WIC Weekly July 26th 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
WIC will continue to meet for online worship throughout July.
At last Sunday's service we were joined for the first time by Thomas and Joanna, based in Warsaw. We extend a sincere welcome to them both.
We were also pleased to have Justin and his family rejoin us after returning to Poland from the USA.
Another person rejoining us online is Maria, based in Spain. Maria has qualified for a master's degree at Warsaw University, and will therefore be returning to Poland hopefully at the end of September. Congratulations, Maria!
Here is your link for this Sunday’s service at 11 am CET:
Join us for this Sunday’s live online service on Zoom at 11 am CET by clicking: 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 you are invited to join our Bible study - the last one before September, as there will be a holiday break in August. The text will be a continuation of the Sermon on the Mount - Matthew chapter 6, 1-18. The Zoom
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
Your prayers are requested for Daniel, a Jordanian, who was a Christian but has lost his faith and become an atheist. I am sure this is just a temporary phase caused by various frustrations, and that the Lord will lead him back to a less shallow faith than he had up to now.
Please continue to pray for our Turkish sister Anna, who is awaiting the results of tests after suffering much pain. Please keep praying for her to be healed.
Last Sunday’s sermon
Readings: Psalm 139, 1-17; Acts 5, 17-26.
I want today to concentrate on the events described in the Book of Acts chapter 5, concerning the miraculous growth of the Christian church, which had only just come into being after the followers of Jesus had been filled with Christ’s Holy Spirit in Jerusalem, at Pentecost. Acts 5 begins with the awesome story of Ananias and his wife Sapphira: two Christians who sold a part of their property to give to the church: surely a very noble thing to do. Yet they decided to keep for themselves part of the money they got for it, without telling the others – and so they lied to the Christian community, and therefore also to God. When Peter confronted them, they dropped dead at his feet, and the whole Christian community was filled with awe and fear. The lesson that story teaches us is that the Lord is holy – so don’t try to deceive Him.
And all that time, many miracles were being performed – Christ Himself was acting through the apostles! In particular, the sick were being healed, and that meant that the church grew rapidly. No wonder the religious leaders were jealous! No one was paying attention to them, and they themselves couldn’t understand how these simple, uneducated people had suddenly become fearless preachers of a new kind of faith, which was so alive when compared with traditional Judaism. So they had the apostles arrested and thrown into jail.
But what happened in jail? Another miracle: an angel of the Lord opened their locked cells, led them out at night and sent them right back into the courtyard of the Temple, to teach the people early in the morning. Those poor apostles had no time to sleep that night, they were so busy serving the Lord! Back at the jail, none of the guards had seen anyone walk out, and all the cells were locked! The religious police finally found the apostles teaching by the Temple – and notice how tense the situation was. The people were now definitely on the side of these Christians, and they were ready to stone the police! So the police escorted the apostles to the Sanhedrin – the Jewish government and supreme court – for questioning. Everyone was afraid the apostles might cause a riot – yet they had only been teaching the people about Jesus.
This is like a scene from a movie: the final scenes take place in the Sanhedrin court. The elders are all there, ready and waiting, as Peter and a group of apostles are led in. What are they being charged with? – preaching about Jesus all over Jerusalem, and persuading their Jewish audience that they are guilty of putting Jesus to death, an innocent man. It’s true, of course. But the Jewish religious and political leaders are afraid. They’re afraid of losing their power, their control over the people. Religion is often used to control and manipulate people. So basically the Jewish elders are asking the apostles: “Why do you dare to disobey us? Why do you dare to preach and teach such things?”
The apostles know exactly why. It’s because God has revealed His Will, His plans, to them – through the angel, who told them to spread the Good News about Jesus wherever they go. They have a mission to perform, and they are so sure of it that they intend to obey God rather than any man, even the high priest. And that makes the elders even more angry. They can’t stand it when these simple apostles say the Holy Spirit of God is with them! How can the Holy Spirit be with such ordinary people? It’s blasphemy! The Jewish elders want to put the apostles to death. Those elders are not men of God, even though they might have a good education and a lot of learning – they think they have God on their side, but they don’t. But the apostles know they have God with them. They know that the Spirit of Jesus Christ is acting within and through them. In a sense you could say it’s God who’s confronting the elders.
You know, it’s amazing when you realize that God is within you, and has a plan for you. When you realize He hasn’t overlooked you, and never will. When you realize that He has ordained all the days of your life, before you were even born! And all He ever wants from you is just one thing: that you surrender yourself, abandon yourself to Him, so that He can carry out His work of saving other people through you – just like He did through those apostles. What a moment of blessed release that is! No more striving! No more insistence on pushing through your own agenda! No more striving for a job. No more struggling to overcome an illness. No more disappointment when your side doesn’t win. Jesus says: “Deny your self. Take up your cross. Follow Me”. Don’t try to force through a particular course of action, which you think is necessary to achieve your goal. Let the Lord take care of it. Let me illustrate what I mean.
Patricia is a Polish Christian lady living in Kraków who has had the way opened for her to go to Japan very soon to work as a missionary – the Lord has made that absolutely clear to her. Part of the preparations was that she had to have a driver’s licence, and so she had her driving test on July 1st. She had prepared to return to Kraków on June 30th from Ustroń, a town about two hours away by bus, where she had attended a Christian camp. She had also arranged to have an extra driving lesson at 8 o’clock on the morning of the driving test.
However, things started to go wrong. The bus that was supposed to take her to Kraków never arrived in Ustroń. So she got on another bus to at least get to Katowice, but that bus had problems too, and she found herself in another town, Bielsko-Biała, waiting for the next train to Kraków, and having to change trains in Katowice. But that train wasn’t due to arrive until 4 o’clock in the morning! In the meantime, the bus station where she was trying to get a bit of sleep closed, and she had to wait outside the station! It also just so happened that that day her mobile phone subscription ran out, and her phone went dead! She had to borrow someone else’s mobile to cancel the morning driving lesson.
When she got to the driving test, she was totally exhausted, because she’d had no sleep. However, she did remember that God is sovereign, and His ways are not necessarily our ways. The thought crossed her mind that maybe God wanted to do something unusual, considering that He had taken away every comfort she had to be able to pass her driving test. But she was resigned to the probability that she wouldn’t pass that driving test – she’d failed it a few times before. When she got into the car, she wasn’t even nervous, because she was just too exhausted. She carried on driving as the instructor asked her to – and she passed! She realized that God had been leading her all along, and that she shouldn’t be afraid of her weakness, but rather of the illusion of her own strength, which might have prevented her from receiving the blessing.
You see, this is where the religious leaders of the Jews went wrong. They had their own agenda – to get rid of this Christian sect. They felt strong and confident. But their agenda was not from God. It took Gamaliel – a highly respected university professor of theology – to tell the elders that all their efforts would fail if God was with the Christians, and not with the Jews, because they would find themselves fighting against God.
And now look at the very different approach of the apostles. They had abandoned themselves, surrendered to God’s leading – and He was giving them plenty of opportunities to tell people that Jesus is the promised Saviour. Of course, they didn’t have an easy time – because God also allowed them to be flogged, whipped, by the authorities, which must have been a very painful experience. But these Christians did not pursue their own agenda. They allowed God to take over their lives completely, though they had no idea where this would lead them.
Brothers and Sisters, what are you fixed on right now? A visa you cannot get? A sickness you can’t shake off? Work which you can’t find? Something you can’t cope with? Leave it to God. Surrender your self. If it’s from God, you’ll get it. If it’s not from God, you’ll fail. Ask Him for help with your problem, and then let Him lead you. Even in your prayers, you might be trying to force through your will, instead of letting Him resolve the problem for you. The point of life isn’t to do nothing. The point of life is to lay aside your own self, your ego – even if the thing you want seems to be a godly thing. Not everything that is good is for us. If you run into a brick wall, let God push it over or lead you round it – don’t try to do it yourself.
Dear Friends, the whole of the Bible is about surrender to God. The Old Testament is about people discovering, again and again, that when they submit to God, instead of pushing ahead with their own ideas of what’s reasonable and common sensible, then they achieve what the Lord wants them to achieve. The stories of Moses, or Naaman the leper, or Jonah are just three examples. And in the New Testament, the whole life of Jesus was about surrender – self-surrender. So was the life of the apostles.
Today’s psalm assures us we’ve nothing to worry about if we surrender to God – because God knows everything about us, and He knows exactly when we will die. He knows what His plans for us are. So put your problem aside right now, trust the Lord, and let it be. Amen.
This Sunday’s readings
26 July is the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost.
Verse for the week: "All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel" (Acts 6, 15).
Psalm: 128. New Testament reading: Acts 6, 1-15. Gospel reading: Matthew 13, 44-52.
Food of the Spirit
Dying To Self
All failures of the Christian life are due to this one thing – that we seek to do in our own strength what God Himself by His Spirit alone can work in us. Let us weigh well William Law’s words: to die to self, to come from under its power, cannot be done by any active resistance we can make to it by the power of nature. To exchange the life of self for the life of God, to come out of the darkness of self into the light of God, is a work we cannot do. It is the man who ceases from self, who sees and accepts in the death of Christ his death to self, and his entrance into the life of God as a gift from heaven – on whom the light of God will rise….
What is the true way of dying to self? How can a man be led to understand and desire and find what the death to sin and self in Christ gives him? It is the way of patience, meekness, humility, resignation to God. Dying to self, turning away and ceasing from it, refusing to be led by it, can be effected in no other way but just bowing low before God in the confession of sin and impotence and the patient waiting for His work in us….
Let us learn, whatever our experience be of the power of self, in its sin or its impotence to conquer sin, in its open outbreaks or its hidden power, to see that here is the only cure – at once gently to sink down before God in a humility that confesses its nothingness; in the meekness that bows under and quietly bears the shame we feel; in a patience that waits God’s sure deliverance; and a resignation that gives itself entirely to His will, and power and mercy. As easily and immediately as sinners, by turning to Christ, were saved by Him, you will, by the turning of your heart to them, receive the blessed rest they bring.
The heart cannot find God but by its own faith in Him and expectation of all from Him. All our salvation is in the heart. Scripture speaks awful things of the natural, evil heart, and it says wonderful and blessed things of the regenerate heart. It is when the penitent sinner listens to Scripture that he learns to know what he never thought or saw, how evil his heart is. If the believer would listen to and believe what Scripture says of the new heart His Father has given him, with the Holy Spirit sent into it to dwell in it and to keep it and fit it for everything it has to do, he would understand and rejoice in this word: our heart is the way to God, because there and there alone, but there most surely, the effectual operation of the Holy Trinity is carried on.
A meek, humble, patient resignation to God, as a state of heart, is the one condition of really, truly finding and appropriating Christ, is the one only way of dying to self, is the one only way to God Himself, and the experience of His presence and power in the soul.
Please be informed that your Data Administrator within the meaning of Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (EU) 2016/679 of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation, ”GDPR”), is Warsaw International Church with its registered office in Warsaw (00-789) at ul. Willowa 1.