150th Anniversary Service and message

On Sunday September 11th, 2022, the St John’s congregation celebrated its 150th anniversary (yes, the congregation was formed on September 8th, 1872). To praise God for His faithfulness and blessing upon us, a celebration service was held at which the PCV Moderator, Rev Peter Phillips, preached the message entitled ‘God’s Word for God’s World’ (the theme chosen by the Session for our anniversary year!)


Full service

‘True security’ (1 Samuel 8:1-22)

In this message on 1 Samuel 8:1-22, Ryan Smith explores the concept of finding security in the Lord alone from the time the people of Israel went to Samuel to ask them for a king to rule over them. They did this to ‘be like the other nations around them’ and in doing so they earned God’s displeasure, even though He gave them what they asked for! (Sometimes we ask for the wrong things!) It’s a challenge for us in this day of much fear about many things – who do you trust in for your security?


00:00 Welcome
Song: Stand Up and Bless the Lord
00:17 Introduction
00:38 Prayer
04:27 Bible reading: 1 Samuel 8
Song: Be Unto Your Name
07:18 Shorter Catechism Introduction
08:45 Catechism Questions 91-95
10:54 Bible reading: Matthew 6 and Mark 10
Song: How Deep the Father’s Love
Sermon: 1 Samuel 8:1-22
Song: Be Thou My Vision
14:29 Closing


  1. In their insecurity the Israelites ask for a King (v1-5)
  2. Seeking security apart from God is to reject Him (v.6-9)
  3. A King will take from them & enslave them (v.10-18)
  4. God gives them what they ask for (v.19-22)
  5. God graciously gives them far better than they deserve – Jesus the true and better King!

‘Daniel and friends: The proud humbled’ (Daniel 4:1-37)

There is no doubt that all through the first four chapters of the book of Daniel, God was dealing with King Nebuchadnezzar – and why wouldn’t He? Nebuchadnezzar was the most powerful ruler in the world. In fact you could say, the ruler of the world. So it was no surprise that God should engage with him. And that is just what he did! In Daniel 4:1-37 we find the story of how God brought this king down. Humbled him. Brought him to nothing. It is a salutary tale. One that we should take full note of!


00:00 Welcome
Song: Marvellous Grace
00:17 Introduction
00:38 Prayer
04:02 Bible reading: Daniel 4:1-18
Song: Behold the Lamb of God
07:31 Shorter Catechism Introduction
08:59 Catechism Questions 88-90
11:00 Bible reading: Daniel 4:19-37
Song: Before the Throne
Sermon: Daniel 4:1-37
Song: Jesus Shall Reign
15:29 Closing


• Where we are in this book
• The King humbles a king
• Recurring themes of Daniel 1-3
• See how the text speaks of…

  1. What the King dreamed (v.1-18)
  2. What the King learned (v.19-27)
  3. What the King became (v.28-37)

Warnings must be heeded…
God’s mercy triumphs!
Jesus who humbled himself…

‘Daniel and friends: A line in the sand’ (Daniel 3:1-30)

The story of Daniel’s three friends being thrown into the fiery furnace in Daniel 3:1-30 is far, far from being a cute Sunday School story. What a testimony these men had! What courage they displayed! What determination to not give in to the threats of the most powerful King! What faith they had that the true King would be given their full obedience regardless of the outcome! The story is powerful and challenging, reminding us of the full cost that many make in following the Lord Jesus even now.


00:00 Welcome
Song: What a Friend We Have In Jesus
00:18 Introduction
00:40 Prayer
05:28 Bible reading: Daniel 3:1-15
Song: My Heart Is Filled
08:20 Shorter Catechism Introduction
09:48 Catechism Questions 83-87
13:14 Bible reading: Daniel 3:16-30
Song: My Worth Is Not In What I Own
Sermon: Daniel 3:1-30
Song: O Jesus I Have Promised
16:48 Closing


• This new series
• A repeat crisis!
• ‘Easy to stand with the crowd….’
• See how the text speaks of…

  1. The size of the challenge they faced (v.1-7)
  2. The depths of the courage they shared (v.8-23)
  3. The truths of the principles they proved (v.24-30)

‘A line in the sand’
Faithful until the very end!

‘Daniel and friends: Cool in a crisis’ (Daniel 2:1-49)

While far away in exile in Babylon, Daniel 2:1-49 tells us how Daniel and his friends soon faced another test – one not of their own making, but one that the Lord was certainly in. When King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream troubled him and he sought answers about it, Daniel and friends were about to lose their heads. But through earnest prayer and the grace of God, these young men were able to see God come to their aid and actually do more for the advancement of His Kingdom than they might ever have expected!


00:00 Welcome
Song: O Worship the King
00:17 Introduction
00:37 Prayer
03:50 Bible reading: Daniel 2:1-24
Song: O Great God
07:46 Shorter Catechism Introduction
09:14 Catechism Questions 78-82
12:10 Bible reading: Daniel 2:25-49
Song: My Hope Rests Firm
Sermon: Daniel 2:1-49
Song: The Lord Is King
18:00 Closing


• This new series
• Cool in a crisis
• The king’s grave threats
• See how the text speaks of…

  1. A troubling dream and a stubborn king (v.1-11)
  2. Crisis praying and welcome answers (v.12-45)
  3. Humble worship and fitting reward (v.46-49)

What God gives
What God values
What God can do
What God foreshadowed…

‘Daniel and friends: Faithful under pressure’ (Daniel 1:1-21)

The book of Daniel is a wonderful encouragement to God’s people because it tells the story of Daniel and his friends, living faithfully before God in the most difficult of circumstances. The exile of these young men of Judah into Babylon was no small test. To be a young man and far from home and the regular worship of God and the means of grace can never be underestimated. And then also, to be placed within the King’s court and palace with new Babylonian names! This would not have been easy. But Daniel 1:1-21, tells us that Daniel and his friends passed the test and in doing so proved that ‘the Lord honours those who honour Him’.


00:00 Welcome
Song: I Will Sing the Wondrous Story
00:19 Introduction
00:42 Prayer
05:18 Bible reading: Daniel 1
Song: See Him Coming
08:49 Shorter Catechism Introduction
10:17 Catechism Questions 73-77
13:42 Bible reading: 2 Timothy 3
Song: By Faith
Sermon: Daniel 1:1-21
Song: O Jesus I Have Promised
17:04 Closing


• A new series
• Exile into Babylon
• Young men far from home
• See how the text speaks of…

  1. The strategies employed to change their mindset (v.1-7).
  2. The counter strategies employed to continue their mindset (v.8-16)
  3. God honoured their resolution to keep that mindset (v.17-21).

Perseverance, faithfulness and honour
What really matters…

‘Laodicea: Urged to deal with mediocrity’ (Revelation 3:14-22)

When Jesus spoke to the church at Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-22, he highlighted the ‘lukewarmness’ of their response to His word. The church there wan’t suffering from persecution or false teaching, but they were mediocre in their walk with Him. Using images that could be found all over this city, including items that the city was famous for, this letter to the church from Jesus was intended to prod and stir these believers into action. Mediocrity is never enough. Hearing his word and obeying is what counts!


00:00 Welcome
Song: Standing on the Promises
00:17 Introduction
00:37 Prayer
02:45 Bible reading: Isaiah 55:1-11
Song: 10,000 Reasons
05:10 Shorter Catechism Introduction
06:38 Catechism Questions 68-72
09:33 Bible reading: Revelation 3:14-22
Song: Consider Christ
Sermon: Revelation 3:14-22
Song: Revive Thy Church
11:36 Closing


• The seventh of the 7 churches
• A strong, sharp and pointed message from Jesus
• The credentials of Jesus before the rebuke!
• See in these verses present us with a view of Jesus…

  1. As a visitor to the city, drinking. (v.15-16)
  2. As a merchant in the city, trading (v.17-18)
  3. As a guest in the city, knocking (v.19-21)

From their depths to His heights!
The way out of mediocrity

‘Philadelphia: Facing an open door’ (Revelation 3:7-13)

In the message to the sixth of the seven churches, we find Jesus speaking in Revelation 3:7-13 to the church in Philadelphia. It is a relatively short letter, much like the letter to the church at Smyrna, that speaks only encouraging words to the church. Apparently the church at Philadelphia was ‘weak’ but this would be no hindrance to their witness – for Jesus himself had set before them an ‘open door’ and promised success with His Word and the promise of their eternal security. This creates both an assurance and a challenge. Will we press on to the end and be faithful with the gospel?


00:00 Welcome
Song: And Can It Be
00:19 Introduction
00:41 Prayer
05:19 Bible reading: Hebrews 10:19-39
Song: Come Praise and Glorify
07:44 Shorter Catechism Introduction
09:11 Catechism Questions 63-67
11:34 Bible reading: Revelation 3:7-13
Song: Christ Is Mine Forevermore
Sermon: Revelation 3:7-13
Song: Amazing Grace
13:04 Closing


• The sixth of the 7 churches
• An encouragement from Jesus to a church with ‘little power’
• See in these verses how Jesus spoke of…

  1. Opportunity and success with His Word. (v.7-9)
  2. Protection and reward in His service (v.10-13)

A lesson from life of John G Paton
Grace that saves and grace that enables us to persevere!

‘Prayer: For Saints, Servants and Souls’ (Philippians 1:9-11, Romans 15:30-33 and Colossians 4:2-6)

Guest preacher, Rev Stuart Withers (at the time minister of 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) in July 2017. 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!


00:00 Welcome
Song: Holy, Holy, Holy
00:19 Introduction
00:38 Prayer
03:24 Bible reading: Philippians 1:9-11
Song: Behold Our God
04:47 Shorter Catechism Introduction
06:15 Catechism Questions 58-62
08:09 Bible reading: Romans 15:30-33 and Colossians 4:2-6
Song: Meekness and Majesty
Sermon: Philippians 1:9-11, Romans 15:30-33 and Colossians 4:2-6
Song: Come My Soul
09:32 Closing


  1. Praying for the saints (Philippians 1:9-11)
  2. Praying for servants of the gospel (Romans 15:30-33)
  3. Praying for unbelieving souls (Colossians 4:2-6)

‘Great introductions’ (Matthew 11:1-15)

As part of Christian Union Sunday in April 2017, Steve Blyth from CU preached from Matthew 11:1-15. In this passage, John the Baptist introduces Jesus to the world but is a confused messenger. He asks to check if Jesus is the one we’ve been waiting for and what he has come to do. Jesus reassures him from the Old Testament prophecies concerning himself and commends John’s message as he prepared the way. Yet we now have a greater perspective than even John as we live on the other side of the cross and Jesus’ resurrection. We have the privilege of introducing Jesus to others as we share the hope that we have in him.


00:00 Welcome
Song: Praise to the Lord
00:19 Introduction
00:37 Prayer
03:33 Bible reading: Matthew 3:1-17
Song: Grace Unmeasured
06:16 Shorter Catechism Introduction
07:44 Catechism Questions 53-57
10:38 Bible reading: Matthew 11:1-15
Song: Never Alone
Sermon: Matthew 11:1-15
Song: Tell Me the Old, Old Story
12:36 Closing


A Confused Messenger (1-6)

  • Are you the one?
  • John had different expectations
  • The great danger of confusion

A Commended Message (7-11)

  • None greater than John
  • John introduced Jesus to the world
  • We are greater than John!

A Clarified Mission (11-12)

  • The great privilege of evangelism
  • Expect great progress and great hostility
  • Please pray…