WIC Weekly March 21st 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 we welcomed Steven from the UK to WIC's online service. Steven is currently based in Warsaw.
Sister Priyanka, for whom many people had been praying to get a job, has now found work! This means she won't have to return to India where she could face persecution. Thank you for all your prayers.
Apart from online services, WIC currently offers online Sunday School, Bible study, prayer meetings and a men's fellowship group. We thank the Lord for being able to continue meeting in such diverse ways, while looking forward to resuming in-person worship later on in Spring.
Our Pakistani family friends are still facing hardship in Azerbaijan after fleeing persecution in their home country. We are trying to get them relocated in North America and welcome your ongoing prayers and financial contributions (please contact me at email@example.com) if you wish to make a donation to the family).
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
Please pray for a Christian brother going through a divorce who is suffering much pain and grief. Pray that the Lord will constantly comfort and protect him, and strengthen his faith.
We pray that Brother Bogosi's family may arrive safely in Warsaw this week from South Africa!
Please continue to pray for Brother Kenz, Sister Kelly, and their three children Angelica, Paris and Jasper, who are trying to sort out their residence and day-to-day living problems in Azerbaijan after fleeing torture in Pakistan. Pray that a church in another country may step forward to sponsor them, so that they can leave Muslim Azerbaijan and start a new life with work prospects.
Vahid in London also welcomes our continuing prayers in his own wait to be granted asylum in the UK following persecution in Iran.
Please pray for conversions and revival in Warsaw International Church and also globally. Pray also for unsaved spouses and partners of many of our own worshippers, that the veil covering them spiritually may be removed, by God's grace.
Last Sunday's sermon was preached by Pastor Harry.
In these weeks leading up to Easter, I want to focus, in my sermons, on the final events of Jesus’ life on earth. All these events are very important, and each one of them deserves a sermon all by itself. So today I want to look at Jesus’ intense praying activity just before He was arrested.
In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, we are told that Jesus went with His disciples to a certain place, in order to pray. Matthew and Mark say the place was called Gethsemane, while Luke just says it was on the Mount of Olives, just outside Jerusalem. Jesus was praying intensely. He was overwhelmed with sorrow at what He knew was going to happen – and He even asked His Father in heaven to remove the “cup” of suffering from Him, if only it was the Father’s will. The setting must have been quiet, and yet it was so dramatic. And whenever Jesus interrupted His praying and went over to His disciples, He saw that they were falling asleep, because they couldn’t keep up praying with Him for so long.
But John’s Gospel is different. John has Jesus praying for a whole chapter – chapter 17 – just before He is betrayed by Judas and arrested. John doesn’t tell us the place where Jesus prayed. Nor does he tell us that Jesus wanted to be rid of His cup of suffering. Instead, he tells us that Jesus prayed for Himself, then for His disciples, and finally for all believers – and he gives us the actual words. These prayers are remarkable, and I want to look at them today.
Firstly, Jesus prays to the Father for Himself. He asks the Father to bring glory to Him, so that Jesus can bring glory to the Father. In fact, He says He has already brought glory to the Father, by being totally obedient to His Father’s will. And He wants the Father to now give Him back the glory He had with the Father before the world was created.
Can we say that was Jesus glorified during His time on earth? No. For most of His short life, He was ignored. And then, when He finally revealed Himself as the Messiah – the promised Saviour – He was adored and admired by some people, but criticized, attacked, despised and hated by others – and this would continue right up to His death. All that time, Jesus brought glory to His Father, by submitting to the Father’s will. But now He is asking the Father to glorify Him, right at the end of His life, because He has been given authority over all people. That’s the first point. Jesus has authority over all people: the believers, and the unbelievers; the good, and the bad; those who have heard of Him, and those who haven’t. All people in this world are under Jesus’ authority. That’s awesome.
Secondly, we are told why Jesus has been given this authority: that He might give eternal life. Jesus gives eternal life. Many Christians don’t realize that! Whether we have eternal life depends on whether we have a relationship with Jesus. How many people who call themselves Christians do not have such a personal relationship! Jesus gives us eternal life through our relationship with Him.
Thirdly, who does Jesus give eternal life to? The answer in John 17 is that He gives eternal life to those whom the Father has given to Him – though we don’t know exactly who this is (people don’t have it written on their faces). But as I said, if we have a living relationship with Jesus, we can be sure that we have eternal life.
And fourthly, what is that eternal life? Our reading tells us that eternal life is knowing the Father, through knowing Jesus. Knowing is deeper than believing! It’s deeper than just saying: “I believe there is a God”, or “I believe that Jesus existed”. Those who are given eternal life are also given knowledge of God and Christ. When we come into a relationship with Jesus, we get to know Him and God at the same time!
I remember watching on television the last interview given by the great Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung. He was asked the question: “Do you believe in God?” Jung thought for a moment – he seemed at a loss for words. And then he said: “I don’t believe in God – I know God”. Isn’t that true of us believers? I think most of us would say that, by God’s grace, we have come to some kind of a knowledge of God, through Jesus.
In Jesus’ second prayer, He prays for His disciples. The Father gave them to Jesus – and Jesus has revealed the Father to them. And they – like we – obey the Father’s word – willingly! They believe and obey, because they belong to God. So Jesus now prays for their protection, because they will remain in the world after He leaves it. And He also prays that they may remain “one”: in other words, united in their faith in Him.
How are the disciples to be protected? Jesus says that while He was with them, He protected them by the “name” that the Father gave Him. One Bible translation refers to this “name” simply as “power”. So Jesus protected His disciples by His power, which He is now asking the Father to continue to give them, as protection. And we too receive that protection – that power – as followers of Jesus: even though we may not always be aware of it.
In His prayer, Jesus also says that the world hates His disciples – precisely because any disciples of Jesus – past or present – no longer belong to the world, with its unbelief and ungodliness. There’s an invisible wall between all followers of Jesus and the people of the world. It doesn’t mean that they can’t be nice to each other on a social level – they can. But there’s no deeper, spiritual communication. Disciples of Jesus and people of the world are moving in two separate directions – and towards two separate destinies. Disciples of Jesus are moving ever closer to God – but people of the world are moving ever further away from God. Such people become unprotected – they don’t have God’s power; but disciples of Jesus always have the power of God’s protection. And Jesus says they are sanctified, made holy, by the truth of God’s word. It is God’s word, the Bible, that sanctifies us, makes us holy, as we respond to it.
And so, lastly, Jesus prays for all those who will follow Him. Again, He prays for oneness – for me and you to be “one” in our devotion to Him. He prays that you and I may live in Him, so that the people of the world may believe in Jesus. That’s a message of hope for unbelievers – for the people of the world. Because if we believers live in Christ, with Christ’s love, then we can be an example to those who don’t yet believe – and our example can motivate them to want a relationship with Jesus too. And of course we can tell them about our faith in Him, which has changed our own life so much.
Christoph Probst was a young activist who secretly distributed leaflets speaking out against Hitler’s regime in Nazi Germany. He was caught, and a few days later sentenced to death and executed the same day, without a trial. On that last day, he was baptized by a priest, and left a note which said: “I had no idea that dying was so easy. I have absolutely no feelings of hate. Never forget that life is nothing else than a growing in love, and a preparation for eternity”. Life is nothing else than a growing in love, and a preparation for eternity. Beautiful words. In his last hours, that young man had crossed over to the Christian faith, and suddenly realized that he already had eternal life – and that a person’s life is really about nothing more than growing in love. As we come to Jesus, and as we grow closer to Jesus, we also grow deeper in love.
Brothers and Sisters, I believe that Jesus died for everybody. Hebrews 2 verse 9 tells us that Jesus “suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone”. When we cross over to Jesus, we see and know what we didn’t see and know before. And all we then want to know is: more and more about Jesus. He becomes the whole of our faith. We want to be healed by Him. So my prayer is that each of us here may cross over to Jesus – to a personal relationship with Him; and therefore to eternal life. And that we may grow in that relationship. Jesus is our bridge to eternal life! Let’s make sure we all get onto that bridge and cross over to safety. Amen.
Readings for 21 March
Verse for the week: "Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God" (1 John 4, 7).
Responsive reading: Psalm 91. Gospel reading: John 18, 1-40.
Food of the Spirit
Prayer is the number one purpose and use of God’s Word. The Bible has many uses, but prayer is its number one design, and its highest. The Bible is the real and great prayer book.
An old Methodist brother said to me early in my ministry, "Young man, learn to plead the promises of God."
That taught me the real secret of intercession. I have prayed differently ever since. Rather than lift my longings, desires and aspirations to God in prayer, I learned to remind God of His own promises.
This gave me faith. Is not this the very heart of being the Lord’s "remembrancers" – to remind God of His own Word? (Isa. 62:6). Prayer should take the size and shape of God’s promises. Here also, prayer has its origin in God.
We see this number one use of God’s Word also in the Book of Acts. In chapter four, they have a prayer meeting in which the pleading of God’s Word gives body and power to their praying. The ancient Scriptures they plead shape up to a point – the point of a sword – enabling them to prevail. They have now learned what could be called the prayer-method of getting things done. The rest of chapter four and five follow as a creation of that prayer meeting.
All through the Book of Acts the Christians are either on their knees or on their feet. Knee-action and foot-work, in that order. Like Jesus and with Him, they pray their next steps and chapters into being. All is by intercession. All stands in the nature of answered prayer. There is a high Upper Room level all the way through those twenty-eight chapters.
The level of prayer is the level of power. It is one and the same level. To rob their power, the devil need only break up their praying. Power and prayer always go together; but of the two, prayer is number one. Intercession is God’s own mighty method.
Right here let us beware of the delusion, "God will do it anyway, whether I pray as I should or not." Nothing is closer to reason at times; and nothing is further from Scripture.
God does everything by intercession – His own for us, and in us – in His redemptive plan. God’s mighty works and wonders are all by prayer.
God will not do apart from intercession what He has promised to do by it, and we must diligently search the Scriptures to find out what that is. Look where we will in the Bible, and the answer is the same: prayer is not everything, but with God everything is by prayer (Phil. 4:6).
The prayer meeting is the very form that Christ gives to the church He builds. His church is already quite complete as to form in Acts 1:14. There we see for the first time what Jesus really had in mind when He said He would build His church.
Prayer is not by any means all; but it is number one. And how will we get number two, or three, until we have number one? Why don’t we have a church and churches like in the Book of Acts? We need to build, with Christ, at chapter one first, the Upper Room. (...)
Too often we think of the prayer meeting as a little flock or as something more or less separate from the main stream of the church’s life and activity. "Sure, we must pray...have a prayer meeting, etc.," but we think of it as a prefix or suffix to an otherwise planned and busy program. In the New Testament, prayer is the real ministry of the church.
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