Bethel Baptist Church
Worship Service @ Home
8 May 2022
Service available on Youtube, or as text (below), or for audio see the Podcasts page.
Let’s pray for a worldwide outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
“I .. encourage Christians to express their faith .. beliefs .. be open about their faith .. the more we are quiet, the narrower the space will be for these freedoms.”
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.Galatians 2:20
Suppose someone who is a thief walks into church, states that he likes it here, tells us he doesn’t have a proper job but he is a thief and earns a living by stealing. I knew someone once, who from the age of five, had been sent out by his father to steal; he was even pushed through small toilet windows when the occupants were out to go inside a house and unlock the front door, so his father could enter and steal whatever. By the age of 25 years stealing was ingrained within him.
Unbelievably, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams recently wrote: “Every church should be a safe place that affirms people in being who they are, without fear of judgment.” So what do we do with the thief in our midst – “Oh, churches are in decline we don’t want to lose someone else so let’s not mention it, let’s love him and make him feel at home. We’ll turn a blind eye to what he does and a deaf ear to what he says.”
Now whatever we call this we cannot call it Christianity. Yes, we must love him with the love of Jesus; Yes, we mustn’t judge him to the point of condemning him, but we must also speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). Jesus didn’t die on a cross, rise again and pour out the Holy Spirit for us all to be affirmed in our old lifestyles. The apostle Paul’s life had been radically changed by meeting Jesus (Acts 9:3-6), by being filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17-19) enabling him to immediately start his new lifetime calling, to preach the gospel, Acts 9:20.
Ananias, and Jesus for that matter, didn’t affirm Saul of Tarsus in who he was and what he was doing, rather Jesus told him who he would become and what he would be doing in the future (Acts 9:6, 15-17). He was called to die to his old life and live a completely new life in Jesus Christ. It is a life lived by faith in the Son of God that excludes all reliance upon our old self, way and works. It’s a leaving behind our old ways, not being affirmed in them. It’s a radical call to repentance, a change of mind leading to a change of life and direction.
When a person dies, they are finished with this life forever. That is the reality of true Christianity. We are increasingly becoming a nation embracing this doctrine of what is right for me; what is good for me. Paul would have none of it – is it pleasing to Jesus is the first port of call in any decision on lifestyle – “I no longer live but Christ lives in me!”
About 30 years ago, I read of two paedophiles who were awaiting sentencing, protesting that this should be legalised. We might find this abhorrent but given the spiritual and moral decline we have seen over the last 70 years or so, who knows what 2060 will bring. This is why we need to cry out to God for another heaven-sent revival where repentance and faith in Jesus Christ will be at the forefront of a powerful outpouring of the Spirit of God, Amen!
Quote of the week
“It has been historically true that prayer has been the key to every revival in the history of Christianity”
David Yonggi Cho
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.2 Chronicles 7:10
Lord in your wrath remember mercy; pour out your Spirit upon us in Jesus, Amen