This Week’s Theme
In Everything He Will Be Preeminent
Paul prayed to God that the Colossians might come to understand God’s work in their lives, which is actually a prayer that they come to understand the exaltation and supremacy of Christ (Col. 1.15-20). In a great hymn of the early Christian community, Paul mentions seven traits of the Lord Jesus, which speak to his uniqueness and supremacy in all things everywhere. He is first the image of the invisible God, implying his representation and manifestation. Second he is the firstborn of all creation in terms of preceding (not being made) and sovereignly exalted above it (see Rev. 1.7; Ps. 89.27).
Next, all things were created by him, “in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (vv. 16-17). The entire universe, material and immaterial, was created through Christ and for him. He is before all things, and sustains and secures them by his power.
Fourth, the Lord Jesus is the head of the body, the Church (v. 18a) (cf. Eph. 1.22-23). Fifth, Christ is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead (v. 18b), being the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep, the first to come to life again immortal (1 Cor. 15.20). He won the victory over death by his resurrection, and is the federal head as the last Adam of an entirely new human race (Heb. 2.14; 1 John 3.8). Sixth, all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in him in bodily form (v. 19; 2.9), and finally Christ is the Reconciler of all things to God, “whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (v. 20).
These traits together summarize the supremacy of Jesus in all things, the exalted Christ who is the subject of the Gospel of grace. Truly, through the message of the Gospel, the Father’s clear purpose and intent is that “in everything [Christ] might be preeminent” (v. 18c).
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Let the doors of thy sanctuary, O Lord our God, open unto us and to all thy people, in peace and blessing. Let us come into thy courts with the light of hope in our eyes and the love of thy name kindling our hearts, that we may take delight in thy praise and wait on thee with a humble and joyful spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
~ James Ferguson (Ferguson and Wallis, p. 347)
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
Wednesday: Rev. 7-10
Lectionary Readings for the Day
Psalm: Ps. 46
OT: Jer. 23.1-6
Gospel: Luke 23.33-43
NT: Col. 1.11-20
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
O thou who art the hope of the world, hasten, we beseech thee, the coming of thy kingdom upon earth. Establish thy rule within us; enter into our minds with thy truth and dwell in our hearts with thy righteousness and compassion. Establish thy rule in our midst; enter into our homes, our schools and churches, our industry and commerce, all our cities and countries, that the world may be turned from the paths of destruction toward the shining city of God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
~ Ernest Fremont Tittle (Tittle, p. 84)
Affirmation for the Day
“. . . that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles” (Acts 26.23).
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent (Col. 1.18).
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
That We Might Live through Him
1 John 4.7-14
Special Church Year Service
Thanksgiving Day: Thursday, November 28, 2019