Notes of Meeting Sunday 7th February 2021

Lee Street Church

Notes of Meeting – 7th February 2021

Worship Time led by Sue

We’ve recently been considering how hard it is in lock-down, yet we’ve been reminded of the promises in the Bible and how, through all our trials and worries, we should continually be praising God. We are a privileged people and we have the reassurance of knowing that one day we will be able to praise God with all the angels in heaven. In the meantime, let’s use these precious moments, whilst we are together, to lift our hearts, minds, thought and voices up to God.

I’d like to start by reading these words to inspire and draw us into worship today:

The Wonder of Your mercy

The wonder of Your mercy, Lord, the beauty of Your grace. That You would even pardon me and bring me to this place. I stand before Your holiness; I can only stand amazed. The sinless Saviour died to make a covenant of grace.

I only want to serve You, bring honour to Your Name. And though I've often failed You, Your faithfulness remains. I’ll glory in my weakness, that I might know Your strength. I will live my life at the cross of Christ and raise a banner to proclaim.

You welcome us before You, into this Holy place. The brilliance of Your glory demands our endless praise. The One, the only Saviour has opened Heaven's doors. We can enter in, free from all our sin, by Your cleansing sacrifice.

Psalm 103 v1  “Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.”

SONG:  Enter in to His great love

ENTER IN to His great love,

Kneel before His throne;

For His blood has washed away your sin,

So enter in and worship Him.

 

Carol Mundy.

Copyright © 1988 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music.

 

 

 Psalm  96 v1-4  “Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, praise his name; 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; “

SONG:  Come let us worship the King of Kings        1203

 

COME, LET US WORSHIP the King of kings,

The Creator of all things.

Let your soul arise to Him,

Come and bless the Lord our King.

 

Lord, my heart and voice I raise,

To praise Your wondrous ways,

And with confidence I come

To approach Your heavenly throne.

 

Come and fill this place with Your glory,

Come and captivate our gaze;

Come and fill us with Your fire,

That the world might know Your name.

 

(For) You are God,

And You’re worthy to be praised,

And You are good,

For Your love will never end:

The great I Am,

You are faithful in all of Your ways.

(Repeat)

 

Nathan Fellingham

Copyright © 2001 Thankyou Music

 

 

Psalm 134 v1 Praise the LORD, all you servants of the LORD who minister by night in the house of the LORD. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the LORD”.

 Psalm 29 v2  “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendour of his holiness.

We are a people of praise. Our praise will never cease or diminish, rather it will be purified and magnified.

SONG: Bless the Lord – 10000 reasons

Bless the Lord oh my soul

Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I'll worship Your Holy name

The sun comes up
It's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass
And whatever lies before me
Let me be singing
When the evening comes

Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I'll worship Your Holy name

You're rich in love
And You're slow to anger
Your name is great
And Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness
I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons
For my heart to find

Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I'll worship Your Holy name
Bless You Lord

And on that day
When my strength is failing
The end draws near
And my time has come
Still my soul will
Sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years
And then forevermore
Forevermore

Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I'll worship Your Holy name

Songwriters
Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman

 

 

1 Peter 1 v3-10

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls”. 

SONG: Crown Him with many crowns      77

 

CROWN HIM WITH MANY CROWNS,

The Lamb upon His throne;

Hark, how the heavenly anthem drowns

All music but its own!

Awake, my soul, and sing

Of Him who died for thee,

And hail Him as thy matchless King

Through all eternity.

 

Crown Him the Lord of life,

Who triumphed o’er the grave

And rose victorious in the strife

For those He came to save:

His glories now we sing,

Who died and rose on high,

Who died eternal life to bring

And lives that death may die.

 

Crown Him the Lord of love;

Behold His hands and side,

Those wounds yet visible above

In beauty glorified:

No angel in the sky

Can fully bear that sight,

But downward bends His burning eye

At mysteries so bright.

 

Crown Him the Lord of peace,

Whose power a sceptre sways

From pole to pole, that wars may cease,

And all be prayer and praise:

His reign shall know no end,

And round His piercèd feet

Fair flowers of paradise extend

Their fragrance ever sweet.

 

Crown Him the Lord of years,

The Potentate of time,

Creator of the rolling spheres,

Ineffably sublime!

All hail, Redeemer, hail!

For Thou hast died for me;

Thy praise shall never, never fail

Throughout eternity.

Romans 12 v1-2

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

This is our part for now, to yearn to be the people He wants us to be. However hard that seems in current circumstances, we have the knowledge of His promises in His word. He will be our strength and our guide until we see Him face to face.

 

Revelation 5 v11-13

“Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise!" Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honour and glory and power, for ever and ever!"

SONG: There is a higher throne  1541

THERE IS A HIGHER THRONE

Than all this world has known,

Where faithful ones from every tongue

Will one day come.

Before the Son we'll stand,

Made faultless through the Lamb;

Believing hearts find promised grace:

Salvation comes.

 

Hear heaven's voices sing,

Their thunderous anthem rings

Through emerald courts and sapphire skies,

Their praises rise.

All glory, wisdom, power,

Strength, thanks and honour are

To God, our King who reigns on high

Forever more.

 

And there we'll find our home,

Our life before the throne;

We'll honour Him in perfect song

Where we belong.

He'll wipe each tear-stained eye,

As thirst and hunger die;

The Lamb becomes our Shepherd King:

We'll reign with Him.

 

 

Kristyn Lennox & Keith Getty   Copyright © 2002 Thankyou Music

 

Brian’s Message

PPE – Personal Protective Equipment

As an introduction to my talk today, I want to remind you of something that was very much in the news in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, when jumbo-jets full of all sorts of plastic protective clothing were being hastily procured from any available source, usually in the Far East, often sadly regardless of the standards used to manufacture them.

PPE has of course become a major industry in its own right. With management and workers quite rightly wanting to ensure that workplaces are safe, and with the fear of expensive American-style litigation in the case of even minor breaches of Health and Safety law, there has been an upward spiral in the amount of equipment that is needed to carry out even quite minor tasks, especially on building sites. Gone forever are the days when I could wander on to a Victoria Line tunnelling site in a duffle coat and old pair of gardening wellies with just an ill-fitting helmet for protection. Nowadays its top-to bottom hi-vis waterproofs, goggles, ear protectors, knee protectors, face masks, gloves, - by the time you’ve got it all on it’s time for a coffee break. It’s affected how we do jobs here at the Church too, where we are supposed to have risk assessments for almost any task we do which define amongst other things what we need to wear for particular tasks.

I want today though to look at what the Bible has to say about the PPE which a Christian needs to go about his daily task of service for His Master.

I guess we’re probably all too aware of forces within us and outside of us that will try to undermine our every effort to do the Lord’s Will.  As we attempt to obey the Lord’s commands in all areas of our lives we find ourselves in a constant state of war. Satan and his demons use all kinds of devices to keep us distracted, to keep us thinking that there is no real hope. Depression, Anxiety, Anger, FEAR – that’s a big one – envy, bitterness, apathy. Obeying  the Lord’s commands - whether it relates to our beliefs, our thinking, our attitudes, our feelings or emotions, our words or our actions - becomes a battle in itself.

So how do we prepare to take on these day-to-day battles with the enemy? We know our enemy the Devil is prowling around looking for the next believer to devour ((1Peter 5:8) – so what can we do to defend ourselves against his all-too-subtle attacks?

The best-known passage on this subject is found in Ephesians 6 where Paul speaks about the armour of God.

Eph 6: 10 – 17

10

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

11

Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

12

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

13

Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

14

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,

15

and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

16

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

17

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

 

As Paul wrote these words of advice to the Christians in the church at Ephesus, he was himself imprisoned by the Roman authorities. He was constantly aware of soldiers, some no doubt in full armour in case of rebellion by prisoners in their charge. They would wear their armour 24/7 to ensure they were ready for any conflict. So here in this passage Paul develops this theme, to show his readers that God has given them everything they need to survive against the strategies of the Devil.

He begins by saying “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” – this clearly implies that in our own strength we shall fail – what we need to take hold of is God’s mighty power. It’s always good to have someone mighty and strong on your side.  The young shepherd boy David knew this as he went out to face the Philistine giant Goliath when he called out “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord God Almighty “. David was fighting in the strength of the Lord his God – and we know how God gave him a mighty victory.

So Paul goes on to tell his readers to “Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes”.

When you’re putting on your PPE to go to work, you need to understand the nature of what you are defending yourself against, so you can wear gear which is appropriate for the tasks in hand. So Paul goes on to emphasize the intense spiritual nature of the opposition. We’re not fighting against “flesh and blood” – physical things or people that we can see in front of our eyes, but against what he describes as “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”. Yes, the earthly rulers and authorities may be bad enough to deal with, but what do you do against those spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms?

Quite simply, Paul says “Put on the full armour of God” – not one or two bits of your choice, but the whole suit from head to foot, so you can stand up against the devil’s schemes. You might not much like wearing say a helmet – I well remember the good old days when you could ride a motorcycle without a helmet – the joy of having the wind blow freely through your hair on a hot summers’ day, just one of the pleasures denied us in the Health & Safety revolution of subsequent years. But it does of course make sound sense to protect the head, which contains such valuable body components as the brain.

 

The Roman soldier more often than not engaged in close combat. He realized that every piece of armour was necessary. Neglecting one piece was tantamount to suicide because the enemy would seek and find that area of vulnerability and exploit it. That soldier would not come back without serious injury if he came back alive at all.

So also, our enemy is constantly looking for areas of vulnerability in our lives with the intent of exploiting it. The Devil discovers our area of weakness and it is there that he attacks. We cannot and must not neglect one piece of God’s armour. We must take up and put on each piece. We cannot allow ourselves to be exposed in any area or we will suffer grievous injury or fall on the field of battle.

Yes, put the armour on. The instruction implies that many Christians try to take on the devil without having prepared themselves properly – without a proper awareness of what God has freely provided for them.

Note the purpose of the armour – so you can remain standing – not lying on the floor defeated, not flaked out from the battle, but still standing – ready to take on the next conflict.

 

So what does Paul describe as the pieces of armour?

Firstly, he speaks about the “belt of truth buckled around your waist” – strictly speaking, not an item of armour, but something that was never-the-less important as a starting point in getting prepared for battle. The long flowing robes which would have been the norm for everyday wear in Paul’s day would have become a hinderance in battle, so they needed to be drawn tightly together with a belt around the waist.

Why a “belt of truth”? Well, the devil likes to attack us with his lies, which he tries to make sound like the truth by wrapping them up in fancy paper. One of the biggest problems we face in our information-overloaded world is sorting out truth from fake news – real emails from spam, real bargain offers from scams. It really is at times so difficult to know who you can trust.

 

Sadly, sorting out truth from fiction is becoming increasingly hard. In some authoritarian states, “truth” is whatever the latest party leader says it is. Facts of history are bypassed when they become inconvenient to the current leadership’s aims and objectives. People who dare to challenge the leaders and to stand up for what they know to be truth are dealt with very harshly.

For the Christian, the content of God’s truth as declared to us in his word is absolutely essential in his battle against the schemes of Satan. Without knowledge of biblical teaching, of what God has said, the believer is, as the apostle has already pointed out earlier in his epistle, subject to being “blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4:14). These schemes of Satan can be successfully encountered only with the truth of the Word of God.

Jesus himself was of course the embodiment of truth – John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth and the life.” And in John 1:14, the writer declares about Jesus “We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and Truth.

The second piece of armour Paul speaks of, the next piece a soldier would put on, is the breastplate – the body armour - of righteousness. He would attach this to his undergarments which had already been safely drawn together by the belt. The body of a soldier was probably the easiest thing for an attacker to aim for, protecting as it does the very heart of the man. Satan loves to attack our hearts, to make us doubt God’s love for us, and to encourage us to desert what we know to be right in God’s sight as we seek to live upright and godly lives.

It’s also important for us to remember what Paul tells us in Romans 3: 21 – “But now a righteousness from God has been made known. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe”. This of course means that all true believers have been forgiven all their sin, they’ve been justified, as a result of Christ’s death on the cross. God’s righteousness is the part of our body armour which protects our hearts and it’s a gift from God.

So when Satan tries to tell you that you can’t possibly be righteous in God’s eyes, just remind him that you are, because you’ve received it as a gift from God himself.

The third piece of armour the soldier puts on is his shoes “your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace”.

We can’t be sure what Paul had in mind here. It might simply mean being ready to take out the good news of peace to others – are you ready to go? – to carry out the mission which Jesus gave to his followers? Being ready to go anywhere the Lord directs you means you need some good footwear to protect you on your travels.


OR it could have another meaning. Shoes are put on your feet to give you a firm footing – so you won’t fall flat on your face under slippery conditions. The Christian needs a firm foothold if he is to remain standing in the conflicts of life, if he is to successfully defend himself against the attacks of the devil. That firm footing is surely the dependence he has on the gospel of Jesus which gives him peace in his heart and life. Remember the words of Jesus in John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”.

So, here we have a soldier – for a start he’s got the right PPE – his belt, his body armour and some solid footwear. What else does he need to go into battle?

The next piece of armour Paul talks about is the shield of faith – needed to ward off the flaming arrows of the evil one. I wonder what darts the devil has sent in your direction recently? Has he made you fearful, have you had some major setbacks or disappointments in your life, have you at times been led to doubt God’s love and mercy? Things that affect us all at times, and which can feel to us just like “fiery darts” being thrown against us.

In New Testament times darts were often used which had a fire-ball on the end, to set fire to opponents wooden shields. The shields themselves would have been covered in leather which could be soaked in water so as to quickly quench the fire on the arrowheads.

So Paul says “take the shield of faith” to disarm these fiery darts. It’s only our faith and reliance on our eternal God that can counter the attacks of Satan.

James in his epistle even says “Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that he testing of your faith develops endurance” It’s only when we are really tested that we can grow in our ability to withstand the arrows which Satan thrusts upon us.

So the soldiers body has been protected, with the breast-plate and the shield, but what about his head?

Paul now says “take the helmet of salvation”.

Do you know you have been saved? If you’ve truly come to God in repentance for all the sin in your life, God promises you salvation- yes, you have been saved. Paul in Romans 10: 9 writes “If you confess with your mouth “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”. If you’ve come to Jesus in true faith you have his promise that he won’t cast you away. The devil wants to make us unsure about our salvation and the wonderful promises of Jesus, but we need to ensure that the helmet, the certainty of our salvation, is firmly in place to protect our minds from doubting God’s saving work for us.

The final piece of hardware which Paul speaks about is the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”. When I was in Coulsdon Crusaders, I well remember that a regular feature of our Sunday afternoon meetings was sword drill. We would all of course have our own bibles with us, - we’d put them under our left arms, and at the call “Draw swords” everyone would raise their bibles in the air. There would then be a race to find the text of the day, without the aid of laptops or iPhone!

The sword is the only offensive weapon in Paul’s list. There are times when we need to take the battle to the enemy – take him on face to face. Remember what Jesus himself did when tempted by Satan in the wilderness – He just pointed out to him what God had said “It is written ….   “. And Satan had no response to this. So we need to know what God has said – I wonder, how well do we really know the scriptures? As Paul says to Timothy (3:17) “All scripture is given so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”. We’ve got what Paul had (the OT), and all the marvellous NT writings  - the four gospels, the recorded letters by Paul, John, Peter and others. So much for us to read and digest in order to equip ourselves for life.

They often say that the best means of defence is attack – true in football, also true for Christians seeking to defend themselves against devil’s attacks. Get your sword out – God’s word. The writer to the Hebrews wrote “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword – it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart”.

As you consider the armour of the Roman soldier, you will note that it only protects the front of his body. His back was completely exposed. The armour of God and our Divine weapons are only effective as long as we engage the enemy head-on. Withdrawing from the field of battle is giving the Devil an easy victory. We must face the enemy head-on, "stand firm", and never turn our backs and run. The Roman soldier was trained "to stand firm against" the enemy and never to turn back. The moment a Roman soldier lost his cool and decided to run away from the enemy’s assault or charge, he became a casualty.

Our spiritual war is not always easy. At times, it is intense and fearsome. That is the nature of combat.

We must remember the guarantees given us in this passage. If, says verse 11, we "put on the full armour of God", we will be "able to stand firm against the schemes of the Devil." If, says verse 13, we "take up the full armour of God," we will be "able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm". What is the "evil day"? It is any day that we are tempted, that we are tested, that we undergo trials or even persecution. By that definition, every day is an "evil day". We can, by wearing and using God’s armour and weapons, stand victorious in our battle against the enemy of our souls.

Having written at length about the armour, Paul does add one important note (Eph 6:18) “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests”. Prayer is of course the Christians life-line to the Lord. A modern army depends upon communications between the front line and the management sitting in their bunkers back home. We have the tremendous privilege of knowing that we can talk to God our heavenly Father about anything at any time – we can fire off those arrow prayers for God’s help or direction wherever we are. So when we feel Satan is having a go at us, just talk to God about it.

The words of one of the first choruses we used to sing when I was young were:

“A little talk with Jesus makes it right all right: A little talk with Jesus makes it right all right. In trials of every kind, praise God I always find – A little talk with Jesus makes it right all right”.

In the midst of whatever battles you may face with the Devil this week, do make time for that little talk to the Lord , you may well be amazed what a difference it can make to your life.

So, to sum up, the "armour of God" - the belt, breastplate, boots, shield, helmet and sword - will provide complete and perfect defence against temptation and error AND will enable us to invade the enemy’s territory and extend the border of the kingdom of Christ; that is, rescuing others from the snare of the Devil.

 

Closing Hymn: Soldiers of Christ arise

 

 

SOLDIERS OF CHRIST, ARISE,

And put your armour on;

Strong in the strength which God supplies,

Through His eternal Son;

 

Strong in the Lord of hosts,

And in His mighty power;

Who in the strength of Jesus trusts

Is more than conqueror.

 

Stand, then, in His great might,

With all His strength endued;

And take, to arm you for the fight,

The panoply of God.

 

Leave no unguarded place,

No weakness of the soul;

Take every virtue, every grace,

And fortify the whole.

 

From strength to strength go on,

Wrestle and fight and pray;

Tread all the powers of darkness down,

And win the well-fought day.

 

That having all things done,

And all your conflicts past,

Ye may o’ercome, through Christ alone,

And stand complete at last.

 

 

Notices

  1. Next Sunday we will be sharing in the Breaking of Bread; and our guest speaker will be Harry Vallance
  2. We have our Bible Study on Zoom  at 7.30pm on Wednesday
  3. The next Saturday Drive-in for the Food Bank will be on 20th February.