Examine The Scriptures Daily

Below is the sermon audio & the sermon notes of Bryn MacPhail. “Examine The Scriptures Daily”, based on Acts 17:10-15, was preached at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Kirk on October 10, 2010.

Listen here.

We are influenced by information on a daily basis.

From the internet, from the television, from the radio, from listening to the opinions of friends and family at the lunch table—we receive and process countless messages each day from a wide variety of sources.

Needless to say, the reliability of the information we receive varies.

As we allow our minds to filter this information, by taking in what we want and dismissing what we don’t want, what we are doing is establishing our worldview—also known as our belief system.

Every person has a worldview (although admittedly some are more conscious of it than others). Every person I’ve ever met holds to a set of beliefs that governs their behaviour. And, certainly, we are entitled to believe whatever we choose.

What concerns me, however, is the origin of some of our beliefs. Since we are free to believe whatever we like, I fear that we sometimes neglect to do the hard work of determining whether the thing we are subscribing to is sensible and accurate.

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Pray Earnestly

Below is the sermon audio & the sermon notes of Bryn MacPhail. “Pray Earnestly”, based on Acts 12:1-14, was preached at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Kirk on October 3, 2010.

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The passage before us today gives a strong rebuke to my prayer life. Even though I consider myself to be diligent with prayer, there is one aspect of prayer that I regularly struggle with. My challenge is the same thing that the Christians in Acts 12 struggled with: I often lack the faith and expectation that God will answer my prayer.

I suspect that this happens to all of us at some point. Prayer after prayer, after prayer, comes back seemingly unanswered.

If you are like me, maybe you just shrug your shoulders and quote a verse like Isaiah 55:8 where God says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways.

I suspect that we have become so accustomed to not having our prayers answered immediately, we have become so used to not having our prayers answered in the way in which we hoped they would, that we seldom expect God to do anything when we pray.

The result is that we end up praying simply because we are told we should. And we end up praying with only a faint hope that God will act on our behalf.

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Persevere Through Suffering

Below is the sermon audio & the sermon notes of Bryn MacPhail. “Persevere Through Suffering”, based on Acts 8:1-8, was preached at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Kirk on September 26, 2010.

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As we read about the fierce persecution endured by the Early Church it is likely that we have some difficulty identifying with these Christians. Professing Jesus in the 21st Century, in this region of the globe, may be unpopular but it most certainly is not dangerous.

I have preached almost every Sunday for the last 12 years, and not once have I wondered whether I would be physically harmed following the service.

And yet, as we relate our own circumstances to what is going on in the 1st Century Church, what we do have in common is the experience of suffering.

What we observe in Acts chapter 8, and what is confirmed by our own experience, is that God permits Christians to suffer.

I doubt that there is a person here today whose life has been untouched by pain and personal tragedy. And the sobering reality is that, for many of us, our most difficult trials still await us.

One of my duties as your minister is to help you endure the day of trial in such a way that your confidence in God, and your love for God, is actually greater than before you experienced the adversity.

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Preach Jesus

Below is the sermon audio & the sermon notes of Bryn MacPhail. “Preach Jesus”, based on Acts 4:1-12, was preached at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Kirk on September 19, 2010.

Listen here.

As we continue to wade through the Book of Acts, what will see is the steadfast courage that the members of the early Church displayed. They possessed a Spirit-given boldness which enabled them to proclaim the Gospel even in the face of fierce opposition.

Indeed, preaching Jesus was a risky business in the first century. Proclaiming Jesus as risen from the dead could get you arrested, or even executed.

This has not been our experience, has it? Preaching Jesus may be unpopular in our postmodern society, but in this part of the world it is not the least bit dangerous to profess Christ.

Nevertheless, we share the same mandate as our 1st Century brethren. Our mandate is to preach Jesus.

I would go as far as to say that the priority of every Christian should be to promote the Lord Jesus Christ with our words and with our actions.

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