Our text is Philippians 1:1-2.
Have you written or received an affectionate thank-you letter lately? We are about to read one—Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi. A man named Epaphroditus, on behalf of the church, brought a gift to Paul, and Paul writes back to thank them for their support and partnership. He opens the letter (1:3), “I thank my God in all remembrance of you…” He deeply loves this church, but Philippians is much more than a thank-you letter. Paul also uses this occasion to encourage believers to persevere together with joy in spite of opposition. In fact, he exhorts the Christians to advance the gospel bravely with joy, as fellow servants of the true King, in the face of terrifying opponents. It is going to be an exciting study.
Children’s Message: Pastor Chad Sadorf has been including a series of Children’s Messages. This series of Children’s Messages will look at numbers and counting to help teach Bible stories and doctrine about God, his world, and Jesus. Today’s message is provided as a video; this link appears just after the Gloria Patri in the service (where it would normally occur in our church service). Click on this link for a children’s bulletin to accompany today’s message: Children’s Bulletin and Coloring Page.
Service for Family Worship:
Call to Worship:
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (ESV)
Almighty God, you have revealed your attributes and your character in your word, and we confess that you are beautiful beyond all comprehension. You are infinitely worthy of all worship and praise, even if you had never done anything for us. And yet you have done more than we can possibly fully grasp or understand.
We are so grateful for your great salvation you have given us.
We thank you that Jesus Christ has earned our righteousness for us, and that by the instrument of saving faith you have credited his perfect righteous record to us that enables us to commune with you.
So Father, we praise you that through faith we have eternal life and can stand before you clean and forgiven of all our sin.
And by your sovereign power you are truly able to make us stand in your presence blameless and with great joy.
And we bow before you today as your grateful children and ask you to enable us to place all our affection upon you Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Would you also meet us today, at the point of our need, as you define it. And then continue to conform us into the image of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
In his name we pray. Amen.
Over the coming weeks, our congregation will be singing various portions of Psalm 22. The verses to be sung will be noted in the bulletin, but all will be set to the same tune as “Our God, Our Help in Ages Past”. Of Psalm 22, Martin Luther wrote, “This is a kind of gem among the Psalms, and is peculiarly excellent and remarkable. It contains those deep, sublime, and heavy sufferings of Christ, when agonising in the midst of the terrors and pangs of divine wrath and death, which surpass all human thought and comprehension. I know not whether any Psalm throughout the whole book contains matter more weighty, or from which the hearts of the godly can so truly perceive those sighs and groans, inexpressible by man, which their Lord and Head, Jesus Christ, uttered when conflicting for us in the midst of death, and in the midst of the pains and terrors of hell. Wherefore this Psalm ought to be most highly prized by all who have any acquaintance with temptations of faith and spiritual conflicts.” from The Treasury of David, www.spurgeon.org/treasury/treasury/ps022.htm
Corporate Scripture Reading: Romans 7:14-25
14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. (ESV)
Confession: Based on Psalm 51
Have mercy on us, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out our transgressions.
Wash us thoroughly from our iniquity,
and cleanse us from our sin!
For we know our transgressions,
and our sin is ever before us.
Purge us with hyssop, and we shall be clean;
wash us, and we shall be whiter than snow.
Let us hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from our sins,
and blot out all our iniquities.
Create in us a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within us.
Cast us not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from us.
Restore to us the joy of your salvation,
and uphold us with a willing spirit. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon: 1 John 1:9
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (ESV)
Through the instrument of faith in Jesus Christ all our sins are forgiven.
Affirmation of Faith:
The Heidelberg Catechism
How are you right with God?
Only by true faith in Jesus Christ. Even though my conscience accuses me of having grievously sinned against all God’s commandments and of never having kept any of them, and even though I am still inclined toward all evil, nevertheless, without my deserving it at all, out of sheer grace, God grants and credits to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ, as if I had never sinned nor been a sinner, as if I had been as perfectly obedient as Christ was obedient for me. All I need to do is to accept this gift of God with a believing heart.
The Number 3, Counting and Bible Doctrine (Click here to link to the video of the Children’s Message)
(You may want to take a moment to pray with your child or children for your family, your church family, our country and world.)
Offertory: Hebrews 13:15-16
15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (ESV)
(Online giving is now available for your convenience. This link, https://www.faithpresarp.org/give/, will take you to the page that explains this process and includes a button which will redirect you to the secured giving platform.
The crowns of this hymn, worn and adorned by Jesus, represent many theological ideas: his kingship in general and the picture of the Crowned Lamb of God; Christ crowned as both Son of God and Son of Man; his crown of love, as demonstrated in his death for our sins; a crown of life, as manifested by his resurrection from the dead; a crown of peace, as the Prince of Peace; a crown as the Lord of Heaven; a crown as the Lord of Years, The Potentate (ruler) of time. Jesus is deserving of crowns even as we recognize him as the King of our lives by yielding our hearts to him and by praising him both here and in eternity.
Pastoral Prayer: (Click here for the Pastoral Prayer)
Sermon: Philippians: A Guide to Joy
This hymn is one of more than 2,000 hymns written by Nicolaus von Zinzendorf. The lyrics comprise one of the clearest, simplest, and most straightforward poetic expressions of the total efficacy of the Lord Jesus for the salvation of fallen humanity. In each stanza the author proclaims his absolute assurance of being justified before God, not because of any work or merit of his own, but solely because of the blood and righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Benediction (Click here to hear this week’s benediction)
Questions for Further Discussion
1. What do you know about Philippi? Explain.
2. Why do you think Paul includes Timothy in the greeting of this epistle?
3. What is the difference between joy and happiness?
4. How does culture and religion affect us in our pursuit of happiness?
5. How does the gospel provide deep and abiding joy?
6. How does Scripture define the word “saint”?
The Number 3, Counting and Bible Doctrine
We have been learning numbers and counting together to learn Bible stories and Bible doctrine and today’s number is three.
The BIG WORD today is Trinity!
The Bible does not use the word Trinity, but WE use the word Trinity to help us learn what the Bible teaches about God being three in persons: Tri = 3 + Unity = 1 – Tri-unity = Trinity
1. God is three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
2. Each person is fully God.
3. There is one God.
In the Bible the three persons of the Trinity are mentioned all together in one verse many times:
In 2 Corinthians 13:14 it says – The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (ICB)
In Matthew 28:19 Jesus said, “… go and make followers of all people in the world. Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (ICB)
Luke 3:22 – the Holy Spirit came down on him (Jesus). The Spirit was in the form of a dove. Then a voice came from heaven and said, “You are my Son and I love you (God the Father is speaking). I am very pleased with you.” (ICB)
So when you think of the number three – remember this – God the Father and Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit, love each other. And God wants to share that love with you – if you put your faith in Jesus – then you can know that each person of the Trinity (the Father, Jesus the Son, and Holy Spirit) loves you, and each has done his own special work to save you.