The opening chapters of Mark’s gospel remind us in the most graphic and arresting of ways that being a Christian is not merely about recognising who Jesus is. As we see from chapter 1 and then again in chapter 3, even evil spirits are able to recognise who Jesus is.When speaking to Jesus, one evil spirit declares: “I know who you are – the Holy One of God!” (Mark 1:24); and then in chapter 3 v11 we are told that “whenever the evil spirits saw Him [Jesus] they fell down before Him and cried out “You are the Son of God.”.Clearly, what these verses indicate is that merely recognising that Jesus is the Son of God is not enough to save us, is not enough to make us into Christians.No, from Jesus’ own lips (Mark 1:15) we are reminded that for us to become Christians, as well as acknowledging the truth of who Jesus is, we also need to respond to that truth by both repenting of our sin (which is to actively turn away from our sinful and selfish way of life and to live in submission to Jesus’ Lordship over us instead) and believing in Jesus (which is to trust in His ability to save us and give us eternal life through His death and resurrection).These 2 elements of repentance and faith, and not merely the acknowledgment of who Jesus is, are the marks of a Christian.As we examine our lives, let us ask ourselves afresh: Am I doing more than merely acknowledging that Jesus is who He says He is? Am I responding to who Jesus is in repentance and faith? Am I submitting to Jesus’ lordship over my life and trusting in Him for my salvation?There is no greater priority in life, no more urgent a question in life for us to concern ourselves with than this! Our response to Jesus in this life determines where we will spend eternity. It is only through repentance and faith in Jesus that we receive the gracious mercy and forgiveness we need to escape the righteous judgment of God upon our sin. It is only through repentance and faith that we can possess the hope of heaven.So, let us take time to ask ourselves if we are doing more than merely acknowledging who Jesus is. Let us consider how we are responding to Him. Let us pay careful and serious heed to the message that Jesus Himself came to preach:”The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news.” (Mark 1:15)
I hear Thy welcome voice,
That calls me, Lord, to Thee,
For cleansing in Thy precious blood
That flowed on Calvary.
I am coming, Lord,
Coming now to Thee:
Wash me, cleanse me in the blood
That flowed on Calvary.
Though coming weak and vile,
Thou dost my strength assure;
Thou dost my vileness fully cleanse,
Till spotless all, and pure.
’Tis Jesus who confirms
The blessed work within,
By adding grace to welcomed grace,
Where reigned the power of sin.
And He the witness gives
To loyal hearts and free,
That every promise is fulfilled,
If faith but brings the plea.
All hail, redeeming blood!
All hail, life-giving grace!
All hail, the gift of Christ our Lord,
Our strength and righteousness.
Notices and Points for PrayerLet us thank God for all of His mercies to us. Let us praise Him for sending His Son to save us and let’s pray that the message of salvation that Christ came to preach will be heard and responded to by all those who have been appointed for eternal life (Acts 13:48).Let us pray that as we come to God’s word, that He will enable us to see the truth it contains and that as we feed upon His word that we will be built up and grow in our knowledge of Him (2 Peter 3:18).Let us pray for our nation and for those in authority over us. Let us thank God for them and ask that God would reveal Himself to them and use them for His glory (1 Timothy 2:2).Let us keep on praying for one another and ask God to show us how we can best help and love one another, and so fulfil the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).
At the elders’ meeting on Monday night it was decided that we would aim to reopen the church building for certain services from Good Friday (April 2nd). It is hoped that we will have a service at 11am on Good Friday and a service at 11am on Easter Sunday (April 4th). Thereafter, we will be open for a morning service at 11am on each following Sunday. To accommodate all those who wish to attend safely you may be asked to sit in the schoolroom and hear the message via the relay system. Please note that we will not be able to sing at these services and that the practices of wearing masks, hand sanitisation and social distancing will need to be observed at these services. Close social interaction with others will not be permitted before, during nor after the services. We fully understand that some will be unable or choose not to attend these services and we want to stress in the strongest terms that we do not want anyone to feel obligated or pressured into attending. We will continue to upload the messages on line / produce hard copies for those unable to attend. So that we can best manage risk and plan ahead, please will you inform Dawn Davies (07708288556 / firstname.lastname@example.org) if you will be attending. It would be helpful if you could do this before Weds 10th March. If you do not contact Dawn then we will assume that you will not be attending. Thank you.
We are pleased to inform the church that work has begun on converting the female toilet block into a set of 3 individual, self contained cubicles. It is hoped that the work will be completed by the end of the month.
I will be on holiday next week (Monday 8th March until Sunday 14th March). If you have any queries or concerns that would ordinarily require my input then one of the elders will be happy to help in my place. Mike Mellor will be preaching on Sunday 14th March.
Richard Jenkins email@example.com; 07761979015