Bethel Baptist Church
Worship Service @ Home
26 September 2021
Service available on Youtube, or as text (below), or for audio see the Podcasts page.
Harvest Thanksgiving Service
Next Sunday 3rd October 2021 – we will be donating food received to the Silk-Life Food Bank. Contributions can be brought to the building.
Rev. Chris Whiteley speaking in the building – October 10th 2021 – a special offering will be taken to donate to the OBU.
I didn’t realise it at the time but I was soon to become a born-again Christian, having met a number of born-again Christians in the YMCA Hall of Residence I was staying at in Whalley Range, Manchester.
I was at home for Christmas and, in a moment of weakness, decided to go and have a look at some pornographic magazines that an older woman, who worked in my Dad’s business, had given me eight years previous, when I was 12 years of age. She told me to hide them away, which I did, in our playroom, a converted loft on the 4th floor of where we lived in Conwy, N. Wales. In the playroom, and before I could get near those magazines, I tripped up (I’m sure an angel had something to do with that) and in trying to protect my fall reached out with my hand only for it to come down on another book, “Imitation of Christ” by Thomas a Kempis.
Whoa, that’s scary, and it got even more scary as I opened this little (but very powerful) book and saw words to the effect of telling me to leave off this sexual impurity. Wow! I was scared. I could feel the holiness of God all around me which at the time was very uncomfortable. I just said these words, “You’re after me aren’t you God” and did an about turn (what the Christians called ‘repentance’) to go back downstairs, and start reading this little (but very powerful) book, and I began to put my trust in Jesus!
A week later, on my way to work in the City Centre of Manchester, I felt the Spirit of God come into me, I was born-again, and by the grace of God, praise the Lord, I have never looked at such magazines again, Amen!
Reading: Romans 1:1-17
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes”.Romans 1:16
Here, in Romans 1:16-17 is stated the theme of the whole epistle and it becomes clear that not everyone is saved, for this verse, along with many others, insists that salvation is “to everyone who believes“. Some use verses like this to state that everyone is saved without reading what the verse clearly teaches, salvation to everyone who believes. So what does it mean to truly believe?
Repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin, they go together and you cannot have one without the other, it won’t work, it doesn’t work, e.g.
I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.Acts 20:21
The two words for repent in the Scriptures literally mean:
- A change of mind (from sinful ways)
- A turning to (God and His ways). e.g.
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.Acts 3:19
A repentant person is one who has a genuine sorrow for his/her sin and is committed to turning away from it and living a life of obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ. A person may be sorrowful and remorseful for their wrongdoing and even confess their sins, but unless there is an act of the will in turning from that sin then it does not constitute true biblical repentance, cf.
Yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorrowful, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.2 Corinthians 7:9-10
People who go to confession week in, week out, confessing the same sins lack true repentance and its counterpart, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Turning away from sin must be accompanied by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ otherwise there will be a vacuum within, a void which the devil will ultimately see is filled and even more than before. We mere mortals, born in sin and shaped in iniquity (Psalm 51:5; cf. Jer. 17:9), have no chance in the fight against the evil one. We need the strength power, grace and enabling of the Lord Jesus Christ who gives us the Holy Spirit through whom we are born-again. We become a new person with Christ as Lord of our lives.
To guard against a cheap and easy ‘Believism’ whereby we simply believe the facts and say the words it is better to use the word trust to get nearer to the original word for believe; hence, we put our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation, for the forgiveness of our sins, and for this new life within, this abundant life, this life to the full, this eternal life. Such trust will be evidenced in a change in our lives from the old sinful ways to the new ways as we follow Jesus and imitate Him. As well as believing in Jesus, we receive Him into our lives as our Lord, Saviour and Friend whom we greatly trust in,
Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision, or a husband’s will, but born of God.John 1:12-13
(3) Jesus as Saviour and Lord
As we have mentioned on previous occasions, it is impossible to be saved by receiving Christ as Saviour but not as Lord, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved” (Acts 16:31). The first two things that Saul of Tarsus said to Jesus on the road to Damascus: “Who are You Lord?” and “What shall I do Lord?“. He got off to a right start!
Questions for Discussion
- How would you explain what faith is to an enquirer?
- Do you believe, as some do, that we can simply receive Jesus as our Saviour and not as our Lord?
- For me it was pornography, what was one of the first things that you turned away from?
- When did you first become aware of the Holy Spirit working deep in your life? How was it?
Quote of the week
“There is no more urgent and critical question in life than that of your personal relationship with God and your eternal salvation.”
Verse of the week
Every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.Matt. 7:17
Heavenly Father, thank You for the gospel of Your Son. Thank You, that through it You called us to Yourself. Thank You for the gift of faith by which we were enabled to receive this gift of salvation.
Holy Spirit, thank You for Your work by which we were regenerated, made new, born-again.
Thank You Lord Jesus Christ for Your great love and saving work in dying on the cross.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thank You for the eternal hope we have that one day we will be with You forever, in heaven, in and through our Lord, Saviour and Friend, Jesus Christ, Amen!