Canvey Methodist Church Worship Services

Sunday Evening Service 24thApril 2022 - 2nd After Easter

 

1) Call to Worship.

Psalm 150

Praise the Lord.[a] (Hebrew Hallelu Yah)

Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.(Hebrew Hallelu Yah).

 

2) StF 64. Praise is rising

https://youtu.be/O7dY_7H7Ytg

 

3) Prayers of Praise.

 

4) John 20:19-31.    New International Version

 

Jesus Appears to His Disciples

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side.The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Jesus Appears to Thomas

24 Now Thomas(Aramaic for twin) (also known as Didymus (Greek for twin)[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

The Purpose of John’s Gospel

30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe[b] (continue to believe) that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

 

5) Revelation 1:4-8.     New International Version

 

Greetings and Doxology

4 John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits[a] before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

7 “Look, he is coming with the clouds,”[b]  and “every eye will see him,

even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”[c] So shall it be! Amen.

8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

 

6) STF 565.  Only by grace can we enter

https://youtu.be/fnaQIMtQ820

 

7) Reflection.

The first time that we do something, or come across a new situation or a new experience can, this can, for many, be a challenging, unsettling or even a frightening thing.

A new job, becoming a parent, falling in love, leaving home, becoming ill, getting married, being bereaved, living alone. The first time, the first encounter, facing the unknown future, all can be scary.

For the disciples of Jesus, who had, for three years, walked the road with Jesus, listened to his teaching, been amazed at his miracles, seen him transfigured on the mountain top, only to then to have their Lord and friend suddenly arrested, whisked way, unjustly tried and then crucified and killed right before their eye, their hopes and dreams of a new kingdom for Israel lay smashed and in tatters. Now alone again, feeling dispirited and traumatised they were together in a room, when suddenly Jesus was again with them, visible, physical and yet inexplicably present despite the locked door. No wonder that they were frightened and startled. And what were Jesus' words to them. 

 

From John 20:21 we read,  Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

 

In a moment, their fears and despondency were swept away by the peace of Jesus and the breath of the Holy Spirit amongst them.

Instead of being at the end of all things, these disciples found themselves at the beginning of something new. Their hopes and dreams of this new kingdom of God were given a new life and a fresh fervour. For Jesus was right in front of them, risen from the dead and was now commissioning them to take this message of sins forgiven into the world.  But what was all this about them as messengers of Jesus forgiving and not forgiving sin. Surely only Jesus can do that. That is what we read time and tone again in the New Testament.

In Acts 10:43-44, Peter was sharing the gospel, and he said, “Everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” 

 

First John 5:1-5 tells us only he who believes in Jesus will overcome the world. 

 

Luke 5:20 says, “When Jesus saw their faith, He said ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.’” 

 

Colossians 2:13-14 says Jesus forgave all our sins.

 

All of these passages confirm that Jesus is the one who forgives sin, and He forgives all of our sins. Surely, If we have had genuine faith in Him, someone else cannot then later decide we are not forgiven one sin or another?

So exactly did Jesus mean in John 20:23? When he said, “If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

The key to understanding the meaning of John 20:23 lies in the previous two verses: which say, 

 

“Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” 

 

Jesus sent his disciples, as He is sending us today in 2022, to bring the good news of the way to salvation and heaven to the whole world. Jesus was leaving the earth physically but promised God would be with them in the person of the Holy Spirit living in them. As they proclaimed the gospel, they could honestly tell people who believed in that message that their sins were forgiven, and they could honestly tell people that did not believe in the message that their sins were not forgiven and that they stand condemned in God’s eyes. 

 

Jesus himself had earlier explained this to them, and we read this in John 3:36; Jesus said,

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:36).

 

And that is the gospel that the first followers of the way of Jesus took out into the world, that a person could be freed from their sin by having it forgiven by having faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. 

 

St John the divine, whilst in exile on the island of Patmos echoed this truth after a lifetime of living out the truth of this Gospel. He wrote,

 

From Rev 1:4, “Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits[a] before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen”.

 

Whilst we are unravelling “hard to understand” texts, what does this reference to the “seven spirits before his throne mean”?   

The identity of “these seven spirits” is certainly not explicit in the passage. However, perhaps arriving at the proper interpretation is fairly straightforward if we look at what Revelation 1:4 actually says. In this, the apostle John says that “grace and peace” are coming to the churches from three sources: 

1)“him who is, who was, and who is to come” (verse 4),

2) In“the seven spirits before the throne” (verse 4), and

3) In “Jesus Christ” (verse 5). 

 

Together this is a depiction of the Trinity: 

grace and peace are given by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the three co-equal Persons of the Godhead.

 

Whenever we read of the number seven in scripture it refers to “perfection”.

The prophet Isaiah also helps us here to understand what is meant by this reference to “the seven spirits before his throne”.

Isaiah 11:2 references the Holy Spirit of God, using a seven-fold description: 

 

1)“The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—

2) the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, 

3) The Spirit of understanding

4) The Spirit of counsel

5) The Spirit of power

6) The Spirit of knowledge

7) The Spirit of the fear of the Lord

 

Thus Isaiah's prophecy was that the Messiah would be empowered not by seven individual spirits but by the One Spirit, described seven ways:

 

The “seven spirits of God” in the book of Revelation are therefore a reference to the Holy Spirit in the perfection of His manifold ministry.

 

And so in Canvey Methodist Church on the 24th April 2022 this promise comes to us also,

“To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, He has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen”.

 

Are we facing uncertain, new or fearful times? We may be but God draws close to each of us assuring us of his presence through it all and calling us to 

share the gospel message, the way to heaven, to others in the world; to go about that mission with the Holy Spirit living inside us, guiding us as we share His truth. To tell people that the only way to be forgiven is through faith in Jesus.

This is the very core of the gospel message and is at the very heart of what we are to explain to the world. It was Jesus’ last command to His followers before He physically left the earth—to carry forward the message of hope and save as many as will believe in Him. Amen


 

8) STF 395 Spirit of the living God

https://youtu.be/En44FTqOifs

 

9) Prayers for others

 

10) Communion.


 

12). STF 345. And Can It be.

 

https://youtu.be/TCDdm8usKrU

 

13) Benediction 

 

Ref:

www.gotquestions.org