Notes of Meeting Sunday 18 September 2022

Worship led by Ken Cowell

Psalm 100 1-2 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.                                                                                                                          When was the last time you shouted?  Was it when your team won an important game?  Or was when you saw someone in danger and you warned them?  In the book of Psalms we read of God’s people “shouting” about 20 times and in most cases it is God who is commanding them to do it. He commands them to “shout it must have been pretty noisy. It for joy to the Lord,” and this was done in the temple when they gathered together so wasn’t a shout of joy because they just felt happy.  It was a “shout of joy to the Lord” as part of their worship.  God this morning would love to hear us shout for joy to him.  We have many things to be joyful to shout about.  We have been ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven, so let’s give him a shout of joy.  Recently when King Charles 3rd was proclaimed King the Coldstream Guards gave him three cheers.  Let’s shout for joy to the Lord with three Hallelujahs.  Are we ready?  After three, one, two, three.  Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!  I believe the Lord was pleased with that.  Now let’s sing                                                                                                                                                               

496   Shout for joy and sing your praises to the King                                                                                                           

935   My Jesus, my Saviour. (The chorus goes; Shout to the Lord all the earth let us sing)

The second command God gives to his people is, “Worship the Lord with gladness.”  How can we do that?  One way is “with joyful songs.” Worship shouldn’t be dull and dreary but be filled with joy.  God loves to see his people not worshipping from duty but delight and with real desire.  When you consider what God and Jesus has done for us our worship should be filled with joy and heartfelt devotion. Let’s worship God and Jesus with these two songs.                                                                                                                                                               

282   I worship you Almighty God                                                                                                                         

633   You laid aside your majesty. (The chorus says; I really want to worship You, My Lord)

Psalm 100.3   Know the Lord is God, It is he who made us, we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.                                                                                                                      

The third command is “Know that the Lord is God.”   Our worship must not be vague but we need to know who we are worshipping.  He is the one and only true God.  He made us b in his own image and sustains the life he has given us.  As Paul declares, “For in him we live and move and have our being.”  We are not only his people by creation but also by redemption.  We have been brought into the family of God by his Son’s saving work on the cross.  We were lost sheep because of our sin but have become His sheep through the Good Shepherd who gave his life for us on the cross.  Let’s worship God for his creation and Jesus for our redemption.                                                                                                                          

425     O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder                                                                                          

 1528   Thank you for the cross, Lord,

Psalm 100.4-5   “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the Lord is good and his love endures for ever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”                                                                                                           

The fourth command is “Enter his gates with thanksgiving.”  Again there are specific things for which to give thanks.  They are his goodness, love and faithfulness.  In the centre of goodness and faithfulness is love.  God’s love is the foundation of his goodness and faithfulness.  It is because his love is eternal that his goodness and faithfulness will follow us all the way through this life and eternity.  That isn’t to say we won’t meet suffering, trial and pain.  These hardships and disappointments won’t pass us by but his goodness, love and faithfulness will always accompany them.  These three unchangeable characteristics undergird whatever will come our way so we can go forward with thanksgiving and trust. In our last song God’s goodness, love and faithfulness are the reason for our thanksgiving.

 1241   Give thanks to the Lord Our God and King


Message by Robin Thomson

Luke 15.25-32

The Older Brother

We have thought a lot about the Queen this last week – her amazing life of service and sacrifice.

Today’s passage is about a person with a very different attitude. Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son is very familiar. When the prodigal returns, the story reaches a joyful climax, like the other two parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin.

But the story doesn’t end here. There were two brothers and this part is important too. Jesus talked about both of them.

The older brother was angry

- with his brother, who deserved to be punished, not welcomed

- with his father, for not punishing him.

The older brother doesn’t understand his father. He had always served him and he thought he deserved something from him.

Jesus told this story because the Pharisees and scribes were angry with him (verses 1-2) for mixing with the ‘tax collectors and sinners’. They thought God should punish them. They themselves were obedient and faithful and expected God to recognise them


Jesus wanted them to think again about their view of God. They were like the older brother. He had the attitude of a servant, not a son. The younger brother wanted to become like a servant. But the older brother was already a servant in his heart, obedient but grudging.

The Pharisees were similar. They thought God was demanding, requiring their service.

But Jesus said ‘God is not like that. Look at the father in this story.’

- he gives generously to each son. When the younger son had taken his share, the father says to the older brother, ‘All that I have is yours.’

- he is humble and gives himself without caring about being exploited. When the younger son returns he runs out to meet him. When the older son refuses to come in, he goes out to him to plead with him.

- he wants a relationship of love with each son. With the younger son, ‘My son was lost and is found.’ With the older brother, he calls him ‘son’ (literally ‘my child’).

That is what God is like, says Jesus.

Is our view of God like the older brother and the Pharisees?

If so that can affect our relationship with others. We are tempted to look down on them if we think they are not behaving as they should.

My friend follows Jesus strongly. He looks at others who are not following so strongly and feels God should judge them. ‘Forgiveness isn’t cheap.’

That is true: God gave his only Son for our forgiveness. And all of us are forgiven by his grace. Forgiveness is not cheap, but it is free for all of us.

I have another friend who needs to deal with many issues in his life. When I pray for him I say, ‘Lord, you deal with him.’ I am condemning him in my prayer. But God doesn’t deal like that; he wants that friend to change, but he will do it with grace, not a stick.

Is our view of God like the older brother and the Pharisees?

If so that can affect our relationship with God.

The older brother served but had no relationship.

HE was very different from our late Queen, who served – willingly. In her Silver Jubilee message in 1977 she said,

“When I was 21 I pledged my life to the service of our people, and asked God’s help to make that vow. Although that vow was made in my salad days, when I was green in judgement, I do not regret or retract one word of it.”

And she never did. She served with courage and dignity right to the end.

What enabled her to do that? She was sustained by her relationship with God. She depended on him; she had committed her life to him. She was secure in her faith and her identity: she was not looking for a reward.

It’s possible for us to be driven in our relationship with God. We work hard but we have lost the relationship. He says, ‘My child, you are always with me. I value your work, but you are more important to me.’

Sometimes we are not sure what we think about God. We may not be angry but we wonder

- are the difficulties I am facing now because God is angry with me?

- does God want to spoil my enjoyment in life?

- when I sin or fail, can I come to God? Isn’t he tired of my failure?

- I don’t feel like praying because I’m not good enough.

When we think like this we are like the older brother.

What will help to take away our frustrations with God?

My close friend died two years ago from Covid. He had come to faith from a Hind background. At one time he wrote this:

“This is a God whom I do not have to please with gifts and offerings. This is not a God whom I have to fear will strike me down if I do something wrong.

“God is a God of love and Jesus is his way of demonstrating that love. He so wants a relationship with each one of us. Don’t think of it as a religion, but rather as a love story.”

This is the God whom Jesus reveals to us in this story of the father who loved both his sons in the same way.

How did the story end? Did the older brother change his view of his father?

We are not told.

What about us?


Closing Hymn – How deep the Father’s love for us.



  1. Wednesday at 10.30am – Coffee Morning here
  2. Next Sunday – 10.15am Worship and Breaking of Bread
  3. Sunday 2nd October – Harvest Thanksgiving; food donations for Horley Foodbank, and financial gifts to Tearfund for relief work in Pakistan