Preparing For Worship

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It is once again time to prepare our hearts for worship. As we prepare for worship today and tomorrow I thought we could spend some time thinking about our adoption. 1 John 3:1 says: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are…” Stephen Miller says: “All true worship begins with our adoption. All prayer, all praise, all singing — all of our relating to God — begins with being able to come to him as his children. That’s what Jesus won for us. When he went to the cross, he paid the immeasurable price of our adoption, to make us sons and daughters of the living God.

The apostle Paul says in Ephesians 2 says: “Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, …— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” So, for me this was my first 23 years on planet earth. I was separated from Christ, without hope and without God in the world. Incomprehensibly though I was adopted into God’s family before my 24th birthday. Paul goes on: “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,”

Martyn Lloyd-Jones says: “We have become members of God’s family; we really are in that relationship to Him because we have His nature. Because we have received of His life, we, as children, belong to His family, we belong to his household, and we are therefore in this unique relationship to Him. And that, of course, in turn means that we are heirs of God, as Paul says in Romans 8:17: “If children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.”

Going  back to the first verse that I started this with 1 John 3:1 which says that we: “should be called children of God.” Lloyd-Jones that we are “called the children of God, and there is a sense in which this is so staggering and so overwhelming that we find it almost impossible to accept it, and to retain the idea in our minds. Yet that is what is said  about Christians everywhere in the New Testament. Let us never again think of the Christian as just someone who is trying to live a good life, trying to be a little bit better than somebody else, a person with a belief in doing certain things, going through certain forms and ceremonials and keeping certain regulations dictated by the church. Christians do all that, but before all that is this vital fact that they are children of God. They have been born again, born from above, born of the Spirit; they have received something of the very nature and life of God Himself.”

As we prepare our hearts for worship let us spend time this afternoon and tomorrow morning just dwelling on our glorious adoption into the family of God. Stephen Miller says: “And the truth that God would give his own Son that he might make us his sons and daughters ought to produce awe and wonder and amazement in us. It ought to make us stop for a second — or for a Sunday morning — and say, How great is the love of the Father! How could we not sing? How could we not shout? How could we not respond, with all that we are, to all that he has done for us?

We need to be captivated by this truth, and let it produce a response of awe-filled adoration in us. What a glorious thing to say, “Our Father, hallowed be your name! Let your kingdom come, and your will be done here.”

May we begin to live in light of that glorious truth — that we are redeemed and adopted sons and daughters of the living God. He wants us. He is with us. And he is for us.

Let’s worship in light of that!”

Let us also pray for Ian and Erin who will once again be leading us in worship. Let us continue to uphold Kelly and Mark at the throne of grace as they have been at the hospital for several days now. Mark wrote this on Tuesday: “My wife Kelly started having some contractions last night. We’re two months short of the due date (July 9), so we’re at the hospital trying to prevent a pre-term labor from starting. So far things are looking relatively good. We’ll likely be here for at least a couple more days. Say a prayer for Kelly and the baby in particular if you’re able. Thank you! God is in control.” It looks like Mark and Kelly will be going home from the hospital this afternoon. So, Jerry Ediger will be preaching for Mark this Sunday. So, let us pray for Jerry as he opens up the Word to us.

Jerry will be preaching from Romans 8. The ESV text of Romans 8 is below:

Romans 8

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law,weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. 12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry,“Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Picture from here

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