Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Off-centre sparklet 5) You are not your own ( 1 Cor. 6:19)

This is the last I am taking from John Hutton's book.  He recognizes these words 'You are not your own' belong in a passage about sexual immorality but he sees it as a big principle on which to stand.  That we can never act as though we are independent of one another and certainly of Jesus Christ.

He concludes by including the next words in 1 Cor. 6:20. We are not our own, for we are bought with a price even the passion and sacrifice of our Holy Redeemer...It is not a matter to argue about.  If you do not feel that so it is then in the meantime nothing more is to be said. I am quite sure that if any of us knew all the love, all the care, that a loving mother had felt for us, all the pain she bore for us first and last, we should feel it as our deepest act of honour to spare that mother the grief of a broken heart.

What St. Paul meant to say, I take it, was in effect just this: if people had only the imagination, the seriousness, the detachment from their own hot interests to see the Son of God, bending in Gethsemane, and bleeding on Calvary in order to bring God into our lives, they would understand the shamefulness of all careless and useless and sinful living; they would see that is was like striking Him on the cheek, crucifying afresh the Lord of life and putting Him to an open shame.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Off-centre sparklet 4) Hold fast (Heb 10:23)

This is a less off-centre two words!  Hold fast occurs several times in the AV and Hutton particularly focuses on Heb 10:23: Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering.  He begins: The first word of God to us is always 'believe'; the second and last word of God to is is 'hold fast' 'hold on', 'endure' to the end. At first we may need no extra motivation but as we get older, or certain things happen, the pull of circumstance can be away'.

He warns how easily we can drift from early enthusiasm in matters of the soul...to grow cold,...at least cool and careless...to become tired of the strain, of the little duty here and the little scruple there and the little self-denial all the time....the danger of becoming indifferent, becoming less easily excited...yielding ourselves to the powers of decay and death which threaten our thoughts and religious principles long before we die.

To this depressing reality he says: First,  be forewarned: 'When this happens the need has come for us to think, to deal firmly with our own moods and half-formed purposes'.  Be put on our guard.

And second, remember how Heb 10:23 ends 'for he is faithful that promised.If this fails everything fails. Jesus will never let us go as we hold fast.

I am reminded of the words Spurgeon took as his Latin motto for his college: Et teneo Et teneor - 'I hold and I am held'.  The two sides of God's grace in action.  That he holds onto us in his faithful love yet needs us to hold fast too.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Off-centre sparklet 3) At that time (Matt. 11:25)

I know I mentioned some statistics and my discouragement..,...but I am easily cheered up by humans!  Just a couple of people said try again!  So I have with these three words: AT THAT TIME.  Who would base a sermon on these?  

Jesus is about to praise his Father because he has hidden truths from the wise and learned and revealed them to little children.  Matt. 11:25 begins 'at that time',  For John Hutton these words are worth pondering.

First, it's 'as though it were just then and not before that Jesus reached a new understanding of his future. The whole passage bears the interpretation that, just there and at a certain point our Lord saw clearly and accepted it as the will of God....that his message would find a welcome NOT in all hearts'. Was it part of Jesus' experience that setting out with happy confidence that people only needed to hear his words about God to accept them with joy he was later amazed at people's unbelief and rejection?  And at this time it breaks in how God's truths are hidden from some self-confident people.  This is the moment of learning a new truth as he praises God. Jesus was living and learning.  And so are we.

Second, he challenges about us seeing the principle that 'truth lies not upon the surface of things, but always beneath the surface, and nearer to the centre.' True, there is much 'darkness to dishearten careless people...but at the same time there is light enough for those who are patient and humble and sincere.'  And this principle means that we must keep awake. "The true purpose of life is that there shall remain alive within us a reverent and awakened attitude, our reach ever beyond our grasp.'

You never know what fresh truth will break into your life. 

Saturday, November 6, 2021


It's (somewhat cynically) said that statistics is the art of never having to say you are wrong. There's a BBC radio programme called "More or Less" which examines the veracity of statistical claims and it is fascinating when experts drill down into the realities behind headline statistics to discover how misleading they can sometimes be.

However, with my blog I have daily statistics about viewings.  I cannot be sure how they stand up to a reality check but I have had to take it seriously when my last postings received zilch viewers day after day. I had wondered whether I was beginning a lively series of 'off-centre sparklets.' Certainly it would pump a little life into some of these volumes of old sermons before they are pulped.  But the statistics have brought down to earth.  So, I bury this idea. 

But what else could I move onto next  that might create more interest?  I have been thinking about an all together different theme on growing older successfully/ So, perhaps that will appear shortly.  Perhaps!