Good Friday – 25th March 16

cross-671379_1920Our Good Friday morning service was led by Rev. Dr Gareth Edwards who preached from Mark 15:21-28.

The journey of Christ to the Cross was a unique journey, a solitary journey that only the Saviour could make as He carried the burden of our sin to Calvary. The Holy, innocent Lamb of God took away our sins.

Each condemned man carried the cross beam to his crucifixion, but evidently the Saviour was too weak so the soldiers compelled another to carry the cross for Him. Simon was clearly converted (Roman 16 v13) and this was a great turning point in his life. The Saviour was already at breaking point before He reached Golgotha, close to death (Mark 14 v34). In Gethsemane he was already laid down. He could not bear the weight of the cross because He was carrying the unimaginable burden of our sin on His shoulders. Such is the weight of our sin He struggles under His burden. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to make us aware of our sin, then the Holy Spirt points us to Calvary and we see it is the Saviour who has carried that burden to the cross. We have been set free from sin’s burden and its consequences.

The King identified with sinners; the piece of wood carried around His neck bore the crime. Jesus was accused of proclaiming Himself as being a King and rival to Caesar- a false accusation. He is a King, the King of Kings, and the eternal, omnipotent Lord of all. Yet, He was crucified amongst two thieves. The King of Kings died among common criminals, taking my place and yours. He completely identified with us. He was made to be sin although He knew no sin. In the eyes of the Father He was us, He bore our punishment, died our death. What unbelievable love is this? Such was His love He was prepared to be a Servant King; He submitted Himself to the undignified action of washing His disciples’ feet. He set aside His glory because He loves us so. We should be devoted to Him, the King of Kings, our Creator. Why is He devoted to us? Because He is determined to love us. On the cross He has travelled from the height of Glory to the depths of hell to bring you and I Salvation. We are to bow to Him, our Lord and Saviour. He identified so fully with us. But there is more . . .

We see how Christ consciously suffers. When they finally reach Golgotha, the soldiers offered Jesus wine mixed with myrrh, which would have acted like a mild anaesthetic, but Jesus refused to take it – the one concession. He rejected any relief from pain so he continued to feel the agony as the cross was raised into position. He must suffer the full wrath of God. Our sin draws from God the full wrath, He cannot show even the slightest mercy. The only way we can have mercy is for God to show no mercy to Christ. How great was the suffering Christ bore for us – the pain, the torment, the torture. But much worse – the wrath of God breaking Christ’s body, causing Him the most excruciating agony of soul.  He takes every blow of God’s wrath, all to make sure we would not have to suffer, to make sure all our sins were paid for in full because He loves us so.

Not everybody was concerned about what was taking place as Jesus hung on the cross. The soldiers were just concerned about the one perk they had, casting lots to see who had the clothes of the crucified. Whist the Saviour of the world was making atonement for sin, they were only concerned with who would win the prize for the victim’s cloak. They did not see the King of Kings suffering for their sins. Today there are many people doing the same, so many who are unconcerned about Calvary. They are more concerned about making and spending money. They are oblivious to salvation. His death alone bough atonement for their sins. We look upon His death and see Him hanging there in our place and we say “Hallelujah, what a Saviour!” From condemnation He has set me free. We come to reign, we come amazed at His love, and we come to praise and worship Him. We ask that he would enable us to give our all for Him as He gave His all for us.

Morning Service: Sunday 13th March 2016

                    alan davison-march16.jpg        psalm 86-11

Morning worship was led by Alan Davison of Carmarthen Evangelical Church. Alan preached from Psalm 86 verse 11, which he called “David’s blueprint of how to be a man of God.” Three points were raised, David wanted to be:

  • a man of letters
  • a man of action and
  • a man of devotion.

A man of letters:
David asks ‘Teach me your way, O Lord.” Even after becoming king, David’s troubles did not end. Amongst the difficulties David wanted to be taught. He wanted God to teach him His Way. Throughout his life David was offered advice from others, sometimes rejecting this because it was not in line with God’s will. In our own lives we feel pressure to do things, but knowing God has implications for our lives. The world urges us to look out for number one, to do what is convenient. David doesn’t do what is convenient. He wants to do God’s Will. He asks God to teach him His way, there is only one way. The Hebrew word for ‘teach’ is ‘yarah’. It indicates a way to go. It also describes the flight of an arrow or course of a river. God’s Word is precious and we should have a desire for it. The best commentary on the Bible is the Bible.

A man of action:
David recognised the need to be a man of action, “I will walk in your truth.” We can learn from Scripture but we need to apply it. Satan knew scripture like the back of his hand. James 2 verses 14-17 reminds us of the importance of putting our faith into action. Romans 8 verse 28 is an example of how we need to come alongside people and put our faith into action. We need to apply the truth God puts into our lives. Scripture should guide how we live our lives. David wanted to live his life according to God’s truth. Scripture often uses the picture of ‘walking’ a Christian life.

A man of devotion:
David also wanted to be a man of devotion, “unite my heart to fear your name.” He goes on to say “I will give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart.” Our hearts are at the centre of our physical lives but in the same way our spiritual heart is the life blood of our spiritual lives. God should be involved in every aspect of our lives. He knows all of our struggles. As humans we don’t know what to do. We need to put aside our personal desires and seek God’s will. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. In English the word ‘fear’ is a general word that is used in a negative context. In Hebrew, however, the word is le·yir·’ah and it carries the meaning of reverence. God is love. His is pure and glorious. This is part of the mystery of the Cross. Our sins had to be paid for, Jesus paid these for us.

In this verse David speaks of what he needs. He desires to know God, to be a man of letters, to know God’s Word. He wants to walk in God’s truth and become a man of action.  He wants to become fully committed, a man of devotion. This prayer is in the future tense. David’s desire is to submit his life to the will of God. John 14 verse 6 is a parallel to this. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.”

Sunday Morning: 6th March 2016

Paul Daniel March 16This morning’s worship was led by Paul Daniel of Swansea who preached from 2 Peter chapter 3. He began be telling us that God’s Word should invoke a response in us. In this chapter Peter was preaching to scattered Christians throughout Asia to remind them of what is good. Why is it that people don’t want to believe in God? They don’t believe in His existence, in His promises. They think God’s Word is irrelevant to their lives. We live in a world of scoffers. They scoff at the Christian God yet they don’t scoff at other ‘gods.’
Three points were raised:

• The promises of God
• The patience of God
• The purity of God.
The Promises of God

The Promises of God
God is a God of promises. It is really difficult for use to keep our promises. Sometimes it can really hurt us when we hurt others. In verse the scoffers question Jesus’ return. They think the world will carry on as it is. But Peter reminds them God created the world when He spoke (v5). In verse 6 we see God regrets the evil and destroyed those who had turned their backs on Him. When God says something it happens.

We come to a God who promises that one day He will put an end to all suffering, evil and injustices in this world. This should be a real encouragement to us to look at the promises in the Bible. He will never leave or forsake us. If we become a Christian God justifies us, we are given His Spirit, guaranteeing our entry to heaven. The promises are for you and me.
We come to a God we can trust. How much of our Christian lives do we spend worrying because we do not take everything to God in prayer? We come to a God who can do immeasurably more than we ask for. What promise do we need to claim on today? What promise do our churches need to claim on today? Jesus began His ministry by going to the fishermen – not to the educated. He promised to make them fishers of men. Trust God. When we want what God wants He will bless us.

The Patience of God
In verses 8 and 9 we see God has set a time and a day when He will judge the world, but until that day He will be patient. During this time God wants people to know His Son and come to repentance. Each day is an opportunity for God’s Grace, for people to know about Him. What are we doing here? What is our church doing here? God has set the times and places. He has placed us where we need to be. He has determined exact times and places. He is a God of patience.

The Purity of God
From verse 10 onwards we see God’s purity. We ought to live holy lives, looking forward to new heavens and a new earth, the home of righteousness, the home of purity. We get frustrated with this world, with the disappointments of this world. But it is wonderful knowing the promises and patience of God, leading to a day when everything will be made pure. Ungodliness will be dealt with. We will have new resurrected bodies. That day is coming soon! We need to look forward to the place we’re going to live, to the home of purity, where righteousness dwells. Our aim is to be with Jesus, where we love one another in a perfect way. This should excite us! As we look forward to that day, hold on to the promises of God. Make every effort to be sure we are right with Jesus. Tell people about Jesus. Be encouraged. One day our struggles will be over. We will be in the home of righteousness.

Thoughts for a new month – March 2016

As a new month begins may be have a greater desire to know and worship our Heavenly Father. May we endeavor to  act as it is written in Ephesians 4: 2-3; with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 

We are to continue to grow in Grace. As Christians we will never understand the pain, suffering and humiliation we deserve for our sins as Jesus paid it all. He hung on a cross taking the wrath that was meant for us. We are expected to live holy and Godly lives despite the sinful world we live in.

God’s Grace is truly abundant and is translated as merciful kindness. We should forgive others no matter how painful and difficult, if we want forgiveness ourselves. Holding on to grudges is what Satan wants us to do; he has come to steal, kill and destroy – and we as Christians are his target.

In the race of life, Satan endeavors to rob us of our joy. We are reminded in Philippians not to give in or give up,  God will give us His strength to press on towards the goal. Running the race means growing in Grace.

Pride will keep us from growing because when you pretend that you’ve got it all together you won’t make an effort to become more spiritually mature. No one has it all together – we all need a Saviour!

We need to stop focusing on our problems, worries, and concerns and begin put all our focus on Christ. Pray through our difficulties, for we call out to a Father who listens and cares for us. His grace is sufficient to meet all our needs and more! Sometime our situation may not change immediately as we are being refined and He wants to change us for the better through  these circumstances.

No matter where we are or what happens in our life, what circumstances surround us or situation we find ourselves in, our goal remains the same. The most important reason for our living should be to know Jesus and experience his Grace and love deeper every day.

No one knows how much time we have left in this race on earth. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but what we do know is that we need to keep running and drawing closer to our God.

Here are a few verses to consider and think about this month:

Colossians 3:15 – And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Mark 11:25&26  -And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

Psalm 20:4 – May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!

All verses are taken from, The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.