Bethel Baptist Church
Worship Service @ Home
24 October 2021
Service available on Youtube, or as text (below), or for audio see the Podcasts page.
We have so much to thank, praise, and worship the Lord for! Let us keep adding to the “Thankfulness List” that Katherine asked us to prepare!
Mike was a person I didn’t like and he was very cynical towards Christians! However, being a friend of one of my best friends meant that meeting up with him on a number of occasions each month was unavoidable. Mike was not very nice to his girlfriend and used to treat her very badly. So much so that one day after they had been together several years she left him. Wow! I was shocked at how devastated Mike was, so much so that he went and shot himself.
I happened to be with my friend and his girlfriend playing Monopoly the night Mike did it. Mike came crashing through the glass door of my friend’s flat, blood pouring out of somewhere. I actually thought he had knifed himself and started pressing a towel against his head where the blood was flowing from. However, as this seemed to really hurt him I stopped.
There were a number of folks from other flats on the scene by now and I didn’t care what they thought and just shouted out a prayer in desperation: “Jesus don’t let him die!” Paramedics came very quickly, and got him to Wythenshawe hospital. Mike had actually shot himself with a .22 rifle which had cocked at the last minute, which saved his life, as the pellet went up into his skull and not straight into his brain. Mike made a swift and remarkable recovery.
Several weeks later, I was with my friends again and had invited them to come to church with me on Sunday evening … and also come for a meal beforehand. Just as I was inviting them to come for a meal who should breeze in, yes Mike. I felt awkward and invited him also. I explained that Rob and Sally were coming to church with me afterwards, but no pressure, you can just go home.
Mike thought for a moment and then with a cynical smile on his face said, “No I’ll come to church with you … for a laugh!” Oh no, I thought to myself, I don’t want you to come. But come he did.
That evening, Noel Proctor, the Chaplain from Strangeways, was preaching. After the service I just wanted to get Mike out of there to the coffee shop, promptly, but he didn’t want to come to the coffee shop, he wanted to have a talk with this geezer (meaning Noel, who had offered anyone to come and chat with him). Oh no, I thought, and started to pray in my heart for Noel.
Half- an hour later, Mike came to the coffee shop to find me and was dragging me back into the church telling me I want to pray with you. I could hardly believe what this former CYNIC was praying: “Thank you Jesus! Thank you Jesus! You have washed me clean!”
Lord forgive my unbelief, Amen! Thanks Mike!
“The greatest among you will be your servant just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve (Luke 22:26; Matt. 23:11. Matt. 20:27-28).”
“I wonder how many of us can be considered greatest in serving with humility and with a servant heart. Jesus washed the disciples feet – what a great example of servant-hood (to serve and not to be served). Let Him be our example in loving, washing the feet of each other and laying down your life for the brethren. What a challenge.”
Reading: Romans 1:1-17
For in the gospel the righteousness of God is being revealed – a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.Romans 1:17
This week we are going to look at the second aspect of God’s righteousness mentioned in our text, that of God’s righteousness being His powerful activity that transforms the lives of those who believe, His saving activity. So God counts us righteous and makes us righteous, so Christians are to be what they are to become.
(1) In verse 16 Paul stated that he was not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God unto salvation, not only regarding salvation as initially believing, but the ongoing powerful work of salvation that takes place through time. Such is the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus as verse 16 is further explained in verse 17: “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is being revealed …”
(2) In the Old Testament, words from the same word group as ‘righteousness’ refer to God’s saving activity, so righteousness and salvation become almost synonymous e.g.
The Lord has made His salvation known and revealed His righteousness to the nations.Psalm 98:2
In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me; turn your ear to me and save me …Psalm 71:2, 15
My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your saving acts all day long – though I know not how to relate them all.
I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; my salvation will not be delayed. I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendour to Israel.Isaiah 46:13
(3) The use of the dynamic word for “is being revealed” and the phrase “from faith to faith” suggest ongoing activity on God’s part, ongoing saving activity. Bringing together the aspects of activity and status, we can define the righteousness of God as the act by which God brings people into right relationship with Himself, He counts them righteous, and also by which He makes them righteous, Amen!
Questions for Discussion:
- Is it a contradiction to state “We are righteous and we are to become righteous”?
- Explain: “We are saved; we are being saved; and we will be saved”?
- Why was Paul not ashamed of the gospel?
- What does Abraham teach us about faith?
Quote of the week
“The righteousness of God is His saving action whereby He brings people into a right relationship with Himself”
C. G. Kruse
Verse of the week
Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people).Rev. 19:7-8
Gracious, loving, heavenly Father we praise You for counting us righteous in Your sight and for Your saving work. Father, we pray for all who are going through difficulties, illnesses, trials, and the like, strengthen them in their faith, by Your Spirit within them, in and through Jesus Christ, Amen.