In Job 42, we read of Job's final satisfaction in God. Job is not given the reason for his suffering, but he does experience the blessing of restored joy in God, and riches beyond his previous fortune. Job's restoration is a tantalising glimpse of the full and final restoration of heaven and earth that will be completed in Christ. Bible reading: Job 42
The God of the Bible does not meet our expectations. When God speaks to Job, he doesn't come gently and offer him a solution or explanation for his troubles. Instead, God arrives as a terrifying whirlwind and shows Job a glimpse of his awesome glory; within the whirlwind Job finds the 'terrible and tingling atmosphere of something too good to be told' (GK Chesterton). It is good news that God is not like us, and that he is far beyond our imagination and understanding. Bible readings: Job 38-41, Matthew 8:28-34
Elihu is the last human voice to enter the conversation with Job. In his speech, he contends that suffering is not meaningless, and that God can use our pain to draw us to himself, and grow in our maturity in Christ. Suffering and pain are a certain part of life. What is less certain is how we respond. Will suffering bring us closer to God, or further away from him? Readings: Job 32-27, John 16:29-33
With Zophar's harsh and unhelpful counsel, something in Job snaps. Job doesn't want to hear another word of human wisdom- he wants God. In the midst of terrible personal circumstances, the thing he grieves most is God's presence. Whatever the cost to himself, Job simply wants to be before Almighty God. When we suffer in life, will we turn from God, or towards him?
Readings: Job chapters 11-14 (selections) and Luke 13:1-5
Job's friend Bildad is even less helpful than Eliphaz, turning Job's misery against him. Surely, all this disaster is your fault, Job? In despair, Job cries out for vindication, knowing that being counted righteous and innocent before God is his only hope. In crying out for a defence, Job points us towards Jesus- the Christians' true access to God, and our true righteousness before God's Holy throne. Bible readings: Job 8-11, Luke 23:44-47
How to Lose friends and alienate people: What do you say when someone is struggling? Job is in a pit of grief and despair, and eventually his friends begin to share their thoughts on Job's suffering. They're not very helpful. Eliphaz is first to speak, and although he speaks words of truth, he is far too simplistic and pious. The book of Job shows us that the problem of suffering is not a puzzle to solve, but a deep mystery. Bible readings: Job 4:1-11, 5:6-11, 5:17-27
The book of Job is disturbing, bleakly beautiful, and deeply challenging. In the midst of the deepest pain, Job refuses to let go of his confidence in God's sovereignty. In doing so, Job points us towards the suffering and obedience of Jesus Christ. Bible readings: Job 1-2, John 9:1-12
John the Baptist's ministry was mighty, but it was simple- he pointed people to Jesus Christ. In this talk, guest preacher John Adams (Emmanuel church, Wimbledon) encourages us to do the same. Reading: Mark 1:1-8
Christ the King of everything (including your wallet) ()
The Pharisees set a trap for Jesus, using a controversial issue of the day to try and get him into trouble. Instead, Jesus points to our obligation to give to God all that belongs to him- our entire lives. Bible passages: Deuteronomy 6:1-9, Matthew 22: 15-22
How we view and spend our money is an essential part of our response to the Gospel as disciples of Jesus. In this talk, we see how God's priority isn't our wallets, but our hearts. Bible readings: 2 Corinthians 8:1-9, Mark 12:41-44
When human beings insist on being glorified, it is deeply unattractive. What are we to make of God's command that we worship him only, and seek his glory above all others? The God of the Bible is not needy, and is glorified both by his creation and our redemption. The most soul-satisfying way to live is to cherish God's glory. Bible readings: Psalm 115:1-8, Luke 2:8-20
A talk by Rev'd Dr Mark Smith, Chaplain of Christ's College, Cambridge, and Lecturer in Church History, University of Cambridge. Mark explores the background, impact and continuing influence of the reformation.
by Rev'd Dr Mark Smith Series: Reformation 500 download
Scripture Alone: 29/10/17 ()
500 years ago, people across Europe were willing to risk being burned alive in order to read their Bibles in English. The truth that led them to do that was new and exciting to them, but dangerously familiar to us: The Bible is God's Word, given to us, and the ultimate authority for our lives. In this talk, we see that the Bible is enough, the Bible is challenging, and the Bible is personal. Readings: Psalm 19, Luke 24:13-27
Salvation is offered to us through Christ, by Grace. We grasp that for ourselves by Faith in Jesus. In this talk, we hear that Faith in Christ is reasonable, Faith in Christ is personal, Faith in Christ is a gift, Faith in Christ is life-changing, and your Faith in Christ in insufficient- but the good news is that Christ's Faith is enough. Readings: Romans 5:1-11, Luke 5:17-26
We live in a world that is hungry for grace. The Bible shows us that our need for grace is deeper than we realise, but likewise God's grace to us in Christ is bigger still, and bought at a dearer cost than we can imagine. Bible readings: Ephesians 2:1-10 (also Mark 10:13-16)
Jesus Christ claims to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Whilst this is controversial, those who put their trust in Christ know him to be their comfort, their joy, and their hope for the future. Bible Readings: Colossians 1: 15-20, John 14:1-7.