Friday 17th February 2021

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Today’s ‘Guest writer’ Mark Jones is responding to the ‘Action’ on page 7 of our Lent booklets: ‘God’s story – Our Story.’ He mentions the phrase ‘Reformed theology’. This term is used to emphasise that a person’s faith is based on a recognition of the authority of Scripture, the sovereignty of God, salvation by grace through Christ, and the necessity of evangelism. Sometimes it will be précised as ‘Five Alone’s’:

Relying on Scripture alone, we are saved by grace alone,

through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone.

Mark starts by quoting a verse of scripture: Psalm 51:17 ESV

‘The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;

a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.’

Since I came to faith, I have found these words extremely comforting and during these tragic pandemic times, also very relevant. I’ve also found that throughout scripture there are equally stern words of warning as well as words of comfort, as in these famous words:

‘Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and, in your name, perform many miracles?”  Then I will tell them plainly, "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” Matthew 7:21-23 NIVUK

As a firm adherent of Reformed theology, I’m very much concerned about God’s sovereignty and His unconditional grace in redeeming His people through Christ.

‘All those the Father gives me will come to me,

and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.’ John 6:37 NIVUK

The concept of God's sovereignty basically leaves us with no wriggle room before God. We are helpless and condemned before Him in our willing state of sin; only by His sovereign grace can we be saved, and through no means within ourselves.

Gradually through the 500 years since the Reformation, Christians must have exchanged Christ-centred discipleship for a man-centred and self-centred philosophy that we have probably breathed in as naturally as oxygen from the influence of society. How little do we feel the sentiment of John Owen, the great Puritan theologian: “He is not a true believer unto whom sin is not the greatest burden and sorrow and trouble".

My journey of faith was very gradual from the beginning. After a life-threatening accident many years ago, I have spent years going to different churches not finding one that I felt I belonged to. Where the Gospel is diluted by a man-centred theology, it is difficult for genuine faith to take root. Yet in these times where persecution of Christians is subtle, and changes in society are rapid and alarming, we need the genuine Christ-centred gospel. I believe that we as Christians need the inspiration and faith-building discipleship of Reformed Theology in our daily walk with Christ.

Since I’ve declared marriage vows and was baptised into this church, I have come to believe that those who humbly submit themselves to understanding His Word will be rewarded as faithful servants of Christ. These words of Scripture will hopefully guide me and you through these challenging times ahead.

If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favour with you.

Remember that this nation is your people.’  The Lord replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’

Exodus 33:13-14 NIVUK

Mark Jones, 15/02/21.

Use these lyrics to lead you into prayers of thanks for your salvation:

             How can I be free from sin? Lead me to the cross of Jesus

 From the guilt, the power, the pain? Lead me to the cross of Jesus

         How can I know peace within? Lead me to the cross of Jesus

                 Sing a song of joy again! Lead me to the cross of Jesus

There’s no other way – No price that I could pay, simply to the cross I cling.  

This is all I need - This is all I plead - That his blood was shed for me

(Graham Kendrick © 1991 Make Way Music)


Sunday – new option – listening to the service using your landline phone.

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Page last updated: 21st February 2021 6:18 AM