Notes from Meeting Sunday 4th July 2021

Lee Street Church

Notes of Meeting 4th July 2021

 

Worship led by Brian Legg

Let’s start by remembering into whose presence we are coming this morning. The King of kings, the creator of all things – every good and perfect thing around us He made, and he continues to pour out his mercies upon us. So let’s begin our worship -

 

Song 1203 Come, let us worship the King of kings

COME, LET US WORSHIP the King of kings,

The Creator of all things.

Let your soul arise to Him,

Come and bless the Lord our King.

 

Lord, my heart and voice I raise,

To praise Your wondrous ways,

And with confidence I come

To approach Your heavenly throne.

 

Come and fill this place with Your glory,

Come and captivate our gaze;

Come and fill us with Your fire,

That the world might know Your name.

 

(For) You are God,

And You’re worthy to be praised,

And You are good,

For Your love will never end:

The great I Am,

You are faithful in all of Your ways.

(Repeat)

 

Nathan Fellingham Copyright © 2001 Thankyou Music

 

“With confidence I come to approach Your heavenly throne”.

Hebrew 4 16 says “Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Do we sometimes come before the Lord in fear – perhaps we feel that we are failures for letting Him down in some way in the past week? A bit like we might have felt approaching our school teacher when we hadn’t done our homework?

It’s amazing – we’ve been invited by the King of Kings into his throne room – what a privilege! Are we prepared – have we got the right clothes on, washed properly, tidied our hair, clean socks, and a smile on our face?

We’ve been studying the book of Esther on Wednesday evenings, and the queen could only approach the king when specifically summoned by him, and she had to be well prepared to meet him, otherwise she would have been thrown out.

Well, I’m glad that God doesn’t look on outward appearances, but on our hearts. And if we’ve been cleansed by the precious blood of Jesus, we can come freely into his presence to bring him our praises this morning.

Sometimes it’s perhaps hard to smile, when the cares of the week have somewhat overcome us – but we know there’s always his welcoming arms as we come into his presence just as we are.

Let’s continue our worship with

 

Song 310  Jesus, we enthrone You

JESUS, WE ENTHRONE YOU,

We proclaim You our King.

Standing here in the midst of us,

We raise You up with our praise.

And as we worship, build a throne,

And as we worship, build a throne,

And as we worship, build a throne:

Come, Lord Jesus, and take Your place.

 

The greatness of this Jesus we are worshipping is describes in the opening verses of the book of Hebrews “

1

 

 

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways,

2

 

but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.

3

 

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

 

Our next song takes up some of these thoughts - reminds us a little more about who Jesus is, and what he did for us – he was there in creation, he’s sustaining the universe,, he left the glories of heaven and came to dwell on earth, only to be rejected and to die in our place on a cross. But that wasn’t the end – because the tomb was found to be “gloriously empty”.

 

Song 1387 “Jesus is Lord”

'JESUS IS LORD' - the cry that echoes through creation;
Resplendent power, eternal Word, our Rock.
The Son of God, the King whose glory fills the heavens,
Yet bids us come to taste this living Bread.
 
Jesus is Lord - whose voice sustains the stars and planets,
Yet in His wisdom laid aside His crown.
Jesus the Man, who washed our feet, who bore our suffering,
Became a curse to bring salvation's plan.
 
Jesus is Lord - the tomb is gloriously empty!
Not even death could crush this King of love!
The price is paid, the chains are loosed, and we're forgiven,
And we can run into the arms of God.
 
'Jesus is Lord' - a shout of joy, a cry of anguish,
As He returns, and every knee bows low.
Then every eye and every heart will see His glory,

The Judge of all will take His children home.

              

Stuart Townend & Keith Getty Copyright © 2003 Thankyou Music

 

Yes, the price is paid, and you and I are forgiven people because of what Christ has done, and we’ll be thanking him for that as we share in the Breaking of Bread shortly. The wonderful thing is that, as he hung there upon that cross, he was thinking not of himself, but of you and me.

 

One of my favourite songs (I have many!) is one that is still sung by Matt Redman

 

Song: 1151 Above all powers

 

ABOVE ALL powers, above all kings,

Above all nature and all created things;

Above all wisdom and all the ways of man,

You were here before the world began.

 

Above all kingdoms, above all thrones,

Above all wonders the world has ever known;

Above all wealth and treasures of the earth,

There's no way to measure what You're worth.

 

Crucified, laid behind the stone;

You lived to die, rejected and alone;

Like a rose trampled on the ground,

You took the fall and thought of me,

Above all.

 

Lenny LeBlanc & Paul BalocheCopyright © 1999 nsongs Publishing/Integrity's Hosanna! Music/Sovereign Music UK

 

Our last song before we share in the bread and wine together reminds us that, because of Jesus death, we have indeed been pardoned and forgiven.

Song: 1187 Before the throne of God above

 

BEFORE THE THRONE OF GOD ABOVE,

I have a strong, a perfect plea,

A great High Priest whose name is Love,

Who ever lives and pleads for me.

My name is graven on His hands,

My name is written on His heart;

I know that while in heaven He stands

No tongue can bid me thence depart,

No tongue can bid me thence depart.

 

When Satan tempts me to despair,

And tells me of the guilt within,

Upward I look and see Him there

Who made an end to all my sin.

Because the sinless Saviour died,

My sinful soul is counted free;

For God the Just is satisfied

To look on Him and pardon me,

To look on Him and pardon me.

 

Behold Him there! The risen Lamb,

My perfect, spotless righteousness;

The great unchangeable I AM,

The King of glory and of grace!

One with Himself I cannot die,

My soul is purchased with His blood;

My life is hid with Christ on high,

With Christ, my Saviour and my God,

With Christ my Saviour and my God.

 

Breaking of Bread

Romans 8 :1 – 3

1

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

2

because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

3

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.

It’s that offering for sin that we remember, as we take the bread and wine in remembrance of what Jesus did for us. An offering which satisfied the righteous demands of a Holy God, and met our needs for a saviour. Someone to bridge that immense gap between God and sinful man.

 

Ken’s Messsage

Forgiveness           

Matthew 6:12    Luke 5: 18-26

If you went on a round of golf for the first time you would be surprised with certain words that were spoken.  You would hear the word “birdie”, “eagle” and even on a rare occasion “albatross.”  You might think that all golfers are fond of birds.  However, these bird names have a special meaning in a game of golf.   When you play golf there’s an average score for each hole which they call par.  That score is determined by the distance to the hole from you were start.  The longer the distance the higher is the score. If you score one below par it is called a “birdie”, two below par is an “eagle” and three below par is an albatross. 

How did these terms come about?  The word “birdie” in American slang means cool or good.  But if you get two under par is better than a birdie so they call it an eagle.  Three under par is a very rare score so they call that an albatross because it is a rare bird.  The meaning of these bird names in golf is very different from their normal use.  If you don’t know their special meaning then you will not understand fully a game of golf. 

It is similar with certain important words in the Bible.  We know their meaning in normal living but they have special meaning in the Bible which we need to know to fully understand the true meaning of the Bible.  Last time we thought about the word grace whose Bible’s meaning is “the unmerited, undeserved, unearned kindness and favour of God” which is very different from our normal understanding of grace.                                                                                                                

The word I want to think about this morning is “Forgiveness,” whose meaning is fundamental to understand the Christian message. What does forgiveness mean?

                                                                                                                                

A dictionary definition could be summed up as “a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance towards a person or group who has harmed you”.   Our normal understanding of forgiveness is that showing forgiveness to others.  However, the Bible’s main emphasis is not on our forgiving of each other but on our receiving forgiveness from God.  In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus teaches us to say “Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.”  Jesus is saying that forgiveness from God is the starting point of our forgiveness towards others.   The forgiveness of our sin from God is the most important thing in our lives. That is clearly shown in the other reading we had.                                                                                                                          

Four men bring their paralytic friend to Jesus to be healed.  Sadly, because of the crowd they aren’t able to get near to Jesus.  However, they climb on the roof to lower their friend through the roof in front of Jesus.  This shows their determination and faith.  Their faces must have dropped with disappointment when they heard what Jesus said.  “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”  Had Jesus misunderstood their friend’s desperate situation?  Not at all.  It couldn’t be more obvious from Jesus’ viewpoint, that this man’s greatest need was a clean heart more than legs that could walk. 

Jesus is saying to us also that forgiveness of our sin from God in our hearts is more important than a healthy body.  It’s not that Jesus wasn’t concerned for the man’s health as he shows later by healing him.  But he is showing him and us also that first things must come first and the priority is our relationship with God.  

Why do we need forgiveness of sin?  It is to put us in a right relationship with God.  Right from birth we were born sinners which resulted in sinful actions that caused separation from God.  The man’s paralysis robbed him from fullness of life.  Jesus was about to give him a new life through healing him to live with the ability to walk as God had planned for him. 

Jesus said “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”   I need forgiveness of sin so I can enter into a right relationship with God to be restored to fullness of life, that of knowing and glorifying God.  But that isn’t all.  I need forgiveness of sin so I can be with God in eternity. 

When Jesus was dying on the cross one of the thieves turned from his sin and believed in Jesus saying “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  He only had a couple of hours left on earth so what was the point of repenting and believing in Jesus now?  Surely it was too late.  What did Jesus say to him?   “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”  The thief only had a brief time with Jesus on earth, but he has been with Jesus in heaven already over 2000 years and will be with him for all eternity.  We need the forgiveness of sin so we can spend eternity with Jesus and not be separated from him in Hell.

How did the paralytic receive the forgiveness of his sin?  Jesus was the person who declared boldly to the paralytic “your sins are forgiven.” (v20)  Immediately, the religious leaders  accused Jesus of blasphemy stating, “that who can forgive sins but God alone?”  They were right in what they said, but wrong in that they failed to believe that God was standing before them in human form so Jesus could forgive sin because he is God.   But also, he can forgive because he paid the price for sin on the cross, he is the only Saviour.  There is no forgiveness apart from the sacrifice of Jesus for us on the cross.                                                                                                                            

During the 30 years of civil war in Northern Ireland many lives were lost.  One part time policeman had a shop in Londonderry.  Being a policeman put him in a dangerous position with the IRA.  He had a son who just went off to university in England and was now home for the Christmas break.  He was helping his father in the shop one day when two gunmen entered the shop and pointed a gun at his father.  Quickly the son jumped in front of his father and was shot and died whilst the gunmen ran off.  Later his father spoke of his son as the one who gave his life for him, who died in his place even though he had done nothing wrong.  We too can say the Son of God loved me and gave himself for me.  Our forgiveness came at a high price as we remembered this morning at the breaking of bread.                                                                                     

What was the condition upon which Jesus gave this lame man forgiveness?  In verse 20 it states clearly, “When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”  It wasn’t the effort he made to get to Jesus or anything he could do, but simple trust in Christ to heal him.  We too are urged in the Bible only to trust Jesus for our forgiveness, “everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."

The other condition for forgiveness is repentance as seen in Peter’s first message after Pentecost.  “Repent and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.”  Repentance means a change of mind and direction. It is a turning from sin and a turning to Christ to follow him.  Without that there can be no forgiveness. 

The turning to follow Christ is demonstrated in being baptized.  Baptism is the outward expression of faith which Jesus commands.   Though baptism isn’t necessary for salvation, it is important as the first step of obedience in following Christ.  So the forgiveness of sins is through Christ and his death together with our repentance from sin and our faith in him and our obedience to follow him.

After trusting in Christ what proof is there that I have been forgiven by God?  We could say because the Bible says so.  Or you might say I’m a changed person because I go to church, pray and read the Bible.  Those are valid reasons.  But Jesus points out another important proof of our forgiveness. “Forgive us our debts as we have forgiven our debtors.” As we have been forgiven by God we now prove our forgiveness from God by forgiving others.  In fact Paul goes on to say “forgiving each other as in Christ God forgave you.”(Ephesians 4:32)   We are to forgive others in the way that God has forgiven us.  You might say I could never do that.  That would be true in our own strength, but if we chose to, God will enable us to forgive like he forgives.

How does God forgive? 

God doesn’t count the times.  Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother.  He thought seven was a fair limit. But Jesus said seventy times seven, which means the number of times is limitless.  How do we fare on that level?

God does not grade our sins.  Whether the sins are small or great, few or many, done once or oft repeated.  God cleanses us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)  What about our forgiveness to others? 

God keeps no record of our wrongs.  He chooses not to remember our sins. (Hebrews 10.17)  Do we keep a record of the sins of others?   We can only forgive like God when we realise how much God has forgiven us.  It is when we forget the depth of grace God has shown to us that we find it hard to forgive each other of even quite small things.  It has been said that an unforgiving spirit is the number 1 killer to spiritual life.  It is something we all often battle with.   Someone has said we act like beasts when we kill each other, we act like men when we judge each other, but we act like God when we forgive each other. It is when we forgive each other that we also have the real assurance that we are forgiven by God.  I just want to close with a poem.                                                                                            

Forgive our sins as we forgive you taught us to pray

And you alone can grant us grace to live the words we say                                                                                

How can you pardon reach and bless the unforgiving heart                             

That broods on wrongs and will not let all bitterness depart                                                                              

In blazing light your cross reveals the truth we dimly know                                                                         

How small the debts men owe to us how great our debt to you                                                                 

Lord cleanse the debt within our souls and bid resentment cease                                                                            

And then reconciled to God and man our lives will spread your peace.                                                       

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors”

 

Notices

  1. Wednesday at 7.30pm – Zoom bible study
  2. Saturday at 11.am in Horley Rec – Covid 19 Memorial Service – led by Churches for Horley
  3. Next Sunday 10.30am service – speaker Brian Legg