28th of August 2017

“But now, with no further place for me in these regions, I desire, as I have for many years, to come to you when I go to Spain. For I do hope to see you on my journey and to be sent on by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a little while” Romans 15:23 & 24.

Welcome to church today or should I say benvinguda (which Google translate tells me is Catalan for welcome – let’s hope it is). Today we are hearing from Andrew and Dom Gifford our link missionaries in Barcelona. This is, of course, sadly serendipitous timing given the recent events in that city. We will be bringing those affected, and Andrew and Dom’s ministry before the Lord in prayer. Such things make the work of the gospel only more urgent.

Over the last few weeks we have been looking at what it means to be loved by God and called to be holy. We have been doing this from Paul’s letter to the Romans. We take a break from that this week as Andrew will be speaking to us from 1 Peter but ministry in Spain is not entirely unrelated to the letter to the Romans.

When we first looked at the letter, one of the questions Andy posed was why this letter was written. Part of that answer is seen in the verses above i.e.: that here was a church that Paul hadn’t started but which he wished to have support him on his way to Spain.

Bill Dumbrell, who wrote on the book of Romans, says that Spain was the end of the Mediterranean and therefore of the known world. ‘Paul’s desire then was that God’s glory would be proclaimed before the nations’. Now I am not sure about this one as I thought the Romans were in England by then. Whatever the history the truth is that God wants his glory to be seen throughout the world. This was the point of choosing Israel. Sadly they failed. It was also the point of sending Jesus. Thankfully he was faithful. And it became Paul’s point and our point, i.e. to see God’s name being glorified everywhere by everyone. It is by grace alone through faith alone (as Luther said) that anyone and everyone is saved.

Welcome Andrew and Dom, Alec, Amelie, Darcey & Jordi. It is a great blessing to have you with us today and to tell us how God is working in a country that has long been on his heart.

Deu els beneeixi (which also hopefully means God bless).

Stuart