Faringdon October 2000
We welcome members of the “Sealed Knot” here this morning commemorating the death of Sir Marmaduke Rawdon, who died during the siege of Faringdon just shortly before the end of the Civil War.
1. Our Cause
I was fascinated by Sir Marmaduke Rawdon’s personal motto
Malem Mori Quam Tatari – “I would rather die than alter my cause”, even though he changed sides from the Roundheads to the Cavaliers during the English Civil War.
As I reflected on this motto I thought it would be an appropriate motto for committed Christians. As Christians we are committed to the cause of Christ. This means not only telling others about Jesus but also living the Christian life. A total commitment.
A commitment that caused Rawdon and his troops to hold Faringdon, regardless of how the rest of the war was going for the Royalist cause.
Indeed we would not be sitting here this morning if people had not been prepared to die for the cause of Christ. People like Archbishop Cranmer and Bishops Latimer and Ridley, who died to make the Bible available to the common man.
2. To do God’s will in our lives
Our cause is to do the will of God in our lives
When we become Christians, God changes our way of life
As St. Paul so succinctly put it
Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17)
3. Where do we find God’s will?
As a Christian I suggest we find God’s will in the Bible
What do we expect to get out of the Bible?
A verse from our Scripture reading this morning gives us a clue
2 Tim. 3:16
All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work
In other words the Bible will teach us God’s will in our lives as we become thoroughly steeped in scripture
The Bible will teach us how to attain the quality of life that God wants us to have.
St Francis of Assisi said: Preach the Gospel all the time – and if necessary use words!
The way we live will be a living testimony for God
If we want to live a consistent Christian life, we need a regular intake of God’s word
As one commentator said
“A fundamental principle of Bible reading is to have a steady consistent diet of the Word of God.”
The Bible will also give us guidance on how we live.
4. How do we read the Bible?
Story: A young Christian decided one day that he wanted guidance on a matter so he opened his Bible and his eyes fell on Mt. 27:5
“And Judas went out and hanged himself”
Feeling that it wasn’t quite what he had in mind, he decided to open his Bible again and see if that Bible verse would help. As he opened the Bible his eyes fell on Luke 10:37
“And Jesus said, “Go and do likewise”
Still not satisfied, he thought he’d give it another and he open the Bible up and his eyes fell on John 13:27
“ What you are about to do, do quickly”
It is easy to use the Bible as a horoscope, but we must avoid that.
I would like to suggest this morning that one of the ways to best get immersed in Scripture is to use a regular pattern of reading the Bible – for example Bible reading notes (such as Daily Bread and Alive to God from Scripture Union)
These take a passage of Scripture each day and comment on it. In this way over time you will go systematically through the Bible
I have found that God has spoken to me through my Bible Study notes.
There were times for example when I wonder if I made the right choice to give up my job as a Patent Attorney to train for the Anglican Ministry. In fact, one of those times was on Saturday 14th October 2000.
Yet as I read my Bible Notes (Word for Today from UCB), I was encouraged by the commentary on 2 Cor. 4:8 “…we don’t know why things happen as they do but we don’t give up…” TLB)
The notes said the following
1. Guard your mind! You will never be defeated so long as you are victorious in your mind. That is the birthplace for everything you do….
2. Love people but trust God
3. Never, never, never give up. Jesus said: “No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God (Lk 9:62 NIV) Your dreams and goals are worth any fight…any price…. any waiting period. Your perseverance is what demoralises the enemy. Remember Joseph? Every day of adversity was simply a stepping-stone towards the throne. So keep walking and believing – your victory is ahead.
I was encouraged to go on.
In conclusion, if we want to know God’s will in our lives, we must regularly go to the Scriptures. It is important that we are immersed in the whole Bible.
To do this, reading a Scriptural passage each day is vital and a very important aid are our Bible Study notes.