26th February 2017: Ian Middlemist

ian-feb-17Ian preached from Matthew 14:22-33, Jesus walks on water.

There is no safety net in the Christian life, only eyes fixed upon Jesus Christ will save us. Ian gave three points on this scripture:

  • The Christ of Creation
  • A power to bestow
  • A faith to grow.
  • The Christ of Creation:

The disciples have been sent out after a great things has taken place – the feeding of the 5,000. Crowds were wanting the Saviour’s attention but He wants to withdraw, by himself, to pray. So the disciples were told to go out into the boat on the Sea of Galilee. A storm arose. There was a previous occasion, in Matthew chapter 8, where there was another storm. The storm here is very different. In chapter 8 the disciples were afraid for their lives. Here, in chapter 14 they are not so afraid of dying. In chapter 8 Jesus is in the boat. Here, initially, Jesus is nowhere to be seen. In chapter 8 all the disciples are named as being ‘of little faith.’ Here, in chapter 14, Peter receives special attention. Whilst all the disciples are important, there are times when Jesus’ focus is on one only. The Saviour is capable of dealing with the whole as well as the individual. He wants to do a work in our life, He cares about you.

In the storm, during the fourth watch, between 3 and 6 a.m., is often when the greatest trials take place; our struggles are often in the middle of the night. The night hours just seem to go on and on. The disciples had been struggling in the middle of the Sea of Galilee. God doesn’t let us rest, there is always more to be done – to teach us more and more lessons because of His great love for us. What brought fear to the disciples? ‘But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. (Matthew 14:26). The disciples thought this was a ghost but it was none other than the great I am.

They were terrified, shaken to the core because of the ‘ghost’ they saw on the water. We are reminded of Psalm 77:16 ‘When the waters saw you, O God, when the waters saw you, they were afraid; indeed, the deep trembled.’ The forces of nature are putty in God’s hands, they are under His sovereign authority.

  • A power to bestow:

Jesus reveals Himself, ‘But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart, it is I. Do not be afraid.’ (Matthew 14:27). Jesus reveals Himself as a man of peace (Take heart), a man of power (I am), and a man of potential (Do not be afraid).

As we look on, Peter sees his great Saviour. Peter comes naturally to Jesus, wanting to follow his master’s footsteps. He sees the impossible taking place. He is quick thinking and wants to move. ‘And Peter answered Him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”’ (Matthew 14:28). He has no doubt that this is Jesus. What Peter is saying is rather, ‘Since it is you …’ He wants to follow His master. Jesus, after all, has told His disciples to do what He does. Peter now takes those first baby steps out of the boat. His eyes are fixed n Jesus, trusting in Jesus that He would keep him afloat. He too, keeps us afloat. What a miracle for Jesus to talk on water, but mightier still to make Peter walk on water. Do you see what great things Jesus will do for those who trust in Him? He will enable us to do those things that we once thought were impossible. He will carry us through the most trying times. Don’t be afraid, He will carry us through. Come to Jesus Christ, don’t hesitate. Give your life to Him.

  • A faith to grow:

We are not intended to walk on water, we are meant to walk on solid ground. We are designed to be on solid ground. Right now, God wants us to be in Penuel, serving Him. This is without doubt where we are meant to be this morning. The thrill of the Christian life is here in Penuel. Peter steps forward, walks on water but then gets into difficulty. Great difficulties will take place when we take our eyes off Jesus. Peter was easily distracted and became afraid – just as we become distracted. We need to fix our eyes on Jesus. Life can be so hard sometimes; we have immense challenges to face. These are the storms of life the scriptures speak of again and again. We need to fix our eyes upon Jesus. This is why coming to church is so good. Don’t be distracted by your circumstances. The trials of life are so tied to the power of Jesus Christ. Peter’s weak flesh gets the better of his willing spirit. Jesus sets His face towards Jerusalem, let’s fix our eyes afresh on Jesus.

We are constantly a mixture of belief and doubt. Jesus is my all, then He’s a big part of my life and then a small part of my life. The over-riding message of the New Testament is Jesus has got us safe and sound. We are precious to Him, even when we doubt He will never leave us, He will never let us go, He will never let us sink. Peter was rescued. Peter learns the message:

fix you eyes on Jesus,
He’s got you, even when you’re sinking.

We are also like Peter; we believe. His faith was small but he did believe. We’re safe because we have a Saviour. Jesus reaches out His hand and takes hold of us every single day. He will give us strength to perform great things in life – to say no to sin and to preach the gospel people aren’t interested in – not because we’re great, but because Jesus Christ alone is great and cares for us.

 

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.

Sunday Morning Worship: 12th June 2016

Ian-June16This morning’s service was led by Ian Middlemist who preached on Acts chapter 2 verses 37-38. Here Peter considers the person and work of Jesus Christ. He is not preaching to the marginalised, he is preaching to those who have crucified Jesus (v 36). He speaks to them directly, telling them they have killed Jesus. He accuses them of being complicit in killing a man – the Saviour, the one whom God had accredited as being the Lord of all, the Prince of Life. There is an element that each one of us placed those nails into Jesus’ hands. We are guilt of sin.

Peter tells us that the response of the congregation before him was that they were ‘cut to the heart.’ We want a response every time the gospel is preached. We want it to move us, to have a deep work in our lives, in our hearts. The heart is the seat of our fundamental faith, our belief. The crowd before Peter were evidently effected. Cut to the heart – the stabbing of conviction. My guilt is being spoken of here. Peter’s sermon was to convince them that Jesus is Lord and that every one of us is born with spiritual blindness. We need to come out of that blindness. No man is able to do this, only God can.

The second part of this response was they asked what they must do. It is the right knee-jerk reaction. It is a question each one of us must ask. They knew their situation was desperate. We are empty and helpless. It is important we all come to that point. We are not a good person before a holy God. This has consequences. There must be punishment. Where do we turn? Praise God we have an answer! Verse 38 tell us,

                “Repent, and let every one of you be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Baptism is a command. It shows the world you are a new person in Jesus Christ, you are coming to Him for cleansing, trusting in Him alone for Salvation. He alone removes guilt. The good news is we are guilty but Jesus took the guilt, He took the condemnation we deserve. He died in agony on the cross, shed His precious blood so we are forgiven – forgiven for yesterday’s sins, today’s sins and tomorrow’s. Hallelujah! Have you repented? Are you trusting in Jesus?