Our text is Philippians 2:16-18.
In last week’s sermon, we read the passage in which Paul said, as Christians we are to shine as lights in a dark world. In verse 16a, he develops his argument further as he explains a particular way one should shine: “Hold fast to the word of life.” In contrast to complaining, Christians should be defending and proclaiming the word of life. We must not turn loose of God’s word in our own lives, or in a dark culture. Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,” so that it will permeate your heart and spill out into praise and proclamation. The word of life is our source of vitality, and it is the message we hold out to the world.
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 page to accompany today’s message: Children’s Bulletin and Activity Page.
Service for Family Worship:
Call to Worship:
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (ESV)
Almighty God we are in awe of your holiness, perfection, and majesty.
You are high and lifted up—completely other than.
You sustain all that exist. You are perfect in all your attributes, holy beyond all comprehension.
So how could you relate to us with the intimacy of Psalm 23 and so many other places described for us in your Holy Word?
How could you send your own Son that we might have the privilege of coming into your presence in worship?
Triune God we bow before you in utter amazement this morning. We come before you in worship and submission, and ask you to guide us in worship for your glory and our edification. Block out the cares of the world and reveal to us by your Spirit—in the prayers and singing of hymns, in the giving of your tithes and offerings, and in the preaching of your word—reveal to us again this day the resurrected and living Christ. And cause us to place all of our affection upon you—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Over the course of March, our congregation will be singing Psalm 19. In introducing this psalm, Charles Spurgeon wrote, “In his earliest days the psalmist, while keeping his father’s flock, had devoted himself to the study of God’s two great books—nature and Scripture; and he had so thoroughly entered into the spirit of these two only volumes in his library that he was able with a devout criticism to compare and contrast them, magnifying the excellency of the Author as seen in both. How foolish and wicked are those who instead of accepting the two sacred tomes, and delighting to behold the same divine hand in each, spend all their wits in endeavouring to find discrepancies and contradictions. We may rest assured that the true “Vestiges of Creation” will never contradict Genesis, nor will a correct “Cosmos” be found at variance with the narrative of Moses. He is wisest who reads both the world-book, and the Word-book as two volumes of the same work, and feels concerning them, ‘My Father wrote them both.’” from The Treasury of David, by Charles Spurgeon, www.spurgeon.org/treasury/treasury.htm
Corporate Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:17-20
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (ESV)
Father, help us be honest this morning as you deal with each of us here today. You know the sin we ignore instead of confessing, and you know the pride that makes us indignant about the sins of others.
You know the anger we try to suppress.
You know the masks we wear.
You know the pain we hide, and the grief we carry.
You know the spirituality we fake.
You know all our secrets.
So Father, forgive us for the totality of our sin, and transform us for your glory and for our good. We rejoice in your everlasting love placed upon us from before the foundation of the world, realized through the reconciling work of Jesus Christ, and applied through Holy Spirit. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon:
According to the Scriptures, Christ died for our sins. He made a full atonement for us. And believers are forgiven and have the promise of eternal life. Rest in that forgiveness.
We are his children. To God be the glory.
Affirmation of Faith:
The Westminster Larger Catechism
Are all true believers at all times assured of their present being in the estate of grace, and that they shall be saved?
Assurance of grace and salvation not being of the essence of faith, true believers may wait long before they obtain it; and, after the enjoyment thereof, may have it weakened and intermitted, through manifold distempers, sins, temptations, and desertions; yet they are never left without such a presence and support of the Spirit of God as keeps them from sinking into utter despair.
What is the communion in glory which the members of the invisible church have with Christ?
The communion in glory which the members of the invisible church have with Christ, is in this life, immediately after death, and at last perfected at the resurrection and day of judgment.
The Number 12, 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.)
8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts! 9 Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth! (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 is a classic Trinitarian hymn full of biblical metaphors for deity, starting in the first stanza: “King,” “Father” and “Ancient of Days” (Daniel 7:9, 13, 22). In stanza two the second person of the Trinity is represented by the “incarnate Word” (John 1:1; 1 John 5:7). The third person of the Trinity has several names: “Spirit of holiness” (Romans 1:4), “holy Comforter,” (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7) and “Spirit of Power.” The Trinity itself is symbolized by “the great One in Three.” The final stanza is a doxology.
Pastoral Prayer: (Click here for the Pastoral Prayer)
Prayer for Illumination and Sermon: Holding Fast to the Word of Life
Fanny Crosby wrote between 8,000 and 9,000 gospel hymn texts. “Praise Him! Praise Him!” first appeared in a Sunday school hymnal, Bright Jewels, which was published in 1869. The words of this hymn remind us that our daily sacrifice of praise should include joyful songs for who Christ is: “our blessed redeemer.” We also need to praise God for all of His daily blessings, which are beyond number. We should also offer praise even for the trials of life, for they are often blessings in disguise. Finally, we can praise God for His leading in ways yet to be experienced.
Benediction (Click here to hear this week’s benediction)
Questions for Further Discussion
- Consider Paul’s unique description of Christians in verse 15 as a goal for your own life. What changes need to take place in order for Paul’s description to be true of you? In what ways do you hold out the word of life?
- Trace the theme of sacrifice through Philippians 2:5-11 and 2:17. How important an element is it in the Christian’s life?
- How does the reality of “the day of Christ” affect how you live your life and make disciples?
The Number 12, Counting and Bible Doctrine
We have been learning numbers and counting together to help us learn Bible stories and Bible teaching about God, his world and Jesus – and today’s number is – the number of inches on a standard ruler – #12!
12 can be found in about 187 places in God’s word.
– Like the 12 sons of Jacob (Israel) each of whom represented a tribe from Genesis 49.
– 12 spies scouted out the Promised Land in The Book of Numbers 13:13
– 12 baskets of food remained after Jesus feeds the 5,000 in Matthew 14:20.
– Jesus chose 12 men to bear witness to what he did and to spread the good news of the gospel to the entire world. Matthew 10:1-4
But for our message: I would like to focus on one place in the Bible that has so many 12’s!
In The Book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible 12 shows up 22 times and in chapter 21 we see a whole bunch of 12’s.
Revelation 21 pictures God’s Holy Heavenly City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven and John writes: (you can count the 12’s)…
11 (the city) It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. 14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15 The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. 16 The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. 17 The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits thick (12×12). 18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. 19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.
12 gates attended by 12 angels, 12 tribes of God listed on those 12 gates made of 12 pearls; 12 foundations with the names of the 12 apostles of Jesus; the city is a perfect cube with a 12,000 measurement; the walls of the city are 12×12, with 12 precious foundation stones.
All of God’s people will live in this beautiful city forever. I want to live in that beautiful, holy city of God – Will you be living there? You will, if you put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ to cleanse you from your sins and be your Savior!