This Week’s Theme
Proclaiming the Message of Reconciliation
2 Corinthians 5.16-21
In one of the great Gospel-centered texts of Scripture (2 Cor. 5.16-21), Paul tells the Corinthians that from now on he would no longer evaluate people on the basis of external criteria and elements. At one time, of course, he did, regarding Jesus of Nazareth from a worldly point of view. This tendency, Paul explains, he would never do again. He was transformed by his experience with Christ.
In light of this, Paul declares that truly, if anyone is in Christ, he has become a new creation, made effective by the Holy Spirit’s work of regeneration and being born anew (Titus 3.5; John 3.3, 6-8). The old life of blindness and darkness under the devil’s control has passed away; behold, the new has come, a new life of commitment to and love for Christ himself (Rom. 6).
This new creation, this regeneration and transformation by the Spirit, is from God himself, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and now has granted to his people the ministry of reconciliation, from alienation to peace with God through the Gospel. In Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, passing them from being objects of wrath to his children of love. In Christ, God no longer counts their trespasses against them, since Christ took them on himself on the Cross and saved us from their power. Now, in him, we have been entrusted with the message of reconciliation.
Now, as ambassadors for Christ, God makes his appeal to the lost through us: we implore the world on behalf of Christ, to be reconciled to God. For our sake, God made Jesus, who knew no sin, to be made sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in him. The message of reconciliation summarizes God’s deliverance in Christ for the world. And now, we have been made ministers of that Gospel to the world.
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Eternal God, thank you for the power of the message of reconciliation. You were in Christ, reconciling the world to yourself, and now through the Gospel, the nations can be forgiven in you again. Grant us grace to represent your name among them, that Christ may be seen and embraced as the righteousness of God. 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
Friday: 2 Tim. 1-4
Lectionary Readings for the Day
Psalm: Ps. 98
OT: Hag. 1.15b – 2.9
Gospel: Luke 20.27-38
NT: 2 Thess. 2.1-5, 13-17
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, who can understand, without the Spirit’s wisdom, the statement, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come”? Our old life of sin and slavery is over, and the new life of forgiveness and devotion to you has arrived. Never allow the weight of this truth to become overly familiar to us. Fill us with the newness of your Gospel, and make us ready ambassadors to share with those in our circles. For your sake we pray, amen.
Affirmation for the Day
We are ambassadors for Christ, and now God makes his appeal to the lost through us.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Cor. 5.17).
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
That We Might Live through Him
1 John 4.7-14
Our Corporate Disciplines
Fallow Day: Friday, November 15, 2019