Notes of Meeting Sunday 21st March 2021

Lee Street Church

Notes of Meeting 21st March

Worship led by Brian Legg

We began by reading  Psalm 99

A Psalm which celebrates the Lord as the great and holy King in Zion, and gives praise to God for his fairness and his holiness.

V3 – Praise his name – He is holy – remember this – his name is so often mis-used – but He is holy, so we should respect His name.

V4 – He is mighty, and he loves justice – how displeased he must be with the injustices we see in our world today.

V 6 & 7 recall how great men of OT history called on the Lord, and he answered them – people like Moses, Aaron and Samuel

V8 reminds us that the Lord our God is a forgiving God

V9 – Exalt the Lord our God – for the Lord our God is holy.

SONG 87 – Exalt the Lord our God 

EXALT THE LORD OUR GOD,

Exalt the Lord our God,

And worship at His footstool,

Worship at His footstool;

Holy is He, holy is He.

 

SONG 164 – He is exalted

 

HE IS EXALTED,

The King is exalted on high,

I will praise Him.

He is exalted,

Forever exalted

And I will praise His name!

 

He is the Lord,

Forever His truth shall reign.

Heaven and earth

Rejoice in His holy name.

He is exalted,

The King is exalted on high!

 

Twila Paris.

 

READ 1 Timothy 6: 15(b) – 16

15

God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords,

16

who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honour and might forever. Amen.

Our God, holy, immortal, who lives in unapproachable light – another rendering is “he lives in light so brilliant that no human can approach him” – Yes this is the God we are worshipping this morning.

Our next song seeks to give us some further insight into the holiness of God.

 

SONG 234 – Immortal invisible

 

IMMORTAL, INVISIBLE, God only wise,

In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,

Most blessèd, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,

Almighty, victorious, Thy great name we praise.

 

Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,

Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might;

Thy justice like mountains high soaring above

Thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love.

 

To all life Thou givest, to both great and small;

In all life Thou livest, the true life of all;

We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,

And wither and perish; but naught changeth Thee.

 

Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,

Thine angels adore Thee, all veiling their sight;

All laud we would render: O help us to see

’Tis only the splendour of light hideth Thee.

 

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,

In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,

Most blessèd, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,

Almighty, victorious, Thy great name we praise.

 

 

Walter Chalmers Smith.

 

 

SONG 145 – Great is the Lord

 

GREAT IS THE LORD and most worthy of praise,

The city of our God, the holy place,

The joy of the whole earth.

Great is the Lord in whom we have the victory,

He aids us against the enemy,

We bow down on our knees.

 

And Lord, we want to lift Your name on high,

And Lord, we want to thank You,

For the works You’ve done in our lives;

And Lord, we trust in Your unfailing love,

For You alone are God eternal,

Throughout earth and heaven above.

 

 

Steve McEwan.

Copyright © 1985 Body Songs/Adm. By CopyCare.

 

 

He aids us against the enemy – plenty of enemies around us, but we have the Lord on our side, helping us through the hard times. I’ll come back to that thought again in a minute or two.

 

What is special about today?

Census Day – all householders have a responsibility to complete a Census document to tell Government what they need to know about the population of the UK, to help them plan for the future.

Censuses are of course nothing new.

The most well-known census in Bible times was that by Caesar Augustus which resulted in Mary and Joseph travelling to Bethlehem just when Jesus was about to be born. Imagine the chaos today if everyone had to return to their birthplace to be counted! Fortunately, most of the reporting is now done on-line, so even the Post Office can be bypassed.

There were other censuses carried out and recorded in the Bible. Moses was called by God to take a census of the whole Israelite community 2 years after they had left Egypt. He needed to know how many fighting men he had available when he needed to defend his people, and also some idea how many mouths had to be fed each day on the wilderness journey towards the promised land. You’ll find all the details in the first few chapters of the book of Numbers (of course!)

But some 500 years later, when David was king in Israel, he took a census. He did it so he could take personal pride in the strength of his army. He was depending on military strength, rather than on God who had previously looked after the nation so well. And God punished him for carrying out this census against his will.

We need to be careful we don’t get a bit like David – counting up and taking pride in our accumulated resources. What I believe we can rightly do is to count our blessings – as the old chorus says “Count your blessings, name them on by one; and it will surprise you what the Lord has done”. Yes, focus on all the good things we enjoy, and which God in his goodness has provided for us.

Maybe just to remind ourselves how fortunate we are in this country – who of us has ever gone hungry? Or without clean water to drink? Or without a choice of clothes to wear? Or has experienced the horrors of attacks by terrorist or other lawless organisations? Such are the experiences of so many in our world today.

We should remember and give thanks to God for all the blessings we enjoy day by day.

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We thought earlier about the greatness of our God, and how he can help us, particularly in hard times in our lives.

Our last song, before I hand over to Ken for our message today, we’ll have one more song.

After the Holy Spirit had come upon the apostles at Pentecost, they were enabled to boldly proclaim the name of Jesus and the power of his name to perform many miraculous healings.

This song reminds us of the power of Jesus both to save, and to keep us “At His name God’s enemies shall be crushed beneath our feet”.

Do you feel you are on the losing end of too many battles? We need to look to Jesus, seek his strength to empower us to defeat the enemy who wants to bring us down, so that we can live victorious lives for him.

SONG: There is power in the name of Jesus (545)

 

 

THERE IS POWER IN THE NAME OF JESUS;

We believe in His name.

We have called on the name of Jesus;

We are saved! We are saved!

At His name the demons flee.

At His name captives are freed.

For there is no other name that is higher

Than Jesus!

There is power in the name of Jesus,

Like a sword in our hands.

We declare in the name of Jesus,

We shall stand! We shall stand!

At His name God’s enemies

Shall be crushed beneath our feet.

For there is no other name that is higher

Than Jesus!

 

 

Noel Richards.

Copyright © 1989 Kingsway’s

                Thankyou Music.

 

 

Ken’s Talk

Do not Worry                 

Matthew 6. 19-21, 25-34

You are going to hear a good sermon this morning, because it’s not mine, for it comes straight from the lips of Jesus. It’s from the Sermon on the Mount which is the most famous sermon that Jesus gave.  This message was given to his disciples.  If we see ourselves as followers of Jesus, this is the way he commands us to live.  As you read through the short message the key word is worry which is mentioned 6 times.  The message is simple.  Jesus is telling his disciples and ourselves, “Do not worry.”  But you might say isn’t it natural to worry?  Then why does Jesus tell us not to worry?  It is not a part of our new DNA since becoming a Christian. Rather it is a fundamental characteristic of our life before we became a Christian.  In verse 31-32 Jesus says “So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” Or” What shall we drink?” Or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things,” A pagan is just someone who doesn’t know God and that it was were like before we were Christians.  We just worried and sought after material things with no desire for spiritual things.  That changed when we trusted Christ and began to seek those things which are in heaven where Christ is.  Yet we still have the old nature that seeks just the material things of life to satisfy us.  Jesus commands us to live following our new nature. 

What’s the first thing the disciple shouldn’t worry about?  “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or about your body what you will wear”. (v25) The word therefore is important because it tells us that was said before is the reason why we shouldn’t worry about things in this life.  Jesus tells us not to store our treasures on earth but store them in heaven. (19-20) Jesus spoke more about money than faith and prayer put together.  Jesus is the “Martin Lewis”, the money man of the Bible.  He gives the best advice where not to put your money and where to put it for the best investment.  The disciples focus should not be on treasures on earth but on treasures in heaven where the reward is sure and has eternal worth.   Let’s not be like the rich farmer whose treasure was all on earth and had no eternal reward and so was called a fool by God.  Of course to live in this world we need to eat, drink and have clothes but the real question is what is the priority of my life.  Most of our time on earth is spent being occupied with material things but Jesus raises the question.  Is not life more than food, and the body more important than clothes? 

Jesus said on another occasion “Man does not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  How much of our days are spent on our material needs as opposed to our spiritual needs?  Jesus says we shouldn’t worry about material things because spiritual are more important and should occupy more of our time. 

Another reason for not worrying about our material needs is found in verse 26 “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more value than they?”   The birds do not frantically search for food all the time and then store it for a rainy day.  God provides for their breakfast each morning.                                                                                                                         

They don’t usually find the worms on top of the grass but work to get it from under the surface.  God makes sure they don’t starve even though their life span isn’t so long.  We are much valuable than birds being created in God’s image and so he will not feed us.  If we worry about God not feeding us it is either we doubt his power to supply our need or his care for us.  So it is our lack of faith in His ability to feed us or a loss of faith in His love for us.  So when we worry on this level it is complete breakdown of our trust in Him and how that must grieve him.  

In verse 27 it shows us the uselessness of worry.  “Which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”  Worrying doesn’t change or improve any situation.  Rather it can make things much worse creating fear, anxiety, stress and negativity.    Worry can’t extend our lives even for one hour or improve them but can certainly shorten them leading us to depression and mental breakdown.  Anxiety can do no good at all and is totally unproductive.  Someone said “worry is like a rocking chair.  It will give you something to do but it won’t get you anywhere.”   Worry doesn’t add anything to your life -  it’s  most unproductive.  It takes away takes health giving you stress, insomnia and ulcers.  Jesus is saying don’t worry because it is useless not making things better but worse.

Jesus goes on to say “why do you worry about your clothes?  See how the lilies of the field grow.” (v28)  God clothes the lilies with more splendour than Solomon in all his glory.  They don’t work for it or spin for it.  They don’t do anything for God does it all and they only last two or three days in bloom.  At least the birds live longer than the lilies, yet God clothes the lilies in beauty even though they only last a short time.  In God’s eyes quality isn’t valued on how long I live.  Jesus then speaks on how God clothes the grass.  The grass isn’t as beautiful as the lily yet God clothes it all the same giving it the same attention as the lily.  Then Jesus says “Will he not much more clothe you, o you of little faith?”   To worry about God meeting your need is to show your little faith that you believe God can’t clothe you.  Yesterday I had an ignition light remain on after I started the engine.  It was a warning that something was wrong.  Rick Warren a well-known pastor, says that worry is a warning light that God is really not first in my life at this particular moment. Because worry says that God isn’t big enough to handle my trouble. 

Jesus is calling us not to worry about the things that God knows we need and that he can supply because he is our heavenly Father.  Suppose a son goes to his father and says “Father because times are hard don’t buy me a Christmas present but instead use the money to help pay for the electricity bill”.  The father would say “Son, you don’t worry about the electricity bill that’s my responsibility and not yours and I’ve promised to pay those needs”.  Our heavenly Father commands us to “Cast all our anxieties on him because he cares for us.” (1Peter 5.7) He also says; “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4. 6)  God uses three words to describe our needs, prayer, petition and requests.  He doesn’t want us to miss anything out.  He doesn’t want us to worry for he goes on to say, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (v7)  

Worry attacks our hearts and minds but instead God promises his indescribable and supernatural peace will take its place.      The best way to overcome the pre-occupation of worry about material things is to seek spiritual things.  The more I seek after my spiritual wellbeing the material needs will occupy their proper place and God will even meet them. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (v33)  God is not against me having material possessions.  It is a matter of what has priority in my life, God or materialism.  As Jesus says earlier; “No-one can serve two masters.  Either he will hate the one or love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and money” (v24)   What is the best way to use money for God?  It is to store it in heaven.  That’s the best investment.  How do you store it in heaven?  One way is by giving it away for God’s kingdom and purpose on earth. That could be helping to meet the needs of the poor, the suffering, the starving, the refugees, the persecuted Christians in the world and helping people who share the gospel in other countries.  Seeking God’s kingdom is not doing something special like fasting or praying for several hours.  It is just letting God be a part of what you do in your everyday life.

Lastly Jesus gives some advice to those of us who can’t stop worrying.  “Therefore do not  worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (v34) Most of our worries are about the future.  It’s no use worrying about the past for we can’t change that.  Jesus says if you must worry then do it one day at a time.  There’s enough to worry about in one day without thinking about tomorrow or the days and weeks ahead.  If you just worry about today, that will eliminate probably 90% of your worrying time. There is a difference between worry and concern.  Concern is important and motivates some plan of action.  Worrying is just worrying with no action and gets nowhere but makes you feel worse.  Let’s limit our worry to one day at a time.  Otherwise, we can easily become a slave to worry. Jesus doesn’t want that to happen.                                                                                                                                                                  

                                                                                               

Closing video

"Do Not Worry " by Ellie Holcomb 

 Do please listen to this again!