• Rossendale Circuit

Disturbing or Comforting? Sunday Service 10.10.21

with Revd. David Burrow


Video Service

or watch on youtube here.



Hymns & Songs:


MP 784 'Ye servants of God, your master proclaim'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZ9j3e8_yQc


MP 445 'Lord the light of your love is shining'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAFcwns4uHc


MP 138 'Seek ye first'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFxZeY2D5tc


MP 624 'Take my life and let me be'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gf11rReeWIs


MP 447 'Lord you are more precious than silver'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKmlrlzTHXY


MP 396 'Just as I am'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enJ8JzW_A48


MP 760 'When we walk with the Lord'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IDJQivWjdc


MP 302 'I want to walk with Jesus Christ'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nB9tJGdIMwQ



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Our Website: https://www.rossendalemethodistcircuit.co.uk/


Our Email Address: rossendalemethodistcircuit@gmail.com



Transcript


Come before God in the spirit of sacrifice.

Leave everything behind, and offer all that you have, and all that you are to the Lord who loves us.


Read Psalm 117 The shortest Psalm of all.


MP 784 'Ye servants of God, your master proclaim'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZ9j3e8_yQc


MP 445 'Lord the light of your love is shining'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAFcwns4uHc


Prayer


Lord, we come to praise you. You are the one who not only opens the door to heaven – you alone are the way to get there.

Only you, Lord, have walked this road we call life.

Only you have experienced all that this life means to us.

Only you Lord, have lived the life of heaven.

Only you Lord, have proved by your sacrificial offering of yourself that in and through you there is the hope of eternal life that is certain.

Lord, we hear your word and confess that we think it applies to others. Most of us are not rich, and though we have possessions, no one would want to buy them. Largely we keep the commandments –

at least, the ones we understand. And we give up quite a lot to be your followers: time at the gym or Sunday brunch; an evening out for a church meeting; the price of a meal out goes to charity.

What have camels and needles to do with us?

Yet you look on us with love. Help us to listen to you, Lord, and to follow.

We confess that we have sinned, and we are sorry. Jesus says: “Your sins are forgiven. Go in peace and sin no more”. Thank you, Lord Jesus. Come and fill us with your Holy Spirit.


We praise you, our Saviour. Amen.


MP 138 'Seek ye first'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFxZeY2D5tc


MP 624 'Take my life and let me be'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gf11rReeWIs


Read: Mark 10:17-31


Jesus and the disciples were travelling to Jerusalem. Imagine the scene: a dusty road on a sunny day. Jesus, his disciples, the women, and others were all walking along engrossed in their conversation when Jesus, the penniless prophet from Galilee, suddenly found a rich young aristocrat kneeling at his feet.

On my desk I used to have a small piece of paper, which said, ‘The aim of preaching is to disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed’. It’s a lesson learnt from Jesus, who in this well-known story, certainly disturbs the comfortable but thankfully also comforts the disturbed.

The rich young man was comfortable with his wealth, but he knew that something was missing from his life, and had realised that keeping the 10 Commandments, as he said he had, was not enough to inherit eternal life. He was about to be seriously disturbed!

Consider for a moment what you hold most dear. What is your most treasured possession or relationship, and, more importantly, is it a barrier to your getting to know Jesus?

If Jesus asked you to give it away because it was stopping you from wholeheartedly follow him, would you? This is what the man was asked to do. And it made him very sad! Part of the problem was that he hadn’t understood who it was that he was asking about eternal life.

“Good teacher”, he asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus tried to shift the man’s focus from Jesus the man on to God; “No-one is good”, said Jesus, “except God alone”.

In saying that God alone is good Jesus makes it clear to us all that however good, however wise or clever a human teacher may be, the only answer that can really matter to life’s deepest questions will come from God.

And so when Jesus looks at the man with love, it is not a wise teacher who sees into the deepest recesses of the man’s heart, but God Himself. The man had come looking for a good teacher but was answered by the living word of God.

He came looking for wisdom but was met by one who is ‘able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart’.

The rich young man would have no peace until he valued God more than his wealth and possessions.

The rich young man claimed to have never done anyone any harm, BUT, what good had he done with all his wealth? Had he ever been positively and sacrificially generous?

His problem was not that he had wealth but that his wealth had him. His face fell and he went away shocked and grieving. His comfort had been disturbed.

Here is a basic Christian truth: being respectable or living a decent life is not enough to enter the kingdom of heaven.


Photo by Sunbeam Photography via Unsplash


Please note again: Jesus loved the man.

He didn’t disturb his comfort zone just for fun, or just because he could, he did it because he wanted to see the man have a relationship with God and become a disciple, and the only way to do that was for the man to get rid of the one thing in his life that got in the way of that relationship being possible – his wealth which had become a false god.

So, Jesus challenged the man to give his wealth to the poor.

If he had, it would have led him to true happiness then and for eternity!


It may be respectable never to take away from anyone – BUT – it is Christian to give to someone.

And let’s be honest about this, let’s not spiritualise the issue.

We all need to be aware of wealth and possessions, they can be a real snare to our spiritual growth!

It can be very difficult to look beyond the monetary value of things.

Everything, including love, has a price.

Prenuptial agreements put a price on the breakdown of a marriage, our ‘blame culture’ puts a price on everything from our time to our lives – how else do you make an insurance claim?


This rich young man had a serious problem and Jesus saw right to the heart of it!

Jesus’ challenge to the man was this, ‘How much do you really want to be my disciple?

Do you want it enough to give your possessions away?’ His answer was: “I want it, but not that much”.

How much do we want to follow Jesus?

Is there a point where, despite Jesus’ love for us, we are tempted to turn away and follow our own desires?


Jesus’ love appealed to the man to leave his comfort zone and enter into the adventure of being a real disciple! Sadly, the man chose to stay where he was and to miss out on what he might have been!


Jesus also disturbed the disciples. "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!" they too were shocked.

In a sentence Jesus had turned traditional Jewish teaching on its head.

The Jews believed the rich are those who have found favour with God, but Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

So, if the rich can’t get in, who can?

Certainly not the disciples, they were poor and therefore obviously not blessed by God. So, if the rich can’t inherit eternal life and the poor, can’t, “Who then can be saved?”

All seemed lost but Jesus had a word of comfort.

With God all things are possible. And that stuck camel suddenly pops through the eye of the needle – surprised and relieved.

If I remember rightly the Countess of Huntington, who built preaching chapels for John Wesley once said something along the lines of, “Although Jesus said it was hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God, he didn’t say it was impossible.”

Not only is it possible but if you’re willing to give up everything for Jesus you will be blessed in this life and the next.

When I served with Voluntary Service Overseas in Papua New Guinea for three years, I left my well-paid

teaching career, and also left family and friends behind. Those relationships were let go.

My parents, who later told me how worried they had been, also had to let go. Although it was only for

three years, the cost, seemed great to some, but it wasn’t long before I had many new friends – in a

sense, a new family. We cared for each other and were drawn close by our shared experience.

And I came to know the truth of Jesus’ words when he told his disciples how much more they would

receive because of all they had left for Jesus’ sake.

This is true of all who give their lives to Jesus today.


With the blessings, however, also come persecutions – Jesus was always honest about the cost of being

a disciple, and sadly, there are persecutions in this life for every Christian in one way or another. It was

true for the early church and in many places it still is today.

Many are disowned by their families, friends and communities. Thankfully though they find a new home

and a new family in the church.

It was no different in the early church. Becoming a disciple of Jesus meant being literally thrown out of your family. But on joining the church people found themselves with new brothers and sisters in Christ, new homes to visit and stay in and, people who would be like fathers and mothers to them.

How does this work?

When the native American people of Saskatchewan first heard the good news of the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus an old chief said to the missionary: “Did I hear you say to God, ‘Our Father’?”

“I did”, said the missionary. “Is he also my Father?” asked the chief.

“He certainly is” answered the missionary.

Suddenly the chief’s face lit up with a new radiance. His hands went out.

“Then,” he said, like a man making a dazzling discovery, “you and I are brothers!”

What a comfort!

The message of Jesus will always disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed.

Despite this, it is our message to hear, to live and to pass on.

Allow me to invite you to clench your hands as though holding tightly on to something.

Refusing to let go and give means we are unable to receive.

Now open your hands: a willingness to let go and give means our hands may be empty but now we are ready to receive.

When Jesus challenges us, we may well be disturbed by the giving up, but far greater will be the comfort we receive.


MP 447 'Lord you are more precious than silver'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKmlrlzTHXY


MP 396 'Just as I am'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enJ8JzW_A48


Prayers of Intercession:


Father, we pray for all those who are disturbed by the challenges of life; for those fleeing for their lives from Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria; may they find comfort and a home in other nations.

For those whose lives have been devastated by the coronavirus; may they know the comfort only you can bring through your Holy Spirit.

For those losing the £20 uplift on their Universal Credit and will struggle even more to make ends meet. May they find comfort in the support and help of others.

We pray for those disturbed by our faith; may they find comfort in you, Lord Jesus and come to know the peace and joy of a relationship with you.

We pray for our congregations; may we be disturbed by injustice and prejudice, and work, in the power of the Holy Spirit, for justice to reign.

The Lord’s Prayer.


MP 760 'When we walk with the Lord'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IDJQivWjdc


MP 302 'I want to walk with Jesus Christ'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nB9tJGdIMwQ


Blessing: May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit remain with us today and always, Amen.


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