• Rossendale Circuit

The Words of Eternal Life - Sunday Service 20.08.21

with Revd. David Burrow


Video Service



Or watch on youtube here.


Suggested Hymns & Songs:


MP 729 ‘We have come into His house and gathered in His name to worship Him’

https://youtu.be/kiJ0AdA05Ow


MP 529 ‘O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBEmXFkwcOE


MP 604 ‘Soldiers of Christ arise’

https://youtu.be/44GUiMdFApA

(panoply = armour)


MP 769 ‘Who is on the Lord’s side, who will serve the king?’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfunlcqcBXA


MP 435 ‘Lord Jesus Christ’

https://youtu.be/uKsbd5UqKkc


MP 664 ‘The Spirit lives to set us free’

https://youtu.be/SDcbYk-9C-Y


‘Let us build a house where love can dwell’

https://youtu.be/W3Pb77ylz_Q


MP 857 ‘I the Lord of sea and sky’

https://youtu.be/5JPgHS53g1c



Other Links


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


Our Email Address: rossendalemethodistcircuit@gmail.com



Transcript



Psalm 84 A psalm of Praise and Adoration.


This Psalm is attributed to the Korahites. They were a family of the tribe of Levi who were dedicated to serving God by being doorkeepers at the Tent of Meeting, where Moses met with God when the people of Israel were in the wilderness, and then doing the same job, as gatekeepers, in the Temple when it was built in Jerusalem.

They were also part of the Temple choir praising ‘the LORD, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.’ (2 Chronicles 20:19).

I wonder, would you rather be a doorkeeper in the Lord’s house than live in the tents of the wicked?


MP 729 ‘We have come into His house and gathered in His name to worship Him’

https://youtu.be/kiJ0AdA05Ow


MP 529 ‘O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBEmXFkwcOE


Photo by Ales Krivec via Unsplash


A prayer of confession: Based on Psalm 34.15-22


The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry:’ In the silence let us name our sins before God: ‘When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles.’ In the silence let us ask for God’s forgiveness: ‘The Lord is near to the broken-hearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.’ In the silence let us trust in God’s promise to renew a right spirit within us. ‘The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry.’

The Lord hears our prayer.

Thanks be to God for his gift of forgiveness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer


Read Ephesians 6:10-20

When Paul wrote these wonderful words, he was a prisoner in Rome and had first-hand knowledge of how a Roman soldier dressed. And we could talk at length about how Paul uses each part of the soldier’s armour to illustrate different aspects of the Christian faith. For example the soldier’s shield was made to extinguish arrows which had been set on fire before being shot. When they pierced the shield, the design snuffed out the flames. And Paul likened the flaming arrows to doubts being shot at the Christian by the powers of evil – God’s gift of faith, when raised against the flames of doubt will douse them.


But that’s a sermon for another day, for now, focus on Paul’s suffering and his request for prayer in verses 19 and 20.

He doesn’t ask for protection or relief from his suffering, but for fearlessness to proclaim the gospel even as he is in chains.


It’s a good prayer to make our own:


‘Lord, please make me fearless in sharing the good news of all that Jesus has done for me through his death and resurrection and the forgiveness of my sin. May I be fearless in sharing my story of how Jesus has changed my life.’ Amen


MP 604 ‘Soldiers of Christ arise’

https://youtu.be/44GUiMdFApA

(panoply = armour)


MP 769 ‘Who is on the Lord’s side, who will serve the king?’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfunlcqcBXA


John 6:56-69

Five whole weeks to work through John chapter 6! This is obviously important material as the focus is eating and drinking Jesus. Perhaps it’s no wonder that Jesus’ listeners not only asked how it could be possible to do such a thing but also said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?”

Jesus’ response was to tell them, “This is the bread which comes down from heaven.” Jesus is the heavenly ‘Bread of Life’, who was born in Bethlehem, the house of bread.


Feeding on Jesus, as we have seen, is to believe, to have faith, that Jesus is from God, and that the bread he gives is his own body, given on the cross. Remember too that Augustine said, Believe and you have eaten.

For many of Jesus’ disciples the claims that Jesus made were too much.

They were offended by his teaching.

Sometimes we fail to understand the sense of shock that Jesus' hearers felt.

The reality they were faced with did not match their expectations of a Messiah. No wonder they struggled with Jesus.

Jesus then made matters worse, as if anything could be more shocking than cannibalism?

Jesus asked them how they would feel if they saw him 'ascending to where he was before’, which was heaven of course.


Again, Jesus’ listeners were shocked by his language, his claims, and his authority.

No wonder that his crucifixion saw almost everyone abandon him.

There was no room for the suffering and death of God’s Messiah in their thinking.

The very idea of Christ crucified was a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles (1Corinthians 1:23). It was outrageous, bordering on blasphemous obscenity.

Yet it is the cross that stands at the heart of God's love.

The moment of Jesus' shame was the moment when he was glorified.

The moment when Jesus is despised and rejected by humanity is the very moment when he is raised and lifted up and highly exalted (Isaiah 52:13).


No wonder the disciples found his teaching so hard to accept.


And there were still more challenges: in verse 63 Jesus says, “The Spirit gives life, the flesh is useless.”

If Jesus wants us to eat of his flesh, how then can he say that the flesh counts for nothing? I think that Jesus means that if we take all his talk about the flesh literally, we’ve missed the point.

The flesh is significant. After all, The Word (Jesus) became flesh and lived among us (John 1:14). But when all our attention is focused on the flesh, the real significance of Jesus is missed. The 5000 Jesus fed saw only what was in the flesh before them, a miracle worker who could provide food. They missed out on what he was showing them and teaching them about his true nature, about where he was from, and what it means to believe and have faith in him.

And if you miss all these things about Jesus, if you fail to understand who he is, you soon begin, like the Jews, to complain about the claims Jesus made for himself. So, the flesh, in this sense, counts for nothing, for it is the Spirit who gives life.


AND Jesus is the bearer of the Spirit, he is the one to whom God gives the Spirit without limit, who therefore speaks the words of God.

So, Jesus can now say; The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Vs.63.


If, when, people understand the words of Jesus in this way, they will not reject Jesus but will recognise him as the one who is the bread from heaven, who gives his flesh (life) for the life of the world AND they will receive him, believe in him and receive the gift of eternal life.

Because the story of the last supper is missing from John's Gospel scholars continually discuss whether John really cared about Holy Communion.

You cannot, however, read John chapter 6 without seeing a connection between Holy Communion and the words of Jesus. John 6 may not refer directly to Holy Communion, but it does help us to understand its true meaning.


Just as the Israelites were to look beyond the manna they received in the wilderness to the God who provided it, we are to look beyond Holy Communion to Jesus.

Holy Communion takes us beyond the simple sharing of bread and wine, as it brings us face to face with the risen Jesus.

For it was Jesus who took the bread and broke it; it was Jesus who took the wine and blessed it; it was Jesus whose body was broken, whose blood was shed for me and you.


Holy Communion connects us with Jesus himself.


Many disciples left Jesus at this point in his ministry, they couldn't stomach his teaching. So Jesus turned to the 12 and to the women who followed him and asked them if they too wished to leave.

Peter was clear in his reply: "Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy one of God".


Peter saw beyond the symbolic language of eating flesh and drinking blood, to the truth that lies behind them - to Jesus himself - the only one who has the words of eternal life.

So where do we fit into all this? How do we respond to Jesus’ question?


Do we withdraw and leave Jesus because his teaching is sometimes harsh and offensive, or do we join with Peter, in faith, and say:

"Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy one of God"?


MP 435 ‘Lord Jesus Christ’

https://youtu.be/uKsbd5UqKkc


MP 664 ‘The Spirit lives to set us free’

https://youtu.be/SDcbYk-9C-Y


Prayers of Intercession


Pray for those who long to lay down their burdens:

for those overtaken by things they cannot control,

those overburdened by worry and for those overwhelmed by grief.

Pray for those who long to lay down their burdens: for those embroiled in conflict, especially in Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria.

For those embittered by memories and those embarrassed by shame.

Pray for those who long to lay down their burdens: for those concerned by ethical dilemmas, for those considering life-changing decisions and for those condemned by others.

We pray for all who long to lay down their burdens.

In the name of Jesus our Saviour. Amen.


‘Let us build a house where love can dwell’

https://youtu.be/W3Pb77ylz_Q


MP 857 ‘I the Lord of sea and sky’

https://youtu.be/5JPgHS53g1c


Blessing:


May the Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace. Amen


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