All posts by Joel

Sundays sermon notes

Owing to the sermon on Sunday failing to record properly, we have decided to post Mus’s sermon notes in full. Sorry for the inconveinience. 

Genesis 45  This is a link to the PDF file for you to download to your PC or mobile device

Genesis 45
T: God works through human sin to bring salvation
A: Come near to the gracious Son for salvation
– Don’t be distressed or angry with yourselves (but see
sin in context)
– Don’t quarrel along the way
V: tender, warm, affectionate
Focus
Sylv and me went for a walk in a national park,
when we were having lunch i over heard some children
playing a game,
a little girl said to her mum “you can be my revenge
serpent. ”
now i’m not sure what game they were playing, or where
the little girl had heard this,

but is makes a point – the nature of the world and our old
sinful nature wants to pay back those who wrong us.
In contrast today, In this bit of the Joseph story
We see a gracious character in Joseph. Joseph doesn’t
take revenge, because he has learned something about
God and the way he works.

If we learn this and let this truth sink in, with prayer
We’ll be find greater freedom to not hold things against
people for the wrongs they’ve done to us.
We’ll have greater trust in God’s sovereignty, his rule over
all things
And we’ll experience greater peace in our relationships.
It’s a truth that defines the whole meaning of our existence
and that reaches to the heart of the gospel/the good news
of Jesus.
Context
Let’s get our bearings in the Joseph story.
Last week we ended on the big reveal.
Joseph reveals who he is to his brothers
Josephs older brother Judah as spokesperson for the
brothers gives a speech that shows they have changed.

Whereas in the past they had been jealous of joseph, their
dad’s favourite, and wanted to kill him,
nor caring at all about what it would do to their Dad,
they sell him off out of their lives, to some midianite
traders, Joseph ends up as a slave in Egypt.
But this was all part of God’s plan.
A famine strikes the known world, Josephs family in
Canaan and all of Egypt are affected.
But Joseph interpreted a dream pharaoh had that warned
about the famine years in advance, so he put Joseph in
charge of storing up all the food to prepare for the famine.
Joseph through this dream and his God given wisdom
rose to be the most important person in Egypt, bar
Pharaoh.
Long story short, the brothers come to Egypt coz they
heard there was food and meet Joseph the boss of the
land.
Joseph pretends not to know his brothers but tests them
by engineering a situation where they have the
opportunity to get rid of their dad’s favourite son.
dad’s new favourite benjamin has been framed

and is now guilty of stealing from Joseph and so will be
enslaved.
Judah pleads with the man (not yet known to him as
joseph) for him to take him instead of benjamin.
Judah’s speech shows that the brothers have been
humbled, they are sorry for what they did to joseph and in
their actions are showing repentance – a changing of
direction.
This is the major turning point of the whole joseph story
and it teaches us a very big truth about God and human
sin.
So let’s pick up the story in verse 1
Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his
attendants, and he cried out, ‘Make everyone leave my
presence!’ So there was no one with Joseph when he
made himself known to his brothers. 2 And he wept so
loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s
household heard about it.

Joseph loses control of his emotions. They are strong and
deep.
You can imagine, this is the culmination of over 30 years
since being sold by his brothers.
And here they are, bowing down to him as God had said,
humbled, sorry.
What thoughts and feelings are rushing through joseph’s
mind?!
He can’t keep it all in,
His, cool egyptian-wiseman cover is cracking
He sends everyone out except his brothers,
Now he can talk privately and intimately with his family
Verse 3
3 Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am Joseph! Is my father
still living?’ But his brothers were not able to answer him,
because they were terrified at his presence.

And now here the brothers are bowed down before one of
the most powerful men in the world, feeling guilty for what
they have done to him, their lives are in his hands.
…and they’re terrified.
But Joseph doesn’t summon a revenge serpent.
All the time he’s been pretending not to recognise them,
Moses the writer of Genesis gives us glimpses into
Josephs tenderness
Joseph’s not angry with them, he’s not taking revenge,
Now what’s in Josephs heart towards his brothers comes
out his mouth:
Verse 4
4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come close to me.’
When they had done so, he said, ‘I am your brother
Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be
distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling
me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me
ahead of you.
Joseph the hated favourite son
The son as good as dead
is now exalted, alive, the lord of the earth.
This exalted son… is tender towards his humbled brothers.
Come close to me
He wants them to be near him, Come close to me
When he says – The one you sold into egypt!
He proving it’s really him
And He’s real about what they’ve done to him, but he’s not
trying to make them feel bad,
actually he’s trying to relieve their guilty emotions
Do not be distressed
Do not be angry with yourselves.
What beautiful, gracious character.
Joseph understands what they are going through, he
knows how they might be feeling.

And he wants them to be at peace.
He isn’t bitter, he’s not angry with them, he doesn’t want
them to suffer under guilt anymore.
No, he’s tender and gentle with those who trafficked him
away from his family home.
How can he be so kind?
How can we have this attitude?
This is it, this is where we learn the big truth, the secret of
Joseph’s graciousness:
Verse 5
And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with
yourselves for selling me here, because
it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.

Joseph see’s God’s bigger purpose in what his brothers
did to him.
He sees what the brothers did to him – sell him into slavery
– but he sees that against the backdrop of God’s greater
plan to save all their lives, and the lives of the surrounding
nations.
it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.
He says it twice more verse 6
6 For two years now there has been famine in the land,
and for the next five years there will be no ploughing and
reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for
you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great
deliverance.
8 ‘So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.
And this is the big truth we learn at this turning point in the
Joseph story:

God works through human sin to bring salvation.
God works through human sin to bring salvation.
Joseph understood this, that’s why he could say about the
same event:
(v4)You sold me into egypt and
(v8)It was not you who sent me here but God.
You sold me
God sent me
You sold me into Egypt – the human sin
and
God sent me ahead of you – God’s working
And this was to bring salvation
To save lives v6
To save lives by a great deliverance v7

Because Joseph understands how God works behind the
scenes,
even scenes where he is sinned against,
he is able to be forgiving towards his brothers and say
Don’t be distressed and don’t be angry with yourselves for
what you’ve done.
Joseph shows his wisdom here.
He knows what people are like.
When Christians sin, all being well we will feel guilty and a
right guilt is designed to lead us to God.
But because we are so focused on ourselves, those right
feelings of guilt can turn into sinful self hatred.
I’ve struggled with self hatred to the point of hitting myself
in the face.
its the kind of attitude that makes you want to beat
yourself up.
You realise your guilt and are angry with yourself and
sometimes that bitterness spills over and you’re angry with
other people

If you have been humbled like the brothers,
You’ve seen and owned your guilt
you are actually sorry
God doesn’t want you to be angry with yourself.
God doesn’t want his humbled people to be angry with
themselves or distressed because of their sin.
He want’s you to take your eyes off of yourself and see the
bigger picture
Your sin is part of God’s salvation tapestry
Your sin is just a strand in the tapestry- if you zoom out,
you will see God’s Son Jesus, saving you from your sin,
by dying in your place and rising from the dead.
That’s the context in which Christians should see there
sin.
hear Jesus say to you, like Jospeh to his brothers:
“Come near to me.”
Our guilt is meant to lead us to God.

Come near to Jesus, knowing what you’ve done, sorry for
what you’ve done,
Then fixing your eyes on Jesus face full of sympathy,
forgiveness, love.
Looking at him full of grace and truth,
If we are angry with ourselves, we become embittered
toward others too.
If we are not at peace in our own consciences, because
we aren’t enjoying peace with God then
it makes it harder to be at peace with others too.
We need to see the bigger picture
God works through human sin to bring salvation.
Embracing this truth will liberate us from self hatred and
bitterness.
Christian – When you lie awake at night on your bed and
the skeletons of your past, the things you are ashamed of
come creeping into your mind, instead of beating yourself
up….  Step back, see the bigger picture

Remember that God is working through human sin to bring
salvation.
God’s sovereign hand is working through those events to
bring about a gracious end, though you have sinned, God
has treated you better than you deserve, and your ultimate
end will be better than you deserve.
When you encounter your husband or wife’s sin, the thing
they seem to keep doing, the thing that really gets to you,
instead of getting angry and feeling sorry for yourself
see the bigger picture
You can step back and think…this is all part of God’s plan
to save.
God is saving.
You can not hold it against the person who sinned against
you if you see God’s bigger purpose. Like Joseph you can
say – it was not you. I know you did actually do it, but God
has a bigger purpose that your sin is apart of, so i can go
easy on you.
He has allowed sin to exist and he is working to bring us
finally into heaven through this sin saving us from it.

We can say that God is in absolute control over all things
even through human sin.
We must be crystal clear. God allows sin to happen. But
he hates it.
He is perfectly righteous and holy and good, there is no
sin in God.
Humans sin. We are responsible to God for our sin.
But God uses sin as part of his plan to save the world.
his plan was always to save people from their sin,
The ultimate example of this
Jesus, God’s son died in the place of guilty sinners to pay
for their sins, and rise from death to give them everlasting
life.
God has allowed your sin to happen so he can send his
son to die in your place, rise and forgive you – so you will
see what he is like – see his grace and praise him.
How Joseph acts here towards his brothers is a glimmer of
the character of Jesus, full of grace and truth.

Isaiah 42:3 3
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
Jesus is tender towards the broken hearted, humbled and
repentant sinner
He says come close to me, don’t be angry with yourself
Then he lifts the bowed down sinner up and provides them
with eternal life.
If you’re not a Christian
you will have experienced self hatred too
either for something you felt bad about doing
or if you have fail in something in life that is really
important to you, a relationship, a job or sport that defines
you.
If you know yourself to be a failure in life, this sense of
failure and even guilt was designed to bring you to God.

If you fail in your job or in a realtionship and it feels like the
world has ended, its because that person or work has
become your identity, and is functionally your God.
But think about it, can another person like you, really fulfill
the weight of all your hopes and dreams?
Or do people with great success in life and work find
lasting peace and happiness?
What’s more important than achievement and human
relationships
Is living in right relationship with the God who made you
and loves you.
if you know that you have messed up in anything, know
that you’ve definitely messed
when it comes to doing what pleases God,
God’s judgement for this is death
It’s a serious thing to sin against the almighty God
If you are not a christian and this is news to you, and you
are sorry for your sin against God
Here Jesus speak his words of life and grace to you:
Come near to me.
Come near to Jesus
When Jesus was sold by his own people, handed over to
death,  he paid the price of your sin – death.

And when he rose from death in power he sent his people
to tell the good news that he is lord of all the earth and can
provide everlasting life for all who believe in him.
Come near to Jesus, trust him, he will deliver you and
bring you into his kingdom to live with him forever.

Now God’s plan to save is coming to fruition, Joseph
sends his brothers to bring his Dad Jacob and the whole
family into Egypt where they will be saved from the famine
8 ‘So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He
made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household
and ruler of all Egypt. 9 Now hurry back to my father and
say to him, “This is what your son Joseph says: God has
made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay.
10 You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me
– you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and
herds, and all you have. 11 I will provide for you there,
because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise
you and your household and all who belong to you will
become destitute.”
This passage highlights Josephs deep affection and
emotion towards his brothers
His loud crying. Here he weeps, his brothers weep, they
embrace each other, kiss, and then talk. It doesn’t say
what they talked about, the point is that they are talking
again. There relationship is good. These are the tokens of
reconciliation and right relationship. I know we are british
and restrained. The egyoptian palace culture was also
cool and restrained. But in a family all over the world
talking, hugging, kissing, weeping are can be genuine
signs of healthy relationships. A good application from
this is: give someone a hug, or in a way that is appropriate
show affection to someone, a hug can be very disarming.
Enjoy talking with someone.

Please note keep it pure younger men especially.
14 Then he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin
and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping. 15 And
he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Afterwards
his brothers talked with him.
The last thing we’ll note is the lovely moment where
Joseph is peacemaker in his family
24 Then he sent his brothers away, and as they were
leaving he said to them, “Don’t quarrel on the way!”
He knows what they are like and wants them to be at
peace with eachother.
God wants his family to be at peace with eachother.
The big truth we’ve learned:
God works through human sin to bring salvation

Will empower us to be at peace with eachother.
When we are tempted to take issue with a brother or
sister, even beacause of their sin, we do it with the heart
of Jesus the peacemaker.
We can be mindful that God is saving our brother or
sisters who has sinned and seek peace with them, either
through loving rebuke, or overlooking, whatever is best for
them, whatever makes for genuine peace.
God works through human sin to bring salvation
Come near to the gracious Son for salvation
– Don’t be distressed or angry with yourselves (but see
sin in context)
– Don’t quarrel along the way
– Be at peace with each other

Disabled Access to our service.

We have the facility of a ramp for wheelchair users. If you wish to attend our service please come early for us to assist you with the ramp. Or please contact us by telephone to pre arrange your visit.  Our Sunday service is from 10.30am to about 12am.

Please call the church office:  02082152962

For Deaf people wishing to attend there are BSL signers who will assist you with your visit.

Please call the church office:  02082152962

We have a Loop system for people with hearing aids please do not hesitate to ask for assistance if required

We encourage everyone to worship with us on Sunday morning.  If we can assist you in attending please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance

Please call the church office:  02082152962

Jesus Is Building His Church: What Happens In Church?

JESUS IS BUILDING HIS CHURCH: WHAT HAPPENS IN CHURCH?

God is concerned about his people gathering or meeting together rather than about the buildings we meet in. But what are those meetings meant to do? Church meetings are not a way for a Christian to affect God, to change him. Church meetings are a way for God to change us, to make us different (Ephesians 4:11-13).

Church is not for a Christian to come and go through the same words each week and think, ‘I’ve done what I ought to.’ We may be uncertain and fearful that we have not done enough. Or proud because we think we have done enough.

Church is not for a Christian to come and show God my feelings, to show him how much I love him. We may be uncertain and fearful that our expression is not good enough. Or proud because we think we have expressed such deep devotion.

We do express ourselves, our desires and hopes, in our prayers and in the songs that are to God. But that is not the main reason to come to the meeting. Church is one of the things God uses to change us. When we gather, God uses the teaching, the songs and the prayers to train us to love him and what he has done for us. He trains us to fit in with who he is and with his purposes. He trains us to no longer be fearful and uncertain, we know what he has done and is doing. He trains us to no longer be proud, we know he is the one at work, not us.

This may be a different way of thinking about church from what you thought it is about. You may need to read this sheet a couple of times and think it through.

When we think church is all about me expressing myself to God it creates problems. If we understand that God is using church to change us, we avoid these problems. For example:

1. If I think church is for me to express myself, I will be tempted to be a hypocrite, looking good and not admitting my sin.

When we see that church is something God uses to change us, we will find it easier to admit that we are not scrubbed up, impressive people but that we are weak and inclined to sin.

2. If I think church is for me to express myself, I won’t bother coming to church if I don’t feel like it. After all, what is the point if I am not in the right mood to express myself?

When we see that church is something God uses to change us, we don’t have to ‘feel like coming to church’ for church to be good for us and for us to take part in. In fact, many of us don’t feel like coming on a Sunday morning. But after the church meeting, we are glad that we came. During church, we find that it is only once we start to sing that our feelings may catch up with the songs we are singing.

3. If I think church is for me to express myself, I easily become selfish. I complain about parts of church that don’t suit me.

When we see that church is something God uses to change us, we will join in. We do need to try to find out when we don’t understand parts of the service. Ask; What do these words mean? Why do we pray that prayer? Why do we always have the Bible read? And so on. But we join in, knowing God uses these to change me and others.

4. If I think church is for me to express myself, it is easy to think that what I do matters most, not what God is doing.

When we see that church is something God uses to change us, we see he is doing the main action, not us. He uses our meeting together to do that. We should join in because we trust that God will use our weekly meetings to change us and those around us.

5. If I think church is for me to express myself, I may make the mistake of thinking that words must be spontaneous and unplanned to be genuine and sincere. So using the same words in confession or creeds cannot be sincere.

When we see that church is something God uses to change us, we can find that carefully planned words help. We should take care we don’t use them thoughtlessly. But sometimes it is only by using words many times that the penny drops. We know that doing the same thing again and again is good in other parts of life: to keep teeth healthy by brushing, to learn piano.

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Church is not for us to come and show God our devotion. It is how God re-directs our hearts, trains us to desire the right things. Church isn’t something we do to God, it is where God does something to us.

Jesus Is Building His Church: What Is Church?

People use the word ‘church’ for several different things: A building ‘he opened the door to the church’; a job ‘he went into the church’; a Christian meeting ‘they were late for church’; a denomination ‘I am in the Anglican Church’; a local congregation ‘the church were glad when the missionary visited.’

But what does the Bible mean by ‘church’? It is a gathering or people, a meeting. The word used for ‘church’ in the Bible is the normal, everyday word for a ‘gathering’ or ‘assembly’. (There is more information on this over the page.)

What makes us come together? You may sit together with very different people from you on the tube. You have come together on the tube because you all want to go the same way. Why do such different people meet together in Christian church? What connects us? It is our shared trust in Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus says he is building his church (Matthew 16:18).

What are some implications for us? Here are five:

1. So often what we call ‘church’ is a building made of wood or bricks or stone. That is not the church that Jesus is building. Jesus is making a gathering of people around him. We should look after our church building; keep it clean, maintain it. But our greater concern should not be for the building but for the people who meet. Some churches in hot countries meet in the shade of a tree. The Bible meaning of church is not a building, it is gathering of people.

2. So often what we call ‘church’ is not what the Bible means by it. Denominations (the Anglican Church or the Presbyterian Church) are not ‘churches’. They are organisations that help a number of churches. The real churches are the congregations or gatherings, where God’s people ‘assemble’. Denominations can be helpful, but they are not as important as the ‘church’ that Christ is drawing together.

3. We should try to keep the focus of church, of our meeting together, on what Jesus has done for his people and is doing to his people. In our songs and prayers and sermons and coffee time chat we should keep reminding each other of important things: The great work Jesus has done to rescue us; the way he wants us to get on with each other; that we must be looking forward and getting ready for the day he comes to judge all humans.

4. We can expect our local church to be a letdown. Why? Because it is a gathering of others with sin in their life just like me. Sin will show itself in selfishness, in laziness, in refusal to treat each other as God wants. All those things mean that church will be a letdown. We should not be surprised when it is a letdown. But we should be working to try to join in church in the way Jesus wants.

5. Jesus is building his church. What is he using? People who come to him. You may have been in church meetings for years, but you are not part of the church if you are not a Christian. Being a church-goer does not make you a Christian, but being a Christian should make you a church-goer, because you want to submit to Christ and meet with his people. You may be a person who should spend more effort on helping the church and not just ‘attend church’. How can you help out?

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The meaning of ‘church’ – not a religious word
In Acts 19:32 Luke, the writer, tells us the assembly, is in confusion – who is this about? Look at v28. This is the Ephesian crowds. In Ephesus silversmiths who made models of false gods are worried because of the Christian preachers. They start a commotion, the whole city gathers or assembles. The gathering is called ‘the church’. But it is not translated church ….because a religious meaning is given to church today. They are called the church again in v41. The same word is used in verse 39 – ‘a legal church’. The Bible word that is translated ‘church’ in other places is not a religious word for Christians meeting. It simply means ‘gathering’ or ‘assembly’.

Bible Readings in dates till April 2018

Date (2018) Passage
7th January, John 13 vv1-30
14th January, John 13 vv31-35
21st January, John 13 vv36- 14v14
28th January, John 14 vv15-31
4th February, John 15 vv1-18
11th February, John 15 vv19-25
18th February, John 16 vv1-15
25th February, John 16 vv8-33
4th March,
11th March, John 17 vv1-26
18th March,
25th March, John 18 vv1-27
29th March, John 18 vv28-19v16
30th March, John 19 vv17-42
1st April, John 20 vv1-31

No weapon fashioned against you shall prosper (Isaiah 54 verse 17)

This is God’s word. This is God’s promise. So when a brother is killed by thieves with a weapon – what does it mean? Does it mean the man was not a brother after all? Or does it mean that God’s promise has failed?
God makes many promises in the Bible.

• Some he has already kept. He promised Abraham a son. Abraham’s wife gave birth to a son.
• Some promises He is keeping now. He promised Abraham to bless people of all nations. Today, people of all nations are being blessed through Jesus.
• Some promises God will keep in the future. He promises a future with no more death or mourning or crying or pain. We live in hope for that future.

How can we tell which kind a promise is? How can we tell if it is a promise for us now? Other parts of the Bible tell us. We read God’s promise of a son to Abraham in Genesis 17. We read the promise kept in Genesis 21. We read the promise of blessing to all nations in Genesis 12. Galatians 3 tells us that the promise is coming true for all who trust Jesus. The Bible interprets the Bible. That is why we need to read our Bibles and be taught by teachers who are careful to read it well.
Which kind of promise is Isaiah 54:17? Already kept, being kept now or to be kept in the future?

In Isaiah 54:11-17, God is speaking to the Old Testament people about the future for Jerusalem. It is described in beautiful, lavish terms. This is the situation when God’s people will enjoy safety and peace and no weapon will prevail against them. God repeats this promise about Jerusalem when he talks of the new creation at the end of Revelation 21. It is still in the future for us. In this life, we are not safe from weapons. In Acts, we read that Stephen is killed by stoning (chapter 7) and James executed with a sword (chapter 12). God’s promise about safety from weapons will only be kept in the new creation, with the New Jerusalem.

What do we do when God makes promises?
Promises ask us to trust the person making the promise and act on our trust. If you say you will meet me at church at 10 a.m., I show that I trust you by turning up at 10 a.m. If I say I trust you but just sit at home saying to myself, they said they would be there, do I really trust you? It is the same with God’s promises. God promises to forgive those who confess they are sinners. I show I trust him if I confess I am a sinner and ask for forgiveness. If I say I trust him but just say to myself, ‘he forgives’ but never confess and never ask forgiveness, do I really trust him?

God has not promised protection from physical enemies in this life. We should take sensible precautions, we lock our doors at night, as far as possible, we seek to live at peace with all people, but he does not promise we will always be safe.
But God has promised protection from spiritual enemies, from Satan. ‘Resist the devil and he will flee from you’ (James 4:7). This is a promise of God. But how do we resist? How do show we trust God’s way of protection? The Bible explains the Bible: ‘Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes’ (Ephesians 6:10). How do show we trust God? By using God’s defences. The devil’s language is lies. We stay safe by hearing and speaking the truth from God. The devil accuses. We stay safe by trusting that Jesus has dealt with our guilt. The devil sows discord and division. We stay safe by welcoming other sinners who are forgiven like us.