Service at Home on 28th June
Service at Home on 28th June 2020
for Christ Church Ramsbottom, Edenfield Methodist Church and Bolton Road Methodist Church
YouTube playlist: Service at Home 28-06-2020
As usual, the entire service can be followed on this YouTube playlist without the need to look at these sheets. However, you can still use these sheets if you prefer, especially if you want to read the prayers.
Welcome and Introduction
Watch: Welcome and Introduction
Welcome to this Sunday’s Service at Home. Today we’re going to be looking at how sin can separate us from God’s love; and how we can avoid this by offering ourselves to Him, and accepting His gift of eternal life in Jesus.
Watch: And can it be
Watch: Spirit Break Out
Watch: Opening prayers
Lord Jesus, we thank you that we can come just as we are to worship you. Because of your death and resurrection, the barrier of our wrongdoing which kept us apart from God has been broken and we are welcomed into your presence, we are adopted into your family. Thank you for your amazing act of love.
Holy Spirit, stir us up, give us a longing to see God’s Kingdom growing in our town and in our nation. Help us to be faithful in prayer and service, joining in your work of growing the Kingdom. Renew and strengthen our faith and our church and bring revival in our land. Amen.
We’ll now say the prayer that Jesus taught us:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name;
Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Watch: Great is the darkness
Prayers of intercession
Watch: Prayers of intercession
Watch: The Potter's Hand
Readings and Sermon
Watch: Readings and Sermon
- Matthew 10:40 - 42
- Romans 6:8 - 23
“The wages of sin is death”. Paul didn’t mince his words did he?! But there’s a good reason for that: Paul needed to make sure that his readers knew how dangerous sin was. He needed to warn them that sin could easily destroy the relationship that they had with Jesus.
Sin isn’t a popular subject but please remember that sin is as dangerous for you and me today as it was in Paul’s time. We can’t ignore what the Bible tells us! So we’re going to look at how to avoid the dangers of sin, so that we can, as Paul put it, receive God’s gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ.
The first question we need to answer is this: what exactly is sin? The concept of sin has been watered down and manipulated by our society. It’s now often regarded as something that’s a bit naughty but basically harmless and usually enjoyable. And when we talk about sin in church, we get into lengthy debates about what’s a sin and what isn’t a sin, with people often jumping to the conclusion that it’s all about sex!
But actually, sin is simply turning away from God and doing something contrary to what He tells us we should or shouldn’t do. Or in other words, sin is disobedience to God. In that case, the question becomes: “what is disobedience to God”. And to know what disobedience to God is, we need to understand what His commands are. Jesus tells us in Matthew 22 that God commands us to love God and to love each other. This means that a sin is doing anything that’s unloving, because this is disobeying God. That makes it sound very simple, but as usual it’s not as straightforward as it seems. So let’s look at it a bit more closely.
Jesus tells us that we must love God. If I asked you whether you loved God I’m sure you’d say: that’s an easy question, yes of course I love God. But in Mathew 22 verse 37 Jesus actually tells us: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”. And this is reflected in what Paul wrote about only being able to serve one master. This means that we must love God above all else. We must love God more than money and what money can buy, more than our home and car and other possessions; more than our social life, holidays, hobbies and sport; and more than our pride and what people think about us. And as we heard last week, we must love God more than our family and friends, which I admit is a tough one. When we love God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind, we’ll be constantly wanting to learn more about Him, to know Him better, and to talk to Him. And our every dream and ambition in life will be centred on serving Him and nothing else. But remember, if we don’t love God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind, it will cause us to sin.
Jesus also tells us to love other people. But again Jesus, makes it clear what love means in this case, when he tells us in verse 39 to “love your neighbour as yourself”. This means always wanting the best for others and wanting for them what we want for ourselves. And this means sharing what we have with others and doing things for them without expecting anything in return. And when we love people as ourselves then we respect them, avoid hurting them at all cost and not having unloving thoughts about them.
Jesus also makes it clear, through the parable of the Good Samaritan, that everyone is our neighbour, even the people that we don’t know and have very little in common with. This of course includes people in every part of the world, of every culture and of every faith and none. There’s a welcome spotlight on racism at the moment and God’s command to love others reminds us how much racism and every other form of discrimination and hatred contravenes God’s commands. There is no doubt that racism and other forms of discrimination is a sin.
So there’s no need to endlessly wonder what’s a sin and what isn’t: just ask yourself, does it reflect my love of God and my love for all other people? Simple, yet very challenging.
Now that we’ve considered what sin is, let’s now look at what’s so dangerous about sin. Having just said that sin is dangerous, you might be surprised when I now say that it doesn’t actually matter very much when we sin. That’s because God always forgives our sin through our faith in what Jesus did for us by dying on the cross. Which is just as well because, as Paul writes earlier in his letter to the Romans, in chapter 3: “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus”. We all fall short of the standard set by Jesus and have sinned. None of us are as perfectly loving as our Lord, who is Himself pure love. Our sins might just seem to be small: perhaps an unloving thought or a small disobedience to God. But it’s still a sin and it still needs forgiveness. But through the grace of Jesus, when we sin we just need to say sorry to God and anybody else we’ve hurt, learn by our mistake, and move on, accepting God’s forgiveness through Jesus.
I’m not of course saying that it’s OK to sin and we must always do our very best not to. We mustn’t think: oh well, I can do what I like because God will forgive me. That’s exactly what Paul was warning his readers about in verse 15: “shall we sin… because we’re under grace? By no means!”
It’s when start to think that sin doesn’t matter that it gets dangerous. The passage in Paul’s letter to the Romans tells us: “do not let sin reign in you”; and “sin shall no longer be your master”. Or in other words, don’t let sin control you.
There’s a very big difference between committing a sin and regretting it, compared to letting ourselves continue to sin and not trying to stop. If we continue to sin then we’re letting sin control us, and when we do that we’re being wilfully disobedient to God. We’re saying to God: I don’t care what you want, I’m going to do what I want. When we let sin control us we are in effect making a conscious decision to ignore God and turn away from him and do our own thing. When we do this we separate ourselves from God and from His love.
Remember, it’s never God that chooses to leave us but always us that choose to leave Him. The choice is yours! Do you choose sin, which results in death or do you choose to accept God’s gift of eternal life in Jesus?
Put like that, I can’t imagine why anyone who knows of God’s love would choose sin instead of eternal life. But sadly, it’s something that can happen all too easily without us realising. The temptations of this world are often very subtle and appealing, and the devil is very cunning in the way that he uses them to draw us away from God. Nobody in their right mind wants to become an alcoholic or a drug addict or obese; or get into debt that they can’t repay. In the same way, sin can creep up on us without us noticing and ruin our life. This is why sin is so dangerous: without us even noticing, sin can separate us from God’s love and destroy our life in this world and for all eternity.
So the question is now: how can we avoid being controlled by sin and how can we break free from sin if it already controls us? The answer is what Paul wrote in verses 13 and 17: “offer yourselves to God” and “obey Him from your heart”. That’s because we cannot be controlled by sin when we’re being controlled by God. When we offer our lives to God and try to obey His commands, sin no longer has any control over us,
What does this mean in practice? How do we make sure that sin cannot control us? We do this making sure that following Jesus is our number one priority. We must listen to God and be to Him, even when He calls us to do things that we don’t want to do, which don’t fit in with what we’d planned. We must constantly examine our lives to make sure that nothing else becomes more important to us than serving God. Our every dream and aspiration must be based on God’s commands and calling. If we do this then sin will never control us.
And we must constantly examine our lives for things that we do, say and think that are unloving, disrespectful or hurtful, or things that we don’t do that we should. Anything that does not reflect God’s perfect love for us. If we do this then sin will never creep up on us without us noticing.
As I said just now, each one of us has to make a life changing choice, every day. We can choose to let sin control our life and risk becoming separated from God; or we can choose to accept God’s gift of eternal life in Jesus by submitting our life to Him.
If you choose to accept God’s gift of eternal life then please say this prayer.
Dear Lord, I’m sorry if I sometimes fail to make following Jesus my number one priority in life. I’m sorry if I sometimes put other things first. Show me what I place too much importance on……..
Lord, help me to turn away from these things and to always put you first. I pray that all my plans and dreams reflect your commands and what you call me to do.
And Lord, I’m sorry that I’m sometimes disobedient and don’t do what you call me to do, or I do, say and think things that I shouldn’t. I’m sorry that I sometimes fail to reflect your love in the way that I treat other people. Lord, show me what my sins are………...
Lord, I confess these sins to you now. Forgive me……..
I thank you for your gift of forgiveness and eternal life through the grace of Jesus. I thank you that you never separate yourself from us and that you always love us.
Lord, I choose your gift of eternal life in Jesus by submitting my life to you now, so that I’ll never be separated from your love. Amen.
Watch: I will offer up my life