Monday, 29 September 2008

Awliscombe, Sunday 28th September - Honiton Sovereign Grace Church

This Sunday's (28th September) message to Honiton Sovereign Grace Church was from the book of Lamentations, taking chapter 3, verse 31 as a text "The Lord will not cast off for ever".

For those who were hoping to hear a recording of the message I had expected to provide one, but the Lord saw fit to prevent it, as it turned out that I'd pressed the ‘play' button on the MP3 recorder rather than the ‘record' button... next time perhaps!

However in the absence of an audio recording here is a brief summary of the meeting and the message.

We opened by reading Psalm 40:1-3

"I WAITED patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD."

HYMN: 691 from Gadsby's Hymns


Readings: Lamentations 1:1-12 and 3:22-31

HYMN:141 from Gadsby's Hymns

MESSAGE: "The Lord will not cast off for ever", Lamentations 3:31.

"It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD." Lamentations 3:26

The book of Lamentations, written by Jeremiah, is a beautifully composed and arranged piece of poetry written in the acrostic style. This, of course, is not immediately obvious in the English translation, but in the original Hebrew the 22 verses of chapters 1, 2 and 4 all begin with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. A similar thing occurs in chapter 3, but there it is every third verse that starts with a letter from the Hebrew alphabet, and thus the chapter is 66 verses long. Chapter 5, though not acrostic in style, is also 22 verses long.

If we divide the book into 22 verse sections, therefore, we do in fact have 7 sections, each of 22 verses, with the very centre of the book being full of hope and light, in contrast to the laments around it. Whilst the book may at first seem sorrowful and full of darkness in its descriptions of the sins of Israel and the Lord's chastisement of the people, it is in fact full of hope and encouragement and has been recorded in the scriptures for our consolation and comfort. For in the midst of what seems very dark, the central chapter rises up, as it were as the sun, as the light, in the midst of the darkness and casts its rays of light right across the book, to the very beginning of chapter 1 and the end of chapter 5.

It is this pool of light in the midst of darkness which brings such hope and comfort to those who share Jeremiah's lament over the state of the professing church, and over the darkness of their own hearts.


This short book presents us with a very dark scene. It describes the rebellion and sin into which the professing people of God at the time had fallen:

"How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people!"

"The ways of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts"

"Her adversaries are the chief, her enemies prosper; for the LORD hath afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions"

We see such darkness, such sin, described in these chapters. And we can see the same darkness in the world around us, in much of professing religion, and indeed in the darkness of our own hearts.

For it is in the heart where the problem lies. As Jeremiah writes in Jeremiah 17:9: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" And as Matthew 15:19,20 tells us "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: these are the things which defile a man".

False religion fails to deal with the heart. It promises life, persuades people that they will be saved if they do this, or make this decision, but leaves them in the same state. Whatever they may profess, however they may present themselves to others, the reality is that the heart remains dark within. And there lies the problem.


But I want to point you to the light! For Jeremiah writes that "The Lord will not cast off for ever"! And He won't. He will cause His people to discover the darkness of their own sin and their own hearts, and that may take a long time - but the Lord will not cast off for ever. He sends the light into the darkness and draws His own unto that light - and that light is CHRIST.

"And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all".
1 John 1:4-5

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." John 1:1-14

Yes the light came into the world, into the darkness, and that light is Christ. It is this light which we see rising up in the third chapter of Lamentations like the Sun of Righteousness rising up in the midst of the darkness and casting its beams across the whole book. God sent His own Son into this dark world, into the world which He created, but which turned aside into darkness and rebelled against Him. Yet, despite the rebellion, God sent His Son, the light, into the world which knew him not - to save His people from their sins.

But before that light came, God sent one before Him to point to Him. This is that voice crying in the wilderness (Isaiah 40:3). And what does that voice cry? "All flesh is as grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever."

That voice prepares the way of the LORD. It comes into the darkness to sound the alarm. And it is when things are at their darkest that God sends deliverance. Christ came into the world when Israel was in a low state - dark. They searched the scriptures for in them they thought they had eternal life - but they did not come to Christ. And today, we have much religion - but much darkness.

Yet, into this dark world God sent His Son - the light. But the darkness comprehended it not. He came unto His own - the Jews, and His own rejected Him. The religious rejected Him. We all rejected Him.

For the light exposes the darkness.

But despite our rebellion the light still shone. Christ came, and He came to save! Though Lamentations shows the darkness of man's heart, and though we see the prophet's lament over that darkness, and by it, our Lord's lament over the darkness, nevertheless we see God's purpose to save. Despite the people's sin, God the Father gave Christ a people from before the foundation of this world, and though that people had fallen in Adam, and gone afar off, still Christ came to save them, for His love was set upon them - He loved them with an everlasting love.

Deliverance from darkness into light

Yes, Christ came, the Light, came, and He came to save His people. Not to attempt to save them, not to offer them salvation if they but will, but to really save them! He came to them in their lost estate and accomplished their salvation. He came to deliver them from darkness unto life.

He who is LIGHT came to deliver them who are dark, and He did it the only way it could be done - through death. He who was light was made dark. He who was righteous was made sin. He who was innocent was taken to a place called Golgotha, given up into the hands of the Romans by those who should have received Him, and yet who cried out ‘Away with this man!' ‘Crucify Him, Crucify Him!' Yes, He was taken to Golgotha, nailed to a tree and lifted up to die.

And being lifted up, He would draw all men unto Himself. All types, all classes, all races, all His own - all those given to Him by the Father, all for whom He would die. And He took their darkness, and was struck off in darkness, beaten for their sins, cast off by the Father because of their transgressions..... that they should be made light. That they should be delivered.

Yes, Christ died, that they should live! The Father bruised the Son at Calvary in order to deliver from darkness and bring into light.

And when God brings this light into the darkness of this world by His Spirit, and when He brings that light to shine into the dark hearts of His people, when He brings that people to hear the message of His saving grace by the gospel, the Spirit goes to that people and leads them to a place outside of Jerusalem where Christ suffered upon a cross between two transgressors, where He died - the Innocent, for the guilty. The Spirit brings them together with a great company to gather around and to sit at the foot of the cross and He says unto this people: "Behold, behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world"!

"Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth."

And surely the people which walked, which sat in darkness, have seen a great light! (Isaiah 9:2).


CLOSING HYMN: 401 Gadsby's Hymns

(I hope that provides a reasonable summary, from memory, of what the message covered).

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Honiton Sovereign Grace Church - New Meetings

We are thankful to the Lord for recently opening the door to commence public meetings on Sunday mornings near Honiton, the first of which was held at Awliscombe Village Hall on Sunday Sunday 21st September at 10:45am.

A warm welcome is extended to all who wish to gather with us to worship the Lord Jesus Christ or who wish to hear more of Him and His truth as declared in His Gospel.

Honiton Sovereign Grace Church
Sundays 10:45am (D.V.)

Honiton Sovereign Grace Church is a gathering of God’s people, who meet under the sound of His Gospel, having come to know the forgiveness of their sins through the blood of Jesus Christ shed upon the cross. God has gathered us under this Gospel by His grace that we might meet as one people, united in Christ, who knowing the love of God as revealed in Christ to His people, seek to worship Him “in spirit and in truth“.

Having gathered to hear the preaching of the Gospel of Christ in Honiton, on Monday nights since 1999, we look to the Lord to bless the preaching of His word, as we now also meet in a public hall on Sunday mornings - this being the first day of the week, on which day Christ rose from the grave having conquered sin and death for His people in order to grant them everlasting life in Him.

These meetings are held at Awliscombe Village Hall at 10.45am on Sunday mornings. Awliscombe is just a couple of miles north of Honiton on the A373 to Cullompton and the village hall is easily found on the right hand side as you enter the village from the Honiton side. A large car park is situated right next to the hall, alongside the Awliscombe Inn, with ample parking space, and the hall has full disabled access, toilets and a kitchen.

The format of the meetings is simple, comprising the reading of God’s word (the Bible), prayer, and listening to the preaching of Christ in His Gospel.

(We would remind visitors to be mindful that this is a worship service in which we approach unto a Holy and Almighty God in due reverence. We approach unto Him through the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Head of His church, as set forth in 1 Corinthians 11.)

For more information click here.


At the first Sunday morning meeting of Honiton Sovereign Grace Church on 21st September we heard the following message preached.
“I was glad” Psalm 122:1 21-9-08 (Ian Potts)