This Week’s Theme
The Mystery of Godliness
1 Timothy 3.14-16
In 1 Timothy 3, Paul provides Timothy with the qualifications of bishops and deacons, and their wives. At the end of the chapter, he breaks off from instructions about the offices of the Church to speak of the context in which these qualifications are given. Paul tells him that he hopes to see Timothy soon, knowing that his writing would prove helpful to him, if for any reason he would delay in coming to him. Paul says he writes these out in order that he might know how he or anyone should behave in the household of God, which is the Church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. Truly, the Church is the household of the living God, the very pillar and foundation of the truth. The Church is the steward and custodian of the Gospel, the very mystery of godliness offered to the entire world.
Similarly, Paul says that the mystery of godliness that we confess is great. This is not an idea never meant to be known, but rather a secret which has now been revealed for all to see. In virtually a hymnic form, Paul outlines a version of the early creedal confession of our Gospel faith. Its heart and center deal with the person and work of Jesus Christ, though his name is never mentioned. The lines are instructive and powerful: Christ was “manifested in the flesh,” which speaks to the incarnation of the Word. He was “vindicated by the Spirit,” which may speak to the vindication of Jesus by the Spirit in raising him from the dead. Jesus was “seen by angels,” which could refer to his glorification before the Father. Jesus was “proclaimed among the nations,” which refers to the mission of the Gospel proclamation, “believed on in the world,” a summary of the Church’s birth in Acts, and “taken up in glory,” which some refer to either his ascension or exalted place at the end.
The mystery of godliness is nothing less than the telling of the Gospel events linked to the dying, risen, and exalted Christ. In every sense, the Church’s call and burden is to be faithful to this Gospel truth, which is the telling of the unfolding of the revelation of Christ in the world.
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Great God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we exalt the living Christ as the mystery of godliness revealed. He alone is our hope and salvation, and his story is the greatest story of all time. Conform us to his image, and glorify your great name in us as we live true to him. In his name we pray, 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
Thursday: Ezra 6.14b-22; 4.6; Esther 1-4
Lectionary Readings for the Day
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 Christ, who was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, and taken up in glory – receive our praise and thanksgiving. You are the source of our life and salvation, our life and our future. We desire to know you and to be like you. Lead us by your Spirit into your gracious will. We ask this in your name, amen.
Affirmation for the Day
Thank you for the Gospel, proclaiming new life in your name to the nations.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Christ Jesus, you were manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, and taken up in glory.
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
One Mediator between God and Humankind
1 Timothy 2.3-7
Our Corporate Disciplines
Book Discussion: Monday, August 12, 2019