

Certainly, the Bible tells us to love and respect every person. We don’t just care for those who share our beliefs. We’re one human family, made in the image of God. But that’s not the same as saying that there’s no better or worse, that religion doesn’t matter.

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1 Corinthians 9:19-27: Winning

Sun, 29/07/2018 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

What do you aim at in life? What do you want to achieve? What are the things that you’d make big sacrifices for?

The Christians in ancient Corinth were aiming at the wrong things. Or, rather, they were missing some very important ambitious.

And as a result, they were growing less keen on the apostle Paul, their founder.

We’re in 1 Corinthians chapter 9. If you were here when we looked at chapter 8, you’ll know that Paul was answering a question they’d asked him: “Can we eat meat that has first been offered as a sacrifice to one of the Greek gods?”

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1 Corinthians 9:1-18: Freeware

Sun, 22/07/2018 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

The apostle Paul gets plenty of bad press. We’ve been working our way through 1 Corinthians, a letter Paul wrote. It’s in the Bible, So it’s the word of God for us today.

It should be that simple, but there are plenty of people in the wider church who have lots of time for Jesus but not a lot of time for Paul.

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1 Corinthians 8:1-13: Knowledge

Sun, 15/07/2018 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

I don’t know about you, but I’m a little weary of living in a world where it’s a scramble to the top. Where everyone stands on their rights, claiming everything they think they’re entitled to. Where other people are frequently nothing more than an inconvenience for everyone’s personal ambition.

God intends the Christian church to be radically different from that. To be a refreshing picture of how humanity is meant to function. To be a foretaste of how things will be when Jesus returns.

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1 Corinthians 7:17-40: Singleness

Sun, 08/07/2018 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

We live in a restless age. Whether it’s houses, jobs or relationships, people are always trying to move onwards and upwards.

Houses: It’s called a housing ladder. It’s increasingly hard to get on that first rung, but once there some people change their home every few years, climbing that ladder.

Jobs: I have several friends who change their employer every few years, either because they’re dissatisfied with their current job, or because moving sideways is the way to move upwards.

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1 Corinthians 7:1-16: Marriage

Sun, 24/06/2018 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

The Christian church is often heard, by those on the outside, as having a purely negative message about sex and relationships. It seems there are an awful lot of things the people shouldn’t do. It’s all about “thou shalt not”.

Indeed, we’ve had a bit of that in recent chapters in 1 Corinthians. In chapter 5, a man was sleeping with his stepmother, and Paul rebukes the church for failing to discipline the man.

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