Notes of Meeting Sunday 10th October 2021

Lee Street Church

Notes of Meeting 10th October 2021

Worship led by Ken Cowell

John 4.21-24. 21. Jesus declared, “Believe me woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23. Yet a time is coming and now has come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks.  24. God is spirit and his worshippers must worship in spirit and truth.”                                                      

Recently we bought some dining chairs that I had to put together.  I’m not good at following those kinds of instructions and sure enough I made a mistake on my first attempt.  When I came to do the second chair I thought I could it without the instructions but I couldn’t because I’d forgotten them.  Jesus here gives us instruction to be a “true worshipper”.    But so often we don’t follow the instructions and even forget them but still go ahead thinking we are true worshippers. The essence of being a true worshipper is worshipping the Father.  We came to know God as Father when we were born again into his family.  The relationship is so close that we can call God “Abba Father” which means in our language “Daddy”.  True worship is based on an intimate relationship with God as Father.  At the same time he is no ordinary Father, he is “Our Father in heaven”.  So whilst there’s intimacy, there is also awe and wonder.  True worship is when we give to God what he seeks (v23).  What does He seek?   He seeks our fellowship and our being in His presence to give Him worship, honour, glory and praise.  That’s why we are here this morning.

SONG:  Father in heaven how we love you  (96)                                                                                                        

SONG:  Bless the Lord O my Soul   (2231)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Worship isn’t only offered to the Father but also to Jesus too.  We have a model example of true worship to Jesus in Mark 14.3-9.                                                                                                                                        3.  While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard.  She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.  4. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume?  5. It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.”  And they rebuked her harshly.  6. “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her?  She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7. The poor you will always have with you, and you help them anytime you want.  But you will not always have me.  8 She did what she could.  She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.  9 I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”                                                                                                                                            

From another gospel we learn that this woman was Mary the sister of Martha.                                                                                                                                                           What is true worship to Jesus?  Mary focussed her worship not on pleasing others but only Jesus. For that she was harshly criticized.  What was the response of Jesus?  “She has done a beautiful thing to me”  Her worship gave him real joy and pleasure.  She gave the best of what she had. “She did what she could”.   Jesus doesn’t look for us to give what we don’t have.  As the Christmas carol says “What can I give him poor as I am?  Yet what I can I give him, Give my heart.”  Her worship was without words, but came from her heart with deep emotion and adoration.  She was oblivious to everyone and everything else, except Jesus.  She centred everything on Him, as though Jesus was the only person in the room.  True worship of Jesus is being lost in wonder, love and praise in His presence.  Let’s worship to please him and give him joy.

 SONG:  I love you Lord and I lift my voice (226)   

SONG:  Jesus, be the centre   (1377)

SONG:  You chose the cross with every breath  (1661)

Breaking of Bread                                                                                                            

What motivated Mary to worship Jesus?  Jesus said, what she did was like anointing his body before burial, which actually was the Jewish custom.  Mary realised Jesus was going to die soon.  She didn’t understand everything about his death but she knew in some way he was to die for her, and that motivated her to take this opportunity to worship him.  It was her last chance to worship and adore him before he died.  We know clearly that Jesus suffered and died for our sin and so have more reason to worship him than she did.  As we now have this opportunity to remember him as he commanded, let’s use it fully to thank and worship him for his sacrifice on our behalf.

 

Euan Menzies Message

A Glimpse of Heaven

READING: Revelation chapter 5 v 1 - 14

Imagine:

Holiday - peak thru curtains – glorious sight, amazing scenery

OR Enter a crowded room – buzz of activity

 

In passage we join John called out of this world & time to look into heaven & eternity

Ch4 Door opening – one glimpse of heaven itself

– who is there, what’s happening, what is focus – awe inspiring/magnificent – but only a glimpse

 

Writer in popular magazine described what perfect world might look like

  • Clean air & water, good health, education for all
  • No housework, no prejudice, no drug abuse. No war
  • A relationship that works, more time with family, happiness

In short - mixture of peace on earth & material comfort…and still no place for God

 

Think of stereotypes - ethereal castle in sky, clouds, harps, endless golf

Understand what Bible has to say – so much greater than all of that

 

Healthy to have perspective of heaven – great guide for how to live/what to live for here today

 

Revelation

  • Last book in Bible – letter to churches – probably a circular
  • Written by 1 of LJC disciples John; later in life, in exile on Island of Patmos (just off E coast of Turkey)
  • What God gave him -> show God’s people the things that must take place – “prophecy”
  • Diff. kind of literature to much of Bible – drama - symbols, strange creatures & momentous happenings
  • Picture book with colour, words & sounds – dazzle/shock – what John sees, hears & feels
  • Called “Revelation” – “unveiling” of what God wants us to know about future/showing true reality
  • Above all – about LJC; chief subject; without Him no fulfilment of God’s plans & purposes
  • Ch1v9 John calls himself your brother & companion in the suffering & kingdom & patient endurance
  • Then & now Christian life can be hard – persecution/life’s challenges -> encouragement & hope
  • Ch1v3 – 3-fold blessing - for reading aloud, for hearing, for paying attention to it

 

Ch 5 is actually part 2 of what John saw (beginning in ch4) – second look

 

  1. What John saw – a throne

 

Important, significant - (mentioned 5x in this ch & 12x in ch4) & 17/22 chapters of book

 

  1. speaks of Majesty/Glory - splendour, grandeur, magnificence (ch 4)
    • Around throne - rainbow like an emerald
    • From throne - flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder
    • In front of throne - sea of glass like crystal
    • On each side of throne – 4 living creatures worshipping
    • Surrounding throne - 24 other thrones – 24 elders sitting on them - fall down & worship
    • On throne – Almighty God – 3x holy, eternal – was, is & is to come, creator & sustainer of all things

 

  1. speaks of Sovereignty/Kingship – authority, power, government (ch 5)
  • At the top, very centre of things - Headquarters of heaven
  • Ch4 – focus is one sitting on throne – God Himself
  • Ch5 – focus is one to be revealed who is worthy & given authority - investiture ceremony – heir/king

 

  1. What John saw – a Scroll

 

  • written on both sides & sealed with 7 seals
  • both sides - nothing more to be added, complete, all settled
  • sealed – hidden, mystery, not yet revealed
  • contents– God’s purposes & plans thru history– till now hidden & not yet carried but fixed & sure

His purposes for universe, its people; for salvation & for judgement; for eternity

  • opening of scroll – not just revealing plans but executing those plans too
  • opening of 7 seals described in ch6-7 – unleash series of dramatic events

 

Mighty angel/loud voice asks – who is worthy to break seals & open scroll – whole universe can hear

…..no one in heaven, earth, under the earth  able to open scroll or look inside

 

History always looked for v. great leader/hero/history changer – powerful/intelligent/public servants

Nebuchadnezzar – Babylon, Xerxes - Persia, Alexander - Greece, C Augustus – Rome - power

Charlemagne, Napoleon, Lincoln, Churchill, Gandhi, Mandela, Mother Teresa, Einstein, Hawking, Gates

Bible says – No one was found worthy.

 

John weeps audibly & loudly – emotion of Revelation – sights & sounds move him

– understands significance for suffering Christians in C1 if God’s plans are not able to be carried out

  • what will be future: where is protection, where is justice, where is victory, where is hope

 

  1. What John saw – a Lamb

 

Important, significant - mentioned 28x in this book 

  • Quite strange sight v6 1) lamb as if it had been slain  2) with 7 horns & 7 eyes
  • Also curious is description as conquering lion of tribe of Judah & root of David
  • Described as worthy, able & willing to do what none other could do – open scroll
  • This one is at centre in heaven – all eyes must be drawn to this lamb
  • If throne room is stage & scroll is script to drama, then Lamb is hero – can be no mistake

 

Not too difficult to identify the Lamb with LJC

  • But 1st called Lion of tribe of Judah, root of David – v. familiar OT
    • speaks of courageous, strength, victory nb LJC noted for how he spoke & acted with authority
    • kingly figure, Messiah, the Christ of which Bible speaks from Genesis ->
  • Lamb
    • slain - speaks of meekness/innocence/sacrifice on behalf of sins of people from Genesis ->
    • LJC identified by JtB as Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world

 

Combinations: strong lion & vulnerable lamb, sovereign & dependent.

Conquering through submitting – cross & resurrection of LJC

 

LJC stands at centre of heaven, worthy to take scroll – as it were accepting title deeds as heir /office of king

LJC accepts worship of 4 living creatures around throne & 24 elders who encircle throne

They fall down before Him, just as they had before God, in ch4

“Worthy” in worship used in ch 4 of God; used again here in ch 5 of LJC 

Worship v13 is to one on throne & lamb -> LJC is co-equal with God.

  1. What John saw & heard – Singers & Singing

 

Perhaps 3 songs – more/more participants each time – rising crescendo in volume/intensity – climax of ch4-5

  1.  
  2.  
  3.  

 

No indication of musical style or accompanying instruments (have harps but have fallen down to worship)

Instead focus on words but don’t sing about throne or the scroll, sing to & about the lamb/LJC

Repeated themesLJC is worthy – not only to open scroll but of praise & worship

Lamb who was slain – not just worshipped for who He is but what He has done

What has he done? – redeemed/purchased a people for God

  • takes us to cross of LJC, where was killed; by His death paid price for sin & bought salvation
  • triumphing/conquering – over sin, death (sin leads to), Satan (deceiver with sin), Hell (destination for)
  • salvation not just for Jews, for West, for wealthy, intelligent but every tribe/language/people/nation
  • not just salvation but brought into God’s kingdom/His people – privileges & protections
  • not just in His kingdom but priests – ie people who worship God & serve Him

What a great salvation – no wonder it brings forth a response – outpouring of praise

 

Outpoured praise lists all things that God has & are due to God & to lamb/LJC

Power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise

Opposite of what LJC experienced on earth – humiliation, poverty, weakness, curse

What LJC has – intrinsic worth – ie because He is God

What is due – acclaimed worth – ie what all creation give Him - these features repeated in 3rd song

& affirmed again with “Amen” - May it be so – elders fall down in worship again (at least 3rd time)

 

So what do we learn about heaven

 

  1. Place of unimaginable splendour ch 4 - almost indescribable, fitting for Almighty God

=> much more than “better world” than here. Eye has not seen, no ear heard….

=> no low expectations/size of prize

2) God’s completely in charge – history of world, victory at cross, glory of eternity

      => events will unfold exactly as He determines, no surprises, nothing will thwart

      => be encouraged. He’s got the whole world in His hands….You & me

3) Preoccupied with worship of God – who He is, what He has done, what glory He has

     => right that great God is recognised

     => eternally grateful;

     => nothing else should get centre of our attention now

4) LJC is at centre & his work of redemption is key topic

     => God’s saw to it was that His Son would accomplish great plan of salvation

     => LJC death on cross central to our understanding

     => LJC to be at centre of our lives now

5) People from all over world will be there

    => grace & generosity of God, His love is broad

    => will you be there

6) Take heart/be encouraged/live with hope of heaven in view

God is there

no sin so no death so no mourning so no pain so no tears

 

CT Studd “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him”.

 

Closing Song: Jesus shall take the highest honour (302)

 

Notices

1.Speaker next Sunday is Ken Cowell

2.Wednesday evening Bible Studies will re-commence on Zoom from 3rd November at 7.30pm