Saturday 29 December 2018


We have come to the end of another year in which there have been mixed emotions and experiences. There have been feelings of despair and painful suffering as well as happiness as we lived day by day, like an undulating road which twists and turns, down in valleys and at other times riding high. There have been times when we feel frustrated or discouraged and wonder what the purpose of our life is or should be.

In a few days time we will enter a New Year with all its uncertainties, we will have our hopes and our fears. As Christians live in two worlds; we live in the earthly world with all its uncertainties, but we also live in the spiritual world where there are no uncertainties, and there is always the danger we can forget about God and become so involved in earthly activities.

As members of a human family we like to meet with brothers and sisters in our parents’ home and as members of a Church family we should welcome the chance to meet with our Christian brothers and sisters in our heavenly Father’s house.

A Church family is unique in that it consists of different ages, backgrounds, experiences and sexes. It is where God provides for us to be come equipped to carry out His message to the world. We sing praise together, pray for each other and for the world’s needs, share bread and wine in Holy Communion and remember what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.

Coming to Church should be like sons and daughters coming to meet with their (heavenly) Father in complete harmony. My sons regularly visit my wife and self, and I would be very concerned if they did not. Our heavenly Father is also upset when His children neglect Him

One vital practice seems to be missing from some Churches these days, and that is concern for the lost sheep. People are falling away from Church attending for a number of reasons. Whatever the cause, but especially when the reason emanates from within the Church, such as false teaching, poorly constructed services, unpleasant members, there is an urgent need to rectify. How often are they visited to find out? I suspect with good reason, not very often. This is often because Ministers have too many meetings. I am reminded of that slogan, the least productive people are usually the ones who are most in favour of holding meetings.'

The Bible urges the need for Christians to be with each other. The Bible says, ‘let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another’. We need to meet with others to have fellowship, to gain and give encouragement.

We can go to any part of the world and be with people we could not otherwise meet, but as Christians we can feel at one with them. I once lived in Africa and attended a Bible study group, and as it was a port, ships would bring Christian missionaries, people from all different countries of different skin colours and we could all meet and feel at one with each other. Where else but amidst Christ’s people could you find such a grouping? What bound us together was the fact we had all committed our lives to Jesus Christ

But just believing in God’s existence is not enough we have to draw near to Him and the only way is through Jesus Christ. There is one way, one Saviour, one way to eternal life, not Buddha or Mohammed, or anyone else, we come to God through Jesus Christ alone. He is the One who opens up the way having given his life dying on Cross, that all who accept him as their Saviour will be granted eternal life.

Jesus said, ‘I am the way no one comes to the Father except through me’. What exactly does Jesus mean when he says, ‘we can only come to the Father through Him alone?

Some time ago I went to Birmingham and had to find an address in those ancient days when we did not have satellite navigation systems in our cars. I asked a man walking on a road if he could tell me the way, and he answered, ‘it is pretty difficult for you to get there on your own, but I am going that way and could take you’. He got into my car and we went directly there. That is what Jesus does for us. He says you can’t get there on your own, but I will direct you, guide you, and take you myself. He is saying there is no other way. This is an exclusive offer.

This is not generally liked as it is seen as being too restrictive, too bigoted and intolerant, and to be judgmental is not liked. Consequently, some clergy will not quote it, whilst others just will not accept it.

Frankly, I think if any man/woman does not accept this verse then they should not be allowed to preach for they are betraying the Lord who said it, and the Church which they serve.

Whilst it may be comforting to believe that we can all get to heaven regardless of one’s beliefs, and we like to please our fellow men and women, it is quite cruel to mislead if it is not true. It is like telling a blind person standing on the sidewalk of a major road it is safe for him to cross when ready.

If we say to someone who has no Church commitment, has only a tenuous belief in Jesus Christ, never reads a Bible or prays, that they are going to heaven, we are leading them astray.

Others say if you just follow your conscience, you’ll be fine, but consciences become dulled and hardened. Taking the lead from politicians, people can look you in the eye and lie without any qualm of conscience.

Jesus said He was the truth. If a person is to teach moral truth that person must have an impeccable reputation and have no hidden misdoings. Only Jesus can claim moral perfection, which is why He can say ‘I am the truth’.

Thirdly Jesus says ‘I am the life’, meaning the opposite of death. He is the source of life and gives life to His own. There are few people who can say with hand on heart I have no worries, problems, everything in my life is sunshine and roses. We all need spiritual fulfilment.

To all who are worried Jesus says, ‘come to me all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls’ He is saying He is waiting for you and has got the help if you only will go to Him.

Jesus added, ‘take my yoke upon you’. A yoke was a wooden frame placed on a person’s shoulder in order to make a load easier to carry; so Jesus is saying let me help you carry your burden. In John’s gospel we have the promise of Jesus that He will never turn anyone away.

We are living in an increasing anti-Christian environment in this country with so called Equality and Diversity laws making it hard for Christians to express themselves, as public servants strive to find ways of excluding Christian expression. Some gross injustices have been imposed when someone has expressed an opinion which an activist group has not liked, and weak-minded authority has given in to. Never be ashamed to confess your faith.

But there is one thing I feel needs to be stressed. We should ensure the Church we attend is one faithful to God’s Word and seeks to build each other up through the Scriptures, and where the true gospel is preached.

We have to acknowledge however sadly this is not always the case, so it serves no purpose going to a Church which fails to do these things. Too many preachers have their own agenda, which is created around a morality not supported by Scripture, and where the teaching is given to subscribe to the culture of the day. You must attend a Bible based Church.

Let us therefore draw near to God. holding firmly to your belief, and never give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us always give each other encouragement. Don’t let unpleasant people, secularists, or anyone else hold you back. Remember too, Jesus said if anyone rejected Him, He will one day reject them. Such a fate is too horrible to consider. Never deny your faith to avoid being mocked. Stand firm remembering Jesus stood firm for you on the Cross.

My friends, it is the duty of the Church to teach the gospel and not budge from doing so. We are not be blown away by every new spiritual wind so that we drift from our moorings, nor be just superficial believers.

Hold fast to the gospel given by the Apostles who were taught by our Lord Himself. Never let anyone tell you that you do not count, you count tremendously so glory n what God wants you to do and be faithful to our Lord’s commands.

This sermon is printed on and now on Facebook.

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