Christ Reigns: let it be so, in us – November 22nd, 2020
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church
Welcomes you all to this online worship service, may God bless and reign in us all for his glory and praise.
November 22nd, 2020
Lighting of The Christ Candle
ENTRY OF THE WORD
- Thank you John Hanna for leading us in worship today.
- Once again meeting for public worship in the Church building has been shut down; this will be for a minimum of three Sundays (November 19th - December 7th). We at St. Andrew's are hoping we will be able to resume our services at the Church building before Christmas but with the rise in Covid cases we are cautiously optimistic and will follow the Provincial Health Orders, week to week, please stay tuned.
- Next weeks Communion Service will be postponed until the resumption of Services in the Building.
- During these difficult times, especially leading up to Christmas, if you are feeling isolated and alone we encourage you to reach out to a loved one, a friend, or one of St Andrew's Elders. Here are the numbers: Rev. Ena Van Zoeren 250 253-0338, Rev. Shirley Cochrane 250 833-0485, John Hanna 250 832-7885, Lynn Francis 250 833-1021, & Reny Hanna 250 832-3236.
CALL TO WORSHIP: Psalm 100
1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
HYMN: #267 Rejoice the Lord is King (click the blue text for YouTube music, sorry there may be advertising)
PRAYER of ADORATION
God most holy,
You are known to us as the Almighty, Powerful, Eternal, Ruler and Lord.
We call you our Shepherd and Guide.
We praise you with many names,
but you are beyond our imagination, so much greater than our words.
We know you in the stories of Jesus
and in him, we see your love in action, reaching out to the world.
You move in us and through us by your Spirit,
drawing us to you, sending us to live out your Word.
God most holy, Three in One and One in Three,
we praise you with our lips and with our lives
to offer you honour and love.
Mighty and merciful God,
we come with a sincere desire to walk in your ways and live under your reign.
Hear us as we confess to you our sins:
UNISON PRAYER OF CONFESSION
We confess that we have failed to love fully, forgive wholly,
and to share the joy of your presence day by day.
You offer us freedom, but we settle for the familiar.
You offer risky love, but we opt for safer choices.
You offer us hope but we prefer knowing what will happen next.
Teach us to abandon our selfish ways and cautious service,
so that we can risk offering you our whole lives,
committed to following Jesus and building your kingdom here on earth. In Jesus name we pray. Amen
Assurance of Pardon
Ephesians 1: 13 & 14
13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
In Christ we are forgiven,
Thanks be to God
Please extend the peace of Christ to those around you in a proper, loving, socially distanced, wave. May the peace of Christ be with you!
HYMN: #268 All Hail King Jesus (sing 2 ½ times)
Psalm 47 Responsive
1 Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.
2 For the Lord Most High is awesome,
the great King over all the earth.
3 He subdued nations under us,
peoples under our feet.
4 He chose our inheritance for us,
the pride of Jacob, whom he loved.
5 God has ascended amid shouts of joy,
the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets.
6 Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.
7 For God is the King of all the earth;
sing to him a psalm of praise.
8 God reigns over the nations;
God is seated on his holy throne.
9 The nobles of the nations assemble
as the people of the God of Abraham,
for the kings of the earth belong to God;
he is greatly exalted
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 sick 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 sick 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 sick 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 sick 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.”
Ephesians 1: 15-23
15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[a] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
Shall we Pray:
God of mystery and majesty, your thoughts are not our thoughts; your ways are not our ways. So, guide us by your Holy Spirit as we listen for your Word speaking in the scriptures, that we may encounter your Living Word and find our thoughts and ways transformed by your love. Amen.
Today is Reign of Christ Sunday. Christ reigns, of that there is no doubt, the more important question to each one of us however is; does Christ reign in us? Rev. Ena has been leading us in a sermon series called: becoming, doing, telling. It has challenged us to mission and today as you hear the stories and reflections on the scriptures I hope you will reflect on how much more your personal responses to mission would or have changed, if or when you allowed Christ to reign in your lives.
As I read the passages for today sermon my thoughts were taken back to a time when we as a congregation were preparing to send a team to Zambia, a mission team going to help finish a roof on a Medical Centre we had funded, at Grace Academy. Leading up to that we had a visit from John Chalkais in the spring of 2007. John is the Executive Director of an organization called Seeds of Hope, Seeds of Hope cares for children around the world who are infected or affected with HIV/AIDS. Many of these children are orphaned. John spoke of many children and had many stories of how God is working miracles in the lives of these children and their families.
He spoke of a girl called Mary who was orphaned when she was young. Mary went to live with an uncle who abused her and passed on to her the deadly disease HIV/AIDS. When the uncle died Mary was sent to other relatives who lived in a shanty shack, a dwelling in the slum. Mary got sicker and was wasting away so she was put in a shed, she had a rag blanket and a dirt floor for a bed. Mary was fed once a day, and no one was allowed to touch her or talk to her. Mary was tormented by fear and isolation, and her hair was falling out in clumps because of her nerves. Mary was eventually rescued by Social Welfare and taken to Buseko, a home run by Seeds of Hope. It was John’s wife Susan who received Mary with a big hug and a kiss, Mary wept; she could not remember the last time someone had touched her. At the time of John’s visit Mary had been with them at Buseko for a year, she was 18 years old and turning into a beautiful young woman and thanks to the ARV therapy and the love and care she getting she was expected to live an almost normal lifespan. Mary had completed her grade 10 and her relatives, who were once afraid to touch her and considered her a burden, now visit her. Now they see her as their hope for a brighter future. Someone asked John how he could let those people visit Mary? John Says: “it is called Grace. How else are we going to change people’s attitudes if we are not willing to meet them where they are at?”
John spoke of another woman whose daughter was in Buseko house. This woman was dying and came to see her daughter one last time. When she came in, she was wearing a filthy dress with only one button left on it. Her foot was swollen and gangrenous and split open. The staff were saying we cannot have her in here; but John said: “she is ripe for the harvest.” They brought her in and gave her a bath and washed her hair; the first she had had in a long, long, time. They ironed a new dress and clothed her and wrapped her in a blanket asking if she would like to hear about Jesus. She said yes and after seeing a film, being fed, and cared for, she gave her life to Jesus that same day.
“For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.” Context makes a huge difference. These words of Paul that we read this morning seem to take on a new life when we hear them in the context of seeing and hearing the Gospel at work in the world around us, don’t they?
We heard how two lives were changed in Zambia because of a faith in the Lord Jesus and a love for all the saints that was shared by John, his wife Susan, and their staff at Buseko House.
Well Paul likewise had heard of how lives were being changed in Ephesus and how the church was growing, and he could not stop giving thanks and remembering them all in prayer.
What draws people to the Lord is God’s love expressed through us his saints and our love for each other. We are family and like most families we do not get to pick who our relatives are, but we are called to love them anyway, despite their and our short comings. If we are honest, we, must admit that some in our families are harder to love than others, but none the less it is our duty to love them just the same.
The staff at Buseko did not want that woman in their home but found when they opened their arms and showed her God’s love; they had welcomed a sister in the Lord. What a cause for Joy, they had no regrets.
Here at St. Andrew’s, because we are on the highway, we will often get transients stopping in looking for gas money, food, or lodging. Often you wonder how to help and if you do help if you are just being conned or taken advantage of. I am sure you all have had similar feelings.
Paul says: “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better.” We too should be praying for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that we may know God better. I believe we are living in difficult times these days; people are so blinded by their senses and passions that they can not see their need for a saviour. Satan plays on our senses and passions; Satin would have us believe that all we need is to fulfill our every whim and desire and we will be happy. Materialism and hedonism are the religions of most of the world we live in and heaven help you if you mess with that.
Matthew Henry says: “We have the revelation of the Spirit in the Word, but will that avail us if we have not the wisdom of the Spirit in the heart?”
We are being called to know God better; to do this we need to be in the Word and praying that the Spirit will reveal the truth to us and after that; that the Spirit may open our hearts so we move with the wisdom of God.
When a stranger or transient is in our midst and we recognize that they are looking for help how will we respond? I, have to confess that often I feel a fear rise up in me and I say to myself: “oh no another one; quick give him some money and send him on his way.” What is your response?
Paul says: “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe.”
We are the family of God; we are the body of Christ. How should we respond? Not with Fear! We should respond with the Love of God. Jesus summed up the Law, the ten commandments, and indeed his whole ministry this way: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.” Elsewhere in Matthew 5 Jesus says: “You have heard that it was said: love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.”
Paul said: “pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened.” What he means is; pray that God may grant us an understanding of His great and glorious will for us. You see, while Satan speaks to our senses and passions, Christ works in and through our understandings.
Our initial response to a stranger, someone in need, may be similar to the initial response of the staff at Buseko: “Oh he or she can not come in here; they will bring disease or corruption.” But the loving Spirit of God speaks and says: “The field is ripe for the harvest.” The body of Christ comes alive and we understand the will of God. We know and remember the hope to which we have been called and the glorious inheritance reserved for us and we are filled with God’s incomparably great power for those who believe. The ears of the body hear the plea, the eyes of the body see the soul, the arms of the body raise the person up in a warm embrace, the legs and feet of the body carry the load, the mouth of the body speaks the Word of God and there is love. What remains is not a question: “were we conned?” But a statement: “They were loved!”
Paul says that great power is “like the working of God’s mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Christ from the dead and seated him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every tittle that can be given, not only in the present age but the age to come.”
Matthew Henry states: “It is a difficult thing to bring a soul to believe in Christ. It is nothing less than an almighty power that will work this in us.” We are all familiar with John3: 16 & 17. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through Him.” We, the family of God, must stop and own this statement; stop the condemnation; share the love; own the Gospel.
Christ took upon himself the sin of the world and we simply can not imagine the stench of Him; we can not imagine how repulsive and offensive His appearance to God must have been. It was made even worse by my sin, your sin, our sin, heaped upon Him. It was so great an offence that Christ had to die. So great that Christ for the first and only time cried out: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” God turned away from His only Son and Christ surrendered His life and died.
Christ died, that we who sin, may live and there is not one of us who does not sin. Only a fool would claim to be without sin. Jesus died that we may have eternal life if only we would believe in Him. How can we know that this is true? How can we know that God absolutely loves us, so much so, that He would forsake His own Son and put Him to death, instead of us?
The proof comes in the fact that God’s love for us and His Son is so great that he is, able to forgive and raise Christ from the dead. The proof is in the Almighty Power of the Resurrection. It is nothing less than this almighty resurrection power, the power of God, exerted in Christ, when He raised Christ from the dead. It is that power that brings us, first to believe and then to be raised to eternal life ourselves.
Paul says this about God after He raises Christ from the dead: “God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way.”
We are the body of Christ, the family of God. Does this mean we have all the answers? No, it does not. Christ speaking in Acts says: “It is not for you to know the times or dates that the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.”
Today we are being called, by a loving God, who has not left us powerless, but has given us His Resurrection Power through the Holy Spirit, to simply love people into the kingdom of God; giving others the opportunity to experience the reign of Christ in their lives.
Are we being asked to appeal to their senses and passions, as Satan does? No, we are being asked so much more; we are being asked to appeal to their understanding that no matter how much or how little their senses and passions are being filled, there still is a void in their lives that only the love of God can fill. Only in God through Christ can any of us find perfect rest, perfect peace, and eternal life.
We are the body of Christ, the family of God, love one another. Let Christ reign in your life and may it be said of us: “I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, and I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.”
HYMN #274 Crown Him with many crowns
God has blessed us in Christ and in creation with all that we need to thrive. Yet Jesus’ story reminds us there are so many in this world who do not have what they need. What we offer to God today helps the Church reach out to touch lives in need and share the love of God in so many ways.
Generous and Gracious God, you envision a world where the hungry are fed and strangers are welcomed. We bring you our gifts to become part of your vision. Bless them and bless us, so that all our gifts bear fruit in Christ’s name, and honour him as Lord of our lives. Amen.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
Lord Jesus Christ, you proclaimed God’s kingdom among us and within us.
In the power of the Spirit, your love is always at work,
bringing good out of evil and life out of death.
We thank you that your love never lets us go,
for you have known the good times and the hard times of this life before us.
You came as one who was hungry and thirsty.
Where people, live on the streets today, suffer from hunger, or beg for a meal:
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done.
You came as a stranger in need of welcome.
Where people live lonely lives or feel like strangers in a strange land; where love is lacking, and people face rejection for the colour of their skin or the language they speak:
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done.
You came as one who was naked.
Where people lack enough clothing, shelter, or life’s basic resources; where people live without dignity, exposed to every kind of pain and hardship:
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done.
You came as one who was broken.
Where people feel pain in body, mind, or spirit.
Where someone grieves the loss of a beloved or the future they planned; in places where the pandemic has done its worst and desperation has moved in:
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done.
You came as a Shepherd.
Where people are led astray, or nations are ruled by corrupt or greedy leaders and there is no peace in the land:
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done.
You came as one who was in prison.
Where people are treated unfairly, targeted, or tortured.
Where justice has failed, and people are punished with cruelty:
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done.
(Prayer Requests here)
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done.
You came as one proclaiming the kingdom of God.
And so, we lift up these prayers in your name, Lord Jesus,
knowing that your kingdom is drawing near
and that we meet you in the face of those who cry out to us.
Hasten the day when God will wipe away our tears
and death will be no more as we pray the words you taught us saying:
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
HYMN #742 Lead on, O King Eternal
Now may the Love of God, the Grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and the Power and Peace of the Holy Spirit, go before us all, preparing our hearts and minds for the reign of Christ, to the glory of God the Father. Amen
Online: Tell me the stories of Jesus
Who’s going to tell the story, you and I
Tell of the Lord’s great glory, you and I
Who’s going to let the whole world know
Help his disciples grow and mulitiply?
You and I!