Sunday 17th January 2021

Welcome to Elmwood Congregation Sunday Worship. We thank Mr Nigel Malka for leading our service this morning.  Nigel is a friend of Elmwood.  He would usually lead worship in church but as our building is currently closed we are using whatsapp. Theme- Women in the Bible.  My thanks to April, Cynthia for bible readings, Eileen for our prayers of healing/intercession.

 

Call to Worship: Claudette  

 

Hymn: Tell out my soul

https://youtu.be/3E7QWLyDWe8

 

Opening prayers concluding with the Lord’s Prayer – Claudette and Mya

 

Hymn: O Lord my God

https://youtu.be/Orm4O_UdltY

 

Good News

Time to share good news, birthdays, anniversaries, how God has blessed us.

 

Bible Reading: Luke 1:26-38 read by April

 

Talk Introduction – Nigel

A little bit of background before the talk which is dealing with women in the bible

This last century things have been changing very rapidly for women only 91 years ago

   In 1928 British women got the vote, and equality expectations were raised

      Females are now no longer considered as chattel’s  or second class citizens

         This has mostly been achieved by the sacrifice and actions of a few

         When in the 1860’s influential British families started to educate their daughters

            They realised they were just as capable as men and fought for equality   

         And demanded roles as teachers, nurses, doctors, scientists and politicians  

      Attitudes have been changed and now many societies have been transformed

   And by education, travel, books, films, TV, Internet it is still spreading

But the reality is women are still not seen as equal with men, even in Britain.

 

Putting aside our own politics and traditions how does God wants us to behave

   God’s wants us to respect and love him and one another irrespective of gender

      We are going to look at woman in the Bible and in our first reading Mary.

   She accepted the task unconditionally when chosen to be the mother of God’s Son

Her reply was simply, “What God wants me to do I am willing to do.

 

Men, in the main, have put women down because of their desire for dominance

      However looking at the role of women in the Bible this is not as God intended,

         We have many examples of God wanting women to serve and them, doing so

      Something we all should try to do, Do what God want us to do.

Our next reading is about Eve which is often wrongly used to make men feel superior   

Bible Reading Genesis 3:1-13 read by Cynthia

Talk - Nigel Malka

God’s love is for every individual to reach out and grasp, To hold on to, use and grow,

   With the responsibility to use whatever gifts we’ve been given

      To put a smile onto God’s face by doing those things that please him

         I have just said ‘every individual’. Without qualification!

           God’s love doesn’t depend upon gender, age, nationality, power or intelligence

               What it does depend upon is faith and living to his ways

             As taught by both God’s Word and actions together with Jesus’ teaching

          Women are expected to have the same loving relationship with God as men do.

       In our churches females are beginning to be treated equally,

   It has been vital women have taken on their responsibilities

For without them we might no longer have churches.

 

First let’s start with the misconceptions that are put about concerning women

   And where better, than with Eve, and the part she played in the fall of mankind

      Jew, Christian and Muslims have all used this story of Adam and Eve

   Twisting the story to provide reasons why men should dominate women

Five main arguments are given to support making females subordinate.

 

  • The first is that Adam was created before Eve

         Then as Eve was made second it follows all females must be second. Rubbish!

            God chooses people by heart and gives them tasks to do as we heard like Mary

         And not by just being first born examples are Jacob, Joseph Moses & David

 

  • The second is that Eve was created with the purpose to be man’s helper,

         This has been manipulated so that women should do what men decide.

            In the story of the creation Eve was made to be Adams partner and helper

               Not as a slave or servant, but as an equal. (Gen 2.18)  The Lord God said,

            “It is not good for man to be alone I will make a suitable companion for him.

         Companions work together using their different skills to achieve a common end

 

  • The third argument used was that a woman was first to disobey God

         And therefore cannot be trusted as much as men! This is total nonsense

            It was bad enough when Adam blamed Eve for giving him the fruit

               Adam was not prepared to accept the responsibility that was his.

            He was told not to eat the fruit from the tree of Knowledge

         And he was with Eve when she first picked the fruit

      Adam could have stopped her even refusing the apple himself, but did not.

   Without any argument, he ate the forbidden fruit and disobeyed God command

 

  • The fourth was that women were the cause of man disobeying God.

         And therefore should not be listened to by men.

            Out of the two it was Eve who tried to argue that the action was wrong

         She may have been too easily persuaded to disobey God

      But then all Adam did was to do what Eve suggested, a typical male!

 

  • And fifth reason for treating women the way men do

         Is God told Eve as part of the punishment that she would be ruled by Adam

            Unfortunately we know that having power will mostly lead to its abuse

         And this is what man has done ever since yet we were created as partners

 

I do wonder if God, realising the true nature of man as being so easily led

   Was trying to give him some backbone by making him more responsible.

      But that doesn’t give males the right to use it as an excuse to dominate woman

         Particular woman who they are not married to

      Eve in this story was judged by God for what she did.

And this is crucial; Her final accountability was to God, not to Adam.

 

In this story God judges Eve and Adam as individuals

   Because like them each of us has an individual relationship with God

      We must all learn not to trespass against his ways, why use trespass

         Well Sin is breaking God’s law!   Trespass is breaking God’s heart.

      Let’s take a brief look at some of the females in the Bible

  All very different with their own skills each with their own part to play.

  

Sarah Abraham’ wife was told that she would have a child in her old age.

   When she became old, she didn’t believe it would happen           (Genesis 21:6)

      She tried to out think God and persuaded Abraham into her way of thinking

   The result was Ishmael who hated Isaac, two nations created instead of one

Both still exist today Arab and the Jew and they still hate one another.

 

We see women in the Bible have the same strengths and weakness as the men

   Rebecca made up her mind to go and marry Isaac without seeing him

      She manipulated her son Jacob to steal Esau’s blessing

   Tamar, would not allow herself to be put aside

She justly schemed to get herself pregnant and married to Judah

 

We have the courage of the two Jewish midwives who defied Pharaoh,

   In them we see shining example of faith and obedience to God.

Their let the male Jewish babies live because they feared God more than man.

 

Deborah one of the Judges of Israel beat Golder Myer by about 3,300 years

   To become the first female Jewish leader she was a good leader and prophetess

      Recognising this, men would seek her out to know God’s will.

   Those who were and still are against woman having leadership roles

Shy away from understanding why God gave Deborah that sort of authority.

 

They are many women who have given their lives to God.

   In the New Testament we have Elizabeth and Mary mothers to John and Jesus, 

      Mary was spoken to by an Angel, told she was highly favoured by God

         Yet as a virgin, she was to give birth to The Son of God.

            What must have been her thoughts, about to get married?

               Did she consider for a moment what her future husband would do?

            Her comfortable future was to be upset and put into turmoil

         Society would shun both her and her husband for having a child before marrying

      And when rejected by Joseph she decides to leave her home,

   Walk 100 miles to the hills of Judea, to escape to her cousin Elizabeth

She stayed there three months until the birth of John the Baptist and then Joseph came

 

With what Mary went through in her lifetime we can really admire her

   She was certainly a remarkable woman, Independent, decisive

      And she stayed true to the end, weeping as she saw her son die on the cross.

   She was with the disciples over the Accession and Pentecost praying to God.

We can see that her role is as important to that of any of the men there.

     

 Jesus was unconventional in a male dominated society

   He did not have a female as a direct disciple, but he never excluded them

He taught, whoever was prepared to listen, man or woman equally

 

In the incident with The Samaritan Woman,                                               John 4:6-42

   Jesus did not ostracise her but rather treated her as a person of worth.

   Gave her a role while others would have nothing to do with her.

Used her to bring his message to people to help him in his own outreach

 

The message is clear anyone and everyone is acceptable to be in God’ family

   Once making Jesus their Lord & Saviour then people will want to work for God 

      Jesus taught men and women and when you teach someone

   Then the expectation is that they use that knowledge to pass on to others

Not to keep it to themselves or ignore it or demean it, but use it.

 

We heard of another of Jesus’ pupils, Mary sister of Martha

   Mary would sit, listening and learning from him

      When challenged that Mary ought to be doing ‘Woman’s work’ Jesus replied,

         ‘Mary has chosen what is better, and will not be taken away from it’.

   This is a clear instruction that woman have the right to choose what is right for them And not blindly accept the role that others placed upon them.

 

Jesus listened, he allowed women to express themselves when others denied them.

   He tested their faith, an example is the Canaanite woman                             Mathew 15:21-28

      She asked to have her daughter healed, and he seems to be rejecting the request

         He replies 'It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs.'

      But then he granted her request when she showed her faith by replying to him 

   'Yes lord but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fell from their masters' table.'

 

Jesus shows that wisdom is a commodity to be used or abused by everyone.

   The parable of the ten Virgins shows that some are wise and some are not.

      We learn of the widow who gave out of her poverty.                        (Mark 12:43)

         She was considered far better than the man who gave out of his riches

         And again when Martha’s sister Mary does the unconventional (John 17 11-end)

      Making a sacrifice by pouring a pint of pure nard over Jesus’ feet.

   Jesus respected the act done, the gender involved was unimportant

Female, male, old, young, poor, rich we all are able to do those things that please God

 

After Jesus’ death when Mary was weeping in the garden

   He gave her comfort and at the same time gave her a job to do.                (John 23:50-end)

      To Go and tell the disciples that he was returning to his Father, and to their Father.

         Sadly the disciples didn’t learn the lesson that Jesus uses those who trust in him

   For when Jesus sent Mary Magdalene to say he had risen they didn’t believe her.

We all need to work as partners to take the word of God to the world

 

Paul taught we are one body each playing our own unique role

   Within the body of the church and in its fellowship.

      All given important tasks to do for God and some leadership roles

   Dorcas, Tabitha Lydia, Priscilla, Phoebe helped in building the early Church

  

In God’s kingdom we see it is not the role that people play which is important

      Rather it is in their relationship with Jesus and the Father

   And taking the opportunity to build a relationship in whatever is needed to be done

We all have skills and we should use them to put a smile on God’s face

 

Hymn: All I once held dear

https://youtu.be/K22uFPUUmFI

 

Song: Let the peace of God reign

https://youtu.be/ADHFusf2X-4

 

Prayers of healing/Intercession - Eileen

Heavenly Father Lord and Saviour this morning we approach your throne to lift up your name on high and praise you for we know that Your mercy endures forever.

Heavenly Father we are living in times that have a lot of ups and downs, sad times and happy times and You have carried us through because You are always there for us. So let us take time today to offer to our praise of gratitude, for His grace and mercy has kept us safe. Psalm 116:12 what shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all his people.

Heavenly Father our world has been shaken by Covid, political unrest, climate change, and great uncertainty across the globe. Help us to remember when our world is shaken that You are unshakeable, when we feel weak and vulnerable, help us to sense Your strength giving us courage to rise above our circumstances. When we are afraid, give us the faith to lean on You alone, so we can face our fears. When we need to stand strong help us to remember Your grace and mercy that has been extended to us, the mighty deeds you have done and all those that are yet to be done in Your name.

 

Let us love ourselves and set our standards high by using biblical principles to help us to be accountable, and sustainable while walking in Godly obedience to live God centred lives. Let us love one another, like Ruth who loved her mother in law Naomi and was obedient and followed God even in times of despair and crisis. Help us Lord to put our faith in You, like these two God fearing women, even in these troubled times because You alone will save us, forgive us, help us to rebuild our lives and give us blessings that will last throughout eternity.

 

Heavenly Father be the author of our destiny - be our beginning, our middle and our ending. Help us to plan our future with You in our hearts and minds. We know that Your plan is the best plan, so guide us Lord and direct our path. Let us be like Esther and seize our God given opportunities to make a difference to our lives and that of others. Help us to make You sovereign over every area of our lives because with You nothing is impossible because You make everything possible.

 

Heavenly Father strengthen our faith in You each day, just like Elizabeth and Mary were strong in their faith and believed what the Lord had said to them would be accomplished. They both felt highly favoured, when they were blessed with the honour of bringing their sons, who were filled with the Holy Spirit from birth, into the world to save us. Give us this level of faith so our souls can continually glorify you and our spirits can forever rejoice in Your name. Help us to achieve the God given purposes that You have for us.

 

Luke 11 says ' and I say unto you, Ask and it shall be given you, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. So we ask You today Heavenly Father to reach out and touch all those on our prayer list with Your special healing powers, cover them with the glory of Your supernatural protection, that they may feel your presence moving through their bodies as the healing process takes place.

 

Heavenly Father for the week ahead renew us according to the image of Christ stamped upon our hearts and minds. Help us to put off the old person we used to be as recently as yesterday.

and put on the new person You have made us to be in Christ. Continue to renew our mind and soul so we can be made more and more like you each day and provides us with your blessings in the week ahead. We invite you to display your strength in all our situations, grant us peace

beyond all imagination, the knowledge of Your majestic power, Your Mercy and Your grace to fill our hearts and minds with great joy as we go out into the world to share with others our great admiration for You.

In Your name we pray all these things . Amen

 

Hymn: I the Lord of sea and sky

https://youtu.be/VKHUCCy_NAM

 

 Blessing- Irish Blessing (sung)

https://youtu.be/strUhtmCek

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