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The Comforting Presence of Christ Acts 23:10-11

The Comforting Presence of Christ.

Text. Acts 23:10-11 And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle.  11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.

A Roman citizen must be protected, and Paul has been snatched out of the Sanhedrin by a squad of soldiers, and is back in the Antonia Palace, the castle occupied by the Romans at the edge of the Temple Court.  He’s a Roman citizen, so as we’ll see later, he’s being looked after and can receive a visitor, and can even tell the centurions what to do!  But he’s still a prisoner, and he will be alone in a cell, guarded by soldiers.  What will that be like?

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Catechism Class: LD15B Q37 – The DURATION of Christ’s Suffering.

Catechism Class

The Duration of Christ’s Suffering

LORD’S DAY 15, Q37.

The Apostle’s creed, being taught to us here by our instructor, simply states that Jesus was born, and he died and use again.  “Born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried.”  It says nothing of his earthy ministry, his teaching, and his miracles.  That’s because in such a concise statement of faith, it needs to encapsulate quickly, the main purpose of Christ’s suffering, to redeem sinners, and that brings us right away to the cross. 

But our instructor would want to remind us that the suffering of the Saviour was not confined to the closing hours of his earthly life.  It began at Bethlehem, and it continued right throughout his life, until he was laid in the tomb and rose again.  ALL the time that he lived on earth, (including his birth) he was suffering for us.   Zacharius Ursinus,  in his commentary on the catechism, lists seven ways in which Christ suffered:

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Happy 10th Birthday – TO ME!

Happy 10th Birthday – TO ME!

Yes, the Semper-Reformata Blog is 10 years old today, 18th September! So, there’s ten years of resources online, – all free to use. Church History, Ethics, Comment and Sermon Notes.

After a particularly dreadful sermon, a lady at the door of a church asked me if I was like her minister, and ‘bought my sermons on line.’ I could honestly say, NO! I do the opposite – after I write them, I upload them to the internet so everyone can read them, and see what I’m doing!

Why not browse through the content bar at the top of the blog, and see if there’s anything that you might like, or that you might find helpful. Meanwhile, I’m celebrating with a nice cup of coffee!

Ignatius of Antioch, Christian, Pastor, Martyr…

Ignatius of Antioch – PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

Welcome to this special history podcast.  It not a podcast that everyone will enjoy, or benefit from.  It is history – hopefully theological history, yet history with a pastoral perspective. It’s not purely an academic history essay, for I have included some observations and comments, and even some anecdotes, to make the work easier to listen to in podcast form, and more applicable to those who are reading or listening in a modern Christian setting, and who prefer to have their theology, and their history applied.  After all, what’s the point of learning history, if we don’t use it to avoid the errors and mistakes of the past?

An Ancient Colosseum 

Throughout the history of the church there has been a litany of deaths, – we call them martyrdoms, legally enacted by a state or authority, or through mob and individual violence – executions of people who were believers and whose only crime was believing in Jesus as their only Saviour and being faithful to Him.  As we speak, those who were tortured and who died for Christ are in heaven, and John the Apostle saw them there, in his vision.  He wrote, in Revelation 6:9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?  From the first Martyr, Stephen, in Acts 7, to this day, people have given their lives rather than deny the Saviour.  But should a Christian ever desire martyrdom?  One man certainly did, – a man called Ignatius of Antioch, who died at Rome around the turn of the first/second century AD.  In this podcast, I want to introduce you to this historical character, and some of his beliefs, and to get a snapshot of the state of the church, just 70 or so years after the death and resurrection of Jesus.


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Don’t Just Sit at Home – Come to Church this Lord’s Day!

A Sheep Among the Wolves.

A Sheep Among Wolves

Text: Acts 23:1-10

This passage is of great importance to us.  Paul is a Christian, in the midst of a pack of vicious wolves, who would literally tear him apart, given the chance.  So in this study we will see what Jesus taught his disciples about situations like that, then we’ll see Paul putting that teaching into practice, and finally, we will draw some important lessons for ourselves from what we have learned.

1 The Conflict Depicted by JesusMatthew 10:16 

In Matthew 10, Jesus had been sending his twelve disciples out into a hostile world, to witness and work for him, to preach and declare the good news.  He warned them, that this activity would not be welcomed. He likens the Christian and the world as opposing personalities from the animal kingdom, – so that no-one will be in any doubt.  

  • Sheep and Wolves.  Jesus firstly describes the difference between believers and the world.  They are like easy prey for ravenous wild animals.  This is surely so, for the sheep is helpless before the wolf, and must depend solely upon the work of the shepherd to protect the flock.  And he will!  
  • Serpents and Doves.  Now Jesus uses another illustration. We should be as wise as a serpent and as harmless as a dove.  Jesus is telling us that we should be equal to Satan’s minions in our grasp of what’s going on.  Christians should be harmless, meek, humble – but nowhere in the scriptures are we taught that Christians should be naive or stupid, or just sit back and be walked over!  But we must be as harmless as doves – [Amp – have no self-serving agenda]. 

Did this dire warning put the disciples off?  NO, not at all! Christianity is not for softies.  We will be hated by the world, are we up to the challenge?  John 15:18 

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Catechism Class: LD15, Q37, the Extent of the Atonement.

Catechism Class LORD’S DAY 15 Q37

The Extent of the Atonement.


We are looking at Lord’s Day 15, which is an examination of the phrase in the Apostles’ Creed that reads, “Suffered under Pontius Pilot.”  That phrase prompts our instructor to ask some very important questions indeed, and to raise issues that are critical to the Christian faith.  For example:

  • What is the extent of Christ’s atonement?  In other words, to whom is the salvation that he purchased for us at the cross applied?  
  • What is the duration and extent of his suffering?  Was it just at the cross?  
  • What was the nature of that suffering, the true depths of suffering that he endured for me?  
  • What was the PURPOSE of His suffering? The the relationship between suffering and sacrifice?
  • What are the consequences of his suffering, personally, upon those who are the recipients of the grace it bestows? 
  • If Christ suffers for us on body and soul, what are the implications for believers?

We could never deal with all of these important issues in one twenty minute lesson.  So we are going to divide this catechism question into several parts, over several lessons.  In this lesson, we will ask one of the most important questions of all, a question that has divided opinion among evangelicals for generations.  For whom did Christ die?  Or, to put it better, “What is the extent of the atonement?”  We shall briefly look at the three main theories about the extent of the atonement, and we shall attempt to get a better understanding of one of the most misquoted verses in the bible, John 3:16, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  Before we begin, let’s read the scriptures, and then let’s learn the catechism question and answer:-

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It’s the LAW! Acts 22:21-30

Jewish and Roman Law

Text: Acts 22:21-30

Paul’s defence has taken place, in four stages. His testimony, speaking of his undoubted, indisputable Jewish background and pedigree, his conversion to Christ on the Damascus Road, his introduction of a credible witness, and his prayer-time in Jerusalem. As he utters his last sentence, the mob is so incensed that they bay for his blood. We’re going to relate the narrative, the drama in the text, but first let’s ask a reasonable question…

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Come and Worship God with Us!


This Sunday, 5th September, Morning Service will be at at 11.30am and Rev Bob McEvoy will preach.

The monthly afternoon service will be at 3.30pm and the special speaker will be Rev Craig Dennison of the Trinitarian Bible Society. Craig will be outlining the work of the Society in translating and distributing the scriptures abroad.  Tea will be served after this service.

The on-line Catechism Class using the Heidelberg Catechism continues weekly and can be accessed at  Weekly CDs are freely available by post to those who are without internet access; to order ring Rev McEvoy on 07802466302.

Everyone is welcome to all our meetings.

Come and Worship

The Salvation of the Infants of Believers

The Canons of Dort, Article 17: The Salvation of the Infants of Believers

Since we must make judgments about God’s will from his Word, which testifies that the children of believers are holy, not by nature but by virtue of the gracious covenant in which they together with their parents are included, godly parents ought not to doubt the election and salvation of their children whom God calls out of this life in infancy.