Sunday, September 29, 2019: Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

This Week’s Theme
The Righteousness of God through Faith
Romans 3.21-26

1) Explain the basic elements in Paul’s argument that God’s righteousness is now available apart from the Law.  How does the Law actually fit in our salvation by faith in Christ?
2) Comment on the significance that God’s righteousness is now available to all who believe.  How does the fact that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory fit into that availability?
3) What are the meanings of the words “justified,” “redemption,” and “propitiation”?  How does God apply the blood of Christ to the sinner to provide us with his righteousness.
4) How can God still be just while justifying people whose works fall short of his righteous demands in the Law?
5) What should be the response of a believer who realizes that God has declared them righteous apart from the good works that they have done or will do?  What is now the primary motivation for living the Christian life?  Explain.

In chapters 1-3 of Romans, Paul discusses how humankind, both Jews and Gentiles, are worthy to be under God’s judgment. We have failed to keep God’s law, making it impossible on our own, unaided by God, to meet his perfect standard of righteousness. How can an infinitely holy God simply forgive the sin of those who have transgressed his law? How can God justify sinners and still maintain his perfect standard of righteousness?

In verse 21 of chapter 3, Paul begins to speak of another kind of righteousness through the Gospel: a righteousness of God manifested “apart from the law,” testified throughout the Hebrew Scriptures (“the Law and the Prophets”). What is it? “The righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe (v. 22). This righteousness is available to all people everywhere – for no distinction exists among the peoples of the world; “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (v. 23). Since all have been found guilty under the Law’s condemnation, now all can be declared righteous (“justified”) by his grace, as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (v. 24).

Paul suggests that God put Jesus forward as a “propitiation” (atoning sacrifice) by his blood, (not our good deeds in the law), to be received from God on the basis of faith. This work of God in Jesus, according to Paul, was offered “to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins” – God set up this way to himself a long time ago, saving those who looked toward it, as well as saving those looking back at it. This amazing plan was given that God might show his righteousness, in order that he might both be just and justify those who have faith in Christ. By faith in the Gospel, God can actually forgive the sinner and still be righteous in his demands and standards.

We are made righteous by faith, not by the law. Because it is by faith, all who believe in the Gospel can receive the very righteousness of God in Christ.

Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation

Eternal God, the entire human race is condemned because of its inability to keep your righteous commands. Not a single person (with the exception of your Son) has ever met your high standards in the Law; apart from the righteousness you provide, we stand condemned before you. Thank you for the gift of Christ, and the hope we have now in him. He has atoned for our sin, and granted his righteousness to us! Glory to his 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)

Gloria Patri

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

Sunday: Mark 14.1-2, 10-26; Matt. 26.1-5, 14-30; Luke 22.1-30; John 13.1-30

Lectionary Readings for the Day

Psalm: Ps. 146

OT: Amos 6.1a, 4-7

Gospel: Luke 16.19-31

NT: 1 Tim. 6.6-19

(Click here for all readings)

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

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for what we could never give the Father in terms of obedience to the Law, you provided through your death on the cross. Now the righteousness of God has been made available to all who believe in Jesus Christ. We have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory; now in you, we have a Way to God. Thank you for your sacrifice and love, which has opened a pathway for us to God’s righteousness. In your name we pray, amen.

Affirmation for the Day
There is now no distinction among us; the righteousness of God in now available to all through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe (Rom. 3.22).

Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
There is now no distinction among us; the righteousness of God in now available to all through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. (Rom. 3.22)

Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus

Contend for the Faith Once Delivered to the Saints
Jude 3-4

Book Reading
Olson, Bruchko

Our Corporate Disciplines
Concert of Prayer: Tuesday, October 1, 2019