JAM Kids’ focus: The Virtual Sunday School
The monthly prayer livestream takes place on Sunday 2 June, 2021 7.00–7.30pm.
This service is led today by Alan McRobbie
Call to worship: Colossians 1:13-20:
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.
Our opening song of praise and worship is: ‘See What A Morning’
Heavenly Father, we rejoice that once more we are privileged to enter into Your holy presence in the wonderful name of Your Son our Saviour Jesus of whom Paul wrote: 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. Thank You for the cross; thank You for the sacrifice of Jesus in our place to reconcile us to You and You to us. Thank You for Your undeserving loving-kindness that has provided this amazing gift of salvation that is a free gift available to all who by faith receive it. We come once more seeking the forgiveness of our sins and the fresh empowering of the Holy Spirit as we begin another new week. Speak to us Lord through the songs that are sung, together with the reading and proclamation of Your Word, in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen
Let us say together the words Jesus taught His disciples when He said:
All Age Talk A Loving Warning by Alan McRobbie
Have you noticed that loving warnings from those who have authority are all around us? Our parents or those who care for us lovingly warn us to protect us from harm, to keep us safe or to safeguard our future. The National Health Service lovingly warns us not to smoke cigarettes, to be physically active and to eat healthily to protect us from poor health. The Government lovingly warns us during the pandemic to wear face masks, to keep 2 metres apart and to restrict contact with others to reduce the risk of harm from the spread of COVID-19. But some of us might see these loving warnings as being told what to do and think. We resist and want to do things our own way which can sometimes lead to disastrous results for us or for others.
Jesus too gives us a loving warning. He has told us about how human sin separates us from a right relationship with God and what the disastrous results are for each one of us. His loving warning also tells us how we can be saved from the disastrous results of being eternally separated from God.
The Narrow and Wide Gates
Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
This passage teaches us that the way to Heaven has only one way, but many find this difficult to accept or act upon. It is easy to follow our own way, but hard to give up everything and follow God’s way. Giving up everything to follow God’s way is the narrow road in life through the narrow gate. It cannot be done by ourselves, but we are able to do this with God’s help and worth the end result, which is Heaven with our Heavenly Father. Jesus told us to enter through the narrow gate. He says that he is the gate. We enter the gate by allowing Jesus to be our Master. When we surrender everything to him, then we walk along the narrow road. If we do not choose to have Jesus as Master of our lives, then which door do we chose? The wide one and that road, Jesus says, leads to destruction.
Please watch this short children’s video on the Narrow and Wide Gates at this link:
When you look at this video, my question to you is do you think Jesus’ words are there to save you from your sinful human nature that separates you from God or to ruin your life? Are his words the most unpleasant words said to you or the most loving warning you have ever heard? Jesus came to lovingly warn us and to rescue us. He is pointing to the one and only way to be in a right relationship with God. Is he being narrow-minded? Yes! Not because there are other ways to God but because he, as God the Son who knows more than we do, is saying that He is the only one who can save us. One day, you and I will have an appointment with Jesus Christ that we will not miss nor be late for. We will be asked to give an account of how we have lived (Romans 14:12). What will you do at that point? Has your sin been dealt with by Jesus? Are you ready to meet him?
If you want to walk through the narrow gate, contact Brian Talbot who will talk you through what is required.
All Age Song ‘Shine from the inside out’
Prayers for others
Once more we pray for the people of India and any other country that is struggling to cope with the impact of the Covid-19 virus pandemic. We pray that the medical staff seeking to treat so many patients will be strengthened to continue their work and that may be provided with the medical equipment and vaccines needed to address this situation. We also pray for wisdom for the NHS and Social Care staff in our own country as we progress through this time of further change and openness as the pandemic recedes in our own country.
We also pray for the young people preparing for their National 5s / Higher & Advanced Higher, or College / University exams. We pray that they may know Your peace at this time.
We pray for those who have been elected to office in England Scotland and Wales at the different levels of government last week. We pray that they may be able to work effectively in their respective communities for the good of all who live and work there.
We pray for the following chaplains and churches:
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 are thankful that despite the challenges of lockdown God has been growing His church in Dennistoun and bringing us together for prayer more than ever before. We pray that as they are about to purchase a new building in the area of Riddrie and as they reach out into this new area, that they would be equipped in every way for this exciting next step as a church.
Denny BC – We give God thanks with them for His continued faithfulness and guidance over the past year. We pray for their recent appointment of an Interim Minister who will help and support the church in the next phase of their work. We also pray for the leaders and congregation as they seek to serve God in Denny
Dingwall BC – We pray for the church family of Dingwall Baptist as they meet together to worship God and serve the local community in different ways.
We also continue to pray for a restoration of health for other members of our congregation or members of their families…
We pray too for anyone else with ongoing health conditions and bring them before You now…
We pray for the people whom we cannot visit in residential care, and others who are at home on their own, together with others in our church family who are feeling the effects of increasing age and infirmity…
We now pray silently for anyone else known to us who is in need of our prayers at this time…..
We pray also for our own needs…
We bring all these prayers before you in Jesus’ name, Amen
Bible Reading II Corinthians 10:1-18
By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you – I, Paul, who am ‘timid’ when face to face with you, but ‘bold’ towards you when away! 2 I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be towards some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete. 7 You are judging by appearances. If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do. 8 So even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than tearing you down, I will not be ashamed of it. 9 I do not want to seem to be trying to frighten you with my letters. 10 For some say, ‘His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.’ 11 Such people should realise that what we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we are present.
12 We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. 13 We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God Himself has assigned to us, a sphere that also includes you. 14 We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the gospel of Christ. 15 Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others. Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our sphere of activity among you will greatly expand, 16 so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you. For we do not want to boast about work already done in someone else’s territory. 17 But, ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.’ 18 For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
Before we come to listen to God’s Word let us sing: ‘Jesus hope of the nations’
Pre-recorded version of the message
II Corinthians 10 How do we handle unjust criticism?
Words matter! What we say and our body language as we express it is important. In the modern age where words and actions can be recorded on a wide variety of devices, the choices we make can have a very long life online. In our multi-media age images can be incredibly powerful. In the Vietnam War in the 1950s to 1970s one image, that of Vietnamese girl Kim Phúc stands out as a window into the horrors of that conflict. The picture taken of her aged nine, together with others, fleeing a napalm bombing raid of the South Vietnamese Airforce on June 8, 1972. That image was taken by a well-known Associated Press photographer Nick Ut. Imagine how much more powerful that and other images from that dreadful war might have been in our internet age. However, it conveyed so powerfully legitimate criticism of the indiscriminate use of chemical munitions on a largely civilian population. On Wednesday evening 5 May 2021 Chelsea played Real Madrid in the Champions League Semi-final. After the game, former Chelsea player Eden Hazard was pictured smiling as he chatted with Chelsea players. A charitable explanation of the images would be that he was very sporting offering congratulations to the other team who had won the fixture. However, particularly in the Spanish media, suspicions were raised that he was being too friendly with former teammates; maybe they believed that it was linked to his poor performance in the game! Compared to the former image, this was one that will fade from memory soon, but the story around it raised the question of unfair comments being made about the actions of this individual. In I Corinthians 10 we see how Paul had been viewed by some individuals in the congregation at Corinth, as well as his critics from Judea. Their opinions expressed so openly were less than fair, but they were having an unsettling effect on a proportion of the congregation and could no longer be ignored. The difficulty, for Paul then and other people at other times, is how we react to this kind of situation.
1. Their criticisms of Paul (II Corinthians 10:1-7a)
By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you – I, Paul, who am ‘timid’ when face to face with you, but ‘bold’ towards you when away! 2 I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be towards some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete. 7 You are judging by appearances.
What was going on that caused this problem? There were a number of issues that contributed to this conflict. There were cultural issues and some religious differences as well. We have only limited information on which to make a judgement, but it is possible to highlight some of the differences. In the two letters in the New Testament addressed to the Church at Corinth it is clear that there were some doctrinal beliefs they held that Paul sought to address as well as issues of conduct. There were also problems over how the church leaders had been conducting worship services, especially concerning the observance of the Lord’s Supper after their shared evening meal each Sunday. However, in the last four chapters of II Corinthians the focus is on the person of Paul and his leadership style.
A proportion of this congregation in Corinth had warmed to the triumphalist rhetoric of the visitors from Judea. As we have noted in earlier studies in II Corinthians, they had brought with them glowing testimonials about the effectiveness of their ministries. They had boasted about their amazing spiritual experiences which were claimed as a validation of their ministries. It is possible that they were trying to take some credit from work that others had accomplished for the Lord as well. There is no doubt that their ministry style was incredibly different to that of Paul. They were very much into self-promotion, highlighting their apparent success in ministry, in contrast to Paul who kept pointing people to his wonderful Lord and Saviour. Their messages would have highlighted spiritual power and victorious Christian living, stressing their overcoming of the challenges they experienced. Of course, to some degree there is truth in these claims, but it is not the whole story. They were neglecting Christ-like qualities of meekness or gentleness; or teaching about servanthood and humility. Passages such as Philippians chapter two where Paul speaks about the humility of Jesus as God’s servant, even at a cost of death by crucifixion would have been absent from their messages. Of course, we have answers to prayer and encouragements as we serve the Lord, but there are also times when things don’t go the way we would wish. Are our prayers a failure when God’s answer is not what we wanted? Absolutely not! Remember Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane in Luke 22:41-42: He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 ‘Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done. Jesus would have preferred a different answer to that prayer. There is a costly obedience at times as we walk in the way of Jesus. Remember, in Mark chapter 8:34-35: what Jesus said to His first disciples: Then He called the crowd to Him along with His disciples and said: ‘Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me and for the gospel will save it. Paul’s opponents wanted highlight the final victory of God at the end of the age, but they were unwilling to admit that living the way Jesus lived in the present can be incredibly difficult at times. In parts of the world then and now there are Christians who die simply because they are followers of Jesus. Others face serious difficulties or actual persecution. Paul, himself, in II Corinthians highlights the hardships he has faced as a follower of Jesus and he will be more explicit about what he had endured in the next chapter of this letter. Does Paul try to overpower his critics in his response? No! By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you (II Corinthians 10:1a). Paul wanted to win over the people to whom he was writing more than winning an argument. He could, and later did mention his spiritual experiences in II Corinthians chapter twelve, but he sought gently to persuade them to adopt the way of Jesus.
It is not just Paul who acted in this way in the Early Church. In I Peter 3:15-18a the apostle Peter reminded his Turkish readers how they should share their faith with other people. But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.
In evangelism or pastoral work or any other form of ministry with other people we will only be fruitful in that service with the attitudes commended here by Peter and by Paul. The dominant coercive style may appear to work in some settings in the short term, but it is not an approach commended by our Lord and master. Good relationships are based on mutual respect. Effective team-working is based on a shared commitment to accomplishing agreed goals in so many different contexts, not just in church life.
How do we seek to live effectively as a Christian? Paul addresses this point in II Corinthians 10:3-4: The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. Paul has already highlighted the attitude we should adopt, by the humility and gentleness of Christ, but he goes on to highlight the approach we should adopt. In the context of the pagan world then and in our secular world today we see too often the ‘might is right’ approach where individuals in positions of power use that influence in inappropriate ways to get their message across. It can happen in families, church families, businesses or even countries, such as China with Hong Kong and Taiwan or Russia with Ukraine and some other neighbouring countries. People might say to us in so many contexts that thinking of others as well as of ourselves will hinder our cause. It may in the short-term. When Jesus’ earthly ministry was completed, how many followers were left to start the Christian Church? It was a rather small number considering the task before them. Was His work a success or a failure? We all know the answer to that! There are Christians all over the world. The total number has increased year after year. Numbers aren’t everything, but they are an important measure of the effectiveness of our work. Paul’s message here is abundantly clear. Do not be deterred from doing Jesus’ work, Jesus’ way. Let others have their slick marketing and image campaigns, but never deviate from our clear calling as Christians. We are all commissioned to take the whole gospel to the whole world. We have an integrated holistic mission. Naturally, we want to keep our focus on the most important things. The most important of all is people coming to faith in Jesus and committing to living as His followers. However, an integrated holistic gospel includes seeking to meet the needs of people around us and of taking good care of the planet on which we live. We must keep our focus on being God’s people, proclaiming God’s message, living God’s way, in God’s world, entrusted to our stewardship.
2. Paul’s response to his critics (II Corinthians 10:7b-11)
If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do. 8 So even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than tearing you down, I will not be ashamed of it. 9 I do not want to seem to be trying to frighten you with my letters. 10 For some say, ‘His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.’ 11 Such people should realise that what we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we are present.
Paul has already hinted in this letter part of the problem in Corinth. In his previous letter to them he made the following point: Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have begun to reign – and that without us! How I wish that you really had begun to reign so that we also might reign with you! 9 For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. 10 We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honoured, we are dishonoured! 11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12 We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world – right up to this moment (I Corinthians 4:8-13). I can easily imagine Paul preaching these words! There had been a disconnect between their acceptance of the faith Paul proclaimed when the church was founded and their understanding of it under the influence of other preachers who held triumphalist ideas about how the Christian life ought to be lived. At its heart was a failure to hold firmly to the ‘now, but not yet’ aspects of the kingdom of God. The kingdom or rule of God that began in the life and ministry of Jesus was and is a foretaste of the perfect eternal kingdom of God beyond this life. Then in that perfect world there will be no sorrow or sickness, or all the other things that we might have to face at the present time, besides a virus pandemic! But we must not confuse life in God’s new creation with the first glimpses of it in the here and now. In this world, Christians can suffer ill health or from famine just like other citizens who do not share our faith. We can catch the covid-19 virus and even die from it just like anyone else in the world. Or in other countries where there is serious religious persecution and killing like Nigeria or Somalia, Christians know that they might experience it and a small minority be martyrs for their faith. The apostle Paul is very clear that the advocacy of a prosperity gospel where a few Christian leaders are incredibly rich living lives of luxury while millions of brothers and sisters barely survive is incompatible with the way of Jesus. The servant of God does not desire great titles, fame or status, but instead has a passion for reaching those who need Jesus by speaking and living out the gospel in many different ways. Paul could so easily have claimed Christian celebrity status. He was almost certainly one of the most intellectually able thinkers in the Early Christian Church. He had been a star pupil at the higher education institution in Jerusalem. He was a Roman Citizen. This was a prize status few possessed in the Empire. Even the Commander of the Roman Garrison in Jerusalem at the time of Paul’s arrest in the mid-first century AD had found it hard to obtain. The purchase of it was very expensive. Paul calmly reminded him that he was born a citizen. This disclosure caused Paul, then under arrest for his faith, to be treated very differently (See Acts 22:23-28). Yet Paul deliberately played down his higher social class background or any other privileges he had possessed. The way of Jesus was the way of humility, pointing people to his wonderful Lord and Saviour, rather than creating a culture where church members thought what a great man Paul is. This approach is the way Jesus lived and one He commends to us today. We invite others to join us on the journey of faith as equals, following our Lord Jesus in the way He directed us to live.
Paul was not particularly concerned by what others thought of him or his reputation. He did correct or challenge some misrepresentations of his beliefs or behaviour, and on occasions was happy to defend himself in a court of law. In the latter case, he was almost certainly seeking legal confirmation that Christians were free to practice their faith. A good example occurred in Corinth in the 50sAD in Corinth. For example, some Jews brought a case at the highest court in the region of Achaia (a Greek region –similar to Tayside in Scotland), claiming that what Paul was doing was unlawful, before the Proconsul Gallio. It was an overwhelming victory for Paul as Gallio made it clear in his judgement that the remit of that court did not include restricting the practise of the Jewish faith or any other religion (Acts 18:12-17). From Paul, we learn that there are times when for the benefit of the wider Christian Church court cases may need to be undertaken reluctantly.
He was most reluctant to respond publicly to criticisms of his appearance or his preaching.
A short work from some years later contained a descript of Paul’s appearance: ‘At length they saw a man coming (namely Paul), of a small stature with meeting eyebrows, bald [or shaved] head, bow- legged, strongly built, hollow-eyed, with a large crooked nose.’ [Acts of Paul and Thecla, written between 68 and 98AD] In Corinth, they liked their public speakers to be tall and handsome with charismatic personalities and individuals who possessed great skills in oratory, able to move a crowd to depths of emotion. Paul certainly impressed the country people in Lystra (Acts 14:8-13), but mainly as a result of a local man being miraculously healed after Paul prayed for him, but it was a different matter altogether in cities like Athens or Corinth where there were plenty of well-trained public speakers. Paul was following in the footsteps of Jesus who rarely defended Himself in the face of unjust accusations or ill-treatment such as in His trials before Herod and the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate (Luke 23:6-12; John 19:8-10). What can we learn from Paul and apply to our contemporary context? I think were he alive today that he would advise us to be wise in what we say on social media and certainly not respond to foolish comments that someone may have fired off without any proper thought. He would also be likely to advise us to take a little time to think carefully about why we want to respond and what we hope to accomplish by doing so. It can be quite disastrous in our instant age to fire back responses that we might later regret. In the days when everything was communicated by pen and paper, a wise approach might be to write down what was on your heart in a letter to the other person, but to sleep on it and re-read what you had written the next day before considering whether to post it or not. Paul was a good example of giving careful thought about when and how to reply to criticisms of his ministry. Other people will have a range of opinions for and against what we say and do, just as we have our views on the words and actions of others as well. Paul wanted to take time to reflect on how his course of action would reflect on his Lord and Saviour. Could I imagine that Jesus would want me to think, speak or act in this way? We will not gain definitive answers with this kind of reasoning, but it may help us avoid impulsive reactions when others have hurt us by their words or actions. Paul was certainly not a ‘door-mat’ allowing others to ‘walk all over him’, but he took time to frame his responses in the hope of restoring or retaining relationships, rather than in seeking to win an argument. The example of his communications with the church in Corinth show that even in quite unpromising circumstances, as here, his patient careful communications with them led to a restoration of relations with the vast majority of that congregation. God will honour us as we endeavour to live this way, although there are no guarantees concerning the outcome of our efforts. However, if we seek to honour the Lord by living in this way we will have done as much as is possible to resolve difficult situations.
3. Paul’s understanding of the bigger picture (II Corinthians 12:12-18)
(a)Improper boasting (II Corinthians 10:12) We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. Paul was reminding the Christians in Corinth about self-awareness. The person who needs to tell other people how wonderful they are, because no-one else has noticed has a problem! His critics from Judea were full of their own importance. All of us have met some people like that over the years. It is not a nice experience. None of us are better than other people. You and I are created in God’s image and therefore have a dignity and worth just like every other person who is alive. However, as well as accepting that wonderful truth, we need to live in a way that gives others their rightful place as well. I don’t want to succeed at a cost of denigrating other people. I want to make fair judgements about what they say and do. I will seek to think before I speak because I want to build up others by my words and actions not tear them down. When I have genuine criticisms to make, I will do my best to find something else to highlight that they do well or express my thoughts in such a way that communicates that my concerns are about a particular statement or action or course of action not an attack on the person in question. I will do it with a full awareness that I am an imperfect person who also will at times make mistakes in my attitudes, words or actions. My aim will always be to seek to build others up in my interactions with them. I will be able to do this better if I am self-aware of my own strengths and weaknesses.
(b)Legitimate boasting (II Corinthians 10:13-18) 13 We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God Himself has assigned to us, a sphere that also includes you. 14 We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the gospel of Christ. 15 Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others. Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our sphere of activity among you will greatly expand, 16 so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you. For we do not want to boast about work already done in someone else’s territory. 17 But, ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.’ 18 For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. There is a place for legitimate commendation of our own work. You could not succeed at a job interview without doing so! However, as Paul sets out the legitimate grounds for highlighting his own successes in ministry and that of his fellow team members, he points to the fact that it is fine to state accurately what we have accomplished. So, for example, a person in business can point to work done for other clients; they can rightly point the enquirer to satisfied customers who can testify on their behalf. A funding proposal for a research grant in a university setting might allow the writer to draw attention to the success of work done as a result of previous grants, something of particular importance if they are returning to seek further funding from that particular source. In his particular context, the problems were caused by critics from Judea who were so full of their own importance and wanted the church members in Corinth to recognise their greatness in comparison to the inadequate Paul! Here Paul has been willing where appropriate to address issues raised in his letters to this church that in time led to a resolution of the tensions that had arisen. However, he was uncomfortable boasting about his legitimate achievements, but was much more comfortable pointing people to his wonderful Lord and Saviour. This is why he concludes this section of the letter in this way: ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.’ 18 For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. It is a point that we may also seek to bear in mind as we respond to the criticisms of others, Amen.
Our song before we come to communion is: ‘More about Jesus would I know’
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: Amazing Grace (My Chains are gone)
Thank You Lord for Your amazing grace given to us. We are so thankful that You modelled for us how to live our lives not only when things are going well, but also in the toughest of times. Your prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before Your crucifixion is an inspiration and a challenge to us all to live with that same desire of pleasing our heavenly Father in our attitudes, speech and conduct. Guide and direct us through all the circumstances we will experience this week, in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen
Benediction: The Grace