Dear BLCF Friends,
Effective October 17, 2021, Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church is now open by reservation only for Sunday worship under the limitations and guidelines set by Public Health and the Board of BLCF.
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
Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church, 1307 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON.
Message for Sunday:
‘Anticipating the Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love in Christ – Second Advent Sunday: Peace’
© December 5, 2021, by Steve Mickelson
Based on Messages Shared at BLCF on December 6, 2020, December 8, 2019, and December 6, 2015
Music Special: Ryan Stevenson – Heart and Soul of Christmas (Official Lyric Video) – https://youtu.be/nEzrCN_yEvA
Announcements and Call to Worship; Prayers
Tithing and Prayer
To add to today’s celebration, BLCF Church would like to give each member of the congregation a personal copy of A Classic Christmas Caroling Songbook (Hendrickson Publishers). We will be using this songbook for today’s Advent Service and for the following Advent Sunday Services. So please remember to bring your Songbook back for the remainder of the year.
Let us give the songbook a trial. At this time the Congregation is invited to make selections from their personal copy of A Classic Christmas Caroling Songbook (Hendrickson Publishers), selections will be accompanied with the corresponding music track from the companion CD: Classic Christmas Carols – 30 Sing Along Favorites.
At this time, let us light the Second Advent Candle, to signify the Peace from the Lord:
Lighting of the Second Advent Candle: Peace
Lighting Second Advent Candle (Peace) – 1 Thessalonians 5:13b-23 (ESV):
13b Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, admonish the idle,[a] encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.
23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Footnotes: a. 1 Thessalonians 5:14 Or disorderly, or undisciplined
Message by Steve Mickelson: ‘Anticipating the Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love in Christ – Second Advent Sunday:
Let us pray…
Welcome to Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church on this the first Sunday of December 2021, which also happens to be a Communion Sunday.
Speaking of Advent, Christians today observe Two Advents of the Lord:
The first is Jesus’ birth, where he came to fulfill prophecy by his birth, his death, his resurrection, his ascension to heaven, and by his sending of the Holy Spirit to those who believe and accept him as Lord and Saviour.
We are observing the First Advent when we light candles, read Scriptures, sing hymns, say prayers and praises to commemorate God’s gifts through His Son, Jesus.
We observe the Second Advent or coming of the Lord, which has yet to take place, by observing Communion as a single Church or Body of Believers, taking the juice and bread elements of Communion.
As I mentioned before, today being the first Sunday of the month, and as the custom at BLCF Church on that first Sunday, we will like to invite the congregation to partake in the elements of Communion.
What Is Communion?
Communion began on the annual celebration of Passover when Jesus told his disciples to remember his sacrifice as they ate the bread and drank the wine. Just as Israel was celebrated the sacrifice of the Passover lamb when the angel of death passed over their homes, so believers in Jesus celebrate and remember his sacrifice of our sins when he died on the cross.
Let us read from the Scriptures, Ephesians 2:13-18 (ESV):
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
Communion – 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (ESV):
Music Special: We Believe – Lauren Daigle (with lyrics) https://youtu.be/bzmWnIHsohI
Let us continue with today’s lesson…
It was well over a year ago, before BLCF Church closed its doors due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, we had a Sunday lesson that included the Scripture’s account of the “Tower of Babel”, where a group of misguided people embarked on building a great tower towards heaven so that they might raise themselves to the same level as the Lord, as well as to elevate their own personal status among other people throughout both the world and in history. The offense of embarking upon building an edifice to their own glory instead of to their Father in heaven was so misguided and offensive to Him, that they were stricken by God with a multitude of languages, for their multitude of sins. The language barrier was so great, that the people discontinued their work on the tower and the communication differences caused the people to disperse and be scattered into obscurity.
In Secondary school, I had a Latin teacher, who often used a favorite line “non-sensibus” to comment upon a student’s error in translating a paragraph to English from Latin or Vice-Versa. We are told that Scripture is both Divinely inspired and Spiritually discerned.
Still, we find throughout the Bible numerous examples of individuals and groups performing foolish actions based upon a poor understanding of the meaning of prophecies, Commandments, Parables, and/or Covenants. Examples of such actions include: consuming forbidden fruit, building towers to access heaven, as well as many other examples of actions based upon a twisted understanding of God’s Word.
We see in today’s first Scripture verse, Micah 5:1-5 (ESV), we see, that contrary to common belief at the time, Christ Child, the newborn Messiah, shall arise from the humble town of Bethlehem, to bring an end to armies, sieges, wars, and violence, which are all sins and grievously offend God. Jesus will bring God’s peace, justice, and harmony to all the factions in and around Israel In a manner that will establish the security of peace by way of the power of the Lord. Let us review that Scripture:
The Ruler to Be Born in Bethlehem
5 [a] Now muster your troops, O daughter[b] of troops;
siege is laid against us;
with a rod they strike the judge of Israel
on the cheek.
2 [c] But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days.
3 Therefore he shall give them up until the time
when she who is in labor has given birth;
then the rest of his brothers shall return
to the people of Israel.
4 And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great
to the ends of the earth.
5 And he shall be their peace.
There are many individuals and groups today who appear to have the misguided idea that the Father in heaven is somehow subject to the whims of extreme individuals or groups and that He can be manipulated into bringing the Final Judgement if they initiate a mighty conflict. This did not happen in either of the great World Wars and will not happen in any of the pseudo-religious conflicts around the globe today. It did not work, either, in the Crusades of the middle ages or today’s COVID-19 Pandemic.
What we do know is that Christ came humbly to Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, not a mighty steed-drawn chariot of conflict. Before his birth in a humble stable, his mother traveled to a census upon the back of a donkey and that the King of Kings was born in the stable with a cattle’s hay crib as a bed. Before dying on the cross for our sins, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples in order to show that battles will only be won when God’s Word is taught with love and humility.
We see God promises to fulfill His New Covenant again to another generation’s prophet in our second Scripture verse, Haggai 2:1-9 (ESV):
The Coming Glory of the Temple
2 In the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, 2 “Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to all the remnant of the people, and say, 3 ‘Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not as nothing in your eyes? 4 Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the Lord. Be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord. Work, for I am with you, declares the Lord of hosts, 5 according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not. 6 For thus says the Lord of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. 7 And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts. 9 The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts.’”
For those of you who may have forgotten the New Covenant that the Lord promised, let us look at the third of today’s Scriptures, which pre-dates the other two, Isaiah 9:6 (ESV):
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon[a] his shoulder,
and his name shall be called[b]
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
This verse refers to the Godhead or Holy Trinity of our mighty God, Who as the Holy Spirit is a Wonderful Counselor; Who is the Maker, the Everlasting Father; and as Jesus our Savior, the Prince of Peace.
Let us pray.
Closing Music Special: Lauren Daigle – O Come O Come Emmanuel (with Lyrics) https://youtu.be/LOBcuHaKQiU
Benediction – (Philippians 4:7):
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.