Angmering Baptist Church

Week commencing Sunday 27th February

Devotional Materials. Week Commencing Sunday 27th February 2022

Call to worship

He determines the number of the stars and calls them by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. Psalm 147:4, 5

Paul reports how the Lord said to him “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9.

We worship the Lord. He is our powerful Creator. By His power He has also brought about our salvation, and, although we are weak, He will establish what He has purposed for us: let’s give Him thanks and worship Him together:


Rejoice the Lord is King! MP 575 (Piano)

Charles Wesley

Opening Prayer. Praise, Confession.

That hymn wonderfully speaks of God’s power and what He has promised to do for His people

O Lord we come before You and worship You in awe. We acknowledge Your great Lordship and power. You are our Creator- You have made us, and we thank and praise you for the life You have given us and every good gift we enjoy from Your hand.

We come to You in our weakness recognising it is by Your power, Lord Jesus, we are forgiven, and by Your power You re-create and shape our lives to make us more like You.

So we take this opportunity to confess our sins (give anything troubling your conscience…offer to Him your regrets)

We give to You our doubts and questionings (we recognise we see only so far for we are finite, and easily rationalise what is sinful or selfish)

We offer up to You the circumstances of our lives, which can seem overwhelming. Bring to the Lord difficult relationships, burdens of work, financial difficulty, any sense of failure, when our best efforts prove futile, our plans frustrated…(speak of these to the Lord…).

In all these forms of weakness You invite us now to look to You. You say ‘my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ By Your power we are forgiven, by the wisdom of Your Word teach us and lead us. We know we cannot rely on ourselves, we are naturally limited and weak. We invite You to come into our lives. Please come into these situations and display Your power and character Lord Jesus, through us.

Be pleased to lead us and guide us this morning, may we indeed know Your power, may we know Your power at work in us by Your Spirit. Amen.

Reading. Luke 8:22-25.

22 One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. 23 As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.

24 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”

He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25 “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.

In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

Let’s affirm our faith in the Lord. Let us praise our Creator and the One who is able to still our storms and grant us peace:


‘Let everything that (has breath praise the Lord)’ MP 1001 (Guitar and violin)

Matt Redman

‘Lord I come before Your throne of grace.’ MP 1087 (Guitar and violin)

Robert and Dawn Critchley

‘Jesus, name above all names.’ MP 375 (Piano)

Naida Hearn

Prayers. Intercession. Valuing human life.

Merciful Lord, we intercede for a change of heart towards abortion- even as terminations are now allowed effectively ‘on demand’ in Northern Ireland and there are moves to liberalise the law elsewhere in the UK. We cry to You on behalf of the voiceless and for every woman who has lost her child.

God of mercy, we ask that any attempt in Parliament to legalise assisted suicide will be defeated. Please grant resolve and unity to MPs and peers who oppose euthanasia and raise up thousands, including many Christians, who will speak out and pray on this issue.

Jesus, we pray for those who have Downs Syndrome and other conditions that some say should be eradicated through abortion. Remind them of how precious they are to You and to those who love them. Bless everyone who is bravely championing the rights of people with disabilities. By Your redeeming grace.

Giver of life, you sustain us from the moment of conception through to our closing moments. Please help us increasingly to cherish our fellow human beings, however frail they may be, because each of us is made in Your image and Jesus died to save us all.

Gentle saviour, we grieve deeply over babies who have died in the womb or shortly after birth but trust that each one is infinitely loved and rests in peace in Your presence. Please comfort bereaved parents and their families, healing wounds of grief and regret. By Your grace.

Thank you Lord, for the dedication and skill of surgeons, anaesthetists, doctors, nurses, paramedics and others who do their utmost trying to save lives each day in our hospitals. Please guide them through difficult procedures and in their care of patients. In Your mercy.

Father may Your loving touch be felt by those suffering today, through the devotion and skill of nurses, doctors, therapists and family members- whether at home, in hospital or in a Hospice. We pray for more resources to provide palliative care for all who need it. For Jesus’ sake. Amen

(‘Valuing Human Life’ Care Prayer Diary. October 3-9 2021).

Reading. Genesis 18:1-15

The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day.  Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.

He said, “If I have found favour in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.”

“Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.”

So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.”

Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.

“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.

“There, in the tent,” he said.

Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”

Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”

Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.”

But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”


‘The Lord’s my shepherd’ MP 1008 (Piano)

Stuart Townend


The first verse of our passage is quite arresting: ‘The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre…’ Here we have God Himself appearing to Abraham in human form. It transpires that the other 2 beings who accompany the Lord are angels. In our passage they are referred to as men but Genesis 19:1 refers to them as angels.

There are other references in the Old Testament where God is described carrying out human actions. So in Genesis 3 Adam and Eve hear the sound of the Lord God as He was walking in the garden at the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden (Gen.3:8). These appearances are understood as being pre- Incarnational appearances by Christ Himself. The New Testament teaches that the Word who is Christ, was with God in the beginning and ‘was God.’ (John 1:1-3). Out of Father, Son and Holy Spirit it would seem more likely this was the Son Himself ‘anticipating His incarnation’, as Meyer puts it, and ‘found in fashion as a man before He became flesh.’

So this is an actual appearance of God, though in the form of three men. The Son of God and two angels. We cannot explain this on a naturalistic level. Hebrews 1:14 tells us that angels are “spirits” (Heb.1:14), but evidently God allows them to be clothed in human form when occasion requires.

Abraham was sitting in his tent door when the three ‘men’ appeared. There is no indication that they had been riding, or even walking; as Abraham looked up, there they were.

Abraham had apparently been praying and meditating. No doubt much of his prayer and meditation was about the promise of a son despite his and Sarah’s old age. We looked at God’s promise to him in this respect previously in our study of Genesis 17.

‘The Lord appeared to Abraham’

God is holy and great, there is a transcendence about Him, He is greater than His Creation, yet He is immanent, very near. That He should make appearance to men and women reveals His involvement with us, indeed the desire of His heart to forward His loving purposes for us. Though so beyond our being and conception, He chooses to make His home with us and lives with those who humbly receive Him. In the Old Testament we read how Solomon felt the utter inadequacy of his splendid temple to house God! “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less the temple I have built! (1 Kings 8:27). But the Lord Himself has answered the question. Isaiah 57:15 says “For this is what the high and exalted One says- he who lives with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.’

The Incarnation- God become man- teaches us He is willing to make His home with all manner of people, as long as they are humble enough to accept Him. Herod did not receive Christ, but the wise men did, along with the lowly shepherds. According to God’s own ordering of events a stable manger was sufficient to receive the Son of God as a vulnerable little baby.

Do you feel you are insignificant? You are not a celebrity or in some kind of popular or powerful position and you think you don’t have any real influence on others- perhaps even members of your own family. Do you feel you are alone? Well the Lord of the Universe is willing to make His home with you- ‘to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.’

And the invitation is there for you. He still makes this invitation to all who would humbly receive Him:

‘Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (Revelation 3:20)

There was nothing outwardly to suggest these visitors were from heaven, Abraham senses they were special visitors. There is an urgency about Abraham in his attending to them. There’s no doubt a strong tradition of hospitality in the east, but there is an element of more than normal hospitality here. First he ran to meet them and then ‘bowed himself to the ground’ The phrase ‘bowed himself’ is actually the Hebrew ‘shacah’, the usual word for ‘worship’.

Abraham then urges the visitors to rest themselves while he fetched water to wash their feet and he had a meal prepared for them.  Abraham then goes into the tent to get Sarah started on the making of bread, and then runs out into a field to fetch a calf, and had a servant quickly prepare it.

There is warmth of hospitality here on Abraham’s part. And once the meal was prepared Abraham stands by in order to be available to them and serve them further.  The writer of Hebrews 13:2 in the New Testament surely has this passage in mind when encourages his readers to show hospitality “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2).

When we look at Abraham’s response we can see his humility. His service towards his visitors is marked with humility. He bowed to his guests (2), and he calls himself their servant (3, 5) which we see clearly here. He interrupted a comfortable afternoon nap to become a servant to three strangers.

His service is also personal. Remember Abraham was ninety nine years old, wealthy and powerful. He could have entrusted this task to his chief steward or one of his more than 300 servants (14:14). Instead, he decided to minister personally to his visitors.

Further he was diligent and quick about it. He ran to meet the visitors (2) and hastened to tell Sarah to bake some bread (6). He ran to get a tender calf and saw to it that the young man whose job it was to do so, prepared the meat.

Abraham’s servant heart.

I am always impressed by the servant hearts of the missionaries we support. Even when Martin and Mary Barber were taking a break back here at Christmas, they still found time to collect things in the UK to help those in need in Madagascar for their return “We have collected lots of other stuff too, for taking to Madagascar. Who needs new suitcases when you can get them at a charity shop for a few pounds and give them away later for someone to store their clothes in? we have mountains of school uniforms, many new when schools change their logo…Toolaid at Ringwood has given us masses of tools and laptops- all recycled. Martin built 3 large crates to send by sea freight.” (2021)

Notice too how Abraham involved the ministries of others. Sarah baked the bread; a young man dressed the meat and no doubt other servants brought Abraham the butter and milk.

The New Testament does not see all ministry residing with one person in the church. New Testament teaches ‘every member’ ministry (Ephesians 4, 1 Corinthians 12, John 12) God has distributed a variety of gifts to a variety of people. He wants us to learn to implement that variety within a unity and love for one another (1 Corinthians chapters 12-14) Benefits of. Yes, in administrative roles, fabric matters music and so on there are a variety of gifts that can be used from within the congregation.

But every member ministry can also operate within Christian Ministry. Although, quite rightly I have a large involvement with all aspects of this here at ABC, and am called to do so, we also have others teaching and leading services here from time to time. Others also lead housegroups. Within our evening service, I usually preach but then prayers, songs, readings, testimony come from the congregation collectively (1 Corinthians 14:26).

The Deacons and indeed others from within the fellowship come alongside those who are in pastoral need. And in evangelistic/missional activities, we have different leaders for our missionary prayer group, ‘Fun and friendship’, ‘Torch’ and our babies and toddlers group. I hope in due course that we can expand the involvement of some others here in further direct evangelistic activity.

DL Moody wrote “I would rather put 10 men to work than do the work of ten men’ He was right. The New Testament affirmation of every member ministry bears this out. Reflect on the gifts God has given you. How were/are these expressed in your work or leisure experience? Is there anything there the Lord can use for the purposes of His Kingdom?

Abraham’s example here helps us in many ways. His showing of hospitality is given as an example to believers in Hebrews 13:1, 2. Indeed ‘given to hospitality is one of the requirements for leadership in the local church (1 Tim.3:2; Titus 1:8).

The New Testament carries an intriguing theme relevant to what we read here. Namely that the Lord Jesus Christ often comes to us as a stranger:

After Jesus was crucified and buried, He rose from the dead. One of His resurrection appearances was to two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus. (Luke 24:13-32). It appears that they did not realise who He was. But Jesus goes through the Scriptures explaining the Christ was to be killed and then rise again on the third day. They walk along and Jesus looks like He will go a separate way, but this is only to test the disciples to see if they had listened and grown in their understanding. The disciples urge Him to stay with them. It is only when Jesus gives thanks and breaks the bread before them that their eyes are opened and they realise who He really is.

If the Lord had appeared before them in dazzling glory, then the opportunity to grow in faith through trusting the Scriptures- the promises of God, would have been lost to them. The Lord calls us to trust Him and his Word above all things. We are to walk by faith not sight, and anything not of faith is sin (unbelief) (2 Corinthians 5:7, Romans 14:23)

He tests us too. Will we learn the lessons of walking by faith? If He came to us in dazzling glory, we would all provide Him with extravagant hospitality. But this would not help us grow in Christian character. So He comes to us as a stranger. Those that know Him will show Him mercy, whether they recognise Him or not. When we minister to the ‘stranger’ or someone ‘needing clothes’, or who is ‘ill’, and those ‘in prison’, we are actually ministering to Him (Matthew 25:45ff)

Although the Lord wants us to learn to grow in compassion and generosity, we should remember that He is never in our debt. Indeed He loves us and provides us with all we need and more. Consider how the Lord Jesus multiplied the 2 loaves and 2 small fish so the five thousand and more who had flocked to hear Him, could be fed (Matthew 14: 13-21). Or when Peter and the disciples let down their nets at the Lord’s instruction and the boat was nearly submerged such was the weight of the catch (Luke 5: 1-11).

Abraham showed generosity and the Lord blessed him in reaffirming that Sarah would indeed have a son, just as the Lord had promised Abraham several weeks before. The Lord, who is the spokesman out of the three visitors, says “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” This could refer to a future visit at a similar time the following year, or the reviving of Sarah’s bodily functions when He returned. We are told Sarah was past the age of childbearing (11). Further Sarah had been barren all her life anyway, so the Lord’s promise would require a miracle of physical regeneration which only the Lord Himself could bring about.


We read that when Sarah heard the promise she ‘laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?” (12). It was a cynical laugh, she knew it was humanly speaking impossible for her and her husband to have a child. No doubt Abraham had already told her of the promise when it was first given to him. She found it difficult to believe. Her faith needed strengthening.

We read that the Lord then said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord?

Here we have the essence of faith. It is faith in the Lord. In His Character and goodness which underlie His wonderful promises to us. Here we have this key phrase ‘is anything too hard for the Lord?’ And the answer is ‘no.’ So we look beyond the promises to the promiser.

"Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you (Jeremiah 32:17). Look at His orderings of the Universe. Look at the regularity of the seasons.  He is the all- powerful, omnipotent Lord. The Scriptures say ‘He is faithful that promised’ (Hebrews 10:23). He has kept His word- think of the multitude of prophesies fulfilled from both the Old and New Testaments. This source alone lists 351 Old Testament prophesies fulfilled in Jesus Christ ( Those promises yet to be fulfilled, such as Christ’s Second Coming, will be kept.

You ask:

Can all my sins be forgiven?

Acts 13:39, “Through Jesus everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to attain under the Law of Moses.” Nothing is too hard for the Lord.

Shall I be accepted into heaven as God’s very own child?

“The Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry ‘Abba Father…if we are children then we are heirs.” Nothing is too hard for the Lord.

Will God ensure my full salvation into eternity?

Jude 24

“To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” Nothing is too hard for the Lord.


Nothing is too hard for the Lord. He who created all things surely controls all things. He who enacted the laws of nature can change them if He wills. The adjective ‘hard’ is the same word describing the coming Messiah in Isaiah 9:6: ‘He will be called wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, everlasting Father, prince of Peace’.

What the Lord did for Sarah was a wonderful miracle, but the miracle of the virgin birth- that the Son of God, the Messiah should be born of Mary- as a vulnerable little baby- is beyond all human expectation.

God specialises in things thought impossible, and He himself is wonderful!


‘Now thank we all our God’ MP 486 (Piano)

Martin Rinkart


May the Lord lead us when we go, and keep us when we sleep, and talk with us when we awake, and may the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen






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