Christianity

Welcoming Jesus

Whether it’s Palm Sunday or not, we need to welcome Jesus into our lives. Mark 14 shows us 3 ways we can do this: through sacrificial worship, like the woman who poured perfume on Jesus’ head; through submissive worship, like the disciples who trusted Jesus’ words; and through sacramental worship, Read more…

By Matthew, ago
Christianity

Jesus’ authority

This is a sermon preached at St Peter & St Paul Shepton Mallet on Mark 11:27 – 12:17. Jesus enters our lives, as he entered Jerusalem, with authority. Our response should be submission. We should find our identity in him, the anchor in the storm, defining ourselves first and foremost as Read more…

By Matthew, ago
Christianity

The sovereignty of God

Or: God, our ultimate superhero This is a sermon I preached at St Aldhelm’s Doulting, focusing on James 4:11-17. Superheroes are everywhere in today’s culture. In some ways we’re a bit like them, in that we often judge each other, comparing our own skills and achievements against other people. James Read more…

By Matthew, ago
Christianity

Sermon: Living faithfully

This is a sermon I preached at St Peter & St Paul Shepton Mallet, looking at James 2:14-26. James writes to young Christians in churches across the Middle East, telling them that faith without works is dead. At first glance, that seems contrary to Paul’s teaching, so we need to Read more…

By Matthew, ago
Christianity

What is Church?

Following a discussion with a learned friend recently, it became painfully apparent that my personal definition of "Church" was quite different from his.  He challenged me to explore this further, particularly to look at the New Testament to see Biblical evidence of Church.  This document is an analysis of this research, which will hopefully point me towards a Biblical definition that is also culturally relevant and contextual for today.

Personal opinions matter

Since this exploration started with a difference of opinion, I thought it would be worth asking a few more people for their opinions too, to gather as broad a range as possible.  The answers were not intended to be scientific or cleverly thought out, and most people I asked were not given much chance to craft their responses, and that was quite deliberate; what I wanted was people's gut feel, their immediate impression, a summary of what was most important to them.Those with theological training (perhaps unsurprisingly) gave the most Biblically-centred answers.  A common point of reference was Acts 2:42, "They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer".  To them, this is Church.Interestingly, those with a less leadership-oriented perspective came up with very different definitions, centred more around community, family, people, personal experience, and spirituality.  Some highlighted the importance of the mix of believers and unbelievers, showing the importance of mission and being outward focused.  One person quoted Matthew 18:20, where Jesus says "where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them".  Another had a more timeless understanding of Church, including all believers throughout time and throughout the world, highlighting the nature of the breadth of corporate worship.As for me, I had my own opinion too.  I instinctively defined Church as the following:
The Church is the body of believers acting as a community within the community to worship and encounter Jesus.
However, as confident as I was of this definition when I first met with my learned friend, I recognised the importance of looking to the Bible first, and using God's Word to inform my definition, rather than just finding Bible passages that backed up my opinion. (more…)

By Matthew, ago
Christianity

Sermon: Fear conquered through faith

In this sermon, preached on Sunday 19 February at St Peter and St Paul Shepton Mallet, we look at different types of fear, the importance of keeping our fear in the context of Jesus’s power, and the assurance that fear is conquered through faith in Jesus. Mark 4:35-6:6 https://www.matthewdawkins.co.uk/wp-content/audio/sermon-2017-02-19.m4a

By Matthew, ago
Christianity

Sermon: redefining the Kingdom

Another sermon, preached at St Aldhelms Doulting on 5 February. Many people think they are entitled to the Kingdom of God, but Jesus’s message is that it is only by grace that we are saved. Mark 3:7-35 https://www.matthewdawkins.co.uk/wp-content/audio/sermon-2017-02-05.m4a

By Matthew, ago
Christianity

Sermon: Jesus, King of sinners

In my latest sermon, preached on 22 January 2017 at St Aldhelm’s Doulting, we look at Mark 1:40 – 2:17. We read about the leper Jesus healed, the paralysed man who was lowered through the roof, and the calling of Levi. https://www.matthewdawkins.co.uk/wp-content/audio/sermon-2017-01-22.m4a Summary Donald Trump has been inaugurated as President Read more…

By Matthew, ago