Category Archives: Notices

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

Unrecorded Sermon “preachers notes”

Owing to the Service last Sunday being in the Exeter Road Hall the sermon was not recorded. For those who are interested below is the text of the sermon that Mus preached sadly no pictures attached.

Ephesians 5:22-33

 

T: Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

A: Husbands love, wives submit

 

I’ve got some very good news for everyone. Jesus loves you.

Jesus loves you so much that he gave up his life so that you could live forever.

 

Jesus’ love is huge!

 

Its so high you can’t get over it, so low you can’t get under it, so wide you can’t get around it.

 

If you believe in Jesus, then you are part of his church. Jesus loves his church – he died to save her.

This is the best news.

 

This morning we are going to hear from a bit of the bible that teaches us how Jesus’ love is the pattern for marriage.

 

What is marriage?    Yeah, Marriage is a gift from God.  When God joins 1 man and 1 woman together for life.  God wants marriages to remind us of Jesus loving the church.  He wants the husband to love his wife like Jesus loves the church, and the wife to love her husband like the church loves Jesus.

 

That’s how God wants marriages to be.

 

He wants them to be a real life sketch that teaches the world how Jesus loves his church.  A picture that reminds of how Jesus loves his church and the church loves Jesus:

 

<Show sketch of loving husband and submissive wife>

 

We’re going to meet some wives and husbands, and we’ll see which ones are most like what God wants.

So first, bring in the wives:

 

<show picture of squashed wife>

 

 Squashy Sheila

 

Squashy Sheila doesn’t give her thoughts to her husband when they have to make an important choice. She doesn’t think what she says could be worth anything, so she just keeps quiet.

 

<show picture of bossy wife>

 

Princess Prunella

 

Princess Prunella is the boss in her marriage.

She orders her husband around and is always telling him what to do.

When he doesn’t listen, she shouts at him until he does.

 

<show picture of submissive wife>

 

 Submissive Sandra

 

Submissive Sandra respects her husband. She lets him be the leader, and enjoys letting him take care of her.  Sometimes Sheila’s husband makes the wrong decision, and she lets him know she thinks he is wrong and wants to help him see why, she prays for God to show him, but she stands by him and lets him decide.

 

Who do we think is most like what the bible teaches?  …….. Yes its Submissive Sandra

 

Let’s read what the Bible says about how wives should love their husbands in Eph Ch 5 v22:

 

  1. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.

 

Submissive Sheila is most like what God wants. Does anyone know what the word submit means?

In football the players submit to the manager. God wants wives to submit to their husbands.

This means he wants them to Let him be the leader.

 

<Mus calls Sylvie to the front>

 

When a man and a woman jive dance, the man decides which moves to do and the woman goes with that move, she submits to him and everyone has a fun time dancing.

 

This is what happens.   ( Sylvia and Mus Dance )

 

But if the wife is a squashy Sheila and doesn’t dance… Or if the wife is a Princess Prunella and tries to lead…   ( Sylvia and Mus Dance  but it is a mess)

 

This is the way God has made marriages to work. They work best and everyone is happiest when the wife submits to her husband.

 

And the bible tells us why…  Marriages work best when the wife submits because marriages are made to show us How Jesus treats his church and how the church treats Jesus.

 

Verse

For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

 

The Church (God’s people who follow Jesus) The Church submits to Christ.

 

<slow>

 

If you part of his church That’s how we act towards Jesus. We let him be the Lord, we surrender to him, we let him save us. So God made the husband the head the wife so that the wives can submit to them and show the world how the Church acts towards Jesus.

 

 

But what about the husbands:

 

<show picture of “Lordy” husband>

 

 Lordy Leeroy

 

Lordy Leeroy believes men are better than women. He rules his wife by bossing her around.

He bullies her into serving him and doing what he wants. He is the boss, but his wife is miserable.

 

<show picture of doormat husband>

 

 Doormat Dennis

 

Dennis has given up trying to be the leader. He doesn’t give any direction to his marriage, he doesn’t have a plan. He doesn’t ask for God’s help to love his wife so that she will respect him, he just does what she says even if he doesn’t think it’s a good idea.

 

<show picture of loving husband>

 

 Loving Lenny

 

Loving Leonard knows that God has made him the head of his wife. He knows that Jesus is the head of him. He uses the role God has given him to take care of his wife. He makes sure she is cared for just the way he’d like to be treated.

 

Which husband is most like what God wants?……It’s Loving Lenny.

 

Let’s read what the Bible says to husbands:  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

 

Christ Jesus loved the church. His love is a strong love that means he would die for his church. Which is what he did.  People turn away from God and deserve to die and be punished forever and never be with God.  But Jesus loves his church so much that he took the punishment we deserve for our sins,

 

On the cross he died instead of us Now we can have eternal life with him. Those who believe in Jesus have been made clean by his death and will live with him in heaven forever.

 

26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

 

This is how Jesus loved the church.  This is how God wants husbands to love their wives.

 

(Pause)

 

I will speak to Husbands for a bit.  This doesn’t mean that you should take your wife into a warzone so you can jump in front of a bullet for her. It does mean that you will give things up for your wife’s good.

You will spend your pleasure and comfort, to do her good. You will work hard for her, so you can lighten her load.  It might look something like this – Maybe one night you are both tired and it is the end of a long week and there is an absolutely huge pile of dishes to be washed.

 

Your wife seems a little low and you know that she loves to sew/watch movies/go dancing/read/ insert hobby.  But the thought of doing the dishes for her feels like death to you, You would love to veg out in front of the telly or go to the gym/pub/insert hobby

 

You remember that Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.  And think… Jesus loved me by giving up his life for me and I’m so happy that he loves me…  Now I’ll go through the death of washing the dishes to love my wife… tonight I’ll give up my hobby so she can enjoy hers – and I will be so happy because I get to be like my Lord Jesus, And my wife will be blessed with some fun time.

 

Paul in this letter, makes it even clearer for husbands – If you’re wondering how to love your wife like Christ loved the church:

 

verse

28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church – 30 for we are members of his body.

 

Love your wife as yourself.

 

Do you feed yourself? Make sure your wife is fed. Do you think about how you want to relax and spend your free time?  Think about what your wife would like to do to relax and plan something fun for her free time.  Do you make sure you are spiritually healthy, that you read the bible and pray regularly, keeping your relationship with God good?

 

Make sure your wife is spiritually healthy, make sure she has time to spend with God in prayer, and is feeding on God’s word, make sure she has good friendships and relationships, that she knows she is cared for.  If you can think of anything good you want for yourself, do that for her, this might seem like death at first, but it is the most fun, joyful way to live and is the way God wants marriages to reflect Christ and the church.

 

what if you are not married?   Paul teaches us that submission is how all Christians should act towards each other.

 

V21

 

Because Jesus is the Lord, Christians are to give up trying to boss each other.

 

Paul also says that Love is how all Christians are to treat each other V2

 

So we can all think about something good we like for ourselves and do that for our fellow brothers and sisters in love. So if for example… you would like someone to call you up to see how you are  … call someone up to see how they are.

 

 

What if you are not married, but want to be? Well who seems like the best match from our wives and husbands? ……Yes Lenny and Sandra.  If you are a woman who wants to be married, look for a loving Lenny, someone who isn’t “Lordy”, and someone who won’t be a door mat. Or if you are a man looking for a wife, look for a submissive Sandra someone who isn’t bossy, someone who won’t be squashed.

 

Now we’ve got to be honest and remember why Jesus had to die.  It was because of our sin, because we do what God hates and we do what is evil.  This includes being bad husbands and wives or just bad Christians.  Sometimes husbands are rubbish and it won’t be easy for wives to submit.

Sometimes wives get it wrong and it won’t be easy to love them

 

But marriage is not about husbands and wives It is about Christ and the church

The bible says Verse 31

31 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ 32 This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the church.

 

The reason that marriage exists is because Jesus loves the Church That’s why people get married

 

Marriage is meant to be a picture of Christ and the church. Marriages work best when they show the picture of Christ and the church more clearly

 

So husbands look to Christ as your example And know that he is in you to help you give yourself up for your wife in love.  He’s there to forgive us when we are “Lordy” or a doormat, he died so we can be forgiven.

 

Wives look to the church as your pattern.  The church loves Jesus, we love to submit to him, we cry to him to save us and gladly let him be our lord.  Wives submit to your husbands in this way, knowing that Jesus is in you giving you power to submit, Jesus submitted to his father, let his submission be in you, and when you are squashed or bossy, remember that Jesus died for you so you can be forgiven.

 

Those of us who are not married, help your married parents or friends to be a picture of Christ and the church. Pray that they will be a clearer picture. Help them see when they get it wrong.

 

There is so much to say and learn about marriage, and there are husbands and wives with a lot of wisdom and experience who us younger marrieds can ask and learn from over tea and coffee and in life in general.

 

 

 

Marriage can be a painful thing to talk and think about especially if we have been hurt in broken and bad marriages.  Whenever someone mistreats you in your marriage, or outside of marriage, we can remember that Jesus never treats us like that. Marriage can be painful to talk about because we want to be married and aren’t.  We mustn’t forget that marriage is only a picture of the deeper, more permanent relationship between Christ and the church – which all of us take part in.

 

If you are a Christian, you are joined to Jesus as part of his bride the church Jesus feeds and cares for us and laid down his life for us – what love is this!  This is the reality which marriage is only a faint echo of which all Christians are caught up in. and on the final day we will be presented perfect before Jesus as his Holy, clean bride.

 

Verse 33

33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Bible Overview: God’s Big Picture

After our recent sermon series looking at an overview of the Bible I want to add two links to the respective websites

1) Clayton TV  9 videos each approx 13mins  God’s Big Picture

2) Online version of the leaflet given out to the Church Little Book Big Picture

The following Sermons from the series are available from the Sermon TAB

223 In the Beginning GOD… Joel Edwards Click Here Bible Overview
224 Sin, Consequences and it’s Curse Mus Yusef Click Here Bible Overview
225 How Bad Is Sin! Joel Edwards Click Here Bible Overview
226 How can we have hope in desperate situations Mus Yusef Click Here Bible Overview
227 If I ruled the world I would???? Joel Edwards Click Here Bible Overview
228 Old Testament teaching for New Testament times Joel Edwards Click Here Bible Overview
230 Faith responds to God’s promises Joel Edwards Click Here Bible Overview
231 How good do we have to be to be a Christian? Wrong! Joel Edwards Click Here Bible Overview
232 Jesus in the OT concealed and in the NT revealed Joel Edwards Click Here Bible Overview
233 The Holy Spirit: Force? Feeling? or Person? Joel Edwards Click Here Bible Overview
234 The Last Days: Action Point – Preach the Gospel Mus Yusef Click Here Bible Overview
235 When the End Comes: Everybody is included Joel Edwards Click Here Bible Overview

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Weblinks worth visiting…. updated Wed 27th June

Are you a browser of the internet? Well here are a few links Christians might enjoy, use and remember.  Our recommended link to the Bible and study aids: BibleGateway  Great word search and a Verse for the day to keep us going. Search for daily Bible reading plans. New international version not your choice then choose from a wide range of versions all online for you to use. Interested and have the right smartphone download the APP today.
Do you like watching Videos? Many websites like YouTube contain teaching and subjects that will mislead you along with the good stuff. We recommend these websites (below) They are reliable and trustworthy resources:
Go Chatter Videos
Clayton TV This is our Recommendation of the Month
The Bible Project
Blogging seems to be popular and we are recommending Crossway Articles as a great source of help when reading up on important subject matter with a Christian viewpoint.
Crossway/Articles/Subjects Browse for good and clear teaching on a relevant subject
Letter from Kabwata  Need an insight into Reformed African Churches then meet Conrad Mbewe and his blog
Christian Medical Fellowship  Courses for the church and the Individual. Great contact for Christian Nurses and Doctors
Love wise online  Courses and support for parents seeking to teach children and teens about: Relationships – Sex  – and Living wisely
Chelmsford Anglican Bible Conference  Talks from the previous Conference in 2017 and looking forward to the conference this year in October
South Eastern Gospel Partnership  We are members of SEGP and it is good to keep up to date with the local activities and support each other.
In the area for work? Visit one of these venues for food with the Word.
lunchtime talks around London: St Helens Bishopsgate
Lunchtime talks around London: St Nicks Queen Victoria Street
Last but not least an interesting site for Christians at work  16 venues for lunchtime fellowship And an insight into evangelism amongst workers in London.  Take a look   Gospel at work (Lunches and Evangelism)

Jesus is Building His Church: Why do we sing?

JESUS IS BUILDING HIS CHURCH: WHY DO WE SING WHEN WE MEET?
Sometimes when children visit our church building, they are surprised that there are instruments in the building. What are they for? They ask. Singing is not something people in other religious groups do. If you think about it, apart from church, when do we sing? Perhaps you sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to family or a workmate. Perhaps you sing along to the radio, the brave people might sing to karaoke. So why do we sing in church?
What is church singing for?
Singing is a way for God to rule over our church family. We sing ideas that are from God’s word.

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns and songs from the spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts (Colossians 3 verse 16)

Singing is a way that we show ‘yes, I believe these things.’  But singing is more than agreeing God’s word is true…
Singing is a way God teaches the church family to connect our feelings and our commitments or priorities with God’s Word. A special aspect of singing is the musical aspect. Music can remind us of special feelings or it can help bring on those feelings in us. Good church songs will help us put the right emotions to the words.

But singing is more than a way to agree with the truth of God’s word and to feel right about it…
Singing is one way of showing we agree with each other and of making the church family united. Church singing is normally something we do together. When I speak, you listen, when you speak, I listen, but when we sing, we speak together. By singing songs together, we stop church from being a performance by just a few people. Singing together is one way of showing we are one.
Christian singing is for telling the truth, for showing or learning the right feelings and for being a united church family.

So what makes a good church song?
Many of us have a favourite hymn or chorus, but if our songs are for truth, for feeling and for unity, we need to make sure our songs help those things.

Christian singing is
• for telling the truth,
• for showing or learning the right feelings
• for being a united church family.

Truth: Christian songs do not have to be sentences of the Bible copied into a song. A good song can be a poem that teaches us the word of God. Some songs are not true. Some songs make false claims about God’s promises or about ourselves (along the lines of “All I ever think about is you Lord”). We should not sing them.

Feelings: God’s goodness to us is a reason for great joy. Our songs should help us feel that. That is not the only feeling songs should show. Other songs will help us show sadness or feel sad about our sin or about our suffering.
Songs are for the whole church family to sing. Some songs are true, helping right emotions, but the tune is too hard for us to sing. We should not try to sing them. So a good song is one that we can

sing together – some songs are amazing when a great performer sings them, but if we tried, it would fall flat.

What does this mean for our singing on a Sunday?

The musicians and song leaders serve the church by helping us to sing. The role of the song leader is to help us to sing, and they will know if they have fulfilled that ministry when they can hardly be heard because of the singing by the church family – so join in!
Singing is not just a way for us to express our feelings. God can use it to teach us the right feelings. So don’t wait until you feel like singing –so join in!
The most beautiful instrument in any church meeting is the sound of the congregation singing. You may not be the best singer. It doesn’t matter. God wants you to stand with other Christians and sing with them – so join in!

Jesus Is Building His Church: The Church Is Like A Body

The church is God’s people meeting.  To teach us more, the apostle Paul uses a word picture or metaphor for the church.  The church is like a body – one person, but with different parts.

The church in Corinth was a church with lots of problems.  Paul wrote the famous 1 Corinthians 13 about love not so they could read it at weddings but because they were so unloving.  They needed to learn what love is.  They needed to learn how to love other Christians.  That is what 1 Corinthians chapter 12 is about.

No one who is speaking by the spirit of God says, ‘Jesus be cursed,’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12 verse 3)

Paul starts by explaining who is part of church.  (Look at the text above).  It is anyone who knows, trusts and serves Jesus.  It is not about wearing the right clothes, knowing enough stuff in the Bible, or being good enough.  God’s Spirit teaches you to know the truth about Jesus.  That makes you part of Jesus’ church.

Now if the foot should say ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.  (verse 15)

Then Paul says the church is like a body.  A body is one person, but has many parts – the church is one group, but with many parts (that is in verses 12-14).  And just as the parts of a body are different – the ear, the nose, the arm and so on – the people in a church family are different.  What does that mean for us?

The eye cannot say to the hand ‘I don’t need you!’ (verse 21)

First, Paul says, don’t count yourself as nothing.  Just because you do not have an impressive or noticeable role in church life, does not mean you are not part of it.  That would be as daft as a foot thinking ‘I’m not as special as the hand, I don’t really belong’.  If everyone was a preacher, the church would have no music.  If everyone was a musician, who would teach Sunday school?
Then Paul says, don’t look down on those with roles less impressive or less noticeable than yours.  That would be as daft as the eye saying to the hand ‘I don’t need you’.  God has made them part of the church.  We must not say to people, ‘we don’t need you, you don’t do enough’.

Paul is not teaching Christians to work out what part of the body I am, what my ‘gift’ is, so I can use it.  He is teaching us to accept others and to be confident that I have a place in the Church family because of Jesus. Be glad for the different people God has put in our church family.  Don’t compare yourself to others.
No matter how impressive you are at speaking, how joyful your singing, how exciting and fun the Sunday school class you lead, how brilliant your musical ability, if you do not love Jesus as Lord and saviour, you are not in the body.

What are some of the roles in the church family?

  • Vicar – his role is to care for the church, praying for it, teaching the word of truth, protecting against lies, training and helping Christians in their service.
  • The wardens – help the vicar lead church life, they are responsible for the care of the buildings, and to protect the vicar from being swamped by admin.
  • The Parish Church Council –make decisions about church life, with the vicar, on behalf of the church family. They make decisions about finance

You could use these questions and answers to teach children what we have been hearing about the church.

  • What is church? It is Christians meeting together
  • Is everyone in the meeting a Christian?   Only people who trust Jesus and love him are in his family.
  • Should people who are not Christians come?   We should welcome other people to our meeting so they can start to be Christians too.
  • Why do Christians meet together? Because we love Jesus and want to obey his command to meet.
  • What happens in church? When we keep on going to church, God the Holy Spirit uses it to change us
  • How does church change us? God the Holy Spirit uses the prayers, the songs, the teaching and other Christians to make us better love God the Father and Jesus his Son.
  • What should we try to do in church? We should try to encourage other Christians
  • How can you encourage other Christians? Come to church, come on time, join in by listening, singing, saying ‘hello’, being friendly
  • Which people can you be friendly to? (Say their names)

Jesus Is Building His Church: What Is Our Job?

Look at Hebrews 3 verses 12,13 below.

12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today’, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3)

‘See to it.’  Here is a command, not just a suggestion.  Instead of seeing other turn aside, encourage each other.

There is a process going on here.  Look at it carefully.

  • It starts with a heart that doubts God’s promise, that distrusts his care.
  • That kind of person turns aside from God.

It is said another way in verse 13

  • Sin is deceives – it misleads – it persuades us to think wrongly about God.
  • So we end up hardened against him – unresponsive

The danger is that we drift away from God.  We believe lies about him and so disobey him.  Don’t think that this couldn’t happen to you or even to the ‘really keen’ Christians.  It can.  That is the danger.  The answer is that God gives us each other to help us to hold on to him, to protect us from turning from him.  We need others; others need us.

 Paul Tripp, a helpful Christian author, wrote this:

“Physically blind people are always aware of their problem and spend much of their lives learning to live it.  But the Bible says that we can be ‘blind’ to our sin and yet think that we ‘see’ quite well.  I need you in order to really see myself.  Otherwise I will listen to my own arguments, believe my own lies.”

Sin leads us to believe things are true about God and us that in fact are not true.  And so sin makes us spiritually blind: we don’t see ourselves properly.  We end up believing one thing about ourselves when another thing is true.

Though we are often blind to our own sin, we may see other’s sins clearly – we can be better at seeing others are wrong than seeing it in ourselves.  That can be very irritating!  But it can be very helpful.  Because you can help me by pointing out how my life is drifting from God.

How are we going to get that help?  Again Paul Tripp helpfully wrote:

“Doing this for others is not about being a private detective, forcing someone to obey.  Instead, we need to invite others to intrude.”

This is a good way of looking at this isn’t it?  Rather than snooping around and trying to catch others doing wrong, we start by asking someone to do this for us.  We say: “I need your help to keep going as a Christian.  I need your prayers.  I need you to ask me if I am praying.  I need you to remind me that our Heavenly Father loves us, even when I have mucked up and been angry in the office yet again.”

What are the practical issues?

  • This is for everyone. We must not just leave it to one or two.
  • It is for everyone, but it is not with everyone. You cannot know everyone well enough to care for them like this.  It is a good pattern for us to have these more personal conversations with just one or two other Christians.
  • For many of us, this is a very scary prospect. We are nervous of talking to others about our lives and matters concerning God.  We have been hurt by others.  It takes time to build trust.  But we need to start taking steps in a forward direction.

What are the steps?

  • Recognise that we are at risk, risk of being deceived and turning from God – so pray to God for others, to keep them from turning from him.
  • Be more involved – come to church regularly so you get to know other Christians, join a growth group. Don’t get in the habit of not meeting.
  • To do this well, will take more than the brief time we spend together on Sundays. It would be good to text, call or (best of all) meet during the week.
  • Start talking more about Jesus and about living his way with your close friends.
  • Invite someone to ‘intrude in your life’ – to protect you from slipping.

24 Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10)

Good Friday Video

A short film imaging world news reacting to the death of Jesus.

What if Jesus was born today? Such a big event would have been covered by all the media in the world. Today people live through their electronic devices. They can watch live what’s happening on the other side of the world, and they can comment saying what they think. This video imagines  what it might have been like if Jesus had been crucified in our days. We can see how people react and how the news and events might have spread on social media and on the internet.