LEIGH BAPTIST CHURCH “MESSENGER” JANUARY 2023
VERNON ST / CHURCH ST . LEIGH. WN7 1BH
Website : www.leighbaptistchurch.org.uk Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pastoral Leader – Val Hulme ( Day Off Fridays)
email : email@example.com TEL 07817142192
Check LBC website for updates and info also LBC FACEBOOK page
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
Sunday 5th February: 10:45 am Val Hulme
Sunday 12th February: 10:45 am Deacons
Sunday 19th February: 10:45 am Sunday Bible Study Val Hulme
Sunday 26th February: 10:45 am Communion Service Val Hulme
*Wednesdays 1st, 8th,15th and 22nd February Prayer Meeting 10:00 - 11:00 am.
Deacons' Meeting to be confirmed.
*We are still awaiting the repairs needed following the burst water pipe to be completed, so it may be that these meetings could be cancelled to allow for the work to be carried out.
This year's World Day of Prayer service is on Friday 3rd March, 7:00pm at St. Thomas and All Saints Church. This year's theme is "I have heard about your faith" and has been prepared by the women of Taiwan. All are welcome. If anyone would like to be in the choir to help lead the singing, the rehearsal is at St. Thomas and All Saints on Tuesday 28th February at 7:15 pm. Again, all who love singing will be welcome, not just ladies
The Light that shines in the darkness.
Although this message is for February I started to think about it at the beginning of January when people were beginning to take down the Christmas lights. I love to see the variety of colours brightening up the darkest part of the year, so I take mine down at the last minute. About that time I came across a talk I had given about twenty years ago about Jesus, the Light of the World which gave me the idea for this message. The last reading in most carol services is John 1:1-12 which tells us that He is “the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us.” (v14). He was also “the true light that gives light to everyone who comes into the world.” So that Light was “in the beginning with God and all things were made through Him.” Genesis 1:3 tells us that when the Earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, God said, “Let there be light and there was light.” God separated the light from the darkness and called them day and night. God then put the sun and moon in the sky and then the stars to give light on the earth. When I was young I loved to see the stars shining and I could make out the different constellations. That was when there was very little street lighting. In the cul-de-sac where I grew up there was one gas light half way up. As I got nearer to our house at night it got darker and darker and I was glad when I got into the house. Even when electric lights replaced the gas lights they were switched off at 11pm., so a moonlit night was very welcome. What a contrast to these days.
We all prefer to be in the light, but the Bible says that “man loves darkness rather than light.” That of course refers to sin which entered into the world when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In the Old Testament we read that throughout history God’s chosen people, Israel, were rebellious towards Him, disobeying his instructions and even worshipping the idols of other nations. On the journey from Egypt to the Promised Land they continually grumbled and disobeyed God’s instructions given to them through Moses. Later He sent prophets to warn them of their sin and what would be the consequences if they did not repent and turn back to worship Him, the only true God. Still they preferred to go their own way. They didn’t realise that they would be better off if they obeyed God who only wanted what He knew was best for them.
God’s final plan was to send his only Son Jesus to live on Earth amongst the people and to die to save them and to reconcile them to their Heavenly Father. Isaiah prophesied these things and described God’s Son as being the one who would come to dispel the darkness; to bring order out of chaos, to guide His people through life. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.” (Isaiah 9:2.) Although the Jews knew the scriptures and were looking for a Messiah, only a minority recognised Him when He came and knew that something significant was happening. When John the Baptist was born his father, Zechariah, prophesied that he would prepare the way for the one who would “give the knowledge of salvation” and “light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.” (Matt 1, 76-79.) When Simeon saw Mary and Joseph bring baby Jesus into the temple, he said, “Mine eyes have seen Thy salvation. --- a light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of thy people Israel.” ( Luke 2:30,32.) All through Jesus’ ministry, for those whose lives were touched by Him in any way, His Light did shine through the darkness of their lives – the sick who were healed; the sinners who repented and were forgiven; the disciples who saw a new way of life and experienced the power of Christ in their own lives. When the first Christian martyr, Stephen, was stoned he gazed into Heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing next to Him. In a time of darkness, because he was filled with the Holy Spirit, Stephen saw the Light of Christ.
It is obvious, looking at history and the world today, that people do not naturally understand the Light of Christ, and many times there have been attempts at putting it out and stifling the Christian message, but what John 1:5 says is true, “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it”(or, put it out). Even in countries that have declared themselves as Atheist the Christian message has not been stamped out, but is again being heard and Jesus’ Light is shining into the hearts of many people, showing them that there is the true God who loves them so that they find peace in their hearts when they trust in Him.
But we in this country need to beware. There are subtle ways in which over a period of time the Gospel and God’s ways have been watered down. There are false prophets who lead people astray and they are often those whose voices are heard the most. The 2021 census revealed that less than half the population now call themselves Christian, and that is in a country founded for centuries on Christian teaching. Jesus defeated sin and death on the cross and we know that God will have the last word when Jesus comes again and every eye will see Him, the One who said, “I am the Light of the World.” His coming will herald the New Jerusalem where there shall be no more night. “The Lord will be their light.” (Revelation 22:5).
Let us all be like the wise virgins with their lamps ready to use so that we will recognise Jesus, our Lord, when He comes or calls and we shall know that we have been faithful in our service to Him, having had communion with Him through prayer and reading God’s word. Let us walk in that Light so that we will not be deceived, but will know the Light of Christ shining in our hearts and through our lives so that others will see it and will know that Christ’s Light has come into this World. Bible Quotes from NKJV. Kathie.