WIC Weekly April 4th 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
When I survey the wondrous cross On which the Prince of glory died, My richest gain I count but loss, And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast Save in the death of Christ, my God! All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them through His blood.
See, from His head, His hands, His feet, Sorrow and love flow mingled down. Did e'er such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine, That were a present far too small. Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all.
Isaac Watts 1707
Last Sunday's service focused on the crucifixion of Jesus (as there will be no Good Friday service at WIC). The next service will therefore be on Easter Sunday, together with online Communion, to which all are heartily invited.
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
Your prayers are requested for healing for Brother Bogosi, who has been admitted to hospital, and for his family (newly arrived in Poland) to continue to recover from illness.
Please pray for Brother Olusegun's wife and mother-in-law, who are also battling sickness.
Please continue to pray for Brother Kenz, Sister Kelly, and their three children Angelica, Paris and Jasper, who are trying to sort out their residence and day-to-day living problems in Azerbaijan after fleeing torture in Pakistan. Pray that a church in another country may step forward to sponsor them, so that they can leave Muslim Azerbaijan and start a new life with work prospects.
Vahid in London also welcomes our continuing prayers in his own wait to be granted asylum in the UK following persecution in Iran.
Please pray for conversions and revival in Warsaw International Church and also globally. Pray also for unsaved spouses and partners of many of our own worshippers, that the veil covering them spiritually may be removed, by God's grace.
Last Sunday's sermon was preached by Pastor Harry.
So the trial of Jesus is over. It was never a proper trial, because there was no fairness. Pontius Pilate knew that Jesus was not guilty. But the crowd just wanted Jesus dead – and they had the final say. The flogging and the crown of thorns were just the start of Jesus’ suffering. One of our worshippers had a vision of this as she was giving herself Communion recently: she saw the soldiers with the crown of thorns – but they didn’t place it gently on Jesus. Instead, they slammed it down on His head, which is probably what actually happened – and we can imagine how painful that must have been. They dressed Him in a purple robe – because after all, He said He was a king. And they mocked and hit Him repeatedly. They made Him look like a sorrowful clown. No one any longer believed the truth that Jesus was who He said He was. And Pilate too asked: “What is truth?”
But Pilate is afraid. He doesn’t want Jesus’ blood on His hands, though this will happen anyway. And being an intelligent man with some sense of justice, he tries to find out why Jesus won’t defend Himself. He probably thinks: “Is this guy stupid? Doesn’t He realize I have power over His life?” But Jesus tells him that he only has power because God gave him that power. And He says that that makes Pilate less guilty than the Jewish high priest, who had no authority over Jesus at all, yet delivered Him into Pilate’s hands. The Jewish religious leaders were really responsible for this. Pilate keeps trying to free Jesus – but in the end, he gives in to the crowd, and Jesus will be crucified.
You know, there’s something interesting about the notice that was nailed to the cross: “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews”. The Jews didn’t like it, because they no longer saw Jesus as their king. So they wanted the notice to read: “He claimed to be King of the Jews”. But the irony is that Jesus really was their king – only they didn’t know it. In exactly the same way, people today don’t see Jesus as their king. They prefer to think that He claims to be God, claims to be Lord and Saviour – but not that He is. We live in a world where almost everybody asks: “What is truth?” Just like Pilate. So many people don’t know the truth. Even though Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth and the life”.
In the same way, the Bible tells us that when Jesus said His final words – “It is finished” – His death opened the door for people to be saved. In our verse for the week, it says: “He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him, who died and rose from the dead on their behalf”. That’s what it says. But again, many people will think: “That’s just an opinion – and I choose to ignore it”. They assert their right to have their own opinions; but in doing so, they lose sight of the truth. And eventually they too ask: “What is truth?” – because they no longer know the truth.
So how can we prove to someone that Jesus really is their Lord and Saviour, because He paid for their sins on the cross? How can we prove that He died for them? How can we prove that they should therefore become disciples of Jesus in their daily life? The answer is: we can’t prove it by human reason. Human reason can never prove such things. Human reason is a wonderful gift from God, and we have to develop and use it to the utmost. But to make spiritual progress, we have to have a revelation from God – and then we will simply “see and obey”. In the spiritual realm, revelation is more important than reason. Otherwise the crucifixion will indeed be foolishness to us – because reason doesn’t understand the point of it. But that doesn’t mean it’s not true! Something can be true, even though you can’t reason it out.
John’s Gospel doesn’t make a big fuss about the crucifixion. There are no fireworks – no famous last conversations with the other two criminals on the cross. We are simply told that Jesus’ mother and a few other women were standing nearby, shocked and grieving. We are told that Jesus committed His mother to the care of the disciple He loved – namely, John. And then Jesus just says: “I am thirsty”, and is given a sponge soaked in wine vinegar to wet His parched lips. And then He says: “It is finished”, and He just dies. A rather undramatic crucifixion.
And Friends, that is how it would have remained, had it not been for the events which followed: the empty tomb; Jesus appearing to many people after His death; and finally Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Jesus – was poured out, and Jesus’ followers started praising God in different languages, which they had never learnt, but which others recognized and understood. These were events which had nothing to do with human reason either – and yet they were true!
Of course, we can say it’s all rubbish. But remember: ever since that time, people all over the world have had their lives changed, and know that their sins have been forgiven, and have found peace and joy, knowing Jesus to be their Lord and Saviour, their Master and Guide, their Protector and Comforter. People all over the world – for the past 2,000 years! Not by human reason – but only by revelation from above.
You know, I’m not so much interested in the crucifixion itself. I’m more interested in what the crucifixion has done for me, and for so many others – my brothers and sisters in Christ. I’m interested in God’s grace, God’s revelation, God’s revival of a spiritually dead person. There are so many all around us, in deep despair. But God can reveal Himself to them. The cross comes to life when God reveals Himself to us.
And I’m not so much interested in people who have no need of God. Jesus said: “It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but those who are sick”. In other words, those who already know that something is wrong with them spiritually. They are the ones who are crying out for help – and the remedy for them is the very thing we have been looking at today: the cross of Jesus Christ, and the blood He shed for them. That’s got nothing to do with human reason – but it happens to be the truth. How do we know? Because millions of people have been healed and transformed by turning to Jesus, who died for them. His crucifixion makes our healing possible.
Brothers and Sisters, when Jesus comes to us – for it’s actually this way round (even though it might seem that we are coming to Him) – when Jesus comes to us, He starts off by crucifying us – we go through our own crucifixion. He breaks us through some crisis or other – we use the expression: “He is a broken man; she is a broken woman”.
He puts us up on our own cross, as it were – and He crucifies our ego, our self-centredness and all our self-righteousness. That’s very painful, and it lasts – off and on – all through our life. But, in breaking us, He also reveals Himself to us. He gives us faith. He gives us a new “self”, which is not us-centred, but Christ-centred. He gives us His power, which will help us to overcome all the other powers which have been dragging us down for so long. And He makes us into a new creation, perfecting us more and more. Why does He do that? Because God chose us to be His people, before the foundation of the world. God had mercy on us, and was therefore determined to save us.
So you see, the Cross defies human reason. We can only understand it when God reveals Himself to us. But it’s nevertheless still very true, and its power still works. In fact, there is so much power in the blood of Jesus. Let’s just thank Him for washing us in it; and pray that it will wash many, many more. Amen.
Readings for 4 April
Verse for the week: "We are a refreshing fragrance to God because of Christ, in those being saved, and in those being lost" (2 Corinthians 2, 15, LSV).
Responsive reading: Psalm 118, 1-2; 14-24. Gospel reading: John 20, 1-23.
Food of the Spirit
We Need The Fire!
Many railroad towns have preserved huge steam locomotives as monuments to railroads' glorious past. There the engine stands enclosed by a chain-link fence. It is complete in all its parts: drive wheels, boiler, fire-box, etc. There is no mechanical part missing. The brass is polished. The boiler is painted. A complete locomotive is there. But it has not moved in years. You could fill the boiler with water, and the fire-box with fuel, but still it would stand cold and silent. It is an inspiration to see, but practically useless. It lacks the fire!
The contemporary church, like the locomotive has all the machinery. We have fine church plants, with carpeted aisles and polished pews. Our pulpits are filled with capable preachers. Well trained musicians perform at the instruments. To the casual observer everything seems to be in order. Because of our aesthetical decorum we may be attracting the crowds. However, our efforts lack the SHEKINAH, and thus we have little effect on society. Many church programs, like the locomotives are beautiful to behold but powerless to effect real social change.
We are accomplishing so little in a world bursting with an exploding population, most of whom know nothing of saving grace. Even these persons occupying our pews are often little different from the crowd in the street.
Elijah went straight to the problem when he cried, "And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken" (1 Kgs. 18:24). God's fire upon the human heart is the distinguishing feature of Christianity, setting it uniquely apart from all other religions and cults.
Elijah suggests that the only convincing proof of God's presence is fire. "And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that Thou art God in Israel, and that I am Thy servant, and that I have done all these things at Thy word" (1 Kgs. 18:36).
"Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, He is the God; the Lord, He is the God" (1 Kgs. 18:38-39).
Holy fire will develop our worship. It will melt and mold our will. It will strengthen our determination to serve the Lord.
Solomon had the qualifications to do the job. He was famous, wise and rich. But he needed the fire and prayed to that end.
"Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house.
"And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the Lord, saying, For He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever" (2 Chron. 7:1, 3).
Worship without fire is a farce. It is the hypocrisy God hates. Here we have a revelation of what this fire is, "The glory of the Lord." When there is no glory we are like Samson, shorn of power.
The only quality that will make the church effective, and enable her to overcome the spiritual dearth, and moral rot of our day is a deep sense of God's personal presence. Our human efforts and ability must be motivated and empowered by God's awesome presence. We must not rest until God comes to us in His majesty, and glory and with His holiness and purity. When we see God as He is we will fall down in total abandon. Only His glorious presence will lead us to a deep and terrible sense of our sin, guilt and depravity.
Oh, how we need God to come until our altars are no longer quiet sessions of counselling, but a great cry of' “God have mercy on me, a sinner!'' We need God's fire to fall until carnal Christians will suffer the agonies of the crucifixion of the old man and the body of sin "be destroyed" (Rom. 6:6).
The real test of true religion is fire. Samuel Chadwick said, "The sign of Christianity is not the cross, but the tongue of fire." Finney observed, "There can be no revival when Mr. Amen and Mr. Wet Eyes are not in the audience.'' The persons God has used and is still using are those familiar with holy fire.
David Brainerd prayed, "Oh, that I was a flaming fire in the hand of God!'' Wesley's desire was, "That in me a sacred fire might glow." The great heart of General Booth was moved to cry, "Thou Christ of burning, cleansing flame, send the fire!"
We need the fire to produce penetrating preaching, prevailing prayer, and sincere sanctified saints. Oh God, send the fire!
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