Notes of Meeting Sunday 10th April 2022

Lee Street Church

Notes of Meeting 10th April 2022

Worship led by Sue Clarke

Today is Palm Sunday – Palm Sunday falls on the Sunday before Easter. It commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. On Palm Sunday Jesus arrived in Jerusalem and was cheered as a king.

Most of the people did not understand what kind of king Jesus would be. They expected their Messiah to be a great political and military leader who would free them from the tyranny of the Roman Empire. But the kingdom of God is not of this world. It is a spiritual kingdom that is now growing in the hearts of people who put their faith and trust in God.

We are privileged in knowing that Jesus is the King of Kings.

Psalm 8 v1,2+9

“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! You have set Your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants You have ordained praise. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth.”

We can worship Jesus as our King and Saviour. Let’s fling wide the gates and welcome Him!

SONG: Welcome King of Kings  1093

Imagine royalty today:

A king would wear an elaborate robe and hold a very ornate sceptre- comprised of many jewels – Jesus was rich but became poor for our sake.

You’d expect a Rolls Royce as the means of transport, but instead Jesus’ transport was a donkey – lowly and humble. Zechariah prophesised that one day Jerusalem’s king would come in this way.

Zechariah 9v9

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem. See your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

When royalty is expected there’s usually a red carpet laid out. Replace that with old coats/ and palm leaves.

Mark 11 v8

“Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields.”

Our King demonstrated the power of love over any expectations.

SONG: Meekness and Majesty   390

Jesus didn’t get an official welcome from important leaders, but was cheered by the crowds of pilgrims who were travelling to Jerusalem for the annual Passover celebration.

 

Mark 11 v9-10

“Those who went ahead, and those who followed shouted, Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”

SONG: Hosanna, Hosanna 189

Jesus knew His mission was almost finished. As they travelled to Jerusalem, Jesus warned His disciples that He would soon be put to death, and after three days He would rise again. [The account of this can be found in John 16]. In His prayer before His arrest in John 17 v1-5 Jesus  prays: “Father the time has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son may glorify You. For You granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those You have given Him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God and Jesus Christ , whom You have sent. I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave me to do. And now Father glorify me in Your presence with the glory I had with You before the world began.”

We know the continuation of the events back in AD 30 odd. Jesus completed the work He was sent to do.

SONG: Jesus is King   289

 

Anyone visiting a King for a meal would take a costly gift. Jesus did not receive gifts from His followers. Later that week sharing a meal He broke bread and gave it to His disciples as a sign that He was giving everything to them- even His own life as He would die on the cross.

Now the time had come for Him to claim His title as the Messiah - the Saviour that God had promised.

Philippians 2 v9-11

“Therefore 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, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

SONG: Majesty   379

1 Chronicles 29 v11

“Yours O Lord is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendour, for everything in heaven and earth is Yours. Yours O Lord is the kingdom and You are exalted as head over all!”

Exodus 15 v11

“Who among the gods is like You O Lord? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders. In Your unfailing love You will lead the people You have redeemed.”

SONG: Jesus is Lord    1387

Ken’s Talk

Leading People to Jesus     Luke 5. 17-26

It must have been exciting following Jesus around each day for you wouldn’t know what surprising things would happen.  Miracles would be taking place so frequently that people would be living in great expectation.   The miracle we just read about was really dramatic both in how it happened, what was said by Jesus and the response both negative and positive.  The interesting thing about this miracle was what it took for these four men to get their paralysed friend to Jesus.

 We too, in our gospel outreach are seeking to lead people to Jesus.  From this week we along with others in Horley and throughout the UK are using the booklet “Try Praying” to introduce Jesus to those who don’t know him.  I think there are a number of lessons in this incident that can help us in this task.  This event which brought the paralytic to meet Jesus was not a chance occurrence but the result of a process well carried out.                                                            

I don’t believe that this paralytic was a stranger to these four men.  Their contact developed into a relationship where they became familiar with this man’s desperate need of healing.  They then became concerned but felt helpless to do anything.  We too can identify with that having forged close relationships with various people and have become aware of their needs.  That becomes the foundation for us to share in God’s timing the message of Jesus.  Along with knowing some of their everyday problems we know also that their greatest need is the forgiveness of their sin and to be right with God, which sadly they don’t see their need of.

What provoked these men to take action?  They moved from just concern for their friend to compassion for their friend.  It’s compassion and deep love that produces action.  When Jesus saw two blind men we read, “Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes.” (Matthew 20.34) On another occasion Jesus saw a leper and it says, “Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man.” (Mark 1.41)  Concern may show sympathy but compassion sympathy with action.  Jesus not only showed compassion for man’s physical condition but also for his spiritual condition.  In Matthew 9.36 we read; “When he saw the crowds he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”  Because of his compassion for us his lost sheep, he came into the world to give his life for them on the cross, and then sent his disciples to preach the good news to the world.  We are his disciples today to share that message of salvation to those around us who are lost. 

Whilst it’s really good that we have a concern as a church for people’s physical needs in that we pray for them each week.   But do we have the same burden in the church for people’s spiritual need, as much as we have for their physical needs?  More so than ever, do we have compassion for them that we really want to share with them the message for their eternal salvation?    Whilst the four men had compassion to help their friend there was no opportunity to do so for Jesus was not in the area.  But that changed as Jesus returned to his hometown after travelling throughout Galilee where he had been preaching and doing many miracles.  They heard that he was in a house in Capernaum so now the door of opportunity had opened for them to get their paralytic friend to Jesus. 

Using the “Try Praying” booklet over the next two or three weeks could be our opportunity to get people to make contact with Jesus.  No doubt the four men rushed off to Capernaum carrying their friend with the exciting prospect of his healing through meeting Jesus.  After all Jesus had been doing miracles in many places so they believed it also could happen also for their friend.   They were no doubt thrilled that this opportunity had opened up and were anticipating their friend’s healing and longed to see him walking.     As they got near to the house their hearts sank as they saw so many people standing outside, that there was no way they could get into the house where Jesus was through the door, especially with a man on a mat.   What were they to do?  Give it up as a lost cause being satisfied that they tried but hadn’t succeeded?  Or should they go home and try again tomorrow?  As we seek to share Christ with others we also must expect some opposition from various quarters.  Just as the crowd blocked the way to Jesus and created fear and a feeling of insignificance for the four men, so we can have a similar sense of inadequacy as we try to speak of Jesus, becoming tempted to remain silent and not say anything about Jesus.  We can easily believe that even if we did speak up it would have no impact so what’s the point of trying. These are some of the devil’s tactics to keep us quiet, for he knows that the seed of the gospel sown in people’s hearts has the power to bring salvation.

What were the four men going to do being faced with such formidable opposition?  Actually they were optimistic to overcome the obstacle knowing and believing the power of the Lord was present with them to heal the sick. (v17)  They thought of the audacious plan of lowering their friend through the roof right in front of Jesus!  They carried their paralytic friend on his mat up the stairs by the wall on to the roof.  The roof was similar to our thatched rooves so they could remove the tiles making a hole big enough to lower him down on his mat in front of Jesus.  You can imagine the commotion caused as some of the debris from the roof began to fall on the heads of the people below. This was certainly an unusual interruption in the middle of Jesus’s talk.  The people inside the house didn’t take kindly to such disregard for property on the roof or their rude interruption as the people were listening to Jesus preach.                                                                                                                                  

Why did they go to such lengths to get the man to Jesus?  For them it was an absolute priority in order to see their friend healed.  Whilst the crowd looked on in indignation Jesus was thrilled to see such determination and faith.  Where did this faith come from? 

Firstly, they had heard that Jesus had healed so many people before he came to Capernaum.  They thought if he could do miracles in other places then he can also do them here too.  It’s easy to doubt that people we know could become Christians yet Jesus has saved all kinds of people of various backgrounds from different nations, so that should encourage us to believe that Jesus can work in the same way where we live. 

Secondly, we read “that the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick. “ How could the Lord’s power be seen amongst them in healing?  Jesus gives the clear answer, “When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”  He “saw their faith first” then he spoke with power.  It is faith in the word of Jesus and the presence of Jesus that releases the power of Jesus.                             We read what Jesus says in Matthew 28. 19-20 “Go and make disciples……And surely I am with you always “…  As Jesus commands us to go and share the gospel he promises that his Presence will go with us.  We are not alone.  As we trust on his Presence being with us we can experience his power as we witness to others.

When then Jesus said to their paralytic companion “Friend your sins are forgiven” they must have been disappointed.  They didn’t bring him to have his heart cleansed of sin but his legs healed of paralysis.  Why did Jesus say this?  It wasn’t because his past sin had caused his sickness.  Although many people of that time believed sickness was a result of sins which had been committed by the sick person.  We must be careful that we don’t make the same mistake for it is rare for that to be the case.  We remember Job who suffered so much that his so called friends blamed it all of the fact that he must have sinned.  But God rebuked them and declared Job to be a righteous man.                        Why then did Jesus say to the man: “Friend your sins are forgiven.”?                                                                                                                                    It was to show to the man that the forgiveness of sin is more important than a healthy body.  Even if a person is healed he will eventually die so it is only temporary healing.  However, when you receive the forgiveness of sin you are saved from sin for all eternity. Having forgiveness of sin is far more valuable than the cure of any terminal illness.

Not only did the four men face opposition from the crowd but Jesus faced it from the religious leaders when he said to the paralytic: “Friend your sins are forgiven.”   They were right in saying that only God forgave sin but were blind not see that God in human body stood before them and had authority to forgive his sin.  Jesus proved his authority to forgive sin in a very interesting way.  He posed the question, “Which is easier: to say, “Your sins are forgiven” or to say “Get up and walk”?  The real answer would be to say “Your sins are forgiven.“ That is because there is no way of proving it has happened as it takes place in the person’s heart which cannot be seen so presenting no proof that it has actually taken place.   However, to say “Get up and walk” is much more difficult for the authority must be shown by the man actually getting up to walk in obedience to what he has been commanded to do.  What does Jesus do?  “He said to the paralysed man, “ I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”  It is one thing to say “Get up and walk” it but another matter completely to see it happen!   What happens?  “Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God.”  The logic of Jesus in this miracle is quite amazing.  When the man got up and walked home it showed that Jesus had authority over paralysis.  If Jesus demonstrated authority over the most difficult problem, that of enabling the man to walk, then we can assume he also has authority over the less difficult problem of forgiving the man his sin.  So Jesus can declare “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sin.”  Through this miracle Jesus clearly shows he is God in the flesh who one has the authority on earth to forgive sin.  Sadly though it is clearly revealed to the religious leaders that Jesus is God, they reject the truth and depart in unbelief.  However, everyone in the crowd were amazed and give praise to God.                                                                                                                                          

The four men who brought their paralytic friend to Jesus didn’t realise that not only their friend would walk again but would also the receive forgiveness for his sin and have a new life with God which would continue for all eternity.    

As we also seek to lead people to Jesus through “Try Praying” we are playing a vital part working along with God to see people have the opportunity to receive the forgiveness of sin and eternal life.  Our role is just sow the seed of God’s Word and leave it to God to bring it forth as fruit to eternal life.  We ourselves may not see the fruit of our sowing.  Also our part may just be a link in the chain of that person’s salvation that we learn about later.

Let me just close with an illustration.  I’ve known John for over two years as we meet almost every day in Tilgate  Park.  About two weeks ago when talking about the terrible Ukraine situation I was able to share with him that I was a Christian.  Last Friday I took a “Try Praying” booklet with me just in case an opportunity to pass it on to someone occurred.  I met John as usual and he brought up again the terrible incident of the 50 people killed at the railway station in Ukraine.  I felt it was an opportunity to give the booklet.   I explained that many people have found the booklet helpful in praying to God and he gladly received it saying he would read it.   He then told me that the other day his daughter asked him what he was doing on Easter Sunday.  He said he might go for a ride on his motor bike.  She asked him if he would he go with her to her church which is an evangelical church just nearby.    He promised he would.  At the same time he told me of a lady he meets regularly at the gym at K2 who goes to a church in Broadfield. 

The other day she said to him “John Jesus loves you.” Here are three people who don’t know each other, but who are working together to bring John to Jesus.  Very similar to the miracle we thought about this morning of the four men who brought this man to Jesus.  We never know what can happen when we sow the seed of God’s Word.  Even if takes a long time, as it says in 1. Corinthians 3.6 “but God made it grow.”   Let us always remember that as well as working together as a church we are also “workers together with God.”   May we all pray for each other as we seek to sow God’s word through “Try Praying”   In the coming day “Let’s use it then lose it!”

Closing Song: Everyone needs compassion

 

Notices

  1. Wednesday C4H Lent Course – 7.45pm at St Barts, and Thursday 10.30am at HBC.
  2. Good Friday joint C4H service – 10.30am at St Barts
  3. Easter Day – Sunrise Service at 6.30am in Horley Rec – Rose Garden; you will be able to purchase breakfast after the service at the café.
  4. Easter Day – 10.15am – Easter Celebration at Lee Street.