Sunday, 13th March 10.30 am Order of Service

Live stream link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUXqSPpmvi0FrIfSLUqiCEA

WELCOME

HYMN MP 186 God is in His Temple

1 God is in his temple,

the almighty Father;

round his footstool

let us gather;

him with adoration serve,

the Lord most holy,

who hath mercy on the lowly;

let us raise hymns of praise

for his great salvation:

God is in his temple!

2 Christ comes to his temple,

we, his word receiving,

are made happy in believing;

lo! from sin delivered

he hath turned our sadness,

our deep gloom to light and gladness;

let us raise hymns of praise,

for our bonds are severed:

Christ comes to his temple.

3 Come and claim Your temple,

gracious Holy Spirit;

in our hearts Your home inherit;

make in us Your dwelling,

Your high work fulfilling,

into ours Your will instilling,

till we raise hymns of praise

beyond mortal telling,

in th’eternal temple.

PRAYER

Children’s Address

We have been hearing a lot these days about a man called Vladimir Putin. He is the President of a very big country called Russia. And they say that he has the biggest army in the world. That would make him the strongest man in the world – maybe.

Some people are a bit scared of the power of that man and his army, but I have wonderful news for you this morning. It is news about Someone Who is even stronger. I want to tell you about Someone Who is really great.

The Person I want to tell you about is very different from Mr Putin. Mr Putin seems to be a man who wants WAR – but the Person I want you to know about is all for PEACE.

We are going to be thinking about this Great Person this morning with the big folks in Church – just listen to how this Great One is described:

Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
.

He is truly amazing and He wants to help us and guide us every day.

He is also Mighty – in fact, He is ALL-mighty. He has ALL the power in the world – and more besides.

He is also Everlasting. Some people live to be VERY OLD – maybe even a hundred years old – but the Person we are thinking about today has no beginning and no end – He was around before the world began and He will be around for ever and for ever.

And in our world with so much fighting and war – He is the very Prince of Peace.

WHO is this man?
It is JESUS.

The Man we can trust with our very lives!

Song MP 142 Father, we love you

Father we love You
We worship and adore You
Glorify Your name in all the earth
Glorify Your name
Glorify Your name
Glorify Your name in all the earth

Verse 2

Jesus we love You
We worship and adore You
Glorify Your name in all the earth
Glorify Your name
Glorify Your name
Glorify Your name in all the earth

Verse 3

Spirit we love You
We worship and adore You
Glorify Your name in all the earth
Glorify Your name
Glorify Your name
Glorify Your name in all the earth

READING Isaiah 9:1-7

Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honour Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—

2

The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.

3

You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
when dividing the plunder.

4

For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.

5

Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.

6

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7

Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.

SERMON Immanuel

Chapters 8 and 9 of Isaiah are just full of Immanuel! Immanuel appears in 8:8 reminding us that God’s land is to suffer. But don’t be fooled into thinking that God has deserted Judah – no – verses 9 and 10 tell us that the other nations will plot against God’s people – but their plans will come to nothing for, as they say, God is with us. How can both these be true? If God’s people suffer, it is presumably at the hands of her neighbours – and yet their battle plans are doomed to failure. I think there is a principle at work here that is important for us to learn. YES – there are times when God chastises His people – not least when we are going astray – HOWEVER – as the world looks on and sees our numbers dropping along with our influence in the world – they think they have beaten us – BUT NO – what the world cannot and will never learn is that God is ALWAYS with His children – even in the midst of chastisement – do you stop loving your child in the midst of telling them off? No – you might be angry at times at their behaviour – their lies – their cheating – their treatment of their siblings – but you never stop loving or protecting them! So it is with Immanuel – God with us.

Chapter 8 is pretty grim reading. It speaks of God using mighty Assyria to bring punishment upon God’s wayward people. We must not be lulled into thinking that this was to be a soft slipper on the bottom – this was real punishment – it brought death and destruction in its wake.

But even in the midst of these dark days, hope is evident along the way.

There is suffering that seems pointless and endless and those who experience this are greatly to be pitied. But there are some amongst God’s people who will continue to trust that God is still on the throne of the world – their suffering will be neither pointless nor endless – God is doing something through this time of deep distress – something good – and it will end!

That hope is articulated most clearly in these well-known Christmas verses of chapter 9. These verses speak of light at the end of the tunnel – not just any light – but the Light of the World.

Here is a people who will know that they have been humbled by God as they find themselves in captivity, but beyond the humility will come honour. Galilee does not have a great reputation in Jesus’ day (John 1:46 Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.)

However, from Galilee salvation will come – Immanuel Himself – God is coming to Galilee. God’s people who will have been in darkness so long will now witness this great light. He will shed light as He governs His people, He will bring light through His Holy Spirit dwelling in the hearts of His children – the Counsellor! He will shed light on the very nature of God. We find it hard to see how the Mighty God could also be a Father and a Prince of Peace. But we have here evidence of the Trinity at work in these titles given to Immanuel.

Not only does Messiah SHED light – He also BRINGS light. This is not just an intellectual awakening, God is actually at work to change the world through His Son. We can become so distressed at the world in which we live – a world where sin seems to reign – and yet Jesus comes to establish His Kingdom here and to uphold it with justice.

Our Carol-Books may have been put away for the year, but let’s be careful that we don’t also put away our glorious Saviour – Emmanuel – God with us – God in us.

There will be times when our spiritual life is far from healYour – when we find it difficult to communicate with God – He seems distant from us – although we realise that it is WE who are distant from HIM – well, here is the antidote to help us in such times – come to Isaiah 9:verses 6 & 7 and meditate on these great names and titles of Jesus. Take more than a few seconds to allow these great truths to once again penetrate your heart and soul – and be revived and refreshed – seal God’s Word (8;16) in your heart.

PRAYER

Hymn The race that long in darkness pined

The race that long in darkness pined

have seen a glorious light;

the people dwell in day, who dwelt

in death’s surrounding night.

To hail thy rise, thou better Sun,

the gathering nations come,

joyous as when the reapers bear

the harvest-treasures home.

To us a Child of hope is born,

to us a Son is given;

him shall the tribes of earth obey,

him all the hosts of heaven.

His name shall be the Prince of Peace

for evermore adored,

the Wonderful, the Counsellor,

the great and mighty Lord.

His power increasing still shall spread,

his reign no end shall know;

justice shall guard his throne above

and peace abound below.

Benediction

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