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WIC Weekly May 17th 2020

Warsaw International Church

Mobile +48 601 331 032
Worship every Sunday at ul. Miodowa 21 (near Old Town) at 11:00 AM
Entrance from Schillera Street
Email: pastor@wic.org.pl
Website: http://www.wic.org.pl

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Our news

Last Sunday’s online service was attended by people not only in Poland but also in Turkey, India, the UK, Japan, Denmark, Georgia, Estonia and Russia! Thank you so much for worshipping together! Wherever we are, we are one in spirit and able to fellowship not only with God but also with one another.

Join us for this Sunday’s live online service on Zoom at 11 am CET by clicking: Warsaw International Church - Weekly Zoom Service (Sundays @11:00 am) Time: Sundays @ 11:00 AM Warsaw Meeting ID: 375 882 822

Recordings of our Sunday services are available on our wic.org.pl website.

Also, this Thursday at 6 pm CET we will be holding our next online Bible study, this week with another story from the life of King Jehoshaphat: 2 Chronicles 20, 1-30. Here is the link for the meeting, to which you are all invited:

Warsaw International Church - Bible Study (every other Thursday @ 6:00 pm) Time: May 14, 2020 06:00 PM Meeting ID: 416 626 997

Prayer requests

An 8-year-old girl with cancer, whom we were praying for, has gone to be with the Lord. Please pray for her distraught mother as she comes to terms with her loss, and that she may turn to the Lord Jesus for comfort.

In some countries coronavirus cases are increasing again, after having been almost eliminated. Lockdowns are being eased, but also people are losing their initial fear and are less rigorous about wearing masks and keeping their distance.

During this Ramadan, please continue to pray for the conversion of Muslims.

Please also continue to pray for the safety and protection of your loved ones and yourselves, and for members of WIC.

Last Sunday’s sermon

Readings: Acts 7, 55-60; 1 Peter 2, 2-10; John 14, 1-14.

It’s been quite a week politically in Poland! Today, Poles were supposed to elect their president for the next five years. But holding elections is very risky. Every day, there are still about 300 new infections and 20 deaths. Most Poles want to stay at home. The government pushed through a law allowing correspondence voting, but called off the election! So now we have total election chaos! Some people are wondering what God actually wants for this country, it’s in such a mess.

If that’s what you’re thinking, please don’t worry! Stay calm – and read the Scriptures! Look at the confidence David displays in today’s psalm – Psalm 31. The Lord is a rock of refuge for him: a rock and a fortress, leading and guiding him – and also redeeming him. His whole life is in God’s hands. For David, there is no question that God is in complete control of every situation.

What’s a redeemer? Basically, a saviour. If there is a difference, we can say that redeeming is what Jesus did on the cross, while saving is what He is doing now, in people’s lives. But the word can also mean to “buy back”. In financial language, redemption is when we buy back shares we have invested. You could say that we are God’s shares, which He has invested. And through Jesus, God has bought us back – He has redeemed us from the effects of sin.

Except that, while He was investing us – we, His shares, were not doing so well. We fell on the stock market! That was the Great Fall, caused by our ancestors’ sin and our sin of disobeying God, rebelling against Him, refusing to believe in Him. God lost a lot on that transaction of redemption, when He bought us back. But to Him, it was still worth investing in us. Because otherwise He would have written us off completely, as lost shares. He never lost faith in us. We were and we still are precious to Him.

So you see, if God has invested in us, who can be against us? If He didn’t spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also give us all things – everything we need? This was the power of Stephen’s faith: Stephen the first martyr, a man full of the Holy Spirit. The Bible says he was filled with God’s grace. He knew exactly who Jesus was – the “Son of Man”, using the title that Jesus Himself had used: Jesus preferred to call Himself “Son of Man” rather than “Son of God”.

And Stephen wasn’t afraid to accuse the entire Sanhedrin – the Jewish Supreme Court – of murdering Jesus: God’s Anointed Servant, who had been promised throughout Jewish history. Those priestly judges couldn’t bear to hear that. They covered their ears, screamed loudly, and stoned Stephen to death. They stumbled over the stone they themselves had rejected – Jesus Christ. The Bible says they were destined to do so. But Stephen was fearless in his faith, because he knew that his Redeemer lives!

You see, Stephen knew that God is completely in charge of every situation. Stephen knew that Jesus is God our Saviour, who died for the sins of His people, and who rose from the dead and reigns in power and glory at the right hand of God the Father! Stephen knew all this, and it made him fearless. We too can be like Stephen: fearless of people, but God-fearing.

I was looking at a catechism the other day. A catechism is a book of instruction of the Christian faith, in the form of questions and answers. The catechism I was looking at was Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. It’s a very fine work, and it asks the question: “What does God require of us?” An excellent question. Luther’s answer was: “God requires that we fear, love and trust in Him above all things”.

Now, you might say: “Fear God? I can love and trust Him, but why should I fear Him? After all, I don’t fear my loving earthly father” – at least, I hope not. And I also don’t think many people fear God today – not even many who call themselves Christians. They certainly fear the coronavirus. They fear loss of jobs and rising prices. These are worldly matters. But do they fear God? I don’t think so. Modern man has lost his fear of God.

I’m not suggesting that we should fear God in the sense of cowering before Him, or trying to get as far away from Him as possible. But there is such a thing as godly fear, which Stephen had, and I hope all true Christians have. It means that we love and trust God, but we also realize how powerful and holy He is, and how far away from Him we stand. It’s a holy fear, if you like. But for those who do not love, trust and obey God, I think they really do have something to fear, in a literal sense.

Take today’s reading from Peter. He says that those who rejected Jesus were destined to do so. That statement would put the fear of God up me, if I were serious about finding out the truth – because I would think: “Am I destined to reject Jesus?” And Peter continues, to the Christians he’s writing to: “You are a chosen race”. That would make me fear God too, if I were not yet sure of my faith – fear that He might pass me by and choose somebody else, maybe somebody better than me.

And at the end, Peter writes: “Once, you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy”. Again, I would feel a touch of fear – fear that God might not be merciful to me.

Do you think people think like that? They might do. But I’ll tell you something: the person who has fear is on the right road! He knows he’s a sinner! He knows he’s sick! And he knows – or suspects – that there is a God. The person who should be really worried – but isn’t – is the one who feels no fear at all, because he doesn’t know or even think about God. That person is totally lost. He has a false sense of security.

You see, Jesus had words of comfort to say to the person who’s afraid that God might overlook him. Jesus said, in the Gospel reading: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Just trust in God; and trust in Me”. In other words, don’t worry that God will overlook you – because “in my Father’s house there are many dwelling places”. The Good Shepherd is always ready to receive people who are in distress.

Yes, of course, we have to be serious about our faith, because Jesus said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”. We have to be serious about that – there’s no other way apart from Jesus. Do you want to see God the Father? Then look at Jesus, and follow Him, and He’ll lead you to the Father.

But Friends, don’t let what the Bible says – about some being chosen, and others not chosen – don’t let that make you despair. If you are experiencing a touch of fear or anxiety, it means you’re serious about finding God, and you will find Him. You will come to a faith, even like Stephen’s faith. And you will learn to love and trust God too.

God is totally in control of the Polish elections. He’s totally in control of our life. It sounds like predestination – maybe it is. So perhaps surprisingly, we’re going to sing “I Have Decided To Follow Jesus”. Some people say we can’t sing that song, because it’s God who decides if we follow Jesus, not us. But I disagree. God does the saving – but that doesn’t mean we should just fold our arms and wait for it to happen. From our perspective, those who earnestly seek the truth, with all their will – they are the ones who’ll find it.

So if we haven’t made that decision yet, let’s make it now – or renew it, if we already decided. Jesus is our Saviour! No turning back! The world behind us! The cross before us! No more self-centredness! Just Christ the Lord! Don’t be afraid! Amen.

This Sunday’s readings

17 May is the Sixth Sunday of Easter.

Verse for the week: “God now commands all people everywhere to repent, because He has set a day when He is going to judge the world in righteousness by the Man He has appointed” (Acts 17, 30-31).

Psalm: 66, 8-20.

New Testament reading: Acts 17, 22-31.

1st Gospel reading: Luke 15, 11-24.

2nd Gospel reading: John 14, 15-21.

Food of the Spirit

Redemption and Salvation

Failure to distinguish the part of God from the part of man in salvation has prevented countless seekers from finding peace, and left whole sections of the Church of Christ powerless for long periods of time. Let it be boldly stated that there are some things which only God can do, and for us to attempt to do them is to waste our efforts; and there are other things which only man can do, and for us to ask God to do them is to waste our prayers. It is vain for us to try to do the work which can only be done by sovereign grace; it is equally vain for us to implore God to do what has been commanded by sovereign authority.

Among the things which only God can do, of first importance to us is the work of redemption. Atonement was accomplished in that holy place where none but a divine Saviour could come. That glorious work owes nothing to the effort of any man; the best of Adam’s race could add nothing there. It was all of God, and man could simply have no part. Redemption is an objective fact. It is a work potentially saving, wrought for man, but done independent of and exterior to the individual. Christ’s work on Calvary made atonement for every man. But: it did not save any man.

Salvation is personal. It is redemption made effective towards the individual. Salvation is the work of God in the heart, made possible by the work of God on the Cross. Both the once-done work of redemption and the many-times-multiplied work of salvation are in the class of things which only God can do. No man can forgive his own sins; no man can regenerate his own heart; no man can declare himself justified and clean. All this is the work of God in man, flowing out of the work which Christ has already done for man. Universal atonement makes salvation universally available. But: it does not make it universally effective towards the individual.

A. W. Tozer

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Warsaw International Church
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