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.
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 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.