Monday 27 November 2023


Mark 13 v     1-8
This Sunday is Advent Sunday, the first day of the Church calendar, when we think of the coming back of our Lord, and live our lives in the face of God's mercy, grace, and peace, obtained through the death of Jesus on the Cross. This offers a new encouragement to get back to Church, which we can now reasonably do.


The Gospel lesson this Sunday comes from the 13th Chapter of Mark .

This Chapter has been described as the most Jewish in the whole Bible as it relates to Jewish history. The words and terms Jesus uses, would be familiar to the Jews of His day. The Chapter refers to the Second Coming of the Lord, which many people decline to believe or just simply ignore.

The Jews always believed they were God’s chosen people, and as such merited a special and predominant place in the world, which they could only achieve by God’s help, and they were confident this would be given. This would be known as the ‘Day of the Lord’, which would be followed by a time of trouble, after which God would create a new world and judgement would follow.

The Temple in Jerusalem was considered to be among the most spectacular wonders of the ancient Roman Empire. The original temple constructed by Solomon had been destroyed, and when the Jews returned to the homeland 70 years later, they constructed the second temple. King Herod wanted to gain favour with the Jews, so offered to rebuild their temple. The work began in 20BC and would eventually take 66 years to complete.

The building stood on top of Mount Moriah and literally dominated the skyline of the ancient city. Between the Temple and the city lay a valley and a bridge, spanned that valley which led straight into the Royal porch. It could be seen from many miles away and from anywhere in the city, being 172 feet long and 20 stories high. The stones that made up Herod’s Temple were pure white limestone, and the doors, walls and floors of the Temple were overlaid with pure gold. 

Jesus had left the Temple with His Apostles, who commented on the beauty of the buildings. Jesus knew that the Temple would by 70AD be destroyed by the Roman Army, and told the Apostles it would one day come down. When He was asked when it would happen, went on to say men would come and lead the Church astray with heresies.
This is done on various ways; by teaching doctrine to meet their own ends, and the same thing is happening in the Church today, as men and women are moulding Christian truth to suit themselves. If such truth conflicts with desires, amend the truth is the practice.

Then there is teaching that God is a God of love and forgiveness, who is ready to forgive all when asked, without telling that God is a God of justice, and can be angered by sin. It is a false teaching, that Christianity can be so ordered to look popular and attractive, irrespective as to whether it contradicts Scripture, as we see by the advocates of same sex marriage and loose morality

There is always the attempt to stop people from attending Church. Incredible as it may appear, a Vicar recently told people not to bother worrying about going to Church on Sundays, but stay in bed and enjoy yourselves. This adds credibility to people who firmly claim, that you don’t have to go to Church to be a Christian. If a person separates from Church there is something normally wrong with their thinking. But, I am sure God would not condemn when absence is due to the objection, of attending a Church which teaches false doctrine in total opposition to that stated in the Bible.

A Church family is unique, in that it consists of different ages, backgrounds, experiences and sexes. It is where God provides for us to be come equipped, to carry out His message to the world. We sing praise together, pray for each other and for the world's needs, share bread and wine in Holy Communion, and remember what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. 
We live in two worlds. We live in the earthly world, but we also live in the world of the Spirit, and there is always the danger we can forget about God and become so involved in earthly activities. 

We need to meet with others to have fellowship, to gain and give encouragement. Each of us has to make an effort. Most people believe in God and many have a respect for the Church, but that is as far as it goes. They don’t want God or the Church to intrude into their lives, unless of course they want a baptism or wedding and then can become useful to them. 
There are many, far too many people in recent times, who have forsaken Church, and it can be so very easy to give up, go with the flow and fall away. Once this is done it is often hard to get back into the practice of coming to Church. This is why the Bible urges the need for Christians to be with each other. 

There are numerous reasons for people giving up worship. There are the cynical voices pouring scorn, making people feel doubtful. There are forces of secularisation, now given so much attention and credence. There are pressures from within families, where some members are anti-church, notably husbands regarding their wives. The worry about taking a public stand, and indeed, from within the Church itself. So we should not be tempted to separate ourselves from those who are joined to us by a common faith. Meeting and following Christ can be costly but mostly well rewarded. 

We must always be aware of the fact that in many parts of the world Churches cannot exist, nor can Christians meet with other Christians for fear of imprisonment or even death. Increasing hostility is being displayed in countries like Egypt, Pakistan, and Nigeria, where Churches are burned down and bombed. Here we still have freedom to worship, but if not cherished and valued and fought for will be lost. 

But there is one thing I feel needs to be stressed. We should ensure the Church we attend is one faithful to God’s Word, and seeks to build each other up through the Scriptures, and where the true gospel is preached.

We have to acknowledge, however sadly, this is not always the case, so it serves no purpose going to a Church which fails to do these things. Too many preachers have their own agenda, which is created around a morality not supported by Scripture, and where the teaching is given to subscribe to the culture of the day. 

You must find a Bible based Church. Research in America has shown that going to Church and meeting with fellow believers is good for your health. A survey in North America of 4,000 people, found that older people especially who attended Church, were less depressed and far healthier that their non- religious counterparts. 

Let us therefore draw near to God, holding firmly to your belief. Don’t let unpleasant people, secularists, or anyone else hold you back. Remember too, Jesus said if anyone rejected Him, He will one day reject them. Such a fate is too horrible to consider.

The message for to- day is that Jesus will one day return when He will be the judge of all our lives and to Him we will answer. We are warned there will be signs such as wars, famines, earthquakes; things which have taken place through the ages, although the threat seems more potent now. especially when Israel is surrounded by hostile nations who are threatening to unite against Israel with the intention of destroying that nation. Israel will not lie down, but fight fiercely and who can tell the consequences. God has vowed to protect Israel, and the achievements that small nation has overcome all manner of trials and tribulations, and the fact it is the only true democracy in the Middle East, existing despite the hostility of much larger nations reveals they are still blessed byGod. This Gospel passage should make any intelligent person who does not attend Church, and/or worship Christ think seriously.

If you do not believe in Christ, the readings ought to make you reflect very deeply. The Bible states, ‘God is to welcome you, now is your time to receive salvation’. Don’t miss out. Be ready

Saturday 25 November 2023

Luke 15


This chapter contains three parables told by Jesus, and in each parable there is a story of something lost, but then found.  There is a relevant message for the Church ministry to follow in the three examples.

First, there is the shepherd who loses one of his sheep, so  he leaves the other ninety nine whilst he searches for the lost one.  He finds, and is so delighted he carries the sheep with joy, back to his friends and neighbours, finding the one who went astray.

Secondly, there is the woman who loses one of ten coins from her head-dress, so sweeps the home until she finds the coin, and after finding the lost, calls in her friends to rejoice with her.

Thirdly, there is the well-known story of the prodigal son, who went to his father and asked to claim the inheritance that would be his on the father’s death, which by Jewish law he was not entitled until his father died.  His father pleads with him not to leave, but the son is determined to go and live in the big city with all its attractions. Forsaking his father and brother.

Life started well for him, he gained many friends, living the high life until he money ran out, and then his friends ran out just as quickly. Left bereft, he found a job feeding pigs, an animal which was an affront to a Jew, and was forced to eat their food.  Eventually he gave up and decided to return to his father and beg forgiveness.

The father had never given up hope of his son returning, and each day would look up the road leading to his home, constantly hoping to see his son walking back. Then when the day came, he rushed out to greet the boy with loving arms and compassion, and he dismissed all the son’s apologies.  He created a lavish feast, which upset the faithful son who had not been treated with such attention as his wayward brother.  The father assures that son of the love he had for him who had always been appreciated.

The message we should see in this passage, are that God is like the forgiving father in the story, who rejoices when a person falls away from Church is found and welcomed back.  The Bible tells that all heaven rejoices when one lost sinner repents and returns.  God is always ready to welcome and forgive.

Jesus came down to earth to give His life on a Cross, to pay the price for forgiveness for all who return to Him.  He did so to be the ‘good shepherd’. Always searching for the lost. Jesus always showed concern, He never just wrote a person off.

But what are the Lord’s representatives on earth doing to search for the lost?  How many Ministers when they notice a person missing from the Church seek to find out why?  I would think not many, they just accept the loss.  How many members do anything to seek lost friends from the fellowship?  Jesus sent His Apostles to seek and heal, as He did Himself.

 know  a Vicar who retired from full-time ministry, and helped out at his local parish Church by taking services when a vacancy occurred. He never took any fee or expenses as he was entitled to do, and when the pandemic came and he was forced by law not to attend, he  did not return again, as a new Vicar was appointed. He has never been visited or even called by phone, to enquire his state of health at any time. I do know Churches where they have a telephone check on people are noticed missing.

I have been told that the clergy do not have time to do much visiting, having to visit the ill and attend meetings.  No one visited me when I was in hospital, and all the meetings are largely,  waste of time as little results from them. A meeting need only be called when something important has to be discussed, not as an alternative to doing something relative to parish duty.

I would be quite pleased if someone sought my help, and feel thrilled I was able to help, as when two American Christians wrote to me seeking an explanation of Scripture.  I was always under the impression it was an essential part of Christian ministry to search and seek the lost.

I do not have a Church of my own now, so I am essentially a non-denominational preacher. This has taken me to a lot of Churches of different denominations. I return to most of them and find the congregation noticeably smaller than previously.  Age and illness obviously are a reason, but people also fall away out of boredom, frustration or just disappointment, and even disgust.  There is a sense of spiritual hunger, for the Bible has become for too many in the Church as just a handy accessory. The sermon is seen as a tedious necessity to fill in a few minutes.  I have actually been told that by a Vicar, when it should be the  central piece.

When certain Archbishops and bishops are seen on television making remarks which cause so much concern, they have to apologize, that does not help, nor when calls are made for the Bible teaching on morality be abandoned because some minority faction might be upset at the teaching, which comes from God.  I know members of the Methodist Church were shocked to find their Church was allowing same sex partners to be allowed to have services of marriage, and have left for another Church.

The Church was once a voice of reason and carried an authority. Politicians took notice and acted accordingly. Now notice is not taken. We even have a Labour Member of Parliament wanting Parliament to intercede and force the Church to allow two people if the same sex marriage, irrespective of the fact that goes against Bible teaching.

The Church will suffer greatly in future unless there is a change of attitudes among the younger generations.  There is too much a inclination to follow a social gospel rather than  a spiritual one

The Churches which are moving forward are those of independent evangelical nature, where there is no fear of teaching directly  from the Bible. Without any amendments.

Monday 20 November 2023




I want you to turn with me to Paul’s 1st Letter to the Thessalonian Church, which is the set Epistle for this Sunday.  


In this 4th Chapter, Paul answers a question most people have asked at some time of their life, more so as they get older.  What happens to me when I die?  Here, Paul is responding to that problem which is disturbing this young Church. 


Paul had established this Church and most of the members had come from worshipping idols, but had become committed and devoted Christians.  Paul had only three weeks with them before he was driven out of the city by opposing Jews, so had not had time to fully explain as much as he would have liked.  They had been told about the death of Jesus and His resurrection, and how He would one day return and claim all His believers, but they were afraid that some of their members would die before Jesus returned and so miss being with Him in heaven. 


In this passage before us, Paul deals with this important doctrine of the Church, one which is mentioned 300 times in the New Testament.  Whilst it is a vitally important message which non believers should hear, it is also very desirable that Christians should hear and be reminded of, and reassured what the gospel states concerning our eternal future.


Paul begins by saying he does not wish us to be unaware of what happens to those who have fallen asleep.  Here he is referring to Christians as asleep to make the point that they will awake from the grave when Christ returns.  Paul states whilst we may grieve when we lose someone dear, which is in fact what Jesus did when His friend Lazarus died, we are not like unbelievers who have no future hope. 


When the Bible speaks of ‘hope’, it is not the vague meaning we might have when we say I hope you have a good day; it is something more positive. Christians do have the belief and expectation that whilst there is parting, there will be reunion with those we have lost for a while.


We have been considering our future so far as believers; what can we say to unbelievers.


I have been using the word ‘Christians’ in the biblical sense.  Most people would like to call themselves Christians if they are not atheists or members of another faith; that is not how the Bible sees it.  A Christian in the truest sense is someone who believes Jesus died on the Cross, and rose again. His death was the price He paid that our sins may be forgiven so that our relationship with God can be restored.  His risen state is to assure us that we too will rise with Him, provided we accept Him as Lord and Saviour, and commit ourselves to live as God has shown us how, that is to be in the words of the Bible.

So if unbelievers have no hope, what is the consequence?  People scoff at talk of the return of Christ and of a Day of Judgement. Such talk becomes the butt of their jokes and is dismissed out of hand. Later in our passage Paul states they will suffer wrath because they will have rejected the only means of escape for any of us, and that is Jesus. This is a sombre warning for us all and should make us concerned for those members of our families who have rejected Christ. It should make us want to do all we can to persuade them to turn with us to a Saving Lord.


The Bible is very clear that there will be a Day of Judgement, a day of accountability, a day when all the books will be opened, a day when all the wrongs will be righted, a day when justice will be done.

Jesus always made two distinctions.  He spoke of tares and wheat; of sheep and goats in today’s gospel reading; of two roads, one leading to eternal life and the other to destruction.  He spoke of heaven and hell in equal measure.  


For many people today hell is a forbidden word in the religious sense.  I was at a clergy meeting and at the Church there was a mural which had faded and when I asked why it had not been restored I was told by a fellow Minister that it depicted sinners being consigned to hell and he added, but we don’t preach about hell now do we.  I answered that I did and he looked at me with complete horror.  But Jesus did too; you can read His words in this book. 


Jesus used different terms in which to describe hell, but simply it means just being separated eternally from God.  It is strange that whilst people dispute any notion of hell as ridiculous they use the word constantly for all kinds of things and in all situations.


One of the great questions that people have to the Christian faith is, how can a loving God send people to hell.  It is not that God does or wants to send anyone to hell; it is rather people choose that course by ignoring God and all He stands for.   It may be something you have felt, you can’t understand how the Bible can teach that there is such a place.


The Bible teaches quite clearly that there will be a final Day of Judgement, a final day when we will be held accountable, and Jesus left us with a clear message of the alternatives.


In verse 15, Paul mentions having had a word from the Lord, something which the Lord revealed to him personally, so we may be assured that what Paul is telling us can be relied upon. Those who die are in conscious fellowship with Christ in the first stage, and will rise with Christ with new bodies when He returns.


I have never been to Hong Kong, but my friend can tell me about it, because he has lived there. There is only one person who has died, experienced life after death, and is able to tell us about it, and that is Jesus. What he says we can rely on. He speaks the truth. Paul is one of the chosen spokesmen for the risen and ascended Christ.


After a funeral service people offer words of comfort to the bereaved; Paul is saying here we should do so, but as Christians, not in the same way, we can comfort one another with the assurance of a further meeting with the deceased. Of course, we will grieve when those we love die and were separated from them, for now. But the nature of our grieving can and should be rather different from the hopeless grief of unbelieving people.   


Having set out the future, Paul then answers the question of when this will happen, by 0pointing out that God in His wisdom does not reveal this. Therefore, there will be no time for preparation .He says it will be like a thief who comes in the night unannounced, or like a woman delivering a baby; both events come on suddenly and can be painful.


When Jesus returns it will be just the same, His coming will be sudden and painful for those not having believed in Him. It will be like the householder who gets burgled, and has no insurance; he was intending to get cover but just didn’t get around to doing so. Families will be divided, with one taken and one left, some destined to be with Him others not.  Paul is not trying to frighten or threaten, he is actually reassuring believers who may be feeling insecure.


Paul talks about light and darkness with believers being children of light; we don’t live recklessly as unbelievers do, but we stay sober and awake.  He uses the metaphor of being drunk and fallen asleep, referring to unbelievers living in a dark world.


Drawing upon the Old Testament, where the Lord is portrayed as a warrior wearing armour, so the Christian puts on the breastplate of faith and love and the helmet of salvation.


I realise this passage is one which can be a message which disturbs, and even distresses, but the doctrine

of judgement is one of the basic and fundamental doctrines of the Church, and is put in the Bible to help and save us; it helps to explain some of the seeming unfairness in the world.  


If there was no doctrine of judgement, it would mean that we live in an unfair world, one in which the evil and guilty would have prospered, where there would be no distinction between goodness by the countless millions who served the Lord faithfully, often in much hardship, and the barbarism of men like Hitler and others like him.  Heaven and hell are clear demonstrations that God is a just God.


The passage ends with words of encouragement.  The Christian Church is a community of mutual comfort, and Paul is urging them to give one another help in their anxieties, with the fundamental truths of the gospel, that the Jesus who is coming again is the very same person who died and rose again. 


The supreme result of the death and resurrection of Jesus is to bring us into a personal union with Him, one which neither death, nor bereavement, nor judgement can ever destroy. 


So let us be comforted by these words; and let us try to bring to know Christ, those nearest and dearest to us who have yet to find Him.  We must let it be known no one is beyond redemption, and God will receive all who turn to Him who accept that Jesus died for them and their forgiveness.

Saturday 18 November 2023

Matthew 25 v 13-40


The service for this Sunday, comes from Matthew’s story of the Parable of the talents.  A talent is a unit of money.

The Master in the story, gave three of his servants varying amounts of talents according to his assessment of their ability.  To the first he gave five, two to the second, and just one to the third.. They were entrusted with the money, to care for it whilst he was away.  There were no banks at that time, so some people buried any valuables in the ground to hide them

After a long time absent, the master returned, and sent for the servants, to collect his money. The one with five talents had used the money to make five more, the second used his two to another two, the third servant had buried his talent in the ground for safety, and had not earned anything. 

The amounts made were not the main issue, what concerned the master was the faithfulness of his servants, who would be given appointments with responsibilities. The third servant’s action resulted in the misrepresentation of his master, which created a perception of laziness and bad stewardship.  The master was not pleased, and told the servant he should have converted the money.

In the Old Testament, servants were forbidden to  charge other Israelites interest, but it was permissible to charge interest from money which came from Gentiles.  However, the central point concerns being a faithful servant of all that God has entrusted to one’s care.

Using one’s God given abilities wisely and productively, is a vital point of discipleship, and will be rewarded with more chances of additional opportunities to serve God.

The parable is to direct our minds to the second advent of Christ, and the members of the professing Church of Christ. The practical lesson of vigilance.  We learn that all true Christians have received something from God . We are all God’s servants and have talents trusted to our care.  

The word talent, generally applied to those of exceptional ability. and are called talented. In the sense which our Lord used the word parable, it applies to all baptized people without exception.

We are all talents in God’s sight, anything whereby we may glorify God.

Our gifts influence money, knowledge, health. Strength. Time senses, reason. Intellect, memory. They are all bestowed by God. We are God’s stewards and debtors.

We learn secondly that many make a bad use of the privileges we receive. I the parable one dug earth and buried the man’s money to represent a large class of people.

To hide our talent is to represent neglect of opportunities of glorifying God. Those who do not read a Bible, does not pray, does not observe the Sabbath day, the unbelievers, all are alike, burying in the ground. All could be better than they are, instead of daily robbing God. He has lent the much for not return.

We learn thereby, all true Christians must have a day of reckoning with God.  The parable tell us the time he came for the master to reckon with nth o them

There is judgement for all of us.  Words in the Bible have no meaning if there is no judgement, it is just trifling with Scripture. No matter what our physical condition, rich or poor learned or not, there is no escape answering for our works.  We meet God face to face and shall have to render an account for every privilege granted to us/.We shall be dealt with as responsible people, and to whom much has been given much will be expected.

We learn that all true Christians will receive a reward on the day of reckoning.  Those who used the Lord’s money will be reckoned  as good and faithful service, and told to enter into the joy of the Lord. The best of Christians needs the blood of the atonement. The least and lowest of believers, among God’s servants believe he/she is counted among God’s servants and find their labour has not been in vain.  They will discover that their efforts to please God will be received/ Every hors served spent in Christ’s service, every word spoken, all will be marked in the Book of Remembrance.

     Finally, all faithful members of the Church will face judgement, and as the servant who buried the money was condemned, and there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.  There will be no use for the unconverted Christian on the last day.  The reasons which they pretend to satisfy themselves will be found useless  The judge of all the earth will be found to have done right . The ruin of a lost soul will be our own fault.  Thousands living  without Christ And without conversion, yet pretending they cannot help it.  All the time they will know by their conscience, they are guilty.

Let us leave the parable with a solemn determination, by God’s grace never to be satisfied with a profession of Christianity,  without practice.

Monday 13 November 2023

Turn with me in your Bible to Paul’s Letter to the Ephesian Church in Chapter 2.  verse 8.


My subject this week is all about ‘grace’ which has been seen as an acronym for great results at Christ expense.

 Grace is an old English name embracing many subjects. A female name; prayer before a meal; a refined way of action; but for us, a glorious act of God.

 From the words of Scripture, we read of a basic foundational meaning of the Christian faith.  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one can boast.

 Paul is writing this Letter from a prison cell where he is awaiting his execution. He knows his ministering days are over, and wants Timothy, who has been on missions with him. to take on his work .  Paul has planted Churches in countries of the ancient world, and built up a Christian presence which he does not want to fall apart.

 When  talk is made about grace, inevitably the adjective ‘amazing’ is added. This is due to the beautiful hymn, which is one of the greatest hymns ever written, a world favorite due to its meaningful words and glorious tune. Despite its popularity, it is so rarely preached upon, even though grace is an essential part of Christianity. You may hear what might be called basic grace, but a full explanation should be desired.

 The question arises, what is amazing about grace?  It is the favor of a loving God, which He pours upon those who seek to follow Him, and live according to the manner He has laid down in the words of Holy Scripture, secured for us in the Bible. It is a free gift which cannot be earned. Undeserved, Unmerited, freely given.

 God loves all people, and wishes to save them, but because our human nature is adapted as people feel they are able to have complete control over their lives.  This caused God to state that we are all sinners in that. some way we failed to keep the ten Commandments, and failed to take the teaching in the Bible, or the teaching and commands of Jesus as a proper way of life.  We have all broken in some way a Commandment, and they are like a chain which is broken, if just one link is broken the rest of the chain falls apart.

 We may not steal, murder, commit adultery, but there many things which fall short of what is expected of us. Taking  some small item of stationery from an office, destroying a person’s reputation by the tongue, hating, being malicious, telling a lie with whatever motive, viewing a member of the opposite sex with lustful thoughts. If you can avoid just committing any or just that few, you are indeed righteous.

 But God can be grieved when we are disobedient, and we become condemned and become children of His wrath.  The wrath of God is not like man’s which is revealed in bad temper, aggression, malice or animosities.  Like an earthly father will take come salutary action to remind us we have been found out, our heavenly Father may chastise us.

Paul moves from God’s wrath to the mercy and love of God, and we see what He has done for us by saving us in order we may see the riches of heaven.

 Grace is the reason God sent Jesus into the world. This was God displaying His care for the world, He created.  Since the first man and woman born into the world, human beings have been sinners. God being a God of justice, must demand that anyone admitted to heaven, had to be cleansed of their sin. As sinners cannot pay the penalty for our wrong doings, God sent His only Son to die on a Cross, and in so doing His blood shed, was the means by which, that all who repent of their  confessed sins, could by His grace, be forgiven if they accepted that Jesus paid their penalty, and would receive in faith Lord Jesus as their Savior. Grace is God’s part, faith is ours

 We read to learn how because of our salvation. God will show His grace and kindness in Christ Jesus, and by His kindness will tell us the foundational words of Christianity, salvation, grace and faith. Salvation means more than forgiveness, it is deliverance from death. It means new life in Christ, with whom we have been made alive.

 We cannot do anything ourselves to earn that salvation, we are granted God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

 By grace, refers to God’s favor upon those who have transgressed His law, and sinned against Him.  But can also be understood to be a power in these verses, for God’s grace not only offers salvation, but secures it. Save refers to deliverance from God’s wrath at the final judgement, for by grace you have been saved tells you the Christian’s salvation is fully secured. Through faith means a confident trust and reliance upon Jesus, and is the only means by which,  we can receive salvation. This was purchased by the Lord Jesus who suffered a cruel death on the Cross. Hence, we say God gives us grace that leads to salvation, through our faith in Jesus Christ.  Jesus gave His life for us, God gave His favor to us. We deserved neither, both were freely given.

 This,  being the gift of God and not something you can accomplish ourselves. Salvation in every respect is not your own doing.  If left to us to earn, we could never decide how much we had to offer, and would lead to people boasting as to their ability, and thereby measuring against others.

 The word grace is used 185 times in the Bible, and it is always free grace. This is emphasized, to reject any claim that we can contribute, it is God’s love shown to us.  God gives, we take.

 We have to be careful not to confuse mercy with grace. Mercy is when you see someone hurt in some way.  A man may be stopped by  police for speeding in his car, and tells the Officer he exceeded the speed limit by his anxiety to get to a  relative in a hospital gravely ill. The police, despite what some people say, have sympathy for special cases, so just gives the man a warning, that is mercy.  In another case, a man may by driving carelessly, kill a child  without meaning to do so. The mother of the child may forgive him, or he may have to appear before a Court to receive a sentence. For the man the event will pass, but for the mother she will never be able to forget. But if she forgives, that is grace. One person has received what was deserved, the other received totally undeserved

 When we speak of grace alone, we are saying something people find hard to accept. How often I have heard it said, I am a good man (or woman), God will take me to heaven. Try  to tell them that one can be saved without God’s grace is like telling them to put a square box in a round hole.  The clue is in the word ‘only’ grace. This was one of the points of Martin Luther when he started the Reformation, sola gratia (grace alone)

 I would think every Minister in the Christian Church would be able to say that every funeral service taken, the relatives of the deceased would confidently say the deceased was a good man who lived a good life, despite whatever kind of life led, or however he never thought of God or worshipped Him. This suggests that people think salvation is possible by the law of society, but it is not. The way of law suggests a way of sin, leads to death, grace is stated to be a way to heaven

 It is abundantly clear in the Bible, that Jesus shed His blood when He went to a cruel death on the Cross in order to pay the cost of our sins which would make us righteous in God’ sight, and all who accept that their sins have been paid for by Jesus, should consider why they fail to recognize the sacrifice by turning their life and follow His teaching, making them worthy of God’s grace. Remember Jesus could have walked away, but did not, He faced the task God sent Him to do,  Jesus even showed His human side, when He pleaded to be spared just before His crucifixion, but accepted God’s will.

 The passage states grace saved you when you (truly)turned to Christ, and you cannot take credit for it. In his famous hymn the Reverend  Toplady wrote, nothing in my hand I bring, simply to thy Cross I cling, helpless look to Thee for grace, wash me Savior or I die.  God will save anyone who believes Jesus is their Lord and Savior, and confesses with their mouth.

 A devout lady named Charlotte Elliott, once asked a Pastor how could she approach God, and was told to come just as you are. She went home and wrote the words of a lovely hymn, which has been sung millions of times as the closing hymn of all the Billy Graham Crusades, Just as I am without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me. And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God I come. That is all you need do. Come to Church, just as you are, but make sure it is a Bible based Church.

 The hymn which Newton wrote was based on his own life and personifies that which enabled him to write such meaningful words. He went to sea on slave ships at  very young age, before being forced into the Royal Navy.  He later became a Captain on slave ships, and led a life of wretchedness. One day he was steering the ship he was on, when a fierce storm hit the ship sweeping his friend overboard.

 His mother was a practicing Non-Conformist, who gave John religious instruction, but that had all been cast aside, until the storm came into his life and he realized his need of God. The storm caused him to be very afraid, and had a religious conversion, as he remembered his mother’s teaching. He abandoned the sea to obtain a Cusotom Office job in Liverpool (England) and began to consider a Church career. In those days the Church of England required a University education, which ruled him out. 

 He had been writing evangelical letters, which came to the notice of the Lord who owned the Church at Olney, Bedford, and he offered him the parish. Whilst there, he met the poet William Cowper and they became friends, and probably helped  Newton. In addition to Amazing grace, Newton also wrote those lovely worded hymns,  Glorious things of thee are spoken. And, How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believers ear; and produced a book of Olney Hymns.

 Newton subsequently met William Wilberforce, and joined with him in challenging the slave trade, and an act of Abolition was made just after the death of Newton.

 The words of the hymn were written based on personal experience

Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me (Life of wretchedness)

I Once was lost. (life of darkness) but now am found (Religious conversion

Was blind (rejected mother’s teaching) but now I see  (finding God)


T’was grave that caused my heart to fear(Storm at sea)

And grace my fear relieved ( Christian conversion)

How precious did that grace appear (Christianity) the hour I first believed(Turning to Christ)_


Through many dangers toils and snares I have already come (A stroke. Falling off horse

Working in slave trade. Leading life in unhealthy ways)

Tis Grace hath brought me safe thus far(leading a Christian life)

And grace will lead me home. (leading rest of his life as a Christian)


May the Lord’s Holy Name be praised


Thursday 9 November 2023




Ephesians 6 v 10

 On Sunday, people will gather once again on this special day, to remember the great sacrifices made by men/women, many of whom paid the supreme sacrifice of their lives, whilst others were injured 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.  But the memories do not fade, as we recall how this nation stood alone on the brink when all seemed to be lost and there was even talk of surrender.  But God raised up a man who refused to surrender and instead rallied the nation to perform such heroic deeds. 

How sad and shameful so many young people do not, and will not, try to learn of this glorious chapter of our history, never having had to endure the horrors and hardship of war.  Such has been the direction of education in recent years in (state) schools, they have little or no knowledge of what was done that they may have all the privileges they now enjoy.  To so many Churchill is the name of a dog representing an Insurance Company rather than one of the greatest Prime Ministers of this country.

We think of the brave young men, some barely left College, who defended our skies or were shot down over German cities; others who perished on a French beach, or drowned in deep waters, or were tortured in a Japanese prison camp; they gave their lives for principles they loved or believed in.

     We have to add those who fought and died in Afghanistan and Iraq in wars which should never have been started, as we replaced one horror for even worse.

     All these men and women would have cried for the ideals which took their lives, to be remembered and honoured. 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? 


How disillusioned, as they looked at their injuries; those who came home with shattered limbs, or blind eyes, and saw people making huge compensation claims for minor injuries, and taking legal action for hurt feelings caused by mere words.

How would they react to see some pumped up public official saying the flag they fought under could not be displayed lest it upset someone from another country?

     Those men and women had a faith and a belief, and now we Christians have to take over that fight.  As they fought the Battle of Britain, we must fight For Britain.

     The world has largely rejected Christianity, without having anything to put in its place to combat the evils of the world.  All we hear today is about ‘human rights,’ yet in all walks of public life, even to the highest level of government; we have flagrant deceit, corruption, being economical with the truth and unrestricted immorality, the sort of behaviour which sends out the wrong message to the young and gullible. 

     Under the guise of equality, all manner of restrictions are being enacted to restrain freedom of speech and religious faith.  People can be perfectly equal without being the same.  Not so long ago we had a Prime Minister who by his intransigence made freedom of religious expression a legal offence, and so a greater penalty could be given than if convicted for burglary or physical assault.  

Christian principles and values were the foundation of this nation’s base, as were many of the social institutions and the legal system of the country.  Our nation’s future depends on the acceptance of the standards of the Bible.

     Not all who condemn the moral slide are bigoted and narrow minded.  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.  .

We have a society which is encouraged to forsake a Christian consensus and live, not by Christian principles, 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.

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.  Within each one of us there is a need for things which money can’t buy, and desires which cannot express.  Whilst the majority may not be willing to accept it, we all need a spiritual life.  We need God and the forgiveness, which He offers in Jesus Christ.  Without this our souls are restless. The only obstacle is a lack of motivation.    

Many people are like the two British soldiers who found themselves lost in the deserts of Iraq. They eventually came across an American Officer 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, ‘Do 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!’

 Neither do we know who we are and why we are here, so we just live for today and who cares about tomorrow. And that is how we will remain unless there is some communication from the outside, from the One who has made us. A godless self-centred life is a fruitless and empty one.

We need a daring programme of revival, which God is challenging us to make.  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 offensive to other faiths. 

Whilst Christianity has been the faith of this country for centuries, in recent times our Churches have retreated and allowed a secular agenda to exercise undue influence on both society and the Church.  People, I believe, are longing for and wanting spiritual leadership. Our strength is limited only by our faith.  Will that faith let us move mountains or stumble over mole hills?

Wen you become a Christian you effectively become like a soldier, there is warfare between what the world wants and what God has laid down, and we enter a battlefield.  The Bible calls on us to stand firm and not yield. 

When the Romans invaded a country they would burn their boats so there could be no means of retreat, hence the saying burning your boats.   God is telling us He will give us all the power we need and the Bible calls on us to put on the whole armour of God.

In today’s passage Paul is giving guidance and draws on the imagery taken from a Roman soldier’s uniform with a portrayal of Christian life as a warfare, using spiritual metaphors for the resources given to the Christian soldier.

 Paul looks at the belt which holds the soldier’s uniform together, a breastplate to defend his heart, sandals specially made with spikes in the soles to enable to get a good foothold on the ground to dig his feet in and a helmet to protect his head. A shield  protects him from the darts of the enemy and he has a sword to go on the attack.

Applying them to the Christian, Paul is referring to the belt of truth which is the gospel, which holds our faith, and we must have a pure heart to live according to that truth, and then stand firm and not let our head be turned by false teaching.

 Every army needs to attack, and we should be promoting Christianity as vigorously, as other faiths push their faith, armed with the two edged sword of truth.  Our faith is not someone has made up; it is based on the historical and divine Jesus Christ who calls for people to turn back to God.     Never let us be ashamed to tell of a Saviour who gave His life on the Cross, so that all we unworthy people may have our sins forgiven because He died that we may be made righteous for heaven when our life on this earth is over.

     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.   The valiant hearts that died to preserve the loveliness of these lands we call Great Britain, will not be failed by God.

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

I want us to remember also those brave young American men, who joined our nation in the fight for freedom on the shores of France as the invasion of Europe was made, and the airmen who flew planes from our air fields nightly over enemy territory, some never to return, but who are still in our thoughts as we see their graves in the American cemetery so far from their native land.

Monday 6 November 2023

                               Romans 8 v 31-end

This passage from Romans, is the stated Epistle for Sunday next.

In earlier chapters, Paul was commenting on unbelievers, and saying evil forces would never succeed for God is with all believers, and whilst attacks may be made on God’s chosen ones and all who turn to Christ, will never be found to have done any wrong.

 Paul repeats that Christians will not be condemned, because Christ died for us and paid the penalty to put us right before all the world, He asks who is it to condemn? If God is for us, who can stand against Him, for He has made right before Him. No one can separate us from Christ, despite attempts being made to do so.

 Christians are more than conquerors, because God turns everything, including suffering and death.

 Paul answers the question, who shall separate us from Christ and all manner of trouble, with absolute certainty that nothing can separate us from the love of God. for there is no power stronger than the power of God.

 Any Jew reading this passage, would know that the words of Paul resemble the words of God to Abraham, when Abraham proved his loyalty to God, even when being ready to sacrifice his son to serve God.  Just as anyone be loyal to God, so God is loyal to those who are worthy.

 It is God who saves men,  who could possibly condemn? If man is acquitted of guilt, he is saved from all condemnation.  Our belief is Christ died for us and rose again, and is alive for ever more.  With that being so, there is no more anyone, who can part us from the risen Lord. No one can pass judgement on us. That is the decision of Christ alone.

 Paul makes a list of terrible acts, and states neither life nor death can separate us from Christ.  In life and death we are with Christ. Death is not the end, it’s the way to Christ

 Reference is made to angelic powers, which have no effect on us.  At the time of Paul writing this chapter, , the Jew would have held a firm belief in such powers. Rabbis would say that even a blade of grass had an angel, and angels were gathered in ranks. Paul had been a Rabbi, and Rabbis believed angels were hostile to human people. Angels did not want humans to have any connection with God, and considered themselves the only ones to be with God.

 Paul in stating nothing can separate us from God, spoke of the things to come, but the time to come would be a new age.  But he did say, if by some strange way in another and different world we would still be safe, and the love of God would be with us.

 Paul wants readers to know, that all loneliness and all fear will not affect us. You can take anything that this or what another world can throw at us, not anything can separate us from the love of God.  So no one can fear the future.     

Friday 3 November 2023



MATTHEW 5 V 14/16

You are the light of the world like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, instead it is put on a stand where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way let your good deeds shine out for all to see so that everyone can praise your heavenly Father.

 When someone begins a new place of work, or puts their hand to a new venture, it is always a help when someone else gives advice. It may be a welcome offer, when you get told to just copy them and do what they do.

 As we look at this parable, we find Jesus telling to the individual Christian to be like what He claims to be.  He said, as long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When Jesus commanded His followers to be the lights of the world, He expected nothing less than Himself.

 The Jews would have understood Him, for they spoke of Jerusalem as being a light to the Gentiles. A well-known Rabbi was often called a ;amp of Israel. The way the Jews used this term will help us to know the way in which Jesus used it.  The Jews were confident no one lit their own light.

 Jerusalem was a light to the Gentiles, but God lit Israel’s light.  The light which a nation or man of God shone, was a borrowed one, and it must be so with the Christian. It is not the demand of Jesus we should as it were, produce our own light.  We must shine with the reflection of His light. The radiance, which may come from a Christian, is lit by the presence of Christ in a Christian’s heart..

A light is first and foremost something to be seen.  The houses in Palestine were dark, for the rooms had small circular windows sometimes only eighteen inches wide. The light would be like a sauce dish, filled with oil and a floating wick. In those days they did not have matches, so care had to be made to be used carefully.  The lamp would be put on a stand, and when the house was empty there was a safety risk, so the light was taken from the stand and placed under a bushel so it would stay safely until the people returned.

 Christianity must be seen, no secret hiding place. A person should not be embarrassed or ashamed of the faith, and must not be left at the Church door or just for Sunday.  It is hard for a lot of men, especially for those of gentle nature. For men are not as dominant in Churches, some look quite disorientated, and there is a  fear of being mocked by other men. Yet men in Muslim Churches are quite ready to be seen as members and are ready to defend and speak up for it. Christianity is not an exclusive ‘women’s religion however much they may grace it.  Our faith should be found on the factory floor, schools, wherever people are.

 A light is a guide, a warning, a help, the world needs guiding lights, which can be seen.  The Christian needs to be seen, as the command of Jesus which opened this passage. Our light should shine for all people to see, and when we perform deeds we can be noticed, so that we may glorify our heavenly Father in heaven.