Bethel Baptist Church
Worship Service @ Home
12 September 2021
Service available on Youtube, or as text (below), or for audio see the Podcasts page.
At the Elders and Deacons’ meeting on Monday we agreed that we should make further progress in going forward with regard to easing some more restrictions:
- We will open the Cafe after the Service from Sunday 19 September 2021
- We will have open times of Worship and Prayer during the Service inviting anyone present to pray
- We will still encourage the use of face masks but these can be removed when sitting at table in Cafe.
‘The rescheduled church weekend away is 3rd – 5th June 2022. If you would like to go please contact Andrea for an info. letter and sign-up form.’
“About this time lived Jesus, a wise man if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was the achiever of extraordinary deeds and was a teacher of those who accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. He was indicted by the principal men among us and Pilate condemned him to be crucified. Those who had come to love him originally did not cease to do so; for he appeared to them on the third day restored to life, as the prophets of the Deity had foretold these and countless other marvellous things about him. And the tribe of Christians, so named after him, has not disappeared to this day.”
Flavius Jospehus, Jewish historian, AD 37 – 95
Reading: Matthew 16:21-28
What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?Matt. 16:26
What are we here on earth for? The number of people who live with the aim of getting rich, or in the hope of winning the lottery. They seem to think that their lives will be bliss afterwards. Experience teaches us otherwise. Jesus, Himself, was tempted with this lie,
Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. “All this I will give you“, he said, “if you will bow down and worship me“. Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only’”.Matt. 4:8-10
And here we have the answer to the question I started with: What are we here on earth for? The answer: To worship God, and to serve Him only! The word for Worship here, (literally ‘towards to kiss’), speaks of closeness, intimacy, that which the Lord desires in our relationship with Him. Jesus addressed God as ‘Father’ (‘Abba’), and we should also. Jesus warns that living simply to amass material wealth leads to ultimately forfeiting our souls, not only in this life, but, more to the point, in eternity:
“All the material possessions and privilege in this world cannot compensate for spending eternity in hell.”
(1) There are difficult teachings in the Scriptures
Oh, that we didn’t have to say such harsh and difficult things, but the fact is, that if we are to be faithful to the whole of the Scriptures, and loving to humankind, we have to include truths like this also. Paul was able to say to the Ephesian Elders in his farewell speech,
“Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all people. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.”Acts 20:26-27
He did not shrink back in fear, worrying about what they would think of him, but declared the whole counsel of God! He even referred to these teachings as that which would be helpful to them (Acts 20:20). Surely the most loving thing we can do is to warn people of the eternity they face if they don’t submit to the love and truth of God as revealed in Scripture. The fact is, Paul, like Matthew, and all the NT writers, was confident that God would take the difficult truths and bring spiritual freedom to those who submitted to them.
(2) People will have no excuse before God on the day of Judgment
Do you know that God expects us to look at His creation and believe that He has revealed Himself through it,
Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.Romans 1:19-20
So why don’t people believe that God has revealed His eternal power and divine nature through that which He has created? Because they “suppress the truth by their wickedness” (Rom. 1:19), that is, they push down the truth, they don’t want too know it, preferring to live ungodly lives. Furthermore, “although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him” but allowed foolish and futile thoughts to dominate and determine their lives (see Rom. 1:21).
(3) How then can people be saved?
Taking these and many other passages of Scriptures stating similar truth can give quite a depressing outlook e.g.
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.2 Cor. 4:4
The standard seems too high, too much, unobtainable, impossible. Like the disciples, we might want to ask Jesus the same question, “Who then can be saved?” The answer is the same,
With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.Matt. 19:26
Salvation is a matter for God and it is by His free unmerited favour, through faith, also a gift from God. Not by works so that no-one can boast.
“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”John 3:8
And to be sure, once you experience the promptings of the Spirit in your life, submit to them, obey Him, and follow Jesus, Amen!
Questions for Discussion
- An enquirer asks you to explain about God’s free unmerited favour and human responsibility?
- Why do so many not believe that God created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them?
- Do we always have a ‘grace mentality’ or do we often slip back into a ‘works-mentality’?
- Do you look at some people and think that it is impossible for them to be saved? Is it true?
- How would you answer the question, “What purpose are you here on earth for?”
Quote of the week
“There is nothing wrong with people possessing riches. The wrong comes when riches possess people.”
Verse of the week
Young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.Jeremiah 31:13
Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your Word of Truth such that You don’t leave us in the dark wondering and stumbling along, but, in Your grace, mercy and love, You have provided a way back to Yourself through Your Son Jesus Christ, the Light of the world.
Father, lighten the darkness and reveal Yourself in our communities, in this nation, and in the nations of the world, and to people we know who are far from You.
Father, set the captives free, and regarding all those who are bound by the material things of this world, let their ‘spiritual eyes’ be opened that they might see and embrace and believe in the Saviour of the World, Jesus Christ, for Your glory Amen.