This Week’s Theme
The Grace of God
(The Knowledge of the Holy [KOTH], Chapter 19)
One of the most well-known verses of any Christian hymn is the first stanza of Amazing Grace by John Newton: “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.” This simple lyric captures, from the redeemed sinner’s perspective, the power and meaning of God’s grace, our God providing to the undeserving and guilty the benefit of both being forgiven and being brought into relationship with him. “In God mercy and grace are one; but as they reach us they are seen as two, related but not identical. As mercy is God’s goodness confronting human misery and guilt, so grace is His goodness directed toward human debt and demerit. It is by His grace that God imputes merit where none previously existed and declares no debt to be where one had been before. Grace is the good pleasure of God that inclines Him to bestow benefits upon the undeserving” (KOTH, p. 93).
The salvation that we enjoy was entirely due to God’s unmerited grace, his divine favor and love, and is to be received, enjoyed, and applied simply through our faith in God’s working alone. We contribute to our rescue and salvation in no way; we are reconciled with God purely on the basis of what the Lord has accomplished for us through his Son, Jesus Christ. Although we were born under the penalty of sin, branded as rebels and children of disobedience, and enslaved to the devil who operates as the spiritual overseer of Adam’s fallen race, God rescued us by grace. From salvation’s original intent to its final implementation to save the world, God designed and did it all – all for his glory and all by his love.
It was God’s initiative to save, his work to deliver, his actions to break the power of sin in our lives, and all of this by the grace he displayed to us in his Son. We were recreated in Christ to do good works, and are not saved from our sinfulness by our works. Now, we can glorify God in our daily lives, because he has delivered us by his grace through faith, which is not of ourselves. The impact of this is plain: no one anywhere claiming to be delivered by God can boast in any way of their own effort, wisdom, or character leading to their own redemption. That is by grace through faith alone, and God alone receives all glory!
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
God of all grace, whose thoughts toward us are ever thoughts of peace and not of evil, give us hearts to believe that we are accepted in the Beloved; and give us minds to admire that perfection of moral wisdom which found a way to preserve the integrity of heaven and yet receive us there. We are astonished and marvel that one so holy and dread should invite us into Thy banqueting house and cause love to be the banner over us. We can not express the gratitude we feel, but look Thou on our hearts and read it there. Amen.
~ KOTH, p. 93
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
Sunday: Acts 13-14
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
Return, O wanderer, now return,
And seek thy Fathers face;
Those new desires which in thee burn
Were kindled by His grace.
Return, O wanderer, now return,
And wipe the falling tear:
Thy Father calls, – no longer mourn;
‘Tis love invites thee near.
~ William Benco Collyer (KOTH, p. 96)
Affirmation for the Day
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3.16).
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
O Father of grace and love, help us to abide in your grace today, remembering how gracious you were to bring us back to you through your Son Jesus.
For Your Weekly Journey
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
The Mercy of God, Psalm 103.1-14
Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy
Our Corporate Disciplines
Book Discussion: Wednesday, October 14, 2020