Sunday 12th April 2020
He is Risen!
Several weeks ago, at the start of this lockdown we are all living under, a number of celebrities made a video with each of them singing John Lennon’s famous song “Imagine”.
The idea was to offer hope and encouragement to many around the world who had lost a loved one, or were facing possible financial ruin and who were worried about their own health with the numbers of people dying increasing daily.
“Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today”
There’s been quite a bit written on social media in response to the video and the idea of very rich people telling others who are facing the pain of death to be happy with the idea that this life here is all there is and there is no future, only sky and you will be a distant memory, in other words, nothing matters and all is meaningless.
Compare the song “Imagine” to what God say’s in His word:
1 Thessalonians 4: 13 to 18
13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
In this strange, anxious Easter time, let’s put our hope in the reality that Jesus died, rose again and is reigning in heaven, where one day soon he will return for us.
A podcast I often listen to, always finishes with these appropriate words:
The rumours of grace, forgiveness and redemption of all things are true, everything is going to be okay!
God Bless, He is Risen!
Love & Grace
1. Give thanks to God for what Jesus did for us at Easter and the hope we have in these uncertain times. Thank him for his love and salvation.
2. Pray for our world and our nation, for wisdom for our leaders and for those key workers on the frontline. Pray that God would bring an end to this virus.
3. Pray for our family and friends and neighbours who don't know Jesus. Pray that God would draw them to Himself at this time.
4. Pray for our church fellowship, that even though we can’t meet we would continue to love each other.
John Chapter 20 verses 24 to 31
Jesus appears to Thomas
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.’ 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ 27 Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ 28 Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ 29 Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’
The purpose of John's Gospel
30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
this week's sermon
1. What doubts do you have about God, the Bible, Jesus, Christianity?
What can you do to seek out answers to those questions/doubts you have?
Who can help with that? What Bible passages speak in to those doubts?
2. Why do you think none of Jesus disciples or followers seemed to expect his Resurrection despite Jesus Himself and the Old Testament laying it out for them?
Does this have any relevance for us in our daily lives today?
3. Can you put in to words what Jesus death and Resurrection mean for those who believe...what do the verses we looked at in John and Revelation tell us?
4. If you find yourself afraid, doubtful, hurting - spend some time reflecting on Jesus offer of peace, forgiveness and salvation and what difference acceptance and obedience can make in your life.
5. Spend some time thanking Jesus for becoming the Lamb that was slain who is worthy to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and blessing
young people and children's resources
Watch this weeks video all about the amazing message of Easter. When you have watched the video and read the verses in John Chapter 20, you can download the activities above to think about the story even more.
Below are weeks 4 and 5 of Sync, helping young people share your story and God's story with your friends stories. This week we meet Jess for a fun challenge and then a chat about how powerful our stories are in helping people think about faith.