Home Service for Sunday 11th July 2021 compiled by Peter Ratcliffe
CALLING BY THE ONE TRUE GOD!
What a title that is! Today’s service is based around the calling of Abraham, considered to be one of the Bible’s greatest acts of faith and obedience. But the title itself embraces every faithful servant of God from Abraham, right through the scriptures as we know them, right up to the present day. Ordinary 21st century men and women still find themselves embarking on a journey, or something encompassing an act of faith because they have been ‘called by God’ to do so.
So let us begin with a question: Do you feel ‘called’ by God to do whatever you’re doing right now?
Just pause for a moment and think prayerfully about that question.
Reading: In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he begins chapter 4 with these words:
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Let’s pray together:
O Lord, we lift our eyes to you, maker of Heaven and earth. As our eyes meet your eyes, help us to feel worthy to be in
your presence today. Shower us with your grace and love. Encourage us by your Spirit’s breath. May we stand boldly
before you, declaring you as our one true God! Amen!
O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing His power and His love;
Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendour, and girded with praise.
O, tell of His might, O sing of His grace,
Whose robe is the light, whose canopy space;
His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
And dark is His path on the wings of the storm.
Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
And sweetly distils in the dew and the rain.
Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail;
Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,
Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend!
Reading: Genesis 12: 1-10
The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’ So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there. Abram travelled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your offspring I will give this land.’ So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him. From there he went on towards the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord. Then Abram set out and continued towards the Negev. Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe.
So Abram, as he was first known, sets the example of obedience by faith in God, ‘to go to the land I will show you’. A very modern example of obedience to God came through Kaya Jones a former member of the pop group, ‘The Pussycat Dolls’. Having become a Christian and baptised, part of an a report of her testimony reads: – Jones described her baptism as “life-changing,” claiming that it transformed her “walk with the Lord from what was already pretty strong and steady to … really just saying … ‘I’m all in.'” She now considers it her mission to “work for Him” and “write for Him” in order to forward His cause. To be ‘called’ doesn’t mean you have to be a pop star, someone great or have a string of letters after your name. Very often God needs Mr. or Mrs. Ordinary to carry out his work. Even in scripture,
the kinds of people God called were not necessarily the best. The following lists some famous names and their faults.
All I have and all I am is Yours
There’s nothing that I have on earth
That doesn’t come from You.
I lay aside my pride and worldly worth;
Serve You is the greatest thing
That I could ever do.
For unless You build this house,
I am building it in vain.
Unless the work is Yours,
There is nothing to be gained.
I want something that will stand
When Your holy fire comes;
Something that will last,
And to hear You say ‘well done’,
Giving glory to You, Lord,
Glory to You, Lord.
So easy to desire what others have,
Instead of seeing all the gifts that You have given me.
So help me fan the flame which You began,
And burn in me a love for You that all will clearly see.
Another interesting account of ‘calling’ occurs in the New Testament in Matthew 14. Here, Jesus goes out to the disciples walking on the water. The impetuous disciple Peter says, “Lord if it’s you, tell me to come to you”!
“Come”, says Jesus. But when Peter saw the wind and waves, he became afraid and began to sink, “Lord, save me”
he cries! In life we cannot expect everything to go as expected. Walking on water may stretch our faith beyond our limits but what this story demonstrates is that we need Jesus. We need to trust in Jesus to help us fulfil the kingdom building tasks that he calls us to do. We cannot hope to achieve these faith challenges in our own strength. As the
poem we looked at earlier says, God calls the unqualified, the inexperienced, the can’t doers . . . that could be us.
The following song is all about faith.
Although the emphasis is based around Peter’s attempt at walking on water, try to imagine the song from Abraham’s point of view – God leading him into the great unknown, knowing that God will be his guide wherever God would call him to go.
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand
I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise my soul will rest in your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and you won’t start now
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Saviour
Let us pray together –
Lord God! Our one true God! You are very aware of our strengths and weaknesses. Help us to rise above our
own fears and trust you like Abraham did. And when we want to give up and feel that we’re sinking, give us the courage to call out to you like Peter did. May your Holy Spirit help strengthen our faith and obedience as we seek to follow your purpose in our lives. Amen!
Before our last song, is there anyone you would like to pray for. Someone who may be finding life a struggle, or those whose challenge is illness and the difficulties they face. Pray for all of these and their families. Pray for the community
surrounding our church, pray for ways to engage with residents and businesses and bring them good news of hope. May our chapel and its activities be seen as representing the one true God!
A reminder at this point that Fay Cumberland has prepared a sermon based upon today’s subject which you’ll find attached as part of this Home Service:
By faith, we see the hand of God
In the light of creation’s grand design;
In the lives of those who prove His faithfulness,
Who walk by faith and not by sight.
By faith, our fathers roamed the earth
With the power of His promise in their hearts
Of a holy city built by God’s own hand –
A place where peace and justice reign.
We will stand as children of the promise,
We will fix our eyes on Him, our soul’s reward.
Till the race is finished and the work is done,
We’ll walk by faith and not by sight.
By faith, the prophets saw a day
When the longed-for Messiah would appear
With the power to break the chains of sin and death,
And rise triumphant from the grave.
By faith, the church was called to go
In the power of the Spirit to the lost
To deliver captives and to preach good news,
In every corner of the earth.
By faith, this mountain shall be moved
And the power of the gospel shall prevail,
For we know in Christ all things are possible
For all who call upon His name.
May the Lord bless you as serve Him as best as you can.