[Did you miss last Sunday’s services? They can still be found at Worship Archive – April 11th 2021.]
Sunday Service from Connexion for April 18th 2021:
Sunday Services from Hillside Circuit for April 18th 2021:
Theme: Acts of love
[Click or tap on a Bible reference above to jump down the page to the Bible reading to listen and/or read it for yourself and then click or tap on Back to top to come back here.]
Here are the songs for Sunday morning service. Click or tap on a song to open it in YouTube, or go to the Songs for worship webpage to find them embedded.
Here is love, vast as the ocean.
In moments like these.
Lord, I come to you (The power of your love).
In heavenly love abiding.
How deep the Father’s love.
Let there be love shared among us.
You can listen and join in with prayers from the English Methodist Service Book. They can be found at the Prayers for worship webpage.
1 You are my God and protector. Please answer my prayer.
I was in terrible distress, but you set me free.
Now have pity and listen as I pray.
2 How long will you people refuse to respect me?
You love foolish things,
and you run after what is worthless.
3 The LORD has chosen everyone who is faithful
to be his very own,
and he answers my prayers.
4 But each of you had better tremble
and turn from your sins.
Silently search your heart as you lie in bed.
5 Offer the proper sacrifices and trust the LORD.
6 There are some who ask, “Who will be good to us?”
Let your kindness, LORD, shine brightly on us.
7 You brought me more happiness
than a rich harvest of grain and grapes.
8 I can lie down and sleep soundly
because you, LORD, will keep me safe.
12 Peter saw that a crowd had gathered, and he said:
Friends, why are you surprised at what has happened? Why are you staring at us? Do you think we have some power of our own? Do you think we were able to make this man walk because we are so religious? 13 The God that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and our other ancestors worshipped has brought honour to his Servant Jesus. He is the one you betrayed. You turned against him when he was being tried by Pilate, even though Pilate wanted to set him free.
14 You rejected Jesus, who was holy and good. You asked for a murderer to be set free, 15 and you killed the one who leads people to life. But God raised him from death, and all of us can tell you what he has done. 16 You see this man, and you know him. He put his faith in the name of Jesus and was made strong. Faith in Jesus made this man completely well while everyone was watching.
17 My friends, I am sure that you and your leaders didn’t know what you were doing. 18 But God had his prophets tell that his Messiah would suffer, and now he has kept that promise. 19 So turn to God! Give up your sins, and you will be forgiven.
1 John 3
1 Think how much the Father loves us. He loves us so much that he lets us be called his children, as we truly are. But since the people of this world did not know who Christ is, they don’t know who we are. 2 My dear friends, we are already God’s children, though what we will be hasn’t yet been seen. But we do know that when Christ returns, we will be like him, because we will see him as he truly is. 3 This hope makes us keep ourselves holy, just as Christ is holy.
4 Everyone who sins breaks God’s law, because sin is the same as breaking God’s law. 5 You know that Christ came to take away sins. He isn’t sinful, 6 and people who stay one in their hearts with him won’t keep on sinning. If they do keep on sinning, they don’t know Christ, and they have never seen him.
7 Children, don’t be fooled. Anyone who does right is good, just like Christ himself.
36 While Jesus’ disciples were talking about what had happened, Jesus appeared and greeted them. 37 They were frightened and terrified because they thought they were seeing a ghost.
38 But Jesus said, “Why are you so frightened? Why do you doubt? 39 Look at my hands and my feet and see who I am! Touch me and find out for yourselves. Ghosts don’t have flesh and bones as you see I have.”
40 After Jesus said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 The disciples were so glad and amazed that they could not believe it. Jesus then asked them, “Do you have something to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of baked fish. 43 He took it and ate it as they watched.
44 Jesus said to them, “While I was still with you, I told you that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Books of the Prophets, and in the Psalms had to happen.”
45 Then he helped them understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them:
The Scriptures say that the Messiah must suffer, then three days later he will rise from death. 47 They also say that all people of every nation must be told in my name to turn to God, in order to be forgiven. So beginning in Jerusalem, 48 you must tell everything that has happened.
Text version of the message for Hillside Circuit on April 18th 2021 in English, with Mr Ivan Chigwada:
This being the 3rd Sunday after Easter the lectionary calls on us to show the Love of God towards man by talking of that love which started on the Cross of Calvary. It is that type of love referred to at John 3:16. I hope we all know that verse in the Bible! God did something to show His love for us. All that is required of you is to respond to that love. Our theme for the day is ‘Acts of Love!’ It cannot be that hard to enumerate all the acts of love that God showered on man since the times of Adam. That however is not our concern for today. For now our focus is on the period which started on that Sunday morning when Christ Jesus rose from the grave to the time immediately after the Day of Pentecost, the first 50 days of the Early Church! We are looking at those actions of love that happened then so that we may analyse them and see how and what we can learn from those acts of love. The second thing is obviously to define the phrase making our theme. In reality for any action to qualify to be reckoned as an act of love such action must be intentional, on purpose and incorporate kindness! If without being aware of it you miss stepping on my little toe and its corn, that won’t qualify to be called an act of love! Planned intent has to be present in that scenario if not then whatever that happens cannot be regarded as having been precipitated by love! LOVING IS THIS SOMETHING THAT YOU DO ON PURPOSE IT HAS LITTLE TO DO WITH IMAGINING AND DREAMING! Amen! The third thing to note is that our perception of time as we know it is way different from God’s manner of dealing with time. We see as if time is not of essence in the eyes of God, all He does is gets His Will done according to His timing!
Psalm 4 is one of David’s psalms where he is talking of being content in God’s protection and peace. David is able to do so because he knows that the LORD God is the only one we can place our confidence in because He will listen when we call on Him. The LORD God who gets us to believe that we can rely on Him does so out of love for us, it is His actions that make us have that faith in Him! Blessed are those who know the love of God like David. There are others on whom God’s acts of love shine when they least expect it as the story in the Scripture from the Book of Acts shows us.
During the days our Lord and Saviour walked earth’s dusty roads, the Jews observed three times of prayer-morning (9.00am), afternoon (3.00pm) and evening (at sunset). Peter and John like any other devoted Jew observed these prayer times and on one occasion when they went to the Temple at 3.00pm to pray were, at the entrance to the Temple, confronted by a man who survived from the hand outs that he got from those entering the Temple. Peter and John did not give him the odd coin but in the power of Jesus Christ restored the man to a complete life. The beggar was healed and became a new man! Our story for today begins when Simon Peter notices that witnesses to this healing ran to where he and John were. We are not told of what these witnesses intended to do to them, but it certainly was not honourable because Peter had to quickly forestall whatever it was by launching into an explanation of how and who had healed the man who used to beg by the entrance to the Temple. All we know is that these witnesses were surprised by what they saw!
John and Peter were involved in the healing of the beggar at the Temple. Their being linked to this good work can be traced to their love for God. They were devoted followers and believers in God who observed God ordained times of worship and at the Temple, Peter and John, were made into the channel of the love of God to one who needed God’s love. Do you love the LORD your God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your strength as the Bible calls you to do? If so God’s love will also follow you and you will radiate it to those who you will get into contact with. Having participated in one act of love they went on to show more love by pointing to the source of the man’s healing! ‘It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given complete healing to him as you can all see!’ I want to submit that there is no better love than acknowledging the source of the power and authority that enables us to accomplish those things that we will have participated in. Once we realize that we are mere participants we will not lose the plot. Had you been Peter or John would you have done as they did or you would have claimed part or all of the glory for yourself? I have seen and heard of men women and children who openly say at our church we do 1, 2, 3 benevolent things! In sport you hear a trainer boasting about their products! If the boxer does not put in 100% he/she will not win. If a runner does not put in 100% he/she will not win! This story that he/she is my product is not true in the real sense! If we assist by training them let them take the glory! This is why I love nurses and doctors after you recover, they never point to you as their product.
More importantly however is the fact that when Peter saw the people and how affected they were with the miracle he planted the gospel seed in the ground that had just been broken up before him. Do you love your neighbour? Love for neighbour means you shall do all you can to make them know Christ crucified because it is through Him that your neighbour’s soul will avoid damnation! If so you will not spare any chance to bring them to Christ! Remembering that a neighbour is that person you will come across, evangelising should not be a burdensome task but shall be an easy on-going operation. When Peter saw that the people were ready to adore him and John, he stepped in immediately and diverted their respect for John and him, that it might be directed to Christ and Christ only. This had to be so because the power in which they had done the miracle was wholly derived from Christ. Christ is the source of both the physical and spiritual salvation of man! Copy the pattern set for you by Peter and the Kingdom of God shall prosper!
The passage from the Epistle of John is in the King James Version headed ‘Expressions of love!’ What a title expressions of love. In the New International Version the same passage is headed ‘God is Love.’ The phrase children of God or sons of God tells us in a very precise way that God adopts all of us who believe and follow His Son making us his children. This means also that the Son calls us and makes us his brethren! He confers upon us the power and dignity of the sons of God! It is a wonderful and condescending love of the eternal Father that you and I should be made and called His sons- we who by our nature are heirs of sin, guilt, and the curse of God- we who by practice are children of corruption, disobedience and ingratitude! The Holy God is not ashamed to be called our Father and to call us His sons. The good news is that at the point of adoption we have the title, spirit and right to the inheritance as sons. But at the time when the Head of the Church shall return, we His members, the adopted of God shall appear and be manifested together with Him. The sons of God will be known and be made manifest by their likeness to their Head. They shall be like him in honour, power and glory. Their vile bodies shall be made like his glorious body. Both the good and the bad shall see him at that point. The good will see his welcoming smile and the bad will be met by his frowning face! Classification into ‘good or bad’ is dependent upon our response to or the absence of our response to His call! There shall be those who will heed His call, and there shall be those who will not head His call! This is because he came to take away our sins, to take away the guilt of them by the sacrifice of Himself, to take away the commission of them by implanting a new nature in us, for we were sanctified by His death. He takes sin away, that He may conform us to Himself, as in Him, there is no sin!
The story in the Gospel of John is a culmination of the precise process revealing how Christ was seen on five separate occasions the same day that He rose from the dead. He was seen by Mary Magdalene alone in the Garden, by the women as they were going to tell the disciples, by Peter alone, by the two disciples going to Emmaus, and now at night by the eleven to whom He says ‘Peace be with you.’ Observe the comfort Christ spoke to them, this intimates that it was a kind visit which Christ now paid them, a visit of love and friendship. Though they had unkindly deserted Him in His sufferings, yet He takes the first opportunity of seeing them together, for He deals not with us as we deserve. They were terrified because He came in among them without any noise and stood in the middle of them! They thought they had seen a spirit that is what caused them to be frightened. Sometimes the thoughts arising in the heart are the effect of the trouble, outside our struggles and then within our fears. Many of the troublesome thoughts with which our minds are occupied by arise from our mistakes concerning Christ. He loves us and corrects us when we go astray. This is why Christ appeals to the disciples sight, shows them His hands and His feet which were pierced with the nails. Christ retained the marks of them in His glorified body that they might be proofs that it was He Himself, and He was willing that the scars should be seen.
Christ did not end His appeal to them here. He continued as he said ‘It is I myself! Touch me and see..’ Christ was saying ‘It is I Myself’ whom you have been so intimately acquainted with, and have had such familiar conversation with. ‘It is I Myself’ whom you have reason to rejoice in and not to be afraid of. He then appeals to their touch. He asked them to touch Him so that they might be convinced that He was not a spirit. Jesus Christ had a real body even after His resurrection. The message to you is that Jesus Christ is real, today if you go to Him and touch Him like that woman with the issue of blood you will not be disappointed. The invitation ‘touch me and see’ is still valid. It was valid then it is still valid today!
By an immediate work upon their minds, Christ gave his disciples the power to understand the true intent and meaning of the Old Testament prophecies of Christ and to see them all fulfilled in Him. Christ’s way of working faith in the soul and gaining the throne is by opening the understanding to discern the evidence of those things that are to be believed. The design of opening the understanding is that we may understand the scriptures, not that we may be wise above what is written, but that we may be made wise to salvation by it. The Spirit in the word and the Spirit in the heart say the same thing! Some of you will wonder at the phrase ‘beginning at Jerusalem!’ The disciples must begin at Jerusalem, there they must preach their first gospel sermon, there the gospel church must first be formed. Why must they begin there? ‘The word of the LORD must go forth from Jerusalem.’ Isaiah 2:3. See Joel 2:32, 3:16, Obadiah21 and Zechariah 14:8. It is written! What else is written? The entire love story between God and man is what the Bible is all about. In that case what must man do? He must repent and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ. Man must adopt a new world view in which he believes that a God ruled world can actually be lived in fully and freely. Being baptised in the name of Jesus Christ is one’s acknowledgement of one’s intent to not only to be seen but to actually make it the first step of leading a life in which Jesus Christ takes precedence. That my brothers and sisters is the new world view that is associated with the acts of love God shows to you and I! Believe in the love of God and you shall not be disappointed!