WIC Weekly July 19th 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
We shall continue to meet for online worship throughout July.
Here is your link for this Sunday’s service at 11 am CET:
This Thursday you are invited to our Bible study. The text will be Matthew chapter 7, 15-29. The Zoom link for the Bible study, at 6 pm CET, is:
Warsaw International Church - Bible Study (every other Thursday @ 6:00 pm)
Time: May 14, 2020 06:00 PM
Meeting ID: 416 626 997
Recordings of our Sunday services are available on our wic.org.pl website.
Sister Anna in Turkey is continuing to suffer pain from what seems to be a liver complaint. She will have further tests this week. Please keep praying for her to be healed.
Please also prayerfully support a Christian couple, Tom and Linet, whose son Phares passed away a couple of weeks ago. May the Lord console them in their grief.
We pray for repentance and revival throughout the world! COVID-19 won't go away, and many countries are already in a dire situation. Let everyone seek the LORD, and Him alone, and turn from their sins. Trust in science will not solve this problem - people everywhere must turn to Christ, who alone died for their sins!
Last Sunday’s sermon
Readings: Genesis 25, 19-34; Romans 8, 1-8; Matthew 13, 1-9. 18-23.
Have you ever asked yourself why you are a believer in the Lord? What makes us believe in Him? We can’t prove the things we believe in. So why are we so certain of our faith?
When we ask ourselves why we believe, the answer seems pretty clear: we feel the Lord’s presence with us, and around us. We can’t see Him, but we know He’s with us in everything that happens to us. Personally, as far as I know, He’s always been with me, even as a kid – maybe especially as a kid! At the times when I didn’t feel His presence, it was because I myself had drifted away from Him – not because He had moved away from me. That’s why I personally believe that the Lord is available to all of us – and that if we don’t sense His presence, the fault is ours, because we have strayed far away from Him. I actually believe that every child senses the presence of God when it’s very young, but loses this awareness as it grows up, unless parents and teachers stimulate the child’s faith – just like a gardener cares for the tender young plants in his garden, to make sure they grow up to be sturdy, healthy plants.
This image of the gardener caring for his plants is similar to Jesus’ parable of the sower. The farmer sows his seeds. But in the parable, the seeds seem to be left to fend for themselves – there’s no one there to help them along. So they either die, or they fall onto good soil and grow.
But I suppose you could say the good soil itself represents the help that the seed needs – plus water and sunshine. So perhaps the good soil can represent those who help us to be Christians, by God’s grace; and it can also represent favourable circumstances which allow the spiritual side of us to be developed. Maybe in your case it was meeting a special person, who helped to lead you to Christ. Or finding yourself in a special situation – for example, a bad experience which led you to cry out to God. I’m sure many people are doing just that, right now – in places where the coronavirus has got completely out of control – and are finding the Lord, maybe for the first time since their early childhood. He had never drifted away from them – but they had drifted away from Him.
So we have these two classes of people: those who are aware of God’s presence, and those who aren’t. Just like there are basically two kinds of seeds: those which grow into healthy plants, and those which don’t. In the Old Testament story too, there are two kinds of people: Esau, the older twin, who was totally absorbed with his own natural self, and who thought it more important to have a good meal than to keep his birthright; and Jacob, the more sensitive, younger twin, for whom the birthright was of supreme importance. The contrast here is between the natural man, who might be a great person to be with, but who couldn’t care less about the Lord – and the spiritual man, for whom the Lord is everything.
What was this birthright? It was a special honour, given to the firstborn son. It meant that the son would receive a double share of the family inheritance. It also meant that he would one day become the family’s leader. By selling his birthright, Esau showed that he couldn’t care less about the spiritual blessings that would have come to him if he had kept the birthright. He was more interested in his red lentil soup.
You see, in that story, the birthright symbolizes the spiritual side of man. Esau had that birthright at first – it was his. I believe everybody has that birthright, as a result of what Christ did for us on the cross. Every natural person is born with that birthright! We were all born as God’s children. But as we grow up, we drift away from the Lord – and some drift further than others. Some drift away, never to come back. But those who do not sell their birthright are those who grow spiritually.
In today’s reading from Romans, we see yet one more presentation of the only two kinds of people there are: those who are in Christ Jesus, and those who are not. Those who are in the Spirit, and those who are in the flesh. Jacob and Esau. The seed that flourishes, and the seed that perishes. Romans chapter 8 makes the point that we can only live in Christ because Christ has set us free. The big question is: Has Christ set us all free, or has He only set free those who come to Him? Did Jesus die for the unsaved, or only for the saved? Is the bad seed doomed to die? Is there no hope for someone like Esau? Is the natural man condemned to stay natural, and perish?
Look at that last sentence in our Romans passage. It says: “Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God”. Is Paul saying to unbelievers: “Too bad – there’s no hope for you”? I don’t think so. I think Paul is saying that everybody can please God, if they really want to. They can turn away from the “realm of the flesh” – because Christ died for all. And therefore we are all born with a birthright: the right to have spiritual blessings; the right to be in Christ; and the right to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. But some of us have drifted so far from the Lord that we don’t know how to get back to Him. We have sold our birthright.
How can we get back to the Lord if we have sold our birthright? How can an unbeliever get back to the Lord? How can backsliding Christians get back to the Lord? Do you remember the words from today’s psalm? “Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path”. I almost chose that song to sing today, but we sang it at a recent meeting and I didn’t want to bore you. But let me tell you something.
As I was preparing this sermon, I opened my study Bible at the first page – and there was a dedication to me from those who gave me that Bible almost 30 years ago! I hadn’t read that dedication in all those years! It said: “With love, from friends from Warsaw and Hawaii”. And a Bible verse was also given. So I looked it up: Joshua chapter 1, verse 8. It says: “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful”. Wow! That was exactly what today’s psalm was about!
Dear Christian, these are words for you. Dear Backslider, these are words for you. Dear Unbeliever, these are words for you. If you’re out there, I can’t make you come to church. I can’t make you switch on your computer. I don’t know where you are, or who you are. But I do know that a birthright is more important than a bowl of lentil soup! But even if you sold your birthright a long time ago, you can still come back to the Lord. God’s grace is always available to you. Under the old covenant, if you sold your birthright, that was it. But under the New Covenant, Christ’s grace is available to us at any time. So go to the Book; read God’s word; meditate on it day and night; and be careful to do everything written in it. And you will return. Amen.
This Sunday’s readings
19 July is the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost.
Verse for the week: "All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be" (Psalm 139, 16).
Psalm: 139, 1-17. New Testament reading: Acts 5, 17-42.
Food of the Spirit
Growth Through Reading And Studying Scripture
Regular, consistent time with the Word allows the Holy Spirit to illuminate and apply it in practical life situations. Growth is the natural result. The process can, however, falter at any point. Whenever other activities crowd out devotional Scripture reading, the lack of nourishment may stunt growth. Even Christian workers sometimes allow the ministry to so fully occupy time and energy that they skip spiritual meals themselves. This is foolish indeed. A dedicated Christian cannot expect to succeed in spirituality without reading Scripture.
On the other hand, too often Christians read from duty, without absorbing much nourishment. They read but they soon forget the passage and seldom experience much uplift. Two reasons for the problem are failure to concentrate and failure to meditate.
If we were given a book that contained the cure for our fatal disease, we would study it thoroughly. If there was some significant monetary reward for studying the Word, you can be sure we would devote ourselves every available moment to it. Yet God has provided the food we need for spiritual health and we often leave it untouched. We claim to believe that the Bible produces growth, but we fail to feast on it.
Even though we may not recall the details of our devotional reading, that reading will normally have had a cleansing, refreshing effect. The believer must continue to read despite how little he or she can recite afterward.
People should not, however, become satisfied with such a lack of retention. If I see myself in the Bible and choose to profit from what I see, I will remember more. I will have less trouble with retention than the person who reads merely out of habit. Many find it helpful to insert their names in the passage. Then God keeps addressing golden promises and solemn warnings to them rather than just to pre-Christian Israel or first century Galatian believers. Keeping a journal about one’s Bible exploration can also be very helpful.
We live in an age of the quick fix. We want instant truth along with instant breakfast cereal and instant car washes. When it comes to spiritual things, we want God to drop truth from heaven into our hearts without our having to bother studying. Perhaps this in part explains the yen for alleged Spirit revelations, words of wisdom and sudden impressions. Instead of laboriously searching Scripture to find an inspired answer, people prefer to look to a Christian guru to pronounce instruction over them. They unwisely look to fallible people for God’s plan for their future.
Others fail to grasp Scripture’s meaning due to a lack of dependence on the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment. Since the Spirit inspired original authors to write the Word, surely He wants to illuminate contemporary readers. Besides employing diligence in studying, believers should depend on the Spirit to help them discern Scripture’s spiritual intent and find its relevance to their current needs.
In review, failure to read Scripture regularly, to concentrate while reading and to meditate after reading can spell defeat. Failure to understand, to interpret and to depend on the Spirit’s illumination can all hamper Christian growth. A believer with trouble should check to see where he or she has missed a turn.
At other times, Christians allow Satan to snatch the seed before it takes root in the personality, as Jesus illustrated in the parable of the sower. Falling along the path, the seed proved unproductive because birds devoured it. Jesus explained that the devil removes the Word from hearts lest people receive salvation (Luke 8:5, 12).
This insight into the way the evil one works suggests that he also robs Christians of the truth that would increase holiness. If believers keep alert, however, they can successfully thwart Satan’s malicious attempts to steal. God’s children can ponder the preached Word they hear and read Scripture with regularity, attention, comprehension and application. By insight into the enemy’s schemes, they can avoid becoming victims (2 Corinthians 2:11).
The psalmist said he hid God’s Word in his heart to avoid sin (Psalm 119:11). John stated that young people become strong when the Word abides within (1 John 2:14). When Jesus asked God to sanctify His followers through the truth, He added that God’s Word constitutes truth (John 17:17). God, its inspirer, yearns to make and keep His children more holy. Thus the Word gives directions for the Christian to progress in the sanctified walk.
Moreover, that very Word enters the life in sanctifying power. As digested food within the body somehow becomes nourishment, energy, health, renewal and growth, so the digested manna of Scripture becomes the believer’s ongoing sanctification. Therefore, Scripture both informs believers about continuing sanctification and supplies the means for such abundant living.
The reading of fine Christian books can explain and reinforce what we read in Scripture. Although such reading must never substitute for the Word, it can be a beneficial supplement. One can help to develop our spirituality by reading and studying the truth.
Gerald E. McGraw and George McPeek
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