March 26th 2023: Ian Middlemist

Joshua 1

In this passage of scripture we have a war theme. When marching to war three things are vital:

  1. There needs to be clear direction and purpose for the mission ahead. A regiment needs clarity for its purpose.
  2. To know unity, togetherness, camaraderie.
  3. We are to actually go, to make those first steps with bravery and courage.

These things often seem to be absent in church life.

  1. People appear to be proactive but they are motivated by a fear of inability that can lead to just doing something.
  2. Someone can have a clear idea in their homes and expect every one else to get it, but their vision isn’t communicated clearly to everyone.
  3. There can be such lethargy in church life. We become depressed and don’t get engaged, preferring to build more walls. It’s just disobedience. Jesus Christ said to His disciples, ‘Go!’

By the presence of the Holy Spirit all of these three things are present in this passage. As God’s people march onwards, they have the sure promise of God’s hands.

  1. God’s word and His promise.

As the Israelites stood to enter the Promised Land, they are ready, posed to march forwards. God’s main emphasis to Joshua is upon the law of God. Very early on in history of the planet, people were ready. They were a people of the Book. A spiritual reality of Christian life must be being a people of the Book. These people weren’t merely readers of the book, they were lovers of the words. They loved the writings of Moses. Without the book of the law of God, they would be lost and confused. They read and loved the book. They engaged with it.

Joshua was to have special revelations from God through the priest, “And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire for him by the judgment of the Urim before the Lord. At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he and all the people of Israel with him, the whole congregation.”  (Numbers 27:21). Joshua was to stand before the priest, receive special communication from God and tell the people.

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8)

There are three things are in this verse. The law is to be on his mouth. He was to talk about, meditate on it and do the work of God.

  1.  He was to keep it on the mouth, speaking it, not just internalising it.
  2. He was to meditate on it day and night. We have increased as Christians in our love to grow and meditate on God’s word. We can draw deep lessons and be taught new things when we read the word. We are to absorb the word, chew over its truths – God, His person, His ways, His gospel.
  3. Do it. This word is to be living and active in our lives. Are you keeping the word on your lips, meditating on it, as if it were your life? Are you putting it into practice?
  • God’s Presence.

When he commanded Joshua to conquer the land, God said, ‘Do not be afraid.’ Joshua didn’t need to be afraid because God was going to be with him every step of the way. The command most frequently found on the Lord Jesus’ lips was ‘fear not.’ Men and women are prone to fear under the shadow of death. The Lord assured Joshua He was going to be with him.

Today, we are more and more a people who are afraid to make a stand, therefore we don’t often have fear. We hide ourselves away. We’re not afraid because we fall often or because we tried and failed. We’re afraid because we haven’t made that step and tried. If we’re going to see revival, we need to become a people who know reality, who are courageous in the midst of our fears.

The greatest gift the Lord Jesus gave the church was the Holy Spirit. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are not the most important, it’s the Holy Spirit. The pinnacle of Christian experience is the Lord Jesus Christ. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,” (John 14:16).

Jesus Himself is the first comforter. The Holy Spirit is the second. Have you trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as the first comforter? In Jesus Christ we have the help of the helpless. He will abide with you. If we’re to be involved in the battle, we need all the comfort and reassurance we can get. If we’re truly in the work, we will know this comfort and encouragement. The encouragement and strength you really need is the Holy Spirit. Comfort comes from the Latin words meaning strength.

The Holy Spirit, the paraclete, comes not to console after the battle, but to fortify us before and in the midst of the battle. He will be with us through it all. You are going to face difficulties again and again. Right now, get to appreciate, to look to and to believe that the Spirit of God is with you. Christ is sufficient. He speaks comfort. That’s the strength of the Holy Spirit.

  • Let’s go! The first steps.

Joshua is a vital book. It bridges the gap between the Torah and the history teachings section of the Old Testament. It speaks to us of God’s redemptive purposes. Moses is dead but the purposes of God are not. The Israelites spent 40 years in the wilderness of wandering with Moses.  Then Moses dies. Surely, there must have been people there wondering if God’s purposes had also died? There is temptation to think, because a strong leader has died, other purposes have died. How dejected some must have felt. The Kingdom of God isn’t dependent on such things. The purposes of God are sure, so is the strength God gives for us to move and take those first steps.

Joshua stands in a moment of transition. God says, ‘Remember my promise.’ So we need to go and believe. The purposes of God are not over – not in your personal life, not in this church, not in the global church. We have Christ’s own promises which cannot fail.

September 18th 2022: Thomas Kitchen

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Hebrews 12:18-29

A Kingdom that cannot be shaken

Bad things happen. After previous challenges, people thought 2020 would be a better year. Then Covid struck! It seems every couple of years there is something public that affects us in our personal lives. There is something going on, a trail for us. We think things will get worse. People are lovers of money, self and arrogant. What happens when something unforeseen happens? We need encouragement in these times.

There are a few things which cannot be shaken, And to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” (Hebrews 12:24). We have Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant. Abel died for nothing because Cain was jealous. But Jesus’ death brought in a new covenant, a huge development for the whole world.

What is unshakeable?

  1. The Throne of God
  2. The Word of God
  3. The Church of God
  4. The Child of God
  5. The Cross of Christ

We have things that change, “26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.” (Hebrews 12:26-27). This indicates the removal of things that have been made. Are we trusting in man-made things?

The Throne of God cannot be shaken.

God is on the throne. The Psalms have a great deal to say about God’s sovereignty (e.g. Psalm 103:19, 47:8). God’s throne is unshakeable. Perhaps an anxious Christian or a sceptical non-Christian would say these verses just refer to the Old Testament. There is a difference between then and now, but humanity is exactly the same – exceedingly sinful. The main thing that hasn’t changed is God is the same yesterday, today and forever. We are not the same as we were yesterday, or we will be tomorrow. God is the same. He was on the throne in the Psalms and He is on the throne now. Revelation talks of some things happening now and some things in the future, At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne.” (Revelation 4:2). The One on the throne is the One seated on the throne before existence. All the horrors of the world can come crashing down on us, but God will laugh. He and His throne are unshakeable. What if Covid strikes again and gets worse, or another disease comes? If it does, then we can rest in the joy and the fact that the Lord God is sovereign.

  • The Word of God cannot be shaken.

There are three ways to talk of the Word of God:
              Jesus is the Word,
              the Word speaks of God’s promises, which are unshakeable,
              God’s Word – the Bible.

All 66 books of the Bible were written by God. No man who wrote a book in the bible was the same as another man. There are different styles of writing but all the books are written by God Himself. We have the very words of God. I’m not sure we, as Christians, appreciate that today. When we open the Bible, God is literally speaking to us. When it is preached, God preaches. When a preacher says, ‘Today is the day of salvation,’ that is God speaking. You are hearing God Himself.  1 Peter 1 underlines this truth. God’s Word will never fail or falter. We weren’t saved by hearing a human bit of good news, but by hearing the divine news, the heavenly news, spoken straight from the mouth of God. People may feel Christianity is on the way out, but these are feelings against the Word of God itself. We can tell people with confidence about Jesus, our Saviour. His Word will accomplish what it set out to do – to save souls.

  • The Church of God cannot be shaken.

The Church is not a literal building. The real Church of God is His people. If we are believers, we are Christ’s Bride and He is our Bridegroom (Revelation 19). We will be united to Him at the marriage supper. Stunning! We will be blessed to be at the marriage supper of the Lamb. If you’re a Christian and leaning on the finished work of Christ, you’re a member of heaven. We’ve been given access now.

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.” (Hebrews 12:28). We are meant to be grateful because we’re blessed now. We’ve entered the Kingdom. We’re joint heirs with Jesus Christ. That’s where our status lies. We are joint firstborn sons. We’re with Him and we’ll get to fully enjoy that one day in heaven. On earth, we’re just as much His church here. People in heaven are not more secure than us. There is no difference, except those in heaven see more of the eternal glory.

We may question if Christianity is really growing, but God promised, ‘I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail.’ The Church of God will not be shaken. We are the elect people of God, chosen from before the foundation of the world. Pray that God will continue to add to the local church.

  • The Child of God cannot be shaken.

We, as individuals, are so insignificant. We could crumble if there’s enough pressure. You may see a godly preacher and think you’ll never reach that point. You might compare yourself to other Christians who have been a Christian for the same amount of time as you, but they are further along in their spiritual journey. But the humble child of God cannot be shaken. When you’re in Christ you can never be lost (John 10:28-30). Whether you’ve been saved 30 seconds or thirty years, if you’re in Christ, you can never be lost.

Christ is the sinner’s surety. We’ve been given His righteousness. God takes our unrighteousness and gives us Jesus’ righteousness. We stand before God as if we’re Jesus. Jesus stood in our place so that we can stand in is place i.e. before God. We will still sin after we’ve been saved; until God gives us new bodies we’ll continue to sin. But because we’re in Christ we stand before God as if we were Jesus Himself. We still sin, badly, but it will never mean that we will ever be lost. If you’re genuinely trusting in Christ – not genuinely coming to church, genuinely singing each song, no – genuinely trusting in Christ – then you have nothing to fear. When you pray on your knees in your bedroom, He will hear you, just as He will hear every other single person praying, and He will devote all His attention to you. We don’t understand it, but it’s true.

People laughed and jeered at Jesus as He died on the cross. For those trusting in Him, His death placed you safely in God’s hands. You’ll never be shaken because you’re held safe in His unshakeable hands.

  • The Cross of Christ cannot be shaken.

If we’re not in Christ, we can and will be shaken (Hebrews 12:25). Don’t think you’ll escape Jesus because He’s in heaven and you can’t see Him! If you’re not in Christ, of course you can be shaken. You have no great work that cannot be shaken. If you’re trust isn’t in Christ, you’re in sinking sand – straight to the depths of hell.

If you’re a saved person, know this: you will never be unsaved. You have been saved through the cross, through Jesus’ sacrifice. The work of the cross still stands. When Jesus hung on the cross and said, “It is finished,” it was to say with certainty, His work of salvation was done. He has saved people. If you’re one of His people, you are saved and always will be saved. You’ve been bought and paid for by the blood of your Saviour. This is how you have been brought into the Kingdom. If you’re a Christian, that should be a great encouragement. God is unshakeable, so we are unshakeable.

If you are not trusting in Christ, what are you trusting in? Sport? Money? Family? Are these unshakeable to you? If it’s not Christ, you will lose it and lose your soul. You need to trust in Christ now. Right now. Trust on Jesus’ cry of, “It is finished.” Trust His Word that He goes to prepare a place for you and will come back for you, so you will be where He is.

November 7th 2021: Gaius Douglas

2 Timothy 1:8-12

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“Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me,” (2 Timothy 1:8).

The last time I spoke about being a living example of our great Lord and Father, of our Lord Jesus Christ. This morning, the one main question I would like to ask is, ‘What may cause us to be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ?’ We will explore:

The uncertainty which may cause us to feel ashamed or embarrassed;
the food that will enable us to thrive or fail;
how can I be bold for Christ?

The uncertainty which may cause us to feel ashamed or embarrassed:

The word ashamed means to be embarrassed, to feel guilty about something. Have you ever been embarrassed about the Lord Jesus Christ? There are times in our lives when we’ve experienced it. When I was younger, at about 15, I was already taking Sunday School classes and preaching at youth camps. I began preaching just before I was 21. I remember being invited to preach at a day event in London. In the afternoon I was invited to an open-air outreach at Kew Gardens. I felt nervous at the thought of speaking out in the open, to non-believers, being judged. I was not ashamed but embarrassed to share in public. Giving out tracts was challenging. Then, I was called upon to speak to everyone. I spoke on John 3:16. Over the years I continued to speak at open-air missions, but it was never easy.

Paul is saying to Timothy, ‘Do not be ashamed of the testimony of Jesus Christ, wherever you are, in whatever circumstances. Paul says in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” Paul, as soon as he was taken out of prison, began preaching again. If we were told not to preach, what would you do? Continue to preach God’s word because it is the power of God! Because we are in Christ, we have to stand up for God’s word. Paul says, “Do not be ashamed.”

One of the reasons we may be ashamed is our uncertain foundation. We are reminded in Isaiah 28:16, Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily.” We are built on the foundation of Christ, the solid rock, an unshakeable foundation. What an awesome foundation we have – built on Jesus Christ, the rock! Christ is the only one who has changed you and brought you to His salvation. We are saved by grace. We are living stones. How precious! He is the source of your life and my life. He is the strength of your life and mine.

“Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

How can we be ashamed! What a gospel, what a hope!

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 18:2

How blessed we are! We exercise our faith in Him. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” (Romans 1:16). It is important to stand up for Jesus whenever we can.

Food that will either cause our testimony to thrive or hinder

This is really dependent on how we are feeling and with whom we are mixing. The Corinthians were tainted by men’s philosophies and mixing it with the Word of God. They denied the Resurrection. We have to be very careful what we say. We must never deny the power and authority of God, that we do not nod in agreement to things which go against God’s Word. When we start mixing with people who want nothing to do with Christ, don’t be deceived.

What should we do to thrive? Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (John 15:4-5).

If you want to live for Christ, to glorify Him, to be a living example, you have to abide in Christ, to live for Him, to stay close to Him, to feed upon His word. Abide in Him. “Taste of Him, Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! (Psalm 34:8).

“Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods,
So is my beloved among the sons.
I sat down in his shade with great delight,
And his fruit was sweet to my taste.”

Song of Songs 2:3

This is where we feed, that we might not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ.

Matt Redmond: Abide in Me

How can I be bold in Christ?

Because I am abiding in the One who will never let me go, who will never leave me or forsake me, who will never turn away from me, who is the same yesterday, today and forever. That love, that abiding, is based on the finished work of Calvary’s cross, when He took my sin, when He bore my sorrows, when He bore my shame, so that I will not be ashamed of His word.

He now says, ‘Stand firm in the liberty of the Word I have given you, of the gospel of Jesus Christ.’ Paul unashamedly says, I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” (2 Timothy 1:12). Very shortly, he was going to be beheaded. You can imagine him saying, unashamedly before Nero, ‘I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep the salvation that He has given to me, to keep the faith that He has given to me, and I will not let Him down.’ And unashamedly he would walk out before Nero, before all those, and he would say to Timothy, ‘Do not be ashamed of the testimony, do not be ashamed of me, do not be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.’

Let me tell you something, we have got to stand up for the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The world hates the Lord, and it is going to hate us. But the Word is the very power unto salvation to any who believe. If you believe and trust Him, it is the power that upholds you, it is the power that keeps you, it is the power that drives you, it is the power that is going to take you right up to glory.

His love will never let you go. Be assured, if you know and love the Lord Jesus Christ, He is encouraging you to abide in Him, to trust in Him, to feed upon Him, to live in Him.

Sunday Morning: 19th June 2016

Gaius-june16.jpgOur worship was led by Gaius Douglas who preached from 2 Timothy chapter 3. Gaius challenged us by asking what we are doing for the Lord. Are we warning the people of the dangers? The God of eternity, who stepped into time and in the person of His Son died for our sins. Are you concerned for the people of Pembrokeshire, those heading for a lost eternity?

We live in perilous times but it doesn’t matter where we are, God has His people everywhere. Yet there are those who say they believe in God but do not believe in the Word of God. True Christians stick to the Word of God, no matter what.

God has given us the greatest teacher of all, the Holy Spirit. Can you discern what is true and what is not? We need to be discerning. In the Scriptures we read about the hinderer. There is no mention of the ‘hinderer’ but we come across the word ‘resist’ –“Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” There is a devil who is there to hinder us, to blind our eyes, to say there is no God. Satan sows the thoughts of confusion in our hearts.

2 Corinthians 4: 3-4 tells us there is spiritual blindness to those who are unsaved, even to those who are saved.

In our church today there are those who are masquerading as Christians. They are there to deceive, to falsely proclaim the Gospel. The devil masquerades as the angel of light. In 2 Corinthians chapter 11 verse 14 we read, “For Satan himself transforms himself unto an angel of light.” Arm yourselves with the mighty arm of God.

Exegesis allows the Word of God to lead you. However, there are those who call themselves ‘liberal’ Christians, those who dismantle the Word of God to make it socially acceptable to man, not God.

Isaiah chapter 59. When was the last time you quarrelled with God, when you questioned God? Psalm 121 tells us that God is listening to us, He will preserve us, He is concerned for us. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 we are told to “Pray without ceasing.” The Lord has not stopped praying for us.

We live in perilous times, heed the Word of God. Be witnesses for God, tell others what God has done for you. When was the last time you told others what God has done for you? If you know Christ, tell others. Stand firm for Christ.



Morning Worship: 5th June 2016

Norman ReesWorship was led by Norman Rees of Bethany Free Church, Clarbeston Road, Haverfordwest, who preached Genesis chapter 32. Jacob was a problematic person who God used. In this passage Jacob has left home after stealing his brother’s birth-right and is now returning after twenty years away, expecting to face his brother’s wrath.

Jacob was blessed by God, who made a covenant with him. He had settled down and wanted for nothing at all. Now the Lord has told Jacob to return to Canaan, to the land of his kindred. This must have been a huge shock. He was very fearful, his life was now being turned upside-down. Sometimes our life is like that; everything is going smoothly then out of the blue something happens and we may ask, “Why Lord?” This is to make us realise we cannot be independent of God.

As Jacob heads back he makes a plan of action. He sent messengers ahead who were met by Esau, who was coming to meet Jacob with 400 men. Jacob was greatly afraid. We can have distressing, perplexing news which can make us feel fearful. We become worried and concerned. Why is this happening? It is to strengthen our faith. It is easy to be a Christian when things are going well but then something happens to break the nest, to teach us to fly:

          “As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings, so the Lord alone led him.” (Deuteronomy 32:11)

God breaks the nest of people so they may know God. Gidoen, Moses and Paul were all fearful. God brings us problems to send us to Him in prayer. When there are ripples in your life, there is action in your life. Come to God and rejoice in Him. Jacob had problems and he went to God in prayer. He went to the God who had blest him and now who is trying him. God knows when to allow the devil to attack you and when to take the devil off your back. Come to God in prayer.

How do you come to God in prayer? We come to a God who welcomes us, who knows the unworthiness of His children, but there is one who makes us worthy. The Lord Jesus Christ came from heaven in order that He might redeem us from condemnation, from Hell. The wrath of the Holy Father was poured on His head. We can never imagine His suffering. His righteousness has been given to us if we repent and give our lives to Him. Jacob is honest in his prayer to God. God knows our troubles but He wants us to tell Him, to voice our concerns and needs.

The best part of intercession Jacob receives is that God’s Word has come to Him. He knows there is a purpose to what is happening to Him. He is bringing God’s Word back to Him:

          “Remember the Word to Your servant, upon which You have caused me to hope. This is my comfort in affliction, for Your Word has given me life.”
                                                                                           Psalm 119:49-50

What is your comfort in affliction? Where do you go when trouble comes? Go to the Word of God, to God Himself. Be honest with the Lord, tell Him what is on your heart. Do not allow the things of this world to cloud your mind. We have the promises of God, don’t forget the Word of God. If a fear drives you to God thank Him for that fear. Jacob had a cloud of darkness but it burst into blessings. Wait on God. Are you content with what God has given you? Commit your situation to God. Things may be taken from us, but never our Salvation. We have a hope in heaven. Whatever we go through God does it for the best. Trust in His Word, take everything to Him in prayer. Faith without works is dead. Prayer, faith and working for God go together. God is a good God. Glorify Him wherever He takes us.