Morning Worship: Sunday 29th May 2016

13313338_1706659629607399_676368890_oIt was lovely to welcome some of our regular summer visitors back as well as see some new faces. We had a truly blessed time with Hugh Michael of Pembroke Dock who preached from John 16, ‘Jesus teaches about the Holy Spirit.’ In Old Testament times the Holy Spirit visited people and then left, it was not until the New Testament that the Holy Spirit came to stay. His work has many facets. In this portion of Scripture Jesus explained to the disciples the Holy Spirit would have a ministry to the world and to the church. If Jesus did not go away, the Holy Spirit would not come. The promise of the Holy Spirit is a wonderful thing.

The Holy Spirit will convict unbelievers of sin. We have all sinned and broken the greatest commandment. There is an unforgiveable sin – not to believe in Jesus Christ. If I have committed the greatest sin He is able to forgive me but if I do not believe in Him, where do I go for forgiveness? There is no place I can go. If I have not believed in Christ I have cut myself off from Jesus. There is no other Saviour for us. He died, arose, ascended and is coming again.

The Holy Spirit will tell us what we should do, to know the way of righteousness.

It is important now to prepare to meet God, to seek Him while He may be found. There is a day of judgement for the unconverted.

The Spirit of God has inspired the Bible, all Scripture is inspired by God. The Bible will lead us into truth, what is the right thing to do when we have decisions to make. The Holy Spirit shows us where truth lies, He will guide us.

One of the prerequisites of God revealing Himself to you is a willingness to do His Will. If you are willing to do His will, even if you do not know what it is, the Spirit of God will guide you. When you say, ‘Yes Lord,’ God’s Word in God’s Way will never lack God’s support.

The Holy Spirit of God takes the things of Christ and you feel it, it is revealed to you.

Sunday Morning 22nd May 2016

Gareth Evans - May 16.jpgWorship was led by Gareth Evans of Port Talbot, who preached on Romans chapter 8 verses 18-27 – one of the most famous chapters in Scripture and one of the great theological chapters of the apostle Paul – from suffering to glory, from sin to holiness.

Earlier in the chapter we see the work of the Holy Spirit, now the apostle wants to deal with where the Christian is going. He says our troubles are just for a while, but there are great things to come. One of the great assurances of the gospel is we are not under condemnation (v.8)  The end of the chapter gives us the assurance that sin has been conquered because of what Christ has done for us. There is nothing that can separate us from Him.

Why is there suffering from the day we are born until the day we die? From Eden we are under a curse. The giving of the Holy Spirit into our hearts is the first fruits of what is yet to come. Through the work of the Spirit we know nothing can separate us from the love of God. The suffering we have in this world is nothing compared to the future glory, our eternity. We must first suffer with Christ. Suffering is the condition in which we enter the final glory with Jesus Christ. The world is out of kilter due to sin, the whole of creation groans. We are here in the now, in the ready, in a state of suffering. But Paul says we are not to focus on the suffering because this is nothing compared to the glory that is to come, the glory we will be partakers of. We groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption. We are yet to see the full fulfilment of this adoption. When Christ comes back we will be redeemed, our bodies will be like the body of Christ. We have this encouragement from Paul. Don’t worry or be anxious about our suffering, there is soon coming a time when we will be glorified with Christ.

We must have Christian perseverance. We must be willing to grow, to fight the good fight against sin. We are the people of God so we have to fight against the old nature. We have the first fruits of the Spirit within us, calling us to holiness, to Sanctification. We must persevere through the suffering, God has given us all we need. We must constantly examine ourselves. We are not to be anxious about our suffering, it is a sign that there is something greater to come.

The Spirit helps us in our weakness. Sometimes we don’t know what to pray for but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us. The groaning is a sense of longing for fulfilment of our salvation. The Spirit was sent to be our helper, the Spirit encourages us to walk with God. Though we live in a world that struggles with sin, we wait in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed – those who truly love Him with every fibre of their being. There is great liberation coming – but not all will be saved. There will come a day when it will be clear who are the sons of God, a day when God will judge.

Don’t be anxious. See our suffering from a different lens. Treat our suffering with godliness, calling for the help of the Holy Spirit to deal with it, asking God what He is teaching us. We are to persevere through difficulties. The Spirit helps us in our Christian walk so we can be those who reflect the glory of God.

Sunday Morning: 15th May 2016

Ian-April2016 -2Have you ever been rejected? This was the opening question given to us by Ian Middlemist. We all have a longing to be accepted. J.K. Rowling received many letters of rejection before her work was accepted. C.S. Lewis received over 800 letters of rejection before his writing was accepted.

Ian read from Matthew chapter 21, focusing on verses 33-46., the Parable of the Tenants. In this parable the Saviour is in the middle of responding to questions from the religious leaders about His authority. They are rejecting the authority of God. In the parable we see the most central questions we can ask ourselves: ‘What do we make of Jesus? What is He to you?’ Have you embraced Him or are you rejecting Him?

In the parable the vineyard represents Israel. The owner of the vineyard has been careful to ensure the vineyard has everything it needs to flourish. He cares for it (v.33). God has provided for Israel, given His grace and mercy. He is expecting their fruit.

The owner sends his servants to the vineyard. Throughout the Old Testament servants were sent again and again, sent because God loves Israel, sent to remind them of God’s love but also warning them that if they continued to forget Him, disaster would happen. But then the servants of the Old Testament were killed, just as in this parable. The prophets were rejected, even Jesus, the last messenger of love. How could they treat the Son in this way?

The vineyard belongs to the owner just as Israel belongs to God. However, the people had usurped God; they thought they could question God’s authority, they challenged Him. Questioning parts of the Bible is to question God’s authority. The motivation of the people was to put themselves in God’s place.

Notice how kind the owner is. He could have destroyed the tenants but he is patient. He doesn’t reject them although they deserve to be rejected. He sent his servant after servant, then even his own son but the son if rejected (v. 42).  The world rejected Jesus, but Heaven accepted Him (Psalm 118). He is the cornerstone. King David knew what it was to be rejected by men – by his family and close friends but God accepted him. The stone the builder rejected became the cornerstone. Whatever your experiences are, remember your acceptance into heaven is all that matters. Jesus is our cornerstone, the capstone of our lives. Our lives must be built on Him. People reject Him today as an inconvenience. They love having religious representations on boards but don’t want to see the Bible. Jesus is either a stepping stone to God or a rock that you will stumble on.

In verse 43 we see the gift of the land is taken from the tenants and given to another. This would have been a shocking parable for the people to hear. Only the land owner has the right to take away the land. Israel arrogantly assumed the land and blessings would always be there – but they rejected the Son. Jesus says the kingdom will be taken away from the Jewish people who reject Christ. Not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. The tree is not exclusively Jewish, Gentiles are grafted in. If you reject Jesus you will be rejected eternally. All who trust in Christ, from whatever background, will be accepted into heaven.

Verses 44-46 show us that those who find Jesus a stumbling block will be crushed – a terrible crushing. Have you made this stone the cornerstone? Are you bearing fruit? He is in heaven and angels bow to Him. Those who love Jesus in this life will love Him forever. People who are interested in Christ may feel this is enough; it is good – but it is not enough. They must accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Don’t wait! Give your life to Jesus today. He must be your Lord and Saviour. Are you fit for heaven? What do you make of Jesus? Is He simply an inconvenience or is He your Saviour?

Sunday Morning: 8th May 2016

Sunday 8th May  2016

Matthew May 2016This morning’s worship was led by Matthew Maxwell-Carr who read from Romans chapter 4 verse 34 onwards and also from Romans chapter 9. He preached on the Doctrines of Grace, which he will continue preaching on at this afternoon’s 4 o’clock meeting in the vestry – so come along if you are able to do so! Matthew began by telling us that Calvin’s Doctrines of Grace have such a radical impact on the way we understand Salvation, God and ourselves. The five doctrines of grace can be remembered by the acronym TULIP:

Total Depravity (or Total Inability)
Unconditional Election
Limited Atonement
Irresistible Grace
Perseverance of the Saints (Once saved, Always Saved).

Calvinism is a whole system of the theological thought. Calvin’s allegiance to God was second to none. God is God and we are not. This is one the key lessons learnt by Job.

Total Inability:
No human being is capable of repenting. Genesis 6 verse 5 shows us that God looked upon the human race in the days of Noah and saw every thought was evil. All of us are shot through with sin and wickedness. This is true of children too. From childhood people are corrupt – this doesn’t mean they are as bad as can be. Psalm 14 verses 1-3 shows that “there is none who does good.” None seek God. Jesus is decisive how He views the human heart. We are a sorry lot; with hearts as wicked as this, we cannot seek after God. Jesus says in John 6 verse 44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” The Bible teaches all we want to do is be sinful, we never want to believe or repent. We choose what we want to do – we don’t want to seek God. If it was left to the freewill of man, no-one would choose God – we are totally incapable of choosing Christ. If we are dead in sin we cannot initiate a relationship with God, God initiates the process. I Corinthians chapter 2 verse 14 shows that natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God. We are thoroughly lost in sin, we have no capacity to choose Christ. That is why we have told others about Christ but so many do not believe and are indifferent. So if the whole human race is running from God, how can anyone be saved?

Unconditional Election:
Christians believe in predestination. Most Christians believe in Arminianism, that God looked down the corridors of time and saw those who would choose Christ and then He chose them. However, how can this be true? If no-one can seek God, God would not see anyone choosing to believe in His Son. There is no freewill choice. God foresaw everyone running from Him, yet in His mercy He selected individuals to make up the company of the chosen. He chose some and not others. He chose in sovereign love and mercy. Ephesians chapter 1 verse 4 shows us that God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, He chose us to be holy. Acts 13 verse 48 – a real corker! The Jews rejected the gospel so it is given to the Gentiles; God chose the Gentiles before the foundation of the world. In John chapter 10 verses 24-26 Jesus has been talking about His sheep, His elect people given to Him by the Father. The Jews had seen many miracles but many did not believe. The elect believe. Those who don’t believe are not Jesus’ sheep. Romans 8 verse 30 show that those Jesus “predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified, and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” This is an unbreakable chain. Romans 9 verses 22-23. In the human race, some have been prepared beforehand for destruction. We all should have been in that group but some were shown mercy. God is God and we are not.

Limited Atonement:
The work of Christ on the Cross was intended to save only the chosen people, not to save every human being. Jesus knew He was intending to save the chosen, to reconciling the elect to God – it is not for everyone. Romans 8 shows us that not everyone is justified, but for those who are, God delivered His Son for us. Jesus makes intercession for us. The elect will be glorified.

 

 

Sunday Morning: 30th April 2016

Gaius- April 2016.jpg

Our worship was led by Gaius Douglas who preached from Isaiah chapter 6 verses 1-8. He began by telling us that it is hard to tell others about Christ. Without the Spirit of God there is no power, no effect. Gaius’ prayer for us is that the Lord will open our eyes, ears and hearts so that when we receive we will do something about it.

Isaiah was a young man and the Holy Spirit gave Him a wonderful vision. The Lord wants us to see Him, to behold His Glory, His magnificence. Isaiah heard the words of the Lord. He hear the prophecy. The Lord revealed to Isaiah something that was done in eternities past. God looked down and saw us.

‘Behold I.’ Will you go? Are you ready to go? Or do you make excuses, being only ready to serve when it suits you? When the Lord calls He expects you to go. The Lady at the well heard and received, then went and told. Isaiah heard and was ready to go. Samuel, a young boy serving in the temple as a result of his mother’s promise to God, heard a voice and was ready to serve. God gave Samuel a message that would cause the people to be shaken to the core, to shake their history. God’s Word is like that. It will unravel us, shake us up.

What is your desire? The Lord is calling you. You can testify at work, wherever you are. Always be a testimony. Be ready to stand up for the Lord. He may not use you straight away. Jonah was only used once. Jesus came from the glory of heaven. He willingly came knowing what He was going to do – that He was going to die the death that no man had ever died, knowing His God would forsake Him. He even subjected Himself to the people He created. Will you go for Him? That’s the challenge today. All Christ wants to hear is ‘Yes!’                   

Sunday 24th April 2016

Ian-April2016 -2Morning worship on 24th April was led by Ian Middlemist who preached on the healing of the Centurion’s servant, Matthew chapter 8, verses 5-13. Luke shows us that Peter was encouraged to put his faith in Jesus Christ, but there was a wider audience – the Jewish people who looked on in amazement. It is a wonderful account which tells of a man’s difficult circumstances. We can put ourselves in his shoes; he is not Jewish – neither are we, we can see things are not going to plan, so we can relate.

Ian raised four points:

  • Faith knows humility
  • Faith understands authority and submission
  • Faith is a gift
  • Faith is unseeing.

Faith knows humility:
Verse 5 shows us that the centurion holds an important position of authority which has been given to him by the Roman Empire. He is a well-respected man who would have earned his position as a leader. He is in a position of authority. He is clearly a very considerate man who cares for the people he commands; when one of his servants came down with a terrible illness he is concerned for him, he was a valued member of the team. The centurion knew at this point of desperation who to turn to. Who do we turn to when things go wrong? Who is our first port of call? We should turn to the Lord in prayer. He is the only one who ultimately can help us. How do we approach God in prayer? We need to be careful. We are so used to the ‘I’ generation catering for our needs, we’re used to having things our way. This attitude can affect our prayer lives. We want things now, in a particular way. And when we don’t have it in our way we begin to complain. But this man is careful in how he approaches Christ. He comes in humility. We too need to come to the King of Kings, who has directed our lives thus far. Great faith comes in humility.

Faith understands authority and submission:
Great faith understands  authority and submission. The centurion could command people. Most centurions would die in service, they would not face retirement. He would expect his subjects to have the same attitude. He would have had five times the pay of his soldiers. The Jewish people of the time wanted to see what Jesus was made of, they expected signs and miracles. Yet when He did this they did not accept it. When He spoke of true authority they accused Him of being blasphemous. Those who come to the Lord demanding evidence will never know Jesus and come to Him. The centurion had listened to the Word of Jesus. Jesus spoke with authority and power. We must submit to Jesus in all things. He has the power and authority. We are to entrust ourselves into His care. Are you trusting in Him today, in all aspects of your life?

Faith is a gift:
See the greatness of our God. He is going to expand the Kingdom out of Israel into the whole world so that all nations can come and put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ themselves. The Gentiles were not expected to be sitting at this table with the nation of Israel. In Iran today that there are thousands of Muslims turning to Christ. We need to be careful how we speak of other nations. Jesus has been given authority over all nations. It is not good enough to just be a subject of the Kingdom, just an inheritor. Look at the condemnation they receive. If you are simply just an inheritor you will be thrown into the outer darkness. You need faith. It is not good enough to have a relation who is a Christian or to have been brought up in Sunday School. Faith is a gift and must be responded to.

Faith is unseeing:
Is distance a problem? Today Jesus is high, lifted up in heaven. Today we face problems – illness, the unwillingness of friends to respond to the Gospel. What Jesus does in this account is unseen. The sick person is far away but distance is not a problem in healing him. We want to see things happening. Be careful our faith is not a demand on God. The centurion did not demand from God. Praise God. This centurion was going to trust God even if the results were not seen. Think of all the works of God which are not seen. We may not see results of our prayers immediately. Faith is a God-given sight into who the Lord is. We need to be careful to praise Him, recognise His authority and submit to Him. It makes no difference what nation we come from, what background we are from. The power of Christ is eternal, a work of Salvation.