Sunday 29 March 2020 – Morning Service

28th March 2020

Good morning! Welcome to our second Sunday in which we find ourselves separated and unable to meet physically. But we can still claim the promise of Matthew 18:20, where Jesus says, “Where two or three come together in My name, there am I with them.” And we are coming together, aren’t we? Let us worship Him together.

Reading – Psalm 34

Before we sing our first hymn, we will read the psalm it was based on. The circumstances of David when he wrote Psalm 34 are very different from our own! (have you ever feigned madness to escape a pagan king?) But his God is our God, and He is our refuge.

Read the psalm out loud together.

Hymn – Through all the changing scenes of life

  1. THROUGH all the changing scenes of life,
    in trouble and in joy,
    the praises of my God shall still
    my heart and tongue employ

  2. Of His deliverance I will boast,
    till all that are distressed
    from my example comfort take,
    and charm their griefs to rest.

  3. O magnify the Lord with me,
    with me exalt His Name;
    when in distress to Him I called,
    He to my rescue came.

  4. The hosts of God encamp around
    the dwellings of the just;
    deliverance He provides to all
    who make His Name their trust.

  5. O make but trial of His love,
    experience will decide
    how blessed are they, and only they,
    who in His truth confide.

  6. Fear Him, you saints, and you will then
    have nothing else to fear;
    make you His service your delight,
    your wants shall be His care.

    Nahum Tate, 1652-1715 and Nicholas Brady, 1659-1726

Prayer

Pray together now, praising God for His sovereign Lordship of this world, His great power displayed in all creation, and His glory displayed in both judgement and salvation. Thank Him for His mercies to us, in the daily provision of our needs, and in the redemption that comes to us through Jesus.

Pray for our world, our country, our leaders, our loved ones – pray with this in mind: ‘Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done.’

Remember the purposes of God that we considered last week from Revelation 8-9, where we see God calling the world to repentance.

Make sure that your own prayers include confession and repentance.

For the children

Now we’re going to hear the first episode in the story of a man God used in wonderful ways to bring the gospel to China. His name was Hudson Taylor. Many of you will have heard of him, and some of you will remember me telling his story back in 2014! Some of you weren’t even born in 2014…

Our next hymn asks if you have heard Jesus calling you to repent and believe, like Hudson did all those years ago.

Hymn – Have you heard the voice of Jesus

  1. HAVE you heard the voice of Jesus softly pleading with our heart?
    Have you felt His presence glorious, as He calls your soul apart,
    with a love so true and loyal, love divine that ever flows
    from a Saviour, righteous, royal, and a cross that mercy shows?

  2. Have you heard the voice of mercy granting peace and pardon pure?
    Have you felt the balm of Calvary binding all your wounds secure?
    Was there ever such salvation, was there ever care like this?
    See the Saviour’s grief and passion, grace and mercy’s gentle kiss.

  3. Have you heard the Saviour calling all to leave and follow Him?
    Have you felt His person drawing with compulsion lives to win?
    Hearken to His invitation, to the music of God’s grace;
    let the peace of God’s salvation fill your soul, and love embrace.

    William Vernon Higham, b. 1926

Reading – Acts 20:36-21:16

This passage records the apostle Paul’s return to Jerusalem, following his third missionary journey. All the way, he is told that trouble awaits him there…

This account is more than a travelogue! It is a wonderful account of spiritual friendship. Before we look at it, let’s sing this classic hymn that rejoices in our unity in Christ, which is not diminished by separation!

Hymn

  1. BLEST be the tie that binds
    our hearts in Christian love;
    the fellowship of kindred minds
    is like to that above.

  2. Before our Father’s throne
    we pour our ardent prayers;
    our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
    our comforts and our cares.

  3. We share our mutual woes,
    our mutual burdens bear;
    and often for each other flows
    the sympathizing tear.

  4. When for awhile we part,
    this thought will soothe our pain,
    that we shall still be joined in heart,
    and hope to meet again.

  5. This glorious hope revives
    our courage by the way,
    while each in expectation lives,
    and longs to see the day.

  6. From sorrow, toil, and pain,
    and sin we shall be free;
    and perfect love and friendship reign
    through all eternity.

    John Fawcett, 1740-1817

Sermon

Listen now to the sermon. Think about what God wants to tell us in these chapters. Use the sheet if it helps!

Hymn – Come People of the Risen King

Our final hymn will be new to some of you, so you might like to listen to it first before you sing. It is a call to worship God together as His people, whether we are near or far apart.

1) Come, people of the risen King,
Who delight to bring Him praise
Come all and tune your hearts to sing
To the morning star of grace.
From the shifting shadows of the earth
We will lift our eyes to Him,
Where steady arms of mercy reach
To gather children in.

Rejoice, rejoice! Let every tongue rejoice!
One heart, one voice; O church of Christ rejoice!

2) Come, those whose joy is morning sun,
And those weeping through the night;
Come, those who tell of battles won,
And those struggling in the fight.
For His perfect love will never change,
And His mercies never cease,
But follow us through all our days
With the certain hope of peace.

Rejoice, rejoice! Let every tongue rejoice!
One heart, one voice; O church of Christ rejoice!

Rejoice the Lord is King!
Your Lord and King adore!
Rejoice, give thanks and sing
And triumph evermore!
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

3) Come, young and old from every land –
men and women of the faith;
come, those with full or empty hands –
Find the riches of His grace.
Over all the world, His people sing –
Shore to shore we hear them call
The truth that cries through every age:
‘Our God is all in all’!

Rejoice, rejoice! Let every tongue rejoice!
One heart, one voice; O church of Christ rejoice!

Prayer

Pray about our life together as Christians.

  • Give thanks for the blessing of spiritual friendships.
  • What should you be doing to ‘maintain the bond of peace’?
  • What aspects of this “spiritual friendship” are most challenging in the current crisis?
  • What aspects of this might be strengthened through the current crisis?

Blessing

‘Congregation of the Lord Jesus Christ,
in all your troubles and darkness, remember what you are and have.
You have been loved with an everlasting love.
You are supported by everlasting arms.
You are recipients of everlasting life and heirs of an everlasting kingdom,
all sealed and made sure by the blood
of an everlasting covenant.
Amen.’

Refreshments

Now, make a drink, grab a biscuit, and enjoy “a time of fellowship!” How?

WhatsApp

If you have the technology, then between 12 and 1pm you can go on the WhatsApp group chat and have a chat! If you click on the name of a person, you can then click to chat face to face (through a video call)! Up to four people can share in a video conversation. If you are not sure about what to do, you can find out more here.

Phone call challenge

During the course of this Sunday…

  • Phone somebody you always talk to on a Sunday
  • Phone somebody you sometimes talk to on a Sunday
  • Phone somebody you never talk to on a Sunday (!)