WIC Weekly February 7th 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
Last Sunday our church's Annual Congregational Meeting was held online, right after the service. The Meeting, chaired by WIC President Ania Niedziałkowska, heard reports by Pastor Harry, Treasurer Piotr Dypczyński and IT Manager Eric Telep. Despite the pandemic, WIC's financial situation is stable.
We are pleased to announce that Sister Eunice Muiruri has become a formal member of WIC.
Join us for worship this Sunday at 11 am CET. 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".
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
Pastor Grzegorz Giemza (director of the Polish Ecumenical Council) and his wife are making a steady recovery from Covid-19.
Please continue to pray for our worshippers who are applying for asylum due to persecution in their home countries: particularly Vahid who fled from Iran, and Kenz, Kelly, Angelica, Paris and Jasper who had to flee from Pakistan. We pray that they may be able to settle and start a new life in a safe country.
Please continue to pray for a global revival, as many turn in fear and despair to God, that people all over the world may receive Jesus Christ as their only Saviour.
Last Sunday's sermon was preached by Pastor Harry:
Psalm 111; Deuteronomy 18, 9-19; 1 Corinthians 8, 1-13; Mark 1, 21-28
In today’s reading from Deuteronomy (the last of the so-called five Books of Moses), Moses is giving instructions to the Israelites on how they should conduct themselves when they finally take possession of the land that God has promised them: the land of Canaan. Above all, they must not conform to the practices of the nations already in Canaan: no sacrificing of children; no witchcraft; no casting of spells; and no contacting the dead through a medium. These were all habits which those pagan nations indulged in – nations that worshipped their own gods and goddesses. The Israelites were to keep themselves clean from such evil practices and beliefs.
But why were such beliefs and practices evil and hateful to God? The answer is that they involved contact with evil spirits: fallen angels or demons, under whose influence those nations had come as a result of turning from the one true God. Remember what Paul says in the first chapter of his Letter to the Romans: that in the old days, people knew God, because His eternal power and divine nature have always been obvious – but they preferred to turn away from Him and worship creatures and lifeless images of God instead. And as they did so, they started to become evil, wicked and depraved. They became enslaved by the devil and engaged in devilish and immoral practices. And this is still the case today. The nation that turns from the true God will turn towards the devil.
You see, when a person follows God, they have a foundation for all their behaviour and practices. Take away the foundation, and a person is no longer so sure about what’s right and what’s wrong – or they’ll say it’s just a matter of opinion or choice. Truth becomes fake news. But our reading tells us that the Israelites themselves could not bear to hear the voice of their own God – because they felt that the power of God would kill them – they felt it so strongly!: “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God, nor see this great fire any more, or we will die!” The reference is to when Moses brought the Ten Commandments to the people at Mount Sinai (otherwise known as Mount Horeb) – there was so much thunder, lightning, fire and cloud at the mountain, that the people trembled with fear, because they saw that God was there! So Moses now tells them that God will not speak to them directly, but will speak through a prophet instead – and they are to listen to the prophet, who will tell them what to do.
Of course, it’s not just the next few prophets that Moses is talking about. Bible commentators are agreed that Moses’ words above all look forward to the greatest of all prophets: Jesus Christ. He is the one we are to follow and obey – and if we are born again, we have His Spirit within us. In this way, God becomes bearable to us too; because I can guarantee to you that if we were to feel God’s presence directly – as happens in times of revival – we would be on our knees, crying and shaking with fear, as we realize what sinful creatures we really are. It’s not a pleasant experience.
But just because God speaks to us a bit indirectly – through Jesus’ words in the Bible and the Holy Spirit in the hearts of believers – it doesn’t mean we can afford to take His words and teachings lightly; because the Lord tells Moses: “If anyone does not listen to My words that the Prophet speaks in My name, I Myself will call him to account”. In other words, if you don’t listen to Jesus and follow His teachings, God will deal with you Himself. That’s a clear warning to the peoples of the earth.
But of course, even though we have Jesus’ words and teachings, everyday problems still need to be resolved. The people in Corinth had such a problem: should they eat food sacrificed to idols, or not? Paul’s answer is this: food is just food. If you eat it, it will nourish you, like food does – no matter who it’s intended for. Remember that David himself, when he was hungry, on one occasion went into the house of the Lord and ate the consecrated bread which the high priest gave him – the bread intended for God!
But Paul says that, even though food sacrificed to idols will nourish you, and even though the idols themselves are lifeless, there are some weak Christians around who think of such food as being defiled, unclean – in other words they still, in some way, think of the idols as having power or influence. So Paul says that, rather than having those weak Christians fall into sin by believing in an idol’s power, let’s avoid eating such meat altogether.
There’s one important reason why we are told to keep ourselves blameless before the Lord, and not develop different beliefs or engage in practices like witchcraft, casting spells and contacting the dead. The reason is, if we do that, we will come under the influence of the devil, who led man away from God in the first place. We may find out, to our disadvantage, that the devil and his demons are real – though sometimes it’s hard for us to distinguish between someone who’s a bit mentally unstable and someone who’s possessed by an evil spirit. It’s like the difference between someone who drinks a lot and someone who’s already an alcoholic. It’s really a difference of degree: turning to different beliefs and practices will lead you into sin, more and more, and that in turn can eventually cause mental or behavioural problems. Those problems could perhaps just mean that someone behaves in an arrogant way, for example; but it could also mean that such a person will eventually commit a crime, or even acts of terrorism, as fanatical people do.
The man in the synagogue had an evil spirit in him – a spirit which could only have got into him because of his sinful beliefs or practices. That evil spirit immediately recognized who Jesus was: the “Holy One of God”. Evil spirits are discerning enough to know who God is, and to recognize Him - that’s more than most people do! But Jesus’ power is greater: with one command, the evil spirit leaves the man. God’s power can overcome all the evil in the world.
In just a while, we’ll be holding our Annual Congregational Meeting. It’s a good time to talk about our vision for this church. What vision do we have? We will do well if we too seek to be “blameless before the Lord our God”. “Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect”, said Jesus. We can certainly aim for that! We can keep away from the wrong beliefs and practices of the world around us. Have nothing to do with them! Let’s keep our eyes fixed firmly on Jesus! May our vision simply be our great God, Lord, Saviour, Healer, Shepherd, Jesus Christ, all in one! There is no better vision. Amen.
Readings for 7 February
Verse for the week: "Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, 'My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God'?" (Isaiah 40, 27).
Responsive reading: Psalm 147, 1-11. Old Testament reading: Isaiah 40, 21-31. New Testament reading: 1 Corinthians 9, 16-23. Gospel reading: Mark 1, 29-39.
Food of the Spirit
Revival in the midst of darkness From around the world come letters of readers whose area is extremely dry and barren spiritually or is steeped in witchcraft. They feel held in a vice by the powers of darkness. Others are among the small minority of Christians in their country and are experiencing restriction and persecution. Can revival come even there? Is anything too hard for God? No! He tells us that He is not willing that any should perish. He is not just passively unwilling. He is agonizingly unwilling, actively unwilling--doing wonderful acts of mercy and grace in order that men might come to repentance.
Joel tells us, after judgment had been proclaimed: “Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth Him of the evil” (Joel 2:12-14).
Oh, what a God we serve! A holy and righteous God to whom is due all honour and obedience; yet merciful and forgiving when we humbly turn to Him in repentance. There are preparations for us to make in order to open the way for His movings in great, revival power throughout things. Hard hearts will melt; sin-blinded eyes will see; ears deaf to the Gospel will hear. Let us ask and expect great things. Let us prepare now for revival and for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ! Revival is on God’s agenda, but there must be those who will make the necessary preparations. Joel tells us above what they are.
Lois J. Stucky
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