Sunday 18th April 

Good morning and welcome to Lapford Community Church.  This morning our online service has been put together by Mary.

 

Read - Matthew ch. 6 v 9-15

This is often called the Lord’s Prayer because Jesus gave it to the disciples as a model for them and us to keep in mind as we pray.  Jesus provided a pattern to be imitated as well as duplicated.  We should praise God, pray for His work in the world, pray for our daily needs, and pray for help in our   daily struggles.  To what extent do you use the items in the Lord’s Prayer to guide your own prayer times?

The phrase “Our Father in heaven” indicates that God is not only majestic and holy but also personal and loving.  The first line of this prayer is a statement of praise and a commitment to hallow, or honour God’s holy name.  We can honour God’s name by being careful to use it respectfully.  If we use God’s name lightly, we aren’t remembering God’s holiness.

The phrase “May your Kingdom come soon” is a reference to God’s spiritual reign, not Israel’s freedom from Rome.   God’s Kingdom was announced in the covenant with Abraham, is present in Christ’s reign in believer’s hearts, and will be complete when all evil is destroyed and God establishes the new heaven and earth.

When we pray “ May your will be done,” we are not resigning ourselves to fate but praying that God’s perfect purpose will be accomplished in this world as well as in the next.  And how does God accomplish his will on earth?  He does it largely through people willing to obey him.  This part of the prayer allows us to offer ourselves as doers of God’s will, asking him to guide, lead and give us the means to accomplish his purposes.

When we pray “Give us today the food we need,” we are acknowledging that God is our sustainer and provider.  It is a misconception to think that we provide for our needs ourselves.  We must trust God daily to provide what he knows we need.

God sometimes allows us to be tested by temptation.  As disciples, we should pray to be delivered from these trying times and deliverance from Satan the evil one and his deceit.  All Christians struggle with temptation.  Sometimes it is so subtle that we don’t even realize what is happening to us.  God has promised that he won’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear.  Ask God to help you recognize temptation and to give you strength to overcome it and choose God’s way instead. 

Jesus gives a startling warning about forgiveness:  If we refuse to forgive others, God will also refuse to forgive us.  Why? Because when we don’t forgive others, we are denying our common ground as sinners in need of God’s forgiveness.  God’s forgiveness of sin is not the direct result of our forgiving others, but it is based on our realizing what forgiveness means.  It is easy to ask God for forgiveness but difficult to grant it to others.  Whenever we ask God to forgive us for sin, we should ask, have I forgiven the people who have wronged me?

 

Prayer
Lord I thank you that you died for me, you died for my sin, help me to forgive so I may be forgiven. I open my heart to you now Lord, melt everything that is wrong and strengthen everything that is good.  You have already paid the price. Help me to live the life you have planned for me, and be the person you want me to be.  O Lord I receive your love. Amen


Listen to this song and break bread and drink wine in remembrance of what Jesus has done for you

 

Read - Colossians ch. 3 v 12 – 17

The Christian church should have no barriers of nationality, race, educational level, social standing, wealth, gender, religion, or power.  Christ breaks down all barriers and accepts all people who come to him.  Nothing should keep us from telling others about Christ or accepting into our fellowship any and all believers.  Christians should be building bridges not walls.

To live for God day by day we should imitate Christ’s compassionate, forgiving attitude.  The key to forgiving others is remembering how much God has forgiven you.  Is it difficult for you to forgive someone who has wronged you a little when God has forgiven you so much?  Realizing God’s infinite love and forgiveness can help you love and forgive others.  Let God worry about the wrongs you’ve suffered.  Don’t quench your life in bitter feuding; live renewed in joy and love.

Let love guide your life.  All the virtues we are encouraged to develop are perfectly bound together by love.  As we clothe ourselves with these virtues, the last garment we put on is love, which holds all of the others in place.  To practise any list of virtues without practising love will lead to distortion, fragmentation and stagnation.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart.  Christians should live in peace.  To live in peace does not mean that suddenly all differences of opinion are eliminated, but it does require that loving Christians work together despite their differences.  Such love is not a feeling but a decision to meet others’ needs.  To clothe ourselves with love, leads to peace between individuals and among the members of the body of believers.  Do problems in your relationships with other Christians cause open conflicts or mutual silence?  Consider what you can do to heal those relationships with love.  Let Christ’s peace be umpire or referee in our heart.  Our heart is the centre of conflict because there our feelings and desires clash – our fears and hopes, distrust and trust, jealousy and love.  How can we deal with these constant conflicts and live as God wants?  We must decide between the conflicting elements by using the rule of peace.  Which choice will promote peace in our souls and in our churches?

Always be thankful.  Thankful people can worship wholeheartedly.  Gratitude opens our hearts to God’s peace and enables us to put on love.  Discontented people constantly calculate what’s wrong with their lot in life. 

Keep God’s word in you at all times.  On Sunday before worship, quit rushing around; instead, take time to reflect on reasons for thanks.  Declare Sunday as your “thanks, faith, and hope” day.  Celebrate God’s goodness to you, and ask in prayer for all your needs for the week ahead. 

Live as Jesus Christ’s representative.  “Whatever you do or say, do as a representative of the Lord Jesus” means bringing honour to Christ in every aspect and activity of daily living.  As a Christian, you represent Christ at all times – wherever you go and whatever you say.  What impression do people have of Christ when they see or talk with you?  What changes would you make in your life in order to honour Christ?

 

Thank you for joining us today

May the Lord bless you and keep you, make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.  May the Lord lift up the light of His countenance upon you and give you peace.  Amen

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