Last Sunday was a great blessing. Our Pastor was away, but God powerfully used our beloved Minister-in-Training to speak His truths to our hearts.
We were called to rejoice in Jesus; to sing with loud voices and full hearts, knowing what Jesus has done for us.
We sang 3 songs, parts of which I’m happy to share:
Come, people of the Risen King,Come, People Of The Risen King by Keith & Kristyn Getty
Who delight to bring Him praise;
Come all and tune your hearts to sing
To the Morning Star of grace.
From the shifting shadows of the earth
We will lift our eyes to Him,
Where steady arms of mercy reach
To gather children in.
No beginning and no endStronger by Hillsong
You’re my hope and my defence
You came to seek and save the lost
You paid it all upon the cross
You are stronger, You are stronger
Sin is broken, You have saved me
It is written, Christ is risen
Jesus You are Lord of all
Happy is the one who trulyPsalm 146
Looks for help to Jacob’s God;
Happy is the one who places
All his hope upon the LORD-
He who made the earth and heaven
And the seas, with all their store;
He who keeps his every promise,
Who is faithful evermore
After we sang these wonderful truths, a big announcement was made. We’ll be reading and meditating upon the book of 2 Kings together this month! I love RBT (Reading The Bible Together).
We sang another lovely song just before the bible reading:
Oh how good it isOh How Good It Is By Keith & Kristyn Getty
When the family of God
Dwells together in spirit
In faith and unity
Where the bonds of peace,
Of acceptance and love
Are the fruit of His presence
Here among us
Our Bible reading was the entire first chapter of 2 Kings 19. Here are notes I took during the sermon:
Remember 1 Samuel 8:7-8? God told Samuel the people were rejecting him as King when they insisted on having a king like the nations around them.
This is ridiculous because God’s people always had a King. The true and living God who is greater than any other and truly saves.
In the bible passage we see that Hezekiah was pressed in on every side and felt very helpless.
They told him, “This is what Hezekiah says: This day is a day of distress and rebuke and disgrace, as when children come to the moment of birth and there is no strength to deliver them.Verse 3
What was the first thing Hezekiah did, in the light of his dire circumstances?
When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and went into the temple of the Lord.Verse 1
He ran to the temple of the Lord. We have Jesus who is our great temple and the One to whom we can run to receive help.
Where you go/run to in your day of distress reveals a lot about what you believe. You can say you love Jesus and He’s your rock and refuge but what about your day of distress? Do you run to him first?
A big distress brings about a big reveal of who you truly are.
In our day of distress we often want to hide away from our brothers and sisters in church. We don’t want to be seen as needy or broken. The irony is, Church is the one place to which we should go! Jesus is there and meets/helps us through his body-our church family.
Hezekiah could have sought the Lord at home, but he obeyed God by going to the Temple. It is was the one place where God had promised He’ll always be found.
We should go where God tells us. He has given us a great gift of fellowship with our brethren. We should obey him in this.
God spoke to Hezekiah in his distress and His first words through Isaiah, were “Do not be afraid…”
Isaiah said to them, “Tell your master, ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard—those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me.Verse 6
How wonderful! Often we are overwhelmed by the magnitude of our circumstance or need such that our awareness of the greatness of God becomes dull. Going to him as of first importance and casting our cares, receiving his peace and being reminded of his power, is a great help we can know!
Hezekiah was known for his utter dependence on God.
Now Sennacherib received a report that Tirhakah, the king of Cush,[a] was marching out to fight against him. So he again sent messengers to Hezekiah with this word: 10 “Say to Hezekiah king of Judah: Do not let the god you depend on deceive you when he says, ‘Jerusalem will not be given into the hands of the king of Assyria.’Verses 9-10
We are to be like this. Totally dependent on God. All that troubles us has to face Him! we are not alone! We have great help! We should run to God always.
In verses 2-9 two voices have spoken to Hezekiah. The first is God’s voice which says:
“Do not be afraid”.
The second voice was that of Sennacherib:
“Do not let the god you depend on deceive you…”
In essence, he was saying: Stop depending on God. You can’t beat us. Surrender. We are far too strong to be defeated by you.
When Hezekiah heard the 2nd voice, what did he do? He went to the temple and took it to the Lord.
Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: “Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, Lord, and hear;open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God.Verses 14-16
We need to follow Hezekiah’s example. We can’t just take our concerns to God once. As the situation develops either for better or worse, we need to keep our eyes on the Lord and keep returning to Him for help and refuge. This is of vital importance.
Hezekiah lifted his eyes above the earth to the highest heavens where the Almighty God dwells. Even he, being a king, knew there was a True King to whom all kings are subjects.
Again, God replied to Hezekiah:
Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to Hezekiah: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I have heard your prayer concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria.Verse 20
How wonderful that a God so Mighty inclines His ear and attention to hear our prayers! Not only that, He is zealous for us!
Later in verse 35, God puts to death Hezekiah’s enemies (185,000 men) Wow! In one night!
Do we realise how powerful our Saviour is? Do we know that Jesus completely destroys our death and sin? On the cross King Jesus showed us how much he loves us, cares for us and will stop at nothing to save us. How much more with our distress? He sorted out our greatest distress – eternal separation from God!
Am I holding on to my distress and problems or going for help where it will not be found? Am I spreading my problems before the Lord and my brothers and sisters? I need to do what Hezekiah did. Run to God first and know his help through the family he has blessed me with in Church.
We ended the service with this great song:
He will hold me fast,He Will Hold Me Fast by Keith & Kristyn Getty
He will hold me fast;
For my Saviour loves me so,
He will hold me fast!
Due to unreasonable phone scrolling the previous night, I did not get enough sleep.
In fact, in the morning before the service I was greatly convicted about this careless attitude and how it could possibly hinder my attention on such an important day of fellowship with my awesome God and brethren! I asked God to forgive me and help me stay awake and fully attentive! He answered my prayer.
I made it to the afternoon and had to get some hours of sleep which were a great boost for the evening service.
It is very important that we are mindful of anything that would stand in the way of us truly being present in God’s presence on Sunday. We need to be deliberate about this and make responsible choices which reflect our knowledge of how important the Lord’s Day is.
We began the service singing this declaration:
Christ is enough for me!Christ Is Enough by Hillsong
Christ is enough for me;
Everything I need is in You,
Everything I need
We also sang:
Oh let my soul arise and singThe Blood of Jesus Speaks For Me by Travis Cottrell
My confidence is not in vain
The One who fights for me is King
His oath, His covenant remain.
No condemnation now I dread
Eternal hope is mine instead
His Word will stand, I stand redeemed
The blood of Jesus speaks for me!
What a song! very reassuring truths right there!
We were blessed to hear a brother tell his testimony. Through the highs and lows of life, growing up in a family that attended church, he later came to terms with faith in Jesus for his very self and made the personal decision to follow him. It was lovely to hear him testify to the goodness and faithfulness of God since he made that decision and how he is focused on fixing his eyes on Jesus for his future.
Our sermon was preached from 2 Kings 5:1-14.
Naaman was great and had a massive reputation. He was a big achiever, yet he had a huge problem which needed sorting out. But who could sort it out?
Leprosy in the Bible is a picture of sin. It is progressively destructive, contagious and deadly. People had to be separated from their communities once they came under its affliction. It was a timed death sentence.
Naaman could have resolved to just surrender to this disease and let it run its course as there seemed to be no hope of getting healed.
A huge turning point began when the young servant girl who was taken from the Lord’s people, spoke up. She knew there was a True and Living God and shared the knowledge that he could heal Naaman through his prophet.
When Naaman eventually got to Elisha the prophet, he was told to wash in the River Jordan.
In the Bible, River Jordan was a picture of death. What this was pointing to was that Naaman needed to be immersed in a perfect death to be cleansed and healed. Also bear in mind the biblical significance of the number 7 and the fact that Naaman was told to wash 7 times.
Jesus’ perfect death is what we need to be immersed in, to be clean. All we need to do is repent and believe in Jesus.
All Naaman had to do was wash in the Jordan. Yet, he became angry because the means were not what he expected.
What he thought would make him clean and what God said would make him clean didn’t match up.
What we often think will do is very different from what God says will do. If we keep living how we think is best or makes sense to us, diregarding what God says is required, we will remain unclean, bearing our guilt and shame.
Yet, if we would only cry out to his Son and repent, He will save us.
Remember the thief on the cross? It wasn’t too late for him. He simply asked and was saved. It was that simple, because Jesus had done the hard work.
Don’t trust your judgement. Trust Jesus! He is right.
Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.Verse 12
There are many rivers and roads which may seem to be viable alternatives to the blood of Christ Jesus which God has declared is the only way. Only his perfect death will suffice.
Naaman ended up going where God said and doing what he said. He was healed. We should learn from this.
After the sermon, we were blessed by a wonderful ‘singing item‘ (what my dear Nigerians would refer to as a ‘special number‘) by one of our brothers whom God has given a lovely voice! These are some words from the song:
Purify my heart in Your presenceClean by Hillsong
Teach me to discover the joy
Of holiness that forms as You draw me close
In You what was lost is restored
So I will rise and lift my head
For by His mercy my life was spared
The highest Name has set me free
Because of Jesus
My heart is clean
Thank You For Reading!
May your Sunday be a deeply engaging time during which you enjoy hearing Jesus speak to you through the singing, reading of his word, testimonies and exhortations, preaching and fellowship.