Our text is 1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:5.

Paul had left the Thessalonians abruptly and had been unable to return. He had to deal with his absence, because it raised questions about the sincerity of his love. Here Paul explained the circumstances of his prolonged absence and his reasons for sending Timothy to minister among them in his stead.  In doing so, he teaches us about the necessity of gospel-centered relationships in the Christian life.

Click here for the link to download the audio file for the sermon to your computer. The sermon is also available for you in video form. Click here to watch the sermon.

Children’s Message: Pastor Chad Sadorf has been including a series of Children’s Messages. This series of Children’s Messages is entitled “Biblical Foundations.” 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 a coloring page to accompany today’s message: Children’s Bulletin and Coloring Page.



Service for Family Worship:

Call to Worship:

Psalm 24:1-4, 9-10

1 The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,the world and those who dwell therein, 2 for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. 3 Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.  (ESV)

9 Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 10 Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory!   (ESV)

Prayer:

Almighty God, we your people humble ourselves before you.
You are infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in your being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth
You created, rule over, and sustain everything that exists—all things seen and unseen.
You are holy beyond our comprehension.

And even as your children, who have been redeemed by the blood of your own Son, we admit that there are times in our lives when our sin seems more real to us than you do.
When we think of coming before you in worship, according to our own ability we have none.
We look down at our hands and they are dirty.
We look into our hearts and they are not pure.But because of your matchless grace, and the finished work of your son, you welcome us. In the gospel we are utterly accepted in Christ.
And you have also promised to increasingly transform us by your word and Spirit.
So even as your only Son Jesus ascended into the heavens, may we also ascend there in heart and mind, as we offer ourselves to you in worship. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Worship in Psalm:

Psalm 148  (Click here for the text of the hymn), (Click here for the piano accompaniment), (Click here for organ accompaniment)

In the morning services this month, our congregation will be singing Psalm 148. In introducing this psalm, Charles Spurgeon writes, “The song is one and indivisible. It seems almost impossible to expound it in detail, for a living poem is not to be dissected verse by verse. It is a song of nature and of grace. As a flash of lightning flames through space, and enwraps both heaven and earth in one vestment of glory, so doth the adoration of the Lord in this Psalm light up all the universe, and cause it to glow with a radiance of praise. The song begins in the heavens, sweeps downward to dragons and all deeps, and then ascends again, till the people near unto Jehovah take up the strain. For its exposition the chief requisite is a heart on fire with reverent love to the Lord over all, who is to be blessed for ever.” from The Treasury of David, by Charles Spurgeon, www.spurgeon.org/treasury/treasury.htm

Corporate Scripture Reading:

Matthew 5:43-48

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (ESV)

Confession:

Leader: God is light; in him there in no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him, yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:5b-8)
Congregation: Most holy and merciful Father, We confess to you that we have sinned against you by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart and mind and strength. We have not fully loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not always had in us the mind of Christ. You alone know how often we have grieved you by wasting your gifts, by wandering from your ways. Forgive us, we pray, for the totality of our sin as you define it. Conform us more and more to the image of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to the glory of the triune God and for our good. Renew in us the grace and strength of Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Assurance of Pardon:

Jesus said, [John 5:24]

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”

This is a wonderful promise we have in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Affirmation of Faith: 

The Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended into hell1. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic2 church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

1 Christ was under the power of death for a time; he incurred the full penalty for the sins of God’s people.

2 Catholic is defined as God’s universal church.

 Response in Praise:

Gloria Patri (Click here for the text of the hymn), (Click here for voices and accompaniment), (Click here for the piano accompaniment), (Click for the organ accompaniment)

Children’s Message:

Biblical Foundations: Psalm 119:11 (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: Luke 6:37-38

37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;
38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Father, in this simple act of worship, we give to you not that we might receive blessings, but because you have so richly blessed us more than we can comprehend.

    

(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.

Response in Praise: Doxology   (Click here for the text of the hymn), (Click here for voices and accompaniment), (Click here for the piano accompaniment), (Click for the organ accompaniment)

This hymn was originally written for the celebration of communion. The refrain, “Lord of all, to thee we raise This our hymn of grateful praise,” broadens the focus of the original hymn from Christ’s sacrifice to one of gratitude for all creation and “Lord of all.” The concrete images of this text make it ideal for children of all ages. The hymn draws on themes beyond the natural created order to: humanity, love, friendship and family.

Pastoral Prayer: (Click here for the Pastoral Prayer)

Prayer for Illumination and Sermon: Gospel Relationships (Click here to listen to the sermon) (Click here to watch the sermon)

1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:5

I. The necessity of gospel-centered relationships (2:17-20)

II. The purpose of gospel-centered relationships (3:1-5)

Hymn #649, More Love to Thee, O Christ (Click here for the text of the hymn), (Click here for the piano accompaniment), (Click here for the organ accompaniment)

Elizabeth Payson Prentiss, was the wife of a Presbyterian minister. Elizabeth had a gift for both prose and poetry from a young age, wrote books, one of which was the well-known best seller Stepping Heavenward. For much of her life she suffered deep pain and anguish in her body. Our hymn emerged out of a time of personal tragedy. During the 1850s, the Prentisses lost a child and shortly thereafter a second. Through her grief she confided in her diary, “Empty hands, a worn-out, exhausted body, and unutterable longings to flee from a world that has so many sharp experiences.” Prentiss completed the four stanzas of her hymn in a single evening, but never showed it to anyone for 13 years. We are privileged to hear her prayer and be pointed to the comforting presence and all of sufficiency of Jesus!

 

Benediction (Click here to hear this week’s benediction)


Questions for Further Discussion

1.   Paul explains that he and his associates longed to reunite with the Thessalonians, but “Satan hindered us” (1 Thess. 2:18). What are some dangers of being under-aware of the demonic realm? What about being over-aware?
2. In 1 Thess. 2:19-20, Paul calls the Thessalonian church his “hope,” his “joy,” his “crown,” and his “glory.” (This is remarkable, especially in light of all of this congregation’s faults.) How do you view our own congregation? Are you aware mainly of its faults or of its beauty? What might need to change, whether in your thoughts, speech, or behavior, to more closely resemble Paul’s perspective and heart?
3. What are all Christians “destined” for, according to 1 Thess. 3:3-4? Does this surprise you? Why or why not? Notice also that Paul did not merely mention this in passing while in Thessalonica; he “kept telling” them (1 Thess. 3:4). This was Discipleship 101 (see also Acts 14:21-22).


Children’s Message:
Biblical Foundations: Psalm 119:11

Click on these links for a children’s bulletin and a coloring page to accompany today’s message: Children’s Bulletin and Coloring Page.

We memorize all kinds of things. We store them in our brains so that we can remember them later: countries and capitals, historic dates, math facts, and what’s a conjunction.

But the most important thing we can memorize is God’s Word.

Psalm 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart so that I won’t sin against you.

We don’t always have our Bibles or phones in front of us – but if we know what God’s Word says we can rely on it in here (our heart) especially when we are tempted to sin or when people treat us badly or when we feel like we are all alone in the world. 

This Bible verse tells us that we can trust God’s Word more than our feelings and desires.

Psalm 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart so that I won’t sin against you.