[Did you miss last Sunday’s services? They can still be found at Worship Archive – November 1st 2020.]
Sunday Services from Connexion for November 8th 2020:
Sunday Services from Hillside Circuit for November 8th 2020:
Theme: The dangers of unfaithfulness
Occasion: 7th Sunday before Christmas
Psalm 78: 1-7
Old Testament: Joshua 24: 1-3a, 14-25
Letter: 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18
New Testament: Matthew 25: 1-13
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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 want to see Jesus lifted high.
There is a Redeemer.
In heavenly love abiding.
You can listen and join in with prayers from the Methodist Service Book, they can be found at the Prayers for worship webpage.
[Click or tap here to jump down the page for the text version so that you can read it for yourself.]
[Click or tap here to jump down the page for the text version so that you can read it for yourself.]
1 My friends, I beg you to listen as I teach.
2 I will give instruction
and explain the mystery of what happened long ago.
3 These are things we learned from our ancestors,
4 and we will tell them to the next generation.
We won’t keep secret the glorious deeds
and the mighty miracles of the LORD.
5 God gave his Law to Jacob’s descendants,
the people of Israel.
And he told our ancestors to teach their children,
6 so that each new generation would know his Law
and tell it to the next.
7 Then they would trust God and obey his teachings,
without forgetting anything God had done.
1 Joshua called the tribes of Israel together for a meeting at Shechem. He had the leaders, including the old men, the judges, and the officials, come up and stand near the sacred tent. 2 Then Joshua told everyone to listen to this message from the LORD, the God of Israel:
Long ago your ancestors lived on the other side of the Euphrates River, and they worshipped other gods. This continued until the time of your ancestor Terah and his two sons, Abraham and Nahor. 3 But I brought Abraham across the Euphrates River and led him through the land of Canaan.
14 Then Joshua told the people:
Worship the LORD, obey him, and always be faithful. Get rid of the idols your ancestors worshipped when they lived on the other side of the Euphrates River and in Egypt. 15 But if you don’t want to worship the LORD, then choose right now! Will you worship the same idols your ancestors did? Or since you’re living on land that once belonged to the Amorites, maybe you’ll worship their gods. I won’t. My family and I are going to worship and obey the LORD!
16 The people answered:
We could never worship other gods or stop worshipping the LORD. 17 The LORD is our God. We were slaves in Egypt as our ancestors had been, but we saw the LORD work miracles to set our people free and to bring us out of Egypt. Even though other nations were all around us, the LORD protected us wherever we went. 18 And when we fought the Amorites and the other nations that lived in this land, the LORD made them run away. Yes, we will worship and obey the LORD, because the LORD is our God.
19 Joshua said:
The LORD is fearsome; he is the one true God, and I don’t think you are able to worship and obey him in the ways he demands. You would have to be completely faithful, and if you sin or rebel, he won’t let you get away with it. 20 If you turn your backs on the LORD and worship the gods of other nations, the LORD will turn against you. He will make terrible things happen to you and wipe you out, even though he had been good to you before.
21 But the people shouted, “We won’t worship any other gods. We will worship and obey only the LORD!”
22 Joshua said, “You have heard yourselves say that you will worship and obey the LORD. Isn’t that true?”
“Yes, it’s true,” they answered.
23 Joshua said, “But you still have some idols, like those the other nations worship. Get rid of your idols! You must decide once and for all that you really want to obey the LORD God of Israel.”
24 The people said, “The LORD is our God, and we will worship and obey only him.”
25 Joshua helped Israel make an agreement with the LORD that day at Shechem. Joshua made laws for Israel
1 Thessalonians 4
13 My friends, we want you to understand how it will be for those followers who have already died. Then you won’t grieve over them and be like people who don’t have any hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and was raised to life. We also believe that when God brings Jesus back again, he will bring with him all who had faith in Jesus before they died. 15 Our Lord Jesus told us that when he comes, we won’t go up to meet him ahead of his followers who have already died.
16 With a loud command and with the shout of the chief angel and a blast of God’s trumpet, the Lord will return from heaven. Then those who had faith in Christ before they died will be raised to life. 17 Next, all of us who are still alive will be taken up into the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the sky. From that time on we will all be with the Lord forever. 18 Encourage each other with these words.
1 The kingdom of heaven is like what happened one night when ten girls took their oil lamps and went to a wedding to meet the groom. 2 Five of the girls were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps, but no extra oil. 4 The ones who were wise took along extra oil for their lamps.
5 The groom was late arriving, and the girls became drowsy and fell asleep. 6 Then in the middle of the night someone shouted, “Here’s the groom! Come to meet him!”
7 When the girls got up and started getting their lamps ready, 8 the foolish ones said to the others, “Let us have some of your oil! Our lamps are going out.”
9 The girls who were wise answered, “There’s not enough oil for all of us! Go and buy some for yourselves.”
10 While the foolish girls were on their way to get some oil, the groom arrived. The girls who were ready went into the wedding, and the doors were closed. 11 Later the other girls returned and shouted, “Sir, sir! Open the door for us!”
12 But the groom replied, “I don’t even know you!”
13 So, my disciples, always be ready! You don’t know the day or the time when all this will happen.
Text version of the message for Hillside Circuit on November 8th 2020 in English, with Mr Ivan Chigwada:
A very good morning to all the saints on this platform. My name is Ivan Chigwada. I pray that God’s Word will come to us in power giving us the ability to remain faithful to Him always until that day when we shall meet our Saviour at his Second Coming.
Today’s scriptures Psalm 78, Joshua 24, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and Matthew 25:1-12 are good to me as they address the important questions of steadfastness and preparedness, matters that a lot of Christians grapple with. The message of these scriptures is the call to be faithful to and not to forget God. This is highlighted in the Psalm of Asaph and repeated in Joshua 24 where the writer Joshua comes out as a man who is determined to remain faithful to his God. Paul’s advice and Christ’s advice are similar as they touch on being prepared for the final meeting with the LORD where our preparedness now will determine where we will end up. Our theme for the day is ‘the dangers of unfaithfulness.’ Brothers and sisters are we faithful to God and His cause now, if not let me hasten to warn you that the dangers of unfaithfulness to God are rejection by Him and having to bear the consequences of our chosen pattern of behaviour. The Bible teaches that we are free to choose the lifestyle we can follow in this world but we are not free to choose the consequences of that lifestyle, since it is God who deals with and controls the consequences.
Psalm 78 which has 72 verses chronicles the history of the Jewish nation from the time of slavery in Egypt to David’s reign. This story was told over and over to each generation so they would not forget God and make the same mistakes as their ancestors. What had their ancestors done? The people of Israel rebelled and were not faithful to God (78:8). They forgot about the miracles God had done (78:11-12) and put God to the test by making demands of Him (78:19). They lied to Him, tried to flatter Him (78:36) and continued to turn away from Him even after He did great works on their behalf (78:42-56). God recorded these painful and shameful truths in His Word so that we can avoid the same errors. In 1 Corinthians 10:5-12 Paul used this classic story of Israel’s unfaithfulness to warn those early Christians to be faithful. God commanded that the stories of His mighty acts in Israel’s history and His laws be passed on from parents to children. This shows the purpose and importance of religious education to help each generation obey God and set its hope on Him. It is important to keep children from repeating the same mistakes as their ancestors. What are you doing to pass on the history of God’s work to the next generation? God is faithful to us as Hillside Circuit! We are surviving because of His Grace! Will you just tell of that goodness to those you meet as a way of keeping you focussed on God?
78: 9 has an interesting story. Ephraim was the most prominent tribe of Israel from the days of Moses to Saul’s time. The Tabernacle was set up in its territory. There is no biblical record of Ephraim’s soldiers turning back from battle, so this is probably a metaphor referring to Ephraim’s failure to provide strong leadership during those years. When David became king, the tribe of Judah gained prominence. Because of David’s faith and obedience, God chose Jerusalem in Judah to be the place for the new Temple and rejected Ephraim (78:67). This caused tension between the two tribes. This Psalm may have been written because of that tension in order to demonstrate once again why God chose Judah. God works through those who are faithful to Him. Let me repeat in case you missed it. God works through those who are faithful to Him rejecting those who are not faithful to Him. Do not fall into the category of the unfaithful Achans and Judas Iscariots of this world! If you do you will die or lose out like Ephraim.
Over and over again the children of Israel claimed that they would follow God, but then they would turn away from Him. The problem was that they made commitments to God with their mouths and not with their hearts, thus, their repentance was empty. Is there much difference with the Christian Church of today? Only the other day Pope Francis the head of the Roman Catholic Church came out in full support of same sex civil unions. At date the Church is busy trying to extricate itself from that tricky position into which its head landed it in. Talk is cheap. God wants our conduct to back our spiritual claims and promises. God wants us to rely on His Word! That is faithfulness.
It is easy to find fault with nations and institutions, forgetting that individuals can follow the same path. At the individual level we see David who is now king being referred to as a shepherd a description which one may find demeaning. David had spent his early years as a shepherd, this was the training ground for the future responsibilities God had in store for him. When he was ready, God took him from caring for sheep to caring for Israel, God’s people. Does this have anything to do with you and I? Yes! Don’t treat your present situation lightly or irresponsibly, it may be God’s training ground for your future. When you despise those small beginnings God has given you, you are forgetting Him and being unfaithful to Him. Beware. You have been warned. Amen!!!!!!
Joshua was chosen to lead Israel into the Promised Land following the death of Moses. By the time of the events described in chapter 24 a lot had happened, Israel was now settled in the Promised Land and Joshua knew that his days on earth were numbered and so had to give his parting advice to Israel. The people had to decide whether they would obey the LORD, who had proven his trustworthiness, or obey the local gods which were only hand-made idols. It is easy to slip into a quiet rebellion-going about life in your own way. But the time comes when you have to choose who or what will control you. The choice is yours. Will it be God, your own limited personality or another imperfect substitute? Once you have chosen to be controlled by God’s Spirit, reaffirm your choice every day. In taking a definite stand for the LORD, Joshua again displayed his spiritual leadership. Regardless of what others decided, because Joshua had made a commitment to God, he was determined to set an example of living by that decision. The way we live shows others the strength of our commitment to serving God. All the people boldly claimed that they would never forsake the LORD, but they did not keep that promise. Very soon God would charge them with breaking their contract with him. Talk is cheap. It is easy to say we will follow God, but it is much more important to live like it. I am glad to note that the nation followed God throughout Joshua’s lifetime, a great tribute to Joshua’s faith in God and powerful leadership. Can each of us be relied upon to at least ensure that during our lifetimes our families shall follow God? The covenant between Israel and God was that the people would worship and obey the LORD alone. Their purpose was to become a holy nation that would influence the rest of the world for God. The conquest of Canaan was a means to achieve this purpose, but Israel became preoccupied with the land and lost sight of God. The same can happen in our lives. We can spend so much time on the means that we forget the end-to glorify God. Churches may make this mistake as well. For example, the congregation may pour all of its energies into a new facility, only to become self-satisfied or fearful of letting certain groups use it. If this happens they have focussed on the building and lost sight of its purpose-to bring others to God. How many times have we proved to be unfaithful to God in this manner? One of our societies in the Matopo area denied SDAs the opportunity to use its worship space on Saturdays? Of course we declined their request on the basis of doctrine claiming we may not mix with them? Sometime back Hillside Society was approached by some group and they declined! Ah! Do we realize that our purpose is to glorify God by bringing others to God?
The message of Paul to the Thessalonians is that while death is a reality it actually is not the end of the story. Just as Christ rose from the dead, Christians shall be resurrected, be united with those who died before them and be with God. The great hope for all believers is in the Resurrection. Given this fact as Christians we should encourage one another not to lose the faith and remain faithful because there is a lot to look forward to! Knowing exactly when the dead will be raised, in relation to the other events at the second Coming is not as important as knowing why Paul wrote these words: to challenge believers to comfort and encourage one another. We often use this passage as a great comfort when a believer dies. The same love that unites believers in this life will unite believers when Christ returns and reigns for eternity.
Jesus told the hearers of the parable of the ten bridesmaids to further clarify what it means to be ready for his return and how to live until he comes. In this story we are taught that every person is responsible for his or her own spiritual condition. This parable is about a wedding. On the wedding day the bridegroom went to the bride’s house for the ceremony, then the bride and groom, along with a great procession, returned to the groom’s house, where a feast took place, often lasting a full week. These ten bridesmaids were waiting to join the procession, and they hoped to take part in the marriage feast. But when the groom did not come at the expected time, five of them were out of lamp oil. By the time they had purchased extra oil, it was too late to join the feast. When Jesus returns to take his people to heaven, we must be ready. Spiritual preparation cannot be bought or borrowed at the last minute. Our relationship with God must be our own. You and I cannot afford to relax or become complacent. We must hold on and not waver or else the Devil will snatch us into his grasp the final danger of unfaithfulness. We have the likes of Joshua, Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Simon Peter, John the Disciple to name but a few. These realized the dangers of unfaithfulness and held on to the very end. You also can do the same God being your helper.
In the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit, be faithful so you do not lose out like the 5 bridesmaids!
Text version of the message for Hillside Circuit on November 8th 2020 in Shona, with Mr Wilfred Manyiwa:
Nhasi tirikufamba nemusoro wenyaya unoti The dangers of unfaithfulness (Njodzi ye kusateerera, kana kuti Zvakashatira kusavimbika).Kazhinji ukaona munhu onzi uyu haateereri, zvinoreva kuti pane zvaatarirwa kuti atevere kana kuti munhu anenge apiwa mutemo wekutevedza iye orega hake kuita zvaarairwa kuti aite.
Saka tirikuona Joshua achipinda mutsoka dza Mozisi dzekutungamira vana veIsrayeli kuti vasvike munyika yechipikirwa apa pataverenga vavamo mukati menyika iyi vari paShekemu Joshua anotora vatungamiri vose vakanga varipo ndokuvamisa pamberi peva Israeri ndokuvayeuchidza sungano yakaitwa naMwari pakati pavo.
Joshua anoti sezvo muchiziva kuti kubva kare tichiri varanda kuIjipiti Jehovah vakati rwira neruoko rune simba ,pakaitwa minana yakawanda kuti tisvike pano nhasi asi ndaona vamwe venyu vatarisana nengozi yekusateerera nokuti matsauka mukushumira Mwari waAbhurahama uyo akatibudisa munyika yehuranda mave kunamata vamwe vamwari vasiri Jehovha(be careful).
Ndabva ndaona kereke yanhasi ichisimuka kubva pasungano yekare apo taibuda kupinda mumamisha kuchaitwa vhuserere hwai dzakarashika dzichidzoswa mudanga asi nhasi hakusisina izvozvo nokuti performance of a vibrant church is measured by meeting centralisation.
Ngatichenjerei sekereke kuti tisabuda ,nekusiya urwo rutendo (Faith) rwakare apo pataishumira vhangeri mumweya nemuzvokwadi. Ngatingwarirei hama kuti zvine ngozi kubuda musungano, nokuti pakupera kwenguva tichamira pamberi paShe takatarisana nemibvunzo kuti ko imi makabatei pamazuva amaiva panyika, ko makanga makagadzirira here kuuya kwe Mwanakomana nokuti kana pakasava nekugadzirira pane vachasara panze kana chikomba chasvika nokuti vanenge vasina kugadzirira sevasikana vane gumi avo vakanga vakarindira asi vamwe vakanga vane mafuta vamwewo vasina,hamawe ngatigarei takagadzirira achiri masikati nokuti husiku hunouya .
Hamuna here kusiya Mwari wemadzibaba edu tichitevera vamwe vamwari ,hamuna here kusiya Jehovha muchitevera mari , ndokusaka vamwe tisina kana nguva yekumutsaurira Mwari tichigara tichidzingirira mari.
Hama dzangu ngatigarei takagadzirira sevasikana vashanu ava vakanga vane mafuta avo nokuti kunyange pakuuya kwaKristu vanotiwana tiri panzvimbo yakanaka yakafanira tiine zvese zvinodiwa zvinova kuchengeta rutendo ,kunyange paachadzika kubva mumakore tinenge takamirira takakwana kuti tisangane naye Jesu Kristu.
Hama dzangu ngatizivei zvekusarudza sezvataurwa naJoshua kuti kana ndiri ini nemhuri yangu tichanamata Jehovha mupenyu, dai Mwari wekudenga atiitira nyasha atifananidzawo nevasikana vashanu ava vakanga vane mwenje yavo pamwechete nemafuta kuti Kristu paanosvika tigosangana naye mumakore nekuti tinenge tachengeta kutenda kwamadzibaba edu vana Abhurahama,Isaka naJakobho .
Dai Mwari werugare,Mwari wenyasha agara nesu panguva dzose Amen