Guest preacher, Rev Stuart Withers (Rochester Presbyterian), preached from three main texts in his message on the importance of prayer (Philippians 1:9-11, Romans 15:30-33 and Colossians 4:2-6.). Just as Paul exhorted us to make ‘all kinds of prayers for all the saints’ (Ephesians 6:18), so also in these texts we are reminded that prayer is the key for the encouragement of God’s people, the strengthening of His gospel workers and the means by which unbelievers are brought into the Kingdom of God. Great things happen when God’s people pray!
Rev Ian Brown preached from Romans 8:18-39, where we are encouraged to see beyond our suffering to our hope which comes through Jesus’ death and the life that comes in his resurrection. Our salvation is not based on our own goodness or anything else but Jesus. We groan under the weight of sin and long to see Jesus face-to-face. Yet we already have this inheritance and it shapes our prayers and our life now.
Ryan Smith spoke from Romans 5:12-21 about Jesus, Adam and us. Adam’s ‘one small step’ in the garden had giant consequences for all mankind falling into sin. Jesus is a man like Adam, but where Adam fell, Jesus is righteous and his death pays for all mankind. So while all are sinners by Adam (and by choice), we are righteous by faith in Christ.
Rory Weightman spoke on Romans 6:1-14. After chapter 5 tells us that God’s grace is greater than our sin, chapter 6 starts with the question, “are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?” The answer is no: we died to sin through Jesus’ death; we are freed from sin; we are alive in Christ and so we should not continue in sin! Rather than be mastered by sin, we trust in Jesus as our master.
Brendan Rayson spoke from Romans 5:1-11 about how Christ died for us. His death means we have peace with God and access to him through the Son because we have been justified by faith. It means we can rejoice, even in our suffering. We didn’t deserve this but it shows God’s love and grace.