Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Do you have a conscience?

A summary of the Bible Hour presentation at the Christadelphian Hall, Blackpool Street, Burton-upon-Trent on Sunday 28th November 2010.

This blog uses Bible references. If you don’t have a Bible, you can find the Bible text online.

What is conscience?If you found a purse in the street, what would you do?

You wouldn’t keep it? Why not? Because of some inner sense or instinct which we call conscience.

Where does conscience come from? Evolution theory tries to explain it in terms of altruism, putting the good of the herd in front of the good of the individual – but this isn’t a satisfactory explanation for all that our conscience makes us do. The Bible says that we are made in the image of God – we have an innate sense of what is right and wrong.

Even people who have no knowledge of God at all have this innate sense (Romans 2:14-15).

The Bible contains a moral teaching which serves to highly tune the conscience, e.g. Leviticus 19:18 “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” and Deuteronomy 22:1-3.

Bible examples of conscience at work

Genesis 3:8, 1 Samuel 24:5, 2 Samuel 24:10, John 8:9.

The Christian conscience

The Christian must obey the laws of the land (Matthew 22:21, Romans 13:1-7). Except where the law of the land conflicts with the law of God (Philippians 3:20, Acts 5:29).

Christadelphians are conscientious objectors to involvement in politics and war:

Matthew 5:39-44, don’t resist evil people; Romans 12:19, don’t avenge yourself.
John 18:36, Jesus said “My kingdom is not of this world, else would my servants fight.” It’s not that Christians are pacifists, but that they have no part in the world’s wars and politics – they belong to the Kingdom of God (Hebrews 11:13).
1 Peter 2:19, it’s commendable to suffer wrongfully for the sake of your conscience.
1 Peter 3:14-16, always be ready to explain your conscience to anyone who asks.

Some questions of conscience for the Christian

 Would you vote?
 Would you get involved in dishonest dealings at work?
 So you might not fight on the front line, but would you work in an ammunition factory?
 Would you undertake a transport contract for the MoD?
 Would you work in an abortion clinic?
 As a teacher, would you tell children about alternative sexual lifestyles?

Strangers and pilgrims

We are citizens of the Kingdom of God (Hebrews 11:13), and waiting for it to be established by Jesus Christ at his return.
The Kingdom of God will be a kingdom of righteousness and truth. Because that is where we belong, we should live according to its laws and principles now.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Evidence that God exists

A summary of the Bible Hour presentation at the Christadelphian Hall, Blackpool Street, Burton-upon-Trent on Sunday 14th November 2010.

This blog uses Bible references. If you don’t have a Bible, you can find the Bible text online.

A famous advertising campaign proclaimed the slogan: “There’s probably no God – now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

Shortly afterwards another campaign used the slogan: “There probably is a God – now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

This talk put the case for there definitely being a God. Because of this we both need to worry, and have great cause for rejoicing!

Some arguments for the existence of God:

Evidence of creation. The size of the earth and its relation to the sun are just right for life. The earth’s unusually large moon, being just at the distance it is, contributes to the perfect conditions for life. The composition of the earth in terms of chemicals, the atmosphere and seas are just right. The earth teems with the most intricate and advanced life. Can you really believe it just happened this way?

If you were walking along the beach, and found a wristwatch and a crab – why would you imagine that one of them had been designed and made while the other had just developed?

Psalm 19:1-4 – “The heavens declare the glory of God …”; Psalm 8:3-4: “When I consider the heavens ... what is man that thou art mindful of him?”

The Law ahead of its time. The Law of Moses which God gave to his people Israel around 4,000 years ago contained amazingly accurate rules about hygiene, sanitation, quarantine, husbandry &c. which should not have been known about at the time.

Evidence for the Bible. When it talks about the nation of Israel and their heroes and heroines it is blunt and unflattering – it doesn’t read like a work of fiction, it has the ring of truth.

Time and again archaeological discoveries prove the truth of the Bible records – e.g. the existence of Babylon, Pontius Pilate and Jesus Christ himself were once doubted, but now no serious critic would argue that they existed.

Bible prophecies foretold events far into the future, e.g. Daniel chapter 2 foretold world history from 500 BC; Old Testament books which can be irrefutably dated to at least 200 BC foretold precise details of Christ’s life.

Who Moved the Stone? The writer Frank Morrison set out to demolish the idea of the resurrection of Christ, but when he looked into the facts he ended up writing this classic argument in favour of the Bible account.

The miracle of the Jews, God’s witnesses. (See previous talks.)

The world without God would be meaningless; the Christian faith gives life and the world meaning. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.” (Romans 6:23)

How about a new slogan: “There definitely is a God – now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

Sunday, 7 November 2010

God’s offer to man: eternal life on a peaceful earth

A summary of the Bible Hour presentation at the Christadelphian Hall, Blackpool Street, Burton-upon-Trent on Sunday 7th November 2010.

God’s promise of salvation

Genesis chapter 12. God made promises to Abraham, the first Jew – that he would have descendants (the Jews), a land (Israel), that because of him not just they but the whole world would be blessed.

Much later, in Galatians 3 verse 16, we learn that these promises also refer to Jesus Christ: “To Abraham and his seed were the promises made,” and that seed (descendant) is Jesus.

The Bible’s message of good news is centred on Jesus Christ, and revolves around the fulfilment of promises God has made to his people through the ages.

Everlasting life

Daniel chapter 12 verse 1, John chapter 6 verse 40 – there will be a time when dead people are raised to life, and judged, and some will be given everlasting life.

What will this everlasting life be like?

Daniel chapter 2 – God will set up a kingdom on earth that will take the place of all other kingdoms.

Isaiah chapter 35 – the earth will be restored and beautiful, there will be ‘everlasting joy’.

Psalm 72 – there will be justice, peace and plenty.

Isaiah chapter 2 – Jerusalem will be the capital of the world.

How do we accept God’s offer of everlasting life in his kingdom?

God made a covenant with Abraham and his descendants that they were to be his people. The sign of this covenant was that every male Jew had to be circumcised.

Colossians chapter 2 verse 10 – Christian baptism is in a way the equivalent of circumcision. It is the sign that a person belongs to God. It is the beginning of a new life of service and obedience to God.

Galatians chapter 3 verses 27-29 – those who are baptised are ‘heirs of the promises made to Abraham’.