Good morning First Baptist. We welcome you to worship this morning. Be sure to remember your brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the week as you pray for them, and as the Holy Spirit brings their faces to your mind. Be sure to also connect with them in the ways that are possible. And if you have any questions or would like to talk to someone, please don’t hesitate to contact the church through the church telephone and leave a message. (519-733-4144)
Call to Worship
We gather, looking back to see the paths taken,
Looking forward to see our path.
We honour those who have gone before us,
Learning from their successes and failures.
We celebrate who we are today,
And welcome the possibilities and opportunities before us.
We gather to worship God,
the God of yesterday, today and tomorrow.
GOOD MORNING FBK & WELCOME TO WORSHIP!
Prayer of Confession & Assurance
You asked for my hands,
that you might use them for your purpose.
I gave them for a moment, then withdrew them,
for the work was hard.
You asked for my mouth
to speak out against injustice.
I gave you a whisper that I might not be accused.
You asked for my eyes
to see the pain of poverty.
I closed them, for I did not want to see.
You asked for my life,
that you might work through me.
I gave a small part, that I might not get too involved.
Lord, forgive my calculated efforts to serve you –
only when it is convenient for me to do so,
only in those places where it is safe to do so,
and only with those who make it easy to do so.
Father, forgive me,
renew me, send me out
as a usable instrument,
that I might take seriously
the meaning of your cross. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon:
Dear friends, listen to the good news! Christ came to give us new life; to redeem and heal our brokenness. We are made whole through his boundless love. AMEN.
200th Anniversary Service
The Next 200 Years
Today's Message: Pastors Marlee Page and Dave Page
What a week it’s been. And thank you again for participating in the various activities we’ve shared in celebrating our Church family. This week at our interactions with the St. Johns’ Bible , I thought, “I’m always amazed at how fascinated everyone is by biblical prophecy. We used 2 different passages and pictures associated with the book of Revelation to experience the St. John’s Bible.
Over the years, I’ve noticed that there tends to be two very different reactions to the book of Revelation. One reaction, as Marlee pointed out, is that people are fascinated by this book. I can’t tell you how many people who have very little Bible knowledge have said to us, “I want to study the book of Revelation.” But, on the other hand, I find that there are a lot of people, many of them Christians, who are very uncomfortable with the book of Revelation. They’re almost afraid of it because it just seems so difficult to understand.
But while there may be much that we don’t understand in the book of Revelation, this is a book that we dare not neglect. And I think it’s no coincidence that this is the book that God sent us by way of Brian Craig and the Hamilton Diocese, to experience the St. John’s Bible. And may I say also that because of our corporate experience this past week, celebrating our 200th, that it’s no coincidence we would use this book as the foundation of our Anniversary Message.
This morning, we want to focus our attention on the same two parts that we looked at in our sessions this week – Brian Craig made an interesting observation in relating the two passages we studied together to our 200th Anniversary. The first picture has as its focus the seven churches that Christ addresses in John’s vision. Specifically, the letters to the seven churches of Asia Minor in chapters 2 and 3. And the second picture is the promise of the New Jerusalem, where God through Christ makes all things new again.
Scripture Reading: Revelation 1:1
The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place.
In the very first verse of the revelation letter, we read, “The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place.” (Revelation 1:1). This verse tells us several important things – first of all, it is a divine revelation. The message of this book comes directly from God. Secondly, this book was written for God’s servants. It was written for Christians.
However, if you read a little bit farther into verse 11, Jesus said to John,
“…Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”
These seven cities are all located in the area that was known as Asia Minor, the area we know today as the country of Turkey.
And while these words to the seven churches weren’t addressed to us personally, I think they’re important for us because they let us know what sorts of things Jesus Christ is concerned about in his church today… and moreover what we need to focus on as foundational as we move into the next 200 years as FBK. As Jesus spoke to the needs of each church then, he speaks to the needs of the church now and for all time. He speaks to us. He’s concerned about who we are and what we do.
So, let’s take a look at some of the things that John writes about as Jesus directs him to. What you will find is Christ expressing concern about several things.
Christ Cares About Our Needs
I heard about a family that went to see a movie, and on the way in, the young son stopped by the refreshment stand to pick up some popcorn. By the time he got into the theatre, the lights were already dim. He looked around and couldn’t find his family. He walked up and down the aisles looking for a familiar face. When the lights began to dim even further, he finally stopped and called out, “Doesn’t anyone recognize me?”
There is great comfort in knowing that Jesus Christ, the head of the church, recognizes each and every one of us. In fact, every single one of these seven letters begins with the words, “I know” – “I see what’s going on, I know where you’re at.” In each of these letters, the Lord says, “I know what’s happening in your congregation”, and there’s a great deal of comfort in realizing that. Some of these churches were hurting, and Jesus lets them know that he is aware of their suffering. For example, the Christians at Smyrna were undergoing all sorts of problems. Christ says, “I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich)… I know the kind of persecution you’re suffering because of your faith in me.
One of the Christians in Pergamos had been killed for his faith. Christ said to them,
“ I know where you live – where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city – where Satan lives.”
In every one of those letters, Jesus said, “I know what’s going on.” Furthermore, he promises to supply all of our needs, and to enable the church to withstand every test and meet every opportunity.
And that’s a promise that every Christian and every church needs to keep in mind. It’s a promise we need to keep in mind as we step out into our next 200 years.
Whenever we’re serving Jesus and nobody seems to notice or appreciate our efforts, Jesus says, “I know. I see what’s going on.” Whenever we’re facing problems that seem to overwhelm us, Jesus says, “I know. I see what’s happening.”. Whenever we feel like we can’t make it one more step without having a nervous breakdown, Jesus says, “I know. I see what you’re going through.”
As we look upon the horizon of our future FBK, instead of seeing all the reasons why we ought to be discouraged, we need to remind ourselves that our Lord has promised to supply our every need. And he knows what we need.
Christ Cares About Our Faith
These seven letters also make it clear that Christ cares very much about what we believe. In the first letter, he commends the Ephesians,
“I know…how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.”
I know that there are people there teaching things that are false, but you have held on to the truth.
Pergamos didn’t do so well in this area though. To them, Jesus said,
“Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. 15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. ” (Revelation 2:14-15).
We live in a world that wants to tell us that there is no truth and it doesn’t really matter what you believe, but Jesus makes it clear that there are some things that are true and there are some things that are false, and it makes a world of difference what we believe. God has not called us to be gullible and believe everything we hear, but to be seekers of truth.
I read a funny story that ought to serve as a warning to every church. Chuck Swindoll tells about going to Atlanta, and he noticed in the Yellow Pages, in the listing of restaurants, an entry for a place called “Church of God Grill”. This unusual name aroused his curiosity and he dialed the number. He asked this restaurant how they got its name, and the man told him.
He said, “Well, we had a little congregation down here, and we started selling chicken dinners after church on Sunday to help pay the bills. Well, people liked the chicken, and we did such a good business, that eventually we cut back on the church service. After a while, we just closed down the church altogether and kept on serving chicken dinners. We kept the name we started with, and called ourselves ‘Church of God Grill’.”
When we forget the importance of remaining true to the word of God and our purpose as Christians, we may not be in danger of becoming a restaurant with a strange name, not to mention that Kingsville doesn’t need any more restaurants…but we definitely will be in danger of becoming something other than what God intends for us to be. Jesus Christ is cares greatly about what we believe.
Christ Cares About Our Lifestyle
The church at Ephesus had allowed their love to grow cold and their works to diminish, and the Lord rebuked them for that (Revelation 2:4-5).
Thyatira, on the other hand, was full of good works but they were tolerating immorality in their midst, and they got rebuked for that as well. Jesus said,
“I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. 20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. ”
The letters to these seven churches remind us that Christianity can never be just a doctrine that we believe, but it must also be a lifestyle that we consistently practice. Jesus Christ is concerned about our morals, our values, our priorities, our entertainment – everything about how we use our talents and spend our time. But the subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) influences of our world sometimes cause us to lower our standards and to put less emphasis on holiness and purity. And often we don’t even notice the change.
In fact, the problem is not just one of morals. It’s the basic lifestyle of Christians in the western world. I read an article where the author said,
“I wonder if being comfortable is not the besetting sin of most who call themselves Christians in our day and age. I wonder if we have, unconsciously, lazily, selfishly, formally grown into a discipleship that Jesus himself would not acknowledge… “Is our definition of being a Christian simply to enjoy the privileges of worship, be generous at no expense to ourselves, have a good, easy time surrounded by pleasant friends and comfortable things, live respectably and have a good funeral?
“How many of us are willing to deny ourselves in order to follow Christ? How much is the Christianity of our day suffering for Christ? Is it denying itself at the cost of ease, comfort, luxury, [and] elegance of living?. He concludes by saying,
“I am convinced that if Amos should visit us he would take one quick look around and cry out, ‘Woe to you who are complacent in Zion.’ (Amos 6:1).”
Christ is concerned not just with how we behave when we’re in the church building but with how we behave from day to day, in our homes, at work, driving around town, standing in line at the grocery store. Christ cares about our lifestyle
Now, keep in mind that all these letters were written to the church! The question for us is this:
Are we open to being confronted like this?
Are we willing to change, to allow the Lord to mold, shape and correct us as needed, in the years ahead?
Are we willing to confess our sins and admit our errors?
Our willingness to repent is absolutely essential if we are to be the Lord’s people. Jesus wants to know, “Are you willing to repent?”
To the church in Laodicea, Jesus said, “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.” (Revelation 3:19).
And the questions we so faithfully ask as humans is often – “Well, what’s in it for me”? That’s where this second picture comes in….It’s The New Jerusalem.
The fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John is where Jesus is in the Upper Room, and He introduces something to the Disciples that is entirely new. Sin and Death was knocking at the door in the Upper Room, demanding its pound of flesh. These men were frightened men, and Jesus was speaking to their hearts. He begins by saying,
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. (John 14:1)
He is putting, as essential, faith in Himself along with faith in God – which, of course, is the thing that makes a Christian today. I was in a hospital visiting someone, and after I had prayed with him, the man who was in a bed across the room called to me, “will you pray for me?” I went over and talked to him and asked, “Are you a Christian?” “Well, yes, I believe in God.” “That does not make you a Christian,” I said, “it simply means that you are not an atheist.” Then I gave him this verse, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” Jesus starts with that truth but look how He continues.
2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
The hope He is giving believers today is that someday we are to go to that place He has prepared. Now, where is that place? What kind of place is it? More that occasionally, I turn to the only chapter I know of in the Word of God where there is a description of it, the twenty-first chapter of the Book of Revelation.
If you have read Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, which is actually the experience of Bunyan himself, you will notice that the hope that he had from the beginning was this: “I am a pilgrim, and I am on the way to the Celestial City.” And when he would fall down, he would always get up, brush himself off and say, “I am a pilgrim on the way to the Celestial City.” Always, when the way was difficult and discouraging and it seemed as though he would not make it, he got his mind and his heart fixed on that Celestial City.
I believe there are many believers today who have lost sight of this city. They have become discouraged along the way. I say to you Church – and hear me now: this world is only a short stay in your eternal lives. We all are here temporarily – we are merely pilgrims down here on this earth. We are on the way to the Celestial City. We are on the way to the New Jerusalem.
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. (Revelation 21:1)
John here tells us that God is going to trade in this old earth and the old heaven on a new model. He is going to get a new earth – not get rid of earth entirely but merely get a new one. And that’s not all….The thing that should interest us greatly is what John sees in the next verse:
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (Revelation 21:2)
Now, this is the first time the New Jerusalem comes into view.
Notice that the city is a holy city. The inhabitants have been made holy in Christ and in no other way. He is there. That makes it a holy city.
The loveliest thing that God could say about it is that it is prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. As a preacher I have had the privilege of seeing couples stand before me to be married. This has been one of the delights of my ministry. And I can truthfully say that I never yet have seen an ugly bride. It always is a thrill to me to stand and look down the aisle and watch her come in. Thus God uses the figure of a bride to characterize this city. It is a thing of exquisite beauty.
3 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. (Revelation 21:3)
The New Jerusalem is the temple for the universe of God. This will be the place, apparently, where Israel and the gentile nations of the earth will come to worship. They will come to worship and then return to their homes on the earth.
Now I want you to notice something here – something very important
‘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.” (Revelation 21:4)
Would you like to move to a city where no one sheds a tear, a city where you would never know disappointment and you would never have occasion to weep? All of us who do counselling have discovered that under the veneer of prosperity and pleasure that our culture draws us too, there are so often tears.
Then we come to something that is for me, quite wonderful:
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
I love that. Would you like to start all over again?
I want to make a confession. I never have been the preacher that I have wanted to be. I never have preached the sermon that I longed to preach. I honestly never have been the man that I have wanted to be. I have not attained, really, my ambition. I have not reached my goal in life. I never have been the husband or father that I have wanted to be. As I come to this place in life and look back, I have regrets. I would like to go back and do things differently. And God is going to let me! He says to my heart, “In that city, David, I want all things new.” We are going to start over, and there will be nothing to hinder us. The sin and weight that hold us back will be removed. I don’t know about you, but I want to go to that place where I can be and do the thing that I have wanted to be and do in Christ.“ Behold, I make all things new.” I would like to move to that city today. Wouldn’t you?… Wouldn’t you….are there some doubters in the room….
When Jesus was talking to the Disciples in the Upper Room, He said,
“And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know”
Sitting there was one of His disciples, a man who I think had a question mark for a brain, Thomas. Thomas had doubts. He says, “Wait a minute, Lord. You say that we know where You are going and we know the way. We don’t!”
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” (John 14:5)
I am glad he was there. He raised my question – he saved me from having to ask it.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.(John 14:6)
My friend, Jesus, Jesus Christ is the way to the Celestial City. He has gone before us, and He is preparing an eternal home for all of us who have become children of God through faith in His name.
Richard Herrington not only knew that truth but it defined who he was and what He chose to do with His short time here. This morning, and every morning, let us renew our commitment to do all these things.
Let us keep the faith, even in the midst of persecution.
Let us live holy lives.
Let us be willing to repent when we get off track.
And let us commit ourselves, let us commit our next 200 years to the invitation of all to that Celestial City.
God of our past, we gather today to give thanks for the past.
We think back to those who first had a vision of a church in this community,
to those who put the focus of their lives on you so it could come to happen,
to those who gave of their labour, their treasure, their time to make it happen.
And as we remember the efforts of the founders and builders we offer words of thanks and praise
God of growth, we remember too those who helped the new church to grow in wisdom and in faith.
And so we think of years of study group leaders, clergy, choir directors, Sunday School teachers, and many others who provided leadership.
We remember Deacons, Stewards, Board and committee members, men and women who stepped forward to provide governance and leadership.
And for all these varied forms of leadership we are grateful.
God of community, we remember events that brought us together;
School breakfasts, Community Dinners, Bazaars, BBQs, potlucks, picnics and many more.
And for the gifts of friendship and fellowship we say thanks.
We think also of the many groups that have met in this space:
Mission Circles, Scouts, Mothers and many more.
Groups that provided times of fellowship and times of growth in community.
God of our present, on this day we remember all that led this congregation to this day.
For 200 years of ministry to and with this community, for 200 years of growing together in love, for all that has made us what we are now, we give you thanks, we give you praise.
Heavenly Father, allow us to thank you for the wonderful love that you have shown to us at this hour, we asked you to guide us and be with us till we finish and can happily say that the day has been successful because of your mercies, we want to thank you for the love that we shared today here with our dears brothers and sisters who traveled from far and wide to come and witness this historic event in our church that happens once a year, we can all testify that Lord you been faithful to us that we have laughed together, uplifted each other and above all given glory to you.
We want to pray that the word of faith that has been planted in our hearts today through the faith filled activities maybe it germinate and produce the results that is in line with the purpose you had intended to each and everyone of us.
As we walk out of this compound, place go with us and keep reminding us of your love, this anniversary has served as a reminder to each and everyone of us, bind us with love that can never be broken.
Be with us, protect , guide and shower us with much blessings to all that came to grace this anniversary in our church,
Thank you God for hearing and answering our prayers.