This Week’s Theme
The Mystery of the Gospel Revealed
In Ephesians 3 Paul writes to the Ephesus believers concerning the “mystery of Christ.” Paul speaks of himself as “a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles,” the gracious call he received from the Lord Jesus to make known to them “the mystery” of Christ. According to Paul, this secret now revealed “was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.” What is the secret of the Gospel now revealed for the world to know? “This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”
The Gospel’s mystery is that Gentiles are fellow heirs with the descendants of Abraham in the promise of Jesus through the Gospel! Paul became a minister of this Gospel through the gift of God’s grace to him, who he says, is “the very least of all the saints” (v. 8). Through God’s unmerited favor Paul received this gift to proclaim to the Gentiles “the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things” (vv. 8-9). Now, through God’s sovereign design, his manifold wisdom would be revealed through the Church “to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (v. 10).
The Gospel, then, is God’s secret made known to the entire universe, to the entire host of heavenly beings, which here Paul speaks of as assembled witnesses of the eternal purpose of God realized in Christ Jesus the Lord. God’s intent is to unify all things in Christ (see Eph. 1.10-11); therefore the mystery of the Gospel is the revelation of God’s plan to restore his reign over creation in him. The Church becomes the vessel through which God reveals to the universe his plan to restore all things, under the reign of Christ. Knowing this, how ought we to live with one another as members of the body of Christ today?
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Eternal God, thank you for unveiling the mystery of Christ, the mystery of your Gospel, in the truth that “Gentiles are fellow heirs and members of the same body, partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel” (v.6). How unsearchable are your judgments, and marvelous your thoughts! Through us, your message of restoration is being proclaimed throughout the universe. Make us worthy vessels of the great message. In your 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: 1 Cor. 16; Acts 19.21-20.6
Lectionary Readings for the Day
Psalm: Ps. 121
OT: Gen. 32.22-31
Gospel: Luke 18.1-8
NT: 2 Tim. 3.14 – 4.5
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 once prayed that the unity of love of your people would match and bear witness of the love between you and the Father. This mystery of Christ, this unity of your Church, make it something real in our day-to-day lives. Forgive us for all the alienation and dissension that we have caused, the disunity that has occurred among your people. Make us one in you. For the glory of your name we pray, amen.
Affirmation for the Day
Gentiles are no longer strangers and aliens to the promise; now, we are fellow citizens with the saints, and members of the household of God (Eph. 2.19).
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
The mystery of Christ is this – that Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel (cf. Eph. 3.6).
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
Contend for the Faith Once Delivered to the Saints
Our Corporate Disciplines
Book Discussion: Monday, October 21, 2019