The Power Of God's Love - Audio Service 24.04.22
with Revd. David Burrow
Or watch on youtube here.
Subtitles available on the video, please click the 'cc' button.
*Apologies, near the end of the video a hymn introduction was left in where they're usually all taken out so just ignore it, sorry!*
Suggested Hymns & Songs:
'The Love of God - Mercy Me'
'In Christ Alone'
'I serve a risen saviour, (he lives!)'
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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 weeks service is entitled 'The Power of God's Love' and you'll hear Revd. David Burrow begin the service now.
Well good morning, beautiful sunny morning and here we are in the season of Easter, the season of new beginnings of new starts. The Lord's right hand has done mighty things the Lord's right hand is lifted high. The Lord's right hand has done mighty things come, and worship the Lord.
Let us pray. This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad. The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. Let us rejoice and be glad. God is our salvation. Let us rejoice and be glad in the presence of God and of one another, let us rejoice and be glad. Praise God in this place. Praise God in the heavens. Praise God for all that he does. Praise him for his greatness is beyond words. Praise the Lord. Praise God with music and harmony. Praise God with voice and instrument let everything that has breath, praise the Lord. Praise God through the power of the Holy Spirit. The breath of life. Praise the Lord. Amen.
Photo by Grant Ritchie via Unsplash
Let us come to God in prayer, let us pray. Almighty God we thank you so much for this Easter time this Easter season. This time of new beginnings of new life, of the promise through Jesus's resurrection that everyone can have that gift of a new beginning. No matter who we are, no matter where we come from. No matter our past, the promises of sins forgiven and of a new beginning. And Lord we thank you and praise you and bless you for that promise. And Lord, we come to you today, some of those maybe in our brokenness, some with fears and apprehensions. We come seeking unity and peace, bind us together, we pray, by the power of your spirit.
And strengthened in faith we may worship you in spirit and in truth. Forgive us father for the times when our faith has wavered. The times we've demanded proof for the times we have doubted. For the times we have put limits on your power in our thinking. Give us the faith that believes, give us the faith that accepts give us the faith that is ready to be surprised by the immensity of the power of your love. And, Lord, as we look upon the crucified and risen Christ, we thank you that we can hear those wonderful words of Jesus once again that our sins are forgiven and that we can be reconciled to you and have peace with you. And then through the power of your love we are renewed, we are transformed we are transferred from darkness to light from hate to love from death to life. So we praise you and we thank you mighty God in the name of our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
On Easter Sunday, I was focusing in on Mary Magdalene and that first Easter Sunday day but now I just want to move on to the evening. In John chapter 20 Verse and 19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors had been locked, where the disciples were for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, 'Peace be with you.' When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side and then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you' and when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them. If you withhold forgiveness from any it is withheld.' Amen.
I wonder what scares you? What frightens you? The Speed of traffic? Yes, it can be quite scary at times. Spiders anybody? Snakes? No, Dentist, yes. I pray a lot in the dentist chair. For the dentist and then for his nurse and then for anybody else I can think of. But even all these years since I was overseas, I'll not say where, if I catch sight out of the corner of my eye something on the ground that looks like a snake it triggers me straightaway, you know, I think oh my word. And that's simply because you learnt to respect them of course, a respectful fear I suppose that isn't it of the dangers of such things. But you know, I mean, we've all done it as well I suppose at different times, you know, we've left the lights on at night because we were a bit scared when the children were little two of them always wanted to light on the other one wanted it pitch black so that was interesting I thought. The number of times I'm still called today to come and take the spider out of the bath. But when it comes to fear, isn't it wonderful when someone comes and walks alongside you? A friend who encourages you, a friend who offers a helping hand. And these disciples, these friends of Jesus were all there in this upper room and the doors were locked. Why were the doors locked? Because they were afraid. They were afraid that what happened to Jesus might happen to them, still afraid of the authorities. So what was needed to set them free from fear to open the way for them to be free to believe? What was the key that they needed to open that door? The disciples were, they were afraid for their lives. Stories were flying around, of course the Jesus who they were sure had been dead and buried was indeed alive. But no one really knew what to do. So they hid together behind locked doors. I guess the senses must have been working overtime. You know what it's like, did you hear that? What was that noise? You go and see, no, you're go and see, wondering whatever was going to happen. So when Jesus did appear, as if from nowhere. It's no wonder he had to say peace, peace be with you, is there really, and then he showed them his hands and side. I wonder if they were still wondering, can it really be him? Do my eyes deceive me? Do I dare believe that he really is alive again. But then John, John tells us that they were glad they rejoiced. And there's no wonder is there, there's quite a transformation in fact, from fear to joy. And there must have been so much rejoicing that Jesus says again, Peace be with you. Calm down, guys. It's true. So now we have a joyful group of men and women convinced that Jesus is alive again. So what next? What next? But Jesus says to them as the Father sent me, so I send you. Whoa, slow down. What does that mean? And if it means what I'm afraid it might mean, how will it work? As the Father sent me, so I send you. And then John tells us that Jesus, breathed on them, he said receive the Holy Spirit. John has put resurrection and Pentecost together, he's sort of don't worry about the rest of it, Let's just bring it all into one place. Simply to make the point that the Holy Spirit is his, Jesus's presence living within the disciples. Now he can be with them all the time, anytime, anyplace anywhere. Receive the Holy Spirit. What a wonderful gift.
So as he sends them they go into power of the Spirit. So this says, this is the same spirit that moved over the waters of creation and brought order out of chaos it's the same life giving spirit whom God breathed into Adam at the creation of humankind. It's the same spirit who breathed life into dry bones in Ezekiel's' vision in chapter 37 of his prophecy, it's the same spirit who came upon Mary when she conceived Jesus in the womb it's the same spirit who filled Jesus with power for his ministry. The Holy Spirit who longs to fill all our lives with the power of the love of God. In John's first letter, he says that God is love, which means of course that we can say that the Spirit is love. And it's perfect love that casts out fear.
So what is the key that opens the door for the disciples, for Jesus, his friends, well it's the power it's the power of God's love. What was it that brought Jesus to earth in the first place? It was the power of God's love for God so loved the world, that he sent his only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but will have everlasting life. Love the love of God, the power of God's love is the key. And if we really want our churches to grow or rather God's church to grow, we need to open our hearts to the power of God's love. The love that sets us free and means that we love to share God's love with others. In the book of Revelation. John, again the writer, he writes seven letters to seven different churches as you know. But in his letter to the church of Ephesus, he writes the words, these words of Jesus, 'I know how hard you have worked and how patient you have been. I know that you cannot tolerate evil men and that you have tested those who say that they are apostles, but are not and have found out that they are liars. You are patient, you have suffered for my sake, and you have not given up. But this is what I have against you. You do not love me now, as you did at first.' The Church at Ephesus in spite of all it did, had lost its first love.
Back in 2010, which seems aeons ago now doesn't it, a Methodist minister, former leader of the MAYC the Methodist Association of youth clubs. He was telling us at a big meeting, where he thought the Methodist Church in Britain stood in the eyes of the Methodist Church overseas. It was a Methodist conference, the overseas guests had been asked, Methodists from overseas, had been asked to say what they thought about the Methodist church. And he said that these people from overseas, the Methodists from overseas would say in Britain you are a welcoming church, you are an encouraging church, you help your brothers and sisters overseas in many ways, you are a sharing church. But you have lost your first love. And he was right. You know when the Methodist church first came into being its people were filled with the power of God's love. They never sat behind locked doors did they? Afraid of what might happen to them. They celebrated God's love in their lives and shared it in their homes and their workplaces. All thanks to the inspiration of John and Charles Wesley and others, of course. So this is not just Methodist. This is Anglicans as well, who were behind that movement. They would share that power of God's love anywhere and everywhere. Nothing stopped them from sharing God's love in word and action. The power of the love of God was their first love. And it filled him with such a love for others that they didn't want to see a single person miss out.
The key that opened the locked door, the room in which Jesus's friends were hiding, for fear of the Jews, was opened by the power of God's love and the power of God's love is the key that opens our hearts and minds to share again, that love with others. The key that opens the locked door of every church and sends us out in the power of God's love is the power of God's love. The Church, the whole church in Britain, we need to make sure that we have not lost that first love. If we feel we have let's repentant and let's come back, and let's come back to God and ask to be filled again with his Holy Spirit and the power of his love. You know we need to celebrate that love in our words and in our actions. Jesus breathed on those who were his friends and said received the Holy Spirit. If you forgive people's sins they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven. Wow. That's quite a responsibility isn't it. But what a privilege to be able to say to people, look, receive God's love. Receive the Holy Spirit and your sins will be forgiven. What a joy that is when you see people repent of their sin and come to know God for themselves. The power of God's perfect love sets us free from fear and sends us out to forgive others to forgive their sins and to see them set free from the things that enslave them.
So let us be filled with the power of God's love today. As we are filled with his Holy Spirit. Ask every day, as I've said so many times before, ask every morning that Jesus might breathe on you and say receive the Holy Spirit. Fear turns to joy. Where there is darkness there is light and hatred turns to love. Thanks to the key of the power of God's love in Christ Jesus.
As a prayer I'm going to read the hymn number 67, follow if you wish but let us pray. 'Breathe on me, breath of God,
Fill me with life anew, That I may love what Thou dost love,
And do what Thou wouldst do. Breathe on me, breath of God,
Until my heart is pure, Until with Thee I will one will, To do and to endure. Breathe on me, breath of God, 'Til i am wholly Thine, Until this earthly part of me, Glows with Thy fire divine. Breathe on me, breath of God, So shall I never die, But live with Thee the perfect life, Of Thine eternity.' Amen.
Filled with the power of the holy spirit of God.
Spend a few moments in prayer, I'm going to start, I'll begin and then leave the time open. If you wish to pray out loud, please do so. Or Just simply pray in silence. It's up to you. Feel free to do either, so let us pray and we'll close with the Lord's Prayer at the end.
So let us pray. Almighty God we thank you again for this Easter season and for the joy of new life. Today we want to praise you for the power of your love. The love that sets us free. The love that down through the millennia has set so many people free from the things that have bound them. And so today we bring before you those situations in the world where evil and hatred and bitterness and anger are binding people into the events of war and all the rest of it. We want to bring to you people who are bound in other ways too and so in the stillness we bring our prayers to you in Jesus's name. Amen.
Lord Jesus we thank you that you hear our prayer, and I would just invite each one of us now in the stillness to become aware of our own breathing. Think for a moment or two of Jesus breathing on his friends and saying, receive the Holy Spirit.
And as you breathe in, give thanks for the Holy Spirit God has breathed into your life and receive the peace that the Spirit brings and as you breathe out, pray that you will continue to breathe out the love of God, for God's world. And let us join together in the Lord's Prayer. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is heaven, give us this daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever, Amen.
(This hymn introduction should have been left out - sorry!)
And let's share together the grace. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the holy spirit, be with us all, evermore, Amen.
Thank you for listening, and we hope you enjoyed the service, you can find us online on www.rossendalemethodistcircuit.co.uk and also on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Please do let us know what you thought of this service in the comments below. And you can always contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.