August 20th 2017: Gareth Edwards – Baptism Service

Reading: Colossians 2:6-15, Preaching: Acts 2

Today is not about Meg, it’s about the Lord Jesus Christ. It is all about what He has done, not what Meg has done. What Megan is doing is a response to what Jesus has done, ‘Peter said to them, “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. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself.”’ (Act 2:38-39).

When Peter preached on the day of Pentecost there was: conviction, conversion and consolation.

Conviction:
Everybody who comes to be baptised has experienced conviction of sin. Peter is preaching about the Lord Jesus Christ and how the people had wrongfully, spitefully put Him to death. They listeners were cut to the heart, crushed under the enormity of their sin. They knew they were guilty and had no excuse. They had killed the anointed one of God, the one the nation had wanted to see for so long. Yet they rejected Him, He wasn’t the Messiah they wanted. Ultimately, they had Him killed. Now they are told by Peter that He had been raised from the dead. Perhaps they thought He wanted revenge? Crushed under the sense of their sin, perhaps they wanted to know was there forgiveness? In helplessness they cried out to Peter and the rest of the Apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37).

There is nothing harder to penetrate than the heart of a sinful man. When we are confronted by the wrong that we do, we suggest if there’s anything wrong in what we’ve done, surely it’s outweighed by the good we’ve done. Some refuse to acknowledge they’re sinners. It is a natural human reaction when confronted by wrong. But these people were convicted – as those of us are who have come to know Jesus. We too are convicted as we saw ourselves as we really are – sinful and broken. We were brought to grief. Have you been convicted of your sin? Has your conscience been grief-stricken at your actions and words in the sight of God?

Isaiah proclaimed, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:5). There is no hope for the self-righteous. Meg is not here because she thinks she is a good person, she is here because she knows she is a sinner, like me. There is hope only for those who are convicted of sin.

Conversion:
Peter shows the people the way of Salvation. First they repented. Repent means to make a U-turn. All of us have to complete a U-turn if we are to have the hope of forgiveness of sin. In repentance we acknowledge we have done wrong in the sight of God and nothing we can do can save us. Repentance is knowing that there is nothing we can do to impress Him. Everything about me in the sight of a holy, righteous God is an abomination. However, God Himself has come in the person of Jesus Christ into our world. He identifies Himself fully with us, He died on the cross for my sin and gives to me the perfect righteousness, so I am acceptable as He is before God. It’s nothing of me – it’s all about Jesus. Jesus, by His saving grace and power, changes me and makes me acceptable to God. Therefore, it’s important to be baptised. Being baptised doesn’t make me right with God. Praise the Lord, Meg is already right with God. Jesus has taken her to be His own. Now she’s being baptised as a witness to what Jesus had done. A sinner can only be saved by the grace of Jesus Christ. Your old sinful nature dies with Him on His death on the cross. It brings newness of life in Christ, through His resurrection. Baptism shows this. Every one of us here needs to be converted, without exception, from the youngest to the oldest. Meg wants you to know it’s not because of anything she’s done, it is all because of what Jesus has done.

Consolation:
‘So those who received his word were baptised, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.’ (Acts 2:41). The people gladly received the word, the message of salvation which convicted them of their sin. It also thrilled them.

Jesus said, ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.’ (Matthew 5:4). Receiving Jesus, they are assured their sins are forgiven, they are right with God. Their hearts are gladdened. They gladly gave themselves 100% to serving the Lord and Saviour in the life of the church. They have such great consolation, great comfort. Every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, no matter what their troubles, have the peace of God which can never be taken away or destroyed because Jesus is the Saviour and Lord. The gospel never leaves people in the pit of despair but leads to the joy of salvation in Jesus Christ for all who repent and believe in Him. It’s available to all, free of charge, you don’t have to do anything, you don’t have to improve yourself; all you have to do is trust Jesus as your saviour. The gladness, the peace that passes all understanding, is freely available – just acknowledge your sin and trust Jesus Christ as your saviour. Then, being born-again, you can be baptised, as Meg is being baptised. Our salvation was purchased for us at such a great cost. As we witness Meg’s testimony to Jesus Christ, we should also acknowledge our debt to Him.

Meg has poignantly spoken about not so happy days, but she would never exchange the happy days, when God’s saving grace changed her life, to be free of all the unhappy days. For the happy day, when Jesus washed our sins away, is an eternal day. It’s a day that outlives beyond the grave as it will never end. It’s a day to rejoice in. So as Peter preached this sermon on the day of Pentecost, there was a mighty work of conviction, conversion and consolation. The joy of salvation happens to everyone who is truly a Christian.

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15.01. 2017 – Andy Millership

andy-millership-jan-17We welcomed Andy Millership who preached from Esther chapter 8. So few sermons are preached on this chapter, yet it is so wonderful. It is the only scripture where God is not mentioned by name. The conversation in this chapter took place around 473 B.C. between Esther and King Ahasuerus. The King tried to assimilate Greece into his empire but was defeated. This was something new to him and he sought comfort in his harem. His number one wife disobeyed him, so he got rid of her. He then launched a competition to find the world’s most beautiful woman and make her his wife. He found her – Esther. She was a Jew, an exile, in Babylon. Some exiles in Babylon had a deep-rooted racial aggrievance against Jews. Haman hated them with a passion. He was found out and executed. Esther was aware there was an on-going issue. Here, in chapter 8, Esther pleads emotionally with Ahasuerus for her own safety and the safety of her people.

Esther’s first argument was ‘if it pleases the king.’ Ahasuerus was Esther’s husband. The clothes, crown and sceptre signified a great man, the most powerful man on the face of the planet. Kingdoms cowered at his presence. A word from him and borders would be changed. He was a mighty, mighty man. Some criticised Esther for marrying him, yet she had no choice – he was sovereign over all. Esther’s opening argument, ‘If you are willing,’ shows that if Ahasuerus wasn’t willing, then nothing would happen. If he wouldn’t save the people, they were lost.

‘If this thing seems right before the king.’ Esther saw a need for safety today and for future safety. Ahasuerus could be unstable and unpredictable. Esther could not afford to leave the security of her people just for today. Esther pleads for the security of Israel.

Esther shines a light n herself and her own security, ‘If I am pleasing in the King’s eyes.’ She was pleasing in Ahasuerus’ eyes. He had seen her and he had chosen her.

When presented with all these arguments, how could he refuse? The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honour. The security of them as a people was certain, nothing could overturn that.

Why are we here? Why do we gather here in chapel week after week? May be we are reassuring ourselves that we are OK. We are here because we understand we are unable to sort ourselves out, we cannot secure our own future. In order to be saved we need to approach the King. Without His interaction, what hope do we have? What about you? Do you understand? Are you familiar with the light and joy? Are you saved? Do you know a fixed anchor that is immovable in the midst of chaos?
There is joy in knowing a Saviour who loves you and cares for you. The truth of the gospel is what we are here for. We have done nothing to deserve this. If you are to know what it is to be safe and secure, take your plea to the King. He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth. All power and authority is in His hands. Is He willing to save you? ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’(John 3:16). He gave His own Son on your behalf. It pleased the Lord to bruise Him. Is He willing? More than you can ever imagine!

If we are to approach God and His sovereignty, then what is right and just is our condemnation and for Him to turn His back on us. We need to be careful if we approach God on the grounds of justice. He sees our rebellion, our self-centredness. God cannot brush over anything because He is just. There is nothing pleasing. We have a problem. But remember just how willing He is to save you. There is one who is pleasing in His eyes. Remember, ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’(John 3:16).  His Son is the one who finds favour in His eyes. In His Son, justice is satisfied. We are lost unless the King Himself wants to save us. There is no hope outside Him. All the willingness of God to save us is seen in His Son Jesus Christ. All the justice was met in His broken body on the cross. Do you know light and gladness and honour? It all rests on Christ. Bring you pleas to the King, you have no other hope. Know He is willing to save you.

 

 

 

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.

Sunday 4th October – Morning Service

Ian2

Our morning service was led by Ian Middlemist, evangelist at Hill Park Church, who preached from Acts chapter 1 verses 1-10, Peter healing the crippled beggar. We learnt that as Christians we all have something to give, something perfectly relevant to whatever situation we find ourselves in. The beggar held out his hands hoping for silver and gold, but he received so much more. As the world holds out its hands, waiting for riches – for what it thinks it needs, we have the greatest message to give, what the world needs – the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. Those who are spiritually dead can be raised to a new life, to walk with God, to praise God. We need to bring the message to a needy people, to a crippled world, to let them hear about Jesus Christ.

Sunday 30th August – Morning Service

alan-davison - aug 15

This morning’s worship was led by Alan Davison from Carmarthen Evangelical Church. He preached from Hebrews chapter 2, verse 17, focusing on the prerequisite, purposeful, propitiation of Jesus Christ. Once again we were blessed with the fellowship of visitors over a cup of tea and refreshments after the service. Our Sunday worship continues at 4 p.m. when Alan will once again led us for a Bible study and informal discussion in the vestry. A warm welcome is extended to all.

Hebrews 2-17 KJV