Notes of Meeting Sunday 25th April 2021

Lee Street Church

Notes of Meeting – 25th April 2021

 

Worship – led by Brian Legg

Psalm 92: 1 – 3

1

It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High,

2

proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night,

3

to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp.

 – organ, flute, drums, cymbals,  whatever – It is GOOD to praise the Lord

 

SONG: 935 My Jesus, my Saviour

My Jesus, my Saviour,

Lord, there is none like You.

All of my days I want to praise

The wonders of Your mighty love.

My comfort, my shelter,

Tower of refuge and strength,

Let every breath, all that I am,

Never cease to worship You.

 

Shout to the Lord all the earth, let us sing

Power and majesty, praise to the King.

Mountains bow down

And the seas will roar

At the sound of Your name.

I sing for joy at the work of Your hands.

Forever I’ll love You, forever I’ll stand.

Nothing compares to the

Promise I have in You.

Darlene Zschech. Copyright © 1993 Darlene Zschech/Hillsongs Australia/Kingsway’s Thankyou Music.

 

I want to think a little about SACRIFICE this morning.

In a biblical context, the word sacrifice possibly conjures up for us the picture of endless killing of animals and their sacrifice on altars, in accordance with God’s requirements, or maybe the preparations Abraham made to offer his only son Isaac on mount Moriah.

The word sacrifice basically means “something lost or given up”.

In the days after the sad passing away of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, many revealing pages were quite rightly written about his life, honouring his service to her majesty the Queen and the nation.

Some looked back to the early days of his romance with Princess Elizabeth, and spoke about the sacrifice he made in deciding to marry her. He had to give up a promising naval career – doing what he enjoyed – and destined for high places in the ranks of the Navy.

But he gave all that up, in order to take up life with his Princess. We may not think that was really much of a sacrifice – but to him at the time it was a massive decision, which would change his life forever.

Well, today I want us to focus upon two or three aspects of sacrifice in our worship.

Firstly, the sacrifice our Saviour made in leaving his Father’s glory and coming to make his dwelling with mankind here on earth. Having been with the Father in heaven since before the creation of the world, He is sent on a mission  to earth – to take the nature of a servant, to be made like us humans,  and ultimately to die on a cross, as Paul tells us in Phil2: 6 – 8 (read)

Our next song speaks about this – and also predominantly about the sacrifice of his own life, which we’ll think more about later.

 

SONG: 120 – From heaven you came

.

FROM HEAVEN YOU CAME,

Helpless babe,

Entered our world,

Your glory veiled;

Not to be served

But to serve,

And give Your life

That we might live.

 

This is our God,

The Servant King,

He calls us now

To follow Him,

To bring our lives

As a daily offering

Of worship to

The Servant King.

 

There in the garden

Of tears,

My heavy load

He chose to bear;

His heart with sorrow

Was torn,

‘Yet not My will

But Yours,’ He said.

 

Come see His hands

And His feet,

The scars that speak

Of sacrifice;

Hands that flung stars

Into space

To cruel nails

Surrendered.

 

So let us learn

How to serve,

And in our lives

Enthrone Him;

Each other’s needs

To prefer,

For it is Christ

We’re serving.

 

Graham Kendrick

 

Yes, what a sacrifice it was for Jesus to leave the glories of heaven; but the greatest sacrifice was that of himself – his body on the cross – as He carried out the will of His Father – as He paid the ultimate price – as He became obedient to death, even death on a cross.

The amazing thing is that, because Jesus was willing to sacrifice his sinless body on the cross, you and I have been made holy in God’s sight. No more need for countless animal sacrifices - Jesus himself has paid the price of our redemption once and for all.

Our last song also spoke about bringing our lives as a daily offering of praise – a sacrifice of praise.

In our Bible study on Zoom on Wednesday, we looked this week at the time Mary brought an extremely expensive perfume and poured it over Jesus – simply an act of love for Him. Mary sacrificed something of immense value – because of her love for Jesus; and Jesus commended her for this.

Jesus came to earth for one purpose – to die in our place, to restore our relationship with His Father.

He literally sacrificed himself – His life – upon the cross. What amazing love – we find it hard to express our thanks in words – “thank you Jesus” just doesn’t seem enough.

But I wonder, what is my response to the sacrifice which Jesus made by going to the cross?

What does the Lord want from me?

Paul calls upon us (Romans 12:1) to “offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God  -this is your spiritual act of worship”. That means laying aside our very human desires, listening and opening our eyes to what He wants us to do day by day. Being willing to put the needs of others first, just as Jesus himself did.

 

SONG: 851 -  I will offer up my life

 

I will offer up my life

In spirit and truth,

Pouring out the oil of love

As my worship to You.

In surrender I must give my every part;

Lord, receive the sacrifice

Of a broken heart.

 

Jesus, what can I give, what can I bring

To so faithful a friend, to so loving a King?

Saviour, what can be said, what can be sung

As a praise of Your name

For the things You have done?

Oh, my words could not tell, not even in part,

Of the debt of love that is owed by this thankful heart.

 

You deserve my every breath

For You’ve paid the great cost;

Giving up Your life to death,

Even death on a cross.

You took all my shame away,

There defeated my sin,

Opened up the gates of heaven,

And have beckoned me in.

 

Matt Redman.Copyright © 1994 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music.

 

“You paid the great cost – giving up your life to death on a cross” – the sacrifice Jesus made  - because of His love for us.

Before we remember that sacrifice in the Breaking of Bread, let’s sing one further song

 

SONG:  780 - How deep the Father’s love for us.

 

How deep the Father’s love for us,

How vast beyond all measure,

That He should give His only Son

To make a wretch His treasure.

How great the pain of searing loss –

The Father turns His face away,

As wounds which mar the Chosen One

Bring many sons to glory.

 

Behold the man upon a cross,

My sin upon His shoulders;

Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice

Call out among the scoffers.

It was my sin that held Him there

Until it was accomplished;

His dying breath has brought me life –

I know that it is finished.

 

I will not boast in anything,

No gifts, no power, no wisdom;

But I will boast in Jesus Christ,

His death and resurrection.

Why should I gain from His reward?

I cannot give an answer;

But this I know with all my heart –

His wounds have paid my ransom.

 

Stuart Townend. Copyright © 1995 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music

 

Breaking of Bread

 

Ken’s Message

Preparing for Pentecost

Luke 24. 44-53

The modern use of the word “lockdown” came about in the 1970’s when a prisoner in jail was confined to his cell in solitary confinement as a punishment for breaking prison rules.  The recent use of the word has a much sadder tone being connected with separation from loved ones because of the Covic-19 pandemic which resulted in so many thousands of unprecedented deaths.   Although the word “lockdown” isn’t found in the Bible, it is referred to in a positive light speaking of  “time with God in preparation for a new calling.”  We think of Joseph in prison with God in training for his future post as the ruler of Egypt.  Moses spent 40 years in the wilderness in preparation for his return to Egypt to lead the people out of bondage.  Jonah spent three days in a whale’s belly in lockdown in preparation for going to preach in Nineveh. 

The same principle is seen in the disciple’s preparation for Pentecost where Jesus commanded them  “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised,”   Jesus could have returned to heaven soon after his resurrection but stayed for 40 days spending time with the disciples.  How were the disciples prepared to receive the Holy Spirit?                                                                                                                                        

 Firstly, Jesus gave them a Bible study. (v45)   This wasn’t new teaching but what Jesus had already told before on many occasions of God’s plans and promises.  They had heard the words before but they hadn’t entered their minds and given understanding.  God’s word must get into our minds to have an impact.  It is from our minds where we remember that understanding can come.  Jesus alone can give us understanding of the words of the bible but it is our responsibility to put the words in our mind.  The real issue sometimes is not how much can I grasp of the bible but how much of the bible do I allow to get hold of me.  In other words how much of my time do I give to the bible?  The more the bible has of me the more my thinking, attitudes and life will be controlled by the bible’s teaching.                                                                                                             

Just three days ago Chris and I started a new daily devotional to fill our minds with bible truths.  There are short sentences you say out loud each day with a short comment about it.  To say them all takes 90 seconds.  For example the first one is “Jesus is king of my life.” The second one is “I am who Christ says I am.”  As these thoughts go into your mind each day the goal is that your life will gradually be controlled by these positive and godly attitudes instead of all the negative and worldly thoughts.  I’m excited about the potential of this to enable me to grow more like Jesus.  We’ve only just started but if you’re interested have a word with us in a week’s time to see how we are getting on. 

I believe what Jesus is saying  to us here, is allow God’s word to occupy your mind so there’s greater potential to grow to know him more intimately. Why is Jesus stressing the importance of understanding his word at this particular time?  In a short time He will leave them and they won’t see him again physically anymore until his second coming.  Their relationship with him then will  only be on a spiritual level which Jesus actually said would be better than the physical one.   The foundation of that relationship will be his revelation to them through God’s word.   That is also the way we come to know him and why the understanding of God’s word is so important in our relationship to know him.                                                                                                          

The knowledge he is talking about here is basic to the Christian faith that is : He is the Christ who died and rose again, the only Saviour who can save mankind from sin and destruction.  He goes on to speak of the role of the disciples to be his witnesses and preach repentance and forgiveness of sins in the world after his departure.  However, before they do this they are to stay in Jerusalem to wait until they have been clothed with the power of the Holy Spirit.                                                                                                                                    

Before the Holy Spirit came to the earth Jesus ascended from the earth to go into heaven.  We read that “he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany.”  Another important aspect of preparation for receiving the power of the Holy Spirit is “following Jesus.”  This is how many of the disciples began their journey with Jesus as they heard and obeyed his call to follow.  Sadly many along the way stopped following Jesus and decided to go their way rather than Jesus’s way.  Jesus speaks of those who” hold to my teaching as really my disciples.” (John 8.31)  I think we’ve all had times like Peter where we have wavered and “followed Jesus at a distance.”(Luke 22. 39)  Yet it was from these who followed to the end that Jesus would use them to turn the world upside down.  Am I following Jesus closely today?   It was for these that “he lifted up his hands and blessed them.”(v50)  In those days the blessing from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were earnestly coveted.  Here is Jesus taking the initiative imparting to his followers his blessing of power, love and grace.  We too are joint heirs with Christ even sharing in His authority.  Their last sight of him is where he is still blessing them.  He doesn’t want anyone of his children to miss out on his blessing.  He will bless them right up to the last minute.  He’s taken up into heaven and one wonders what the immediate reaction of the disciples would be.

 When Jesus left them last time before being arrested they all ran being full of fear and sorrow.  This time “they worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy”.  They would never see him physically again until his second coming yet they were rejoicing.  Through their new found understanding of God’s word they were now learning to walk by faith not by sight.  They were walking in obedience to his command to return to Jerusalem and praising God waiting for the Holy Spirit to come. Jerusalem would be the last place to be naturally speaking.  Worship, obedience, joy and praising God in the temple were the ideal qualities for being ready to be filled with the Holy Spirit.                                                                                                                 

Yet there was one thing that could have distracted them.  They asked Jesus was it time to restore the kingdom to Israel. (Acts1.6) Jesus told them, that that was not to be their concern but his Father’s business alone.  It wasn’t a bad thing to consider but their priority was to be the power of the Holy Spirit to witness for Christ not knowing the timetable of future events.  In our Christian lives it is easy to be distracted by legitimate things and miss out on the things that God wants us to focus on.  It was the promise of the Father for them to be baptized with the Holy Spirit to be witnesses for Jesus. (Luke 24.49)                               

 It is the same for us in our generation.  God is longing to fill us with the Holy Spirit to live for Jesus, live like Jesus and speak for Jesus as his witnesses. Whereas we become occupied with less important things.  How do we receive the Holy Spirit and be filled with Him to witness and serve Christ in the world? 

In Luke 11.13 it says “…how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”  Our heavenly Father longs to give the Holy Spirit in his fullness to his children.  That is in order to know our Father more intimately and serve Him most effectively.  That is God’s will for us all so how can we experience receiving the Holy Spirit in this way.  It says the Holy Spirit is given to those who ask the Father for him.  This is a Father and his child’s interaction.  It is not complicated.  A child expects his father to give what he has promised to give.  This is especially true when our Heavenly Father has promised to do something for us.  So we just ask the Father to baptize us in the Holy Spirit which simply means to be immersed or filled with the Holy Spirit.  As we ask God to fill us with the Holy Spirit, we believe God does what He promises and so receive the Holy Spirit.  There may not be any physical immediate sign but that doesn’t matter.  You leave God to work that out in his own time.  How that is shown in our lives varies with each individual.  Certainly telling people about Jesus is one way and that can be done in different ways.  This is just moving into a deeper level of my relationship with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  Let’s just bow our heads in prayer.

 

Notices

  1. Wednesday 7.30pm Zoom Bible Study
  2. Next Sunday – speaker Brian Legg
  3. 5th May – Playgroup Open Day – 10.00am to 2.00pm