Sunday Messages & Special Services
Worship Service September 13, 2020 for the video click on the following https://www.facebook.com/RittmanUMC/videos/1010899306026847
Welcome to worship! It’s wonderful to have you join us!
Our Call to Worship is “Your Great Name” (by Krissy Nordhoff & Michael Neale). Verse 1 – Lost are saved, find their way, at the sound of Your Great Name. All condemned, feel no shame, at the sound of Your Great Name. Ev’ry fear has no place, at the sound of Your great Name. The enemy he has to leave at the sound of Your Great Name. Chorus – Jesus, worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us. The Son of God and man, You are high and lifted up, and all the world will praise Your Great Name.
Verse 2 – All the weak find their strength at the sound of Your Great Name. Hungry souls receive grace at the sound of Your Great Name. The fatherless find their rest at the sound of Your Great Name. The sick are healed, the dead are raised, at the sound of Your Great Name. Chorus, Bridge – Redeemer, my Healer, Lord Almighty, Defender, my Savior, You are my King! (REPEAT), Chorus, Chorus
Our message today is about the church of Laodicea and the message, warning, and promise that Christ gives.
ANNOUNCEMENTS –This week is Food Pantry. I’d like to thank Mark & Lynn for all they do to keep this ministry available, and thanks to those who donate funds and items to provide this ministry, also. ‘Pennies from Heaven’ Offering is today. Your change can be placed in the containers on the sound board cabinet, or your giving for this can be brought in throughout the week during office hours. Please help as you’re able. Are there other announcements?
Let’s open worship as we pray, calling on the Light of Christ. “Light of Christ, shine on our path. Chase away all darkness. Illumine us. Lead us to the heart of God.” Amen
CHILDREN’S MESSAGE What Does It Take to Be Rich?
Hello! How are you doing? I have a question for you? What do people usually think about someone who has a lot of money or things?… Do we figure that they have must be happy?… Do we figure that they are rich?… We might call them rich…. Do we figure that we are rich?… Let’s find out what being rich really means…. There are people who think that it is very important to have a lot of money, a lot of nice clothes, or a bunch of expensive nice things; things like nice houses or super nice cars. But do you know that this is really not the way to be happy?… And do you know that this doesn’t necessarily make somebody rich? The church that we are learning about today in the message was in a city where everybody had a lot of money. They had nice, fancy things. They were actually thought to be the wealthiest city in that area at that time. People looked up to them because they had all these things. But they weren’t necessarily happy! Jesus sent them a letter to them, because He wasn’t very happy with them. They did some things that just weren’t right. They didn’t do things that were necessarily bad, but Jesus told them that they were miserable, and that they were pathetic, and that they were poor. They had all that stuff! How could they be poor?… He also told them that they were blind. Do you think He was telling them that they couldn’t see?… He also told them that they were naked! You know what? He wasn’t really talking about physical things. He wasn’t telling them that they weren’t wearing any clothes. What He was telling them was that He could see everything that they were doing. And He could see everything that they were thinking. That’s something that they needed to be careful about, right? Well this church was one of those churches that had forgotten all about Jesus. Their money and belongings were the most important things to them! But they really weren’t rich, because they didn’t have Jesus! But you know what? Jesus offered them another chance. He offered them another chance to open their hearts to Him and then they would have all that they needed. Not necessarily physical things, or good, fancy, expensive things. But they would have Jesus! Which was all the would need. And that would make them rich!
Let’s pray… Dear God, Thank You for showing us what is really important for our lives. Help us to remember that only having Jesus completely in our hearts and lives can make us truly make us rich!Lord be with us, and bless the children all around, helping them to truly know you, so that they may be rich, also. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
I’d like to thank you for your tithes and offerings. Please remember the ministries of our church, that they do continue even though we aren’t able to have everyone with us. Please give as you are able, to bring God the glory in all that you do. The doxology is sung to Praise the Lord for our many blessings. “Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above ye heav’nly host. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! Amen” Let’s pray, as we dedicate these gifts to the Lord… Dear Loving, Generous God, We thank You for all that provide for us. Guide us in the ways that we should give from our provisions…Bless the givers and each gift. Bless those who cannot give at this time, and help them in their need. Bless those who benefit from this ministry. Help us to recognize the value of Your blessings, and help us to serve others in their need as we seek to be like Jesus. Guide us to use these gifts for the building of Your Kingdom to bring You all the glory. In Jesus Christ’s name we pray, Amen.
As we enter into a time of sharing our joys and concerns, let’s bring to mind the ways we’ve seen God this week. These are the praises that I know of: Dick & Dorothy had a nice celebration for their anniversary with their family and were thankful for the card shower. Kyle McDonald’s results came back that he is cancer free following his surgery. Niles Blough’s chemo treatments over the last several weeks has found that the chemo is working against the cancer that he is dealing with right now. Are there other joys or praises that you would like to share?
Mary had an encounter with a saleslady this week. Mary mentioned the fish that this lady was wearing and the cross that she had on her rearview mirror. They had a really good conversation about Jesus and God, and then Mary was told that she had been a blessing to this woman and Mary felt the same about the woman. Lydia shared that today is Sarah’s 35th birthday, which is a joy. And also that it is a joy and a blessing to have grandchildren, and today is Grandparents’ Day. Rod’s cousin, Priscilla, who we prayed for last week, got results back and it is not cancer. Definitely a praise!
We have these concerns that I’m aware of… Pam Hartman needs prayer. She’s not feeling well and is unable to be with us today. She is scheduled for surgery the beginning of Oct. Nancy Britton as she prepares for surgery and for her surgery and the medical staff on this Thursday, the 17th. Those in chemo treatment: Betty and Niles Those who are continuing in recovery; Betty, Joanna, Sheila, Nancy McMillan, Kyle, and any others on our prayer list. Those who are traveling; we have several this week. Those who are grieving the loss of loved ones. Continued prayer for the Seiler family. Ed’s graveside service was Thursday, and they are planning a memorial service here next year on the anniversary of his death. Are there other concerns that you want to share? The Smith family needs prayers, as Dave’s grandmother passed away this week. The victims of the fires out West, the firefighters fighting the fires, those who live within the boundaries of the fires or near, those who have lost loved ones, those who have been injured, those who have been displaced, those who have lost homes and businesses. Continue to pray for those who are affected by the COVID situation, which is all of us, but also those who have contracted the illness, as well. Are there unspoken requests? Several! As we pray, bring each of these mentioned to mind, as well as other unspoken needs that indicated and those on your hearts. Let’s pray…Dear Almighty God, We Praise You, and Thank You for all of the ways that You have blessed us this week; through answers to prayers…, for successful surgeries…, for times of renewal…, for awareness of Your presence…, for healing…, for positive test results…, for unexpected blessings…, for Your grace…, for friends & family & our times together, especially in celebrations…, for the gift of babies…, for caregivers…, for safety…, for provision for our needs & the needs of others…, and we thank you for each one who is a blessing to us…. Lord, we bring to You those who have been mentioned and others who are on our hearts today, who are in need of Your touch in their lives. We ask for peace, in the grieving for lost loved ones…, for healing & continued recovery…, for preparations for surgeries…, for the medical staff who will attend during these surgeries…, for ease of chemo treatments…, for safety for travel, safety from illness, safety from the wildfires, and from other risks…, for the fires to be extinguished…, for comfort for those who are struggling…, for guidance…, for ease of loneliness…, for rest…, for reconciliation and peace…, for answers…, for strength…, for encouragement…, for those in school in person and as well as remotely, and for those who are yet to begin…, for our country and the needs that are here…, for election decisions, so that they are according to your will, Lord…, for unspoken requests, whatever the need, Lord, we place each one in Your care…. Thank You for hearing us even when we may not know exactly what to say, or when we don’t voice our needs. You know the needs, and we trust in that. We ask for answers according to Your will in all that we ask. In the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ we pray, as we continue to pray as He taught us, Our Father, who art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever, Amen.
The Scripture lesson is from Revelation 3:14-22, being read from the Common English Bible translation. And we come to the last of the 7 letters given to John by Christ for the churches. 14 “Write this to the angel of the church in Laodicea: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your works. You are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. 16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I’m about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 After all, you say, ‘I’m rich, and I’ve grown wealthy, and I don’t need a thing.’ You don’t realize that you are miserable, pathetic, poor, blind, and naked. 18 My advice is that you buy gold from me that has been purified by fire so that you may be rich, and white clothing to wear so that your nakedness won’t be shamefully exposed, and ointment to put on your eyes so that you may see. 19 I correct and discipline those whom I love. So be earnest and change your hearts and lives. 20 Look! I’m standing at the door and knocking. If any hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to be with them, and will have dinner with them, and they will have dinner with me. 21 As for those who emerge victorious, I will allow them to sit with me on my throne, just as I emerged victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 If you can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.” The Word of God for the people of God! Praise be to God!
We come to the last of the 7 churches that Christ addressed in the letters in the book of Revelation.
Laodicea was the Lukewarm Church. It struggled because of entitlements, rights, and rebellion. Does any of this sound familiar?… This church was considered the worst of all!
Let’s look at the church of Laodicea to see what Christ was saying to them. That church seemed to have everything, but really had nothing! They seemed to have all that they could ever want. They were satisfied! Not that they should have been! The city was originally a military base. They were 40 miles inland east of Ephesus. There was no fresh water source, so water was piped in from hot springs through an aqueduct. The water arrived lukewarm. Can you imagine water from a hot spring being the only source and arriving lukewarm. This city was famous for the amount of trade that they did. They were known for their banks; their famous school of medicine; their shiny, black wool that they made coats from; and their eye salve, which healed weak eyes. Laodicea was totally destroyed by an earthquake in the year 60 AD, but was able to rebuild without any outside help because of their extreme wealth. They were the wealthiest city in the area. The people of Laodicea were wealthy people compared to the rest of the world. They were the envy of the world and they knew it. Their attitude was that they had all they needed, and it was spilling over into the church. It seemed that they thought that God had given them special attention. But they weren’t as great as they thought! If we look realistically they saw water coming into their city that was barely drinkable. As it was, it caused visitors to become ill. Can you imagine drinking lukewarm water? The source, once again, was a hot spring. If you know anything about hot springs, they usually have minerals in them, so it’s not very good tasting either. It came from 5 miles away, so the water cooled down as it arrived. They weren’t able to use it for a hot spring source, and the pipes actually became unclean. They became used to it, however, but others couldn’t drink it. So if you were a visitor going into Laodicea, and you couldn’t drink the water, you wouldn’t stay very long, would you? I don’t know about you, but I think lukewarm water is gross! It’s disgusting! It’s like drinking out of a garden hose in the summer. How many of you have done that?… It’s not very good, unless you let it run for a while and then it can cool down. But that couldn’t happen in Laodicea, because it didn’t have a cool source. It was starting as a hot spring, so as they let it run it was just going to stay lukewarm. It’s not going to cool down at all. Drinking out of a garden hose was definitely gross, and I usually spit the warm back out. This is the image that I get when I read that part of this passage. That was what Jesus was talking about when He told them that they were lukewarm. They could relate to that. They knew what lukewarm was. They weren’t hot and they weren’t cold. They were kind of disgusting! And Jesus said that He was going to spit them out of His mouth, or He was going to reject them. That church was so flat and uncaring that God was made to gag!
So why is Jesus rejecting them? Why was He considering them lukewarm? This isn’t really what Jesus is talking about with the Laodiceans, as far as that their water was lukewarm. He was rejecting them because of their spirit. They weren’t growing, nor were they trying to grow. They were satisfied. They started out as a thriving, active church which dearly loved the Lord. But then the culture took over. They became comfortable, satisfied. They didn’t have any physical needs, so they didn’t see a need to do anything else. They were thought of by others to have everything they could possibly need, and they took that on. They eventually believed the same thing. They stopped caring about anything, including the way that they were living.
When they were making God gag, and when Christ didn’t want them anymore, Jesus said that He was about to spit them out of His mouth. Now that wasn’t literal. It meant that He was sick of their lack of concern about who and what they were as a church.
The Council of Laodicea which was working around 300 AD is pretty well known. They became known for being one of the groups that chose the writings that became the canon, the chosen books of scripture, or the accepted books for the New Testament. They also required the canon to be the only books read from the pulpit. However, they didn’t include the book of Revelation as one of the acceptable books. Is it any wonder why? I doubt that they wanted others to realize that Jesus wasn’t happy with them. Can you imagine what Jesus’ response was to that?
- How many of you are familiar with this picture or a picture that it similar? This picture has always been special to me, the picture of Jesus standing at the door and knocking. I always wondered what it really meant, because as I was growing up they never explained this in my home church. It always hung in our church, in our Sunday School area. It is a pretty important message to hear! This was my favorite and I think Jesus put it on my heart to finally figure out what it meant. I often heard the scripture, after I left that church, but I didn’t really have it in context. So I didn’t know why Jesus had said this. It’s pretty important! This illustrates the promise of having another chance, of being able to let Jesus back into our hearts, or maybe for the first time ever. He said, Look! I am standing at the door and knocking, which is exactly what this painting is showing. If anyone listens to my voice. Other translations including the one I read from today, says if anyone hears my voice. But if you hear His voice you still may not listen! You still may not change what you’re doing. But He said if anyone listens to my voice, and does what?… Opens the door!… I will come in to them and eat with them, and they will eat with me. This is also different in some translations, saying him instead of them. This leaves half of the people out if you don’t understand that him refers to all people. So it’s nicer to hear that it includes all of us. And when He talks about Him eating with us and us eating with Him, do you think that He is really talking about physically eating? I have a feeling here that He’s talking about that Holy Communion with Him. Of supping with Him, and just consuming and remembering what He has done for each one of us. It’s possibly speaking of being in relationship with Him in that communion time. He went on to say that those who were victorious would sit with Christ on His throne, just as He has sat with God the Father. That’s quite a promise, if one has a change of heart and life.
It’s only a promise if we have a change of heart and life! If we become stagnant or we become uncaring, that promise doesn’t exist. It’s time for us to look at ourselves and see how Christ sees us. But first it will help to describe what a lukewarm Christian is. A lukewarm Christian is a person who has accepted Christ at one time in his or her life. However, he or she doesn’t see him or herself as God does. He or she is blind to the indifferences that exists within, and can’t realize any errors. He or she is too lazy to test him or herself, and doesn’t know that his or her examples could affecting the way others live and see Jesus. That’s what makes the Church, is our example, our service to Him, our living our life with Him as He would be living. A lukewarm Christian doesn’t care. They are apathetic to what is going on in themselves as well as around them. If a lukewarm Christian had written some of the hymns, they might have these names; Be Thou My Hobby, instead of Be Thou My Vision; Blest Be the Tie That Doesn’t Cramp My Style, instead of Blest Be the Tie that Binds; Oh, How I Like Jesus, instead of O How I Love Jesus; Average is Thy Faithfulness, instead of Great is Thy Faithfulness; Joyful, Joyful, We Kinda Like Thee, instead of Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee; My Hope is Built on Nothing Much, instead of My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less; and I Surrender Some, instead of I Surrender All. Some interesting things to consider. What do these songs that we have been brought up with mean to you right now, deep down in your soul?… And so many other songs that we’ve sung along the way?… And what does it mean to you when you pray?… And what does it mean to you when you spend time with God?… Do you take time to pray? Do you take time to read His word?
Some interesting facts are these: The church of Laodicea was the only church of the 7 in the book of Revelation that received no commendation from Jesus. There wasn’t one thing that He found positive that He told them about. He found no good parts there, at least at that time. All that they got was rebuke. It probably wasn’t a very good feeling! Many believe that this church represents the modern day, Western church. Remember when I started and told you about Laodicea and what they were thought to be dealing with? They were dealing with entitlements. They were dealing with their rights. And they were dealing with rebellion. This sounds so much like the world today, especially our country, and also, many churches! If we aren’t getting the things that we want! If things aren’t the way that we want them to be, what is our attitude?
If Jesus wrote a letter to our church today, what would Jesus say?… This is definitely something that we need to consider! Is the church maturing in life and service with the Lord? Is the church the way that Jesus wants it to be? We are each a part of this church, and it is important to make sure that we are living in service as Christ’s Church. In doing that, we should be living the way that Christ would live and serving the way Christ would serve! If we get satisfied and think that we have done our part, or that we are doing enough; then we are complacent and become stagnant and lukewarm, just like the church of Laodicea. We should always be working on visions, visions of what else we can do for the Lord! To have those visions, we have to each be looking at our own hearts and living our lives the way that Christ would want us to live. But how do we know that? Unless we dig deep into His Word, dig deep into time with Him to truly see ourselves the way we are. If we don’t, then we are blind to who we are! Where does Jesus stand in our lives?
Jesus is knocking on your door! But what does that mean?
Jesus is knocking on the door of your heart. You may have already open it once. Has it closed?…Do you need to open it again?… Will you open?… Will you invite Him in?…
The doors of our hearts need to be opened to Jesus. When He knocks, He wants us to listen! He calls on us to be like Him, not like others, not like we’ve been entitled to be, not like we’ve been given rights by our country or by others, but to be like Him! We aren’t to be satisfied to stay as we are. If we do that, we are no better than the people of the church of Laodicea. We have to be growing ever closer to Him to be the way He want us to be.
- It’s time to make up our minds! It’s time to make up your mind!… Christ has given us a Word, a message! He has given us many messages, but today He has given us the message from the church of Laodicea. The message that He sent there all those years ago that sounds like it could be to any church today! And it sounds like it could be a letter to our church today! He knows all that we are doing. He knows all that we are thinking. He knows our minds.! He knows our hearts!… He has given us a warning! When we look at the world today, there are so many warnings out there! Now it may not be the end times, but right now I don’t want to take a chance! There’s so much going on! Back when Australia was deep in all those fires and so much was destroyed, there was a lot of thought about things then. And now we have 3 of our states our west that are engulfed in flame! Fires that are destroying cities, entire cities! Fires that are killing people because they can’t get away fast enough! We’ve got hurricanes that are developing every day, tropical storms that could turn into hurricanes. We’ve had one hurricane already hit this year. We’ve had earthquakes where there haven’t been earthquakes, and, yes, back in the day of Laodicea they had earthquakes, too. Jesus is giving us warnings! We need to heed the call! We can’t be lukewarm! If we remain the same, we are lukewarm. When we don’t care, or become apathetic, about what is happening around us, we are lukewarm. And if we are lukewarm, He will reject us. He will spit us out His mouth! No matter whether we’ve been saved already or not, because that salvation that you think you may have had, you may not have truly given yourself completely to Christ! If we have not truly accepted Him as our Lord and Savior, we could still be lost! He is giving another chance. We don’t know how many chances we could still have! There have been chances all across the generations, but we never know if this one could be the last! He, also, gave us a promise. If we open ourselves, our hearts, to Him; when He knocks, we need to surrender ourselves completely to live as He would live! I think He’s knocking today, knocking on the hearts of each and every one! What will you choose?…
Let’s pray… Dear Father God, Thank you for the messages that have come from Christ by way of the Holy Spirit! Thank You for opening our eyes to be aware of things that need attention in our lives, so that we have another chance to change our hearts and lives for You. Help us to accept these revelations that have come, so that we are living as Christ would live in all situations. Lord, guide us, open our eyes, open our minds, make us see what needs to be changed, and place the desire on our hearts to changes those things. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.
Take time to reflect on the revelation that Christ has given you today through the Laodicean church. Quite an eye opener! Do you have things that you should change within yourself to be in right relationship with God?…
Next week we will be watching the Annual Conference Worship Service. You can join us here to watch on the screen as we project the livestreamed service at 10:00. We will also be livestreaming it from here on Facebook, so you can watch from home, or you can log in to the East Ohio Conference website Annual Conference livestreaming, which will be much better to see and hear. I will also be providing a mailing of the transcription of the message for those who don’t have the means to watch online. In 2 weeks we will have a wrap-up sermon on the 7 churches of Revelation.
May we go in Peace, surrendering ourselves to Christ completely! Amen
Worship Service September 6, 2020 for the video click on the following https://www.facebook.com/RittmanUMC/videos/1010899306026847
Worship Service August 30, 2020 for the video click on the following linkhttps://www.facebook.com/RittmanUMC/videos/632384647409148
Worship Service August 23, 2020 for the video click on the following link https://www.facebook.com/RittmanUMC/videos/343091053549350
Worship Service August 9, 2020 for the video click on the following link https://www.facebook.com/RittmanUMC/videos/663311347607148
Our Call to Worship is “Revelation Song” recorded by Larissa Richards. https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+larissa+richards+revelation+song&docid=608037119934073127&mid=BB845D1132C1DEA7B258BB845D1132C1DEA7B258&view=detail&FORM=VIRE
Worship Service August 2, 2020 for the video click on the following link https://www.facebook.com/RittmanUMC/videos/711119986130801
Our Call to Worship is a song recorded by Larissa Richards. It is “Sing to the King” by Billy Foote & Charles Silvester Horne…. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t48czG9URaQ