July Update - 2019
Welcome to my Romans 15:8 monthly blog for July 2019.
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Teaching reflection of the month
I am making good progress with the proposed new CMJ study book based on Romans. Here is a taster from some notes based on Romans 8:1-11.
Romans 8:1-11: Paul has not mentioned the person or work of the Holy Spirit in the previous verses in which he shares about his struggles with sin and his search for holiness (chapter 7) but here the person and work of the Spirit (described as the Spirit who gives life in 8:1, and as the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ in 8:9) is central to the teaching in this section of Romans.
This focus on the Spirit connects back to the preaching of Peter (see Acts 2) in which he promises that anyone who repents and is baptised (immersed) will be forgiven and filled with the Holy Spirit. Paul here affirms that above all it is the experience of the Spirit which brings assurance of forgiveness, freedom (from condemnation – 8:1) and the power to live a life fully in line with all that is promised in the gospel; both in terms of the present age but also in regards to the future hope of our own resurrection (8:11). In this sense the presence of the Spirit is the ‘first-fruits’ of a glory yet to be realised or fully understood.
This ‘life in (or though) the Spirit’ is contrasted throughout this section with ‘life based upon the outworking of sinful nature’, the Spirit led life leads to life and peace while the life based upon sinful nature results in conflict with God and death (8:6). These key insights and themes will be developed more by Paul in the chapters which follow.
To consider: There is a close connection between the resurrection of Jesus, the work of the Spirit and the resurrection to eternal life of believers. In order to reflect upon this read 1 Corinthians 15:20-23, Philippians 3:21 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
Ministry news update
The past few weeks have been very full in ministry terms. The main event was the annual CMJ Conference which took place at the Hayes Conference Centre in Swanwick. The feedback from the Conference so far has been extremely encouraging with a number of those attending saying it was “the best conference ever!” Praise indeed! I hope they may say the same after the 2020 Conference which features Amir Tsarfati as the key note speaker. Amir is founder and president of Behold Israel and a powerful Bible teacher with a focus on history and prophecy. Please note the 2020 conference date – 3rd-5th July. The venue is again the Hayes Conference centre Swanwick, DE55 1AU.
For me the highlights of the Conference was the three main teaching sessions from Wayne Hilsden (his teaching was all recorded and you will soon be able to purchase these from the website), the staff reports from the UK team and the Israel team along with the Holy Communion service on the Sunday afternoon led for the first time by our new CMJ president - Rev Ray Lockhart. In addition to this the ambiance of the conference was great with over 300 delegates (of which 91 were first time attendees) plus a good number of youth and children. It was also good to meet up with some church leaders who are part of the Romans 15:8 network and to encourage others to join.
In addition to the conference the next News and Views newsletter has been published with a major focus on our fight against anti-Semitism. I have already received some ‘interesting comments’ relating to my personal experience of engaging with anti-Semitism within the Labour Party.
In a few weeks’ time I plan to attend the LCJE conference in Toronto - hopefully I can share some papers from this in future Roman 15:8 blogs.
My sister who has recently returned from 4 weeks in Israel recommended I read the autobiography by Amos Oz- A Tale of love and darkness (Keter Publishing House,2003). I read it in the Harvest Edition (2005) with the translation from the Hebrew by Nicholas de Lange.
Amos Oz (1939-2018) was born in Jerusalem and his life unfolds alongside the backdrop of the birth of Israel. It is both a family saga and a window into the political, religious and cultural life of Jerusalem. It is a deeply moving account of war-torn Jerusalem, his growing up and his distress at his mother’s suicide and his own ‘reinvention’ when he joins a kibbutz. Amoz Oz is regarded as one of Israel’s most important writers (he won both the Primo Levi prize for literature and the national Jewish book award) and political thinkers.
I warmly recommend this book and CMJ even gets a mention (:118-120) as does Conrad Schick (:319).
Monthly Memory Verse
“It will come to pass in the last days that the mountain of ADONAI’S House will stand firm as head of the mountains and will be exalted above the hills. So all nations will flow to it”
(Isaiah 2:2 – Messianic Jewish Family Bible).
Posted on 19 July 2019.