Counterfeit Christianity ~ Galatians 1:11-24
Big Idea: Paul did not create the gospel message from his own imagination, nor did he learn it from anyone else. What he preached – hard as it was to believe – came directly from God. His own transformed life was proof of the gospel’s truth.
How do you convince someone of the truth when the truth seems unbelievable? Continue reading “When Truth is Too Incredible to Believe”
Counterfeit Christianity ~ Galatians 1:1-10
Big Idea: All people need rescue from sin; no one can save themselves. That’s why the Christian gospel has a laser-like focus on Jesus’ cross and resurrection. Any additions to this will dilute or distort God’s true message to humanity. All counterfeits are worthless imitations, undermining our faith in the genuine gospel.
Fake money can cause serious damage to a country. It creates confusion and undermines the value of the real thing. That’s why the Secret Service was first founded in 1865 – not so much to protect the President, but to restore confidence in the U.S. currency.1 Counterfeiters are just as dangerous as assassins in destroying a government.
Fake gospel can likewise do just as much damage to Jesus’ church. Continue reading “Beware of Counterfeit Gospels!”
Fake goods are big business today, worth more than $460 billion a year.1 The most popular faked brands are Rolex, Nike, Ray Ban, and Louis Vuitton. This makes sense. After all, who would counterfeit a worthless thing that nobody wants? The same is true for religion too.
Continue reading “Counterfeit Christianity: Seed Notes on Galatians”
Notes to Self: Applying gospel truths to my own heart
Death is always a sad and tragic loss. Our sense of loss, though, is often inversely related to how long that person lived. While every loss is mourned, we respond differently to news of a lady who dies peacefully, aged 128,1 compared to a child who dies horribly, aged 7.2
This is what makes Paul Kalanithi’s memoir When Breath Becomes Air so poignant. In March 2015, Paul succumbed to lung cancer, aged 36. Up to that point, Paul wrote, “My life had been about building potential.” And what potential it was! The letters behind his name say it all.
Continue reading “Missing Heaven”
A Clash of Cultures ~ 1 Corinthians 16
Big Idea: Our local church is not the only congregation that matters to God. It is part of a larger, global community of believers. Unity within, and between, local churches is a compelling testimony to the transformative power of the gospel.
Climate change. Pandemic disease. Terrorism. Many problems today are way too large for any one country to solve, let alone one individual. What happens in faraway places will invariably affect how we live in where we are today. A war in Arabia or a famine in China can send household bills skyrocketing in Malaysia. No one is immune.
But this is not necessarily bad news. Why? Continue reading “Your Church is Bigger Than You Think”
A Clash of Cultures ~ 1 Corinthians 15:35-58
Big Idea: Death is not an immutable fact of nature. On the contrary, nature itself hints at the possibility of resurrection – a new life to emerge from death – for those with spiritual eyes to see. Latent within each human body is the potential for everlasting life that only Jesus can unlock. This future hope is what sustains Christian life in the present, no matter how hard.
What would it take to convince you of the impossible?
Continue reading “Death is Not a Fact of Nature, Life is”
A Clash of Cultures ~ 1 Corinthians 15:20-34
Big Idea: The reality of Jesus’ bodily resurrection should profoundly influence our lifestyles today. The Corinthian church lived like pagans because they believed what the world believed, that Jesus did not rise again from the dead.
Shabby second-hand clothes. Regular meals at a local charity. Hoarding and selling junk scavenged from neighbourhood bins. No one who’d met Joe would ever mistake him for a rich man. Joe Temeczko, a spry 86-year-old Polish immigrant with no family, eked out a living doing odd jobs as a handyman in Minneapolis. Imagine everyone’s surprise when Joe bequeathed $1.4 million to the City of New York when he died in October 2001.1
Continue reading “Living Like Christian Atheists”
A Clash of Cultures ~ 1 Corinthians 15:1-19
Big Idea: The bodily resurrection of Jesus is a foundational fact that all other claims, commands, and promises of Christianity are built upon. Without a risen Jesus, the Christian religion as a whole is false and utterly useless.
Man did not land on the moon. Jews were not murdered en masse in Nazi Germany. Obama was not born in America. Global warming is a hoax. AIDS is not caused by a virus. Continue reading “Jesus Risen is Not Fake News”
A Clash of Cultures ~ 1 Corinthians 14
Big Idea: Spiritual gifts that build up the church are of greater value than those used only for the personal benefit of the individual. When a church gathers together to worship, gifts should be used in an orderly way to clearly portray the person and gospel of Christ.
From the tragic aftermath of two world wars, many countries realised that talking was better than fighting. Hence the United Nations was formed. But all talk is futile if nobody understands what’s said. That’s why multi-lingual interpreters are indispensable to this august body.
Continue reading “Jesus Lost in Translation”
A Clash of Cultures ~ 1 Corinthians 13
Big Idea: Spiritual gifts, no matter how impressive, are worthless to the church unless practised in Christian love. Powers from Christ are best wielded by those with the character of Christ.
Along with John 3:16 and Psalm 23, Paul’s ‘love poem’ in chapter 13 is probably one of the best known verses in the Bible today. British Prime Minister Tony Blair read it at Princess Diana’s funeral service. President Obama quoted from it at his first inauguration address. It has also been cited in pop songs, movies, weddings, and greeting cards.
Continue reading “Without Love, We Are Nothing”