WIC Weekly September 20th 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
WIC is continuing to meet online for Sunday services. PLEASE NOTE THAT WE NOW PLAN TO RETURN TO CHURCH SERVICES ON 27 SEPTEMBER.
A Church Council meeting will be held on Zoom on Wednesday 16 September at 7:30 pm to discuss the move back to church and all that it involves. In next week's bulletin I shall provide detailed information about all aspects of this transition.
Last Sunday we welcomed Tadeusz from Poland to our online service.
One of our Indian worshippers, Sarin, has left Warsaw for a new job in Wrocław. We are sad that he's leaving, but hope that he'll continue to be in touch with WIC from time to time via the online services.
This Sunday's service will include a testimony by British evangelist David Harris, who worshipped with us in Warsaw in January. Should be good!
Thank you for all your support and particularly your prayers for our church.
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
Here is your link for this Sunday’s online service at 11 am CET:
Join us for this Sunday’s live online service on Zoom at 11 am CET by clicking: Warsaw International Church - Weekly Zoom Service (Sundays @11:00 am) Time: Sundays @ 11:00 AM Warsaw Meeting ID: 375 882 822
Recordings of our Sunday services are available on our wic.org.pl website.
Please continue to pray for people affected by countless tragedies all over the world as a result of COVID-19. Pray that people everywhere may turn at last to the Lord in repentance and ask Him to save them from their situation and their sins.
Pray for the safety of Christians everywhere, particularly as they worship in church buildings. Pray also for safety and protection of members of WIC who work in high-risk places such as hospitals, clinics and schools.
Pray for wisdom for our Church Council as it works out procedures for our safe return to church worship.
Sermon preached by Pastor Harry on 13 September
Genesis 50, 15-21; Romans 14, 1-12; Matthew 18, 21-35.
“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters”. I met a new worshipper last week – he hopes to join us for services when we go back to our church premises on 27 September. He told me how he became a Christian. He was in a Middle East country (he himself comes from North Africa), and drove a lady to an international church there – the worshippers were mostly American and Canadian military and their families. “Come and join the service”, said the lady. “Oh, I can’t, I’m a Muslim”, he said, making all kinds of excuses. How would he look among all those American soldiers? But she virtually dragged him into the church. “Don’t be a coward!”, she said – so he went in. And when he listened to the sermon, a miracle occurred. He had tears in his eyes, and his heart reached out to Jesus. Praise God!
But being a Muslim, he still couldn’t understand how anyone could possibly believe that this Jesus was God who had come to earth as a man – it seemed not only ridiculous to him, but also blasphemous. So he asked the pastor about it after the service. They were having a potluck dinner, and our Muslim friend was sitting at the same table as the pastor. How can God come as a man? The pastor pointed to a cup on the table, and asked him: “What’s in that cup?” “Water”. “And what’s in that bottle?” “Water”. “And what’s in the river?” “Water”. “You see”, said the pastor, “the water is still water, but the form it’s in is different. In the same way, God can appear in many different forms”. And the scales fell from his eyes, because he suddenly understood that God can come as a man. Actually, water is very important for our friend – he’s an expert diver, and a former national swimming champion.
You see, he was totally accepted in that church. Even though his faith was very weak, the people in the church treated him very seriously and with great respect. They could have ignored this Muslim, who didn’t have much faith. They could have looked down on him. But nobody judged him at all. They knew that God had led him to their church, through that forceful lady.
I don’t think there is such a person who has absolutely no faith at all. Muslims are often very devout people, very religious. And atheists may say they don’t believe in God, but they do sometimes ask themselves: “What if God exists? What if I’ve got it all wrong?” There’s always an element of doubt in their minds – even if it’s only 1 percent of faith. One percent of faith is good enough to accept a person.
Joseph’s brothers were weak in their faith. On the one hand, they were brought up by their God-fearing father Jacob – so they heard about God, and probably even took part in their father’s religious observances. They must at least have had that 1 percent of faith. But in practice, they didn’t think about God at all. They didn’t think about the consequences of their actions. They plotted to kill Joseph, as you remember – God wasn’t in their thoughts when they did that. And then, even many years later, when they came to Egypt to buy grain, because of the famine in Canaan, Joseph had to explain to them that these things don’t happen by chance. They didn’t realize that, because God was still not in their lives. Like any non-believer, they thought all these events were happening by accident, and so they were always scared of what might happen to them. Joseph had to tell them that it was actually God’s plan to get Joseph into Egypt, and that it was God’s plan to bring his brothers there too. Joseph was strong in his faith. He could have rejected his brothers for being so cruel to him, or for hardly having any faith at all. But instead, he accepted them and forgave them. And He also taught them a bit about God.
In our Old Testament reading today, we’ve taken a last look at Joseph’s brothers – and would you believe it, they still haven’t changed. These are the fathers of the tribes of Israel; the backbone of the Jewish nation! But look how weak and unbelieving they are! They are still suspicious, still afraid. Their father Jacob is now already dead and buried. But they still don’t trust Joseph! They’re saying: “What if Joseph has a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” And they beg Joseph to forgive them, even though he already made it clear to them a long time ago that he loved and forgave them. They were so weak. They needed extra reassurance. They must have had only one percent of faith!
Did you know that some of the characters and events in the Bible can be seen as representing Jesus and His life? In the story of Noah, for example, the ark can represent Christ: where people will be safe and protected against evil and against God’s judgement. In the same way, Joseph is often seen as a forerunner of Jesus, who was also rejected by His own people, but who loved and forgave them despite His sufferings. And in today’s parable of the unforgiving servant, Jesus is actually talking about Himself, when He tells the story of the king who cancelled his servant’s debt, and let him go free. That’s because Jesus Himself cancelled our debts, our sins, and has also let us go free. Jesus cancelled each person’s inherited sinfulness – the sinful nature we inherited from our parents at birth: Jesus neutralized its consequences. He did all that, when He died for us.
But of course, we too are weak, and we either don’t accept what Christ has done, or else we are ignorant of it, or we have forgotten about it. We are weak in our faith. Each one of us has faith ranging from 1 percent to 100 percent. What percentage of faith do you think you have? We are weak, because we ourselves keep holding others to account for their debts, their sins against us. God forgave us, but we can’t forgive others – at least, not entirely. As in the parable, we too deserve to be thrown into prison and tortured! That message is so clear! God has made His peace with us, once and for all – but we haven’t made our peace, either with God or with other people. Like Joseph’s brothers, we accept forgiveness, and then we forget about it and become mistrustful all over again. So we need to hear Paul’s warning in today’s reading from Romans: “One day, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God”.
Do you know what a fifth column is? It’s a group of people who are in an enemy country, and those people are against it, against its values, and seeking to spread and grow strong in that country, so that eventually the country’s government will change or be overthrown. In a sense, the Israelites were a fifth column in Egypt. I like to think of us Christians as being a fifth column in this world. God is ultimately in control of this world, of the whole universe – but the prince of this world is nevertheless Satan; and we are at war with him. We are like a secret group in Satan’s world. And that thought encourages me to spread our message – the Good News about Jesus’ salvation and forgiveness – to new people whom God puts us in touch with. It’s exciting to see our fifth column growing and bringing more and more people into fellowship with us.
And do you know what our fifth column’s secret weapon is? What is it? Prayer! Prayer overcomes the devil. Prayer causes God to act in the people we’re praying for. Prayer – on the basis of what Jesus did on the cross, for each person – reminds us that Jesus has already created the conditions for each person to be healed and saved. Nothing more needs to be done – we all have our place at the banquet. So we can be assured that whoever we pray for is already loved by God, already personally known to Him, already cared for by His grace - already accepted by God. We don’t have to doubt that. So when we pray for others, God acts, and the fifth column grows in numbers, as more people are ushered into the Kingdom of God. But we too must accept the weakness of our neighbour, and take an interest in them, and teach them. Teach them what we know about God! We must remember that they have at least 1 percent of faith, whoever they are. And that’s a good enough reason for us to pray for them and talk to them – to build on that little faith – just as, in the past, people prayed for and talked to us.
The church that our friend visited was an international church in a Muslim country. Our friend was a Muslim at that time. But he was accepted, and talked to, and prayed for – and God opened his spiritual eyes. And the church went even further – it baptized him, in that spiritually hostile country! When we pray, God finds a way!
Dear Friends, what about us? Do we do our utmost to get to know others and invite them to our church? Do we always accept other people as they are? Are we always mindful of what Jesus has done for us on the cross – His gift of salvation, healing and forgiveness? If we are mindful of that, we will find it easier to pray for others, so that their spiritual eyes may be opened. So may we, at Warsaw International Church, be privileged by God’s grace to bring others to hear the Good News about Jesus, and to see the spiritual sight of many people being restored by God in the weeks and months ahead. Talking to a couple of our worshippers last night, the point was made that we’ll be starting a new chapter when we return to church worship in 2 weeks’ time. So let’s be excited by our faith, and allow God to build something new! Amen.
Readings for 20 September
20 September is the 16th Sunday after Pentecost.
Verse for the week: "I remembered You, Lord" (Jonah 2, 7). Responsive reading: Jonah's prayer to God - Jonah 2, 2-9. Old Testament reading: Jonah chapters 1-3, selected verses. Gospel reading: Matthew 21, 28-32.
Food of the Spirit
When The World Falls Apart
It is a tragic thing to watch a nation digress. The youngest of those who live in our nation today cannot possibly remember anything different. But many of us can. We remember a nation, not long ago, where…
- Every day in public school we began with prayer, asking God’s help and protection on our day.
- Political leaders disagreed, but they disagreed agreeably. There was a level of civility that is now a distant memory.
- The church had great respect from all levels of society and was making rapid advances.
- The things of God were not scoffed at, ridiculed, or mocked.
- Even non-believers understood the helpful role of spiritual life in the nation and in their communities.
- The immoralities that are common and defended today were not even mentioned.
- The needs of others were seen as more important than selfish needs.
Those days were not perfect or even spiritual at times. Those of us from that era have much to repent of… and there are many things that we see now that were terribly wrong. But there was a general morality, based on Judeo/Christian truth.
There was much that contributed to the fall we have witnessed. But it has eroded dramatically. The last few years have seen this decline increase exponentially.
The next step in a nation is the lifting of God’s hand leading to the final step of anarchy that ensues when a nation forsakes God and everyone does what is right in his own eyes. (…)
As you survey the land today, what do you suppose this is a time to do?
Father, forgive us, cleanse us, heal our land! The walls are broken down and the gates are burned with fire. Help us (…) to turn to the only One who can bring revival and spiritual awakening. Create a humble, contrite heart in us that would respond in fasting, prayer, and repentant obedience. Amen.
Herald Of His Coming, Sep.-Oct. 2020
Please be informed that your Data Administrator within the meaning of Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (EU) 2016/679 of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation, ”GDPR”), is Warsaw International Church with its registered office in Warsaw (00-789) at ul. Willowa 1.