Sunday, October 4, 2020: Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

This Week’s Theme
The Mercy of God
Psalm 103.1-14
(The Knowledge of the Holy [KOTH], Chapter 18)

The doctrine of the mercy of God may be the most encouraging, life-giving, hope-granting notion that any human being can have regarding the person of God. When we’ve been in paradise ten thousand years, not a moment, not even a second will be because of our own righteous acts or benevolent works. Having been saved from God’s perfect wrath by his mercy and grace, we will have ample time to reflect on and recall that it is his mercy that permits us to have a place in that heavenly home. His mercy is like a shoreless ocean of grace, infinite, pure, sweet, and available to all who do not deserve it and could never earn it.

God’s mercy touches all people, saints, nations, and is rich in all the Scriptures. “Mercy is an attribute of God, an infinite and inexhaustible energy within the divine nature which disposes God to be actively compassionate. Both the Old and the New Testaments proclaim the mercy of God, but the Old has more than four times as much to say about it as the New. We should banish from our minds forever the common but erroneous notion that justice and judgment characterize the God of Israel, while mercy and grace belong to the Lord of the Church” (KOTH, pp. 90-91). Mercy, for Tozer and for the Scriptures, is not a “temporary mood” but “an attribute of God’s eternal being.” It has never come to be nor can it cease to be; it remains ever present for our God is ever present.

Psalm 103 speaks of the psalmist’s desire for his soul to bless the Lord and to never forget his benefits. He offers a compelling case for his praise: “who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Ps. 103.4-5). He then recounts his righteousness and justice for the oppressed, his revelation of his ways to Moses, and his acts to his people, Israel (Ps. 103.6-7). The remainder of this text lays out the wondrous compassion of God, displayed in his character and his works. The LORD “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” (Ps. 103.8-12). He is compassionate to us like a father is tender toward his children, and he remembers our essential nature: we are mortal and finite (vv. 13-14). This great text is representative of dozens more which testify of the LORD’s mercy to those who fear him.

Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation

Holy Father, Thy wisdom excites our admiration, Thy power fills us with fear, Thy omnipresence turns every spot of earth into holy ground; but how shall we thank Thee enough for Thy mercy which comes down to the lowest part of our need to give us beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and for the spirit of heaviness a garment of praise? We bless and magnify Thy mercy, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
~ KOTH, p. 90

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 15.42-16.11; Matt. 27.57-28.15; Luke 23.50-24.12; John 19.38-20.18

Lectionary Readings

Psalm: Ps. 19

OT: Exod. 20.1-4, 7-9, 12-20

Gospel: Matt. 21.33-46

NT: Phil. 3.4b-14

(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

Arise, my soul, arise;
Shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding Sacrifice
In my behalf appears:
Before the throne my surety stands,
My name is written on His hands.

My God is reconciled;
His pardoning voice I hear:
He owns me for His child;
I can no longer fear:
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And “Father, Abba, Father,” cry.
~ Charles Wesley (KOTH, p. 92)

Affirmation for the Day
The LORD redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned (Ps. 34.22).

Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! (Ps 103.1).

For Your Weekly Journey

Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
The Mercy of God, Psalm 103.1-14

Book Reading
Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

Our Corporate Disciplines
Solitude and Silence: Wednesday, October 7, 2020

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