OPEN FOR MORNING WORSHIP ON SUNDAY AT 10:30AM
OPEN FOR MORNING WORSHIP
SUNDAY AT 10:30AM

Sharing Our Faith Together

Morning Worship for Sunday 23 August 2020

by Peter Blount 23 August 2020

Greetings in the name of Jesus – Joy and peace to you all.

Call to Worship - Psalm 138 v 1 & 2

1 I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
before the “gods” I will sing your praise.

2 I will bow down toward your holy temple
and will praise your name
for your unfailing love and your faithfulness,
for you have so exalted your solemn decree
that it surpasses your fame.


First Hymn: At the name of Jesus

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The next Verse of Psalm 138 reads -

When I called, you answered me;
you greatly emboldened me.

Let us pray :-

Heavenly Father we come this morning excited and expectant that you will speak to each one of us at our point of need. We acknowledge you as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and as we call to you this morning please do answer and embolden us.

As we worship together may we find peace and strength through the outpouring of your grace through scripture, prayer and song.

We pray today for all who make decisions that effect our nations, and our individual lives, particularly to do with Covid 19 and the future of Brexit.

We pray for all who struggle with lockdown and isolation.

We pray for those we know who are ill at home or in hospital.

We pray for any who are bereaved.

We pray for the lost, lonely and displaced.

We pray for wisdom in re-gathering our fellowship in worship and praise.

We pray for our church council on Tuesday that your leading and wisdom would over-rule in all our discussion and decision making.

We pray that through grace we are able rely on You to magnify our hopes and banish our fears.

Lord Jesus – Thank you

Please now pray The Lord’s Prayer in your heart

AMEN

Second Hymn: King of Kings, Majesty

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Reading - Matthew Ch 16 v 13 – 20 - Peter’s Confession of Christ

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[b] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[c] will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[d] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[e] loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

Reflection

So, over the last few weeks, in the gospel of Matthew, we have been on this continuing and exciting adventure through a relatively few days in the life of Jesus. During which the disciples have been witness to some incredible acts of healing, feeding and teaching – leading, inevitably to large numbers of people quite literally ‘following Jesus’ wherever he goes.

Last week we looked at Matthew Ch 15 – the faith of a woman who simply wanted the best for her daughter through the blessing of Jesus.

Today as we move into Ch 16 the lectionary takes us to the eight verses above which we have just read. However, the gospel is so packed with miracles and wonders, that we have passed over Jesus once again, feeding the crowd in the last part of Ch 15.

In just two verses Matthew writes that the lame, blind, crippled, mute and many others are all healed. The crowd had been thronging Jesus for three days!! And still there was an expectancy for more. But, Jesus, with seven loaves and a few fish, now satisfies their physical need for food as well as their need for healing and teaching.

It’s all a bit breathtaking really!

Now, Ch 16, here they come – the Pharisees and the Sadducees wanting signs, wanting proof of who Jesus is and what is His authority. In other words Jesus was challenging their comfortable and powerful existence. If your bible is still open, have a read of the first 12 verses of this chapter – the challenge of the opposition and the discussion of the disciples.

Now they arrive at the coastal town of Caesarea Philippi and Jesus almost turns on His disciples and asks this rather awkward and pointed question ‘Who do you say the son of man is’. When cornered like this, the disciples do as we would no doubt do, and quotes others – comments they have heard, well some say this, others say that etc. But Jesus is having none of it, but who do you say that I am?

Peter jumps straight in (there’s a surprise) with his answer ‘You are the Christ, the son of the living God’. Wow! Jesus knew immediately Peter had received that word not from his own wisdom, or from filtering all that had been discussed recently among themselves, but that came from God himself, the Father in Heaven.

This is followed by the assurance that Peter would help even further to build the church on earth, filling it with converts to the saving gospel of Jesus. (Made all the more special when we read on and experience, with Peter, the struggle he had to prove his character, to attain that promise).

In conclusion, we are constantly faced with demands for proof of the gospel and signs of Jesus continued power. In our ministry and work for the gospel we are asked questions and face situations for which there appears to be no answer – suddenly we say ‘I have an idea!’ and we move ahead with confidence and authority. Perhaps it’s time to acknowledge that, following prayer, it’s not ‘our idea’ that saves the day, like Peter in this passage, whether we know it, or not, God still leads and directs His people even today. In our crazy and hectic existence there is still a place for the ‘still small voice’ to inspire us, direct us and empower us.

Prayer

Lord be at the heart of all we do or say.

Lord give as the understanding to know your guiding.

Lord give us all we need to carry out your will.

AMEN


Our final hymn - Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us

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The Blessing

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