• Rossendale Circuit

Saying Yes to God - Sunday Service 27.09.20

With David Burrow


Video Audio Service

Scroll down to view the transcript and click to view directly in Youtube here.

Part 1




Songs:


MP 16 'All my hope on God is founded'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DohxO6ytsaU


Songs of Praise version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3LCGh02Vew


MP 1040 'Come, now is the time to worship'

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



Part 2




Songs:


MP 463 'May the mind of Christ my Saviour'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ghgaqT57lk


Singing the Faith 247 'I danced in the morning when the world was begun.' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0neq_axOslk


The Dubliners & Jim McCann | 40 Years Reunion: Live from The Gaiety (2003)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjPGSFDy8wo



Part 3




Songs:


MP 683 'There’s a wideness in God’s mercy'

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


Vertical Worship - 'Faithful Now' (with lyrics)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2YHvIam5vY


(Live version) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YexUJ2WHik

This is about holding on to faith despite what we see going on around us.


Part 4



Songs:


MP 33 'And can it be'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29myH7xXI4M


CHRISTAFARI: The Blessing (THE WORLD) Reggae cover [Elevation Worship, Kari Jobe & Cody Carnes Song]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcXJ1b3O8uA




Transcript


* Not always exact to videos


Matthew 21:23-32 Saying ‘Yes’ to God


Welcome:


Thank you to David and Sam for putting last week’s service together while I was on holiday, and, to all of those of you who have asked, thank you, we had a lovely holiday in a converted stable in the middle of a forest by a small loch where we saw red squirrels, deer and lots of bird life.


Harvest Festival information: Central Methodist Church, Bacup on October 11th and Longholme Methodist Church, Rawtenstall the following week on October 18th.


Book your seat by checking out our website.


Psalm 25:1-10


Prayer:


Father, Son and Spirit, Holy Trinity, present wherever hearts are open and souls laid bare, bless all who gather today for worship, fellowship and prayer.

Bind our hearts as one as you are one, Father, Son and Spirit, Holy Trinity.

Amen.


Photo by Andrew Preble via Unsplash


Over the past few weeks, I have been following the set readings in Matthew’s Gospel. This week is no different, but we have now moved on to Holy Week and the last week of Jesus’ life when he openly spoke truth to power.


He was not afraid to call the religious authorities whitewashed sepulchres (Matthew 23:27), leaders who were apathetic to the needs of their fellow human beings.

The week began with an explosion as Jesus entered the Temple courts. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and wouldn’t allow anyone to carry goods through the temple courts.

And as he taught them he said, ‘Is it not written: “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations”? But you have made it “a den of robbers.”’

Birds squawking and flying free, coins crashing on to the stone floor and people shouting and running in all directions.


It was a wild chaotic moment.


John even reports Jesus using a whip (John 2:15). Not the image of Jesus we usually bring to mind when someone mentions his name.

But what if Jesus was being just as Christ-like during his whip-wielding, table-turning, name-calling redemption-aimed protest as He was when He was preaching, healing, praying, and forgiving our sins?

I wonder, what did Jesus say to himself as he sat down, lamented over the what was happening God’s house, made his whip and plotted disruption in the face of injustice?

A couple of weeks ago a Methodist Minister was arrested for taking part in a climate change protest. He was protesting peacefully and had no intention of getting arrested, but as part of a group of 200 protestors he found himself in a police cell and as the cell door clang shut on him he said, ‘I felt a surprising sense of peace, perhaps because although I was in trouble, it was good necessary trouble. Strangely I felt I was where God wanted me to be.’

Is this what it can mean to say ‘Yes’ to God? To put all your hope in God no matter what you face, whether it’s the injustices of the Temple traders as for Jesus or facing a night in a police cell?


Songs:


MP 16 'All my hope on God is founded'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DohxO6ytsaU


Songs of Praise version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3LCGh02Vew


MP 1040 'Come, now is the time to worship'

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


Prayer:


A prayer of praise:


Living God, you are holy.

We praise you in the desert places of life and we praise you when we are richly fed and all our needs our met.

We praise you in the storms and when all is calm around us.

Living, holy, God, we praise you.

Living holy God who is also our Heavenly Father, here we are, before you, open to you.

We acknowledge that there is much we wish we had done, and much we wish we hadn’t.

This day, in this moment, I am sorry, we are sorry.

And even as we say the words, O God, we know we are already forgiven, loved and set free.

Thank you for your gift of forgiveness and the joy of being filled with your Holy Spirit.

Come Holy Spirit and fill our lives once more, empower us and use us to your praise and glory.

Help us always to say ‘Yes’ to you when you call us.

To you be all the thanks and praise, most holy God.

Amen.


The Lord’s prayer



Photo by Aaron Burden via Unsplash


Songs:


MP 463 'May the mind of Christ my Saviour'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ghgaqT57lk


Singing the Faith 247 'I danced in the morning when the world was begun.' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0neq_axOslk


The Dubliners & Jim McCann | 40 Years Reunion: Live from The Gaiety (2003)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjPGSFDy8wo


Introduction to reading:

The last week of Jesus’ life, Holy week, was full of action, confrontation, and strife.

Jesus really upset the Temple authorities when he drove out the traders and money changers!


Jesus' main concern was not himself. It was, as usual, the ordinary people. He sought to alleviate their suffering by healing the blind and the lame, and he challenged the raw deal they were getting from the religious leaders. In return, the religious leaders challenged Jesus’ authority in this first clash between Jesus and the authorities in Matthew’s Gospel:


Read Matthew 21:23 - 27


Jesus put the chief priests and elders of the people in a bit of a fix. These leaders had rejected John the Baptist as God’s prophet, so they weren’t about to admit that John got his authority to preach from God. But neither were they going to say that John got his authority from the people as the people believed John was indeed a prophet from God. Caught with no easy way out they offered a feeble, “We do not know.”


That made Jesus angry. These leaders were supposed to teach, and show, people the way to God and help them get to know God by showing them how much God loved them. But they were not doing their job! So, Jesus told the leaders this, rather pointed, short story:


Read: Matthew 21:28-32 The story of the two sons.


Jesus couldn't have paid the leaders a bigger insult. To tell them that tax collectors and prostitutes would get into the kingdom of God before them was like telling the Archbishop of Canterbury that the prostitutes down the road are going to heaven and he isn’t!


Jesus was comparing the leaders to the second son. They had said, ‘Yes God we will be priests’, ‘Yes, we will lead your people in worship’, ‘Yes, we will help the people to get to know you God’. ‘Yes God we will do all these things’; - but they had done none of it, they had even made life harder for the people.

Like the second son they had said 'Yes' and then changed their minds and done nothing.


The tax collectors and the prostitutes though, said Jesus, were like the first son, they had originally said 'No' to God. They had gone off to live lives that everyone knew were not acceptable to God, but when John the Baptist came along and called them to repent and change their ways, many of them changed their minds and said 'YES' to God.


When Jesus arrived on the scene and spoke with them, many more turned away from their old lives of sin and decided that instead of saying 'No' to God they would now say 'YES'. Read the stories of Matthew the tax collector (Matthew 9:9) and Mary Magdalene (Luke 8:2 & John 20:1-18).


When they said 'Yes' to God their lives were completely changed.

They no longer did the terrible things they had done. They now had God at the centre of their lives.


Sadly, even though the leaders could see the transformation in the lives of the tax collectors and the prostitutes, their minds remained closed and they still didn't believe!

The leaders were in big trouble! Instead of heading for heaven they were heading for judgement and for hell! Would they yet change their minds and say ‘YES’ to God?

That was then, but what is Jesus saying to us today through this story?

Are we, in church, like the chief priests and elders judging and dismissing those who have not yet said ‘Yes’ to God? Are we holding people’s past and current lives against them?


Jesus never held people’s past or current lives against them. He simply longed to invite them to say ‘Yes’ to God, to transform their lives and give them a new future.


The message of John the Baptist and the message of Jesus were really the same: Turn away from your self-centred lives and turn back to God.


Through the rest of the Bible the message is repeated; Paul, writing to the church at Corinth, "We implore you, on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God." ("Cor. 5:20b)

In other words - 'In the name of Jesus, we beg you, say ‘Yes’ to God and get your relationship with God right.' ‘Believe Jesus died for you and paid the price of your sin; believe that he was raised from the dead and then receive God's promises of forgiveness, the Holy Spirit and eternal life.


Saying ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to God is the most important decision we all have to make in our lives.


We are called by Jesus to implore the rich, the poor, the young, the old, in fact everybody who has originally said ‘No’ to God to change their minds and say ‘Yes’ to God, so they can enjoy a right relationship with God. You will find this difficult and be painful when people still say, ‘No’ and you have to let them walk away. But such joy when people say ‘Yes!’


Remember; John the Baptist was put to death because he refused to keep quiet about even the king's need to get his relationship with God right. Jesus was put to death because he too refused to keep quiet about the need to get our relationship with God right.


And down the centuries millions of Christians have also suffered and even been put to death for the same reason.


Today the message remains the same: 'In the name of Jesus, we implore you, on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God’. Even if you have already said ‘No’ to God you can always change your mind, say ‘Yes’, be transformed, and enjoy a brand new future.


Photo by Jens Lilie via Unsplash


Songs:


MP 683 'There’s a wideness in God’s mercy'

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


Vertical Worship - 'Faithful Now' (with lyrics)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2YHvIam5vY


(Live version) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YexUJ2WHik

This is about holding on to faith despite what we see going on around us.


Prayers of Intercession:


God of all grace, we come to you in prayer again.

God of all hope, we pray today for a world in need, full of stories of despair and pain.

God of all love, show us what we can do amongst all the uncertainty and fear in our community, our nation and our world.

Help me to say ‘Yes’ to your call.


As the Coronavirus continues to dominate our news and affect much of our way of life, we pray for all those most affected, most isolated, most vulnerable.

As support systems, charities, churches and infrastructures all feel the pressure of this prolonged time of lockdown, show us how we can be a force for love.

Help me to say ‘Yes’ to your call.


As many of the other injustices and inequalities of our world are not receiving the attention and focus that they should be (because of Coronavirus), we pray for all who are victims of injustice.

Show us how we can bring hope, bring change, and demonstrate your love.

Help me to say ‘Yes’ to your call.


Further prayers


Blessing:


May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, now, and always, Amen.


Songs:


MP 33 'And can it be'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29myH7xXI4M


CHRISTAFARI: The Blessing (THE WORLD) Reggae cover [Elevation Worship, Kari Jobe & Cody Carnes Song]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcXJ1b3O8uA

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Email us: rossendalemethodistcircuit@gmail.com