This Week’s Theme
The Open Secret
(The Knowledge of the Holy [KOTH], Chapter 23)
“When viewed from the perspective of eternity, the most critical need of this hour may well be that the Church should be brought back from her long Babylonian captivity and the name of God be glorified in her again as of old” (KOTH, p. 114). So Tozer ends his little booklet which is so mighty in its discussion of the matchless attributes of the living God. In the end what we seek is not merely intellectual clarity but spiritual vitality, not wisdom in terms of concepts but transformation in terms of relationship and character. Tozer suggests there is a way to rediscover the open secret that can lead once again to personal renewal, congregational life, and biblical fidelity. The answer, however, will not be a juicy one!
“Yet the answer may easily disappoint some persons, for it is anything but profound. I bring no esoteric cryptogram, no mystic code to be painfully deciphered. I appeal to no hidden law of the unconscious, no occult knowledge meant only for the few. The secret is an open one which the wayfaring man may read. It is simply the old and ever new counsel: Acquaint thyself with God. To regain her lost power the Church must see heaven opened and have a transforming vision of God” (ibid.). For Tozer, the purpose of studying the Bible about God is to come into intimate personal relationship in knowing God. We should not live to study about God, but study about God to live into him!
After washing his disciples’ feet, and offering his own disciples his most intimate teaching about the things to come, Jesus offered his high-priestly prayer to the Father in their presence. The fateful hour that he had anticipated his entire life had finally come, the time for him to glorify the Father through his death. “When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him’” (John 17.1-2). Jesus’s appointment with his own destiny had finally arrived. He was ready to glorify his Father for the Father had granted him all authority over all flesh and to grant eternal life to as many as the Father had given him. Then, our Lord summarizes the heart of the entire salvation offer: “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (v. 3). After all is said and done, the purpose of salvation and redemption is to know God, and his Son, Jesus Christ. This is the open secret, as Tozer calls it, the one true aim of life and the final purpose of all things for the Christian and the Church. Eternal life is coming to know the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ.
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Lord, teach me to seek you, and reveal yourself to me as I seek you. For I cannot seek you unless you first teach me, and I cannot find you unless you first reveal yourself to me.
~ Ambrose of Milan (Water, p.13)
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: Heb. 4.14-7.28
Psalm: Ps. 123
OT: Zeph. 1.7, 12-18
Gospel: Matt. 25.14-30
NT: 1 Thess. 5.1-11
(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
Holy Spirit, dwell in me that I may become prayer. Whether I sleep or wake, eat or drink, labor or rest, may the fragrance of prayer rise effortlessly, in my heart. Purify my soul and never leave me, so that my heart and mind may, with voices full of sweetness, sing in secret to God.
~ Isaac the Syrian (Water, p.16)
Affirmation for the Day
And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent (John 17.3).
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
We seek you Lord, and your strength; we seek your presence continually! (Ps 105.4).
For Your Weekly Journey
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
The Sovereignty of God, Romans 11.33-36
Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy
Our Corporate Disciplines
Concert of Prayer: Tuesday, November 17, 2020