Bethel Baptist Church
Worship Service @ Home
20 June 2021
Service available on Youtube, or as text (below), or for audio see the Podcasts page.
Father’s Day – A happy and blessed day to all fathers, and praying the Lord will endow them with His wisdom, strength, love, encouragement, and a persevering character, in Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Let’s keep praying for our Special Celebration on July 31st 2021 – “Bethel Baptist Church Community Fun-Day”.
The aim: To celebrate opening up after Covid and to show love and kindness to our community.
Suggestions: to have Stalls; Clothes; Food; Beat the Goalie; Face Painting; Smash the Crockery; Children’s Corner.
Any more suggestions – please let us know.
‘The rescheduled church weekend away has been confirmed for 3rd – 5th June 2022. If you didn’t sign up back in 2019/20 but would like to go please contact Andrea for an information letter and sign up form.’
C.S. Lewis was born in Belfast, N. Ireland, 29th November 1898 and grew up to be one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and one of the most influential writers of his day. He grew up as a Christian only to abandon his Christian faith in September 1911, at just under 13 years of age, and from then on he was an avowed atheist maintaining that Christianity was a delusion shown to be wrong by science. Being in the trenches during the First World War only reinforced his atheism.
In the 1920’s he started studying Philosophy and moved from being an atheist, to being agnostic, and then to being a Theist, believing that the existence of God makes a lot of sense.
Significantly, On May 11th 1926 he met and befriended J. R. R. Tolkein who was to have an influence on his thinking. During this time Lewis began to experience something that he described as “the approach of God”. Lewis converted to Christianity in 1930: “the most reluctant convert in England … intellectually, Christianity makes a lot of sense.” In the vast amount of Lewis’ correspondence available it can be noted that from the 1930’s onward there was a great change as described by Alister McGrath: “a buoyancy … an excitedness … someone had turned the light on … seeing things in a new way … all things starting to make sense”.
From interview of Alister McGrath by Justin Brierley on Premier Christian Radio – June 2021.
Reading: Luke 11:1-13
If you then … know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!Luke 11:13
This passage is clearly a passage on prayer and Jesus is teaching His own disciples how to pray because they have asked Him to do so. Jesus taught them:
(1) By living a life of prayer
Such stirs up a desire in His disciples to learn how to pray:
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples”.Luke 11:1
How many have an abiding memory of someone, be it their father, mother, colleague, friend, who spent a daily time in prayer. The example of John the Baptist was obviously being talked about and word spread around such that even the Pharisees had heard about it:
They [the Pharisees] said to Him, “John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking”.Luke 5:33
Today is Father’s Day and father’s can learn much from the prayer life of Jesus: He prayed for children:
Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.Matthew 19:13
Jesus laid hands on children and prayed the Father’s blessing upon them – it seems the disciples had a lot to learn about this! To ensure He had His regular devotions He would find a quiet place where He would not be disturbed:
Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.Luke 5:16
But He also knew the importance of praying with others:
He took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray.Luke 9:28
He had short times of prayer:
When all the people were being baptised, Jesus was baptised too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”Luke 3:21-22
And longer times:
Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.Luke 6:12
(2) By giving them a model prayer
How many times has this prayer been prayed over the centuries both individually and corporately. Such is Jesus’ answer to the disciples request: “Teach us to pray.” We can pray this prayer in exactly the way it is written, which is what we do in Church most weeks, or we can take it as an outline prayer and fill in each section, so to speak, with our own prayers e.g.
“Our Father” – Heavenly Father, we thank You that You are our Father. Thank You for the great love, mercy and grace You have shown in bringing this about, that You, through Your own Son, Jesus Christ, have adopted us into Your family, that we are now Your children, Your sons and daughters, and that we now enjoy an intimate relationship with You.
“Hallowed be Your Name” – at the same time we recognise that You are a holy God, and Father we reverence You along with the angels who cry “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty, the whole earth is full of Your glory”.
and so on:
“Your kingdom come” …
(3) The need for shameless boldness in prayer
In the short parable (Luke 11:5-8) Jesus teaches His disciples that they can approach their Father in heaven as a man approaches his friend. Even though it is midnight and his friend is in bed, and because of the smallness of the house, his children are sleeping in the same room and are likely to be woken up also if this man continues knocking. His friend may be irritated and inconvenienced but will eventually get up and give him the bread he desires. Our heavenly Father is gracious, and Jesus is encouraging us all to regularly come to Him. The word that is translated “boldness” (AMP), “persistence” (NKJV); “shameless audacity” (NIVUK); and “you are not ashamed to keep on asking” (Good News Translation), is only used here in all the Scriptures.
“It is a hard word to translate into English, for it refers to a combination of boldness and shamelessness. Thus, the stress is not on persistence or repetition of the request, as much as it is on the boldness or nerve of the request … This petitioner has gall. He is willing to go to great lengths and to suffer great rebuke to get the bread so that he could be a good host … If a person responds this way, surely a gracious God will respond to those who have the nerve to make their requests”.
(4) How much more will Your Father give the Holy Spirit
Throughout Jesus’ teaching on prayer He is urging His disciples to bring their requests to their loving heavenly Father, e.g.
- Your kingdom come
- Your will be done on earth
- give us our daily bread
- forgive us our trespasses
- lead us not into temptation
- be shamelessly bold
- Ask; Seek; Knock
- ask for a fish and expect a fish; ask for an egg and expect an egg
and ultimately ask for the Holy Spirit and expect the Holy Spirit
Pray that fathers will model the life of Jesus to their children especially a life of prayer. Pray for fathers to spend time each day and pray ‘The Lord’s prayer’ with their families. Let us pray and expect great things from our heavenly Father, especially much more of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Questions for Discussion
- Share an answer to prayer that comes to mind?
- When did you first start to experience God as Your heavenly Father?
- Has anyone ever challenged you to be more committed in prayer by their prayer life?
- Share a time when you were ‘shamelessly bold’ in prayer?
- Will you commit to daily pray for much more of the Holy Spirit at Bethel Baptist Church?
Quote for the Week
“Whole days and weeks have I spent prostrate on the ground in silent or vocal prayer”
Verse of the week
He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.Malachi 4:6
Heavenly Father, we thank and praise You for adopting us into Your family and the close relationship we have with You.
Thank You for our daily food, water, the very air we breathe.
Thank You for Jesus and for the gift of Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that You are faithful and answer prayer.
Help us to be more bold in Your Presence and to ask You for great things because You are a Great Father. Father, greatly bless Bethel Baptist Church with more of Your Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.