Sermon Notes: The LORD God Almighty

19 07 2015

I haven’t done a blog writing up my sermon notes in a fair while. I’ve had many busy weekends that result in napping on a Sunday afternoon, and once the weeks piled up I just put it off for ages, so sorry about that!

That said, this morning we had a great and encouraging sermon looking at Revelation 4 & 5 and I thought I’d share what I scribbled down:

  • Handel wrote the Oratorio of the Messiah over 15 days, sometimes working more than 20 hours in a day, in response to these two chapters.
  • John saw this vision, not from somewhere safe and bright, but while in exile for declaring “Jesus is LORD!”
  • John, having seen this vision, is reduced to using items and words of this world to attempt to describe the LORD God Almighty. The English language just isn’t capable of this!
  • We worship to proclaim to all powers – Our God reigns!
  • This reality we live in is temporary and passing away, we’re preparing for something eternal.
  • When down in the dumps, check out these chapters – it’s not going to be boring in heaven!
  • The best theology results in worship, not just head knowledge.
  • The reason worship is so relevant for our lives and this world is that it is the reality for eternity.
  • There is so much more glory and majesty to come than life in Surrey – hallelujah!
  • D-Day has happened, we await VE/VJ Day
  • Satan’s time is limited. He will have no place in the new heaven and new earth
  • The world is passing, there’s nothing more real than what is to come.
  • Not just Sundays, but every day should be an act of worship to the LORD God Almighty.
  • There is so much we don’t know about God – He’s too big, He’s without beginning or end, He’s unfathomable and indescribable. We can only be lost in awe and wonder.

Sermon Notes: The nature and role of government in the bible

4 05 2015

A couple of weeks back we had a church prayer meeting for the upcoming election, and it opened with a short sermon on government in the bible, so I thought, with three days to go until the election, I’d share my notes from it incase they’re helpful.

“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”
– Colossians 1 vv 15-20

“He said to them, ‘Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” – Luke 20 v 25
Most would say this verse divides the world into a religious domain and a government domain, but God can’t be level with Caesar, He is far above him. “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” – Psalm 24 v 1a.

The Bible has government down as useful yet limited.

David is described as a king after God’s own heart whose throne would be established forever. Yet when Israel asked for a King this was a rejection of God’s rule over them.

Governments can do many positive things, for example: advance education, justice, equality, employment opportunities. Yet they can also abuse power, form oppressive regimes, persecute citizens.

We’re called to submit to government: “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” – Romans 13 v 1.

Government is limited, firstly by the existence of other human authorities, including church, family and individuals. We should be lobbying government and campaigning against policies that violate God’s teaching. Try Christian Concern or the Evangelical Alliance.

The word government essentially means helmsmanship (“the action or skill of steering a ship or boat.”). This could be of the state, the church, a family or an individual. Government as we think of it would be civil government.

Government is limited, secondly by the means at its disposal. Its only punishment is the removal of someone’s freedom or property. Whereas Jesus said “Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.’” – John 18 v 36.

Government is limited in the scope and influence God gives to it, for this reason, Christians can legitimately disagree about politics. No government will match up to the rule that we’ll one day live under in a new heaven and earth.

In this country we’re fortunate as Biblical principles still shape a lot of the political landscape.

We need to prayerfully consider our vote and ask God to help us to vote wisely to promote principles of submission to law, accountability of government, equality and justice.

There are many resources to look at political parties’ policies from a Christian perspective. I mentioned some of these in a previous post

Sermon Notes: God in 3 Persons – Mark 1 vv 9-11

31 01 2015

I think I’m three weeks behind now, but because in the last three weeks I’ve done Sunday School, we’ve had a baptism and an all-age service, this will actually get me back up to date!

This term our church has started a new series on “Delighting in God”, looking at His perfect attributes.

The bible gives us the following doctrine of the Trinity:

  1. God is three distinct persons“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” – 2 Corinthians 13v14
  2. Each person is fully God
    • Father – “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” – Genesis 1v1
    • Son (“Word”) – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – John 1v1
    • Holy Spirit – “Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”” – Acts 5 vv 3-4
  3. There is one God“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” – Deuteronomy 6v4

There are some analogies that help us with this, but none is perfect. For example:

  • The three states of water
    • Water in three distinct forms – Ice, Water, Steam
    • All three forms are the same substance, H20
    • BUT H20 cannot be all three forms at the same time
  • A person has many roles (eg: Father, Office Worker, Neighbour)
    • The person is all three roles at the same time
    • All three roles are still the same person
    • BUT It is all of one person, not three distinct people

Some same that all roads lead to God, but this is not the teaching of the bible, the Trinity does not align with Islam’s description of Allah, e.g. the Koran says that Allah has no son.

We see all three elements of the Trinity at work in unity at Jesus’ baptism. As Jesus is baptised, the Holy Spirit descends in the form of a dove, and the Father speaks.

At the heart of the Trinity is a loving relationship.

We are not people who are mainly into the Father, or mainly into the Son, or mainly into the Holy Spirit. Some churches become caricatured to focus too much on one aspect.

  • High Anglican churches can be seen as focussing on God the Father
  • Evangelicals tend to be caricatured as focussing mainly on Jesus as the Word, and so the preached Word
  • Pentecostals can be caricatured as mainly focussing on the work of the Spirit

We should never be afraid of the power of the Holy Spirit, it will never do anything worth fearing. Being filled with the Spirit will always bring glory to Father, Son & Spirit.

We are adopted children of God, unlike Jesus who is the Son of God, but through the Spirit God desires to share the love He has for His Son with His adopted children.

Sermon Notes: In Christ Alone – Romans 8 vv 9-39

20 01 2015

I’m a couple of weeks behind in my sermon notes, but I feel it’s important not to skip – they’ve been pretty good ones! These are my notes from 4th January. This was quite a hard Sunday for most of us as we had just lost a very significant (if that’s the right word) church member over the New Year (in fact the funeral was yesterday), so we were hurting, and our Pastor chose to write his sermon to address this.

Romans 8 vv 9-39

Creation currently struggles with floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, famines, drought, cancer, unemployment and injustice, to name a few.

In v18 Paul talks about “our present sufferings”, this could be broken relationships, financial problems, hunger, rejection, disappointment, loneliness, death of a loved one.

And yet Paul says these “are not worth comparing” with our future glory! This was promised way back in Isaiah.

The original good creation, Eden, was free from the effects of sin, the relationship between God and humans was perfect. Working the garden was not a frustration, there was no pain or death.

This was disrupted by human rebellion.

We have a future hope of resurrected and glorified bodies in a new heaven and a new earth, free from sorrow, pain and death. But while we’re in mortal bodies on this fallen earth, infected with the effects of sin, we long for a greater glory.

Yes Lazarus was raised, but not to his glorious resurrected body – he would have died a second time.

We are adopted as children of God, but we don’t yet fully possess our inheritance. We are like named beneficiaries of a will, who wait to inherit what it contains.

A woman goes through labour pains because of the hope of holding the child in the near future. Similarly, believers live with the groans of the fallen world in the hope of seeing it freed when Jesus returns at the end of the age. We need this truth when we face heartache.

We don’t yet fully see our future hope, we may get glimpses, but we must wait with patience and hope. The Holy Spirit will sustain us – when we don’t know how to pray He even intercedes on our behalf (v26)

The purpose of this life is to become more and more like Jesus. Whatever our trials, God promises to finish His work in us.

We will go through sufferings in this life, but He will go with us.

We have recently lost two members of our congregation, they were both people who had a big smile on their face, they were like Him, and ready to meet Him. Both of their lives shone out His glory and joy even with the sufferings they faced.

We pray for people to be healed on earth, but when they are, they are not yet set free or given their resurrection bodies.

Our prayers have been answered. They received the greatest healing.

Death is not the end for the believer, but the gateway to our eternal inheritance.

Sermon Notes: “He restores my soul” – Psalm 23 v 3a

21 12 2014

From last Sunday evening’s communion service:

“He restores my soul” – Psalm 23 v 3a

We all know David as a shepherd, but in this Psalm he depicts himself as the sheep.

Some of his Psalms are full of joy, but not 42
“Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.” – Psalm 42v11
We can each ask ourselves this.

A sheep on its back cannot get back on its feet. If a shepherd doesn’t find it quickly it will die. They get ‘downcast’ like this by finding a hollow in the field in which to lean, but as their centre of gravity shifts they roll over and are stuck. In the middle east they’d die within a few hours due to the heat. For a Ewe this obviously also puts her young at risk.


We sometimes think that God would be angry when we’ve fallen, but He has compassion on the lost and rejected. At times we all become downcast and in need of restoration. We’re most vulnerable to this when we think we have it together and are susceptible to pride.

The sheep is at danger in its comfortable place. There are times when the good Shepherd may move us on to somewhere more difficult.


If a sheep’s wool is too long then it is also at risk. Weighed down with wool it is far more susceptible to being cast down. It could also get dangerous things stuck in it. A shearing is not a pleasant experience for the sheep or the shearer, but it can be necessary. It is a relief for both parties when it is over, particularly the sheep having shed its thick coat if it is a hot day.


God may find things in our life He wants to strip away. “because the Lord disciplines those he loves” – Proverbs 3v12a. He knows exactly what He’s doing, he knows exactly how deep to go with the shears in the wool. He prunes us to grow new shoots if you want a different analogy.

Jesus chose to be cast down and die, to lay down His life for us. He was cast down when we were on our backs. He comes to restore the lost, broken and struggling.

Sermon notes: Demolishing personal strongholds

16 11 2014

I thought I’d try something new in writing up my notes from this morning’s service today. As I was on projector I have the order of service, so I’ve put a YouTube playlist together of all the songs we had today, so if you like, you can listen to that while you read – although I think the music will take much longer to get through…!

“By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you – I, Paul, who am ‘timid’ when face to face with you, but ‘bold’ towards you when away! 2 I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be towards some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.” – 2 Corinthians 10 vv 1-6

The word stronghold is used both positively and negatively:

  • Positively: “The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?” – Psalm 27v1.
    God is David’s security and protection
  • Negatively: “Wrong thought patterns and ideas, which Satan and his demons influence, and behind which they hide, that can govern or dominate individuals, communities, nations and even churches. Strongholds need to be taken, otherwise they continue that domination.” – David Devenish

Culturally consumerism is a massive stronghold. We are sent the message that holidays, clothes and leisure give us identity, provide us security, and ultimately make us happy.
These things aren’t wrong in themselves, but when good things become god things, that makes them idols.

Specific strongholds: Pride

The most effective means the devil has to keep believers from being full of the Spirit is to keep us full of ourselves.

Pride can be arrogance and self-righteousness, looking down on others and finding faults in anyone but ourselves.
Pride can also appear in those with low self-esteem. When we wallow in misery we invite pity and essentially ask people to tell us how great we are.

To demolish this stronghold we need to take each thought captive and demolish it with God’s word and prayer in the power of the Holy Spirit.
“God opposes the proud, but shows favour to the humble.” – James 4v6.

This means recognising that we owe everything to God’s grace and mercy, that we can’t ever earn these, that we deserve judgement but Jesus has taken that for us on the cross. We don’t need to push ourselves forward in arrogance because God has given us ultimate status as His children. We don’t need to be miserable for the very same reason!

Specific strongholds: Rejection

Many people suffer from rejection from loved ones, and this damage makes it difficult to believe that God wouldn’t also reject them.

To demolish this stronghold we need to prayerfully meditate on what the bible says about God accepting us.
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” – Hebrews 13v5.

If we receive Jesus as Saviour, then we can’t do anything to cause Him to reject us.

There are many other personal strongholds, for example: fear, negativity, lust, guilt, anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, addiction, despair, rejection, pride, and so many more.

Psychologists say that it takes 6 weeks to make a thought pattern a habit. It’s going to take some pretty persistent prayer!

Each stronghold is a pattern of thinking which is a lie. A stronghold buster takes that lie, and lists verses to contradict it. You read these daily, renouncing the lies that the devil or our sinful nature feed us.

Maybe write a stronghold buster for a stronghold of yours with a friend who can also then keep you accountable.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12v2

“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 5v1

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” – John 8v36

Sermon notes: Sacrifice

11 11 2014

These are my notes from the sermon that was shared at church on this Remembrance Sunday.

Psalm 46
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

John 15 vv 12-14
12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command.

A lady called Amy Beechey had 8 sons who fought in WWI. Only 3 came home, one of whom was permanently disabled. She received an honour from the Queen for her immense sacrifice, and replied, “I was no sacrifice Ma’am. I did not give them willingly.”

A man called Rob Young is running a marathon every day for a year. Every day, between 2-5am he runs a marathon, before then going about his normal day at work. He is sacrificing his sleep to raise money for those less fortunate. He’s currently well over halfway through, and hoping to raise £200,000.

Our sin and self-centred-ness as humans has polluted creation. Alongside these acts of sacrifice, we see greed, jealously, hate, violence.

We were created to love and serve God. In the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve walked and talked with God, but they rebelled as they chose to serve their own wants first. In doing so, human kind lost their intimate friendship with God.

Sin is when we love ourselves more than we love God, this cuts us off from Him. Jesus lived a life totally going by His Father’s agenda, He took our sins on Himself, allowed himself to be cut off from God even though he never sinned Himself, and in doing so, restored our ability to have a relationship with the Father.

No one other than Jesus, the only sinless man, could have done this. Our greatest sacrifices are nothing in comparison, they could never have freed us. That said, we are now called to lay down our lives in sacrificial love for others (John 15v12).

Jesus loved us, even when we didn’t deserve His love, and so we are to love others even when they don’t deserve it. Jesus didn’t wait until we were worthy of His love before he died for us in love. He loved us while we were far away.

It’s impossible to humanly love as Jesus loved, but Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches, through which His love can run. We need to remain connected to Him, to draw our love from Him.

In this way, if we love as Christ loved us, we will shine as lights in the darkness.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

Sermon Notes: What is Spiritual Warfare?

7 09 2014

We started our new series on spiritual warfare today, here are my notes!

Mark 1 vv 14-39

Spiritual warfare affects everyone

The world often tells us that the only things out there are the things that we can see, touch or feel.
“The modern world often does seem at times to be so evil, and human actions so wicked, that only a supernatural explanation can suffice” – secular view from The Daily Telegraph

“…the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” – 1 John 5v19b. But God is King over all creation, including the evil powers. Things like Nazism come from the evil one, but demons flee at the name of Jesus. Mark 1-3 is about demonstrating the power and authority of Jesus Christ. Satan’s rule is only temporary!

There are two ages: the present evil age, and the age to come of the kingdom of God. We as believers live between these two. The present evil age will come to an end, and we’ll have a new heaven and a new earth.

How can we see the pain and despair in this world without being driven to our knees? Watching the news is sometimes just too hard. Christian life is not easy, we live in thee world between the two ages.

D-Day was the decisive turning point in the second world war, but there were many more battles to fight before VE/VJ Day. The cross was D-Day. Get to the end of the book, we’re on the winning side!

The struggle we’re in is much bigger than us, but it’s not bigger than God, it’s not an even match! The final outcome is secure.

Satan will target the church, his tactics are subtle. There are so many sermons and teachings around on the internet we can feed ourselves so much. We need to be discerning with the teachings out there. There is a lot on self help, health and wealth, and blessings on individuals without mentioning Jesus out there, we have to be careful.

Things go wrong for all of us from time to time, and that’s when Satan whispers in our ear “Is Jesus really in control? Is He really Lord and King?”. But we know that we have a Redeemer. God’s Kingdom lasts forever.

Will we fight the good fight? The war has turned in the favour of Christ, but we’re to march on until He comes again. The one thing that will get us through is the power of God, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sermon Notes: The blessing of unity in the church – Psalm 133

7 09 2014

We had our final service of the summer series last weekend, I’m a bit behind, but here are my notes!

1 How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!

2 It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
down on the collar of his robe.

3 It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore.
– Psalm 133

Western culture is individualistic, and because of that, we tend to crave community.

We seek advice from peer groups and friends, generally those who’s opinions and views line up with our own, it’s harder to maintain a friendship circle when people don’t agree. But it can be dangerous to restrict ourselves to a small group, it means our views aren’t challenged.

We’d called to relate and to one-another with the whole church: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3v28. Mixing ages and backgrounds means that by cross-pollination we can learn from each other. The church is the family of God, and you can’t choose your family. We’re all brothers and sisters, and that changes how we should relate to each other.

Families experience tensions, it’s normal to not all get on easily: “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” – Ephesians 4 vv 1-3. It’s hard, but when we do it, we get the benefits in Psalm 133 above.

Oil is poured out over Aaron, God pours out the joy of the Holy Spirit and immerses us in His presence. We want to be a church where the Holy Spirit brings us to care for one another deeply, but we need unity to create the fertile ground for the Spirit to work in.

The value of facebook is to know what’s going on in people’s lives and so be able to respond to it. We need to bear with one-another, have grace for one-another, even when they’re irritating. There will be times when we need to forgive, need to be gentle, need to be humble.

But what a motivation to be united people – the pouring out of the Holy Spirit!

A royal priesthood, and living stones

7 07 2014

Last week I had a little holiday down in sunny(ish) Devon. My friend Julia and her husband James were being inducted as joint pastors of a church there on the Saturday, and on Sunday Julia spoke at the morning service. I really valued what she shared, so, after quite a long break since I last did this, my notes are below:

OT reading: Exodus 19 vv 1-8, NT reading: 1 Peter 2 vv 4-9.

God chose the Israelites to make His love known to the rest of the world through them, they were to be a showcase of how a relationship with God changes people for the better. They had a choice to keep the commands and covenant, and agreed to. They failed quite quickly.

In the OT a priest was someone who mediates between God and the people, who distributes the word and the blessings. We are called in 1 Peter 2 to be a royal priesthood, to share the word and blessings of God with those who haven’t yet heard. (I’d never understood that phrase until yesterday, I get it now!)

In the 1 Peter passage we are being built together. Stones can’t build themselves, God, the Builder, builds us. As living stones we have the ability to resist the Builder’s plans for us. The Builder may need to rub some rough edges off to fit us into a certain place. All sizes and shapes are needed. We are being built together.

Our thanksgiving, intercession and repentance needs, as a royal priesthood, to be on behalf of humanity, for those who don’t yet know the Lord, to cry out on their behalf, and to make sure we are living Godly lives.