THE EVANGEL DECEMBER 1999

From the Pastor's Pen

Dear friends and neighbours in Whiddon Valley

Everyone seems to be making elaborate plans for the New Year and the celebrations surounding the turn of the year, the century and the millennium. When something happens only once in a thousand years we need to make the most of it!

But what are we really celebrating? What actually happened 2000 years ago?

The answer is that a child was born in the obscure Middle Eastern town of Bethlehem. There was no great fuss announcing His birth although a choir of angels proclaimed the news to a handful of ordinary shepherds on the hills outside the town.

That day Jesus Christ was born - Born of a virgin - no one else has been.

He lived a perfect life - no one else has done that.

He had power over nature - no one else is able to do that.

He healed people and raised the dead - and even though our health cures are better than ever, 2000 years later we all will eventually die - no one else can raise dead people.

He claimed to be the Son of God - and even though others have made similar claims where are they today? Dead and buried.

He rose again from the dead having been put to death - no one else has done that.

The uniqueness of Jesus Christ is celebrated in all of these Millennium events.

We have become a nation who are happy to accept holidays and gifts around Christmas and Easter but who rarely acknowledge seriously who these holidays are about. If it was not for Jesus Christ we would have to find other excuses to have holidays, give presents and would we have a millenium to celebrate at all? It makes you think!

Christians all over the world believe that this unique man Jesus Christ who is also God, died for them on the cross and rose again as their guarantee of eternal life.

May all who read this at this time of history be aware of the meaning and seriousness of having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through faith in Him. He promises forgiveness of sins, a true sense of purpose and the assurance of Eternal life. Would you not like these things to take with you into the third millenium?

With warm wishes to everyone in Whiddon Valley,

Yours sincerely,

David Kay.


THE MAKING OF MAN

(Taken from:- Creation Science Movement Journal - November 1999)

Once upon a time the evolutionary scientists were feeling very pleased with themselves. The great human genome project had been completed thanks to a new fast method of sequencing genes. Yet another theory on how life had arrived on Earth made them confident that before long they would be able to produce life in their laboratories. "God" they said, shaking their corporate fist towards heaven, "you're finished, redundant, a primitive myth."

"Really", replied the Almighty, "I didn't know. But who will run things if I'm not here?"

"Who?" asked the experts incredulously. "Why Man will run the Earth - nay the Universe. Our scientific know-how will enable us to build a future free from dogma. One day we expect to create eternal life."

"You can creat life?" asked God.

"Why yes," said the biologists. "We can already clone creatures; and test tube babies are yesterday's technology."

"Could you create a man?" asked the Lord.

"Why certainly - given a little more time and plenty of funding, even making a man in a laboratory will be possible."

"Yes, but could you make a man as I made him, from the dust of the Earth?"

"Uh, well yes eventually, of course we could. We are entering a technological explosion. Soon there will be nothing that man cannot do. A tower to reach heaven, that's modern science."

"Well, go to it then." said God.

Supremely confident the scientists began to gather up sacks of dust.

"What do you think you're doing?" asked God.

"We're collecting the dust to take back to the laboratories, in order to research how to make a living man from its elements, like you did," they replied.

"Oh, no, no, no, no, no." Said the Lord God, "You get your own dust!"

The point which many people today seem to miss is this, that whatever advances science and technology may make, they are made only by using the materials that God has created in the first place. Nothing that man will ever do, can be done outside of the fact that in the beginning God made all things.


MY STORY

by Mrs Margaret Bound

In all my life, someone has been looking after me. My daughter has repeatedly told me so. I was brought up by my maternal grandmother, loved and cared for. I wanted for nothing. It was a great loss to me when she died at 61 years, I was 16.

When I reached 20, I joined the Royal Air Force, where I met my husband to be of 53 years. I had found another carer! I do miss him. Looking back I have come through many visits to hospitals to be made well.

Sadly, not until recently have I given a thought as to who my real carer - the great Carer - was. Who was also watching over me. That was until one morning when I woke up in intense pain and I called "God help me!" In my need the Lord Jesus found me, put his strong arm around me and brought me into the fold, "out of the night into the light and nigh to God." These words come from a favorite song which we sing in the Ladies Fellowship and they are special to me.

I have found a peace and tranguillity in my life that has been missing. I now belong to the Lord He has saved me, forgiven my sins and granted me new life. In the Bible, the book of Jeremiah, chapter 33 verse 3 says: "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not."

The church fellowship at Whiddon Valley Evangelical Church has enhanced my life and I commend it.

Mrs Bound has been a church member since March 1999.


FRANKLY SPEAKING...

"If any man cannot feel the power of God when he looks upon the stars, then I doubt whether he is capable of feeling at all."

These are great words from a creationist point of view - that is from the viewpoint of someone who believes that God created all things in six days. I wish they were my words, but I have to admit that they are not. In fact these words were not writen by a Christian at all, but by a Roman lawyer named Cicero, some 50 years before the birth of Christ. He was a pagan - someone who did not know the God of the Jews, but worshipped other Gods. No doubt, he would have attributed the making of the heavens to one of his own deities; rather than to the one true God who has made all things. However, he could not gaze upon the stars and the wonder and beauty of the world around him, without concluding that there was a being more intelligent and powerful than he was, who was behind it all.

Thoughts about how we came to be here and about where the world came from are not new considerations. They are almost as old as time itself. How is it that today there seems to be a concerted effort to remove all thought of an Almighty Creator God? Why, at the end of this millennium and on the brink of a new one, do people think it necessary, at all costs, to divource themselves from any possible link with God?

Simply to deny God will not make any difference at all. If God exists - and even common sense says that he does - then convincing yourself that he doesn't, won't make him go away! At the time of Sir Francis Drake men sincerely believed the world was flat; to think otherwise was laughed to scorn, but it did not alter the fact that the world was round.

Why deny what your senses and your mind tell you is true? Let the awesome beauty and power of the world around you get a word in edge ways. Why not, for once, shut out what men have to say, with all their confusing and contradicting theories, and let God speak to you through his amazing and mind boggling creation? When you consider the vastness and wonder of the heavens on a clear night, do you ask yourself where it all came from? Does it not strike you that out of all the teeming variety of living things, only human beings are able to do so? Do you not wonder at the fact that the Earth is just the right distance from the Sun and tilted at just the right angle, to sustain life?

As the year turns and the beginning of a new year approaches with the promise of spring and the warm days of summer to come, why not stop to think? Let your mind dwell on, the order and dependability of the seasons which follow year upon year; on the Earth which brings forth good things from which you eat and are filled and satisfied. Think too, of the good things in life which you have in your homes. All of these things come form the richness of the Earth. Very few, if any of you who read this, will be in real want of anything. You may feel that you could do with more, but in fact life is good for you. You have roofs over your heads, things in your homes, clothes on your backs and food in your stomachs.

How many of you who are parents recall the time when your children were born? Were you not amazed to see your children for the first time? Were you not moved when you looked at their tiny fingers and toes all perfectly formed, and watched them sleep peacefully in their cots; a miniature human being, a tiny life, delicate and wondrous, a small version of yourself?

All these things are part of our experience as human beings. They are part of this thing which we call life. It did no tall come about by chance. The voice of creation all around you is not silent. It shouts for your attention. When you stop to consider all these things, can you seriously deny that there must be a God. Give thanks and praise to God, to whom it is due. If you were out on Exmoor and found a watch, you would rightly conclude that someone had been there before you, and that it had been made my a skilled and knowledgeable craftsman. There would be no doubt in your mind at all. Read the signs all around which God has put there for you. Stop to listen to their testimony.

In the first book of the Bible - Genesis chapter 1 verse 1, you will find writen: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth." When you've thought about this, you are ready to take the next step and find out more about Him, in order to turn to Him. We'd be glad at Whiddon Valley Church to help you take the next step.


CHRISTIAN BELIEF

by Pastor David W. Kay

In our last Evangel we asked the question, "Why believe the Bible?" As part of the answer we thought about the way that the Bible was originally given to us and has been preserved unadulterated for nearly 2000 years.

In this issue we look at the claim that the Bible, "Is the word of God."

How do we claim that the Bible is the Word of God?

Evangelical Christians believe the Bible to be the Word of God because the Bible claims it for itself. In the New Testament one of the Apostle Paul's letters to Timothy, a young church Pastor, contains this statement: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." 2 Timothy 3:16

When a man or woman write their own life story, much of it can never be checked because the details would never be known to us unless the author had revealed it. We must take the person's WORD for it that what has been recorded is true. We either believe what the person says and take his or her WORD for it without any evidence, or call the person a liar! Much of the detail of the Bible is such that unless God had revealed it we should never have known it. How has God communicated His WORD to us?

Another Apostle, Peter, explains how God's inspired "breathed out" WORD came through men -"For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." 2 Peter 1:21

These men were not co-authors with God even though their personalities were reflected in their writings - the originator of the message was God Himself. The idea of men being moved by God is one similar to a ship being "carried along" by the wind - God carried these men along in their thinking, in their minds, so that ONLY God's inspired words were recorded.

The Truth of the Bible.

I have met people who have said to me "You surely don't believe the Bible to be true?" Everyone knows that it is full of fairy stories, myths and legends, and regularly contradicts itself!"

The Christian's belief in the accuracy and therefore TRUTH of the Bible is a perfectly reasonable and intelligent position to hold. But it is not merely REASON that has brought me to believe - it is faith. I believe that God is true in Himself and cannot lie - that is my bottom line and to hold this position takes faith. I begin here in my reasoning considering the character of the God who claims to have inspired the Bible - since He is true and trustworthy then so is His book the Bible.

Some people argue by way of objection - "If you believe the Bible to be true then you have to take every word literally. You would have to accept that the sun "rises", that God has a "heart" and even has "wings!" But this is foolishness because it is based on the error of thinking that for something to be true it must be said or told in plain language without any illustrations or aids to understanding. For example - the Bible in some places uses poetical language - the poet speaks of "taking the wings of the morning" in Psalm 139 - yet we would not criticise a modern poet for using such poetic devices.

The Bible claims itself to be true: "For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth." Psalm 33:4

"Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth." Psalm 119:142

"Thou are near, O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth." Psalm 119:151

When God came to Earth 2000 years ago in the person of His Son the Lord Jesus Christ, He was the epitome of Truth - truth was displayed in His Holy Life, truth came from His lips and truth was seen in everything He did. The Apostle John says this of Him: "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." John 1:17

The Bible can be trusted utterly for its truthfulness.

The Authority of the Bible.

In 1521 Martin Luther stood before the Emperor Charles V in the town of Worms in Germany. Luther was on trial for insisting on the authority of the Bible rather than the traditions of men and the decrees or orders of the popes. He challenged his accusers like this "I am bound by the scriptures and my conscience has been taken captive by the Word of God, and I am neither able nor willing to recant (change my mind) since it is neither safe nor right to act against conscience. God help me. Amen." The trial immediately ended in confusion.

Bible believing Christians before Luther and since, have accepted the authority of scripture as full and final and have turned to the Bible alone to settle EVERY issue of faith and practice.

I concede that it is a very serious matter to expect people at the end of the Twentieth Century to allow their lives to be governed by the words of a book, some of which was compiled more than 3500 years ago! But millions of people in the world today already do this - why? Because.....

The Authority of God.

Christians base their trust on the fact that the Bible clearly states that its writers, the prophets, the apostles and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself all firmly believed that they spoke with the Authority of God.

The Prophets used the expression in the Old Testament, "THUS SAITH THE LORD."

Jesus Christ prefaced many of His statements with, "I SAY UNTO YOU".

And God Himself said of His Son, "THIS IS MY BELOVED SON: HEAR HIM." Luke 9:35.

Submission therefore to the authority of the Bible is submission to God Himself. The Bible is God's Word to man - it is His FINAL WORD. There is nothing more to be added to it and the Bible contains warnings that nothing should be taken away from it.

Ignorance of, or refusal to submit to, the authority of the Bible is therefore the same as ignoring or refusing God's authority as His creatures.

May I suggest that right now you reach for your Bible and begin to read God's powerful message to you? Look up the references in this article for yourself - then turn to 3 more verses - John 17:17; John 8:32; and John 14:6.

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