This Week’s Theme
Heirs of Eternal Life
In this stirring passage from Paul, he contrasts what disciples of Jesus are today with what they used to be in their past lives. He here cites a disastrous list of vices which he ascribes to those who do not know the Lord: we 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.” These immoralities and traits describe in bold relief the experience of Christians before they came to Christ. This list, which carnal believers may still manifest in some slight degree, sums up our addiction to sin and our domination by the evil one. Without Christ, our lives were both confused and aimless.
Paul then in high theology provides for us the ground of our new Christian identity and lifestyle. He describes the change as an inbreaking of the “goodness and lovingkindness of God our Savior,” which moved him to save us from sin’s penalty and power. He did this according to Paul “not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy,” his grace and unmerited favor. This mercy produced the “washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,” the same Spirit which he “poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.” All this was done in order that we, now having been justified by his grace, could live as “heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Only the language of the Gospel can describe the matchless depth of God’s love and grace to us. We are saved, regenerated, washed, and renewed by the Holy Spirit, justified by grace, and made heirs of the hope of eternal life. And, all this, because of his love and kindness. This is the heart of the Gospel – God’s amazing grace moving him to make us his very own heirs, through the work of Christ and his Spirit.
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Eternal God our Father, thank you for the incredible riches of your love and kindness given to us in Christ. How can we express our thanks for the amazing work you have done for us in your Son? What is a proper response? We give you ourselves, and all our futures. That alone suffices the wonders of your love to us. We bless you, in Jesus’s name, 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: 1 Chron. 9.1b-34; Neh. 11-12
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, you have through your death and resurrection opened a way for us, who previously were addicted to sin and slaves to darkness, to become heirs of God and joint heirs with you. Thank you for saving us, regenerating us, washing us, and renewing us in your Spirit, and justifying us by grace. We are heirs of God, because of you. Thanks be to God, amen.
Affirmation for the Day
Because of the work of Jesus Christ our Savior, the Holy Spirit has been poured richly upon us.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Having been justified by grace, we now have become heirs of God according to the hope of eternal life.
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
One Mediator between God and Humankind
1 Timothy 2.3-7