[Did you miss last Sunday’s services? They can still be found at Worship Archive – November 14th 2021.]
Sunday Service from Connexion for November 21st 2021:
Sunday Services from Hillside Circuit for November 21st 2021:
Theme: Christ’s kingdom is not of this world
Occasion: 5th Before Christmas
2 Samuel 23: 1-7
Revelation 1: 4b-8
John 18: 33-37
[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.
We believe in God the Father.
We have come into His house.
Above all powers, above all kings.
Draw me close to You.
Sing we the King who is coming to reign.
He is Lord, He is Lord!
This is my body.
You can listen and join in with prayers from the English Methodist Service Book. They can be found at the Prayers for worship webpage.
[Click or tap here to jump down the page to the text version of the above message so that you can read it for yourself.]
1 Our LORD, don’t forget David and how he suffered.
2 Mighty God of Jacob, remember how he promised:
3 “I won’t go home or crawl into bed
4 or close my eyelids, 5 until I find a home for you,
the mighty LORD God of Jacob.”
6 When we were in Ephrath, we heard
that the sacred chest was somewhere near Jaar.
7 Then we said, “Let’s go to the throne of the LORD
and worship at his feet.”
8 Come to your new home, LORD,
you and the sacred chest with all of its power.
9 Let victory be like robes for the priests;
let your faithful people celebrate and shout.
10 David is your chosen one, so don’t reject him.
11 You made a solemn promise to David, when you said,
“I, the LORD, promise
that someone in your family will always be king.
12 If they keep our agreement and follow my teachings,
then someone in your family will rule forever.”
13 You have gladly chosen Zion as your home, our LORD.
14 You said, “This is my home! I will live here forever.
15 I will bless Zion with food,
and even the poor will eat until they are full.
16 Victory will be like robes for the priests,
and its faithful people will celebrate and shout.
17 I will give mighty power to the kingdom of David.
Each one of my chosen kings will shine like a lamp
18 and wear a sparkling crown.
But I will disgrace their enemies.”
2 Samuel 23
1 These are the last words of David the son of Jesse.
The God of Jacob chose David and made him a great king.
The Mighty God of Israel loved him.
When God told him to speak, David said:
2 The Spirit of the LORD has told me what to say.
3 Our Mighty Rock, the God of Jacob, told me,
“A ruler who obeys God and does right
4 is like the sunrise on a cloudless day,
or like rain that sparkles on the grass.”
5 I have ruled this way,
and God will never break his promise to me.
God’s promise is complete and unchanging;
he will always help me and give me what I hope for.
6 But evil people are pulled up like thornbushes.
They are not dug up by hand, 7 but with a sharp spear
and are burned on the spot.
4 From John to the seven churches in Asia.
I pray that you will be blessed with kindness and peace
from God, who is and was and is coming.
May you receive kindness and peace
from the seven spirits before the throne of God.
5 May kindness and peace be yours
from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness.
Jesus was the first to conquer death,
and he is the ruler of all earthly kings.
Christ loves us, and by his blood
he set us free from our sins.
6 He lets us rule as kings
and serve God his Father as priests.
To him be glory and power forever and ever! Amen.
7 Look! He is coming with the clouds.
Everyone will see him,
even the ones who stuck a sword through him.
All people on earth will weep because of him.
Yes, it will happen! Amen.
8 The Lord God says, “I am Alpha and Omega, the one who is and was and is coming. I am God All-Powerful!”
33 Pilate then went back inside. He called Jesus over and asked, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
34 Jesus answered, “Are you asking this on your own or did someone tell you about me?”
35 “You know I’m not a Jew!” Pilate said. “Your own people and the chief priests brought you to me. What have you done?”
36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom doesn’t belong to this world. If it did, my followers would have fought to keep me from being handed over to our leaders. No, my kingdom doesn’t belong to this world.”
37 “So you are a king,” Pilate replied.
“You are saying that I am a king,” Jesus told him. “I was born into this world to tell about the truth. And everyone who belongs to the truth knows my voice.”
Text version of the message for Hillside Circuit on November 21st 2021 in English, with Mr Ivan Chigwada:
Good morning Church of God! Your preacher of the E Conference English Service is Ivan Chigwada. Our Scriptures for the day are Psalm 132, 2 Samuel 23:1-7, Revelation 1:4B-8 and John 18:33-37! It needs some serious thinking for one to be able to connect the promised coming of Christ to the trial of that same Christ before a Roman Governor by the name of Pilate!
Once in a while preachers are required to repeat and state the obvious. Today is one of those good days because we have been asked to preach on the theme which states that ‘Christ’s Kingdom is not of this world!’ This statement is referring to the obvious particularly when one looks at who Christ is. Christ is God! Christ is part of the Godhead! Christ is the Son of God! Christ is God with us Emmanuel! Ordinary reasoning would then say that were He to set up His Kingdom given that He is God then obviously His Kingdom would not be of this depraved world because Holy God cannot be associated with the sinning tendencies of the mortals of this world! You and I can reason along such lines. But then this is not the main point and purpose of the theme. By stating that Christ’s Kingdom is not of this world it is not being suggested that Christ is not interested in the affairs of this world! It is not being suggested that because of His Holiness God cannot relate to this world. It is also not being suggested that Christ’s Kingdom cannot be lived by and felt by those who live in this world and that that kingdom will and does not benefit this world. Rather the point at issue is that when Christ and God the all-powerful are viewed in action there are things which they do which we do not understand and comprehend because we do not realize the intent and purpose of their actions! The other point we need to grasp is that whereas the kingdoms of this world flourish and perish, the Kingdom of Christ is unique in that it endures forever and has no end like the kingdoms we know of! The theme for today thus directs us to look at the nature of Jesus Christ!
Psalm 132 is one of those psalms whose author is unknown, but the writer is intent on letting us know that when we honour God, then He will honour us! To support his claim he reflects on that great day when the Ark of the Covenant was brought to Jerusalem and praises God for His promise to perpetuate David’s line! By the time David became king Shiloh which had been the centre of worship for Israel was a totally run down and abandoned place! This matter worried David making him have sleepless nights! So David decided that he would find out a place for the general meeting of all the tribes of Israel, a place of habitation for the Mighty One of Jacob, a place for the Ark of the Covenant and a place where there was going to be room for the priests and the people to attend to their God. David found the place and his son would build the temple which God would inhabit as His place! David would plan about the place but God would make it a place to be honoured! You and I must live so close to God that we become restless until God’s will is accomplished through us! Our brilliant ideas which are not in line with the will of God should not be the guiding light in our lives because the real light is out there and it is in the God who came to live with us.
The promise that David’s sons would sit on Israel’s throne forever is found in 2 Samuel 7:8-29. This promise had two parts (1) David’s descendants would perpetually rule over Israel as long as they followed God, and (2) David’s royal line would never end. The first part was conditional. As long as the kings obeyed God (‘obey the terms of the covenant’), their dynasty continued. The second part of the promise was unconditional and it was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, a descendant of David, who reigns forever! The first promise you will note was dependant on closeness to God not on man’s whims! Those who live close to God all the time are not controlled by the whims of this world and thus are members of the Kingdom of God which Scriptures tell us was what Christ came to warn us about when He indicated that as the Kingdom of God was about to be unveiled we had to repent! The kingdoms of this world do not call on you to change you just become part and parcel of them!
In verses 17 and 18 the ‘increase’ of David’s power refers to one of his descendants. David’s son Solomon was in deed a glorious king, but these verses look ahead even further to another descendant of David, Jesus the Messiah. The power, might and glory of the Messiah will last forever! Scripture tells us that Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father! Where? In Heaven my friend! More conclusive proof that Christ’s Kingdom is not of this world!
In 2 Samuel 23: 1-7 particularly at verse 3, David spoke of a righteous ruler. The village heads, sub chiefs, chiefs, prime ministers, presidents and kings and queens of this world show a total lack of righteousness in their day to day execution of duty! David himself was no saint when he ruled over Israel! He did some very bad things in his day! When he spoke of the righteous ruler he was doing so in the style of a prophet. That righteous ruler is Jesus
Christ who will return to rule in perfect justice and peace! In pointing to what is coming our scriptures are telling us about the coming kingdom and not about any of the current kingdoms of this world because Christ’s Kingdom is not of this world!
John the disciple who is the writer of the Book of Revelation is very clear about who gave him the words of this book! These are the words of Jesus Christ. For the avoidance of doubt please note that the ‘sevenfold Spirit’ is another name for the Holy Spirit. The number seven is used throughout Revelation to symbolise completeness and perfection. God the Holy Spirit is completely God and is perfect is His dealings!
I want us to zone in on verses 5-7! In these Jesus is portrayed as the all-powerful King, victorious in battle and glorious in peace. Christ is not just a humble earthly teacher, he is the glorious God! But now John is announcing the return of Jesus to earth. Jesus’ second coming will be visible and victorious. All people will see him arrive and they will know that it is Jesus. When he comes, he will conquer evil and judge people according to their deeds! The kings of this world and their subjects succumb to evil unlike the coming king! The kings and queens of this world do not promote peace they promote violence! Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet and reference to these is used to denote that God is the beginning and the end! You are called upon to honour the one who is the beginning and the end of all existence, wisdom and power!
In the Gospel of John we are confronted by a Roman Governor who asks Jesus to answer the question ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ Here is the story! If Pilate had been asking the question in his capacity as the Roman governor, he would have been asking whether Jesus was setting up a parallel rebel government. But now Pilate was taking the term King of the Jews from the Jews who were using the word king to mean their religious leader; the Messiah! Israel was a captive nation, under the authority of Roman Empire. A rival king might have threatened Rome; a Messiah could have been a religious leader! So we have a ruler and accusers using the same word to mean TWO VERY DIFFERENT THINGS! This makes Christ King but not in the ways of this world!
Pilate asked Jesus a straightforward question and Jesus answered clearly! Jesus is a King, but one whose Kingdom is not of this world! There seems to have been no question in Pilate’s mind that Jesus spoke the truth and was innocent of any crime. It seems apparent that while recognizing the truth, Pilate chose to reject it. It is a tragedy when we fail to recognize the truth. It is a greater tragedy when we recognize the truth but fail to heed it! We note that Pilate was cynical, he thought that all truth was relative. To many government officials, truth was whatever the majority of people agreed with or whatever helped advance their own personal power and political goals. When there is no standard or acknowledgement of truth, there is no basis for moral right and wrong! Jesus becomes whatever works or whatever helps those in power. In Jesus and His word we have a standard for truth and for our moral behaviour!
We have now come full circle! A completely mistaken Roman Governor gives us our theme for the day! His mistake was not of his own making but had its roots in the plans and workings of the Holy God! We worship the God who makes use of the errors and mistakes of our lives to achieve His will! What He achieves is well beyond the comprehension of this world! As we go on and reflect we can in truth say that Christ’s Kingdom is not really of this world! The good thing though is that you and I can belong to it for He enables us to enter into it because that has always been the plan and will of God! Amen!
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