November 3rd 2019: Gareth Edwards

Gareth Edwards-Nov 2019The commandment most frequently broken is the 9th. This commandment states, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour,” (Exodus 20:16). The reason why it is the most deliberately ignored commandment is this word translates as ‘false testimony,’ not just committing perjury. It is a word that means speaking anything useless, worthless and unfounded. It is speech full of innuendo, slander, gossip and lies.

The way we use our limited vocabulary to constantly break this commandment is an affront to God, and is a cause of much devastation in the world. A few words can destroy a relationship, a job, a reputation. James 3 warns of this destruction, of the destruction the tongue can do. It is a small part of the body but it makes great boasts. The 9th commandment deals with the great many sins of the tongue.

Whilst we’ve been accustomed to lies playing a great part in our lives – politicians, advertising, tradesmen who say they will be with you at 8 a.m. the next morning but don’t turn up, the truth is it is not just other people who lie, it is me and you. We are all educated in the art of lying. A central part of our fallen nature is to lie as we follow the example of Satan (John 8:44). We may say ‘honesty is the best policy’ but we don’t live by that. There is a story that George Washington, as a young boy, on receiving an axe used it liberally. One day he took the hatchet to a beloved tree. It was so badly damaged that it could only die. Washington’s father asked who had done it. George replied, ‘Father, I cannot lie, it was me.’ The father embraced him and said his honesty made up for his action. This story about honesty, however, is not at all honest. It is a lie! It never happened.

We are all aware of what it means to lie, but we often justify its significance claiming it is necessary, only a white lie or we are only being economical with the truth. We can become so accustomed to lying we no longer recognise when we are doing it. We use lies to cover up embarrassment. However may justify it, a lie remains a lie. The uncomfortable truth is by nature and practice we are all liars – some more accomplished than others. What is more, we can become so used to telling lies we no longer realise when we are doing it. We convince ourselves we are justified.

The remedy to lying is to have a conscience that is welded to the truth. We must be godly, like God, whose word is truth (Titus 1:2). We are to be like Him. The only way we can be like God is to be united by Christ in faith. We need to be guided by the Holy Spirit, shaped by the teachings of God’s word so we can become godly. We will never be perfect until that day we are called home to glory. We can never be perfect in this world. We are to pray for the enabling of the Holy Spirit as we commit ourselves to truthfulness in all our ways.

Slander and gossip. We all recognise slander as wrong yet we’ve all done it at some time or another. The Bible forbids it (James 4:11). The Bible also forbids gossip on the same basis. Slander and gossip are both relatives. They are often found together. Gossip is never totally true. There is often a grain of truth, but it’s always wrapped in layers of half-truths. Gossiping is lying, worthless, unfounded, idle speech that is destructive. The book of Proverbs has quite a few references to gossiping and its effect (Proverbs 11:13, 16:28, 26:20).

The best way to stop a quarrel is very easy. Stop speaking. It’s as easy as that. It is a grievous sin to slander and blacken another’s character through gossip. It is amongst the most dangerous and damaging of human activities. In engaging in it we break the 9th commandment. It is particularly sad that among Christians so much gossip is found. We have so much to speak of together – of God and His grace to us in the Lord Jesus Christ. How much more should we fill our conversations with glorious, heavenly thoughts rather than gossip? If we must speak of others, do so as little as possible and be totally sure we are speaking the truth. We must never speculate or give way to innuendo. Instead, we must give way to truth (Zechariah 8:16).

Scripture is always concerned that there be two or three witnesses to any accusation (Deuteronomy 19:15, Matthew 18:16, 1 Timothy 5:19). A good rule is if you haven’t spoken to the person concerned, don’t speak about it to anyone else.

Flattery and favouritism. One way to ensure lies are perpetuated is to show favouritism (Exodus 23:3). We are not to be people who show favouritism. There is a type of lie people wouldn’t recognise as so – the silent lie, the keeping quiet because you don’t want to upset a friend, not saying something in relation to someone you know who can promote your own cause (Leviticus 5:1). Equally, we are to avoid flattery – so we might gain an advantage (Psalm 12). It is a very subtle lie when we excuse some and condemn others for doing the very same thing, or highly praise some and not others. This is bearing false witness. We are to remind ourselves that all are created by God in His image and all are to be treated equally. Even if someone is our enemy we are to love them (Romans 12:17). The remedy for flattery and favouritism is respect and fairness for all. This is especially true in our church life. There have been many a minister who has made the grave mistake by showing favouritism to some in the congregation. It leads to division in the congregation. Whilst it is true for preachers, it is also true for everyone in a congregation. It is the responsibility of all Christians to avoid even giving the impression of favouritism.

Religious lies. This, perhaps, is particularly offensive to God. The third commandment warns of this. How evil it is to anyone to prophesy falsely in God’s name, not only to lie before God but to lie in God’s name. That is why in the Old Testament the penalty for this was death (Zechariah 13:3). There are many today who practice false prophesy, saying ‘In the name of the Lord …’ saying do what they suggest because it is the Lord’s will. It is not the will of the Lord at all. I doubt such people are conscious of the evil they are doing. Some manipulate people, knowing full well it is not the Lord who has spoken at all. That is a terrible, terrible thing. They are lying in the Lord’s name.

When we are sharing what the Lord has done, good things, perhaps we embellish it to make it better. It is not a good thing. The most dangerous day of the week for religious lies is Sunday (Acts 5:3). On Sundays we are tempted to pretend I have a piety and spiritual life I do not possess. Singing hymns of praise, singing wonderful experiences of Bible truths is wrong if we don’t mean it at all. Perhaps the biggest lie of all is when we abuse the name of God. We must always remember God sees everything and knows everything. We cannot deceive Him so why should we be so foolish to do so?

The remedy: Stand in awe of God, be slow to speak, ready to hear Him speak and quick to obey.

Forgiveness through Christ’s death on the cross. Our Saviour died on that cross as a direct consequence of lies (Mark 14:56, Luke 23:2). The lies which sent Jesus to the cross are my lies and my breaking of the 9th commandment. He loved me so He willingly bore the punishment for my lying mouth and heart, that I might be forgiven of all these sins. The God of all truth desires to save me from my sin and sent His beloved Son to die that I should be truly forgiven. Praise be to the Lord. What a Saviour! “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6).

September 23rd 2018: Gaius Douglas

Gaius - Sept18Hebrews 12:1-3

Throughout Jesus’ life Satan tried to thwart His plan. Jesus willingly went in obedience to His Father, ‘I have finished the work which you have given Me to do.’ (John 17:4). Isn’t that marvellous! Satan could not slay Him, death could not hold Him, Jesus is risen from the dead.

Hebrews is just like all the books in the Bible, in that we realised what a loving Saviour we have. What does it teach? Quite often we may have our own thoughts and ideas of what we want from the Bible. We don’t change our thoughts to man’s teaching, we look to the Bible. People around Jesus didn’t like the things He said. He did the things the Father told Him to do. We have to stand up for what the Bible teaches.

Hebrews 12:1 begins with ‘Therefore’ indicating something has occurred previously. In the previous chapter we read of great men and women of faith who went out saying, ‘I will go.’ Abraham went, not knowing where he was going to go. He went because God told him to go. God led him (Hebrews 11:38-40).

‘Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.’ (Hebrews 12:1). We need to be part of this verse, to bring us into a greater nearness to our Saviour. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses – brothers and sisters who have gone before, surround us, encourage us. Those who have gone before us have fought the fight and finished the fight. They saw something so great in Christ, they carried on.

We are to look ahead. It matters not what others are doing, our eyes are fixed on Christ. We are looking at the one who has gone before, who accomplished all, who came in obedience to His Father. Look unto Him, not to Him, unto Him. He humbled Himself. He says He has made it possible for us to reach the goal and we will! We will get there because it is not by our might or power, but by the Holy Spirit. Because He lives, we will live also. Let’s be encouraged. We’re going to get there. The eyes of the Father sees us perfect in Christ, one in Christ.

Let us set aside every weight. The Bible says set aside those things that will hold us back from following the Lord. Focus upon Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Sometimes we bring things that become a dead weight – traditions, practices, encumbrances, unprofitable conversations – which hold us back and become a drag. Even though we want to go on, we are held back. These things stop us from following Jesus. So often we miss out. What is stopping you and me, holding us back?

The Lord Jesus Christ went and sat by a well and spoke to a lady no-one else wanted to speak to because He wanted to win her for Christ. Nervousness is a weight which prevents us from speaking about Christ. So often we are not bold for Christ. Let us set aside every weight. Jesus reassures us, “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy leaden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) Jesus willingly laid aside every weight and He spoke for His Father, even in the most extreme circumstances, when His life was threatened.

The Bible says, ‘Their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.’ (Hebrews 8:12). Sin entangles us and it ties us up in knots. Satan says ‘You can’t go.’ Sin that so easily entangles us, nags at us – Satan is a nagger. You don’t want to go or say something because you remember that sin, it nags us. The Lord Jesus Christ has forgiven us of all sin and He has chosen to forget. Every time Satan brings these things to memory, we should remember this. Do you think there is a sin in your life Jesus Hasn’t forgiven? You cannot lose your salvation. You are safe and secure because the blood of Jesus Christ saves us from all sin, ‘ But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship on with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.’ (1 John 1:7). Sin ties us down and traps us from going on. If sin holds you back, it shouldn’t. Put it behind you because He’s done it already. ‘But one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 3:13-14).

Let us run with patience. It does not come easily. Patience takes us to the foot of the cross. We see the one who was patient in every aspect of His life, the one who went to Calvary’s cross. Time and time again they tried to stop Jesus, yet He waited patiently. Everything happens at the appointed time (John 12).

So often we want to run ahead and do everything our own way. My Saviour has all the energy, all the power, all the might, yet He waited until the appointed time. He could have just said the word but He waited (John 11). He was patient and did everything at the appointed time.

So often we says ‘Let’s go ahead and see what happens,’ and want the Lord to catch up. We strive to be in the position we want to be. We need to be patient. Sometimes we are impatient and go ahead, sometimes the Lord allows it. We then wonder why it goes wrong. ‘Show me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.’ (Psalm 25:4-5). Wait upon Him, learning patience. Patience marked His footsteps. He was the creator, the Word who became flesh, who went to Calvary’s cross, patiently waiting. Be patient. ‘But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.’ (James 1:4)

In the fullness of time Christ died. He will renew our strength and bring us to blessing. Let’s lay aside every weight and wait on Him. What is holding us back? What are the entanglements in our life that stop us from doing what He wants us to do. Let Him lead us into truth.

Sunday 11th October – Morning Service

Aaron2

This morning we welcomed back Aaron Davies-Whitfield who continued with his series studying the book of Philippians, preaching from chapter 1 verses 21-26, which he titled “The Blest life and the Glorious end.” We were reminded that the whole purpose of every Christian is to delight the heart of God, to long to please Him by serving Him, loving him and following Him – “For to me, to live is Christ” (verse 21). God established us before the foundations of the world. He spoke creation but formed Man in the image of God. God delights in us and wants us to know His love. “To die is gain” – for the unbeliever death is separation from God, but for the believer it is sleep, we rest, we wake up in Christ, such is the victory and glory of Christ’s Resurrection.


The true characteristic of God’s men is to love God and to love people, to serve without needing praise, to admonish in love when needed. A minister of the gospel is a signpost pointing to Christ. We are pilgrims, this earth is not our home, we are just passing through. Our home is with the Lord. Our glorious end is the day we shall see Jesus and be like Him. On that day there will be no more sorrow, no tears, no death, no disease, only glory. Christ is the Way, the Truth, the Life.