Bethel Baptist Church
Worship Service @ Home
19 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 06 September 2021, 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.’
“Night and day I pondered until I saw the connection between the justice of God and the statement that ‘the just shall live by his faith’ (Rom. 1:17). Then I grasped that the justice of God is that righteousness by which, through grace and sheer mercy, God justifies us through faith. Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise. The whole of Scripture took on a new meaning, and whereas before the ‘justice of God’ had filled me with hate, now it became to me inexpressibly sweet in greater love. This passage of Paul became to me a gate to heaven”
Reading: Galatians 1:1-5;
… to rescue us from the present evil ageGal. 1:4
How would we describe the age we live in? Would we refer to it like the apostle Paul referred to the age he lived in as: “the present evil age”. Many wouldn’t go that far and maintain that there is a lot of good in the world, or that it is a good and evil world. If that were the case then Christ would only have needed to die for half the world, the evil half. The fact is the whole age following the Fall is being referred to here it is the present evil age. Why don’t we feel comfortable calling today’s world, part of the present age, an evil age?
(1) We don’t compare it to the glory of God
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.Romans 3:23
Note the verse doesn’t say, “for all have sinned and fall short of the standard of the apostle Paul, the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, or the most righteous person you know”. For they are all included in the word all, for all, the apostle Paul, the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the most righteous person you know, and you and me, all have sinned and fall short of …. the glory of God. Saul of Tarsus was physically blinded by the light of the glory of the risen Lord Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus, Acts 9:3-9. Frequently, men lay prostrate in fear when confronted with the glory of God e.g.
An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.Luke 2:9
Such is the excellence, the majesty, the purity of His Character, of His Holy Presence, that is visibly manifest through the brightness of as here, light. When God looked upon the world at the time of Noah, also a present evil age, we read:
The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply grieved. So the Lord said, ‘I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created … for I regret that I have made them.Genesis 6:5-7
People reading this might react what’s all the fuss about, a little bit of sin never hurt anyone, and in doing so give testimony to how far away they are from the glory of God.
(2) Desensitised to sin
We read and see so much violence on our TV screens that we become desensitised to it. When I first read an account of a woman getting raped, which was front page news back in the late 70’s early 80’s I was totally appalled and prayed with a vengeance. Now it doesn’t even make front page news and may be a little column in the middle pages. I still hate this with a deep hatred but it doesn’t shock me like it first did. God in all His glory doesn’t get desensitised to sin.
When we were on holiday in Wales a couple of weeks ago, we were driving in the countryside when Mandy and the two granddaughters at exactly the same time cried out “Phew, shut all the windows, quick”. We had passed a filed that had recently been spread with a very strong fertiliser. Myself, after Covid I have lost a lot of my sense of smell and didn’t smell a thing. People, a nation, a world, can become like that with regard to sin – we can’t even “smell” it when it’s all around us.
Take another example, I lived in a YMCA Hall of Residence for 5 years in which there were these beautiful and highly polished daily) Parquet Floors. One day upon meeting up with my family my brother-in-law, who went regularly training at the YMCA, said I smelt like the YMCA, meaning the polish they put on the floors. Although I had my full sense of smell then, I was aware of this. Studies have been undertaken that indicate that sensors “turn off” to familiar smells. Its like that with sin.
(3) There is only One who can rescue us
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.Galatians 1:3-5
We sang in the hymn above: “There was no other good enough, to pay the price of sin, He only could unlock the gateof heaven and let us in”. God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ are placed on the same level of divine equality. No other religion has its leader dying for the sin of the world and as such only Christ can forgive us our sins, give us new life, and fill us with the Holy Spirit: “Just as I am without one plea but that Thy blood was shed for me, and that thou bidd’st me come to thee, O Lamb of God, I come, I come”, Amen, let us come to Him, Amen!
Questions for Discussion
- Do we live in an evil age?
- Share an example of how we/you became desensitised to sin?
- Why is Christ the only One who can rescue us from this present evil age?
Quote of the week
“Every method put to use to mortify sin which is not by the Holy Spirit is doomed to failure. Every system which attempts to deal with sin without Christ and the Holy Spirit is legalistic and miserable.”
Verse of the week
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.Galatians 5:1
Just as I am, and waiting not, to rid my soul of one dark blot, to thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot, O Lamb of God, I come, I come. Just as I am, though tossed about, with many a conflict, many a doubt; fightings and fears within, without, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind; sight, riches, healing of the mind, yea, all I need, in thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come. Just as I am, thou wilt receive; wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve, because thy promise I believe, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Just as I am, thy love unknown, has broken every barrier down; now to be thine, yea, thine alone, O Lamb of God, I come, I come. Just as I am, of that free love, the breadth, length, depth, and height to prove, here for a season, then above: O Lamb of God, I come, I come, Amen!