This is a copy of my article that was printed in the June 2014 edition of the Around Town Magazine.
In my article on the film Noah starring Russell Crowe I suggested that God has a plan for the way we should live our lives, which can be found in the Ten Commandments. How many of these can you name? You can find them in the Old Testament book of Exodus chapter 20 if you can’t remember them all!
Those who dislike religion often portray the Christian faith as an unattractive series of gloomy commands, as if God had given the Ten Commandments to depress and terrify His people. But it’s not that way at all. Unlike so many of the laws of the ancient world, these commandments are not conditional threats: “Do this or else you’re in deep trouble!” They simply lay out a way of living that enhances people’s lives and brings peace, hope and purpose. Faith doesn’t have to be complicated and difficult.
That’s because all of the Ten Commandments are designed to set people free and give: freedom from a false idea of God; freedom from violence in thought or in action; freedom from the mistakes of the past; freedom for justice; and freedom for love. Which society, if they were to live by these ten simple guidelines, couldn’t help but to live in harmony and peace and be a blessing to others?
The people of the Old Testament, however, as we know in our own lives, struggled to live by the letter of the law because what should have been Life Transforming Rules became a millstone – which is why, in the New Testament (Acts chapter 2) the Holy Spirit of God was given to enable Christians to follow and serve God in a way they wouldn’t be able to do on their own – this is why the worldwide church celebrates Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit to the church, on Sunday 8 June.
Charles Spurgeon, the great Baptist preacher of the 18th Century, was once asked why he preached on the need for more of the Holy Spirit, his response was simple: “Because I leak!” All of us, it seems to me, need more of God’s power in our lives to live God’s way. And it is this daily presence of the Holy Spirit that ensures that our Christian faith won’t be short lived but will sustain us, through joy and sorrow, for the rest of our lives.
My experience has been that whenever I have started to become serious with God, whenever I have started to take God up on his promises, whenever I get down on my knees and expect God to show up in my life – things start to happen. God never lets anyone down who takes Him up on his promises and those who are seeking a fresh experience of the Transforming Rule of the Holy Spirit in their life.
Can I encourage you to attend Emmanuel, or one of our great churches here in Billericay, this Pentecost? Who knows, it might be life-changing experience for you.