Notes of Meeting Sunday 25th July 2021

Lee Street Church

Notes of Meeting 25th July 2021

Worship led by Brian Legg

Begin with reading a whole Psalm – only 2 verses

Psalm 117 “Praise the Lord , all you nations, extol him, , all you peoples. For great is his love towards us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures for ever.”

The greatness of God’s love and his never-changing faithfulness – should lead us to come and bow down in humility before the Lord. I think sometimes that our worship has become almost like doing a “high five” with God, not realising his utter holiness, and our own unworthiness.

Let’s come in worship today, and bow down before his majesty, as we sing our first hymn

SONG: Praise my soul the king of heaven  (466)

Another reading from the Psalms

Psalm 118 v 5  “In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free”

Last Monday was heralded by many as “Freedom Day” – freedom to do as you like again, without government interference. To make up your own minds what to do or not to do. Sadly, many found out that freedom wasn’t quite what they expected – but with the government and Covid still holding the whip hand.

“Freedom Day”  for others may mean release from prison, or safety at last after being trapped down a mine, or from a collapsed building – at last, after days, weeks, months or years they are once again free. What an amazing feeling that must be for them and their families and friends – after so long to be set free.

The wonderful thing about being a Christian is that in a very special way we are free already. Jesus declared early in his ministry that he was the fulfilment of what Isaiah had prophesied centuries earlier when he said: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”

As Jesus later declared to some of the Jews, (John 8:36) “If the Son sets you free you will be free indeed”. Note the source of freedom – it is Jesus himself. So I want to focus very briefly on this wonderful fact of our freedom in Christ. Our next song rejoices in the wonder of being set free, released from bondage.

SONG: Jesus, we celebrate your victory 309

 

JESUS, WE CELEBRATE YOUR VICTORY:

Jesus, we revel in Your love.

Jesus, we rejoice, You’ve set us free;

Jesus, Your death has brought us life.

 

It was for freedom that Christ has set us free,

No longer to be subject to a yoke of slavery;

So we’re rejoicing in God’s victory,

Our hearts responding to His love.

 

His Spirit in us releases us from fear,

The way to Him is open, with boldness we draw near;

And in His presence our problems
disappear,

Our hearts responding to His love.

 

We rejoice you’ve set us free – before we knew Christ, we were slaves to sin, there was no way we could break free in our own strength. But Christ in his mercy broke the chains – another hymn says “My chains fell off, my heart was free”. Yes, we’re now free, not to do just anything we choose, but what God wants us to do. We can respond in obedience to his mighty love.

Then we sung “His Spirit in us releases us from fear” – fear of failure, of letting Him down? It’s the presence of the Holy Spirit within us that gives us the true freedom to honour him in our lives day by day.

Our next song speaks about this – allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us and unite us in the love of God.

SONG: Be free in the love of God  665

 

Be free in the love of God,

Let His Spirit flow within you.

Be free in the love of God,

Let it fill your soul.

Be free in the love of God,

Celebrate His name with dancing.

Be free in the love of God,

He has made us whole.

 

For His purpose He has called us,

In His hands He will uphold us.

He will keep us and sustain us

In the Father’s love.

 

God is gracious, He will lead us

Through His power at work within us.

Spirit, guide us, and unite us

In the Father’s love.

 

 

Dave Bilbrough.

Copyright © 1991 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music.

 

Yes, he has called us – and he will uphold us, keep us, sustain us, give us the strength we need to say “no” to the devil’s attacks on us, and “yes” to Jesus as he gives us different acts of service to be doing, as we rejoice that he has truly set us free.

 

Last song is “In Christ alone “ (1346)

 

The Christ – who alone took upon himself the punishment for the sin of the world – your sin, my sin, -

as he hung upon that cross at Calvary.

“Sin’s curse has lost it’s grip on me” – yes, that’s freedom, because we now belong to Him. “No guilt in life” – isn’t that wonderful – no need to crawl around under the fear of God’s condemnation.

As Paul writes in Romans  8:1 – 2 “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”

IN CHRIST ALONE my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

 

In Christ alone! - who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied –
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.
 
There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine –
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.
 
No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,

Here in the power of Christ I'll stand!

Stuart Townend & Keith Getty Copyright © 2001 Thankyou Music

 

A reminder - “No guilt in life, no fear in death” – that surely is the secret of true freedom. Knowing Jesus Christ – trusting fully in Him until the time he takes us home to be with him for ever.

 

Notes based on talk by Peter Whitehead from South Wales

Matthew ch.24 vs 1 – 31.

This chapter is largely Jesus’ response to a question the disciples asked about signs of the end of the age and of Jesus’ return to earth.

Jesus began by saying “I tell you the truth”. He repeatedly used the plural word “you” (in vs. 6, 9, 15, 20 and 23) as he addresses his followers, and warns them of troublesome times ahead.

  1. Problems in the world

We easily get caught up in the short-term problems facing the world – finance, diseases, climate, the environment, and numerous wars still taking place – and tend to forget that Jesus is coming again. We need to bring God back into our consideration of world issues, using the eyes of Christ as revealed to us in scripture.

Current events seem to show an increase in wickedness around the world, but also an increased interest in religion. Also in the last month or so we have been made aware of unprecedented heat waves, fires and floods in places as diverse as Siberia,, Germany, Japan, Indonesia and Greenland.

Vs 4 – 8 speak about “wars, famines, and earthquakes” which are to precede the return of the Messiah.

  1. Problems for the Church

V9 speaks about persecution and death for some believers – and this is just what is happening now in countries such as India, North Korea, and Pakistan.

V10 speaks about people turning away from the faith and hating each other, when under oppression. It is estimated that out of some 250 nations in the world, there are only about 30 in which there is no active opposition to Christian believers. Only those who keep strong in the faith (v14 “stand firm to the end”) will keep going until Christ’s return.

V12 predicts an increase in wickedness in the world at large – evident in the world today.

V 14 is interesting as it predicts the preaching of the gospel to all nations – the Wycliffe Bible Translators are aiming to have some part of the scriptures available in all languages by 2025.

Man’s greatest problem is described in Psalm 10: 4 “… in all his thoughts there is no room for God”.

 

  1. Problems in the Middle East

Vs 15 – 22 effectively confirm the prophesies of Daniel (12: 1 – 4), and the subsequent words of John in Revelation 13: 1 – 10.

What we are seeing over the past 40 years or so is increasing humanism, and turning away from God to other so-called religions. Jesus warns against following the false leaders and prophets who will appear “See, I have told you ahead of time” (v25). Of all the prophesies in the Bible, it is thought that 86% have already been fulfilled, the other 14% still remain in the future.

V27 remind us that everyone will know about the coming of the Son of Man.

V29 speaks about  the world being in darkness, after which all nations will see the coming of Jesus with great power and glory to take believers away.

 

  1. Lessons for us

Vs 36 – 44 emphasize the need for us to “keep watch”, because we don’t know when Christ may return.

Jesus was very clear in his teaching in John ch 5 : 24 – 30 that a time will come when all in their graves will face judgement -either resurrection to eternal life or to death. Revelation 20: 11 – 15 speaks about the judgement for unbelievers whose names are not written in the book of life.

Matthew 24:13says “He who stands firm to the end will be saved”.

 

So, what should we be doing?

  • Waiting
  • Watching
  • Working
  • Witnessing – for Jesus in an unbelieving world.

 

Notices

  1. Next Sunday our speaker will be William Fleming. We will also be sharing in Breaking of Bread.
  2. There will be NO Wednesday Zoom bible studies until September.
  3. Reminder for our Church Family Lunch at 12 noon on 15th August.