Sharing Our Faith Together

Morning Worship for Sunday 15 November 2020

by Andy Cokayne 15 November 2020

Welcome - A call to worship from Psalm 91 v 1-2 & 14-15

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Our first hymn is : ‘All my hope on God is founded’

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We turn to Our Lord in prayer

Heavenly Father we come before you separated yet united in you. We pray that as we share this act of worship together, you would be very real to each of us, that we may be aware of your presence through your Holy Spirit, that you would encourage us and lift our hearts and minds from our earthly trials at this time, to focus on you. We come with expectancy that we will meet with you, and pray that all that we do may be done to your honour and glory. We come not only with expectancy, but also with humility for we know what we are like, that even our best efforts are only dirty rags, so we come not pleading that we are good enough, but knowing that we are not. We ask that you will draw near to us in mercy, we come wanting to say sorry for all the times that we have let you down, through what we have said, and not said, done, and not done, and claim that promise in your word that we know is true “That if we confess our sins you are faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” On that promise we rely. Thank you Father that through Jesus, and him alone, each of us can know our sins forgiven and our relationship with you put right. We ask these prayers in the name of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Let us share together in 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 who 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.

Hymn : Our second hymn is : ‘Fill thou my life, O Lord my God’

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Once more we turn to Our Lord in prayer

Heavenly Father, we come to you with matters that are on our hearts and minds, and thank you for this wonderful privilege we have of prayer. We ask that you would grant wisdom to our government, and governments around the world, that they would act with fairness and wisdom in dealing with the pandemic, and the Black Lives Matter campaign. We pray that the recent news about the vaccine may come to fruition, and that care would be taken in its finalisation and it’s distribution. We pray that you would bring comfort and peace to those suffering through the pandemic, and those suffering due to their consequent mental health. We pray for all those feeling alone and isolated, and pray that you would show us the part you wish us to play in bringing help in these situations. We pray that you will increase our faith in you, that you would make us bold, and dare to pray that you will give us the opportunities to share the good news of peace through Jesus, with this anxious and troubled world. We pray that you will grant wisdom and insight to all church leaders as they seek your will for when to re-open buildings. We pray that you would grant us a renewed vision of what you will do amongst us. Revive your church we pray. May we leave our time of worship today strengthened by your presence in our lives and by your Spirit’s power, to go forth with confidence into the week ahead. We ask all these prayers in the name of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

We continue our journey through Matthew’s gospel, as one of the passages of scripture set for today is : Matthew 25 v 14-30 - The Parable of the Talents

Looking forward to Jesus’ Return?
‘Jesus is Coming, Everyone Look Busy.’ You may have seen this logo on a Tee shirt in the past, and they are still on sale for £9.93. The message is clear Jesus is coming back, and so get working. It is also a reminder to all professing christians that Jesus is going to return, he said he would while on his earthly ministry, and so we are not to be idle. This parable of the Talents is a story that Jesus told speaking of his return, the previous parable of the Ten Virgins also spoke of his return. In the Ten Virgins it encourages us to be vigilant, in the Talents it encourages us to be diligent. A Talent in Jesus day was an amount of money worth several hundred pounds, but Jesus was clearly not just speaking of how to use money, more about using what we have been given. This story is not about those outside the church, we read he “called his servants and entrusted his property to them”. This parable is about those who are believers, you and me.

When Jesus told this story it is only a matter of days before he is arrested and finally crucified. Jesus has told his disciples about the end of the age and his return. His disciples come to him and ask him when will this be, in reply Jesus told them these parables, not answering when he would return, but how they were to live knowing his return was approaching.

When we speak of people being talented, we normally mean someone who has a remarkable gift or ability. However a Talent can mean anything whereby we may glorify God. Our gifts, our influence, our money, our knowledge, our health, our strength, our time, our senses, our reason, our intellect, our memory, our affections, are all Talents through which we can bring glory to God. Where did they come from? Why are we like what we are? The answer is that these all come from our Heavenly Father, they are a loan from God. We are God’s stewards of our Talents.

What can we learn from this Parable, firstly that we all have been given Talents. No one can say “I am useless”, because God never made anyone useless, we all have our place, we all have a Talent, or perhaps more than one. The question is how do we, or do we, use it? We read of two people in the parable who put their Talents to use and were commended for it, but the third person was condemned for just burying his. I wonder why! Did he feel he hadn’t been given much, he’d had a raw deal when gifts were given out. Jesus is clearly teaching that we are to use the Talents that we have for God’s glory, no matter how small, no matter how unnoticeable, we may think they are. We are his stewards of what we have been given.

Secondly we learn that Jesus is coming back, this time not as a servant, but as King and Judge. “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.” It may have been 2,000 years since he completed his earthly ministry, nevertheless Jesus will return. He promised he would. This time he comes to settle accounts, as he put it. It does not matter who we are, clever or not, rich or poor, we must all stand before our Father God, to give account for every talent we have been given, and every opportunity we have been granted.

Thirdly we learn that he comes to condemn or congratulate. All true Christians will receive their reward, and all those unfruitful members will be condemned and cast away. These words are full of comfort to all believers, and may well fill us with wonder and surprise. We read “Well done, good and faithful servant!” “What me Jesus!” we may say, surprised at God’s goodness to us. That we had just been doing what we felt he wanted us to do. While the servant who buried his talent was reminded that he knew his master’s character and requirements and was therefore without excuse. There will be no excuse for any unconverted christian on the last day.

This passage about the Talents, and the previous one about the Ten Virgins both speak about Jesus’ return and our approach to it. He left this message right towards the end of his ministry, and hence wanted to ensure that his disciples, and you and I, did not forget the message. It is not something to fear or dread, but that all true believers should look forward to with joy, as Jesus will take his rightful place. We are to live as though Jesus could return any time, indeed that is how he has wanted the believers to live ever since he ascended. It is undoubtedly a challenge, yet through the work of the Holy Spirit at work within us, one that through God’s grace we can meet. We are to use wisely and for his glory, the talents and gifts he has given us, and made us stewards of. Be encouraged Jesus is coming soon.

Our final hymn is : ‘These are the Days of Elijah’

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We are united with churches throughout the country as we share together in the ‘The UK Blessing’

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