WIC Weekly April 11th 2021
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
This coming Sunday will be devoted to the theme of peace in all its aspects, and will feature a presentation by Sister Pulane, who will share her thoughts on the subject.
Here is your link for the Sunday service: Warsaw International Church - Sunday Service Meeting ID: 818 1714 5932
Recordings of our Sunday services are available on our wic.org.pl website or by googling "Warsaw International Church YouTube".
Thank you for your continuing support and prayers for our church and for one another.
Should you wish to make a contribution to WIC, the church's bank details are as follows:
Warsaw International Church Santander Bank Polska S.A. IV/Oddział w Warszawie ul. Jana Pawła II 17v 00-854 Warszawa Polish złoty (PLN) account: PL 63 1090 1056 0000 0000 0600 9128
We thank the Lord for our worshippers and their families who have recovered from Covid-19. Please continue to pray for all those you know who are suffering from this and other illnesses.
Please continue to pray for our English-speaking friends Brother Kenz, Sister Kelly and their three children, who are in Azerbaijan trying to find a church in another country which can sponsor them so that they can start a new life with work prospects. They are still in great financial need and any contributions for them are greatly welcomed - please contact Pastor Harry for payment details.
Vahid in London also welcomes our continuing prayers in his own wait to be granted asylum in the UK.
Last Sunday's sermon was preached by Pastor Harry.
“The stone the builders rejected has become the main cornerstone”, says our psalm for today. The Jewish religious leaders thought they had finally got rid of this man Jesus, whom they regarded as a fraud and a crowd-stirrer. They now expected life to return to normal. And Jesus’ followers were demoralized. All that was left was a handful of people who were grieving for Him.
But strange things were happening back at the tomb. The stone had been removed from the entrance. Inside the tomb, Peter and John found the strips of linen in which Jesus’ body had been wrapped; and also the burial cloth which had been around His head, but was now neatly folded up, separate from the linen. I love that little detail! But there was no Jesus there.
Peter and John went back home, leaving Mary Magdalene by the tomb. She was crying, because she thought someone had simply removed the body. And when Jesus appeared behind her, she thought He was the local gardener who had done this. It took one word from Jesus for her to recognize Him – He simply said: “Mary”. That one word from Jesus was Mary’s proof that He had risen from the dead.
That same evening, Jesus also appeared to His disciples as they were locked inside a house. They were scared of the Jews; but when they saw Jesus, they were overjoyed, and knew that He had really risen from the dead. And Jesus gives them a commission – a bit like the Great Commission at the end of Matthew’s Gospel. He sends them out into the world, to other people – just like He sends you and me to others, to be His ambassadors to the whole world! That’s an awesome commission! But to fulfil it, we must first have Christ’s Spirit within us – otherwise we are blind people leading the blind. And so Jesus breathes on the disciples – just like He breathes on us – and we become born-again Christians, with real faith; disgusted with our sins; but having a sense of mission!
You see, when Jesus rose from the dead, that was when the church was born! The same day that He rose from the dead, He equipped the disciples with His Spirit, and sent them out! He gave them what we can call “resurrection life”. They are still confused and find it hard to understand all that has happened. But the Resurrection has made all the difference to them, because now they have seen Jesus – a dead man who has re-appeared in the flesh – and they will no longer be afraid that death is the end of everything.
When I was four years old, my parents took me to Germany to visit our relatives. We caught the train from London to Harwich; then we boarded a ship to cross the North Sea, to Hook van Holland, just by Rotterdam; and then we caught another train across Holland and into Germany. I had never been abroad before. I had never seen the sea before! To me, it was just so vast – a whole new dimension of experience! And then, Holland, and Germany, and all my German relatives! This was no longer a matter of belief for me – it was reality, because now I could see all this!
Friends, that’s what our “resurrection life” is like, when we become “born-again” Christians – a new dimension of experience opens up, because Jesus has breathed His Holy Spirit into us. And there’s no secret about it – every sincere follower of Jesus has received the same gift. We experience love towards God; compassion towards other people; forgiveness towards others; and so many other things. This is all possible because of Christ’s Resurrection.
But there is also this strange instruction from Jesus: “If you forgive anyone their sins, they are forgiven; if you don’t forgive them, they are not forgiven”. That’s what Jesus told His disciples, on the same day that He rose from the dead, and immediately after He gave them His Holy Spirit. So those words must be incredibly important – and because we too are His disciples, they must also apply to us. So, is Jesus saying we have the power to forgive sins?
Some churches do indeed teach that a priest can forgive a person’s sins, as a representative of Christ. The priest is seen as God’s proxy on earth; and the priest forgives us our sins when we come to him to confess them. Someone at our Bible Study meeting on Thursday said that we can in fact experience a tremendous sense of release – as if a burden is lifted – when we confess our sins to someone else – and not necessarily to a priest. If such a person is willing to hear us, and is sympathetic towards us, and perhaps even prays for us, then we may well feel forgiven – just as if God had been acting through that person. It doesn’t mean we should think of them as forgiving us – but rather, that God is using them to bring His forgiveness to us.
Or perhaps you’re in the opposite situation: someone comes to you to unburden their heart of some sin. What do you do? Do you feel compassion and love for them? Do you accept them as they are, instead of mentally condemning them? Do you pray for them? And do you feel God’s love and forgiveness flowing through you, to reach them, as they make their confession to you? And do you keep what they say confidential?
You see, I’ve really been thinking about those words of Jesus: “If you forgive anyone their sins, they are forgiven; if you don’t forgive them, they are not forgiven”. Those words haven’t given me any peace in the last couple of days. They are vitally important; and they apply to us. In fact, Jesus could be hinting that they are our main work here on earth, as Christians. Because, think about Jesus: do you know what the Bible says His main work is, now that He’s risen from the dead? The Bible tells us, in the Letter to the Hebrews, that: “Jesus always lives to intercede for people”. His main work, as the risen Christ, is to intercede.
So, Brothers and Sisters, shouldn’t our main work – as people living the “resurrection life” – also be to intercede for others? God has put us here on earth, as Spirit-filled believers, to plead with Him for forgiveness for a sinful world, for our loved ones, for all who are spiritually, or physically, sick. He calls us to repent for their sins on their behalf, and for the sins of our city and our nation. If we don’t do that, who will? And who knows, one day God may hold us responsible for the interceding we couldn’t be bothered to do. He may hold us responsible for being hard-hearted and critical of other people’s sins – even people we don’t know, such as bad politicians or bad religious leaders – instead of pleading with God to forgive them.
In our Communion today, we will again be confessing our sins. This is where our verse for this week comes in: “Repent, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord”. The whole world seems to be falling apart. We can be wiped out by a pandemic, or climate change, or a world war. The Bible says that God is telling everyone everywhere to repent. These are the last days! Acts 17, verse 31: “For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice, by the man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising Him from the dead”. That man is Jesus.
So, Brothers and Sisters, firstly: repent, and turn to God. Secondly: stand in the gap, and intercede for others. If we ask God to forgive them, they will be forgiven. But if we don’t ask God to forgive them, then the danger is that they won’t be forgiven.
This Easter is a very special one – because we are suffering such a terrible pandemic. Families in our own church are suffering. The whole world is in pain and fear. Our intercession is therefore crucial. Our intercession can lead to healing; and to the breaking of chains, which bind people. So let’s take Jesus’ words seriously. They are meant for you and me. Amen.
Readings for 11 April
Verse for the week: "Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you'" (John 20, 26).
Responsive reading: Psalm 133. New Testament reading: Acts 4, 32-37. Gospel reading: John 20, 24-31.
Food of the Spirit
Present-day Witnesses to the Resurrection Several years ago, I knelt in prayer with a young woman who wanted to be holy. I asked her if she would give up everything for Jesus. She answered that she would. I then thought I would put a hard test to her, and asked her if she would be willing to go to Africa as a missionary for Jesus. She said, “Yes.” Then we prayed, and while we were praying, she burst into tears and cried out, “O Jesus!”
She had never seen Jesus. She had never heard His voice, and before this hour she had no more idea of such a revelation of Jesus to her soul than a man born blind has of a rainbow. But she knew Him! She had no more need that someone should tell her this was Jesus than you have need of the light of a tallow candle to see the sun come up. The sun brings its own light, and so did Jesus.
She knew Him, she loved Him, she rejoiced in Him with “joy unspeakable and full of glory”; and from that hour she testified of Him and followed Him—followed Him to Africa, to help Him win the unsaved to Himself, till one day He said to her, “Well done, good and faithful servant .... Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” (Matt. 25:23). Then she went up to Heaven, to behold with open vision His unveiled glory.
This young woman was a witness for Jesus—a witness that He is not dead but living, and as such was a witness to His resurrection.
Such witnesses are needed in every age. They are needed today as much as in the days of the Apostles. Men’s hearts are just as wicked, their pride just as stubborn, their selfishness is just as universal, and their unbelief is just as obstinate as at any time in the world’s history, and it takes just as powerful evidence to subdue their hearts and beget in them living faith as it ever did.
There are two kinds of evidence, each of which seems to be necessary to get men to accept the truth and be saved. They are: the evidence we get from history, and the evidence we get from living men who tell about that of which they are conscious.
The evidence from history may produce a historical faith. That is, men may believe what it says about God, about men, about sin, life, death, judgment, Heaven and Hell, just as they believe what history says about Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte or George Washington, and this faith may lead men to be very religious, to build temples, to deny themselves, and go through many forms of worship; to forsake gross outward sin and to live lives of decorum and morality, but may yet leave them dead to God. It does not lead them into that living union with the Lord Jesus which slays inward and outward sin, and takes away the fear of death, and fills the heart with joyful hope of immortality.
The faith that saves is the faith that brings the life and power of God into the soul—a faith that makes the proud man humble, the impatient man patient, the haughty man lowly in heart, the stingy man openhanded and liberal; the lustful man clean and chaste, the fighting, quarrelsome man meek and gentle, the liar truthful, the thief honest, the light and foolish sober and grave, a faith that purifies the heart, that sets the Lord always before the eyes, and fills the soul with humble, holy, patient love toward God and man.
To beget this faith, is needed not only the Bible, with its historical evidences, but also a living witness; one who has “tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come” (Heb. 6:5); one who knows that Jesus is not dead, but alive; one who can witness to the resurrection, because he is acquainted with the Lord who was resurrected, and knows the Lord, who is, “the Resurrection and the Life” (John 11:25).
I remember a little girl in Boston, whose quiet, earnest testimony for Jesus drew people to our meetings just to hear her speak. One day, as we were walking along the street, she said to me: “The other evening, as I was in my room getting ready for the meeting, Jesus was with me. I felt He was there, and I knew Him.”
I replied, “We may be more conscious of His presence than of any earthly friend.”
Then, to my surprise and joy, she said, “Yes, for He is in our hearts.”
It is this knowledge of Jesus that sinners demand Christians shall have before they believe.
Now, if it is true that the children of God can so know Christ, that the Holy Ghost does so reveal Him, that Jesus does so earnestly wish to be known by His people, and that sinners demand that Christians shall have such knowledge before they will believe, is it not the duty of every follower of Jesus to seek Him with the whole heart, till he is filled with this knowledge and this power to so witness?
Further, this knowledge should be sought, not simply for usefulness, but for personal comfort and safety, because it is salvation—it is eternal life. Jesus said, “This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou has sent” (John 17:3).
Do you want to know Him in this way? If your whole soul desires it, you may.
First, be sure your sins are forgiven. If you have wronged anybody, undo the wrong so far as you can.
Second, now that you are forgiven, come to Him with your will, your affection, your very self, and ask Him to cleanse you from every evil temper, from every selfish wish, from every secret doubt, and to come and dwell in your heart and keep you pure, and use you for His own glory. Then struggle no more, but walk in the light He gives you, and patiently, expectantly trust Him to answer your prayer, and as sure as you live you shall soon “be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:19).
Just at this point, do not become impatient and yield to secret doubts and fears, but “hold fast the profession of your faith” (Heb. 10:23). God will come to you! He will! And when He comes, He will satisfy the uttermost longings of your heart.
Samuel L. Brengle
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