‘A friend who sticks closer than a brother’

Proverbs18.24

The Bible states that there is ‘a friend who sticks closer than a brother’, the infinite, all-powerful God of the universe wants to be your friend. Wow! He wants to have a personal relationship with us and for us discover what it means to walk with Him every day. He wants us to know He is always with us and He desires to have communication with you through His Word and through prayer.

God is there to comfort us when we are upset or anxious and to encourage us when we are dejected or depressed, we only have to ask. He wants to guide us when facing difficult decisions, and He even wants to correct us when we are about to do something foolish or wrong. Jesus wants to be our friend and for us to be His friends as well. Once we understand this, our lives will never be the same.

God created us to be His friends. This was His divine plan, right from the beginning, was to have a relationship with us. When Adam and Eve were created, this was His plan, and it was in foundation of the love of God.

It was, however, a friendship with a difference. On a human level we usually choose friends who are similar to us. However, God and Adam were not equals. God was the Creator; Adam was His creation. God is limitless; Adam was limited. God was independent; Adam was dependent. But in spite of the vast difference between them, God still wanted Adam and Eve to be His friends.

God’s plan for Adam and Eve is also true for us. God has not changed — and neither has His purpose. We are not here by accident; we are here because God put us here — and He put us here so we could be His friends forever.

Think of it: God wants you to be His friend!

Morning Worship: Sunday 24th July 2016

Aaron2Morning worship was led by Aaron Davies-Whitfield who preached from Philippians chapter 2 verses 17-18 which he titled “A life poured out.”  

The philosophy of the world that we find ourselves in is ‘Drink and be merry for tomorrow we die’ – accumulate all you can and enjoy life to the full, become successful, seeking wealth, fame and popularity, for who knows what tomorrow brings. That’s the philosophy of a world without God. However, there is a wonderful contrast in the Bible. Jesus said, ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me’ (Matthew 16: 23-25).

How different the mentality and position of Christians. Our lives are to be lives of not drinking in but pouring out for the Lord Jesus Christ. Here, Paul is telling the Philippians that his life is poured out. Paul is under house arrest in Rome. He has already suffered much for the Lord Jesus Christ: he has been beaten, mocked, kicked out of churches, his name has been shunned and ridiculed, he has been shipwrecked – all for Jesus Christ. We must pay attention to his words, of the words of a man who has forsaken all and taken up his cross for the Lord.

We first read of a drink offering in Genesis 35: 14. A drink offering has value; it is not water, it is wine – something that takes time and toil. As the wine was poured on the burnt offering it would produce a wonderful fragrance, a sweet smell to the Lord. Our lives are not the main sacrifice, they will never come up to the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ. He alone was the only one worthy to take our place on the cross. He was spotless, pure and without blemish. Our lives, in comparison to what He has done, seem so insignificant. Yet, when we offer ourselves to Him it comes as a sweet fragrance.

Paul was beheaded under the reign of Nero. We have seen a lot on the news of terrorism. The path of Christ is totally different. We don’t seek to destroy life but to save souls, to change people by God’s grace. We don’t go around with swords and explosives but with the Word of God. There may come a time of persecution. Christianity and Christ is everything – it’s all or nothing. There is no compromise, no sitting on the fence. The greatest status anyone can ever have is that you are saved and serving Him.

Today’s baptisms speak of our old life dying, our old life being crucified with Christ and a new life starting. Your life is no longer your own. Christianity is, ‘I do everything for Jesus.’ He is our Lord.

The philosophy of the world is ‘I am the master of my future. For those in Christ it is the complete opposite; He is the Master of our lives, the captain of our Salvation. He is the Lord.

Christianity is not forced on you. Paul says, ‘Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God’ (Romans 12:1). We were once slaves to sin and the culture of the world, now we come and offer our lives to Him. Present our lives as an offering, as a sacrifice, as a drink offering.

Isaiah 53 tells us ‘He poured out His soul unto death.’ What is a sacrifice today? It is sacrificing your time, your gifts, the things God has given you. Give your gifts to His glory. Give money – there is a part we must give to the work of God, a tenth. It must come from the heart, be something that you gladly want to give to the work of God. Give yourself. Give Him your heart.

Morning Service: Sunday 17th July 2016

Ian-Feb16Our morning service was led by Ian Middlemist who preached on John 4: 15-26, Jesus talking with the Samaritan woman.

The opening verses sought to show how this whole encounter seemed to be choreographed, controlled in some way. The Saviour seems to know more about the lady than He seems initially to let on. Everything that takes place in under control and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

On the surface the woman seems to be using diversionary tactics. Jesus knew she had had five husbands, but she avoids the issue by changing the subject: ‘Our fathers worshipped in this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship,’ Jesus is in control of everything and does not allow the woman to divert the conversation. He sees her with absolute compassion and gentleness. The Saviour knows what He is doing in our lives. Sometimes our circumstances seem out of control but the Saviour knows what is happening.

Look at the progression of the argument:
                   verses 1-15:           He shows her the living water
                   verses 16-19:         He shows her the prophet
                   verses 20-24:       The Saviour who makes true, just worship
                                                possible.
                   verses 25-26:       Jesus is indeed the Messiah.

From her perspective:
In verse 15 the woman sees the water is a gift. She didn’t understand the nature of the water the Saviour speaks of, yet she got the concept that if she wanted the water Jesus had to give it to her. In verse 10 Jesus mentioned it was a gift of God. She now asks for the water. She knew it needed to be given as a gift. Jesus now needs to show her two things: she is a sinner and Jesus is the Saviour of sinners. We need to realise that while the Saviour gives, it is a gift – we can bring nothing at all. Jesus is giving the water of life, we just need to be empty and have open hands.

Understanding the nature of the water. The woman must realise her true thirst. Jesus knows her past. Notice the time of day – the 6th hour, midday. It is not the time anyone would go to get water as it is the hottest time of the day. The woman is alone, possibly an outcast of society. It is a painful daily routine she longs to get over. It is right at this point of pain that Jesus meets with her. Jesus asks her to get her husband but there is no-one who will help her. Jesus is moving into her inner life – and that is what the Gospel must do for you. Behaviour and manners are important aspects but the Gospel is so much more interested in our inner life, our heart. Jesus is fascinated with us, what we fill our hours of the day with. The Word of God is cutting us open, exploring us, but not publicly – the woman is safe. Jesus is going to make her feel secure, to make her whole again, at peace, beautiful. Jesus is forcing her to deal with her inside. Her heart has been locked away for so many years. As we go deeper, the Father in heaven draws her, He is seeking her.

The conversation is then directed towards worship. Let’s be a prayerful people and ask that the Saviour does the same for us. Let’s pray that the searching light of the Gospel would search our life, grow in sanctification. Only Jesus Christ can give living water.

Worship. The woman wants to talk about worship but her she is focused on the location of worship, not worship itself. She has just been offered water that will last forever and forever but all she thinks about is the location of worship. This woman’s life has become a life built on externals – she is dead on the inside.

Are you putting the Saviour first or have we allowed other loves to take His place? The issue is not about where we worship but the direction of our worship. This woman found nothing in her husbands. Many people move in different directions, from church to church, from one person to another. Only drinking from the water of life will fill us. Let’s find our salvation in Him. Jesus showed the woman that the water wasn’t based on externals.

‘Let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.’ (Revelation 22: 17)

Sunday Morning 10th July 2016

lawrence Mitcehell-July 16It was lovely to welcome so many visitors to our service this morning, when our guest speaker this morning was Lawrence Mitchell, who preached on John chapter 12, focusing on verse 34, “Who is the Son of Man?” This is a title used throughout the Scriptures, as well as the Son of Abraham and the Son of David. He is the Messiah of Israel and the world. He is the Son of God and we rejoice in that. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). We believe in His deity, in the Trinity. In the previous chapter the Pharisees decided to put Him to death. The Council that met, the Sanhedrin, was made up of 71 mature men, yet they did not understand Jesus. They should have known and loved Him but it was the exact opposite. Jesus stood in their midst. They were afraid of their positions, of losing out. Throughout history many have tried to destroy the gospel, but it is an eternal gospel. When Paul stood before the Council he preached on the Resurrection; he was not afraid of offending them, he was willing to exalt and honour the Word of God. The Lord Jesus Christ was the source of the message that was preached and is preached.

Who is the Son of Man? Matthew tells us He was Lord of the Sabbath, the creator who is in complete control. Luke tells us He has come to seek and to save those who are lost. There was a day when we were lost, when we were outside the kingdom. We are lost without Christ. He gives us peace and wonderful blessings. In Mark’s gospel we find the Son of Man has power to forgive sins – no other religion has power to save and keep, only Jesus has power to save. We need to give all to Him, God requires all that we are. Turn to Him and trust in Him. He is the one that is coming back again. 1 Thessalonians 4: 16-17

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord I the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

What a hope, what a blessing we have!
1 Thess 4

Sunday 3rd July 2016-Morning Service

Gaius

Worship was led by Gaius Douglas of Calvary Church, Haverfordwest, who preached from 2 Peter 3:1-9

With the Welsh football team unexpectedly reaching the quarter finals of Euro 16, Gareth Bale has said we are in ‘uncharted territory’. Are we, as Christians, in unchartered territory? The answer is no; our focus, our image, should now be totally different because when the Lord Jesus Christ came into our heart He changed us, from glory to glory. The aim is we should become more and more like him. How? We have the manual. We should never say we are in uncharted territory.  The map, our chart, our Bible, tells us ‘Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday, and today, and forever.’ (Hebrew 13:8). He wrote the plan.

Surprise echoes the world. The Bible asks why we are surprised; we have the answer. In 2 Timothy 3:1 we read ‘But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come.’ The same God, who made everything, knows the end from the beginning. He started it so He is going to finish it. The Master planner has planned it all, He offers a plan of salvation for all. (Hebrew 1:1-3) We can stand firm on the rock of Jesus Christ, on His word. Do not be fearful or frightened. The plan of Salvation has preserved us from all shocks. Your life is secure in Jesus. No one can take us out of His hands. 2 Peter 3:9  ‘The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance’  He has time, He lives outside time, He has promised and He will deliver.

Are you living for this world? Is your hope built upon the world or are you living for Christ and who He is? John 14:2 ‘In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.’ Is heaven a reality? It is more of a reality then earth.  When the roll is called up yonder will you be there? We are in the last days, we live in perilous times, and things will get worst. Haggai 2:7 says, ‘And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.’ Stand firm!

Christ bore our sins on Calvary’s cross so we might have a place in heaven for those who receive him. This is our comfort. 1 Thessalonians 4:18

He has outlined in scripture a perfect plan. He will come to receive us unto himself. Are you excited? Our Lord is coming!

Those who do not believe will stand before the Judgement throne and be judged then cast into the lake of fire. In the last census taken they were 122,400 people living in Pembrokeshire, yet chapels are empty. People are heading for a lost eternity. Do you care? The one who died on Calvary’s Cross has gone to prepare a place for you. He wants all to come to repentance. He has a plan. He has given us a way, provided a way through Christ. We need to share what Christ has given us with others. For everyone today there is hope – the only hope, Christ Jesus. Go out, live His life, let the world see Jesus is alive.