This Week’s Theme
God Has Granted Repentance to the Gentiles
Soon after the faith of Cornelius’ family in Jesus of Nazareth, and their receiving of the Holy Spirit, leaders in Jerusalem heard of it. When Peter returned, they challenged him, asking him why he had related to Gentile folk (i.e., they were concerned about circumcision, and Peter’s connection with unclean, non-Jewish relations and practices). Peter recounted for those in Jerusalem the entire story of Cornelius’ salvation, starting with the trance and vision he had of unclean animals, and the mysterious party of three men who showed up at the house where he was staying at the time of the trance! He spoke of the Spirit’s urging to go with these men, he and his six companions, to Cornelius’s house, and the strange assurance Cornelius had received from an angel that Simon would tell him something that would save his life and his entire household.
Peter explained that he started sharing about the Lord Jesus and as he began to talk, the Holy Spirit fell on Cornelius and his party, in the same way he had fallen on them at Pentecost. Peter said he had remembered Jesus’s words, that John the Baptist would baptize with water, but that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Peter summed up his talk with this: “If God gave the same exact gift to them as to us when we believed in the Master Jesus Christ, how could I object to God?” (Acts 11.17 [MSG]).
On hearing Peter’s testimony about Cornelius and his family, they immediately calmed down. They recognized the work of the Lord, and praised God, acknowledging that the Lord’s grace had come to the nations, and opened them up to the Life in Christ!
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Eternal God, you persuaded Simon and his company that you are not a respecter of persons, but that all who call on the name of the Lord Jesus in faith can be saved and redeemed. Thank you for this amazing story of your love for all people, even for non-Jews, the Gentiles, who had been considered dogs and unclean. Your grace has reached down to us all; now, through faith in Jesus, anyone who believes can be saved. Thank you for your love, amen.
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, Amen.
Praising Our God
Te Deum Laudamus
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)
Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.
Listening to His Voice
Chronological Reading for the Day
Wednesday: Amos 1-6
Lectionary Readings for the Day
Psalm: Ps. 148
Acts*: Acts 11.1-18
Gospel: John 13.31-35
NT: Rev. 21.1-6
*During Eastertide, a reading from Acts is often substituted for the lesson from the Hebrew Bible.
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling
Responding in Faith
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).
Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.
Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)
Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Departing to Serve
Lord Jesus, you surprised Peter and his companions when the Holy Spirit fell upon Cornelius and his household, in the very same way he fell on your apostolic company on the day of Pentecost. You do not discriminate. The Gospel of grace and the gifts of your Spirit are available to all who repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you for your universal and unconditional grace; you love all the nations and want them to be saved. Work that same love in our hearts as we walk with you. Amen.
Affirmation for the Day
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory that belongs to God alone.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
God has granted to the Gentiles, as well as to the Jews, the repentance that leads to eternal life.
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
The Holy Spirit, Teacher of All Things
Metaxas, Martin Luther
Our Corporate Disciplines
Book Discussion: Monday, May 20, 2019