image :: Tiananmen Square, Charlie Cole (1989, American)
Preparation for Worship on July 16 2017 :: When Weak, Then Strong
“Pharisees only repent of their sins, but Christians repent for the very roots of their righteousness, too. We must learn how to repent of the sin under all our other sins and under all our righteousness– the sin of seeking to be our own Savior and Lord…. It is only when you see the desire to be your own Savior and Lord lying beneath both your sins and your moral goodness that you are on the verge of becoming a Christian indeed. When you realize that the antidote to being bad is not just being good, you are on the brink. If you follow through, it will change everything—how you relate to God, self, others, the world, your work, your sins, your virtue.” (Tim Keller)
“Learn to praise Him and, despairing of yourself, say, ‘Lord Jesus, You are my righteousness, just as I am Your sin. You have taken upon Yourself what is mine and have given to me what is Yours. You have taken upon Yourself what You were not and have given to me what I was not.’ Beware of aspiring to such purity that you will not wish to be looked upon as a sinner, or to be one. For Christ dwells only in sinners.” (Martin Luther)
Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs for July 16 include ::
:: Holy, Holy, Holy (Reginald Heber,1826) CHART :: Streams of Living Water Flow (Thomas Kelly, 1768-1855) CHART :: I’d Rather have Jesus (Rhea F. Miller, 1922) CHART :: Blessed Be Your Name (Matt Redman, 2005) CHART :: Doxology (Thomas Ken, 1709) CHART :: In Need of Grace (Ross King, 1996) CHART
Call to Worship :: Isaiah 33:2,5-6
O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for You. Be our Arm every morning, our Salvation in the time of trouble. The Lord is exalted, for He dwells on high. He will fill Zion with justice and righteousness. He will be the stability of your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. The fear of the Lord is Zion’s treasure.
Confession of Sin :: adapted from “The Valley of Vision”
Our Father, enlarge our hearts, warm our affections, open our lips to proclaim the glory of the Cross of Jesus Christ. There grace removes our burdens and heaps them on Your Son, made a transgressor, a curse, and sin for us; There the sword of Your justice struck the God-man; There Your infinite attributes were magnified, and infinite atonement was made; There infinite punishment was due, and infinite punishment was endured.
Christ was all anguish that we might be all joy, cast off that we might be brought in, trodden down as an enemy that we might be welcomed as a friend, surrendered to hell’s worst that we might attain heaven’s best, stripped that we might be clothed, wounded that we might be healed, thirsty that we might drink, tormented that we might be comforted,
made a shame that we might inherit glory. Our Savior wept that all tears might be wiped from our eyes, groaned that that we might have endless song, endured all pain that we might have unfading health, bore thorns that we might have a crown of glory. Bowed His head that we might uplift ours, experienced reproach that we might receive welcome,
closed His eyes in death that we might gaze on unclouded brightness, expired that we might forever live.
O Father, You did not spare Your only Son that You might spare us, All this action Your love designed and accomplished: Help us to adore You as we see our enemies crushed, Satan baffled, defeated, destroyed, sin buried in the ocean of reconciling blood, Hell’s gates closed, heaven’s portal open. Go forth, O conquering God, and show us the Cross, mighty to subdue, comfort and save.
Words of Encouragement :: Romans 5:6,8
At just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Gospel Reading :: John 12:24-26
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also.
Sermon :: II Corinthians 12:1-10
1 I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. 3 And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— 4 and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. 5 On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses— 6 though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. 7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.