Thursday 24 November 2022

Matthew 28 v18-20

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Friday 18 November 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday 13 November 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 8 November 2022


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Friday 4 November 2022

Matthew 7 v 13/14

Here we find Jesus talking to His disciples and to a great crowd of people gathered on a mountain. He is preaching to them describing the character for Christians and the rules by which they are to live. He turns to teach about salvation.

He taught there are two gates, to two roads, and two masters.

He said there are two destinies, heaven and hell and divided people into two classes. There are only two roads, no third, no alternative. This is not generally liked as it is seen as being too restrictive, too bigoted and intolerant, and we don’t like to be judged. Yet in spite of all this, Jesus says we must enter through the narrow gate. So let us look at the choice we face and consider honestly which road each of us is on and to where heading.

It is like coming to a crossroads each road going in the opposite direction. On the broad road you enter by a wide gate and the road is spacious, there is plenty of room on it and there are plenty of people on it. It is the road of self-gratification without any restrictions. There are even otherwise decent men and women on it, so many claiming to be Christians albeit without due cause. It is widely assumed, and strongly encouraged by the secular press, that if you are honest and sincere you will go to heaven.

The Bible is all about commitment. We are reminded of the superficiality of commitment in our own time. Less than 10% of people think God worthy of one hour per week to visit a Church. Yet if you were to ask people their religion, the vast majority would reply C of E and seriously consider they were Christians.

As we come to the narrow gate leading to the narrow road, which Jesus wants us to take but says only few take it, and those who do must do through Him. John 14 despite being non correct in many Churches now, still states ‘no one can come to the Father except through Jesus Christ.’ He is the only way.

Being narrow these days means you are classed as bigoted or phobic. You are expected to be broad minded, be modern, 2+2=5. The road is narrow because it is the way of truth and truth is always narrow. It is the way of holiness and r As Christians we must always seek to glorify the Lord in our ways and speech.

Jesus warns us that there must be a clear acceptance of His teaching and total obedience to it. Just to recite a creed and attend Church is not enough. We honour Jesus by calling Him Lord and sing hymns expressive of our devotion to Him. The lips that sing His praise should never be the lips that start trouble.

Jesus said there is a life to come and it is a long life, it is eternal, and there are only two destinies, and as you come to the crossroads, you alone choose, God will not push you. He gave you the ability to choose and lets you do so. Where you end up in eternity will be determined by which road you take, so what you do in the world is important.

One of these roads leads to destruction the other to life with Jesus. He took time to remind people of the seriousness of salvation. He wanted all to be sure of the future. People do prefer the easy road in life but Jesus made it plain He wants us to journey down the difficult road and enter the narrow gate.

Neither can the narrow road be pursued if we are motivated by a desire to please society. True disciples of Jesus Christ will not play to the galleries or form values according to the passing approval of people in general. God’s approval is all that matters.

Finally Jesus speaks firmly and rather profoundly when He says not all who think they are to enter the Kingdom of heaven will in fact do so. But it can be hard to be a Christian in this country at the present time and many find the going too hard and strenuous and the opposition oppressive. Any open expression of our faith is likely to lead to suspension or dismissal from work. There is so much harassment of Christians which is not reported here and you have to listen to the American news channels to discover what is going on in this country.

As Christians we must always seek to glorify the Lord in our ways and speech.

Jesus warns us that there must be a clear acceptance of His teaching and total obedience to it. Just to recite a creed and attend Church is not enough. We honour Jesus by calling Him Lord and sing hymns expressive of our devotion to Him. The lips that sing His praise should never be the lips that start trouble.