October 7th 2018: Ian Middlemist

Ian Middlemist -Oct18Hebrews 4:11-13

After the writer has been speaking about the fullness of God’s rest, here is an urgent plea to strive – don’t throw away the offer of God’s rest. We are to be diligent to enter God’s rest otherwise we are following the example of the disobedience and obstinacy of the Israelites, wandering in the wilderness because of their rebellion.

Now the focus is on the Word you must believe. We must now allow that Word to fall on deaf ears. The aim of this plea is to enter into God’s rest. It’s the goal of our lives. Our God is the end of the journey. To enter this rest we must believe in Jesus, we must trust in Him. To believe in God, to know what He is saying, you need to hear and read His Word. We need to be diligent. The message is given, we must believe it. Here, by the enabling of the Holy Spirit, is the voice of God.

The Bible is active, living.

God’s Word is living (verse 12). He exists, He is the living God. Because He exists, His Word cannot be separated from Him, therefore His Word is living. In God’s hands, by the Spirit, it is living. It doesn’t need up-dating. It’s eternally relevant. Our job is to communicate its relevance to God’s people. In Isaiah 4 and 5 you can just see how pinpoint accurate it is to our generation. The grass grows, the flower fades but the Word of God lives forever. It imparts new life to dead sinners. Because of sin, because of mankind’s natural rebellion against one another, against God Himself, all of us enter this world dead in trespasses and sins. We’re so dead we can’t even recognise our Creator God. A dead sinner cannot bring himself or herself to life. God is pleased, by His Holy Spirit, to impart new life to dead sinners. Jesus died. Because He rose again by His own will, He brought us forth by the Way of Truth. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.

New life for dead sinners:

God’s Word imparts renewed life to His saints – to renew, to revive and to sustain His people. His Word is perfect. His Word is active, it’s effectual, it does something. It changes things. It accomplishes what God intended to do. It is living. We need to seek God’s blessing, to pray that the Word of God will be active and change us.

God’s Word is sharp and piercing:

Psalm 19. We don’t know how to rationalise and distinguish our emotions. The sword of God opens us up. Once the ugly thoughts and rebellion are out in the open we need to humble our stubborn pride and let God’s Word work in us. God’s Word is so sharp it cuts deeply and precisely – not with the purpose of leaving us with scars; but to bring us to healing. Surgical incisions are made in a precise way. Sin a like a cancer growing inside us. Untreated, it will be fatal. Left too long it causes problems. Our sin must be killed. Many people criticize the Bible because it criticizes them. Pray, ‘Instil within our hearts a deep desire to hear your voice.’

The Word of God is revealing.

It reveals the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Anger – which men keep hidden but which God knows. Morally wrong thoughts. It’s not wrong to have a critical friend. God’s Word is able to act as a critic. The work doesn’t begin with our behaviour, it’s begins within us. God’s Word is precise and timely. Pray, ‘God speak to me what I need to hear today.’

God’s Word is powerful.

By His strength we can repent. God sees everything. We cannot hide from God. We stand naked and helpless on the inside with God. He has spoken of the rest offered to God’s people. You can enter God’s rest today. The Word of God exposes your sin. It’s hard. But we have a great High Priest, Jesus. He’s there, He’s completed His work on earth. He will help you. You must come and trust in Him and He will lead you into rest. Strive to enter that rest.

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Harvest Service: September 28th 2018 Steffan Jones

Steffan Jones Sept 18

Colossians 1:1-23

We take the vastness of the universe, food and all that it provided for us for granted. It is good to stop once a year and thank God for His sustaining provision of this Earth. There are all sorts of reasons to be thankful – for church and its blessings. But let us go deeper. The blessings of this earth will one day cease. We need to consider spiritual blessings.

In Colossians 1 Paul, in prison, gives thanks to God for the church in Colossae – that they love the saints (Christians) around them, they love the church. Give thanks to God for the people He has given you, the people here in Roch who still acknowledge Him as Lord and give light and hope to a dark world. Praise God there are a people here still clinging to the Word of God.

The church in Colossae loved one another. They didn’t just meet one another, they cared and supported one another in all the trials of life and rejoiced in all the blessings of life. They have all things in common. Paul gives thanks there is a church in Colossae and there is love for one another.

Give thanks for a book – the Word of Truth. Paul gives thanks the people have accepted the Word of Truth, the message of the Bible, the 66 books of the Old and New Testament. It is a book which we can all turn to, to find hope, love and forgiveness. The Word of God speaks to our souls and brings light. It makes us wise for salvation.

Paul gives thanks for a place. He gives thanks that the people realise there is a place beyond this world where God dwells – eternity, heaven. The Bible tells us of a place beyond here and now. Our world is a fallen world; there is drought, famine, poverty, death, disease, our bodies waste away, our time in this world will come to an end. We long for something greater. Paul gives thanks that the people know there is an eternity. There is judgement. They will see God face to face.

The people of Colossae have discovered a person. They have faith in Christ Jesus. Give thanks there is a Saviour. The Christians believe in the facts of Jesus’ life. It’s historically accurate, what Christians of the period believe. Jesus was born, grew up in Nazareth and was a teacher who drew crowds with remarkable things. They believe He was raised from the dead. But there is something deeper. They believe in Him and place their faith in Him, accepting spiritual and supernatural. Christ is the creator who was in the beginning, who created all, who created us. But it goes deeper. We acknowledge we need Jesus in our life. Without Him we are in a hopeless position. Christians know about Jesus Christ, they know the history, they know the creator. But there is even more; we know we are sinners who haven’t given Him the thanks that He deserves. We are sinking and need forgiveness. There is an eternal life – heaven and hell. And so we cry out ‘Help, I know who you are, you came into this world, Immanuel. Help, save me, rescue me.’

 Because we’ve asked Him to be our Saviour we know we’re going to heaven, we cherish His Word and worship Him together. Give thanks to Jesus Christ for forgiveness today and hope for tomorrow. We have so many things to give thanks for. Count your blessings. Give thanks for the church which proclaims Him, the Word of God, heaven and Christ Himself.