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

Sharing Our Faith Together

Morning Worship on The Third Sunday of Easter

by Rev Greg Obong-Oshotse 18 April 2021

Call to Worship Psalm 27:4
“One thing have I asked of the Lord,
    that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
    and to inquire in his temple.” 

Hymn: Christ The Lord Is Risen Today 

YouTube shows adverts which may not be appropriate to the video we have selected.

Opening Prayer & The Lord’s Prayer 
Heavenly Father we give You thanks for the privilege of worship today. We proclaim with the Holy Scriptures that this is the day that You have made and that we will rejoice and be glad in it. We therefore begin our worship presenting our bodies to you a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, which is our reasonable service. We refuse to be conformed to the world today. Rather we seek to be transformed by the renewal of our minds that we may know Your perfect will and do it so that Your name will be glorified. Give us this blessing today as worship and every day of the rest of our lives in the name of Your precious Son, our only Lord and Saviour and Master and Helper, Jesus Christ, Amen. 

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, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen. 

Hymn : There Is A Redeemer 

YouTube shows adverts which may not be appropriate to the video we have selected.

Bible Reading Luke 24:36-49

Jesus Appears to His Disciples
36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marvelling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate before them.

44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance for[c] the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Hymn: How Sweet The Name Of Jesus Sounds

YouTube shows adverts which may not be appropriate to the video we have selected.

The Uniqueness of Christ - Luke 24: 36-49

One of the fundamental doctrines of Christianity is the Uniqueness of Jesus Christ. It means that Christ alone, of all the people who ever lived, was both God and man. He was both fully God and fully man. It also means that He is the only Saviour of humanity. As He Himself taught His disciples, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). This is obviously not taught by any other religion. But this is a doctrine that is clearly taught throughout the Scriptures, and it has been part and parcel of what the Church has believed from the beginning. The Bible shows us very many ways in which Christ is unique. Some of these are that: He did what no else ever did, or has done; He alone lived a sinless life; and that He alone was born of a virgin. There are so many others. At least two expressions of His uniqueness are noted in our reading. 

Firstly, His resurrection makes Him unique. 

He who was dead is now alive. Death could not hold Him down in the grave. He defeated death, walked out of the grave and the tomb with the ‘keys of Death and Hades’ in His hands (Revelation 1:18).  In Luke’s account of the resurrection morning, two angels address the women who had made an early morning trip to the tomb, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise” Luke 24:5-7. The other Gospels tell the same story – that Christ conquered death and rose from the grave. The Resurrection is unique to Christ, and to Christianity. 

Secondly, Christ’s power to reveal God to people also makes Him unique. 

When He appeared among His disciples in the evening of His resurrection, He had a meal of a piece of broiled fish. 

“Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance for[c] the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

Only Christ can give understanding and reveal the true God to the minds of men. 

“. . . he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.”

‘He opened their minds.’ This is eternal miles away from what a lot of people today understand as having an open mind. People are told to ‘Keep an open mind.’ The idea is that they will be able to learn from all the different religions that they may come in contact with. And that is because, so the argument goes, no one religion has all the truth. It’s not surprising that the phrase: ‘keep an open mind’,  this has become the mantra of the culture. But that is the very opposite of what the Bible teaches. It is a very unchristian principle. Christians are to give their minds only to the truth that is taught by the Holy Bible. For Christians, Biblical truth is total, complete, and absolute. And it is non-negotiable. 

When Christ opened their minds, it was to enable them understand the scriptures, not to ‘keep an open mind’ and be looking out for fragments of truth from other religions. When He opened their minds, He enlightened their minds. He freed their minds from the darkness of ignorance. He enabled them to receive light and life, so that the Scriptures (the written word) became transformative for them. He enabled them to receive the supernatural food for the growth of the spiritual life.

Opened minds bring clarity to the heart. That is why Hebrews 4:12 says “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

This is what happens when the mind is open. It receives the word and it is transformed. And the person too is transformed. That’s what happened to the disciples on the way to Emmaus: “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” Luke 24:32

Christ is unique. There is no one like Him. There never has been. There never will be. He is not just a prophet. A teacher. A miracle worker. A preacher. Or a good man. There have been many prophets, teachers, preachers, miracle workers, and good men and good women. But they have all died. And they remain dead. And there are still so many such people today. They too will be seized and killed by death when their day comes. And they will all remain in their graves and tombs until the last day when they shall all resurrect to face judgement. But Christ is more than all these. He is the God Man. He died and resurrected. Because death could not hold him. And when the resurrection to judgement happens on the last day, it is Him that resurrected humanity will face – every single one of them – because He will be the Judge. All who have died, including all the prophets, teachers, preachers, miracle workers, and all the good men and good women of all the ages, will rise and appear, one after the other, before Him.

How absolutely important it is therefore that Christ should be all in all in our lives, and that we should seek him daily. Equally important is that in doing so, we should come humbly, praying Him to open our minds as we come to His word; and praying that He may reveal more of Himself to us and that we may be transformed to be more and more like him, and be filled with the joy that He alone can give.

How absolutely important it is therefore that people should know that Christ is the only One who can reveal God to people. And that we ought also to do all that we can to enable people to come to the word with humility and a readiness to hear and to learn and be changed.

May the Risen Christ daily open our minds to understand the Scriptures and help us to draw others to Him for the same blessing, in His name I pray, Amen.

 

Hymn: Christ Is Alive! Let Christians Sing

YouTube shows adverts which may not be appropriate to the video we have selected.

Prayers of Intercession and Petition
Offer to God, either silently or speaking out loud, prayers for Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family on the death of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Also for our nation and our leaders, for other nations and their leaders, for the Church across the denominations, for the world still fighting to free itself from a pandemic, for those who are ill, bereaved or suffering in whatever way, and others that come to your mind. Present also your own private petitions before the Lord.

 

Hymn: Lord of All Hopefulness, Lord of All Joy 

 

YouTube shows adverts which may not be appropriate to the video we have selected.

Benediction and Dismissal 
May the Lord keep you and bless you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you, May the Lord turn His face towards you  and give you peace.

Go in peace and in the power of His Holy Spirit to love and to serve the Lord in the Name of The Father and of The Son and of The Holy Spirit, 

AMEN.