Summary: “I would rather die than alter my cause” - As Christians we are committed to the cause of Christ.
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)