The Kingship of Christ- Matthew 25:31-46

A Passport authenticates my citizenship of the United Kingdom. I need it if I am to enter another Kingdom. It tells officials in that Kingdom who I am so that they can check if there is any reason why i should not be allowed to enter and to put their stamp of approval on it. In another sense, since I am a Human Being, I am a citizen of the world.

Sunday November 21st was called stir up Sunday. Traditionally the last Sunday before Advent and also known as Christ the King Sunday.

Although celebrated a couple of weeks ago, as it is Advent and we joyfully wait to celebrate the arrival of Jesus among us I want to say something about the Kingdom of which Jesus is King, the King himself and the implications, as outlined in Matthew 25, for the citizens of this Kingdom.

The Kingdom

Jesus sits at the right hand of God and rules over all creation. His Kingdom is, therefore, not only the whole earth and everything that is in it but all the Universe with billions of suns [stars] in each of billions of galaxies.

Our Lord Jesus Christ made the Kingdom of God His primary teaching focus. He is, of course, the door to His Kingdom, as well as the foundation and the capstone. His Kingdom was and is His Central message. If you research and compile all the major teachings of Jesus you will see clearly that His foremost concern was for His disciples to know as much as possible about His Kingdom.

For example, in the Lord’s Prayer, the concern after honour to His Holy Father was, “Thy Kingdom Come.” Jesus is born as God’s son in absolute oneness with His eternal, loving, holy and almighty Father. His primary concern is for the Kingdom of God to be fully established to give great and worthy honour to His heavenly Father.

This suggests that there is a parallel spiritual kingdom which is eternal. The Kingdom is now, real and physical, as well as spiritual and eternal: a Kingdom of Honour and righteousness.

The Gospels describe Jesus as proclaiming the Kingdom as something that is both “at hand” and a future reality [Mark 1:15]. Jesus Christ, through His incarnation, death, resurrection and exultation, has ushered in the messianic age so that the Kingdom of God, in both its material and spiritual dimensions, may be understood to be present in an incipient fashion, while at the same time awaiting consummation in the future age following the second coming.

The cross can be seen as a singularity bringing together not only the spiritual and physical creation but the past, present and future work of God in His Kingdom.

The present aspect of the Kingdom refers to the changed state of heart or mind [metanoia] within Christians [read Luke 17:21]. Jesus emphasises the spiritual nature of His Kingdom by saying, “The Kingdom of Heaven is within [or among] you.” The reported activity of Jesus in healing diseases, driving out demons, teaching a new ethic for living, and offering a new hope in God to the poor, is understood to be a demonstration of that Kingdom in action in the here and now. The King, as Jesus Christ, has already come in disguise and in humility and through his Holy Spirit wants to exercise His kingship over each and everyone of us.

The Kingdom of God is within the heart of every believer. Is Jesus sitting on the throne of your heart? There is a sense in which the Kingdom of God is not yet complete. There is yet to come a time when God’s perfect will be done on earth. Because God loves us He cannot force us to do His will; but there will come a time when we will all choose to do that. This will be a time when Jesus will return in Glory [v.31]. This return will be sudden, without warning and decisive.

The King Himself

I remember sleeping out in the open in the African bush and waking up in the middle of the night staring up at the night sky. Wow! What a vast array of stars! I realised I was just a spec. upon a spec. of a vast Universe of over 2 trillion galaxies!! I was reminded of Paul’s writing in Collossians 1: 16-17. ‘For by Him all things were created: things in Heaven and earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

Jesus is therefore first and foremost our creator King, we owe our very existence to him as creator and sustainer of the universe and our own humanity. He made the things that we can see and the things we can’t see (scientists are more and more making visible what was previously invisible to us- however, a vast proportion of the universe exists but may always remain invisible and a mystery to us). He is ruler and creator of kings, kingdoms, rulers and authorities. Everything has been created through him and will ultimately be for his glory.

It is little wonder then that Paul reminds us in Phil.2:9-11 quoting Isa. 52:13, ‘Therefore God exulted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’

Jesus, as God of an infinite as well as a finite universe has so many characteristics that his Kingship is almost indefinable. How do you picture Jesus? As the Good Shepherd? As a friend of children? As one who loves unconditionally? As one who stills the storm? The one who heals? The teacher?

He is all these things and more but the passage from Matthew 25 brings us face to face with Jesus the judge. We don’t often picture Jesus as the Judge. Maybe we are reluctant to speak of Jesus this way because Jesus as judge is connected with the Last Judgement: and the last judgement is something that many in our present time find incomprehensible or offensive. That some would find themselves cast into hell seems inconsistent with a loving God. So what does the passage form Matthew tell us about our

Citizenship in God’s Earthly Kingdom

It tells us, as we wait at the Customs Gate of the eternal kingdom that judgement awaits everyone, there will be no exceptions, no favourites, no excuses. It tells us that we are accountable. That Jesus will look into our passport and check us against his list in the book of life. I am free to live my life as I please, but in the end I shall have to give account to the one who gave me my life – Jesus the King. And he will decide whether I wil be allowed to reside in his restored and renewed eternal kingdom.

It tells us that we are not all going in the same direction though by different roads, as many like to believe in this pluralistic age. We will not all end up in the same place. We may not have the right visa in our passport. It is possible to be utterly lost, and Jesus warns us of that possibility here.

It tells us that there will be great surprises on that day. Many who are confident of their condition will be undone and many rate themselves very lowly and unworthy will be surprised at their reception.

It tells us that the heart of Christnity is the relationship with Jesus Himself which shows itself in loving, sacrificial care of others, in particular the poor and needy.

It tells us that people who have never heard the Good News will be judged by their response to what light they had, and in particular to their response to suffering humanity.

Our challenge is to mould our lives according to the Kingdom values upon which Jesus will judge us, and these values are all motivated by self-less love of Jesus and our neighbour spelt out Matth25:35-40. If we live by these values, prompted by love, then as we stand before the judgement seat of the king we will see our name indelibly printed across our passport image and He will see Himself sitting on the throne of our hearts and we will hear the words, “We done my good and faithful servant; come share in my glory.”


No Theology Without Ecology.

Hosea 4:1-4; Romans 8: 18-25

As we, the UK, are about to host Climate Change Conference I am motivated to write a post raising this and related issues from a Christian perspective.  The crisis the world faces, not just in Climate Change but also in Global Ecology is the result of the impact of humanity, especially in the West, and a free market which relies on continuous and infinite economic growth. Simple arithmetic tells us that this is ultimately unsustainable. Ecosystems are being damaged by greedy comfort seeking capitalism resulting in damaging climate change and tragic loss of biodiversity, which in turn ultimately impacts the global economy.

Andrew Simms of the New Economics Foundation reports that: Ecological Debt Day is happening earlier year on year. In 2021 it was July 29th. Sometimes called overshoot day, it marks the date when humanity has exhausted nature’s budget for the year.  After that date until the end of the year humanity is living ecologically beyond its means.

Economy, therefore, needs to be considered as a subsidiary of Ecology; not the other way around. We need to explore alternative ways of doing business with minimal damage to the environment and global ecosystems if we are to avoid global catastrophe.

What as Christians should be our response to this?

There are two world views concerning our relationship with the natural world.

The anthropocentric view  says that the world is here for human use and enjoyment. Sustainability is simply our responsibility to provide enough for our fellow humans and for future human generations.

Christianity has often been seen as supporting this position.

But this kind of anthropocentrism owes more to Greek philosophy and renaissance humanism than to biblical traditions. For we understand that the world is ultimately for God, not for human beings. Psalm 24 states: “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it.” Paul in Colossians 1.17 goes further in saying all things were created “by and for” Jesus Christ.

The anthropocentric view is ultimately fundamentally flawed, because:

It sees humans as above or separate from the rest of the biosphere. It places too much faith in human endeavour to find solutions to the crises we cause.  It leads directly to technocentrism – faith in the ingenuity of humanity, in the progress of science and its practical applications.

And because people who are comfortable don’t want to change!

The ecocentric view sees  humans as simply one part of an interdependent biosphere, with no greater rights than any other part. We sustain for the greater good.

The ecocentric view is profoundly attractive to post modern people, disillusioned with ‘progress’ and the empty benefits of materialism. Christianity has more in common with the eco-centric view than is often realised. Humans are part of the eco-system rather than above it, interdependent rather than independent. Genesis 2 speaks of Adam being made from adamah – the dust or soil. The majority of the Old Testament is about the inter-relationship of people and place – chosen people and promised land. The biblical narrative shows that there is, ultimately, no theology without ecology!

In practical terms, the problem with an eco-centric view of sustainability is that it quickly leads to ethical dilemmas over interventions. If humans are merely one amongst millions of species, with no inherent distinct value or role, what right have we to intervene in natural systems? This dilemma is seen particularly in the conservation world.

John Stott elegantly encapsulates the flaws respectively of the eco- and anthropocentric positions in saying: We must not treat nature obsequiously as if it were god, nor behave towards it arrogantly as if we were god. [From an address: “Caring For God’s World-the Biblical Imperative for Conservation”]

There is, however, a third model of understanding of sustainability based on biblical principles.

This is:

The theocentric view  which sees the world – human and non- human – as deriving its value from being created and sustained by God.

There are three principles upon which this understanding is built.

The first principle is simply that, ultimately sustainability is not entirely dependent on humanity, because God is both Creator and Sustainer.

The world’s faiths, despite there being varied creation myths, unite in seeing the earth as more than a product of random chance.

Judaeo-Christian Theology is not anthropo-, eco- bio- or geo- centric, but theocentric. It begins neither with human rights and responsibilities, nor with intrinsic natural values but with God.   In biblical terms, sustainability must begin with God both as Creator and also crucially as sustainer. God is the one by whom all things are made, and who holds all things together –  in whom all things live and move and have their being.

This is both disturbing and comforting. It is disturbing, because humans dislike admitting their cosmic insignificance. We are not masters nor sustainers of the Universe. It is comforting because the track record of human beings is so poor. It challenges both anthropo- and ecocentrism. In a time of environmental despair, Christian theology offers much needed hope in the promise that ultimately God is committed to sustaining and renewing the earth.

From this understanding of God’s creating and sustaining love, flow several key ethical imperatives, two of which are:

  1. If the earth is God’s not ours and, if God retains oversight and involvement, then attitudes of respect and even reverence towards natural systems ensue.

Every part of creation should be respected as having intrinsic value, because it is fashioned by the creator of all. This is critical in our thinking about sustainability – without belief in a Creator, it is very  difficult to find value in living or inanimate things apart from their instrumental value to human beings. True value lies not in measurable monetary wealth, or in usefulness to human beings, but is intrinsic in being created by God. Thus every object and every creature must be respected, not simply as resources, but as unique repositories of God’s wisdom.

  • Belief in God’s sustaining involvement also leads to an ethical attitude of restraint.

We should exercise great caution in our intervention in natural systems, respecting the natural wisdom of the Creator, and observing the ability of nature to adapt to changing circumstance without human interference.

So, the first principle of a Christian theology of sustainability is that God is Creator and sustainer. At this point some, including Christians, may argue: “If  God is the sustainer, does that not let human beings off the hook? Does it not encourage the idea that if God is in charge, we can do what we like – exploit, destroy, live unsustainably – knowing that God will sort it all out in the end?”

Good question – poor theology! Because:

The second Principle is that of Biblical covenantal stewardship.

Biblical stewardship understands that the earth is God’s, not ours – removing any ‘rights’ to use its resources without constraint. It also contains the vital notions of responsibility and accountability – stewards have to answer to the owner. Biblical stewardship is a contractual and binding agreement between God, people and the land. The creation covenant of Genesis 9, with the sign of the rainbow, conveys God’s commitment to the whole earth and every living creature within it – a commitment not to destroy the earth again, no matter how bad things get, and thus a commitment to sustaining creation.

The human responsibility to rule over creation, given in Genesis 1:26-28, belongs within this covenantal context. The world is God’s – by creation, ownership and sustenance. Humans are given the sacred trust of being God’s stewards – or tenant trustees. Summarised in Genesis 2:15, the invitation to ‘work and take care of the garden’ [‘to work the ground and keep it in order’ The Message] is at the heart of the practical Christian understanding of sustainable stewardship.  

It is about restraint and respect, never taking from natural systems beyond their capacity to renew and replace. There should never be an unsustainable ecological debt day. It is about conservation, seeking to maximise fruitfulness – both in terms of yield and biodiversity, always in such a way as to leave enough for other species and for future generations.

Covenantal stewardship implies responsibility and delegated rule.

The Old Testament can be seen primarily as a story of the three way relationship between people, God and the land – or natural environment. One of many examples of this comes in Deuteronomy 22: 6-7, where the people of Israel are told what to do if they find a ground nesting bird in the field. They are permitted to eat the eggs or chicks, but commanded to leave the mother bird – so she may of course nest again. It is a brilliantly simple example of sustainable use of the natural world.

Alongside the pillar of covenantal stewardship – with the power and responsibility that it gives to human beings, is the

Third Principle – which can be described as the creation – fall – redemption  paradigm.

The concept of sustainability has arisen at a time when the world is under great threat from human carelessness and abuse. As Hosea 4: 13, implies we have lost our way with God, there is much unrepented sin. And because of all this, the very land itself weeps and all within it is grief stricken.

At its simplest an analysis of both the human condition and the state of the planet can be summarised in three short statements –

  1. God made a good world, therefore, the world is worth sustaining – it has value and goodness.
  2. Human moral failure (sin) causes a breakdown in relationships between God, people and all creation, therefore, humanity has spoiled its good home, threatening our very future.
  3. God in Christ provides hope for humanity and for the whole material creation, therefore, it is worth doing something about this – a sustainable future is achievable.

How can we put right what has gone wrong – with ourselves and the world around us? Christianity’s radical claim – and that which differentiates it from other world faiths – is that we cannot do this ourselves – no amount of rebuilding can ever put Humpty Dumpty together again. We are thrown instead on the mercy of God, a God who in Christ enters the created material world and through His death and resurrection enables all that is broken to be restored

In the first 9 chapters of Genesis – a world that God declares good, a perfect garden inhabited by innocent people are all spoiled through human selfishness. The result is a breakdown in relationships between God, people and planet – the earth itself is cursed in Genesis 3 as a

result. However, the Noahic story of  Genesis 6-9 brings God’s rescue and restoration not just of people but of every living creature upon the earth. Similarly in the New Testament, the death and resurrection of Christ are also clearly put within a cosmic context of reconciliation and restoration. Passages such as we have read in Romans 8 and also from Colossians 1 amply demonstrate this.

The ethical and practical implications of all this for our thinking on sustainability are immense.

We live at a time of crisis in the global environmental movement.

It is more than anything a crisis of hope.

Sustainability is dependent on HOPE. Without it, there is no point in struggling to sustain the unsustainable. The Christian message of a world redeemed by God in Christ, offers a hope that is wider than human activity, but also compels humans, especially Christians, to respond in hopeful action.

Because of Christ we have hope for the world, and can live and act hopefully.

Today’s global environmental crisis is caused by one species – Homo sapiens. People are the problem, but they also – under God – hold the key to the solution. A theocentric view of sustainability is characterised by a humble acceptance of the human privilege and duty to act as caretakers of God’s world. With Christian hope, we can humbly and confidently take on this mandate. We trust not in ourselves, but in God for the ultimate future, and we must work now to live in the light of that future and act to create signs that point to it.

Let us, therefore, adopt an attitude of repentance for the damage done to the earth and seek reconciliation with nature, with our fellow human beings and with God.

Let us repent of our complacency and work towards becoming the greenest and most conservation minded people on the planet; and be an example to others in the actions we take towards that end.


All For One And One For All

Math. 28:16-20; John 14

Who remembers the story of the Four Muskateers? How many of you can remember the underlying rule which bound the four together?

On Trinity Sunday, 30th May, we meditate on and celebrate God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit and the relationship between them which is “All for One and One for All

As part of the Great Commission Jesus instructs his disciples to baptise in the name of the Trinity. How can one God be three persons? Most of us find such concepts hard to fathom. God is so large that many aspects of his character are beyond even our imagining and we can only grasp a little understanding. One day of course when we are with God we will know in full. God, however, does reveal something of himself in scripture. So let us examine this concept and what it means for us as Christians.

Many times in scripture we are taught about the Trinity, even though the word Trinity never appears there are references to Father, Son and Holy Spirit as v.19 of Matt. 28. Jesus had just beaten death and He was now passing on the information that the Father and the Spirit are equally God as well. It seems that he is telling us that there are three Gods. It is on this point that Muslims insist that we are polytheistic rather than monotheistic and this is an obstacle in their conversion to Christianity. But let us look at other Scripture that seems to tell us that this is not the case. James states in 2:19 “You believe there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that and shudder.” It would appear that James is telling us that it is pretty common knowledge that there is only one God. That God is a family is a scriptural idea[ see Rom.8:11; 1Cor.12:4-6; 2Cor.13:14; Gal.4:6; Ephes.4:4-6; 2Thes.2:13] Jesus spoke a good deal about the Father, but not so much about the Holy Spirit, which is an Old Testament expression, but He did link himself with the two.John 14. Here clearer than perhaps anywhere else in the Bible we have the Trinitarian message and the role of each member of that Trinity. Jesus said “No one comes to the Father, except through me, for I am in the Father and the Father is in me. The words I speak, and the miracles I perform, are not just my own but rather it is the father living in me that is doing the work.” John 14: Jesus also tells his disciples that he will ask the Father to send the spirit of truth and goes on to say that the Holy Spirit will live in them (us) and that he (Jesus) will not leave them orphans – he will come to them (v.18), presumably via the Holy Spirit who dwells in Him and also in them (us). And the spirit is mentioned in connection with Jesus’s own baptism [Matt.3:16].

How can this be? How can Father, Son and Holy Spirit all be God and there still only be one God?

Perhaps, a non-scriptural way of illustrating the Trinity is by using the analogy of water. Water can exist as liquid, as a solid in the form of ice or as a gas in the form of steam. All are the same substance, H20, with similar properties but nevertheless also distinctly different properties characteristic of the different phases. They also perform different functions; ice to cool, for example, and steam to drive turbines to give us electricity and water as liquid making up 80+ % of the substance of all life. We could say three phases but one substance; all different, yet all the same.

Although the doctrine of the Trinity is one of the most fundamental beliefs of the Christian church I am not going to go into the history of the revelation of a triune God or to engage with anti-Trinitarian groups. But I am going to attempt to demonstrate that the concept of the Trinity is scriptural, natural, and necessary to the life and faith of the believer. The doctrine makes a significant contribution to the way we understand our relationships with one another and the God whom we seek to serve.

One of the first things we can say about the Trinity is that it is a relationship that demonstrates an inherent perfect unity in diversity. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are co-equal different expressions of the same God specialising in different functions in God’s economy of creation and redemption. God the Father is primarily concerned with creation but Jesus and the Holy Spirit are also concerned; Jesus is mainly concerned with redemption but God the Father and the Holy Spirit are also involved and the Holy Spirit is mainly concerned with sanctification but God and Jesus are also involved.

St. Patrick explained the Trinity using a three leafed clover. There is one clover with three separate leaves making it up. Let me coin a word: symtheistic, to describe the relationships in the Trinity and this can be explained by an analogy with lichens. These plants are made up of two organisms, a fungus and a unicellular alga, which are interdependent on one another and perform essential functions for the whole organism, which takes on a morphology determined by the union. Each symbiont is unable to lead a separate existence long term and yet has separate and identifiable DNA.

Each member of the Trinity act in harmony with one another; there are no separate agendas. For example the Father sends the son (Jn.3:16) and draws attention to Him (Mtt.17:5), the Son is obedient to the will of the Father (Jn.17:4), and seeks to glorify Him in Himself (Jn.13:31-32) and both the Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit (Jn.14:26, 15:26) who glorifies the Son (Jn:16:14). This unity with equality was recognised by Augustine when he said: “There is so great an equality in that Trinity, that not only the Father is not greater than the Son, as regards divinity, but neither are the Father and the Son greater than the Holy Spirit.” The whole is in each and each is in the whole.

The mathematical expression 1x1x1 = 1. Is a metaphorical expression of the concept of the Trinity

One for All and All for One.

The unity, equality and harmony that is evident in the Trinity should be reflected in the life of the Christian and the Church. But such harmony is not natural to the nature of man and can only be obtained through fellowship with God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit(1Jn1:3, 2Cor13:14). Paul recognises how the three persons of the Godhead are operative in unifying the many diverse gifts and activities of those in the body of the church (1Cor12:12-14).

This unity that God desires in the functioning of his church is a reflection of the perfect unity that exists in Himself.

The doctrine of the Trinity is also significant for us as Christians in the union that we experience in Christ. To be in union with Christ means that all things can be done in Him (Phil.4:13), and a godly life can be lived (2Tim.3:12), with the result of bearing much fruit (Jn15:5). Not only is the believer in Christ, but Christ is also in him or her (Gal2:20). This union that Christians have in Christ also brings union with the other persons of the Trinity. Christ told his disciples that both He and the Father will dwell in them (Jn14:23); and also the Holy Spirit (Jn14:16-17). All three persons are active in our Christian experience of God, yet it is not three separate experiences but one.We as believers are in relationship with the Father as Creator & Sovereign, with the Son as saviour and redeemer; and they are sealed by the Holy Spirit in regeneration, knowing Him as comforter advocate and sanctifier.

Union with Christ, therefore, also includes union with the Father, and the Holy Spirit. Through this union we enter into the most intimate place of relationship with the triune God; being raised up to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus(Eph2:6), having our sinful lives hidden with Christ in God (Col3:3).

Probably the clearest area where the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is significant for living the Christian life is in the whole area of worship. From NT times, believers worshiped the Father, in the Spirit, through Christ (Eph2:18; 5:18-20) and sometimes worshiped Christ directly (Mtt14:33;28:9,17. Jn9:38), because they recognised Him as fully God. Although the early church also recognised the Holy Spirit as being God (Acts5:3-4), the explicit worship of the Spirit appears to have developed at a later period. However, there exists such a harmony in the triune God that to worship one is to worship Father, Son & Spirit together. For God to be truly present by the Holy Spirit in our lives the whole activity of God must be active. St. Ambrose discerned this about Christian worship when he wrote “ …by unity of power, Christ is jointly worshiped in the Father when God the Father is worshiped. In likemanner then, by unity of the same power the Spirit is jointly worshiped in God, when God is worshiped in the Spirit.”

One for All and All for One.

In connection with worship, prayer also has a distinctly Trinitarian mould. Luke records a prayer of Jesus to the Father, and specifically mentions that He was full of joy through the Holy Spirit (Lk10.21). Before his matyrdom, Stephen, being full of the Holy Spirit, saw the glory of God and prayed to the Lord Jesus. Jude (20-21) encourages us to pray in the Holy Spirit, keep ourselves in the love of God and hope in the mercy of Christ.

It could be said that just as there can be no genuine reality of prayer apart from the mediation and union that we have in Christ, neither can there be any true Christian prayer apart from the presence and work of the Holy Spirit in our Christian lives.

Much more could of course be said on the subject of the Trinity but I hope that I have in some small way shown that it is only through the actions of every person of the Trinity that we are able to live out life of faith at all.This is evident in every area; from the fellowship that is enjoyed in the Church, to God’s complete work within us as individuals, and the devotional life that we seek to live in Christ. In fact through the work of the Triune God in our lives, we should seek to live.

One for All and All for One.



Pentecost can be summed up in one word—Change!

Acts 2:1-21
It seems generally true that people are always looking to improve, to change their lives for the
better. Isn’t that why people go to school, to conferences and seminars? Isn’t that why people
go to counselors and psychologists? I recently read of an increase in people, including men,
paying large sums of money to have facial injections botox that will take away wrinkles for
awhile. People who have botox are hoping that it will make them look better. But people often
do want to be changed for the better.

What is it about yourself that you would like to change? Is it the way you look? Is it your
confidence?Is it your life-style? If you could change one thing about yourself what would it

God is interested in change.

This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday. It used to be called Whit Sunday and fell on a Bank Holiday
weekend, now replaced by the Spring Bank holiday on the last weekend of May. Pentecost is
a time when we meditate on and give thanks for the coming of the Holy Spirit on the disciples
and some would say marks the birthday of the church. We also reflect on the work of the Holy
Spirit though the ups and downs and changes our own lives.

Two major changes took place at Pentecost.

  1. The disciples themselves were changed.
    Although the disciples believed in Jesus as their Saviour they were still confused about all
    kinds of things. As a result they were timid and weren’t confident in sharing the Gospel with
    others because they didn’t fully understand it. But then Pentecost came as they were all
    together in that upper room and the Holy spirit came like a rushing wind settling on the
    disciples like tongues of fire and filling them in such a way that they began to speak in foreign
    languages they had not known before. They began to preach the gospel with confidence and
    boldness in languages that the multinational crowd could understand. The disciples were
    dramatically changed:
    no longer were they timid; they understood the plan of salvation
    completely. Peter a rough and ready fisherman who a few weeks earlier had been running
    scared now gave a beautiful sermon that God and the Holy Spirit inspired him to preach
  1. 3000 peoples lives were saved.
    After Peter preached the sermon 3000 people came to faith and were baptised. We don’t know
    much about these people. Pentecost was an agricultural festival and people from all over the
    Roman empire and all walks of life were in Jerusalem at this time. 3000 of this crowd,who
    were not Christians, were changed that day.
    Their whole way of looking at God, at themselves,
    at the world, at eternal life – everything had changed. The Holy spirit was the one who
    converted those 3000 people that day. Now these people knew how to get to heaven. Now they
    knew that they were at peace with God. Now they knew that Jesus was their Saviour

Do you know how to get to heaven? Or even believe Heaven exists? Are you at peace with
God? Or even know God exists? Do you really know Jesus Christ as your saviour? If not God
is interested,
through the Holy Spirit, in changing you.

But how? On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came directly to those disciples. Today he could do
that for you especially if you do not yet know him; but in the Bible, he tells us that he also
works in a different way. To many of us he comes through the reading and exposition of the
Word, through praise and through prayer and through our earnest desire to receive and open
our hearts to him as God’s gift to us. If you do not know him, but seek him, it is vital that you
explore God’s word in the Bible. As you spend more time with God and his word the Holy
Spirit will reveal his reality for you. If you allow him he will dwell more and more in you he
will change you; turning you more and more into the person God meant you to be. As you
surrender to God’s will for you and empowered by the Holy Spirit you become more certain
of eternity, you become more at peace with God, resting in Him, trusting in Him, in the
certain knowledge that Jesus Christ has guaranteed for you an eternal life with Him.

May the holy Spirit start or continue to work in you, and me, changing you and me and
fanning into flame the fire that is in each one of us. May the God of hope fill us with all joy
and peace as we trust in him, so we may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit

Spirit of the living God, who dwells within us; who is holy, who is good: come now, and fill the
hearts of your faithful people, and those who seek you, and kindle within them the fire of your
love: through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen


Group Study on Paul’s Letter to the Thessalonians

Hi This is an open invitation to anyone in the world who is interested or just curious you to join a a group study on Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians which is starting on Zoom next Tuesday evening and will be led by myself but overseen by the Rev. Chris Simmons, Founder of the Brighton Vineyard Church.

See details below: Paul spent only 3 weeks in planting the church in Thessalonica. This was because this short time he was so successful that the Jews were enraged and sought to take his life so that he had to be smuggled out of the town. Paul knew, for reasons that will become evident in the study, that the establishment of Christianity in Thessalonica was crucial to the establishment of Christianity as a world religion. Paul is worried that three weeks may not be enough to do this. But his prayers were answered. Hence his letters. Come and join the group to explore and unpack these letters that resonate with us today. 10 weekly sessions starting Tuesday April 20th 7-9pm. You will be required to engage for 5 days each week with a short but substantive study of a section with reflective questions for self-examination from the book: ‘Letters to the Thessalonians’ by Matt O’Reilly [ISBN 978-1-62824-745-9]. Which you will need to purchase. Available from Book Depository.

We then gather on the Tuesday for group discussion.

All are welcome. There is no entry fee just register by texting +44 07999 289261.


Resurrection Power

1Cor. 15:12-20

It is upon this belief that Jesus was victorious over death, that the entire Christian faith depends. It is because of this pivotal importance that the reality of that is questioned, attacked, and belittled, especially in the last 100 years. If it is not true, our faith is futile [1Cor: 15:17]. We may as well close the doors and say good-bye to one another. There is no reason for us to meet. Every Bible believing preacher is a liar, if Jesus was not raised. If that is the case, they are not only preaching a lie, but also encouraging you to base your life on a lie. If there is no resurrection, there is no solution to sin. There is no way to remove the inevitable guilt that weighs down the human heart. And because the way of Christ calls us to death of self, because it forfeits worldly pleasure now for eternal pleasure with God, if there is no resurrection, then we are to be pitied. If you personally find this hard to believe then I suggest you check the evidence. This is succinctly explored in Chap. 10 ‘Who moved the Stone.’ Mark Eastman on
this link:

So why do I believe that Christ rose from the dead. Rome crucified Jesus because He was a political threat. They guarded the tomb with soldiers that were each trained to hold a square metre of ground. Those soldiers could have been executed for letting a prisoner escape.Somehow, Jesus walked out of the grave. Matthew’s account says that on seeing the angel that rolled away the stone, those warriors passed out. (Matthew 28:4) The disciples were cowering, hiding in fear for their lives. (John 20:19) Then suddenly they are preaching in public. (Acts 2:6) Something incredible had to have happened! They were thrown in prison because they were preaching and healing and telling the people that it was because they witnessed the resurrected Jesus. They no longer cared about threats and prison. (Acts 4:19-20) Angels helped them break out of jail. (Acts 5:19-20) They declared that they had conversations with the man Jesus, who was crucified, raised from thedead, and who they saw ascend into heaven. (Acts 10:41)

He is alive!

The power of the risen Jesus was overflowing from the Apostle Peter to the extent that people from the surrounding regions brought their sick and laid them on the streets so that his shadow would heal them. (Acts 5:15) How do you explain that? If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then these men were liars. Why would healing power flow through liars to such and amazing extent? Imagine for a moment if I told all of you, “Hey, let’s start a new religion. It’s all a sham, but if we all keep the secret, maybe it will sweep the world and we’ll become important.” Therefore, we make up some story and it starts to take off. You might think, “Maybe this will work. I’ll play along.”Then we start being thrown in jail. Next, one of our leaders is executed. Then it is open season on all of us. That kind of persecution was what happened to the fledgling church Jesus started. You would say, “Oh well, it was fun while it lasted, but I’m not going to die for it.”

However, that is not how the early church responded. They gave their lives. They faced lions in the arena. They were burned alive, refusing to recant. They were tortured and crucified, refusing to deny their story. Why? They had seen the risen Lord. How could you deny what you knew to be truth, knowing it would affect your eternity? Once you knew it was true, everything He said suddenly took on eternal significance. There was no going back. Once they saw the resurrected Lord, everything was different. Rising from the dead meant that even if they were killed, they would live again.

What does the power of the resurrection mean for us? Jesus was the first to be resurrected from the dead. Paul was saying that our resurrection would certainly follow. He was raised, and that is why we know that we will be raised as well. Just as through one man, Adam, we all inherited a sinful nature, so through Christ we can all inherit eternal life. However, resurrection is not just about that day in which our mortal bodies are swallowed up by immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:53-54) That is a wonderful thing. It comforts us when we have lost a loved one. Ii encourages us that death is not the end, and that this life is full of eternal purpose. Resurrection is about every day. It is about life in these mortal bodies having the power of resurrection right now.

This is how the Apostle Paul expressed it Ephesians 1:18-21 ‘I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.’ Paul was praying that we would have God’s help to see that as believers we have access to an incomparably great power. He goes on to describe that the power is like mighty strength of God exerted in the resurrection of Christ. What kind of power took the three day dead battered body of Jesus right through His grave clothes? What kind of power breathed life into every dead cell and lifted Him to His feet? That is life-giving power! Paul is telling us that this power is supposed to be a part of the life of every believer, but we need to have the eyes of our heart enlightened to see that it is ours. When we see things without an enlightened heart, we see discouragement, defeat, and inability. The negative overwhelms us. We see no rhyme or reason to things.

When we look through the eyes of an enlightened heart, we see the wonderful work of God in us and in our brothers and sisters. We see God at work changing the world around us, intervening in the darkness and bringing hope to the hopeless. We see evil and dark things being turned around to move people toward God. Even more exciting is the fact that we see we can play a part in all the goodness of God. Resurrection power puts just the right words in our mouth when go to encourage that needy person. It puts hope and joy in our heart even when we face the inevitable hardships in life. It guides us into a life that is actively participating with our Creator to touch our world and enrich our

Resurrection power gives love for the unlovely, joy that is deep and lasting, peace that is beyond all explanation, and patience for those wh0 have not yet seen the power is there for them. It gives us a kind word in response to insult, gentleness when our world is harsh, power to be faithful when tempted, and self-control when we would rather return to our selfish ways. Yes, I am speaking about the fruits of the Spirit because resurrection power is the Spirit of God empowering our lives to express the goodness of God. (Galatians 5:22-23)

As we approach Easter and look on the sacrificial redeeming death of Jesus let us meditate on the most incredible event in human history, his resurrection defeating death and opening the portals of heaven for us, and let us apply it to our life today. Allow the eyes of your heart to be
enlightened, so that you can see this incomparably great power for us who believe.

Live now in the power of resurrection by the Holy Spirit of the Living God



John 14:1-14

Have you ever been lost? Before the days of satnav used to get lost frequently, especially if
there was a diversion in a strange town. I often went round in circles trying to find my own
way back onto the correct route. Other times I would ask and get incorrect instructions.
Occasionally some kind person would say follow me I will show you.
Jesus says follow me because “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes
to the Father except through me.” Jn.14:6

In fact early followers of Jesus were known as people of ‘The Way’
This verse gives us 3 great reasons why we should follow the Way of Jesus.

  1. Jesus wants us to follow him because He is the way without exception.
    This may not be very PC today but Jesus said, “I am the way.” The word picture is a road or
    some route to take for a journey, and there is no other way to Heaven but Jesus. “No one
    comes to the Father except (by or) through Me.”
    Says Jesus. The Apostle Peter later echoed
    this truth in Acts 4:12, when he said: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no
    other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.

    Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven, though many people try other ways.
    For example Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism require achievement of perfection in
    this life, in one way or another, to attain ‘heaven’.
    All these require us to perfectly live our lives through our own efforts. But no-one except
    Jesus has been able to live such a perfect life. So what are we to do?

    Without a way to Heaven, we are hopelessly lost. But Jesus IS the way! Jesus said the
    way to Heaven is not a principle, not a practice, not a precept, and not a philosophy. . . The
    way to Heaven is to know him as a person and to have a relationship with him.
    Many people are like the man who said that getting to Heaven was like getting to London.
    There are a lot of roads that will get you there. But a wise Christian told him: “No, getting to
    Heaven is much more like flying into the Heathrow airport. The pilot has to land that plane on
    just the right runway, at just the right speed, at just the right time, at just the right angle.
    There is only one way to land that plane. And there is only one way to Heaven. It’s through
    Jesus. He is our pilot!
  2. Jesus said “I am theTruth”. Jesus is the True revelation of the Father Jn.14:9 He
    has been given to us so that we can find restoration through Him alone.
    It is the Truth that Jesus was born as a Man manifestation of God. In Jesus you see God the
    It is the Truth that He came to release us from the grasp of satan, whose way is death.
    It is Truth that He defeated death on the cross by rising again and opening the gates of
    heaven for us
    He paid the price of our entry fee. We do not have to reach perfection.
    It is Truth that He came to set us free from the curse of sin and sickness and the shackles of
    this world
    so that, in this freedom, our hearts need not strive or be troubled, but be assured
    of a place with Him in the glory of His Father. And believe in Him, because He is the truth
    without error.
    Jesus is the source of all Truth.
    Sadly, we now live in a post-modern society that no longer believes in absolute truth. Truth is
    now considered to be relative to the person. Today if you told someone that Jesus died for
    us. You might hear someone reply, “That may be true for you, but it isn’t true for me.”Many people today are putting their faith in their own opinions rather than the rock-solid truth
    of God’s Word. Life is all about me, the religion of Me-ism. Just my own little voice. That’s
    tragic, but it’s nothing new. The last verse of the Old Testament Book of Judges says: “In
    those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
    Judges 21:2).
    If we do not recognise Jesus as King then we do what we think is right in our
    own eyes. And this, as it did in Israel, can lead to disaster.
    Many people try to live by their own truth. We see this at present as we fight the Covid19
    pandemic; we are faced with false information masquerading as truth. But in the end they
    who who were hoodwinked by false information will see that they were living by a lie.
    Only Jesus Christ can honestly and boldly say, “I am the truth.” So believe in and follow the
    way of Jesus, however narrow the road; because He is the truth without error.
  3. Jesus said He is also the Life — He is the source and giver of both natural and
    everlasting life.

    Everyday we are confronted with death and our own mortality and our own fragility. Even the
    strongest crumble before the onslought of Covid 19. The numbers that have fallen before its
    path are staggering. We are now well past 120,000 deaths in the UK and counting. The
    Wordwide toll is currently more than two and a half million.
    In my generation it is almost taboo to talk about mortality. We keep death at arms length. We
    go about our business as if we would live forever; never giving death a second’s thought.
    We are now forced every day to confront death and talk about deaths but do not discuss
    death itself. Most of us still look upon death as something to be feared and avoided at all
    costs. But of course we cannot avoid it. And it is this fact that should motivate us to consider
    if anything and what lies beyond our death. Jesus, in his agony, said to the thief dying with
    him on the Cross “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”
    He said this because the thief
    believed in him, and, this is important, because Jesus knew there was a continuation beyond this
    mortal life.
    So believe in Him, because He is the life without end.
    Jesus said, “I am the life.” Jesus is the life, so the only way for us to have life is through Him.
    Jesus gives His abundant, eternal life to all who trust in Him. But we must understand that
    this life is a relationship with Him.
    In John 17:1-3 we read that later the same night, Jesus: looked towards heaven and
    prayed: “Father, the time has come, Glorify your Son, that Your Son may Glorify you.
    For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all
    those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only
    true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

    “You can be a Buddhist or a Muslim without knowing Buddha or Mohammed. But you cannot
    be a Christian without knowing Christ. A personal experience with Christ, who knows you by
    name and loves you, is the essence of Christianity, and the only way to live life to the full.
    That’s because Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to
    the Father except through Me.” And “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God,
    believe also in Me.”
    As we approach Passion Week I recommend that you to ponder these questions?
    Do you believe that Jesus is the only Way to eternal life, and are you prepared to follow the
    narrow way he taught and demonstrated?

    Do you believe that Jesus is the source of all truth?
    Are you willingly prepared to trust your life into His loving hands to use you in accordance
    with His will, which is the will of the Father?


Healing Service

At this time our nation and the world is struggling with the effects of covid19 on our physical, mental and emotional as well as economic state, with thousands more faced with bereavement of loved ones. Never has the need for healing prayer been more urgent with extra long waiting lists for treatment of non-covid conditions.

If you have a prayer need as Director of the Bethesda Brighton Healing Rooms, one of an International network, I and the team invite you join us for a Healing Service on Zoom which is free and open to persons of any faith or none.

We have experienced the power of prayer and believe that nothing is impossible with God. I personally was suddenly healed of broken ribs as a result of prayer after a fall down stairs at the beginning of February 2021.

For joining instructions TEXT: (+44) 07999 289261 or email:

The service will be held on Saturday March 27th, starting at 15:30 [3:30pm) and will contain some worship, short talks, testimonies and healing prayer.

If you are unable to visit us on the 27th. then we invite you to join us any Friday from 11-12noon. For joining instructions as above.

For more info: