Week commencing Sunday 6th December 2020

Sunday 6th December 2020. ‘The wakeup call.’

Please Note. Our morning service for this week’s service (6th December) WILL go ahead in the church buildings. 10.30am start. There will not be a post box for Christmas cards this year and therefore distribution of cards within the fellowship will be your own responsibility.

Call to worship.

 

Psalm 122:1: - I rejoiced with those who said to me,            “Let us go to the house of the LORD.”

 

Hymn

 

Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,

There is no shadow of turning with Thee;

Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not

As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

 

  “Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”

  Morning by morning new mercies I see;

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—

    “Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!

 

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,

Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,

Join with all nature in manifold witness

To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

 

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,

Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;

Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,

Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

 

 

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0k1WhFtVp0o

Thomas O Chisholm

 

 

Prayer.

 

Our God and Father, Hallowed be your name. We thank you that you are a faithful and unchanging God. You are a compassionate and merciful God who never fails. We thank you for your word and the promises in it, on which we can trust with the knowledge that everything you say will come to pass. We confess that we often sin and fall short of obedience to your word and we repent and seek your forgiveness. We thank you for the salvation and forgiveness we have through faith in your Son, Jesus Christ, who you sent to bear the punishment for our sin on the Cross. We thank you for the promise that whoever believes in Him already has eternal life and Jesus will return at the time you have appointed, to bring us into your presence forever.

Help us we pray in those areas where we struggle in our faith and bless us in our service today In Jesus name. Amen

 

 

Readings.

 

John 14:1-3 Jesus said: - Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

Acts 1:10-11: - Jesus was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? 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.”

Revelation, 1:1-3: - The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 3Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.

 

Hymn

 

From heav’n You came, helpless Babe

Entered our world, Your glory veiled;

Not to be served but to serve

And give Your life that we might live

 

Chorus

This is our God, the Servant King

He calls us now to follow Him

To bring our lives as a daily offering

Of worship to the Servant King

 

There in the garden of tears

My heavy load He chose to bear;

His heart with sorrow was torn

‘Yet not my will but Yours,’ He said

 

Come see His hands and His feet

The scars that speak of sacrifice;

Hands that flung stars into space

To cruel nails surrendered

 

So, let us learn how to serve

And in our lives enthrone Him;

Each other’s needs to prefer

For it is Christ we’re serving

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4FtZ9XzZag

Graham Kendrick

 

 

 

 

 

Sermon. “The Wake Up Call.” Edwin Cottingham

 

We have now entered Advent, the period in the church calendar when we look forward to Christmas and the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Of course, this year with this current pandemic, our celebrations may not be as we might hope, but today we have something even greater to look forward to – the return of Jesus Christ.

 

 

The Jesus whose birth we celebrate in a few days’ time, is the same Jesus who is coming back to take all those who believe in Him to be with Him forever in Heaven. We have this promise and assurance by Jesus Himself as He said ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. … I am going there to prepare a place for you…. I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.’

 

When we come to the last book in the Bible, the book of Revelation we find it is Jesus himself who is giving the revelation of what will take place in this world at the time of His return and as that time approaches. Not only in this book of Revelation is it revealed what is going to happen to this world but in other scriptures as well, we have the promises of God, the assurance that Jesus Christ is coming back, that death is not the end of us, there is eternal life, and what that life will mean to us.

This Revelation comes with a warning, Revelation chapter 3:2-3 Jesus says: - Wake up!... 3Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

 Three times we have returned to our house to find it had been broken into and things had been stolen. Each time we were taken by surprise as the thieves never once let us know they were coming! And that is how it will be when Jesus returns.

 

In Mark 13:4, Jesus disciples asked Him: - “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?” – In other words what are we looking for as signs that you are about return?

 

Jesus replied: - “Watch out that no one deceives you. 6Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. 7When you hear of wars and rumours of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 8Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. In the gospel of Luke, the word “pestilences” is included. The dictionary says a “pestilence” is: - any very serious disease that spreads quickly and kills large numbers of people –

 

All these things are happening around us. We are seeing wars, earthquakes, which seem to be increasing, now we have a pestilence, the coronavirus, a worldwide pandemic killing many.

 

What did Jesus tell us to do?  Mark 13:33: - Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come (the time when Jesus will return) … If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping.

 

Which begs the question: - If Jesus comes today are you ready?

 

For centuries the Israelites had been looking for the coming of the promised Messiah. Many prophets had foretold His coming but when He came very few were ready. We read in Isaiah 7:13: - “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (meaning God with us)

 

A young girl, engaged to be married, was suddenly confronted with an angel who told her she was going to have a baby who would be this promised Messiah. Her fiancée discovery she was pregnant and knowing the baby was not his, was thinking about calling the engagement off, but we read in Matthew chapter 1: - 20But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

22All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.” In few weeks people all around the world will celebrate this event as they celebrate Christmas. Many will celebrate the birth but will not recognise the Person or acknowledge Jesus as their King.

 

People at the time, in spite of expecting this long-promised Messiah, were not ready for Him to come and most did not recognise Him when He did. In spite of all the signs and wonders they saw and the miracles He performed they refused to believe in Him, they refused to acknowledge Him as King and eventually crucified Him. They refused to believe the word of God and they refused to recognise who Jesus was.

 

In 2000 years and having God’s written word for centuries nothing has changed. There are many today who do not believe in God, revealed to us in the bible or in Jesus Christ and in spite of all the signs going on around that the bible reveals will happen and in fact are now coming true, just as they didn’t believe in Jesus in spite of the miracles, they saw Him perform, many do not know or recognise what is happening and is going to happen in the world around us today. Yet it is all there in the Bible, - God’s word to us. But to find out this book has to be read! Many bibles sit on book shelves gathering dust while the owners live in ignorance of the words of life and hope the bible contains.

 

The Bible is a collection of books by different writers all inspired by God and I have recently been reading the book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah was called by God to speak His word to the nation of Israel.  They had forgotten to read and obey God’s commands and as a result they lived in ignorance and disobedience to God, similar to today’s world. As a result, God’s judgement for their disobedience was about to fall on them and Jeremiah was sent by God to warn them. But it was not a message they wanted to hear or listen to so Jeremiah was not very popular. God had warned him of this, (Jeremiah 1:19): - They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD. Notice God’s promise, “I am with you and will rescue you,”. This implies that Jeremiah will need rescuing. So, what happened to him?

 

We read in Jeremiah 37:16: - Jeremiah was put into a vaulted cell in a dungeon, where he remained a long time. He was eventually called for by the king and therefore released.

Again, in Jeremiah 38:6 we read They lowered Jeremiah by ropes into the cistern; it had no water in it, only mud, and Jeremiah sank down into the mud. They left him to die but again he was rescued.

 

In Jeremiah 40 he is again a prisoner, the Babylonians had overrun the country and the commander had found Jeremiah: - He had found Jeremiah bound in chains among all the captives from Jerusalem and Judah who were being carried into exile to Babylon. 2When the commander of the guard found Jeremiah, he said to him, “The LORD your God decreed this disaster for this place. 3And now the LORD has brought it about; he has done just as he said he would. All this happened because you people sinned against the LORD and did not obey him. 4But today I am freeing you from the chains on your wrists. Come with me to Babylon, if you like, and I will look after you; but if you do not want to, then don’t come. Look, the whole country lies before you; go wherever you please.”

 

Although Jeremiah suffered and went through difficult times, in spite of obeying God, and may well have wondered where God was in all of this, God was true to His word, He rescued him.

 

It emphasises the fact that God is true to His word and what He says will come to pass. He does not promise that we will not go through difficult times but He does promise to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). He will bring us through and provide all of our needs and often not in the way we expect!

 

We have these promises in God’s word to give us hope and assurance: -

This same Jesus, the one whose birth we will shortly celebrate, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

 

 Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. … I am going there to prepare a place for you…., I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

 

7When you hear of wars and rumours of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. … There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines, and pestilences.

 

John 3:36 says: - Whoever believes in the Son (Jesus Christ) has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

 

These are the promises of God and will come true in God’s time. Whoever believes excludes no one regardless of what their past might have been, Jesus died to cover every sin. There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, (Romans 8:1)

 

We are living in difficult times, some people are terrified of catching coronavirus, some are facing redundancy, financial problems, loss of business and jobs, health problems, loneliness, mental health problems. Jesus said: - Do not be alarmed, do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.

 

Today, are you worried about anything? If you worry you do not trust, if you trust you do not worry! God is greater than any worry you may have and more than that has an answer and a way out, but we have to trust Him for it.

 

What is the answer? Commit your life to Jesus Christ, ask Him into your life then trust Him with it. Regardless of what you may face, God will bring you through it and be with you in it.

Why live with worry when you can live in peace?

 

I had a friend who used to say “I am not looking for the undertaker, I am looking for the up taker! Well the undertaker got his body but the up taker got his Spirit first! And that is the confidence we can have if we believe in Jesus Christ and trust Him to see us through. Our future is assured

 

Jesus said to the thief on the cross “Today you will be with me in paradise”.  The apostle Paul wrote 2 Corinthians 5:8: - “I would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”

 

Jesus came as a baby in Bethlehem, He is coming back as Lord and King and every knee will bow to Him. Are you ready to meet Him? Or will He come to you as a thief in the night?

 

So, the message today is wake up!

 

Prayer

Father we thank you for the assurance and confidence we can have in you. We thank you for the hope we have that Jesus is right now preparing a place for us and is coming back. We thank you that you have given us an alternative to the worry in which we so often indulge but can put our trust and reliance on you and live in confidence and peace in spite of all that may be going on around us. We pray for healing for those we know who are sick. We pray for comfort for those who mourn and peace for those who are worried, that they may find their peace in you. We pray for our Queen and government and all those having to make difficult decisions at this time that we may live in peace and security. We commit ourselves to you and ask your blessing on us through these coming days. In Jesus Name.

 

 

Hymn.

 

We rest on thee, our Shield and our Defender!

We go not forth alone against the foe;

strong in thy strength, safe in thy keeping tender,

we rest on thee, and in thy name we go;

strong in thy strength, safe in thy keeping tender,

we rest on thee, and in thy name we go.

 

 Yea, in thy name, O Captain of salvation!

In thy dear name, all other names above:

Jesus our righteousness, our sure foundation,

our Prince of glory and our King of love,

Jesus our righteousness, our sure foundation,

our Prince of glory and our King of love.

 

 We go in faith, our own great weakness feeling,

and needing more each day thy grace to know:

yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing,

“We rest on thee, and in thy name we go”;

yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing,

“We rest on thee, and in thy name we go.”

 

 We rest on thee, our Shield and our Defender!

Thine is the battle, thine shall be the praise;

when passing through the gates of pearly splendour,

victors, we rest with thee, through endless days;

when passing through the gates of pearly splendour,

victors, we rest with Thee through endless days.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h28qI0QKn8s

Edith Gilling Cherry

 

Blessing.

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—25to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. (Jude 1:24)

Edwin Cottingham 18/11/20

 

 

Please note. Jim Kostelyk’s funeral will take place on Thursday 17th December. A service to celebrate Jim’s life will take place at ABC from 11.00am, followed by a Committal at Worthing Crematorium (12.30pm). Government restrictions due to Covid mean that only 30 people can attend. These places primarily go to family. Even though you will not be able to attend, please remember Dorothy, son Ian and daughter Yvonne and their families in your prayers. Thank you. (DB 2/12/20).