This Week’s Theme
Our Great High Priest
In chapter 4 of Hebrews the writer outlines the Gospel privileges we have in contrast to the Israelites under Moses (vv. 1-4). They never profited from the Word of God in their encounters because of their unbelief, and their disobedience to God’s Word and appeal made it impossible for them to enjoy his rest. We then, in opposition to them, should strive to enter into that rest lest we fall into the same kind of disobedience to his Word (vv.5-11). The writer then describes God’s word: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4.12-13).
We do not need to fear, however, for we possess a great high priest, who passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God. With him, we can “hold fast our confession” (v. 14). The one who serves as high priest must be able to sympathize with the weaknesses of the people; Jesus perfectly represents this quality – he is one who “in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (v. 15). We now, therefore, should draw near to God’s throne of grace with confidence in order that we may receive the mercy and grace we require to endure in our time of need (v. 16). We are not alone; we have a great high priest in heaven who intercedes and intervenes on our behalf. Let us draw near to God through him.
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Eternal God, thank you for providing for us a high priest who has passed through the heavens, who is able to sympathize with our vulnerabilities and weaknesses. Jesus, your Son, is our high priest, and he represents us before you. Give us a heart to draw near to you in his name that we may find mercy and grace when we need it most. 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
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, we can hold fast the profession we made because you serve as our high priest before the Father in heaven. You know that we are weak; we cannot make it apart from your help. Hear us as we draw near to you; give us the supply we need to stay true to you and your Word. In your name we pray, amen.
Affirmation for the Day
We must strive to enter into the rest of the Lord, and not fall by the same sort of disobedience as the Israelites did.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Heb. 4.16).
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
The Light of the Gospel
2 Corinthians 4.1-6
Our Corporate Disciplines
Book Discussion: Monday, September 23, 2019