As you may have picked up already, our obsession and central-conviction as a church is that it is all about Jesus. He is Lord God. We never graduate from him. There is nothing we do in church or in life which is separated from him. He is the absolute, complete and utter foundation of all of our church-life, no exception, it really is all about him.
With Jesus at the centre of our theology and church-life there are a few major concerns flowing out of our making much of him:
The Gospel (Good News) of Jesus
We try to make it our aim in every single one of our services to remind each other of how amazing the good news (or gospel) of the Lord Jesus Christ really is. That…
- We have all done wrong (or sinned) and fallen short of where we should be before the glorious Living God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- He rightly displays his anger towards us through what he says in the Bible and through his other acts of justice.
- Jesus came down as the door into a restored-relationship with the Living God, and died on the cross so that not only the church’s sins could be placed on him and we would not suffer God’s wrath for them, but also that his good-deeds would all be credited to his church too. Some of us like to call this “The Great Swap”.
- Therefore we plead with everyone everywhere to leave their sins behind and trust only in Jesus, as we have had the privilege of doing.
- Not only does Jesus tell us in John 6:37 that he will never turn us away if we come to him, but more than that, we are invited to come to him in our weariness and burden under our own guilt (Matthew 11:28-30), and he will give us rest for our weary souls.
This was a particular emphasis in our church in 2021. We’re convinced that there is a difference between knowing about Christ and actually knowing him. And so we have an emphasis on experiencing his presence through the Holy Spirit, and on stepping out in faith—despite fear—knowing that he is helping us.
Jesus in the Old Testament
We thought this was worth mentioning as some people aren’t used to hearing Jesus spoken of anywhere other than the four-gospels and some of the other books at the very end of the Bible. Our conviction that the Living God can only be known through the Lord Jesus means that we know that even for the Old Testament believers, the only object of faith was Jesus himself. We follow New Testament writers like Jude therefore, who are happy to use the name Jesus even to refer to God the Son before he became a human (see Jude 5).
Telling Unbelievers about Jesus
We know that part of our mission as a church is to make disciples of every nation, and so we take that calling very seriously and seek to evangelise in the Aberystwyth area. This is one of the central aims of our church-bookshop, as well as the reason why we go out on a regular basis to give our literature to folk in town, and why we seek to make our Sunday Services accessible to all.
Books about Jesus
We love books about Jesus in AP, which is why our bookshop is not just for unbelievers, but is full of books that speak of Jesus and his love. As we mentioned above, knowing about Jesus is no substitute for knowing Jesus, but we aim to allow our knowledge about Jesus to feed into our relationship with him.
Every Member Reading about Jesus in the Bible Together
There’s a common view amongst some Christians that the Bible is only to be read by academics or those with a specially-trained theological brain. However, we know the truth is that the Bible is clear. As Moses reminds the church in Deuteronomy,
the commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. […] The word is very near you. It is in your mouth an in your heart, so that you can do it.
One of our responses to this truth is our Bible-Reading Groups. As shown above, we have one for men, one for women, and one for children and young people. We all therefore—men, women, children—have an opportunity to look at one book of the bible a month, and read it together as a church, and then come together once a month to talk some more about how the Holy Spirit has helped us to see the truth in that book. We may also have some questions we want to work through. Either way, church is the best context to be reading the Bible in.