Online Meeting Sunday 24 May 2020

Lee Street Church

Notes of on-line meeting held on 24th May 2020

We welcomed about 22 people on-line.

Sue led the worship time.

We all know the world seems crazy right now. As we face a global pandemic together, replete with worry, job loss, school closings, and more...our hearts can feel heavy and burdened. We need this reminder:

Although it may feel strange, the most important thing we can do right now, or in the middle of any crisis, is to praise God.

Psalm 18:1 -2 tells us “The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies display His craftsmanship. Day after day they speak, and night after night they make Him known.” Our greatest strength in times of uncertainty is God.

So, to find freedom from anxiety and worry, we can begin by praising the things we know to be true of God.

Here’s something that can make a lasting difference. When we make that decision to fix our eyes on Him, and daily give Him praise, no matter what's staring us straight in the face, we suddenly realize that God has already begun to release the grip those struggles can have over us.

There’s power in our acknowledgement that He is worthy, above all else, of our worship and praise.


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.”

Romans 15 v13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Psalm 39 v7 "But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.


Song: Jesus hope of the nations


Jesus hope of the nations
Jesus comfort for all who mourn
You are the source of Heaven's hope on earth

Jesus light in the darkness
Jesus truth in each circumstance
You are the source of Heaven's light on earth

In history You lived and died
You broke the chains You rose to life


You are the hope living in us
You are the rock in Whom we trust
You are the light
Shining for all the world to see
You rose from the dead conquering fear
Our Prince of Peace drawing us near
Jesus our hope living for all who will receive
Lord we believe


I was touched by Mike’s words last week on those of you feeling despondent- different circumstances for us all but for those completely isolated it must be really hard.

The following excerpt from “Word for today” I feel is really for us all during these times.

Daniel 2 v21 “He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning”.

“Realise that rough times won’t last forever. As surely as God created spring to follow winter, He changes times and seasons. He gives wisdom. The season of adversity you’re in will end. And when it does you’ll glean from it the wisdom to build a better future. Sometimes your greatest blessings come from your most negative circumstances. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4 v17 “Our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever.”

Tough times don’t last but tough people do! Out of your greatest tests come your greatest testimonies. (We’ll be expecting a lot when we have a testimony meeting!) Trust God to do what you can’t. What should we do? Paul answers in Philippians 4 v6-7 “Don’t worry about anything. Instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and His peace will guard your hearts and minds.”

We heard last week from Barry a verse that promises us this in Psalm 23 v3 “He restores my soul.”

Matt Redman- It is well with my soul.


Be reminded of the blessings still to come

Romans 8 v37-39 – “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Revelation 21 v1-5 – “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." “

Psalm 130 v5 – “Wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. “

Song: Throughout the earth

Throughout the earth Your glory will come,

A day of power, of salvation.

To thirsty hearts Your rivers will run,

Changing lives for the glory of God.

From Satan’s hold this land will be free,

The deaf will hear, the blind will see;

To walk in truth, in victory,

To live for the glory of God.


Lord, come and reign by the power of Your Spirit,

Shower this land with Your rivers of

That Jesus the Son would be glorified

Within the heart of Your Bride

Lord, come and reign.


Upon the earth may Your kingdom come,

Within our lives may Your will be done;

Under the reign of Jesus the Son

We will live for the glory of God.

The gates of heaven are open wide,

To bless this land, to turn back the tide,

To welcome in Your glorious Bride,

To live for the glory of God.

James Wright.

Copyright © 1996 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music.

Ken’s Message (full copy!!)

The Ascension of Jesus Christ Luke 24. 50-53 & Acts 1.9-11

The life of Jesus revolves around three events, his birth, death and resurrection. All three are given prominence with national holidays. An important event of Jesus is often ignored. It is the Ascension of Jesus to heaven. One well known preacher said he had only preached on it three times in 30 years preaching. Last Thursday it was Ascension Day and today is Ascension Sunday. Is it important? If there was no Ascension there would be no sending of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, so the church would never have come into existence. There would be no church in Lee Street.

Why is the Ascension of Jesus Christ important?

Did it really take place? It is just recorded in the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. Luke, who was a doctor is the author of both books. Even though he never met Jesus he interviewed eye-witnesses and researched thoroughly his material gathering the facts. Both his writings were sent to an influential Greek friend named Theophilus, probably not a Christian but he assured him that what he had written was the truth. Luke was a great defender of the faith of the early church similar, as C.S. Lewis the converted atheist was in our time. Though Luke didn’t witness the Ascension his research led him to verify its truth. It was the last miracle that took place before Jesus left the earth. “He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight”. Jesus came into the world by the miracle of the virgin birth and now leaves by a miracle. It wasn’t a trick of levitation. He didn’t ascend into the sky in a space shuttle. This miracle wasn’t done by Jesus for he was “taken up” by the power of his Father God. A God who can’t do miracles isn’t worthy to be called God. All the disciples saw it. It had to be witnessed because it was one off event that couldn’t be repeated or verified after it took place. The actual resurrection of Jesus didn’t need to be witnessed as it could be verified by all the resurrection appearances of Jesus to his followers after the event. The Ascension of Jesus really happened!

Why did Jesus need to leave the disciples?

The disciples didn’t want him to go. Surely their mission of preaching the gospel would be more effective with the risen Jesus with them. However, so long as Jesus had a body, he could only be in one place at a time. Of course, he could move around much quicker with his new resurrected body but being in this world with a body he would still limit him to a set location and time. During his three years of ministry he couldn’t be in Jerusalem and Nazareth at the same time and people had to queue up and wait to see him. How then could they reach people in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and all the ends of the earth as Jesus planned? With Jesus’ bodily limitation they could probably only reach the people in Palestine. There had to be another way or the gospel wouldn’t go into all the world and even reach our shores.

His going to heaven was the end of his visible presence in a fixed location on earth. Like the TV programme Location, Location, Location, Jesus changed his location. When Jesus changed location to heaven, his body was there but when the Holy Spirit was sent he came to live in his disciples. Wherever they went he went too. There were no limitations. He was present working through them wherever they went. That is why He could reach the world with the gospel. His body is located in heaven but His Spirit He is everywhere on the earth. He can listen and answer prayers from his people in England, Africa, Russia, Japan and America all at the same time. We don’t need to queue up or make an appointment. He’s available 24/7 everyday, anywhere in the world. The disciples thought when he went away they would get less of him but instead they got much more of Him. The headquarters of Jesus are now in heaven but he’s present in all his believers on earth. As he said “I am the vine and you are the branches.” The life in the vine is the same life in the branch. The Holy Spirit who lives in us isn’t some short- changed form of Jesus. When Jesus says to the disciples “the Father will give you another Counsellor”, the meaning of “another” is “one of the same kind and nature”. The Holy Spirit isn’t some sub- standard copy of Jesus. They are both on the same level and of the same nature. The only difference is that Jesus has a body but the Holy Spirit is a spirit. We might think it would be better for us to see and have Jesus with us like the disciples had rather than just have the Holy Spirit. But that would be a mistake. The disciples just had Jesus beside them but by having the Holy Spirit we have Jesus in us. The story is told of a mum who would take her son to nursery, kiss him goodbye and would always say to him “darling I’m leaving you in good hands, OK?” When Jesus left the disciples on that first Ascension Day he had already told them he would send the Holy Spirit to enable them to carry out his work. Like the mum Jesus was leaving the disciples in good hands. We too are in the good hands of the Holy Spirit.

Where did Jesus go when He ascended?

It says “he….was taken up into heaven”. Where is heaven? We have quite a lot of information about what heaven is like but very little on where it is. When Jesus went up into the sky we mustn’t think of it in terms of space travel. In 1961, Yuri Gargarin the Russian cosmonaut, was the first person to travel in space When he came back he said “I looked out and there was no evidence of God or heaven”. He wouldn’t be able to see God anyway because God is spirit. But what about heaven, where is it? Heaven isn’t in our universe because it is outside time and space. Many think of God as “the man upstairs”. Imagine the universe as a house. We live on the bottom floor and God is in the attic. That would mean that God and heaven are part of our universe so when Jesus came to the world it was just a transfer from one part of the universe to another. As though he came from the attic to the bottom floor where we were. But actually he came from outside the house from a place of no time and space which is heaven. Heaven is another realm that is completely different from our natural world. Where is heaven? We don’t know exactly. But we know it is real for Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us there. We believe His promise and can leave the details that we don’t understand in his hands. The best way to understand heaven is to think of it in relation to what Jesus said. When Jesus went to heaven he wasn’t going to a new location. He was going back to where he came from. Heaven for Jesus is home. He went home to His Father’s house. It’s the person that makes the place wonderful. The best thing about heaven is that our Father and Jesus are there and that’s where we belong. When we go to heaven we’re going to our real eternal home. Our time on earth is living in a tent which is just temporary accommodation.

One of my favourite songs many years ago had these words.

“This world is not my home I’m just a passing through,

my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue,

The Saviour beckons me from heaven’s open door,

And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

We were made for eternity - that’s why our treasure should be in heaven and not on the earth. In Mark 16.19 we get another wonderful insight as to where Jesus went, “he sat at the right hand of God”. The word ascend has a royal connotation. We speak of Queen Elizabeth who ascended the throne in 1953 at her coronation. Jesus didn’t sneak into heaven by the back door but was welcomed and exalted as a King by His Father for His saving work on the cross. It was a celebration like when a football team returns to their home town after winning a major trophy. The one who suffered on the cross returned home and was seated and exalted at the right hand of the throne of the majesty in heaven. The fact that he is seated speaks of his finished work on earth of saving mankind through his death. Nothing needs to be added for his work was all sufficient. His spotless sacrifice of Himself has taken away all our sins forever. There is now no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus. Because of His death on the cross he has been given a name above every name and at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and confess that he is Lord. The right hand was the place of authority and honour. During the Second World War Churchill was the King’s right-hand man with the authority and after victory he stood beside the King at Buckingham Palace. Christ now shares the throne with His Father because of his victory over sin, death, hell and Satan. He has been given all authority in heaven and earth and he shares it with us so we can go and preach the gospel and make disciples.

What was the effect of the ascension on the disciples?

Two things happened which really changed them. Firstly, Jesus blessed them, “he lifted up his hands and blessed them”. Just a few weeks before his hands were pierced with nails and lifted on a cross. From the curse he received for our sin comes the blessing of his triumph. Recently the Blessing Song has been watched by over 16 million people. Blessing that transforms lives can only come from God. The blessing that Jesus bestows on his disciples is not one particular blessing but all that he is. We too have become so close in union with him that we are now joint-heirs with him. All he is we have become. Through our union in Him alone we can fulfil the task of witness he has given us. He says to us, “I am the vine and you are the branches…..apart from me you can do nothing”. It is only as his life flows through us that we can do his work.

Secondly, there was the visit of the two angels and their message, “Why do you stand here looking into the sky?” The disciples knew this time of Jesus’ departure was to come and Jesus prepared them for it in those 40 days after his resurrection. But when it came, it was still a shock leaving them feeling lonely, confused and alone. They knew the purpose and need of his leaving in their heads but it still left them deflated in their hearts. God knew their feelings and so he sent them two angels. They didn’t have wings but appeared as ordinary men, but maybe their white clothes gave their identity away. The meaning of angel is just messenger. They were sent to comfort and strengthen them. God sent an angel to strengthen Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. The disciples were encouraged and cheered by their presence. It showed that God was thinking about them. Sometimes we can act as angels in that way. Recently I sent a photo of Tilgate Park to a friend who has depression and he got back and said the photo was beautiful and share with me about his situation. Just to contact people even without a message can show them that you are thinking of them and it will strengthen them. Then the word of the angels spoke was a real encouragement, “This same Jesus who has been taken from you into heaven will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven”. Maybe the disciples were already missing Jesus and wondering about whether they would see him again. The words of the angels reminded them that the same Jesus was coming back. Jesus himself had told them that he would come back to take them to be with him but they needed further reassurance of his promise. We too need reassurance at times when things get difficult and we have begun to doubt God’s promises. Did these two incidents make any difference to the disciples? We read “Then they worshipped him” (v52). The result of Jesus’ blessing was a deeper appreciation of him leading to worship. Do you want to worship Jesus more? Ask him to bless you. Secondly, it states “and returned to Jerusalem with great joy”. A few weeks ago, they were in Jerusalem full of fear. Now with their risen Lord glorified as King and being assured that he was coming back there was no fear but great joy. Knowing that should give us great joy even though our circumstances maybe tough. Lastly, it says “they stayed continually at the temple, praising God”. The real understanding of Jesus’ ascension had a continual impact giving them a desire for fellowship with each other to praise God in the temple. The blessing of Jesus brings us together continually in fellowship and praise. May the reflection of the ascension of Jesus to the Father’s throne and the knowledge and hope of his return encourage and challenge us to worship, live, serve and witness for him in the world till he returns.







24 May 2020