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WIC Weekly July 5th 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
Email: pastor@wic.org.pl
Website: http://www.wic.org.pl

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Our news

At last Sunday’s online service, we were pleased to welcome Christopher Stone as a formal member of Warsaw International Church.

We shall continue to meet for worship solely online throughout July. This coming Sunday’s worship will once again include celebrating Holy Communion, in which you are encouraged to take part if you believe that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Saviour who died to save you from your sins. Please prepare some bread and red wine, grape juice or water before the service to give to yourself and to anyone who will be celebrating Communion with you.

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

Prayer requests

Wouter, a young Dutch Christian we are praying for, is feeling better (less pressure and pain in his head) after an operation to remove a brain tumour. He now needs to regain his strength, before commencing therapy to kill off two smaller tumours inside his brain. His parents ask us to pray for the complete destruction of any malignant cells by a mighty intervention from our heavenly Father.

Your prayers are also requested for a Sister suffering from severe pain in her liver, as a result of cysts. May the Lord heal her completely of this problem!

Please pray for our church, that our worshippers may continue to value their worship with us online and be spiritually nourished.

Last Sunday’s sermon

Readings: Genesis 22, 1-18; Romans 10, 1-4; Hebrews 9, 26.

What a lot of pain there is in today’s readings! Abraham has to make a decision to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac – what can be more painful than that? Or Paul’s deepest desire to see his fellow Israelites saved – when all around, they are ignoring him, laughing at him, and even trying to kill him? How much pain that must have caused him! And what about the pain of Jesus, who offered up His own life to save a world which had totally rejected Him – what human pain can compare with that? And of course, each one of us has our own pain – the pain of broken relationships; of unfulfilled plans and hopes; of illnesses; of misunderstandings; or of being pushed around by others. It’s a good time to ask ourselves: what hurts us the most? Indeed, sometimes life seems to be a school of pain – we have to learn to live with it, to overcome it, to become immune to it. And what should we be asking God for? To stop our pain?

In the story of Abraham and Isaac, the Bible makes it clear that God is testing Abraham – though Abraham doesn’t know it. It makes you wonder how many times God tests us, and we don’t realize it? Abraham clearly heard God’s voice – we don’t know how. Maybe it was simply an overwhelming conviction he had. But the amazing thing is he didn’t hesitate for even a moment. He acted almost like a killer, paid to do a job! I’m sure many people would say he was cold-hearted and should have been more loving and merciful. And yet God says: “Take your only son, whom you love.” Abraham loved his son dearly. But his desire to obey God was even greater than his love for Isaac.

That innocent little boy asks a question which brings tears to our eyes: “Where’s the lamb for the burnt offering?” You are the lamb. You are the lamb. In real life, we believers are both Abraham and Isaac. We are Abraham, because our faith too is tested all the time. And we are Isaac, because at any time we can be placed on God’s altar and sacrificed. We don’t have a choice – neither in being tested, nor in being sacrificed. That is the pain in our life.

What hurts you the most? For Paul, his pain was deeper than any physical pain. He had his thorn in the flesh (probably some physical illness), which he repeatedly asked God to take away, but God didn’t, saying “My grace is sufficient for you”. Those words make us think, when we experience pain. God doesn’t always remove the pain, when we ask Him to. But He promises that we will have His grace, and that will be enough for us. And that’s what we should be asking God for.

But deeper than Paul’s physical pain was his constant mental pain from seeing his fellow Jews, whom he dearly loved, constantly rejecting Jesus, constantly refusing to obey God and change their way of thinking. Their ideas were leading them to try to save themselves, following their own righteousness, instead of submitting to the righteousness established by God – namely, Jesus Christ, the righteousness of God. At our Thursday Bible study, we saw how dangerous wrong ideas can be. Wrong ideas can lead to hell, instead of to heaven.

What hurts you the most? For Jesus, His spiritual pain was also deeper than any physical pain. He too was tested – not just in the desert, by Satan, but all through His life, which was one great test of total obedience to His Father in heaven. And He too was sacrificed – not just any old lamb, but the Lamb of God Himself – on the cross, for our sins, the sins of the world. We can have no insight into how terrible that spiritual pain must have been for Jesus, for God, to take the evil of the world upon Himself.

What hurts you the most? Is it people who have done you wrong, perhaps? Maybe people you have trusted, and even loved. My greatest pain was not a physical pain, but the pain of breaking up with my first wife, a very long time ago; and then losing my two young daughters, who went to live with their mother who did everything to prevent me having access to them; and then later, in a sense, losing my six granddaughters, who live a thousand miles away and are all Muslims, like my younger daughter – the contact we should be having just isn’t there anymore, for various reasons. I suppose that’s the same pain that Paul felt towards his fellow Jews: the pain caused by people you love, who regard the good things you want for them as just worthless rubbish. As Paul says, the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. And that’s painful, when those who are perishing are the ones you love.

So what hurts you the most? Perhaps what hurts us the most is not any hurtful words spoken by those we love (though that can cause great pain). Nor perhaps even the things they do (though that can cause great pain too) – but rather our realization that, as the years go by, even though we pray for them, many of those we love do not change spiritually. The wall remains between them and us; the veil is not lifted from their faces. That’s what’s really painful, because we see they are heading for destruction. Again, speaking personally, I think of my dear mother, who spent all her married life praying for my unconverted father. There was no apparent success, and in her last years she grew bitter, because she felt her prayers hadn’t been answered. That’s really painful.

God has put us in this world, to experience such situations and to be with such people, and to love them. God tests us; and He sacrifices us. We are both Abraham and Isaac. When people we love reject the Good News about Jesus, we feel pain. We feel sacrificed by God.

What hurts you the most? The Bible says we have been crucified with Christ. Our “self” has been nailed to the cross, and we should therefore also regard ourselves as dead to self. But that’s painful! What can be more painful than to have your very self put to death! And we can’t put ourselves to death. God has to do it for us, and He has been doing this ever since Christ died for us. To save us, God has to kill off our self-centredness, our very self, bit by bit, pulling out all the self-will in us by the roots. That’s how He makes us fit for heaven. Maybe that’s what hurts us the most – the sacrifice of our own self. Isaac was, in a sense, a sacrifice of Abraham’s own self, for his son. Jesus too sacrificed His own self, for us.

Brothers and sisters, we may indeed feel that God is sometimes stabbing us in the chest, because of the suffering we have to endure. Christ suffered for us, and it’s our destiny to participate in His suffering. So what should we ask God for? You can try asking Him to stop your pain. But it’s much, much better to ask Him to protect you while you are going through your pain, so that while He is testing you He will also strengthen you with His grace. Let the Lord do His work in you. He knows what He wants. He knows what He wants of you. Talk to Him in prayer; trust in Him; and submit to Him. Don’t be bitter when your prayers seem unanswered. Because however He answers them, He will still lead you safely through all your trials and sorrows. Amen.

This Sunday’s readings

5 July is the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost.

Verse for the week: [Jesus said:] "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11, 28).

Psalm: 106, 1-12. 47-48. Old Testament reading: Amos 6, 1-7. New Testament reading: Romans 7, 15-25a. Gospel reading: Matthew 11, 27-30.

Food of the Spirit

"Nothing burns in hell except self-will”.

Theologia Germanica (author anonymous, late 14th century)

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Warsaw International Church
Miodowa 21B, 00-246 Warszawa, Poland | +48 601 331 032 | pastor@wic.org.pl
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