A warm welcome to another edition of Brooklands Digital Church.
The message is given by our Pastor Karl Stanfield, and can be listened to as audio using the LISTEN button above. An audio MP3 is also available via the SAVE button.
The Bible readings are taken from Genesis 22:1-8, Psalm 145:8-14 and Matthew 11:25-30.
The service starts with a 15 minute countdown, where we share some news and announcements. Please use the scroll bar to skip straight through to the service/message if desired.
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‘Service’ – is one of the words which we use to describe a church gathering. It is a meaning-packed word. It contains so much of significance from the scriptures; it is a Christian word through and through. It is a word that describes the actions of a follower of Jesus.
In many ways, it sums up the kind of life Jesus lived. On one occasion Jesus exclaimed these words: “. . . the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matt 20: 28)
Let’s take a closer look at this raft of rich meaning embedded in the word service that runs through the whole bible. Firstly, from a classic passage about the Patriarch Abraham himself, we find that…
1. God served Abraham and Humanity
The significance found in Genesis 22 extends to the whole world. There is a decisive part of the story of Abraham’s journey where God seemed to ask a lot of his servant. We read: ‘Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”’ (Genesis 22:2)
It is at the eleventh hour that God steps in, stops Abraham in his act of sheer obedience and provides another way. What is happening here is that God steps up and does something that should take our breath away.
This act holds eternal significance on the grand scale. Because, instead of Isaac, God provided a ram for the burnt offering. It may have appeared co-incidental that the animal’s horns got caught in a thicket nearby – but think again.
First, the location was not far geographically from the place where Jesus died for us. It was Mount Moriah. It was the Temple Mount – the place where Solomon’s Temple was built (and the same site where the Islamic ‘Dome of the Rock’ stands today). But listen to this from Gen 22:
‘So Abraham called that place “The LORD Will Provide”. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”’ (Genesis 22:14)
This is the Lord ‘Serving’ us! The whole world in fact – and at the very place where Jesus died; and the place where, at Pentecost, all nations were blessed. Listen to God’s Promise from Gen 12: “I will make you into a great nation… I will bless you… and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you”! There is a servant heart in one of God’s Names – Jehovah-jireh, The Lord Will Provide!
2. Jesus served his disciples and us
This is so true of that occasion when Jesus organized the Last Supper for his disciples. It was Jesus who had arranged the room for them to celebrate the Passover. According to the gospels, Jesus had arranged for a room ‘laid out and ready’ for this special celebration; all the disciples had to do was to see to the final preparations.
It was there at the allotted time that Jesus hosted this meal that we emulate in the simplest of ways in communion this morning. Allow me to point out that the Lord’s Supper was Jesus SERVING his disciples – and now us, of course, today.
Jesus is the ‘servant King’. This phrase carries a rich and authentic prophetic proclamation. Let me say it again; this is Jesus serving us. He serves us still! The Lord continues daily to ‘provide’ for us. It is his nature; it is his promise; it is his way; it is his Name, Jehovah-jireh!
When we gather for a church ‘Service’ (face-to-face, or online) it is for the Lord we gather.
This special phrase is so apt for today – ‘The Lord will provide.’ And if we need to hear the application and the outworking of all that this means…, then here it is:
3. We serve one-another and our neighbourhood
We sometimes struggle to square the circle; we are tempted to think I can’t do this. Sometimes a church thinks – we don’t have what it takes…
Can I just repeat this powerful spiritual lesson directed to you this day – ‘The Lord will provide’. And can I just add the rest of that verse, which comes to us in the form of a promise – “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
This is none other than the place where Jesus Christ gave his life for us. It was close to this place that Abraham was asked if he would willingly give up his only son… As we look back, we remember that it was God who gave up His Son for us all! It is God who still serves us all.
We come together in a moment to be part of this ‘service’ – this serving one another and our neighbourhood. All of this is encapsulated in the breaking of bread among us.
As we come to communion, we think of those resplendent words of invitation from Jesus in Matthew chapter 11, ‘Come to me…’! He beckons us and as we accept his offer, we sit and dine at his table.