Friday, 30 September 2016

The urgent need of the church today is its understanding of the true work of the Holy Spirit compared with what is false!

Perhaps one of the greatest needs of the church today is for the church to revisit what is the genuine work of the Holy Spirit? I mean to revisit this in the light of holy Scripture, sound theology and church history. There is so much confusion with women preaching in pulpits all over the place (and leading church services), even though Scripture forbids this (1 Timothy 2:12). The church has flooded its so-called worship with worldly methods, until some people cannot discern between being moved by a rock band in singing versus a genuine work of the Holy Spirit.

What more shall we say of churches using alligator shows, fashion shows and dramas to try to lure in non-believers. Having just read the Book of Acts, the simplicity of the apostolic method is astounding. It was persuading people out of the Scriptures of the sufferings of Jesus of Nazareth, his resurrection and his message that all men everywhere must repent and believe the gospel.

But, what about the true work of the Holy Spirit? I have two books on my shelf that I would like to mention on this subject. First is a small book by John Owen "The Holy Spirit"; second is by Octavius Winslow called "The Work of the Holy Spirit". If people know of good biblical resources on this topic then do add a comment on this blog.

Of course there is the helpful book by John MacArthur called "Charismatic Chaos" which deserves a hearing or his book called "Strange Fire" also.

May we search the Scriptures to learn of Christ more fully by the Lord's grace.

"The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men".

Acts 17:10-12.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

A New Hebrews Commentary by Richard Brooks

Evangelical Press have again published another excellent commentary! This time it is on the Book of Hebrews by Richard Brooks and it is called "Hebrews: The Name High Over All". Brooks is not only a wonderful preacher, but he is also an excellent writer. His past works include commentaries, ones with a strong devotional dimension, on the "Song of Songs" and "Revelation" as two examples. This latest book could be read by ministers for helps in preaching this vital book of the Bible or by any Christian who wants to know more of Scripture.

A wife, mother and homemaker that I know, intends to read this book as part of her personal devotions and growth in grace. Hopefully some readers of this blog will buy the book, read it and profit from it. It is available via Amazon and other online outlets.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Rev Iain Murray is preaching at Sheffield Evangelical Presbyterian Church

Iain Murray, as most know, is the founder of the Banner of Truth book publishers of Reformed literature. He has contacts in Sheffield which go back a long way and he has very good contacts with our denomination the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in England and Wales.

On Sunday (the Lord's Day) of the 9th October 2016, he will be preaching and leading our worship in both services at 11.00am and 5.00pm. In addition, he will teach in our catechism class at 10.00am. Anyone is welcome to come to Hill Top Chapel to hear him and to enjoy worshipping the Lord. For details of the location, then check out our church website:

See you there,
Kevin Bidwell

Monday, 26 September 2016

Serving in Sardis

A good friend of mine Ben Franks wrote an excellent blog post called "Serving in Sardis". It his reflection of the state of the church in USA.

The blog post link is:

I recommend that you read this and reflect how his insights impact our view of the nation in which we live.

Monday, 19 September 2016

The Dignity of Hard Work

"Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work ...".(Deuteronomy 5:12–14).

"Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man".
(Proverbs 6:6–11).

This may seem like an unusual blog post, but I believe that it is an important one. Within Protestant Christianity there has been historically what was known as the "Protestant work ethic" and it is shaped by such verses as I have cited. There is dignity in work and especially in hard work. The small creature the ant is esteemed in Scripture as a noble part of Creation, due to its diligence, hard work, orderliness and preparation. We are to learn from this example and we as Christian people are to shun laziness.

The working week is shaped by Scripture in that we are to rest one day and worship the Lord and the other six days are for work. Therefore, in the sight of God, work is esteemed as a dignified task. Work is not to be shunned and indeed if we do all things to the glory of God, then our working life should reflect this. Our contemporary Western society rarely esteems the work that we do, unless it provides large amounts of income, so that we can spend it on ourselves for leisure and pleasure.

Another point to be considered is that in many Christian circles today, the idea of vocation has been virtually lost. What do I mean by this? Our vocation is our job or career and sadly many talk today about "our secular job" which then inserts an unnatural sacred-secular divide. Some professing Christians wrongly think that Christian activities are more holy than our vocation. I learned a number of years ago to drop the phrase "what is your secular job?". I did this deliberately to shun the idea that a Christian's job is somehow lacking in nobility, it is not. For example if a Christian does a mission trip, this is commonly seen as more holy, than someone working hard in their regular job. Another example is among Christian university students who may be exhorted to forsake studying hard, to give all of their time to the Christian society on the campus.

As Christians who are committed to the Bible and shaped by it, we should seek a biblical model of hard work. I do not say that we should not have work-life balance which is indeed very important. However, our approach to work and indeed hard work, should be shaped by Scripture and this may require our minds to be renewed, our attitudes to be changed and our life-patterns to be changed.

For those who know what "hipsters" are, there are many in Berlin. A German friend said to me recently that the "hipsters wear their grand-dad's clothes, but they do not have grand-dad's work ethic". The idea of hanging out endlessly in coffee shops, drinking real coffee and playing on your Apple with social media, may be trendy, but in the end is this life-pattern going to produce satisfaction? A Biblical model to life should include hard work as well as rest as a God-given means of satisfaction and in living our life for the glory of God.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Some good resources on the Book of Revelation

Revelation 1:1 "The revelation of Jesus Christ ...".

The book of Revelation is often either neglected or greatly misunderstood. John Calvin did not write a commentary on this book and this may have meant some in Reformed circles have downplayed its significance. I was urged by a fellow minister to preach on it, as I considered a new series and I am thankful for that encouragement. I have now begun.

The opening title of Revelation in 1:1 explains the title, it is a book that is all about Jesus Christ. Therefore, who would not be interested in this book? I was wrongly told as a new Christian that eschatology was a secondary matter and yet all the whiles many people considered a complex range of end-time views which seemed to dominate their whole vision of Christianity. How about you? What dominates your main Christian vision? Is it about Jesus Christ, end time events or perhaps even yourself? If your Christian vision is not primarily about the glory of Christ Jesus, then perhaps you need a corrective to your thinking.

Here are a number of resources that you may find very helpful in order to better understand the Book of Revelation.

1. William Hendriksen "More than Conquerors". This is a MUST read for those seeking to grapple with the structure, overview and main purpose of this book.

2.Richard Brooks "Revelation: The Lamb is all the Glory".

3. Philip Edgcumbe Hughes "The Book of Revelation: A Commentary".

Happy reading and as you also read the Book of Revelation remember that the main theme is "the victory of the lamb and the church over the devil and all of Christ's enemies". To God be the glory, Amen.