Notes from Meeting Sunday 22 November 2020

Lee Street Church

Notes of Meeting 22nd November 2020

Worship led by Ken Cowell

Psalm 145.1-2 “I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever.  Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever.”

Worship that really pleases God doesn’t just happen but we contribute to make it happen.  It doesn’t take place automatically or by chance but is mostly desired and planned.  In these two verses David says “I will praise” three times.  There was a definite and determined desire to worship God.  This wasn’t casual worship but committed worship.  His praise wasn’t spasmodic but constant for he says “Every day I will praise you”.  He didn’t just praise God on the Sabbath but every day.   Such was his commitment that he says he will worship God for ever and ever.  His worship wasn’t dependent on his comfortable situation or his changeable feelings.  On another occasion David declares “I will extol the Lord at all times”. (Psalm 34.1)     David’s God must be a wonderful God to be worthy to receive worship irrespective of the difficult circumstances of the worshipper.  He is such a wonderful God!   And He is our God too!  We are living in hard times and maybe last week wasn’t an easy week so maybe we don’t feel like praising God this morning.  Our praise to God when we don’t feel like it must give him extra joy.  In our first song the words “I will” occur 11 times.  Let’s sing this song with a real desire to praise God.


Song:  I will worship with all of my heart  (859)


I will worship (I will worship)

With all of my heart. (with all of my heart)

I will praise You (I will praise You)

With all of my strength. (all my strength)

I will seek You (I will seek You)

All of my days. (all of my days)

I will follow (I will follow)

All of Your ways. (all Your ways)


I will give You all my worship,

I will give You all my praise.

You alone I long to worship,

You alone are worthy of my praise.


I will bow down, (I will bow down)

Hail You as King. (hail You as King)

I will serve You, (I will serve You)

Give You everything. (give You everything)

I will lift up (I will lift up)

My eyes to Your throne, (my eyes to Your throne)

I will trust You, (I will trust You)

I will trust You alone. (trust You alone)

David Ruis.

Copyright © 1991 Shade Tree Music/

                Maranatha! Music/Adm. by CopyCare.



Psalm 145.3-6 “Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no-one can fathom.                                                                                                                                                              One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.  They will speak of the glorious splendour of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works.                                                                                                                                               They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds.” 


Song: O worship the King, All glorious above



All glorious above;

O gratefully sing

His power and His love:

Our Shield and Defender,

The Ancient of Days,

Pavilioned in splendour

And girded with praise.


O tell of His might,

O sing of His grace,

Whose robe is the light,

Whose canopy space;

His chariots of wrath

The deep thunder-clouds form,

And dark is His path

On the wings of the storm.


The earth, with its store

Of wonders untold,

Almighty, Thy power

Hath founded of old;

Hath ’stablished it fast,

By a changeless decree,

And round it hath cast,

Like a mantle, the sea.


Thy bountiful care

What tongue can recite?

It breathes in the air,

It shines in the light;

It streams from the hills,

It descends to the plain,

And sweetly distils

In the dew and the rain.


Frail children of dust,

And feeble as frail,

In Thee do we trust,

Nor find Thee to fail;

Thy mercies how tender,

How firm to the end,

Our Maker, Defender,

Redeemer, and Friend!


Psalm 145.8-9 “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.     The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.”

God our King not only has unlimited power but also abounding love.  Kings of the earth may be rich in land and wealth but our King is rich in love and compassion.  His love extends to all irrespective of nationality, culture, class or morality.  “He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5.45).  He also showed his love for sinners through his Son Jesus whom He sent into the world to die on the cross for our sins.  Jesus also showed his grace as He came rich as a King but who for our sake became poor so that we through his poverty might become rich.  Let’s sing of the wonderful love of Jesus our King.


Song:   The King of love is my delight - 1025


The King of love is my delight,

His eyes are fire, His face is light,

The First and Last, the Living One,

His name is Jesus.

And from His mouth there comes a sound

That shakes the earth and splits the ground,

And yet this voice is life to me,

The voice of Jesus.


And I will sing my songs of love,

Calling out across the earth;

The King has come,

The King of love has come.

And troubled minds can know His peace,

Captive hearts can be released;

The King has come,

The King of love has come.


My Lover’s breath is sweetest wine,

I am His prize, and He is mine;

How can a sinner know such joy?

Because of Jesus.

The wounds of love are in His hands,

The price is paid for sinful man;

Accepted child, forgiven son,

Because of Jesus.


And my desire is to have You near;

Lord, You know that You are welcome here.

Before such love, before such grace

I will let the walls come down.


Stuart Townend & Kevin Jamieson.

Copyright © 1997 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music.


Revelation 17.14 “They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings-and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers”

The book of Revelation is a difficult book to understand with many visions, symbols and interpretations.  But the main message is simply this; the Lamb who is Jesus that died on the cross, wins the ultimate victory over the devil and all evil.  He triumphs because he is the Lord of lords and King of kings.  After his death Jesus rose from the dead and “God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2. 9-11).   On the day of his victory all will acknowledge that he is Lord of lords and King of kings.  But we have as his followers, have already bowed before him and we now worship him.   


Song:  King of Kings, Majesty 1401



God of heaven living in me.

Gentle Saviour, closest Friend,

Strong Deliverer, Beginning and End:

All within me falls at Your throne.


Your majesty, I can but bow;

I lay my all before You now.

In royal robes I don't deserve,

I live to serve Your majesty.


Earth and heaven worship You,

Love eternal, faithful and true,

Who bought the nations, ransomed souls,

Brought this sinner near to Your throne:

All within me cries out in praise.


Your majesty, I can but bow;

I lay my all before You now.

In royal robes I don't deserve,

              I live to serve Your majesty

Jarrod Cooper
Copyright © 1996 Sovereign Lifestyle Music


Brian’s Talk – “Faith and Works”

One of the principle areas of debate by new testament writers and clearly by early-church believers was about the relative values of faith and works. How does God evaluate our lives – what is most important to Him? Does He measure us by how strong our faith that we claim to have in Him really is (you might call that the “loving the Lord your God” bit of our lives), or does He measure us by the good deeds and actions we carry out  (what we might call “works” or the “loving others” bit of our lives)? There are of course plenty of people in the world who think that by doing enough good deeds, giving away enough money to various charities, being kind to others, and by generally being what we might call “good people”, they will automatically get a pat on the back by God at judgement day, whenever that might be. And on the other side of the coin, there have always been men and women of faith who are so wrapped up in their spiritual lives that they have no time or energy to give to menial tasks like helping some of their needy fellow people.

There are of course many different views as to how we should interpret biblical instructions in our 21st century world. But when we enter in to any discussion about how we should be living our lives as believers, I guess the very first thing we should ask ourselves is “What did Jesus have to say, if anything, about it?”. It’s easy sometimes to get into philosophical arguments, and to ignore the one true authority.

I want to begin today with reading a very practical passage from the Epistle of James, before checking out his words against some of the teaching of Jesus as recorded for us in the Gospels. James  writes these words in chapter 2 of his letter on the subject of Faith and Deeds:


What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?


Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.


If one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?


In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.


But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.


You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.


James seems to be writing from the heart to encourage his readers to not only believe in the Lord,  but for their faith to also have a practical out-working in their daily lives. He had been one of the leaders of the Christian church which grew up so quickly in Jerusalem after the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles at Pentecost. It was a church which in its early days had put a lot of effort in to meeting the physical needs of its members. Many were poor and needy people, and the better-off members gave willingly so that no-one was living in want. In Acts 2: 45 we read “Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need”.  So he had personal experience of the tasks which he believed the church was to carry out as it grew at a phenomenal rate in the early years.

This was indeed putting their faith into action. So James tells us here “faith without works is dead” (2:26). He then goes on to give two great examples of faith in action from the Old Testament – examples of which his Jewish readers would have been well aware.

Firstly he reminds his readers of Abraham, of the time in his life when he was called by God to take his son Isaac – the son God had given to him and his wife Sarah in their old age -  and to sacrifice him as a burnt offering at mount Moriah. Abraham did just as God commanded – and having tied up his precious son and laid him on the alter, he was ready with a knife to slay him. We of course know that an angel appeared and told Abraham to stop him, because by that time God was completely satisfied with his obedience and trust. His actions had however demonstrated very clearly his faith in God. So God was able to accept him, declare him righteous, and call him his “friend”.

Secondly, James mentions the interesting case of the prostitute Rahab, who had put her own life at risk by sheltering the Israeli spies who had been sent out by Joshua to check out the defences at Jericho. She again expressed her faith in the God of Israel, and trusted him to provide subsequent protection for her – and James writes that she was declared righteous by God because of her actions.

So – faith and deeds, or actions, coming together as equally important for us if we are to be doing what God really wants us to do. But what did Jesus have to say about this?

So I want now to refer back to a story which Jesus told – it’s what we call the parable of the Good Samaritan. I’m not going to read it now, as it’s so well known to you all.

The context for the story was when an expert in the Jewish law stood up, probably during one of the times when Jesus was teaching the crowds in the temple courtyards, and asked him the question: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” So Jesus simply asks him “Well, what does the law say?” And being the expert he was, he got the answer right – yes, he knew the law. But he had one issue with it – he knew he should “love his neighbour”, but then who was his neighbour? I guess he hoped that Jesus would say something like “your family, and the guys you work with each day”. He might have accepted that.

But remember Jesus was something of a revolutionary  at heart– he really wanted to bring change into people’s lives – he’d got a new way for them to see each and to act towards one another. This way was to be based on the prime attributes of God – compassion and love.

 So Jesus relates the story – a man savagely attacked on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, a place where many had suffered attacks by bandits hidden away in the rocks. They had no doubt walked off with any money he had, and had left him for dead by the roadside.

Enter a priest – a well-respected member of the community, he’d probably just been conducting worship in temple, and was now with his duties complete for the day, intent on getting home as soon as possible. On seeing the body lying  beside the road, he chose to pass by on the other side.

A little later, another temple worker, a Levite, comes on the scene. He too chooses to ignore the body and to continue on his way.

Two people who could have shown at the least some compassion for the injured man, but who showed their complete indifference to his need. They both went out of their way to avoid getting involved – they saw a need, but each chose to pursue their own objectives, rather than show any interest in the welfare of the stricken man.

Now enter a third passer-by, no doubt also intent on completing his journey as quickly and safely as possible. But when he saw the injured man by the roadside, he didn’t emulate the previous two travellers by passing -by on the other side – instead he took pity on him. More than that, he didn’t just feel sorry for him and go on his way, but he stopped and attended to the man’s injuries. He treated him as you would a friend, giving him oil and wine to ease the pain of his wounds.

This surely was true compassion, stirring him up in his heart and compelling him to take action in the interest of the injured man. But note what this third passer-by was – a Samaritan! To the devout Jews, Samaritans were considered very much as second-class citizens, much despised and rejected by  Jewish society. Jews would normally have nothing whatsoever to do with the Samaritans, considering themselves to be far superior in God’s sight. So what was this Samaritan doing helping a Jew of all people? Here was true love in action for a “neighbour”. He didn’t look at the man, question who he was, and then decide what to do – he simply looked at the man’s need, and took action accordingly. Despite the obvious danger to himself, despite delaying his own journey, he was willing to show true love for the man in such desperate need.

His next action continued to show his total commitment to help. He picks the man up, puts him on his own donkey, and takes him to a local inn, that I guess he knew well, for the night to help him recover. He pays the full cost of care, even agreeing to pay any further costs involved in the man’s stay.

What a contrast we see in this story, between the indifference of the priest and the Levite, and the compassion shown by the Samaritan. Remember, the background for this story was a Jew asking Jesus “who is my neighbour?”. I think we can see a number of principles about loving our neighbour from this passage:

  • Firstly, I’m sure that the Priest and the Levite would each have tried to justify their indifference to the needs of the injured man – they were in a hurry to get home for dinner, stopping on the road might have put them in danger of attack, they might become tainted by contact with the man’s injuries, they weren’t experts at first aid, so on and so on. But what they really lacked was any kind of love – they were totally lacking in any true feeling for the injured man. They were only concerned for their own well-being, caring nothing for others.

Sadly, that’s the way of many in the world today, although during the lock-downs caused by the pandemic I do believe we’ve seen people coming together when permitted to support each other, particularly the elderly and the more needy folk in our society. Record numbers of people are sadly having to resort to seeking help from Foodbanks, but we are seeing people coming forward and being extra-generous in their donations to Foodbanks generally.

  • Secondly, our “neighbour” may be a person of any race, having a faith or no faith, from any nation or social background – if he or she is in need Jesus says they are my neighbours and need to be treated with dignity, respect and compassion.
  • Thirdly, “Loving my neighbour” as commanded by Jesus means taking action to meet people’s needs. It wasn’t to be a sort of “optional extra” for which you gain Brownie points on your way to heaven. It was to be a fundamental part of doing the will of God in the world. You can’t say you love God, whilst at the same time rejecting the needs of your fellow human beings.

I believe that compassion demonstrates the reality of our relationship with God. Good works won’t earn us a place in heaven, only God’s grace gives us that. But they do give evidence of who we are, and are an expression of our love to God who has poured out His blessings upon us, and has accepted us as His children.

What do we think about I wonder when we see a particular need right in front of us? Do we respond like the Priest and the Levite and find some reason to do nothing? It’s only too easy to justify in-action, as there are always a thousand other things we could be doing, and which suddenly seem to demand our attention. There’s probably nothing wrong with our motives for doing any of them, but what if they do stop us being a good neighbour to someone else who was never on our list of priorities? Many of us are of an age when we can no longer jump up and help people out with tasks that a few years ago we would have enjoyed doing. May be we’ve got to take another look at ourselves and see what new things we can be doing to help others. For some, it might be as simple and easy as committing to picking up the phone and making contact with someone we haven’t spoken with for some years. Maybe even the old-fashioned art of letter-writing might make a come-back, for those who can remember how to write. There is still something special about receiving a hand-written communication, rather than a text message – even though it may take several days or even weeks to get anywhere.

There may be times when we find it very hard to heed Jesus call to “love one another, as I have loved you”. We could all I’m sure run off a list of people to whom we feel we couldn’t possibly show any love or compassion. But there’s an interesting passage in Matthew 25 which I would like to remind you of.

Jesus was teaching his disciples about future happenings at the end of time, when all people will be judged for how they have used their lives, and here he speaks about separating the sheep from the goats, the sheep being those he will accept into his kingdom.


"Then the King will say to those on his right, ’Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.


For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,


I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’


"Then the righteous will answer him, ’Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?


When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?


When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’


"The King will reply, ’Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’


What a list here of what in Jesus day would have been seen as good deeds – providing help for:

  • the hungry, - so many suffering because of wars
  • the thirsty – drought conditions in parts of the world, partly due to global warming
  • for strangers – refugees, from wars or economic migrants escaping from tyrannic leaders
  • for those needing clothes
  • for the sick – Covid-19 is just one enemy which is ravaging our world today
  •  for prisoners – some unjustly detained simply because of their faith

Quite a challenge – looks so like the needs of much of the world today – you could say we haven’t come far humanitarian wise in the last 2000 years.

So Jesus says that in serving these needy people we are in fact serving Him. Does that make a difference to the way we see others? We’re called by Jesus to be His servants, to be as Jesus to folk in our families and in our communities.

Jesus command was for us to ”love one another as I have loved you”. I’m sure each one of us is so thankful to the Lord for his love, grace and mercy to us – He’s forgiven us, given us new life, made us His children and given us the promise of eternal life. The challenge to us all is “How am I showing forth His love in my life?”

Am I behaving like the Good Samaritan, responding to the needs I see around me each day?

In chapter 2 of his letter to the Ephesians, Paul reminds us what being a true follower of Christ really means.


For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God —


not by works, so that no one can boast.


For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

We’ve become believers solely thanks to God’s grace and unmerited favour towards us – not as the result of any effort on our part. It’s a free gift, for which we can only say “Thank you Lord”. But God also wants us to respond by doing the “good works He has prepared for us”.

What has he got for you to do today – this week – over the coming Christmas period? We were studying the first chapter of Mark’s gospel on Wednesday evening, which details some of the events early on in Jesus’ earthly ministry. Jesus had already healed many people of their diseases, when one man, a poor leper, came to Him to be healed. And Mark records that “Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched the man” (1:41). Being a leper, this man probably hadn’t been touched lovingly by anyone for years. Jesus himself was “Filled with compassion” – as He saw true need before His very eyes, and as He dealt with that need in the only way possible, by casting out the leprosy from the man’s body – making him clean and pure again – able once again to live life in his community.

May God open up our hearts and maybe our wallets too with true compassion this Christmas, as we  look for the “good works” God wants us to do in His world today.


Song: Filled with compassion (716)


Filled with compassion for all creation,

Jesus came into a world that was lost.

There was but one way that He could save us,

Only through suffering death on a cross.

God, You are waiting,

Your heart is breaking

For all the people who live on the earth.

Stir us to action,

Filled with Your passion

For all the people who live on the earth.


Great is Your passion for all the people

Living and dying without knowing You.

Having no Saviour, they’re lost forever,

If we don’t speak out and lead them to You.

From every nation we shall be gathered,

Millions redeemed shall be Jesus’ reward.

Then He will turn and say to His Father:

‘Truly my suffering was worth it all.’


Noel & Tricia Richards.

Copyright © 1994 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music.


Next Sunday:

Speaker expected (on Zoom) is William Fleming (Camberley)