Bethel Baptist Church
Worship Service @ Home
30 May 2021
Service available on Youtube, or as text (below), or for audio see the Podcasts page.
At the Elders and Deacons meeting last Monday we discussed the proposal to have a Special Celebration re. opening up after Covid on July 31st 2021 – “Bethel Baptist Church Community Fun-Day”. To celebrate opening up after Covid and to show love and kindness to our community. More information to follow.
‘The rescheduled church weekend away has been confirmed for 3rd – 5th June 2022. If you didn’t sign up back in 2019/20 but would like to go please contact Andrea for an information letter and sign up form. There will be letters at church on Sunday but they can also be delivered/emailed if required.’
“The grapes have to be harvested, crushed and pressed, allowed to ferment and further processed until finally the red or white wine is ready. We need to allow the Lord to strip us of all our old ways and habits, and clothe us with His divine nature becoming more and more unto the likeness of His Son cf. 2 Cor. 3:18: ‘And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.’”
Reading: Romans 1:1-17;
“The gospel He promised beforehand …”Romans 1:2
“Romans is ultimately a book about God: how He acted to bring salvation, how His justice is preserved, how His purposes are worked out in history, how He can be served …”
(1) The God who works beforehand
My memory of a friend I met in the 90’s, who is now retired but still a consultant in the Building world, is that he was remarkably well organised and his Filofax was one of his most important possessions. Everything went into it. Every moment of each day was accounted for. That was a revelation to a fairly disorganised me. Our God is very organised and has planned in meticulous detail all things from the beginning to the end. There is no Plan B. He is never taken by surprise by some unforeseen circumstances. He intervenes in the mess that is human history with His wonderful and beautiful blessings and ways and with His Good-News, His Gospel. He promised ‘Good-News’ to Abraham all those 1,000’s of years ago:
Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’Galatians 3:8
We are still seeing the outworking of the fulfilment of that promise, even increasingly so, today.
(2) The Gospel in the OT
In every book of the Old Testament there are glimpses of the Gospel and the word gospel, or good-news, is particularly prominent in Isaiah e.g Isa 40:9; 52:7; 60:6; 61:1:
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good-news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.Isaiah 61:1
Such, prophesied beforehand, was fulfilled in Jesus (Luke 4:18-19). The Scriptures are consistent in pointing to Jesus Christ because its the same author, the Holy Spirit, throughout, e.g.
Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.2 Peter 1:20
(3) Why is it Good-News?
Because it is the gospel regarding His Son as promised beforehand, e.g. amongst many, many prophesies we have:
I will proclaim the Lord’s decree: He said to me, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.”Psalm 2:7:-8
God has sent His Son for the salvation of the world. This gospel, this good-news, is the power of God for salvation to all who believe (Rom. 1:16).
There are three aspects to salvation:
(a) We are saved
Through the gospel, the power of God is mediated e.g. in conversion:
because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction.1 Thess 1:5
My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.1 Cor. 2:4-5
We have seen the massive transforming effect of the gospel in the life of Saul of Tarsus, now Paul the servant, the called apostle, the one set apart for the gospel of God:
“since his conversion the gospel has been the dominant and determinative focus of his whole life”
“Paul is claiming that his life is totally dedicated to God’s act of salvation in Christ – a dedication that involves both his own belief in, and obedience to, that message as well as his apostolic proclamation of it.”
But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles.Gal. 1:15-16
To preach Jesus, Christ crucified (cf. 1 Cor. 1:23) and risen again (2 Tim. 2:8), is to preach good news, very good news!
(b) We are being saved
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.1 Cor 1:18
saved: ‘on the way of salvation’ (Anthony Thiselton).
The power of God that sustains us in our daily walk with Him.
(c) We will be saved
And do this, understanding the present time: the hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.Romans 13:11
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.1 Peter 1:3-5
Such salvation concerns the redemption of our bodies:
Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.Romans 8:23
Questions for Discussion
- Why is the Gospel Good-News?
- Does it make sense to say: “We are saved; we are being saved; we will be saved”?
- If the Gospel is ‘the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes’ (Rom. 1:16) why don’t we see it more when we share the Good-News?
- Why is the Gospel foolishness to those who are perishing (1 Cor. 1:18)?
Quote for Week
“Salvation is not a reward for the righteous, it is a gift for the guilty”
Verse of the week
The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.Acts 2:20-21
Heavenly Father, we thank and praise You for the Good-News of Your Son and your gift of salvation. We thank and praise You that You continually sustain us and uphold us in our walk with You. We thank and praise You for the hope we all have in Jesus Christ, that one day we shall see You face to face, our bodies will be made new and we will spend eternity in Your glorious presence.
Help us the more to be faithful in sharing this Good-News with others in the lives we live, the thoughts we think, the words we speak and the deeds we perform. May it all be done in the love of Christ Jesus, Amen.