If you’re unsure how to work your way through the service, simply follow the order of service below; you will find a mixture of video, links to worship and a few words, simply follow them all through in order and as every Sunday, we’ll all come out the other end, having read and studied God’s word, sung His praises, come before Him in prayer and been built up by Him as we go into the week ahead.
“…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Christian people ARE filled by The Holy Spirit of God; we are filled for many different purposes, and to fulfil many different needs.
Some of those needs will be personal, in that we have our needs met and our lives changed, bit by bit, as He works in our lives to sanctify us (that is to make us more and more like Christ). But here we also see that as He comes to live in our hearts we will, as a matter of course, become His witnesses; we will become people who have His grace, compassion, wisdom, and power to share that Gospel truth. Yes, to share that truth where we are and wherever He will lead us, even to “the ends of the earth”!
Today then, let us welcome afresh the truth of these words and the impact of them on our lives, and let us give ourselves over to His filling, and as we do so recommit ourselves where we are, and also recommit ourselves in prayer for others where they are, be it in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria or to the ends of the earth…
Today use a ball inside or outside. Each time you catch or kick it remember that without the air inside it wouldn’t work well, and that unless we have God in our hearts we don’t work well either!
Every now and then, in this crazy society we live, I think we need reminding of this:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
In the sermon we looked briefly at the following scriptures: James 4:1-2, Isaiah 59:1-2, 2 Chronicles 16:9a. Which other verses on prayer come to mind, when thinking about our need and reluctance to pray.
Take the 5 sermon headings and talk through practical applications which we could commit to taking on board (individually and as a church). The headings were:
We crowd out prayer with other things
We don’t see prayer as a relationship thing
We don’t appreciate the massive importance of the facts that prayer prepares us for spiritual warfare. And prayer is spiritual warfare.
Verse 8 – How might we be captured, and by what kinds of empty philosophies and high sounding nonsense?
Verses 9 & 10 – Why is it crucial that we see and believe the truth that Christ is both completely man and completely God? Also what does it mean, “that you are complete by your union with God“?
Verses 11 & 12 – Discuss what we heard in the sermon about these verses on circumcision and baptism. How might we overstate or understate the importance of a public declaration of faith in baptism?
Verses 13 & 14 – Pastor says, “These are powerful statements and if taken to heart will have a profound affect on the believer” Do you agree, if so (or not) why, and what difference is it going to have on your life with Christ?
Verse 1 seems at complete odds with the rest of the chapter, what is Micah pointing to (cf. 2 Kings 25?);
Bethlehem was a tiny hamlet, what else do we know about Bethlehem from the bible? Also, why would God chose Bethlehem and not Jerusalem?
At the end of verse 2, consider what it means: ‘whose origins are in the distant past’. How should this impact a) our understanding of who Jesus is, b) our view of creation, c) our reading of the Old Testament?
Discuss verses 3-9, what are these verses pointing to?
Verses 10 to 14 at first glance look like more judgement, but are they? – if not what are they about – if so how does it fit with the rest of the passage?
Who is the last verse addressing and at which time?
So often in our Christian lives we spend inordinate amounts of time talking about prayer, wanting to seek the Lord and do His will; which I believe are great sentiments, but as we approach the end of the year I’m drawn back to some words we used at the start of our year in our covenant service, words which were borrowed from a great puritan called Richard Alleine:
I am no longer my own but yours. Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will; put me to doing, put me to suffering; let me be employed for you or laid aside for you, exalted for you or brought low for you; let me be full, let me be empty, let me have all things, let me have nothing; I freely and wholeheartedly give all things to you. Glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are mine and I am yours. So be it. This my covenant with you my God, made here on earth, let it be confirmed in heaven. Amen
Why not take that prayer again, study it, meditate on it, discuss it and consider: as individuals, and as Christ’s Church, have we yet made this prayer our own? How can we encourage one another, and what is the Lord asking of us as individuals walking in covenant with Him? If studying in a group: spend a good time in prayer seeking the Lord for each other and the wider Church. When studying alone: also, of course, pray through the issues that arise in your heart.