Bible Overview: God’s Big Picture

After our recent sermon series looking at an overview of the Bible I want to add two links to the respective websites

1) Clayton TV  9 videos each approx 13mins  God’s Big Picture

2) Online version of the leaflet given out to the Church Little Book Big Picture

The following Sermons from the series are available from the Sermon TAB

223 In the Beginning GOD… Joel Edwards Click Here Bible Overview
224 Sin, Consequences and it’s Curse Mus Yusef Click Here Bible Overview
225 How Bad Is Sin! Joel Edwards Click Here Bible Overview
226 How can we have hope in desperate situations Mus Yusef Click Here Bible Overview
227 If I ruled the world I would???? Joel Edwards Click Here Bible Overview
228 Old Testament teaching for New Testament times Joel Edwards Click Here Bible Overview
230 Faith responds to God’s promises Joel Edwards Click Here Bible Overview
231 How good do we have to be to be a Christian? Wrong! Joel Edwards Click Here Bible Overview
232 Jesus in the OT concealed and in the NT revealed Joel Edwards Click Here Bible Overview
233 The Holy Spirit: Force? Feeling? or Person? Joel Edwards Click Here Bible Overview
234 The Last Days: Action Point – Preach the Gospel Mus Yusef Click Here Bible Overview
235 When the End Comes: Everybody is included Joel Edwards Click Here Bible Overview

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Weblinks worth visiting…. updated Wed 27th June

Are you a browser of the internet? Well here are a few links Christians might enjoy, use and remember.  Our recommended link to the Bible and study aids: BibleGateway  Great word search and a Verse for the day to keep us going. Search for daily Bible reading plans. New international version not your choice then choose from a wide range of versions all online for you to use. Interested and have the right smartphone download the APP today.
Do you like watching Videos? Many websites like YouTube contain teaching and subjects that will mislead you along with the good stuff. We recommend these websites (below) They are reliable and trustworthy resources:
Go Chatter Videos
Clayton TV This is our Recommendation of the Month
The Bible Project
Blogging seems to be popular and we are recommending Crossway Articles as a great source of help when reading up on important subject matter with a Christian viewpoint.
Crossway/Articles/Subjects Browse for good and clear teaching on a relevant subject
Letter from Kabwata  Need an insight into Reformed African Churches then meet Conrad Mbewe and his blog
Christian Medical Fellowship  Courses for the church and the Individual. Great contact for Christian Nurses and Doctors
Love wise online  Courses and support for parents seeking to teach children and teens about: Relationships – Sex  – and Living wisely
Chelmsford Anglican Bible Conference  Talks from the previous Conference in 2017 and looking forward to the conference this year in October
South Eastern Gospel Partnership  We are members of SEGP and it is good to keep up to date with the local activities and support each other.
In the area for work? Visit one of these venues for food with the Word.
lunchtime talks around London: St Helens Bishopsgate
Lunchtime talks around London: St Nicks Queen Victoria Street
Last but not least an interesting site for Christians at work  16 venues for lunchtime fellowship And an insight into evangelism amongst workers in London.  Take a look   Gospel at work (Lunches and Evangelism)
News Teaching

Jesus Is Building His Church: How God Trains Us Through Church

A fishy tale

One morning, two young fish were swimming along together. An older fish swam the other way. “Morning boys, how’s the water today?” he asked.  It was not until 30 minutes later that one of the youngsters turned to the other and say “what is water?”

The point of this strange story is that we are surrounded by ways of living but we don’t see them. More seriously, we are being trained into wrong ways of living but we don’t notice it. Paul tells us we can be trained or influenced or conformed by the world

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:1,2

The world is the things around us that influence us to think God can’t be trusted and his ways are not good for us. That happens through adverts, songs, internet, films and in the way people around us party, use their money and train their children.  An example is the world’s pattern for shopping.


The adverts tell us there is something missing in our lives. They tell us the answer to that gap is to buy something. Perhaps you have been influenced by this to buy things that you could afford?

We may go with others to the shops for a ‘trip out’. But shopping is not something that helps us grow together. Look at a group at the shops – when another person joins the group, everyone eyes up their fashion sense – they observe the shoes and handbags and mobile phone.

Shopping the world’s way teaches us to overvalue things (we enjoy them for making us special in the eyes of others, rather than just using the things).

The world tells us that buying things will make us feel better. But the product’s benefit quickly wears off. When we next feel low, we have learned that a shopping trip will cheer us up. So off we go and buy more.

Shopping the world’s way also teaches us to undervalue things (we throw them away to quickly because we think we need an ‘up-grade’).

When we go to the shops or shop on-line, we might be like the young fish in the story: We may not appreciate how we are being conformed or trained to fit in with the pattern of this world.

This view of shopping is just one of many ways the world influences us.  The good news is that God uses church to give us a true outlook.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2


If you are a Christian, God has already given you a renewed mind – a new way of looking at life. But we need to be trained or conformed to fit with that. Church is one way God does that.

The things we do in a church meeting follow a particular order;

  1. We meet one another, welcoming one another as people who need help just like we need God’s
  2. We start our meeting with God’s word, remembering who he
  3. We admit our sin to God and remember his kindness in
  4. We sing, using songs that will help us hear God’s truth, that will train us to fit the right emotions with that truth and that we can sing together, as one church
  5. We hear of church family events and ask God to be at Our prayers are not ‘me’ and ‘I’ but ‘we’ and ‘us’ – we are learning to be a family.
  6. We hear God’s word read and We trust the Holy Spirit will turn the words of the teacher into the voice of God that his children hear.
  7. We finish our time with words of scripture, spoken by all of us, to each other, encouraging each other to live as Christians in all of life, not just on a
  8. We continue to meet over coffee, trying to speak helpfully to each other.


  • Think again about Make a list before you shop so you don’t buy things you don’t need. Teach your children to spot the false lies in adverts. What ways is the world most effective in influencing you?


  • Think again about Don’t come expecting to be entertained, come to join in. Don’t act like a customer, expecting to get a good service, come to join in. Don’t expect it to be easy and soothing, training can be hard work, ask an athlete.

Jesus is Building His Church: Why do we sing?

Sometimes when children visit our church building, they are surprised that there are instruments in the building. What are they for? They ask. Singing is not something people in other religious groups do. If you think about it, apart from church, when do we sing? Perhaps you sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to family or a workmate. Perhaps you sing along to the radio, the brave people might sing to karaoke. So why do we sing in church?
What is church singing for?
Singing is a way for God to rule over our church family. We sing ideas that are from God’s word.

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns and songs from the spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts (Colossians 3 verse 16)

Singing is a way that we show ‘yes, I believe these things.’  But singing is more than agreeing God’s word is true…
Singing is a way God teaches the church family to connect our feelings and our commitments or priorities with God’s Word. A special aspect of singing is the musical aspect. Music can remind us of special feelings or it can help bring on those feelings in us. Good church songs will help us put the right emotions to the words.

But singing is more than a way to agree with the truth of God’s word and to feel right about it…
Singing is one way of showing we agree with each other and of making the church family united. Church singing is normally something we do together. When I speak, you listen, when you speak, I listen, but when we sing, we speak together. By singing songs together, we stop church from being a performance by just a few people. Singing together is one way of showing we are one.
Christian singing is for telling the truth, for showing or learning the right feelings and for being a united church family.

So what makes a good church song?
Many of us have a favourite hymn or chorus, but if our songs are for truth, for feeling and for unity, we need to make sure our songs help those things.

Christian singing is
• for telling the truth,
• for showing or learning the right feelings
• for being a united church family.

Truth: Christian songs do not have to be sentences of the Bible copied into a song. A good song can be a poem that teaches us the word of God. Some songs are not true. Some songs make false claims about God’s promises or about ourselves (along the lines of “All I ever think about is you Lord”). We should not sing them.

Feelings: God’s goodness to us is a reason for great joy. Our songs should help us feel that. That is not the only feeling songs should show. Other songs will help us show sadness or feel sad about our sin or about our suffering.
Songs are for the whole church family to sing. Some songs are true, helping right emotions, but the tune is too hard for us to sing. We should not try to sing them. So a good song is one that we can

sing together – some songs are amazing when a great performer sings them, but if we tried, it would fall flat.

What does this mean for our singing on a Sunday?

The musicians and song leaders serve the church by helping us to sing. The role of the song leader is to help us to sing, and they will know if they have fulfilled that ministry when they can hardly be heard because of the singing by the church family – so join in!
Singing is not just a way for us to express our feelings. God can use it to teach us the right feelings. So don’t wait until you feel like singing –so join in!
The most beautiful instrument in any church meeting is the sound of the congregation singing. You may not be the best singer. It doesn’t matter. God wants you to stand with other Christians and sing with them – so join in!

Notices Teaching

Jesus Is Building His Church: The Church Is Like A Body

The church is God’s people meeting.  To teach us more, the apostle Paul uses a word picture or metaphor for the church.  The church is like a body – one person, but with different parts.

The church in Corinth was a church with lots of problems.  Paul wrote the famous 1 Corinthians 13 about love not so they could read it at weddings but because they were so unloving.  They needed to learn what love is.  They needed to learn how to love other Christians.  That is what 1 Corinthians chapter 12 is about.

No one who is speaking by the spirit of God says, ‘Jesus be cursed,’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12 verse 3)

Paul starts by explaining who is part of church.  (Look at the text above).  It is anyone who knows, trusts and serves Jesus.  It is not about wearing the right clothes, knowing enough stuff in the Bible, or being good enough.  God’s Spirit teaches you to know the truth about Jesus.  That makes you part of Jesus’ church.

Now if the foot should say ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.  (verse 15)

Then Paul says the church is like a body.  A body is one person, but has many parts – the church is one group, but with many parts (that is in verses 12-14).  And just as the parts of a body are different – the ear, the nose, the arm and so on – the people in a church family are different.  What does that mean for us?

The eye cannot say to the hand ‘I don’t need you!’ (verse 21)

First, Paul says, don’t count yourself as nothing.  Just because you do not have an impressive or noticeable role in church life, does not mean you are not part of it.  That would be as daft as a foot thinking ‘I’m not as special as the hand, I don’t really belong’.  If everyone was a preacher, the church would have no music.  If everyone was a musician, who would teach Sunday school?
Then Paul says, don’t look down on those with roles less impressive or less noticeable than yours.  That would be as daft as the eye saying to the hand ‘I don’t need you’.  God has made them part of the church.  We must not say to people, ‘we don’t need you, you don’t do enough’.

Paul is not teaching Christians to work out what part of the body I am, what my ‘gift’ is, so I can use it.  He is teaching us to accept others and to be confident that I have a place in the Church family because of Jesus. Be glad for the different people God has put in our church family.  Don’t compare yourself to others.
No matter how impressive you are at speaking, how joyful your singing, how exciting and fun the Sunday school class you lead, how brilliant your musical ability, if you do not love Jesus as Lord and saviour, you are not in the body.

What are some of the roles in the church family?

  • Vicar – his role is to care for the church, praying for it, teaching the word of truth, protecting against lies, training and helping Christians in their service.
  • The wardens – help the vicar lead church life, they are responsible for the care of the buildings, and to protect the vicar from being swamped by admin.
  • The Parish Church Council –make decisions about church life, with the vicar, on behalf of the church family. They make decisions about finance

You could use these questions and answers to teach children what we have been hearing about the church.

  • What is church? It is Christians meeting together
  • Is everyone in the meeting a Christian?   Only people who trust Jesus and love him are in his family.
  • Should people who are not Christians come?   We should welcome other people to our meeting so they can start to be Christians too.
  • Why do Christians meet together? Because we love Jesus and want to obey his command to meet.
  • What happens in church? When we keep on going to church, God the Holy Spirit uses it to change us
  • How does church change us? God the Holy Spirit uses the prayers, the songs, the teaching and other Christians to make us better love God the Father and Jesus his Son.
  • What should we try to do in church? We should try to encourage other Christians
  • How can you encourage other Christians? Come to church, come on time, join in by listening, singing, saying ‘hello’, being friendly
  • Which people can you be friendly to? (Say their names)

Jesus Is Building His Church: What Is Our Job?

Look at Hebrews 3 verses 12,13 below.

12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today’, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3)

‘See to it.’  Here is a command, not just a suggestion.  Instead of seeing other turn aside, encourage each other.

There is a process going on here.  Look at it carefully.

  • It starts with a heart that doubts God’s promise, that distrusts his care.
  • That kind of person turns aside from God.

It is said another way in verse 13

  • Sin is deceives – it misleads – it persuades us to think wrongly about God.
  • So we end up hardened against him – unresponsive

The danger is that we drift away from God.  We believe lies about him and so disobey him.  Don’t think that this couldn’t happen to you or even to the ‘really keen’ Christians.  It can.  That is the danger.  The answer is that God gives us each other to help us to hold on to him, to protect us from turning from him.  We need others; others need us.

 Paul Tripp, a helpful Christian author, wrote this:

“Physically blind people are always aware of their problem and spend much of their lives learning to live it.  But the Bible says that we can be ‘blind’ to our sin and yet think that we ‘see’ quite well.  I need you in order to really see myself.  Otherwise I will listen to my own arguments, believe my own lies.”

Sin leads us to believe things are true about God and us that in fact are not true.  And so sin makes us spiritually blind: we don’t see ourselves properly.  We end up believing one thing about ourselves when another thing is true.

Though we are often blind to our own sin, we may see other’s sins clearly – we can be better at seeing others are wrong than seeing it in ourselves.  That can be very irritating!  But it can be very helpful.  Because you can help me by pointing out how my life is drifting from God.

How are we going to get that help?  Again Paul Tripp helpfully wrote:

“Doing this for others is not about being a private detective, forcing someone to obey.  Instead, we need to invite others to intrude.”

This is a good way of looking at this isn’t it?  Rather than snooping around and trying to catch others doing wrong, we start by asking someone to do this for us.  We say: “I need your help to keep going as a Christian.  I need your prayers.  I need you to ask me if I am praying.  I need you to remind me that our Heavenly Father loves us, even when I have mucked up and been angry in the office yet again.”

What are the practical issues?

  • This is for everyone. We must not just leave it to one or two.
  • It is for everyone, but it is not with everyone. You cannot know everyone well enough to care for them like this.  It is a good pattern for us to have these more personal conversations with just one or two other Christians.
  • For many of us, this is a very scary prospect. We are nervous of talking to others about our lives and matters concerning God.  We have been hurt by others.  It takes time to build trust.  But we need to start taking steps in a forward direction.

What are the steps?

  • Recognise that we are at risk, risk of being deceived and turning from God – so pray to God for others, to keep them from turning from him.
  • Be more involved – come to church regularly so you get to know other Christians, join a growth group. Don’t get in the habit of not meeting.
  • To do this well, will take more than the brief time we spend together on Sundays. It would be good to text, call or (best of all) meet during the week.
  • Start talking more about Jesus and about living his way with your close friends.
  • Invite someone to ‘intrude in your life’ – to protect you from slipping.

24 Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10)


Good Friday Video

A short film imaging world news reacting to the death of Jesus.

What if Jesus was born today? Such a big event would have been covered by all the media in the world. Today people live through their electronic devices. They can watch live what’s happening on the other side of the world, and they can comment saying what they think. This video imagines  what it might have been like if Jesus had been crucified in our days. We can see how people react and how the news and events might have spread on social media and on the internet.


Jesus Is Building His Church: What Happens In Church?


God is concerned about his people gathering or meeting together rather than about the buildings we meet in. But what are those meetings meant to do? Church meetings are not a way for a Christian to affect God, to change him. Church meetings are a way for God to change us, to make us different (Ephesians 4:11-13).

Church is not for a Christian to come and go through the same words each week and think, ‘I’ve done what I ought to.’ We may be uncertain and fearful that we have not done enough. Or proud because we think we have done enough.

Church is not for a Christian to come and show God my feelings, to show him how much I love him. We may be uncertain and fearful that our expression is not good enough. Or proud because we think we have expressed such deep devotion.

We do express ourselves, our desires and hopes, in our prayers and in the songs that are to God. But that is not the main reason to come to the meeting. Church is one of the things God uses to change us. When we gather, God uses the teaching, the songs and the prayers to train us to love him and what he has done for us. He trains us to fit in with who he is and with his purposes. He trains us to no longer be fearful and uncertain, we know what he has done and is doing. He trains us to no longer be proud, we know he is the one at work, not us.

This may be a different way of thinking about church from what you thought it is about. You may need to read this sheet a couple of times and think it through.

When we think church is all about me expressing myself to God it creates problems. If we understand that God is using church to change us, we avoid these problems. For example:

1. If I think church is for me to express myself, I will be tempted to be a hypocrite, looking good and not admitting my sin.

When we see that church is something God uses to change us, we will find it easier to admit that we are not scrubbed up, impressive people but that we are weak and inclined to sin.

2. If I think church is for me to express myself, I won’t bother coming to church if I don’t feel like it. After all, what is the point if I am not in the right mood to express myself?

When we see that church is something God uses to change us, we don’t have to ‘feel like coming to church’ for church to be good for us and for us to take part in. In fact, many of us don’t feel like coming on a Sunday morning. But after the church meeting, we are glad that we came. During church, we find that it is only once we start to sing that our feelings may catch up with the songs we are singing.

3. If I think church is for me to express myself, I easily become selfish. I complain about parts of church that don’t suit me.

When we see that church is something God uses to change us, we will join in. We do need to try to find out when we don’t understand parts of the service. Ask; What do these words mean? Why do we pray that prayer? Why do we always have the Bible read? And so on. But we join in, knowing God uses these to change me and others.

4. If I think church is for me to express myself, it is easy to think that what I do matters most, not what God is doing.

When we see that church is something God uses to change us, we see he is doing the main action, not us. He uses our meeting together to do that. We should join in because we trust that God will use our weekly meetings to change us and those around us.

5. If I think church is for me to express myself, I may make the mistake of thinking that words must be spontaneous and unplanned to be genuine and sincere. So using the same words in confession or creeds cannot be sincere.

When we see that church is something God uses to change us, we can find that carefully planned words help. We should take care we don’t use them thoughtlessly. But sometimes it is only by using words many times that the penny drops. We know that doing the same thing again and again is good in other parts of life: to keep teeth healthy by brushing, to learn piano.


Church is not for us to come and show God our devotion. It is how God re-directs our hearts, trains us to desire the right things. Church isn’t something we do to God, it is where God does something to us.


Jesus Is Building His Church: What Is Church?

People use the word ‘church’ for several different things: A building ‘he opened the door to the church’; a job ‘he went into the church’; a Christian meeting ‘they were late for church’; a denomination ‘I am in the Anglican Church’; a local congregation ‘the church were glad when the missionary visited.’

But what does the Bible mean by ‘church’? It is a gathering or people, a meeting. The word used for ‘church’ in the Bible is the normal, everyday word for a ‘gathering’ or ‘assembly’. (There is more information on this over the page.)

What makes us come together? You may sit together with very different people from you on the tube. You have come together on the tube because you all want to go the same way. Why do such different people meet together in Christian church? What connects us? It is our shared trust in Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus says he is building his church (Matthew 16:18).

What are some implications for us? Here are five:

1. So often what we call ‘church’ is a building made of wood or bricks or stone. That is not the church that Jesus is building. Jesus is making a gathering of people around him. We should look after our church building; keep it clean, maintain it. But our greater concern should not be for the building but for the people who meet. Some churches in hot countries meet in the shade of a tree. The Bible meaning of church is not a building, it is gathering of people.

2. So often what we call ‘church’ is not what the Bible means by it. Denominations (the Anglican Church or the Presbyterian Church) are not ‘churches’. They are organisations that help a number of churches. The real churches are the congregations or gatherings, where God’s people ‘assemble’. Denominations can be helpful, but they are not as important as the ‘church’ that Christ is drawing together.

3. We should try to keep the focus of church, of our meeting together, on what Jesus has done for his people and is doing to his people. In our songs and prayers and sermons and coffee time chat we should keep reminding each other of important things: The great work Jesus has done to rescue us; the way he wants us to get on with each other; that we must be looking forward and getting ready for the day he comes to judge all humans.

4. We can expect our local church to be a letdown. Why? Because it is a gathering of others with sin in their life just like me. Sin will show itself in selfishness, in laziness, in refusal to treat each other as God wants. All those things mean that church will be a letdown. We should not be surprised when it is a letdown. But we should be working to try to join in church in the way Jesus wants.

5. Jesus is building his church. What is he using? People who come to him. You may have been in church meetings for years, but you are not part of the church if you are not a Christian. Being a church-goer does not make you a Christian, but being a Christian should make you a church-goer, because you want to submit to Christ and meet with his people. You may be a person who should spend more effort on helping the church and not just ‘attend church’. How can you help out?


The meaning of ‘church’ – not a religious word
In Acts 19:32 Luke, the writer, tells us the assembly, is in confusion – who is this about? Look at v28. This is the Ephesian crowds. In Ephesus silversmiths who made models of false gods are worried because of the Christian preachers. They start a commotion, the whole city gathers or assembles. The gathering is called ‘the church’. But it is not translated church ….because a religious meaning is given to church today. They are called the church again in v41. The same word is used in verse 39 – ‘a legal church’. The Bible word that is translated ‘church’ in other places is not a religious word for Christians meeting. It simply means ‘gathering’ or ‘assembly’.