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Mar 2011

Sunday Rhythm | March 20, 2011

Welcome to the weekly preview of our upcoming Sunday gathering. One of the reasons we want to provide this resource is to remind us that everyone in attendance has a part to play in our Sunday gatherings. We have both the privilege and duty as Christians to pray for the Sunday gathering, to pray for those who serve and those who will come for the first time, as well as those who will come with hard hearts, burdened minds, fatigued bodies, hurting marriages, empty wallets, and other things that weigh us down. We should come prepared to sing together, read and meditate on the Bible together, repent together, and celebrate together the good news of the Gospel: Jesus has done for us what we could never do for ourselves and God has promised to make us new and dwell in us through His Holy Spirit.

Sunday Rhythm

God Calls His People to Worship

We always begin our time together by focusing on God and remembering that he has made us his. We remember that it is God who calls his people to worship. We do not call ourselves; it is the King who opens his gates and calls us into his presence and on his mission. We read passages of Scripture that call us to God or declare aspects of His character. We then respond by singing songs that focus on God’s glory — songs that present more of the “big picture” of His majesty.

    To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous. Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD! Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
    Psalm 25:1-10 ESV

1. Holy, Holy, Holy by Reginald Heber and John B. Dykes. Twice in scripture (Isaiah 6:1-4 and Revelation 4:8) we are given a glimpse into the throne room of heaven, and in both these cases, the attribute of God proclaimed is God’s holiness. Holiness is the attribute with which God wants to be primarily identified. In his book The Holiness of God, R. C. Sproul goes on to say:

    The Bible says that God is holy, holy, holy. Not that He is merely holy, or even holy, holy. He is holy, holy, holy. The Bible never says that God is love, love, love, or mercy, mercy, mercy, or wrath, wrath, wrath, or justice, justice, justice. It does say that He is holy, holy, holy, the whole earth is full of His glory.

Our God is unique. He has no rivals or competition. He is unsearchable, incomprehensible, incomparable, great, wonderful, and exalted (Exodus 15:11). He is holy, different, unique, and beyond our ability to put a definition on Him. God’s holiness is also the attribute by which all His other attributes are qualified, and calls attention to all that God is. It reminds us that His love is holy love, his justice is holy justice, his mercy is holy mercy, his knowledge is holy knowledge, and his spirit is Holy Spirit.

So when we meditate and sing of the holiness of God, what should our response be? Isaiah became aware of His own sinfulness in Isaiah 6:5. When confronted with the transcendent purity of God, his impurity was readily apparent. Furthermore, he became aware of his eternal fate. He understood that his lack of holiness doomed him (“Woe is me, for I am undone!”). His vision of the holiness of God caused Isaiah to lament his utter sinfulness. If God was holy, Isaiah saw he was not. Isaiah confessed his own unholiness and that of his people. As you sing and meditate on these lyrics this weekend, ask yourself if you truly understand who God is. Then in light of his holiness, how should you respond to him?

    Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide Thee
    Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see
    Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee
    Perfect in power, in love, and purity

Prayer

    For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon our guilt, for it is great. Who is the man who fears the LORD? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose. His soul shall abide in well-being, and his offspring shall inherit the land. The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. Our eyes are ever toward the LORD, for he will pluck our feet out of the net. Turn to us and be gracious to us, for we are lonely and afflicted. The troubles of our heart are enlarged; bring us out of our distresses. Consider our affliction and our trouble, and forgive all our sins. Consider how many are our foes, and with what violent hatred they hate us. Oh, guard our soul, and deliver us! Let us not be put to shame, for we take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness preserve us, for we wait for you. Redeem your people, O God, out of all our troubles.
    Psalm 25:11-22 ESV

2. In Feast or Fallow by Sandra McCracken. Our hymn of assurance this Sunday reminds us that we worship a God who always makes good on His word. In Jesus Christ, God has promised us renewal, freedom from the hold of sin and eternal salvation. You can read more about the song on Sandra McCracken’s website here.

    On a cross of wood, His blood was outpoured
    He rose from the ground, like a bird to the sky
    Bringing peace to our violence, and crushing death’s door
    Our Maker incarnate, our God who provides

Responsive Reading

    What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
    We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
    For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
    We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
    Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.
    For sin will have no dominion over us, since we are not under law but under grace.
    Romans 6:1-14 ESV

God Speaks to His People Through His Word

The Bible is the means by which God graciously reveals Himself to His people. Pastor Robert will continue with our journey through The Book of Acts: Enjoying God and Engaging His Mission. Sunday’s text will be an overview of Acts 13:1-52 and Acts 14:1-28. We would encourage you to read the text in advance of Sunday, and prepare your hearts to be open to the truth God wants to reveal to you about himself.

God Strengthens His People At His Table

We take communion, or the Lord’s Supper, every week at Redemption Hill. The Lord’s Supper is a time in the service where we are tangibly reminded of the broken body of Christ and the sacrifice of sin he became for us on the cross. We are also reminded that Jesus now reigns on the throne in heaven at the right hand of the Father and intercedes for us in our prayers and needs (physically, emotionally, and spiritually).

God’s People Respond in Grateful Praise

Scripture teaches us that our lives and hearts continually give response to the Word of God (Neh 8:6). We respond with either hardened hearts or with praise and brokenness. Here we have a chance to stand and respond to the Living God with songs of praise.

3. Before the Throne of God Above by Charitie Lees Smith. Originally entitled “The Advocate,” this hymn serves as a reminder of our Savior’s current work on our behalf as our Risen Savior. It is His name that we plead before the Father. He is our Great High Priest, who endured God’s wrath as our substitute and now intercedes for us. This song reminds us that when we struggle under a load of condemnation and guilt, we can look to our Savior’s full and final sacrifice for the basis of a right relationship with God.

    When Satan tempts me to despair
    And tells me of the guilt within
    Upward I look and see Him there
    Who made an end of all my sin
    Because the sinless Savior died
    My sinful soul is counted free
    For God the just is satisfied
    To look on Him and pardon me

Lenten Prayer for Servants

    Our Father in Heaven,
    Before you we are nothing but vanity, sinful, and guilty. Our sin has forfeited our favor, stripped us of your image, banished us from your presence, and exposed us to the curse of your law. We cannot deliver ourselves, and we are in despair. But a resource is found in you. For without our merit and desire, you devised an everlasting plan, honorable to your perfections. And the Word which announces all the glory of this goodness is near me, invites me, implores me. May we, convinced and self-despairing sinners, find Jesus as the only power unto salvation, his death the center of all relief, the source of all gospel-blessings. We ask that doing your will, and obeying your commands, would be nourishment to your servants at Redemption Hill. Mold us into holy priests who minister to each other and to unbelievers. Who proclaim your holiness, Lord God. We ask that the kingdom results that come from the gospel efforts of your servants will be multiplied by you in unimaginable ways. Help us to cling to the cross, be crucified to the world by it, and in it find deepest humiliation, motives to patience and self-denial, grace for compassion, faith to grasp eternal life, hope to lift up my head, and love to bind us for ever to him who died and rose for us. Let us be spiritually discerning by continually studying the Bible and being sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. We pray that you will provide for all the material needs of your servants. We pray that you would provide jobs that would enable us to provide for our families. Let us be quick to forgive one another, and show grace to one another. Let our love for one another point unbelievers to Christ. We ask that we would be able to resist the attacks of the enemy, and that our resistance and strong faith will encourage others to do the same. May Christ’s shed blood make us more thankful for your merices, more humble under your correction, more devoted in your service, more watchful against temptation, more contented in our circumstances, and more useful to others.
    Amen.

God Sends His People Into The World
After calling His people into His presence, instructing them in His Word, forgiving their sins, and giving them a foretaste of the feast of heaven, God grants us His blessing and sends His people into the world to carry forward the Gospel story of reconciliation to our homes, jobs, neighborhoods and the city we love.

4. In Christ Alone by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. This modern hymn of Christ’s mission and victory fits into nearly any part of the worship service. This week, we sang it as our sending hymn.

    No guilt in life no fear in death
    This is the power of Christ in me
    From life’s first cry to final breathe
    Jesus commands my destiny
    No power of hell no scheme of man
    Can ever pluck me from His hand
    Till he returns or calls me home
    Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand

imagrs

1 Comments

Evette

March 17 2011 Reply

Thank you. I really needed to read Ps. 25 today and the rest of the hymns and scriptures. They were a comfort to my soul.

Evette

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