Sunday 4 August 2019

I want to speak this morning on words from the Collect where we prayed for God ‘to increase in us true religion’. What does that phrase mean to you?
Jesus said, ‘I will build my Church.’ And the last words he used on this earth were to his Apostles who he told ‘to go into all the worlds and make disciples, teaching them all I have commanded.’
‘do you think the Church is fit for the purpose for which our Lord created it’?
We are not making disciples or leading people to worship
We are not teaching Jesus as the ONLY Saviour of mankind?
We are not abiding by the teaching of how the life of Christians should be lived as God set out in the Bible?
We are not accepting the Bible as the complete authority for teaching?
The Church was built on the teaching of the Apostles who followed the commission of Jesus to go into the world and teach all he had commanded. We have that teaching today; it is called the New Testament. 
Remember in Acts we are told how the Church grew as the people listened to the teaching of the Apostles. This is Christianity in its purest and rawest form, true religion stripped of centuries of man influenced additions and ritual, which transformed the ancient world.  This is how it was in the beginning. This is what makes a successful Church.  It is not a religious club united by common interest; it is a people chosen by God, receiving power through Jesus Christ, who demonstrate this in faith. We all have to consider how deep our commitment is to Jesus Christ
When you buy a new car or electrical goods, you are usually given a manual which helps you understand the product, but warns you that if you fail to observe what in that manual the maker will not do anything to help. God gave us all a manual, this is it, the Bible. We have a duty and responsibility to accept and preach its contents, the gospel message God has given us.
This is true religion which will embarrass Church leaders, especially in the Church of England, who should be speaking up for Christians in public life have instead ignored these actual theological issues, and are co-operating with the LGBT campaign to accommodate their agenda. A bishop told one of his clergy if he wanted to abide by biblical teaching on morality, there was no place for him in the Church of England
How can we expect God to bless and protect the Church when we are so disobedient to his Word,
We are bombarded these days with the demand to accept that God got it wrong and genders need to be changed to please society. In our own time we are seeing the government legitimizing all kinds of immoral behavior, challenging God’s order of mankind, with all the complications which follow.
God is the source of all truth, and the Son he sent into the world for our salvation stated he was the embodiment of all truth acting on God’s behalf.
Without God there can be no absolutes, he is the only absolute of truth, and left ourselves, we just follow the crowd.
The Church rather than being the bearer of our Lord’s command to go into all the world and teach his Word, the establishment is becoming the standard bearer for the agenda of the LGBT lobby.
The newsletters sent out by the Bishops in the Oxford Diocese and Lichfield Diocese, would be more suitable in the Pink News, as with other bishops who follow a similar line rather than perform the duties they vowed to do on oath.   The devil must be enjoying herself as she sees what is happening!
How an individual person lives is a matter entirely for them to decide and I fully agree that they should be free to do without harassment. I have two friends I meet socially and I couldn’t wish for better, and there is no animosity. I am sure they read my sermons on my internet blog, but they know I wish them well. 
But what does anger me is the malice of activists who are prepared to sink to any depths to advance their agenda and expect the rest of us should be forced into giving our full acceptance of something which is unscriptural.    
In our schools and colleges, the Bible is seen as a form of hate literature, and it would appear it does not get the treatment it should in our colleges and by the church leaders.
One of the constant themes in the preaching of Billy Graham was that the heart was the source and influence of all our actions.  Jesus said, the words you speak come from the hearts and motivate our actions, and that is what defiles a person. Out of the heart comes murder, adultery, evil thoughts, sexual immorality theft, lying and slander.
In the Church there is a widespread tendency to avoid the truth lest it displeases society
Meanwhile, the Church is falling apart as people are finding that coming to church means nothing special to them and they do not find the spiritual fulfilment they had a right to expect.  If the church cannot speak the truth, the society is truly doomed.
We all want peace in our lives in our hearts and in our homes. Jesus is the Prince of peace and we will never have peace in the world until evading the truth ceases and people are led to the teaching and commands of Jesus.
God sent Jesus into the world to tell us that God loves us and wants all to be saved, but salvation an only be obtained by a person accepting the death of Jesus was for their forgiveness.
Jesus did not go to the Cross by accident; God sent him there by design for it was God’s plan for Jesus to bring redemption for mankind.
Jesus made that profound immortal statement, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’.
Jesus said He was the truth.  Only Jesus can claim moral perfection, which is why He can say ‘I am the truth’.
Jesus says ‘I am the life’, meaning the opposite of death.  He is the source of life and gives life to His own.
Jesus says, ‘we can only come to the Father through Him alone.  This is not generally liked as it is seen as being too restrictive, too bigoted and intolerant, and to be judgmental is not liked. 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.
The Bible tells us we must contend for the truth once given to Christians.  The truth once given means the faith that which was given by the Apostles who had been taught by Jesus and which was blessed by God when the Church was first established.  Let this be the faith we adopt and believe and not that now being re-interpreted to suit modern culture.  Our faith is not something someone made up, it is historical and spiritual fact.
We have to also accept that the Church exists primarily for one purpose, to proclaim the Christian gospel.  All other activities are subsidiary. It is good and helpful to have involvement in social activities, but the primary means of bringing people to Christ is through the preaching of the gospel. If we restrict that then we have no claim to be here; people can get social amenities from many sources, they can only get the gospel from the Church.
 The Church must be distinctive and stand out as a place offering what no other place or person can offer.   
I fear there is an awful lot of false teaching being given in our Churches as clergy, and lay preachers, skirt round social and moral issues from fear of offending and thereby being labelled a bigot or having some form of the many kinds of phobias which now have been created. To be so labelled is like having a badge of honour for telling truth.
My friends, Christianity is in dire peril in this country, and is largely being sustained by the ‘black culture’’, which Is firmly faithful still to God’s teaching, and not afraid to say so. How delightful to see on television, young children in Church with their parents, singing hymns word perfect.
The Church of England is stated to be losing a thousand people a week.  Methodists are closing two churches a week in Britain, at the same time as Muslims are opening two mosques a week.
 The Bible calls for all Christians to ‘Contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints’, and every word matters.  To ‘contend’ means literally to fight and defend the gospel; we are in a battle.  I see little defending. 
This faith has been ‘entrusted’ to the saints, the biblical name for Christians, and we are called to guard and protect the truth.
It was given ‘once and for all’.  It was not a temporary statement of faith, and it was not meant to be added to, amended or re-interpreted. 
This is a call to arms to every Christian.   The message of the world is that morality, which was once based on Christian principles, is now what you make it as long as you are sincere.  All the boundaries have been swept away and the spiritual moorings have been eroded. 
The Bible however is calling for all Christians to contend for the truth.  We must all be ready to stand up and be counted. This can be done by showing an example in the way we live, doing so worthily of our Lord, lives that are distinctive, standing apart from foul talk, gossip and conduct unbecoming
My friends, it is the duty of the Church to teach the gospel and not to budge from it.  We are not to be blown by every new spiritual wind so that we drift from our moorings.  We are not to be superficial believers. Hold fast to the gospel once given by the Apostles who were taught by the Master Himself.  You and I are called to contend for the truth.  Do not let anyone tell you that you do not count.  You count tremendously, so glory in what God has called you to do and be faithful to His command.   Our Lord’s last great commission was to go into all 0the world and make disciples of all nations; let us not fail Him.
Let us Christians be as proud of our faith as other faiths are of theirs, remembering there is salvation in no one else than Jesus, for there is no other name under heaven given among men, by which we can be saved.Let me close with the words of John Wesley,
I want to know one thing, the way to heaven: how to land safe on that happy shore. God Himself has condescended to teach the way; for this very end He came from heaven. He hath written it down in a book! O give me that book! At any price, give me the Book of God!  I have it: here is knowledge enough for me.

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