The Lord - Audio Service 05.12.21
with Revd. David Burrow
Or watch on youtube here.
*Some of the communion prayers have been kept in this recording, apologies if it's a little confusing when you hear things like 'reading from page 128' for example which refers to communion books used in the in person service.*
The book referenced in the recording including the story taken from it is credited to P
Peter Shilling in 'In a Believer's Ear' published by the Dome Mission, Brighton England and all copyright is with the author.
Subtitles available on the video, please click the 'cc' button.
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Hello and welcome to this audio service by the Rossendale Methodist Circuit, what you'll hear shortly is a recording of a service that usually takes place at Longholme Methodist Church in Rawtenstall on Tuesday mornings at 10am. This is a live recording so do expect some background noise. Although we've tried to reduce this as much as we can. The hymns unfortunately have to be removed for copyright reasons, but we've suggested some links to versions of the hymns below this video. This week's service is entitled 'Jesus my Lord' and you'll Revd. David Burrow begin the service now.
Morning. I think we're ready. Good to be back, after two weeks away. During the weeks before I was away, we were looking at the names of Jesus in this book by Peter Shilling based on, John Newtons hymn, 'How sweet the name of Jesus sounds, in a believers ear' and we'd worked through Shepherd, brother, friend, Prophet and Priest and on the Sunday before I was missing from the Tuesday was Christ the King Sunday which is the next one in the list so I did Christ the king, well let's say, let's put it this way, I explored Christ the king of our lives and of his kingdom of course on the weekly printed sheet that I sent out, so I'm hoping you've read it from that, I recorded it for the website, maybe you'd listen to it on there, and I also preached it at Rakefoot so I think I pretty much covered Jesus as King.
The next one, of Jesus' names in the verses, in John Newtons hymn, is Lord. Jesus as Lord. And you might like to try a little experiment at some point. Open your bible anywhere in the psalms, anywhere in the psalms pretty much and you'll find God referred to as Lord. Many of the psalms begin with, 'Praise the Lord' you know the writers of the psalms call on the Lord, call on the name of the Lord, they seek refuge in the Lord, they ascribe all kind of wonderful things to the Lord and they speak of the law of the Lord and that's just the psalms. When you start looking through the rest of the old testament there's so many more times that the people of God call God 'Lord'.
Paul into the New testament, Paul in his letters uses the title Lord of Jesus around 250 times. So you could probably close your eyes and put your finger on and just almost hit it every time. But then of course there's doubting Thomas who after the resurrection of Jesus having said that, you know unless I put my fingers in the nail prints, and my hand in his side I will not believe, but Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus appears to him and he says, 'my Lord and my God'. My Lord and my God and brings together you know, the whole picture if you like of Jesus as Lord and God, that wonderful statement of faith.
Psalm 27 finishes with these words, 'I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage, wait for the Lord.' So who was the psalmist waiting for? Well, he was waiting for his Lord of course and he was confident, he was confident that one day he would see his Lord. By the time we've travelled, we've journeyed through the old testament, we've reached the book of Malachi the last book in the old testament and then we have this period of 400 years where, some people refer to it as a time of silence, where God doesn't speak to the people. But he was there of course as we were talking about in our little advent group last night, how God is there. But there was no proclamation. No prophetic word that's recorded in the Bible.
So by the time that the Romans had invaded Palestine, by the time that all that was going on there was a real expectation, a real expectation, that the Lord would come, the messiah would come. So we get to John the Baptist and that expectation has almost reached a crescendo, the time of the coming of the Lord, must be near. And John said, I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord as the prophet Isaiah said. This preparation for the Lord.
And in the time of the Romans you know if you had a false God, a statue of a God, when it was being taken in procession, the way was prepared for it, the roads were made straight quite literally, you know when the emperor travelled they used to cut the tops of the mountains and hills to make sure that the emperor had a smooth journey, there were no ruts, there were no big stones, there were no obstacles. The emperor, his way was prepared. So when John came saying prepare the way of the Lord, this was something that was normal for people and I remember, it's a story I've told before, that when the Queen, you know, visited her estate up at the, Westminster estate, you know where my parents farm and my brother farms they would get a warning, and they were not to tell anybody else, the police would come and visit and say on this day and then they get an invitation, they get an invitation to go to where the Queen was going to be. This big field and these big marquees and they would meet the Queen and the duke. But, everybody knew, no one had to say anything because in the couple of weeks before the Queen came all the roads, these farm lanes, all the hedges would be trimmed perfectly, so that when she arrived all she saw was these beautifully trimmed hedgerows as she drove along in her cavalcade to the farm where everything was prepared. It's like when Jackie my wife was in Manchester royal infirmary as a nurse you know, there was a visit from Princess Diana, the lift that she was going to be travelling in was painted, the corridors that she would be walking along were painted, and she said it was incredible, she must think, Jackie came home and said, she must think everywhere she goes smells of new paint. All prepared. So if we do that you know, for royalty how much more to prepare the way of the Lord our God, Jesus Christ.
Photo by Jackson David via Unsplash.
Let us pray, Jesus you are indeed Lord, Lord of all. For creation itself proclaims your lordship, you have made all things. You are responsible for the creation of the cosmos and the wonder that we see around us. You were responsible for the creation of humanity and we thankyou that you made us and formed us and that you know us intimately, forgive us we pray when we do not treat your creation right, when we do not treat one another right and we forget that you are Lord of our lives because we want you to be Lord of our lives and so we come and as we confess our sin we thankyou that through your death on the cross we're able to receive your forgiveness, your victory over the powers of sin. And then through your resurrection and your victory over the power of death we can know that hope and that promise of life eternal. Father God, so, it's so good to know Jesus as our Lord and so we pray now, come Lord Jesus, come and fill our lives once again with your holy spirit, come and set us free from all that binds us so that we might walk with you everyday of our lives, come Lord Jesus. Amen.
So Jesus Christ is Lord. That's the earliest, the very earliest, the very first statement of belief of the Christian church and to say Jesus is Lord was to risk imprisonment, it was to risk torture, it was to risk even death itself. It was such a powerful statement, because the only person in the Roman empire who was Lord as far as the Romans were concerned was the emperor and if you said somebody else was Lord that was treason, and with that came all the things that I've mentioned. So when you converted from whatever faith you had before, no faith, paganism, from Judaism, all you had to say was 'Jesus is Lord' everyone knew that you meant it because there was such a risk in saying it. So you didn't have to go through a six week course on membership or preparation, I mean they did start preparing people for baptism and things like that of course, but for someone just to be able to say Jesus is Lord, everyone knew well crikey they were putting their lives on the line. They really meant it. You were in, you were in.
And today, you know, we say Jesus is Lord, don't we? We say it so often, we say it in our prayers, we sing it so often, Jesus is Lord and perhaps sometimes we say it a little too easily because, maybe we've used it so often we don't think very deeply about what it means to say that someone is Lord of our lives.
In his book Peter Shilling suggests that we look at hymn number 367, in the hymn book. So if you just look at 367 in your 'mission praise'. You'll find there, the hymn, 'Jesus is Lord' how many times have you sung that one? And the second line, 'Creations voice proclaims it.' So to claim that Jesus is my Lord is to claim that Jesus is my creator, my creator. You know, I mean the Bible tells us that of course. Cause it's through his power that everything is made and the universe declares it, everything in creation declares Jesus Christ is Lord.
I mentioned last night at the advent group about Brian Cox's program, that one of our sons has had us watching. Fascinating program about the universe, it's just called 'Universe.' And it's a great program and there's a lot of biblical language in it actually, you know Biblical phrases, and I'm not sure whether Brian Cox is aware of it or whether he does it on purpose because I know he's not, he doesn't have a claim on faith, he doesn't say that he's a Christian or anything. I don't know exactly what he believes but he doesn't say that anywhere. A lot of the language he uses is Biblical and you know, he even plays a clip, I think it was Apollo 8 where the astronauts were going to go around the world, round, fly around and they were asked to say something profound as they looked down on earth and what did they do? They read Genesis 1. 'In the beginning when God created the earth.' and then they read on through that first chapter and that's, they thought that just summed it all up for them and I thought what a wonderful thing to play and Brian Cox acknowledged that in this program, although he doesn't say that God did create everything, but he acknowledges what people believe and understand, which is wonderful. And he also recognises that there's a constant search for answers, the idea of being able to look back in time, I'm sure you've all heard of the Hubble Telescope, the one that had the dodgy mirror and they had to go up and fix it didn't they, they had to go back to it and fix the mirror because somebody had not quite got it right. But, I wouldn't have liked to have been that person would you? What do you mean you didn't shave enough glass off? Or whatever.
Anyway, the photographs that the Hubble Telescope produces are just awesome aren't they if you've seen them, the nebulae, just the stars, the planets, the galaxies and everything. And he was explaining to us that as you look at the stars you're actually looking back in time because the light from the stars takes so long to get to us, that what you're seeing is light that was sent from that star, even billions of years ago, so you're looking back in time. So now they're building a new telescope, so that they can send that one up. Sadly, my son tells me, they've recently dropped it, I wouldn't like to be the person who did that either. But they're making this new one, supposed to be going up next year. It might not get there as soon as they wanted it to. But they're wanting to go even further back in time because it can see even further to stars and galaxies that they've never seen before. Constantly looking to get back to that point of the big bang.
I wonder what God's thinking. I wonder what God's thinking about all that, because as Lord, you know, we believe that Jesus is the one who was the creator, listen to what he says, what John says, in John chapter 1 these wonderful words, 'In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God, he was in the beginning with God, all things came into being through him and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life and the life was the light of all people, the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.' You know, all things John tells us, came into being through him and without him not one thing came into being.
Jesus is Lord of creation, creations voice proclaims it, psalm 8 says the same thing, you can go back to psalm 8 and look at that. But to say that Jesus is my Lord is to say that Jesus is my creator, and then look at verse 2 in that hymn. 'Jesus is Lord yet from his throne eternal, in flesh he came' so we're speaking here now of that journey Jesus made from heaven to earth, he came, why did he come? 'He came to die in pain on Calvary's tree, on the cross and from him all life proceeds. Yet he gave his life in ransom thus setting us free.' To say Jesus is my Lord is to say Jesus is my redeemer, my redeemer and what's a redeemer? Well, you go back to the slave market in the days of Paul and the Romans, if you saw a slave there you felt really sorry for them, you could set them free by paying the money to the owner and saying right I want to redeem that slave I want to give them their freedom. And that slave would probably fall at your feet and worship you, because you set them free. You are redeeming their life for them, paying the price of their life. To set them free. And more recently, but not that recently you know you've got the pawn shop, that's p a w n. The pawn shop, where you would take something, you know, to get some money for it and they would hold it for you but then if one day you had enough money to go and buy it back you went to redeem it, you bought it back, you paid the money to free it from the shop and have it back in your possession.
Jesus came as our redeemer to pay the price of our sin. So set us free from the power of sin and being set free from the power of sin, you know, Paul in chapter 7 in Romans talks about, how there's this ongoing battle within us isn't there between the flesh and the spirit, yeah. We need to recognise that and you know, we're tempted to do things you know we really shouldn't do and you've got to sit on your hands or keep your mouth closed. I got into trouble last night at the advent, cause I said something I shouldn't and I was told straight away so that was fair enough, that was good. We do and we say things we shouldn't, we think things we shouldn't, now that's really hard isn't it sometimes, to take control of your mind but Jesus sets us free from that, he has set us free from the penalty of sin you know we said again last night that the wrath of God was poured out on Jesus on the cross, Jesus suffered the wrath of God for us, that punishment for sin. Wages of sin is death says Paul, in Romans and we don't have to suffer that, yes we die but we will be resurrected, we have the hope of eternal life. But we don't have to suffer the wrath of God for our sin, Jesus has set us free from the penalty of sin. And he is setting us free from that ongoing presence of sin, you know, it's a process isn't it, he's changing us from inside out. Again I've said that so many times, but we are being set free from that ongoing sort of hold that sin has over us, in that battle we have the holy spirit within us helping us to overcome that instant anger that flares up sometimes when we know well we shouldn't have said that, or we've written something we shouldn't have written, you know those emails. Always walk away from the computer before pressing send, always a good idea. The wonderful thing about posting is, you've got plenty of time to think about it haven't you while you write it, but on an email it's like 'typing sounds' on your keyboard, no step away. And the number of times I've said Jackie come and just read this email for me will you please, just to make sure I'm not doing something or saying something I shouldn't. And she'll say I think you need to think about that a bit longer. So that's always good. So we're being set free from that ongoing sort of, we've been set free from the penalty we've been set free from that ongoing sort of hold that sin has over us. Gradually overcoming it with the help and presence of Jesus.
And one day we'll be set free completely from the very, I mean sin won't exist when we finally get to heaven, so Jesus is our redeemer, he had the victory over the power of sin and of course he has the victory over death. So Jesus is (excuse me) is my redeemer, look at verse 3 where it talks about giving his life, 'Jesus is Lord over sin the mighty conqueror, from death he rose and all his foes shall own his name, Jesus is Lord God sends his Holy Spirit to show by works of power that Jesus is Lord.'
Mark Chapter 10 and verse 45 says, 'The son of man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.' You know I wonder if those words from Mark's gospel, the son of man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many, inspired those words in that verse 3. To claim is Jesus is my Lord is to claim him as my redeemer and as my victor, my conqueror, the one who has conquered death, Paul also writes doesn't he, 'Death where is your sting, death where is your victory' you know that wonderful chapter in 1 Corinthians 15, all about the resurrection, and the new resurrection body, you know, mortality has given way to immortality. What a wonderful hope we have, a wonderful promise of all that God has for us and again in Roman's Paul talks about ministering with signs and power.
When I was a student at Cliff College you know, every summer we had the Cliff, sort of, week, whatever it was, celebration week, that's right in the summer and the students would be there to put on all kinds of crazy things for the children and young people, the adults would have had teaching sessions, there'd be lots of wonderful worship and all kinds of things going on. And I remember when I was there there was a group of young people and they weren't very old, cause I was involved in the children's work, so they would only have been maybe sort of end of primary school, start of secondary school age, and we were doing this thing called Words, Action, Signs and Power, WASP. Wasp, yeah, so we were buzzing about and we're trying to teach them about what it means, that when we talk about the word of God, that is Jesus and that brings to us the opportunity to act on his behalf to show that we are God's children by showing it through signs and wonders. It was all very sort of, wow. Because the Holy Spirit moves in power. Well these kids they were incredible, they listened, they did some worksheets and then they took off, and they came back the next day and they said right we've been going round the campsite praying for people, what? And then that evening in one of the meetings, these people were standing up and saying today these children came and prayed for me and I've been healed. Woah, you know it was just incredible. It was just so wonderful to see, this wonderful, you know Jesus tells us to be like children doesn't he, to be childlike with that wonderful expectation that God will act when you pray, that Jesus who is Lord, is Lord, is Lord of all. He is the one who is the conqueror, he conquered death, and when we call Jesus Lord we glorify God. So when in future you say Jesus my Lord, or you sing, you know, the hymn we're going to sing in a second, remember that when you call Jesus as Lord that you are glorifying God, you are saying he's Lord of my life, you are proclaiming that the Roman emperor is not Lord of your life, you're proclaiming that the Queen or Prince Charles is not Lord of your life, you know, your boss whoever he was at work or she, was not Lord of your life, no one else is Lord of your life, only Jesus. Jesus draws men and women to himself, to the power of the holy spirit so that he might draw them to God and that he might be Lord of their lives and together we can say, Jesus my Lord. Amen.
Right we're going to turn to the communion books now, we're going to turn to page 121 actually, page 121, the very last words in the Bible, said he quickly checking to make sure he got it right. Not quite, the very last words of the Bible, cause the last words of the Bible are 'The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints' but almost the last words of the Bible, the verse before John writes, 'The one who testifies to these things says surely I am coming soon.' Advent of course is about expecting Jesus' second coming, his return and then he writes 'Amen. Come Lord Jesus.' Come Lord Jesus. And the Aramaic word for that is Maranatha, of course and you've probably heard of different groups that label themselves, Maranatha and it means come Lord Jesus, it's one of the earliest prayers of the church, wanting Jesus to return.
So in these prayers of intercession at the bottom of page 121 the response is, Come Lord Jesus. So you're using the English for the Aramaic, Maranatha. Maranatha, come Lord Jesus.
So in the places where it's ... I'll leave a littel bit of quiet and you can offer your own prayers in the stillness or if you want to say a name or a situation out loud or a sentence or two please do so, so let us pray.
In joyful expectation of his coming to reign we pray to our Lord saying, come Lord Jesus. Come Lord Jesus. Come to your world as king of the nations. So we pray for the nations of the world. Come to your church as Lord and judge and so we pray for the church. Help us to live in the light of your coming and give us a longing to do your will, come Lord Jesus. Come Lord Jesus. Come to your people as savior and bearer of pain and we pray for all who suffer and who are ill. We continue to pray for Joan and for Nooshin's mum. And like those children all those years ago we pray for healing and for wholeness and we pray for all who grieve, we pray for comfort and for strength, enfold us all in your love and mercy, wipe away the tears of failure, fear and distress, and set us free to serve you forever, come Lord Jesus. Come Lord Jesus. Come to us from heaven with power and great glory and lift us up to meet you where with all your saints and angels, we will live with you forever. Come Lord Jesus. Come Lord Jesus, Amen.
Just before we move on I was reminded of a little story that Nicky Gumbel tells in 'The Bible in one year' about Raniero Cantalamessa who's a capuchin monk, and back in 1977 he was sent, by the Vatican to be an observer at a conference in Kansas city, in the United States of course. And gathered there were 20,000 Roman Catholics and 20,000 other Christians. 40,000 people all gathered together, what a fantastic sight and on the very last day of the conference, someone had spoken about the tragedy of all the divisions within the church, all those different denominations that we have, 40,000 people knelt in repentance. That was back in 1977. And as Father Raniero looked out, he saw the words 'Jesus is Lord' on a big neon sign over the conference venue and he describes how at that moment he caught a glimpse of what Christian unity is all about. 40,000 people kneeling in repentance under the lordship of Jesus Christ and from that moment on, you know, his ministry took off because he asked a protestant who was there, who wasn't even a minister, simply a lay person, to pray for him and as he was prayed for, he received the filling of the Holy Spirit and he experienced God's love for him in a whole new way. He spoke in tongues and he said the Bible came alive in a new way and then in 1980 just 3 years later he was invited by Pope John Paul the second to be the preacher to the Papal household, so oh wow. And he's been doing that job ever since which is quite awesome really and in 2020 sort of just last year he was made a Cardinal by Pope Francis. So, Jesus is Lord, over 40,000 people kneeling in worship in repentance, what a wonderful image that is for us.
Christ the son of righteousness shine upon us and prepare our hearts and souls to meet him when he comes in glory, and the blessing of God, father, son and Holy Spirit, be ours now and always, Amen. The day of the Lord is surely coming, be faithful in worship, unwavering in hope, fervent in the work of God's kingdom and all the more as you see the day drawing near. Amen. Come Lord Jesus, Amen.
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