Emmanuel Church, Salisbury, held anniversary services in early February. It was the 67th year for the church and the 49th for Pastor Malcolm Watts. The guest preacher was Revd Graeme Craig, minister of the Ayr congregation of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing).
During the Saturday afternoon meeting, Revd Watts preached. He affirmed the value of looking back in remembrance, looking forward in hope, and endeavouring to ‘hold fast that which is good’: the Word of God, the Reformed faith, the regulative principle, the Sabbath day, reverence in worship, the preaching of the gospel, and the necessity of holiness.
Revd Craig directed our thoughts to 2 Chronicles 17:15. There we read of a general in Jehoshaphat’s army named Amasiah, who ‘willingly offered himself to the Lord’. Service which pious Amasiah rendered was God-centred, grateful, willing, whole-hearted, and humble.
This foreshadowed Christ’s service to his people during his earthly ministry. It also challenges us to whole-hearted service to the Lord in the home, the church, and our nation.
On the Lord’s day, Revd Craig preached on the promise in Psalm 102:16, ‘The Lord shall build up Zion; he shall appear in his glory.’ Like the psalmist, we often mourn over the state of the church today.
But God has promised to reveal his glory by showing mercy to his wayward children, by sending times of revival, by bringing sinners to salvation, and by hearing the cries of his people.
Revd Craig preached tenderly and compellingly from Hebrews 2:3 during the evening service. He stressed the greatness of salvation and the danger of neglecting it.
The day concluded with a meeting in which Revd Craig introduced us to Patrick Hamilton, the first Scottish martyr of the Reformation. Aged just 24, he was burned at the stake in 1528 for his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and his profession of God’s truth. As a result of the untimely death of this young man, many were brought to faith in the gospel.
With this challenging picture in our minds, the weekend drew to a close. We give heartfelt thanks to God for enabling our pastor to minister over these 49 years and for keeping the gospel light burning for another year at Emmanuel.