Our text is Philippians 1:1b-11.
Consider the apostle Paul sitting in a prison—the most joyous man in Rome. How could this be? Ancient Rome was a consumerist wonderland filled with games, immoral sexuality, lavish parties, a theater, and much more; yet Paul had a joy a thousand times better. He writes a prayer of thanksgiving “with joy” (verse 4). This is the first mention of joy in Philippians, but it resounds through this section and throughout the book. That is a lot of joy! How could the most joyous man in Rome be in jail? Joy is found in Christ, not in a trouble-free life or in a life filled merely with things.
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 these links for a children’s bulletin and activity pages to accompany today’s message: Children’s Bulletin, Activity Page 1, and Activity Page 2.
Service for Family Worship:
Call to Worship:
1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! 2 Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! 3 Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! 5 For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. (ESV)
Almighty God, we are here at your calling and command.
You are holy beyond comprehension.
You are the standard of perfection.
All power and authority in the universe are yours.
We are utterly dependent upon you.
And what a privilege it is to bow in worship before the one true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, when we offer ourselves to you without reservation, through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
So would you enable us by the power of your Spirit to fall on our knees and proclaim, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power,” solely because you are the Almighty—the only true and living God. Receive our worship and be glorified in and through your children. In the name that is above every name, Jesus Christ our Lord. 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: Matthew 5:21-24
21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (ESV)
Almighty God, we enter into your presence confessing the things we try to conceal from you and the things we try to conceal from others.
We confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength.
We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.
We also confess that we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We have caused them heartbreak, worry, and sorrow that makes it difficult for them to forgive us.
We have also made it easier for others to do wrong because of our sinfulness.
Merciful Father, forgive us we pray, for the totality of our sin as you define it, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Strengthen our wills to love you and serve you with joy, that your commands would not be burdensome, but that we would find the greatest joy in obedience to you, through the power of Holy Spirit. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon: Ephesians 2:4-7
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ– by grace you have been saved– 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (ESV)
Affirmation of Faith:
The Heidelberg Catechism
Why do you say that by faith alone you are right with God?
It is not because of any value my faith has that God is pleased with me. Only Christ’s satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness make me right with God. And I can receive this righteousness and make it mine in no other way than by faith alone.
Why can’t the good we do make us right with God, or at least help make us right with him?
Because the righteousness which can pass God’s scrutiny must be entirely perfect and must in every way measure up to the divine law. Even the very best we do in this life is imperfect and stained by sin.
The Number 4, 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.
“All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name!” has been called the “National Anthem of Christendom”. The lyrics, written by Edward Perronet, first appeared in 1779. Born in England, Edward’s family came from the Huguenots of Switzerland.
This hymn proclaims the power of Jesus’ name. Acts 4:12 declares “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” There is power in the name of Jesus to save, this is in fact, the only way to be saved, to call upon the name of the Lord.
Pastoral Prayer: (Click here for the Pastoral Prayer)
Sermon: The Most Joyous Man in Rome
- Three lessons from Paul’s thanksgiving
- Three reasons for Paul’s thanksgiving
“Take Time to Be Holy” was written by neither a pastor nor a songwriter. William Longstaff was an English businessman, a Christian layman who took his faith seriously. Hearing a sermon on the text, “Be ye holy, for I am holy,” Longstaff was inspired to write a poem, “Take Time to Be Holy.” Being a good businessman, Longstaff had a practical mind. That is reflected in this hymn, which offers many practical suggestions for progressing in sanctification and holiness of life.
Benediction (Click here to hear this week’s benediction)
Questions for Further Discussion
- Where do people look to find joy?
- How can prayer lead us to joy?
- How do people think of “fellowship” in our church?
- Does it involve mission or just gathering? Compare it with Paul’s view of fellowship.
- Why do you need gospel partnerships?
- What are the enemies of enjoying biblical community?
The Number 4, Counting and Bible Doctrine
Have any of you ever heard the story about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the 4th Man?
In today’s lesson in numbers and counting we will learn about the number 4 through a Bible story in Daniel Chapter 3 – we read about a king named Nebuchadnezzar and three men with the funny-sounding names of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and a 4th man.
The King (who happens to have my name inside his name – Nebu-chad-nezzar) had made a gold statue that was ninety feet tall and nine feet wide. He had one of his men go out and tell the people, “Listen to the King’s command! When you hear the sound of the musical instruments, bow to the ground and worship the King’s gold statue. Anyone who refuses to obey will be thrown into a blazing furnace.” Verses 1-6 (ICB)
So, at the sound of the music, all the people bowed down and worshipped the gold statue. Everyone except Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
When the king heard about that, he was very angry and had the three brought to him.
The king asked them. “Is it true that you have refused to worship the gold statue that I have set up? If so, I will give you one more chance and if you still refuse, I will throw you into a blazing hot furnace.”
Do you know what the three men said to the King?
Daniel 3:17-18 – They answered, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” (ICB)
Nebuchadnezzar became furious and told his servants to tie the three up and throw them into the furnace.
Do you know what happened next? When the King went back to check on Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, he saw four men walking around in the fire unharmed. In Daniel 3:25, The king said, “Look! I see four men. They are walking around in the fire. They are not tied up, and they are not burned. (ICB)
Who was that fourth man that Nebuchadnezzar saw?
God had come to rescue them from the fire! Nebuchadnezzar released the three men and was amazed that they didn’t even smell like smoke! He said to all the people, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. No other god can save people this way.”
The three men chose to follow God even though they knew it meant they could be hurt or killed. They were not sure God would choose to save their lives, but they knew they had to do what was right regardless of the outcome.
Only God could save Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – he was the 4th man! Only God can save, and he sent his Son Jesus to save us from the fire of judgment and punishment for our sins.
Let’s pray that God will give us the courage to do the right thing even when it isn’t easy. If we put our faith and trust in Jesus, he will save us.