Our text is Acts 14:1-18.
In Chapter 14, Paul and Barnabas keep on doing what they have previously been doing. This chapter contains stories of more sacrifice, more examples of the Spirit at work, more gospel proclamations suitable for a particular audience, and more mixed responses and opposition.
Yet Paul saw these events as stories of endurance.
Children’s Message: Pastor Chad Sadorf has been including a series of Children’s Messages. In this message series we are going to look at the Fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23. 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 printable activity page and a children’s bulletin to accompany this message: Gentleness coloring page and Children’s Bulletin.
Service for Family Worship:
Call to Worship: Psalm 34:1-3
1I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. 3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! (ESV)
Father, as we come before you this morning we confess that we do not understand the perfection of your holiness. (You hid your servant Moses in the cleft of the rock so he wouldn’t die from your glory.)
It exhausts our minds when we think about your absolute power. (You spoke your creation both spiritual and physical into existence, and you sustain it all by the power of your Word.)
And for sure we haven’t even understood the surface of the depth of your love.
(Your own Son died naked and forsaken on the town garbage heap between two thieves so we could call you Father.)
And these are just a few of your attributes which are the standard of perfection.
But we have come here today in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ, and we’re here boldly because you said so.
We also come with empty hands, and with broken hearts. And we come in faith clothed in Jesus’ own robe of righteousness. And we present ourselves to you asking Holy Spirit to enable and direct our worship for your glory and honor. And although this service is not about us, even so, would you change usas we commune with the one true God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen
Francis Scott Key is the author of the “The Star Spangled Banner,” our national anthem. The son of an officer who served in the American army during the Revolutionary War, Key grew up in an environment where patriotism was encouraged. As an adult he made his mark as a successful trial lawyer, serving for a time as a U.S. District Attorney. Key also was a strong believer. Active in his church, he taught Sunday School and supported missions. He was so passionate about his faith that he considered giving up his law practice to enter the ministry. In this hymn, Key makes it clear that God is the focus of his life. He recognized that he needed God’s help for his “weak endeavor,” knowing that the Lord had to “light the flame” in his life. For a writer of great words, he found himself speechless when contemplating all God had done in the very last line of the hymn: “Since words can never measure, let my life show forth Thy praise.”
Corporate Scripture Reading: Matthew 22:34-40
34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Father, you have called us to be your people, and claimed us for the service of Jesus Christ.
We confess that we have not lived up to our calling. We have often been timid disciples, forgetting about the power of your love, and the strength of your Spirit among us. We have pursued our own kingdoms, instead of seeking your Kingdom. So we confess the totality of our sin as you define it, and ask you to forgive us and purify our hearts. Loving God, enable us to proclaim to our generation, and all generations to come, the one true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, same in substance, equal in power and glory. Amen
Assurance of Pardon: : Psalm 28:6-7
6 Blessed be the Lord! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy. 7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.
Affirmation of Faith: Heidelberg Catechism
Q. 54: What believest thou concerning the “holy catholic Church” of Christ?
That the Son of God from the beginning to the end of the world, gathers, defends, and preserves to Himself by His Spirit and Word, out of the whole human race, a Church chosen to everlasting life, agreeing in true faith; and that I am and forever shall remain, a living member thereof.
Fruit of the Spirit: Gentleness (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: Ephesians 2:10
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (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.
This famous Irish hymn, “Be Thou My Vision” was originally a poem, found in two Irish manuscripts in the library of the Royal Irish Academy, dated as early as the 8th century. The Irish text was translated into literal prose in 1905 by Irish scholar Mary Byrne, a Dublin native. Then Eleanor Hull of Manchester, England, versified the text and it was published in her Poem Book in 1912. The language of this hymn is drawn from traditional Irish culture. One of the essential characteristics of the text is the use of “heroic” imagery to describe God, very typical of medieval Irish poetry, which cast God as our “High King” who provided protection to his people or clan. Indeed, the Lord is our VISION, and we are to contemplate the words, that he is our: “inheritance, battle shield, shelter, high tower, treasure and Ruler of all.”
Pastoral Prayer: (Click here for the Pastoral Prayer)
Sermon: Stories of Perseverance
In our passage this week we see the gospel…
I. Provoking division
II. Producing misunderstanding
III. Prompting clarification
As an ordained Baptist minister, Joseph Gilmore served churches in Philadelphia, New Hampshire, and New York. From 1868-1911, he served as a professor of English at the University of Rochester. This hymn composed in 1862 during the Civil War was written during a time of upheaval and insecurity in American history. The words are perfectly suited for our very own time and cultural context. Though Gilmore wrote other hymns, it is this text written at age 28 for which he is remembered. Working as the private secretary for his father, the governor of New Hampshire, Gilmore provided further information on the historical context of this hymn: “It was the darkest hour of the Civil War. I did not refer to that fact—that is, I don’t think I did—but it may subconsciously have led me to realize that God’s leadership is the one significant fact in human experience, that it makes no difference how we are led, or whither we are led, so long as we are sure God is leading us.”
Benediction (Click here to hear this week’s benediction)
Questions for Further Discussion
- Have you ever known that you would be opposed for speaking faithfully for Christ in a certain situation and yet you did so anyway? Recount/discuss your thoughts and feelings.
- If you have never spoken faithfully for Christ when the opportunity presented itself, would you consider doing so next time?
- What did the unbelieving Jews do in verse 2? How did Paul and Barnabas respond, verse 3?
- What do you think upset their religious opponents?
Fruit of the Spirit: Gentleness
Last week we looked at the fruit of FAITHFULNESS. Today we will learn about GENTLENESS.
Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law”
I. God is gentle
II. God wants us to be gentle
God is gentle, caring, tender, and kind in his actions towards his people, and he also wants us to act and speak with others in gentleness.
Jesus models gentleness to us by calling all of those who are tired and suffering to find rest in himself. He gently leads us, like a shepherd with his sheep.
Matthew 11:28-29, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (ESV)
Is gentleness a part of who you are right now?
Do your words show gentleness or are they harsh and mean?
Do you show gentleness with your actions?
As you come to know and love Jesus more and more, you change!
With Holy Spirit living inside of us, he can give us the power to be gentle!
Let’s pray and ask God to grow the fruit of gentleness in our hearts.