Sunday, 4th July 6.00 pm Order of Service

WELCOME

HYMN O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness

1 Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness,

Bow down before Him, His glory proclaim;

Gold of obedience and incense of lowliness

Kneel and adore Him; the Lord is His name!

2 Low at His feet lay thy burden of carefulness,

High on His heart He will bear it for thee,

Comfort thy sorrows, and answer thy prayerfulness,

Guiding thy steps as may best for thee be.

3 Fear not to enter His courts in the slenderness

Of the poor wealth thou wouldst reckon as thine;

Truth in its beauty, and love in its tenderness,

These are the offerings to lay on His shrine.

4 O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness,

Bow down before Him, His glory proclaim;

Gold of obedience and incense of lowliness

Kneel and adore Him; the Lord is His name!

John S B Monsell (1811-1875)

PRAYER

READING MATTHEW 21 : 23-32

23 Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”

24 Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?”

They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”

27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”

Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

The Parable of the Two Sons

28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’

29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.

30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.

31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”

“The first,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

SERMON To Whom Do You Bow ?

Only Matthew records this story of the two sons. Here’s 2 boys – parents will recognise them, I’m sure.

Which kind of son would YOU like? Maybe you’ve got BOTH kinds of children. Jesus turns to the chief priests and elders who had been trying to nail Him and He says: Don’t you understand? This is a story about YOU. John the Baptist came from God and told all the people to believe and repent – you saw his righteous life, but you didn’t believe him or repent. You have all the promises of the Yes-Yes son – you say all the right things – BUT – in the end of the day, God is NOT pleased with you.”

(Mt. 7:21 ff) “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ mil enter the Kingdom of heaven – but only he who does the will of my father.”

Jesus goes on : “On the other hand – a shower of rogues heard John the Baptist. By their lifestyles, they demonstrated that they had rejected God. HOWEVER, when they heard John’s preaching, they had a complete change of heart and life.”

Jesus now looks hard at those wise old religious men. “Maybe some of you were impressed at the results of John’s ministry for a while“. We read in John 5:35 Jesus saying to his accusers “John the Baptist was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose FOR A TIME to enjoy his light.

Now Jesus says very penetratingly : “HOWEVER – in time you felt uncomfortable in that light – and even the transformed lives of down-right sinners didn’t entice you to truly repent and turn to the living God.”

************************************************

One of the most powerful influences in anyone’s life is to witness the transformation in the life of an out-and-out bad ‘un ? We look at what God has done for Bob the Bruiser and Ted the Red, for Beryl the Boozer and Bunty the Bingo fanatic and Ginty the Gossip – and we say GOD MUST BE REAL.

But, where does that leave ME? “I haven’t experienced God like that – I’ve never been bad like them – I don’t NEED a transformation.”

But Jesus said to those religious chaps ; “Because you REFUSE to repent and believe – there’s a question-mark over your place in heaven !”.

Now, maybe you’re sitting at home (in U & G Church) this evening thinking what a bad lot were the chief priests and elders.

But can’t you see – that just as that story of the two brothers was for THEM – so this whole story is FOR YOU! All the outward show of Christianity – none of Christ! Saying you love Him – not doing His will! HOW can you know?

Well, our story starts off with them questioning Jesus’ authority – ultimately they REJECTED His rule in their lives.

DO YOU? Oh, you say and sing JESUS IS LORD – But IS HE? We can question the authority of God every day in many ways.

You see, God doesn’t want Yes-Yes men – He wants people who will DO HIS WILL.

But what IS the will of God for us ? What IS God’s work ?

Jn. 6:29 “The work of God is this – to BELIEVE in the One He has sent

Mat 4:17 “From that time on Jesus (like John the Baptist) began to preach : ‘Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is near ‘ “.

Repent and believe – so simple – so hard – costs nothing – costs everything. Takes only a second – lasts a lifetime {and longer}

Or are you a Yes-Yes goody-goody person and proud of it? Pride is the greatest sin to keep people out of heaven.

God had to abandon the religious people of His day and start with a whole new team – and God may have to do the same again if we refuse to submit to Him and His authority – humbly, willingly, and gladly. I suspect those great religious men missed out on heaven for their arrogance – you won’t let that happen to you, will you ? !

PRAYER

Hymn Master, speak! Thy servant heareth

1 Master, speak! Thy servant heareth,

Waiting for thy gracious word,

Longing for thy voice that cheereth;

Master, let it now be heard.

I am listening, Lord, for thee;

What hast thou to say to me?

2 Speak to me by name, O master,

Let me know it is to me;

Speak, that I may follow faster,

With a step more firm and free,

Where the shepherd leads the flock

In the shadow of the rock.

3 Master, speak! Though least and lowest,

Let me not unheard depart;

Master, speak! For O thou knowest

All the yearning of my heart,

Knowest all its truest need;

Speak, and make me blest indeed.

4 Master, speak! and make me ready,

When thy voice is truly heard,

With obedience glad and steady

Still to follow every word.

I am listening, Lord, for thee;

Master, speak! O speak to me!

Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879)

Benediction

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