A couple of weeks ago we completed our five-part series on God's salvation - so where next? Last night, we met to look at the Ascension of Jesus, and the Kingdom of God.
We rarely hear sermons on the Ascension, and many modern Christians struggle to relate to the image of Jesus being lifted up into heaven. We established last night, however, that the Ascension was just as much a part of God's redemptive purposes as (say) the Resurrection - it displayed the great 'reach' of God's salvation (there is flesh in heaven!), and, far from being Jesus' 'superman' moment, it was instead his great Prophet/Priest-King moment. He ascends as the better Elijah, to be crowned as the better David, to intercede as the better High Priest.
Well, if the ascension marked Christ's ascension to the throne as rightful King, then that begs the question - what ought we to make of the Kingdom of God? Evangelicals in particular have sometimes struggled to reach a consensus here. We saw how there are as many views on the Kingdom as there are voices speaking about it! There's a need for a crisp, clear understanding of the Kingdom, one that closely follows Scripture. By God's grace, I think we succeeded in arriving at exactly that.
Find full notes below!
We met on Sunday night for our tenth Foundations session - we've looked at a lot so far, from the doctrine of the Trinity, to the ministry of Christ. This time, we were starting a five-part series on 'soteriology' - our theology of salvation! What an amazing subject. Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound...
In this, our first session, we we were looking at the very fact that God has chosen to be a Saviour God - he didn't have to, no one forced him. He was under no compulsion. He graciously, sovereignly decided to save us. This is otherwise known as the doctrine of Election. Now, in the words of Karl Barth (a famous theologian of the 20th Century), election has cast a dark shadow for many. It has stoked controversy and outrage. But - as we established on Sunday - this needn't be the case.
Election is at the heart of all theology - God has freely chosen to be a Creator God, a known God, a worshipped God, etc. Election is at the heart of the Triune life of God - the Father chose the Son from all eternity to work out his purposes by the Spirit. Election is at the heart of the Gospel - God chose the historical Israel, and God has chosen his Bride. We dishonour God when we ignore election, or when we treat it as some insignificant off-cut. After all, when the authors of Scripture discuss it, it's not as a 'matter of controversy but as a theme for worship'! [J.I. Packer]
Find below a few things. First, the notes from Sunday's session - expanded to include more details and several appendices. Second, the medley of worship that we opened our session with. And third, the modern adaptation of Francis Thompson's Hound of Heaven, which we finished with.
Thanks to all those who attended last night's Foundations session. We're really blessed to have around six to seven Chester churches represented on an average evening - it's such a privilege to pray and study the scriptures together.
Last night we were introduced to Christology - the study of the man, Christ Jesus. . Of course, one can't help but think of the following passage: "Jesus asked his disciples, 'Who do people say that the Son of Man is?'" [Matt 16:13]
We established the centrality and supremacy of Christ in all things - like in the Grünewald altarpiece, our job as theologians is to stretch out our finger, crying, "He must increase but I must decrease!" [John 3:30] Then we saw how the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith are inseparable - Jesus interacted with real people and institutions, we must take note of that, but he also demands an answer. He isn't just a piece of historical data.
We traced the history leading up to Christ's ministry - a 1000 years of conflict and conquest, from the united kingdom of David, through to Babylonian Captivity, Alexander the Great, the Roman Empire, etc. Then we used Matthew's Gospel to trace how Jesus understood his own ministry and vocation. He's like Moses ... but he's more than Moses. He's like David ... but he's more than David. He's like a shepherd ... but there's profound significance to that image. (Etc.)
There's another part of this story to tell - one in which we see God himself fulfil his promise to Isaiah, entering the stage himself...
Find notes below, as well as the song we played last night - All Glory Be to Christ.
We've just finished the fifth Foundations at Freedom Church - but for our 'second years', we're nearly at the very end of the Foundations course. In fact, on Sunday 9th Dec, we'll be meeting for our last ever session.
Last time, we looked at the Christian's life this side of eternity - looking at discipleship, and the various aspects of the Christian walk.
In this penultimate session, our focus is on the Church's life this side of eternity - how do we relate to the political world? What is the Christian's relationship with the world around us, and with governments and power? How do we bring Scripture to bear upon such a massively important subject?
Though we did not actually meet for S24 due to scheduling complications, I've worked hard to provide you with the notes in advance of this Sunday's meeting. You can find them at the link below. Again, this is a huge subject, often called 'Public Theology'. There are many inter-weaving topics, related to history and political philosophy. But as always, the message is still about Christ the King - the one for whom we turn the world upside down [Acts 17:6] ...
Second year TTS students - click here for the S24 notes! If you can't remember your password, please do get in touch.
On Sunday night we met for Part Two in our Ecclesiology series, examining our theology of the Church. Having established last time that the Church is God's precious possession (his Beloved, True Israel, Invisible and Visible) - we moved on to look at some other distinctives.
The Church is a New Humanity in Christ - born again under our second Adam, we're each priests, held responsible for our own special calling. The Church is a New Society under Christ - not just a recreation of what it means to be human, but what it means to be humans together. We are a Kingdom City on a hill, with authority and splendour. The Church is Working for a Renewed World with Christ - for all of creation belongs to her, and God's design is to make us priests and rulers.
You can find all notes at the link below!
Second year TTS students - click here for the S21 notes!
Welcome to the Theology That Sings blog. Here you'll find news of upcoming events, as well as notes and notices.