Bethel Baptist Church
Worship Service @ Home
19 April 2020
Service available on Youtube, or as text (below), or for audio see the Podcasts page.
How are you all coping with the lockdown? Stella sends her love and prayers to everyone:
“It took a couple of weeks to adjust as I used to go out so much. Now I saturate myself in the Word of God and pray, pray, pray. I pray continually for NHS Staff, Key Workers, Undertakers, Coffin Makers, Medical Staff, Cleaners, Ambulance Drivers and all who are at the front-line of this pandemic. I pray for whatever the Lord lays on my heart.”
Thanks Stella. Who’s for next week?
Song chosen by Ruby-thank you! “10,000 Reasons” – Based on Psalm 103:1-5)
© 2011 Thankyou Music-Matt Redman
“All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us’)”Matthew 1:22-23
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them’”Matthew 18:20
“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’”.Matthew 28:18-20
Matthew emphasises Jesus as ‘God with us’ throughout his Gospel.
If someone was to ask you to sum up the main theme of the whole Bible in a few words, how would you answer? What about: “God dwelling with His people”? Or “God’s presence among His people”? or “God with us”. This is how it was from the beginning: “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day;”
This is how it is throughout the Scriptures, e.g.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”Joshua 1:9
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”Isaiah 41:10
This is how it continues on into eternity:
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling-place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God himself will be with them and be their God”Revelation 21:3
This is what Moses wanted assurance about:
“The Lord replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ Then Moses said to him, ‘If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?’ And the Lord said to Moses, ‘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
If Matthew’s Gospel is anything to go by, and it is, he bookends his gospel with this very truth, Matt 1:23: “Immanuel, God with us” and Matt 28:20: “I am with you always.” Matthew is emphasising that everything between these two verses is about, GOD WITH US! God dwelling with His people, His Presence amongst us; even including one in the middle for good measure! (Matthew 18:20 above). Such permeates the whole Scripture:
The Garden of Eden: “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden” – God with us!
The Tabernacle (the Hebrew name means residence or dwelling place). The prayer that Moses prayed in Exodus 33:15-18 was answered:
“Then Moses said to him, ‘If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?’ And the Lord said to Moses, ‘I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.’
18 Then Moses said, ‘Now show me your glory.’”Exodus 33:15-18
Shortly afterwards the Lord gives Moses the go-ahead to build the Tabernacle after it had been put on hold because of the Golden Calf incident (Exodus 32) and upon its completion the glory of God (the visible sign of the Presence of God sometimes referred to as the glory cloud of the Lord’s presence) filled the Tabernacle:
“… And so Moses finished the work. Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle”Exodus 40:33-35
God with us!
Centuries later the same glory cloud of the Lord’s presence would occupy Solomon’s temple:
“When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord. And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled His temple. Then Solomon said, ‘The Lord has said that he would dwell in a dark cloud; I have indeed built a magnificent temple for you, a place for you to dwell for ever”1 Kings 8:10-13
God with us!
We have already touched upon Matthew’s emphasis on the presence of God in Jesus Himself which all the Gospel writers emphasise, e.g.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made …
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.(made a tent; tabernacle) We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth …
18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in the closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.”John 1:1-4, John 1:14, John 1:18
Jesus Christ, God with us, was the means of reconciling the world to God:
“that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation”2 Corinthians 5:19
“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross”Colossians 1:19-20
Jesus ascended to heaven but as He promised, sent forth the Holy Spirit (e.g.
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you for ever-17 the Spirit of truth”John 14:16-17
Beginning with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost,
“God’s dwelling place becomes a multi-ethnic community of people” (T. D. Alexander)
and is now made of living stones:
“As you come to Him, the living Stone-rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to Him-you also, like living stones, are being built into a temple of the Spirit to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”1 Peter 2:4-5
“And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit”Ephesians 2:20
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives among you?”1 Corinthians 3:16
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?”1 Corinthians 6:19
The New Jerusalem
John’s vision in Revelation sees a time when God will be present with His people intimately and forever:
“Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling-place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death” or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’”Revelation 21:1-4
“Amen! Come Lord Jesus, Come quickly, Amen.”
To be in your presence, to sit at your feet, where your love surrounds me, and makes me complete; This is my desire, O Lord, this is my desire; This is my desire, O Lord, this is my desire. To rest in your presence, not rushing away; To cherish each moment, here I would stay. This is my desire, O Lord, this is my desire, This is my desire, O Lord, this is my desire. Amen!
“Our loving Lord and God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we thank and praise You that Your great passion and desire is to dwell with Your people. We praise You for the extraordinary lengths You have gone to in bringing this about, for You so loved the world that You gave Your One and only Son. Lord may we be a people who spend quality time in Your Presence each day. During this time of lockdown we pray You will prepare Your Church that we might come out of this wilderness in the power of Your Spirit so that we may be more of a blessing to this world. We pray also, during this time, that You will prepare the world that they may be more open to You and Your ways and that we will see a mighty end-time harvest of souls for Your kingdom in Jesus Christ
Lord we continue to pray for ______________ (add the names of those you would mention in prayer).
We pray especially for those who are mourning at this time that you would comfort them especially as many have not even been able to say their goodbyes. O Lord meet with each and everyone at their point of need and reveal Your Son as the One who says: “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble of heart and you will find rest for your souls. In and through Jesus Christ, Amen!”