Sunday 27th December – Morning Service

norman gilbert dec 2015

Yesterday we were joined by Norman Gilbert of Cosheston who preached from Jude, focusing on the last two verses.

He began by asking us, “As we set put on a New Year, what is our hope?”

Hebrew 12:1-2 we need to out our faith in Jesus Christ and turn away from the things that will hinder us. Go forward so that Christ lives in us. In Christ alone we will get through 2016.

We are in a war but we cannot lose, we are in a race but we will finish it. God will preserve us. God will present us.

Jude, a half- brother of our Lord Jesus Christ, wrote this epistle to deal with the problems that had crept into the church 2,000 years ago. Yet it is still relevant today. Jude wanted to warn the church of problems. The church speaks not just about the people who are religious, it talks of a body, including different denominations, there is only one church, one body. There is only one entrance – through faith in Jesus Christ, by repentance. Jude was concerned about the church not being caught up in false teaching. The church needs to stand as one body, to stand up against false teachers. We need to take care, to hang on to the faith that was once delivered to the saints. Scripture isn’t about change and new things; be alert, be careful of new thinking, of people who want to move away from the Word. Look around at those who need help, who need evangelising. We face an enemy who can cause havoc in the church of Jesus Christ. We can’t continue the Christian walk on our own. As we go into 2016 God’s Grace will work out in our lives.

We’ll have troubles, we may have doubts and disagreements and do things we’ll be ashamed of. If it’s down to us we won’t get through. We’re fighting a battle but as a Christian we have such great resources at our disposal. We have confidence that we will have victory. We need to look to the captain of our salvation. We have a guarantee we’ll make it. Satan wants to make us feel inadequate, a failure, a hopeless case. But Christ is able to establish us. Jude shows us we will be sustained. God’s Grace will be sufficient to keep us through. Our hope is founded in Him. He is able to keep us because He lives to make intercession for us.

The path won’t be easy in 2016 but, without any shadow of a doubt, He will keep us. He preserves us. We are to evangelise. In times of darkness His Grace will be sufficient. He will preserve us to Glory. He will present us faultless before His throne. He forgives us our sins so the slate is clean. Christ’s blood is able to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We will be presented blameless in the presence of His Glory. We can glorify and worship Him. His power and divine authority is more than able to keep us.

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Christmas Day 2015

Gareth Nov 2015

Our Christmas morning service was led by Reverend Doctor Gareth Edwards who preached from Matthew 1:18-25 –the uniqueness of Christmas. It is both a mystery and a miracle; it is a mystery, not a secret, which confounds our minds. It is a miracle in that Jesus was not a mere baby who was naturally conceived but rather begotten by the Holy Spirit, the birth of a sinless man. No other event is as significant as the birth of Jesus. Here is the hope for all humanity.
The birth of Jesus is unique. Both Matthew and Luke emphasise the truth of the virgin birth. The virgin birth draws our attention to the uniqueness of Jesus’ birth. He is unique in being untarnished by sin, His birth was like no other. Whenever a child is born there is great excitement. In the virgin birth God the Son became a man. We celebrate, we rejoice in the virgin birth.
Matthew tells us Jesus is Immanuel – God with us. It is a great mystery how humanity and divinity can be united in one person. He is fully man and fully God, so utterly unique. It is essential that His uniqueness being the God Man provides our salvation. The just wrath of God requires punishment of sin. Who could bear such eternal punishment on our behalf? No-one but the almighty Himself. Who could take responsibility for our sin? It had to be a man who represented man. An angel or other being could not stand in our place. It had to be a perfect man, a man without sin to be a sacrifice on our behalf. In becoming a man the Son of Man identified with us and became our representative. Adam was our first representative, our federal head. But when he fell in sin, we all fell in sin with him. He brought death. But God sent a new federal head, one without sin yet who paid the penalty of sin. He brings us salvation and freedom from sin. He paid our debt.
For the world, Jesus’ birth was an unknown event, yet it shaped the whole of history. The real cause for celebrating Christmas is God sent Jesus to be our Saviour. The world celebrates with no understanding of the uniqueness of the birth of Jesus, its celebrations are empty.
It was our joy to share in Jeremy’s and Megan’s wedding. We had a personal involvement. Through Grace, Christians know Jesus personally. This is the reason for our rejoicing.

Sunday 13th December 2015 – Morning Service

john gobbi - dec 2015

Sunday morning worship was led by John Gobbi of Calvary Church, Haverfordwest, who preached from Ephesians chapter 1: 1-12 basing his sermon on “Accepted by the Beloved.”

John told us that we are not accepted by the Beloved for going to chapel, making an offering or doing good deeds. Christ accepts us. He loves us with an everlasting love. The Lord Jesus loves us so much His arms were out-stretched for us on the cross.

The apostle Paul should not have been accepted by the Beloved; he made havoc of the church (Acts 7:58), throwing men and women into prison. He stood happy watching Stephen being stoned to death. Yet the Lord met him on the road to Damascus at noon time, the glory of the Lord shone on him and spoke to him. It was an incredible conversion. It’s a miracle when God meets with us in His Grace, kindness and patience and causes us to know Him.

It’s amazing that the Lord was born into humanity, living a perfect life. Pilot found no fault in Him. The thief on the cross found him perfect. A legion of angels could have rescued Him but His concern was for us and His love does not change. His love is always towards us. Do we daily seek His face? We are His workmanship. He started the work and is going to finish that work. We are greatly loved and highly favoured, accepted in the Beloved. Therefore, we should know His peace – peace with the Father and peace with the Son. Amazing! We are the church, the Bride of Christ.

What if you decided not to be accepted by the Beloved? If we reject Christ, where can we go? We are living in a time of Grace, we need to give our heart to the Lord Jesus. Do you feel accepted in the Beloved? Are you secure in Him? He sets us apart, we are a different people. Keep praying for those who reject Christ. You need to know His strength, His forgiveness.

Sunday 29th November – Morning Service

ianJones

This morning we welcomed Ian Jones who preached from Luke chapter 16, verses 19-end, The parable of the rich man and the beggar. Ian began by telling us that if there’s one thing we can take for granted it is that we are going to die. The Pharisees took for granted where they would spend eternity, they judged by outward appearance. Jesus was speaking to Pharisees who thought to be rich was a sign of God’s blessing. They mistakenly believed that to be rich or a descendant of Abraham automatically gave them the right to spend eternity with God. But the Lord told them this parable to show God is not like Man and looks not on outward appearance but the changed heart. The parable was to show the Pharisees how wrong they had got it.

In the parable we see the contrast between the rich man and the beggar Lazarus – an exaggerated contrast. We see extreme differences in their respective positions. One is very rich, one is very poor. One has every reason to live whilst the other has nothing to live for in this world. The rich man was clothed in purple which was worn only by royalty. It was very expensive and very rare. Here is a man who was out to impress others. He wore fine linen, the kind of garment worn as under-clothes next to the skin, worn by a man wanting to feel good about himself. He fed sumptuously, living an extravagant, luxurious lifestyle. The beggar Lazarus sat outside the rich man’s gate, a large, ornamental gate showing the man would have had a large, extravagant house. We know what the man wore, what he ate – all about his outward appearance but nothing about his character.

Likewise, we are told nothing about the beggar’s character, just his outward appearance. He was laid at the rich man’s gate, illustrating that he was crippled. The man was full of sores and had no comfort. He had an awful lifestyle having to beg. He received very little, longing to eat the crumbs from the rich man’s table.

The extremes come to a head when the beggar and the rich man die. The beggar died and was carried by angels to Abraham’s bosom. Nothing is mentioned of a burial, he was probably thrown on a rubbish heap and forgotten. In contrast, the rich man was buried. This would have been a state affair with people speaking about what he had achieved in his lifetime. Lazarus accomplished nothing but the rich man accomplished so much.

But the twist comes after death. Jesus tells us where the rich man and the poor man go, which is opposite to what people would have thought. They expected the beggar to go to hell and the rich man to go to heaven. This would have been a shock to the Pharisees. Today we are no different to the Pharisees, often making assumptions on outward appearances.

Why are we given the name of the poor man? Possibly it is because he was known by God. When we are told a person’s name in Scripture it is because it is important. God knew this man, he was important to God as an individual. God’s love was shown to him. It is a wonderful thing to know that a believer will be carried to the Lord when they die. Pain and suffering will be gone. When he died the rich man saw Abraham afar. The Pharisees looked to Abraham believing they were his descendants and this assured them a place in heaven. The rich man asked for mercy but it was too late. His position was fixed in torment. We see a view of life after death given by Jesus. The rich man asked for Lazarus to go back to earth to warn his five brothers but they had Moses and the prophets. They had the Word of God.

How is it for us today? It is easy for us to assume we will all end up in heaven if we live a good life. But we cannot take things for granted. Are we known to God or not? We came into this world as sinners. If we carry on in this way we will have an eternal existence without God. But if we want Christ in our lives and live day to day for Him we will have eternity with Christ.

 

Sunday 22nd November – Morning Serivce

Gareth Nov 2015Last Sunday Reverend Doctor Gareth Edwards preached from 1 Peter chapter 3 verse 18. The Christians of the time knew great suffering and Peter encouraged them to think of Christ’s suffering. The Christians suffered unjustly, following in the steps of their Lord. He also suffered unjustly. Peter encouraged them to look to Jesus for hope, comfort, joy and strength. He died for the forgiveness of our sins and we will share in His Glory. The suffering of Christians can never compare to the depth of the suffering of Christ. Christ’s suffering was sufficient suffering, it was substitutionary suffering and it was successful suffering.

Sufficient Suffering:
Christ suffered once for sin. This draws a contrast with the Old Testament sacrificial system which offered daily sacrifices – for centuries blood flowed. In Passover alone a quarter of a million sheep would have been sacrificed. But Christ suffered once, one sacrifice. Once does not require any repetition; it is valid for ever. Jesus gave out His triumphant cry, “It is finished!” Hebrews 10: 11-16. Christ offered a single sacrifice for sin and sat down at the right hand of God. In His death Christ satisfied the righteousness of God. He paid in full, completely cleansing the sin of those who believe in Him. There is full atonement. His suffering was more than enough for our salvation. He purchased forgiveness for us. He alone draws us into a living relationship with our maker. Acts 4:12 It doesn’t matter how great your sin has been – Jesus’ death is sufficient enough to wash away your guilt. Don’t beat yourself up, you need to trust in Him.

Substitutionary Suffering:
1 Peter 2:24 Christ Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree. He is the righteous one, He takes our place. 2 Corinthians 5:21 Our salvation depends on two things: Jesus’ ability to pay for our sins and His willingness to pay. He demonstrated this with His voluntarily giving on the cross on our behalf. He died at the hands of men who falsely accused Him, He died for sinful men who deserved to be condemned by Him. He unjustly suffered for us who deserve eternal condemnation. Christians suffer unjustly but it is nothing compared to the suffering of Christ. His suffering was in our place. He substituted Himself for me. The penalty for our sin, which is death, has been paid by the Saviour because of His infinite love for us. We died 2000 years ago in the person of Jesus Christ. His finished work is the basis of our salvation. In His suffering Jesus took my place, my place personally. He has a personal interest in the salvation of each one of us because He has a personal love for each one of us. Do you know Him? No matter what you suffer it is nothing compared to Christ’s death. We can’t share the glory and blessings unless we take Him to be our Saviour.

Successful Suffering:
Jesus is the one who introduces us to God. Hebrews 6:19-20. He makes the way open to us to God the Father. At His death the thick veil that guarded the Holy of Holies, that symbolised that men could not have access to God, was torn from top to bottom. Christ had gone to God the Father, He made the way possible to God. He clothes us in righteousness and presents us. Hebrews 10:19-22.The Saviour’s sufferings were not in vain. Through His blood we have atonement. Jesus’ mission was an unqualified success. We have been inducted into the same fellowship with God the Father that Jesus, as the perfect God-Man, enjoys. Let us not be slow to approach Him in prayer. We are to make the most of our access to God, there is no limitation. It is open access every minute of every day because Jesus was completely successful in His sufferings. Those who trust in Jesus Christ as their Saviour will be in heaven for eternity. We are fully forgiven and have eternal fellowship with our God. Nothing can change that.

 

Sunday 15th November – Morning Service

ian-august 15

This morning’s worship was led by evangelist Ian Middlemist, who preached from Acts chapter 3 verses 11-19. Here, the congregation before Peter were ready to give him all the praise for healing the crippled man. However, there were incredibly wrong to do this in three ways: they tried to give glory to men, not God, they rejected Jesus, they wanted to stick to their own principles.

The first act of ignorance was to try to give Peter the credit for the healing which had taken place. We need to give all the credit to Jesus. Peter asked them why they were surprised the man had been healed. No one should be amazed because in Jesus’ world this is what happens. The crowd were ignorant in giving glory to the men. People today give honour to human icons, crowds give praise to men. This can also happen on a spiritual level (John 12, verse 43), when men prefer the praise of others rather than God’s praises. Praise belongs to the Lord and the Lord only. Give the glory to God.

The second act of ignorance was rejecting Jesus. In contrast to the honour the Lord gave to Jesus, we see the great dishonour shown by the inhabitants of Israel. They denied the holy, righteous one. They killed the author of life. But no-one could over-throw the Prince of Life, who is risen again. The author of life suffered on the cross; it is by His Grace we are here today.
The third act shows the people being persistently ignorant. Christ’s death was no accident, it was always in the eternal plan and purpose for the Son to be crucified. God is in total control. Those who caused the death of Jesus did it in ignorance. Many people believe they cannot be held accountable. Peter is not giving them an excuse; every person who walks on this planet knows of the existence of God. No-one has an excuse to reject Christ.

Peter calls for their repentance. Forgiveness is necessary. Everything that happened to Jesus was foretold. Wrath is coming, judgement of God is coming. Stop making excuses. Repent. Start again. Don’t try to fix things yourself, turn to Jesus. What men planned for evil, God planned for life.

The cross brought resurrection. We can have newness of life because we are forgiven. Forgiveness is not for all. We must repent then blessings will flow – sins will be wiped out, Christ will come and complete the work He began.
The crippled man praised God, we too should praise God for the wonderful Salvation He has given us. Look to Jesus, He who deserves the praise.

Sunday 8th November – Sunday Morning

AaronNovOur visiting speaker today was Aaron Daview-Whitfield, who has been studying the book of Philippians with us. As we came to the end of chapter 1 today, it aptly tied in with Rememnbrance Sunday as he preached from chapter 1 verses 27-30, which he entitled “Christian soldiers in the fight of faith.”
We were reminded that the Gospel is Good News, God’s Good News, God’s message of Salvation. The message centres on the cross, Christ crucified, Christ risen, Christ ascended, Christ coming again. Paul says we are citizens of heaven who no longer belong to this world and its principles if we have come to the cross. We belong to the lord, to the kingdom of heaven, therefore, we should act and live our lives in a changed way. We must live different lives.

The Philippians were to shine out the Gospel by their conduct and manner. Before we come to Christian conduct we must first realise Christian doctrine. Paul always emphasied in every epistle we must know what the Gospel is before we start living out that life, otherwise we become a church of moral conduct. We are the Church of Christ, washed in the blood of the Lamb, we belong to the Lord, we are a new creation. The Christian faith is not just a rule book, it is living out the Gospel that has transformed us. We must know this faith in order to share the faith. We must bear fruit in our lives. James writes, ‘Faith without works is dead.”

The Christian life is about standing strong. There will be conflict, people seeking to attack the church and the Bible. As troops have fought for king and country, standing together, moving forward together against the enemy, we too must come together and bear one another in love. The church must know commitment. We must all support the work of the church. We need not be afraid, for we are on the winning side. We must stand with the sword of the Spirit. The enemy’s work is to divide and conquer, but God is love and peace. Do not be afraid (Psalm 21).
One of the greatest problems today is there is no fear of God, a watering down of the doctrine. The wrath of God will be revealed to those reject Him. Hell is a reality.

Suffering and affliction was marked by the Saviour’s feet. We must all suffer in various degrees. We should not be surprised by this. When afflictions come our way we may feel hurt, offended, grieved. Jesus suffered infinitely more. If we suffer for Christ we do not suffer alone. Christ is with us, all around us. There will be blessings and great joy, times of great advancement in the Gospel, but there will be times of suffering too. Fight the good fight of faith, looking unto Jesus, our victory.