December 11th 2016: Norman Rees

norman-rees-dec-2016Morning worship was led by Norman Rees, of Bethany Free Church, Clarbeston Road, who preached on 1 Timothy 1. Norman began by reminding us that Paul was a great servant of God who was mightily converted and greatly used. Paul met up with Timothy (Acts 16), a young man, and took him to be his servant and aide. He then had a responsibility as he was a ‘son in the faith.’ He left him in Ephesus to pastor the church. Paul encourages Timothy to cling on to the truth and not to listen to false teaching, but to stand up to those men. The law was given to the unrighteous, the living law is Jesus Christ. Only when we have an encounter with Jesus Christ and accept Him will the gift of God come to us. The law of God is to know that we cannot get to heaven by keeping anything. We are born in sin and we need something far greater than works. Paul says God changed him and Paul encourages Timothy to preach the Word of God to sinners, the lawless, who need the gospel. It is not just for people who attend chapel. The gospel is for sinners. Paul tells Timothy to preach the gospel which has revolutionised his life.

 ‘The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.’ (1 Timothy 1:15). This is a faithful saying, it is not something that is unreliable. It is true and can be trusted because it comes from a true, reliable, faithful God. It is an indescribable gift – it can changes a murder to someone who loves Christ. Here are 9 words that form the basis of all scripture, ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.’ Christ came into the world as a helpless baby. Without Him this world does not make sense, existence is nothing without knowing God. You can have a happy life, but it’s a passing happiness, a vapour. Without God it makes no sense at all.

Saul of Tarsus was an enemy of God but God can change people. Christ is the promised seed of the very beginning, the anointed one of God, appointed to come into this world to save sinners. Jesus, the Saviour of sinners, who came from glory, a place where there is no sin, came into this world to a place which was despised by people – Nazareth. He was born in a stable, laid in a manger, the Son of God. It is mind blowing! He grew up with no sin in a wicked world. He came into a world ruled by Romans who knew how to bring the wrath of Rome down on those who would not toe the line. They had probably the worst form of execution – crucifixion. He came into a world where men writhed on crosses. He stayed in Palestine all His life yet the whole world knows about this man. He is God the Son, the one who created heaven and hell, the one who came into the world to save sinners. He knew what it was to be human, to be falsely accused, yet He is God. He came not just as a baby but as the Saviour of sinners. He just didn’t come as a pattern of good works but as someone who can change lives. Has He changed you? He bled to death for the punishment of my sin (Isaiah 53). He is the Messiah.

This Christmas, remember the coming of Christ. Repent and follow Him to be born again and have a new life.

‘The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.’ (1 Timothy 1:15). The chief of sinners. We are all the chief of sinners. Christ died for us. As Christians, when we fail God and succumb to the evil ways of the devil, tell the devil, ‘Satan, I resist you in the name of the one who came into this world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. He saved me, He has opened the way to heaven for me!’

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