Monday, May 30, 2005

Watched a film the other night called the 'butterfly effect'. It is defined (by as "a phrase that encapsulates the more technical notion of sensitive dependence on initial conditions in chaos theory. The idea is that small variations in the initial conditions of a dynamical system produce large variations in the long term behavior of the system."

This means that in the dynamic system known as 'life' every single of the smallest things we do can have massive consequences for everyone. For example in this film the main character Evan time travels demonstrating this theory. On one occassion (film spoiler warning!) he gets put in a mental intstitute on another he causes his girlfriend to become a prostitute and much more. Finally (*BIG SPOILER*) he kills himself to end the dynamic system of life which causes him so much pain.

I was reminded of the horror of this life which I feel somewhat sheltered from. I am humbled that I am part of God's amazing rescue plan. That I am "in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world" (Revelation 13:8)

Saturday, May 07, 2005

A recent sermon I heard @ Christchurch Clifton - Bristol

Freedom in Christ Alone (Galatians 2:1-21)

Paul said that all you need is faith in Christ alone. Others said you must keep the law. But they did not give in and go back to the law, they kept true to the gospel (v5) and the church leaders shook hands in agreement in the truth of the gospel (v9).

Jews came from James and Peter was fearful and drew back from the gentiles as a hypocrite (did he not think there was freedom in the gospel?) He drew back because of fear of the views of others (the Jews).

Paul's response was not to use guilt or emotion to rebuke Peter. He shows him that he is not acting in line with the truth of the gospel. This is not power play – one club vs another. Paul desires for them to be consistent. We are made slaves again when we do not live in line with the gospel the truth that we are free in Christ.

Peter went wrong because he did not trust that:

(1)The way in is faith in Christ – They knew the Jewish law could not justify! None of us can ever be good enough for God. The hope lies in what Christ has done.
The basis of citizenship is not customs but a passport of identification. That is Christ and that is all that matters!
Of everything you do ask: Is it in line with the gospel? Or is it slavery? We are to be inflexible with the gospel but flexible with human traditions ...
What are the ways we are hypocrites? What are the ways that we enslave? Sin is self sufficiency. Going back to the law means going back to not listening to God.

(2)The way on is through Christ – I have been set free to live for Christ. This is not just new status but new life!
This is not a licence to sin but the only way to fight sin. It all depends on Christ. This new life is saying - “Jesus I can't do it!”
The life of faith is living in line with the gospel (for example the attitude to the poor v10) :
We are not justified by serving the poor (Not legalism).
We preach the gospel. We preach that there are riches in Christ! This makes it only natural to give to the poor and share the gospel with them ...
The way to godliness is not more rules or more effort - that is taking control (self-sufficiency).
Instead trust the gospel. The truth that I am helpless. That I am dead without him, so that I can look to him. We should want to know more about what Christ has done! Faith comes from security in what he has done.

The Christ we live for loved me and gave himself for me (v20).
Don't live in fear of the acceptance of others! You are accepted by God!
If you go back to rule keeping and doing it in your own strength you say Christ died for nothing (v21)! Don't do it!

The way in is faith in Christ.
The way on is through Christ.