Sunday, 29 July 2018

Man cannot live on bread alone.

Sunday: the 29th July: Trinity 9: (Proper 12)
2 Kings 4:42 - 44. The context for this piece is a man bringing food from a place of plenty to a place suffering from famine. The Barley harvest in Palestine is the earliest (Late March/early April). There is no explicit miracle, but it is definitely implied.  
Ephesians 3:14 - 21. The intensely personal nature of this prayer carries on the theme of connectedness that underpinned the feast of Mary Magdalene last week. This intensely moving and powerful prayer prays that we be filled with the Holy Spirit to realise the ongoing work of being transformed into the likeness of God. 
John 6: 1-21. The feeding of the 5000 is one of the best-known stories in the New Testament. The significance of this "sign" for John is made clear when he writes, "The Passover was near"(verse 4), another meal of profound religious significance. The other sign is a walking on the water incident. Indeed, this indicates Jesus' divinity, but this happened in response to the fact that they wanted to "make him King by force" (verse 15) and he was escaping from the crowd. Jesus was indeed divine, but the nature of his kingship was yet to be revealed.

Let us start with that powerful and moving prayer that stands at the heart of our readings this morning.

I have heard some people say over the years that they don’t like St. Paul or the Pauline tradition for this or that reason. Perhaps he does speak in often very long sentences and getting to grips with his deep theology is indeed taxing for anyone who has ever undertaken any Bible study but he is also responsible to some of the finest and most profound prayers and theology I have ever encountered.

But think of 1 Corinthians 13, mainstay of a million weddings, some parts of Romans, particularly chapter 8 and today this wonderful prayer from Ephesians.

When the undivided church put together the canon that is the New Testament, they intuited, recognised, that while this at one level is just a letter to a church in Ephesus, on another level it is divinely inspired and is a letter that can be addressed to anyone across time and space who calls themselves a Christian.

This is a prayer made for us.

In saying that scripture is divinely inspired we are saying that the very Spirit of God is recognisable, palpable, can be almost taken hold of physically, and can spiritually feed us.

Remember what Jesus said in Matthew, reiterating what had been written originally in Deuteronomy.

So let’s feast on this prayer which continues this intensely personal understanding of God. Let us feed on it.

Through God, every family is named which means that there is an intimate and profound connection between God and the human family, and in fact the writer extends the scope of family to include families “in heaven” as well as on earth.

So, the writer says, no matter what other connectedness exists between you and your fellow man, they only exist by virtue of our primary connection to God and it is on that basis that the writer articulates a prayer on our behalf.

So, he prays for us all that we be strengthened in our inner beings by the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is God’s active living presence on earth, and he prays that through God’s Spirit we have the power to comprehend the height, length and breadth of God’s love for us in Christ to the extent that we are full to the brim of God’s spirit.

Completely sated. At one with God, so we spiritually hunger no more.

It is with that at the forefront of our minds that we approach the two feeding signs this morning. One from the new and the other from the old Testaments.

They are both physical demonstrations of that prayer. In Biblical theology, the physical and the spiritual are close. The Bible understands the human being as a psychosomatic unity, Body and Spirit as one, and not as separate entities.

In the story from Kings, the context is actually famine relief, while in the feeding of the 5000 People are met and fed, and can eat no more, and there are still 12 basketfuls of food left over.

The spiritual message is that Whatever your spiritual need, God can fulfil it without ever found wanting.

Along with the Last Supper this is a story that underpins and amplifies our understanding of our Eucharist this morning.

Eucharist is a Greek word that means “Thanksgiving”

We also know it as Holy Communion; communion between ourselves as God’s human family and with God Himself.

Some call it the Lord’s supper which reminds us that it is in fact a meal. A highly choreographed and sanitised meal, but basically a meal of bread and wine, which takes us back to the Last Supper and the feeding of the 5000.

Which takes us to the nature of a sacrament itself. At Sunday school you probably learned that a sacrament is an earthly thing with a spiritual meaning.

Well I don’t think I can better that. When we come to the altar rail, we eat bread and drink wine, but spiritually we come to meet with Jesus, who is doing the feeding, and are spiritually filled with the Spirit of God the Father. Don’t forget we are a physical/spiritual unity.

And when you have communed and been filled, we go out again to the world.

As well as Eucharist, Holy Communion and the Lord’s supper there is another name used for what we are doing more associated with catholic usage; Mass.

This term is derived from the Latin ita miss est. which means “Go, the dismissal is made” and is a sending out in the world, overflowing with God’s word.

Mass is therefore, some might say ironically, the most evangelical term we have for this sacrament.

Because of the extraordinary nature of the feeding of the 5000, some wanted to make him king by force, so Jesus had to retreat to get away from them. Why? Because their understanding was partial and earth bound and would have entailed them believing that Jesus was a great king (in the traditional sense) who would fight and eject the Romans.

But the true nature of the Messiah had yet to be revealed. Jesus was Lord and king as the walking on the water revealed, but the fullness of understanding that Paul’s prayer prays for, had yet to be played out in the life death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Jesus, that ultimate sacrament, the word made flesh.

“Man cannot live on bread alone but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”


Monday, 23 July 2018

Called by name.

Song of Solomon 3: 1-4. The song of Solomon is a story about Passion and devotion and its carnality has perplexed some more pious readers for ever. But there has never been a time when it hasn't been part of the canon. Sexual desire is a God given gift, and the desire expressed between the man and woman in the text is a representation of the close physical and spiritual attachment and devotion between God and his people
2 Corinthians 5: 14-17. "Love" in the Bible and especially the New Testament is not a pink or fluffy or soppy thing. Love is best characterised as devoted service that extends to the end of the age. The ultimate image of love for the Christian is the beaten and bloodied body of a man dying in agony on the cross for the benefit of all people everywhere should they accept it.
John 20: 1-2, 11-18. The absolutely beautiful story from that first Easter Sunday when Mary Magdalene met the Risen Jesus in the garden. Mary went to tell the disciples "I have seen the Lord" and attracted the title "the Apostle to the apostles"

Love, passion and devotion are the watchwords for the feast of Mary Magdalene and each of the selected readings for today bring out a different aspect of those things .

Love, passion and devotion are not words you’d immediately associate with a service in the church of England perhaps but surely, at some level, that is why we are all here.

We celebrate and enjoy the passion and devotion of all those young musicians who have delighted us this week in the music festival ; and music is a gift from God so surely it is right that we should show at least the same passion and devotion to the giver of the gift of music

It is natural that we all have a passionate love and devotion to God in Christ, or else I would have to ask “why are we all here?” and why do we make the effort week by week to demonstrate that love by attending a worship service when there are so many other things we could be doing instead.

Paul starts this extract from 2 Corinthians today “The love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all”

And that is the central point. Our love for Him is merely a reflection of the Love he has shown to us.

And “Love” in the Bible is not a soft flimsy thing but awe-inspiring, death defying service one to another.

The supreme image of Love for Christians, is a man, beaten, humiliated and bloody, dying by drowning in his own blood on the cross.

And he did that for the benefit of all of us. That is Love.

Knowing that, even if any one of us were the last person on earth, he would still have done that for us makes our relationship with Jesus intensely personal.

The gospel story of Mary Magdalene, going to the tomb, finding it empty, running to tell the disciples, and eventually encountering Jesus in the garden is a beautiful story that speaks of the personal connection between Jesus and his followers.

A wise old monk at Mirfield once wrote;

The truth, only has the power of truth, once it becomes true for you”  
What he is describing there is the difference between religious head knowledge and heart knowledge.

It is when religious knowledge, which holds religion outside of oneself, makes that journey to the heart and soul of a person and it becomes personal, that religious knowledge turns into faith; which in Christian terms is a living relationship with Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.

It has often been said that the most difficult journey our Christian pilgrimage makes is also the shortest. That journey from our heads to our hearts.

The climax of the story has Mary meeting Jesus in the garden but she doesn’t recognise him and supposes him to be the gardener and asks him where he has taken Jesus’ body.

The real point of contact is made when Mary hears her name on the lips of Jesus, which would have been said with such love and emotion in his voice.

“Mary” and on hearing her voice she immediately knows exactly who she is standing with and talking to.

At its heart, Christianity is a personal relationship with Jesus and it becomes personal when we intuitively hear our names on the lips of Jesus.

“Martin”, “Louise”, “Chris”, “John” “Betty”. When you hear your name on the lips of Jesus, it becomes personal.

Jesus is certainly Lord and saviour and teacher. But he is also friend and brother and he has promised to be with all of us until the end of time.

All sacraments are points of meeting.

When you come to share in Communion today I invite you to think of Jesus speaking your name and inviting you to meet with him at the altar rail.

Also in our service today we have the baptism of Freya Catherine Beaumont.

In that sacrament Freya is baptised into Christ. God in Christ says to her in the power of the Holy Spirit……Freya I will meet you there.


Monday, 16 July 2018

We shall go out with joy.

Amos 7: 7-15. The vision of the plumb line means that God is going to set a standard for behaviour and will no longer be indifferent to how his people live. His prophesy that the Northern kingdom will be destroyed happened between 734 - 721 B.C. when the Assyrians invaded and wiped the kingdom out. 
Ephesians 1: 3-14. The famous Westminster catechism states that the chief end of human life is "to glorify God and fully to enjoy him forever" and Ephesians certainly packs copious thanks and praise into the first 3 chapters of the letter. The words stress our total dependence on God. God destines, wills, reveals, and accomplishes his plan which is also incidentally an assault on our western sense of independence and autonomy. The words also stress that the only response desired, proper or needful to God acting on our behalf is praise. Again to the average westerner this is hardly any proper response at all, but we are in God's debt and totally incapable of paying back anything else so let us give thanks and praise to God. 
Mark 6: 14-29. The beheading of John the Baptist provides a remarkably similar set of circumstances to the demise of Jesus. Both innocently suffer at the hands of political figures (Herod and Pilate) who both see good in the accused men and left to themselves would let them go. Yet both are weak and let themselves become trapped by external circumstances and permit a violent death. 

The famous Westminster catechism states that the chief end of human life is "to glorify God and fully to enjoy him forever"
That could stand as a precis of that lovely piece from Ephesians we heard today, which oozes with gratitude and praise for God and what He has done for us in Jesus Christ.
God has made known to us the mystery of his will in and through his son Jesus Christ, so that we might live for the praise of his glory (as it says in verse 12.)
The underlying disposition of us who have set our hope on Christ is one of Joy.
A joy that is not fleeting, a joy that is not dependent on what happens to be occurring in our life at that moment.
Joy is the permanent possession of the Christian for all those reasons that Paul outlines in Ephesians.
We have heard the word of truth, the gospel of our salvation, and we are marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit. That is why Christians can rejoice even in the direst of circumstances.
And as John’s gospel states, “the truth shall set you free.”
A real freedom, because we are not hemmed in or imprisoned by circumstances. We have a higher allegiance, for God has a claim on our life, and serving God’s will and purpose.
Prisoners who become Christians will tell you that even though they are held behind physical bars, the most pernicious spiritual bars; the bars over their hearts and minds and souls have been removed and they have spiritual freedom.
Herod was certainly imprisoned by circumstance – his pride – and not wanting to lose faith in front of his guests.
After agreeing to fulfil any request that Herodias asked, not wanting to lose face outweighed doing the decent thing and letting John go.
Herod didn’t want to kill John. He secretly admired him and loved to listen to his preaching and I’m sure his conscience plagued him for the rest of his life. It must have been a mental torture to see the severed head of the man he was so intrigued by, resting on that platter.
This piece about the beheading of John the Baptist is the longest piece in the gospels not directly about Jesus so its inclusion must have a point and the point seems to be the similarities between the death of John and the death of Jesus, both at the hands of weak men, who capitulated to outside forces that controlled them.
Re-setting our priorities from pleasing ourselves and our selfish concerns, to following God’s will and God’s concerns has always been central to the Biblical revelation.
You could say that conversion is the process of making the shift from self-centredness to God-centredness.
Where we move towards is represented by the plumb line that Amos sees in a vision in the Old Testament. The standard of behaviour is represented by that plumb line and was given in the Jewish law; the word - and later enfleshed in Jesus Christ himself, the word made flesh.
Jesus is our Christian plumb line amidst a broken and flawed society, which is no less flawed than in the time of Amos, because while we have made advances in every field known to man, morally we are just as flawed as we ever were.
So I’ll end where we started, in Ephesians. Our Gold standard is Jesus. He is God’s plumb-line set amidst this world.
He is a revelation of God’s will and mercy, of God’s love and service; revealed most fully in Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Paul writes that Jesus has revealed to us God’s plan for the fulness of time, to gather up all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth.
And our response to that revelation is to give thanks and praise to God. Our response is one of Joy, where we can say Praise the Lord. Which as I’m sure you know in Hebrew is Hallelujah!

Monday, 9 July 2018

All Change!

Ezekiel 2: 1-5. Ezekiel is addressed as "Mortal" (literal Hebrew: "Son of man"). Yet this mere human being is being commissioned to carry the words of the living God, whose glory Ezekiel has just glimpsed. He will convey them to an impudent and stubborn people whose rebellion against God is never ending. The message is that God never gives up on his people and continues to call them to repentance  despite their rejection of Him.
2 Corinthians 12: 2-10. A powerful piece of writing in which St. Paul recounts his powerful "road to Damascus" experience that turned his life around 180 degrees. Paul says the cause of, and the proper understanding of it is down to God alone. Most powerfully, he is being forced to defend his ministry by boasting about great visions and performing great wonders but he boasts only of his weakness, and his famous "thorn in the flesh" which despite praying intensely for its relief three times, he learns (or is told) that God's grace is sufficient for him; a hard lesson for anyone at any time
Mark 6: 1-13. There are two distinct sections to this gospel offering this morning. Verses 1 to 6 deal with the rejection of Jesus by the people he grew up with. Their expectations and preconceived notions of who Jesus is "the carpenter" whose family they know well, preclude them accepting that Jesus can be anything but a home town boy putting on airs and graces.
The section that follows is the sending out of disciples to the villages to bring people to repentance. All disciples, then and now, are called and commissioned by Jesus Christ himself. The reality of rejection is real and has to be acknowledged. It will be like casting pearls before swine. The disciples are schooled to travel light in order to simplify their mission - a lesson currently being learnt by the church of England in our reduced circumstances!

All three readings this morning deal with the necessity for change. And I don’t mean a few tweaks here and there, I mean a fundamental about turn in our state of mind, body, and soul.
The kind of change that would transform Saul, an active persecutor of  Christ’s followers, who presided over the stoning to death of Stephen, the first Christian Martyr, who was on his way to Damascus to drag back in chains anyone who followed this renegade Jesus;
To change that man into the humblest and greatest protagonist for the Christian faith there has ever been; a man who travelled the known world, despite all opposition, trials and tribulations, to spread the good news of Jesus.
An extraordinary 180 degree turn around. When we use the terms repent and repentance in the church, this is what is meant; not merely being sorry for our sins although that is a small part of it.
This is kind of change that is meant. Called “conversion”, it is a spiritual event that transforms every aspect of our lives.
For Paul and for others it is a cataclysmic event, like the one he describes in 2 Corinthians this morning. I know many Christians who experienced a life changing incident where all of a sudden everything changed, but I know an awful lot more Christians, for whom this spiritual awakening is far more gradual, like a slow dawning like the sun rising in the morning, slowly but surely suffusing everything with light.
For such people, the overwhelming majority of Christians I suggest, repentance is a growing and progressive change in outlook and demeanour.
What I want to stress is that whether it happens as a sudden “road to Damascus” experience or a gradual dawning over a lifetime, the desired result, the endpoint, is the same.
In the Old Testament, God commissioned and sent his prophets to bring people to that moment when a change could be provoked, cajoled, out of people. Prophets speak the word of God into any given situation and one of the roles of the ordained person is to be prophetic. To bring not his or her word, but the word of God to people’s ears.
In modern times, this is why adherence to the Bible, God’s revealed truth is so important and why I keep to the text as my source of everything I say.
God’s revealed and inspired word is our authority for bringing to anyone who is ready to listen, God’s truth – not my truth – not my opinions – God’s truth and God’s ways.
It is no coincidence that the churches that are growing in this country and around the world are churches that emphasise the word and the Spirit.
But not everyone is ready to receive the truth.
As we have heard this morning, they weren’t in Ezekiel’s day, they weren’t in Jesus’ day, they weren’t in Paul’s time and they aren’t in our day.
This is to be expected. The parable of the sower is not just a nice little story – it is true. Some will fall on rocky ground, some will fall amongst thorns and be choked, some will have shallow roots, but some will fall on good soil and flourish.
But for that to happen, the good news has to be preached. People need to hear it in a way they can relate to and understand.
In our modern culture there is a huge gap between the churches message and the culture we inhabit but that is another sermon for another time.
In Jesus’ time he commissioned his followers to go out into the villages and take the good news to them.
How that translates to our situation in the RMC is what we need to ponder and pray about.
What needs more emphasis? What can we change? What do we promote and what do we need to lay to one side? We need to connect with our culture and we do so in many different ways I am so pleased to see here in the RMC from “Open the book” in the schools, to providing meals for people on their own,  to cultural engagement via things like the music festival, the scarecrow festival, flower festivals – all brilliant and worthwhile.
But alongside presence, and all three churches have a great presence in our communities, there also needs to be proclamation. Why do we do these things?
Is the underlying reason for all this social action getting through?
Are people in our communities aware of why we are doing anything at all, aware of why we exist? Other than “those people from the church are very nice: I’m glad they’re there.”
This is the challenge: to become more aware of  proclamation, and the person we proclaim is Jesus. He is the only reason we as a Mission community exist.
Our mission is to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives and to challenge other people to make that same leap. But we do so in a way that people can relate to. Banging people over the head and saying “Jesus is the answer” doesn’t work, but sensitive, intelligent engagement and being able to give a reason for your own personal faith is the best evangelistic tool we have.
All the social engagement is brilliant. But if someone were to ask you;
Why do you go to church?
Why do you believe in Jesus?
Why do you believe in God?
Are we sure what we would say?
Jesus sent people out in pairs. We are not alone – we need support and we need a little more confidence in who we are and who we represent.
Collective prayer, to build up our self-confidence as a mission community, to ask for God’s Spirit to anoint us and give us the words to say is what is needful to build us into a strong body; an attractive and confident body, to be able to evangelise with a smile on our faces, with peace and love in our hearts, effortlessly and confidently.
Confident that we have something that will enhance the other person’s life.
I’ll end this sermon with one of the simplest and most effective prayer that any church needs; Pray this prayer for yourself.
Come Holy Spirit
Lord, I pray you would move the Spirit more boldly in my life and in the collective life of our church. Help me grow in the fruit of the Spirit and so walk closer with Yourself. I pray for guidance from your Spirit to let your will and promises always be a meditation of my heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Monday, 2 July 2018

On this rock I will build my church

St. Peter’s Patronal festival – 1st July

Ezekiel 3: 22-end
1 Peter 2: 19-end
Matthew 16: 13-19

Today we celebrate Saint Peter after whom this church takes its name.
But which Saint Peter? The one who denied Christ three times, the disciple Jesus called Satan for trying, however well intentioned, to shield Jesus from the path laid down by God or Peter who in a flash of insight recognised who Jesus really was when in a flash of insight he said.

“You are the Christ, the son of the living God”    

We celebrate every facet of Peter, the intensely human Peter, the flawed and leaden footed, sometimes cowardly sometimes brave Peter, the sometimes dense and the sometimes insightful Peter.

We celebrate the whole person because he is just like us. We too are flawed, sometimes leaden footed, sometimes obtuse, sometimes cowardly.
Sometimes we can be guilty of getting in the way of God’s plan rather than helping it along.

But we should also celebrate the inspired Peter and try to emulate him.

For the rock that Jesus refers to, the solid rock of faith, is the same rock on which this church was built.

More to the point it is the rock on which the future of this church is being built right now.

We together as a community are all the present and the future of this church and however flawed we might be, just like Peter, this rock of faith is the only solid foundation that we have.

If we build on that rock, we have nothing to fear.

That rock of faith unlocks the gates of heaven. The keys to the kingdom belong to all of us who have faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ, son of the living God.

If we can say along with Peter…”You are the Christ, the son of the living God”, no matter how much we get things wrong, and we often will; if we keep that belief at the forefront of our hearts and minds, that is our foundation.

If we can build our personal lives on that belief, we are secure because churches are just collections of individuals. Our collective strength relies on us going forward in the same direction based on that common belief.

But the edifice will fall if our foundations are not strong.

Jesus said “On this rock I will build my church”

When we talk about the church let’s be clear what and who we are talking about.

The church is not primarily this building even though that is what we colloquially mean when we refer to the church. This building houses the church. The church, ecclesia, actually means a collection of people.

We are the church. We are built together on the rock of faith in Jesus Christ.

This was the faith of Peter who wrote in his first letter this inspiring piece about us, and I want to end with Peter’s words. Have in mind that when Peter was writing this, he was thinking of each one of you.

1 Peter 2:4-6 
As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture:
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
    a cornerstone chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”


More than flesh and blood

5th after Trinity – proper 8

The Wisdom of Solomon 1: 13 -15; 2:23-24. (This reading is taken from the Apocrypha and so many of you won't find it in a modern western Bible. I'll explain why a little further on in this email) This set piece should have verse 12 added to it to make sense. The death referred to here is spiritual death, a life lived in opposition to life-giving wisdom. Life and death in this passage mean more than bare physical existence. In the second extract from chapter two it says that humanity, despite the reality of physical death, was endowed with a spiritual eternity in fellowship with God.
2 Corinthians 8: 7-15. Paul is raising money for the impoverished church in Jerusalem and he appeals to the Corinthians by saying that the authenticity of their faith is as stake here. It should be noted that he doesn't ask for sacrificial giving here (as Jesus sometimes did), more a redistribution of wealth.
Mark 5: 24-43. The two healings that take place here; the woman from her hemorrhage and the little girl from death are casting Jesus as the ultimate healer, even from mortality.  These kind of events, divorced from the gospel, could cause nothing but fear and amazement, which is possibly a reason why Jesus orders people to keep quiet about the miracles.

In Mark’s gospel chapter 8: 35-36  Jesus says;
35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

There in Jesus’ own words we see what the writer of “The wisdom of Solomon” is talking about. There is far more to a human being than just our bare physical existence.

Our Death can be more than a physical death, there is our spiritual death also.

Jesus in an incident reported in Matthew and Luke tells a young man who wants to follow Jesus but wants to bury his father first says to him,

“Let the dead bury their own dead”

These people were very much physically alive but Jesus refers to them as dead already – spiritually dead.

In that small exchange, Jesus locates himself as the source of spiritual life.

Christians can talk about “being alive in Christ”, meaning that we already have eternal life as a gift, a life that transcends mortal existence.

In Jesus’ life and ministry we get copious foretastes of the fact that Jesus is the Lord of life, a fact made plain by his resurrection and the giving of the Spirit.
And in our gospel reading this morning we have two signs of that fact.

Christians talk about being saved, by a saviour don’t we?

Note that the root of the word salvation is “salve” to heal. All the healing miracles or “signs” as John’s gospel calls them point towards that great healing that is the salvation of the world and potentially everyone in it if they repent and believe the gospel.

The healing of the woman with the haemorrhage and even more startling, the raising to life of a little girl who had died back to physical life again are the signs of the divine in Jesus, which was crowned eventually by God raising Jesus himself to eternal life.

God was working with and through Jesus to accomplish these things and if we place our faith in this man and bind our life to his through the means of the Holy Spirit we have the privilege to know eternal life as well.

Eternal life manifests itself as a quality of life because knowing that our life is not bound by our physical birth and physical death but writ large against an infinite horizon gives us an eternal perspective.

It is in seeing the world through Jesus tinted glasses, seeing everything painted on a much bigger canvas that frees us to be rather more open and generous than we might be, especially  to our fellow Christians when they hit hard times.  

This is what essentially Paul is appealing to when he is appealing for money to support the impoverished church in Jerusalem from the Corinthian church.

Paul says “he is testing the genuineness of your love”. There are consequences to having a Christian faith and Paul wants to see some of its outworking in the actions of the Corinthian Church.
We are saved by faith in God’s grace not by works, but the genuineness of our faith is evidenced by our works – what we do and how we treat each other.

Jesus told us to go and bear fruit in accordance with the Spirit.