Leading to the Lord’s Day
December 17, 2017
Instructions: The Gospel of Christ opens up the Throne of God to us and makes it a place of welcome instead of a place of judgement. It is the believers distinct call and privilege to enter into the Sovereign King’s Court and commune with Him in His presence. As a disciple (one who orders their life around this reality in Christ) it is our call to worship the Father, through the Son, and in the Spirit. Worship is the center of our life and the fountain from which our whole life should flow.
- Set aside at least 30 minutes every day to commune with your heavenly Father.
- Take 8-10 minutes and read the Scripture you choose or one of the ones provided below. Read it as many times as you can in the 10 minute period.
- Take 8-10 minutes and sit before the Lord and listen…. bring your life before the Lord and let the Lord through the passage you just read search through your heart.
- Take 2-4 minutes and confess any sin that the Lord has shown you during this time. Pray the Corporate Prayer given below to close this time.
- Take 8-10 minutes and pray for others (make a list of people and needs on Sunday evenings)
Start out with 30 minutes, but look to increase to at least an hour over the course of your growth in grace. It’ll be hard at first, but eventually you’ll get to the place where you will not want to leave and an hour will not seem long enough.
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy, then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad. Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like streams in the Negeb! Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.
Based on Psalm 126
Father, when we learned of the Gospel of Jesus, that the Divine Son had come and accomplished our redemption, it was like a dream. Joy sprung up in the hearts of men both near and far. As the truth of reconciliation between God and mankind spread around the globe, men of all nations began to proclaim, “The Lord has done great things for us.” But this joyful knowledge was also mixed sorrow, as we shed tears of repentance over what we had done against You and Your Christ. Thank you Father for making us instruments in Your Kingdom, despite our failures and weaknesses, to preach peace and good will to men on the earth. Though we go out to sow seeds in sorrow, we shall return with shouts of joy as the elect are called to Eternal life through us, Your Church.
Psalm 126 tune: Amazing Grace
Old Testament Reading ~ Isaiah 61:1-11
Epistle Reading ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Gospel Reading ~ John 1:6-28
Our Sermon Passage
12.17.17 Matthew 13:44-46 The Parables of the Treasure and the Pearl of Great Value
Previous Week’s Sermon
12.10.17 Matthew 13:31-33 The Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Leaven
Adapted from a prayer called, “Self-Knowledge” found in “The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions“
Searcher of the Hearts of Men,
It is a good day to me when you give me a glimpse of myself; Sin is my greatest evil, but You are my greatest good. Give me grace to recall my needs: my lack of knowing Your will in Scripture, my lack of wisdom to guide others, my lack of daily repentance, the want of all these keeps me from deeper intimacy with You and Your people. Wash me with the water of the River of Life that proceeds from Your Throne, and let me drink continually from that same spring.
In Jesus Name. Amen
61. Why sayest thou, that thou art righteous by faith only?
A. Not that I am acceptable to God, on account of the worthiness of my faith; but because only the satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ, is my righteousness before God; and that I cannot receive and apply the same to myself any other way than by faith only.
62. But why cannot our good works be the whole, or part of our righteousness before God?
A. Because, that the righteousness, which can be approved of before the tribunal of God, must be absolutely perfect, and in all respects conformable to the divine law; and also, that our best works in this life are all imperfect and defiled with sin.
63. What! do not our good works merit, which yet God will reward in this and in a future life?
A. This reward is not of merit, but of grace.
64. But does not this doctrine make men careless and profane?
A. By no means: for it is impossible that those, who are implanted into Christ by a true faith, should not bring forth fruits of thankfulness.
65. Since then we are made partakers of Christ and all his benefits by faith only, whence does this faith proceed?
A. From the Holy Ghost, who works faith in our hearts by the preaching of the gospel, and confirms it by the use of the sacraments.
From Christine Pohl’s Book, “Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition” pg 54-55
To accomplish social and spiritual transformation, Wesley deliberately employed early church and patristic institutional models. He viewed close community as “the very thing which was from the beginning of Christianity.” He recovered the practice of shared meals when he instituted love feasts (“so we termed them, retaining the name, as well as the thing, which was in use from the beginning.”). The food was simple; the love feasts and other regular meetings provided a context which allowed a close union of the believers with each other.
Wesley described the formation of special homes for widows and others unable to provide for themselves. He and the stewards of the local Methodist group found homes, furnished them comfortably, and took in as many widows as there was room available. Wesley wrote that in addition to the widows, infirm, and children who were cared for in these homes, four or five preachers regularly at their meals there.
“For I myself, as well as the other preachers who are in town, diet with the poor on the same food and at the same table. And we rejoice herein as a comfortable earnest of our eating bread together in our Father’s kingdom.”
The blending of poor and weak persons with influential leaders was another significant return to early Christian understandings of hospitality. Although a separate institution was founded to care for the poor, there was a simultaneous, conscious effort to undermine boundaries that such a house might maintain. Table fellowship that included different sorts of people brought all closer, and reflected the diversity of the anticipated heavenly banquet. Wesley rejoiced that these homes for widows reflected apostolic institutions as well as the Kingdom.
“I have blessed God for this house ever since it began;… So that it is not in vain that, without any design of so doing, we have copied after another of the institutions of the apostolic age. I can now say to all the world, “Come, and see how these Christians love one another!”