Dear BLCF Friends,
Effective April 10, 2022, Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church will reopen by reservation only for Sunday worship under the limitations and guidelines set by Public Health and the Board of BLCF. In order to protect those who are vulnerable at Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship from COVID-19 Virus infection, the BLCF Board mandates that the church will be open by reservation, with the following rules:
- attendees must wear a mask while on the premises
- attendees give their contact information upon arrival
- attendees observe two meters of social distance while seated
- attendees use hand sanitizer as needed
- attendees follow any additional directions given by members of the board, while inside the church
Please be advised that both the BLCF Café Community Dinner and the BLCF Wednesday Prayer Service will continue to remain closed effective March 16, 2020, and until further notice. We pray with the administration of sufficient COVID-19 vaccinations, and following the determination of Health Canada and other Health Authorities, that the danger of the Pandemic will have subsided sufficiently, to allow BLCF to reopen safely more of our worship and outreach activities without any concern of infection to the vulnerable within our community.
– Pastor Steve
Musical Prelude: Hosanna, Loud Hosanna -Dan Swanson – https://youtu.be/nQ8VmTNaQ94
Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:
‘Guided by the Beatitudes’ – Part 1
(Part 2 – Sunday, October 23, 2022)
© October 16, 2022, by Steve Mickelson
Based on Messages shared at BLCF on August 4, 2019, February 19, 2017, June 22, 2014, and October 18, 2009
Announcements and Call to Worship; Prayer
Opening Hymn #204: There’s A Quiet Understanding; Choruses
There’s a Quiet Understanding – (Lyrics) – Christian Music Artists – https://youtu.be/BJTj8CGjJbg
Tithing & Prayer Requests: Hymn #572: Praise God from Whom All Blessings
Doxology (Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow) Instrumental – https://youtu.be/Mk4p3rihONU
Responsive Reading #664: About Spiritual Gifts (1 Corinthians 12)
Music Special: “Beatitudes” – Hillsong UNITED (cover by Wade Cambern with LYRICS) – https://youtu.be/oFGYzpqUD7E
Message by Steve Mickelson: ‘Guided by the Beatitudes’ – Part 1
Let us pray…
Welcome to Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church’s Praise and Worship Service for Sunday, October 16, 2022. For our lesson today and next Sunday, we will examine how Christians, with the help of God’s Holy Spirit, are guided along the Righteous Path, with the goal of a life that is best described as a beautiful expression of His gifts.
To understand this expression of God’s gifts of the Spirit, under His New Covenant through Jesus, let us look at the old Covenant, under the Old Law of what we refer to today as the Ten Commandments.
In spite of our sinful nature, which began in the Garden of Eden, the Bible records that God has faithfully provided mechanisms for guiding believers along the “Paths of Righteousness”.
Before the advent of Jesus, whose sacrifice on the cross, subsequent resurrection, and ascension allowed those who believe to be sanctified by the Holy Spirit, God gave the People of Israel the Ten Commandments, which we find in Exodus 20:1-17. These laws gave a nation of former slaves rules to guide the people along God’s path.
Over time, the Commandments have been expanded by the Jews into the Laws of Moses, comprising three Codes. The first Code is the 10 Commandments. The second Code consists of the Ordinances, a set of Spiritual specifications which include: a description of the Tabernacle, Holy Days, acceptable offerings, and activities or responsibilities of the priesthood. The third Code may be described as a set of Social rules governing such things as diet, sanitation, quarantine, soil conservation, taxation, marriage, slavery, etc. Many consider these comprehensive Mosaic Laws as the foundation or template of our modern legal system.
While the first Code was given by God to Moses, the second and third were a human attempt to expand or embellish the original ten by covering every possible facet of society. Most importantly, as the man-made Laws grow in number and complexity, in an attempt to address each new situation, there is a tendency to forget the importance of the original 10 Commandments and who authored them.
Jesus came not to do away with the Laws of Moses, but to fulfill them, as we read in Mathew 5:17, Jesus said not that he came to destroy the law or the prophets: but he came to fulfill them, and by his death and resurrection bring the Holy Spirit to those who believe.
Jesus did not come to end sin in the world but to take upon himself the judgment for sin, which is death. And those who receive Christ’s Gift of Salvation, also receive the Gift of God’s Holy Spirit, and the Spirit brings believers Gifts of the Spirit which are characteristics that are expressed as beatitude.
The Holy Spirit is the key to God’s plan for providing guidance to believers to keep along His path.
What is the Holy Spirit? Let us go to wikipedia.org for our Wiki bits answer.
What is the Holy Spirit?
Within mainstream Christianity the Holy Spirit is one of the three persons of the Trinity. As such he is personal and also fully God, co-equal and co-eternal with God the Father and God the Son. He is different from the Father and the Son in that he proceeds from the Father (or from the Father and the Son) as described in the Nicene Creed. His sacredness is reflected in the New Testament gospels (e.g., Mark 3:28-30, Matthew 12:30-32, and Luke 12:8-10), which proclaim blasphemy against the Holy Spirit as unforgivable.
The Holy Spirit is believed to perform specific divine functions in the life of the Christian or the church. These include:
- Conviction of sin. The Holy Spirit acts to convince the unredeemed person both of the sinfulness of their actions, and of their moral standing as sinners before God.
- Bringing to conversion. The action of the Holy Spirit is seen as an essential part of the bringing of the person to the Christian faith. The new believer is “born again of the Spirit”.
- Enabling the Christian life. The Holy Spirit is believed to dwell in the individual believers and enable them to live a righteous and faithful life. The word Paraclete is specifically applied to the Holy Spirit in this regard. A paraclete is one who intercedes on our behalf, a comforter or an advocate.
- Inspiration and interpretation of scripture. The Holy Spirit both inspires the writing of the scriptures and interprets them to the Christian and/or church.
The Holy Spirit is also believed to be active especially in the life of Jesus Christ, enabling him to fulfil his work on earth. Particular actions of the Holy Spirit include:
- Cause of his birth. According to the gospel accounts of the birth of Jesus, the “beginning of His incarnate existence”, was due to the Holy Spirit.
- Anointing him at his baptism.
- Empowerment of his ministry. The ministry of Jesus following his baptism (in which the Holy Spirit is described in the gospels as “descending on Him like a dove”) is conducted in the power and at the direction of the Holy Spirit.
And most importantly the Holy Spirit is God’s way of pouring his love into our hearts Romans 5:5(NIV): And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
As a Christian, I believe that the Holy Spirit enables direct communication with God through the discernment of God’s will. The Holy Spirit guides and empowers. But what can a believer do to draw closer to our Lord, to facilitate or augment the Holy Spirit’s guidance in our lives?
God, through the Holy Spirit, makes available to us what is described as the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit is described by the apostle Paul in Galatians 5:22-23:
“The fruit of the Spirit is charity, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
The Fruit of the Spirit which includes charity, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, is gifted by the Holy Spirit and is free, “not of works, lest anyone should boast.” To grow the fruit of the Spirit does require a conscious effort on our part as believers. For any of you who have grown fruit in the garden, you must realize that it takes time, you may not get fruit in the first season. You must plant, water, prune, fertilize, spray, and protect a tree. You must provide the right soil and climate to allow the fruit to grow and prosper. And you must be persistent and patient to see fruit grow and mature.
You may ask what are some concrete examples or evidence of Spiritual Fruit.
Jesus began his Sermon on the Mount with eight statements, known as the Beatitudes, which may be considered overt expressions of the Spirit’s Fruit, as we read in Matthew 5:3-11:
Matthew 5:1-11 (ESV): The Sermon on the Mount
5 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
Footnotes: a. Matthew 5:9 Greek huioi; see Preface
Some Biblical scholars consider the 9th Beatitude as part of the 8th one.
I was fortunate to attend a high school in Richmond Hill which had no bells between classes. If you were absent you wrote your own notes to sign yourself in or out. The expectation was if a student were given responsibility, he or she would grow and mature if the rules of conduct were minimized.
The slogan of Langstaff Secondary School was and is “Maturity through Responsibility”. As believers in Christ, God has removed the old rules or laws and provided, through the Holy Spirit, a beautiful and simple way for us to grow and mature, by accepting the responsibility of our spiritual maturity. He has given us his Beatitudes which each of us may use to measure our spiritual growth on a personal level. By doing so we may grow and develop our fruit of the Spirit and draw closer to his presence with the help of the Holy Spirit.
However, the Fruit of the Spirit is given through salvation, which the gift of the Holy Spirit is free, not of works, lest anyone should boast. To grow the fruit of the Spirit does require a conscious effort on our part as believers. For any of you who have grown fruit in the garden, you must realize that it takes time, you may not get fruit in the first season. You must plant, water, prune, fertilize, spray, and protect a tree. You must provide the right soil and climate to allow the fruit to grow and prosper. And you must be persistent and patient to see fruit grow and mature.
People work their entire lives to achieve wealth, fame, and power, which may bring material rewards. Christians believe, that they must live by a code of conduct outlined in the Beatitudes and pursue righteous lives in order to develop the quality of character which God wants His followers to have so that they will ultimately be blessed with an eternity in Heaven.
Let us pray…
Closing Music Special: The Beatitudes Song – (Lyrics) – Provided to YouTube by Catapult Reservatory, LLC · Brook Hills Worship · Matt Mason · Mandi Mapes Kottas – https://youtu.be/5yxs5wFpnGg
Benediction (Numbers 6:24-26):
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Know Jesus – Know Peace!