Notes of Meeting Sunday 1st May 2022

Lee Street Church

Notes of Meeting 1st May 2022

Worship led by Sue Clarke

We were reminded by Dawn, last week, that when we come before God in worship, we humbly submit ourselves, proclaiming that He is worthy and exalting Him in our praise.

In today’s worship we are going to continue to reflect, in our scripture readings and songs, on God’s worthiness, and to bring our praise and adoration in thanksgiving for what He Has done for each and every one of us in bringing us to where we are today.

Let us invite God’s spirit to fill our hearts, once again, with the praise of God.

Revelation 4 v11

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

1 Chronicles 16 v23-25

“Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim His salvation day after day. Declare His glory among the nations .His marvellous deeds among all peoples. For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise.”

God is holy and deserves praise!

SONG: Worthy O worthy are You Lord   617

Psalm 48 v1 + 9-10

“Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain. It is beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth.

Within Your temple, O God, we meditate on Your unfailing love. Like Your name, O God, Your praise reaches to the ends of the earth, Your right hand is filled with righteousness”.

SONG: Great is the Lord   145

1 Chronicles 29 v 10-11

“Praise be to You, O Lord, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. 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.”

Revelation 5 v13

“Worthy is the lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and glory and honour and praise!”

SONG: Glory, glory in the highest   128

I was made to praise You, I was made to glorify Your name. In every circumstance to find a chance to thank You. I was made to love You. I was made to worship at Your feet And to obey You Lord. I was made for You.

Romans 5 v1-2

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”

SONG: O Lord my God   425

Ephesians 2 v4-10

“Because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions- it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works so no-one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

We should have perfect confidence and joy in our Creator in bringing us to salvation and eternal life. We have no reason to doubt! Our responsibility, then, is to "hold fast," to stand firm, to endure to the end, through whatever assails us in the meantime.

SONG: Wonderful Grace    1630

2 Corinthians 5 v 21

“God made him, who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”

I will always praise You. I will always glorify Your name. In every circumstance I’ll find a chance to thank You. I will always love You. I will always worship at Your feet. And I’ll obey You Lord. I was made for You.

SONG: Here I am and I have come  758

Hebrews 4 v14 -16

“Therefore, since we have a high priest, Jesus the son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are- yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

No matter what is going on in our lives, or in the wider world that we live in, we have to keep hanging on, faithful and trusting that God, in His perfect work, has everything under control. We can revel in God’s protection and provision.

SONG: Come let us worship the king of kings   1203

1 Chronicles 16 v28-31

“Ascribe to the Lord, O families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength, ascribe to the Lord the glory due to His name. Bring an offering and come before Him.; worship the Lord in the splendour of His holiness. Tremble before Him all the earth! The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved. Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad, let them say among the nations ”the Lord reigns!””

Jesus Christ is the faithful Son of God and Heir of all things. He Himself is the Creator God, the One who made everything.

John 1 v3

“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life and that life is the light of men.”

For these reasons, He is worthy of all glory and honour.

When we encounter the wonder of what God has done, there is sometimes nothing more to be done than to drink it in.

Song: When I feel the touch   594

 

Ken Cowell’s Message

Which Tree are You?   Jeremiah 17.5-8   

I remember when I was in my early teens watching the drama of “A Tale of Two Cities.”  It is based on a historical novel by Charles Dickens contrasting the peaceful and stable city of London with that of the unruly and violent city of Paris just before the French Revolution.  There was a sharp contrast between the two cities.   The Bible is a book with many contrasts.  It talks about being saved or lost, children of light or children of darkness, eternal life or eternal death and heaven or hell. It tells about a narrow way to life or a broad way to destruction.  It doesn’t speak of a middle road that leads to somewhere between the two.  In the Catholic faith they believe if you are not good enough to go straight to heaven you go to purgatory where you suffer for your sins, then eventually enter heaven.  There’s no mention of purgatory in the bible at all.  There are no shades of grey concerning salvation in the bible.  It is true or false.  Jesus is the only way, truth and life to God and there is no other.

Jesus told the story of two men who built houses and he likened it to how we build our lives.  One man built his house on the foundation of sand whereas the other built his house on the rock.  When the storm came the house on the sand fell with a great crash but the house on the rock stood firm and didn’t fall.  Jesus likened the story in relation to the foundation upon which we build our lives.  The only true foundation which survives the storm Jesus says is hearing and obeying his word.  The house that fell he likens to someone who although hears the words of Jesus but fails to obey them resulting in great loss.  Hearing and knowing God’s word doesn’t make us children of God.  As Jesus says, it is only those who do the will of his Father

 In our reading we read of a similar story but not of two houses, but of two trees.  We could call the title of the message “A tale of two trees.”  The trees represent two kinds of people relating to whom they trust.  It is a very important choice as to whom we trust, for the results of the choice bring contrasting conclusions.  The background of the passage relates the choice that Judah, the southern kingdom of Israel had to make when the nation of Babylon came to attack them.  A hundred years before the northern kingdom of Israel faced a similar choice when Assyria came to attack them.  The two choices were that of trusting in their own resources and wisdom or trusting in Gods’ power and wisdom.   Sadly Israel rejected God and trusted in themselves with result of being defeated by the Assyrians and taken into exile to Assyria and their country was lost.  Now Judah knew what had happened to Israel when they rejected God and trusted themselves, so what would they do as they were being attacked by Babylon?   Jeremiah the prophet, urges them not to trust in themselves but in God.   However, they reject God and put their confidence in themselves like Israel did.  They too were defeated in battle by the Babylonians and also were taken as captives to Babylon and Jerusalem was destroyed including its temple.  We face the same choice; to trust in ourselves or in God. 

The message of the two trees isn’t just for the nation of Judah but for the individual as he says “Cursed is the one” (v5) “But blessed is the man” (v7)  This message was for God’s people not for foreign nations and si it very much applies to us. These two trees depict two kinds of a person’s attitude to faith.  The first tree speaks of a person who trust is in himself and his resources alone.  This problem began in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve rejected God’s word and trusted in their wisdom and competence. This is the natural way man thinks today for he is self- reliant.  Added to that is his confidence in his achievements in technology, science, medicine, education and military power.  Why would he trust in God when he has accomplished so much without him?  However, God’s verdict on man’s reliance on himself is “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on his flesh for his strength.”                                                                                            

The basic of idea of being cursed is not so much about judgement after death although that could be included, but of failure now in terms of not reaching true happiness, purpose and fulfilment.    This is seen in the kind of tree it becomes. (Show power point)

 The tree is found in a desert where there is barrenness, no prosperity, fruitfulness or hope.  It’s a place of thirst without water, no life, loneliness and missing out for which the tree was made.  We are not talking here of material prosperity and wealth but spiritual satisfaction and enjoying the purpose for which I’ve been created.  We might question that result saying that man is prosperous materially and can enjoy many comforts and pleasures.  But what God is really saying is that though man may be materially prosperous and successful and even gain the world he can still not find true joy and happiness.    The woman who met Jesus by the well sought happiness through marriage but failed being divorced 4 times.  Jesus gave her the living water that he had, and she found great satisfaction not through self-seeking but Christ seeking which caused her to tell everyone about her new found joy.  A young rich man came to Jesus seeking eternal life acknowledging that his riches didn’t satisfy.  Sadly he went away refusing to follow Jesus unwilling to put before Christ before himself and his riches.   The conclusion of self-reliance is all about self-praise, self-glory and self -satisfaction.  We live in an age where it is so easy to get by without trust in God.   If I feel sick I can take some medicine or see a doctor.  When I need food I just go to the fridge or buy something at the supermarket.  When I need information I can just google it and so much knowledge is at my fingertips.  These are not necessarily bad things but they can chip away at my reliance on God which is the way to please God and fulfil his purpose for my life which brings true joy.  Life without reliance on God makes me seek a life which revolves around self and the things around me.  When life gets tough, and we have no  reliance on God and his love we resort to grumbling and lose our purpose and direction.   True happiness in life is fulfilling the purpose for which we were created that of loving, knowing, trusting and glorifying the God who made and loved us. A life without God is just an existence without meaning and purpose.

Let’s have a look at tree of the person who trusts in the Lord. (Show Power Point) It’s not in a desert or dry place but by a stream where life is.  The tree isn’t there by chance rather it was planted there.  I’m not a product of merely time and chance but “I was fearfully and wonderfully made.”  I am who I am because God created me as I am.  I am where I am because that is where He placed me.  He not only gave me life but he has put me in the place where my life is sustained.   One major difference between the bush in the desert and the tree by the stream is that the bush has no roots but the tree has. “a tree by the water send out its roots by the stream.” (v8)  Why are the roots important?  The tree draws its water and nutrients through the roots. The bush only gets its water from the surface water so if there is a drought the bush can’t flourish because it has no water.  However, the tree can still flourish in a drought because it draws its water from the roots.  The power source of the tree is not above the ground but underneath the ground.  If our spiritual life is just lived on the surface it will have little power.  The word of God needs to dwell in our hearts and minds and not just heard with our ears and spoken by our lips. David says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119.9).  We need to meditate on and digest the word of God we hear and read in order to grow in faith.

The roots are important also because they anchor the tree to the ground making it steady and stable.  The roots need to be deep and long.  Some trees have long roots which are higher than the tree itself.  These are the trees that survive the strong winds and fierce storms.  Earlier this year we had a very bad storm and this is what happened to a tree at the entrance to Tilgate Park. (Show Power Point)  Why did the tree fall?  It was because it roots were shallow only just below the surface of the ground.  If our faith is shallow just on the surface of our lives then when the storms come we can easily fall.  Our faith needs to be deeply rooted.  Notice that the tree is on its own. When trees are together they are stronger to withstand the storms because their roots are intertwined with each other so they support each other.  Fellowship with Christians isn’t an option but a necessity.  We can’t survive on our own because we need to be supported by each other.                             

The pandemic has been a testing time for the faith of many believers. Even though the pandemic is now controlled and restrictions are lifted many Christians haven’t returned to the fellowship of the church.  The pandemic has exposed the weakness of the faith of many Christians.  During our Christian lives we will face many trials that will challenge our faith.  Our faith needs to be tested to prove it is genuine.  Without deep roots there can be no fruit.  In the parable of the sower the seed that fell on rocky places soon showed evidence of growth but later withered when the plants were scorched by the sun.  The reason given is that they had no root.  It explains that when trouble or persecution came because of the word they quickly fell away.

The tree depicted by the man who trusts the Lord “does not fear when the heat of the sun but its leaves are always green.”  It speaks of a person who because of strong faith sees trials and trouble as opportunities to grow not as obstacles to hinder.  This is what James means when he tells us “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.”  At such times whilst faith is tested it can also grow and persevere making us more like Christ.  Also this tree “has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”  Worry is one of our biggest problems that people face and that is why we are commanded many times in the bible not to be afraid, worry or be anxious. What is the cause of much worry?  It is when we are trusting in ourselves and our strength.  So what is the cure for worry?  Each morning at the beginning of the day I say these words.  Worry is not my boss. “I trust in the Lord will all my heart and lean not on my own understanding The answer to worry is not in self, the flesh or man but trusting only in the Lord. There are times of dryness, darkness and difficulty in the Christian life.  We live in a fallen world and Jesus said “In this world you will have trouble.” But he also went on to say, “But take heart I have overcome the world.”  You might say but how does that help me?  Well his power has become my power, but that only become true if my faith is not in myself but is rooted in Him.  So what is the key to this victory?  In Colossians 2.6 it speaks of another root we need. “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught and overflowing with thanksgiving.”  When we became Christians we received Christ as Lord.  That was like the seed of eternal life planted in the ground.  But for the fruit growing stage, we need to be rooted and built up in him strengthened in the faith.  The fruit is seen with overflowing thanksgiving even with the troubles that Jesus speaks about.  God doesn’t just want us to survive the trials and troubles of life he wants us to thrive through them to become more like Jesus.  What kind of a tree are we?  Are we like a bush in the desert or a tree by the water?  The fruit can only come from the roots.  What are our roots and how deep do they go?  That will determine the fruit you grow.

 

Closing Song: The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want.

 

NOTICES

  • Wednesday 7.30pm Zoom Bible Study and Prayer time
  • Speaker next Sunday will be James Winter