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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Redeemed of the Lord

28 December 2016

Opening Prayer/Worship

Hymn: Joy to the world! the Lord is come!

Theme: Lord of all

Topic: The Redeemed of the Lord

Reading: Isaiah 62:6-12

At the core of God’s gift of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ is the redemption of humanity- redemption from sin, death and satanic oppression.  Following the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, sin entered into the world together with death and all manner of evil.  God in His infinite mercy set in motion events that will redeem man from the bondage of sin.  These series of events include the birth of the Saviour, which we marked on Christmas day, and were completed after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Followers of Christ are described in several ways including the ‘the Redeemed of the Lord’.  As the Lord’s redeemed, we should always remember that we are not live in guilt and fear of death and evil.  Rather we should live each day in celebration of the redemption we have in Christ Jesus.  Through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ we have been set free to fulfil God’s purpose for our lives. 

1) What does it mean to be the redeemed of the Lord? 
Romans 5:12-21
Colossians 1:9-14
Titus 3:4-8

2) What are the lessons for us in Luke 2:1-20 regarding being the redeemed of the Lord?  
Luke 2:1-20

3) Discuss our responsibilities as the redeemed of the Lord. 
Psalm 97:1-12
2 Timothy 1:6-14
1 Peter 2:4-10


We should live each day in celebration of the redemption we have in Christ Jesus.  Through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ we have been set free to fulfil God’s purpose for our lives.

Closing Prayer (Collect for the Birth of the Lord: Christmas Day)

O God our Father, whose Word has come among us in the Holy Child of Bethlehem, may the light of faith illumine our hearts and shine in our words and deeds; through him who is Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Sign

21 December 2016

Opening Prayer/Worship

Hymn: O Come, All Ye Faithful

Theme: Lord of all

Topic: A Sign

Reading: Isaiah 7:10-16

Long before Jesus Christ was born, God had through the prophets announced His plans to redeem mankind through the gift of His only begotten Son.  The coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ through Immaculate Conception by the power of the Holy Spirit was in fulfillment of one of the most important prophecies of all times.  This weekend, as we mark the birth of Jesus Christ, it is a good time to remember that similar to His birth, He is a living sign from God.  Christ represents freedom, victory, liberty, God’s presence, love in the midst of hatred and guarantee of eternal life for all believers.  The living Saviour is a sign to us that God is Lord of all, and that the Lord has done everything necessary to reconcile humanity back to Himself.  Christmas is also a good time to remember His promise to come again, and to remain ready for His second coming.  Have a merry Christmas and prosperous 2017!

1) In what ways is Jesus Christ a sign?
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
John 1:14-18
Romans 1:1-7

2) What are the lessons for us in Matthew 1:18-25 regarding the Immaculate Conception of Jesus Christ?
Matthew 1:18-25.

3) Compare the birth of Jesus Christ and His second coming; discuss the similarities and differences.
Isaiah 6:1-13
John 14:1-4, 28-31
2 Timothy 4:1-8


The living Saviour is a sign to us that God is Lord of all, and that the Lord has done everything necessary to reconcile humanity back to Himself.

Closing Prayer (Collect for Fourth Sunday of Advent)

Heavenly Father, who chose the Virgin Mary, full of grace, to be the mother of our Lord and Saviour, now fill us with your grace, that we in all things may embrace your will and with her rejoice in your salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Patiently waiting

14 December 2016

Opening Prayer/Worship

Hymn: Abide with me

Theme: Lord of all

Topic: Patiently waiting

Reading: Isaiah 35:1-10
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
   the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus 
2it shall blossom abundantly,
   and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
   the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
   the majesty of our God. 
3 Strengthen the weak hands,
   and make firm the feeble knees.
4 Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
   ‘Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God.
   He will come with vengeance,
with terrible recompense.
   He will come and save you.’ 
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
   and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
6 then the lame shall leap like a deer,
   and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
   and streams in the desert;
7 the burning sand shall become a pool,
   and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
   the grass shall become reeds and rushes. 
8 A highway shall be there,
   and it shall be called the Holy Way;
the unclean shall not travel on it,
   but it shall be for God’s people;
   no traveller, not even fools, shall go astray.
9 No lion shall be there,
   nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
   but the redeemed shall walk there.
10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
   and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
   they shall obtain joy and gladness,
   and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. 

To wait in patience for an event means that there is an impression or feeling that the event has been delayed, overdue or may never come to pass.  The season of Advent is a time of reflection on our Saviour’s birth, marked by Christmas; but Advent is also a time to reflect on the second coming of Jesus Christ.  There are just too many references to the second coming of Christ in the Bible that to believe otherwise will imply disbelieving the Scripture.  Although it is over 2000 years since Christ promised He would come again, we should not be dissuaded with how long it is taking.  We are not responsible for the timing of His coming; rather we should wait with patience for His appearance.  Waiting for Christ’s second coming means doing the work of the Lord, so that when our Saviour appears, He will find us faithful in our love for Him and for the people in our lives.


1) Why do we need to be patient regarding the second coming of our Lord?  
Psalm 146:5-9
5 Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
   whose hope is in the Lord their God,
6 who made heaven and earth,
   the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith for ever;
7   who executes justice for the oppressed;
   who gives food to the hungry. 
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
8   the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
   the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the strangers;
   he upholds the orphan and the widow,
   but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. 

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. 2For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.3When they say, ‘There is peace and security’, then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labour pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! 4But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; 5for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. 6So then, let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; 7for those who sleep sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. 8But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. 9For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. 11Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing. 

2 Peter 3:1-13
This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you; in them I am trying to arouse your sincere intention by reminding you 2that you should remember the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets, and the commandment of the Lord and Saviour spoken through your apostles.3First of all you must understand this, that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and indulging their own lusts 4and saying, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since our ancestors died, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation!’ 5They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago and an earth was formed out of water and by means of water, 6through which the world of that time was deluged with water and perished. 7But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire, being kept until the day of judgement and destruction of the godless. 8 But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. 9The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. 10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed. 11 Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness,12waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? 13But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.

2) What are the lessons for us in Matthew 11:2-11 regarding patiently waiting for the second coming of our Lord?  
Matthew 11:2-11.
When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples 3and said to him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?’ 4Jesus answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepersare cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. 6And blessed is anyone who takes no offence at me.’ 7 As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? 8What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. 9What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10This is the one about whom it is written, “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.” 11Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

3) What are the challenges to patiently waiting for our Lord?  How do we overcome them? 
Luke 1:47-55
47   and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, 
48 for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
   Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
   and holy is his name. 
50 His mercy is for those who fear him
   from generation to generation. 
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
   he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 
52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
   and lifted up the lowly; 
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
   and sent the rich away empty. 
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
   in remembrance of his mercy, 
55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
   to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’

James 5:7-10
Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. 8You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! 10As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

2 Peter 3:14-18
Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; 15and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given to him, 16speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. 17You therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, beware that you are not carried away with the error of the lawless and lose your own stability. 18But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.


Waiting for Christ’s second coming means doing the work of the Lord, so that when our Saviour appears, He will find us faithful in our love for Him and for the people in our lives.

Closing Prayer (Collect for Third Sunday of Advent)

God of power and mercy, you call us once again to celebrate the coming of your Son. Remove those things which hinder love of you, that when he comes, he may find us waiting in awe and wonder for him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Blessed Hope

7 December 2016

Opening Prayer/Worship

Hymn: Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine

Theme: Lord of all

Topic: Blessed Hope

Reading: Isaiah 11:1-10
A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. 2 The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. 3 His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; 4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. 5 Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins. 6 The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. 7 The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. 9 They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. 10 On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.

The message of the Cross of Christ is one of hope.  The sacrifice of Christ on the Cross of Calvary is resounding proof of God’s love to all mankind, and message of hope that we will someday reign with Christ for eternity.  Although we experience the power of God in our lives in many ways, Scripture declares that no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human mind has conceived the things the Lord has prepared for those who love Him.  On this side of eternity, we will experience both joy and pain, but what great joy it will be when we get to Heaven, and behold the Glory of our Lord and Maker.  All pains, trials and temptation shall cease when we get to Heaven.  This does not mean that we are to despise the joy and blessings of God in our lives because of momentary afflictions.  Rather we should look forward with joy and thanksgiving, regardless of the pains we bear, to the time when all sorrows shall cease, and we are at home with our Heavenly Father, forever and ever.  Amen.

1) What is your understanding of the blessed hope? 
Romans 15:4-13
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. 5May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, 6so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. 8For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God in order that he might confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,
‘Therefore I will confess you among the Gentiles,
   and sing praises to your name’; 
10and again he says, ‘Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people’; 
11and again, ‘Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles,
   and let all the peoples praise him’; 
12and again Isaiah says, ‘The root of Jesse shall come,
   the one who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him the Gentiles shall hope.’ 
13May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

1 Corinthians 2:6-16
Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. 7But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9But, as it is written,
‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
   nor the human heart conceived,
what God has prepared for those who love him’—
10these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God. 12Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. 13And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual.
14 Those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are discerned spiritually. 15Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else’s scrutiny.
16 ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord
   so as to instruct him?’
But we have the mind of Christ.

Titus 2:11-15
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, 12training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, 13while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. 14He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds. 15 Declare these things; exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one look down on you.

2) What are the lessons for us in Matthew 3:1-12 regarding the blessed hope?
Matthew 3:1-12
In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, 2‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’3This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said,
‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
   make his paths straight.” ’
4Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, 6and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
7 But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8Bear fruit worthy of repentance. 9Do not presume to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our ancestor”; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. 10Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
11 ‘I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12His winnowing-fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing-floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’

3) How do we live with afflictions while waiting for the manifestation of our blessed hope in Christ?
Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19
Refrain: In his time shall peace and justice flourish.
Give the King your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the King's Son; That he may rule your people righteously and the poor with justice; That the mountains may bring prosperity to the people, and the little hills bring righteousness. R He shall defend the needy among the people; he shall rescue the poor and crush the oppressor. He shall live as long as the sun and moon endure, from one generation to another. He shall come down like rain upon the mown field, like showers that water the earth. R In his time shall the righteous flourish; there shall be abundance of peace till the moon shall be no more. Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous deeds! And blessed be his glorious name for ever! and may all the earth be filled with his glory. Amen. Amen. R

Matthew 6:19-21, 24-34
‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
24 ‘No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. 25 ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” 32For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 ‘So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18, 5:1-10
So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.
5:1-10For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling— 3if indeed, when we have taken it off we will not be found naked. 4For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6 So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord— 7for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10For all of us must appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.


We should look forward to the time when all sorrows will cease, and we are at home with our Heavenly Father, forever and ever.  Amen.

Closing Prayer (Collect for Second Sunday of Advent)

Almighty God, who sent your servant John the Baptist to prepare your people to welcome the Messiah, inspire us, the ministers and stewards of your truth, to turn our disobedient hearts to you, that when the Christ shall come again to be our judge, we may stand with confidence before his glory; who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.