WIC Weekly June 21st 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 welcome Christopher Stone as a new formal member of Warsaw International Church.
This Sunday, we will be celebrating Fathers’/Husband’s/Men’s Day in a special service conducted by our menfolk. Join us for the live online worship on Zoom at 11 am CET by clicking:
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.
Prayer is requested for one of our Ukrainian sisters, who has to return to Ukraine in connection with a visa problem. She has asked us to pray for her, that the Lord will keep her safe in Ukraine and that she may come back to Poland as soon as possible.
Poland is gearing up to elect a new president on 28 June (the elections were initially due to be held on 10 May, but had to be postponed because of the pandemic). Please pray that politicians may stop chasing substitute topics and instead discuss how to resolve the burning issues affecting Poles: the health situation and the economic crisis.
Last Sunday’s sermon
Readings: Genesis 18, 1-15; Romans 5, 1-8; Matthew 9, 35 – 10, 8.
As we look at the two main stories in today’s readings – the son promised to Sarah, aged 90, and Jesus’ sending out of the 12 disciples to cast out evil spirits and heal people of all diseases – I wouldn’t be surprised if some people were thinking: “Nice stories, but totally improbable – they just don’t happen in real life”. Many people regard Christianity itself as just another fairy-tale religion, based on people and events which they think didn’t take place at all.
But let’s not be so quick to dismiss Bible stories as untrue. That story about a son being promised to Sarah when she was beyond child-bearing age is not so far-fetched, if we consider her age might have been exaggerated in the story. I read about a woman in her mid-sixties giving birth, a couple of years ago. And I can speak from my own family history. My parents were already older when they got married. When she was in her forties, my mother had six miscarriages. She and my father stopped thinking about having children at all. Then, when she was 45, my mother started to feel strange, and went to see a doctor. And the doctor told her: “You’re several months pregnant!”. You know what my mother did? She laughed, just like Sarah. She didn’t believe the doctor. So when I was born, the miracle for her must have been just as great as for Sarah when she gave birth to Isaac. So for me, Sarah’s age in the story is irrelevant.
And of course, that passage from Genesis is a gentle reminder not to laugh in disbelief when we hear incredible news. We fall into sin when we forget that God can do the impossible – because we show our lack of faith in Him. Nothing is too hard for the Lord. Every day in the world, He turns dead souls into living souls by giving them New Birth – they become born again. Also, miraculous healings of sick people and exorcisms of evil spirits do happen – much more often than we think. Even in our church, several people have given their testimonies about how they were miraculously healed when they called on the Lord.
These things happen for a purpose: to spread the word about what God can do. The Gospel reading tells us that Jesus had compassion on the crowds around Him, because they were helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. And so it is today: most people are utterly, totally lost. They don’t know where they came from, they don’t know where they’re going, and they don’t know why they’re alive. Workers must be sent out to talk to them, to pray for them, to tell them about Jesus Christ, inviting them to put their trust in Him. We are such workers - the harvest is great and the workers are few.
Jesus equipped His disciples with Holy Spirit power to perform healing miracles and exorcisms. Were they successful? Yes, because when He later sent out 70 more of His disciples, they came back amazed and overjoyed, saying: “Lord, even the demons obey us when we use Your name!” What seemed impossible had become possible for them, simply because God had specially equipped them to perform such tasks. When God wants us to do something for Him, He also equips us to do it.
Now, this might surprise you, but we Christians are already equipped to do the things those disciples did! Because if we are disciples of Jesus, if we have a real faith in Him, then we too have been born again and the Holy Spirit is within us – we have a new nature, and our sinful self is dead. So all the blessings that Jesus achieved for us on the cross are now ours – including the power to lead others to Christ and to make them well, through our prayers, through our words, through our example. The power is not ours – it’s Christ’s. He does the healing and the saving. But as Christians, we have it – the first Christians had it, and they were able to release it – but we need to believe more fully in all the blessings we have as a result of Jesus conquering the power of sin on the cross. It’s like we Christians are walking around with heaven within us – but how many of us are actually aware of this? There’s a tremendous feeling of release when we finally realize we can just lie back in the arms of our Saviour, and rest in His great power.
Do you perhaps remember what Jesus said to those 70 disciples when they expressed their joy at being able to drive out evil spirits and heal the sick? He said: “Don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are written in heaven!” In other words, rejoice in what God has already done for you. Don’t concentrate on your deeds – concentrate on the fact that Christ paid your ransom for you and set you free from the power of sin and unbelief. Sarah gave birth in her old age because it was God’s plan. We are Christians because it is God’s plan. And we have access to God’s power because it is God’s plan.
Today’s reading from Romans states that “we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has already done for us”. As Christians, we keep asking God to give us things – because we forget that He has already given us everything we need. So we keep asking Him for forgiveness, instead of thanking Him for having already forgiven us, on the cross! Or we keep asking Him to save us and have mercy on us, when He has already saved us and had mercy on us! We do not even begin to realize what Jesus has already done for us. Why not? Because we don’t have the faith we should be having. Faith is the key that unlocks the blessings that Christ gave to each person, on the cross. As it says in Romans: “Because of our faith, we joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory”.
Do you remember the parable of the ten lepers healed of their leprosy by Jesus? Only one came back to Him to say thank you – the others just vanished into thin air. Do you remember what Jesus said to that one leper who came back to thank Him?: “Your faith has made you well”. That parable is about much more than just gratefulness. Jesus is saying that a person without faith does not receive the benefits of being healed. Jesus died to heal people – but they don’t get the benefits, if they have no faith.
And yet faith itself comes from God’s grace, so that, as Christians, we should constantly be praying for more faith to understand and accept all that Jesus has done – and what He has done for us is all written down in the Scriptures. As believers, we must read about those blessings, and make them our own. I’m currently reading through Romans, from the perspective of God’s blessings that He has given to His people – and they are very many!
Paul says, in Romans, we should be rejoicing when we run into problems and trials, because they help us develop endurance. How many of us rejoice in our problems and trials? Paul did! But our reality is more likely to be one of depression, defeat, despair, when a problem or trial comes along. Life seems full of obstacles at every turn of the way. We fail to realize that it shouldn’t have to be like that. All because we don’t believe what the Scriptures tell us that Jesus really did for us.
Brothers and Sisters, let’s do something about this situation. Take your problem, whatever it is – bad health, a setback, a problem with sin, a worry or a fear. Take it and say to yourself: “God knows about this. God is testing my endurance and my faith”. And then, claim the blessings resulting from Jesus’s finished work on the cross. Claim your healing: believe that you are healed. Claim your forgiveness: believe that you are forgiven. Claim your salvation: believe that you are saved. Claim your adoption: believe that you are a child of God, and that you therefore do not have to fear anything”. Why not? Because Jesus has picked you up, lifted you, and placed you safely before the throne of God Himself. So don’t be defeated: live in faith, and live triumphantly. Amen.
This Sunday’s readings
21 June is the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost, with Father’s Day celebrated in Poland on 23 June.
Verse for the week: "As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him” (Psalm 103,13).
Psalm: 103, 1-14.
1st New Testament reading: Ephesians 5, 25-29.
2nd New Testament reading: Ephesians 6, 4.
Gospel reading: Matthew 7, 9-11.
Food of the Spirit
The Ministry of the Interior
“But ye are... a royal priesthood." 1 Peter 2:9
By what right do we become "a royal priesthood"? By the right of the Atonement. Are we prepared to leave ourselves resolutely alone and to launch out into the priestly work of prayer? The continual grubbing on the inside to see whether we are what we ought to be generates a self-centred, morbid type of Christianity, not the robust, simple life of the child of God. Until we get into a right relationship to God, it is a case for hanging on by the skin of our teeth, and we say, "What a wonderful victory I have got!" There is nothing indicative of the miracle of Redemption in that. Launch out in reckless belief that the Redemption is complete, and then bother no more about yourself, but begin to do as Jesus Christ said—pray for the friend who comes to you at midnight, pray for the saints, pray for all men. Pray on the realization that you are only perfect in Christ Jesus, not on this plea—"O Lord, I have done my best, please hear me."
How long is it going to take God to free us from the morbid habit of thinking about ourselves? We must get sick unto death of ourselves, until there is no longer any surprise at anything God can tell us about ourselves. We cannot touch the depths of meanness in ourselves. There is only one place where we are right, and that is in Christ Jesus. When we are there, then we have to pour out for all we are worth in this ministry of the interior.
“Whatsoever ye shalt ask in My name, that will I do.” John 14:13
Am I fulfilling this ministry of the interior? There is no snare or any danger of infatuation or pride in intercession, it is a hidden ministry that brings forth fruit whereby the Father is glorified. Am I allowing my spiritual life to be frittered away, or am I bringing it all to one centre - the Atonement of my Lord? Is Jesus Christ more and more dominating every interest in my life? If the one central point, the great exerting influence in my life is the Atonement of the Lord, then every phase of my life will bear fruit for Him.
I must take time to realize what is the central point of power. Do I give one minute out of sixty to concentrate upon it? "If ye abide in Me" - continue to act and think and work from that centre - "ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." Am I abiding? Am I taking time to abide? What is the greatest factor of power in my life? Is it work, service, sacrifice for others, or trying to work for God?
The thing that ought to exert the greatest power in my life is the Atonement of the Lord. It is not the thing we spend the most time on that moulds us most; the greatest element is the thing that exerts most power. We must determine to be limited and concentrate our affinities.
"Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do." The disciple who abides in Jesus is the will of God, and his apparently free choices are God's foreordained decrees. Mysterious? Logically contradictory and absurd? Yes, but a glorious truth to a saint.
Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)
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