Midweek Service from Connexion for August 19th 2020:
Sunday Services from Connexion for August 16th 2020:
Sunday Services from Hillside Circuit for August 16th 2020:
Occasion: 11th Sunday After Pentecost
Old Testament: Genesis 45: 1-15
Letter: Romans 11: 1-2a, 29-32
New Testament: Matthew 15: 10-28
[Click or tap on a Bible reference above to go down the page to the Bible reading to read it for yourself or hear a recording (or both) and then click or tap on Back to top to come back here.]
Theme: God looks at the inside not outside
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.
Come people of the risen King.
Seek ye first.
King of kings, majesty.
Speak O Lord.
Dear Lord and Father of mankind.
If you would also like to use prayers from the Methodist Service Book, they can be found at the Prayers for worship webpage.
1 It is truly wonderful
when relatives live together in peace.
2 It is as beautiful as olive oil poured on Aaron’s head
and running down his beard and the collar of his robe.
3 It is like the dew from Mount Hermon,
falling on Zion’s mountains,
where the LORD has promised to bless his people
with life forevermore.
1 Since Joseph could no longer control his feelings in front of his servants, he sent them out of the room. When he was alone with his brothers, he told them, “I am Joseph.” 2 Then he cried so loudly that the Egyptians heard him and told about it in the king’s palace.
3 Joseph asked his brothers if his father was still alive, but they were too frightened to answer. 4 Joseph told them to come closer to him, and when they did, he said:
Yes, I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt. 5 Don’t worry or blame yourselves for what you did. God is the one who sent me ahead of you to save lives.
6 There has already been a famine for two years, and for five more years no one will plough fields or harvest grain. 7 But God sent me on ahead of you to keep your families alive and to save you in this wonderful way. 8 After all, you weren’t really the ones who sent me here – it was God. He made me the highest official in the king’s court and placed me over all Egypt.
9 Now hurry back and tell my father that his son Joseph says, “God has made me ruler of Egypt. Come here as quickly as you can. 10 You will live near me in the region of Goshen with your children and grandchildren, as well as with your sheep, goats, cattle, and everything else you own. 11 I will take care of you there during the next five years of famine. But if you don’t come, you and your family and your animals will starve to death.”
12 All of you, including my brother Benjamin, can tell by what I have said that I really am Joseph. 13 Tell my father about my great power here in Egypt and about everything you have seen. Hurry and bring him here.
14 Joseph and Benjamin hugged each other and started crying. 15 Joseph was still crying as he kissed each of his other brothers. After this, they started talking with Joseph.
1 Am I saying that God has turned his back on his people? Certainly not! I am one of the people of Israel, and I myself am a descendant of Abraham from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not turn his back on his chosen people.
29 God doesn’t take back the gifts he has given or forget about the people he has chosen.
30 At one time you Gentiles rejected God. But now Israel has rejected God, and you have been shown mercy. 31 And because of the mercy shown to you, they will also be shown mercy. 32 All people have disobeyed God, and that’s why he treats them as prisoners. But he does this, so that he can have mercy on all of them.
10 Jesus called the crowd together and said, “Pay attention and try to understand what I mean. 11 The food that you put into your mouth doesn’t make you unclean and unfit to worship God. The bad words that come out of your mouth are what make you unclean.”
12 Then his disciples came over to him and asked, “Do you know that you insulted the Pharisees by what you said?”
13 Jesus answered, “Every plant that my Father in heaven did not plant will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Stay away from those Pharisees! They are like blind people leading other blind people, and all of them will fall into a ditch.”
15 Peter replied, “What did you mean when you talked about the things that make people unclean?”
16 Jesus then said:
Don’t any of you know what I am talking about by now? 17 Don’t you know that the food you put into your mouth goes into your stomach and then out of your body? 18 But the words that come out of your mouth come from your heart. And they are what make you unfit to worship God. 19 Out of your heart come evil thoughts, murder, unfaithfulness in marriage, vulgar deeds, stealing, telling lies, and insulting others. 20 These are what make you unclean. Eating without washing your hands will not make you unfit to worship God.
21 Jesus left and went to the territory near the cities of Tyre and Sidon. 22 Suddenly a Canaanite woman from there came out shouting, “Lord and Son of David, have pity on me! My daughter is full of demons.” 23 Jesus did not say a word. But the woman kept following along and shouting, so his disciples came up and asked him to send her away.
24 Jesus said, “I was sent only to the people of Israel! They are like a flock of lost sheep.”
25 The woman came closer. Then she knelt down and begged, “Please help me, Lord!”
26 Jesus replied, “It isn’t right to take food away from children and feed it to dogs.”
27 “Lord, that’s true,” the woman said, “but even dogs get the crumbs that fall from their owner’s table.”
28 Jesus answered, “Dear woman, you really do have a lot of faith, and you will be given what you want.” At that moment her daughter was healed.
Text version of the message in English, with Dr Themba Hwalima.
Greetings to you all sisters and brothers in Christ.
Our Theme for today is “God looks at the inside not outside.”
I am privileged to share this word of spiritual wisdom and understanding this morning. I pray that our Lord Jesus Christ may unite us and bring us together spiritually as we converge before our Holy Father who is in heaven.
I thought that for us to have a full appreciation and understanding of our theme for today, “God looks at the inside not outside”; we should start off by seeking to understand how and why this theme arises in the life of a Christian in the first place. Put simply, I seek to spiritually contextualize the theme and demonstrate its immediate relevance to our lives as Christians; lest we treat it as an academic exercise or theological debate.
In my search for this spiritual insight and understanding, I found myself at the very beginning of existence. I found myself looking at the stage of creation of mankind.
In Genesis 1 verse 27, we read that having created everything else; God created mankind in His own image. Having been so created in God’s image, humanity was perfect and unadulterated.
“….. there was harmony among thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in the pre-fallen state. That is, when humans acted, they acted consistently with thoughts and emotions. There was no such thing as feeling a certain feeling, but acting in an opposite manner. There was also no such thing as knowing something to be right, but not wanting to do It. There was consistency or harmony among thoughts, emotions, and actions. Ambivalence, conflict, disharmony, denial, and splitting were … absent.” 1
In short, there was no discrepancy between the inside of a human being and the outside. There was no disparity between what was in the heart and what was manifest outside.
It was only the fall of man that brought about the departure of the outside from what was in the heart. It was sin that led mankind to depart from the purposes of our God the Father and Creator. The departure from God’s purposes led mankind to decadence, moral relativism and elastic etiquette.
Satan planted his will into the man’s heart leading to a capacity for a difference between what is in the heart and what human beings display outside through their emotions, expression and conduct.
As the Apostle Paul admonishes us:
“But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”(2 Corinthians 11:3)
It is from here that man’s conduct and external appearance can be very misleading. It is from here that reliance on man’s external appearance to judge their spiritual and religious faith can be extremely dangerous.
I have no doubt that this view is corroborated by our own personal experiences, not only from our own behaviour in relation to those around us; but also in the conduct of many others towards us.
Yes, you agree with me that human declarations and behaviour are invariably deceptive.
It is for this reason that God does not look on our outside to assess our spiritual purity. You cannot impress nor mislead God merely through your utterances, your emotions nor your appearance.
God looks and sees far beyond that. He looks at your heart, your soul and your spirit. God looks at your faith in the Lord the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
This is the reason why, when the Prophet Samuel was sent to anoint a King for Israel; he was told by God, after using human standards to attempt to select the king:
7 “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”(1 Samuel 16 NIV)
This is the very strong lesson we are learning from our Lord Jesus Christ today. The Lord God does not look at our window dressing behavioral gimmicks. The Lord Jesus Christ looks at the real state of our spiritual inside. He is interested in the contents of our hearts. The Lord is looking for the fruits of our hearts which manifest in two phases.
This is why I suggested from the beginning that a full appreciation of today’s message can only be achieved if we have an understanding of the circumstances which give rise to our theme.
The answer to this question comes from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
I do not think you can find a better or clearer contextualization than that given by Christ in His teachings while still walking here on earth.
Christ expresses His revulsion towards pretentious Christian conduct in very strong terms when He declares His dislike and hatred for religious legalism.
It is Mathew 23 who captures this message very well where Christ denounces the hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees.
It is here that Christ tells us that He is totally unimpressed by our Christian pretences and religious choreography. He is calling on us to repent and cleanse our hearts instead of indulging in daily window dressing Christianity.
Listen carefully and attentively as Christ speaks to you my sister. Turn your spiritual ears towards Christ my brother and hear His voice as He addresses and speaks to you directly.
Do not practice your Christianity to be seen by others. “Woe to you” Christians, hypocrites! You pretend to be faithful to Christ and to be holy outside yet you “are full of greed and self-indulgence” on the inside. Clean yourself on the inside before you invite the world to look at the parody of your visible Christianity. (Mathew 23: 25-26)
“Woe to you” Christians, church leaders, preachers and ministers of the word, “hypocrites”. “For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.”(Mathew 23: 27)
My sisters and brothers, let us hear what Christ is saying to us. Hear what Christ is saying to me. Listen to what the Lord Jesus Christ is saying to you.
“You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?”(Mathew 23: 33)
Do you look Christian and righteous on the outside while you are a devil’s agent on the inside? Are you unrepentant and full of evil and sin on the inside while religiously attending church and other Christian activities.
As Christ puts it very precisely, you must guard what comes out of your mouth for this comes from the heart, and what comes from your heart defiles you.(Mathew 15 vs 18 NIV)
“19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person;…….”(Mathew 15 NIV)
The second part of Christ’s message this morning is that it is not helpful for us to go round shouting empty Christian slogans. It is neither helpful nor productive to be a fake Christian. Such Christianity bears no fruit.
What you need is Christianity born of faith in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. You have to have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to receive salvation. Such faith that we need is demonstrated to us by the Canaanite woman as we read in Mathew 15 this morning.
It is Christ Himself who describes and demonstrates such a faith and its fruits to us, as He addresses the Canaanite woman.
“28 Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.”(Mathew 15 NIV)
This is the faith we need, the faith that moves mountains; the faith that heals the sick, the faith that conquers evil. Yes indeed, we need the faith that subdues all negative forces in the world.
Sisters and brothers in Christ, this is our message for today.
God does not look at your outside. This is because even hypocrites and pretenders can window dress the outside.
Christ is looking for the purity of the inside. This is because all evil emanates from a filthy heart.
Christ also looks at inside our hearts where our faith in God is stored.
This is our challenge for today sisters and brothers in Christ. To ensure the purity of our hearts and that everything that comes from them is clean. We must ensure that what manifests in our conduct, attitudes and etiquette fully accords with the purity of our hearts. Secondly let us ensure that our faith in God is strong and that it is growing all the time to ensure that we are the pure vessels of the Lord’s word and that Christ achieves His purposes here on earth through us.
May the Good Lord dwell in us, may He grow our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; may He use each and very one of us for His plans and purposes here on earth.
Text version of the message in Shona, with Mr Wilfred Manyiwa.
Kwaziso yangu kusangano dzvene rakasarudzwa naMwari, tichisangana zvakare apo tichigoverana mashoko matsvene anobva mubhaibheri.
Kazhinji kana munhu achienda kusvondo anotora nguva yake kugadzirira kuti agonosangana nevamwe akashambidzika kwazvo,vamwe vanozora mafuta anodhura chaizvo uye anonhuwirira zvakanaka chaizvo donzvo riri kuti munhu anoda kuenda kuchechi kunosangana nevamwe vake.
Ndabva ndaona dambudziko hombe nekuti hama dzangu dzinogadzirira kuenda kuchechi dzinonyanyo tarisa zvipfeko zvavo, bhutsu dzavo, asi kashoma kugadzirira mwoyo yedu kuti tinosangana neshoko raMwari saka vazhinji kungouya takagadzirira kunze(outside) asi tichikanganwa kuti Mwari havatarisi kunze asi vanotarira mukati(inside).
Pataverenga tinoona baba vachifadzwa nemwanakomana wavo Josefa nokuti anovaitira zvavanoda saka vanofadzwa naye kusvika pakumusonera bhachi remavara vara, baba pavanoitira mwanakomana wavo chinhu chakanaka havana kuziva kuti vadenha ruvengo rwuri mukati memadzikoma aJosefa ,nokuti vanga vakatomupa zita kare kuti muroti(a dreamer).
Baba pavari kufadzwa nehunu hwe mukomana (character) madzikoma vaitosvotwa nekuda kwe bhachi rake, rega ndikubatsire mudikanwi iwe usavhundutswa nevanokuvenga rega vavenge zvavo ,rega vataure makuhwa pamusoro pako ,rega vanoita hupombwe vaite iwe ziva kuti kune akatarira pamwoyo wako ,Jehovha wedu haarambi akanyarara kana uchimunamata mumweya nemuzvokwadi achatirwira kunyange nemucovid 19 muno iwe ramba uchiita zvakanaka chete nokuti iye ari kumusoro haarambi akanyarara achatirwira chete, kunyangwe Josefa vakamutengesa akarangarira mhuri yake sekureva kuri kuita Mupositori Pauro achiti Mwari angarasa vanhu vake here? Kwete napaduku pose haana kurasa vanhu vake vaakaziva kubva pakutanga.
Nokuti panedzimwe nguva tinozvibvisa padhuze naMwari nokuda kutarisa kuti nhingi akamira sei ,uye anofamba sei asi tenzi wedu Jesu Kristu ari kuti betsera nekutsanangura kuti chinhu chakavharirwa mumwoyo womunhu ndochakanyanyisa kuipa nokuti mupfungwa dzemunhu ndo munogadzirwa zvose zvinozobuda mumuromo wemunhu, ndokusaka maona mai vasimuka vakananga kuna Kristu vakati kunyange neimbwa wani dzinonhongawo mafufu echingwa chadonha kubva patafura yatenzi wayo(a faithful servant) saka vadikanwi kunyange tisina kufanirwa kuswedera pana Kristu but nokuda kwenyasha dzake dzakatiringana ngatiuyei kuna Jesu azotitakurira mitoro yedu nekuti iye haatarisi kunze(outside) asi anotarisa from inside Mwari ngaatiire nyasha atichengete mucorona muno nokuti nyasha dzake dzinogara nekusingaperi.
Mwari atiropafadze, atiwanire nyasha muzita raBaba,Mwanakomana naMweya mutsvene AMEN