WIC Weekly November 15th 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
Last Sunday Brother Bogosi spoke on the nature of stewardship during our service, illustrating what stewardship is, in the widest sense, with copious Bible quotations.
This Sunday's online service will include a sister's testimony of how God came into her life.
Here is your link for our service on Zoom at 11 am CET:
Warsaw International Church - Sunday Service(https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81817145932?pwd=NHJTUkdWQWR3YU9FaFUwWEQzU2dxUT09) 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 all your 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 17 00-854 Warszawa Polish złoty (PLN) account: PL 63 1090 1056 0000 0000 0600 9128
Please pray for peace in Ethiopia, which is experiencing a civil war. Pray for the safety of Brother Issayas' relatives in the war-torn region.
Your prayers are also requested for our Iranian Brother Vahid. Vahid returned to Iran some months ago, but an informer reported him to the police for being a Christian. He was imprisoned, but managed to flee the country and is now seeking asylum in the UK. He needs our prayers for the Lord to guide him.
Brother Sam would welcome our prayers for his continuing pain to cease after a complicated tooth extraction.
Please continue to pray for all you know who are experiencing difficulties as a result of the pandemic. Quite a few of our worshippers are experiencing financial problems because of job cutbacks.
Pray for the health and protection of your loved ones, and for members of WIC.
Pray for the Lord to lead His people to repentance and a deeper faith in His sovereign Will.
Sermon preached by Pastor Harry on 8 November
Proverbs 24, 10-12; Matthew 23, 23-36.
Today we return to the subject of religious hypocrisy, which we looked at last week. We’re still on Matthew chapter 23, where Jesus tells the Pharisees and religious teachers what He thinks of them. There is sustained anger in His voice as He tells them why exactly they are hypocritical.
Firstly, He mentions that they tithe. They give away a tenth of the income they get from selling the spices they grow in their gardens: mint, dill and cumin. That sounds very noble – giving away a tenth of your income. It’s actually what all of us should be doing, according to the Bible. But it’s interesting that Jesus shows us that we can be an active member and steward of our church, doing everything expected of us, including tithing, but still displease God. Are these Pharisees good stewards, good servants of the Lord? No, says Jesus, because they tithe purely to make an impression on people. Their heart isn’t in it at all. When they – or we, for that matter – tithe in such a way, then what we give has no value for us whatsoever. Those we give our money to will benefit. But we won’t be blessed. God always looks at a person’s heart.
The point Jesus makes is that these religious people are legalistic in what they do. It’s important for them to respect such rituals, down to the last detail. But these are irrelevant matters, because the Pharisees will “strain out a gnat, yet swallow a camel”. They’ll be careful to get that little, impure fly out of their drink. But they’re swallowing a camel, because they’re ignoring what’s really important: justice, mercy and faith. They’re obsessed with practising their religion with absolute correctness – but they show no justice or mercy. They never put themselves in other people’s shoes. Instead of being merciful, they insist on doing things their way. No room for discussion or compromise. And no compassion.
Jesus says these hypocrites look great on the outside – well dressed, dignified, presenting themselves with authority. But deep inside, they’re full of greed and selfishness. They give the impression of being godly, but inside they are full of lawlessness.
Finally, these religious leaders are great monument builders. Does that ring a bell? They build statues and monuments to the great heroes of the past – people who were martyred, killed by their forefathers. But Jesus says they’re actually condemning themselves, because they behave exactly the same as those murderous forefathers did! And they’ll treat Jesus and the first Christians in the same way – by putting them to death.
Such people are still with us today, unfortunately. Religious hypocrites, even fanatics, with injustice and even blood on their hands. Some of them are gifted speakers, who can even move people to tears. But if you have discernment, you know who they really are, by their actions – sooner or later they give themselves away, and their lies are exposed. I said last week that God sets a limit of sins for a person – and if that person crosses the limit, they are lost forever. God has abandoned them. That’s why, in verse 32, Jesus says to such people sarcastically, even today: “Go on! Fill up the measure of your forefathers’ sins! Exceed your limit – and go to hell!”
There was a leading Irish philosopher and statesman of the 18th century called Edmund Burke. He said: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. Interesting! Our reading from Proverbs gives us the same message, with a warning. It says basically that if we don’t do anything to stand up to these godless leaders, God will hold us responsible. Our attitude, according to Proverbs, is very often a lie we tell ourselves and others - we say: “I know nothing about this”. In other words, we pretend not to see the evil. We pretend not to see a person attacked in the road. During the Second World War, people pretended they knew nothing about the existence of concentration camps, or the terrible suffering of Jews.
There’s an English saying: “Hear no evil, see no evil”. It means we don’t want to get involved in standing up to evil, because we’re afraid of what it might cost us. The task seems too great for us, and we feel that there’s nothing we can do. But Proverbs says: “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering towards slaughter. Because He who weighs the heart sees what you’re doing or not doing; and He will repay each person according to what he has or has not done”. In other words, God has put us into the world to be responsible stewards – stewards of what He’s entrusted to us; stewards of our planet and our nation; stewards towards one another; and we can all play our little part, and give help where help is needed. At Warsaw International Church, November is traditionally stewardship month. Bogosi will be telling us more about stewardship a bit later on.
Dear Friends, the good news is that evil will not triumph over God’s people. Liers and hypocrites may rule us, but they won’t have the last word. In fact, the Bible makes it clear that, as far as God is concerned, Satan is already conquered! These evil rulers are already defeated, even as they rule! Jesus said: “Now the prince of this world will be driven out!” (John 12, 31). Paul said: “Having disarmed the powers and authorities, Christ made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Colossians 2, 15). And Psalm 94, which we read together, reminds us that God sees our oppression and will not reject His people. God saves His people from eternal death; and Satan has no claim over such a person’s soul.
Right now, we in Poland and many other countries are entering another lockdown – probably more prolonged than the first one in the Spring. You might ask yourself: what can I do with my time in a lockdown? What can the church do in a lockdown? I believe that God has given us these lockdowns for a spiritual purpose. We can devote more time to contacting friends, acquaintances and church members on the phone or online. We can study the Bible more. And above all, we can pray – for the lost, for unbelievers, for safety and protection, for church growth despite the pandemic. This too is good stewardship.
Jesus said: “Come to Me, all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest”. God wants us to turn to Him in prayer. If we take our burdens to the Lord, we will not only get them off our chest, but we can also be inspired to do something for ourselves, our loved ones and our church. Are you an unbeliever or a doubter? – then come to the Lord. Have you fallen into sin? – come to the Lord. Are you depressed by what’s happening around you; or frustrated that you’re so restricted in a lockdown? – come to the Lord. He’ll not only give you comfort, but will show you how you can be of use to Him as His steward. Let us thank Him for all His wonderful grace. Amen.
Readings for 15 November
Verse for the week: "Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6, 12).
Responsive reading: Psalm 142. Gospel reading: John 3, 16-21. New Testament reading: Ephesians 6, 10-18.
Food of the Spirit
22 Self-Examination Questions
These are 22 questions the members of the Holy Club, to which John Wesley belonged, asked themselves EACH DAY as a part of their daily devotions.
1. Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I really am? 2. Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate? 3. Do I confidentially pass on to another what was told to me in confidence? 4. Can I be trusted? 5. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work or habits? 6. Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying? 7. Did the Bible live in me today? 8. Do I give it time to speak to me every day? 9. Am I enjoying prayer? 10. When did I last speak to someone else about my faith? 11. Do I pray about the money I spend? 12. Do I get to bed on time and get up on time? 13. Do I disobey God in anything? 14. Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy? 15. Am I defeated in any part of my life? 16. Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy or distrustful? 17. How do I spend my spare time? 18. Am I proud? 19. Do I thank God that I am not as other people, especially as the Pharisee who despised the publican? 20. Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold a resentment toward or disregard? 21. Do I grumble or complain constantly? 22. Is Christ real to me?
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