• Rossendale Circuit

Signed, Sealed, Delivered - Sunday Service 11.07.21

with Revd. David Burrow


Video Service

Watch on youtube here.


Hymns & Songs:


MP 642 'The earth is the Lord’s'

https://youtu.be/aIJg0R7K0Pk


https://youtu.be/Uz5xbqU7msE

by Evan Shelton


Song: 'The joy of the Lord is my strength' – Rend Collective

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcG9HApTC_Q


MP 3 'Abba Father'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NZ4VNY6pvk


MP 16 'All my hope on God is founded'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3LCGh02Vew


MP 673 'There is a Redeemer'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDgZ1v3l9go


MP 806 'Beauty for brokenness'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO1G-o7Yj-c


MP 266 'I cannot tell why he whom angels worship'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qh0RKetMB0o


MP 564 Praise to the Lord

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNq0WtMSmIY

with lots of extra Hallelujahs!


And of course...


'Signed, Sealed Delivered' by Stevie Wonder

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inXC_lab-34



Transcript


SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED, LORD GOD, I'M YOURS


Psalm 24 A wonderful Psalm as the writer declares, ‘the Earth is the Lord’s’.


MP 642 'The earth is the Lord’s'

https://youtu.be/aIJg0R7K0Pk


https://youtu.be/Uz5xbqU7msE

by Evan Shelton


Song: 'The joy of the Lord is my strength' – Rend Collective

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcG9HApTC_Q


Prayer: Think of a place that you love to be in, a place that brings you peace; perhaps it reminds you of God.

Pause for a moment and imagine yourself in that place. What can you see? How do you feel?

Lord of our special places, we give thanks for special places and all they mean to us. We give thanks for the memories they connect us with, the special people and stories we remember.

Living God, we give you thanks for your creation and all the joy and wonder it brings us. We pause to give you thanks. [Quiet]

As we imagine our special places, we join all the other people today imagining their special places and together we say sorry for the harm we have done to these places, and the ways we have been part of systems that have damaged your world and the people who live there.

We are sorry for the pollution, destruction and pain that we inflict on each other, and on your world.

For the sake of these special places, the people of your world, and all that we love we ask you to empower, inspire and transform us by your Holy Spirit.

Use us to create a better, safer, fairer world.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Photo by Ranurte via Unsplash


The Lord’s Prayer


MP 3 'Abba Father'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NZ4VNY6pvk


MP 16 'All my hope on God is founded'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3LCGh02Vew


Ephesians 1:3-14


Are you a Stevie Wonder fan? And do you remember his hit from 1970, 'Signed, sealed, delivered, I'm your man'?

Verses 13 & 14 from Ephesians are a case of, 'signed, sealed, delivered'. Read them again as I want to look closely at these two verses.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit; who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession - to the praise of his glory.''


We begin with the first part of verse 13: And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation . . .


It was about 23 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus that the Ephesians heard 'the word of truth' from Paul himself.

They heard the gospel - the GOOD NEWS - of their salvation. In other words they heard how Jesus had died for them so they too could know God's love in their lives, the forgiveness of their sin and their lives filled with the Holy Spirit.

The people ‘Heard’, and having Heard, they believed. They had SIGNED up.

And because they signed up, because they didn't reject God in Jesus and the message of God's love for them, they were marked in Jesus with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit (the second half of verse 13).


In Paul’s day, when you wanted to despatch a sack or crate, or any kind of package you sealed it to show where it had come from and to whom it belonged.

The seal was a mark of ownership.

The indwelling Holy Spirit is the seal which shows that a person belongs to God and more besides, because the Holy Spirit is not just a mark or a stamp on the outside but is the Spirit of God living within us, showing us God's will for our lives and giving us the power to carry it out.

All of which in turn is part of the intimate relationship with God we grow into as we allow the Holy Spirit to fill our lives to overflowing.


Onto verse 14: who (the Holy Spirit) is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession (God's people) - to the praise of his glory.'


Here are words that take us deeper into an understanding of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit, says Paul, is a deposit that guarantees all of God's promises for us.

The Authorised Version of the Bible says that the Holy Spirit is the earnest of our redemption, a word that in the Greek comes from the business world.

The 'earnest' was part of the purchase price of anything which was paid up front as a guarantee that the rest of the payment would follow.

There still exist many trade documents from the time of Paul where the Greek word, 'arrabon' is used: a woman sells a cow and receives a deposit as 'arrabon' - which guarantees the rest to come.

Some dancing girls are engaged for a show and are paid the 'arrabon' in advance - a guarantee they will receive the rest of the payment after the show.


Likwise, Paul is saying that the Holy Spirit is our 'arrabon', our guarantee. But what does the Holy Spirit guarantee - for what is the Holy Spirit the deposit?


Well, says Paul, the Holy Spirit is the deposit guaranteeing our inheritance.

So, what is our inheritance?


As Christians, filled with the Holy Spirit, our inheritance is the same as Jesus.

All Christians sealed with the Holy Spirit show evidence in their lives of the growth of the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The evidence is there for others to see.


The gifts of the Spirit, for example: preaching, teaching, prophecy, hospitality, encouragement, serving, giving generously, leadership, showing mercy, administration, are also part of our inheritance guaranteed to us by the deposit of the Holy Spirit.


But there's MORE - when people are filled with the Holy Spirit they usually, if they haven't already, receive the assurance of sins forgiven; the slate has been wiped clean, God has accepted them, they can have a personal relationship with God.


The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of all kinds of amazing blessings in this life and assuming of course we don't suddenly decide to deny God and go our own way, the Holy Spirit is our guarantee of eternal life.


In his second letter to the church at Corinth Paul emphasises how the Holy Spirit is the guarantee of all that is to come on the other side of death.

So, to return to the song, 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered' - the Holy Spirit guarantees our safe delivery in heaven!


Being sealed by the Holy Spirit, belonging to God, means we are committed to Jesus in the same way that he is committed to us.

To be sealed with the Holy Spirit means that we are committed to God for eternity.

Being filled with the Holy Spirit is like an engagement.

When an engagement ring appears on someone’s finger the TRUTH is out, there's no hiding the fact anymore – they are going to be married.


It's the same with the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit fills our hearts then TRUTH begins to shine, there's no secret, it is obvious to others that our lives belong to Christ and as we see the fruit of the Spirit grow in our lives we will draw others to Christ.

We have heard the word of TRUTH. We have believed - we have SIGNED up

We are SEALED with the Holy Spirit and so are guaranteed a safe DELIVERY in heaven.

SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED, LORD GOD, I'M YOURS.


MP 673 'There is a Redeemer'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDgZ1v3l9go


MP 806 'Beauty for brokenness'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO1G-o7Yj-c


Prayers of Intercession

God of all grace, hear our prayer.

We pray for the world in which evil so often seems to have the upper hand. We hold in your love those who are caught up in human trafficking, those who are exploited, abused and who are victims of violence. We pray too for those who perpetrate such violence, oppression and exploitation and for all who work for justice, peace and dignity for all people.

Haiti, Yemen and Afghanistan

God of all grace, hear our prayer.


We pray for the church, seeking a path of goodness and holiness which glorifies you.

We hold in your love all who lead the church in this and every land, those who preach, serve, speak truth to power and who risk their lives for the sake of others.

We pray for churches which are divided, groups which feel marginalised or ignored, situations where individuals have been isolated.

The Methodist Church

God of all grace, hear our prayer.


We pray for our community, with its glimpses of glory and moments of inhumanity. We hold in your love all in hospital or suffering at home and those who care for them. We hold in your love all who work for peace, and all involved in support of those who struggle. God of all grace, hear our prayer.


We pray for our families, our church family, our friends and our neighbours. We hold in your love those who are precious to us. Send your grace and blessing on all known to us who are in need, those who are broken-hearted, those who are grieving and those who are lost and confused. God of all grace, hear our prayer.


We pray for ourselves, in our own journey of laughter and lament, wholeness and brokenness. We offer ourselves afresh to receive your grace, praying that we may be given the resources we need to face all the coming days with grace and courage. We offer ourselves to be moulded by your Holy Spirit.

God of all grace, hear our prayer. Thanks be to God. Amen


MP 266 'I cannot tell why he whom angels worship'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qh0RKetMB0o


MP 564 Praise to the Lord

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNq0WtMSmIY

with lots of extra Hallelujahs!


Blessing: Go out, inspired and uplifted to bring about change in the world. Go out amongst all the disheartening and disappointing moments of life, and know that the God of love goes with you, before you, alongside you and within you. Go to be a people of love, grace and peace. Amen