WIC Weekly October 11th 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
There will be no Bible study this Thursday. Our next Bible study will be on 15 October.
At last Sunday's service we were pleased to welcome Sarah from England, Oscar from Hong Kong, Zuzanna from Poland, Anthony from Australia and Eri Yoon from South Korea.
Unfortunately the church microphone wasn't working, so the sound quality was still poor, but we will solve this problem and should have normal audibility when we get our own microphones.
The service was combined with Holy Communion according to our new system - apparently known as "intinction" (dipping the wafer into the wine).
For future weeks, for your safety:
- Please stay at home if you feel unwell! You don’t want to make life worse for either yourself or others, and you can always follow the service on YouTube.
- If you decide to come to church, please remember that we will start the service punctually at 11 am because of those worshippers connecting with YouTube at that time.
- Before entering the church, cover your mouth and nose with a mask, and keep it on throughout the service, even for singing.
- At the entrance, you’ll have your temperature taken and you’ll be able to disinfect your hands.
- There will also be an attendance list for you to enter your name, ID number and phone number, in case there’s a coronavirus scare and the authorities will want to trace those attending the service.
- The church will be well aired throughout the service – some, if not all, windows will be open.
- Our ushers will show you where to sit in the church – social distancing at all times is vital.
- Please avoid shaking hands, hugging or kissing those who are not from your family.
- Instead of the usual collection, there will be a collection basket on the table at the back of the church, where you can leave your offering as you leave the church. If possible, consider sending your offering through e-banking.
The items above may be modified from time to time, depending on our experience and on how the COVID situation in Poland and Warsaw develops. However, with such basic precautions, I firmly believe we can still enjoy exciting worship in these difficult circumstances!
Also, because of the ever-changing situation and the greater likelihood that those of you playing a key part in our services may be absent at short notice, if only because of a bad cough, our services may sometimes not run so smoothly as usual. I'd appreciate your understanding if that is the case.
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
Polish złoty (PLN) account: PL 63 1090 1056 0000 0000 0600 9128
This Sunday we will remember our dear Brother Tony Marotta, who was called into the presence of God just over a year ago at the age of 87. Tony's widow Ewa and one or two other relatives will be attending the service.
Here is your link for this Sunday’s online service at 11 am CET:
If you enjoy watching our YouTube recordings of the service, please like and subscribe to the channel. The more people that like and subscribe, the more YouTube will share the content to people who might be interested.
Recordings of our Sunday services are also available on our wic.org.pl website or by googling "Warsaw International Church YouTube".
REVIVAL WILL ONLY COME AS PEOPLE EVERYWHERE REPENT OF THEIR SINS AND TURN TO JESUS ALONE FOR THEIR SALVATION. As COVID-19 continues to affect increasing numbers throughout the world, we Christians have a duty to pray for the lost and for the Lord to have mercy on them. IF THE STUBBORN AND HARD-HEARTED DO NOT TURN TO CHRIST, THE WORLD'S HEALTH SERVICES WILL CONTINUE TO COLLAPSE. Even now, it is obvious that human stubborness and sheer stupidity are helping the coronavirus to spread.
Please pray for the continuing improvement in health of members of the families of our worshippers, who have been infected with COVID-19.
Your prayers are also always requested for the safety of all of us connected with WIC, whether we meet in church, at the workplace or elsewhere.
A Brother is suffering from back pain involving slipped disc problems. Please pray for him to trust in the Lord's healing power, and for him to be healed completely from this illness.
Finally, a praise report! Some of us had been praying for a Brother who had strayed from the Lord and had embraced atheism in recent months. By God's grace, he has found his way back to a living faith in Jesus Christ. We pray so much that this lapse will have strengthened his trust in God and made him aware of how weak we all are if we trust in ourselves alone. Let's pray that he will grow in faith and insight from now on.
Sermon preached by Pastor Harry on 4 October
Joshua 7, 2 - 8, 1; 1 John 1, 9; 1 Thessalonians 5, 19; Ephesians 4, 30.
We started our service this morning with two similar Bible verses: “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire” (in some translations, “Do not quench the Spirit”, which means the same thing: to stifle, or suppress the Spirit). And secondly, “do not grieve the Spirit”. Do not stifle what God wants to do in your life; and do not grieve God – in other words, don’t make Him sad. These are commands given to Christians, not to non-Christians! Why are they given to us Christians? It’s because we have the Holy Spirit within us – God has come into our lives, and is guiding us from within, as it were. His dwelling within us requires us to become totally pure, totally cleansed.
“Don’t put out the Spirit’s fire”. We do that when God wants to make us morally cleaner, and wants us to serve Him more faithfully – but we say “no”. I know many of you are enthusiastic and can’t imagine saying “no” to God, but unfortunately it happens quite a lot. Many Christians are afraid to trust God more, afraid to step out and take risks. So they draw a line, and insist on their will, not God’s Will. And they put out the Spirit’s fire within them. They are actually sinning against God, because of their self-will which isn’t totally submitted to God.
And then, “do not grieve the Spirit”. When do you grieve somebody? – when they love you, and you do something to hurt them or make them sad. I remember, a very long time ago, when my daughters were still young. I hadn’t seen them for many years, because of problems with my first wife – and I had arranged to meet my younger daughter (she was about 19 at the time). We booked two rooms at a guest centre in another city. When she arrived, we spent a wonderful evening together, just getting to know each other again after several years apart. We arranged to meet again the next morning, before departing to our different places.
But the next morning, I waited for her, and she didn’t turn up. Her room was empty. Afterwards it turned out that she had left in the middle of the night and caught a night bus to get back home. I was shattered, and just couldn’t understand it. In fact, I still can’t understand why she did that. Later, she said something about not being able to cope emotionally – but I was in pain. She had really grieved me, because I loved her.
Many Christians grieve God, who loves them so much, when they fall into sin. The Holy Spirit is loving and sensitive – and we grieve Him when we cause Him pain, because of His great love for us. Because He loves us, He draws closer to us, to fill us more. And as His holy Presence draws closer to us, it’s inevitable that He will light up the sin in our lives. Just like when the sun shines into your room – you can see the dust on the floor! God sees our sin as He draws closer, and He is grieved.
Joshua was the man who led the Israelites into Canaan (the Promised Land) after Moses’ death. He was their leader as they overcame their enemies in Canaan, and the Lord was with him. But our story starts by saying that the Israelites “acted unfaithfully in regard to the devoted things”. The “devoted things” were the silver and gold which the Israelites had found in the city of Jericho when they captured it. Joshua had given instructions to his men not to take any silver or gold for themselves, but to bring it to the treasury of the Lord – the silver and gold was to belong to God. But a man called Achan kept some of it for himself. The Lord saw his sin. It was a sin because Achan acted selfishly and against the Lord. Joshua didn’t even know about this – but God was angry with the Israelites.
The result of this was that Joshua attacked the city of Ai, which seemed an easy target for his army. But instead of a victory, the men of Ai chased the Israelites away, killing 36 of them. Joshua couldn’t understand why this had happened, until the Lord told him. One person’s sin had weakened a whole army. When somebody else sins, you might suffer the consequences.
Joshua assembled the tribes of Israel the next morning, and the Lord made it clear that Achan was to blame. Achan actually confessed his sin – but it still cost him his life. Only then did God give the Israelites victory over the city of Ai. God was teaching the Israelites that His word is holy and is to be obeyed down to the last detail. God hates sin.
Now, remember that we’re looking at this story from an Old Testament perspective. God hasn’t changed – He still hates sin. But mankind is now no longer under the Law, but under Grace. The Israelites were God’s people. But God’s people today have a great high priest “who has gone through the heavens”: Jesus Christ. And the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. We don’t have to be stoned to death like Achan, because Jesus has already put to death our sinful self, on the cross. However, there are still areas of sin in our lives, and we must confess such sin, and repent of it – turn away from it, leave it behind. As our New Testament verse says: “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just, and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”. Confess your sin, turn away from it, and be forgiven.
Brothers and Sisters, how do you know when you are putting out the Spirit’s fire? You know it when God clearly tells you in your heart to do something and trust Him, but you say “no”. And how do you know when you are grieving the Spirit? You know it when He shines His light on your inner life and sees the sin that’s still there. Let’s make a list of what God could see.
Firstly, is there anything false in us? Something deceitful? Or maybe something hypocritical? Are we living a lie? Don’t expect to be filled with God’s Spirit till your heart is cleansed. You’re grieving the Spirit of Truth.
Secondly, is there doubt in our life? Is there unbelief? Is there worry or anxiety? If so, we are grieving the Spirit of Faith.
Thirdly, do we have a hard heart? Are we bitter towards someone or about something? Is there someone we won’t forgive, or that we won’t speak to? Are we bitter towards God? Do we grumble about our circumstances? If so, we are grieving the Spirit of Grace.
Fourthly, is there anything unclean in our life? Unclean thoughts, maybe? Unclean books, or pictures? Unclean stories? If so, we are grieving the Spirit of Holiness.
Fifthly, are we arrogant? Are we proud of our own knowledge? Maybe we are too proud to bend ourselves to the Bible’s teachings? If so, we are grieving the Spirit of Wisdom.
And sixthly, are we indifferent to God? Do we just save Him for Sunday mornings? Are we lukewarm in our faith, instead of being hot? Are we spiritually lazy? Too unbothered to open the Bible and read it? Too uninterested in praying – because of other pleasures, like television, hobbies, parties? These things may be good, but if they push out your Bible meditation and prayer time, then you’re grieving the Spirit of Life.
That’s not the end of the list, of course – we could add more ways in which we grieve the Holy Spirit within us. But we can ask ourselves: “Why does God’s Spirit dwell within me?” Is it in order to be forgotten, or hidden, or ignored, or displayed only on Sunday mornings? No! God wants to make us just like Christ! He wants to bless us with His wonderful plans: the people He wants us to meet and help; the amazing answers to prayer He wants to give us; the incredible experiences He has in store for us. So anything in us, that prevents Him from doing this, will grieve Him and put out His fire – because we are showing Him that we love our sin more than we love God.
In the Joshua story, God demanded the silver and gold for Himself. But under the grace of Jesus, our vessels don’t have to be gold. They don’t have to be silver. But they do have to be clean. So may the blood of Jesus wash clean each one of us here, in church today, and watching us on YouTube. Amen.
Readings for 11 October
11 October is the 19th Sunday after Pentecost.
Verse for the week: "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1, 18).
Responsive reading: Psalm 107, 1-9 and 16-22. Old Testament reading: 2 Kings 20, 1-11. New Testament reading: 1 Corinthians 1, 18-31. Gospel reading: Luke 11, 9-10.
Food of the Spirit
The primary business I must attend to every day is to fellowship with the Lord. The first concern is not how much I might serve the Lord, but how my inner man might be nourished. I may share the truth with the unconverted; I may try to encourage believers; I may relieve the distressed; or I may, in other ways, seek to behave as a child of God; yet, not being happy in the Lord and not being nourished and strengthened - in my inner man day by day - may result in this work being done in a wrong spirit. The most important thing I had to do was to read the Word of God and to meditate on it. Thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, and instructed.
Formerly, when I rose, I began to pray as soon as possible. But I often spent a quarter of an hour to an hour on my knees struggling to pray while my mind wandered. Now I rarely have this problem. As my heart is nourished by the truth of the Word, I am brought into true fellowship with God. I speak to my Father and to my Friend (although I am unworthy) about the things that He has brought before me in His precious Word.
It often astonishes me that I did not see the importance of meditation upon Scripture earlier in my Christian life. As the outward man is not fit for work for any length of time unless he eats, so it is with the inner man. What is the food for the inner man? Not prayer, but the Word of God - not the simple reading of the Word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe. No, we must consider what we read, ponder over it, and apply it to our hearts.
When we pray, we speak to God. This exercise of the soul can be best performed after the inner man has been nourished by meditation on the Word of God.
Through His Word, our Father speaks to us, encourages us, comforts us, instructs us, humbles us, and reproves us. We may profitably meditate, with God's blessing, although we are spiritually weak. The weaker we are, the more meditation we need to strengthen our inner man. Meditation on God's Word has given me the help and strength to pass peacefully through deep trials.
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