Service Notes 23rd August

23rd August

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to our afternoon service. Blessings also, as ever, to those who cannot be with us and I pray that you are all keeping safe and well. It will be good to welcome you back in person whenever circumstances allow.

We’ll begin by saying The Lord’s Prayer, the prayer that Jesus taught us, and which unites all Christians both near and far. Then I shall lead us in a prayer asking God to bless this service.

LORD’S PRAYER FOLLOWED BY OPENING PRAYER

As Christians we have the wonderful privilege of simply enjoying being in God’s presence and being assured of His love for each one of us. And so, as we listen to the following piece of music, let’s still ourselves down and welcome Him into our midst and into our hearts.

THE SONG: “DRAW ME CLOSER TO YOU” 

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youttube+draw+me+closer+to+you&docid=608015988809797248&mid=392C56A3526A02C8C6A1392C56A3526A02C8C6A1&view=detail&FORM=VIRE

BIBLE READING: MATTHEW 16: 13-20

I think we would all agree that we live in an age when famous people are almost venerated by their army of followers. Famous actors and musicians attract hundreds of thousands of fans on social media who follow every twist and turn of their lives. This leads to people believing that they are personal friends of these “stars” and that they enjoy a special relationship. The truth, of course, is the opposite and they really don’t know their idols at all. An idol is something or someone that we worship from afar without ever getting too close. The Bible cautions us and forbids the worship of idols.

But, with Jesus, that is not the case at all. Jesus invites all of us to enter an intimate and personal relationship with Him. This is what makes Christianity unique among world religions because it gives God a name and that name is Jesus. Jesus is the living embodiment of God for, as He said, “anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” 

And so the question that Jesus put to His disciples is a question that He puts to each one us……..”Who do you say that I am?” Please notice that He does not say “WHAT do you think I am?” but “WHO do you think I am?” 

And, when Peter answers the question by saying “You are The Christ: The Son of the living God” He answers both WHO and WHAT in a single sentence. 

But the important question for all of us remains “WHO do you think that Jesus is?” God wants to be up close and personal with each one of us. In Christianity we are not believing in a set of rules or a set of doctrines but BELIEVING IN A PERSON.

And to know Jesus personally is more than sufficient. None of us will ever REALLY know what Jesus did for us when He died on that Cross, 2,000 years ago. We say “He died to take away our sins” but we don’t really know how that happened and all our theological statements are only guesswork. Our minds can never really take it in BUT THE WONDERFUL TRUTH IS WE DON’T HAVE TO. We simply have to hear Jesus calling our name.

When a really good and loving friend comes to see you, you don’t have to work out how and why he or she loves you, you simply repeat his or her name and give them a hug. And the wonderful thing about Christianity is that it works exactly the same because JESUS IS OUR FRIEND INDEED!

Amen

LISTEN TO THE HYMN “WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS”

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+what+a+friend+we+have+in+Jesus&docid=608040079277230707&mid=12BCADB255831D1116A312BCADB255831D1116A3&view=detail&FORM=VIRE

PRAYERS (quiet music playing in the background)

LISTEN TO HYMN “GOD IS GOOD HIS LOVE GOES ON FOREVER”

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIUsKFSt0U4 (Sorry about the adverts)

THE GRACE: And now may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of The Holy Spirit, be with us all, for evermore: 

Amen.


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