Sunday 17 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.
  • Jam Kids Focus – Navigate Family Series Episode 3
  • 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 on Sunday, celebrating the theme of Resurrection Hope with live prayer and news from churches around the country, including from Broughty Ferry Baptist Church this evening. This will be another significant time of national prayer for us. Please join in and, if you don’t already do so, would you let your fellowship know about this and put it on your social media. Click here to access.

Call to Worship

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
 he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress…

10 
He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.’

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Psalm 46: 1-7, 10-11

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

We continue to worship the Lord in our second song of praise and worship a modern version of Kyrie Eleison (Lord have mercy)

Opening prayer

Heavenly Father once more at the beginning of another new week we come with a sense of anticipation and joy into Your holy presence. As the Psalmist declared: This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it’ (Psalm 118:24 NKJV)

We come today to praise You for the blessings of the past week. Thank you for the particular answers to prayer we received. The difficult tasks that we managed to accomplish with a degree of success. At a most basic level for those of us who have struggled to keep going, we record our gratitude for Your help in just getting through that week.

As we turn to the new week before us we come to confess our sins and ask for Your forgiveness. We also seek the fresh empowering of Your Holy Spirit to help us address the challenges we will face in the coming days. Today we ask that You would encourage our hearts as we sing Your praises, read Your Word and reflect upon it later, in the name of Your Son our Saviour we pray, 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.

Our next song to sing or listen to is one new to many of us entitled ‘Holy Overshadowing’:

All Age talk – Moraig Piggot

So I wonder if anyone has learnt any new skills during lockdown or maybe revisited skills, talents or hobbies from a few years ago.

Well I have had to revisit something I used to do. I don’t know if I would call it a skill or talent and it’s certainly not a hobby- it’s called cooking! You see for the last few years Simon, my husband has been doing all the cooking in our house and do you know what he is actually very good at it, in fact I would say he actually has a talent there!

Recently though Simon has taken a new job doing delivers while his joinery business is closed due to lockdown restrictions. The hours of his new job meant that he would not be at home to do anymore cooking. so much to Freya and Hamish’s complete disgust it meant it was back to Mums cooking!

The first night I was making tea I got out Simon’s cookbook, all the equipment and started. This little voice in the background kept saying over and over “just follow the recipe, please just follow the recipe, don’t make up your own version.” This of course was Hamish! I must admit when it said gravy I thought I would be mixing gravy granules with boiling water not following two pages of instructions about have to make it from scratch!!

Anyway it’s safe to say that we all look forward to Friday nights when Granny kindly pays for a take away to be delivered to our house and the two days off that Simon has each week to take back over with the cooking. We won’t even mention the evening that I set the oven to the wrong setting and we had to wait an extra hour for tea!

As we have said to before these are strange and different times that we are living through, so many people are feeling out of their comfort zone and so many people are having to do things in ways they are not used too. For me having to cook again isn’t really a hardship but for so many people what they are going through right now on a daily basis is really tough.

Kevin has already told us this morning about the staff from local care homes in Broughty Ferry who are working incredibly hard right now and so many other front line and key workers continue to do the same.

In these times God needs us as a church fellowship and community to use a skill and talent we all have and share- the ability to show his love, support and kindness to those around us. In the bible there are so many verses that remind us about this, in John 13 34-35 its says

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

And in 1 Peter chapter 4 verse 10 it reminds us that we should use the gifts Gods has given us to serve others as HIS faithful stewards. As a church we are so thankful for everyone who has been showing Christ’s love through the different ways they are supporting people in our fellowship and beyond. Through prayer, giving and practical acts of kindness. So once again we are asking you to show Christ by serving others, please pray about how you could support our care package for care home staff- through donations of goods or money.

Boys and girls I have an extra special task for you this week- I need you to make cards, pictures and love hearts for the staff in the care homes that we can include in our care packages. Remember to tell them what a wonderful job they are doing, thank them and let them know that they are our care home heroes. When you have finished them please put them through my letter box when you are out for your daily exercise or if you don’t live near me email me a photograph of it and I will print them out.

Let’s all remember to never stop doing little things for people because sometimes these little things occupy the biggest part of their heart.

Our Children’s Song is: God Suit On

https://youtu.be/B4dTFJxNM28

Prayers for others

In our country the United Kingdom and around the world

As the economic toll of the Coronavirus Pandemic begins to bite across the world, we pray for those people who have lost their jobs and for the self-employed whose incomes have dried up. For wisdom and direction for owners of and managers in companies, together with Trades Union representatives seeking to grapple with how best to take their companies forward in the coming days.

We pray for mental health organisations who may be receiving a lot of calls just now from people struggling with their mental health during this current situation.

We continue to pray for our NHS and Social Care staff, together with other workers providing essential services in our communities, that they may not only have the right equipment in their work places, but also that appropriate social distancing measures can be maintained as greater numbers of people return to work in England this week.  

In Scotland we pray for the Church of Scotland and other Christian denominations that were due to hold their annual conferences this month and who have had to cancel their meetings. Please give wisdom to the national leadership of these denominations as they seek to reschedule meetings for later in the year or into 2021.

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

Chris Withers (Army Chaplain, Ripon) – Please pray for Chris as he journeys with the recruits in his new chaplaincy posting in Ripon and as he seeks to listen, support and encourage them. Pray for opportunities to be able to share the gospel with the recruits.

Drumchapel BC – Please pray for the church fellowship in Drumchapel and their pastor Rod Cox as they seek to be salt and light to their community at this time.

Dumbarton BC – We thank God that their CAP Life Skills course is now running and that their recent partnership with The Haven in Kilmacolm has resulted in some of their residents becoming regular attendees. We join with this congregation in their prayer request that they will see many people in their area coming to faith through the prayer activities of Awake Dumbarton.

Dumfries BC – We’re thankful to God for the baptisms we had recently and for the clear Christian testimonies of each of those who were baptised. Our Youth and Community worker, Andy Feather, has indicated that he will be moving on to take up a Pastor in Training opportunity on the Isle of Man, please pray for Andy, Claire and their children.

We now pray in our own congregation for:

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, and Jude R’s grandmother who have contracted the covid virus; also for Ali T’s mum Norah in hospital and for her dad Frank at home. Also Isdale Anderson’s dad for recovery of health after a recent fall.

We are conscious other people are waiting for delayed operations in hospital or needing tests to address health concerns, we pray for peace of mind and patience as they wait for a longer time than usual due to the Covid-virus crisis. We pray too for those living in residential homes or confined to their own homes over the longer term, that you would give them the strength to cope with the sense of isolation that will be experienced particularly at this time.

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

Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 

After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.

50I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 

53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’

55 ‘Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?’

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.

I Corinthians 15: 1-11, 50-58

Before we come to listen to God’s Word let us sing: ‘I want to walk with Jesus Christ’

The Message

Introduction

What are you focussing on at this time? What are your hopes and aspirations in the coming months and maybe into the next year or two? For some of us it will simply be to get through this Covid-19 virus pandemic and get our lives back to ‘normal’. Naturally, there is no-one living on this planet who would want to continue in this state of uncertainty about the future for any longer than necessary.

However, assuming this pandemic is brought under control in the not too distant future, what is it you are focussing on as your motivating force for the future? What is it that is your passion in your heart at this time? The apostle
Paul who had accomplished so much for God wrote these powerful words to the congregation in the bustling port city of Corinth in Greece.

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain (I Corinthians 15:58). 

Paul’s passion in life was sharing the good news about Jesus and with his church-planting teams starting new Christian congregations in the towns and cities across the Roman Empire. This verse encapsulated in a few words his motivation for Christian service. Let us look at it briefly:  

1. The command to obey

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you (I Corinthians 15:58a)

(a) ThereforeThis verse is the summary conclusion to the whole of I Corinthians 15, a long chapter that explains very clearly the solid ground on which we stand in believing the good news of the Gospel of Jesus. It is not the wishful thinking of a few religious people, but the extraordinary revelation of God to more than five hundred people in the six weeks following the crucifixion, death and bodily resurrection of Jesus that first Easter. This was a large group of people, none of whom were expecting this event to take place but whose lives could never be the same again once they had encountered the risen Lord Jesus Christ. The list concluded with the writer of this letter Paul himself.

By way of personal testimony it includes every genuine believer who has encountered the risen Lord Jesus by faith and experienced His love and mercy in their lives in subsequent years.  It raises the obvious question:  Have you met with the risen Lord Jesus by faith?  Have you acknowledged Him as your Lord and Saviour? Have you taken that step of faith away from living for self to living for God through Jesus?

Paul spends the majority of this chapter talking through the extraordinary significance of the bodily resurrection of Jesus. He challenges other views that denied the bodily resurrection of believers who have left this life, because by definition if Christian believers are not raised to life again after death then it naturally calls into question the resurrection of Jesus! If that event did not happen then the gospel he and we proclaim would not be true.

The vast majority of religions could not be shown to be true or false in terms of an evidence test. By contrast with Christianity, if the events of the first Easter had not happened then Christianity could not continue. But many great minds have failed in their attempts to dismiss the credibility of the accounts of that first Easter. Too many eye-witnesses could give personal testimony that Jesus was dead but they met with Him on or after Easter Sunday.

A case in a court of law may succeed on the testimony of one credible witness, but when there are more than five hundred who can testify to an event taking place then, in terms of legal proof, the burden of responsibility is on those who deny the event has taken place because the evidence is overwhelming as Paul has made plain in I Corinthians 15:1-8.

(b) my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. There is a time and a place for being open-minded, listening to other points of view. All of us will have more to learn on any subject we can care to name. However, there are foundational convictions we hold on a range of topics that are non-negotiable.

We are absolutely certain they are true and build our worldview and convictions about other things in the light of the implications of the things we are convinced are true. No subject whether Arts or Science could exist without some assumed convictions on which current explorations are grounded.  Paul is absolutely clear that the physical death and bodily resurrection of Jesus after His crucifixion on that first Good Friday is the factual bedrock of Christianity.

We must stand firm on these truths. Our future life beyond this life is linked directly with the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Because He rose again from the dead so will we; because He has been welcomed into the Father’s direct presence so one day amazingly will we. The practical blessing of these truths is never more useful than in the latter days of the life of a believer who can be assured of the wonderful things that await them beyond this life.

It is equally the case that we can urge someone who has yet to trust Jesus to do so while they can because this wonderful future Jesus has planned for us is only for those who have embraced Him as Lord and Saviour. The gospel truly is good news but we must receive this amazing gift by faith to benefit from it. Have you done so yet?

(c) Let nothing move you. Paul made this point in his letter to the Church at Colossae. In Colossians 1:21-23a: Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because ofyour evil behaviour. 22 But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation – 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. 

The whole purpose of Christian discipleship is to ensure we are properly grounded in the faith. In Ephesians 4:11-16 the apostle Paul explained this purpose in this way:

to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.

15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Will you and I stand firm in our Christian faith determined to give our very best for Him? I hope so!

2. The calling to follow

Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord… (I Corinthians 15:58b) Paul has given an exhortation about what we ought not to do as followers of Jesus, now he puts it positively: Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord… (I Corinthians 15:58b); what does this mean in practise for us?

(a) Our priorities At its heart it speaks to us about our priorities; We have an extremely lengthy list of options as to how we use our time outside of the time for work that is essential for paying the bills. The bad news is that for many people the ‘other’ time is more limited than we would like and choices have to be made. Sadly for too many people, even some Christians the Lord gets squeezed out of our schedules, or gets ‘whatever is left over’ when it comes to priorities. Work whether waged or voluntary is something God ordained for human beings as a core feature of our lives.

Paul was very blunt about the sin of idleness on the part of people who could hold down jobs but choose not to do so (See I Thessalonians 3:6-10). This is very different from the predicament of many people of all ages today who want to work and having a real struggle to find meaningful employment or who are off work just now due to the Covid-19 virus pandemic and are uncertain of what their job prospects are in the coming months. In this case we must do all we can to encourage them until they are successful in finding or getting back to appropriate employment.

The tragedy in sinful human society is to value some relatively peripheral jobs in various forms of entertainment and sport with excessive salaries and reward those who undertake some of the most demanding and essential NHS and Social Care-related jobs with low salaries and poor terms and conditions. This is a scandal that must be addressed once this crisis is over. Care for people in our own families is likewise essential. It was a required characteristic for potential church leaders -See I Timothy 3:4-5:

He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?). 

However, the hardest choices for many people lie in what they can fit into the remaining hours left in their week, apart from sleep! As you look back over the last week, month or year could you say that you have fulfilled what Paul was asking here in this verse? Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord… (I Corinthians 15:58b). It was a challenge given to an early Christian congregation where too many of the members could not say that this was the case for them.

(b) Christian service The work of the Lord can take many forms some in public and other ministries most definitely in private. I thank the Lord for the many members of this congregation who have been dedicated in their service in their range of ministries from working with crèche and toddlers right up to serving the elderly in residential homes and all things in-between. Paul wanted his readers to commit themselves to serving the Lord as he most definitely was doing.

Hebrews 10:24 states: And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds. These words are very similar to Paul’s exhortation in Galatians 6:9: Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

There are always plenty of things we cannot do, but what can I do for the Lord at this time is the question we need to answer! The apostle’s exhortation Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord… (I Corinthians 15:58b) is a challenge once more to dedicate ourselves in His service.  There are public ministries of evangelism and community service as well as work that is age-specific on Sundays and during the week.

However, there is also much that goes on behind the scenes in pastoral care. I thank the Lord both for the pastoral team officially appointed to watch out for the people on their lists, together with others who make a point of caring for particular individuals who need assistance, and for each one of us who pray regularly for our fellowship whether in prayer ministries or in private prayer times. It is a team effort and everyone is needed to play their part.       

 If you stop and look carefully you can see a pattern at work. As we step out in faith and go forward for the Lord He opens doors of opportunity for us as we can see in the last few years.

3. The conviction to remember

because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain (I Corinthians 15:58c).  Paul will conclude the letter with similar language with which he began I Corinthians 15. Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain (I Corinthians 15:1-2).

However, Paul has reminded them of the solid ground on which they stand. The death and resurrection of Jesus are facts of history to which there are an incredible number of primary witnesses. It really happened. Now that we know this is true, because He has been raised from the dead we too will conquer the barrier of death by physical resurrection to spend eternity with Him. Sin and death and the devil will all be vanquished in God’s new creation after this life.

Life has its joys and delights but also many frustrations and times of tears. The exciting thing is that unlike an Agatha Christie thriller we know the ending well ahead of the final scene. Jesus has won the victory. He is our coming King. In John 12:32, are words spoken a few days prior to His crucifixion when He made this prophetic statement about the significance of His forthcoming death:

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.’ 33 He said this to show the kind of death He was going to die.

It was a declaration that people from every ethnic background would come to faith in Him. In Revelation 7:9-10: After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’

Have you joined the winning team? If not will you take that step of faith today? I sincerely hope each one of us will do so, in Jesus’ name, Amen

Our song before we come to communion is:

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.’

Our closing song is a powerful song well—known to us: ‘By Faith’

Closing Prayer

Thank you Lord for the privilege of spending this time together in Your presence today. Go with us we pray into the new week that lies ahead of us as we will seek to honour You in the way that we live. We thank you we can enter it with confidence because You go with us each step of the way, 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.