January 16, 2022

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, January 16, 2022

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Sunday, January 16, 2022

Join us live on our Facebook or YouTube page beginning at 10:30 a.m.

Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “In Christ Alone”
Words and music: Keith Getty and Stuart Townend.

In Christ alone my hope is found; He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace when fears are stilled, when strivings cease.
My Comforter, my All in All; here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, who took on flesh; fullness of God in helpless babe.
This gift of love and righteousness scorned by the ones He came to save;
’til on that cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied;
for every sin on Him was laid; here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay; Light of the world by darkness slain.
Then, bursting forth in glorious Day, up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory, sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
for I am His and He is mine, bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me.
From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand;
’til He returns or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I’ll stand!

Hymn: “And Can It Be?”
Words: Charles Wesley. Music: Thomas Campbell.

And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain? For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be that Thou, my God, should die for me?
Amazing love! how can it be that Thou, my God, should die for me!

He left His Father’s throne above, so free, so infinite His grace;
emptied Himself to show His love, and bled for Adam’s helpless race.
’Tis mercy all, immense and free; for, O my God, it found out me.
Amazing love! how can it be that Thou, my God, should die for me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray, I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free; I rose, went forth and followed Thee.
Amazing love! how can it be that Thou, my God, should die for me!

No condemnation now I dread; Jesus, and all in Him is mine!
Alive in Him, my living Head, and clothed in righteousness divine;
bold I approach the eternal throne, and claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Amazing love! how can it be that Thou, my God, should die for me!

Hymn: “Come, Behold the Wondrous Mystery”
Words and music: Matt Papa, Matt Boswell, and Michael Bleecker.

Come behold the wondrous mystery, in the dawning of the King;
He the theme of heaven’s praises, robed in frail humanity.
In our longing, in our darkness, now the light of life has come;
look to Christ, who condescended, took on flesh to ransom us.

Come behold the wondrous mystery, He the perfect Son of Man;
in His living, in His suffering never trace nor stain of sin.
See the true and better Adam, come to save the hell-bound man;
Christ, the great and sure fulfillment of the law; in Him we stand.

Come behold the wondrous mystery, Christ the Lord upon the tree,
in the stead of ruined sinners, hangs the Lamb in victory.
See the price of our redemption, see the Father’s plan unfold;
bringing many sons to glory, grace unmeasured, love untold.

Come behold the wondrous mystery, slain by death the God of life;
but no grave could e’er restrain Him, praise the Lord, He is alive!
What a foretaste of deliverance, how unwavering our hope;
Christ in power resurrected, as we will be when he comes.

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “Reversing Adam”
Genesis 3:1–15 (ESV)
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

14 The Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
15  I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”

Hymn: “O Fount of Love”
Words and music by Matt Boswell and Matt Papa

O fount of love divine that flows from my Savior’s bleeding side
Where sinners trade their filthy rags for His righteousness applied.
Mercy cleansing ev’ry stain, now rushing o’er us like a flood;
There the wretch and vilest ones stand adopted through His blood.

O mount of grace to Thee we cling, from the law hath set us free.
Once and for all on Calv’ry’s hill, love and justice shall agree.
Praise the Lord! The price is paid, the curse defeated by the Lamb.
We who once were slaves by birth, sons and daughters now we stand.

O well of joy is mine to drink, for my Lord has conquered death.,
Victorious forevermore, the ancient foe is laid to rest.
Hallelujah! Christ is King, alive and reigning on the throne;
Our tongues employed with hymns of praise: Glory be to God alone.

Hallelujah! Christ is King, alive and reigning on the throne;
Our tongues employed with hymns of praise: Glory be to God alone.

Benediction
Romans 16:20 (ESV)
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

 

 

January 9, 2022

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, January 9, 2022.

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “O Worship the King”
Words by Robert Grant. Music by Johann Michael Haydn.

O worship the King all-glorious above,
and gratefully sing His wonderful love:
our shield and defender, the Ancient of Days,
pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise.

O tell of His might, O sing of His grace,
whose robe is the light, whose canopy space.
His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
and dark is His path on the wings of the storm.

Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
it streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
and sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.

Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
in Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail.
Thy mercies, how tender, how firm to the end,
our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend!

Hymn: “O Church, Arise”
Words and music: Keith Getty and Stuart Townend.

O church, arise, and put your armor on;
hear the call of Christ our captain;
for now the weak can say that they are strong
in the strength that God has given.
With shield of faith and belt of truth
we’ll stand against the devil’s lies;
an army bold, whose battle cry is “Love!”
reaching out to those in darkness.

Our call to war, to love the captive soul,
but to rage against the captor;
and with the sword that makes the wounded whole,
we will fight with faith and valor.
When faced with trials on every side,
we know the outcome is secure.
and Christ will have the prize for which He died:
an inheritance of nations.

Come, see the cross, where love and mercy meet,
as the Son of God is stricken;
then see His foes lie crushed beneath His feet,
for the Conqueror has risen!
And as the stone is rolled away,
and Christ emerges from the grave,
this victory march continues till the day
ev’ry eye and heart shall see Him.

So Spirit, come, put strength in every stride,
give grace for every hurdle,
that we may run with faith to win the prize
of a servant good and faithful.
As saints of old still line the way,
retelling triumphs of His grace,
we hear their calls, and hunger for the day
when, with Christ, we stand in glory.

Song: “This Is Amazing Grace”
Words and Music: Phil Wickham, Jeremy Riddle, and Josh Farro.

Who breaks the power of sin and darkness,
whose love is mighty and so much stronger?
The King of glory, the King above all kings.
Who shakes the whole earth with holy thunder
and leaves us breathless in awe and wonder?
The King of glory, the King above all kings.

This is amazing grace, this is unfailing love,
that You would take my place, that You would bear my cross.
You laid down Your life that I would be set free.
Oh, Jesus, I sing for all that You’ve done for me.

Who brings our chaos back into order,
who makes the orphan a son and daughter?
The King of glory, the King of glory.
Who rules the nations with truth and justice,
shines like the sun in all of its brilliance?
The King of glory, the King above all kings.

This is amazing grace, this is unfailing love,
that You would take my place, that You would bear my cross.
You laid down Your life that I would be set free.
Oh, Jesus, I sing for all that You’ve done for me.

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave.
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave.
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave.
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!
Worthy, worthy, worthy!

This is amazing grace, this is unfailing love,
that You would take my place, that You would bear my cross.
You laid down Your life that I would be set free.
Oh, Jesus, I sing for all that You’ve done for me.

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “Kiss the Son”

Psalm 2 (ESV)

Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.”

I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

10  Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11  Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
12  Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Hymn: “Hail to the Lord’s Anointed”
Words: James Montgomery. Music: German: “Es Flog Ein Kleins Waldvöglein.”

Hail to the Lord’s Anointed, great David’s greater Son!
Hail in the time appointed, Your reign on earth begun!
You come to break oppression, to set the captive free;
to take away transgression, and rule in equity.

You come with rescue speedy to those who suffer wrong,
to help the poor and needy, and bid the weak be strong;
to give them songs for sighing, their darkness turn to light,
whose souls, condemned and dying, are precious in Your sight.

You shall come down like showers upon the fruitful earth;
love, joy, and hope, like flowers, spring in Your path to birth.
Before You on the mountains, shall peace, the herald, go,
and righteousness, in fountains, from hill to valley flow.

Kings shall fall down before You and gold and incense bring;
all nations shall adore You, Your praise all people sing,
to You shall prayer unceasing and daily vows ascend,
Your kingdom still increasing, a kingdom without end.

Benediction

2 Thessalonians 3:16 (ESV)
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.

 

January 2, 2022

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, January 2, 2022

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “All Glory Be to Christ”
Words: Dustin Kensrue. Music: Traditional Scottish tune (“Auld Lang Syne”).

Should nothing of our efforts stand, no legacy survive;
unless the Lord does raise the house, in vain its builders strive.

To you who boast tomorrow’s gain, tell me what is your life?
A mist that vanishes at dawn, all glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our King! All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign will ever sing, all glory be to Christ!

His will be done, His kingdom come, on earth as is above;
Who is Himself our daily bread, praise Him the Lord of love.

Let living water satisfy the thirsty without price,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet, all glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our King! All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign will ever sing, all glory be to Christ!

When on the day the great I Am, the Faithful and the True,
the Lamb who was for sinners slain, is making all things new.

Behold our God shall live with us and be our steadfast light,
and we shall e’er His people be, all glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our King! All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign will ever sing, all glory be to Christ!

Hymn: “The King of Love My Shepherd Is”
Words by Henry Williams Baker, set to a traditional Irish melody

The King of love my Shepherd is, whose goodness faileth never;
I nothing lack if I am His, and He is mine forever.

Where streams of living water flow my ransomed soul He leadeth,
and where the verdant pastures grow, with food celestial feedeth.

Perverse and foolish, oft I strayed, but yet in love He sought me;
and on His shoulder gently laid, and home, rejoicing, brought me.

In death’s dark vale I fear no ill, with You, dear Lord, beside me;
Your rod and staff my comfort still, Your cross before to guide me.

You spread a table in my sight; Your saving grace bestowing;
and O, what transport of delight from Your pure chalice flowing!

And so through all the length of days Your goodness fails me never.
Good Shepherd, may I sing Your praise within Your house forever.

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “Blessed Is the Man”

Psalm 1 (ESV)

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

Hymn: “O Fount of Love”
Words and music by Matt Boswell and Matt Papa

O fount of love divine that flows from my Savior’s bleeding side
Where sinners trade their filthy rags for His righteousness applied.
Mercy cleansing ev’ry stain, now rushing o’er us like a flood;
There the wretch and vilest ones stand adopted through His blood.

O mount of grace to Thee we cling, from the law hath set us free.
Once and for all on Calv’ry’s hill, love and justice shall agree.
Praise the Lord! The price is paid, the curse defeated by the Lamb.
We who once were slaves by birth, sons and daughters now we stand.

O well of joy is mine to drink, for my Lord has conquered death.,
Victorious forevermore, the ancient foe is laid to rest.
Hallelujah! Christ is King, alive and reigning on the throne;
Our tongues employed with hymns of praise: Glory be to God alone.

Hallelujah! Christ is King, alive and reigning on the throne;
Our tongues employed with hymns of praise: Glory be to God alone.

The Lord’s Supper

Hymn: “There Is a Fountain”
Words by William Cowper, music: early American melody

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins,
and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains:
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in His day;
and there may I, though vile as he, wash all my sins away:
wash all my sins away, wash all my sins away;
and there may I, though vile as he, wash all my sins away.

E’er since by faith I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die:
and shall be till I die, and shall be till I die;
redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.

When this poor, lisping, stamm’ring tongue lies silent in the grave,
then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Your pow’r to save:
I’ll sing Your pow’r to save, I’ll sing Your pow’r to save;
then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Your pow’r to save.

Benediction

Hebrews 13:20–21 (ESV)

20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

 

December 26, 2021

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, December 26, 2021

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “Angels We Have Heard on High”
Traditional French Carol.

Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o’er the plains;
and the mountains in reply, echo back their joyous strains.

Gloria in excelsis Deo!
Gloria in excelsis Deo!

Shepherds, why this jubilee? Why your joyous strains prolong?
Say what may the tidings be which inspire your heav’nly song?

Gloria in excelsis Deo!
Gloria in excelsis Deo!

Come to Bethlehem, and see Him whose birth the angels sing;
come, adore on bended knee, Christ the Lord, the newborn King.

Gloria in excelsis Deo!
Gloria in excelsis Deo!

See within a manger laid Jesus, Lord of heaven and earth!
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid, with us sing our Savior’s birth.

Gloria in excelsis Deo!
Gloria in excelsis Deo!

Hymn: “Angels, from the Realms of Glory”
Words: James Montgomery. Music: Henry T. Smart.

Angels, from the realms of glory, wing your flight o’er all the earth;
ye who sang creation’s story now proclaim Messiah’s birth:
Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King!

Shepherds, in the fields abiding, watching o’er your flocks by night,
God with man is now residing; yonder shines the infant Light:
Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King!

Sages, leave your contemplations, brighter visions beam afar;
seek the great Desire of nations; ye have seen the Infant’s star:
Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King!

Though an Infant now we view Him, He shall fill His Father’s throne;
gather all the nations to Him; ev’ry knee shall then bow down:
Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King!

Hymn: “It Came upon the Midnight Clear”
Words: Edmund H. Sears. Music: Richard S. Willis.

It came upon the midnight clear, that glorious song of old,
from angels bending near the earth, to touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, goodwill to men from heavens all gracious King!”
The world in solemn stillness lay to hear the angels sing.

Yet with the woes of sin and strife the world has suffered long,
beneath the angel strain have rolled two thousand years of wrong;
and man, at war with man, hears not the love song which they bring:
O hush the noise, ye men of strife, and hear the angels sing!

All ye, beneath life’s crushing load, whose forms are bending low,
who toil along the climbing way with painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing:
O rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing.

For lo! the days are hastening on, by prophets seen of old,
when with the ever-circling years comes round the age of gold;
When peace shall over all the earth its ancient splendors fling,
And the whole world give back the song which now the angels sing.

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “Good News of Great Joy”
Luke 2:8–20 (ESV)

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14  “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Hymn: “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing”

Words: Charles Wesley. Music: Felix Mendelssohn.

Hark the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King;
peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies;
with the angelic host proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ by highest heav’n adored; Christ, the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come, offspring of the Virgin’s womb:
veiled in flesh the Godhead see; hail the incarnate Deity,
pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail, the heav’n-born Prince of Peace! Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings, ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by, born that man no more may die,
born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth.
Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Hymn: “Go, Tell It on the Mountain”
Words: John W. Work Jr. Music: Spiritual, harmonized by John W. Work III.

Go, tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere;
go, tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born.

While shepherds kept their watching o’er silent flocks by night,
behold throughout the heavens there shone a holy light

Go, tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere;
go, tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born.

The shepherds feared and trembled when lo! above the earth
rang out the angel chorus that hailed our Savior’s birth.

Go, tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere;
go, tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born.

Down in a lowly manger the humble Christ was born,
and God sent us salvation that blessed Christmas morn.

Go, tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere;
go, tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born.

Benediction
2 Corinthians 13:14 (ESV)
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

 

December 24, 2021

Here is the worship guide for Friday, December 24, 2021

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “Once in Royal David’s City”
Words: Cecil F. Alexander. Music: Henry J. Gauntlett.

Once in royal David’s city stood a lowly cattle shed,
where a mother laid her Baby, in a manger for His bed:
Mary was that mother mild, Jesus Christ, her little Child.

He came down to earth from heaven, Who is God and Lord of all,
and His shelter was a stable, and His cradle was a stall:
with the poor, and mean, and lowly, lived on earth our Savior holy.

Jesus is our childhood’s pattern; day by day like us He grew;
He was little, weak, and helpless, tears and smiles like us He knew;
and He feeleth for our sadness, and He shareth in our gladness.

And our eyes at last shall see Him, through His own redeeming love;
for that Child so dear and gentle, is our Lord in heaven above:
and He leads His children on to the place where He is gone.

Hymn: “O Come, All Ye Faithful”
Words: Latin Hymn, ascribed to John Francis Wade. Music: John Francis Wade.

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant;
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem!
Come and behold Him, born the King of angels!

O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!

God of God, Light of Light eternal,
lo, he abhors not the virgin’s womb;
very God, begotten, not created;

O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!

Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation;
O sing, all ye citizens of heav’n above!
Glory to God, all glory in the highest!

O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be all glory giv’n;
Word of the Father, now in the flesh appearing!

O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!

Hymn: “O Little Town of Bethlehem”
Words: Phillips Brooks. Music: Lewis H. Redner.

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by;
yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above,
while mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wond’ring love.
O morning stars together proclaim the holy birth,
and praises sing to God the King, and Peace to men on earth!

How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive Him, still the dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray!
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today!
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Immanuel!

Sermon: “The City of David”
Luke 2:1–7 (ESV)

1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Hymn: “The First Noel”
Words: Traditional English Carol. Music: Traditional English Carol.

The First Noel the Angel did say,
was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay;
in fields where they lay keeping their sheep,
On a cold winter’s night that was so deep.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel!

They looked up and saw a star
shining in the East beyond them far;
and to the earth it gave great light,
and so it continued both day and night.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel!

And by the light of that same star
the wise men came from country far;
to seek for a King was their intent,
and to follow the star wherever it went.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel!

Then let us all with one accord
sing praises to our heavenly Lord
Who hath made Heaven and earth of naught,
and with his blood mankind hath bought.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel!

Hymn: “Joy Has Dawned”
Words and music: Keith Getty and Stuart Townend.

Joy has dawned upon the world, promised from creation—
God’s salvation now unfurled, hope for ev’ry nation.
Not with fanfares from above. not with scenes of glory,
but a humble gift of love—Jesus born of Mary.

Sounds of wonder fill the sky with the songs of angels
as the mighty Prince of life shelters in a stable.
Hands that set each star in place, shaped the earth in darkness,
cling now to a mother’s breast, vuln’rable and helpless.

Shepherds bow before the Lamb, gazing at the glory;
gifts of men from distant lands prophesy the story.
Gold—a King is born today, incense—God is with us,
Myrrh—His death will make a way. and by His blood He’ll win us.

Son of Adam, Son of heaven, given as a ransom;
reconciling God and man; Christ, our mighty champion!
What a Savior! What a Friend! What a glorious myst’ry!
Once a babe in Bethlehem, now the Lord of hist’ry.

Lighting of Candles

Hymn: “Silent Night, Holy Night”
Words: Joseph Mayr. Music: Franz Gruber.

Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright
round yon virgin mother and Child! Holy Infant so tender and mild,
sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night, shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar, heavenly hosts sing: “Alleluia!”.
Christ, the Savior is born, Christ, the Savior is born

Silent night, holy night, Son of God, love’s pure light.
Radiant beams from Thy holy face with the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth, Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.

Benediction

May God grant you the grace to be like the wise men, making every effort to worship King Jesus.
May Jesus, the Prince of Peace, grant you peace as you come to him.
May the Holy Spirit fill your heart with the love of God.
Merry Christmas. Go in peace.

 

December 19, 2021

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, December 19, 2021

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming”
Words: 15th century German hymn; translated by T. Baker and K. Spaeth.
Music: German hymn.

Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming, as men of old have sung.
It came, a flower bright, amid the cold of winter,
when half-gone was the night.

Isaiah ’twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind;
with Mary we behold it, the Virgin Mother kind.
To show God’s love aright she bore to men a Savior,
when half-gone was the night.

This Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere;
true man, yet very God, from sin and death He saves us,
and lightens every load.

Hymn: “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing”
Words: Charles Wesley. Music: Felix Mendelssohn.

Hark the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King;
peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies;
with the angelic host proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ by highest heav’n adored; Christ, the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come, offspring of the Virgin’s womb:
veiled in flesh the Godhead see; hail the incarnate Deity,
pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail, the heav’n-born Prince of Peace! Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings, ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by, born that man no more may die,
born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth.
Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Hymn: “Fullness of Grace”
Words and music: Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, and Stuart Townend.

Fullness of Grace in man’s human frailty; this is the wonder of Jesus.
Laying aside His power and glory, humbly He entered our world.
Chose the path of meanest worth; scandal of a virgin birth.
Born in a stable, cold and rejected: here lies the hope of the world.

Fullness of grace, the love of the Father shown in the face of Jesus.
Stooping to bear the weight of humanity, walking the Calvary road.
Christ the holy innocent took our sin and punishment.
Fullness of God, despised and rejected: crushed for the sins of the world.

Fullness of hope in Christ we had longed for, promise of God in Jesus.
Through His obedience we are forgiven, opening the floodgates of heav’n.
All our hopes and dreams we bring gladly as an offering.
Fullness of life and joy unspeakable: God’s gift in love to the world.

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “The Virgin Shall Conceive”

Isaiah 7:10–17 (ESV)

10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz: 11 “Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” 12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.” 13 And he said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. 15 He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. 16 For before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted. 17 The Lord will bring upon you and upon your people and upon your father’s house such days as have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah—the king of Assyria!”

Luke 1:26–38 (ESV)

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Matthew 1:18–25 (ESV)

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23  “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,

and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

Hymn: “Thou Who Wast Rich”
Words: Frank Houghton. Music: French Carol “Quelle Est Cette Odeur Agreable.”

Thou who wast rich beyond all splendor, a
all for love’s sake becamest poor;
thrones for a manger didst surrender,
sapphire-paved courts for stable floor.
Thou who wast rich beyond all splendor,
All for love’s sake becamest poor.

Thou who art God beyond all praising,
all for love’s sake becamest man;
stooping so low, but sinners raising
heavenward by Thine eternal plan.
Thou who art God beyond all praising,
All for love’s sake becamest man.

Thou who art love beyond all telling,
Savior and King, we worship thee.
Emmanuel, within us dwelling,
make us what Thou wouldst have us be.
Thou who art love beyond all telling,
Savior and King, we worship Thee.

Benediction

2 Thessalonians 3:16 (ESV)
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.

 

December 5, 2021

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, December 5, 2021

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus”
Words by Charles Wesley, music by Rowland H. Prichard

Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth Thou art;
dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever, now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit rule in all our hearts alone;
by Thine all sufficient merit, raise us to Thy glorious throne.

Hymn: “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”
Words: Latin Hymn, trans. J. M. Neale, H. S. Coffin. Additional words by S. Cook, B. Kauflin.
Music: Plainsong (“Veni Emmanuel”)

O Come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear.

O Come, Thou, Dayspring from on high and cause Thy light on us to rise;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night and death’s dark shadow put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O Come, O come, true prophet of the Lord, and turn the key to heaven’s door;
be Thou our comforter and guide and lead us to the Father’s side.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall by His word our darkness dispel.

O come, our great High Priest, and intercede; Thy sacrifice, our only plea;
the judgment we no longer fear; Thy precious blood has brought us near.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel has banished every fear of hell.

O come, Thou King of nations bring an end to all our suffering;
bid every pain and sorrow cease; and reign now as our Prince of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel, Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel,
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come again with us to dwell.

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “Wait for the Lord”

Genesis 3:14–15 (ESV)

14 The Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
15  I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”

Genesis 12:1–3 (ESV)

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Genesis 22:1–8 (ESV)

1 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.

Genesis 22:15–18 (ESV)

15 And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

Genesis 49:8–10 (ESV)

“Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
your father’s sons shall bow down before you.
Judah is a lion’s cub;
from the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He stooped down; he crouched as a lion
and as a lioness; who dares rouse him?
10  The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him;
and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

Hymn: “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us”
Words and Music: Stuart Townend.

How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure,
that He should give His only Son to make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss, the Father turns His face away
as wounds which mar the Chosen One bring many sons to glory.

Behold the Man upon a cross, my sin upon His shoulders.
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there until it was accomplished.
His dying breath has brought me life, I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything, no gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer;
But this I know with all my heart, His wounds have paid my ransom.

The Lord’s Supper

Hymn: “There Is a Fountain”
Words by William Cowper, music: early American melody

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins,
and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains:
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in His day;
and there may I, though vile as he, wash all my sins away:
wash all my sins away, wash all my sins away;
and there may I, though vile as he, wash all my sins away.

E’er since by faith I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die:
and shall be till I die, and shall be till I die;
redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.

When this poor, lisping, stamm’ring tongue lies silent in the grave,
then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Your pow’r to save:
I’ll sing Your pow’r to save, I’ll sing Your pow’r to save;
then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Your pow’r to save.

Benediction
Psalm 31:23–24 (ESV)

23  Love the Lord, all you his saints!
The Lord preserves the faithful
but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
24  Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
all you who wait for the Lord!

 

November 28, 2021

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, November 28, 2021

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Song: “Not in Me”
Word and music: Eric Schumacher and David L. Ward.

No list of sins I have not done, no list of virtues I pursue,
no list of those I am not like, can earn myself a place with You.
O God! Be merciful to me; I am a sinner through and through.
My only hope of righteousness is not in me, but only You.

No humble dress, no fervent prayer, no lifted hands, no tearful song,
no recitation of the truth can justify a single wrong.
My righteousness is Jesus’ life; my debt was paid by Jesus’ death.
My weary load was borne by Him and He alone can give me rest.

No separation from the world, no work I do, no gift I give,
can cleanse my conscience, cleanse my hands; I cannot cause my soul to live.
But Jesus died and rose again; the pow’r of death is overthrown!
My God is merciful to me and merciful in Christ alone.

My righteousness is Jesus’ life; my debt was paid by Jesus’ death.
My weary load was borne by Him and He alone can give me rest.

Hymn: “Rock of Ages”
Words: August M. Toplady. Music: Thomas Hastings.

Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee;
let the water and the blood,  from thy wounded side which flowed,
be of sin the double cure; cleanse me from its guilt and pow’r.

Not the labors of my hands can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
could my zeal no respite know, could my tears forever flow,
all for sin could not atone; Thou must save, and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling;
naked, come to Thee for dress; helpless, look to Thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly; wash me, Savior, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath, when my eyes shall close in death,
when I soar to worlds unknown, see Thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee.

Hymn: “Grace Greater Than Our Sin”
Words: Julia H. Johnston. Music: Daniel B. Towner.

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt,
yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
there where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
threaten the soul with infinite loss;
grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
points to the refuge, the mighty cross.

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide;
what can avail to wash it away?
Look, there is flowing a crimson tide;
whiter than snow you may be today.

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
will you this moment His grace receive?

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “Good Works”
Titus 3:1–15 (ESV)

1 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

12 When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13 Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. 14 And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.

15 All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith.

Grace be with you all.

Song: “All I Have Is Christ”
Words and music: Jordan Kauflin.

I once was lost in darkest night, yet thought I knew the way.
The sin that promised joy and life had led me to the grave.
I had no hope that You would own a rebel to Your will.
And if You had not loved me first, I would refuse You still.

But as I ran my hell-bound race, indifferent to the cost,
You looked upon my helpless state and led me to the cross.
And I beheld God’s love displayed, You suffered in my place.
You bore the wrath reserved for me, now all I know is grace.

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ.
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life.
Hallelujah! All I have is Christ.
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life.

Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone, and live so all might see
the strength to follow Your commands could never come from me.
Oh, Father, use my ransomed life in any way You choose,
and let my song forever be my only boast is You.

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ.
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life.
Hallelujah! All I have is Christ.
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life.

Benediction
2 Thessalonians 2:16–17 (ESV)

16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

 

November 21, 2021

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, November 21, 2021

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “In Christ Alone”
Words and music: Keith Getty and Stuart Townend.

In Christ alone my hope is found; He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace when fears are stilled, when strivings cease.
My Comforter, my All in All; here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, who took on flesh; fullness of God in helpless babe.
This gift of love and righteousness scorned by the ones He came to save;
’til on that cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied;
for every sin on Him was laid; here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay; Light of the world by darkness slain.
Then, bursting forth in glorious Day, up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory, sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
for I am His and He is mine, bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me.
From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand;
’til He returns or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I’ll stand!

Hymn: “Amazing Grace”
Words: John Newton. Music: “Virginia Harmony.”

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved;
how precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed!

Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come:
’tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me, his word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun,
we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we first begun.

Hymn: “My Heart Is Filled with Thankfulness”
Words and music by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

My heart is filled with thankfulness to Him who bore my pain,
Who plumbed the depths of my disgrace and gave me life again,
Who crushed my curse of sinfulness and clothed me in His light,
And wrote His law of righteousness with pow’r upon my heart.

My heart is filled with thankfulness to Him who walks beside,
Who floods my weaknesses and strengths and causes fears to fly,
Whose ev’ry promise is enough for ev’ry step I take,
Sustaining me with arms of love and crowning me with grace.

My heart is filled with thankfulness to him who reigns above,
Whose wisdom is my perfect peace, whose ev’ry thought is love.
For ev’ry day I have on earth is given by the King;
So I will give my life, my all, to love and follow him.

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “Our Blessed Hope”

Titus 2:11–15 (ESV)

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

Hymn: “There Is a Redeemer”
Words and music: Melody Green.

There is a Redeemer—Jesus, God’s own Son;
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah, Holy One.

Thank You, O my Father, for giving us Your Son,
and leaving Your Spirit, till the work on earth is done.

Jesus my Redeemer, name above all names;
precious Lamb of God, Messiah, Hope for sinners slain.

Thank You, O my Father, for giving us Your Son,
and leaving Your Spirit, till the work on earth is done.

When I stand in Glory, I will see His face;
there I’ll serve my King forever in that Holy Place.

Thank You, O my Father, for giving us Your Son,
and leaving Your Spirit, till the work on earth is done.

Benediction

1 Thessalonians 5:23–24, 28

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. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

 

November 14, 2021

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, November 14, 2021

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”
Words: Robert Robinson. Music: traditional American melody.

Come, Thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet, sung by flaming tongues above;
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it, mount of Thy redeeming love.

Hither to Thy love has blest me; Thou has brought me to this place;
And I know Thy hand will bring me safely home by Thy good grace.
Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God,
He, to rescue me from danger, bought me with His precious blood.

Oh, to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning, I shall see Thy lovely face,
Clothed then in the blood-washed linen how I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace.
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry, take my ransomed soul away;
Send Thine angels now to carry me to realms of endless day.

Hymn: “My Worth Is Not in What I Own”
Words and music by Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, and Graham Kendrick

My worth is not in what I own, not in the strength of flesh and bone,
but in the costly wounds of love at the cross.

My worth is not in skill or name, in win or lose, in pride or shame,
but in the blood of Christ that flowed at the cross.

I rejoice in my Redeemer, Greatest Treasure, Wellspring of my soul,
I will trust in Him, no other; my soul is satisfied in Him alone.

As summer flowers we fade and die; fame, youth, and beauty hurry by,
but life eternal calls to us at the cross.

I will not boast in wealth or might, or human wisdom’s fleeting light,
but I will boast in knowing Christ at the cross.

I rejoice in my Redeemer, Greatest Treasure, Wellspring of my soul,
I will trust in Him, no other; my soul is satisfied in Him alone.

Two wonders here that I confess: my worth and my unworthiness,
my value fixed, my ransom paid at the cross.

Hymn: “Oh, How Good It Is”
Words and music by Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, Ross Holmes, and Stuart Townend

Oh, how good it is when the family of God
dwells together in spirit in faith and unity.
Where the bonds of peace, of acceptance and love
are the fruits of His presence here among us.

So with one voice we’ll sing to the Lord;
and with one heart we’ll live out His Word.
Till the whole earth sees the Redeemer has come,
for He dwells in the presence of His people.

Oh, how good it is on this journey we share
to rejoice with the happy and weep with those who mourn.
For the weak find strength, the afflicted find grace
when we offer the blessing of belonging.

So with one voice we’ll sing to the Lord;
and with one heart we’ll live out His Word.
Till the whole earth sees the Redeemer has come,
for He dwells in the presence of His people.

Oh, how good it is to embrace His command
to prefer one another, forgive as He forgives.
When we live as one, we all share in the love
of the Son with the Father and the Spirit.

So with one voice we’ll sing to the Lord;
and with one heart we’ll live out His Word.
Till the whole earth sees the Redeemer has come,
for He dwells in the presence of His people.

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “Sound Doctrine”
Titus 2:1–10 (ESV)

1 But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

Hymn: “May the Mind of Christ My Savior”
Words: Kate B. Wilkinson. Music: A. Cyril Barham-Gould.

May the mind of Christ, my Savior, live in me from day to day,
by His love and power controlling all I do and say.

May the Word of God dwell richly in my heart from hour to hour,
so that all may see I triumph only through His power.

May the peace of God my Father rule my life in everything,
that I may be calm to comfort sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me as the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing: this is victory.

May I run the race before me, strong and brave to face the foe,
looking only unto Jesus as I onward go.

May His beauty rest upon me as I seek the lost to win;
And may they forget the channel, seeing only Him.

Benediction: Ephesians 6:23–24 (ESV)

23 Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.

 

November 7, 2021

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, November 7, 2021

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart”
Words: Edward J. Plumptre. Music: Arthur H. Messiter.

Rejoice, ye pure in heart, rejoice, give thanks, and sing.
Your festal banner wave on high, the cross of Christ your King.
Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice, give thanks, and sing!

Bright youth and snow-crowned age, both men and women, raise
on high your free, exulting song, declare God’s wondrous praise.
Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice, give thanks, and sing!

Still lift your standard high, still chanting as you go,
from youth to age, by night and day, in gladness and in woe.
Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice, give thanks, and sing!

Praise God, who reigns on high, the Lord whom we adore:
the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, one God forevermore.
Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice, give thanks, and sing!

Hymn: “O Church, Arise”
Words and music: Keith Getty and Stuart Townend.

O church, arise, and put your armor on;
hear the call of Christ our captain;
for now the weak can say that they are strong
in the strength that God has given.
With shield of faith and belt of truth
we’ll stand against the devil’s lies;
an army bold, whose battle cry is “Love!”
reaching out to those in darkness.

Our call to war, to love the captive soul,
but to rage against the captor;
and with the sword that makes the wounded whole,
we will fight with faith and valor.
When faced with trials on every side,
we know the outcome is secure.
and Christ will have the prize for which He died:
an inheritance of nations.

Come, see the cross, where love and mercy meet,
as the Son of God is stricken;
then see His foes lie crushed beneath His feet,
for the Conqueror has risen!
And as the stone is rolled away,
and Christ emerges from the grave,
this victory march continues till the day
ev’ry eye and heart shall see Him.

So Spirit, come, put strength in every stride,
give grace for every hurdle,
that we may run with faith to win the prize
of a servant good and faithful.
As saints of old still line the way,
retelling triumphs of His grace,
we hear their calls, and hunger for the day
when, with Christ, we stand in glory.

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “Rebuke Them Sharply”
Titus 1:10–16 (ESV)

10 For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. 11 They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. 12 One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

Hymn: “The Communion Hymn”
Words and music: Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, and Stuart Townend.

Behold the Lamb who bears our sins away, slain for us, and we remember
the promise made that all who come in faith find forgiveness at the cross.
So we share in this bread of life, and we drink of His sacrifice
as a sign of our bonds of peace around the table of the King.

The body of our Savior Jesus Christ, torn for you, eat and remember
the wounds that heal, the death that brings us life paid the price to make us one.
So we share in this bread of life, and we drink of His sacrifice
as a sign of our bonds of love around the table of the King.

The blood that cleanses every stain of sin, shed for you, drink and remember
He drained death’s cup that all may enter in to receive the life of God.
So we share in this bread of life, and we drink of His sacrifice
as a sign of our bonds of grace around the table of the King.

And so with thankfulness and faith we rise to respond, and to remember
our call to follow in the steps of Christ as His body here on earth.
As we share in His suffering we proclaim Christ will come again!

And we’ll join in the feast of heaven around the table of the King.

The Lord’s Supper

Song: “Man of Sorrows”
Words and Music: Matt Crocker and Brooke Ligertwood

Man of sorrows, Lamb of God, by His own betrayed.
The sin of man and wrath of God has been on Jesus laid.

Silent as He stood accused, beaten, mocked, and scorned.
Bowing to the Father’s will, He took a crown of thorns.

Oh, that rugged cross, my salvation, where Your love poured out over me.
Now my soul cries out, “Hallelujah, praise and honor unto Thee.”

Sent of heaven, God’s own Son to purchase and redeem,
and reconcile the very ones who nailed Him to that tree.

Oh, that rugged cross, my salvation, where Your love poured out over me.
Now my soul cries out, “Hallelujah, praise and honor unto Thee.”

Now, my debt is paid, it is paid in full
by the precious blood that my Jesus spilled.
Now, the curse of sin has no hold on me.
Whom the Son sets free, oh is free indeed.

Now, my debt is paid, it is paid in full
by the precious blood that my Jesus spilled.
Now, the curse of sin has no hold on me.
Whom the Son sets free, oh is free indeed.

Oh, that rugged cross, my salvation, where Your love poured out over me.
Now my soul cries out, “Hallelujah, praise and honor unto Thee.”

See the stone is rolled away, behold the empty tomb.
Hallelujah, God be praised, He’s risen from the grave.

Oh, that rugged cross, my salvation, where Your love poured out over me.
Now my soul cries out, “Hallelujah, praise and honor unto Thee.”

Benediction
2 Corinthians 13:14 (ESV)

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

 

October 31, 2021

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, October 31, 2021

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “God of Grace and God of Glory”
Words: Harry Emerson Fosdick. Music: John Hughes.

God of grace and God of glory, on thy people pour Thy power;
crown Thine ancient church’s story, bring her bud to glorious flower.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the facing of this hour,
for the facing of this hour.

Lo! the hosts of evil round us scorn Thy Christ, assail His ways!
Fears and doubts too long have bound us, free our hearts to work and praise.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the living of these days,
for the living of these days.

Cure Thy children’s warring madness; bend our pride to Thy control;
shame our wanton, selfish gladness, rich in things and poor in soul.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, lest we miss Thy kingdom’s goal,
lest we miss Thy kingdom’s goal.

Set our feet on lofty places; gird our lives that they may be
armored with all Christ-like graces in the fight to set men free.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, that we fail not man nor Thee,
that we fail not man nor Thee!

Hymn: “God of Grace”
Words and music: Keith Getty and Jonathan Rea.

God of grace, amazing wonder, irresistible and free;
oh, the miracle of mercy, Jesus reaches down to me.
God of grace, I stand in wonder, as my God restores my soul.
His own blood has paid my ransom, awesome cost to make me whole.

God of grace, who loved and knew me long before the world began;
Sent my Savior down from heaven; perfect God and perfect man.
God of grace, I trust in Jesus; I’m accepted as His own.
Every day His grace sustains me, as I lean on Him alone.

God of grace, I stand astounded, cleansed, forgiven and secure.
All my fears are now confounded, and my hope is ever sure.
God of grace, now crowned in glory, where one day I’ll see Your face;
And forever I’ll adore You in Your everlasting grace.

Hymn: “Be Thou My Vision”
Traditional Irish melody; ancient Irish text translated by Mary E. Byrne, set to verse by Eleanor H. Hull

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

Be Thou my wisdom, and Thou my true word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord.
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son,
Thou in me dwelling and I with Thee one.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always.
Thou, and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my treasure Thou art.

High King of heaven, my victory won,
may I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “Elders”
Titus 1:5–9 (ESV)

This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

Hymn: “Good Shepherd of My Soul”
Words and music; Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, Stuart Townend, and Fionán de Barra.

Good Shepherd of my soul, come dwell within me;
take all I am and mold Your likeness in me.
Before the cross of Christ, this is my sacrifice:
A life laid down and ready to follow.

The troubled find their peace in true surrender;
the prisoners their release from chains of anger.
In springs of living grace, I find a resting place
to rise refreshed, determined to follow.

I’ll walk this narrow road with Christ before me,
where thorns and thistles grow and cords ensnare me.
Though doubted and denied, He never leaves my side,
but lifts my head and calls me to follow.

And when my days are gone, my strength is failing,
He’ll carry me along through death’s unveiling.
Earth’s struggles overcome, heav’n’s journey just begun,
to search Christ’s depths and ever to follow.

Benediction
Hebrews 13:20–21 (ESV)

20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

 

October 24, 2021

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, October 24, 2021

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Song: “Hosanna (Praise Is Rising)”
Words and music: Brenton Brown and Paul Baloche

Praise is rising, eyes are turning to You; we turn to You.
Hope is stirring, hearts are yearning for You; we long for You;
’Cause when we see You, we find strength to face the day.
In Your presence all our fears are washed away, washed away.

Hosanna, hosanna, You are the God who saves us, worthy of all our praises.
Hosanna, hosanna, come have Your way among us; we welcome You here, Lord Jesus.

Hear the sound of hearts returning to You; we turn to You.
In Your kingdom broken hearts are made new; You make us new;
’Cause when we see You, we find strength to face the day.
In Your presence all our fears are washed away, washed away.

Hosanna, hosanna, You are the God who saves us, worthy of all our praises.
Hosanna, hosanna, come have Your way among us; we welcome You here, Lord Jesus.

Hymn: “By Faith”
Words and music: Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, and Stuart Townend.

By faith we see the hand of God in the light of creation’s grand design.
In the lives of those who prove His faithfulness, who walk by faith and not by sight

We will stand as children of the promise; we will fix our eyes on Him our soul’s reward;
till the race is finished and the work is done. We’ll walk by faith and not by sight.

By faith our fathers roamed the earth, with the power of His promise in their hearts,
of a holy city built by God’s own hand, a place where peace and justice reign.

We will stand as children of the promise; we will fix our eyes on Him our soul’s reward;
till the race is finished and the work is done. We’ll walk by faith and not by sight.

By faith the prophets saw a day when the longed-for Messiah would appear,
with the power to break the chains of sin and death, and rise triumphant from the grave.

We will stand as children of the promise; we will fix our eyes on Him our soul’s reward;
till the race is finished and the work is done. We’ll walk by faith and not by sight.

By faith the church was called to go in the power of the Spirit to the lost.
To deliver captives and to preach good news in every corner of the earth.

We will stand as children of the promise; we will fix our eyes on Him our soul’s reward;
till the race is finished and the work is done. We’ll walk by faith and not by sight.

By faith this mountain shall be moved, and the power of the gospel shall prevail;
for we know in Christ all things are possible for all who call upon His name.

We will stand as children of the promise; we will fix our eyes on Him our soul’s reward;
till the race is finished and the work is done. We’ll walk by faith and not by sight.

Hymn: “The Church’s One Foundation”
Words: Samuel J. Stone. Music: Samuel S. Wesley.

The church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ, her Lord;
she is his new creation, by Spirit and the Word;
From heaven He came and sought her to be His holy bride;
with His own blood He bought her, and for her life He died.

Elect from every nation, yet one o’er all the earth,
her charter of salvation: one Lord, one faith, one birth;
one holy name she blesses, partakes one holy food,
and to one hope she presses, with every grace endued.

’Mid toil and tribulation, and tumult of her war,
she waits the consummation of peace forevermore;
till with the vision glorious her longing eyes are blest,
and the great church victorious shall be the church at rest.

Yet she on earth hath union with God the Three in One,
and mystic sweet communion with those whose rest is won:
O happy ones and holy! Lord, give us grace that we,
like them, the meek and lowly, on high may dwell with Thee.

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “For the Sake of the Faith”

Titus 1:1–4 (ESV)

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior;

To Titus, my true child in a common faith:

Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

Hymn: “Crown Him with Many Crowns”
Words: Matthew Bridges and Godfrey Thring. Music: George J. Elvey.

Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne;
Hark! how the heav’nly anthem drowns all music but its own;
Awake, my soul, and sing of Him who died for thee,
and hail Him as thy matchless King through all eternity.

Crown Him the Son of God, before the worlds began,
and ye who tread where He hath trod, crown Him the Son of Man;
who ev’ry grief hath known that wrings the human breast,
and takes and bears them for His own, that all in Him may rest.

Crown Him the Lord of love, behold His hands and side,
those wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified.
No angel in the sky can fully bear that sight,
but downward bends His wond’ring eye at mysteries so bright.

Crown Him the Lord of life, who triumphed o’er the grave,
and rose victorious in the strife for those He came to save.
His glories now we sing, who died, and rose on high,
who died eternal life to bring, and lives that death may die.

Crown Him the Lord of lords, who over all doth reign,
who once on earth, th’incarnate Word, for ransomed sinners slain,
now lives in realms of light, where saints with angels sing
their songs before Him day and night, their God, Redeemer, King.

Benediction

Romans 15:33 (ESV)
May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

 

October 17, 2021

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, October 17, 2021

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Song: “Hosanna (Praise Is Rising)”
Words and music: Brenton Brown and Paul Baloche

Praise is rising, eyes are turning to You; we turn to You.
Hope is stirring, hearts are yearning for You; we long for You;
’Cause when we see You, we find strength to face the day.
In Your presence all our fears are washed away, washed away.

Hosanna, hosanna, You are the God who saves us, worthy of all our praises.
Hosanna, hosanna, come have Your way among us; we welcome You here, Lord Jesus.

Hear the sound of hearts returning to You; we turn to You.
In Your kingdom broken hearts are made new; You make us new;
’Cause when we see You, we find strength to face the day.
In Your presence all our fears are washed away, washed away.

Hosanna, hosanna, You are the God who saves us, worthy of all our praises.
Hosanna, hosanna, come have Your way among us; we welcome You here, Lord Jesus.

Hymn: “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing”
Words: Charles Wesley. Music: Carl G. Glaser

O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise,
the glories of my God and King, the triumphs of His grace!

Jesus! the name that charms our fears, that bids our sorrows cease;
’tis music in the sinner’s ears, ’tis life, and health, and peace.

He breaks the power of canceled sin, He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean, His blood availed for me.

Hear Him, ye deaf; His praise, ye dumb, your loosened tongues employ;
ye blind, behold your Savior come, and leap, ye lame, for joy.

My gracious Master and my God, assist me to proclaim,
to spread through all the earth abroad the honors of Thy name.

Hymn: “Come, Christians, Join to Sing”
Words: Christian Bateman. Music: Traditional Spanish Melody.

Come, Christians, join to sing
Alleluia! Amen!
Loud praise to Christ our King;
Alleluia! Amen!
Let all, with heart and voice,
Before His throne rejoice;
Praise is His gracious choice.
Alleluia! Amen!

Come, lift your hearts on high,
Alleluia! Amen!
Let praises fill the sky;
Alleluia! Amen!
He is our Guide and Friend;
To us He’ll condescend;
His love shall never end.
Alleluia! Amen!

Praise yet our Christ again,
Alleluia! Amen!
Life shall not end the strain;
Alleluia! Amen!
On heaven’s blissful shore,
His goodness we’ll adore,
Singing forevermore,
“Alleluia! Amen!”

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “Worship in Spirit and Truth”

Numerous Scripture references will be read or referenced. Some of them include:

Deuteronomy 6:13 (ESV)

It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear.

Psalm 50:7–15 (ESV)

“Hear, O my people, and I will speak;
O Israel, I will testify against you.
I am God, your God.
Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you;
your burnt offerings are continually before me.
I will not accept a bull from your house
or goats from your folds.
10  For every beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
11  I know all the birds of the hills,
and all that moves in the field is mine.
12  “If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for the world and its fullness are mine.
13  Do I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of goats?
14  Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and perform your vows to the Most High,
15  and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”

Psalm 50:23 (ESV)

23  The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
to one who orders his way rightly
I will show the salvation of God!”

Psalm 51:16–17 (ESV)

16  For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Proverbs 15:8 (ESV)

The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,
but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him.

Isaiah 29:13 (ESV)

13  And the Lord said:

“Because this people draw near with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
while their hearts are far from me,
and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men.

Hosea 6:6 (ESV)

For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

Hosea 8:11–13 (ESV)

11  Because Ephraim has multiplied altars for sinning,
they have become to him altars for sinning.
12  Were I to write for him my laws by the ten thousands,
they would be regarded as a strange thing.|
13  As for my sacrificial offerings,
they sacrifice meat and eat it,
but the Lord does not accept them.
Now he will remember their iniquity
and punish their sins;
they shall return to Egypt.

Amos 5:21–24 (ESV)

21  “I hate, I despise your feasts,
and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
22  Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them;
and the peace offerings of your fattened animals,
I will not look upon them.
23  Take away from me the noise of your songs;
to the melody of your harps I will not listen.
24  But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

Micah 6:6–8 (ESV)

“With what shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?

Acts 17:24–25 (ESV)

24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.

John 4:19–26 (ESV)

19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

Romans 12:1 (ESV)

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Song: “O Sing, My Soul”
Words and music by Matt Boswell and Matt Papa

O sing, my soul, the ancient song, and lend Your highest praise
to Him who is the King of old and dwells in endless days.
How resplendent His glory! How majestic His name!
Now to the Uncreated One, oh, Let the anthem raise.

O worship Him our Father God, the Spirit and the Word,
Who fashioned all things from His joy, and saw that it was good.
What perfection of friendship, what communion we shared!
But choosing death, we fell from life aside the guilty pair.

Now hear, my soul, the gospel song, attend the joyful news,
for Christ has come, the perfect Son, His Father’s will to choose.
In our place He did suffer, in our place became sin,
the death of death, the death of Christ who stands alive again

Now, people of the risen Lord, O hear the call to go.
Into the world we have been sent as messengers of hope.
Christ alone be our treasure, Christ alone our reward.
Come, bid the nations sing with us the praises of the Lord.

Benediction

Romans 15:33 (ESV)

May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

 

October 10, 2021

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, October 10, 2021

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “How Rich a Treasure We Possess”
Words and music: Matt Boswell and Matt Papa

How rich a treasure we possess, in Jesus Christ our Lord.
His blood, our ransom and defense; His glory, our reward.
The sum of all created things are worthless in compare,
For our inheritance is Him whose praise angels declare.

How free and costly was the love, displayed upon the cross!
While we were dead in untold sin the Sovereign purchased us.
The will of God the Father demonstrated through the Son.
The Spirit seals the greatest work, the work which Christ has done.

For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory.
Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory. Amen.

How vast and measureless the flood of mercy unrestrained!
The penalty was paid in full; the spotless Lamb was slain.
Salvation, what a priceless gift received by grace through faith,
We stand in robes of righteousness; we stand in Jesus’ name.

For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory.
Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory. Amen.

Hymn: “Spirit of God, Descend upon My Heart”
Words: George Croly. Music: Frederick C. Atkinson.

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;
wean it from earth; through all its pulses move.
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art,
and make me love Thee as I ought to love.

Teach me to know that Thou art always nigh;
teach me the struggles of the soul to bear.
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh,
teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.

Hast Thou not bid me love Thee, God and King?
All, all Thine own, soul, heart and strength and mind.
I see Thy cross; there teach my heart to cling.
O let me seek Thee, and O let me find!

Teach me to love Thee as Thine angels love,
one holy passion filling all my frame:
the kindling of the heaven-descended Dove,
my heart an altar, and Thy love the flame.

Hymn: “He Will Hold Me Fast”
Words: Ada Habershon, Matt Merker. Music: Matt Merker.

When I fear my faith will fail, Christ will hold me fast;
when the tempter would prevail, He will hold me fast.
I could never keep my hold through life’s fearful path;
for my love is often cold; He must hold me fast.

He will hold me fast, He will hold me fast;
For my Savior loves me so, He will hold me fast.

Those He saves are His delight, Christ will hold me fast;
precious in His holy sight, He will hold me fast.
He’ll not let my soul be lost; His promises shall last;
Bought by Him at such a cost, He will hold me fast.

He will hold me fast, He will hold me fast;
For my Savior loves me so, He will hold me fast.

For my life He bled and died, Christ will hold me fast;
Justice has been satisfied; He will hold me fast,
Raised with Him to endless life, He will hold me fast
’till our faith is turned to sight, when He comes at last!

He will hold me fast, He will hold me fast;
For my Savior loves me so, He will hold me fast.

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “I Am Coming Soon”
Revelation 22:6–21 (ESV)

And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”

“And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”

10 And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. 11 Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”

12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. 15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

17 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

Hymn: “Come to Me”
Words: Lizzie Akers, refrain by Village Church. Music: Michael Bleecker, Jeff Capps, and Hunter Pecunia.

Weary, burdened wand’rer, there is rest for thee.
at the feet of Jesus, in His love so free.

There is freedom, taste and see. Hear the call, “Come to Me.”
Run into His arms of grace, your burden carried, He will take.

Listen to His message, words of life, forever blessed.
“O thou heavy laden, come to Me, come and rest.”

There is freedom, taste and see. Hear the call, “Come to Me.”
Run into His arms of grace, your burden carried, He will take.

Bring Him all thy burdens, all thy guilt and sin.
Mercy’s door is open, rise up and enter in.

There is freedom, taste and see. Hear the call, “Come to Me.”
Run into His arms of grace, your burden carried, He will take.

Jesus there is waiting, patiently for thee,
Hear Him gently calling, “Come, O come to Me.”

There is freedom, taste and see. Hear the call, “Come to Me.”
Run into His arms of grace, your burden carried, He will take.

Benediction
Revelation 22:21 (ESV)

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

 

September 26, 2021

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, September 26, 2021

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “All Creatures of Our God and King”
Words: Francis of Assisi. Music: “Geistliche Kirchengesänge.”

All creatures of our God and King, lift up your voice and with us sing,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beam, Thou silver moon with softer gleam!
O praise Him! O praise Him! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou rushing wind that art so strong, ye clouds that sail in Heaven along,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou rising morn, in praise rejoice, ye lights of evening, find a voice!
O praise Him! O praise Him! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

And all ye men of tender heart, forgiving others, take your part,
O sing ye! Alleluia!
Ye who long pain and sorrow bear, praise God and on Him cast your care!
O praise Him! O praise Him! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Let all things their Creator bless, and worship Him in humbleness,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son, and praise the Spirit, Three in One!
O praise Him! O praise Him! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Song: “His Mercy Is More”
Words and music: Matt Papa and Matt Boswell

What love could remember no wrongs we have done?
Omniscient, all-knowing, He counts not their sum.
Thrown into a sea without bottom or shore,
Our sins they are many; His mercy is more.

Praise the Lord, His mercy is more.
Stronger than darkness, new every morn’.
Our sins, they are many; His mercy is more.

What patience would wait as we constantly roam?
What Father, so tender, is calling us home?
He welcomes the weakest, the vilest, the poor.
Our sins, they are many; His mercy is more.

Praise the Lord, His mercy is more.
Stronger than darkness, new every morn’.
Our sins, they are many; His mercy is more.

What riches of kindness He lavished on us.
His blood was the payment; His life was the cost.
We stood ’neath a debt we could never afford.
Our sins, they are many; His mercy is more.

Praise the Lord, His mercy is more.
Stronger than darkness, new every morn’.
Our sins, they are many; His mercy is more.

Hymn: “Oh, How Good It Is”
Words and music by Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, Ross Holmes, and Stuart Townend

Oh, how good it is when the family of God
dwells together in spirit in faith and unity.
Where the bonds of peace, of acceptance and love
are the fruits of His presence here among us.

So with one voice we’ll sing to the Lord;
and with one heart we’ll live out His Word.
Till the whole earth sees the Redeemer has come,
for He dwells in the presence of His people.

Oh, how good it is on this journey we share
to rejoice with the happy and weep with those who mourn.
For the weak find strength, the afflicted find grace
when we offer the blessing of belonging.

So with one voice we’ll sing to the Lord;
and with one heart we’ll live out His Word.
Till the whole earth sees the Redeemer has come,
for He dwells in the presence of His people.

Oh, how good it is to embrace His command
to prefer one another, forgive as He forgives.
When we live as one, we all share in the love
of the Son with the Father and the Spirit.

So with one voice we’ll sing to the Lord;
and with one heart we’ll live out His Word.
Till the whole earth sees the Redeemer has come,
for He dwells in the presence of His people.

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “A Healthy Church”

Acts 2:42–47 (ESV)

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Hymn: “Take My Life and Let It Be”
Words by Frances R. Havergal, music by Henri A. C. Malan

Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in endless praise,
let them flow in endless praise.

Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for thee,
swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice and let me sing always, only, for my King.
Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from Thee,
filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use every power as Thou shalt choose,
every power as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will and make it thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne,
it shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love; my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee,
ever, only, all for Thee.

Benediction

2 Corinthians 13:14 (ESV)

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

 

September 12, 2021

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, September 12, 2021

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “All Glory Be to Christ”
Words: Dustin Kensrue. Music: Traditional Scottish tune (“Auld Lang Syne”).

Should nothing of our efforts stand, no legacy survive;
unless the Lord does raise the house, in vain its builders strive.

To you who boast tomorrow’s gain, tell me what is your life?
A mist that vanishes at dawn, all glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our King! All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign will ever sing, all glory be to Christ!

His will be done, His kingdom come, on earth as is above;
Who is Himself our daily bread, praise Him the Lord of love.

Let living water satisfy the thirsty without price,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet, all glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our King! All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign will ever sing, all glory be to Christ!

When on the day the great I Am, the Faithful and the True,
the Lamb who was for sinners slain, is making all things new.

Behold our God shall live with us and be our steadfast light,

and we shall e’er His people be, all glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our King! All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign will ever sing, all glory be to Christ!

Hymn: “He Will Hold Me Fast”
Words: Ada Habershon, Matt Merker. Music: Matt Merker.

When I fear my faith will fail, Christ will hold me fast;
when the tempter would prevail, He will hold me fast.
I could never keep my hold through life’s fearful path;
for my love is often cold; He must hold me fast.

He will hold me fast, He will hold me fast;
For my Savior loves me so, He will hold me fast.

Those He saves are His delight, Christ will hold me fast;
precious in His holy sight, He will hold me fast.
He’ll not let my soul be lost; His promises shall last;
Bought by Him at such a cost, He will hold me fast.

He will hold me fast, He will hold me fast;
For my Savior loves me so, He will hold me fast.

For my life He bled and died, Christ will hold me fast;
Justice has been satisfied; He will hold me fast,
Raised with Him to endless life, He will hold me fast
’till our faith is turned to sight, when He comes at last!

He will hold me fast, He will hold me fast;
For my Savior loves me so, He will hold me fast.

Hymn: “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling”
Words: Charles Wesley. Music: John Zundel.

Love divine, all loves excelling, joy of heaven to earth come down;
fix in us Thy humble dwelling; all Thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus, Thou art all compassion, pure unbounded love Thou art;
Visit us with Thy salvation; enter every trembling heart.

Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit into every troubled breast!
Let us all in Thee inherit, let us find the promised rest.
Take away our love of sinning; Alpha and Omega be;
end of faith, as its beginning, set our hearts at liberty.

Come, Almighty to deliver, let us all Thy grace receive;
suddenly return, and never, never more Thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing, serve Thee as Thy hosts above,
Pray, and praise Thee without ceasing, glory in Thy perfect love.

Finish, then, Thy new creation; pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see our great salvation perfectly secured in Thee:
Changed from glory into glory, till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before Thee, lost in wonder, love, and praise.

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “All Things New”
Revelation 21:1–8 (ESV)
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

Hymn: “Come Quickly, Lord”
Words: Chris Anderson. Music: Greg Habegger.

Creation groans beneath the curse, rebellion’s just reward.
We long to see the fall reversed, and Eden’s joys restored.

Come quickly, Lord! Make all things new! Redeem the church, Your bride.
With longing eyes we look for You, for home is at Your side!

So weary of our trait’rous flesh, Of sin we hate, yet crave.
We yearn to see temptation’s death, indwelling sin’s dark grave.

We want to hear the joyous cries and join the ransomed throng;
“The Lamb is worthy!” praise will rise from ev’ry tribe and tongue!

Come quickly, Lord! Make all things new! Redeem the church, Your bride.
With longing eyes we look for You, for home is at Your side!

We joy to fix our gaze on Christ, though now our view is dim.
We long for heaven’s grandest prize: to see and be like Him!

Come quickly, Lord! Make all things new! Redeem the church, Your bride.
With longing eyes we look for You, for home is at Your side!

Benediction
Revelation 22:21 (ESV)
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

 

September 5, 2021

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, September 5, 2021

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “Before the Throne Above”
Words: Vikki Cook and Charitie Lees Bancroft. Music: Vikki Cook

Before the throne of God above, I have a strong and perfect plea:
a great High Priest whose name is Love, who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands, my name is written on His heart;
I know that while in heav’n He stands, no tongue can bid me thence depart,
no tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair, and tells me of the guilt within,
upward I look and see Him there, who made an end to all my sin.
Because the sinless Saviour died my sinful soul is counted free,
for God the Just is satisfied to look on Him and pardon me,
to look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there, the risen Lamb, my perfect spotless righteousness,
the great unchangeable “I Am,” the King of glory and of grace.
One with Himself, I cannot die; my soul is purchased with His blood.
My life is hid with Christ on high, with Christ, my Savior and my God,
with Christ, my Savior and my God.

Hymn: “See, He Comes”
Words: Charles Wesley. Music: Zach Sprowls and Rich Gunderlock.

See, He comes upon the clouds, Jesus Christ, our King appears.
All the saints bought by His blood  will rise to meet Him in the air.
Earth and sea shall flee away, all creation waits and groans,
for the Lord Redeemer comes to take His longing exiles home.

Hallelujah, hallelujah, come, O Lord, on earth to reign.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, we await the coming day.

Those who mocked and scorned His name, pierced and nailed Him to the tree,
deeply wail, in sorrow grieve, when they the true Messiah see.
Ev’ry eye will see the Lord dressed in dreadful majesty;
ev’ry knee shall bow before the Judge of all eternity.

Hallelujah, hallelujah, come, O Lord, on earth to reign.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, we await the coming day.

Still He bears the holy scars: evidence of saving grace.
All the saints bought by His blood shall then rejoice to see His face.
Yes, amen, let all adore Christ on His eternal throne.
All the pow’r and might are Yours, come, claim the kingdom as Your own.

Hallelujah, hallelujah, come, O Lord, on earth to reign.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, we await the coming day.

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “Before the Throne”
Revelation 20:7–15 (ESV)

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Hymn: “The Communion Hymn”
Words and music: Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, and Stuart Townend.

Behold the Lamb who bears our sins away, slain for us, and we remember
the promise made that all who come in faith find forgiveness at the cross.
So we share in this bread of life, and we drink of His sacrifice
as a sign of our bonds of peace around the table of the King.

The body of our Savior Jesus Christ, torn for you, eat and remember
the wounds that heal, the death that brings us life paid the price to make us one.
So we share in this bread of life, and we drink of His sacrifice
as a sign of our bonds of love around the table of the King.

The blood that cleanses every stain of sin, shed for you, drink and remember
He drained death’s cup that all may enter in to receive the life of God.
So we share in this bread of life, and we drink of His sacrifice
as a sign of our bonds of grace around the table of the King.

And so with thankfulness and faith we rise to respond, and to remember
our call to follow in the steps of Christ as His body here on earth.
As we share in His suffering we proclaim Christ will come again!
And we’ll join in the feast of heaven around the table of the King.

The Lord’s Supper

Hymn: “Jesus Paid It All”
Words: Elvina M. Hall. Music: John T. Grape.

I hear the Savior say, “Thy strength indeed is small,
child of weakness, watch and pray, find in Me thine all in all.”

Jesus paid it all; all to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain; He washed it white as snow.

Lord, now indeed I find Thy pow’r and Thine alone,
can change the leper’s spots and melt the heart of stone.

Jesus paid it all; all to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain; He washed it white as snow.

For nothing good have I where-by Thy grace to claim;
I’ll wash my garments white in the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.

Jesus paid it all; all to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain; He washed it white as snow.

And when, before the throne, I stand in Him complete,
“Jesus died my soul to save,” my lips shall still repeat.

Jesus paid it all; all to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain; He washed it white as snow.

Benediction

Romans 16:20 (ESV)
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

 

August 29, 2021

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, August 29, 2021

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “Before the Throne Above”
Words: Vikki Cook and Charitie Lees Bancroft. Music: Vikki Cook

Before the throne of God above, I have a strong and perfect plea:
a great High Priest whose name is Love, who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands, my name is written on His heart;
I know that while in heav’n He stands, no tongue can bid me thence depart,
no tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair, and tells me of the guilt within,
upward I look and see Him there, who made an end to all my sin.
Because the sinless Saviour died my sinful soul is counted free,
for God the Just is satisfied to look on Him and pardon me,
to look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there, the risen Lamb, my perfect spotless righteousness,
the great unchangeable “I Am,” the King of glory and of grace.
One with Himself, I cannot die; my soul is purchased with His blood.
My life is hid with Christ on high, with Christ, my Savior and my God,
with Christ, my Savior and my God.

Hymn: “O Father, You Are Sovereign”
Words: Margaret Clarkson. Music: Melchior Teschner.

Your mighty Word was spoken and light and life obeyed.
Your voice commands the seasons and bounds the ocean’s shore,
sets stars within their courses and stills the tempest’s roar.

O Father, You are sovereign in all affairs of man;
no powers of death or darkness can thwart Your perfect plan.
All chance and change transcending, supreme in time and space,
You hold your trusting children secure in Your embrace.

O Father, You are sovereign, the Lord of human pain,
transmuting earthly sorrows to gold of heavenly gain.
All evil overruling, as none but Conqu’ror could,
Your love pursues its purpose, our souls’ eternal good.

O Father, You are sovereign! We see You dimly now,
but soon before Your triumph earth’s every knee shall bow.
With this glad hope before us our faith springs up anew:
Our Sovereign Lord and Savior, we trust and worship You!

Song: “Yet Not I but through Christ in Me”
Words and music by Jonny Robinson, Rich Thompson, and Michael Farren

What gift of grace is Jesus my redeemer.
There is no more for heaven now to give.
He is my joy, my righteousness, and freedom,
My steadfast love, my deep and boundless peace.

To this I hold: my hope is only Jesus.
For my life is wholly bound to His.
Oh how strange and divine, I can sing: all is mine!
Yet not I, but through Christ in me.

The night is dark, but I am not forsaken.
For by my side, the Savior, He will stay.
I labor on in weakness and rejoicing,
For in my need, His power is displayed.

To this I hold: my Shepherd will defend me.
Through the deepest valley He will lead.
Oh the night has been won, and I shall overcome!
Yet not I, but through Christ in me.

No fate I dread, I know I am forgiven,
The future sure, the price it has been paid.
For Jesus bled and suffered for my pardon,
And He was raised to overthrow the grave.

To this I hold: my sin has been defeated.
Jesus now and ever is my plea.
Oh the chains are released, I can sing: I am free!
Yet not I, but through Christ in me.

With every breath I long to follow Jesus.
For He has said that He will bring me home.
And day by day I know He will renew me
Until I stand with joy before the throne.

To this I hold: my hope is only Jesus.
All the glory evermore to Him.
When the race is complete, still my lips shall repeat:
Yet not I, but through Christ in me!

When the race is complete, still my lips shall repeat:
Yet not I, but through Christ in me!
Yet not I, but through Christ in me!
Yet not I, but through Christ in me!

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “The Thousand Years”
Revelation 20:1–6 (ESV)

1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

Hymn: “Come Quickly, Lord”
Words: Chris Anderson. Music: Greg Habegger.

Creation groans beneath the curse, rebellion’s just reward.
We long to see the fall reversed, and Eden’s joys restored.

Come quickly, Lord! Make all things new! Redeem the church, Your bride.
With longing eyes we look for You, for home is at Your side!

So weary of our trait’rous flesh, Of sin we hate, yet crave.
We yearn to see temptation’s death, indwelling sin’s dark grave.

We want to hear the joyous cries and join the ransomed throng;
“The Lamb is worthy!” praise will rise from ev’ry tribe and tongue!

Come quickly, Lord! Make all things new! Redeem the church, Your bride.
With longing eyes we look for You, for home is at Your side!

We joy to fix our gaze on Christ, though now our view is dim.
We long for heaven’s grandest prize: to see and be like Him!

Come quickly, Lord! Make all things new! Redeem the church, Your bride.
With longing eyes we look for You, for home is at Your side!

Benediction
Romans 16:20 (ESV)

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

 

August 22, 2021

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, August 22, 2021

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “All Glory Be to Christ”
Words: Dustin Kensrue. Music: Traditional Scottish tune (“Auld Lang Syne”).

Should nothing of our efforts stand, no legacy survive;
unless the Lord does raise the house, in vain its builders strive.

To you who boast tomorrow’s gain, tell me what is your life?
A mist that vanishes at dawn, all glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our King! All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign will ever sing, all glory be to Christ!

His will be done, His kingdom come, on earth as is above;
Who is Himself our daily bread, praise Him the Lord of love.

Let living water satisfy the thirsty without price,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet, all glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our King! All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign will ever sing, all glory be to Christ!

When on the day the great I Am, the Faithful and the True,
the Lamb who was for sinners slain, is making all things new.

Behold our God shall live with us and be our steadfast light,
and we shall e’er His people be, all glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our King! All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign will ever sing, all glory be to Christ!

Hymn: “Come, Thou Almighty King”
Words: Anonymous. Music: Felice de Giardini.

Come, Thou Almighty King, help us Thy name to sing;
help us to praise:
Father, all glorious, o’er all victorious,
come, and reign over us, Ancient of Days.

Come, Thou Incarnate Word, gird on Thy mighty sword;
Our prayer attend!
Come and Thy people bless and give Thy Word success:
Spirit of holiness, on us descend.

Come, Holy Comforter, Thy sacred witness bear
in this glad hour!
Thou who almighty art, now rule in every heart,
and ne’er from us depart, Spirit of power.

To Thee, great One in Three, eternal praises be,
hence evermore!
Thy sovereign majesty may we in glory see,
and to eternity love and adore.

Song: “This Is Our God”
Words and music by N. DeGraide, D. Fournier, Z. Jones, D. Pland, and G. Romanacce

God, our Father, full of power, Maker of the heavens, Maker of the world;
forming all things seen and unseen,
truly the Almighty beyond all measured worth. Holy is His Name.

We believe the Lord our God is One, Father, Spirit, Son; this is our God!
We believe forever He will reign. Let the church proclaim: this is our God!

Our Lord Jesus sent to save us, born unto a virgin, lived a perfect life;
greatly suffered, dying for us. From the grave He’s risen, seated now on high.
Holy is His Name.

We believe the Lord our God is One, Father, Spirit, Son; this is our God!
We believe forever He will reign. Let the church proclaim: this is our God!

Jesus will come back again to judge the living and the dead,
usher in the age to come; let everyone sing “amen.”
Jesus will come back again to judge the living and the dead,
usher in the age to come; let everyone sing “amen,”
let everyone sing “amen.”

Spirit, holy, One in glory, speaking through the prophets, empowering the Church;
life is given by and through Him, with the Son and Father, worshipped and adored.
Holy is His Name.

We believe the Lord our God is One, Father, Spirit, Son; this is our God!
We believe forever He will reign. Let the church proclaim: this is our God!

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “King of Kings”
Revelation 19:11–21 (ESV)

11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, 18 to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” 19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. 20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. 21 And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.

Hymn: “Come Quickly, Lord”
Words: Chris Anderson. Music: Greg Habegger.

Creation groans beneath the curse, rebellion’s just reward.
We long to see the fall reversed, and Eden’s joys restored.

Come quickly, Lord! Make all things new! Redeem the church, Your bride.
With longing eyes we look for You, for home is at Your side!

So weary of our trait’rous flesh, Of sin we hate, yet crave.
We yearn to see temptation’s death, indwelling sin’s dark grave.

We want to hear the joyous cries and join the ransomed throng;
“The Lamb is worthy!” praise will rise from ev’ry tribe and tongue!

Come quickly, Lord! Make all things new! Redeem the church, Your bride.
With longing eyes we look for You, for home is at Your side!

We joy to fix our gaze on Christ, though now our view is dim.
We long for heaven’s grandest prize: to see and be like Him!

Come quickly, Lord! Make all things new! Redeem the church, Your bride.
With longing eyes we look for You, for home is at Your side!

Benediction
Romans 16:20 (ESV)

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

 

August 8, 2021

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, August 8, 2021

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “Be Thou My Vision”
Traditional Irish melody; ancient Irish text translated by Mary E. Byrne, set to verse by Eleanor H. Hull

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

Be Thou my wisdom, and Thou my true word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord.
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son,
Thou in me dwelling and I with Thee one.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always.
Thou, and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my treasure Thou art.

High King of heaven, my victory won,
may I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

Hymn: “How Rich a Treasure We Possess”
Words and music: Matt Boswell and Matt Papa

How rich a treasure we possess, in Jesus Christ our Lord.
His blood, our ransom and defense; His glory, our reward.
The sum of all created things are worthless in compare,
For our inheritance is Him whose praise angels declare.

How free and costly was the love, displayed upon the cross!
While we were dead in untold sin the Sovereign purchased us.
The will of God the Father demonstrated through the Son.
The Spirit seals the greatest work, the work which Christ has done.

For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory.
Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory. Amen.

How vast and measureless the flood of mercy unrestrained!
The penalty was paid in full; the spotless Lamb was slain.
Salvation, what a priceless gift received by grace through faith,
We stand in robes of righteousness; we stand in Jesus’ name.

For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory.
Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory. Amen.

Hymn: “My Worth Is Not in What I Own”
Words and music by Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, and Graham Kendrick

My worth is not in what I own,
not in the strength of flesh and bone,
but in the costly wounds of love at the cross.

My worth is not in skill or name,
in win or lose, in pride or shame,
but in the blood of Christ that flowed at the cross.

I rejoice in my Redeemer, Greatest Treasure,
Wellspring of my soul,
I will trust in Him, no other;
my soul is satisfied in Him alone.

As summer flowers we fade and die;
fame, youth, and beauty hurry by,
but life eternal calls to us at the cross.

I will not boast in wealth or might,
or human wisdom’s fleeting light,
but I will boast in knowing Christ at the cross.

I rejoice in my Redeemer, Greatest Treasure,
Wellspring of my soul,
I will trust in Him, no other;
my soul is satisfied in Him alone.

Two wonders here that I confess:
my worth and my unworthiness,
my value fixed, my ransom paid at the cross.

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “Fallen Is Babylon”
Revelation 18 (ESV)

1 After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory. And he called out with a mighty voice,

“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!
She has become a dwelling place for demons,
a haunt for every unclean spirit,
a haunt for every unclean bird,
a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast.
For all nations have drunk
the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality,
and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her,
and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.”

Then I heard another voice from heaven saying,

“Come out of her, my people,
lest you take part in her sins,
lest you share in her plagues;
for her sins are heaped high as heaven,
and God has remembered her iniquities.
Pay her back as she herself has paid back others,
and repay her double for her deeds;
mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed.
As she glorified herself and lived in luxury,
so give her a like measure of torment and mourning,
since in her heart she says,

‘I sit as a queen,
I am no widow,
and mourning I shall never see.’

For this reason her plagues will come in a single day,
death and mourning and famine,
and she will be burned up with fire;
for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.”

And the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning. 10 They will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say,

“Alas! Alas! You great city,
you mighty city, Babylon!
For in a single hour your judgment has come.”

11 And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore, 12 cargo of gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, all kinds of scented wood, all kinds of articles of ivory, all kinds of articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, 13 cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls.

14  “The fruit for which your soul longed
has gone from you,
and all your delicacies and your splendors
are lost to you,
never to be found again!”

15 The merchants of these wares, who gained wealth from her, will stand far off, in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud,

16  “Alas, alas, for the great city
that was clothed in fine linen,
in purple and scarlet,
adorned with gold,
with jewels, and with pearls!
17  For in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste.”

And all shipmasters and seafaring men, sailors and all whose trade is on the sea, stood far off 18 and cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning,

“What city was like the great city?”

19 And they threw dust on their heads as they wept and mourned, crying out,

“Alas, alas, for the great city
where all who had ships at sea
grew rich by her wealth!
For in a single hour she has been laid waste.
20  Rejoice over her, O heaven,
and you saints and apostles and prophets,
for God has given judgment for you against her!”

21 Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying,

“So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence,
and will be found no more;
22  and the sound of harpists and musicians, of flute players and trumpeters,
will be heard in you no more,
and a craftsman of any craft
will be found in you no more,
and the sound of the mill
will be heard in you no more,
23  and the light of a lamp
will shine in you no more,
and the voice of bridegroom and bride
will be heard in you no more,
for your merchants were the great ones of the earth,
and all nations were deceived by your sorcery.
24  And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints,
and of all who have been slain on earth.”

Hymn: “I’d Rather Have Jesus”
Words: Rhea F. Miller. Music: George Beverly Shea

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands;
I’d rather be led by His nail pierced hand

Than to be the king of a vast domain
or be held in sin’s dread sway.
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
this world affords today.

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame;
I’d rather be true to His holy name

Than to be the king of a vast domain
or be held in sin’s dread sway.
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
this world affords today.

He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb;
He’s all that my hungering spirit needs;
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead

Than to be the king of a vast domain
or be held in sin’s dread sway.
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
this world affords today.

Benediction
1 Corinthians 16:23 (ESV)

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.

 

August 1, 2021

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, August 1, 2021

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Song: “10,000 Reasons”
By Jonas Myrin and Matt Redman

Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul; Worship His holy name.
Sing like never before, O my soul; I’ll worship Your holy name.

The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning, it’s time to sing Your song again.
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me,
let me be singing when the evening comes.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul; Worship His holy name.
Sing like never before, O my soul; I’ll worship Your holy name.

You’re rich in love and You’re slow to anger.
Your name is great and Your heart is kind.
For all Your goodness, I will keep on singing;
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul; Worship His holy name.
Sing like never before, O my soul; I’ll worship Your holy name.

And on that day, when my strength is failing, the end draws near, and my time has come;
Still, my soul will sing Your praise unending ten thousand years, and then forevermore!

Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul; Worship His holy name.
Sing like never before, O my soul; I’ll worship Your holy name.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul; Worship His holy name.
Sing like never before, O my soul; I’ll worship Your holy name,
Worship Your holy name, Lord, I’ll worship Your holy name.

Hymn: “Come, Behold the Wondrous Mystery”
Words and music: Matt Papa, Matt Boswell, and Michael Bleecker.

Come behold the wondrous mystery, in the dawning of the King;
He the theme of heaven’s praises, robed in frail humanity.

In our longing, in our darkness, now the light of life has come;
look to Christ, who condescended, took on flesh to ransom us.

Come behold the wondrous mystery, He the perfect Son of Man;
in His living, in His suffering never trace nor stain of sin.

See the true and better Adam, come to save the hell-bound man;
Christ, the great and sure fulfillment of the law; in Him we stand.

Come behold the wondrous mystery, Christ the Lord upon the tree,
in the stead of ruined sinners, hangs the Lamb in victory.

See the price of our redemption, see the Father’s plan unfold;
bringing many sons to glory, grace unmeasured, love untold.

Come behold the wondrous mystery, slain by death the God of life;
but no grave could e’er restrain Him, praise the Lord, He is alive!

What a foretaste of deliverance, how unwavering our hope;
Christ in power resurrected, as we will be when he comes.

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “The Great Prostitute”
Revelation 17 (ESV)

1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk.” And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.” And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.

When I saw her, I marveled greatly. But the angel said to me, “Why do you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come. This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; 10 they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while. 11 As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction. 12 And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast. 14 They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”

15 And the angel said to me, “The waters that you saw, where the prostitute is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and languages. 16 And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire, 17 for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. 18 And the woman that you saw is the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth.”

Hymn: “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us”
Words and Music: Stuart Townend.

How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure,
that He should give His only Son to make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss, the Father turns His face away
as wounds which mar the Chosen One bring many sons to glory.

Behold the Man upon a cross, my sin upon His shoulders.
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there until it was accomplished.
His dying breath has brought me life, I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything, no gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer;
But this I know with all my heart, His wounds have paid my ransom.

The Lord’s Supper

Hymn: “There Is a Redeemer”
Words and music: Melody Green.

There is a Redeemer—Jesus, God’s own Son;
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah, Holy One.

Thank You, O my Father, for giving us Your Son,
and leaving Your Spirit, till the work on earth is done.

Jesus my Redeemer, name above all names;
precious Lamb of God, Messiah, Hope for sinners slain.

Thank You, O my Father, for giving us Your Son,
and leaving Your Spirit, till the work on earth is done.

When I stand in Glory, I will see His face;
there I’ll serve my King forever in that Holy Place.

Thank You, O my Father, for giving us Your Son,
and leaving Your Spirit, till the work on earth is done.

Benediction
Ephesians 6:23–24 (ESV)

23 Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.

 

July 25, 2021

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, July 25, 2021

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “Holy, Holy, Holy”
Words: Reginald Heber. Music: John B. Dykes

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy! merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
who were, and art, and evermore shalt be.

Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide Thee,
though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see,
only thou art holy; there is none beside thee,
perfect in power, in love and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy name, in earth, and sky, and sea.
Holy, holy, holy! merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Hymn: “The Love of God”
Words and music: Frederick M. Lehman.

The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell;
it goes beyond the highest star, and reaches to the lowest hell;
the guilty pair, bowed down with care, God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled, and pardoned from his sin.

Oh, love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—the saints’ and angels’ song.

When years of time shall pass away, and earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
when men who here refuse to pray, on rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure, all measureless and strong;
redeeming grace to Adam’s race—the saints’ and angels’ song.

Oh, love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—the saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill and were the skies of parchment made,
were every stalk on earth a quill and every man a scribe by trade;
to write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry;
nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky.

Oh, love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—the saints’ and angels’ song.

Hymn: “See, He Comes”

Words: Charles Wesley. Music: Zach Sprowls and Rich Gunderlock.

See, He comes upon the clouds, Jesus Christ, our King appears.
All the saints bought by His blood  will rise to meet Him in the air.
Earth and sea shall flee away, all creation waits and groans,
for the Lord Redeemer comes to take His longing exiles home.

Hallelujah, hallelujah, come, O Lord, on earth to reign.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, we await the coming day.

Those who mocked and scorned His name, pierced and nailed Him to the tree,
deeply wail, in sorrow grieve, when they the true Messiah see.
Ev’ry eye will see the Lord dressed in dreadful majesty;
ev’ry knee shall bow before the Judge of all eternity.

Hallelujah, hallelujah, come, O Lord, on earth to reign.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, we await the coming day.

Still He bears the holy scars: evidence of saving grace.
All the saints bought by His blood shall then rejoice to see His face.
Yes, amen, let all adore Christ on His eternal throne.
All the pow’r and might are Yours, come, claim the kingdom as Your own.

Hallelujah, hallelujah, come, O Lord, on earth to reign.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, we await the coming day.

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “They Did Not Repent”
Revelation 16 (ESV)

1 Then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.”

So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and harmful and painful sores came upon the people who bore the mark of the beast and worshiped its image.

The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse, and every living thing died that was in the sea.

The third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water, and they became blood. And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say,

“Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was,
for you brought these judgments.
For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets,
and you have given them blood to drink.
It is what they deserve!”

And I heard the altar saying,

“Yes, Lord God the Almighty,
true and just are your judgments!”

The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire. They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.

10 The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in anguish 11 and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds.

12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, to prepare the way for the kings from the east. 13 And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. 14 For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty. 15 (“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”) 16 And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.

17 The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18 And there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake. 19 The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath. 20 And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found. 21 And great hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, fell from heaven on people; and they cursed God for the plague of the hail, because the plague was so severe.

Hymn: “In Christ Alone”
Words and music: Keith Getty and Stuart Townend.

In Christ alone my hope is found; He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace when fears are stilled, when strivings cease.
My Comforter, my All in All; here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, who took on flesh; fullness of God in helpless babe.
This gift of love and righteousness scorned by the ones He came to save;
’til on that cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied;
for every sin on Him was laid; here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay; Light of the world by darkness slain.
Then, bursting forth in glorious Day, up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory, sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
for I am His and He is mine, bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me.
From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand;
’til He returns or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I’ll stand!

Benediction
2 Thessalonians 3:16 (ESV)

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.

 

July 11, 2021

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, July 11, 2021

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “O Worship the King”
Words by Robert Grant. Music by Johann Michael Haydn.

O worship the King all-glorious above,
and gratefully sing His wonderful love:
our shield and defender, the Ancient of Days,
pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise.

O tell of His might, O sing of His grace,
whose robe is the light, whose canopy space.
His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
and dark is His path on the wings of the storm.

Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
it streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
and sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.

Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
in Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail.
Thy mercies, how tender, how firm to the end,
our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend!

Song: “All I Have Is Christ”
Words and music: Jordan Kauflin.

I once was lost in darkest night, yet thought I knew the way.
The sin that promised joy and life had led me to the grave.
I had no hope that You would own a rebel to Your will.
And if You had not loved me first, I would refuse You still.

But as I ran my hell-bound race, indifferent to the cost,
You looked upon my helpless state and led me to the cross.
And I beheld God’s love displayed, You suffered in my place.
You bore the wrath reserved for me, now all I know is grace.

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ.
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life.
Hallelujah! All I have is Christ.
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life.

Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone, and live so all might see
the strength to follow Your commands could never come from me.
Oh, Father, use my ransomed life in any way You choose,
and let my song forever be my only boast is You.

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ.
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life.
Hallelujah! All I have is Christ.
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life.

Hymn: “Lift High the Name of Jesus”
Words and music: Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, Fionán de Barra, and Ed Cash.

Lift high the name of Jesus, of Jesus our King.
Make known the power of His grace, the beauty of the cross.
Remember how His mercy reached and we cried out to Him.
He lifted us to solid ground, to freedom from our sin.

O sing, my soul, and tell all He’s done ‘til the earth and heavens are filled with His glory.

Lift high the name of Jesus, of Jesus our lord.
His power in us is greater than, is greater than this world.
To share the reason for our hope, to serve with love and grace,
That all who see Him shine through us might bring the Father praise.

O sing, my soul, and tell all He’s done ‘til the earth and heavens are filled with His glory.

Lift high the name of Jesus, of Jesus our Light.
No other name on earth can save, can raise a soul to life.
He opens up our eyes to see the harvest He has grown.
We labor in His fields of grace as He leads sinners home.

O sing, my soul, and tell all He’s done ‘til the earth and heavens are filled with His glory.

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “The Harvest of the Earth”
Revelation 14:6–20 (ESV)

Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
Another angel, a second, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality.”
And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”
12 Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.
13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”
14 Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15 And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” 16 So he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle across the earth, and the earth was reaped.
17 Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18 And another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has authority over the fire, and he called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Put in your sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.” 19 So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bridle, for 1,600 stadia.

Hymn: “How Firm a Foundation”
Words from John Rippon’s Selection of Hymns. Music from Joseph Funk’s Genuine Church Music.

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

“Fear not, I am with thee; O be not dismayed,
for I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace all-sufficient shall be thy supply;
the flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

“The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose
I will not, I will not desert to his foes;
that soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no, never, no never forsake!”

Benediction
Numbers 6:24–26 (ESV)

24  The Lord bless you and keep you;
25  the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26  the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

 

July 4, 2021

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, July 4, 2021

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “And Can It Be?”
Words: Charles Wesley. Music: Thomas Campbell.

And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain? For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be that Thou, my God, should die for me?

Amazing love! how can it be that Thou, my God, should die for me!

He left His Father’s throne above, so free, so infinite His grace;
emptied Himself to show His love, and bled for Adam’s helpless race.
’Tis mercy all, immense and free; for, O my God, it found out me.

Amazing love! how can it be that Thou, my God, should die for me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray, I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free; I rose, went forth and followed Thee.

Amazing love! how can it be that Thou, my God, should die for me!

No condemnation now I dread; Jesus, and all in Him is mine!
Alive in Him, my living Head, and clothed in righteousness divine;
bold I approach the eternal throne, and claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Amazing love! how can it be that Thou, my God, should die for me!

Hymn: “Before the Throne Above”
Words: Vikki Cook and Charitie Lees Bancroft. Music: Vikki Cook

Before the throne of God above, I have a strong and perfect plea:
a great High Priest whose name is Love, who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands, my name is written on His heart;
I know that while in heav’n He stands, no tongue can bid me thence depart,
no tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair, and tells me of the guilt within,
upward I look and see Him there, who made an end to all my sin.
Because the sinless Saviour died my sinful soul is counted free,
for God the Just is satisfied to look on Him and pardon me,
to look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there, the risen Lamb, my perfect spotless righteousness,
the great unchangeable “I Am,” the King of glory and of grace.
One with Himself, I cannot die; my soul is purchased with His blood.
My life is hid with Christ on high, with Christ, my Savior and my God,
with Christ, my Savior and my God.

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “Follow the Lamb”

Revelation 14:1–13 (ESV)
1 Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.

Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

Another angel, a second, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality.”

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

12 Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.

13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

Hymn: “The Communion Hymn”
Words and music: Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, and Stuart Townend.

Behold the Lamb who bears our sins away, slain for us, and we remember
the promise made that all who come in faith find forgiveness at the cross.
So we share in this bread of life, and we drink of His sacrifice
as a sign of our bonds of peace around the table of the King.

The body of our Savior Jesus Christ, torn for you, eat and remember
the wounds that heal, the death that brings us life paid the price to make us one.
So we share in this bread of life, and we drink of His sacrifice
as a sign of our bonds of love around the table of the King.

The blood that cleanses every stain of sin, shed for you, drink and remember
He drained death’s cup that all may enter in to receive the life of God.
So we share in this bread of life, and we drink of His sacrifice
as a sign of our bonds of grace around the table of the King.

And so with thankfulness and faith we rise to respond, and to remember
our call to follow in the steps of Christ as His body here on earth.
As we share in His suffering we proclaim Christ will come again!
And we’ll join in the feast of heaven around the table of the King.

The Lord’s Supper

Hymn: “O Fount of Love”
Words and music by Matt Boswell and Matt Papa

O fount of love divine that flows from my Savior’s bleeding side
Where sinners trade their filthy rags for His righteousness applied.
Mercy cleansing ev’ry stain, now rushing o’er us like a flood;
There the wretch and vilest ones stand adopted through His blood.

O mount of grace to Thee we cling, from the law hath set us free.
Once and for all on Calv’ry’s hill, love and justice shall agree.
Praise the Lord! The price is paid, the curse defeated by the Lamb.
We who once were slaves by birth, sons and daughters now we stand.

O well of joy is mine to drink, for my Lord has conquered death.,
Victorious forevermore, the ancient foe is laid to rest.
Hallelujah! Christ is King, alive and reigning on the throne;
Our tongues employed with hymns of praise: Glory be to God alone.

Hallelujah! Christ is King, alive and reigning on the throne;
Our tongues employed with hymns of praise: Glory be to God alone.

Benediction

1 Corinthians 16:23 (ESV)
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.

 

June 20, 2021

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, June 20, 2021

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “This Is My Father’s World”
Words: Maltbie D. Babcock. Music: Franklin L. Sheppard.

This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears,
all nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world, I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise;
the morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world, He shines in all that’s fair;
in the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world, O let me ne’er forget
that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world, the battle is not done;
Jesus who died shall be satisfied,
and earth and Heav’n be one.

Hymn: “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven”
Words: Henry F. Lyte. Music: Mark Andrews.

Praise, my soul, the King of heaven, to His feet thy tribute bring;
ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven, evermore His praises sing.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise the everlasting King.

Praise Him for His grace and favor to our fathers in distress;
praise Him, still the same as ever, slow to chide, and swift to bless.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Glorious in His faithfulness.

Frail as summer’s flower we flourish; blows the wind and it is gone;
But, while mortals rise and perish, God endures unchanging on.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise the high eternal One!

Angels, in the height, adore Him; ye behold Him face to face;
saints triumphant, bow before Him; gathered in from every race.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise with us the God of grace.

Song: “Never Cease to Praise”
Words and music: Jeff Bourque.

May we run this race, may we keep the faith,
may our eyes be fixed on Jesus,
that we’ll not lose heart in our struggle with sin,
and through suffering know endurance.

May we arm ourselves with the mind of Christ
to rejoice in trials and be not surprised.
May our hearts be so consumed by You
that we never cease to praise.

May our company be the saints You’ve called,
may we all stand firm in one spirit,
that the gospel’s truth may resound on earth,
that all living things may hear it.

May the fruits of faith mark the path we trod
through the life of Christ to the glory of God.
May our hearts be so consumed by You
that we never cease to praise.

May the words we share be Your grace and peace.
May our tongues speak Your proclamations
that the many parts of the body of Christ
be affirmed in their right relation.

As we long and wait for the groom to come,
may we learn to love, and spur each other on.
May our hearts be so consumed by You
that we never cease to praise.

When that day arrives, and our race is won,
when our griefs give way to deliverance,
we will fully know, as we’re fully known,
all our groans will end as new songs begin.

And a multitude from every tribe and tongue,
wearing robes of white, will stand before Your throne,
And our hearts will be so consumed by You
that we’ll never cease to praise!

May our hearts be so consumed by You
that we never cease to praise.

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “The Beast”
Revelation 13:1–10 (ESV)

1 And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”

And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear:

10  If anyone is to be taken captive,
to captivity he goes;
if anyone is to be slain with the sword,
with the sword must he be slain.

Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.

Hymn: “O Church, Arise”
Words and music: Keith Getty and Stuart Townend.

O church, arise, and put your armor on;
hear the call of Christ our captain;
for now the weak can say that they are strong
in the strength that God has given.
With shield of faith and belt of truth
we’ll stand against the devil’s lies;
an army bold, whose battle cry is “Love!”
reaching out to those in darkness.

Our call to war, to love the captive soul,
but to rage against the captor;
and with the sword that makes the wounded whole,
we will fight with faith and valor.
When faced with trials on every side,
we know the outcome is secure.
and Christ will have the prize for which He died:
an inheritance of nations.

Come, see the cross, where love and mercy meet,
as the Son of God is stricken;
then see His foes lie crushed beneath His feet,
for the Conqueror has risen!
And as the stone is rolled away,
and Christ emerges from the grave,
this victory march continues till the day
ev’ry eye and heart shall see Him.

So Spirit, come, put strength in every stride,
give grace for every hurdle,
that we may run with faith to win the prize
of a servant good and faithful.
As saints of old still line the way,
retelling triumphs of His grace,
we hear their calls, and hunger for the day
when, with Christ, we stand in glory.

Benediction
1 Thessalonians 5:23–24, 28

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. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

 

June 13, 2021

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, June 13, 2021

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Song: “I Will Glory in My Redeemer”
Words and music: Steve Cook and Vikki Cook.

I will glory in my Redeemer,
whose priceless blood has ransomed me.
Mine was the sin that drove the bitter nails
and hung Him on that judgment tree.
I will glory in my Redeemer,
who crushed the power of sin and death;
my only Savior before the holy Judge,
the Lamb who is my righteousness,
the Lamb who is my righteousness.

I will glory in my Redeemer;
my life He bought, my love He owns.
I have no longings for another;
I’m satisfied in Him alone.
I will glory in my Redeemer,
His faithfulness my standing place.
Though foes are mighty and rush upon me,
my feet are firm, held by His grace,
my feet are firm, held by His grace.

I will glory in my Redeemer,
who carries me on eagles’ wings.
He crowns my life with lovingkindness;
His triumph song I’ll ever sing.
I will glory in my Redeemer,
who waits for me at gates of gold.
And when He calls me, it will be paradise,
His face forever to behold,
His face forever to behold.

Hymn: “It Is Well with My Soul”
Words: Horatio G. Spafford. Music: Philip P. Bliss.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, “It is well, it is well with my soul.”

It is well with my soul, it is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, let this blest assurance control,
that Christ has regarded my helpless estate, and has shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well with my soul, it is well, it is well with my soul.

My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought: My sin, not in part but the whole
is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

It is well with my soul, it is well, it is well with my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll,
the trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, “Even so,” it is well with my soul.

It is well with my soul, it is well, it is well with my soul.

Hymn: “Before the Throne Above”
Words: Vikki Cook and Charitie Lees Bancroft. Music: Vikki Cook

Before the throne of God above, I have a strong and perfect plea:
a great High Priest whose name is Love, who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands, my name is written on His heart;
I know that while in heav’n He stands, no tongue can bid me thence depart,
no tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair, and tells me of the guilt within,
upward I look and see Him there, who made an end to all my sin.
Because the sinless Saviour died my sinful soul is counted free,
for God the Just is satisfied to look on Him and pardon me,
to look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there, the risen Lamb, my perfect spotless righteousness,
the great unchangeable “I Am,” the King of glory and of grace.
One with Himself, I cannot die; my soul is purchased with His blood.
My life is hid with Christ on high, with Christ, my Savior and my God,
with Christ, my Savior and my God.

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “The Dragon”
Revelation 12 (ESV)

1 And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.

Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. 12 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”

13 And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14 But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. 15 The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. 16 But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. 17 Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.

Hymn: “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”
Words and music by Martin Luther

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
and He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God has willed His truth to triumph through us.
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
one little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
the body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still:
His kingdom is forever.

Benediction
1 Peter 5:6–11 (ESV)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

 

May 30, 2021

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, May 30, 2021

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “Give to Our God Immortal Praise”
Words: Isaac Watts. Music: John Hatton.

Give to our God immortal praise; mercy and truth are all His ways;
wonders of grace to God belong; repeat His mercies in your song.

He built the earth, He spread the sky, and fixed the starry lights on high:
wonders of grace to God belong; repeat His mercies in your song.

He fills the sun with morning light; He bids the moon direct the night;
His mercies ever shall endure, when suns and moons shall shine no more.

He sent His Son with power to save from guilt, and darkness, and the grave
wonders of grace to God belong; repeat His mercies in your song.

Through this vain world He guides our feet, and leads us to His heav’nly seat:
His mercies ever shall endure, when this our world shall be no more.

Song: “This Is Amazing Grace”
Words and Music: Phil Wickham, Jeremy Riddle, and Josh Farro.

Who breaks the power of sin and darkness,
whose love is mighty and so much stronger?
The King of glory, the King above all kings.

Who shakes the whole earth with holy thunder
and leaves us breathless in awe and wonder?
The King of glory, the King above all kings.

This is amazing grace, this is unfailing love,
that You would take my place, that You would bear my cross.
You laid down Your life that I would be set free.
Oh, Jesus, I sing for all that You’ve done for me.

Who brings our chaos back into order,
who makes the orphan a son and daughter?
The King of glory, the King of glory.

Who rules the nations with truth and justice,
shines like the sun in all of its brilliance?
The King of glory, the King above all kings.

This is amazing grace, this is unfailing love,
that You would take my place, that You would bear my cross.
You laid down Your life that I would be set free.
Oh, Jesus, I sing for all that You’ve done for me.

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave.
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave.
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave.
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!
Worthy, worthy, worthy!

This is amazing grace, this is unfailing love,
that You would take my place, that You would bear my cross.
You laid down Your life that I would be set free.
Oh, Jesus, I sing for all that You’ve done for me.

Hymn: “God Moves in a Mysterious Way”
Original words by William Cowper, refrain and music by K. Jason French

God moves in a mysterious way! His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mine of never-failing skill,
He treasures up His bright designs and works His sov’reign will.

God of mercy! God of grace! Give us eyes to see!
Eyes to see Your smiling within the mystery,
within the mystery!

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take! The clouds ye so much dread
are big with mercy and shall break in blessings on your head!

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace;
behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face!

God of mercy! God of grace! Give us eyes to see!
Eyes to see Your smiling within the mystery,
within the mystery!

His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour,
the bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flow’r!

Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter and He will make it plain!

God of mercy! God of grace! Give us eyes to see!
Eyes to see Your smiling within the mystery,
within the mystery!

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “The Little Scroll”
Revelation 10 (ESV)

1 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded. And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.” And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay, but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.

Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, “Go, take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” So I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, “Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” 10 And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter. 11 And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”

Hymn: “How Firm a Foundation”
Words from John Rippon’s Selection of Hymns. Music from Joseph Funk’s Genuine Church Music.

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

“Fear not, I am with thee; O be not dismayed,
for I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace all-sufficient shall be thy supply;
the flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

“The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose
I will not, I will not desert to his foes;
that soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no, never, no never forsake!”

Benediction
Ephesians 6:23–24 (ESV)

23 Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.

 

Seven Trumpets (Revelation 8)

Chapter 8 of the book of Revelation presents with one image of Judgment Day, which comes in response to the prayers of God’s people. This chapter also depicts the first four of seven trumpets that are blown, with each trumpet blast bringing judgments upon the world. Pastor Brian Watson preached this message on May 16, 2021.

April 25, 2021

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, April 25, 2021

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”
Words: Robert Robinson. Music: traditional American melody.

Come, Thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet, sung by flaming tongues above;
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it, mount of Thy redeeming love.

Hither to Thy love has blest me; Thou has brought me to this place;
And I know Thy hand will bring me safely home by Thy good grace.
Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God,
He, to rescue me from danger, bought me with His precious blood.

Oh, to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning, I shall see Thy lovely face,
Clothed then in the blood-washed linen how I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace.
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry, take my ransomed soul away;
Send Thine angels now to carry me to realms of endless day.

Hymn: “There Is a Higher Throne”
Words and Music: Keith Getty and Kristyn Getty.

There is a higher throne than all this world has known,
where faithful ones from ev’ry tongue will one day come.
Before the Son we’ll stand, made faultless through the Lamb;
Believing hearts find promised grace; salvation comes.

Hear heaven’s voices sing; their thund’rous anthem rings
through em’rald courts and sapphire skies.Their praises rise.
All glory, wisdom, pow’r, strength, thanks, and honor are
to God our King, who reigns on high forevermore.

And there we’ll find our home, our life before the throne.
We’ll honor Him in perfect song, where we belong.
He’ll wipe each tear-stained eye as thirst and hunger die.
The Lamb becomes our Shepherd King; we’ll reign with Him.

Hear heaven’s voices sing; their thund’rous anthem rings
through em’rald courts and sapphire skies.Their praises rise.
All glory, wisdom, pow’r, strength, thanks, and honor are
to God our King, who reigns on high forevermore.

Hymn: “The King of Love My Shepherd Is”
Words by Henry Williams Baker, set to a traditional Irish melody

The King of love my Shepherd is, whose goodness faileth never;
I nothing lack if I am His, and He is mine forever.

Where streams of living water flow my ransomed soul He leadeth,
and where the verdant pastures grow, with food celestial feedeth.

Perverse and foolish, oft I strayed, but yet in love He sought me;
and on His shoulder gently laid, and home, rejoicing, brought me.

In death’s dark vale I fear no ill, with You, dear Lord, beside me;
Your rod and staff my comfort still, Your cross before to guide me.

You spread a table in my sight; Your saving grace bestowing;
and O, what transport of delight from Your pure chalice flowing!

And so through all the length of days Your goodness fails me never.
Good Shepherd, may I sing Your praise within Your house forever.

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “Sealed from Every Tribe”
Revelation 7 (ESV)

1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:

12,000 from the tribe of Judah were sealed,
12,000 from the tribe of Reuben,
12,000 from the tribe of Gad,
12,000 from the tribe of Asher,
12,000 from the tribe of Naphtali,
12,000 from the tribe of Manasseh,
12,000 from the tribe of Simeon,
12,000 from the tribe of Levi,
12,000 from the tribe of Issachar,
12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun,
12,000 from the tribe of Joseph,
12,000 from the tribe of Benjamin were sealed.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

15  “Therefore they are before the throne of God,
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
16  They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
the sun shall not strike them,
nor any scorching heat.
17  For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Song: “Never Cease to Praise”
Words and music: Jeff Bourque.

May we run this race, may we keep the faith,
may our eyes be fixed on Jesus,
that we’ll not lose heart in our struggle with sin,
and through suffering know endurance.

May we arm ourselves with the mind of Christ
to rejoice in trials and be not surprised.
May our hearts be so consumed by You
that we never cease to praise.

May our company be the saints You’ve called,
may we all stand firm in one spirit,
that the gospel’s truth may resound on earth,
that all living things may hear it.

May the fruits of faith mark the path we trod
through the life of Christ to the glory of God.
May our hearts be so consumed by You
that we never cease to praise.

May the words we share be Your grace and peace.
May our tongues speak Your proclamations
that the many parts of the body of Christ
be affirmed in their right relation.

As we long and wait for the groom to come,
may we learn to love, and spur each other on.
May our hearts be so consumed by You
that we never cease to praise.

When that day arrives, and our race is won,
when our griefs give way to deliverance,
we will fully know, as we’re fully known,
all our groans will end as new songs begin.

And a multitude from every tribe and tongue,
wearing robes of white, will stand before Your throne,
And our hearts will be so consumed by You
that we’ll never cease to praise!

May our hearts be so consumed by You
that we never cease to praise.

Benediction
Ephesians 6:24 (ESV)

Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.

 

April 18, 2021

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, April 18, 2021

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “Rejoice, the Lord Is King”
Words: Charles Wesley. Music: John Darwal.

Rejoice, the Lord is King: Your Lord and King adore!
Rejoice, give thanks, and sing, and triumph evermore.
Lift up your heart; lift up your voice! Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

Jesus, the Savior, reigns, the God of truth and love;
when He had purged our stains, He took His seat above.
Lift up your heart; lift up your voice! Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

His kingdom cannot fail, He rules o’er earth and heav’n;
the keys of death and hell are to our Jesus giv’n.
Lift up your heart; lift up your voice! Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

Rejoice in glorious hope! For Christ the Judge shall come
and take His servants up to their eternal home;
Lift up your heart; lift up your voice! Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

Hymn: “Onward March, All-Conquering Jesus””
Words: William Williams. Music: John Zundel.

Onward march, all-conquering Jesus,; gird Thee on Thy mighty sword.
Sinful earth can ne’er oppose Thee; hell itself bows at Thy Word.
Thy great Name is so exalted, ev’ry foe shrinks back in fear;
terror creeps through all creation, when it knows that Thou art near.

Free my soul from sin’s foul bondage; hasten now the glorious dawn.
Break proud Babel’s gates in sunder; let the massive bolts be drawn.
Forth, like ocean’s heaving surges, bring in myriads ransomed slaves,
host on host, with shouts of triumph, endless, countless as the waves.

E’en today I hear sweet music, praises of a blood-freed throng;
full deliverance, glorious freedom, are their themes for endless song.
Whiter than the snow their raiment, victor palms they wave on high,
as they pass, with fullest glory, into life’s felicity.

How my raptured soul rejoices that the jubilee is near;
ev’ry word will be accomplished spoken by our Savior here.
North and south in countless myriads, from earth’s darkest ends they come,
with the dance and gladsome music, into heaven’s eternal home.

Hymn: “See, He Comes”
Words: Charles Wesley. Music: Zach Sprowls and Rich Gunderlock.

See, He comes upon the clouds, Jesus Christ, our King appears.
All the saints bought by His blood  will rise to meet Him in the air.
Earth and sea shall flee away, all creation waits and groans,
for the Lord Redeemer comes to take His longing exiles home.

Hallelujah, hallelujah, come, O Lord, on earth to reign.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, we await the coming day.

Those who mocked and scorned His name,
pierced and nailed Him to the tree,
deeply wail, in sorrow grieve, when they the true Messiah see.
Ev’ry eye will see the Lord dressed in dreadful majesty;
ev’ry knee shall bow before the Judge of all eternity.

Hallelujah, hallelujah, come, O Lord, on earth to reign.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, we await the coming day.

Still He bears the holy scars: evidence of saving grace.
All the saints bought by His blood shall then rejoice to see His face.
Yes, amen, let all adore Christ on His eternal throne.
All the pow’r and might are Yours, come, claim the kingdom as Your own.

Hallelujah, hallelujah, come, O Lord, on earth to reign.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, we await the coming day.

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “Seven Seals”
Revelation 6 (ESV)

1 Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer.

When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.

When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius, and do not harm the oil and wine!”

When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. 10 They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.

12 When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. 14 The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. 15 Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

Hymn: “It Is Well with My Soul”
Words: Horatio G. Spafford. Music: Philip P. Bliss.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
“It is well, it is well with my soul.”

It is well with my soul, it is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
let this blest assurance control,
that Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
and has shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well with my soul, it is well, it is well with my soul.

My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought:
My sin, not in part but the whole
is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

It is well with my soul, it is well, it is well with my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
the clouds be rolled back as a scroll,
the trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend,
“Even so,” it is well with my soul.

It is well with my soul, it is well, it is well with my soul.

Benediction
1 Thessalonians 5:23–24 (ESV)

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. 24He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

 

February 14, 2021

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, February 14, 2021

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “O Breath of God”
Words and music: Keith Getty and Phil Madeira.

O Breath of God, come fill this place;
revive our hearts to know Your grace,
and from our slumber make us rise,
that we may know the risen Christ.

O Word of God, so clear and true,
renew our minds to trust in You;
and give to us the Bread of Life,
that we may know the risen Christ.

O Love of God, so unrestrained,
refresh our souls in Jesus’ name.
Let us reflect Your sacrifice,
that we may know the risen Christ.

May God the Father, God the Son,
and God the Spirit make us one;
in holiness let us unite,
that we may know the risen Christ.

Song: “His Mercy Is More”
Words and music: Matt Papa and Matt Boswell.

What love could remember no wrongs we have done?
Omniscient, all-knowing, He counts not their sum.
Thrown into a sea without bottom or shore,
Our sins they are many; His mercy is more.

Praise the Lord, His mercy is more.
Stronger than darkness, new every morn’.
Our sins, they are many; His mercy is more.

What patience would wait as we constantly roam?
What Father, so tender, is calling us home?
He welcomes the weakest, the vilest, the poor.
Our sins, they are many; His mercy is more.

Praise the Lord, His mercy is more.
Stronger than darkness, new every morn’.
Our sins, they are many; His mercy is more.

What riches of kindness He lavished on us.
His blood was the payment; His life was the cost.
We stood ’neath a debt we could never afford.
Our sins, they are many; His mercy is more.

Praise the Lord, His mercy is more.
Stronger than darkness, new every morn’.
Our sins, they are many; His mercy is more.

Hymn: “Holy, Holy, Holy”
Words: Reginald Heber. Music: John B. Dykes

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy! merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
who were, and art, and evermore shalt be.

Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide Thee,
though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see,
only thou art holy; there is none beside thee,
perfect in power, in love and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy name, in earth, and sky, and sea.
Holy, holy, holy! merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “She Refuses to Repent”
Revelation 2:18–29 (ESV)
18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.
19 “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. 24 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. 25 Only hold fast what you have until I come. 26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

Hymn: “May the Mind of Christ My Savior”
Words: Kate B. Wilkinson. Music: A. Cyril Barham-Gould.

May the mind of Christ, my Savior, live in me from day to day,
by His love and power controlling all I do and say.

May the Word of God dwell richly in my heart from hour to hour,
so that all may see I triumph only through His power.

May the peace of God my Father rule my life in everything,
that I may be calm to comfort sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me as the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing: this is victory.

May I run the race before me, strong and brave to face the foe,
looking only unto Jesus as I onward go.

May His beauty rest upon me as I seek the lost to win;
And may they forget the channel, seeing only Him.

Benediction
Revelation 22:20–21 (ESV)
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

 

February 7, 2021

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, February 7, 2021

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

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Welcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “Brethren, We Have Met to Worship”
Words: George Atkins. Music: William More.

Brethren, we have met to worship and adore the Lord our God;
Will you pray with all your power, while we try to preach the Word?
All is vain unless the Spirit of the Holy One comes down;
Brethren, pray, and holy manna will be showered all around.

Brethren, see poor sinners round you slumb’ring on the brink of woe;
Death is coming, hell is moving, can you bear to let them go?
See our fathers and our mothers, and our children sinking down;
Brethren, pray, and holy manna will be showered all around.

Let us love our God supremely, let us love each other, too;
Let us love and pray for sinners, till our God makes all things new.
Then He’ll call us home to Heaven, at His table we’ll sit down;
Christ will gird Himself and serve us with sweet manna all around.

Hymn: “Before the Throne Above”
Words: Vikki Cook and Charitie Lees Bancroft. Music: Vikki Cook

Before the throne of God above, I have a strong and perfect plea:
a great High Priest whose name is Love, who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands, my name is written on His heart;
I know that while in heav’n He stands, no tongue can bid me thence depart,
no tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair, and tells me of the guilt within,
upward I look and see Him there, who made an end to all my sin.
Because the sinless Saviour died my sinful soul is counted free,
for God the Just is satisfied to look on Him and pardon me,
to look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there, the risen Lamb, my perfect spotless righteousness,
the great unchangeable “I Am,” the King of glory and of grace.
One with Himself, I cannot die; my soul is purchased with His blood.
My life is hid with Christ on high, with Christ, my Savior and my God,
with Christ, my Savior and my God.

Time of Prayer

Sermon: “A New Name”
Revelation 2:12–17 (ESV)
12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.
13 “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. 15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’”

Hymn: “The Communion Hymn”
Words and music: Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, and Stuart Townend.

Behold the Lamb who bears our sins away, slain for us, and we remember
the promise made that all who come in faith find forgiveness at the cross.
So we share in this bread of life, and we drink of His sacrifice
as a sign of our bonds of peace around the table of the King.

The body of our Savior Jesus Christ, torn for you, eat and remember
the wounds that heal, the death that brings us life paid the price to make us one.
So we share in this bread of life, and we drink of His sacrifice
as a sign of our bonds of love around the table of the King.

The blood that cleanses every stain of sin, shed for you, drink and remember
He drained death’s cup that all may enter in to receive the life of God.
So we share in this bread of life, and we drink of His sacrifice
as a sign of our bonds of grace around the table of the King.

And so with thankfulness and faith we rise to respond, and to remember
our call to follow in the steps of Christ as His body here on earth.
As we share in His suffering we proclaim Christ will come again!
And we’ll join in the feast of heaven around the table of the King.

The Lord’s Supper

Hymn: “I’d Rather Have Jesus”
Words: Rhea F. Miller. Music: George Beverly Shea

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands;
I’d rather be led by His nail pierced hand

Than to be the king of a vast domain
or be held in sin’s dread sway.
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
this world affords today.

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame;
I’d rather be true to His holy name

Than to be the king of a vast domain
or be held in sin’s dread sway.
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
this world affords today.

He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb;
He’s all that my hungering spirit needs;
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead

Than to be the king of a vast domain
or be held in sin’s dread sway.
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
this world affords today.

Benediction

Revelation 22:20–21 (ESV)
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

 

December 24, 2020

Here is the worship guide for our Christmas Eve service.

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 5:00 p.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

A picture containing drawing Description automatically generatedWelcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “The First Noel”
Words: Traditional English Carol. Music: Traditional English Carol.

The First Noel the Angel did say,
was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay;
in fields where they lay keeping their sheep,
On a cold winter’s night that was so deep.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel!

They looked up and saw a star
shining in the East beyond them far;
and to the earth it gave great light,
and so it continued both day and night.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel!

And by the light of that same star
the wise men came from country far;
to seek for a King was their intent,
and to follow the star wherever it went.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel!

Then let us all with one accord
sing praises to our heavenly Lord
Who hath made Heaven and earth of naught,
and with his blood mankind hath bought.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel!

Scripture Reading and Prayer
Isaiah 42:1–9 (ESV)

Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed he will not break,
and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
He will not grow faint or be discouraged
till he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his law.

Thus says God, the Lord,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people on it
and spirit to those who walk in it:
“I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness;
I will take you by the hand and keep you;
I will give you as a covenant for the people,
a light for the nations,
to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness.
I am the Lord; that is my name;
my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to carved idols.
Behold, the former things have come to pass,
and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth
I tell you of them.”

Hymn: “What Child Is This?”
Words: William C. Dix. Music: Traditional English Melody.

What Child is this, who, laid to rest, on Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet, while shepherds watch are keeping?

This, this is Christ, the King, Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud, the Babe, the Son of Mary!

Why lies He in such mean estate, where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear: for sinners here the silent Word is pleading.

This, this is Christ, the King, Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud, the Babe, the Son of Mary!

So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh, come, peasant, king to own Him.
The King of kings salvation brings; let loving hearts enthrone Him.

This, this is Christ, the King, Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud, the Babe, the Son of Mary!

Hymn: “Exult in the Savior’s Birth”
Words and music: Matt Boswell and D. A. Carson.

Shepherds watched their flocks at night, attending lowly sheep.
Now within a cattle shed, a much stranger watch they keep.

Today, a Savior has been born and He is Christ, the Lord.
Placed within a humble trough, this baby must be adored.

Pagan wise men from the East seek out the infant King.
Trackless miles behind them lie and now all their rev’rence bring.

They have come to worship Him with spices and with gold.
Countless millions seek Him still, whose advent was long foretold.

For to us a child is born, to us a Son is giv’n.
He shall reign in righteousness, this Counselor King from heav’n.

The government will rest on Him, He is the mighty God.
Prince of Peace, this gentle King, yet rules with a mighty rod.

Scriptures say that Mary’s boy was born that He might die.
Angel voices burst in praise, their harmony fills the sky.

Sing, “Glory in the highest heav’n!” Sing, “Gracious peace on earth!”
Those on whom His favor rests exult in the Savior’s birth.

Sermon: “Worship the King”
Matthew 2:1–12 (ESV)

1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

Hymn: “We Three Kings of Orient Are”
Words and music: John Henry Hopkins, Jr.

We three kings of Orient are: bearing gifts we traverse afar—
field and fountain, moor and mountain—following yonder star.

Oh, star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright,
westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light.

Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain: gold I bring to crown Him again,
King forever, ceasing never over us all to reign.

Oh, star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright,
westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light.

Frankincense to offer have I, incense owns a Deity nigh;
prayer and praising, all men raising, worship Him, God on high.

Oh, star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright,
westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light.

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume breathes of life of gathering gloom—
sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying, sealed in the stone-cold tomb.

Oh, star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright,
westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light.

Glorious now behold Him arise: King and God and Sacrifice;
Alleluia, Alleluia! Earth to heav’n replies.

Oh, star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright,
westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light.

Hymn: “Silent Night, Holy Night”
Words: Joseph Mayr. Music: Franz Gruber.

Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright
round yon virgin mother and Child! Holy Infant so tender and mild,
sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night, shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar, heavenly hosts sing: “Alleluia!”.
Christ, the Savior is born, Christ, the Savior is born

Silent night, holy night, Son of God, love’s pure light.
Radiant beams from Thy holy face with the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth, Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.

Benediction

May God grant you the grace to be like the wise men, making every effort to worship King Jesus. May Jesus, the Prince of Peace, grant you peace as you come to him.
May the Holy Spirit fill your heart with the love of God.
Merry Christmas. Go in peace.

 

December 13, 2020

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, December 13, 2020.

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

A picture containing drawing

Description automatically generatedWelcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “Of the Father’s Love Begotten”
Words: Aurelius Prudentius. Music: 13th century plainsong.

Of the Father’s love begotten, ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega, He the source, the ending He,
of the things that are, that have been,
and that future years shall see, evermore and evermore!

O ye heights of heaven adore Him; angel hosts, His praises sing;
powers, dominions, bow before Him, and extol our God and King!
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
every voice in concert sing, evermore and evermore!

Christ, to Thee with God the Father, and, O Holy Ghost, to Thee,
hymn and chant and high thanksgiving, and unwearied praises be:
honor, glory, and dominion,
and eternal victory, evermore and evermore!

Hymn: “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”
Words: Latin hymn, translated by John Mason Neale and Henry Sloane Coffin; music: Plainsong

O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer our spirits by Thine advent here;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
from depths of hell Thy people save, and give them victory o’er the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

O Come, Desire of nations, bind all peoples in one heart and mind.
Bid envy, strife, and quarrels cease; fill the whole world with heaven’s peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

Time of Prayer
Zephaniah 3:14–20 (ESV)

14  Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion;
shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
O daughter of Jerusalem!
15  The Lord has taken away the judgments against you;
he has cleared away your enemies.
The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
you shall never again fear evil.
16  On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
“Fear not, O Zion;
let not your hands grow weak.
17  The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
18  I will gather those of you who mourn for the festival,
so that you will no longer suffer reproach.
19  Behold, at that time I will deal
with all your oppressors.
And I will save the lame
and gather the outcast,
and I will change their shame into praise
and renown in all the earth.
20  At that time I will bring you in,
at the time when I gather you together;
for I will make you renowned and praised
among all the peoples of the earth,
when I restore your fortunes
before your eyes,” says the Lord.

Hymn: “Good Christian Men, Rejoice”
Words: Medieval Latin carol. Music: Traditional German carol.

Good Christian men rejoice with heart and soul and voice!
Give ye heed to what we say: Jesus Christ is born today!
Man and beast before Him bow and He is in the manger now:
Christ is born today, Christ is born today!

Good Christian men, rejoice with heart and soul and voice!
Now ye hear of endless bliss: Jesus Christ was born for this!
He has opened heaven’s door, and man is blessed evermore.
Christ was born for this, Christ was born for this!

Good Christian men, rejoice with heart and soul and voice!
Now ye need not fear the grave: Jesus Christ was born to save
Calls you one and calls you all to gain His everlasting hall.
Christ was born to save, Christ was born to save!

Sermon: “The Son of David, the Son of Abraham”
Matthew 1:1–18 (ESV)

1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.

And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

17 So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.

We’ll also look at Genesis 12:1–3; 2 Samuel 7:8–13; Isaiah 9:6–7; 11:1­–5. For more about Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba (“the wife of Uriah”), see Genesis 38, Joshua 2, Ruth, and 2 Samuel 11–12.

Hymn: “Come, Behold the Wondrous Mystery”
Words and music by Matt Papa, Matt Boswell, and Michael Bleecker

Come behold the wondrous mystery, in the dawning of the King;
He the theme of heaven’s praises, robed in frail humanity.
In our longing, in our darkness, now the light of life has come;
look to Christ, who condescended, took on flesh to ransom us.

Come behold the wondrous mystery, He the perfect Son of Man;
in His living, in His suffering never trace nor stain of sin.
See the true and better Adam, come to save the hell-bound man;
Christ, the great and sure fulfillment of the law; in Him we stand.

Come behold the wondrous mystery, Christ the Lord upon the tree,
in the stead of ruined sinners, hangs the Lamb in victory.
See the price of our redemption, see the Father’s plan unfold;
bringing many sons to glory, grace unmeasured, love untold.

Come behold the wondrous mystery, slain by death the God of life;
but no grave could e’er restrain Him, praise the Lord, He is alive!
What a foretaste of deliverance, how unwavering our hope;
Christ in power resurrected, as we will be when he comes.

Benediction
2 Corinthians 13:14 (ESV)

14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

 

November 29, 2020

Here is the worship guide for Sunday, November 29, 2020.

PDF version of the worship guide to download or print.

The livestream will begin at 10:30 a.m. on our Facebook page or YouTube page.

A picture containing drawing Description automatically generatedWelcome and Announcements

Opening Prayer

Hymn: “Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul”
Words by Anne Steele, music by Matt Merker

Dear refuge of my weary soul, on Thee, when sorrows rise,
on Thee, when waves of trouble roll, my fainting hope relies.
To Thee I tell each rising grief, for Thou alone canst heal;
Thy Word can bring a sweet relief for every pain I feel.

But oh! when gloomy doubts prevail, I fear to call Thee mine.
The springs of comfort seem to fail, and all my hopes decline.
Yet, gracious God, where shall I flee? Thou art my only trust;
and still my soul would cleave to Thee though prostrate in the dust

Hast Thou not bid me seek Thy face, and shall I seek in vain?
And can the ear of sovereign grace, be deaf when I complain?
No, still the ear of sovereign grace, attends the mourner’s prayer;
Oh, may I ever find access to breathe my sorrows there.

Thy mercy seat is open still, there let my soul retreat;
with humble hope attend Thy will, and wait beneath Thy feet.
Thy mercy seat is open still, here let my soul retreat;
with humble hope attend Thy will, and wait beneath Thy feet.

Hymn: “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus”
Words by Charles Wesley, music by Rowland H. Prichard

Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth Thou art;
dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever, now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit rule in all our hearts alone;
by Thine all sufficient merit, raise us to Thy glorious throne.

Time of Prayer

Isaiah 40:1–11 (ESV)

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that her warfare is ended,
that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.

A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

A voice says, “Cry!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades
when the breath of the Lord blows on it;
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.

Go on up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good news;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good news;
lift it up, fear not;
say to the cities of Judah,
“Behold your God!”
10  Behold, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
behold, his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
11  He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.

Hymn: “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”
Words: Latin hymn, translated by John Mason Neale and Henry Sloane Coffin; music: Plainsong

O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer our spirits by Thine advent here;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
from depths of hell Thy people save, and give them victory o’er the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

O Come, Desire of nations, bind all peoples in one heart and mind.
Bid envy, strife, and quarrels cease; fill the whole world with heaven’s peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

Sermon: “Living on a Prayer”
Psalm 4 (ESV) A Psalm of David.

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have given me relief when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!

O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame?
How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah
But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself;
the Lord hears when I call to him.

Be angry, and do not sin;
ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah
Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the Lord.

There are many who say, “Who will show us some good?
Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!”
You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and wine abound.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Hymn: “Before the Throne Above”
Words by Vikki Cook and Charitie Lees Bancroft, music by Vikki Cook

Before the throne of God above, I have a strong and perfect plea:
a great High Priest whose name is Love, who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands, my name is written on His heart;
I know that while in heav’n He stands, no tongue can bid me thence depart,
no tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair, and tells me of the guilt within,
upward I look and see Him there, who made an end to all my sin.
Because the sinless Saviour died my sinful soul is counted free,
for God the Just is satisfied to look on Him and pardon me,
to look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there, the risen Lamb, my perfect spotless righteousness,
the great unchangeable “I Am,” the King of glory and of grace.
One with Himself, I cannot die; my soul is purchased with His blood.
My life is hid with Christ on high, with Christ, my Savior and my God,
with Christ, my Savior and my God.

Benediction
Numbers 6:24–26 (ESV)

24  The Lord bless you and keep you;
25  the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26  the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

 

Pray That You May Not Enter into Temptation

This sermon was preached by Brian Watson on February 9, 2020.
MP3 recording of the sermon.
PDF of the written sermon (or continue reading below). 

Many people claim to be Christians. And if you ask these people questions about different issues, whether those are ethical or doctrinal, you’ll likely get very different answers. In fact, if you ask people who claim to be Christians some very basic questions about who Jesus is and what he achieved during his time on earth, you’ll likely get different answers, too. That’s sad.

There are many truths about Jesus that are quite clearly expressed in the Bible. It’s rather clear that he was a man, a human being. Though he was conceived in a unique way, he was born, grew up, ate, drank, got tired, slept, felt emotions, experienced pain and suffering, and he died. If you pay attention to what the Bible says, I think it’s also clear that he’s the Son of God. He claims to be divine and equal to God the Father, he claims to forgive sins not committed directly against him, he says that people will be condemned if they don’t believe in him and follow his words.

Yet there are some aspects of Jesus that are harder to understand. How is that he could be both God and human at the same time? How could Jesus be tempted if he’s God? If he’s God, how could he really suffer? What exactly did his death accomplish?

These issues aren’t just intellectual issues. These theological issues have an impact on how we live. Knowing who Jesus is and what he came to do will shape our lives in dramatic ways, particularly as we deal with issues of sin and suffering.

Today, as we continue to study the Gospel of Luke, we’ll consider some of the more difficult aspects of who Jesus is and what he did. We’ll be looking at Luke 22:39–46, the passage that describes Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before he died. We’ll think about why Jesus prayed, what he prayed for, and the results of his prayer. And we’ll consider his words to his disciples, that they should pray that they may not enter into temptation.

So, with that in mind, let’s read today’s passage. Here is Luke 22:39–46:

39 And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. 40 And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45 And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, 46 and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”[1]

Just to give us a bit of context: As I said, this is the night before Jesus will die. He is about to be arrested. He has already taken one last Passover meal with his disciples, he has told them something about the meaning of his imminent death, and he has warned them that one of them will betray him and one of them will deny him. Then, he and his followers left Jerusalem, crossed the Kidron Valley, just east of the city, and came to the Garden of Gethsemane, at the foot of the western slope of the Mount of Olives.

Jesus tells his disciples to pray that they may not enter into temptation, and then he withdraws a relatively short distance from them to pray on his own. In Matthew’s and Mark’s Gospels, we’re told that Jesus took his inner circle of disciples, Peter, James, and John, with him (Matt. 26:36–46; Mark 14:32–42).

Now, I want us to see why Jesus prayed. Why, at this moment, does Jesus pray? In fact, why does Jesus need to pray at all, if he’s God? Well, Jesus prayed throughout his time on earth because he was also a man. He came to live the perfect human life. Most of the time, he didn’t rely on his divine power. There were times when he performed miracles and didn’t pray beforehand. But as a human being, and as the perfect human being, he relied on God the Father’s provision. A perfect human being realizes that he or she isn’t God, that God is the Creator, Sustainer, and Provider of all things. So, a perfect human being doesn’t rely on his own strength, but instead he relies on God.

Prayer isn’t simply asking God for things. We’ve read through most of the Psalms on Sunday mornings, and in those poems, those prayers, you see that the psalmists often express emotions to God. They simply talk to God. They praise him. They tell him how they are feeling. They express their concerns, their sorrows. They confess their sins. They dare to command God to rise up and defeat their enemies. They ask God where he is and how long it will be before they are vindicated. Prayer is quite simply spending time with God. Prayer is taking whatever you’re going through and processing it in the presence of God. God already knows whatever it is that you’ll say. You’re not going to tell something new to God. He knows everything, even what is going on in your heart and mind. God doesn’t need your requests to act. But what prayer does is it helps us to focus on God. In our time of need, it reminds us that God is there, that God is in control, and that he is our ultimate source of help and hope. Prayer realigns us to God.

So, why does Jesus pray? He knows what’s happening. He knows he’s about to die. He already has clearly predicted his death. He knows his body will be broken and his blood poured out. He knows Judas Iscariot is telling the Jewish leaders right now that where they can arrest him away from the teeming crowds in Jerusalem. Jesus knows that what he is about to endure isn’t just physical suffering, as bad as that will be. He is going to experience something far beyond physical pain. So, he prays.

What does Jesus pray for? Here is his prayer: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” Jesus is asking to be relieved of something. But what? He wants a “cup” to be removed from him. Since he’s not literally drinking anything, this cup must be a figurative or symbolic reference. What is this cup? I’ve heard some people refer to this as a cup of suffering. It is that. But the cup refers to more than just suffering. You and I suffer in various ways. But the cup that Jesus had to drink wasn’t just any suffering.

To understand what “this cup” refers to, we must go back to the Old Testament. As a Jewish man, Jesus was steeped in the Old Testament. He often quoted and alluded to the Old Testament, just as the early Christian writers like Paul did. The cup is a reference to something we find in the Old Testament. It’s best to look at some passages that mention this cup to understand what Jesus is talking about.

First, we’ll look at the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah prophesied over seven hundred years earlier, at a time when Israel was divided into two kingdoms. During his ministry, the northern kingdom of Israel was defeated by the Assyrian Empire, and later, the southern kingdom of Judah would be defeated by the Babylonian Empire. The division and defeat of Israel happened because the Israelites turned away from God. They didn’t trust him and love him as they should have. They disobeyed him, broke his commands, and also started to worship false gods, idols. So, God gave them over to their sins and to their enemies. But God promised he would deliver a remnant, whom he would call back to himself and save.

In Isaiah 51, God says he would comfort his people, thought they had forgotten him (Isa. 51:12–13). Because they had forgotten him, God gave them over to punishment. Look at verses 17–23:

17  Wake yourself, wake yourself,
stand up, O Jerusalem,
you who have drunk from the hand of the Lord
the cup of his wrath,
who have drunk to the dregs
the bowl, the cup of staggering.
18  There is none to guide her
among all the sons she has borne;
there is none to take her by the hand
among all the sons she has brought up.
19  These two things have happened to you—
who will console you?—
devastation and destruction, famine and sword;
who will comfort you?
20  Your sons have fainted;
they lie at the head of every street
like an antelope in a net;
they are full of the wrath of the Lord,
the rebuke of your God.

21  Therefore hear this, you who are afflicted,
who are drunk, but not with wine:
22  Thus says your Lord, the Lord,
your God who pleads the cause of his people:
“Behold, I have taken from your hand the cup of staggering;
the bowl of my wrath you shall drink no more;
23  and I will put it into the hand of your tormentors,
who have said to you,
‘Bow down, that we may pass over’;|
and you have made your back like the ground
and like the street for them to pass over.”

Jerusalem had once drunk the cup of God’s wrath, the cup of staggering, the bowl of his wrath. But now God says he will take that cup from them and give it to their enemies. The cup symbolizes God’s judgment against sin, his righteous anger and punishment against rebellion. Sin is a destructive force, wreaking destruction in God’s creation. God has every right to get angry against sin and to cast sinners out of his creation. If someone came into your home and started tearing things up and harming your family, you would want them to be removed and punished. So it is with God. To face God’s righteous punishment against sin is a dreadful thing.

There are other passages that talk of this cup of wrath. Consider Jeremiah 25:15–16:

15 Thus the Lord, the God of Israel, said to me: “Take from my hand this cup of the wine of wrath, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it. 16 They shall drink and stagger and be crazed because of the sword that I am sending among them.”

God told the prophet Jeremiah to give the nations, including Judah, the cup of his wrath. What he means is that Jeremiah was supposed to warn the nations of God’s judgment. A day of judgment, the Day of the Lord, will come upon the whole earth. All who have rejected God and rebelled against him will drink this cup.

God sends a similar message through the prophet Ezekiel. In chapter 23 of that book, God describes in a somewhat metaphorical way how both Israel and Judah, the divided kingdoms of Israel, rejected him and went after other gods. He tells Judah that what happened to her “sister” shall happen to her. Here is Ezekiel 23:31–34:

31 You have gone the way of your sister; therefore I will give her cup into your hand. 32 Thus says the Lord God:

“You shall drink your sister’s cup
that is deep and large;
you shall be laughed at and held in derision,
for it contains much;
33  you will be filled with drunkenness and sorrow.|
A cup of horror and desolation,
the cup of your sister Samaria;
34  you shall drink it and drain it out,
and gnaw its shards,
and tear your breasts;

for I have spoken, declares the Lord God.

Drinking from that cup sounds like a terrible thing, something that brings shame, horror, destruction, and pain.

Another passage that speaks of the cup is Psalm 75:6–8:

For not from the east or from the west
and not from the wilderness comes lifting up,
but it is God who executes judgment,
putting down one and lifting up another.
For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup
with foaming wine, well mixed,
and he pours out from it,
and all the wicked of the earth
shall drain it down to the dregs.

Again, the cup is associated with judgment.

There are a few other passages that mention the cup, but this is enough to see that the cup is something dreadful. It is a cup of God’s judgment, his wrath against sin. It brings destruction, horror, pain. It’s like drinking the worst poison that first makes someone crazy before killing them in the worst possible way. This is the cup that Jesus was referring to.

Why does this matter? Because there are some people who say that Jesus was referring to a cup of suffering. The cup does entail suffering, but it’s not just suffering. Jesus didn’t just suffer. You and I suffer, but we don’t face what Jesus faced. He didn’t just experience physical pain and death. He bore the wrath of God on the cross. Some people refuse to believe that. They say Jesus died as an example of how to lay down your life, or that he died because he was oppressed by a class of oppressors. There’s truth to those statements. But Jesus’ death wasn’t just an accident. It was planned by God. And his death accomplished something. He died to pay the penalty of sin for his people. If his death didn’t accomplish something, it wouldn’t be a good example. But we know that Jesus came to save his people from their sin (Matt. 1:21), and that his death ransomed his people from sin (Matt. 20:28; Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 1:17–19; 2:18–25).

So, why is Jesus asking for this cup to be removed? Jesus knows he must die. He has already predicted his death. He realizes that it is part of the divine plan. But Jesus also knows that experiencing the wrath of God is something he hasn’t experienced before. He has to this point experienced unbroken fellowship with God the Father. He has only experienced the Father’s love and approval. Now, he knows that the experience of the Father’s love will be overshadowed by the experience of the Father’s wrath. He will experience a psychological, spiritual torment—what can best be described as hell on earth—and this is not something that Jesus wants to experience.

To understand what’s happening, we must first understand that Jesus has two natures. He is one person who has always had a divine nature. The Son of God has always existed as the Son. He is eternal. God the Father created the universe through him. But when Jesus was conceived, he added a second nature to himself. He also became man. Jesus doesn’t just have a body. He also has a human mind, a human soul, a human will. He needed to have these things in order to redeem them.

An early Christian theologian named Gregory Nazianzen wrote the following of Jesus:

If anyone has put his trust in Him as a Man without a human mind, he is really bereft of mind, and quite unworthy of salvation. For that which He has not assumed He has not healed; but that which is united to His Godhead is also saved. If only half Adam fell, then that which Christ assumes and saves may be half also; but if the whole of his nature fell, it must be united to the whole nature of Him that was begotten, and so be saved as a whole[2]

The point is that Jesus had a human mind as well as a divine mind. Jesus’ divine mind knows everything, every fact, past, present, and future. But he often only used his human mind, which didn’t know everything. Praying as a human, Jesus might have thought that there could be a way for him to avoid drinking that terrible cup of wrath. His divine will desired to go to the cross. But his human will, quite understandably, didn’t want to suffer God’s wrath.

We might say that Jesus was tempted not to drink this cup of judgment. We may wonder how the Son of God could be tempted. God, after all, has a perfect character. He can’t be tempted. But Jesus, as a human being, could be tempted. Yet Jesus had a perfect character. We’re often tempted to do the wrong thing because want to do things that are inherently wrong. Jesus could be tempted to do the wrong thing—to do what wasn’t the Father’s will, or the divine will—but not because he desired to do things that were inherently wrong. Not wanting to suffer and die isn’t inherently wrong. Wanting to kill an innocent human being or wanting to steal something is inherently wrong. But not wanting to drink the cup of God’s wrath isn’t wrong.

Still, we see in this passage that Jesus yields to the Father’s will. He says, “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” He’s saying that his human will isn’t to suffer God’s wrath, but he realizes this is the divine will. It’s the Father’s will. But it’s also the Son of God’s will. The divine plan that is jointly held by the Father, Son, and Spirit, is that Jesus, the God-man, must be the one who drinks this cup of wrath. Jesus, in his humanity, yields to the Father’s will, because Jesus is the perfect human being. A perfect human being is obedient. And Jesus was, as the apostle Paul says, obedient even to death on the cross (Phil. 2:8).

Why is it the plan that Jesus must drink this cup of wrath? Why must Jesus die and suffer great physical and spiritual pain? It’s God’s plan to spare sinners from God’s wrath. Jesus drinks the cup of wrath so that you and I don’t have to. And that’s the amazing thing. We deserve to drink that cup. We all have sinned. God would be right to let us receive that punishment for our sin. But God is merciful. He doesn’t give us what we deserve. God is gracious. He gives us good things we could never merit. God gave us a way to be forgiven, to have someone else take our punishment. That way is Jesus. If we put our faith in Jesus, trusting that he is our hope and salvation, trusting that he is who the Bible says he is and that he is has done what the Bible says he has done, then we are forgiven. We will never drink that cup of wrath. We are put back into a right relationship with God, adopted as his children, and we will never be disowned.

And that was made possible because Jesus didn’t give into temptation in the Garden of Gethsemane. The first man, Adam, along with the first woman, Eve, gave into temptation in another garden, Eden. The last Adam, the one who came to redeem human beings, didn’t give into temptation.

I’m sure many of us saw the movie The Passion of the Christ, which came out in 2004. The movie, made by Mel Gibson, famously depicts Jesus suffering great physical pain. I don’t think it’s a great movie. It doesn’t contain a lot of theology. But there are some good moments. At the beginning of the movie, Jesus is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. He prays, but his prayers are met with silence. And he falls to the ground. Then Satan appears alongside of him. Satan appears as a woman, dressed in a dark cloak. Satan tries to make Jesus doubt that he can actually bear the sins of the world. Satan tries to get Jesus to doubt that God is really his Father. Then, a serpent comes from the bottom of Satan’s cloak and slithers toward Jesus. But Jesus resolves to do the Father’s will. He gets up and stomps on the serpent’s head, crushing it.

That is sort of what Jesus is going through here. He expresses his reluctance to drain the cup of wrath, but he also says that he will do the Father’s will.

What is the response to Jesus’ prayer? Well, the Father did not take the cup from him. Jesus would have to suffer. But notice that something happens. An angel comes to strengthen Jesus. Something similar happened when Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. (See Luke 4:1–13.) Jesus turned away Satan’s temptations to receive a kingdom without first suffering. And after Jesus resisted temptation, angels came to minister to him (Matt. 4:11; Mark 1:13). Here, Jesus resists temptation, though he isn’t spared the cup. But what God the Father does is give him the strength to drink it. In fact, the angel apparently gave Jesus the strength to continue praying. He was in such agony that his sweat was like blood. Luke doesn’t say that Jesus was sweating blood. But his sweat was like blood. Perhaps the drops of his sweat were heavy like drops of blood. Or perhaps he was sweating profusely: sweat was pouring out of him the way blood pours out of a wound. Jesus was doing battle through prayer, and God gave him the strength to do that. God strengthened him to suffer.

Now, you may be wondering what all of this has to do with you. If you’re a Christian, it has everything to do with you. This is what Jesus endured to save you. He battled through temptation and agony. In distress, he cried out to the Father, asking if it were possible for there to be some other way. But he yielded to the Father. Jesus obeyed for you. He suffered for you. He died for you. It’s important to be reminded of this.

And if you are not a Christian, I hope that you would see the beauty of Jesus’ sacrifice. Look at what he was willing to endure. The weight of the world was upon his shoulders. The destiny of billions of people depended upon his actions. And Jesus triumphed by being willing to suffer so that he could save people. If you put your trust in him, you will be spared God’s wrath. But if you reject Jesus, you reject God. And the reality is that you will have to drink that cup of wrath yourself, and it will be greater suffering than you can imagine.

But there’s something else to see in this passage. Jesus twice tells his disciples to pray that they may not enter into temptation. At that moment, they would be tempted to abandon Jesus. Next week, we will see how Jesus is arrested. Judas and some soldiers and officers of the Jewish leaders were on their away to arrest Jesus. The temptation would be to run away, to abandon Jesus, to deny every knowing him, all to save their own skin. If they were coming to arrest and kill Jesus, they might do the same to Jesus’ followers.

Now, we will likely not be put in such a difficult situation. But there will be temptation to deny Jesus in situations that aren’t full of so much pressure. We may be tempted to abandon Jesus when our friends and family members don’t follow him. We may be tempted to abandon Jesus when it seems like the way of the world is more fun and satisfying. In other words, we may be tempted to abandon Jesus in order to pursue sin, to do things that Jesus forbids us to do. We may be tempted to abandon Jesus when we suffer, when things in this life don’t go the way we want them to go. When we endure physical pain, perhaps an injury or a disease, we may wonder if this God of the Bible really exists. When we suffer in our relationships, we may be tempted to give up on Jesus. There are many different situations that might lead us into temptation. And Jesus tells us to pray so that we wouldn’t give into temptation.

When you’re suffering, don’t run away from God. There’s always the temptation to ignore that suffering, perhaps to numb your pain with drugs or alcohol or to just avoid it through things like entertainment. Instead of dealing with the problems of our lives, we may tune them out by turning on the TV or binge-watching shows and movies on Netflix. Jesus asked the disciples to stay awake with him, but we’re told that they were “sleeping for sorrow.” They were so emotionally spent that they slept. That could literally be what happens to us. Instead of facing our problems, we might just want to sleep. I think that’s what people who commit suicide believe. It’s better to have to “sleep,” to be done with this life, than to deal with the sorrows and sufferings of this life.

But Jesus asks us to wrestle with God in prayer. When we suffer, we should cry out to God. When you’re hurting, talk to God. When you’re in distress, express your emotions to God. You can do that through tears and even shouting. Prayer doesn’t have to done in this hushed, polite, “religious” tone. Jesus prayed with great emotion. This is what the author of Hebrews writes: “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence” (Heb. 5:7). It’s perfectly acceptable to pray in loud cries, to pray through your tears. You can tell God how you really feel. You can ask him questions. You can beg him to spare you suffering.

But when we pray, we must realize that God may not answer us the way we want him to. When we’re hurting, our first instinct is to ask God to remove the thing that’s hurting us. That’s not a wrong thing to ask of God. Jesus did it. Paul did it, too (see 2 Cor. 12:1–10). Bringing that request to God makes us aware that God has the power to remove suffering from our lives. It reminds us that God is in control. And that’s a good thing. But we must also be willing to say, “Not my will, but yours.” God’s answer might very well be “no.” His plan might be for us to continue to suffer. But if that is the case, God will give us the strength to endure that suffering. God strengthened Jesus through the help of an angel. Luke doesn’t tell us what the angel did to strengthen Jesus. We’re not even sure that Jesus could see the angel. Perhaps when we’re suffering, angels minister to us in ways that we can’t see. I don’t know. But if God plans for us to suffer, then he will give us the strength to suffer.

So, if you’re facing something difficult today, something you wish were different in your life, tell God about it. Cry out to him. Tell him how you’re in pain, or you’re confused, or you don’t know what to do. Wrestle with him. Cry, shout, wail. Tell him what you would like to happen. But then be willing to do God’s will. When you pray, you will more than likely never hear an audible reply. You have to wait and see what God’s answer is. There are times when he removes the suffering, when he improves our situation, when he heals us. But there are many times when our circumstances don’t change, when we continue to suffer. If that is the case, take heart. God will strengthen you, perhaps in ways that you can’t sense, ways that you don’t see. He will give you the grace to endure. God will not ask us to bear the weight of the world on our shoulders. Only one person could do that, and he already did. But you will bear some weight. Just know that God will strengthen you to bear it. As Jesus told his disciples on that same night, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Notes

  1. All Scripture quotations are taken from the English Standard Version (ESV).
  2. Gregory Nazianzen, “Select Letters of Saint Gregory Nazianzen,” in S. Cyril of Jerusalem, S. Gregory Nazianzen, ed. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, trans. Charles Gordon Browne and James Edward Swallow, vol. 7, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Second Series (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1894), 440.

 

Pray That You May Not Enter into Temptation (Luke 22:39-46)

Jesus resisted temptation in the Garden of Gethsemane by praying to the Father. Though the cup of God’s wrath was not taken from Jesus, he yielded to the Father’s will and was strengthened for his mission. Brian Watson preached this sermon on Luke 22:39-46 on February 9, 2020.

God, Be Merciful to Me

This sermon was preached on September 8, 2019 by Brian Watson.
MP3 recording of the sermon.
PDF of the written sermon (or see below).

Let’s imagine something for a moment. Imagine you have a job. For some of you, this isn’t all that hard to do. Imagine that your company was recently purchased by a new owner, who has brought in new management. The new management announces that they are going to interview everyone who works for the company. They present this as a “getting-to-know-you” exercise. They schedule interviews with every single employee, including you. At beginning of your interview, they ask you simple questions about you, such as what your role in the company is, how long you’ve worked there, where you went to school, what other kinds of experience you have—that sort of thing. Then they ask you what you do at the company. As they start to ask more specific questions, it dawns on you that they’re not just trying to get to know you. They’re trying to see if they want to continue to employ you. In short, they’re asking you to justify your position with the company. So, you start to give answers that you would give when you interview for a job. You tell them how you work hard, how much experience you have doing your job, how productive you are, how well you get along with your coworkers, and anything else you can think of to convince them that they should keep you on the payroll.

That’s a bit of what “justification” looks like. It means something like an acquittal. Being justified means being viewed as not guilty, as innocent, as in the right, as acceptable. Justification is a big word in Christianity, and we don’t always hear about it in other contexts. But the fact is that we all try to justify ourselves in some way or another. We try to demonstrate that we’re in the right, that we’re good people, that we have the right beliefs and the right behaviors, that we’re people who should be accepted and embraced.

The key question that we all should ask is, How can I be acceptable to God? What sort of justification can I offer to him? We should think along those lines, but there are many people who don’t even realize that we need to be justified in the presence of God. But we do need justification. We need something that makes up for our sin, that reconciles us to God, that shows that we’re acceptable to him, that we’re worthy. What are you relying upon for justification?

Today, as we continue our study of the Gospel of Luke, we’re going to see a famous parable that Jesus tells, a story about two people who come to the temple to pray to God. These two people have very different attitudes, and they make two very different speeches. Jesus tells us that only one of them is justified.

Let’s now read today’s passage, Luke 18:9–14:

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”[1]

Luke tells us up front why Jesus tells this story: Jesus has in mind people “who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt.” That kind of mindset is opposed to the way of Jesus for two reasons. One, Jesus repeatedly says in different ways that no one is righteous. So, to believe that one is righteous, without sin, not in need of mercy, is to be deceived. Two, those who treat others with contempt fail to see that other people are made in God’s image and likeness. We have no right to act as if we are superior to others, particularly if we realize our own unrighteousness. Jesus probably is addressing this story to the Pharisees, a group of religious leaders who were known for their strict adherence to the Hebrew Bible.

The story itself has a setting and two characters. The setting is the temple in Jerusalem. This is where God was worshiped, where sacrifices for sin were offered, and where people prayed. We don’t know if this was one of the twice-daily times of prayer at the temple (at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.) or if the men just happened to go to the temple at the same time to pray individually. The point is that both were going to meet with God.

Then, we are told about the two characters of the story. The first is a Pharisee. There were a few groups of Jewish religious leaders at this time. There was the high priest, as well as the many priests who served at the temple. Then there were two groups of influential Jews. One was the Sadducees, who had more political power but who had unorthodox beliefs. Famously, they didn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead. The other group was the Pharisees, who were lay leaders known for taking the Hebrew Bible, what we call the Old Testament, very seriously. They were very disciplined in their approach. They tried to apply the whole Bible to all of life in very specific, rigorous ways. The apostle Paul, before becoming a Christian, was a Pharisee, and he had previously boasted of his adherence to the law (Phil. 3:4–6).

But Jesus has criticized the Pharisees repeatedly for being hypocrites, for not seeing their own lack of righteousness, and for using their positions of privilege to earn money. In short, the Pharisees don’t come out looking good in this Gospel.

The Pharisees have grumbled that Jesus would spend time eating and drinking with obviously sinful people. In Luke 5:30–32, we read this:

30 And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

Jesus came to save people from their sin. Sin is a sickness, a rebellion against God but also a powerful, evil force that finds its way into everything we do. The only people who go to a doctor for healing are those who are willing to admit they are sick and need help. The Pharisees still wrestled with sin, but they had lost sight of that fact. They acted as if they were truly righteous and everyone else was not.

We’re told that this Pharisee stood by himself when he prayed. We don’t want to read much into that. There are times when people stand while praying in the Bible (1 Sam. 1:26; 1 Kgs. 8:22). But perhaps he was by himself because he thought he was above everyone else.

At any rate, we are given his prayer. It consists of twenty-eight words in the original Greek. He begins well: “God, I thank you.” It’s good to begin prayers by thanking God. But look what he thanks God for: “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.” He’s basically praying, “God, I thank you that you made me so great. When you made me, you did an excellent job. I’m not like those other sinners. I’m nailing it when it comes to all the religious things.”

The Pharisee thanks God for not making him like sinners. He even is so bold as to point out the tax collector, the other character in this story. “I thank you that I’m not like that poor slob over there.” Tax collectors had a bad reputation for two reasons: one, they often took more than they needed to take. In an era before computers or advanced paperwork, it was easy to tell people they owed more than they actually did. But, perhaps more importantly, tax collectors worked for the Roman Empire. They were Jewish people working for the enemy, the superpower of the day, the occupying force that oppressed Jews. Tax collectors were not only dishonest, but they were traitors. That’s what this Pharisee surely thought.

What the Pharisee is doing is comparing himself to other people. As he thinks about other people, he is evaluating his own moral performance against theirs. By that standard, the Pharisee comes out well. He’s thinking, “I’m not as sinful as them.” He also boasts about his good deeds. He fasted twice a week. Fasting might mean consuming only water and bread (Shepherd of Hermas 5.3.7). The Jews were only commanded to fast on the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur (Lev. 16:29; Num. 29:7). They might also fast when mourning or repenting. Pharisees were known to fast on Mondays and Thursdays. They went above and beyond what the law required.

The Pharisee also claims to tithe everything he gets. Israel was supposed to over various tithes of their produce (Num. 18:21–24; Deut. 14:22–27). A tithe literally means a tenth, though if you added Israel’s tithes, they were supposed to give something like 23.3 percent of their crops. Perhaps the Pharisee is saying that he tithes all his income, or perhaps he means that for everything he spends—for all the stuff that he “gets”—he gives ten percent away. At any rate, he’s bragging about how much he gives to the temple.

Though the Pharisee begins by praying to God, the “prayer” is really all about him. He’s the subject: I thank you, I’m not like other men, I fast twice a week, I tithe everything. I, me, mine.

The other character in this story is the tax collector. I’ve already explained their reputation. It was not good. The Pharisees complained that Jesus ate with such sinners (Luke 5:30) and would spend time with them (Luke 15:1–2). Yet this tax collector humbly makes his way to the temple. Given their reputation, it’s not unreasonable to think that tax collectors didn’t go to the temple often, perhaps because they wouldn’t want to go, perhaps because they knew how they would be viewed by others.

Like the Pharisee, the tax collector stands. But he stands at a distance. The Pharisee might have gone right into the courtyard of the temple. This tax collector was standing “far off,” perhaps on just the edge of the temple complex. Though some people prayed while looking up to God (Ps. 123:1; Mark 6:41; 7:34; John 11:41; 17:1), this tax collector can’t do that. He feels unworthy to look directly toward God. He beats his breast, a sign of mourning. And he simply says, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” In the original Greek, his prayer is only six words (compared with the twenty-eight words of the Pharisee).

Now, I don’t often play the “in the Greek . . .” card, but I will here, because it’s important. The way that the tax collector’s prayer is translated hides a couple of important details. First, he literally says, “God, make atonement for me.” He knows he needs God’s mercy. But the way to get mercy from God is if atonement is made. The Greek word used here is also used in Hebrews 2:17, where we’re told that Jesus made “propitiation for the sins of the people.” To be right in God’s eyes, to be acceptable to God, to be forgiven by him, he needs someone who can make God propitious towards him. In other words, he needs someone who can make God look favorably upon him. This man knows that he has nothing to bring to God that can turn away God’s judgment against his sin. He confesses that he’s a sinner. He doesn’t brag about who he is or what he’s done. He simply knows that he needs atonement for his sin, and he knows that God must be the one to atone for his sin. No amount of good works can make up for the sin that he’s committed.

The other interesting detail that is found in the original Greek text is that this man says, “God, make atonement for me, the sinner.” He doesn’t say “a sinner.” Instead, he says, “the sinner,” using the definite article. Why does that matter? It’s like he’s saying, “I’m not comparing myself to other people. I’m not saying that I’m just another sinner, like everyone else around me. I am the sinner who needs atonement for his sins.” The Pharisee compared himself to others and did so favorably: “I’m better than everyone else.” But this tax collector isn’t comparing. He’s not judging himself by that standard. Instead, he’s judging himself against God’s standard. It’s like when the apostle Paul called himself “the foremost” sinner (1 Tim. 1:15).

These two men couldn’t be any more different in their stature in society and in their attitudes. Yet in verse 14, Jesus provides the twist: the tax collector and not the Pharisee went back home justified. The tax collector found favor in God’s eyes. The Pharisee did not. Jesus gives the reason why: For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” This is like so many of the twists that we see in Jesus’ parables: the Samaritan, not the priest or the Levite, was the one who loved his neighbor (Luke 10:25–37); the younger sinful brother came back home and was embraced by his father while the older righteous brother stayed outside (Luke 15:11–32); the rich men went to hades while the poor men went to paradise (Luke 16:19–31).

There are three truths that I want us to see from this parable. The first truth concerns the attitude we should take in approaching God. The tax collector had it right. He humbly approaches God and seeks forgiveness that only God can give. He seeks a solution to his sin that he cannot possibly provide, but that God can. He acknowledges he’s a sinner. He doesn’t compare himself to anyone else. He knows that he stands in need of God’s mercy.

The Pharisee isn’t really praying to God at all. His prayer is really a boast. He compares himself with others and, since he’s relatively obedient to the law, he thinks he’s superior to others. He looks down at “this one,” this tax collector. He brags about all the good things he has done. There’s no awareness that he, too, is a sinner standing in need of atonement. He is justifying himself, assuming that all his good works have put him in the right before God.

The right attitude before God is captured in King David’s famous confession of sin, which we find in Psalm 51. King David had committed adultery, then when he found out the woman was pregnant, he tried to cover up his sin by arranging for her husband to sleep with her. When that didn’t work out, he had the husband killed. (See 2 Samuel 11 for the story). When the prophet Nathan called him out for his sin, David confessed that he had done what was wrong, and he asked God for forgiveness (2 Sam. 12:1–13). Look at Psalm 51:1–4:

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.

David knew that he had ultimately sinned against God, and that he needed God’s mercy. God would be justified in condemning David, but David appealed to God for mercy. He confessed his sin and he found healing and forgiveness.

Later in the same Psalm, David says (in verse 17):

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

He knew that what God wanted was a sign of repentance, a broken spirit and a contrite heart, a godly remorse over sin. God doesn’t want pride and boasting. He wants people to realize what they have done, and to come to him humbly and in faith.

That is the attitude a sinful person should have before God. And the fact is that all of us have sinned. We have all failed to love God as we should. We have failed to obey his commandments. We have failed to love other people as we should. We have even failed our own moral standards and moral codes. We have done wrong, and God knows it. He would be justified to condemn us. We must seek the atonement that only he gives.

Of course, not everyone realizes this. Just this past week, I happened to catch a bit of a video clip from an interview between Ben Shapiro and Bishop Robert Barron. If you don’t know who Ben Shapiro is, he’s a relatively young man who is a significant conservative figure. He’s a lawyer, an author, a writer, and a host of a very popular podcast. He’s made appearances on CNN and other television channels. He’s also an Orthodox Jew. So, he had this interview with a Catholic bishop, and at one point, Shapiro asks this question: “What’s the Catholic view on who gets into heaven and who doesn’t?” Then, he immediately adds, “I feel like I lead a pretty good life, a very religiously based life in which I try to keep not just the Ten Commandments, but a solid 603 other commandments as well. And I spend an awful lot of my time promulgating what I would consider to be Judeo-Christian virtues, particularly in Western societies. So, what’s the Catholic view of me? Am I basically screwed here?”[2]

I like Ben Shapiro. I agree with many things that he says. But what he’s doing there is very similar to what the Pharisee does in the parable. He’s claiming that he lives a good life. Actually, Shapiro hedges that a bit to say he lives “a pretty good life.” He claims that he tries to keep the 613 commandments of the Old Testament. (I’m not sure how he keeps all the commandments related to worshiping at the temple in Jerusalem and offering animal sacrifices.) But I doubt that he does well even with the Ten Commandments. Who has not coveted (Exod. 20:17)? Who hasn’t put something before God in their lives (Exod. 20:3)? Who has always loved God with all one’s heart, soul, and might (Deut. 6:5)? Who has always loved one’s neighbor as one’s self (Lev. 19:18)? Shapiro doesn’t seem to think he has sins that he can’t make up for.

The Bishop says that Shapiro is not “screwed.” He says that the Catholic Church has taught since Vatican II that people other than Christians can be saved if they follow their conscience. Jesus is the privileged path to salvation, and he must be followed, but the Bishop waters down what that means. He says that the atheist who follows his conscience is actually following Christ, though he doesn’t know it.

Then, Shapiro asks the Bishop if Catholicism is faith-based or acts-based. Shapiro acknowledges that Judaism is an acts-based religious, “where it’s all about what you do in this life, and that earns you points in heaven.” The Bishop says that Catholicism is “loved-based,” which is a nice answer. He does say that Catholicism requires faith, but it is perfected by works. He rightly acknowledges that a relationship with God begins with grace, and that it requires a response that includes obedience, but he suggests that human effort contributes to salvation.

Those are two wrong ways of looking at salvation. This leads me to what Jesus didn’t teach clearly in this parable, and this is the second truth that we should know this morning. How is one saved? What is the basis of salvation? If it’s true what the Bible says, that all of us have sinned (Rom. 3:23) and that even our best acts of righteousness are tainted by sin (Isa. 64:6), how can we be saved? The parable makes it clear that we must go to God humbly and ask for mercy. But how does that work?

God is a righteous judge who must punish sin. He promised punishment and exile for sinners. How can God punish sin without destroying all sinners?

God also desires righteous members of his covenant. He demands a righteous people. How can we be declared in the right, innocent, as if we had never sinned but had only done what he wants us to do?

The answer is Jesus. He is the only truly righteous person who has ever walked the face of the earth. He is the God-man, forever the Son of God, yet who added a human nature over two thousand years ago. He alone loved God the Father (and God the Spirit) with his whole being. He alone has never failed to love his neighbor. He alone has obeyed all the commandments.

Yet Jesus died a sinner’s death, bearing the wrath of God when he died on the cross. He was treated like the worst of criminals though he never did anything wrong. He then rose from the grave on the third day, to show that he paid the penalty for sin in full and to demonstrate that all his people will rise from the grave on day when he comes again in glory. If we trust in him, our sins have already been punished. The apostle wrote to the Colossians that “you, who were dead in your trespasses . . . God has made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross” (Col. 2:13–15). If we have faith in Jesus, if we trust that he is who the Bible says he is and he has done what the Bible says he has done, our sin is paid for, and we are credited with his righteousness.

This can only be accessed by faith, not works. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul writes,

15 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified (Gal. 2:15–16).

Paul makes this abundantly clear in Romans, as well as in Galatians and Philippians and his other letters. In Ephesians, he famously writes,

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast (Eph. 2:8–9).

Paul also says that we should do the good works that God has prepared in advance for us (Eph. 2:10), but those good works are not the basis for our salvation. They are not the root of our salvation, but the fruit that naturally comes out of life changed by Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

If we have a right relationship with Jesus, one marked by trust, love, and obedience, we will know who he is. We might not know everything, but we do need to know some things. Importantly, we will know that he is God. In John 8:24, Jesus told the Jewish religious leaders of his day, “I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). “I am he” is a reference to the God of the Old Testament. It is how God referred to himself when he first spoke to Moses (Exod. 3:14). It is how God refers to himself in the book of Isaiah (Isa. 41:4; 43:10, 25; 45:18; 46:4).

The Bible pictures salvation as being united to Jesus. The Bible also says that Jesus is our bride. If you are married to someone you will know it, and you will know important things about your spouse. So, if you’re married to Jesus, you’ll know that he’s the Son of God, the world’s only Savior, and the King of kings and Lord of lords. You’ll know that he died on the cross for your sins and that he rose from the grave.

The third truth I want us to think about is that we will stand before God on judgment day. We will have to give an account for what we have done. I don’t know the mechanics of how this will work out. I don’t know that we’ll be given a chance to speak to God and present a case for our justification. But let’s say we will. What will you say to God? Will you say, “God, I deserve to be with you for eternity because I’ve done all these good things. I’ve prepared a PowerPoint presentation to show you all the good things that I’ve done.” Or will you humbly say something like this? “God, I know that you would be right to condemn me. I know that I have failed to love you and to obey you. Have mercy on me, the sinner. Please forgive me. My only hope is your Son, Jesus. I trust that his righteousness and his atonement are enough to save me from sin. My faith is set upon Christ. He is my only hope for salvation.” If that is the posture of your heart, you have faith in Jesus. The good news is that he can save us from any sin we’ve committed. We can be acceptable to God because of Jesus. But we must first acknowledge our sin and humbly seek forgiveness. We must repent, turning away from sin, and turn to our only hope, who is Christ.

Christians, we must not look down at other people as though we were better than them, or more deserving of God’s grace. We must not say, “God, I thank you that I’m not a Democrat,” or, “God, I thank you that I’m not a Republican.” We can’t even say, “God, I thank you that I’m not like that Pharisee.” We must not boast in ourselves, but we must boast in Christ. Paul wrote, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” (1 Cor. 1:31; 2 Cor. 10:17; quoting Jer. 9:24). He then wrote, “For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends” (2 Cor. 10:18).

Notes

  1. All Scripture quotations are taken from the English Standard Version (ESV).
  2. The interview can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oDt8wWQsiA&feature=youtu.be. The relevant portion of the interview begins at about 16:20.

 

God, Be Merciful to Me (Luke 18:9-14)

What is our justification before God? What are we relying upon to make us right with God? Jesus taught this parable to those who trusted in themselves. Brian Watson preached this sermon on Luke 18:9-14 on September 8, 2019.

Cry to Him Day and Night

Brian Watson preached this sermon on September 1, 2019.
MP3 recording of the sermon.
PDF of the written sermon (or see below).

When something is wrong, to whom do you appeal? In our house, we have two boys, and they play together well—for the most part. But they can also be rough with each other. And if they play long enough, someone will take another’s toy, or someone will call someone a name, or someone will hurt someone else. Usually, they try to sort out their differences—often with a bit of “street justice.” That is, if tempers flare long enough, one will hit the other. But sometimes, they’ll appeal to a higher authority. They’ll call to one of their parents. “Mom, Simon took my Lego.” “Dad, Caleb called me a name.” In fact, I wish they appealed to a higher authority before they started hitting each other. But, eventually, they will appeal to a higher authority.

We all want to do be able to do that at times. When there’s an injustice, and we don’t see that injustice being righted, we want to call upon someone who can fix the problem. That’s why we have that all powerful line, “Can I speak to your supervisor?” When you’ve reached that point, something isn’t going your way, and so you play the “I want to talk to the boss” card. That’s why we have a Supreme Court. When it seems that the Constitution is being violated, we can appeal to a higher authority, and the Supreme Court is the highest judicial authority in our country.

But what if the Supreme Court gets it wrong? To what higher authority can we appeal? What if there are injustices in other lands, ones to which our nation’s laws don’t apply? To whom do we appeal?

The good news is that there is an ultimate authority, one to whom we can always appeal. And that authority is God. And he stands ready, listening to his children. As someone said Wednesday night at our prayer meeting, “With God, there’s never a busy signal. The line is always open.” There are no waiting lines to talk to God. There’s no admission ticket that we need to pay to speak God. He is the ultimate judge, and we can appeal to him for justice at any time. And God has told us that he will bring about final justice, in his own time. And he calls upon us to pray that his kingdom would come, that his will would be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Today, we’re continuing our study of the Gospel of Luke, one of four biographies of Jesus found in the Bible. Today, we begin chapter 18. Last week, as we looked at the end of chapter 17, we heard Jesus talking about how the kingdom of God is here already, though not in its fullest. It’s already, but not yet. That means that people can come to the King of kings, Jesus, and bow down before him in faith. When people turn away from living as if they are kings, or as if other people are kings, and put their trust in the true King, they can be part of God’s kingdom. Yet look around the world. It doesn’t take much to see that many people don’t live as if God is their king. If God’s kingdom is like this, we may wonder if a better kingdom is coming! So, even though the kingdom of God is present, it’s not completed or perfected here. But Jesus promised that it will come in its fullest one day. So, Jesus said, “the kingdom of God is in the midst of you” (Luke 17:21).[1] But he also said that his disciples would “desire to see on of the days of the Son of Man [that’s a reference to Jesus], and you will not see it” (Luke 17:22). Jesus suggested that things would be difficult for Christians in the in-between times, the time between his first and second appearances on earth.

It’s important to remember that, because what we see at the beginning of chapter 18 should be read in that context. As we wait for Jesus to return, as we long to see “the days of the Son of Man,” we will see injustice. As another day without Jesus returning appears, we may become discouraged. And here, in this passage, Jesus tells us to keep praying for that day of justice.

Without further ado, let’s read today’s passage. Here is Luke 18:1–8:

1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’ ” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

This passage itself isn’t very difficult to understand, but I did want to remind us of the context. This passage isn’t about prayer in general. It’s certainly not about praying for just anything. It’s about praying for God to make things right.

Luke tells us that Jesus told this parable, this little story, to his disciples so that they should always pray and not lose heart. The story concerns “a judge who neither feared God nor respected man.” Earlier in the Gospel, we’re told that the greatest command is to love God with everything we have and also to love our neighbor—our fellow man—as we love ourselves (Luke 10:27). Apparently, this judge didn’t do either of those things. We’re told he was an unrighteous judge. In Israel, judges were supposed to fear God and to care about justice, particularly for those who were vulnerable, people like widows. In fact, there’s a passage in the Old Testament, in 2 Chronicles 19, when one of the kings, Jehoshaphat, appoints judges and he explicitly tells the judges, “Now then, let the fear of the Lord be upon you. Be careful what you do, for there is no injustice with the Lord our God, or partiality or taking bribes” (2 Chron. 19:7). So, we get the sense that this judge was far from an ideal judge.

Yet this judge had power. He had authority. He could correct some injustices. And so we’re told that a widow comes to him. She says, “Give me justice against my adversary.” We don’t know who her adversary is or what injustice she was suffering. It was probably something financial. At that time, widows were particularly vulnerable. A widow, especially one without children, had no men to provide for her and protect her. The injustice might have concerned her late husband’s estate. Women generally were not heirs of an estate. When a man died, his wife could receive financial support from the estate, but she depended on the male heir to do the right thing.[2] Perhaps her adversary here was that heir. We can’t be sure, but it’s as good a guess as any.

So, this woman comes to this judge looking for justice. We get the sense that she came repeatedly to him. At first, the unrighteous judge doesn’t give this woman the time of the day, even though the Old Testament explicitly talks about how Israel should care for widows (Exod. 22:22–24; Deut. 10:17–18; 24:17; 27:19; Pss. 68:5; 146:9; Prov. 15:25; also James 1:27). Yet the widow keeps coming to him, demanding justice. Even though he doesn’t fear God or respect humans, he doesn’t like being bothered by this woman. She is wearing him out with her demands for justice. So, he gives her justice to avoid being bothered any more by her.

Then “the Lord,” Jesus, gives his disciples the point of this story. He says, even an unrighteous judge will grant justice if he’s bothered enough. How much more, then, will the perfect judge give justice to “his elect, who cry to him day and night?” The point is not that God is an unrighteous judge. The point is not that if we bother God enough for what we want, he’ll get sick of hearing our prayers, and to shut us up, he’ll grant our wishes. Jesus is making an argument from the lesser to the greater. If an unrighteous judge will grant justice from bad motives, then the perfect Judge will certainly grant justice to his children.

Jesus says three very important things in verse 7. One, Jesus calls God’s people “elect.” That means they are chosen by God. One of the amazing truths that the Bible teaches is that God has elected certain people to be his people. He has predestined them to be adopted as his children, not because they are so lovable or so good, but simply because he loves them (see Rom. 8:28–30; Eph. 1:3–14). If you’re a Christian, God wanted you even before you existed. He wanted you knowing all the sins that you would commit, all the wrongs that you would do, all the times you have failed to love God and to love others as you should. God knew all these things, and he still chose you. And that should give us confidence that when we pray to God, he will answer. He knows we’re praying—he knows all things. But because we are his chosen children, he will answer.

The second important thing Jesus says in verse 7 is that God’s elect “cry to him day and night.” I don’t think Jesus means that only if we pray to God at literally every moment, then he will listen to us. But we are told in the Bible to pray regularly. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Paul tells Christian to “pray without ceasing.” In Romans 12:12, he says, “be constant in prayer.” In Ephesians 6:18, Paul says that we should be “praying at all times in the Spirit.” In Colossians 4:2, he says, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” As a church, we should be praying regularly, and we have confidence that some Christian somewhere on earth is always praying to God for justice. Individually, we should do this regularly.

The third important thing that Jesus tells us in verse 7 is that God will not delay in granting us justice. He asks a rhetorical question: “Will he delay long over them?” The answer is “no.” However, God will do this on his own timing. God’s answers to our prayers are always perfect. He always answers our prayers, even if the answer is “no.” But we don’t always know how or when he answers our prayers. Sometimes the answer is “yes,” but it comes later than we want or expect. But God’s timing is always right.

In another part of the Bible, in the apostle Peter’s second letter, Peter talks about how some don’t believe that Jesus will come a second time. If you stop and think about it, the claim that Jesus will come again is hard to believe. It’s hard to believe because, first of all, the Christian claim is that Jesus is no mere human, but he’s also the Son of God. He’s the God-man, truly God and truly human. Second of all, we’re told that when he comes again, it will be in power and glory, and he will right every wrong. We’re told that he will remove all evil, all sin, from the world, he will judge everyone that has ever lived, and that he will recreate the world to be a paradise, a perfect place where God dwells with his people in peace and harmony. There will no longer be pain, disease, wars, and death. It’s hard to imagine all of that. And it’s no wonder that people who aren’t Christians would think this is just a fairy tale.

But Peter says it’s not. Jesus will come, but he will come according to God’s timing. Peter writes this:

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed (2 Pet. 3:8–10).

The point is that an eternal God has a different time scale than we have. We want things done now. But for God, who always existed, a day is a blink of an eye. A thousand years in our experience are like a day in his. We’re told to be patient and to wait. The reason why Jesus has not returned is because God has given us more time for people to turn from their sins—to repent—and to turn to Jesus in faith. There is a day when Jesus will come, and God knows when that is (Acts 17:31). But if Jesus returned a hundred years ago, none of us would exist, and none of us would ever have the opportunity to be part of God’s kingdom.

In the book of Revelation, the apostle John is given an image of all the people who died for their faith in Jesus. We read this in chapter 6:

10 They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been (Rev. 6:10–11).

That cry, “How long, O Lord?” appears throughout the Bible. It is a cry for justice. How long, God, until you set things right? How long until Jesus comes to remove all sin from the world, and all sin from our own hearts? How long do we have to live like this? The answer to those questions is, “Not long.” It may seem like an eternity to us, but not to God. God will not delay. His timing is right. Wait for it. In verse 8, Jesus says that God “will give justice . . . speedily” to his people.

But then Jesus turns the tables. He asks his own question. He says that when he, the Son of Man returns, “will he find faith on earth?” We ask that question, “How long?” and Jesus says, “Not long.” But then Jesus asks us what he will find when he returns. Will he find faithful people who are doing what has commanded us to do? Will he find people who are praying day and night for justice? Will he find people who trust that Jesus alone is King, that he alone is our Savior, that he alone is the perfect Judge who will right every wrong? Or will he find us putting our trust in lesser things?

This brings us to an important question that we should ask: What is the point of prayer? Earlier, I said that God is all knowing. God is omniscient. He has always known all true things. It’s not as though when we pray, we tell God anything new. It’s not as if we can say, “God, I have this great idea that you might not have considered yet. Maybe you should try this.” God already knows everything, including the content of our prayers. So, in that sense, we don’t need to pray.

But God has called us to pray. Why is that? It’s not to give him new information, or new plans. It’s not to inform him of our heart’s desire, because he knows that already. Why did God come up with the very concept of prayer? Why are we commanded to pray?

I believe the answer is that prayer keeps us connected to God. Prayer is simply talking to God. We don’t always have to request something of him when we pray. We can praise him. We can tell God we’re thankful for what he’s done for us. We can simply acknowledge who God is. We can think about his attributes and praise him for being almighty, all-knowing, holy, good, just, perfectly wise, and the creator of all things. We can tell God how we’re feeling and we can share with him our joys and sorrows. We can ask God for things. But whatever we say, he already knows it.

So, the real value of prayer is that it helps us focus on God. It’s a means of grace, something that keeps us in the faith and helps us grow in our faith. It’s a reminder of who is on the throne. God is all-powerful; we are not. God is in control; we are not. God is a perfect judge who will determine what is right and what is wrong; we lack the wisdom, the knowledge of all evidence, and the moral character to perfectly judge situations.

Our problem is that we want to be the judge. We want to be the decider, the one in control. To see this, all you need to do is think about how people react to the idea that God is judge. A lot of people are turned off by that idea. I have actually heard some people who claim to be Christians say that God wouldn’t judge anyone. Obviously, they haven’t read the Bible. God is repeatedly called a judge. He’s also a king. And, you might say, he’s the legislative branch, too. He makes the rules, which are a reflection of his moral perfection, his righteousness. He commands us to follow his rules. And he will judge us for how we have done.

And this, believe it or not, is a good thing. One reason it’s good that God is a judge is that it’s a guarantee that all wrongs will be righted. All crimes will be punished. If we didn’t have the assurance that God would do this some day, we would despair. We would look at this world, which has so much injustice, and think that justice is impossible. We would give up. We would become cynical and jaded. Or, we would try to bring about justice ourselves. How often do we see someone get away with a crime? Perhaps we don’t see this in our own lives, but we see it in the news. There are many times where a man rapes or sexually abuses a woman and he gets away with it, or he gets some ridiculously light sentencing. There are times when evil people don’t seem to be punished for their crimes. Hitler is a great example. He committed all kinds of atrocities and the committed suicide, never facing a judge and jury for what he did. Joseph Stalin, the leader of the USSR, is responsible for the deaths of millions of people who starved or who were sent to the Gulag. He died of a brain hemorrhage at age 74. He doesn’t seem to have paid for his abuses. The list could go on and on. If there is no God who judges, these men will never be punished appropriately for what they’ve done. If there’s no God, we may be tempted to seek our own “street justice,” to become vigilantes who take the law into our own hands. And that would go very badly.

But because God is a judge who will punish every crime, we can rest assured that though evil people seem to get away with crimes, no evil will go unpunished by God. He will deal with everyone’s sin. In the end, God will punish every sin, every evil. Nothing escapes his knowledge, and no one will escape his judgment. So, we have the promise that all injustices will be addressed. And that is a good thing.

There’s another good thing about God being a judge. Everything will be evaluated. That means that everything has meaning. This past week, I happened to listen to a few sermons online. That’s not something I actually do very frequently. But I happened to listen to a sermon by Tim Keller, who pastored a church in Manhattan for over twenty-five years. In the sermon, he referenced something he wrote about in his great book, The Reason for God. Keller mentions a play written by Arthur Miller called After the Fall. In that play, there’s a character named Quentin, who looks back over his life. He says that when he was younger, he thought of life as a series of proofs. You try to prove that you’re brave and smart, that you’re a good lover and father, that you’re wise, that your life has meaning. He said he expected that his life would receive some kind of judgment, some kind of verdict. He would be justified or condemned. But then he says this: “I think now my disaster really began when I looked up one day . . . and the bench was empty. No judge in sight. And all that remained was the endless argument with oneself, this pointless litigation of existence before an empty bench. . . . Which, of course, is another way of saying—despair.”[3] What is he saying? This character apparently is an atheist. He doesn’t believe there’s a cosmic judge. And what he realizes is that if there’s no God, no great judge who gives a verdict, then there’s no evaluation of one’s life. And that means that everything is ultimately meaningless.

Imagine you are in school, and you work very hard to get good grades. You want some validation for the work you’re doing. You want not only to be rewarded with a good grade, but you also want to know that you’re right. You want your work to be recognized. But then, at the end of the semester, the teacher says, “I decided not to give grades.” You would be upset if you worked hard. Now, if you didn’t work at all, you might think you’re getting a good deal. But most people want their work to have meaning. They want their lives to have meaning. That means we need to have our lives evaluated, to be judged. And we certainly want other people to be judged. All of us make moral judgments: “He should have done this; she shouldn’t have done that.” Where do you think that comes from? We’re judgmental because God is a judge. And we need God to be a judge, or else there’s no moral evaluation, and there’s no justice.

We all want God to be a judge—at least a judge of other people’s sins. But God will judge us for our sins, too. Earlier, I said that no one will escape God’s judgment. That’s not correct. There are some who will escape God’s judgment. The only way to escape is to come to Jesus. The fact is that all of us have done wrong. All of us have failed to love God and to love other people. We certainly have failed God’s standards. If we’re honest, we’ve failed to meet our own standards. We know in our hearts that we have done wrong. If we were to stand before God, we would be condemned. He would find us guilty and our crimes would be punished accordingly. And it wouldn’t be pretty. Because we have a tendency to be selfish, we would always live as if we were king. We would always sin. And God can’t have that. He can’t have people in his world destroying everything that he had made good. God will remove sinners from his creation so that he can perfect it. If God didn’t intervene, that means that each of us would be cast into hell.

But there is hope. We can escape condemnation if we find refuge in Jesus. If we turn to him, we will not be condemned. That is because he has already taken the judgment for the sins of his people. He has already paid the penalty for their crimes. Though he lived a perfect life—and he was the only one to do that—he died as a sinner. He bore not only terrible physical pain and suffering, but the wrath of God, something that goes beyond physical pain. This wasn’t an accident. It didn’t happen just because sinful people put Jesus to death, perhaps the greatest act of injustice ever committed. It was because it was God’s plan. It was the Father’s plan. It was the Son’s plan. It was the Spirit’s plan. From before the foundation of the world, the Son of God was destined to become man and die so he could save the elect from sin.

The question for us is, when Jesus comes again, will he find us faithful? Do we truly have faith in Jesus? If you’re not a Christian, I urge you to turn to Jesus now. A day of justice is coming. It will be a day of reckoning. If you haven’t put your faith in Jesus, whether you die or he returns in your lifetime, you will stand before him and you will be judged for everything you’ve ever thought, desired, and done. Jesus knows all the evidence. He knows all the ways you have failed. If you are not “in Christ,” you will be condemned. The good news is that Jesus has done everything you need to be rescued from judgment. But you must trust him. I would love to talk with you personally about what this would look like for you.

One mark of faithfulness is prayer. But we don’t pray to manipulate God. The point of this parable is not that if we badger God with personal requests, he’ll give in. It’s not that if I pray every day for money and good health, God will get tired of hearing me, and he’ll say, “Fine, I’ll give you whatever you want, just stop bothering me!” God isn’t like that. Jesus’ point is that if we cry out to our Father for justice, he will answer us positively.

Jesus told us to pray that God’s kingdom would come and that his will would be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:10; Luke 11:2). We should pray that we would act as if God is our King. We should pray that others would do that also. We should pray continually for God to right wrongs, to fix the injustice that we see around us. God may lead people to do what is just in this life. Injustices like slavery have been addressed, often by Christians. I pray that injustices like abortion, racism, sexual abuse, and other evil practices will come to an end. But all evil will only be ended on that great day when Jesus appears. The apostle Paul has said, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Rom. 16:20). So, with Paul, let us pray, “Our Lord, come!” (1 Cor. 16:22).

Notes

  1. All Scripture quotations are taken from the English Standard Version (ESV).
  2. David E. Garland, Luke, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012), 709.
  3. Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism (New York: Riverhead, 2008), 163. The quote originally appears in Arthur Miller, After the Fall (New York: Penguin, 1964, 1992), 3.

 

Cry to Him Day and Night (Luke 18:1-8)

Jesus tells his followers to cry out to God day and night for justice, and God will faithfully grant that justice, at least on the last day. But on that day, will Jesus find that his followers have been faithful? Brian Watson preached this message on Luke 18:1-8 on September 1, 2019.

Lord, Teach Us to Pray

This sermon was preached by Brian Watson on March 17, 2019.
MP3 recording of the sermon.

PDF of the written sermon (see also below).

Have you ever wanted what someone else has? Of course, you have. At some point in our lives, all of us have probably wanted someone else’s money, house, car, or job, or perhaps their popularity or celebrity. But I’m not thinking of those kinds of things. I’m thinking more about abilities or personalities. Have you ever seen someone do something so well that you thought, “I wish I could do that”? Have you ever met someone who has a certain personality trait and you thought, “I wish I was more like that”? Perhaps the ability is something practical like the ability to cook well, or to fix a car. Perhaps the character trait is something like kindness, or perhaps you wish you were funnier or more intelligent.

A lot of times, when we want something that someone else has, it’s a sin. It’s envy. Or, we might call it coveting. But there are times when we see someone able to do something, and we think, “I want to learn how to that.” That’s not coveting; it’s emulating. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, depending on our motivation. It’s not wrong to see someone who is able to cook a great meal or fix their own car and think, “I would like to learn how to do what they do.” It’s not bad to see someone who acts calmly under pressure, or who treats everyone with grace and kindness and think, “I want to learn to be more like them.”

So, let’s say you know someone who has an ability or a characteristic that you desire to have. What would you do? Perhaps you would try to copy them. But, if you really know that person well, you might simply ask, “Could you teach me how to do that?” Or, you might say, “I’ve noticed that you always act this way, and I really admire that. What’s your secret?”

I imagine that Jesus’ followers had a similar experience. They were around Jesus, the greatest man who ever lived, and they saw how unique he was. He was an incredible teacher. He possessed great power—he could miraculously heal and feed people. He was able to handle stress and pressure without breaking. He never got his feathers ruffled. He was able to answer difficult questions in the most brilliant ways. He was the most spiritually mature person they ever met. He had a remarkable combination of qualities: he was selfless yet self-assured, tender yet tough, humble yet confident. There simply was no one like him.

And Jesus’ disciples must have realized that Jesus often prayed. It’s something that Luke in his Gospel brings up again and again. Jesus prayed when he was baptized, and the Holy Spirit came upon him (Luke 3:21–22). He prayed alone and then people sought after him. The result was that he taught in many synagogues (Luke 4:42–44). Jesus prayed before healing a paralyzed man (Luke 5:16ff.). He prayed before he chose his twelve disciples (Luke 6:12–16). He was praying right before Peter confessed that he is “The Christ of God” (Luke 9:18–20). Jesus went with three of his disciples to pray when he was transfigured, appearing in all his glory (Luke 9:28–29). He urged his disciples to pray that more people would do the work of God and then he prayed to God with joy when his disciples returned successfully from their mission (Luke 10:2, 21–22).

So, prayer was an important part of Jesus’ life, and he often prayed at critical times. I’m sure his disciples noticed that when Jesus prayed, big things happened. Perhaps they connected his power and his abilities to his prayer life. It’s only natural for them to observe Jesus and say, “Hey, how do you do that? What’s your secret?”

And that’s what we see today, as we continue to study the life of Jesus. We’re now in chapter 11 of Luke. We’ll see what Jesus has to say about prayer.

First, let’s read verses 1–4:

1 Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say:

“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”[1]

Once again, Jesus was praying, and when he was done, one of his disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray the way that John the Baptist taught his own disciples. We don’t have any record of John the Baptist teaching his disciples how to pray, but we know he had disciples, and he must have taught them something about that. At any rate, Jesus gives his disciples a model prayer.

What follows is often called “The Lord’s Prayer.” It’s not an accurate description of the prayer, because it sounds like it’s the prayer that Jesus often prayed. But Jesus wouldn’t need to pray that God would forgive his sins—he never sinned. A better title might be “The Disciples’ Prayer,” because it’s meant to be used by the disciples. But since the old title is so common, I’ll use that.

If you’re familiar with the Lord’s Prayer, you’ll notice that what appears in Luke is a bit shorter than the traditional version you’re used to. It’s shorter than the version found in Matthew. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus presented it in the Sermon on the Mount. Here, he’s teaching it privately to his disciples. Jesus must have taught the same things in slightly different ways over the course of his ministry. And the differences show us that the prayer is meant to be used as a framework, a skeleton that we fill out with the body of our own words, our own particular petitions. I don’t think Jesus intended for this prayer to be repeated word for word, without thinking, as if it’s some kind of mantra.

Before we look at some of the things Jesus teaches his followers to pray for, I want to note a couple features of the prayer. The first is that it’s a communal prayer. It’s not an individual prayer. The prayer mentions “us” and “our,” not “me” and “my.” This teaches us that we should pray together. Of course, we can and should pray alone. But praying together is important. We do that as a church on Sunday and Wednesday evenings. If you’re coming to those meetings, I would encourage you to do so.

The prayer begins “Father . . .” That’s another important feature of the prayer. Jesus teaches his followers to address God as Father. That’s one of the stunning things about Jesus’ teachings. There were times in the Old Testament when Israelites were referred to as God’s children or son (Deut. 14:1; Ps. 103:13; Hos. 11:1). And there were times in the Old Testament when God was referred to as Father (Isa. 63:16; 64:8). But those times were relatively few. According to David Garland, “The term ‘Father’ for God appears twenty-one times in the Old Testament, while it appears 255 times in the New Testament.”[2] That’s significant given the fact that the Old Testament is about four times as long as the New Testament. What that means is that Jesus taught his followers to know God intimately as their Father. We can come to God as his beloved children and know him as a loving Father. God is not some distant, terrifying being—at least not to those who put their faith in his Son, Jesus.

But because God is Father and can be known intimately doesn’t mean he’s not the transcendent Creator. So, Jesus teaches his followers to ask that God’s name be “hallowed,” or sanctified. God’s name is his identity, and it refers to his reputation. God himself can’t be made more holy, righteous, powerful, or perfect. God cannot improve. He already is perfect. But the prayer asks that God would make himself known for who he is. It asks that people would see that he is holy, that he is great. When we ask that God would be glorified, we’re asking that we and other people would see how great God is.

There’s a point in the Old Testament, in the book of Ezekiel, when God tells the sinful nation of Israel, which has gone into exile because of their idolatry, that he will act to vindicate his reputation. This is what Ezekiel 36:22–23 says:

22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. 23 And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.

Because of the way Israel acted, they brought God’s shame upon his reputation. They acted as if he was less valuable than their false gods. If they had seen how great God was, they would have lived differently. And they would have let the nations around them know how great their God was. When we live as if God is the greatest being there is, then we make his name “hallowed.”

In a similar way, Jesus taught us to pray that God’s kingdom would come. God has always been King, so there’s a sense in which his kingdom has always been present. To use, once again, a definition that we recently learned, God’s kingdom is “God’s people in God’s place under God’s rule and blessing.”[3] But since Jesus would have us pray for God’s kingdom to come, it means that it has not come in its fullest yet. Israel often lived as if God were not their King. And today there are many people who live as if God is not King. When Jesus came the first time, he came to establish God’s kingdom. He is the King of kings, and all who turn to him enter into God’s kingdom. They are his people and he is their God. To pray that God’s kingdom would come is to pray that everyone on Earth would bow the knee and worship God and live as if he were their ruler. God is a loving Father, but he’s also a King who must be obeyed. One day, when Jesus returns, the whole world will become God’s kingdom. On that day, it will be said, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15).

Jesus also teaches his disciples to pray for their daily needs. We are to pray for our “daily bread.” In the ancient world, having enough food to eat each day was no small thing, and it was no guarantee. They couldn’t go to the supermarket and buy that week’s food. Bread needed to be baked on a regular basis. But the prayer isn’t just for bread. It’s a request that God give us what we need each and every day. This implies that this prayer should be prayed daily. We should ask God to glorify himself, for people to enter into God’s kingdom, for Jesus to return, for God to give us everything we need, for God to forgive us our sins, and to protect us—all on a regular basis.

And that leads us to the next petition: forgiveness of sins. Again, this is why this isn’t the prayer that Jesus prayed for himself. Jesus needed no forgiveness because he never sinned. But forgiveness from God is exactly what we need. Luke compares this to being in debt. We owe God love, worship, and obedience. And the fact is that all of us have not loved, worshiped, treasured, and obeyed God—not all the time, and not perfectly. The fact that the first humans sinned means led to a terrible reality: we are separated from God, and God put the world under a partial penalty, or a curse. Instead of living in a garden paradise, we live in a world that is fallen. It’s still beautiful, but it has cracks in it. We can still experience goodness and love, but not perfectly. There is harmony, but there are often discordant notes that interrupt our peace. We’re not at peace with God, not at peace with each other, not at peace with our environment, and we’re not even at peace with ourselves. The only way to be restored to God and to have hope of living in a paradise once again is to seek forgiveness from God.

Forgiveness always comes at a cost. To borrow an illustration from Tim Keller, if you were to damage my property, you would enter into my debt.[4] You would owe me, at the least, the price of repair or replacement of my property. And if I am to forgive you of that debt, I would have to pay the cost. The damage doesn’t go away unless someone pays. So, I can choose to forgive you but then I accept the cost of the damage. In a similar way, for God to forgive us, he can’t simply forget that we’ve done wrong. For our sin to be repaired, someone must pay the price for the damage. And that’s what Jesus came to do. He came to pay the price for our sin, which is a debt so large that we could never repay it. Because he is righteous, he had no debt. Because he’s God, he is infinitely wealthy. He can pay for everyone’s sin. But first, you must come to him and trust that he is the only one who can make us right with God. You must trust him personally. And a good way to do that is to take this prayer that he taught and make it your own. Say it to God, but don’t repeat it as empty words. Adapt it with your own words. And mean it.

The prayer teaches us that we are completely reliant upon God, the way that young children are completely reliant upon their parents. We need God to provide for us. And he does. Every good gift we have comes from God (James 1:17). The Bible teaches us that God gives us the power to work and to earn money (Deut. 8:18). God sustains our lives at every moment. Without God, we wouldn’t exist. And without God’s mercy and grace, we couldn’t be reconciled to him, forgiven of our sins, and adopted as his children.

If we are forgiven, we will forgive others. Jesus makes that clear. If we are not forgiving of those who seek our forgiveness, we must not have experienced God’s forgiveness. If you truly know how awful your sin is, and how amazing it is for God to forgive you, then you can and will extend forgiveness to others, even when it’s hard. For there to be true forgiveness, there must be confession of sin and repentance. If someone comes to us, admitting their wrong and seeking reconciliation, we must forgive. We must be like our Father.

We are also supposed to ask for spiritual protection. We are supposed to ask God that he would not lead us into temptation. We should pray that God would deliver us from sinning. We shouldn’t view God’s forgiveness as a blank check to keep on sinning. We shouldn’t think that just because God pays our debt, we can keep running up a huge bill at his expense. We should desire not to sin. Though God gives us trials, these are meant to refine us. We should pray that we would endure the trials. But our Father knows are weaknesses, and we should ask him to strengthen us, not to overwhelm us with temptation. In 1 Corinthians 10:13, the apostle Paul says, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” We should pray to that end.

So, Jesus teaches us to pray that God would be glorified, that God would provide for our needs, that God would forgive us our sins, and that God would spiritually protect us. This gives us a framework for how to pray.

But Jesus doesn’t just give us that model prayer. Jesus also taught us about why we should go to our Father in heaven. He is a good Father who gives his children good things. To see that, let’s look at the rest of the passage, verses 5–13:

And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

The first part of that paragraph is a bit of a parable. Jesus has us imagine two men living in a village. One has a friend come to him at night. The problem is that this man has no food to give his visiting friend. The friend is probably tired and hungry and, again, there is no way to simply go to the grocery store or call for late night delivery. If the man doesn’t feed his friend, his friend doesn’t eat. More than that, the man would experience shame for being a bad host. So, he goes to his friend in the village at midnight and asks for three loaves of bread. The other man in the village may be bothered. He lives in a one-bedroom house. The first man has interrupted his sleep and is in danger of waking up his children. But even if that man is put out, grumpy, and half asleep, he will give his friend what he needs. The point Jesus is making is that if such people are willing to answer the bold request of their friends, how much more does God the Father give good things to his children.

God is always listening. He never sleeps. He knows all. He can process billions of prayer requests at the same time. And God is not some grumpy man who gives begrudgingly. So, Jesus encourages us to go to God, to ask for what we need. We are to ask God, and what we need will be given to us. We are to seek God, and we will find him. We should knock on the door of his kingdom, and the gates will be opened.

Jesus then gives us another reason to go to our Father in verses 11–13. He asks what kind of human father would give his child a serpent instead of a fish. The serpent might have been a water snake used for bait.[5] We might paraphrase this statement by saying, “What kind of father would give his son a worm when he asked for salmon?” If the child asked for an egg to eat, no father would give him a scorpion. Now, I suppose there are some pretty terrible parents who might give their children something bad when they asked for something good, but most parents wouldn’t do this. Most parents give their children what they need, even if it’s not what their children want. And Jesus’ point is that if humans, with all their sin, manage to give their children what they need, how much more will the perfect Father give his children what they need when they ask him.

We shouldn’t miss the fact that Jesus refers to his followers as “evil.” God doesn’t flatter us. He doesn’t sugar coat things. Even the followers of Jesus have their sins. Christians don’t earn their way to God through good behavior. No one is good enough to be in a right relationship with God. Even the best people are evil because of the power of sin. That’s why all of us need to go to God for forgiveness, and the only path to God is Jesus himself (John 14:6). Jesus does not teach us that we are deserving of God’s good gifts. He teaches us that God gives to those who are undeserving. God even adopts bratty kids into his family and makes them his own children.

So, if sinful people know how to give good gifts to their children, how much more will the perfect Father give good gifts to his children. And the chief good gift is the Holy Spirit. It’s interesting that Jesus says that at the end: “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” That seems to come out of the blue.

Well, if the mention of the Holy Spirit seems to come out of the blue, it’s because we’re not thinking of asking God for the right things. Remember what Jesus taught us to pray for: God’s glory, God’s kingdom, what we need, forgiveness of sins, and protection from sin and evil. This is what we need to pray for, and the answer to our prayers is the Holy Spirit.

Earlier, I quoted a passage from the prophet Ezekiel, where God says that he will act to vindicate his name. These are the verses that immediately follow:

24 I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. 28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God (Ezek. 36:24–28).

How does God sanctify his name? How does God vindicate the holiness of his great name? He gives the Holy Spirit to his people. The Holy Spirit causes us to be born again, to see and enter into the kingdom of God by faith (John 3:3–8). Without the work of the Holy Spirit, we wouldn’t trust Jesus, we wouldn’t seek forgiveness from God. Without the Holy Spirit, we couldn’t be protected from sin and evil. We may ask God for all kinds of things we want, all kinds of things we think we need. But what we need most is God himself. And God gives himself to those who seek him. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the triune God. God is one being who exists in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. So, when Jesus says that God will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask, he’s saying that God will give himself. God is the greatest gift. He is what we need, and he can be found and received if we would only ask.

Jesus teaches us today to seek God. Part of our problem is that we don’t seek God for himself. We want things from God, but we don’t want him. You might say that’s the root of sin. Our failure to regard God’s name as “hallow,” or holy, our failure to see that he is greater than his creation, leads us to make created things our gods. We treasure the things of this world more than the “God who made the world and everything in it” (Acts 17:24). This doesn’t mean that we utterly reject God. Instead, we often treat him as a cosmic butler. When we really want something or when we’re in a bind, we may call on God to give us what we want, or to get us out of a jam. But we don’t come to God and seek him above all else. That’s because we’re evil.

Without the Holy Spirit, we wouldn’t be able to treasure God above all things. Without the Holy Spirit, we wouldn’t be convicted of sin. If you’re here today and you feel that you haven’t been seeking God for who he is, and you’re coming to see that you haven’t loved the Father the way a good, loving child should, then the Holy Spirit is working on you. If you’re in that place, then ask God for forgiveness, seek him with all your heart, knock on the door of his kingdom. He promises to open that door, to accept you as his child, to forgive you of anything bad that you’ve ever done. His love, his goodness, and his grace are infinite. If you want to know how to follow Jesus, I would love to talk to you.

If you are already a Christian, consider how you normally pray. Are you praying the way that Jesus taught? Do you pray above all that God would be glorified? Do you pray that God would give you what you need, instead of what you want? Do you pray that God would help you to grow in your love for him, your knowledge of him, and your obedience to him? Do you pray that God would help you to grow in your love for others?

If you haven’t prayed for these things, there’s good news: God forgives us, and we can boldly seek forgiveness from him, because Jesus is our great high priest (Heb. 4:14–16).

God always answers prayer, and he always gives us what we need. He doesn’t always give us what we want, or the things that we ask for. Sometimes, his answer is no. Sometimes, we’re asking God for a serpent, and he gives us a fish. But if we ask things of God that line up with his will, we can be sure that he will give us what we need. The apostle John wrote this toward the end of his first letter:

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him (1 John 5:13–15).

Let us go to our Father in heaven and pray the way his Son taught us.

Notes

  1. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the English Standard Version (ESV).
  2. David E. Garland, Luke, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012), 471.
  3. Vaughan Roberts uses this definition, based on one created by Graeme Goldsworthy, repeatedly in his book, God’s Big Picture: Tracing the Storyline of the Bible (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002).
  4. See the discussion of forgiveness in Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism (New York: Riverhead Books, 2008), 194–200.
  5. Darrell L. Bock, Luke: 9:51–24:53, vol. 2, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1996), 1061 n. 36.

 

Lord, Teach Us to Pray (Luke 11:1-13)

Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray and why they should bring their requests to their Father in heaven. Pastor Brian Watson preached this sermon on Luke 11:1-13 on March 17, 2019.

One Mediator between God and Men (1 Timothy 2:1-7)

This sermon was preached by Brian Watson on May 13, 2018.
MP3 recording of the sermon.

PDF of the written sermon (see also below).

I’m sure we all have people in our lives whose names cause us to go “ugh.” I don’t mean that literally, of course. But when we think about certain people, whether we know them personally or only because they’re famous, we tend to have negative reactions. That seems to be the case when it comes to politicians. Donald Trump could cure cancer tomorrow and some people would still hate him. Barack Obama could have brought about world peace, and others would continue to speak poorly of him. Hilary Clinton lost an election and is no longer in any government office, yet I still see people who claim to be Christians post negative memes about her on Facebook.

If we’re honest, we all have a list of people who we don’t like, people who we think belong in a “basket of deplorables,” people we think we’re better than, people we think are beyond redemption. I don’t think we consciously think this way. But the reality is that we don’t treat people equally, we often forget that everyone is made in God’s image and that no one is beyond being saved by Jesus Christ from sin, death, and condemnation.

Christians, how often have we prayed for politicians we dislike? How often have we prayed that they would come to a true knowledge of God? How often do we pray for our favorite athletes? We may love watching Tom Brady play, but how often do we pray that he would know Jesus? We may hope our doctor can heal us, but we often treat him or her more as an instrument, a thing that exists for us, instead of a soul in need of salvation. The same is true for that neighbor we don’t care for, or that in-law who we might be happy never to see again. Whether we realize it or not, we seem to act as if these people don’t need Jesus. Or, if we realize it, we don’t care to do anything about it.

Throughout history, there have been people who have rather consciously thought that certain types of people could never be right with God. That seems to have been the case almost two thousand years ago in the city of Ephesus, part of modern Turkey and then part of the Roman Empire. In that city, there were people teaching that only some people could be God’s people. It appears they might have thought that only law-abiding Jewish Christians could be God’s people. But since this is not the case, the apostle Paul wrote to his younger associate, Timothy, to tell them that this is not the truth.

Today, we’re continuing our study of Paul’s first letter to Timothy. And in today’s passage, 1 Timothy 2:1–7, we’ll see that Paul tells Timothy a few important truths. One, Christians should pray for all people. Two, God desires all people to be saved. Three, there is only one God and one way to God, Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. And, four, Paul was sent by God to preach the message of Jesus to the Gentiles, which shows that not only Jews could come to know Jesus. All of these points focus on the fact that all people need salvation from the condemnation that comes along with our sin and that Jesus is the only way to be saved. Since condemnation is our biggest problem, and salvation our biggest need, and since there’s only one way to be saved, we should put great emphasis on the gospel in our prayers, our personal lives, and in the life of the church.

Let’s read 1 Timothy 2:1–7, and then I’ll explain those points in more detail.

1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.[1]

At this point in the letter, Paul begins to tell Timothy how people in the church should behave. He says that they should pray. He uses various words for prayer—supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings—that cover the range of prayer requests. The point is that we should pray on behalf of others. We should plead with God on their behalf. If these people aren’t Christians, they probably aren’t praying for themselves to the one, true God. They certainly aren’t praying for their own salvation. We may be the only ones praying for those people, whoever they are.

Though Paul doesn’t mention this idea here, all Christians are royal priests, priests of the king. The apostle Peter tells Christians, in 1 Peter 2:9–10:

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Priests intercede on behalf of others to God. They mediate God’s blessings to others. That’s what Paul has in mind here.

Paul stresses that they should pray for all people: Jews and Gentiles, rulers and slaves, men and women, rich and poor. We should pray even for civic rulers, “kings and all who are in high positions.” We should pray that they would rule wisely and righteously. We should pray that they would fulfill the God-ordained purpose for government. Peter, in 1 Peter 2:13–17, says,

13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

Paul writes about the government in a similar way in Romans 13:1–7. The government has been established by God to punish evil, to provide order. We should pray they do their job.

Keep in mind that the emperor of the Roman Empire at this time was Nero (ruled 54–68). He was, to say the least, a sketchy character. His mother, Agrippina, was from the imperial family of Augustus. It’s rumored that she had an incestuous relationship with her own brother, Caligula, who was emperor (37–41), and whom she plotted to kill. She later married her uncle, Claudius, who was the emperor after Caligula (41–54). It seems that she poisoned Claudius so that her son, Nero, could become the next emperor. Nero had been adopted by Claudius and married Claudius’s daughter, Claudia Octavia, his step-sister. When he had been emperor for five years, he had his mother killed. He cheated on his wife with his mistress, Poppaea, and had his wife banished and then killed. It’s possible that he also killed Poppaea, his second wife, by kicking her in the abdomen when she was pregnant, though we may never know the truth. There were many other sexual misdeeds and murderous intrigues in his life, but he might be best known for blaming a raging fire in Rome, which occurred in 64, on Christians. This is what the historian Suetonius says about Nero’s treatment of Christians:

They were covered with the skins of wild beasts, and torn by dogs; were crucified, and set on fire, that they might serve for lights in the night-time. Nero offered his garden for this spectacle, and exhibited the games of the Circus by this dreadful illumination. Sometimes they were covered with wax and other combustible materials, after which a sharp stake was put under their chin, to make them stand upright, and they were burnt alive, to give light to the spectators.[2]

This was the “king” that Paul wanted Christians to pray for! Paul surely wrote this letter before the year 64, but he was aware of the emperor’s bad character. He must have known how corrupt kings could be. Yet, still, he asks that Christians pray for these people. Jesus told us to pray for our enemies, not just the people we like or agree with (Matt. 5:43–48).

Praying for these people can have many positive results. Though Paul doesn’t mention this here, praying for people who, we don’t naturally like can reduce feelings of hate. Also, God hears our prayers and will act on them to help these people. That’s what John Chrysostom (c. 349–407), a famous preacher around the time of Augustine, said. In one of his sermons, over sixteen hundred years ago, he said this about praying for all people, including kings:

From this, two advantages result. First, hatred towards those who are without is done away; for no one can feel hatred towards those for whom he prays: and they again are made better by the prayers that are offered for them, and by losing their ferocious disposition towards us. For nothing is so apt to draw men under teaching, as to love, and be loved. Think what it was for those who persecuted, scourged, banished, and slaughtered the Christians, to hear that those whom they treated so barbarously offered fervent prayers to God for them.[3]

Imagine how different things would be if we were known more for praying for people who are opposed to us.

Paul says here that the purpose of such prayers is “that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” I believe that Paul means that we should pray that these rulers—whether presidents, congressmen, governors, Supreme Court justices—would do their job so that there can be peace and order in our time. And if we have prayed for them, we can rest knowing that we have done what is godly.

We shouldn’t just pray for peace so that we can live easier lives. We should pray that there would be peace and righteousness so that the message of Jesus can be freely communicated. Evil regimes have a way of hindering the progress of the gospel. Yes, nothing can stop the word of God from being spread, but when governments make it illegal to own a Bible or to gather together in a church, it’s a lot harder to disciple new Christians or to tell others about Jesus.

If you read the book of Acts, you can see that there were times when even Paul benefitted from the protection of the Roman Empire (Acts 19:23–41; 21:27–36; 23:12–35). Of course, Paul was also imprisoned by the Romans and would eventually die at their hands. But he knew that when the government functioned according to God’s revealed will, things go well for the gospel.

I think Paul wants us to pray for all people because God wants all people to be saved. That’s the second point we see in this passage. What does this mean?

Does God want each and every person to be saved? If that is the case, God certainly has the ability to save each and ever person. He can direct their hearts to believe in Jesus. Proverbs 21:1 says, “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.” If he can direct the king’s heart where he wills, he can direct our hearts.

Well, it’s possible that Paul means God wants each and every person to be saved, and yet he can’t save each and every person for some good reason.

Some people believe that God can’t save all because he must respect each person’s free will. These people will say that real love cannot be forced, that God must allow us to make the choices. So, free will is more important than the salvation of each and every person.

The problem with this view is that it rests on things that aren’t in the Bible. Nowhere in the Bible is there an extended discussion on free will. Are we truly free to make any choice? The Bible does say that “no one seeks for God” (Rom. 3:11). The fact is that because the power of sin has corrupted the world, our hearts are corrupted as well. If we are left to our own free choices, we would never choose God or love him.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus says that no one can come to him for eternal life unless God the Father has drawn that person. And if God the Father has drawn that person to Jesus, that person will be raised to eternal life on the last day, the day of judgment (John 6:44). That means that only those who will receive eternal life are drawn by God to Jesus. Jesus also says that unless one is first born again by the Holy Spirit, that person can’t even see the kingdom of God, much less enter into it (John 3:1–8). The only way we can choose to believe in Jesus, love him, and obey him, is if God empowers us. And the one who is empowered will do that.

Others who acknowledge the language of God choosing and predestining people believe that God wants to save everyone but can’t because his plan to save only some, the ones he predestined to salvation, brings him greater glory. While this may be hard to digest, I think there is truth to this.

But this ongoing debate probably isn’t what Paul has in mind.

I think we get confused by the language of “all.” We tend to think it has to mean “absolutely all” or “each and every.” But look at the way “all” is used elsewhere.

In just a moment, in verse 6, we’ll see that Jesus “gave himself as a ransom for all.” That means he paid the penalty for sin, he paid the price for our redemption. Yet it can’t mean that Jesus redeemed each and every single person. If that were true, no one would be condemned. No one would go to hell. But the Bible clearly states that there will be some—many, really—who reject Jesus and stand condemned. We don’t revel in that truth. It’s something that should bother us. But it remains the truth.

In 1 Timothy 4:10, Paul says that God “is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.” If God is the Savior of each and every single person, then all would be saved from condemnation. But I think Paul doesn’t mean that. Again, in Titus 2:11, Paul writes, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people.” I don’t think Paul means “each and every person is saved.” So, what does Paul mean?

I think Paul means that Jesus is the Savior of all types of people, Jews and Gentiles, rulers and slaves, rich and poor, men and women, people of all nations and languages. Sometimes this is expressed as “all without distinction.” Jesus is the world’s only Savior. There is no other. If Paul meant “all without exception,” then you would have to believe in universalism, the idea that every single person will be saved, that no one will remain in hell. We might wish this to be true, but it’s not.

The truth is that God will save whom he wants to save (Rom. 9:15, 18, 19–24). But we don’t know who those people are. We should strive to bring all people to the knowledge of the truth, even if we know that not all people will believe.

That brings us to third point in this passage. Look again at verses 5 and 6: “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”

There is only one God. Paul is probably making an allusion to the great Jewish confession of faith, the Shema, which is found in Deuteronomy 6:4: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” There is only one God—not a god of the Jews and another god of the Romans and yet another god for Americans. And there is only one way to God, and that is Jesus. He is the only mediator. Here, Paul stresses that Jesus is a man. But Jesus is also God. In Titus 2:13, Paul says that “our blessed hope” is “the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Jesus is the God-man, the only one who can stand in the gap between God and human beings. Because Jesus has two natures, a divine one and a human one, he can unite both parties.

And that indicates what our problem is. We are separated from God. The reason that is so is because the first human beings rebelled against God. They didn’t trust him. They turned away from God, and the world has been a mess ever since. We are born with hearts that don’t love God the way we should. As a result, we do ungodly things. Our hearts and our actions separate us from God. And the only way back to God is through Jesus.

Paul says that Jesus gave himself as a ransom. The language of “ransom” refers to a price that is paid to bring us freedom. We are in bondage to our sin, enslaved by our desires, and bound in the chains of condemnation. We cannot free ourselves from this position. But Jesus offered his own life to pay the penalty for our sins. God is a righteous judge. He must punish sin and sinners. But God is also merciful and gracious. So, he gave his only Son, and his only Son laid down his life for his people. That’s why Jesus says of himself, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Notice that he said he gave his life as a ransom for “many”—not all.

As a man, Jesus could die for other men. (To be clear, Jesus was a human being who died for other human beings, not just males.) As God, his sacrifice can pay for a vast number of sins and sinners, throughout space and time. The fact that it took the death of the Son of God to pay for our sins shows how problematic sin is, and how our salvation comes at a great cost.

And since there is only one God, there is only one way to receive the benefits of Jesus’ sacrifice. In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he writes,

28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith (Rom. 3:29–30).

We are not saved through our own efforts, obedience, or goodness. We can only be right in God’s eyes by trusting in his Son. The same is true for Jews and Gentiles, for Romans and Americans, for emperors and presidents and illegal aliens, for straight and gay, men and women, adults and children. The only way to be made right in God’s eyes is to receive the perfect status of the only sinless man who ever lived, and to trust that this man’s death wiped away our sins.

Since Jesus is the only way to God, we should strive to bring people to a true knowledge of Jesus. That knowledge is more than knowing facts about Jesus. That knowledge is a relationship of trust, love, and obedience. Real faith leads to knowing facts, but it also leads to trusting a person, the God-man Jesus Christ.

Paul could say all of this because God appointed him to be a preacher of the gospel. He was sent to the Gentiles to tell them about Jesus. That’s the fourth point he makes in these verses.

Paul knew he couldn’t reach everyone, but he did what he could so that many souls could be saved. In another letter, 1 Corinthians, he writes this:

19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings (1 Cor. 9:19–23).

Paul didn’t sin to reach sinners, but otherwise he set aside his personal preferences in order to reach others. He didn’t let his own culture be an obstacle to reaching others. Though he was Jewish, he wasn’t afraid to break with the old traditions of Judaism in order to reach Gentiles. He didn’t break God’s moral law to do this, but he broke with the way “things were always done” in order to carry out his mission.

I want to close this message by thinking about what all of this means for us. This passage focuses on salvation, and we should, too. That is particularly true of how we think about the church.

When we don’t focus on salvation and the gospel first, we forget that our greatest problem is our sin. We forget that our real need is salvation. And we forget that this is the need of every human being. A church that isn’t focused on the gospel forgets that each and every human being is a sinner in need of a rescue. Instead, we become inward focused, dwelling only on creating a nice church environment in which everyone is “happy” and “comfortable.” We focus on our personal preferences. It’s all talk of “I like this” type of music and “I don’t like that” song or sermon or whatever.

A church that has pushed the gospel to the sidelines might seem very nice and peaceful. It may seem very loving, because no one is stepping on the other person’s toes. But if the gospel isn’t front and center, that peace is superficial. That’s because the only true peace is brought about by Jesus. True peace—reconciliation between God and people, and even between one human being and another—comes only through Jesus. And if we’re not concerned about the souls of the lost, focusing our prayers and our deeds toward their salvation, we’re not loving them at all. We might even say it’s a form of hate.

Imagine this: if you had a person in your life who desperately needed a cure for a disease, and you knew where that person could get that cure and refused to tell that person where to get it, you wouldn’t call that love. You would call it hate. Christians are beggars who know where to get the bread. We should tell others where to get it. We should pray that they would take that gift.

Perhaps we need to realign the way we think of other people. Perhaps we have unconsciously thought of others as being beyond God’s reach. We may have thought, “Oh, that person will never become a Christian.” When we do that, we deny God’s power to save even the worst of sinners. When we do that, we act superior to non-Christians. We may start to think we are Christians because we are better, purer, wiser, or whatever. And when we do that, we fail to see that lost people are God’s image bearers who need a rescue just as much as we did.

If you’re not a Christian, I want to apologize if you’ve run into Christians who act as if they’re better than you. I want to apologize if you’ve never heard the message of Jesus before. And I want you to know that you have a problem. Your life isn’t centering around God. That means it’s centered around something else. Whatever that is—you, your job, your possessions, entertainment, politics, a relationship—that’s your functional god, the object of your worship. But you were made to worship the one, true God. All of us don’t worship him the way we should. We fail to love and honor our Creator, the one who upholds the universe and everything in it at every moment, the source of life and love and goodness and beauty. God is patient with you. He is putting up with your rebellion. But he won’t do that forever. God wants to restore his creation. He can only do that by removing sin from the world. And he will one day. But he will remove all sinners, too, unless their sins have been paid for by Jesus’ sacrifice. And the only way to have your sins paid for by Jesus is to trust him. You need to believe in Jesus, to be united to him by faith. That is the only way to have a relationship with God, to have eternal life. It’s the only way to have true peace. I urge you to follow Jesus. And I want to help you in any way that I can.

But turning back to the church, I must say this: When we as a church don’t focus on salvation, we lose our way. We get caught up in, and hung up on, our little traditions. We think church is about having our way. We fight about silly things. I think that’s why Paul says, in verse 8, “I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.” The men in Ephesus were fighting because they had lost their way. Again, if we take our focus off of the gospel, we focus on ourselves, our comfort, our personal preferences.

Now, this doesn’t mean that everything in the church should be geared only towards evangelism. The church isn’t just about salvation. We need to teach new believers, equip all believers for ministry, and worship together. We need to encourage and challenge each other, and even discipline people who have gone astray. But if we don’t lead with the gospel, we will drift away from our mission.

And if we don’t focus on the gospel, our worship will suffer. When we are think often of our salvation, we should remain in a state of gratitude. We have been saved by God, through no merit or effort of our own. The fact that God would save anyone at the cost of the death of his Son should lead us to praise God all the more. God’s grace should lead to our thanksgiving.

If Jesus is the only mediator to God, and if he gave his life as a ransom for all kinds of people, and if God wants all kinds of people to be saved, shouldn’t we do what Paul did and what he asked Timothy to do? Shouldn’t we prioritize evangelism? Shouldn’t we forget our personal preferences and become all things to all people? Shouldn’t we pray for lost souls?

May the Lord help us to get back on track and stay there. “This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

Notes

  1. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the English Standard Version (ESV).
  2. C. Suetonius Tranquillus, Nero 57, in Suetonius: The Lives of the Twelve Caesars; An English Translation, Augmented with the Biographies of Contemporary Statesmen, Orators, Poets, and Other Associates, ed. Alexander Thomson (Medford, MA: Gebbie & Co., 1889).
  3. John Chrysostom, “Homily VI,” “Homilies of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, on the First Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to Timothy,” in Saint Chrysostom: Homilies on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, ed. Philip Schaff, trans. James Tweed and Philip Schaff, vol. 13, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, First Series (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1889), 426.

 

 

One Mediator Between God and Men (1 Timothy 2:1-7)

There is only one true God, and there is only one mediator between God and sinful human beings. God wants all kinds of people to be saved and he commands us to pray for all people. So, shouldn’t we pray that people would come to believe in Jesus and be saved? Shouldn’t we prioritize the gospel in the church and in our lives. Pastor Brian Watson preaches a message on 1 Timothy 2:1-7.

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