Thursday 27 January 2022



I wonder how many people who attend Church services know the meaning of the term ‘grace’.

One of the most famous hymns in the world is ‘amazing grace’, especially is this so in the United States. It has been sung many times, often without the singer having the remotest meaning of the term spiritually, and by trying dramatize it, usually badly.

The passage today contains the message. The word ‘amazing’ means something astonishing, quite beyond the ordinary.  The spiritual meaning of ‘grace’ refers to that special gift which only God can give, a truly amazing gift.

Martin Luther was a German student of law, and one day he was caught in a violent storm of thunder and lightning.  He has very frightened and pleaded for safety from God, and vowed if saved from the effects of the storm, he would become a monk. He was saved, and did become a monk in what was the Catholic Church of that day in October 1517, and subsequently became a Bible teacher in Wittenburg, Germany. 

One day he came to a passage in Paul’s Letter to the Romans which stated,’ the righteous shall live by faith’. He then realised the teaching and some practices of the Church were unworthy, and not supported by the Bible. He wrote a series of 95 theses in Latin, and posted them on the door of the Cathedral, with the intention of starting a debate amongst theologians.  However, someone translated into German, and they were then published on the new printing press and circulated around Europe.  It was a world shattering document, so forming what we know as Protestantism, a breakaway from the Catholic Church.

Luther stated what should be the message and belief of every Church; ‘ the true treasure of the church is the most holy gospel of the glory and grace of God.’

Grace saves us when we have faith in Jesus Christ. It is a free gift from God through faith. We are so used to have ‘free’ gifts offered to us, which are not really free, but are meant to lure us into something else. Grace is absolutely free.

There is nothing we can do to earn or add; the grace of God confers a blessing on us, and if we take this gift, our salvation is granted to us. Like any gift offered to us, we have to accept, do nothing else to earn salvation; it is solely a gift of God. Salvation starts with God, not with man. He takes the initiative, he makes the first move.

Grace means, we owe everything to God.  Jesus came to earth to die a cruel death on a Cross, and by so doing paid the penalty for us by gaining God’s forgiveness, who hates sin, and would not allow an unforgiven sinner into heaven. Jesus bought such forgiveness for us when his blood was shed on the Cross, and God forgives through the sacrifice, of Jesus. (Great Riches At Christ’s Expense)

 There is nothing we can give or earn to save ourselves; God could not let us offer any works or activity we made on earth, for heaven would be a place of people boasting of their doings. God has accepted us into his heavenly family by his gracious gift.

A lot of people are also very confident of their own status and accomplishments. I have often witnessed people being offended, even within Church circles, when they were not accorded attention worthy of their person.  Heaven would not be a pleasant place if it was full of people boasting of their achievements in this life.

Something in us always wants to add to God’s free grace. It’s humbling to admit that we can do nothing to earn our deliverance from sin. But anytime we add anything to grace, we subtract from its meaning.

In view of the resurrection of Jesus, those who believe in him will be forgiven to have new life here and in the future, without fully deserving it. God will allow us to share in the authority of Christ, now in heaven with God. He has poured his love on all that they marvel at his gift.

 Grace is often compared with mercy, but here is a significant difference between the two words. Grace is the gift of God to those who do not deserve it; mercy is the gift to those who do deserve it.

This is why God alone gets the glory in your salvation. Jesus did all the work when he died on the cross. As the hymn states, ‘ to God be the glory, great things he has done , so loved he the world that he gave us his Son, who yielded his life as an atonement for sin, and opened the life gate that all may go in.

No one is too bad to turn to God, he is ready to forgive all sin, past and present, for all who truly repent, and turn and accept Jesus into their life.

You have to accept we all have sinned and need forgiveness, but some people will not accept they are a sinner.  A Vicar at one Church in the South of England once put a notice outside his Church, with the intention of letting people know they were welcome to join in worship. The notice said, ‘this church is here for sinners’. The following week over half the congregation were absent.

We have to accept that when Christ made his sacrifice dying a cruel death on that Cross, he was providing forgiveness for us for all our sins committed past and present. When we accept that Jesus did if for us and in faith believe he is our Saviour, God in his infinite mercy and goodness forgives us, and by his grace accepts us as one of his children.

 God is love and wants to love all people, but sin breaks God’s heart and hearts cannot be made whole.  If a man drives a car too fast or under the influence of drink and kills someone, he may pay a fine and fulfil the demand of the law, but he will never be able to recompense for the hearts broken by the family of the person killed.

 When we break a law of God we break God’s heart and only an act of forgiveness by the grace of God can put us back into relationship with God.  We can never earn Gods’ forgiveness we can only accept in perfect trust and faith.

 People think they don’t need God’s grace. They may admit they are sinners, but they don’t admit they are spiritually dead, not truly dead. God’s grace cannot help you until you are desperate to receive it

  If you were to ask most people if they thought they would one day be in heaven, they would be offended if you doubted. They would tell you of all the many ways they had helped people, how honest they were, how they believed in God, although never going to worship him, or devote any personal time for him.  Jesus is still for many no more than a swear word.

It is often asked how do I know if Christ has come into my life.  Imagine you are travelling in your State or country, and you come to a frontier where you are told you are entering a new area. Everywhere may look the same, similar type of people and buildings, perhaps the same language, but after a period things will get different. So if you have truly received Jesus into your life, things will be viewed in a different way, things which seemed to be acceptable will not now be acceptable.  The Bible may be consulted more to point such differences out, and by faith you trust Jesus.  This is what faith is all about, believing what you cannot see.

 If you go into hospital for an operation, you sign a form to say you agree to that operation being performed, when you know nothing about the surgeon.   You board an aircraft to fly miles above the earth without knowing if the pilot knows what he is doing. You accept such actions with faith, so now put your faith in God who does know what he is doing.

 Those who live in an ungodly way face a grim future, but God in his mercy will from the love of his heart, even though you displease him, will have mercy and give his grace to all who turn to him.

 We are living in a time of total evil and social confusion.  At all levels of society from royalty to political areas, to general living, there is sexual promiscuity, corruption, lying, violence, crime, and dishonesty.  Even within Churches, there is betrayal of vows made by men and women to preach the true Word of God.  How God’s heart must be broken to hear people singing hymns, listening to the Bible readings and prayers in Churches by people who go out and ignore all that has been said and sung.

 When you love someone truly and dearly, the person you love may not want that love, perhaps feel unworthy, but we are to strive to please God and still show we are here to live worthily as someone in his family, and let God to touch the heart of one loved.  Remember God loves us and although we have rejected him and that precious love, so you should understand his feeling.

Grace is the reason why God sent Jesus into the world. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16)

 God will save anyone who will believe in Jesus as Lord and Saviour, but you must believe that he died on the cross paying the price for your sins, and  he is ready to forgive your sins.

May God bless His Holy Word to us.

Tuesday 25 January 2022


EPHESIANS 5 V15.21New International Version

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul in this passage is drawing a contrast between a pagan gathering and a Christian one, which we can associate with our world. He calls on Christians to walk wisely living different lives from the unbelievers. We are light and they are darkness, therefore we must live as children of light, therefore live wisely. A worldly gathering can fail to recognise God and Jesus, but the Church must have Christ at the heart of all worship

If we are going to profess ourselves as Christians then there is a certain lifestyle that we must adopt. If we really believe the great doctrines and commands contained in the Bible, then let us allow them to shape our lives so that we will live, as we ought to live.

Paul has been contrasting light with darkness, he here contrasts wisdom with folly. We are to be accurate in our lifestyle, so that our manner of life clearly proclaims accurately the Christian message. In other words, we are to live in such a way that there are no clear inconsistencies, so that the unbelieving world are clear concerning how Christians should live. This involves two things.

We should not give the impression that being a Christian means giving up things, unless the bible commands doing so. There are Christians who say we should not drink alcohol, or go to the cinema, or dancing; if a Christian truly believes such activities are wrong, then it is perfectly acceptable for them to abstain, but they should not try to force their feelings on to others. This can do more harm than may be intended, and give cause to criticise our faith as intrusive. Responsive drinking, dancing and cinema are perfectly respectable actions.

The alternative course is for Christians to feel, if the majority behave in a certain way, it is fair for them to do so, and then say God will understand, and so they fail to live the Christian life as it should be lived according to, the teaching we are given in Scripture. It is however totally unacceptable for Christians to think we can be casual in our lifestyle, indulging especially in moral conduct that gives an impression we are hypocrites, yet it is a sad fact that there are those who shamelessly parade their hedonistic lifestyle. If we are not ruthless with sin in our lives, then what impression is that giving to our world?

The world is shutting God out of their lives, and many are suffering the consequences. Let us provide the evidence that living according to that which God and Jesus laid down adds to a better and worthy life, and not subscribe to all the whims and fancies of society; people should be able to distinguish the nonbeliever from the true believer.

As Christians we maintain our life style into our workplace, in our homes, and essentially in our worship place, so that wherever we are we representing the Lord, we do so with credit and not shame.

Paul states, make the best use of time, for the days are evil. I remember in my training, an elderly Minister telling the class I was in that we have to value every minute, for once it is passed it is gone forever, and is one less period of time we have here on earth. As Christians we need to plan our time so that we do not use it wastefully.

Paul told Timothy to use every opportunity to spread the gospel,and we have to practise that advice wisely. This does not mean constantly harassing people with Scripture, but when there will be opportunities to do so which will fit in with the situation, we should be ready to encourage them to turn to the Lord. We all have limited time, so let's make sure that we do not waste the time God has given to us and let us look for those God given opportunities

It is so easy for the church to be so taken up with our own existence that we can become so indifferent to our evil world, so that we miss those God given opportunities and appointments to influence others for Christ.

The Bible reminds us we live in an evil world, and as you read the newspapers or listen to radio and television there is no room for doubting the extent. Listening to some programmes on television, it seems as if the producers are competing with each other to spread evil. I saw one programme, where literally hardly more than a few words were spoken without a four-letter word being inserted, which added nothing to the meaning of what was going on. When we realise people today are following a ‘me too’ way of life. If someone on television is seen doing something, then me too must be in the fashion, for there is a fear of being different.  People imitate elevision to an enormous extent, unable to discern fact from fiction.

If the Church is to make a difference, it has to be making its influence felt, instead of being fearful of upsetting the activists in society. A lifeboat is of no use standing polished and shiny in a station when people are in peril on the seas, it has to be out rescuing those facing being drowned; and that as Christians and the Christian Church is what we must be doing.

If the church is disunited and fighting within itself, then is that living out our faith accurately? Perhaps the church today is in great danger of failing to live out real Christianity, and it is giving the wrong impression about matters of conscience. When churches are loveless places, and when they are hypocritical places, then is it any wonder that people today have no idea what the Christian faith is all about.

. If someone asked me what the Church stands for, I would not be able to answer. I could of course tell what the Church should and was meant to stand for, which is now rather different.
So let us not contribute to the confusion of the unbelieving world; let us be a church and a people that live out the Christian faith accurately. There is no point professing to be children of the light, unless we live accurately as children of the light

We are called to not act thoughtlessly, but to understand what God wants you to do; meaning following the guidelines for life found in the Bible.

In v 18 the Bible states do not get drunk with wine, be filled with the Spirit. Wine was the staple drink in Paul’s time, and was fermented to preserve it from turning into vinegar. Whereas wine can control the mind and impair one’s judgement and lead to debauchery, in contrast being filled with the Spirit leads to self-control along with the fruits of love, joy, kindness patience and gentleness, and gives a regular pattern or life.

The early Church was a singing Church which came from being filled with the Spirit, joining in singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, and making music to the Lord. Psalms were canticles, and were separated from general music of praise.

Make music in our hearts to God (v 19) – Not only do we express out joy with audible singing of praise to our God, but we are to do so from our hearts. Our praise to God is not a case of singing audible hymns, but our hearts need to go out to God in joyful worship as well. This will mean that our thoughts about God will be so great, that we cannot help but sing praise to our great God in our hearts if not in audible voices. So true worship is not just singing a hymn or a modern song, but it involves engaging our hearts in joyful worship, and adoration of God through Jesus Christ God's Son, is what every sincere Christian desires to do. Even if our audible voices are not tuneful, it is what is in our hearts that counts, it might not sound pleasant to others, but if our heart is in, it is extremely tuneful to our God

The early Church was a thankful Church, giving thanks to God for all things which happened in their lives, and doing so in the name of Jesus thereby trusting him as a mediator with God the Father.

The early Church also was one where people honoured one another, and that was because they revered Jesus Christ,   and recognised the dignity of each person so mutual respect became easy.

Remember how God so richly blessed that early Church. The Bible states they devoted themselves to the teaching of the Apostles.  How blessed we would be if every Church taught that which the Apostles gave us.  It is called the New Testament.

Saturday 22 January 2022

 Luke 4. Verses 14/21


This passage begins after Jesus has completed his days facing temptations in the wilderness. I think it would have been more appropriate for it to have been the gospel a Sunday after the first verses which lead up to Lent.  This is in fact a follow on from those verses.

Jesus faced the forces of evil which follow us all through our lives, but Jesus will not be facing further interference from the devil until the time of his Crucifixion.   He had been baptized and divinely confirmed by God, and had resisted all temptations in the desert

Turning to the words of this particular section, he returned to his boyhood home in the village of  Nazareth, and went in his normal way to the Synagogue.

There was just one Temple in the country, which was where sacrifices were made for sin, and the Synagogue was the centre of religion in Palestine, and was where the preaching was given. If there were more than ten Jewish families in any one place, there had to be a Synagogue. 

Jesus had become well-known throughout the region, for he taught regularly but was speaking against the orthodoxy of the time.  But he had a distinct message to give and people listened intently. This still applies to-day, I have found that people may not always agree with what is stated by a preacher, but if he has a clear message rather than just waffling they will listen and be glad to hear. Jesus also healed people.

 There were no books at his day, so scrolls were used, and the leader of the Synagogue would place the scrolls to be used for that day, which in this case was Isaiah 61. In the verses was the message that Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit, and sent to take the gospel to the poor. The American President Abraham Lincoln, once stated God must love the poor, he made so many of them.

Jesus was to grant liberty to those enslaved in exile, but also to grant forgiveness for sins. The oppressed, those blind would be given sight, and those affected by demons would be released.  The Lord’s favour is being carried out by him in the role of a prophet proclaiming the gospel in the act of a Saviour, the One who sets people free from authority of God having been given to Jesus.

Having given the message, he handed the scroll back and sat down, as was the procedure of a Rabbi who always sat to deliver a sermon.  But Jesus had the difficulty of being judged by the people of his village as just a village carpenter, and his message was not well accepted.

From the days of Jesus, people have been rejecting the teaching of the true gospel. The main reason is it reveals how far distant are their lives from that teaching, and people do not take kindly to being seen as in the wrong.

What did Jesus say that upset them?  He knew he would be attacked, because the Jewish leaders used Old Testament thought.  Jesus responded by telling of the deeds of Elijah and Elisha, but the people were upset that Jesus was suggesting the prophets were giving the wrong meaning.  The Jews always believed God would send a warrior king, who would prove to the world the Jews were God’s chosen ones, and Jesus was showing he was not such a person.

The same situation applies now, with the added fact that there are people who by virtue of what they want to believe are being revealed as liars and hypocrites.  They cannot accept the doctrines of the Virgin Birth or Resurrection, yet every Sunday they join in reciting the Apostles Creed, which states,, I believe in…….

We have Bibles openly avoided Scriptures posted on the internet and biblical apps for use on phones, but how many take advantage and read them?  The Bible should be a priority and read with reverence , learning about Jesus who is the One our future life depends on.

People fail to accept God is present in our daily lives, and firmly state he is not. Yet so many complain when some misfortune comes into their life, and say where was God when this happened?  The answer is he is where he always is, to be met on a Sunday when they are out doing a host of other things which could be done on any other day. A lot of people seen to imagine God is a sort of divine Santa Claus.

A doctrine of the Bible that God is just, holy, pure, and in control of the world he created is not appreciated .  Nothing will let some people submit to him, but would expect God to see all went well in their lives.

Finally, we are not expected to give in to all who so vigorously attack Christianity, nor accept the intolerance of so many activists whose idea of tolerance is, that if you do not accept their agenda, you are automatically deemed to be intolerant or bigoted.  WE should follow the example of Jesus and patiently carry on worshipping him, and always be ready to help others on their spiritual journey.

A day will come when the sowers will be rewarded with the reapers accordingly. If we persist our faith , some will notice and may be touched to follow.  They will then realise we can call on a power greater than we are, and the truth will set us free.

May the Lord bless his Word to us, and his Holy name be praised. 

Thursday 20 January 2022


   1 Corinthians  12.  Verses 12 to 31


Here is a passage dealing  with the great theme of the Christian Church, most significant in the Bible.  The Apostles Paul is telling that Christ is the body of the Church, and the Church should recognize this and see members as parts of that body.  Jesus is no longer in this world, and  in his last words on earth, he told his Apostles to take the gospel to all nations, and make disciples.  They did so, and now Jesus depends on members to continue that task on his behalf.

 Paul draws a picture of the unity which should exist within the Church in order to fulfil its proper purpose. A body can only be healthy and fit if all parts of the body are functioning perfectly.  We in the Church have to realize we need each other, there cannot be isolation in a Church, and we care for each other, for as Christian we live in  hostile world.

 We have to be conscious of the fact, that as Jesus is no longer physically in the world, so members of the Church are required to do His work here on earth; we are to be His voice and hands.  This is such an important task, and we should not try to avoid it.  Literally, we have to be His body, and the supreme glory for the Christian is that he/she is part of that body.

 But a body only functions properly if it is healthy, and every part is working properly.  We must accept we need one another, and there is no need for competition or jealousy.  Occasions arise when, someone feels they are not being given the recognition they feel their secular work demands, and others are doing what they should be doing.  If any organ in our body fails, the whole body is affected and any disruption in the Church affects the whole situation.

 Sometime of course, it may seem as your work is not appreciated when you do not get the thanks and recognition your work has merited.  Do not be depressed or disheartened, if you have done it for God, He will be pleased and recognise you.  When all our gifts are put together we can become a strong body, able to serve the Lord as He would want. 

 In the last verses, Paul speaks of the various forms of service in the Church. At the head are the Apostles, who were the greatest figures, not having a settled ministry, but having to go into all the nations with the gospel.  The essential qualification for an Apostle was that he had close contact with Jesus  during his earthly life, and was a witness of his resurrection.  They also had contact during the period immediately after his resurrection.

 A prophet was a man who lived close to God, that he knows God’s mind and intention so he can make it known to men.  He brings warning, telling men their action is not in accordance with God’s will.  He brings guidance and advice seeking to direct men into the ways God wants them to go.

 Paul adds teachers who were so important. There were evangelists, who with the Apostles preached the gospel, and the teachers had to build up and instruct people who did not know Christianity. The importance of these men was because at that time there were no printing means, and the first gospel written was by Mark thirty years after Jesus died.  The books had to be handwritten and cost so much ordinary people could not afford to purchase them.  Such was the task of the teacher, and by the personality and ability of the teacher much could be learned.

 There are so many other tasks to be carried out in a Church which require people to do them. A Church should be clean and tidy to impress a visitor who calls, flowers to be arranged, and people welcomed by stewards, a most important duty, for if people just have a book put in their hand and given a gruff ‘good morning’, they won’t be motivated to visit again. Stewards can make a huge impression if they greet people with a smile, an offer to meet a member of similar age and sex to be guided by.  But above all, members must work together and not try to outshine others.

 The impossibility of all being alike in our abilities, is shown in that Paul is intent on showing this by the manner in which he separates each gift.  God will have given you something you could use in his service. If you don’t know what it is, ask him.

 Let us now consider an outlook for today. All should treasure their church, and not try to tear it apart.  Those of us who have been in the Church for a long time can see such a change from say twenty years past.  There are so many fancy ideas that we may think of gimmicks, introducing from the highest Offices new interpretations of the Bible to try and get people in.  The anomaly is that the Churches with the largest congregations, clearly demonstrate it is because they are not responding to activists from outside the Church.  Look at the popularity of the black Churches, where people are getting messages which are not dragged from society. 

 Who at one time, would have believed bishops were calling on congregations not to attend a world famous evangelist visiting this country, because he had upset non-believers by quoting Scripture.  If you have ‘Sky’ television, or even YouTube, look for videos of United States Churches where thousands can attend the same Church, and the pastor is actually preaching the Bible.

 By one spirit we were all baptized into one body.  We may worship in different forms, from high ceremonial style to basic Christian teaching, and such is acceptable, for God never made all the flowers roses, he had different varieties, rooted  in the same soil and growing together. So a Catholic Church and a Pentecostal may have different forms of service, and all will be acceptable provided all have the same doctrine from Scripture.  We are not here to talk of climate change, which seems to be popular if you believe it or not, nor give personal opinions of the Bible. Tell it as it states in the book .

 Just as among people there are different personalities and appearances, so with the Church.

No matter how great the disparity may be between Christian people race, gifts, talents, status in the community;, if alive in Christ he/she has been made by the same spirit and is a partaker of the same divine nature.  We can visit other countries, and discover we have the same divinity, above all our baptism by the Holy Spirit into the church, the body of Christ.  This meant to be a  company of men and women who have met Christ, and have joined together to form the body of Christ.

 We should be united in our spiritual beliefs, completely to his death and resurrection, and for the whole purpose of the Church. Sadly, it grieves me, frustrates and depresses me greatly when I read of senior figures in the Church challenging and calling for Bible teaching to be ignored. If they cannot subscribe to Scripture, which they must have vowed to do at ordination, they should look for alternative employment.

 We also have to read disgraceful accounts of people within the Church who commit serious sexual offences, despite from which denomination or affiliation, all Christians are placed in situations which they should not have to.  Ministers are often given more attention than ordinary men, and to some it goes beyond their intelligence to realise much is due to status, not the actual person.   

 No greater error was created than when Churches excluded married men from ministry. There is no justification for it in Scripture. When God gave women to be man’s helper, it was the most precious gift he could give. If both work together there is a strong bond,, as each add their own talent, and make a healthier atmosphere, devoid of need for other casual relationships.  My ministry was made stronger by a wife, who could by her presence complete what I had done, by conversing  with people.  We know marriage was not banned for the Apostles by Jesus, for the Bible tells how Jesus healed Peter’s ‘mother-in-law.

 We are living in an evil age when morals and honesty are loose. The behaviour of men and women has no bounds from theft, corruption, infidelity, even murder which was at one time a serious crime which held the nation in shock, but has just become another me.

Any one, particularly younger women, who venture out at night are literally taking their life to risk. What exacerbates the situation, there is no limit to the commission of moral  or improper misbehaviour to the highest level in public service, or higher.

 This makes it even more than ever for the Church to come forward and be a national beacon of light in a dark and deadly world. The Church of England has bishops in the House of Lords who have been granted membership to protect the moral state of the nation. Why then has there not been an outcry against young children being taught all explicit forms of sexuality; of youngsters of  four being asked if they are in the proper gender. Letters are often written to the ‘Times’ newspaper (of course) protesting about political issues, rarely if ever about moral failings.

 God created his Church to help people live good lives in company with all other people. To prepare for salvation for followers, with every member happy in the will of God, yet many homes are caught up into a sinful unhappy state of life.  The Church of Jesus Christ should be a body that penetrates everywhere. May all Christians help to put an end to the devastation being caused to our Churches when leadership shuts down Scriptures as the Churches are doing now, almost across the range of denominations, to be in line with modern culture.

 May God bless his Holy Word to us and may his Holy name be praised .                          

Monday 17 January 2022


Nehemiah 8 ,v.1 to 4,  8 to 12

This morning I want to turn with you to the reading from the Book of Nehemiah, which is the Old Testament reading for the coming Sunday.

  Nehemiah was a Jew taken into exile by the Babylonians and after they had been defeated by the Persians, he became a cup bearer to the King, and later became civil governor of Jerusalem.  

 The people of Israel had been taken into captivity, and after 70 years were returning to Jerusalem, their spiritual homeland and capital then in ruins, to rebuild their lives and homes. 

 The walls of the city had been destroyed and needed to be rebuilt. been created.  Nehemiah realised that a nation needs more than material works and wealth, there was a need for a firm spiritual and moral foundation as well as wealth and material things.

 Ezra the priest was present, and preached the Scriptures to them.   In what is perhaps a new passage of Scripture for you, we have a glorious story of a people who gathered without coercion, devoting themselves to standing for something like five/six hours.

 This indicates the tremendous desire of these people for truth. No complaining there if the service went over the hour! Some times when I first visit a Church, I ask the Vicar/Minister for guidance as to how long I am  expected to preach, and often told,' well after ten minutes people will begin to shuffle their feet.'  (Not so bad in the Free Churches.)

Notice also that the place where they met was by the Water Gate, the seventh gate, a prominent number to the Jews, a number meaning perfection.  There were a series of gates, sheep, fish, east, etc. this gate was the symbol of the Word of God -- the water of the Word. There could have been no more appropriate place for them to assemble.

This teaching had such a profound effect upon the people that we are told they wept as they listened. They did so because they realised how their lives had gone astray, and they had wrong thoughts and ways.  When God’s people get away from loving,  reading and obeying the Word of God, they lose the blessing of God upon their lives. The cause of their problems lay in their own thoughts and attitudes. These people saw the holiness of God contrasted against the evil of man.

What a marvelously clear statement of how a church service ought to be conducted! The primary business of Christians is to understand the Word of God so as to think God's thoughts after him -- to learn to think like God. It is not only important to know what the Scripture says, it is even more important to know what it means!

We so desperately need to tell in simple terms how God loves us, wants us to be saved, and for that purpose he sent his Son Jesus Christ into the world, to show us by word and example, how that becomes possible when we obey all that he tells us in that holy book we call the Bible.

God’s purpose for the Church is to preach the gospel message contained in the Bible, which we acknowledge is the authoritative Word of God, to an unbelieving world, and to lead people to salvation. This is what makes us unique and special, if we fail to do so, there can be no purpose in there being a Church, and we just become an irrelevancy.

 In order to help us do this according to his wishes, God created spiritual boundaries and we should not wander beyond what the Bible sets out for us.

 It is because preachers have extended their remit beyond God’s boundaries and gone off message, that the Church is falling apart in the West; people now are confused as to what the Church believes.  God wants to preach his Word, not express our opinions or think we have a better idea

 The purpose of coming to Church should be to join with other Christians in singing praise to God, listening to His Word, having it fearless and boldly preached so there is spiritual nourishment for the week ahead, and to join in  prayer for the needs of the world and ourselves.

There are Church members who live knowingly and deliberately against God’s teaching, yet hypocritically carry on doing so. How God must weep when sees people singing hymns of praise in Church, listening to the Bible, (sometimes even preaching it) and then behaving totally in contradiction to what he has laid down.

When the Bible is faithfully preached as it is written, it points out the way are going astray, how far we have wandered from the pureness of Christ in thought word and deeds. How we all sin most often by mistake or carelessness, and God provided a way of forgiveness in letting Jesus die a cruel death on the Cross so that all who accept Jesus death was be forgiven.

The whole Bible is about God’s offer of salvation through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.

In the Old Testament Jesus is predicted. 

    In the Gospel Jesus is revealed. 

        In Acts Jesus is preached.

            In the Epistles Jesus is explained.

                In Revelation Jesus is anticipated.  

 The great tragedy of our day is how few churches seem to understand this power of Scripture. Across the country there are churches in which there is little life. The services are dull and dreary because the Word of God is not central. Whenever there has been a revival in the Church, at the forefront were men like Charles and John Wesley,or Evan Roberts in the 1904 Welsh revival, men who were boldly preaching the Bible.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, one of the greatest preachers of modern times once stated, ‘the primary task of the Church and Christian Ministers is the preaching of the Word of God.  The decadent times in the history of the Church have always been when such preaching has declined.’

The Church was founded on the teaching of the Apostles, and such was authoritative because it came from our Lord Himself, who claimed he was the only way to God. We should not be afraid to state this, for the Bible states ‘we do not have a spirit of timidity, we have the power of God’.

What should occupy our minds is to consider if the Church is still preaching the message of the Apostles, and is it fit for the purpose Christ and His Apostles built it?  That is a hard question to answer; in places yes, especially the Pentecostal Churches; but in the main denominational Churches, only to a limited extent.

The Bible states, ‘do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind’. All our minds have to become transformed and adjusted to receive, and obey, what God expects from us.

It is fair to say Britain is in moral decline. It is like a car parked on a hill when someone releases the brake and it careers downward.  There is so much evil in society, even listening to news broadcasts creates fear. Murder was for so long a rare and major crime, now it is a daily occurrence. hardly worthy of more than a passing paragraph in a newspaper. Fraud, theft, corruption stems from top of society to the bottom. 

Of all that is happening today, the most frightening thing is the lack of a sense of sin in society, a total lack of moral values -- but they do not feel they are doing anything wrong.. That is what the Word of God is given to correct. It awakens afresh an awareness of what is causing the wrong. 

All the time honoured beliefs of morality and ethics have been abandoned, so that nothing is considered immoral or improper by society. What is most alarming is that no one in authority seems to be concerned, or even considering it, even leading the way.

 We have allowed secularists, atheists and activists to influence society, and take over the country, in the process they are trying to silence us and forcing us not only to accept, but approve all they call for.

 The Church, which is meant to be the conscience of the nation, has in the mainline denominations, conversely accepted, adopted and embraced behaviour specifically condemned by Scripture. The Church is expected to preach the gospel and abandon sin.  Now there has been a call to abandon the gospel and preach sin.

Scripture reveals that as individuals, we have turned our backs on God's ways, and ignored his teaching. We have failed the young people who see an institution created by God for the purpose of providing spiritual and moral guidance, failing to point out what are clearly called sins in the Bible, and either incapable or unwilling to offer better. Children are now denied these foundations, and are growing up without knowing the country’s religious faith and heritage. 

It is so easy to say that is just being old fashioned and dismiss. Old fashioned we may be, but we didn’t have 1in 2 divorce rate—such anti-social behaviour and juvenile delinquency- the highest abortion rate in Europe-= the highest number of teenage pregnancies in Europe-and the lowest Church attendance, we knew what being a Christian meant.

A lot of people are now trying to discredit the Bible.  Can we then be sure the Bible is true?

The Bible comes to us from God, written over a period of thousands of years, consisting of 66 books, written by a wide variety of authors, each with different characters and occupations, living at different times over the years, most of them not knowing others yet what they wrote was never in contradiction, and was all as God wanted. The most sophisticated computer could not have composed such perfect harmony; the only explanation is the Holy Spirit was the guide and one dictating.

 Martin Luther stated ‘the true treasure of the church is the most holy gospel of the glory and grace of God.’  This is the message the Church should now be preaching, but instead too many are more concerned with following an equality agenda which is obsessing the country. Luther’s stance was that any issue which tended to overshadow the gospel must be ignored and abandoned.  He recalled the Church to follow he gospel.

 Most of the men who wrote the Bible were simple fishermen, shepherds and the like, without a degree amongst them, and were moved by the Spirit of God. If they went now before a selection committee for Church ministry, I doubt they would have been chosen.

That may seem hard or even cynical, but it is not meant to be, I say it seriously and being realistic. The teaching of the Apostles would be too fundamental for selectors to accept, for Christian orthodoxy has now been replaced by equality and diversity consideration.  I can say with confidence, preferment in the Church of England is dependent upon accepting not the Bible’s moral and ethical teaching, more on the calls of society’s activists.

 Men and women have given their lives to take the Bible to the utmost parts of the earth, and to live in primitive conditions.  Most could have earned an enormous amount more money with comfortable lives, but chose to serve the Lord. They were mostly well educated and learned people with brilliant minds, who God will richly reward.

 It would be interesting to know how many church members have bibles in their homes, yet never bother to read them.  I think the majority of Church people rarely read a bible in their own time and place.

It was once custom to have bible in pews so members could follow the readings for themselves as they were being read out, and follow as the sermon was preached. Most Churches had a Bible study class meeting , which has now a rare meeting.

 If the churches of this land were faithful to the Bible preaching what it was saying, without amendments, do you think the nation would be in the condition that it is today?  Never has the Bible been more needed than now

 Liberalism is tearing the Church apart by trying to supplant biblical authority for cultural expression and denying the infallibility of the Bible with trendy social issues replacing the Cross of Christ. The Church should be the moral conscience and voice of the nation, providing spiritual disinfectant on the evil of society.

    We have to accept that if you state you believe in the full authority of the Bible you will find many will oppose you, and even those close to you will challenge you, perhaps within your own family. You will be called narrow minded, bigoted or of having some kind of phobia.   How disheartening to hear from pulpits that we must not take the Bible too literally; or that there will be atheists in heaven.  The time may come when those of us who stand firmly on the Bible will be frozen out, and attempts will be made to silence us.

All Christians at this perilous time need to think of what we can offer to God.  To paraphrase a famous saying, ‘think not what God can do for me, but what can I do for God’.

 The greatest revival in the history of this country took place under the ministry of Charles and John Wesley.  The once great Methodist Church was built on a strong Biblical foundation.  If they were alive today they would have much to say at the way the Church has failed to proclaim the message they left, that salvation was through Christ alone, the value of a person’s life was measured by their faith; by the manner in which they lived their lives, and the doctrine of heaven and hell. 

Their legacy has been passed down through the ages to the Church they founded.  This should not be betrayed. Charles was one who wrote as he thought and he saw the importance of conversion and a personal relationship to Jesus Christ.   He became vividly convinced of the message of salvation, and saw clearer than ever before how faith in Jesus Christ could change a person’s life.  This was the message he would take to as many people as he could, particularly to the poorer classes.  He preached that the value of a person’s life was to be measured by their faith. 

How shamed both men would be, that the great spiritual heritage they left has been cast aside, and their clear teaching has been overturned by the Church leaders who did not fully seek the Church's members, which would have been clearly against soing so. 

I close with the words of John Wesley, who with his brother Charles, led such a great revival in this country.

.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 end He came from heaven. He hath written it down in a book. Give me that book! At any price give me the Book of God.


Friday 14 January 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. Gpd 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.


Wednesday 12 January 2022


                                   1 Corinthians 12

This is a very significant passage.  Paul is writing to the Corinthian Church, and has come to a point where he is dealing with spiritual gifts.  He likens the Church to a human body, and describes it as the body of Christ.  The Church is the means by which Jesus reaches out to the world, and it is very important that we keep this in mind.

 We have to be conscious of the fact that as Jesus is no longer physically in the world, so members of the Church are required to do His work here on earth; we are to be His voice and hands.  This is such an important task, and we should not try to avoid it.  Literally, we have to be His body, and the supreme glory for the Christian is that he/she is part of that body.

 The Church is not just a group of religious people gathered together to enjoy mutually desired functions.  We should be sharing the same kind of life, belonging to the one Lord, filled with His Spirit and be working together to change the world.  Such is what makes a true and healthy Church.  Just coming to Church in itself, does not necessarily make you a Christian, you have to believe in and trust Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour.

 Paul emphasises the analogy of the human body to that of the body of Christ, by explaining how the body functions.  He stresses the importance of each part of the body working together, and indicates that every member of the Church is of importance.   An ear performs one vital function, but so does an eye; the body needs both; similarly with hands and feet.  Never consider yourself as an unimportant part of the Church. You may not be called to preach or lead a Bible study group, but there are so many other equally important tasks in their own way by which you can take an active part.  If everyone did the same thing, the Church would be ineffective.

 But a body only functions properly if it is healthy, and every part is working properly.  We must accept we need one another, and there is no need for competition or jealousy.  Occasions arise when, someone feels they are not being given the recognition they feel their secular work demands, and others are doing what they should be doing.  If any organ in our body fails, the whole body is affected and any disruption in the Church affects the whole situation.

 You may ask, in what way can you play your part? There are so many ways by which your gift can be exercised, possibly in a manner you have never considered.  In a Church I was once at, we gave everyone £5 and invited them to use their talent to increase it with the proceeds going to the Church.  People found they had hidden gifts.  So often gifts are seen as only relating to ministry, which is so wrong and narrow an outlook.  The Church is not like a bus with the Vicar being the driver, and all others passengers.

 Often we find professional men and women who have their professional talent to use in the service of the Church, and they serve well and so usefully, especially gifts of accountancy and law.  But also valuable is the man or woman who can do technical, work effecting repairs; or the lady gifted with flower and decorative arrangements; ladies who spend hours baking for Church fairs.  I had two sisters in their 80s who worked tirelessly, and I cannot imagine how we could have done without them.

 Sometime of course, it may seem as your work is not appreciated when you do not get the thanks and recognition your work has merited.  Do not be depressed or disheartened, if you have done it for God, He will be pleased and recognise you.  When all our gifts are put together we can become a strong body, able to serve the Lord as He would want. 

 May God bless His Word to us, and His holy name be praised.

Monday 10 January 2022

 Romans 1. V 16/17

One of the outstanding passages, and perhaps one of the most encouraging, is that in the first chapter of Paul’s Letter to the Romans.

I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.  For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: the righteous shall live by faith’. 

Paul is writing to Christians in Rome, the mightiest city of the day, a city full of learning yet also full of immorality, where Christianity would not be appreciated, and he was ready and eager to go and preach the gospel, no matter what the cost, even though Christians were in danger of persecution; a sort of London of the day.   

Paul says he was not ashamed, in fact he glorified in the gospel and that is what all Christians should do.  But sadly I fear we all do not. How many Church members are embarrassed when asked if they believe?  Indeed how many are ready to acknowledge they attend Church?  How would we answer is asked to give our opinion on moral questions?   If you are not ashamed you are ready to speak out about your faith.  Some people are fearful of their friends finding out they attend Church in case they get mocked, or because it might restrict the way they want to behave.  Remember the words of Jesus, ‘for whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this sinful and adulterous generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed when He comes back.

Preachers should be prepared to tell the Bible as it is written, telling people what need to hear rather than what they might like to hear.  Preachers can however be intimidated, and be frightened of upsetting modern susceptibilities. To preach fundamental truth, will inevitably cause some upset. If people are upset, they should conside why.  But let us take heart from Paul, who faced all that could be put against him, and so caused Christianity to spread throughout the ancient world.

I have been to three service in recent times when there has been a child being baptised, with people who have not been to Church for a long time if ever.  What an opportunity of preaching the gospel, yet there has been a nebulous sermon meaning absolutely nothing.

Then look at what is meant by the gospel.  How many Christians I wonder, would be able to answer if asked what the gospel is?  The gospel is a simple story of a baby, born to a young Jewish girl by divine and virginal conception, who lived a sinless life until God called Him to die on a Cross, so that all who truly believe in Him and accept Him as their Lord and Saviour, will have all their wrongdoings forgiven, so that one day they will live for ever with Him in heaven.

There is false teaching being given from within the Church, that all will go to heaven. The funeral liturgy gives that clear imprssion.It is said that God would not send anyone to hell, and that is right, but people choose to go there by their own neglect.  To believe as some do, and preach that everyone will go to heaven, is nowhere stated, nor can be found in the Bible. 

We Ministers are constantly meeting bereaved people who sincerely believe their loved ones are bound for heaven, despite never having a religious thought or action in their lives.  We are too compassionate to make any comment in such a situation, but it is a terribly sad feeling and situation to be in, when you know the Bible’s teaching.   

The gospel is the story of Jesus Christ, who gave Himself to be crucified for our sins in order to reconcile us to God.  Why should anyone be ashamed to tell that story?  We all no doubt are ashamed of things we have done in our lives, and the things we have said but wished we hadn’t, and that is understandable.  But we allow ourselves to become ashamed of something for which there is no need to be ashamed of. 

Righteousness.  We cannot make ourselves righteous before God, but we can be through Jesus’ atoning death.  Jesus acts as a bridge between God and us, putting us in good standing in God’s eyes, making it thus possible for us to be acceptable to God. This is God’s powerful way of bringing all who believe to heaven.  We are saved by grace (Great Riches At Christ’s Expense) through faith.  The gospel is the power that gives us salvation. But the gospel is bad news for non-believers.

Faith. You must have faith and believe. We are prepared to place our faith in many people, but reluctant to trust in God.  We travel by plane and put our faith that the pilot knows what he is doing although we know nothing about him. If you go to the doctor for some illness and he gives you a prescription, you then get dispensed and take, trusting the doctor and the chemist, but you don’t just leave it in a cupboard if you want to get better.  So with the gospel. There is no point in just seeking a spiritual prescription; you have to take that ant so that people may come to live by the Scripture.  .  by faith which means reaching out to God and accepting the gospel.

For all who believe. This power is for everyone who believes.  This means more than just believing there is a God, the devil accepts that; believing means making a commitment.  Too many say they believe but do nothing, which is why regular preaching of the gospel is import

They are religious and even show some outward inclinations toward Christianity. They come from a Christian background. They think that Jesus was a great religious figure. But they have not believed in Christ. Though the gospel is God's power for salvation, because they have not believed, they have not experienced this power nor have they known the gospel for what it truly is.

The reason so many people are not willing to accept the Bible, is because the message is too simple. We know there are many people who are not prepared to accept the Bible story, as they find it too incredible to believe.  They are more ready to listen to the strident outpourings of nauseating, insulting, self- indulgent secularists.  For others, accepting the gospel would mean a change of hedonistic lifestyle.  It means accepting a standard of morality they are not prepared to accept. 

You will find theologians complicating matters by having all kind of discussions, on who wrote this and that, and it is all very well for academics sitting in their common rooms to do this for their amusement, but it sends out a wrong message. 

Martin Luther was so inspired by this passage it caused him to start the Protestant Reformation, and if all preachers were inspired similarly there would be less empty seats in Churches. 

 Let us proceed by faith and never ever be ashamed.

There are several words mentioned here, which will be the subject of further posts; namely, righteousness, grace, faith and belief.


May the Lord bless his Word to us, and for us to serve him.