Our text is Acts 21:1-16.
Paul is confident that God is leading him to Jerusalem. At the same time, other Christians are equally as confident that God has not called Paul to go to Jerusalem. So, what do we do when we hear conflicting voices and counsel? Let’s study God’s word together to see how Paul made a difficult decision.
Children’s Message: Pastor Chad Sadorf has been including a series of Children’s Messages. These messages will parallel the sermons from Acts to help guide the children through the concepts that are taught in the sermon. 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 printable activity pages to accompany this message: Children’s Bulletin, Hospitality Dot-to-Dot Page, and Hospitality Coloring Sheet.
Service for Family Worship:
Call to Worship:
4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (ESV)
Almighty God, we’ve come this morning to praise you because you are infinitely worthy of our worship and our praise.
From before the foundation of the world you chose a people for yourself and you have worked throughout the history of redemption applying that salvation through the “the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,” You have overwhelmed us by your grace—and these truths are too wonderful for us to grasp totally.
So we are here this morning at your calling, and according to your command, to recognize and proclaim your infinite worth.
We are here to give ourselves to you in worship. So, by the power of Holy Spirit will you enable us to come to you through Jesus Christ, blocking out the cares of the world so that we may worship you in spirit and in truth. Enable us to honor and glorify you this day as the one true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, same in substance, equal in power and in glory. And will you prepare our hearts even now to confess our sins as a summary of your law is read. Amen.
In the month of November, our congregation will be singing Psalm 89, it is set to the tune, Ode to Joy, from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Charles Spurgeon wrote, “We have now reached the majestic Covenant Psalm, which, according to the Jewish arrangement closes the third book of the Psalms. It is the utterance of a believer, in presence of great national disaster, pleading with his God, urging the grand argument of covenant engagements, and expecting deliverance and help, because of the faithfulness of Jehovah.” from The Treasury of David, by Charles Spurgeon, www.spurgeon.org/treasury/treasury/ps089.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)
Almighty God, as we confess our sins, deepen within us the sense of shame and sorrow for the wrongs that we have done, and for the good we have left undone. Prevent us from seeing our sin as merely isolated acts of disobedience, but rather as a deep-seated rebellion against you and your absolute authority over us.
Forgive us we pray, for the totality of our sin, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness, and 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.
Assurance of Pardon: Romans 8:1
1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (ESV)
In the name of Christ and by the authority of his Word, if you are trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ, your sins are forgiven, and you are not under the condemnation of God.
This is a promise we have in the gospel.
Affirmation of Faith:
Westminster Confession of Faith
Chapter 23, The Civil Authorities
Section 1. God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, has ordained civil authorities to be, under him, over the people for his own glory and the public good. For this purpose he has armed them with the power of the sword for the defense and encouragement of those who are good, and for the punishment of those who do evil.
(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: Matthew 6:2-4
2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (ESV)
We have the privilege of giving to God in worship, not to receive a blessing but because he is infinitely worthy of our worship.
(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.
St. Francis of Assisi was an Italian friar and preacher. Although never ordained to the Catholic priesthood, he is one of the most revered religious figures in church history. Born in 1182 to the family of a wealthy silk merchant, Francis led a carefree life as a youth. His life changed for good after hearing a sermon based on Matthew 10, in which Christ tells his followers to go forth and proclaim that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Inspired by Christ’s instruction to take no money, nor even shoes, for the road, Francis followed suit. Clothed in rough garments and barefoot, he began to take on a life of poverty preaching repentance. He soon gathered a following of men and women who led simple lives without possessions, and he founded the Order of Brothers and Sisters of Penance, or “Franciscans”. In Francis’ last days, he became virtually blind and unable to endure daylight. He wrote the text “Canticle of the Sun” or “Song of All Creatures,” later paraphrased into the hymn that we sing today. He died on the evening of October 3, 1226, while singing Psalm 142.
Pastoral Prayer: (Click here for the Pastoral Prayer)
Sermon: The Cost of Christian Discipleship
Our hymn was written by Daniel Webster Whittle, one of about two hundred hymns he composed. Other popular hymns he wrote in our hymnal are: ” Showers of Blessing” and “Moment by Moment”. Webster served as a Major during the American Civil War, while leading a charge he was wounded in his sword arm which led to the amputation of his arm and a stay in a prisoner of war camp. The refrain of our hymn is a direct quotation from the King James Bible in 2 Timothy 1:12. The hymn addresses diverse doctrinal subjects: the first two verses cover Soteriology, the doctrine of Salvation. The third verse explores Pneumatology, the doctrine of Holy Spirit and Hamartiology, the doctrine of sin. The last verse explores Eschatology, the doctrine of last things.
Benediction (Click here to hear this week’s benediction)
Questions for Further Discussion
- How does this passage highlight the need for deep Christian friendship?
- How are Christian friendships established and experienced?
- In what ways can you show hospitality to new acquaintances/potential friends?
- In what ways have you found it difficult to show affection to, or to pray with, your Christian friends? Explain.
- Do you find it difficult to discuss important decisions with Christian friends? Why or why not?
In Acts Chapter 21 – we read at 4 times about hospitality given to Paul and his friends: in verses 4,7-8 and verse 16.
In the Bible, there weren’t a bunch of hotels to stay when you visited other people – Paul and his friends needed a safe place, some food, a place to rest and sleep – these Bible verses say that is what happened!
Hospitality begins with receiving people in your home, greeting them and welcoming them.
Romans 12:13 says, “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” (NIV)
And when we welcome and share with others, the Bible says we are to have a good attitude:
1 Peter 4:9-10 says, 9 “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:” (ESV)
• Maybe there are some friends you could have over for lunch? Or maybe just afternoon milk and cookies?
• Before people come over maybe you can help clean the house, put toys and books put away, make your bed
• You can practice good manners and be polite
• When friends come over to play, you can share your toys with them.
• You can even help mom or dad make some of the food, decorate and set the table, serve drinks for the meal or help clear the table after eating
Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers.” (ESV)
Maybe when you see a new child coming to church, you could show them where to find the children’s bulletins and the crayons.
Welcoming someone and sharing what you have is a sign of friendship, it involves showing fruits of the spirit like love and kindness and goodness.
When we practice hospitality we show that we love others and that we love Jesus!