December 3rd 2017: Paul Daniel

Paul Daniel-Dec17Matthew 1:17-25

What’s appropriate at Christmas time? What is Christmas all about? It is a time of year of watching cute Christmas films, trees and Christmas decorations. There are Christmas films being released. Perhaps a surprising one is a new war film of the 9/11 events. Christmas is more like the war film than the cute Christmas films.

This is a story of when God Himself comes to this earth in flesh. Mary conceives, the conception is from the Holy Spirit (v.18). This reminds us Jesus was born without sin, therefore, He will war against sin. He took on flesh – God came down out of heaven to take on flesh. This is the nitty gritty of the Christmas story, the real nativity.

We love opening gifts, it’s wonderful. There are things we want, things we desire in this world. Sometimes we may receive things we don’t need. But what we really need is a Saviour to save us from death, destruction and sin. That is what all of us will have to face. Adam and Eve brought death into this world. Adam lived and died. You and I live and die – which is why this message of a Saviour is wonderful. It brings us hope. Jesus was born into this world to be a Saviour.

We are to remember what the significance of the story is – at Christmas we focus on the birth, the little baby. But do you see in verse 21 Jesus will save His people from their sin? “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21). This is not just about a baby but what that baby will do. He will fulfil all righteousness and save His people from their sins. This is about a Saviour. It’s a humbling reminder that Jesus came to save sinners.

Look back at your life and all the things you’ve done – your achievements but also your failures, the times you’ve not done what is right – when you’ve hurt the people you love most. Then look at this verse. You’re reminded, if you’re a Christian, at one point in time you were not saved. But Christ came and made you aware your sin deserved hell. By His grace you turned and now follow Him. Jesus went to war for you. Because of your own sin there was nothing you could do, ‘As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.’ (Ephesians 1:1). But Jesus came to save you, not people, but His people. Not everyone will be saved – only those who come to Him and ask for forgiveness.

Once upon a time, when you lived your life your own way, God in His goodness and justice could have left you like that – doing exactly what you wanted – and you wouldn’t have been saved. But in His mercy and love He came to you and made you aware of His love for you, ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us.)’ (Matthew 1:23).

What is more important, the gift or the giver? Children get excited about the gift. But the giver is more important, the relationship is more important. What is the purpose of having your sin forgiven? Christmas is all about God being with us and us being with God. There is a time coming when, if you’re one of God’s people, you will be with God. Jesus was with us, died on the cross, then was absent for 3 days before He rose again and appeared with His followers, then left. There is a time coming when we will be with God. Revelation 21 speaks of God dwelling with man, ‘And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death.” (Revelation 21:3-4).

That is where the Christian story started and is heading to. As Christians we are looking forward to a time when we will see Jesus and live with Him in perfection and glory forever. Are you looking forward to seeing your Saviour, talking to Him, being with Him forever? The gates of heaven are open. If you know your sin brings death and destruction and know Jesus died for you, if you confess your sin and repent, then nothing condemns you, you are welcomed into heaven.

There’s a certainty about Salvation. You’ll be with Jesus. The doors are open if you’re a Christian. But on that final day when Jesus Christ comes and His people will live with Him forever, the doors are also going to be shut. When He comes to judge the living and the dead, and make everything right, the doors will be closed. No-one else will ever be able to go in there again. There is only a certain amount of time for people to come to the Saviour, to put their trust in Jesus. For one day the door will be closed.

As God came to be with us and us with Him, share the gospel message – not in our own strength but asking in His Spirit – to change the hearts of children, parents and loved ones. The time is coming when Jesus Christ is coming again, when He will open and close the doors. Let’s get people ready. Let’s remind them of this wonderful, miraculous birth.

 

 

October 29th 2017: Alun Johnson

Alun Johnson - Oct 17

Acts 2:14-41

Acts – the clue is in the title. It’s about the Acts of the Apostles, what the early church leaders did, about the early church being set up and spreading. It’s about Christianity on the march. Is our Christianity on the march today? Do others in the community see us as being insular? Christianity on the march suggests action – getting out there. The early Christians did not consider it an action not to march. Jesus Christ said, “Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace.” (Acts 18:9).

  • What does a Christianity that is on the march do?

We live in a society that is hostile to Christ and the gospel. How do we march? Acts 2 tells us exactly how. Acts chapter 1 links to the end of the gospels. After Jesus’ ascension the disciples are to be witnesses to the ends of the earth but they stay in Jerusalem. Why? Because they are constantly in prayer, waiting for the Holy Spirit. ‘And, while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “You heard from me; for John baptised with water, but you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”’ (Acts 1:4-5).

Chapter 2 is the Day of Pentecost. 120 disciples were altogether in one place. Here we see the wonderful miracle of tongues of fire and the other wonder of wonders, Galileans speaking in other languages. They were filled with the Holy Spirit. There was a mixed reaction to this. Jews from all known corners of the world were there. Some utterly amazed, others made fun of them, saying they were drunk. It’s here Christianity begins its march.

‘But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words.’ (Acts 2:14) Peter stands up. This is a very different Peter we see to the Peter of Matthew 26:74 ‘The he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” It is also a very different group of disciples compared with the disciples in this chapter of Matthew. There has been a dramatic change. This is not a Peter who is terrified of what others think of him. He shows remarkable authority. He is standing up physically and spiritually. He sought out Jews who had been mocking them and says, ‘For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.’ (Acts 2:14). It’s customary for Jews not to drink on the Sabbath or during festivals. They would fast, having not eaten or drunk. It was only 9 a.m.

What has brought about this change in Peter and the other apostles? ‘This Jesus God raised up, and of that we are all witnesses.’ (Acts 2:32). These disciples had seen Jesus being crucified on a Roman cross and being brought back to life three days later. Jesus had beaten death, proving He was really who He said He was. The disciples were transformed by the resurrection of Jesus. We serve a risen Saviour. We trust in Christ who lives forever more. As Christians we are going to be resurrected one day because of what Jesus has done. ‘But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.’ (1 Corinthians 15:20-21). This is also seen in 1 Thessalonians 4:16

These disciple weren’t only able to stand up for Christ in front of hostile Jews, Peter and the other disciples stood because they were all filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4). The resurrection and ascension of Jesus meant that His promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit would be fulfilled. Peter stood because he was filled with the Holy Spirit. Do we have God in us? Do we crave to be filled by the Holy Spirit in such a way that we can stand for the cause of the cross, whatever the cost?

  • Christianity that is on the march has confidence in the Bible (Acts 2:16-21)

The scriptures prophesied what was seen. Peter quotes Joel, ‘”And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh.”’ (Acts 2:17). God’s plan for the world is much bigger than you or I think. It includes not just Jews but Gentiles as well. This would have been a very big deal for the crowd. Peter is showing he has confidence in the Bible. He knows he is part of the purpose and promises of God as prophesied in the Old Testament. They have God on their side. They are living out the very purpose of God. They are part of something huge – the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, as prophesied in the Old Testament.

Peter trusts the Bible. Do we have the same trust in the scriptures? Are we confident that the Bible is the inherent word of God and that we are in the Bible? ‘By grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.’ (Ephesians 2:6). Fantastic! See also John 17:20.

There are over 300 Old Testament prophecies about Jesus Christ, some in minute detail. Jesus fulfilled everyone to the letter. We need to tell people about them. Do we spend time meditating on it? Does it pepper our conversation? Do we live by it?

  • Christianity on the march makes much of the death, resurrection and reign of Christ (Acts 2:22-36).

Peter talks about the historical Jesus, but he is not merely giving a history lesson. There’s one pronoun repeated time and time again here. ‘You.’ Peter makes it personal to his listeners. He’s telling them ‘You saw Jesus yourselves, you put Him to death. Peter is not being subtle! He means for his listeners to see the horror of what they have done. The death of Jesus is not an awful accident. The key phrase is in verse 23, ‘This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.’ God meant for the death of Jesus to happen. Jesus’ death was purposed by God. Christianity on the march makes much of the death of Jesus Christ; it is God’s answer to the world’s greatest problem – sin. Without sin being forgiven we can never be with God. But, the fantastic thing is sin can be forgiven because God planned for Jesus to die as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). Do we make much of the death of Christ?

Christianity on the march also makes much of the resurrection of Jesus. ‘God raised Him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it.’ (Acts 2:24). It is plainly obvious that Peter is at pains to prove that the resurrection of Jesus really did happen and it was also prophesied in the scriptures. Christianity is on the march because the resurrection of Jesus really did happen.

Peter also quotes Psalm 110 in which David points prophetically to Jesus’ resurrection, ‘The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.”’ (Psalm 110:1) The climax can be seen in Acts 2:26, ‘Let all the house of Israel therefore known for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.’ Christianity is on the march here because God’s plan goes beyond the resurrection of His Son. Peter answers the question of verse 12, ‘What does this mean?’ by showing that Jesus of Nazareth is God’s own answer to the problem of sin and death.

Jesus ascended and poured out His Holy Spirit. Do we have the same confidence? Do we believe in the reign of Jesus Christ? ‘Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the sun, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’ (Philippians 2:9-10).

  • Christianity is on the march because it tells the world to repent (Acts 2:37-41).

Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, convicts His listeners of their sin and need for righteousness. Peter had just called the listeners murderers. They were not offended. By the Holy Spirit they feel the need of an answer, asking “Brothers, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). They know they are in trouble. In order for us to be saved from our sin we need to see our sin and need. The answer is not popular. Our message is the same as Peter’s, “Repent and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38).The people needed to repent. Nobody wants to be told they are wrong, they are sinners. Repentance shows a change of heart. From the mess of our lives we can receive forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2-38

Do we ache for the lost to be saved? Do we warn people and plead with them? ‘Save yourselves from this crooked generation.’ (Acts 2:40).

What is the result? ‘So for those who received his word were baptised, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.’ (Acts 2:41). Isn’t that what we want – 3,000 added to our number this day!

 

Anniversary Service: August 7th 2017: Dave Norbury

Dave Norbury - Aug 2017John 20

We have a gospel and a faith, which to some extent is under attack. There are groups of people in the U.K. who would say our faith is a blind faith with no evidence. I beg to differ.

Our faith is rooted in history. There is objective evidence to what we believe. Jesus Christ lived, died and rose again. We have solid, reliable evidence on which our faith is built.

‘Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.’ (John 20:1). Here we have the reality. Mary Magdalene was a wonderful lady who loved the Lord deeply. Mary had watched the unjust trial and was with Jesus every moment of His awful suffering. She had suffered the trauma of seeing Jesus crucified, losing the one she loved most. She turned up at the tomb and found His body had gone. The stone was taken away to reveal an empty tomb. ‘While it was still dark’ tells us Mary Magdalene had not had much sleep.

Jesus had told his disciples repeatedly that He would die and rise on the third day:

‘The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.’ (Luke 9:22).

‘And He said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course.’” (Luke 13:32).

‘For He will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging Him, they will kill Him, and on the third day He will rise.” (Luke 18:32-33).

This is pretty clear. It was the third day yet nobody thought, they didn’t believe Jesus would rise from the dead . . . Yet they came to believe. Why? The Bible tells us the disciples saw Him a number of times. They ate with Him, they touched Him. 500 people saw Him at one time.

Some people say they made it up. Let’s examine this. If you were to make it up, the last person you would say Jesus would meet would be a woman. Women in those days were not seen as reliable witnesses and were not even allowed to give evidence in court. Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus, even though she was of low status.

‘Then the other disciples, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise from the dead.’ (John 20:8-9). Did Jesus show Himself first to Peter and John as a risen Saviour? No, He showed Himself to Mary Magdalene. What an amazing, wonderful Saviour we have. He broke the cultural norms.

This is powerful, clear evidence, therefore the resurrection happened, then everything is OK. Jesus is really who He says He is. It is really true.

We have a faith that rests in the risen Jesus Christ. ‘But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb.’ (John 20:11). Notice the wonderful way John opens this truth to us. Mary Magdalene had been through a terrible trauma. Jesus had gone. She saw two angels in front of her, ‘And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain,’ (John 20:12). She saw Jesus but did not know it was Him, ‘She turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.’ She had two angels in front of her and Jesus behind her. When we’re overwhelmed, remember there are two angels before you and the Lord behind you. You are not alone. Mary Magdalene finally understood when she heard her name being spoken by Jesus. If you could hear Him today, He would be saying your name tenderly. Mary Magdalene then clung to Him as she put her arms around Him, but , ‘Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father, but go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”’ (John 20:17).

Our faith experiences God Himself. This is not just objective, it is subjective. You and I, with all our sin, can be forgiven and experience God Himself. Mary held onto Jesus, but Jesus said not to hold on to Him. There are different interpretations of this. In my view you don’t need to hold on to Jesus now because He has ascended. We now have the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is a greater experience than holding onto Jesus personally. The Holy Spirit is with us.

Have you known the touch of God on your life? Have you received a glimpse of His glory? There’s a personal, close experience you can know. You and I do not have blind faith. Our faith is rooted in history, it’s a faith that rests in the risen Jesus Christ. He comes to us in His Holy Spirit. He is known to us in a personal, subjective way. Our faith experiences God Himself.

 

5th March 2017: Alan Davison

Luke 3:23 – 4:15: Satan tempts Jesus

alan davison march 17In our culture family trees are very popular. The Bible uses genealogies a lot. They were very important to the Jews; even in the time of Jesus, Salvation was thought to be dependent on being a Jew.

The temptation of Christ, as well as His baptism, are very important aspects of the gospels, being recorded in three of the synoptic gospels.. Luke alone inserts this genealogy between the baptism of Jesus and His temptation. Luke wants to make the point that Adam was the son of God. He did not have biological parents, therefore we can genuinely think of him as a son of God. Jesus is referred to as the last Adam, ‘And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.’ (1 Corinthians 15:45-56 NKJV). We see both Adam and Jesus were tempted by Satan. Jesus overcomes but Adam fell.

At the beginning of Luke 4 Jesus is led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit leads Jesus in His ministry, not into temptation. The Holy Spirit is present with Jesus during the temptations. It comes immediately after His baptism, where the Spirit is also present. There is a parallel in our own lives; we have a spiritual feeling that uplifts us. Satan attacks but the Holy Spirit is always present to help us.

The temptations are recorded in a different order in Matthew and Luke, but this is not important. What is important in both gospel records have the same details, are upheld and complement each other.

‘Being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.’ (Luke 4:2). 40 days is the practical limit for human endurance to go without food. Jesus responds with scripture to all of the temptations. He specifically quotes from Deuteronomy (the repetition of the law, used to explain laws to the lay men).

‘And the devil said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”’ (Luke 4:3). At first glance the temptation is about food, but it’s really about trust. Adam was tempted by food, this also was really about trust. Jesus’ trust is in the Father is being tested here, “If you are the Son of God.” Jesus, of course, responds with scripture, But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’ (Luke 4:4). In the Garden of Eden, Eve did not quote exactly what God said, she didn’t fully trust in God but listened to Satan. Jesus’ response allowed no manoeuvre for Satan. Jesus was never really alone, neither are we.

Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountHolyain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.”’ (Luke 4:5-7). Satan offers Jesus authority over all the kingdoms of the world. At the start of Job, notice that Satan cannot act until God allows him to. Satan opposes God. He is a powerful being – don’t underestimate him but don’t overate him. Satan offers Jesus absolute political and military authority. Many of Israel would have been happy with this but it would elevate Satan above God. Jesus rebukes Satan before quoting scripture. He will not only trust God the Father, but all the glory goes to the Father. ‘And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.”’ (Luke 4:8). The coming of Jesus has changed the balance of power forever. Jesus gave power and authority to His disciples. We too can submit to God, in the name of Jesus, and have power over Satan. ‘Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.’ (James 4:7).

In Revelation 20 we read a long description of Satan’s efforts to rally against God, but it is all over in 2 verses (Revelation 20:9-10). Satan is so easily dealt with. For us, as believers, worshipping anything but God doesn’t make sense. To serve God is to be absolutely committed to Him and Him alone. Anything else is spiritual adultery.

‘Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here. For it is written, ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.”’ (Luke 4:9-11). Satan’s final attempt – he offered Jesus a good reputation. He wants Jesus to put Himself first, even finding the nerve to quote a scripture. Satan quotes from Psalm 92: 11-12 ‘For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ However, when quoting, Satan deliberately leaves out the words, ‘In all ways.’ This changes the context of what he is quoting. Psalm 91 speaks of walking along a path, being supported as a friend would, giving you a shoulder to lean on. This psalm actually speaks of God’s care and attention, abiding in God’s will and not seeking our own way. We should seek for what God wants us to do.

God makes clear the sanctity of life. We do not deserve certain things. ‘Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of every man. From the hand of every man’s brother I will require the life of man. “Whoever shed’s man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man.”’ (Genesis 9:5-6). Pride leads to destruction. ‘By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom.’ (Proverbs 13:10). Strife comes because of our pride.

 The word ‘tempt’ could also be translated as ‘test.’ Jesus rejects the temptation, ‘And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.”’ (Luke 4:12). Jesus will not test His Father. Satan then retreats but seeks an opportune time to return again, ‘Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.’ (Luke 4:13). When we are tempted we too are to turn to the scriptures, to God. He provides His own way. We may also have opportunities to receive accolades and awards, but He alone is worthy to receive honour. Give glory to God. It is also good to have a good reputation but we ought to take care less we become proud.

Our original father, Adam, failed at the first temptation. We are all sinners because Adam sinned first. But Jesus resisted every temptation. He did so by using things which are available for us to use – He used the scriptures. Praise His Name.

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 7th February 16 – Morning Service

Ian-Feb16Ian Middlemist, evangelist at Hill Park Church, Haverfordwest, took last Sunday’s service in which he preached on the final verses of Acts chapter 3. His sermon began by saying that too easily we give way to the culture around us. However, Peter says we are not to do this. Our God has a great plan – it’s about having an encounter with the risen Jesus Christ. Ian’s sermon raised three points:

Receiving Christ The Sent Christ and Restoring all things.

Christ must be received into heaven before He is sent. The author of life was killed – without Christ there is no life (Hebrews 1). He was murdered on a cross. But the wonderful truth is death could not hold Him. He is risen. Jesus then revealed Himself to His disciples. Later they saw Him ascend into heaven. Jesus told them to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit. This was still not the end – the church grew and the name of Jesus Christ spread into the world. We are still waiting for more to come. Jesus Christ is now seated at the right hand of God. He sits. He has completed His work of Salvation. He sits as a perpetual reminder than sin has been dealt with. He sits because He is reigning. He is not simply the king of the church but He is king of the universe, the King of Kings. All authority in heaven and earth has been given to Him.

Christ sends His disciples and preachers into the world. They respond to His call to share the Gospel which is spoken with Holy Spirit authority. Peter quotes Moses (v. 22). Moses didn’t just speak about the coming of Christ, Moses was like Christ. The Israelite’s were crippled under the reign of pharaoh, not unlike the cripple at the gates. Peter draws our attention to the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only one to give us hope – not Moses or anyone else. Too often we hear the voice of the community around us who want nothing to do with the future, with the second coming. They want to hear about now. Our purpose is not to reform society. Peter says it is to give the message of repentance. The people around us don’t need our help, they need the gospel. Christ has defeated death, sin and Satan. He has truly secured a victory.

Everything in history is leading up to when Jesus will be sent. The great event creation is moving towards. Is Jesus coming again – that’s the answer for this world. He will come ‘with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God.’ (1 Thessalonians 4:16). He will come to restore all things. We are waiting for Christ, for His second coming. Jesus is coming very soon!