Notes of Meeting Sunday 11th April 2021

Lee Street Church

Notes of Meeting  April 11th 2021

Worship – led by Dawn Budd

When I was initially asked a couple of years ago by Sue if I’d be interested in leading the worship, I was unsure. I remember saying to her “ Yes, but not yet!” Then recently Songs of Praise did an episode on Personal Prayer. I thought to myself ’That would make a great topic for worship’ and then didn’t think much about it for a while. Then Sue asked again, and well, here I am!

The dictionary definition of prayer is ‘ a request or thanksgiving to God’ . I have to say, I find it interesting that there’s no mention of repentance!!

I was fortunate to be brought up attending church. As a child I attended Sandcross Lane church with my family. I was encouraged to think of prayer using the abbreviation for teaspoon. TSP.

T- Thanks

S-Sorry

P-Please

THANKS

You woke up this morning -say thank you

You had breakfast if you wanted it- say thank you

 You have clothes to wear- say thank you

Look at creation- say thank you

The list is endless!

 

1 Thessalonians 5 16-18.” Be joyful always; pray continually: give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Psalm 95 1-7 “Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care”

 

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.

 

Nathan Fellingham

Copyright © 2001 Thankyou Music

 

Song 413:  O give thanks to the Lord

O GIVE THANKS to the Lord,

All you His people.

O give thanks to the Lord for He is good.

Let us praise, let us thank,

Let us celebrate and dance,

O give thanks to the Lord for He is good.

 

SORRY

Not the easiest word to say and mean it, is it? Humans hate to admit they’ve done wrong, much less say sorry!! But when we say sorry to God, He promises forgiveness. 

1 John 1 v 9. “ If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will  forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

When we ask for forgiveness from God, he washes our slate clean. GONE! FORGOTTEN! As humans, we find it so hard to forgive AND forget, but that’s just what God does. He forgets our sin and washes us clean.

 

Somg 229:  I’m accepted, I’m forgiven.

I’M ACCEPTED, I’m forgiven,

I am fathered by the true and living God.

I’m accepted, no condemnation,

I am loved by the true and living God.

There’s no guilt or fear as I draw near

To the Saviour and Creator of the world.

There is joy and peace

As I release my worship to You, O Lord.

 

PLEASE

Probably the easiest one on the TSP list for us all to do. We all automatically ask for God’s help. Even unbelievers cry out in desperation to God. But that’s the thing, He wants to know our needs.

Matthew 7 v 7 “ Ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.

Philippians 4 v 6 “ Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything , by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, presents your requests to God”

 

During the Songs of Praise episode I mentioned, they interviewed Pete Greig, an author and pastor, who shared the story of his wife Sammy. She was diagnosed with severe epilepsy after surgery to remove a brain tumour. He went onto give a wonderful analogy on how we view prayer saying “ We often want God to airlift us out of our problems, but more often He parachutes in and joins us in the midst of them”

This later reminded me of The Footprints in the Sand poem, of which we are probably all familiar. The last verse says:

“He whispered” My precious child, I love you and will never leave you.

Never, ever, during your trials and testings.

When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you”

 

Deuteronomy 31 v 8 “ The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you. He will never leave you or forsake you” Moses was encouraging Joshua here but these words are the same for us today. God just wants us to ask!

Song 97:  Father I place into your hands

 

FATHER, I PLACE INTO YOUR HANDS

The things I cannot do.

Father, I place into Your hands

The things that I’ve been through.

Father, I place into Your hands

The way that I should go,

For I know I always can trust You.

Father, I place into Your hands

My friends and family.

Father, I place into Your hands

The things that trouble me.

Father, I place into Your hands

The person I would be,

For I know I always can trust You.

 

Father, we love to see Your face,

We love to hear Your voice.

Father, we love to sing Your praise

And in Your name rejoice.

Father, we love to walk with You

And in Your presence rest,

For we know we always can trust You.

Father, I want to be with You

And do the things You do.

Father, I want to speak the words

That You are speaking too.

Father, I want to love the ones

That You will draw to You,

For I know that I am one with You.

 

Breaking of Bread

The Covid pandemic of the past year has had many detrimental effects on our lives and the life of our nation.

To me, one of the most harrowing, heart-rending aspects has been that of people suffering tragedy and intense pain without the opportunity for their nearest and dearest to be with them in their time of greatest need. Their suffering has at times been almost unthinkable, cut off from loved ones by laws which have sought to keep people safely protected from the possible effects of Covid-19. Loneliness has itself brought intense mental suffering to thousands, maybe millions, of people in our country.

As we come now to remember our Lord in the Breaking of Bread, I want to read the words of a song:

 

 “It was alone the Saviour prayed

 In dark Gethsemane;

Alone He drained the bitter cup

 And suffered there for me.

 

 Alone, alone, He bore it all alone;

 He gave Himself to save His own,

He suffered, bled and died alone, alone.”

 

He had stood alone in Pilate’s judgement hall – he had worn that crown of thorns alone.

And then hear his cry of agony from the cross to His Father  “Why have you forsaken me?” as He took upon himself the sins of the world, which caused Him to be separated from His Father. Jesus ALONE - suffering not just the physical agony of crucifixion, but the spiritual separation from God.

“Alone He drained the bitter cup

 And suffered there for me”.

The emblems before us today are just a reminder of the price Jesus paid for our salvation.

So we gave thanks and shared the Bread and Wine together

 

Brian’s Message

As Ken reminded us last week on Easter Sunday, the bodily resurrection of Christ is absolutely fundamental to our faith – if there was no resurrection, then our faith would be in vain. Paul develops this theme in chapter 15 his first letter to the Corinthian church, and then concludes his argument with these triumphant words “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead”. He knew this because of the encounter he had with Jesus on the road to Damascus which totally changed the direction of his life. Earlier in that same chapter, Paul outlines people or groups of people who had been actual witnesses to the resurrected Jesus before He ascended to His Father, and who had later gone on to tell others of their encounters with Him.

Listen as I read 1Corinthians 15 v 3 - 8

One of his most important appearances was of course to his disciples in Jerusalem, in a closed room,, which we thought about last week, as recorded by John 20: 19 – 23.

But I want today to have one more look at a few of the other biblical accounts of the resurrected Jesus – most importantly who saw Him, and to ensure they were reliable witnesses to what they saw and heard of Jesus.

We live in an age when it is sadly increasingly difficult to separate fact from fiction. So much information is thrown at our faces by newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, and the latest scourge of the so-called social media, that discerning truth from made-up ideas becomes increasingly difficult. People come out with the most amazing statements which suddenly become treated as fact, just because they’ve said it, put it on Facebook, or got it broadcast across the world’s media platforms. I must be careful not to get into the world of politics here.

May I encourage you to make some time this week just to read all four gospel accounts - one after the other - of the resurrection and the appearances of Jesus to his followers; the last chapters or so of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John don’t take too long to read – and I’m sure you will be blessed by reading them in quick succession. It gives you a good overall impression of the way Jesus seemed to pop up at random times to specific people or groups – intent on one thing: to make it clear to them all that He had risen. They were clear enough about his death – that was a well attested fact that few in Jerusalem would have disputed – but now it was important for them to be equally sure that he had actually conquered death and was now alive again.

Taking both the accounts in the four gospels, and Paul’s later writings, there appear to be about 11 recorded appearances of Jesus after his resurrection, when he met up with one or more people and revealed himself to them. Some He chose to appear to on several occasions – how privileged these folk were to witness the resurrected Lord, and to be able to go on with confidence to declare that their Jesus did in fact rise from the dead – yes, they had seen Him with their own eyes, some had eaten and talked with Him too. Sounds to me like a good enough set of witnesses.

So who did Jesus meet up with on these 11 appearances?

  1. Mary Magdalene – at the tomb
  2. The other women at the tomb
  3. Peter in Jerusalem =- Luke 24:34 – a personal visit by Jesus just to Peter.
  4. Two travellers on the road to Emmaus
  5. Ten disciples in room
  6. Eleven disciples – this time including Thomas.
  7. Seven disciples out fishing
  8. Eleven disciples on mountain Matt 28:16 – 20
  9. A crowd of 500 – 1Corinthians 15
  10. Jesus’ brother James
  11. Those present at his ascension.

Nearly all these folk, apart maybe from the 500, met up with Jesus on multiple occasions, which confirmed to them that who they saw really was Jesus, and it wasn’t just a bit of wishful thinking on their part.

We don’t have time today to look at each of the 11 recorded events, but I would like to focus our thoughts on maybe 2 or 3 .

So let’s look first at Jesus’ appearance to Mary Magdalene, who Mark tells us was the first to see the risen Lord. Mary had long been a follower of Jesus, ever since she had been cured of seven demons, and she had spent a lot of time with Jesus and his disciples on their travels both in Galilee and around Jerusalem. She had witnessed the crucifixion of her Lord and Master, and had now been intent on treating his body in the only way possible.

We know that she went to the tomb early on the Sunday morning with other women, intending to anoint the body of Jesus with spices. What she found amazed her – an empty tomb guarded not by soldiers, but by 2 angels. As she contemplated the fact that it looked like someone had taken Jesus’ body away, she thought she saw the gardener. Then she heard her name called “Mary” – and she recognised the voice of Jesus - her master, her teacher. It’s lovely when people call you by name – it’s personal to you, and for Mary this was a very special call.

What an amazing finding – her Jesus, alive, speaking with her outside the cold dark tomb where His body had been laid. She didn’t lose any time, and immediately got on with the job Jesus told her to do of telling others that He really was alive. She willingly shared her excitement, firstly with the other women. At first, they refused to believe her, and others just thought she was out of her mind. But Jesus soon sorted out their doubts by appearing before them himself.  So yes, Mary had been correct in saying He was alive – it wasn’t just her imagination running wild – He really was alive.

Also amongst the early witnesses to the resurrected Jesus was Simon Peter – also known in the gospels as Cephas. We know he was one of the first to run to the tomb and to see for himself that the grave was indeed empty – and it seems from verses in Luke’s gospel and in 1Corinthians 15 that Jesus appeared to him individually whilst in Jerusalem, as well as on the occasions when all the disciples were meeting together.

Remember this is the same Simon Peter who had promised to follow Jesus whatever the cost – but who so sadly denied he even knew Jesus when the time came for him to be tried before Pilot. How could he possibly face Jesus again, having failed Him in His time of greatest need?

The gospel accounts of events after the resurrection are not necessarily in chronological order, but we do know that after a time in Jerusalem, where Jesus had shown Himself to his disciples on at least 2 or 3 occasions, some of the disciples decided to return to their home towns in Galilee, and to take up their previous occupations. Some were fishermen, and I want you in your imagination to join me on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. (Ken & Chris have been there, so they would be better placed than me to describe the scene.)

But try to think for a moment about your favourite beach – imagine it, not packed out with half-naked sun-worshippers, loungers, parasols and cold boxes like Brighton or Blackpool on a bank holiday. Imagine you’ve got the beach to yourselves. It’s very early in the day – the sun hasn’t yet risen - there’s a thick mist over the sea, and the only sounds are  the quiet rippling of tiny waves on the water.

Seven of Jesus’ disciples had been out fishing all night – the best time they thought to get a good catch – but they had had a disappointing night – they had caught nothing. They were so miserable, and cold, and hungry too. When they hear a voice from the shore – through the mist – “have you caught anything?”. Maybe not quite what they wanted to be asked, after such a fruitless night out.

But then the voice calls out again “Throw your nets on the right side and you will find some”. I wonder what they really thought about this idea – what difference will it make? We’ve tried our best all night and caught nothing. Alright guys, just one more try! So they re-cast their nets on the right side of the little boat – and caught what they later find to be 153 fish! Truly amazing – where had they come from?

John immediately knew it was Jesus on the shore, so he told Peter, and Peter leaps out of the boat to swim to the shore, wanting to be first to meet up again with Jesus. No fear – just joy at the opportunity to again meet up with the Lord Himself.

When they get to the beach, Jesus has already got the fire going for a BBQ – makes me feel hungry already! – and they soon have enough fish and bread being prepared to feed them all.

So here we have seven of the disciples, meeting up with the risen Jesus for the third time – talking to Him, sharing a meal with Him, actually seeing Him eating bread and fish in front of their own eyes; they could not now be in any doubt that this really was Jesus – it was after all at least the third time they had seen the risen Jesus – yes, He had indeed risen just as He had said he would! Their task in the future would be to share with others the good news that the Messiah had indeed come, and had died in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried and that he was raised on the third day, and that they were witnesses to the risen Saviour.

They could not now have any doubts about who the Jesus they had been following for the past few years was – He was indeed who He claimed to be – the Son of the living God.

Having enjoyed their breakfast together, Jesus then takes Simon Peter aside for a quiet word. This was at least the fourth time that Peter had seen the Lord after His resurrection. Without going into the questions in great detail, suffice it to say that Jesus basically asked him the same question three times: “Simon, son of John, do you truly love me?”

The three-fold question was of course significant to Peter, as he was only too painfully aware that he had only a few weeks earlier denied three times that he even knew the Lord.

And three times he replied to the effect that “Yes Lord, you know I love you”. Jesus could have responded by saying something like “Okay Peter, you say that, but now go away and prove it to me in your life” – no more denials! Peter had yet to prove himself to be the rock that Jesus had predicted – that would only happen when the Holy Spirit would come in power upon them a few weeks later at Pentecost.

But in the meantime Jesus just tells him, again three times, to “feed my lambs, take care of my sheep”, referring of course to His followers, young and old, who needed encouragement and teaching when Jesus himself was no longer with them. What Peter had learnt from Jesus over a period of some 3 years by listening to His wonderful wise teachings now needed to be shared with the thousands of Jesus’ followers, and with those who would believe as the apostles went on to proclaim with boldness the good news of Jesus to Jews and Gentiles alike in the coming years.

Peter got quite irate with Jesus repeatedly asking him the same question. But Jesus of course was seeking to ensure there was no doubting the sincerity of Peter’s answers. – that this time he really would keep his word. Jesus had already picked out Peter for a special future role in bringing the believers in Jerusalem together to build up His church here on earth, and he needed Peter to make this three-fold confession of his love for Jesus. This was an encounter with Jesus that really would transform Peter’s life.

Peter now knew in the depths of his heart that Jesus had forgiven him for his past failures. What a difference a few weeks had made – from being a frightened coward in Pilate’s trial court, fearful of even being found to be one of Jesus’ followers, his relationship with Jesus had now been restored. He was now free to declare his complete trust in Jesus – that Jesus was indeed the One He had claimed to be, that He had died, that He had risen on the third day just as he had said he would, and that He was willing to forgive all Peter’s past errors and sins.

Jesus challenged Peter about the reality of his love – how strong was it, would it last through all the trials he would face in the coming years? I think it’s a question we might well ask ourselves today – how strong is my love for Jesus? Does it at times have to take second place to other things or people in my life?

Jesus’ first question to Peter was “Do you love me more than these?” Whatever the word “these” might have meant, Jesus was talking to Peter about his priorities. Jesus had on many occasions emphasised the importance of God’s greatest commandment – to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”. Anything less would be displeasing to God.

If Jesus was to ask us the same question “Do you love me?”  I guess I know the answer we would all give. But if He was to probe a little further, seeking perhaps for some evidence to back up our response, what would we say?

If you really love someone, you want to:

  • spend as much time with them as possible
  • them to be with you wherever possible
  • talk with them
  • support them in what they are doing
  • share your whole life with them

Jesus of course wants to be your friend – He wants that everyday relationship with you

We shared earlier in the bread and wine, to remind us once again of the price which Jesus paid to set us free from the condemnation of our sin, to enable us once again to have a right relationship with God. He suffered, bled and died to pay the price for our freedom now and in eternity.

There are so many songs that have been written that speak about the sacrifice of Jesus, and challenge us as to our response. There’s an old one which Christine helpfully shared with us last week – I’d like to repeat it today:

 

Out there amongst the hills

My Saviour died.

Pierced by those cruel nails

Was crucified

Lord Jesus Thou hast done

All this for me

Henceforward I would live

Only for Thee

 

Living for Jesus – we can never repay Christ for what He did on the cross for us, but we can respond by dedicating our lives to serving Him, giving Him first place in our lives.

How much do we love the Lord Jesus? Remember He laid down His life for us, to set us free.

There’s another old hymn which gives us some really sound advice for maintaining our relationship with Jesus

 

  1. Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
    Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
    Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
    Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.
  2. Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
    Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
    By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
    Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.
  3. Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
    And run not before Him, whatever betide.
    In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
    And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.

When you get the notes of this meeting, make sure you at least read this hymn through again – and check out your life against the wise instructions given here.

I want us to close with a song which reminds us of the living resurrected Saviour that we worship, and who is with us each step of our lives. He’s promised to never leave us or forsake us, and this song helps us to remember this day by day.

“I serve a risen Saviour”

I serve a risen Saviour

He’s in the world today;

I know that He is living,

Whatever men may say;

I see His hand of mercy,

I hear His voice of cheer.

And just the time I need Him

He’s always near.

 

 

He lives, He lives,

Christ Jesus lives today.

He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.

He lives, He lives, salvation to impart.

You ask me how I know He lives?

He lives within my heart

 

NOTICES

  1. Speaker expected next Sunday is Paul Carter
  2. Zoom Bible Study resumes on Wednesday at 7.30pm
  3. Next Saturday is the Drive-In morning for Horley Foodbank at HBC from 9.30 – 12.30