Home Service 31

Home Service | October 11th 2020 | Prepared by Fay Cumberland

A moment of quiet, to focus: Lord of heaven and earth, please bless the worship of our [scattered] fellowship; help us to hear what You say to us, and to respond with love and appreciation of all that You have done for us, and for all that You have planned for us, Your children. Amen.

Reading, Psalm 8:
LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory in the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honour. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

O LORD OUR GOD, how majestic is Your name,
The earth is filled with Your glory.
O Lord our God, You are robed in majesty,
You’ve set Your glory above the heavens.
We will magnify, we will magnify
The Lord enthroned in Zion.
We will magnify, we will magnify
The Lord enthroned in Zion.
O Lord our God, You have established a throne,
You reign in righteousness and splendour.
O Lord our God, the skies are ringing with Your praise,
Soon those on earth will come to worship.
O Lord our God, the world was made at Your command,
In You all things now hold together.
Now to Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb,
Be praise and glory and power forever.

Today, we’re looking at our inheritance – not easy, as it’s invisible to us at this point in time! In some ways it’s hard to ‘pin down’ exactly what it is.

Reading: Genesis 25:23, 27-34
Abraham had a son, Isaac, who was the father of twin boys – Esau firstborn] and Jacob. We pick up their story before their birth, as Rebekah, their mother, asked God why the unborn children were “jostling inside her”:
The LORD said to her, ‘Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the elder will serve the younger.’ … The boys grew up, and Esau became a skilful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was content to stay at home among the tents. Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob. Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. He said to Jacob, ‘Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!’ (That is why he was also called Edom.) Jacob replied, ‘First sell me your birthright.’ ‘Look, I am about to die,’ Esau said. ‘What good is the birthright to me?’ But Jacob said, ‘Swear to me first.’ So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.

When reading this some months ago, that last line jumped out of the page at me – Esau thought so little of the promise of what was to come to him as the first-born son, he gave it up for instant gratification. As Christians we have a birthright too, as children of God:
John 1:1-4; 9-13
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. ….. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

Through our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ we are adopted “to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with [God’s] pleasure and will”, born again, of the Spirit, into God’s family [John 3:3,5]. Furthermore, He [Jesus] was given so that we will never perish [John 3:16], and here we have one aspect of our birthright – we shall inherit eternal life. What a gift!

Let’s praise God, the perfect parent:
FATHER GOD, I WONDER how I managed to exist
Without the knowledge of Your parenthood and Your loving care.
But now I am Your son, I am adopted in Your family,
And I can never be alone,
’Cause Father God, You’re there beside me.
I will sing Your praises,
I will sing Your praises,
I will sing Your praises,
Forever more.
I will sing Your praises,
I will sing Your praises,
I will sing Your praises,
Forever more.

So, we have eternal life, and this song mentions another gift – the presence of God: not just when we worship or go to church, but in everyday life – He’s always here, right beside us, and will never abandon us. His Holy Spirit comes alongside to guide and encourage us.

Lord Jesus Christ, we thank You for everything You are to us – Saviour, King, friend, brother … for your faithfulness in caring for us and Your sacrificial obedience in dying for us. We thank You also for …. We humbly offer our deep gratitude and love for all these gifts. Amen.

It’s one thing to understand our inheritance, as much as we can, but the question which came to mind when I read the closing line of the Genesis passage was – What do I really feel about my birthright – this gift of grace?
How much do I value it? After all, it cost a lot more than a bowl of lentil stew!! And it lasts for ever:
1 Peter 1:3-5
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

To me hath been made known;
Nor why, unworthy as I am,
He claimed me for His own.
But I know whom I have believèd;
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.
I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart;
Or how believing in His word
Wrought peace within my heart.
I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing men of sin;
Revealing Jesus through the word,
Creating faith in Him.
I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days
Before His face I see.

Our inheritance is wrapped up in eternal life with God; it can never be taken away from us, it will never spoil, it is being kept safe for us, and there’s another aspect which can be a great source of comfort for those going through hard times:
Revelation 21:1-7
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. ‘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.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.

With v 4 in mind, we pray for others:
Psalm 62:8
Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
For those parts of the world which are especially damaged … For world leaders … For people who are hurting – the lonely, the bereaved, the desperate … For those who try to bring comfort and Christ’s love to them …
And for … Thank you, gracious and loving Lord, for hearing our prayers. Amen

To close –
Song: This My Inheritance, by All Sons & Daughters
This, my inheritance
Will never spoil or fade
Until he comes, my salvation
In heaven kept by faith
This, my inheritance
God’s power will be its shield
Through Jesus Christ, the only light
By which it is revealed
All praise, all praise, all praise be to God
Always, always and forever
All praise, all praise, all praise be to God
Always, always and forever
This, my inheritance
Through suffering and trial
More worth than gold, our only hope
In faith our song will rise
All praise, all praise ….
As it was in the beginning
Is now and ever shall be
A world without end, Amen
As it was in the beginning
Is now and ever shall be
A world without end, Amen
This my inheritance
That none can take away
Not even death, with my last breath
I’ll see my Saviour’s face
All praise, all praise …

May the Lord of peace Himself give us peace, at all times and in all ways; the Lord be with us all. Amen. [based on 2 Thessalonians 3:16]