On Sunday June 29th Tim Simms led worship at Wesley Chapel. We began worship as we sang ‘Lord of creation to you be all praise.’ The theme for his service was ‘Being a slave to sin.’ After the opening prayers we sang ‘Jesus is Lord! Creation’s voice proclaims it’, which always takes me back to university and just after I had become a Christian. It was a new song then and we sang it at rallies. I feel as though I am a student all over again when we sing it even after all these years. The readings were from Psalm 89 and Romans 6v12-23 and we then sang, ‘Amazing Grace’ before the sermon.
Tim reminded us of the human condition where we are all slaves to sin, trapped in our own sins and failures, but if we believe in Jesus we die to sin and become alive in Christ. He had 3 points; we have sinned against God, accept we need to change and change only comes through the Grace of God. He told us of how he had had a medical for insurance and found he was unfit. His being borderline obese made him think about changing his attitude to exercise, as previously he had not thought of cycling for pleasure! However he started to cycle and has since felt fitter and healthier and the weight has dropped off him. He was faced by a choice; no exercise, becoming obese and eating as before or changing his lifestyle and he stopped snacking, and just watching TV. He needed to be set free and change his lifestyle. People feel uncomfortable about the position the Bible shows us and wonder why they need to change.
In Matthew 7v21-23 Jesus reminded his disciples that evil thoughts come from within and defile them. Paul told the Romans not to let sin reign in their mortal bodies, when he wrote to all those in the church, who were loved by God and called to be saints. Tim reminded us that we in Wesley Chapel Harrogate are also called to be saints. Paul knew the environment the Roman church lived in and the pressures it was facing. However he reminded them that Jesus grace was sufficient to bring them from slavery to freedom. Tim sees the Alpha course as the modern course to challenge people who may have been regular churchgoers but had never faced the challenge of choosing to be the slave to sin or to righteousness.
First we need to accept that we have sinned and that our human nature is at odds with God’s plan. Secondly in following Jesus we need to change the way we live our lives, what we say and do to become slaves of righteousness and deepen our relationship with God. Tim reminded us to think of the transformed world there would be if all Christians did that. Paul told his readers that it was a fact of life that all are slaves to sin and challenged them to behave in a way acceptable to God, by committing themselves to righteous living, so that they and their church could be transformed. Tim reminded us of the words of Micah 6v8 ‘He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.’ We are all called to a living relationship walking through life with God. Thirdly Tim reminded us that God’s grace is enough to save us all. Can we master our human nature and earn a place in God’s favour? No, nothing we can do will make us right with God. Christ died for us while we were still sinners; we don’t have to earn God’s favour as he has given us the gift of grace. What will we do with this great gift of grace? It is such a fantastic gift which we want the world to see. It is a life changing gift. Christ died even for Tim and for each one of us. Through God’s grace we can all become holy, walking humbly with our God. There is a never ending battle over our sinful nature but God’s way of grace is stronger. Tim asked us whether we would accept the Grace of Christ and allow Jesus to reign in our hearts.
Tim then led us in the intercessions. Worship concluded as we sang, ‘Go forth and tell.’