- Baptist Union of Scotland Prayer Livestream – The monthly prayer livestream takes place on Sunday, 6 December, 7.00–7.30pm. You can access the prayer livestream by going to the Baptist Union of Scotland YouTube channel.
The older JAM Kids might like to check out some Bible stories about people who also experienced ‘lockdown’. The videos along with a link to some questions to think about together, can all be found here.
JAM young adults Ignite Live have a separate programme at 11:30am. Please contact Gary Torbet on email@example.com for more details.
Call to Worship
Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from Him.
2 Truly He is my rock and my salvation;
He is my fortress, I shall never be shaken.
5Yes, my soul, find rest in God;Psalm 62 selection
my hope comes from Him.
6 Truly He is my rock and my salvation;
He is my fortress, I shall not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honour depend on God;
He is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in Him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to Him,
for God is our refuge.
We are grateful to Alan McRobbie for selecting the songs for worship for this service
Heavenly Father, we come into Your holy presence today with deep gratitude that as Your children we can come freely and boldly into Your presence in the wonderful and precious name of Your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.
We come as those whose sins have been forgiven, past, present and future through His once for all time perfect sacrifice in our place on the cross. We thank You that Jesus endured in our place the separation from You our sins merited in those dark hours on the cross so we might have life in all its fullness, and to have the incredible privilege of addressing You as our Father in heaven.
Once more we confess our sins of the past week and seek the fresh empowering of Your Holy Spirit as we begin another new week. Speak to us we pray from Your Holy Word as we read and reflect on it today, minister to us in our lives in accordance with our needs whether of challenge or encouragement or comfort or whatever it may be, in Jesus’ name 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.
All Age talk – Alan McRobbie
What is the most powerful muscle in the human body? Would you be surprised to know that it’s your tongue? We all fail in many areas especially with our words, but it is possible to control our words so that they reflect our beliefs and God’s plan for our lives.
As an example, in the book of James in the Bible, James tells us that horses don’t start out their lives as gentle trained animals. They are wild creatures with huge powerful bodies but with some training and something as small as a bit and bridle in their mouths we can control the direction in which these big animals go. By controlling our words, we can control the power and direction of our lives as well.
James continues describing how sailing ships cross huge bodies of water. Though these ships are driven by wind they can be directed by a tiny rudder steered by a single person at the helm. We can accomplish good things in stormy times if we control the words we speak.
The tongue we use to speak is small but, in many ways, it is the most powerful and dangerous part of our bodies. James tells us that just as a tiny spark can set a whole forest on fire, a single wrong word the tongue spits out can cause unimaginable damage.
Next, James asks us to consider animals. People have trained many kinds of animals. The only thing people haven’t been able to tame are their own tongues to keep them from speaking in a wrong way. Imagine this example. On Sunday we go to church where we use our tongues to speak and sing praises to God and then a few hours later we speak words against another person who was made in God’s image. One minute our tongues are doing what they were created to and the next they act out in a way displeasing to God. However, this said, just as our words can cause harm, they can also do incredible good demonstrating love and compassion.
Our words should honour God and reflect a godly life. The Bible tells us that Jesus was the Word of God who became human. Jesus is our example to follow and our lives should speak and live out the good words of God.
Prayers for Others
Lord Jesus we thank You for the privilege of praying for others. We are deeply saddened by the vast numbers of people in the Philippines flooded out of their homes as a result of recent typhoons.
We pray for wisdom for the national and local government leaders there as they seek to organise a clean-up operation at the same time as feeding, clothing and housing so many in need. In the same way we bring before the hundreds of thousands of Armenian civilian families who have now lost their homes and most of their possessions at a time when winter is beginning in the mountains of Nagorno-Karabhakh and the surrounding provinces of that region.
We are deeply saddened that a century after the Armenian genocide that another major tragedy is taking place as they are driven out of yet more of their historic lands. We thank you for the aid-workers seeking to support and provide for those in so much need. But Lord we ask for Your mercy, as Western and other governments once again profess to believe in human rights and principles, but do little to uphold them when thousands are killed and many more are terrorised into fleeing wherever they can find some shelter and safety.
With relief, we are grateful for the advances in vaccine research and pray that the test results from the other vaccine trials may also be as encouraging when they report in the coming weeks. We pray for wisdom for world governments that they might share the successful vaccines fairly across the world to ensure that the poorer nations are also able in time to protect their citizens from this health pandemic that has done so much damage around the world.
We continue to pray for the necessary health and strength for all our health service workers caring for those who have contracted this illness, as well as their care for other patients. We also pray for all other workers and carers facing heavier responsibilities and pressures at this time. We are also concerned to remember the increasing number of people struggling with emotional and mental health problems. We ask that You would uphold and strengthen them and assure them of Your love and care at this time.
We now bring before You the particular things of concern to us personally in the wider world …
We also bring before You:
The Baptist Union of Scotland Trustee Board as they meet online this coming week to discuss various matters regarding the governance of our Union and good stewardship of our resources.
Pray also for the following churches:
Southside Christian Fellowship, Ayr – We pray for ways of keeping the church family together – not having a building is often a blessing in disguise! However, this may not be one of those times. We pray for them as they prepare for Christmas, seeking to build on some great community engagement in the past few years but in these very different circumstances. We pray that they would use this time wisely and listen well to the Spirit’s leading and teaching as they seek to move into new and unknown seasons still to come.
Springburn BC, Glasgow – We give thanks that although a small congregation, and although in a vacancy situation, they have managed to re-open their premises for worship at an early stage in lockdown. We pray for guidance for their short and long term future, and pray that this very multicultural fellowship will continue to feel togetherness in the love of Jesus.
St Andrews BC – We give thanks to God for His grace that is reaching more and more people throughout this pandemic through their witness. We pray for their newly appointed Students and Youth Workers as they find ways to engage with these groups in this current climate, as well as for the decisions to be made at their church AGM on 25 November for the advancement of God’s Kingdom here and beyond.
St Mary’s Community Church, Dundee – They are praising God for a very real sense of His presence as they worshipped “together apart” online through lockdown, and as they now worship together again in person. They are thankful that God’s presence overrides the restrictions. We pray for them navigating their way into a different future, and building on the community contacts they have to share the good news of salvation in Christ.
We also remember in our prayers other people with particular needs that are connected to our own families or congregation: Lord today we particularly want to remember Nicola L and her family as her dad is making encouraging progress in his recovery from surgery. We continue to pray for a restoration of health and strength for Betty W and Anne M at this time and thank you for the progress they have made so far. We thank You too for the preservation of those we know who were recently involved in a car accident. We pray for others in the congregation who are recovering from surgery and for healing too for the person who has tested positive recently for the virus, as well as for other known to us who are coping with ongoing health challenges at the present time.
Lord we are conscious of those like the Steer’s niece Rachel and Ann W’s sister Margaret in the most difficult of times and ask for your peace and strength to uphold them and their families at this time. We continue to remember others in the congregation like Alva D undergoing medical treatments or facing surgery in the near future and pray that they may be restored to health and strength once again.
We continue to pray for those of our number who even without the virus-pandemic restrictions would be unable to meet with us for worship. We pray Your blessing upon them at this time. In particular, we bring before You …
In addition, we bring our own and other needs on our hearts to You today…, in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, Amen.
‘As I looked, ‘thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took His seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of His head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. 10 A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before Him. Thousands upon thousands attended Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened. 13 ‘In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into His presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshipped Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed (Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14).
31 ‘When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on His left. 34 ‘Then the King will say to those on His right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was ill and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me.” 37 ‘Then the righteous will answer Him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and invite You in, or needing clothes and clothe You? 39 When did we see You ill or in prison and go to visit You?” 40 ‘The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:31-40)
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[f] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins…19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:9-14, 19-20)
Before we come to listen to God’s Word let us sing:
Waiting for the coming King (Daniel 7:9-14 & Colossians 1:9-20)
In the United Kingdom we are considered one of the best nations in the world for waiting patiently for things. Why is this so? There are other countries where it is the ‘every person for themselves’ for goods in stores, something that used to be tried by a proportion of citizens here in the post-Christmas sales. Anyone remember the dreadful images on the BBC news of people fighting over the large flat-screen televisions on offer a few years ago?
It happens with other ‘bargains’ as well, no doubt, but most of us doubt that is an appropriate way to do our shopping. The old-fashioned thing we are apparently good at is queuing. Now of course in 2020 we need to add, two metres apart for everyone’s safety until the virus goes away, but we can do it successfully. Silently or engaged in conversation we can wait until our turn comes to enter the shop to purchase some kind of goods. It seems to be a British kind of virtue that we can display patience in that context!
It is now in the second half of November. What season of the year are you looking forward to you next? I assume that if we were to do some socially-distanced opinion polling in the streets that the vast majority of people would mention the word ‘Christmas’.
After all our governments in Edinburgh and London are both advocating stricter virus prevention measures at the moment with a view to allowing us some time with at least some of our relatives in the later part of December. Normally, many of us groan at the sound of ‘Christmas’ music beginning to appear in garden centres or shopping centres in the later part of September. What happened this year is anyone’s guess, as the majority of us were spending a lot less time in the shops, apart from food shopping.
However, in other parts of the world Christmas starts a lot earlier. In the Philippines, for example, it is particularly popular with the first preparations starting in September and the decorated tree up in some homes by the middle of October, rather than early December in the United Kingdom. However, over many centuries Christian Churches have observed a different period of time prior to Christmas called Advent. This word literally means ‘coming’. Who or what is coming? Why is that particular event marked? And what is it that historically Christians have waited for? Like fellow citizens an honest answer might be the Christmas holidays from work and a chance to rest!
However, Advent has traditionally been the season of looking back to the events of the first coming of Jesus and looking forward to His second coming. This season in the year is a declaration that God’s plans to send a Saviour for the world are on track. We may need to wait patiently for a while longer or equally Jesus may come again soon, but God will deliver on the promises He has made. We can be certain that in waiting for the coming King we will not be disappointed. Ahead of the formal start of advent next Sunday we continue in looking forward to what God has prepared for us. The prayer of Advent is – come, Lord Jesus. Come, King Jesus.
As 2,000 years ago we are living in a time of rapid and unsettling change. Our societies in the Western world no longer have agreed common values and perspectives on the way society should operate. It is much deeper than ‘left’ or ‘right’ political agendas. It is visible, for example, in the conflict between some of the Western and others of the Eastern European states at the moment in the European Union. There are no easy solutions to resolve these differences. The Christian hope is: ‘Come Lord Jesus’. May Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven!
1. We are waiting for the coming King (Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14)
The book of Daniel contains a series of visions about empires and their rulers. Each in turn appeared invincible and certainly all-powerful compared to the Jewish people and the nation of Israel or Judah. At the time of writing his book, Daniel, although personally in an influential post in the Babylonian government, was acutely aware that the Promised Land was a wasteland underpopulated and without any functioning state.
Any notion of a coming king or ruler seemed utterly pointless as there appeared to be no functioning country to rule over. Although God had promised that the exile was temporary it took a big step of faith to trust and to pray believing that things could be turned around. The powerful empires described had been brutal in enforcing their rule, many died, and even more were uprooted from their homelands. The world hasn’t changed; the major powers kill at will and enforce their decrees at the expense of millions suffering hunger and deprivation of medical care and a decent way of life. The list is alarmingly long. The idea that in the twenty-first century humanity is more civilised than in previous millennia is seriously in question, not least because the most brutal century in history has only recently been concluded.
Waiting for a better ruler, a Prince of Peace seems ever more attractive. This was also the case for Daniel. As an older man he receives the dramatic vision recorded in Daniel chapter seven. Using the imagery of wild animals, the empires in turn were portrayed in less than flattering terms. However, in the midst of this information we catch a glimpse of a heavenly alternative. The rulers who have gone before will be replaced by a completely different coming king whose rule will be altogether different to theirs. What do we see here in Daniel 7?
(a)The ‘Ancient of Days’ (Daniel 7:9-10):‘As I looked, ‘thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took His seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of His head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. 10 A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before Him. Thousands upon thousands attended Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.
What do we sense in this word picture of heaven? Is it the feverish activity and the panic that often is a fair description of modern governments when out of their comfort zones? It is absent from this scene. It is a picture of serenity. It is a scene of things being under control. There is a calmness and control. The visual representation of God the Father is of a being who knows all that is happening and knows what can be done about it. However, as well as serenity there is also solemnity. The fire imagery points to judgement on sin and those who wilfully choose to disregard His plans for our good and His glory. God will not be mocked.
In our context, in the twenty-first century, a visual image of an aged person is viewed as one of physical weakness and of a person retired from work and the big decisions of life. This was far from the perception of the first recipients of this book. In those cultural contexts age brought wisdom and insight, qualities we need so much of today. The scene also would have been viewed as depicting God’s sovereignty. He reigns over all! Whatever humans may think, say or do, God will have the final word. Have you entrusted your life and your future to Him?
(b) The Son of Man (Daniel 7:13-14) 13 ‘In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into His presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshipped Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed
This scene in heaven turns away from God the Father to look at a second figure, a ‘son of man’ yet who is a heavenly figure. This mysterious figure is greater than all the individuals whose empires ranged across the known world. Their kingdoms came and went, but His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed (Daniel 7:14b).
We are waiting for this coming King was the message of this dream or vision that Daniel experienced. His rule or reign will be totally different to that of the earthly rulers already referenced. Because of this prophecy, Israel had something to hope for, something to wait for. They had a vision of a time when someone sent from God would establish an everlasting Kingdom. This and many other prophecies gave Israel the sense that their new King was coming, that God was sending His Messiah who would liberate them from captivity. Eventually, the Israelites were released from Babylon, yet they remained for the most part under the oppression of the Persians, and then the Greeks, and then finally the mighty Roman Empire.
These Roman Caesars called themselves the “sons of God” and demanded that all their subjects pledged allegiance to Caesar as Lord. Anyone who resisted was crushed under the military weight of the Roman Army. Six hundred years had passed, and yet for Israel, two thousand years ago, the Messiah establishing His new Kingdom seemed further away than ever.
This royal figure would not only rule forever, but also over all nations and peoples of every language (Daniel 7:14a). The question we need to answer is this? Did Jesus view Himself as identifying with this heavenly figure in Daniel 7? The answer is a definite ‘yes’. His self-designation in public ministry was ‘the Son of Man’. Most importantly when on trial before the Jewish High Priest and asked to explain His identity, prior to His crucifixion, Jesus said these words, recorded in Mark 14:61b-62:
Again the high priest asked Him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?’ 62 ‘I am,’ said Jesus. ‘And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.’
Everyone present knew that Jesus was self-identifying with the king they were waiting for, the heavenly figure of Daniel 7:13-14. The tragedy was the majority of those present that day rejected His claims. What is your response to Jesus’ claims on your life? Have you put your faith and trust in Him? Are you waiting for the second coming of the King?
2. We are waiting for a different kind of King (Matthew 25:31-46)
31 ‘When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on His left. 34 ‘Then the King will say to those on His right, “Come, you who are blessed by My Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was ill and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me.”
37 ‘Then the righteous will answer Him, “Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and invite You in, or needing clothes and clothe You? 39 When did we see You ill or in prison and go to visit You?” 40 ‘The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me.”
41 ‘Then He will say to those on His left, “Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite Me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe Me, I was ill and in prison and you did not look after Me.” 44 ‘They also will answer, “Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or ill or in prison, and did not help You?” 45 ‘He will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.” 46 ‘Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.’
With this and many other statements Jesus shows Himself to be the promised Messiah and King. And yet, there is a twist to this tale. Jesus’ idea of a ‘king’ is almost the exact opposite to the kind of king that anyone in His audience was expecting. Israel was anticipating a powerful ruler who would defeat Rome and establish a political kingdom on earth. But Jesus announces that His kingly rule, the Kingdom of God, will be a paradoxical and subversive Kingdom. When He is being questioned by Pilate, a powerful Roman leader, Jesus answers him by saying: Jesus said,
‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent My arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now My kingdom is from another place (John 18:36).
Pilate, the Roman procurator, understands Jesus’ claims as those of one self-identifying as a king, but not in the way Rome claimed sovereignty over its subject peoples and Empire. Sadly at different times in the history of the Christian Church there have been churches that claimed power co-extensively with the state; or in the case of the Roman Catholic Church in the medieval period over nation states or secular rulers in Europe. But this is not what Jesus was claiming. He is the coming King for whom the Jewish people were waiting two thousand years ago, of whom only a minority recognized His true identity.
He is the coming King we are waiting for today, that the Bible refers to as His second coming and invites us to be prepared and ready for Jesus’ return. Are you waiting expectantly for the coming of the king? In Matthew 24 prior to this passage Jesus stated:
And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory… ‘Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: if the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him (Matthew 24:30, 42b-44).
Have you committed your life to Him? He is coming soon; please don’t delay taking this step.
3. We are waiting for a different kind of Kingdom (Colossians 1:9-20)
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light.
13 For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
18 And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.
(a)The nature of the kingdom The Kingdom of Jesus is an upside-down Kingdom. The first are last, the poor are blessed, outcasts are welcomed, light shines from the darkness, life comes out of death, and victory comes from sacrifice. Powerful and religious people can’t accept this kind of King, but the ‘least’, the downtrodden and those whom society rejects come to see that they are invited to be part of this very different kind of kingdom. In this letter to a congregation in a town in a place called Colossae, in what we call today Western Turkey, Paul reminds these believers, young in the faith, what they have become a part of.
And giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves (Colossians 1:12-13).
We have been welcomed by the plan and purpose of God the Father. We are His wanted children. You are not a Christian by some kind of accident! If you are a Christian, you belong to a new kingdom. You have been set free from the captivity of the dominion of darkness. Your identity is not primarily about your country of birth, your family, or your politics. You are first and ultimately a citizen of Jesus’ kkingdom. What is more our work in this kingdom is a calling to service. At the Last Supper Jesus spelt this out to His first disciples in Luke 22:24-27:
A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.
In the earlier passage in Matthew 25 there is an illustration of some of the forms of ministry people in this kingdom will exercise towards one another. In other passages of the Bible we are recommended to serve in this way to people in the wider community as well. However, in Matthew 25, the emphasis is clearly on our calling to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Being in God’s kingdom is not about status; instead it is a call to service. I want to say a big thank you to each of you who served someone else or some other people this week in all manner of different practical ways.
(b) The vision for the Kingdom (Colossians 1:20) …through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:20) There is no bigger vision or mission statement than this.
This Kingdom is bigger than a political or geographical area, because this King is the one who created politics and geography in the first place! Colossians 1:15-16 describes Him:
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. How was this kingdom launched? … by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross (Colossians 1:20).
What is the ultimate goal of this kingdom? To create the most exciting church leaders’ or members’ business meetings ever? To produce the best sounds ever produced in worship in Sunday services? To experience the most eloquent and inspiring sermons ever preached? No! It is to reconcile to Himself all things. The perfect world and universe that existed when God created it for our good and for His glory will one day be our experience, not just for a summer holiday but for ever! It is beyond my ability to imagine a world as good as this at the present time. Martin Luther King eloquently proclaimed: ‘I have a dream’, in his famous speech. God declares to us today I have a plan for the perfect future kingdom of My Son that you can all be a part of.
Two thousand years ago the world was taken by surprise at His first coming as a baby at Bethlehem. Soon, yes very soon, the King for whom we are waiting will return as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Please make sure that you have trusted the king as your Lord and Saviour and, therefore, will have something to look forward to that is truly out of this world, 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 last song is:
Thank you Lord once more for the blessing of worshipping You today. We thank You that as we are approaching the season of advent when the Christian Church recalls the first coming of Jesus to earth two thousand years ago, we can also look forward with anticipation to Your second coming to usher in Your eternal Kingdom. Heavenly Father we thank You that You have fulfilled the promises You made regarding past events and trust You for the future. Grant us the strength we need for this new week. We bring our prayer in the name of Jesus, Amen.