Sunday 10 May 2020 – Church at Home

Intimations

  • Morning worship online has moved to start at 10am and JAM at 11:15am on the Zoom platform.
  • You may want to use some of the Engage Worship resources for daily worship during this week.
  • Messy Church at Home is available to access now.
  • Jam Kids Focus – Join us every Sunday from 9.30am for the next 5 five weeks for our Navigate Family series. This series will give you an opportunity to explore the Bible together as a family and find out about what it means to be a follower of Jesus today.
  • A worksheet to accompany the video is also available here.
  • Another option for children is the Virtual Sunday School sessions which give an activity idea too.
  • JAM young adults Ignite Live have a separate programme at 11:15am on the Zoom platform –parents of teenagers can get a link code by contacting Gary Torbet on garytorbet@btinternet.com
  • Sunday Evening Prayer Livestream – We will be continuing the Prayer Livestream at 7.00pm, celebrating the theme of Resurrection Hope with live prayer and news from churches around the country. This will be another significant time of national prayer for us. Click here to access.

Call to Worship

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.
3Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol
or swear by a false god.
They will receive blessing from the Lord
and vindication from God their Saviour.

Psalm 24

We are grateful to Gary Torbet for selecting the songs for worship for this service. Our opening song of praise and worship is:

Build MyLife

We continue to worship the Lord in our second song of praise and worship:

Lord Reign in Me

Opening prayer

Heavenly Father, once more we gather together to worship You on another Sunday at the start of this new week.  We confess that it is difficult to distinguish between the days in this season of lock down, but we are thankful that each new day is a blessing we gratefully receive from Your hand.

We admit that it is so easy to focus on what we cannot do and to dwell on things that have had to be cancelled or family members and friends that we cannot meet at this time, rather than the good gifts of food and health and shelter and for some of us the opportunity to work. 

We are so thankful for the good community spirit that prevails in our land as we seek to stand together through this difficult time. We come with humble gratitude for the dedicated service of NHS and Social Care staff who have helped save the lives of so many and continue to support many others in need.

Lord we thank You that You did not complain in the years spent on earth carrying out Your ministry about the tough times that were experienced, but as Hebrews 12:2 reminds us: Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

We pray that by Your Holy Spirit that we may be equipped and empowered to live for You in the coming days, Speak once more to us as we sing Your praises, read Your Holy Scriptures and listen to it being explained, to the glory of Your wonderful name, Amen.

Let us say together the words Jesus taught His disciples when He said:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.      
For Yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever Amen.

All Age talk – Fergus R

As we all grow up physically, this means we are not babies anymore and we have grown up. We also grow up mentally, making wiser decisions through having more experiences. At the same time as we grow physically and mentally, we also need to grow spiritually. This involves having a relationship with Christ as it says in 2 Peter 3:18 ’’But grow in the grace and knowledge of our lord and saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and forever! Amen’’. To grow in Christ we need to talk to God and to do this we can pray to him.

Think of people that you are friends with, how did you become friends? Did you just stand there and talk to them and not give them an opportunity to talk back to you? Or did you create a good friendship and have a two-way conversation where you both got to know one another?

It’s the same when we talk to Christ, we need to pray, listen and live in him and we get to grow in him. In John 10:27-28 it says “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out my hand’’. This shows us that when we listen to Christ Jesus then we grow in him and we receive the greatest gift of all, eternal life!

So, my challenge to you all this week is to not just pray but to create a time for God to speak to us. And if you feel God speaking to you then I encourage you to listen to him, maybe go somewhere quiet or somewhere you can relax and just focus your attention on to God.

Let God rule your week and let him decide how we should spend our time wisely.

Our Children’s Song is: Every Move I Make

Prayers for others

Thank you Lord for the opportunity to pray for other people as well as ourselves, While many of us are using the internet as a means to stay in touch with people, we pray today for families who cannot afford the internet and who also don’t have a TV in their house.

We give thanks for the food banks and other community agencies who are supporting people in this situation at this time. We praise You for the excellent working relationship between the agencies involved in this work in our city and pray that this may continue along with the many individuals who so willingly offer to serve those in need in our midst at this time.

We are conscious that at a time when many people are doing their very best to live their lives appropriately that in some homes and families strained relationships are causing tensions that we trust can be reduced in the coming days.

We particularly pray for those who sadly are experiencing domestic abuse in our nation, for whom staying at home is not a safe option at this time. We also pray for agencies working to help victims during this very challenging time.  We remember too those who are supporting the vulnerable children and young people in our country in social services and schools.

We continue to remember day by day our health service and social care workers, together with other workers engaged in providing essential services in our country. We remember in particular those known to us….  Strengthen them and their colleagues at this difficult time. 

For others in education seeking to support younger people through their education, grant wisdom particularly as they assess the work of pupils in crucial examination years. We pray that each one may know your peace during this time of uncertainty.

We pray for our Governments conscious at this time of review of lock down regulations that there is a need to speak as far as possible with one voice of clarity. Grant each one wisdom in the making of decisions that may have such serious implications for some people’s lives in the coming weeks.

In our Baptist Union of churches in Scotland we pray for:

The Continuing Ministry Development workshops taking place online this week. We pray for those leading the workshops (‘Leading an Evangelistic Course’ and in ‘Transformations, Generations and Innovations’) and those connecting in with the training sessions. In particular for:

David Vogan (Chaplain, Nethenvale and The Retreat, MHA Auchlochan) – We pray today for David Vogan as he seeks to support, strengthen and provide spiritual comfort, via phone, to residents and staff as much as he is able to during this Covid-19 crisis.

 Dennistoun BC – We thank God for how He has provided for them in multiple ways. Bridges are being built through their outreach ministries and opportunities to share and talk about Jesus are becoming more frequent. God is opening a door for them to reach another areas of the city and we continue to pray that He would grant them all they need to do this in His power and for His glory.

Denny BC – We give thanks for people coming to faith and for the continued attendance by non-Christians as well as the increase in our community involvement. We pray for plans for more structured corporate missional activity over the coming year through courses like Christianity Explored, and for the redevelopment of our leadership structure.

Dingwall BC – We praise God for good relationships with our local community, through school chaplaincy and groups who have been using our building. Also, that some young families have joined us over the past few years. However, we value prayer for God’s provision of leaders for the next generation at DBC.

We also pray:

For other churches in our local area that God will help each one continue their work and witness at this time.

We especially remember those who live and work in the Care Homes that our church led services in – Ferry House, Orchar, Elder Lea Manor, Ballumbie Court, Moyness and Balcarres. We pray also for our neighbour, Lochleven Care Home. We pray that you would give strength to exhausted staff as they seek to cover for absent colleagues and to support the many residents who have been unwell. We especially pray for the families of staff and patients who have died in recent days both in hospitals, residential care homes and in their own homes.

We come now to pray for particular people on our hearts at this time. These include: Jan and Jim F with Jim’s ongoing health challenges; Jean, John H’s mother in Orchar, who has contracted the covid virus; also for Ali T’s mum Norah in hospital and for her dad Frank at home. Thank you Lord for hearing our prayers as we bring them in the wonderful name of Your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen

Bible reading

17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. 

20 So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, 21 for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. 22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter!

23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: the Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 

29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30 That is why many among you are weak and ill, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. 32 Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.

33 So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together. 34 Anyone who is hungry should eat something at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment. And when I come I will give further instructions.

I Corinthians 11:17-34 

Before we come to listen to God’s Word let us sing: ‘Jesus shall take the highest honour’

The Message

Introduction

In the first decade of the twenty-first century in England there was a profoundly sad event,  the death of a young child. However, the nature of this death was the reason for the national attention. The date was the child’s birthday aged one or two. The parents had decided that the child was too young for a party and put the child to bed on that evening, having invited adult friends to celebrate the occasion downstairs.

It was a winter’s evening and all the guests had heavy winter coats that were laid down on a bed, the child’s bed. Somehow I’ve forgotten the details but the medical report of the cause of death I believe suggested that the child had been smothered by the coats. The point of that celebration had been missed and would indelibly be fixed on the minds of every adult at that event, not least the grieving parents.

The apostle Paul in writing about public worship in Corinth in general and in this passage the Lord’s Supper in particular suggests that they too had been missing the point of the celebration.

1. The problems at Corinth (I Corinthians 11:17-22)

The apostle Paul is in Ephesus in another country Turkey, and receives a visit from some of Chloe’s household (I Corinthians 1:11) to report their serious concerns about the behaviour of certain members of the congregation in Corinth. They could not text, phone, email, tweet or even write their concerns in a letter that could be posted to the recipient, as all those forms of communication were unavailable to members of the public. Only Governments had access to a basic postal system.

In recent weeks police forces in various countries in the Western world have had to deal with numerous phone calls from people reporting their neighbours for breaking the lock down regulations. In some authorities apparently a majority of calls to the police have been to report this kind of offence. Clearly this family were so deeply distressed by what was going on in their church that they took some weeks off to undertake an arduous journey at their own expense to deliver this message. What was it that caused such a problem?

Corinth was a city like Edinburgh until relatively recently with a very wealthy elite few together with a majority of poorer people. There was little social interaction between the two. Meetings at this church had become a scandal. As well as members of Chloe’s family, Paul had also been visited by Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus (I Corinthians 16:17) men of high Christian integrity who may also have confirmed the difficulties that the church was experiencing.

The other problems listed in the first letter to the Church at Corinth were bad enough but to behave as they did at the agape meal and communion was as bad as anything Paul had ever come across. The wealthy minority who provided all the food and drinks, as the slaves and very poor would have had nothing to bring, were eating to excess and getting drunk having started before the arrival of the poorest members who may have eaten nothing that day and to add to their misery got almost nothing at church as well. What kind of witness was that? 

Paul has already stated what is happening in communion in I Cor.10:16: Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation [fellowship /sharing] in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? How true was this of Corinth church? It was the exact opposite!

In fact in I Corinthians 12:19 Paul expresses serious reservations about whether some of the most serious offenders have ever truly trusted the Lord as their Saviour at all because there was no evidence of Christ-like character in the way they treated other people. What were the future implications for the church if their behaviour continued?

Quite bluntly Paul says if you cannot behave in a Christian manner then you had better stop the pretence of such folly and close down altogether! Every church should ask the question – how do people outside our congregation view us? The result might be quite a shock in some cases. We might also individually ask a friend who to offer their thoughts about how we are practising our faith!

2.  The Preparation for the Lord’s Supper (I Corinthians 11:27-34)

Paul here indicates to us that it is to our spiritual profit to prepare to come to worship services, especially when coming to the Lord’s Table.

(a) How can I or we do that? (i) Pray for People taking part in the services I would want to encourage you to pray for the people taking part in our worship services, not just for me or whoever is preaching, though I would desire that, but for all who are taking part in some aspect of Christian ministry at a worship service, that at the present time also includes those operating the zoom platform for our online service. To start to do that will ensure we recognise just how many people offer their gifts and time as an offering of worship to the Lord. Paul here indicates to us that it is to our spiritual profit to prepare to come to worship services, especially when coming to the Lord’s Table.

(ii) Pray for other people and for yourself as you come to church that God may minister into each person’s life what He wants us to hear. It may be a word of encouragement, or a word of rebuke; a word of challenge or a word commending patience, or of some actions to take or words to speak to another person;

It may be confirmation of guidance from God, or step along the way on an issue about which God has been speaking to you, a conviction over the need to repent of some sin or a call to get involved in a form of ministry in the church or even a call to mission overseas.

(b) What does Paul suggest here? (v28) In this specific context it is about coming to the Lord’s Table but the principle is applicable to other parts of worship services as well. 28A person ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

Paul speaks here of self- examination. Is there some sin I need to confess to the Lord in thought word or deed? If nothing specific comes to mind then a general silent prayer of confession of sin.

In Psalm 24:4 David speaks about how we should enter God’s presence in worship. He refers to the person who has clean hands and a pure heart. Right with God but also right with other people in our conduct; the early Christian manual for worship, The Didache (c.100AD) in its guidelines on attendance at the Lord’s Supper stated: ‘Let none who have a quarrel with his fellow join in your meeting until they are reconciled, lest your sacrifice be defiled’.

This teaching is based on Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:23-24: Therefore if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift –these words of Jesus were a general principle not simply restricted to the Lord’s Table. The key issue is our attitude of heart as we come to His table as His invited guests.

(c) What are the Consequences of failing to act? (vs 27, 29-34) 27Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord 29For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30That is why many among you are weak and sick and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment.

Before I comment on the consequences here of wrongful participation.

(i) What does Paul mean by an unworthy manner or unworthily (v27)? These are words spoken to Christians. This passage is not a criticism of someone who in good faith took communion when offered it in the past prior to coming to Christ. These words are addressed to believers in the Lord Jesus. What does it say to us as Christians?

First of all we are required to come with reverence to receive the bread and wine. The elements are bread and wine, but it is what these natural elements represent in symbolic form as we receive then by faith as visible tokens of our Lord’s sacrificial love for us.

Secondly we have a time of quiet at the start of communion in order to allow each of us to pray and prepare our hearts in order that we may partake of the bread and wine. None of us are good enough to be invited on merit. However Jesus was good enough and just as God accepted His sacrifice for us on the cross, in like manner He welcomes us to His table as His honoured guests.

(ii) What are the Consequences of failing to do what God says? (vs 29-30)? 29For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30That is why many among you are weak and sick and a number of you have fallen asleep.

Paul says that some of the Corinthian Church had become unwell as a result of their sin and in the most serious cases God has shortened the earthly life of some believers there for the same reason so that they will stop bringing shame and dishonour to His name. This passage is a challenge to live a life of integrity. On what areas of my life do I need to work on at the present time?

3. The Purpose of the Lord’s Supper (I Corinthians 11:23-26)

(a) Thanksgiving Episcopalians call Communion ‘The Eucharist’, that is the Greek word for thanksgiving, giving thanks to God with a grateful heart for what the Lord has done for us on the cross. We must always have the element of thankfulness in our prayers as we come to His table.

(b) Fellowship Communion is not a solitary act rather it is a sacred communal gathering of a local church sometimes with other Christians also joining in this act of worship. I Corinthians 10:16 draws attention to this aspect of the observance of the Lord’s Supper. The same word in Greek also means ‘communion’, ‘participation’ and union in Christ. It is a family celebration. The Bible knows nothing of ‘solo’ Christianity outside a community of faith in a local church.

(c) Memorial Jesus said: do this in remembrance of Me. This was a parallel to the reminder God gave to the Jewish people concerning their festival of Passover in Exodus 12:14: This day shall be to you as a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations (NKJV). There are many things we need to remember in our lives but this act of Jesus 2,000 years ago tops the list of essential items!

(d) Obedience do this what we are doing today is not simply a regular and good habit like cleaning our teeth, it is a command of the King of Kings we are required to obey. The Bible does not specify how often each year a local congregation should hold communion services or the form they should take, only that we do it with a reasonable degree of regularity, which in the majority of Scottish Baptist congregations is most Sundays.

(e) Evangelistic When we reflect how much it mattered to God to ensure you and I can have salvation then it must matter to us. This in turn reminds us of our need to share the good news of Jesus with other people. Are you praying for named people in your private prayers to come to Christ? I hope so! God may choose to use you as the human instrument used to answer your prayer.

(f) Eschatological (this word refers to the end of the world when Jesus returns) we hold communion services for a limited period of time: until He comes. Each week it is once more, but also once less until the return of Jesus. In heaven we will be with Jesus Himself no more need there for symbols to remind us of Him –then we will see Him in all His resplendent glory.

(g) God’s Purpose before they eat (v28). God does not put this passage in the Scriptures to keep us from His table; on the contrary He wants us to benefit more from it by recognising more and more its wonderful significance for us as His children. May we each be able with great joy to come now to His table for His glorious name’s sake, Amen 

Our song before we come to communion is:  In Christ Alone

The Lord’s Supper

Jesus invites all Christian who have committed their lives to follow Him to participate in this act of worship. The apostle Paul wrote these words of Scripture in I Corinthians 11:23-26 to guide our observance of Communion.

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: the Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ 25 In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. 

Prayer: Choose your own words of prayer to give thanks for the bread and wine that represent the costly gift of His body and blood for us.

Take the bread: Jesus said: ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.

Take the wine: Jesus said: This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’

Prayer: Thank you Lord Jesus for the privilege of participating in this special act to remember Your costly sacrifice in our place. Help us in this coming week to live our lives in a way honouring to You, for the glory of Your wonderful and holy Name, Amen

Our closing song is Behold our God

Closing Prayer

Thank you Lord for the amazing privilege of knowing Your investment in our lives that demonstrates so clearly how much You love and care for us. As we come to the close of this service we prepare to enter another week with Your strength confident that You will go with us into every situation we experience. Thank you Lord for all You have done for us, in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen,

Benediction:  The Grace

May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the love of God
and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore, Amen

Remember tonight the national online prayer service at 7pm.