WIC Weekly November 8th 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
This Sunday's online service will include a sister's testimony of how God came into her life, as well as a brother's thoughts on stewardship.
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
Abortion issue in Poland
Following a request for clarification regarding my remarks the previous week on the subject of abortion in Poland, I'd like to outline the current dispute affecting Polish society, and my position on it.
Poland currently has the strictest abortion law in Europe with the exception of Malta (where even if a woman has been raped she cannot have an abortion). Abortions are allowed for seriously damaged foetuses and in the case of rape, but many doctors don't respect the present law anyway, and refuse to perform any abortion. The Polish state only provides minimal assistance for women who do decide to give birth to such children. Recently, without any dialogue whatsoever, and in the middle of a terrible pandemic (currently there are no more ventilators available in Warsaw), the ruling party - to deflect interest away from its failure to prevent COVID-19 from spreading so rapidly - suddenly announced that abortion would be banned for all seriously damaged foetuses. This has brought hundreds of thousands of women and men onto the streets in every Polish town, obviously contributing to the spread of COVID-19. The government provoked this crisis for its own crude political ends, thinking that people would be afraid to protest in a time of pandemic. This plan has backfired completely.
My standpoint on the matter is the same as that of Bishop Jerzy Samiec, head of the Polish Lutheran Church and president of the Polish Ecumenical Council. On 23 October, Bishop Samiec stated: "I'm in favour of life - and not only that of the unborn child. Families - and mainly women - sometimes face a dramatic choice in extreme border situations. The Church's role is to provide maximum support, show sensitivity, and be there to accompany and to express compassion. When, instead of dialogue, solutions are imposed by force, there will always be pain, anger and ideological warfare, which we are seeing on the streets of our cities. This does not serve to protect life".
In my remarks the other week, I made it clear that I did not agree with imposing a total abortion ban in the case of all seriously damaged foetuses, and that this placed too great a burden on most women. I mentioned such cases as babies born without a spine or kidneys, or half a brain, etc. They would only live a very short time after being born, and would suffer agony. This to me is utter cruelty, both to the child and its mother. However, I did not mention babies born with Down's Syndrome, because I don't believe that such children should be placed in the category of seriously damaged foetuses. The Polish president seems to agree, because he's submitting a draft law to exclude Down's Syndrome from this category. The problem with that, of course, is getting doctors to respect the law. If they don't respect the present law, they're even less likely to respect a new one, as they'll be afraid to perform any abortion whatsoever. The debate has never been an easy one - but nothing will be served by not engaging in dialogue.
Please pray for peace and wisdom to prevail in Poland, the United States and other nations suffering upheaval.
Please continue to pray for all you know who are experiencing difficulties as a result of the pandemic.
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 1 November
Revelation 7, 9-17; Matthew 23, 1-13.
All Saints Day. A day for reminding ourselves of that vast army of believers who have gone before us, all through the centuries – led in triumph to heaven, by the blood of Jesus which saved them. Their faith didn’t save them. Their faith didn’t save them! The blood of Jesus saved them – God saved them! When they believed, they simply realized they were already saved – God had done it all! There is the image in Revelation: the great multitude in white robes, who cry out: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” They fall down on their faces before the throne, and worship God. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Never again will they hunger or thirst. The Lamb – Jesus Christ – will be their Shepherd; and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
That’s the true meaning of All Saints Day, dear Friends. Not a day for remembering all the dead – though some have that need – but a day for reminding ourselves where we (if we love the Lord) will find ourselves after death. A day, not of sadness for us, but of great joy – though maybe sadness that some of our loved ones may never share that heavenly home.
You see, the vast majority of people do not know God at all. They have no idea who the God of the Bible is, or what He says. And if they don’t know God, they don’t know themselves. And if they don’t know themselves, they have no idea how terrible sin is. They think sin is no big deal.
For example, they may have heard that God is a God of love – and that He easily forgives people. They will say that Jesus loved everybody – He was a great loving buddy, always forgiving people’s sins. But today’s Gospel reading is taken from Matthew chapter 23. We’ll only be looking at a part of it today – but I invite you to read the whole chapter for yourselves, and then answer this question: “Where, in that chapter, do you find Jesus’ love for the Pharisees?” I read every verse, but I couldn’t find any love. I saw that it’s possible for Jesus to hate not only the sin, but also the sinner.
We all want to get to heaven, to be with that multitude of saints with their white robes. But the Bible teaches – if we read it carefully – that there comes a time, in a person’s life, when it may be too late for them to change. For those who love the Lord, He hears their voice, and He hears their cry for mercy. But for those who don’t love the Lord, we can quote 1 Thessalonians chapter 2, verse 16: “They always heap up their sins to the limit; and the wrath of God has come upon them at last”. This means that God has established a limit to the amount of sinning every person can do – and when a person exceeds that limit, the wrath of God will be upon them.
Precisely that is the situation of the teachers of the law and the Pharisees. They have sinned so much that they can no longer change. Despite being religious leaders, they never knew the God of the Bible. So they never knew themselves – and they never knew the horror of their sins. And also, of course, they were too full of themselves to be able to see Jesus.
This whole chapter is nothing but a list of accusations that Jesus makes against them. Every single accusation has to do with hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is at the root of everything bad. A person tries to project a good image of himself – but deep down, the opposite is true. Hypocrisy doesn’t just destroy you – it destroys those around you; and it can destroy a whole nation, especially when it’s tied to religion. These so-called religious leaders – the Pharisees – are full of their own self-importance. They have seated themselves in the seat of Moses. They see themselves as genuine men of God – but they are spiritual dwarfs, because they do not practise what they preach.
Secondly, they are legalists. Verse 4 is a classic verse: “They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them!” They will happily introduce a new law, making the people of the nation suffer – and putting an impossibly heavy burden on the people’s shoulders! But they themselves will not be affected by that law.
Thirdly, these so-called religious leaders are full of pride and vanity. They love to be honoured and treated with great respect. They love to shine in the mass media. They love to be thought of as wise and clever. But they don’t realize that, by exalting themselves, they are digging their own graves. Because Jesus said: “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; and whoever humbles himself will be exalted”.
And fourthly, these so-called religious leaders are obstructers. They present their teachings in such a way that a whole nation might be prevented from entering heaven! If we don’t teach people the way to God, how can they find that way? These leaders are so full of sin, that they themselves will never enter the kingdom of heaven. And yet, at the same time, they will do everything to prevent you from entering it as well. Through wrong doctrines, wrong teachings, wrong instructions. Also through wrong prohibitions. And in the end, the nation will reject God altogether. The people will be blind, and will have a distorted idea of God, or will think there is no God at all.
I realize it’s easy to preach against others. We must also look at ourselves, to see if these faults might not perhaps be in us as well. I’m sure we’ll find all the kinds of hypocrisy I mentioned in ourselves too. And therefore this passage is a warning to us. We must ruthlessly eliminate any self-importance, or big-headedness, or legalism, or pride and arrogance which might be eating away at us, like a cancer. If we are a temple of the Holy Spirit, there is no room for any of that.
Dear Friends, these false religious teachers, leaders or politicians who use religion as a weapon are still with us today! I don’t even have to mention them – we can all see what’s happening for ourselves. The question is: what are we going to do about it? At this moment, we are under the judgement of God. He has imposed this virus on us, so that we may reach out to Him and be released, not only from our own sins, but also from those Pharisees who are keeping people enslaved. Our nations need to humble themselves, confess their sins and seek the Lord.
Brothers and Sisters, when a nation seeks and finds the Lord, it will instinctively turn away from all those bad leaders. It will no longer vote for them. It will no longer attend their places of worship. It will no longer support them with money. Today, in our Communion with the Lord, we can confess not only our sins, but the sins of our nation. We can stand in the gap, and plead with God to lead the nation out of slavery, and into the Promised Land of peace and prosperity. Let us throw ourselves upon His grace; and may He envelop us with His powerful, loving arms. So may we enter His presence, and find shelter from the raging storm. Amen.
Readings for 8 November
Verse for the week: "If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!" (Proverbs 24, 10).
Responsive reading: Psalm 94, 1-11 and 22. Old Testament reading: Proverbs 24, 10-12. Gospel reading: Matthew 23, 23-36.
Food of the Spirit
The Church in Prayer Warfare
The church of God is called to be a militant church, not a church passive, nor a church awake with the energy of the flesh, but a church militant in the power and energy of the Holy Spirit. Yet numbers of believers have never grasped the aggressive note of Ephesians 6 and other Scriptures which show that we are to wage war on the powers of darkness – to "stand against" them and to dislodge them.
Pray for the Whole Church
We are to pray for the whole church. This is seen in Ephesians 6, "praying always…and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints" (v. 18). Ephesians 6 will wonderfully light up to you if you look upon it as descriptive of the church, and not purely personal. The whole church is to "stand" and "withstand," to wear the armour and wield the Sword of the Spirit. We need to make war against the enemy for the whole church of Jesus Christ that she may be delivered from his power and brought into triumphant victory.
Scriptural Basis of this Prayer Warfare
First of all, we have the fact that Satan is already a conquered foe: "Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the prince of this world be cast out" said our Lord (John 12:31), "and I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Myself."
At Calvary, the prince of this world was expelled. He is no longer the prince; he is a traitor, a usurper. He has been conquered by Christ, the true Prince, when He was lifted up on the Cross, and as that death is proclaimed He will draw all men unto Himself. That is the basic fact of the "war."
The second basic fact is this, that this Victor Prince "spoiled principalities and powers, and made a show of them openly" (Col. 2:15). Not only Satan, but the entire hierarchy of evil powers under him were put to open shame at Calvary. That is the ground of your right, in Christ, to take the aggressive against the powers of darkness, to "withstand them," and "having overthrown them all, to stand unshaken" (Eph. 6:13). It is as much your right as it is to have your sins forgiven.
Equally with that, it is your right to know that, when on the Cross Satan was conquered, you were translated out of the power of darkness, into the kingdom of God, so that the evil powers have now no rights whatever over you. So many Christians talk as if Satan was almighty. He is not, and if the church of Christ really grasped the full import of the finished work of Christ, she would turn on the enemy, prove for herself that Satan is under her feet – and be a power in the earth instead of a weak, defeated church.
The third basic fact is that Christ gave to His own authority over all the power of the enemy. "I have given unto you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you" (Luke 10:19).
Christ is reigning – and because we are "joined to Him," the spirits are "subject unto us" in His Name (v. 17). When the Lord returns – when He is publicly revealed and the world sees Him – it will be seen that He has already brought about His kingdom in the hearts of His children.
The present dispensation is fading away, just as the Jewish dispensation faded away, and there is always a collision between the old and the new. The scribes and Pharisees belonged to the old, and they crucified Christ. Now apparently the Christian dispensation is becoming feebler and weaker, and breaking up. Nominal Christianity is losing its hold upon the nations. Governments are unable to govern the forces that are rising up.
Only those have the key to the situation who are joined to the coming Christ and reigning with Him now in spirit. They have the joy and triumph of the conquering Saviour, and it is that spirit that will enable you to use the spiritual weapon of triumphant prayer in the Name of Jesus, against the adversary, whose power was broken at Calvary. Beloved friends, ask God to put within you the knowledge that all these evil powers are subject to the believer who will wield with real faith the Name of Jesus Christ.
An Unprepared Church
Many of God's people throughout the world are praying for a quickening of the spiritual life of the church in revival power, but wherever there is a mighty working of God, you may settle it that there will be a mighty working of the powers of darkness in opposition to it, and unless believers are awake to this, and become in truth a militant church, any such awakening will be accompanied by supernatural workings which are not of God, causing it gradually to be discredited and to die away.
Too often in the past, God's people have been so ignorant of Satan's "devices" that he has succeeded in stopping revival before they were aware what he was doing. The armour of God is designed that we may "stand against the wiles of the devil" (Eph. 6:11), and in order to do this, we must be alert and able to recognize them.
God says, "My child, I want your mind liberated from bondage, and all your faculties at their best, through which to express My Spirit."The devil says, "I want a slave, with no will and no mind, so that he will not reason about anything I tell him."
Everything God does in you ennobles you and quickens your faculties, energizes your will, strengthens your desire Godward, making you a better person in your business; more human, gentle and affectionate in your home. Whatever hinders your reasoning faculty, or destroys your power of choice and makes you irresponsible, comes from the pit, because it is contrary to the redemption of Christ.
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