Week Commencing Sunday 5th July

Week Commencing Sunday 5th July 2020

Dear Friends,

I trust you are keeping well.

 

The Revd Roy Connor provides us with a message today.

 

PRIVATE PRAYER AT THE CHURCH WILL CONTINUE ON WEDNESDAYS (from 8/7). TIME: 10.00am-12.00am AND 2.00-4.00pm. (PLEASE NOTE the different timings to the trial period.) There are no immediate plans to resume a Sunday service at this time. The Deacons and I will keep you notified. Please pray for wisdom about this. Thank you.

 

Hymn

 

[Verse 1]
At the foot of the cross
Where grace and suffering meet
You have shown me Your love
Through the judgment You received
And You've won my heart
Yes, You've won my heart
Now I can

[Chorus]
Trade these ashes in for beauty
And wear forgiveness like a crown
Coming to kiss the feet of mercy
I lay every burden down
At the foot of the cross

[Verse 2]
At the foot of the cross
Where I am made complete (I am made complete)
You have given me life
Through the death You bore for me
And You've won my heart (You've won my heart)
Yes You've won my heart
Now I can

[Chorus]
Trade these ashes in for beauty
And wear forgiveness like a crown
Coming to kiss the feet of mercy
I lay every burden down
At the foot of the cross
 

Kathryn Scott https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sy7fEJwgEjo

 

 

 

 

Reading. 1 Timothy 1:12-17

12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Sermon

It’s a great joy to be in touch with you all but sorry it’s in this form and not face to face!

 

A time ago it was all “Brexit” and now it’s all “Coronavirus” (Covid19). It’s all lockdown and social distancing, clapping for the NHS and the strangest times ever. So many now but all of us later will have a story to tell.

 

This brought me to “PAUL’S STORY” in I Timothy I verses 12-17.

 

Let me get at it like this:-

 

“PAUL’S STORY” – I Timothy 1 v 12-17

 

This is Paul’s charge to a young, shy, timid and inexperienced Pastor – Timothy.

 

There is power in a great story. We all love stories, don’t we?

 

Today, there are biographies printed by every Tom, Dick and Harry. They want to tell us about their life. The trouble is that some of them have had no life to speak of – too young. E.g. Wayne Rooney the footballer at 22 years of age. Ridiculous.

 

We do though like information about people’s lives. This is why Reality T.V. programmes prosper. How are these people going to react and cope? They are based on real people (not stars or celebrities) in real situations, for our entertainment. We want to know about people’s lives. It is really amazing what people will reveal on national T.V. about themselves.

 

The now and the back story told to us. Good stories have a power to move us. There is a celebrity culture out there – so many people want a bottom like Kim Kardashian, or the life of Katie Price, or the good looks and intelligence of Rachel Riley.

 

The culture is – build people up and bring them down just as quickly.

Dig up the dirt! Why go through it? They want to be someone.

 

We all have the same problems in different ways.

 

Money, sex and power,

 

Money or fame doesn’t change any of that. The love of and the accumulation of money, eg is the root of all evil. Matthew 6 v33 ff says that we are to seek 1st the Kingdom of God.

 

We have to store up treasure in heaven where it neither rusts nor is stolen.

 

Celebrity status can be short lived. It can be devastating. A sudden fall from grace. See how the mighty are fallen.

 

The story of a Christian is very different – for a start we have no wish to show off ourselves, but to promote and put the spotlight on Jesus. He must increase. I must decrease. We give a testimony to Him. So here is Paul’s story in I Timothy chapter I and particularly v 12-17.

 

He tells how he came to be a follower of the Master. But where to begin?

 

Look at v 12 – But, of course, that wasn’t always the case. V 13 is an honest appraisal of his PAST.

 

The worst, the chief of sinners

 

Ephesians 3 v 8 – is very similar. He is humble about this past and does not want to dwell on it too much – as a lot of testimonies seem to do. He wants to give glory to the Lord.

 

He was shown mercy, grace and love in Jesus.

 

You see, he has a PAST     v 13 - 14

                             a PRESENT     v 15 – 16

                             a FUTURE     v 17

and, so do we  don’t we? We have a past and we are glad to acknowledge that something has changed.

 

A little more about his past:- ACTS 9 v 1-2

 

And his conversion in v 3 – 6

 

He gives his testimony 3 times in Acts.

 

Here in Acts 9

And in Acts 22 v 3 – 5

And then in Acts 26 v 9 – 11.

 

In a Nutshell – I persecuted followers of the Way to death.

What a testimony!

Until the Lord says – “Enough is enough!”

Why are you persecuting me?

As I’ve said, he gives his testimony 3 times and each time it grows –

 

Acts 9 v 3  -  Acts 26 v 11

Does our testimony of Jesus and our journey with Him grow, or lessen?

1 Timothy 1 v 16 -17

 

This really involves Ananias in Acts 9 v 10 – 16

 

Paul could really say – “I was blind and now I see!”  This is the PRESENT

 

We have had an encounter with Jesus as Paul did. How are we doing now? “ Amazing Grace” by John Newton.

We have asked – “Who are you Lord?”  v 15  “whoever believes in Him can be saved.”

 

1 Timothy 1 v 16  Here is the FUTURE

 

V 13  When Paul showed no one mercy, God showed him mercy! Offered a transforming grace. Truly amazing grace. Not earned. Not merited. Given freely.

V 14  He, and we, have been called and chosen into a new family – by the grace and mercy of God.

V 17  A changed character, nature, personality – total. Changed from hatred of Jesus to praise – So, let me ask you – Where do we find our identity, acceptance and significance? In Him. Our all in all.

 

He loves us. Psalm 139 and Matthew 10 v 30

He made Us

He knows us

He has promised to provide all things for us. John 1 v 12

He has transformed our lives. We are significant in Him

God has great plans for each one of us. A new adventure story. Jeremiah 29 v 11

 

So, our story is really all about:-

Forgiveness

Faith

Fulfilment

Future

Forever

Family

Favour and constant.

 

A Lot of people are now talking about us all “getting back to normal” whatever that will mean! We look forward to Churches opening up again, not only being open for prayer, but for services and so on. I for one don’t want to see the Church get back to “normal.”

 

I hope and pray that when we open up again, it will be a revived, more joyful, triumphant , expectant and enlarged Church. More outward looking. As we look to the coming again of Jesus may it truly be more like the beautiful Bride of Christ that we are supposed to be. Brethren, the best is yet to be! What is your vision of the Church, your Church?

 

Let’s all act and pray it into being. If you can look up all the references given it will be very profitable to feed on the Word – but, I shan’t be marking your homework!                          Roy

 

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