WIC Weekly March 28th 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 were pleased to welcome Naomie from South Africa (but based in Warsaw) to our online service.
We were also thrilled to know that Brother Bogosi's wife Tumi and sons Kanyo, Baatile and Thato are now together with Bogosi in Warsaw.
Prayers of intercession at last Sunday's service were conducted by John and Stephen, sons of Brother Sam and Sister Preethi.
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".
Thank you for your continuing support and prayers for our church and for one another.
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
Your prayers are requested for healing for Sister Emilia's friend Iwona, who is again suffering from breathing problems.
Emilia would also welcome your prayers that her son Samuel may find a new school where he will not be bullied or traumatized by other children.
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.
Brothers and Sisters, in our readings from John chapter 18, the end of Jesus’ life on earth is approaching. He’s fulfilling His Father’s Will down to the very last detail – and this will lead to Jesus sacrificing Himself on the cross, so that you and I can be saved. But from a human point of view, the events leading up to His death are all unbelievably tragic, and they deal with one human failing after another.
Firstly, Jesus is betrayed by one of His own followers, and arrested. In an earlier chapter of John, we are told that Satan entered into Judas the moment that Jesus dipped a piece of bread into the Passover food that the disciples were eating, and gave it to Judas. Judas immediately went out to betray Jesus to the Jewish authorities, and the soldiers came to arrest Him. This was meant to happen – but it’s a human tragedy of betrayal.
Secondly, after Jesus is taken away, Peter denies three times that He is one of His disciples – because Peter was simply afraid that he too would be arrested and killed. This too was meant to happen – but it’s an all too human tragedy of weakness, fear and cowardice.
And thirdly, the Jewish authorities lead Jesus to Pontius Pilate the Roman governor, because they want the Romans to put Jesus to death. The Jews have no right to execute a person, but that’s very convenient for them, because they want someone else to kill Jesus. Pilate, on the other hand, wants the Jews to sort out this problem of Jesus on their own. This again was all meant to happen – but it’s a human tragedy of hatred, and hypocrisy, and inconvenience.
You actually get the impression that everybody’s just a bit scared of Jesus. Notice what happens when He’s about to be arrested: as soon as He identifies Himself, the soldiers and Jewish leaders draw back and fall to the ground! Why do you think they reacted like that? Was it His boldness, or His power and authority, perhaps? Maybe – but it was also because of what He said. According to our translation, He said: “I am he”. But really He didn’t say that! When He asks them: “Who do you want?”, and they reply “Jesus of Nazareth”, what He actually said – twice – was: “I AM”! He was identifying Himself with God, who revealed Himself to Moses with the words: “I AM WHO I AM”. The Jews at least would have realized this immediately – and they were worried.
You know, there are certain things that don’t fit into the normal pattern of human reason. One is the power of God – for example, when people pray for a cancer patient to be healed, and the cancer just disappears. According to medicine, that’s not possible – but such things happen. But another thing beyond human reason is the power of evil. I was at my cardiologist’s the other day – he doesn’t believe in God, but he enjoys talking about religion! He was saying how, as an atheist, he believes in universal human values like goodness and kindness. I was just about to ask him how he explains the problem of evil, but then a nurse came in, and he got embarrassed and changed the subject!
How can anyone explain the problem of the power of evil? I was reading the other day about how terrorists in northern Mozambique are not only murdering innocent people, but also beheading children! How can anyone explain such evil, except to say there’s a greater power behind our human failings – the power of Satan. Satan was behind all the events leading to Jesus’ crucifixion – although as I said, this was all part of the Father’s plan for Jesus. The power of God is greater than the power of Satan. Satan only rules over people as long as God permits it. When Jesus gave the bread to Judas, God simply withdrew His protection from Judas, and Satan took possession of him straight away. Anybody left unprotected by God will immediately come under the influence of the Evil One. If we have unbelieving friends and partners who are good and kind, then it is by the grace of God who protects them – even if they don’t believe in Him. The grace of God is with unbelievers too!
Is there a difference between Judas’ act of betrayal, and Peter’s act of denial of Jesus? What do you think? I think the difference is fundamental: Judas has no faith in Jesus; only in himself. But Peter loves Jesus, even though he is such a coward. Remember the verse I read at the beginning of the service: “Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God”. Those words describe Peter.
But you might say: “Perhaps Judas loved somebody too? Maybe he had a wife and children, or friends? Doesn’t that mean he could have been ‘born of God’ too?” Well, the answer is again a question of language. We have the one word “love” in English – but Greek has different words for different kinds of love. Any affectionate love that Judas would have had – or my cardiologist, for that matter – would be called “philia” in Greek: love of family, love of friends – a great human virtue. But it’s not love of God.
You see, in the New Testament a special word is used to denote the love that is given when a person is “born again” and comes to a knowledge of God: that Greek word is “agape”. “Agape” is the love of God for us, and also our love for God, when we are “born again”, and our love especially for our brothers and sisters in Christ – our true family. It’s a spiritual love. It’s the love that Peter had for Jesus – even though he denied Him. And it’s the love that we have for our Lord – despite all our weaknesses.
So, words are important, aren’t they?: “ego eimi” – “I AM”. And “agape” – divine, spiritual love. They teach us that Jesus Christ was God who came to earth. You don’t come to that faith by reason – you come to it only by a revelation from God. That’s how it was in my case – my human reason could never convince me that Jesus is God. But by God’s revelation my spiritual eyes were opened, and I suddenly saw Jesus in a completely different light: as the great I AM. And the word “agape” teaches us that Peter truly loved the Lord – whereas Judas didn’t have “agape”. In fact, in today’s chapter, no one loved the Lord except Peter – who must have felt simply awful when he heard the rooster crowing after he had denied Jesus a third time.
Dear Friends in Christ, Peter is us. He’s exactly who we are, as disciples of Jesus. We love God so much. And yet we stick a sword into Him every time we deny Him, every time we fail to stand up for Him, every time we give way to sin and self-centredness. It’s painful to know that Peter, and you, and I, have all done our bit to put Jesus on the cross.
But you know what? God turns evil into good! He turns betrayal and crucifixion into His plan to save us! He turns our denial and our sins into His plan to save us – by showing us how weak we are, how easily we fall. Because when we believers clearly see our weaknesses and sins, then we are humbled, and we know it’s only by the grace of God that we are saved! And then we turn back to God again, in grateful “agape” love, and we find new protection, even against the “deadly pestilence that destroys at midday”, as today’s psalm says. Even though the Covid situation is so bad in Poland right now, “the Lord will command His angels concerning us, to guard us in all our ways”, and will be with us in all trouble, and will deliver us, and will show us His salvation. Let’s claim those promises, and hold God fast to His word. And let’s not give up praying for whatever we need, until we get the blessing! Amen.
Readings for 28 March
Verse for the week: "He [Jesus] died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again" (2 Corinthians 5, 15).
Responsive reading: Psalm 22, 1-7; 16-18; 23-24; 30-31. Gospel reading: John 19, 1-30.
Food of the Spirit
If You Ask - I Will Do
In China, in the spring of 1903, I held my first Bible class for women inquirers. Having spent five years in the study of the language and in training in Christian work, I was delighted to find myself in a position where it was possible to bring the blessed Gospel of the grace of God to my Chinese sisters.
In the little village of Dung Kia An, hid away in the heart of the beautiful Lao mountains, the Chinese pastor had gathered together twenty-five women, that I might instruct them. In a ten-day school session I was to give them a saving knowledge of the Truth. I assumed that they all could read, at least a little, and I had bright hopes of what I should be able to do for them.
But as I talked personally with the members of my class, those bright hopes died. One informed me that I could teach her nothing, her heart and mind were as hard and dark as mahogany wood. The next one said that she knew nothing; that she had never learned a thing in her life; and anyway how could she be expected to study with her children to care for, one a baby in her arms and the other a little one of three at her side? Following her came a woman of more than sixty years. As she talked to me, she wiped her eyes with her sleeve. “It was very nice of you to come to teach us, Miss Vaughan, but I can’t learn. I am too old and my eyes are ruined. I can see nothing clearly. How can I see to read books?”
All of the members of the class were in practically the same condition. They had never been to school, they did not know one character of their language and they were sure they could not learn since from childhood they were told they could not. Every one of them had bound feet and the constant pain detracted their attention from everything they tried to do.
At the end of my roll call, it would have been difficult to find a more discouraged teacher than I. I said to myself, “How can these women be taught? They have come to me because their pastor has sent them. Their minds are wholly undeveloped and they have not even a wish to improve.”
Utterly dismayed at the task before me I went to my room to pray. There had been a very insistent question in my heart, “Where is your faith in God?”
“What has faith to do with this?” I answered, “This is my task and it is humanly impossible.”
“With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible,” came the answer to my argument.
I dropped to my knees confessing my ignorance and helplessness, and prayed that God would show me exactly what that passage meant. Immediately, like a flash of light in a dark room, came these two promises: “And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in My name, I will do it” (John 14:13-14).
My burden rolled away as I realized the full import of these gracious words. I had nothing to do but to ask, for the Omnipotent God, my Saviour and the Saviour of these women, He who had died for us, had promised to do for me whatever I asked. I knew not how nor when but He would fulfill His promise.
I felt in my heart the truth of these words:
“We are coming to a King, large petitions will we bring.”
I made no small request. I asked the Father to forgive them for Jesus’ sake, to pour out His Holy Spirit upon them, convincing them of sin, of righteousness and of the world to come; to reveal to them the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior; to cleanse them in His precious blood from the guilt and stain of sin; and finally to fill them with His Holy Spirit that they might return to their homes to witness for Jesus.
Back to this class of illiterate women, bound in chains of iron by their superstitions, I went rejoicing in the Lord who had made such abundant provision for bringing the world to Himself. I resolved to wait patiently for Him to perform His miracle in each of their darkened and sinful hearts.
Meanwhile, I taught them this prayer: “Heavenly Father, forgive me my sins, cleanse me from them in the precious blood of Christ, and fill me with the Holy Spirit; I ask in Jesus’ name.” Some of the women spent the greater part of three days in learning correctly and intelligently this very simple petition.
My first day with them passed slowly, with no sign from God that He had heard my prayer. Throughout the next morning there was still no evidence that He was working. But that afternoon while we were on our knees repeating together the little prayer, one of the women began to weep out a confession of her sins. She asked that she might be forgiven and cleansed in the precious blood and that the Holy Spirit would come into her heart and dwell there. In a few moments we rose from our knees to greet a new creature in Christ Jesus.
In the course of the next few days woman followed woman in a similar experience until the entire class rejoiced in their salvation. They were marvelously transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit for they were now so eager to learn of Christ that I could scarcely find time to satisfy them. My strength was taxed to the utmost in giving them the help and teaching they sought.
During the next ten years of my residence in China, I held five or six classes of this kind annually. I always claimed those promises of John 14:13-14 and trusted in God to do the work in response to the prayer of faith. I do not know of one, in all this time, who left my classes unsaved.
Prayer for a Lost Husband
In one village where I was teaching, a woman came to hear me out of curiosity to see a white woman who could speak the Chinese language. After listening to the prayer that I was teaching, she asked if she might learn it. I answered, “Would you like to have a Saviour and are you willing to accept Him?” She said yes and became a member of my class. In the afternoon she returned and took her place with the others. When the invitation was given for all to kneel in prayer, to my astonishment this woman, Mrs. Wang, began to sob, confessing her sins and pleading with the Lord to forgive her and to cleanse her heart and save her.
That same evening I gave the women John 14:13-14 and told them that these promises were their inheritance. Mrs. Wang stood up and asked, “Can the Lord Jesus save my husband? He is a drunkard. I have never known him to come home sober since I married him. He spends so much money for drink that the children and I never have enough to eat, nor warm clothing enough to keep us comfortable in winter. Can the Lord Jesus save a man like that, Miss Vaughan?” “Yes,” I replied, “He came to seek and to save that which was lost. Can you believe?” She burst into tears, “Oh, yes, but I’m so ignorant. I don’t know how to pray. Won’t you pray for me?”
I put the matter before the class, telling them we must be agreed to pray every day for this man. This we did for two weeks, at the end of which time the class had to be disbanded that I might go on with my work in another territory.
A Changed Man
A year later, I returned to this district. The morning my class opened Mrs. Wang was among the first arrivals. Rushing in and throwing her arms around me, she praised God for His goodness to her. This was her story:
“A year ago, at the close of the class in which I learned to know my Saviour, I went home and told my husband I had become a Christian. He was furiously angry and beat me so that I was not able to leave my bed for a month. He reviled me and cursed me every day, continuing to persecute me for six months. All the time I prayed for him constantly. I just asked God to forgive him because he didn’t understand.
“And then one day he came home early from the market, sober for the first time since I had known him. ‘What is the matter with you?’ I cried in astonishment.
“‘That’s what I came to ask you,’ he replied. ‘Am I out of my mind? Today when I had finished my business in the market I went across to the wine shop, and just as I was lifting my foot over the threshold, a voice inside my body said very loudly, “Don’t go in there, go home!” I was so startled that I dropped my purse and spilled all my coins on the ground. I tried to make myself quiet by thinking that it must have been some boys making fun of me, but there was not a soul in sight. I was very much puzzled and called myself a fool. But again as I lifted my foot over the threshold, there came that voice, louder and more insistent than ever: “Don’t go in there, go home! Don’t go in there, go home!” I came right home as fast as I could. I am very much frightened. What is the matter with me?’
“‘I know what’s the matter. That’s the Lord Jesus. He is the Heavenly Father’s Son. He died on the Cross to save you. He does not want you to go in the wine shop and get drunk and be lost. It is the voice of His Holy Spirit speaking to you.’
“He was astounded. He listened intently while I told him over and over again that Jesus was his Saviour. He said, ‘Why didn’t you tell me this before? I didn’t understand. I’ll never drink any more in my life.’”
And he never did. He was truly converted. He and his family became members of the church and he sent his children to a Christian school. Mrs. Wang lived another four years after her husband was saved and died a blessed happy Christian, rejoicing in Jesus and His power to save.
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