WIC Weekly May 3rd 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
Our live online services continue to be well attended and, while not fully replacing our services in church, nevertheless provide us with a good degree of fellowship with one another as we worship the Lord together, praying, singing, and meditating on the Scriptures. You are all warmly invited to take part!
Here is your link for this Sunday’s service at 11 am CET: 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.
This Thursday at 6 pm CET we are having another online Bible study, and will continue to study the good kings of Judah by looking at 2 Chronicles chapter 18 – dealing with an event from the life of King Jehoshaphat. Here is the link for the Thursday meeting, to which you are also all invited:
Warsaw International Church - Bible Study (every other Thursday @ 6:00 pm) Time: Apr 30, 2020 06:00 PM Meeting ID: 416 626 997
Please pray for Muslims during this time of Ramadan, that God will touch their hearts and bring them into fellowship with Jesus Christ, the true Lord.
Let us all continue to pray for global revival.
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 2, 14 and 36-41; 1 Peter 1, 13-23.
After Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to the disciples several times – and especially after Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came to Jesus’ followers in great power – Peter suddenly became the courageous, outspoken leader of the new church. Not so long before, when the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, Peter had denied three times that he was a disciple of Jesus, because he was scared that he too would be arrested and killed. He had been afraid for his life. But now, he was leading the church with confidence and power, and was no longer afraid to die.
We have two letters written by Peter in our Bible. If we read them carefully, we get an insight into his way of thinking. What can we learn from today’s reading in Peter’s first letter?
Peter believed that he and those early Christians he was writing to – who were living in what is now part of Turkey – had all been “born again”. God had removed their blindness, and they had turned from their former empty life, which had been devoted to satisfying their own desires. There’s nothing holy about such a way of life – most people live to satisfy their own desires.
But Peter says that God chooses us to be holy, and to live a holy life. That’s more than just living a good life. Peter says that such a life is possible because God paid a ransom for us to be rescued from our spiritual emptiness. That ransom was not gold or money. It was the precious blood of Jesus. God gave Himself, that we might be able to live a holy life, through our faith in Jesus. Such faith has become possible for us because Jesus rose from the dead and is alive! And all over the world, right up to the present, people are turning to Jesus, in every country.
Peter says that if we have faith and have been cleansed from our sins, God now expects us to live a holy life. We can no longer go back to satisfying our own desires. If we do, says Peter, then God, who has no favourites, will judge us for not living up to His standards after He has forgiven us. We are expected to live a holy life, exercising self-control, not giving in to our natural desires, and loving each other deeply with all our heart.
In these coronavirus times, everybody’s worried about the future. We hear some frightening forecasts of what will happen. Experts are talking about a second wave of infections, especially when the weather gets colder again. And in a recent Swedish study, it was estimated that in a couple of weeks 33% of all the people in the Swedish capital Stockholm would be infected: 600,000 people! It’s scary.
But you know, there’s a virus around which affects 100% of people! And there are no survivors! That virus is called sin. It would kill everybody unless God stepped it to prevent it. All the precautions we take do us no good. Wash your hands? – forget it: sin is much deeper than just on your skin. Practise social distancing, by keeping away from other sinful people? – no chance: because sin got inside of you first. Wear a mask? – it’s too late, because sin is already in you. In fact, the coronavirus symbolizes the human heart, which is sick with sin. Even more: the coronavirus is a terrifying symbol of our own lukewarmness and lack of repentance.
It's almost unbelievable how many people still have no idea of what’s really going on, and what to do about it. I don’t mean the medical side – but the spiritual side. Here in Poland, where are the spiritual leaders, and what are they doing about the situation? Most of them simply urge the faithful to watch or listen to pre-recorded messages on TV or the radio, because only a few people are allowed to attend religious services.
The head of the main church in Poland recently said that the coronavirus is not from God, because God is good. So what is it? An accident? Or is God helpless to intervene? Or too weak to do anything? Of course, priests and believers in Poland are praying. But what are they praying for? If you read the websites, you’ll learn they are praying for the virus to go away! If the virus will only go away, then everything will be back to normal. That’s what people want. Of course, those who have lost their jobs or seen their earnings fall need to be restored to normal. But if people just want to return to their former way of life, I can’t see any deeper reflection on what has happened. Above all, I can’t see any repentance. People should be repenting of their former godless way of life, and seeking the Lord. But instead, they just want the virus to go. They don’t understand what’s really happening.
What a contrast this is with the attitude of Christians in places like Ethiopia and India! In those countries, Christians are united in praying and fasting, for what? – for a return to former ways? No! For people everywhere to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus! The time is short, and all around us people are perishing spiritually. What is our faith worth? Is it only worth enough to be able to pray for an end to the coronavirus and a return to how things were before – when no one was turning to Jesus? Is that the church we want?
In our reading from Acts, Peter says to the Jewish crowd: “God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ”. We Christians think: “That’s a message for the Jews”. But no! It’s also a message for all lukewarm Christians – “lukewarm” meaning neither hot nor cold. This could be a message for us! People who are content with their cosy way of life – they are the ones who are praying for an end to the virus, instead of praying for revival. Maybe that includes us as well?
I don’t want to ignore the terrible suffering endured by those who fall ill. If I fell ill, I would certainly pray for the virus to go away. But if we don’t see the hand of God in this crisis, and if we just want to return to our former self-contentment, then we too are crucifying Jesus all over again – because we don’t realize the depths of our sin of lukewarmness.
It was lukewarmness and indifference that killed Jesus, because the people were content to go along with their leaders. They may have been good people, but they allowed themselves to be manipulated. Those good people who were calling for Jesus to be crucified were actually sick, but they didn’t know it. Do you call a doctor if you don’t feel sick? Of course not. If we don’t realize our sin-sickness, we are like those who have the coronavirus, but without the symptoms. They may feel OK, but they infect a lot of other people. Only when you realize you’re sick do you seek help and cry out, like the crowd when Peter spoke to them: “What shall we do? What shall we do?”
What does Peter reply? “Repent, in order be forgiven, and you’ll receive the Holy Spirit”. That crowd in Jerusalem now suddenly realized that they were sick. That’s why they repented, and 3,000 of them turned to the Lord that day. But we have to pray for people to repent, and to be born again, because only God can make that happen. We have to pray that we may repent – of our complacency and our lack of urgency in bringing others to Christ and praying for them. We have to pray that God will melt not only other people’s hearts, but our hearts, and will send them and us the power of His Holy Spirit. A good life is not good enough. God wants us to live a holy life. Amen.
This Sunday’s readings
3 May is the Fourth Sunday of Easter.
Verse for the week: “[The shepherd] calls his own sheep and leads them out. (…) The sheep follow him because they recognize his voice” (John 10, 3-4).
1st New Testament reading: Acts 2, 42-47.
2nd New Testament reading: 1 Peter 2, 19-25.
Gospel reading: John 10, 1-10.
Food of the Spirit
Revival Is Unmistakable
A revival on the divine side is the undoubted manifestation of the presence of God, the outpouring of the Holy Ghost and actual conscious arrival of Christ in the midst of the congregation. On the human side it is seen in the conversion of sinners, reclamation of back-sliders, sanctification of believers, great joyfulness and activity upon the part of the church, and deep and solemn conviction in the entire community.
This state of things is brought about by the faithful preaching of the Word and the humble, prayerful waiting upon God of the people.
A genuine revival is unmistakable. It is not only seen, but felt. There was no need to post bills and placards on the walls and fences, stating that the Holy Ghost had fallen upon the disciples in the Upper Room. Some kind of indescribable telegraphy flashed the news everywhere. It is a wireless telegraphy, but none the less certain. As soon as Samaria receives the Word of God, it seems to be known in Jerusalem. When any church receives the Holy Ghost, it would be easier to hide a city on a hill with its twinkling lights than this fact.
In one of Charles G. Finney's revivals, a man was coming in from the country to the town where the work of grace was going on, and when he was still a mile away suddenly felt such a spiritual atmosphere that he was completely melted, and came into the place all hushed and subdued. God had drawn a line of holy grace and power all around the town, and it came to pass that when a man passed it, he was shot through with a dart. A revival cannot be mistaken.
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