Friday 30 September 2022


Turn with me now to the 2nd Letter of Paul to Timothy.

This is the last letter Paul wrote in 64AD, this is his last will and testament. He is now an old man in chains in a Roman prison and wants to pass on the ministry he has pursued and considers Timothy the man best to do so.  But Timothy is likely to be overawed by the opposition. 

Paul had lived for the gospel and does not want to see it banished. His primary desire was to make more people Christian, and strove bravely to do this, anything else was supplementary.

Paul is writing to encourage Timothy to persevere in what he has learned and believed, and to pass on the gospel of Christ and the teaching of the Apostles, and the letter calls on us to do the same.

But Timothy is facing a difficult task for the Church was facing much opposition.  The Church had spread after Peter’s sermon at Pentecost, but as that generation was being followed by a younger one, which Paul refers to later in the Letter, they were unholy and self concerned. To-day Churches, which have been faithfully supported by middle and older age people in traditional worship, are now trying to introduce a modern contemporary worship(?),and are only causing members unable to accept or understand what is presented

In addition false teachers had crept into positions of influence within the Church, and their teachings were acceptable to those who wished to follow a loose sort of Christianity, and of course such is happening today as we find the Bible is being cast aside so people are not caused to feel guilty, and made to feel there are no moral restrictions. 

Further, the Romans did not like Christianity as it claimed to worship the one true God, and they preferred there to be pluralism with many gods, which is very much the preferred option of authorities today. You may be getting to see how much we have in common with that which Timothy faced.

This Letter was, and is, for those who are discouraged by the situation within and without the Church, and is a bold call for perseverance in the face of suffering and persecution. 

For anyone who is a committed Christian and anyone who holds the Church dear, this can only be depressing. Attendances at Churches are falling dramatically as the older members die or become unable to attend. The younger generations have no interest in the Church.We are fast becoming a secular state.

The Letter begins with Paul asserting his Apostleship, which he stressed was by the will of God; in other words he was specially chosen to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, and was always keen to assert this specially given authority so that what he stated could be accepted as approved by the Lord.

In verses ½ Paul greets Timothy and reveals his fondness for him, he also reminds him that he (Paul) is an Apostle.  Timothy would know that, but Paul knew this Letter would be passed on for many people through the ages to read. 

He then in verse 3 assures Timothy that he prays for him and constantly thinks of him.  Most of us can remember someone who has inspired us, and those who have care enough to pray for us.

He shows his affection for Timothy and remembers how Timothy was brought up in the faith by his mother and grandmother, leading to his ordination by Paul, and calls on him to keep that faith in mind and practice.   Something children miss out nowadays, and are deprived of a good foundation. 

We are reminded that God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but one of power and there is no greater strength than the power of God.  This should encourage us to be as vocal in proclaiming our faith as other faiths do.  Muslims vigorously reveal their faith and to their credit.

Paul then calls on Timothy not to let that gift be wasted; God has given us a spirit of power not timidity.  This is why we must never ever be ashamed of being Christians, or of speaking of the gospel; God has called us to stand up for Him and the Lord Jesus.  Our faith is not something someone has made up, it is factually based on historical grounds. 

Paul says he was not ashamed of the gospel, 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 reluctant to answer if asked to give our opinion on moral questions?   If you are not ashamed, you are ready to speak out about your faith. 

I know it can be hard when you are the only person in your work place or amongst friends, who is a Christian. Criticism can be harsh, even vitriolic so that there is reluctance to take a stand. Be encouraged by remembering our Lord went through so much more for us, so we must stand up for Him. 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 in the glory of the Father’.

More importantly there is a tendency by those within the church who are ashamed, because the bible speaks against what they want to believe.

Preachers now 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. 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.

 Some preachers are terrified of being criticised as being bigoted, or of having some sort of phobia.  A bible based ministry is likely to make you unpopular or mocked, (believe me).  When therefore you are in a minority you have to decide whether to keep quiet and say nothing; go with the flow, or stand up and fight. 

Paul tells Timothy to keep sound teaching, which he learned from the teaching of the Apostles.   Paul will repeat this call in Chapter 4 when he commands Timothy to ‘preach the word’, and to be urgent in doing so.

It is so easy to be blown away by every new spiritual wind that causes us to drift from our moorings.  We are not to be superficial believers, but to hold fast to the gospel given by the Apostles who were themselves taught by our Lord Himself.

Jesus in His preaching had two effects; He either saved people or upset them.  If we study the preaching of Jesus the people did not always go away smiling, even His own disciples walked away from Him at one time.         

We may offer what is hard for sceptics to believe, but that should not stop us telling it.  The gospel does annoy people, so the Church has tried to dilute the message to please and conciliate people to such an extent that it has nothing special to offer.  If it is just another social organisation with a religious flavour, there is no cause for people to support it.

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?     

 Unless we know what we believe and why we will not defeat the creeping spread of secularism and the cultural trends which challenge our faith, and we must resists the tendency to allow society to impose itself upon our teaching, or we are in danger of sentencing the Church to a very small part of our national life.  When we reject Apostolic teaching we fall into error.

We hear it said that all religions are the same and all lead to the same God, but his is both wrong and irresponsible. Islam for instance teaches that God has no son and their God is Allah, they hate the Jews.  We worship a God who has a Son and who is the God of Israel, and we claim no one comes to the Father (GOD that is) except through Jesus Christ, teach from a book written by Jews and worships a Saviour who was a Jew. 

The second significant words come when Paul writes; ‘join with me in suffering for the gospel.’  There are many ways we may suffer, but be sure you will experience one when you state what you believe.  Some people will try to avoid you, you may miss out on promotion in your work as many of us have experienced, and you will surely be subject to innuendo, but what man denies us God recompenses. Christianity was never meant to be a bed of roses.  It is not easy to stand for Christ; people have received death threats even for doing so.  We have to decide if we stand for Jesus or Caesar.

Looking at v.9, Paul is pointing out the gospel that there is nothing we can do to earn our salvation; God saves us by His grace, not because of anything we have done.  We are put into a right relationship with God when we repent of past sins and accept Jesus Christ as Saviour.  The Bible states Jesus is the only way to salvation.  I know it is hard to say this without someone saying, ‘oh you must not say that’, but we need to ignore such comment because that is an essential element of our message

Paul describes himself as having suffered many beatings, deprivation, hardship, now prison and soon death. In spite of all this he knows WHOM he has believed; not what or in whom, but whom, Jesus Christ Himself.  But he is not ashamed of being where he is.

In the last verse, Paul tells Timothy to guard the gospel.  We live at a time of theological and moral confusion.  The Church itself is confused and divided as to what it stands for, and for what is its purpose. One part believes the Bible is the infallible Word of God which should be respected and obeyed, whilst the other sees it as a sort of guide to be adopted to suit the occasion. Jesus warned any kingdom or house divided among itself will fall. 

This letter is essentially a message for those who may be tempted to give up in times like now, when it often seems that those in positions of leadership do not really know what they believe in or stand for. Paul reminds us the gospel is worth standing up for; is worth fighting for; and in this Letter Paul goes on to encourage people. Never give in; if you feel frustrated fight.

 If the Churches and people of this great nation do not return to Biblical foundations, Christianity which has been the faith of this country for over 1500 years, and has given stability and kept this nation as one, will be fazed out of public life by ideologues in public service, who want to take Christianity right out of public life.

The first Church grew rapidly because the people listened to the teaching of the Apostles and God added to their numbers.  He is not going to add to any Church which accepts the morality of a decadent society. Church members should never choose to adopt State above God’s law. 

 Now more than ever, this is a requirement for all Christians to remember the sacrifices made by martyrs who gave their very lives that we may have Bibles to freely read.

 For our brothers and sister in Christ, living in Islamic countries, being a Christian is a life threatening existence, daily facing horrific persecution, even death, with Churches and houses being burned down.  We have seen horrendous scenes on television of them being beheaded, just because they declared themselves followers of Christ. In some countries even having a bible in your possession is enough to incur the wrath of the authorities.

God has made us custodians of His Word; never may the Church and its members fail Him.   But if we are negligent and indifferent we will find another faith will take our place

I pray that you will only hear the gospel boldly and faithfully preached in your Church.


Friday 23 September 2022

Luke 16 v19/31

May the Lord bless His Word to us this morning, and may His Holy Name be praised.

The gospel reading for today is 16th Chapter of Luke. This story is known as the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. There are three points to note from the passage, namely that this life is not all there is; there are two destinies when we leave this earth, heaven or hell; and thirdly that we make a decision in this life which will determine which one is for us.

This will not be popular for many preachers in all denominations, for there are an increasing number of clergy who do not accept the doctrine of heaven or hell. Such should not apply to Methodist preachers, for it was well proclaimed by John and Charles Wesley, apart from the facts that it is taught throughout the Bible and Jesus spoke about hell more than anyone, for whenever He spoke of heaven He spoke of the alterative.

I once attended a clergy meeting at a Church where there was a famous mural, and whilst I was looking at it a young Vicar asked me what I thought of the painting. I said I couldn’t understand it. He told me it was supposed to be the devil chasing men to hell, and he added, ‘but we don’t preach that these days do we?’ When I said ‘well I do’, he gave me one of those looks you give someone when you are not sure if they are completely with things.

In our story there are two men, one rich having all the trappings of luxury in his life, and the other a poor beggar covered with sores who has nothing, and even dogs licked his sores. He longed to sit by the rich man’s table so that he could gather up the crumbs which would fall from the table for his food. In those days they did not use knives and forks, instead they just picked at the food with their fingers and some would fall to the floor. The rich man had no pity on Lazarus, and as he used to beg at the city gate the rich man would have seen him, but did nothing to help.

They both died and the rich man went to hell where he was in torment, whilst Lazarus went to Paradise in heaven. He called on Abraham to have pity on him and send Lazarus with some comfort because he was in such agony. But Abraham said, "Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from here to us. Abraham because of his faithfulness to God was honoured and is recognised as the father of believers.. We are all sons or daughters of Abraham in that respect, and therefore go where Abraham is.

This tells us that Jesus was our Lord intending to draw a deliberate and vivid contrast between the rich man and the poor, and that man must love God and use money, instead of using God and loving money., The Pharisees were lovers of money, which they put first, and the modern equivalent is that of men (and now women) putting the interests of their careers before serving GodPeople like to speculate where heaven and hell are, sufficient it be to know heaven is where Jesus is, and hell is anyplace where Jesus will never be.

Of course there are many people who mock us for being Church members and being religious, but will one day realise the mistake they made, but there will be no going back, no second chance, the Bible is unequivocal that we make the decision here as to where our resting place will be.
I have been watching a series on television where a young policeman is partnered on his duties with an attractive young policewoman who is fond of him, but he does not respond. His Sergeant tells him he should make a decision to go with the woman or he will one day regret not making such a decision. Then he adds, the two saddest words in the English language are ‘if only’  How often do we say that now as we reflect back?? One day such a lot of people will say ‘if only’.

It is common to hear it said that a loving God would never send anyone to hell, and of course He would not; but by the decision we make here, we make the choice ourselves. I have heard it said so many times by people who misunderstand verses in John’s gospel, and think we are all guaranteed a place in heaven irrespective of how we lived here. No need to go to Church, read a Bible or say prayers, Jesus they say promised He would prepare a place for us, without realising Jesus was talking only to His followers not those who have no time to give to Him.

There was a limerick I read which referred to words on a gravestone. It was. Remember, Friend, as you pass by,
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, soon you shall be
Prepare for Death, and follow me.
Someone added the words: To follow you I’m not content, until I know which way you went.

The passage suggests we will be fully aware of our condition at whatever place, for the rich man asked that pity be given to his five brothers. The rich man is told by Abraham, ‘if they do not hear Moses and the prophets neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.’
We can see an analogy in modern life where people start looking for God to help them when in trouble, when for the rest of the time he is an irrelevance to them. When someone asks you ‘where was God’, when some particular incident occurs, tell them ‘He was where he always is, when you were not interested.’

The rich man was in hell because he refused to listen to Moses and the prophets of the Old Testament. His whole life was all about his own comforts without any concern for others, and that is why he is where he is. Lazarus, on the other hand, is in heaven because he believed Moses and the prophets and trusted in God.

This then is the explanation of the parable which is the only one which describes he feelings of the unconverted after death. What lessons are there to be learned from it?

Firstly a person’s worldly condition is no test of their state in the sight of God. The wealth or position does not earn God’s particular favour. The poor man lived by faith whilst the rich man was a selfish thoughtless man.   Secondly, death is what happens to all of us, which many people do not seem to realise; they think they can go on enjoying themselves forever.  Thirdly God cares specially for the souls of believers in the hour of death. Jesus tells us when Lazarus died he was carried by angels into Abraham’s bosom. We know little or nothing about the feelings of the dead. When our last hour come it shall be like going into an unknown country, but we know that all who fall asleep in Christ Jesus will be in good keeping.  Fourthly, the reality of there being an eternity of hell, and the certainty of the punishment for the wicked. Jesus gives us a fearful picture in one of the most awful passages in the Bible.

Lastly, the unconverted, those who have not called Jesus into their lives, will find out too late the real value of being a true Christian and the folly of ignoring Jesus.   The Bible tells us all that we need to be saved for heaven, simple faith in the Scriptures is the first thing needful to salvation.

Thursday 15 September 2022


                               JUDE  v 1-4

although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our Beloved only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ

This Letter was written by Jude, the brother of James and half-brother of Jesus.   He intended to write to all the Churches to discuss the teaching on salvation.  He called those who had been called, those who God had been touched and loved by God, and were kept by Jesus Christ. God takes the initiative of calling us to him, and Jude says we are loved by God, who wants us not to be encouraged, not to be mislead by false teachers. Jude considered the command not to  listen to false teachers. He considered to be so important.

I want to turn with you to the most important verse 3 of the Letter, and is also important to us as Christians.  I urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

This was of course referring to the words of Jesus to his Apostles, to go out into all the world making disciples of all nations and teaching all he had commanded.  The Apostles obeyed Jesus, and the gospel spread around the ancient world. This was accomplished without the press and all our modern technology.

This calls for all Christians wherever you live, to contend for the faith. To contend means you fight, and challenge all opposition. Our commitment to the gospel must be as vigorous as our opponents are to theirs.  Jesus never held back against those against him, and neither must we. Today our world is a battlefield for Christians, not  a playing field  

 So what are we to contend for? Well, we are to contend for the faith. That is the gospel, the body of truths that make up the exclusive Christian gospel ;  It is that God sent his own Son to teach us his Word, and ultimately give his life on the Cross, by the most cruel and horrific way, so that we can be forgiven for all our sins. This means we are made righteous in God’s sight, and by his grace we receive free salvation, when we accept that Jesus made that sacrifice for each one of us, and is our Lord and Saviour. We teach that Jesus Christ is the one and only way to be accepted by God.

And that faith, says Jude, has been entrusted to the saints once for all. Now notice that little word once. It’s easy to miss but it is extremely important. And here the passing of the gospel to the saints is, the gospel truth is, a once for all act. It is a finished work. The defending isn’t finished, and the entrusting is passed on to us. In other words, there is nothing more to be added, the Bible is not like an iphone, no updates needed. That gospel truth that was passed on by the apostles, is set. We cannot change it or take anything away or add anything. Anyone who tries to alter that gospel truth, is a false teacher, and the Bible states will  not receive eternal life. Jude indicates that God will not ignore false teaching, and later in the Letter points out the judgement God passes on such people.  We prioritize the truth, and proclaim the true Jesus Christ and was delivered through the Apostles.

The saints is used in the biblical understanding, that a saint is a person who embraces the teaching of Jesus Christ.  This is how we should accept, rather than that of the Roman Catholic practice in calling people ‘Saints’ because of service to the Church. This verse tells us our faith is not which someone has made up, but rather comes from God.  

Let us now consider the implications for us.  It must be our duty and responsibility, to guard that gospel in a very hostile world.

I cannot think of any words more necessary to deliver to Christians,  than this calling from Jude. The enemies we face are well armed, having the backing of powerful companies from Silicon Valley, California; the immensely popular social media, which poisons many intolerant minds; and a press which restricts mentioning the Church, except when a member of the clergy does something foolish. Sadly this occurs too often, and brings shame and disgrace upon the whole Church.

Many people have lost employments and college places because, someone found a statement they made sometime previously, which didn’t fit in with modern woke culture, and was relayed to their current employer who did not have the courage to ignore.

There is a worldwide attack on the Christian Church, which needs to be urgently confronted.  Authorities and Governments are imposing restrictions in almost every nation, and we have the added burden in that thousands of people, who have been prohibited from attending Churches because of the deadly virus circulating the world, may not return.

The church of Jesus Christ is under severe attack in a manner not previously seen, due to modern technology. Forces are striking from the outside, seeking to undermine our existence, but more insidious , as we in recent times have shamefully watched, men/women holding high Office in the Church are betraying God’s Word.  How prophetic it was of Jude.     The world sees the Church standing for values it should have condemned.

 These are dark days for the Church. We live in a society which largely rejects God, and regards Church and Christianity as totally irrelevant to their lives.  The message of the world is that morality, which was once based on Christian principles, is now what you make it as long as you are sincere.  All the boundaries have been swept away, and the spiritual moorings have been eroded.  Every so often someone pops up calling for a back to basics campaign, but no one knows what the basics are. 

I wonder how many Christians appreciate how much the Christian Church and faith are in fact under sustained attack from so many sources. Apart from activists in humanistic and sexual causes, we have governments activating and encouraging activities which exceed moral boundaries and oppose all Christian teaching.

In the United Kingdom the government are encouraging and even supplying the means for women to receive home abortion pills, which has caused some women to die.  A total of 223 thousand  abortions were performed, according to the last records issued in 2019, so we can expect even more for 2020. In America, abortions are in the millions. Most reasonable people would sympathise when a woman’s health was at risk, when a deformed baby would be born, or if the woman had been assaulted, but in most of the cases, it was just another form of contraception.

In Scotland, a ‘hate crime’ bill was discussed, which indicates how Scotland has drifted under the present leadership. It was being proposed to prevent by law, all speech or writing criticising sexual behaviour, and even extending into private homes.  One group wanted all sermons to be examined  before being delivered.  The First Minister closed all Churches during the pandemic, an act which was legally challenged by Ministers of the Church in the Supreme Court, which ordered the ban to be withdrawn.   

If we look around the world, the once most Christian committed country, under the new President is not so much the land of the free, as it is called, and is adopting the (im)moral  proposals of a previous Administration.  Who could imagine a newly elected President, making his first Executive Order, stating boys or men who self-declare themselves to be feminine, must be allowed in female facilities and take part in female sports. Who in a televised broadcast, told parents not to be upset if their children wanted to gender  change; adding ‘your President is with you’. It is beyond most people’s intelligence to comprehend. (and some have the effrontery to complain about President Trump, who promoted true American values, overruling  his predecessor’s progressive woke laws and supported the right of Christians to freely express their beliefs.

But across the world, in countries from China, Russia North Korea, Malaysia, Egypt and Muslim lands, Christians are put  in peril. In Victoria, Australia they are trying to prevent any biblical ethical teaching on sex, or gender change.  Europe has long given up on Christianity, especially since the European Union was created.

However, even more insidious is the fact our Church leaders don’t always offer support. They will write letters to the press on social and political issues, especially against Brexit, but there is rarely, if ever in relation to moral matters.  One bishop has just bemoaned the cancellation of a city’s gay pride march, which he thought was so sad.

The Church of England produced a promotional video  called Living in Love and Faith, which is highly controversial, giving guidance for the Church to move forward on sexual matters and marriage (I thought the Bible had done that). 

There was a call for mutual understanding, with the intention to learn and listen on LGBT issues..  This  was uploaded  on to ‘you tube’ where a representative from Christian Concern did in fact defend the Bible’s teaching on sexual ethics.  The programme was a lost cause when a transgender Minister from the United Reform Church, in response complained of hate speech, and reported the Christian speaker to the Police  for a hate crime.  Not much mutual understanding there .

Why the Church of England should have produced such a video is beyond understanding.  We are supposed to defend the Scriptures, nothing else. How people live is a matter for them to decide, and they will answer one day, as we all will, but this indicates how the Church is failing to defend and promote the Bible , which all we clergy promise and vow to do when ordained. We vow to banish ALL false doctrine

Billy Graham in so many meetings used as his theme, ‘sin’. That is now a word to be frowned upon, even the Church does not fully believe in sin. People think sin relates exclusively to sexual acts, but it also relates to malice, greed, envy, jealousy, lies, and crime. A reading of the newspapers show how much evil there is in the world. In the UK teenagers are shooting each other and stabbing, and one boy of only fourteen years was killed in major city of Birmingham.

It is more than coincidence that things have got so bad since religion has been pushed into the background, when schools do not have assemblies, as is required but not pursued, under law unless it is a private school. However, as in a previous sermon, I told of a headmaster in a private school with an alleged Christian ethos, reported the Chaplain to the Police Terrorist Unit because the Chaplin had stated people can express a different opinion on homosexuality, provided stated respectfully. He was fired by the school, and his bishop suspended him from the Church because he told a safeguarding worker he wouldn’t change his firm Christian beliefs.( which were commanded by our Lord)

In conclusion, in consideration of the facts stated above, none of which have been exaggerated, you may, and will, if truly a committed Christian, see the need to heed the words of Jude and contend for the faith, The Church has been sloth (also a sin) in not speaking out aggressively and forcefully, as some of the ethnic Churches have, notably the black Evangelical Churches.

My wife was disabled for a long time, and had Carers to help her, most of which have been black ladies, and each of those ladies has been in possession of a Bible, and not carried as an accessory. I asked one lady, who has been a great inspiration to me personally, why she thought this was so different to white ladies. She told me that black people did not always get appreciated by people, but always have been by God. What a regrettable, but factual, condemnation

Every person and organisation has the right of free speech, but that includes the Church. Any one group have no right to claim  exception to another opinion, as some activists protest strongly when people do not only support, but expect approval.

Remember the words of Paul, don’t be ashamed of your faith, do not have a spirit of timidity, and remember the words of Jesus, ‘I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE, NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME’.  And the words of Peter. ‘There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we may be saved.’     Let us boldly proclaim this boldly, and may God be with you and bless you.

Saturday 10 September 2022

LUKE 15 v 1-10

This is a well known passage from the Bible and is liked by many people.

Jesus was surrounded by poor people,  sinners, and tax collectors, who were turning to Jesus, which showed his popularity, and this  upset the Pharisees and Scribe, and they objected, especially when Jesus sat and ate with them.  Rather than be pleased and sow pleasure, they scorned, for they had no time for poor people. Jesus again reflected concern  for the poor.

Jesus saw this as an advantage, not an annoyance, and enabled him to give them parables. Jesus always showed he came to help the poor, the sick, and those whose lives had turned to sin. The whole purpose of his coming was to receive, pardon and make sinners righteous for heaven. He regularly came not to the righteous, but sinners to repentance.   He is still a sinners friend. 

In our advanced way, we wish we had thought and acted in our recent manner.  Many people I am sure look back on life and how they acted, and think if I could only have acted as I feel able to now, how better life would be.  I readily admit I think of my early ministry years, and think how I did things, and wish I had time to make good.  Like  lot of people, we realize the way  we have learned and improved. Christ is willing to understand, and will graciously pardon us freely, and offer eternal life. Do not hold back in asking to be forgiven, and saved.

We see how our Lord displayed his love and  sympathy to sinners, for instead of replying to the Pharisees, he told three parables about loss and losing.  All three we looked at in depth in June, with Christ displaying how he saves sinners.

The love of Jesus is active and working love.  In all three parables the losers did not just sit crying over their loss, nor does Jesus just sit in heaven having pity on people,  He left the glory he had with the Father, and came humbly way down into the world to seek and save the lost.  He continued to make atonement for our misdoings, brought righteousness and pardoned, offering salvation to all.

When the shepherd lost his sheep he went out alone in dangerous territory to find it, leaving the other  to search for just the one lost, When he found it, he picked the sheep up put it over his shoulder and carried it to his home.  He called his friends and neighbors to  join with him in rejoicing for finding his sheep.

Just as that shepherd acted in seeking, finding, caring, rejoicing, so Jesus is truly pleased to  see us repenting and letting him find  and save us. Jesus is more ready and willing to save than men and women are to be saved.  The Bible tells us heaven rejoices for just one found sinner.  We may not fully understand the joy in heaven, but it emphasizes the willingness of God to receive repentant. However bad a person has been, when he/she really turns to God and sincerely repents and turns to Jesus, God is well pleased. God wants to love all people, but not all people are willing to play their part by true repentance. An open door is waiting with free pardon.  If we confess our sins god is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The passage closes telling of a woman losing a coin, which although not worth a lot moneywise, it was equal to a day’s wage.  It was not difficult to lose a coin but difficult to find.  The house would be small with an earth floor covered with reeds and rushes, and there would be a small round window to give little light.  Trying to find a coin in such conditions was hard, and despite s weeping the floor it looked totally lost. It was a matter of desperation to the woman, and she could no give in. These people needed food and were living on the edge, and without finding the coin there would be no food.

But there was also a romantic reason. In Palestine the mask of a married woman was a head-dress of ten silver coins linked together to form a chain. For years a girl would save up to collect the coins for her head-dress, which was like the equivalent of our wedding ring.  When she had it, tis was a treasure and could not be taken away.  This may be the reason for which she was so disturbed over and longed to find.  She searched so hard as a woman today would for a lost ring. She did in the end find it and clutched it in her hand, full of joy and finding it.  God said Jesus is like that and filled with joy her one sinner returns to him, and all the angels in heaven rejoice, like the woman who recovered her precious possession which had value beyond the value of money

No Pharisee had ever dreamed of a God like that.  A Jewish scholar realized that this was a new way which Jesus taught people about God-that God actually sought sinners. The Jew might have realized if a man came crawling home in self-abasement, and kneeled before God praying for pity, he might find it  A Jew could never have taught of a God who sought sinners.  It is our glory that we believe in the seeking love of God because we have that love in Jesus Christ the Son of God who came to seek and sav the lost

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

Wednesday 7 September 2022

.Why are our Church leaders reluctant to use the Bible. 

The story I am going to tell is I can assure you a true one, even though it is beyond belief.

Trent  College near Nottingham is a private education facility, claiming  a Christian ethos.  Dr Bernard Randall, an Oxford graduate, ordained Minister of the Church of England, was appointed Chaplain. He would lead services and teach Scripture as stated in the Bible, and according to the Articles of Religion of the Church of England, and offer pastoral care.

The school had also engaged an organization called educate and Celebrate, which implemented LGBT policies, a committed body in which one of its leaders called for the smashing of heterotically activity, which of course refers to heterological sexuality. They demand schools adopt a gender neutral uniform policy, and believe children should not refer to each other as ‘boys and girls’ to avoid offending transgender pupils.

In consequence of Dr. Randall being asked by a pupil if they had to believe all the policy, Dr Randall referred to this in a sermon. He told the pupils they were not compelled to accept an ideology they disagreed with, but should show respect for other people’s opinions. I wonder how many pupils were transgenders, and if the school was so bigoted they could defend one viewpoint, but not another.

Insultingly,  Dr Randall claimed the school told him that any future sermons would be censored in advance. And warned that chapel services would be monitored to ensure requirements were met.  Such extreme action is not even taken by totalitarian countries. This was a disgraceful statement to make.

 The school decided that Dr Randall’s sermon as harmful to LGBT students, dismissed him,  and reported him to ‘Prevent’, a  national Police body formed to deal with terrorism and extreme radicalization.

Police investigated, and stated there was no counter terrorism risk or signs of radicalization.    From my own knowledge of Police, they probably thought someone in the school had lost the plot in reporting an equally balanced article as terrorist.   

After being sacked, Dr Randall alerted his diocese, but to his disappointment, there was little response or support. He had hoped his bishop Libby Lane,, the first female bishop, would at least support him on theological grounds, but he states she kept her distance.  It was suggested she either does not agree with the Church’s teaching (and the Bible’s teaching) or was morally unwilling to get involved, either of which are not the qualities that might be expected from a bishop.

A newspaper discovered documents, which suggest there were concerns about reputational risks to the Church.

The Church ordered a safeguard investigation, and Dr Randall was interviewed when summoned to a meeting when a woman saw him, and she later wrote that the Chaplain consistently demonstrated his inability and unwillingness to accept a different viewpoint.  This just illustrates how little attention is paid to Scripture, how or WHY should he have a different viewpoint. He is an ordained man of the Church. And as such must adhere to what the Bible states.

Fortunately this was a man of commendable principle, unlike this interviewer, for the Church’s Canon law and the Bible create a different approach to relationships

 Despite his opinion being supported by Church law and Scripture, it is his commendable opposition to consider or accept a different approach to relationships, which is the stated view of the Church of England.  This a reputational risk to be managed by the church which is under the Bishop Lane of Derby .

The bishop is quoted elsewhere as adding ,Specifically, risk as considered for if/when Rev’d Randall may be approached as a person holding a position within the diocese, if presented with a request for support by a vulnerable adult or young person struggling with a sexuality relationship issue, the response by Rev Randall may result in further anxiety for the individual involved, due to the manner in which he communicates his strong Christian beliefs regarding sexuality and related issues, including the use of canon law and scripture to reinforce his opinion.

Let us analyze this startling explanation.  If a person approaches any clergyman/woman, and is struggling with a sexual issue, that person should be approached with, the caring manner previously displayed by Dr Randall. Who should be told, he could only tell what the Bible tells, as there is no other answer.  If is a question about marriage, the enquirer is told it is only between a man and a woman, and if a sexual issue it  still only between a man and a woman, within the bounds of marriage. We in the Church are not here to give popular answers sought, but to tell the truth,  as most of us do gently in  compassionate manner. There is no point in our existence if we are just going to make things up to please people.  We are here to serve Jesus Christ, who would have no reluctance in supporting truth rather than platitudes

Here we have two clergy people, a bishop to whom a Bible has little to offer, and the predominant concern is a popular reputation of the Church; here Is a man devoted to his vows loyalty to Scripture and the Church’s officially stated doctrine.

 Dr Randall is an Oxford graduate whose life is now in ruins, devastated and hurt.  The  reference to Prevent must have terrified him, a respected ordained Churchman being accused of terrorism, and the imagined consequences for him and family.. It was irresponsible for a man having charge of a school to take such drastic and unnecessary action.

When men and women are ordained, most are overjoyed and commit heart and soul, and the prospect of being  faced with the consequences of giving sincere and accurate guidance, to the pupils, should have life shattered by other misguided people.  When ordained we VOW to teach in accordance with the Bible. And we  will banish all false doctrine. Perhaps the bishop and many other of her episcopal colleagues, should be reminded of these vows.

As this service outlined the Anglican Church’s view of marriage being between man and woman, and was delivered after students questioned the school’s new policy on sexual diversity, I hope and pray the Chaplain wins his appeal and sues the Bishop successfully. This Chaplain is not permitted to preach in the Cathedral, being sacked by his employer has no income. 

Once again, we have a church which is more concerned with its own reputation, and with a bishop who presides over a profoundly flawed safeguarding process, which compounds the injustice; and a victim who is driven to the depths of despair, and made to feel utterly, utterly worthless.

But for the first time we have the Church of England adducing Scripture and Canon Law as a safeguarding risk.

It is safeguarding, as it exists in the Church which is a risk. I declare by my own experience is that it is a complete waste of time, money, causing more distress than is necessary. I have been on such a course, and am still wondering why .But if you don’t attend you cannot act in the Church.

We are supposed to be intelligent men and women in the Church, and the basics should be obvious to anyone with a brain.  Much of the examples shown have nothing to do  with the Church, and if anyone who offends, it invariably is a  police natter, unless as in this case, for civil compensation  

A big anomaly exists, in that several cases have occurred which should have been acted upon under safeguarding, but were not properly handled.

Dr Randall will be represented by the Christian Legal Centre, a devoted body committed to the defence of Christians wrongly accused because of their faith.

Acting under the name of Christian Concern, the Chief Executive Officer is Andrea  Williams, a committed Christian barrister, supported by other men and women. Many Christians owe much to the work of these devoted people, who have saved persecuted Christians from arrest and all kinds of penalties.

They are not supported by the Church or government, but rely on donations from fellow Christians or supporters. Any Christian willing to support a charity, or more so this hard working Concern, should do so, you can never know when you will be needing help.

Donations can be sent to Christian Concern, 70 Wimpole Street, London W1G 8AX

Sunday 4 September 2022

 Luke 14  v25-33

Jesus stated, if anyone comes to me and does npt hate his father, mother, wife and children,his brothers and sisters, yes even his own life, he cannot be my disiple.

For which of you does not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to  build a tower does not sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it. Otherwise he has laid a foundation and is unable to complete it, all who see it will mock him, saying he built a ower and could not finish. Or what king going to war with another king, will sit down and deliberate whether he with ten thousand meet him with thirty thousand. And if not, when the other is a great way off, sends a delegation and ask for peace. So therefore, when anyoney who does not renounce all that he has, cannot be my disciple.

The fame of Jesus had spread throughout the countryside of Galilee, and crowds followed him wherever he went,  Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, knowing he was going to suffer a cruel death on the Cross, a most savage way of being put to death.. The crowds who were with him expected him to lead an  army to create an empire.  In an uncompromismg way, Jesus told them who followed him were not going to seek worldly power, but would be expected to follow him. He was saying he would be the only way through which people could be righteous in God's sight. He was saying he would be the only way through how people could approach God, and the means by which we can be granted salvation.

The words of Jesus must be understood with care, not in a cold critical way.  The words of the gospel writers were of Aramaic interpretation, which were often vividly brutal.  It is inconceivable that Jesus would violate the fifth Commandment, in which God stated we should honor our parents.  Jesus just wanted to emphsize that to be a true disciple one must have love for him.

When we make a  decision to follow Jesus and accept him as Savior, we are committing ourselves to obey his teaching, which includes a moral, ethical way as well as a spiritual one.  This means abandoning vertain lifestyles, and a lot of people are not prepared to do that; they want to carry on as they have been doing.

It is a Christian's first duty to count the cost of following Jesus, and should not be taken lightly, but show reverence for God.  Many people who attended the great evangelical Crusades of Billy Graham, inspired by the singing of massed choirs, tuneful hymns, and preaching by the greatest preacher in Christian history.  When they returned to parish Churches there was such a contrast, their faith had not been strong enough to, instead of giving up on hearing dreary chants and poor preaching, often of a false nature, they should have stood firm and tried to influence services.

If you desire to follow Jesus, be sure you know what it means, with discipleship of hostility and sacrfice. We can never know or anticipate our future, so should in the hope of future salvation, make sure we be on the Lord;s side.

Life can be hard and short for some, and when someone we love dies,  believe me, the consequnce for the bereaved is desolate and lonesome, as we know we will never see that dear one again in this world. Friends we once had make a sudden exit, but Jesus is saying he will in either in this life or the nxt, he will be with us.

There  are times when family members fall out, especailly when one member pursues a commitment to follow Christ.  In such cases the Christian must stand firm in faithfulnnes and belief.  There should not be any long term enmity, perhaps with gentle persuasion, a compromise may be obtained, Christianity has not been spread by aggression, as Paul pointed out to Timothy

I know through experience, that parents can be rather severe in their attitdues to children who wish to attend Church.  The only way to overcome is to pray for help from God insisting to parents that you don't want to do anything to offend, and that there are far more many other things  that are harmful.

I have witnessed total and uncompromising resistance towards wives by aggravated husbands, which causes distress to their wives, and to whose who witness such determined bullying. Instead of remembering wedding vows, and being understanding and tolerant to those they are supposed to show love and care for , they display contempt .

I have seen women who attended Church just for a worshipping service, without any fuether involvement, be threatened.  One such man gave an ultimatum to a lovley lady, who wasgenerally liked, that it ws either the Church or him, and he would leave with the children.  Imagine the horror and terror of that woman. I imagine some wives may object to husbands attending, although I have not personally known of any. In either case, things get painful, and true love can never be present in such instances. Those of us who do not have that problem should thank God for his blessing upon us,and to those also who have to suffer marital disturbance.

I often wonder what Jesus would say to his Church today. Could you foresee Jesus being happy when Ministers of the Church give false teaching, especially on immorality; teaching that tells people to follow their desires, for God will forgive ; when congregations are told by Church leaders not to attend meetings, because the evangelical preacher is a hate speaker, who says marriage is only between a man and woman.  How wondeful if all preachers and speakers spoke with one voice, and kept to God's teaching in the Bible.  When there would be no controversies  over social or ethical matters as well as spiritual issues; where preachers would not re-interpret the Bible in passages which offended the weak minded. Christianity demands faithfulness, belief based on sound doctrine, convictions which strengthen others

Let us learn from this passage, that there are many people who claim to follow Jesus, but they are not real followers.  There is a massive difference between those who attend services, and being a real Christian. It has been a supreme handicap that in the Church there are so many distant followers.

An unfinished tower is a humiliating thing. In every sphere of life we are called to count the cost.  No one tries to be a student without realizing there must be studying and learning. Men and women are told when marrying, not not enter unadvisedly or lightly.  It is so when becoming a Christian; if a man or woman is concerned about the cost demanded by our Lord, they are not left alone, Jesus is ready to walk a difficult path with you to the end.