Bethel Baptist Church
Worship Service @ Home
5 September 2021
Service available on Youtube, or as text (below), or for audio see the Podcasts page.
Elders and Deacons are meeting on Zoom tomorrow, Monday 6 September, at 7pm – please pray that we know God’s wisdom.
Church Weekend-Away – The rescheduled church weekend away has been confirmed for 3rd – 5th June 2022. If you would like to go please contact Andrea for an info. letter and sign-up form.
Dan Walker achievements are numerous … fronting BBC One’s flagship morning show Breakfast … viewed by 11m people a week … regular appearances on Football Focus and Match of the Day. When he was 12-13 years, he first started thinking in great depth about his place in the universe. “I know that’s a bit of a deep question to think about when you’re only 12 or 13, but for me it was an understanding of who I was; who God was; what my relationship with Jesus Christ was.”
As a youngster … he entered a sports commentary competition…and won. The prize – two weeks of work experience – helped launch his career in radio, and the move to TV quickly followed. The fact he’s reported on some of the world’s biggest sporting events, including the Olympics, the football World Cup and Wimbledon is even more striking when you consider his stance of not working on Sundays. His determination to follow the biblical commandment to keep the Sabbath holy has not hampered his career, but his faith has been ridiculed. Simply expressing his belief that God created the world was all one national newspaper needed to jump to the conclusion that Walker wasn’t fit to be a TV presenter.
Walker describes his faith as “strong” and an “important part” of his life. He doesn’t shy away from it. Neither does he ram it down other people’s throats. Criticism, has helped him “develop the skin of a rhino“.
Read in a Premier Magazine Excerpt
Reading: Jeremiah 29:10-14
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.Jer. 29:13
There is an interesting balance in the Scriptures between God’s Sovereign will and human responsibility. There is much “either”/“or” debate and dialogue amongst theologians, scholars, and all Christians at some time will come across it. I’ve moved into the camp of the “and” and “and” for we see both in the Scriptures and it seems that the OT and NT writers were quite comfortable with both, even in the same passages. It will all become clear one day when we meet Him face to face. Here God is promising great things to His exiled people but at the same time He requires a response of faith from them, a wholehearted response of them seeking Him, and He will be found by them.
(1) God will fulfill His good promises
All God’s promises are good and He will fulfill all His good promises:
This is what the Lord says: ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfil my good promise to bring you back to this place.Jeremiah 29:10
Yes, the people of Judah had to go through a very difficult time in exile, God’s way of purifying them, of refining sin, especially idolatry, out of them. But then the Lord promises restoration, that He will bring them back to the Promised Land. And when 70 years (not the two years being proclaimed by the false prophets – Jer. 28:3) had passed this promise was fulfilled. The Lord has made many promises for us and He will fulfill them; e.g.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.John 10:10
And what about the wonderful promise God gave to the people even while they were in exile and He was still dealing with them to purify a people for Himself:
For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.Jer. 29:11
(2) For I know the plans I have to prosper you and not to harm you
And reading further, “plans to give you hope and a future”. This must have been difficult for the people to believe as they looked at their 70 year period in exile, a time in which they had followed the instructions Jeremiah had given them:
Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.Jer. 29:5-7
God always wants to bless us, do good to us, help us, and change us to become more and more like His Beloved Son, as well as for us to bear fruit in our lives, much fruit (cf. John 15:16)! On my desk are the words from footprints to the man who doubted Jesus’ care and Presence with Him: “The Lord replied, “My precious, precious child, I love you and would never leave you. During your times of trials and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then I carried you.” We can think of the truth the apostle Paul wrote about:
For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!Romans 5:10
If while they were in exile, or in the wilderness, God blessed them how much more when they were in the Promise Land.
(3) You will seek me and find me
After Israel sinned greatly by making the golden calf, Moses sought assurance from the Lord that He would go with them into the Promised Land, and the Lord promised Moses:
My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest … I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.Exodus 33:14, 17
So the Lord promises that His Presence will go with us, Jesus reassures His disciples:
… surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.Matt. 28:20
Our part in all this is to seek Him with all our hearts, that we might experience the reality of His promise that He is always with us:
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.Jer. 29:13
The Lord always requires wholehearted devotion from us – see e.g. Deut. 6:5; Psalm 119:34; Prov. 3:5-6; Matt. 22:37; John 21:15;
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart and I will be found by you says the Lord.Jer. 29:13
Questions for Discussion
- Share a testimony about the difference it made when you sought the Lord whole heartedly?
- Share a time when the Lord refined you? Was it difficult? What did you think at the time?
- Has the Lord given you a specific promise for your life?
- How much time do you spend in devotions to the Lord each day?
Quote of the week
“Anyone can be saved by God’s grace, but this does not remove human responsibility. The possible becomes actual only when Jesus’ call to ‘follow me’ is freely obeyed”
Verse of the week
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.Titus 3:3-7
Loving, heavenly Father, we thank You for ever saving us by Your great love. Thank You for Your amazing grace that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.
Lord, empower us by Your Spirit, to bring others to faith in Jesus Christ, to bear fruit that will last, and to see Your Name glorified in Bethel and throughout this nation, in Jesus Christ, Amen!