How Real Is Your Religion?


Human beings are all religious. Whether we admit it or not. Religion is defined as “the belief in and worship of a supreme power or person”. Our world has an estimated 10,000 distinct religions. The sheer variety and number of religions is bewildering and confusing.

The question we must ask is whether we our religion is true, real, and transformative of our lives or false, powerless and damaging. 

Is Religion Dying?

We are told that the western world is turning away from religion. But history shows that humanity wants and needs some form of religion. We all believe in and worship something or someone in our lives e.g. celebrities, sportspeople or social media influencers.

Why Are We So Religious?

It seems we need something higher, bigger and better to believe in. It’s the way we are as limited human beings. We have a desire to look beyond ourselves, to admire, to dream of something much, much better. To believe in a Saviour.

We also need a set of values, morals and ethics. Imagine a world where there was no right and wrong. Everyone did what was right in their own eyes, the law of the jungle! Sadly, there have been times like this in the world’s history.

We are also wired to admire, love, to believe and worship. Even if we try to turn away from formal religion, the evidence shows we merely replace it with something else.

We are as well eternal beings, as we all know death is not the end. An afterlife has been programmed into our thinking. It’s why the Egyptians built the enormous pyramids; to prepare for the afterlife. They saw death as merely the beginning of a journey to another world. Many fear death e.g. not waking up after an anaesthetic and the effects of the ageing process on their health. We know death isn’t the end.

So which religion is real and what should we believe in?

Does our religion transform our life for good?

It stands to reason that if there is a God and a real religion, then God would reveal Himself clearly and carefully to all people, regardless of where they live or when. The Bible tells us He has.

Nearly every religion has sacred writings, recording Divine revelation for humanity. If there is a God, He would reveal Himself powerfully and personally to all who seek the truth and give evidence for His existence and make Himself available to all. The Bible tells us He has. 

If there is a real God and a real religion, He will change lives for the better. His laws for life will be holy and He will be able to deal with the dominating problem of the world: the human heart and its sin. The Bible tells us He has.

This is exactly what Christianity teaches. It reveals a real, personal and knowable God. One who has revealed Himself through Creation. Has made Himself knowable through the coming of Jesus Christ to earth, and in the Bible.

As a Holy God, He tells us we must live holy lives. He also shows us we don’t and can’t because our hearts are sinful. This is the real problem of the human heart – sin which is not following God’s perfect way.

The Lord Jesus Christ came to solve the greatest problem of the world. He promises to give eternal life freely and cleanse our lives from sin. To remove the fear of death. He gives what the Bible calls “new life”, real, spiritual life in Christ Jesus.

Jesus Christ made a staggering statement when He said “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me” John 14:6. No other religion promises this. 

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War & Suffering: Who’s To Blame?


This is a question Christians are often asked. Those who claim not to believe in God ask it and blame Him. Without any other credible explanation they leave this troubling problem at the door of God, the One they claim not to believe in. Yet the answer is clear. The Bible tells us that this is a fallen world. All of us are sinners. The world is therefore under a curse which shows itself by “man’s terrible inhumanity to man”.

Why so much war and suffering?

War has been a constant feature of history. It has caused loss and suffering on a huge scale. Some 60-70 million died in the 1st and 2nd world wars.  Even in the 21st century, with amazing science, all the incredible technology available and our collective wisdom, we have been unable to prevent war.  The United Nations and other valiant efforts have mostly failed. Some 2,000 years ago, The Lord Jesus Christ powerfully and accurately predicted this. 

In Matthew 24:6 The Lord Jesus Christ said: “You will hear of wars and rumours of wars; but be not troubled, these things must come to pass. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, there will be famines, diseases and earthquakes. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”  This is exactly what we have seen and history records in the 2,000 years since.

What’s wrong with our world?

The problem is worse: it’s not just war. There’s conflict also between individuals. A dominant theme of ‘soap operas’ and the entertainment industry is conflict in personal relationships and business. The less visible war which tragically causes intense pain and suffering for many people. There is a cruel, heartless streak to life. Why are our lives blighted like this? What’s wrong with us? The answer is how we choose to think and what we desire. Surely, this is the real problem.

What is the solution to war and suffering?

There is no easy, man-made, global solution to war and conflict. No political programme is radical enough to make the required difference to human lives.  Politics will not solve the problem; in many cases, it makes it worse.

Science and technology, ‘progress’ and more ‘education’ will also not change us sufficiently to stop war and prevent suffering. It’s no good saying society is advancing or becoming more tolerant, the trends show it isn’t. The solution must be within us. A change from the inside out. It starts with the human heart.

Who’s really to blame?

On 21 October 1966, a mountain slope above the Welsh village of Aberfan collapsed suddenly. Heavy rain led to a build-up of water in a coal slag heap which slid downhill. It killed 116 children and 28 adults as it engulfed Pantglas Junior School and a row of houses.  Who was to blame?

At the time, many asked the question “how could a God of love allow this to happen?” But, as a subsequent investigation concluded, the tip was the responsibility of the National Coal Board and specifically nine employees.

There is only one answer to this question of who is to blame. Strangely the atheist lays aside their unbelief and blames God. But if you believe in God you will want to know what He says about war, and suffering. The answer is plain: look in the mirror. What do you see? We are to blame. It is our collective fault.

The  root cause of war and suffering is a moral and spiritual problem within us. Our ‘heart’, our bad choices, our selfish desires, and our foolishness.

To solve this great problem requires heart surgery. A total transformation is required. Our old “heart of stone” must be taken away and in its place, we need The Lord Jesus to “give us a new heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). This is what the Bible calls being born-again, saved or converted to Jesus Christ.

Come and hear the Gospel, every Sunday at 6.30pm

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Can God Forgive Me?


Deep down, all of us know that we are sinners. Some try to deny the fact of their own sin, hide it, or pretend to be good. But the Bible tells us, that there is none righteous, no, not one. Sin is the breaking of God’s laws, and it leaves a stain upon us which we call guilt. The question is not whether we are sinners, but can God forgive me and how can I be forgiven?

We all break God’s laws

Why do we need God’s forgiveness? Because we do bad things. Why is that a problem? Because our thoughts, words and actions all have consequences. They determine what kind of people we are. What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done? Have you lied or cheated in a relationship or even worse? God is never deceived. He sees us. He knows all our actions and motives. One day we will be held to account for everything we have done and what we are as a person.

Sin is the breaking of God’s moral laws, which are written on our hearts. It includes things we shouldn’t have done and things we should have done but haven’t. The greatest sin of all is ignoring and disobeying God. Some try to deny their sin, hide it or excuse it. Our good actions will never undo or cancel our bad actions. Deep down our consciences tell us we are all sinners before God and must and will be judged. Romans 3:10 “there is none righteous, no, not one”. The human world is in a bad way and that’s because of my sin and the sins of all other people who are just like me.

Sin makes us guilty

Sin leaves a guilty stain on heart and mind. Our guilt is a deeply uncomfortable feeling that we may carry through life if unremoved. E.g. Brooding over a broken relationship with someone who has now died or secrets from our past. Sin is a very big issue. It corrupts and then it contaminates. The tragedy is continuing to carry this guilt of personal sin when we could be forgiven.

How can God forgive Me?

The Bible teaches us about the forgiveness God gives. Psalm 130:4: “there is forgiveness with God”. He ultimately is the One we have all sinned against. Yet He has provided a way of escape that deals with sin and its guilt. The penalty of sin and the burden of guilt can be removed by His Son, Jesus Christ. He willingly took the punishment for our sin and removed the guilt of His people on the cross.

Forgiveness begins with heart-felt prayer that asks God to heal our hearts. We find a quiet place and pray to Jesus Christ, as Lord and Saviour. He is the only perfect human being ever to have lived. He came from heaven to live and die as our substitute on the cross. He rose again because death could not hold Him. He took our rightful punishment on Himself. He now calls all people everywhere to turn to Him and turn from their sin.

If we do this, He promises free-forgiveness and eternal life.

Forgiveness transforms our lives

When we are forgiven, we will know that our guilt and shame is gone. It is replaced by real inner peace. 1 John 1:9 gives this promise: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”

Forgiveness is transformative. It is the gateway to eternal life. Once forgiven we will want to follow Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord and leave our old life behind us.

Come and hear the Gospel, every Sunday at 6.30pm

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Assurance of Faith in The Lord Jesus Christ


“If I receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater. This is the witness of God which he hath testified of His Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself.” 1 John 5: 9,10

How can I be sure I am a Christian?

A question often asked. One we must answer clearly and objectively to encourage those who are unsure or those who have doubts about their personal salvation.

  • It’s relevant for those who believe but have no evidence of salvation => a false convert
  • It’s also relevant for those who believe but have no assurance => a true believer

How can I be sure that I am a true believer? Is it even possible to know with clarity? Perhaps I am just one of those who will go through life never really knowing?

Assurance => confidence based on clear evidence for my personal salvation through the work of Jesus Christ; the Apostle in 1 John writes 16 times “we know”  about salvation.

However, in the Bible’s order of the steps of salvation ~ assurance does not come first:

  1. We are first Awakened to feel our need of a Saviour and salvation from sin.
  2. We then come under personal Conviction of our sin and feel our guilt before God.
  3. We come to Christ in Repentance and Faith by prayer; we turn away from our sin, and trust in Christ’s shed blood and His substitutionary righteousness, offered on the cross.
  4. We will be given by the Lord a measure of Assurance and peace when we are converted; but as we grow more like Christ so we will experience a growing assurance of our faith.
  5. We will be Glorified when Christ returns; then we will be made gloriously like Christ.

We must encourage all true believers; but some who may be struggling to know where they stand; until now they may not have any real assurance. You may already have been awakened by the Holy Spirit, come under conviction of sin, repented of sin and exercised faith in Christ, yet not experienced real joy and peace.

7 Objective Tests: To be used to establish where we stand before Christ and if we are saved:

  1. ATTITUDE TO SIN: Do I hate my personal sin? Do I have a love for God and want to pursue life as He commands? (1 John 2:15, 29; 3:18, 19, Acts 2:37,38)
  2. UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE: Do I love God’s word? Does it give me understanding and growing light? (1 John 5:11-13, Acts 2:42)
  3. A FAMILY BOND: Do I desire to be with God’s people in fellowship? Do I seek a covenant relationship with them? (1 John 3:13, 14, Acts 2)
  4. PRAYER: Do I pray and know answers to prayer? Do I know God’s blessing when I ask in child-like faith in accordance with His will? (1 John 3:22, Acts 2, Galatians 4:6)
  5. TELLING OTHERS: Do I want to confess Christ as Lord and Saviour to others? Do I walk with the Lord in obedience to Him? (1 John 4:15)
  6. A NEW HEART: Do I have a new heart which seeks to live a pure life bearing real fruits of Godly character? Do I hate the world and its ways? (1 John 3:3, Acts 2:46-47)
  7. ATTACKS: Do I experience doubts sometimes? Do I also believe that Christ has overcome Satan and the world and so will I, if I  trust in Him and pray for His help? (1 John 4:4)

If we can answer yes to these questions, it will give us assurance that Christ does indeed already live within our hearts. We can be sure we are saved = the witness of God within.

Come and hear the Gospel, every Sunday at 6.30pm

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What is Worship?

Based on a Bible Study by Dr Scott Aniol
Given at Providence Baptist Chapel Bedford – March 2022

What are we really doing when we gather for worship? This is a vital question we must answer from the Word of God. A question answered in many ways by different believers and churches (consider Hillsong, Bethel, Vineyard, Jesus Culture, Elevation churches across the world today and their diverse forms of worship). Why such a variety?


  • Some believe the main purpose we gather to worship is to attract unbelievers
  • For others the purpose might be spiritual revival
  • For some we gather for fellowship and to experience a sense of community
  • Others see the goal being to express praise to the Lord for all that He is and has done
  • Others want some sort of emotional experience
  • Some simply see worship as a duty to perform or a ritual

What does the Word of God identify as the central goal of our worship?  Ephesians 21:11-22 beautifully pictures God’s intent. It helps us to understand what we should be doing as we gather. In Paul’s letter, he describes the nature of the gospel. People that come to faith in Jesus Christ, from Jewish or Gentile (non-Jew) backgrounds are brought near to God and into communion with Him. They are then being built into a habitation for God and being changed into a holy temple to the Lord. Why does Paul use this metaphor, a temple, to describe the church? The temple metaphor is not coincidental.


The gathered New Testament church is the dwelling place for the Spirit of God today, in the same way that Israel’s temple was God’s dwelling place in the Old Testament economy. The Bible also teaches that we as individual Christians are a temple of the Holy Spirit, but in Ephesians 2 the focus is on the collective church. Notice what Paul says in 2:21 “in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord”.


This description of the gathered church is not unique to Ephesians 2. Paul says something similar in 1 Corinthians 3:19 “we are God’s temple”. We note that in Ephesians 2 and 1 Corinthians 3 the pronouns are plural. He’s talking about Christ’s church (see also 2 Corinthians 6:16). Peter says something similar in 1 Peter 2:25. Each of these texts describe the gathered church as a spiritual house, as a holy temple unto the Lord.


So why do these New Testament authors all use the image of a temple to picture the gathered church? What happens in a temple? In this living temple, built by the Spirit of God and indwelt by Him, worship takes place. Worship is not a duty to perform out of obedience for God. It is not simply expressing our hearts in praise to the Lord or having an emotional experience.  

A Hillsong Church Service in Los Angeles

The Old Testament temple was first called a tabernacle, then later the Lord called it His sanctuary. He told Moses in Exodus 25 “let them make me a sanctuary that I may dwell in their midst.” This communicated the idea of something consecrated and set apart to protect the holiness of God from the uncleanness of everyday life.  No uncleansed or uncircumcised person could enter the holy sanctuary. He gave crystal clear, specific instructions for how His sanctuary was to be built, cared for and what was required before a person entered. All the elements had to be regularly cleansed by the priests and sinful worshipers must offer sacrifices of atonement before entering. God specifically commands this in Leviticus 19:30 “you shall reverence my sanctuary; I am the Lord.”


The idea of set-apartness is at the core of what the sanctuary was. It is then extended to the church, as God’s living temple. Ephesians 2:21 calls the church a holy temple in the Lord; 1 Timothy 3:15 then establishes a particular way to behave in the church because it is set apart. The assembled church, as Christ’s temple and as His sanctuary, requires a unique kind of behaviour, different from all other behaviours of life.  As individual Christians we are the temple of the Holy Spirit and must behave in ways that are holy and pleasing to the Lord.


As the gathered church, in a special and distinct way, the sanctuary is to be the place where God’s presence is known, and His people behave differently. It is vital that what we do in the church, is regulated only by God’s clear instructions in His Word.  The worship that takes place when we come together is not about a building or place. It is about His gathered people, the holy temple of God.


This description of the temple not only carries the weight of it being the sanctuary of God, but also helps us recognise another clear description of the temple. In the Old Testament several passages called it the house of God and His dwelling place. Many passages use the same language to describe the temple e.g., 2 Chronicles 3:3: “Solomon built the house of God”.  The temple is where God dwells with His people. Jacob called the place where he met with God Bethel, which means ‘house of God’. A house is a place where you meet with someone, dwell with them, and where you fellowship with them. This emphasises that not only was Israel’s temple a sanctuary it was also a dwelling place for God. A place where they met with him.


Unsurprisingly the New Testament also refers to the church as God’s house e.g. 1 Timothy 3:15 calls the church “the household of God”. In Galatians 6:10 Paul calls it “the household of faith” and in Hebrews 10:21 “the house of God”. It’s why in Hebrews 10:25 “we must not forsake the assembling of ourselves together”. The Lord Jesus also told His disciples in Matthew 18:20, when teaching of the nature of the church and discipline, when the church gathers “where two or three are gathered in his name there Christ is in their midst”. Before Paul calls the church God’s holy temple, he says we are fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God, being built together for a habitation of God.


Therefore, these three principles establish the nature of what the gathered church is:

  1. We are a holy set apart people, a dwelling place for God;
  2. We gather as the church and as God’s temple; and
  3. We gather to meet with God for communion and fellowship.

However, a problem emerges if the church is God’s temple, the dwelling place of God, and God’s holy sanctuary. How can sinners enter?  Ephesians 2 addresses this issue. Paul connects the condition of unbelievers with the uncircumcised in the Old Testament, who were unable to enter Israel’s sanctuary. He contrasts them with those who are “nigh”. This is a term he used to indicate those who are able into enter the sanctuary as opposed to those who are far off and cannot enter. But in 2:13 he says: “in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ”.  This is the language of the gospel, where we find forgiveness of sin, and come near to God, able to enter His presence, and His sanctuary. Christ came and preached peace to you who were far off and to them that were nigh.

The Tabernacle in the Wilderness

Ephesians 2:18 is a beautiful test. “For through him, that is through Christ, we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father”. This is the central message of the gospel. We sinners who were far off now have access to the presence of God, through faith in the sacrificial atonement of Jesus Christ. The gospel and the church’s worship are connected.  See Paul’s logic: we sinners were once far off, unable to draw near to the sanctuary of God’s presence, but now through Christ in the Spirit we have access, we can draw near. We are no longer strangers and foreigners but fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God. There’s the phrase again, signifying the place of meeting with God is in His temple, His dwelling place. The emphasis in Ephesians 2 is even more than having access to the actual presence of God. The goal of the worship is to enable us to draw nigh unto God and into His presence, in His house, in His temple, where we are then able to have open and free fellowship and communion with God. That’s the nature of what we’re doing when we gather for worship. Hebrews 10:19 “having therefore brethren boldness to enter into the holiest, by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way with which he hath consecrated for us through the veil that is to say his flesh and having an high priest over the house of God let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith”.  The author deliberately uses Old Testament worship language to describe the nature of the gospel. Because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and because He is our high priest, we can draw near to God and fellowship with Him. The goal of the gospel is to form a temple where God’s people meet with Him. This is only possible through the sacrificial atonement of Christ. The primary purpose when we gather for worship is to fellowship with God through Christ’s sacrifice. This understanding of our purpose has very significant implications when we come together to worship as His church.
  1. Worship is primarily for believers
Corporate worship is for believers, those whose sins have been forgiven and been given access into the presence of God. Those who can draw near to God are members of the household of God and are part of the temple.  Only believers can truly commune with God. This doesn’t mean we forbid unbelievers from gathering with us. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14 that believers gathering to meet with God is profoundly evangelistic. Unbelievers see that we are meeting with God and when the Holy Spirit works in their hearts, they will acknowledge “The Lord is among you”. When unbelievers come, they come as witnesses, to hear and be exposed to the gospel. They don’t come to participate in worship because they are not in the presence of God, unable yet to gain access into His presence. Perhaps even more relevant in our present age, we must never design corporate worship based on what unbelieving people want. We are not to take a poll of unbelievers and say what do you want the church to be like. No more than what took place in Israel’s temple was based on what the uncircumcised pagans wanted. No, corporate worship is for believers to meet with God, according to the instructions that He has given to us in His Holy Word.
  1. Worship is relational
Based on this imagery, corporate worship is also relational. We don’t gather simply to go through a series of rituals. We meet to cultivate, nurture, and grow our relationship with God. This is the emphasis of Ephesians 2. The whole passage is a description of God building a temple, by His Spirit, and it expresses these realities in relational terms. The gospel that results in this temple is not just a legal transaction, or a ticket to heaven. It is a reconciliation of our relationship with God. We gain access to God, through Christ. We are then welcomed into His presence. When we gather, we come to develop and grow that relationship that we now have through Christ.
  1. Worship is formational
Corporate worship is also meant to be formational, for the edification of our souls, even as believers who have access to God through Christ are members of God’s household. We are members of His living temple, even though we freely admit that our relationship with God is not perfect. It is still growing, maturing, and deepening. We must continually work to cultivate and mature a closer relationship with God. We allow His Word to correct us and to sanctify how we approach and respond to Him. We are to do this through personal bible study and prayer, but corporate worship is also given to help to mature our relationship with God. The Word of God is inspired scripture and “profitable for teaching and correcting us and reproving us and instructing us in righteousness”. It is the gospel that continues to sanctify us.  Paul teaches in Titus 2:11-12 that the grace of God is the saving grace that shows salvation to all people.  The gospel of grace also commands us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live soberly and righteously in this present age.  The gospel that saves is also the gospel that sanctifies. The gospel that reconciled us to God, enabling us to draw nigh unto God, is also the same gospel that continues to grow and cultivate our relationship with God. The gospel must be prevalent in our corporate worship. When we gather for corporate worship, we are renewing ourselves in the gospel.
  1. Worship is covenant renewal
Historically Christians often referred to corporate worship as “covenant renewal”. A way for believers to renew their covenant with God. We are to renew our covenant promises regularly. The image of a marriage perfectly depicts this, as a metaphor for the relationship between Christ and His church.  A man and a woman commit to one another on their wedding day, in a way akin to our salvation. God makes a commitment to save us, out of His great love. We make a commitment to love and serve Him. Baptism (and Church Membership) are like our wedding vows where we formalise that covenant relationship in the presence of witnesses. Once the two are married that doesn’t change until death parts. But the relationship between a husband and wife rises and falls over time. Many things can harm that relationship and many things can rekindle it. Your personal devotional time with the Lord each day, your reading of the scriptures and prayer is like a husband and wife having a conversation with one another. It’s very important to renew and grow that relationship.  Some married couples renew their wedding vows from time to time, repeat the same vows to one another. Those vows don’t get them married again but by repeating them they help to remind and renew their love for each other. In a very similar way, corporate worship is like renewing our gospel vows to Christ. Corporate worship renews our vows and assures us of pardon through the sacrifice of Christ. When we come together for worship, we come to reform our hearts and renew our relationship with God.  The hymns chosen, prayers prayed, and scriptures read should all help to express worship to the Lord absolutely, but also to form our hearts, to grow our hearts, to mature our hearts. Everything about the service is meant to edify, to form, to convict, to comfort, but in all cases to grow our relationship with God.   Scott Aniol, PhD, is Executive Vice President and Editor-in-chief of G3 Ministries and Professor of Pastoral Theology at Grace Bible Theological Seminary. He is a teacher of culture, worship, aesthetics, and church ministry philosophy, he lectures around the country in churches, conferences, colleges, and seminaries, and he has authored several books and dozens of articles. He holds a masters degree in Theological Studies, a masters degree in Aesthetics (NIU), and a PhD in Worship Ministry. #worship #worshipwars #adoration #bedford #churchmusic #worshipsongs #reformedworship #music #hymns #psalms #worshippers #trueworship #worshipleader #bedfordchurches #bedfordchapel

Come and hear the Gospel, every Sunday at 6.30pm

Or join us on You Tube

Providence Baptist Chapel, Rothsay Rd, Bedford     

What is The Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Has anyone ever told you what the Gospel is?

Perhaps you have lost a loved one, and you look back with regret. You never mentioned that “you loved them”. It lingers in the mind, but it’s too late.

The Gospel is Good News to a fallen, broken world. A message of the love of Christ, who is the perfect Son of God for sinners, that’s all of us. ~ A loving personal call from God.

He loves all humanity, by creating and sustaining our lives. But He has a special love for those that will listen and respond to His call, turn from their sins and seek Him as their Lord and Saviour. They will be rescued from sin and given new life. We call this being born again or becoming a Christian. ~ A message of Good News which needs to be heard.

Today you are one day nearer to eternity, when you will stand before the Lord to give a personal account of your life’s thoughts, words, and deeds. Before then, you must know i) of God’s exclusive, free offer of salvation; ii) of how your soul can be right with God; and iii) that all who remain unrepentant must be punished by God, who unlike us is pure and Holy.

1. The Gospel is: Good news. “O Zion (His people), that brings good tidings (good news); lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; cry unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God” Isaiah 40:9. The gospel of Christ is “the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth” Romans 1:16. “O taste and see that the Lord is good” Psalm 34:8.

Everything about this message is good. A contrast to this world, where the daily news is so often about disease, discrimination, and death; of sorrow, struggle, and strife. Sadly, these things are commonplace in this world that we live in, and we each contribute to this sad backdrop.

The Bible calls itself “The Gospel of peace” and “The Gospel of truth”. We don’t want to hear of war, or anger, envy, or of lies and fake news. We want to know things that are reliable, true and good.

2. The Gospel is: Exclusive and Eternal. Two bold claims to make. But The Lord Jesus Christ Himself said: “I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes unto the Father but by Me” John 14:6. You cannot get more exclusive: no other way, truth, no other access to heaven but through Christ.

It is also an eternal Gospel. The One who rose from the dead offers to us eternal life. Before time began, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit agreed that the “problem of sin” could only be solved by God. So God sent His Son, who willingly came from eternity into time as a human being.

He lived a perfect life, so that we can be forgiven. The Holy Spirit now individually opens our hearts and eyes to understand and see our need.

3. The Gospel is: a call to: “Behold your God”. The Bible has a simple way of explaining profound things. We do not want to look to God, or listen.

But God in three words gives the solution. Look not to an impersonal spiritual force, but to The God that made you and can be known. The word “behold” means look carefully and intentionally: away from self, from every thought you might have that you can solve your problems.

Away from other sources of help, and from thinking that you have one percent goodness to give to God. ~ Look to Him alone.

We are all accountable: e.g. to parents, teachers and employers. To pay taxes and obey laws. But also morally to God. We will stand before Him one day to give account. Our problem is we have a backlog of sin. John Bunyan of Bedford called it a burden; we must bring the burden to God and ask Him to remove it: to cancel our massive mountain of moral debt.

4. The Gospel is: a call to look to Jesus Christ. The book of Isaiah, written 800 years before Christ, contains vivid, detailed prophecies about Christ. Isaiah looked into the future, seeing Christ in his mind’s eye.

Christ is an indisputable, historical fact. We cannot see Him today, with physical eyes. But tens of thousands of people heard Him speak and saw what He did, when He was a man. Also hundreds saw the resurrected Christ. ~ History shows us more evidence for Christ, than for Julius Caesar.

5. The Gospel is: a call to come to The Good Shepherd. We are like sheep who are always going astray, going this way and that, into the rocky outcrops, and getting lost. We are in constant danger. Our souls will not be gathered unless Christ, The Good Shepherd, comes and gathers us. “He shall gather the lambs with His arm, with His strong arm”.

This is Christ ‘s arm, who is strong to save, will gather and carry us to safety.

We cannot save ourselves from sin, or come into the fold by our efforts.

He needs to come and find us, rescue and gather us, then carry us home to Himself. This is a message about a Good Shepherd; the Shepherd who does everything for us. We must accept our need and that Christ alone can save us. I do nothing but repent, and then by faith as soon as I hear His voice calling me, trust the Good Shepherd.

He gathers, carries, feeds and leads the lambs. Simply put, The Gospel is the timeless call of the perfect Good Shepherd to lost sheep. He comes looking for us, and He promises to gather us, but only if we will hear Him and ask Him to. “He shall gently lend those that are with young”. He also gathers the youngest.

6. The Gospel: is a call to look to the Cross. Christ is not only the Good Shepherd, but the One who lay down His life for the sheep. The Good Shepherd became the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world on a rugged wooden cross. I cannot lay down my life to earn Heaven. He must do everything by bearing the awful and just punishment for my terrible sins.

In Christ’s life on earth, He had no disobedient, or selfish and impure thoughts. He did not look upon anyone else with pride, jealousy, or anger in His heart. He lived a perfect life. Pontius Pilate said of Christ: “I find in this mnn no wrong”. There were two men hung either side on the cross. One of the men testified “This man did nothing amiss”. Christ had lived a perfect life. He died a perfect death so that we can be forgiven, cleansed, and pardoned from sin and He rose again. “God commends His love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”; the just Christ, for the unjust sinner.

7. The Gospel is: the dividing line for all eternity. When Christ was on the cross, one of the men who hung next to Him feared God and one would not. They both heard the same words of the Lord Jesus. They both mocked Him. But one heard His offer of forgiveness, and believed it and feared God. He trusted Christ as his Saviour, the other would have none of it. Which of these two are you like? Will you fear God in your heart and seek His forgiveness; and trust Him by faith, or will you push Him away? One thief heard: “Today you will be with me in paradise”, the other thief died in his sins.

Think carefully about this personal call. Come to Christ by praying, trusting by faith and repenting of all your sin. He promises to hear you and change your life for good.

Come and hear the Gospel, every Sunday at 6.30pm

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Providence Baptist Chapel, Rothsay Rd, Bedford     

Social Media Meeting Slides



Social Media Young People’s Meeting


Here are the slides used for our Young People’s Meeting on Social Media, held on 22 May 2021

If you wish to find out more about the Gospel or would like to speak to the Pastor then please e mail on


Pastor Oliver Wyncoll     

Searching for Meaning in Life

“Vanity of vanities; all is vanity”


Based on a message given at Providence Baptist ChapelBedford on 2 May 2021


Vanity of Vanities” is the famous phrase and timeless truth that was written by King Solomon some 3,000 years ago. What a bold statement to make. Without God, life has and can have no meaning. The big questions of life simply will not be answered. Questions like: Why am I here? What is life all about? Where am I going in life? Is there any purpose and meaning to life? Without God, our search for meaning will fail.

Human cells under a microscope

Many Scientists today tell us, in their opinion, we are just made up of billions of cells. Cells that are responding to predetermined rules, or algorithms. A predictable code, which has appeared by chance. Atoms and molecules that apparently behave predictably, because of chemical programming. Surely that cannot be!

What about human consciousness, our emotions, and feelings? What about our vast potential for creativity, our inner thoughts, and unique personalities? There must be more to life.

King Solomon

Solomon lived in 848BC and became king over ancient Israel at the age of just 12. History tells us that he was the wisest and richest person of his time. He knew three thousand proverbs and could recite them all. When visited by the Queen of Sheba (from Ethiopia), she was recorded as saying the “half had not been told her” about his wealth and glory. His conclusion about life is worthy of consideration. He concluded that life is empty and not merely one part of life, but all of it is ultimately vanity. The totality and completeness of life is all just a vapour.

Before coming to this wide-reaching conclusion, Solomon conducted a series of ultimately failed experiments. He used his extraordinary wealth, riches, and wisdom, to test his thesis thoroughly. He created, as it were, a chemistry laboratory of life and tried out various life experiments:

  1. Comedy and laughter. If only I can laugh, he thought. If only somebody would make me laugh and laugh and laugh. That would give me satisfaction and joy. Sadly, experience shows that often the clown is the most unhappy person.
  2. He turned to wine and to alcohol. This will relax me. A bit more, just a bit more, but a habit was formed and there was no lasting pleasure.
  3. He tried property, real estate, and DIY. Perhaps one more project, a bigger palace, an extension, that will do it.
  4. He turned to all kinds of entertainments, music, and drama. But they gave no ultimate pleasure, just a few hours of superficial fun.
  5. He developed many relationships, with hundreds of wives. Many try this still today, in our promiscuous Western society.
  6. He sought to build a reputation for himself to make a legacy. If only people will look at me and consider all that I have done and achieved.
  7. Finally, he got hold of everything his eyes lusted for. All the possessions he wanted to buy, and he did not hold back.

All of these experiments failed for Solomon, just like they do still today.


The Fairground of Life

There is a poem written by Rosemary Clooney, which analogizes the essence of Solomon’s experiment. It tells of a teenage girl who went to a fair, what John Bunyan called ‘Vanity Fair’.  She stayed too long and found out the reality of life. 

I wanted the music to play on forever,
Have I stayed too long at the fair?
I wanted the clown to be constantly clever
Have I stayed too long at the fair?

 I bought me blue ribbons to tie up my hair
But I couldn’t find anybody to care.
The merry-go-round is beginning to slow now.
Have I stayed too long at the fair?

 I wanted to live in a carnival city,
With laughter and love everywhere.
I wanted my friends to be thrilling and witty,
I wanted somebody to care.

I found my blue ribbons all shiny and blue,
But now I’ve discovered them no longer blue.
The merry-go-round is beginning to taunt me,
Have I stayed too long at the fair?

There is nothing to win and no one to want me.
Have I stayed too long at the fair?”


Vanity in Word Pictures

Life is vanity, Solomon says. The same Hebrew word for vanity is translated with many other contrasting English words. All of them are helpful descriptions of what Solomon had in mind. Life is like a breath. I can’t get hold of it. I know on a cold day you can see your breath, but there is no substance to it.  It is also a delusion. We delude ourselves with one more possession, one more night out, one more friendship, one more relationship, one more bottle. We are mistaken.


Vanity is called emptiness. Like a vessel that we thought would have something in it, but it turns out to be empty. It is also a fraud. We are deceived. It turns out to be just a failed promise. Like buying something on the internet, but it never arrived. The word is translated as futile or pointless and like idols. There was something there, I think I can see it. But it can’t hear, smell, or speak. It can’t move. It was nothing. It was useless. It is like a vapour. The kettle boils and we see what comes out, but we can’t touch it. Finally, vanity is translated as worthless. Life has no value without God.


God Has Given Life

Imagine you open a present. The present arrives and you decide for some reason you later regret to throw the envelope away that was attached to it. Your present gets mixed up with some other presents. it was wrapped up beautifully, but you have no idea who sent it to you. The envelope is gone. It contained both a letter from the one who gave you the present and the instructions for the gift. But you threw the envelope away. You don’t know who and why the special present was given. It could be from anybody.

God of course is the giver of life and your soul is the special gift. God’s gift to you only has a real meaning and purpose if you know who the giver is, if you know why He gave it to you.  When things go wrong with the gift, you need the instructions to put things right. Life without God is like a present with no giver to explain about it. It is abstract, meaningless, pointless and void of anything worthwhile.

Find the envelope (the Bible) with the Maker’s instructions and open it.  Learn what He is like and why He gave you a soul. Know what He has said to you. Inside He has written a love-letter.


The problem is that as soon as we open the present things have already gone wrong. We fail, we sin, we fall short of the glory of God. We develop twisted characters and veer from the best pathway for life. We need to go back to our Creator, who alone gives us the instructions, in His Word, open it and read it.


Remember your Creator while you are young

Life does not have to be like this. When Solomon’s experiments were over, he said “remember”. Remember thatyou have a Creator. Come before your Creator, ideally while you are young, or as soon as you hear the Creator calling you. “Remember, now, your Creator.” It doesn’t have to be meaningless and pointless.


Solomon also gave a warning. Be careful, because “the evil days will come”. The end years of life will draw near. Life’s experiments will fail.  You will say “I have no pleasure in my life as it is, without God, without my Creator. While the sun, nor the light, nor the moon or the stars, be not darkened nor the clouds return”. You will see the dark clouds do come down in life. Illness comes suddenly. The sunlight goes away. What seemed to be pleasure is gone. The music at the fair stops. The merry-go-round doesn’t go round anymore. Isn’t this an accurate picture of life without God?

Renzo Piano

If I gave you a book and you opened it, you would probably ask who is the author? If I showed you a wonderful painting, you would say, who is the artist? If you look at the tallest building in Europe, the Shard, you might ask who designed it. It did not just get there. It was designed by an Italian man called Renzo Piano. There is an architect, an artist, an author, somebody that wrote the software, and knows the JavaScript to code it. Of course, there is a Creator. Do you know your Creator? Have you remembered Him? Or have you been trying to forget Him?

We often see on the News, some actor or actress, or a popular musician, who has fame in their world. A rap artist with fifteen million social media followers but sadly dies suddenly. There does not seem to be an explanation for why the individual life has ended. No illness is mentioned. Then the inquest into the death comes out some weeks later. It becomes clear, yet again, that they tragically took their own lives. The fame and millions of followers were empty of meaning. Life was lived without God.

We also hear of people who grow up not knowing their mother or their father. They were brought up in a different home and family. At the age of 3 months or 3 years they were fostered or adopted. We feel for them. But sooner or later, when they get to 16 or so, their heart inevitably cannot wait any longer. They have a longing desire to re-connect with Mum or Dad. They cannot live not knowing who their father or mother is. So, they reach out, desiring to re-connect. “Who are my parents what are they like?” They cannot live without knowing. Wouldn’t you rather know your Creator? His purpose, reason, and explanation for life and the soul.

Abundant Life

In John chapter 10, The Lord Jesus is speaking about life, its meaning and purpose. He says, “the thief comes to steal”. He wants to steal your life; this is referring to Satan. He wants to ruin your life so that it has no potential meaning and purpose. He wants to destroy your life. But Christ says, I am come from Heaven to this earth of sin, this earth of emptiness. “I am come that they might have life”. There is no life in our souls without God, as Lord and Saviour. It will be empty, futile, meaningless. But Christ says “I am come” to fill up your empty vessel. Fill it until it with abundant life.

Christ says, I am come to give you the reason I made you. You are living your life completely differently to the way I want you to live. You have gone this way and you have gone that way. I am come so that you can be reconciled with me. When the merry-go-round stops in life, then you will see it has just been a Vanity Fair. It won’t give you pleasure, meaning, purpose, you were looking for.

The testimony and experience of true Christians is this: it is not that we found life. It is not that we worked it out. It is not that we were intelligent. Christ calls us as The Good Shepherd. He comes to find the lost sheep. He says, this is the way you come to Me. “I am the door”.  I am not a thief. I never came to make your life poorer. I never came to make your life more restricted or be a kill joy. I am come that you may have abundant life. 

What a contrast this is to Satan’s way. He wants to rob you of lasting joy. He wants you to have no confidence in God. But Christ has come to give real life. Do not travel through life scratching around on the surface, looking for meaning. “Remember your Creator.” He designed you and gave you a soul. Your soul cannot be satisfied with all these other things, only by Him.

Fear God and obey Him” were Solomon’s final words. God’s command is for us to go and seek Him and to ask for this new and abundant life. He will give it to you. He will fill up your life and it will over-flow, with joy and peace. You will know forgiveness of sin and all your guilt taken away. Do not wait till the music stops. Don’t wait for the carnival of life to end.  Come to Jesus Christ. There can be meaning, and purpose in our lives. But only if you will seek the Lord by coming in repentance and faith.

If you wish to find out more about the Gospel or would like to speak to the Pastor then please e mail on


Pastor Oliver Wyncoll     

Sunday 11 April: Jesus Returns to Heaven


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Sunday 4 April: Jesus Risen From The Dead


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We would still love to see you have watched this week’s lesson, so if you can’t print one of the worksheets above, please try as many questions from your age range below:

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