image :: Closed Eyes, Odilon Redon (c.1894, French)
Preparation for Worship on July 23 2017 :: In the Sight of God
“The conscience, spurred by the devil, the flesh, and the fallen world, says, ‘God is your enemy. Give up in despair.’ God, in His own Fatherly love and through His Son’s grace and through His Word and through the witness of His Spirit and His people, says, ‘I have no wrath. You are accepted in the Beloved. I am not angry with you. We are reconciled!’” (Martin Luther)
Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs for July 23 include ::
:: Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing (Robert Robinson, 1758) CHART :: Doxology (Thomas Ken, 1709) CHART :: Psalm 126 (Bifrost Arts, 2013) CHART :: The Church’s One Foundation (Samuel Stone, 1866) CHART :: All Ye Refugees (Scott, Haddock & Paris, 2015) CHART :: Before There Was Time (Caedmon’s Call, 2001) CHART
Call to Worship :: Hebrews 10:19-23
Since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God: Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.
Confession of Sin
Most merciful Father, we have sinned against and are guilty before You. Forgive us the sins of our tongues: For deception and untruthfulness in our dealings with others; for resentment, coldness, impatience, and tempers out of control. Forgive us for the sins of our eyes: For impurity in our glances and imagination; for pining after more beauty, comfort, status, and wealth than You have given us. Forgive us the sins of our hearts: For hard-heartedness toward You and our neighbors; for pride, self-absorption, self-pity; and above all for rebelling against Your Lordship and doubting Your love. Now, Holy Father, kill our envy, remove our pride, melt our hearts. Give us grace to be holy, kind, gentle, pure, to labor for You and not for ourselves, to be transformed into Your likeness, to live wholly for Your glory. Take away our mourning and give us music; remove our sackcloth and give us Your beauty. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Words of Encouragement :: Micah 7:18-19
Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of His inheritance? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.
Old Testament Reading :: Isaiah 29:13-14
And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men, therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”
Sermon :: II Corinthians 12:11-21
11 I have been a fool! You forced me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. For I was not at all inferior to these super-apostles, even though I am nothing. 12 The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works. 13 For in what were you less favored than the rest of the churches, except that I myself did not burden you? Forgive me this wrong!
14 Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 15 I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less? 16 But granting that I myself did not burden you, I was crafty, you say, and got the better of you by deceit. 17 Did I take advantage of you through any of those whom I sent to you? 18 I urged Titus to go, and sent the brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not act in the same spirit? Did we not take the same steps?
19 Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? It is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ, and all for your upbuilding, beloved. 20 For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. 21 I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced.