Thursday 29 December 2022

                     John 2 v.1/11

The Gospel passage for Sunday is the story of the first miracle of Jesus at a wedding, and we see God’s intention for mankind.

When we study a Bible passage, we should view it in two stages; first, what is the story telling us, and secondly what lesson and meaning is it giving to us as followers of Jesus.

This story takes place in a village Cana, which is situated near Nazareth, and is the story of a wedding.  An Eastern wedding was a very special occasion, different from a Western one where the bride is the main figure. Here, she enters a Church in all her glory to the playing of organ music, and the congregation standing to greet and admire her. In the East the groom is the main one and he pays for it, the bride just turns up.

It was Jewish law that a virgin got married on a Wednesday, with the ceremony in the late evening after a feast, and the festivities would go on for days, often with relatives of both families joining in the celebrations. After the ceremony, the bridal couple would be conducted to their new home, through the village streets by the light of flaming torches with a canopy over their heads. They were taken by as long a route as possible so as many people as possible could wish them well.

In a land where there was so much poverty and constant hard work, this week of festivity and joy was a significant occasion, and it was this that Jesus came to share in. An added problem was he brought with him five Apostles, which meant more people to wine and dine.

For a Jewish wedding wine was an essential, but there would be no drunkenness for that would be seen as a disgrace, and the wine would be two or even three parts water.  In the East hospitality was a sacred duty, so failure to provide would have meant humiliation.

Mary heard of the problem and told her Son, and Jesus answered her by what seems rudeness, ‘woman what have you to do with me, my hour has not yet come.’ Jesus was kindly stressing that she must not see him only as her son, for when he will suffer, the more she will suffer. She must the see him as her Lord.

Standing there were six large jars each holding about two or three measures, that is about twenty gallons of water, making a total of over a hundred gallons of water intended for purifying or cleansing. The roads were dusty, and as the men wore sandals the men’s feet needed washing, but Jews also washed hands before each course of food.

Jesus sorted out what normally would take hours in preparation, by cutting out the normal procedure of crushing and fermenting, and turned the water into wine. This is included in the story to emphasize the greatness of the Lord’s gift. The head waiter then praised the quality of the wine produced.  

We see Mary’s faith in Jesus. She turned to him when a problem arose and even when he answered her sharply, she told the waiter to do what he asked, giving us a message to trust Jesus even when we do not understand is happening.  In every life there comes period of  darkness when we despair and wonder what the outcome, happy are those who still trust.

Every Bible story has a meaning and a lesson for all the Lord’s followers, including this story. We see Jesus ready to share in all our celebrations. This was the first of the Lord’s miracles, and it took place at a marriage of a man and a woman, which has a significant meaning, and it tells us how honorable and important marriage was in the eyes of Jesus, it having been ordained by God for society’s benefit when he made a man and a woman.

There is no more wonderful and beautiful union than a man and a woman, and that it is why God created us so. God told us He gave woman to be an essential part of a man’s life, and men have found what a great blessing He gave.

God created marriage as the first institution before all others, with two distinct people of different bodies to have children and create a human family. Two people of the same sex cannot produce children and so extend the human race. God knew what He was doing, giving them different personalities and bodies, with different genes and chromosomes, which cannot be medically changed, to fulfil His purpose for the world.

Since the creation of the world, thousands of years past, marriage has taken place in every country in the world, being recognized as a stabling factor in society, In the last twenty years, it has been attacked by secular activists, liberal politicians seeking votes, and shamefully by bishops and other Church leaders, who have actually called for the Bible teaching to be abandoned. We have reached a stage where marriage has no significance in public life, and now can even be ended without stated reason.

This has caused much distress and poverty principally to women, and social study has established that children’s lives greatly affected. How ironic that Western nations where there are more material benefits, there is less marriage success than poorer Eastern nations where marriage is more honored.

What any two people decide they wish to do, is a matter for themselves to pursue without interference; God is capable of forming His judgement and any action He sees necessary. For the Church to formally give approval is to violate God’s teaching and our Lord’s commands.

For Jesus a home was special, no family abuse such as we see in so many homes.  A great loss in our time is that Jesus has no place in the majority of homes in this country. The bedrock of our society was once a family home of a man and woman in a happy marriage, raising children with a Christian faith. Now such a situation is mocked as old fashioned, but we never had so many teenage pregnancies, child abuse, and a divorce rate of more than 1 in 3 marriages. So many children do not know love, security and fellowship of a loving home. A lot of children don’t even know who their father is, and have brothers and sisters of different parents.

Jesus showed his glorious powers, and bestowed his blessing on marriage at a village girl’s wedding, and his Apostles accepted him as God’s Son.

This wedding took place probably in a village hall, no need for fancy mansions and plush hotels with large number of guests; Jesus is ready to take part in the ordinary things of our lives. 

Today the Church is almost performing a miracle in reverse, turning wine into water by diluting marriage into something having no greater significance than any other relationship.

Don’t be discouraged. When we let God and Jesus into our lives all ordinary activities receive new power, so don’t close the door of your life on the Lord, for if you do you reveal your lack of faith and trust. Give God a chance to do want you cannot do.

Jesus said I have come that you may have life in all abundance; be prepared to accept and believe him.

One day a great marriage feast will be held, at which Jesus will be the bridegroom and his believers will be the bride.


Be at Church on Sunday; making sure it is a Bible believing Church.


Friday 16 December 2022

 Romans 1 v 1-7

The Epistle for Sunday this week, comes from the first Chapter of Romans, which has widely been acclaimed to be the finest of Paul’s thirteen New Testament Letters of Christian teaching. He was writing to the greatest city of the world in his time, so he used his words carefully.

He described himself as a slave of Jesus Christ, which meant a devoted follower, who was honored by being called an Apostle. This placed him in the highest of  all Offices of the Church, who were especially chosen by Jesus, and so with the other Apostles whose position was restricted to that time.  He heard the call of God, and with other great men  like Moses, Abraham,  Isaiah, all took part in the preparation for the coming of Jesus.

Paul refers to us as saints, which was the biblical way of describing Christians, and such is how we are to be seen, and not in the way of the Roman Catholic Church, as designated people selected by the Church.

In this passage Paul sets out the outline of the Gospel, and in particular  pointing out Jesus was fully man who became so  like all men; he was not someone made up. The Gospel is essential to all Christians, and Paul reminds us that Jesus was promised through the Old Testament. Jesus respected the Old Testament, and spoke from it from the time of Moses right through the Scriptures. There are many prophetic messages from the  Prophets all relating to the coming of Jesus.

We are presented with Jesus as having human descent from David, Israel’s greatest king.  The Bible is to have us accept he came as we do, to come as a man filled with God, and we are to live as he did and follow his example.  We see he had the power of God, which will enable him to perform miracles and be filled with holiness.  The outstanding part of  Jesus was his resurrection, which is a part of history. He links Christmas with Easter

Where the New Testament takes over from the Old in our Bible, the first story is of the preparation for Jesus arrival.   We see Jesus revealed, yet misunderstood. An enormous amount of people see Jesus as only a well-known  beautiful baby, for whom we sing carols at Christmas time, and then put him away afterwards.

It is generally seen that Christmas as a period when people have time off work, and associate it with presents, postcards, an excess of eating and drinking, and general merriment. Such is something all can enjoy, but we should also add, which the wide majority of people do not, that God sent his Son (Jesus) to bring joy to the world as part of his plan when God though the time was right. Christmas means Jesus Christ as born.

  Jesus came to be born of woman, and showed he was born in humanity, and was also the Son of God, born by the Holy Spirit to be divine also.

 In sending Jesus to earth, God had in fact sent him to eventually die, and do so cruelly.  He lived as man to live like any human being, to witness in this way the sins of mankind being committed, without him ever committing sin.  He came here as a substitute, to take all sin committed by peoples of the world, taking upon himself the paying of penalty for those sins, he was a ransom on our behalf.

He was crucified after a beating of 39 times, with s leather belt  with steel studs. By his death, all must accept that his death was made on their behalf  to avoid being perished, but instead made righteous in God’s sight. But if we are wishing to go to heaven, it means more than just saying, I believe in God, more than saying I help other people, more than saying I am a good person and honest. We have to repent of our wrongdoings, confess our selves to accepting Christ as Savior, and have a determination to follow the teaching of Jesus in the way we live our lives, so that we can do so in a practical and moral way.

People have so confidently told me I don’t need to go to Church, don’t need to read the Bible, I can enjoy  myself as I wish and God will forgive me for that he is here for. Actually it is being preached in Church you can behave immorally, despite the Bible reaching otherwise, and some bishops are campaigning so,  Yes you can do all the things you want, and boast in an arrogant manner, but a time of reckoning will come, and you will shamefully say, if only I had listened.

 Every true Christian will remember the time when they first became followers of Christ. We don’t just say I am a Christian, we realize God has called us to follow Christ, so it is then as we accept Him as Savior, we become part of the great family of God, as sons and daughters, and we praise God for his grace in choosing us. Now, wherever we go to in this world, we can share with peoples of any nation, color, sex, age. In a way no other organization or collection of people can do,

Paul is always telling that we are loved by God, and may be corrected  from time to time, just as any father wants his children to be well-behaved and cared for. This is the essential love and personal help God gives us, and helps us often without being appreciated.

Wednesday 7 December 2022

Matthew 1.  V 18/25

The birth of a baby is a major event in the lives of a mother and father. The anticipation of the birth is exciting, and together they look forward joyously to the arrival of their union. There is of course always the possibility something may go wrong, adding to the stress and pain the mother will endure. I regret many men do not fully realize how a woman has emotional as well as physical pain when giving birth to a child.


The story we are looking at this morning is one of the greatest ever told, the birth of the Saviour. It is a most controversial story, for it is telling of an extraordinary event, unique and once in all history. 


Our passage opens at verse 18, where it is stated, ` now the birth of Jesus Christ took place this way.’ Such is the positive announcement, before it goes on to describe the betrothal of Mary and Joseph.


Betrothal of the Jews was something equivalent to our engagement in theory if not in practice.  The bridegroom and bride made a pledge in the presence of two witnesses, which was really the first step in marriage; the man and woman became husband and wife. The couple were then separated from each other for a period up to a year, and if during that time either became unfaithful, they were under Old Testament law, adulterers liable to be stoned to death. ,


If the marriage broke down, the couple were divorced, or if death occurred widower or widow. The marriage was consummated when they met again.  Often the parents caused the marriage by making arrangements, and same people think they do a better job.


This was in the New Testament,  where the true marriage was heterosexual as ordained by God, one man one woman.


Before the couple lived together, it was found that Mary was pregnant yet still a virgin. She knew she was pregnant, as an angel had foretold, she would be by the gift of the Holy Spirit. At first she challenged this as she had not been with a man, but was told she, a young Jewish village girl had found favour with God.


Joseph may have come to the natural conclusion that she had been unfaithful with another man, being unaware of the angel’s message.  He realized he could not live with her in such a case, but being a righteous man, he did not want to offend God, but was faced with the impression Mary had broken her pledge. He was however a compassionate man who loved Mary, and did not want to expose her to public humiliation, so decided to divorce her or send her away quietly, which he did not really want to do because of his feelings for her. In addition, his place would be a stain in the line of David down to Jesus.


Whilst he wrestled on what he should do, he fell asleep and began to dream. During his sleep he had a vision in which he was told that it was by the power of the Holy Spirit that Mary was with child, and he should not hesitate to accept Mary as his wife.


Joseph was rewarded as he had turned to God in faith and his concern was ended.  The Bible states, ‘In all thy ways acknowledge God and he shall direct thy paths. This show us that Joseph obeyed. He not only trusted God, he obeyed. As the hymn states, trust and obey.


As so often happens when you honestly seek God's guidance, and you plan to do things that seem right to you but are, in fact, wrong, God providentially corrects you.

The baby would be called Jesus, for he would save his people from their sins.  Jesus is a name which helped many, by giving inward peace and a rest for heavy heart; people have found Jesus has known their thoughts and hearts.


.At that time the Roman governor had ordered a census, requiring all people to register for taxation purposes. David being from Bethlehem had to go there to register, and take Mary with him. Whilst they were there the time came for Jesus to be born.  There were many people in that city, and all places were filled, and there was no room at an Inn they visited, so Mary was forced to bear Jesus in a manger The birth of this baby. who would one day become Lord and King of the earth, was one of the lowest kind, no palace, no royal robes.


God sent an angel to shepherds, watching their flocks at night time, and they were told of the birth at Bethlehem, so they went with haste. They praised God for having let them see the child.


The whole purpose of Jesus coming to the earth was to save us, acting as a ransom to pay the price of our sins. We must thank God for his goodness.  The angel returned to heaven, and the shepherds went back glorifying God. He had made shepherds as evangelists, and like the Apostles of Jesus, there was not one who held a degree. As a cynic once stated, the Church is sinking by degrees.  


The poorest man or woman who listens and understands the Bible, is wiser than many so called intellectuals and academics. We shall be judged one day by the way we have responded to God.


This means we should read the Bible honestly and reverently, and having done so, practice all it commands and pray the Holy Spirit will apply to our hearts.


These verses tell us of the entrance into our world by Jesus Christ, Lord and Saviour, and the doctrine of the Virgin Birth has been the doctrine of all denominations for centuries, and only in these liberal times has it been the subject of controversy. True, there were a few heretics like some modern bishops and clergy, who deny these accounts in pulpits; don't be seduced by them, but  treat such talk with the contempt they deserve.


It is talk like that which does so much harm to the Church. Some of us are trying to follow our Lord’s commission and make disciples, bringing people to church, then we have clergy at all levels, challenging of all things, God’s Word. and we wonder why people are not attending.


Matthew and Luke are trustworthy. The evidence that they are giving you are facts - not myths. That brings us to Mary.


There are depths which are too deep for us to fully comprehend; be content to believe with reverent minds, and not speculate that which we do not understand.  There are many things we do not understand, but fully accept without hesitation, by faith..


How is it by holding a small plastic box without any outer connection, but by pressing a combination of numbers you can speak within seconds to someone on the other side of the world. Or by turning a switch on a television set in a room,you can watch an event in any part of the world as it happens..How can a brown cow eat green grass and produce white milk? We cannot understand such things, but we still accept them without further thought. Yet we don't accept God does wonderful things; member the words of Mary, with God, all things are possible.

It is by faith that, what we cannot see or words which cannot prove, we become true followers of our Lord, and millions of very clever men and women who have truly believed, have been prepared to go to the uttermost parts of the world and live hard lives, in order to take the gospel to those who have not heard


People will sing carols, and over eat and drink and spend more money than they can afford; pop groups will sing of ‘chris.-ee-mus’,without ever giving a thought as to why it is-- Christmas. 


All very well Harry Belafonte telling us we shall live for ever more because of Christmas Day, when in fact we shall live for evermore because of what this baby Jesus went on to do on the Cross.

Above all trust in God and let this Christmas be one in which we remember the person it is all about—

The Lord Jesus Christ.


May you all have a happy and blessed Christmas 

Sunday 4 December 2022

Sunday  is the 2nd Sunday of Advent, and the theme is on John the Baptist.  We do in fact honour John on the 24th June and on that day in Spain, which is still largely a Catholic country, they do so in style with ceremonial processions through the streets. John was a very special character in the Bible, being described by Jesus as ‘one of whom there being none greater.’


A period of 400 years elapsed between the Old and New Testaments and John acted as a bridge between the prophecies of the Old Testament and the coming of the Messiah.  God chose John to prepare the people for the coming of Jesus.

John attracted huge crowds to see and hear him; they came from all directions, North and South, East and West. They came from all levels of society


He was a fearless preacher giving a message of confession and repentance, and did so in the most direct way accusing them of being a brood of vipers, and told them there was a wrath to come.  Most preachers would rejoice in being able to emulate his appeal, although they would hesitate the language he used in today’s atmosphere where the least criticism raises accusations of phobia or bigotry.


Because of his successful appeal to people a delegation of priests was sent out to find out if he was acting in an orthodox manner.  The Jews believed, and were proud of the fact, that they were God’s chosen people and He would one day send a Messiah who would be a great national leader who would lead them to world conquest.  It was also believed that prior to the Messiah coming Elijah the great Old Testament prophet would come back to herald the Messiah’s coming. 


The priests wanted to see who John actually was. When John spoke of baptism it was not the meaningless kind that is sometimes practised in churches today and I will explain in detail subsequently what I mean by that.  Baptism was a symbol of admittance into the Christian faith, taken by someone who had come to need a personal Saviour in the person of Jesus Christ, who they would take into their hearts and lives and live according to His teaching. 


John wasn’t concerned with numbers or adding to some Church roll, he wanted genuine commitments.  The Bible is clear in all four gospels that the Christian life involved repentance and the following of a new way of life.  If we analyse our lives we will find there are things we have said and done and sincerely wish we hadn’t, but there is nothing we can now do except pray that God will forgive us, and that others will accept our flaws.


The place where John ministered was way out in the wilderness a bleak and desolate place, living off the land, getting his clothing from wild camel and food from whatever grew there. There is a wilderness in many people’s hearts. 


These verses describe the ministry of John the Baptist, and deserve our attention; he was the forerunner for Jesus Christ. Few preachers could ever produce greater effects.  People from a wide area of Judea, and all the places around Jordan gathered to hear him.  Jesus heaped praise upon him calling him a burning shining light. Jesus added that among men them that are born of woman there hath not one risen greater than John.

John spoke of sin and the absolute necessity of  repentance which had to be proved by the fruits of such. This is the teaching we all need,  but few will find it preached in to-day’s Church, as it might offend people who feel they are immune to sin. Many people feel content with a formal religion. And believe if we attend Church we are automatically saved. They should be taught if they don’t repent, they will perish.

He told people of who was coming to them, who was far more mightier than himself, for whom he was just a servant, the coming one was King who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and judge the world, taking away sin. We all need to be directed to Christ, who is a fountain of mercy and grace. He explained that the Holy Spirit was a special Office of Jesus to give to men, (and that would of course include women)

Forgiveness of sin is only part of salvation, and needs added the baptizing of the Holy Spirit.

John spoke plainly about those who did not repent or believe, for which there was a wrath to come in which the chaff would be separated and burned.  This again is something few preachers would speak of in the established denominations, but may well be proclaimed in evangelical Churches. But we must remember that Jesus spoke about heaven, but when he did so he also spoke of hell, which I was once told by a clerical colleague was now outdated When I stated I regularly tell of hell, I was suddenly relieved of his company.

This teaching is important in reaching the unconverted, people who sincerely believe there is a God who expects them to be ‘good’, and in believing that is  sufficient to get the to heaven. Let us be honest, such is being taught in Churches. and in addition by senior members of the clergy.  We have to point out there is a hell for those who live unrepentant lives.

John  spoke lastly of the safety of believers, and when  the Lord Jesus returns he will gather all the faithful.  Believers need to be reassured God is watching over them, and need to be reminded that Jesus stated he would never leave nor forsake them, and would be with them when facing temptation from the devil.

May these things sink it our hearts for we live in a day of false teaching, much of which is coming from what is euphemistically called leadership. Imagine how the Church could appear if there were many Ministers of the Church like John the Baptist.  

Thursday 24 November 2022

Matthew 28 v18-20

Sunday next is the first Sunday of Advent and the beginning of the Church new year, when our studies are from Matthew’s Gospel.  As each year begins, we wonder how it will compare with the previous one, and the signs do not look hopeful .

Today I have chosen for the sermon what is known as ‘ the Great Commission’ when he will give his Apostles a command to apply to all who want to be followers of him.

In this passage Jesus had arranged for his Apostles to meet him on a mountain in Galilee, where they worshipped him. When they had settled some doubted him.

Jesus told them he had all authority in heaven and on earth  been given to him. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you to the end of the age.

This was not a discussion, it was a direct command to do what  he had ordered, and it was obviously to be extended to all in Christian ministry until the end of the age.  The Church which he had built, and to which the gates of hell would not prevail against, would carry on.  

As God had sent him, he was sending the Apostles,  Jesus wanted the Church to fulfil God’s purpose, and to preach the Bible with clarity, and here we have that command to keep to the teaching of Jesus to make people Christians by worshipping him. The new people should repent of their sins and be baptized.  This was true baptism after repentance had been made and a confession of faith declared; the charade of people who have no religious  belief or association with the Church, brining young children and babies to have a spray of water, and named and declared Christian.  A child can officially given a name by visiting the local Registry Office.


We have the responsibility to teach only that which is authorised by Scripture, and not to that which pleases society, and the activists who it has been said in the House of Lords by a bishop, we are trying to work alongside. (Some of us are not) God’s purpose and the glorification of his name would not be fulfilled

We have to teach that God loves all people and wants them to receive salvation. He will forgive all past sin of those who accept that Jesus Christ gave his life on the Cross, dying so that by his sacrifice, we would be accepted by God if we are prepared to accept Jesus as our Saviour who paid the penalty for all our wrongdoing.

I have been told so many times by people, that they are Christians by believing in God, are honest and try to good deeds. I have no doubt they sincerely believe such, but the devil believes in God, and we do good deeds because we have become Christians not to make us.  If we were judged by our good deeds, who would know if they had done enough.

The bible states, by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not by your own doing, it is the gift of God not as a result of works so  no one can boast. If it was by our own deeds you can imagine the boasting which would be made as to how much someone had done.  God knows when a person’s heart is right, and leads him/her to believe fully in Jesus who would repeat that no one comes to the Father (God) except through him.

The message of these verses is that Jesus calls on all his followers to bring people to worship him. The finest evangelism is carried out by members telling others, even by just letting them know they attend Church. There is a marked reluctance especially by men, to so declare their membership of the Church. I have often been asked by men going into hospital not to visit them unless wearing ordinary dress, not showing I was a Minister.

Jesus made it clear he would not recognise us when we appear before him in judgement if we did not speak for him.  Jesus here stresses his total authority. Contrary to where  governments want to restrict us.  Jesus states we are to go to all nations, which naturally includes the peoples of other nations. 


The bishop, of Oxford has been joined recently by other bishops criticising the marriage service as being only between a man and a woman, which is in accordance with the Bible, should not be enforced and same sex marriage which is in accordance with culture and popular with society. So never mind what God wants. How can the Church gain support when there are such dishonourable men and women in high positions of leadership.

Remember every ordained Minister of the Church has vowed and affirmed, they will only teach that which scripture has laid down. This is the declared position of the Church that marriage is only between a man and a woman.  Yet the Archbishop of Canterbury has confirmed, that the stance of the Church is such, but has allowed Churches which want to perform same sex marriages to do so.(double speak?) if two people make a decision it is a matter for them to do what they wish, but the Church cannot honourably support it.

 The head of the world Anglican Communion, (the Archbishop of Canterbury), was recently criticised by th global Anglican future conference, a collection of  evangelical Archbishops from African, South American and Eastern lands, (who want to maintain traditional orthodoxy, which Western Churches are failing to do), because the Archbishop of Canterbury had sanctioned the appointment of a Dean who was living with another man.

The first Christian Church faithfully preached the teaching of the Apostles as commanded by Jesus, and we are told God richly blessed the Church and it grew. We will not see the present Church grow as extensively unless all Ministry is carried out by accepting the Word which God laid down, and c ease trying to re-interpret the Bible; by confirming the order of one baptism; and giving credibility to God’s order of creation being accepted.


These are the final words of Jesus before he left earth. He was given the honour by God of being heir to all things, holding the keys to life or death.

Jesus tells the Apostles to go out and tell the whole world that Christ died for sinners, don’t keep the knowledge to the self.

We read the public confession of faith in Christ is a necessity for baptism. Whoever is ashamed of Christ, he will be ashamed of them.  Jesus demands obedience from all who claim to be his followers; what a lesson for to-day’s Church.  He does not want just a claim of Christianity.

 We see the doctrine of the Trinity when being prepared for baptism, being named in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three distinct persons. We may not  fully understand some things, but should not abstain from what Jesus calls on us to do.

Jesus ends by promising to be with us ‘always’, and to the end of time. As Christians we should keep in mind that Jesus said he is always with us and would not leave or forsake us.

Friday 18 November 2022

 On Sunday the Church celebrates the day in honour of ‘Christ the King.

The story is taken from Luke 23 in verses 33 to 43.  

Jesus has been arrested without having committed any offence, but the Jewish leaders were determined he was too much a disturbance to them, so a false accusation was made , followed by a fake trial, and Jesus  was sentenced to be crucified.

 When a criminal was condemned to be crucified, he was taken from the court room to an outside place to face four soldiers.  He then had a large Cross placed on his shoulder and was marched to the place of Crucifixion by the longest route through the streets of the city, and had a soldier walking in front of him carrying a board with his crime stated, to give fear to others who might be contemplating doing the same. We see in this passage the Lord’s words of ‘gracious intercession.

Jesus began by carrying his cross, but under the strain gave up as he could not carry it any further. Palestine was a Roman occupied country and any person could be selected out to do what he was told. When being selected he would be touched on the shoulder with a Roman sword.  When Jesus fell the Roman centurion  looked for someone to carry it.

The city that day was filled with people who attended for the important feast and they had come from a vast area outside of Jerusalem. One of those people was a man named Simon from the far off city Cyrene (now named Tripoli), who had arrived to celebrate a lifetime’s ambition of attending a Passover event.  He was filled with bitterness to the Romans for making him do that, and the bitterness was extended to include the prisoner Jesus. The bitterness was forgotten when he became a Christian and was recognized in the Roman Church.

Behind Jesus there am a band of women who were weeping for him. Jesus told the women not to weep for him but to weep for themselves.  This could have caused much distress for them, for the biggest tragedy in a woman’s life was to be childless, for in Jewish life it was considered to be a disgrace not to have children, and was a cause for divorce.  Jesus was able to know that some time later Jerusalem would be destroyed because of failing to recognise God They came to he place of the skull, named otherwise as Golgotha.

When a criminal reached the place of execution, the cross was laid down flat on the ground. A collection of women would go the place to offer the victim some drugged wine to relieve the pain and thirst.  Jesus refused to take any, determined to face the worst.  The victim’s arms were stretched out across the wood, and nails were driven through them, and his feet nailed to the cross.  The cross would then be lifted up and set in a socket.

Crucifixion was the most horrific practice ever created by mankind.  It took place in several countries and was regularly carried out to criminals and offenders of the state.  The victims were left in the hot sun without any protection or drink, and left to suffer.  The death could be long in happening, and some took a week before actual death.  It is hard to conceive that such vicious action could be devised by anyone.

Christians who are true believers, will always remember that this terrible suffering was fully accepted by Jesus, in order that all ‘true’ believers. who are prepared to accept that his death was made in order that we can be forgiven in his name, and we may be cleansed of sin, and so made righteous in God’s sight to be accepted into heaven, when we claim Jesus to be our Lord and Saviour.  Only, those who so remember and follow the life and teaching of Jesus will be received by God.

It was the custom to place an inscription when a person died, and some wanted to put, ‘ he  saved others let him save himself.’.  But the inscription read, ‘King of the Jews’.   This will be  a service in many Churches on Sunday, when we celebrate, Christ the King’.

Jesus said many wonderful things, but there was great significance when he said ‘ Father forgive them for they know not what they do.’  He was seeking forgiveness for the men who committed such a vicious act, and set an example for Christians to forgive even lesser actions.  

Placing Jesus between to criminals was a last insult done to humiliate him. One of the criminals mocked Jesus for not saving himself and them.  The other criminal rebuked his friend and said, he did nothing wrong but we deserved it for what we did, and he asked Jesus to remember him when he was in his Kingdom.  Jesus answered him, telling him, he would be with Jesus in Paradise. This was another name to indicate heaven.

The word Paradise was used to mean a walled garden. When a Persian king wanted to grant one of his kingdom a special honour, he was chosen to walk in the garden with the king.  It was more than immortality that Jesus promised the penitent thief.  He was offering the honoured courts of heaven.

We can gather from this story that it is never too late to turn to Christ.  But it isn’t wise to rely on this.  Life is very unpredictable, for a person can be full of life one moment and be the victim of an accident,  or just die for some unforeseen reason.  The Bible states, now is the favourable time, NOW is the time for salvation. (2 Corinthians 6 v2)    there are times when we can say we are too old to do something, but we can never say that about turning to Christ.  So long as we are living, the invitation is there. For us it is really true, where there is life here is hope.                                                                                                                                                            

Sunday 13 November 2022

 The Epistle for Sunday is 2 Thessalonians 3 v 6-13

6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching[a] you received from us.   7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, labouring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”11 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. 13 And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.

Paul commands in the name of the Lord, the people in the Church to keep apart from every brother who behaves in a disorderly, instead of acting manner as taught by Paul. The command was based on the teaching of Jesus in the first Letter.

The congregation in general was sound in faith and practice, but some were not working as they should have been because they believed Jesus was returning to earth in a short period, so there was no need to move themselves in work.  In addition, they were spreading that story and expected to be kept by the Church. They accordingly made it hard for the three missionaries, Paul, Silas, and Timothy, who had taken the course  of saying if anyone did not work they would not be fed. This was supported by other members, so it was felt necessary to segregate, meaning the unruly kept apart from believers.

Paul told them that they had been given clear teaching, not only in words but by example of himself and his helpers.  The men were acting in clear contradiction without making any attempt at working, so were a disgrace to the Church and Gospel.

The missionaries worked day and night to set an example to be followed and to not put any burden on the Church and members. Paul had by inspiration of the Holy Spirit given the order, no work no food, and his heart went out to the needy, but had no sympathy for those who would not work but caused disruption to others. We see there were people even in those days who wanted to laze around and be kept by fellowmen and women.

Finally, Paul calls on all to preach the gospel, and by its message help those in need.


I Have previously referred to people attending Church who are ‘almost Christians’, and if we are honest we must accept that some members have treated coming to Church a Sunday activity. If we are to live in a way worthy of our Lord, such is morally and spiritually failing. Personally, I would fear incurring the wrath of God in acting in a way which was in direct contravention to what God has laid down in the Bible. Yet we have ways of life which contradict God’s teaching being preached and endorsed in our Churches by leaders. Flagrantly opposing Scripture,  we wonder why God doesn’t bless his Church.

When the Bible was written it was in a world where Greek mythology was widespread. and work was secondary to leisure, as much of society today believes in and likes to adopt. Whilst it is necessary to care for those burdened by ill health, it appears unreasonable when there a millions of jobs to be filled, we pay money in the form of benefits to people who never intend to work.

Those people who were Jews had a God whose Son worked as a carpenter for most of his life, and who in the last three years of life worked even harder performing the work God his Father had given him to do.  Whilst rejecting Jesus as the Messiah, they have had God as their protector, and when they have obeyed him have flourished, and suffered when they forsook him. Whatever opinion you have of Jewish people, in all honesty it must be granted they are hard-working people, who have provided the world with much of the technology we have and many other inventions of our daily lives.   

In each generation preachers have referred to the end days of the world and even claimed it would happen in that age as outlined in Matthew 24. but as the years pass there is a growing tendency to see how close we are getting.  We must accept it will happen as the Lord has stated.

In 1838 William Booth formed the Salvation Army and called on Christians to serve as Christian soldiers and captured the world’s attention by devoted service of the members.  Paul uses in several Letters military language.  Some misguided people are affronted by such and oppose any such reference, even devastated that beautiful and tremendous hymn Onward Christian soldiers to Onward Christian pilgrims.

As  Christians, men and women but especially men, must work in a manner that would justify if working with Jesus.  The Lord  has promised he will return to earth one day, and when he comes he will expect to see his people working daily to his glory.

Of course, most people reject the belief that the Lord is now acting in this world.  But when a man holding high Office in the Church blasphemed the Lord’s resurrection and rudely mocked it, the Cathedral in which his consecration was held,                   a storm occurred after the service and caused enormous damage just to that Cathedral, no place else. The Church rejected it being God’s intervention, but a collection of meteorological experts, unanimously stated there could be no scientific explanation. It had to be an act of God. There are numerous other incidents where the same conclusion would be arrived at.

Whilst some people found it hard to hear senior Officers of the Church denying God’s intervention, I was not.  It is undeniable that they just don’t believe the Bible. Same sex marriage is now practised in the Churches, to state that marriage is only between a man and a woman, is now defined as ‘hate speech’.

Two thousand and twenty two years ago, a young Jewish girl named Mary was visited in a small Jewish village by an angel and told she was going to receive God’s favour and have a child. When she asked how as she had not been with a man. She was told the Holy Spirit would b upon her, for nothing will be impossible with God. Mary trusted in God and believed. That little Jewish girl had more faith than any collection of  Church leaders. She never doubted for a second that God could do what we find impossible.

Tuesday 8 November 2022


Sunday is Remembrance Day, and services will be held to remember those men and women who gave their lives in the cause of freedom, and others who were badly wounded and disabled for life.

As the years roll by, the number of those who were alive during the last World war grows ever smaller, reducing by the year.  The memories however do not fade, as we recall how this nation stood alone on the brink when all seemed lost and there was talk of surrender.  But God raised up a man (Winston Churchill) who would rally the nation to perform such heroic deeds.

We think of those shot down over German skies, who perished on the beaches on D-Day, drowned on Atlantic convoys, or were brutally tortured under Japanese prison guards. 

Now we have to add those who perished or have been injured, on the streets of Iraq, blown up on dusty Afghan roads. This is the most wasteful loss of life, as young men being sacrificed for a mission which never had any realistic hope of success.  If  a nation like Russia with all its might, and without being held to account for its actions, could not win in that country, we certainly could not, when our army is answerable to strict human rights law, with greedy lawyers lurking to launch compensation claims on any grounds.

I believe we should also remember our American friends whose Army and Air Corps joined us to fight alongside, and the memory of those who never returned is vividly visible in the American cemetery and Chapel in Cambridge.  There will be many homes in the United States recalling fallen and injured comrades.

This should make us reflect of the sacrifices made with the hope that what they died for would be practised and honoured. History has shown what a vain and miserable mistake it all was, when the situation has reversed to what it was, and families have suffered such terrible losses, due to the decision of deluded politicians.

Sadly so many young people do not and will not learn of this glorious chapter of our history, never having to endure the horrors and hardship of war.  Such has been the parlous direction of education for so many years in (state) schools under a government which seemed to have no pride in our past, that children have little if any knowledge of what was achieved in order that they have all the privileges they now enjoy.

We all long for peace, on our streets, in our homes, in the world, but peace is more than political catchphrase, it means peace most of all with God.  Blessed are the peacemakers is a beatitude which is saying, ‘blessed are they who make the world a better place’.  Is the world a better place?  How would the men and women who gave of themselves freely in the war years feel, when they see the state of the country now.

Those who fought for their country, all those veterans knew what counted in life as they fought for a safer world.  The men on the fighting lines knew things had to get better.  What would they say if they knew what things were going on this country now?  Would they wonder if their great sacrifices were worthwhile as they looked at us

We seem to have forgotten, or even tried to remember, or for those too young, to find out what it must have been like for those who came home blinded; with broken limbs; mentally scarred after years as a prisoner of war.   What must they have felt to see grown men and women taking legal action for hurt feelings caused by mere words, and those making compensation claims for minor injuries?    How would they feel to hear some jumped up public official refusing to let the flag they fought under be displayed lest it upset people not even born here, people who in fairness would not think of complaining or objecting.

 Those men and women had a faith and belief for which they fought, and now we as Christians have to take over that fight. Legislation is being made, and has been made, with laws so distinctly contradictory to Christian teaching, with public officials so ready to try and erase Christianity from public life.  Forty five case of discrimination against Christians are being pursued through the Courts. It is therefore intensely important, that we should positively let people know the true message, according to God’s Holy Word.

    We have young people in Universities deciding what books and which people can be presented to them. Rather than being places of learning led by responsible tutors, they have some tutors who seem as unbalanced as the students.  Our roads are blocked by young people who are  protesting about subjects they are incapable of understanding, who should be working. Massive disruption and delay is caused to the public at large.

The world has largely rejected Christianity, without having anything to put in its place to combat the evils of the world.  Yet in all walks of public life, even to the highest level of government; we have flagrant lying, deceit, corruption and unrestricted immorality, conduct which can only destroy. Anyone who speaks out is branded as being narrow minded.  There has to be concern when so many in high public office cannot be relied upon to speak truth, and not make false expenses claims.

This nation was built on the solid foundation of God’s law; it was the basis of our legal system.    Now, in the midst of the most serious economic and financial crisis a country can face, we have had Prime Ministers who are most concerned to create legislation which opposes God’s law with moral and ethics which offend Holy Scripture..   This violates God’s law and destroys centuries of tradition. We must look forward to having men and women holding high office who have a set of principles for the good of all rather than their own private ambitions. We need leaders who will accept the standards laid down in God’s Holy Word. 

That is what men fought and died for, and what men and women are doing now in our Army, Navy and Air Force.  Our prayers must be for them and also reach out to their families in what must be anxious times.  We should not subject them to scrutiny by those living in legal ivory towers in their every action, realising the tensions under which they live. 

 I spoke at a Veterans Day service, after the service I received a letter from a lady who wrote, ‘I grew up in the 20s and 30s in a free country with principles.  We joined the forces because we thought we were fighting to preserve a way of life which other countries envied.  We grew up in God fearing families.  For a long time I have felt like a lonely voice crying in the wilderness.  The only answer I have had is we have moved on. I feel as though I am losing my faith.’ 

I don’t believe she is a lone voice crying in the wilderness. I think there are many people in sympathy with her. I am sure there are many who would agree with her and such sentiments.

We have a society which is encouraged to forsake a Christian consensus and live, not by Christian principles, which lead to health and wholeness of body, mind and spirit, and permits people to live at peace and enjoy their lives, but by substituting other principles.   We are submerged in a world that is committed to falsehood, which is why we are called to proclaim the truth.

If ever the Word of God was needed it is never more so than now.  It calls for people to turn back to God who is ready and able to meet the needs of everyone who turns to Him.  The message we have for the world is centred upon the person of Jesus Christ. 

     Today, there will be people in all our Churches who would not normally be there, thus revealing a spiritual content in their lives.  Indeed, almost all people have some spiritual longing.   There are so many of these people who would be of enormous value to the Church, and who in turn could add so much to their lives.  Let us pray that those leading services will boldly proclaim the faithful gospel that may lead others to come to know the Lord Jesus.

Many people are like the two British soldiers who found themselves lost in the deserts of Iraq. They eventually came across a two star American General in his jeep. As they approached him they didn’t even bother to salute and simply blurted out ‘excuse me mate, can you tell us where we are?’  The General took umbrage at their casual attitude and sternly replied, ‘Don’t you know who I am?’ at which one of the soldiers turned to the other and said, ‘Now we are in real trouble, we don’t know where we are and he doesn’t know who he is!’

We need a daring programme of revival, which God is challenging us to make.  But what hope is there for that to happen.  We have leaders of our Churches who don’t accept the authority of the Bible, and  are openly and flagrantly teaching against the Bible rather than preaching the Gospel. Only the black Churches and small Independent Churches support a moral and ethical code of living as laid down in Holy Scripture.

We within the Church need to ensure our services are always meaningful and encouraging.  However, there is reluctance within some Churches to preach a vibrant Biblical message for fear of being criticised as being narrow minded and prejudiced   People, I believe, are longing for and wanting spiritual leadership.     All who treasure the Christian faith, and the memory of those who gave their lives to preserve a Christian heritage, must work and pray for a spiritual revival of the Christian Church.   


May we, on this special day, well remember the sacrifices others made that we might be here at this hour.  We must never ever forget the lives of so many gallant young men and women,  given that we may have peace in our lives.