Alfred Place Baptist Church

We are a dynamic and active Christian community who meet on a street called Alfred Place, which is in Aberystwyth town centre.

Independent & Baptist, we are a church who stand together for the historic Christian faith based on the Bible.

 

Sundays @ AP:

9:30am [Term Time] — All Age Bible Classes (Ages 3+ & Adults)

10:30am — Prayer & Praise

11am — Morning Service

5pm — Evening Service

(Prayer Meeting — Tuesdays at 7:30pm)

More info here.


Recent News

Isaiah 53:4-6

Isaiah was a prophet sent by God to Jerusalem, and he announced judgement, but also hope. He announced that there would come a King from David’s line. But then he talked about the fact that that king would be a servant. He said that God was going to bring blessing to every nation on earth.

 

Isaiah is a book of two halves, with the exile in chapter 39 dividing the two halves.

 

As a broad—by no means restricted—principle, there is a lot of judgement in the first half of Isaiah, and a lot of good news in the second half of Isaiah.

 

I say that because thisfamous passage is in the secondhalf of Isaiah. There’s a lot in Isaiah—and especially in the second half of Isaiah—about this promised servant.

 

We’re told that his name is Israel in one place… he’s a new Israel and he’s going to bring restoration, he’s going to be a light to the nations. That’s all stuff you get earlier in the book…

 

But here’s the shocker… this servant is going to be rejected and killed as a sacrifice for sin. That is a new thing in this section of Isaiah. And it’s well worth looking at…

 

I just want to focus on three of those “suffering servant” verses… Verse 4, 5 and 6 of Isaiah 53,

 

Surely, he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.

 

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

 

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

 

 

***

 

Look at verse 4 first of all, ‘Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows’. Isaiah here announces that there is someone who has taken the people’s weaknesses all the people’s sadness and depression away. That’s what the servant has done for his people.

 

But at what expense?

 

Notice the striking picture that’s displayed here, there are a bunch of people who are delighted, because all of their pain and all of their sadness has been taken away but look at what has had to happen in order for that joy and freedom to take place—end of verse 4— ‘yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.’

 

And I can apply this straight to every Christian’s experience with the Lord Jesus… We—on the one hand—are pain-free and sorrow-free. But the servant—on the other hand—wasstricken by God and smitten—hit—by God, and afflicted!

 

We’re free from pain, while the servant suffers it all.

 

***

 

The purpose of verse 5 is just to reiterate or make clearer exactly what was said in verse 4… ‘He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.’

 

We committed transgressions—sins, we broke the law. But instead of us being pierced for those transgressions he was pierced for them.

 

We committed iniquities—acts of immorality, wrongdoing. But instead of us being crushed by God for those iniquities—which were well deserved, he was crushed for them.

 

And then there’s the talk of punishment. The verse tells us that there is a punishment not that comes as an assault against us, no, it’s not that kind of punishment, there is a punishment—says Isaiah 53:5—that brings peace!

 

How is that possible?

 

Well the punishment that brings peace is possible because the punishment was on him. And so ‘by his wounds we are healed’. Someone was bruised so that we could be made better. Someone was hurt so that we could be healthy. Someone suffered so that we could receive salvation.

 

***

 

I think verse 6 is the whole thing in a nutshell. In fact, I think you could say that verse 6 is the whole story of the Bible in a nutshell:

 

‘We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way;

and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.’

 

Any Christian, any person receiving any benefit from the life and death of the Lord Jesus Christ, this is your story. You were like a sheep, a sheep who wanders—like the little lambs who wander out onto the little country roads away from the field, away from the Mother, not a clue where they’re going—that’s us.

 

We walked away from God, said no to God, went the wrong way. You were a person who went in your own direction, chose to serve yourself, do your own thing, desert God, desert the people you loved—in the things that you’ve done, in the life decisions you’ve made.

 

And yet, this is the other part of every Christian’s story too—that even though we’ve gone right off the beaten-track to a strange place, even though we’ve chosen to do our own thing instead of God’s thing—every believer’s story is that God has laid on the Lord Jesus Christ youriniquity, yourimmorality, yourheinousness, yourevil, yourinjustice, yourcrimes against God, yourwickedness, yoursin, yourvices. You did these things and so youdeserve to pay the consequences of them, but it’s been laid on him instead of you. He has taken the responsibility for it. He has been willing to be treated as the person who did these wrong things for your sake.

 

That’s the gospel…

 

Surely, he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.

 

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

 

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.