Online Sunday Service – 28th February 2021- Second Sunday in Lent

Sunday Service 28.2.21

2nd Sunday in Lent.

Good morning folks, how are you this morning? I hope that you are safe and well. Have you the time to sit and listen to today’s service ? I hope that you have and you will find a quiet, comfy spot and relax and see what it is saying to you today.

I wish you and your family every blessing. Take care. Iain

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Online Sunday Service

28th February 2021

2nd Sunday in Lent 

 

Good morning, and welcome to our Sunday Service for the 28th February 2021.

 

I hope you are keeping well.

 

Well, here we are – the 2nd Sunday in Lent and continuing our journey towards Easter –

 

But before that – let us pray ~

 

Loving Living, Almighty God –

as we sit in our various homes, we unite our hearts and minds to bring you our worship and to give you our thanks for all your goodness to us.

 

Lord we know that you love us – yet we wonder why you should love us so.

So often our faith is weak – our belief in you is fragile as we experience dark and difficult times.

We don’t automatically turn to you when trouble comes to us – no more do we give you our heartfelt thanks when happy times are here.

Forgive us Lord.

 

Help us to worship you with the open-ness and simple humility of a child – for we are your children.

 

Loving God, in your grace, hear our prayer  – and forgive us we ask – cleanse and renew us, we pray.

 

And now Lord, we ask that you hear our silent prayers as we gather all these thoughts together – bringing them humbly to you now – in the peace of our silence……and we take a few moments to bring our own prayers to God………

 

Forgiving Lord, we ask for your forgiveness, your mercy and your grace.

 

Loving God, we know that you hear us when we pray in faith – hear us now then, as we pray together as your family here in this place – the family prayer – the Lord’s prayer –

 

Our Father.. Who art in heaven.. Hallowed be thy name.. Thy kingdom come.. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven….. Give us this day our daily bread.. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.. Lead us not into temptation.. But deliver us from evil .. For thine is the kingdom.. The power and the glory forever…. Amen.

 

We have 2 readings this morning –

 

Psalm 16 : 9 – 11  &   John 3 : 1 – 3

 

If you have a Bible with you why not read along with me –

Let us hear the word of God.

Psalm 16 : 9 – 11     Contemporary English Version

9”With all my heart,
I will celebrate,
and I can safely rest.

10 I am your chosen one.
You won’t leave me in the grave
or let my body decay.
11 You have shown me
the path to life,
and you make me glad
by being near to me.
Sitting at your right side
I will always be joyful.”

 

And-

 

John 3 : 1 – 3   New International Version

Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

 

“Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

Amen.

This is the Word of the Lord – thanks be to God

 

SERMON

 

Well, here we are – the second Sunday in Lent – that time of thoughtful preparation –

 

We are – if you like – journeying together on the road to the cross.

 

And this ‘journeying time’ is a time to look at all that – but also a time for us too take a good look at ourselves.

 

Today

 

I am going to ask you to look at your own faith.

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And to fo that we are going to look at an encounter between a man called Nicodemus and Jesus.

 

 

Nicodemus was a Pharisee who had heard about Jesus – and almost certainly seen him, perhaps even seen him perform one of his many miracles.

 

As you will have just heard,

He came to Jesus under cover of dark, perhaps so that he wouldn’t been seen by his fellow Pharisees – or prying eyes and gossiping tongues – to speak to Jesus about things which were troubling him.

 

He was a brave man.

 

He risked the wrath of his fellow pharisees to find Jesus and to question him.

 

He was swithering  – that’s a good Scottish word – to swither – to wonder – to dither – to be undecided.

 

He would have been steeped i his own faith – the jewish tradition.

He was a prominent leader of the local Sanhedrin or religious ruling council.

 

So he was no fool –  you don’t get to be one of those without being very knowledgeable  and dedicated to studying the ancient texts and laws.

 

So what was it about Jesus that drew Nicodemus to him?

 

The Pharisees had denounced Jesus as a heretic – calling himself the Son of God – the long awaited Saviour but how could he be, they said, he was just a man from Galilee !?

But Nicodemus wasn’t so sure.  He could see there was “something” about Jesus – something he couldn’t quite put his finger on.

 

Yes, the Jewish people believed there would be a Saviour, come from god to save them – but they weren’t convinced that this wandering ”holy man” as they saw him – didn’t fit their bill – didn’t come up to their expectations.

 

But nicodemus wasn’t so certain – or at least he was open to persuasion.

 

“There must be more to life than this

I’ll go and he see Him” he would have thought ”I’ll size him up, hear what He has to say about all this ‘Son of God’ business and the miracles – and then there’s the ‘eternal life thing’ and ‘being born again’ too.

 

Then I will make up my own mind.”

 

And that is just what he did.

 

He had asked Jesus what he had to do to gain eternal life.

 

“It’s all pretty straightforward really” Jesus said “you have to re-set your life.

 

Put all those old thoughts, old ways, old ideas behind you – and start again,

Begin a new way of thinking and living.”

 

But Nicodemus didn’t much like the sound of that.

Begin again?

But I have spent  my life getting to where I am now – and to throw that all away.

 

“Aye”, said Jesus, “but you can’t go forward with all that baggage holding you back” !

 

“Oh dear, what to do” Nicodemus thought

 

And so he said to Jesus – “I’ll go away and think about it.”

*

You know, there is a sense that Nicodemus characterizes many in the world today.

 

They want all the benefits without the commitment.

The prize without buying a ticket.

 

But as we know – it’s not like that in the real world.

If we want something of meaning, of importance and of value, then we have to get up, go out and get it.

 

As the old saying goes “hard work isn’t easy!”

 

But for some, those words “hard work” can cause a chill to run down their spines.

And instead of doing what needs to be done – they walk away to “think about it’ and that’s the end of the story.

 

But that wasn’t the case with Nicodemus – for we hear later that he defended Jesus at his trial – and later, with Joseph of Arimithea, they successfully  petitioned to take Jesus from the cross and give him a decent burial

 

And so when he “went away to think about the words of Jesus” – instead of  forgetting all about them – he must have weighed it all up – and chose to be a follower of Christ.

 

There are those today who are searching – seeking, wondering if there more to life as we know it.

And the answer is and emphatic ‘yes there is!

 

A refreshing new view of the world and your life – and a promise that there is a place reserved for you – a place  of eternal peace and joy.

 

But how do we get  there ? That was the question Nicodemus asked Jesus.

 

Well, we’ve all heard the saying ~

“ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find;

 

Knock and the door 

Will be opened to you.

 

If you are serious about finding out more about this man who gave up his life for you – and to be his follower like million have over the centuries –

Here’s what you have to do ~

 

  1. We have to search, seek, ask questions, read scriptures – google names and places in order to find out more.
  2. And when you see that the evidence is stacked up in favour of Jesus – accept him and ask him to come into your life.
  3. Become a full time Christian , not a part time observer from the touch line.

4.get baptised, if you aren’t already.

  1. 5. And the resolve to live your life according to the values and principles of Jesus. And
  2. 6. Then live your life in the knowledge that all the promises and blessing pledged by God, are all there for you.

 

Like Nicodemus – are you open to persuasion?

 

It doesn’t mean that you will stop enjoying life – it mean that you are free to enjoy life so much more, with  a deep, inner peace.

 

If you are serious – it will happen, ask him and  God will make it happen.

 

If you are only half hearted – then why not go away and think about it – weigh it up for yourself.

It’s in your hands.

 

That’s what Nicodemus did – he went away to think it over – and look what happened to him –

He became a follower of Christ and found a new life,

A new, better way to live here

And the promise of life everlasting hereafter.

 

And that can be true for you

 

And that’s an absolute promise, made to you,

And in Jesus name.

Amen.

 

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

 

At the end of their first date, a young man walks his girlfriend home. Emboldened by the night, he decides to try for that important first kiss. With an air of confidence, he leans with his hand against the wall and, smiling, he says to her, “Darling, how about a goodnight kiss?”

Horrified, she replies, “Are you mad? My parents will see us!”

“Oh, come on! Who’s gonna see us at this hour?”

“No, please. Can you imagine if we get caught?”

“Oh, come on, there’s nobody around, they’re all sleeping!”

“No way. It’s just too risky!”

“Oh, please, please, I like you so much!!”

“No, no, and no. I like you too, but I just can’t!”

“Oh yes you can. Please?”

“NO, no. I just can’t.”

“Pleeeeease…?”

Just then, the porch light goes on, and the girl’s sister shows up in her pyjamas, hair dishevelled, and says in a sleepy voice:

“Dad says to go ahead and give him a kiss. Or I can do it. Or if need be, he’ll come down himself and do it.

But for goodness’ sake – tell him to take his hand off the intercom button!”

 

We have a Father – who hears everything we say too !

 

When we know that, it changes the things we say and the things we do ~ it changes the way we look at ourselves, at others and at God.

Those who hear God’s voice – and see the glory of Jesus – are changed forever – talk regularly to God, through Jesus, and You will be transformed too … and you can be absolutely sure – the Father IS listening !!

 

Will you talk to Him and ask Him to come in to your life?

For your own sake I pray that you will.

 

Isn’t that something for us all to think about as we walk together towards the Cross……….

Amen.

 

Benediction / Blessing

 

And now –

 

Go – and may God make you strong in faith and hope and love.

 

Live faithfully – walk humbly –

 

And may the blessing of Almighty God – Father- Son – and Holy Spirit – be with you all – may He be with your families and your friends and all who you know and love – aye – and ought to love – this day and everyday.

 

amen

 

May God bless you –

and may He your loved ones too.

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Have a good week  – and please – keep safe.

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Be sure and look out for the Midweek ‘Meditation’ which is Posted every Wednesday Morning.

 

Have  good week – and Please – keep safe

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“Be still and know that I am God”

Psalm 46 : 10