Our text is Acts 21:17-26.
When Paul arrives in Jerusalem things get interesting on Day Two. A formal meeting takes place between Paul, James, (Jesus’ half-brother and primary spokesman of the Jerusalem church), and the Jerusalem elders. In this meeting, we find a few wonderful expressions of humility and love.
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 and Fact and Opinion Coloring Sheet.
Service for Family Worship:
Call to Worship:
1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. (ESV)
28b Let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.” (ESV)
Almighty God, you are infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in your being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.You are the true and living God. And you have created us for your own glory. Part of your will for us is that we also take delight in you. Thank you so much for giving us hearts that want to take delight in you and to dwell in your presence. Because only there can we find true peace, joy, contentment, and rest for our weary souls. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we ask that you would enable us to worship you this day in spirit and in truth, to your honor and glory. 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: Luke 10:25-28
25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” (ESV)
Heavenly Father, we are gathered before you, the maker of heaven and earth, whose chosen dwelling place is with the broken and contrite, to confess that we have sinned in thought and word and deed. We have not loved you with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. We have not loved our neighbor as ourselves. In your mercy, deepen our sorrow for the wrong we have done and for the good we have left undone, so that we may hate our sin with a holy hatred. But, please Father, do not leave us in sorrow. With you, O Lord, there is forgiveness. In your mercy, restore the joy of our salvation; so that we may love you with a holy love. 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. Amen.
Affirmation of Faith:
The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made; who for us and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried; and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father; and he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the living and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets; and we believe in one holy catholic† and apostolic church; we acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
†catholic is defined as God’s universal church.
That’s a Fact! (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: Psalm 116:12-14
12 What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me? 13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord, 14 I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people. (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.
Published in 1843, this is believed to be Bonar’s first hymn [of 600 he wrote]. He later apologized for it, saying, ‘It might be good gospel, but it is not good poetry.’” “I lay my sins on Jesus” in one sense, is not true. It was God the Father who laid all our sins on Jesus. Isaiah 53:6 says it. “The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” But what Dr. Bonar was saying from a human perspective is that salvation must be personally and individually applied. If we are to receive God’s eternal salvation, there must come a time we say, as individuals, “The Son of God…loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
Pastoral Prayer: (Click here for the Pastoral Prayer)
Sermon: Humility and Love
James Montgomery was the son of Moravian parents who died on a West Indies mission field while James was in boarding school. Montgomery inherited a strong passion for missions and an independent mind. He wrote more than 400 hymns, 10 of them are in our Trinity Hymnal including: “Angels, from the Realms of Glory” and “How Beautiful the Sight”.
Benediction (Click here to hear this week’s benediction)
Questions for Further Discussion
- With whom did Paul meet – 21:17, 18? What did Paul discuss with them – 21:19?
- What kind of people were James and the elders concerned about – 21:20?
- What had these people heard about Paul – 21:21? Was this true or false?
- What did they recommend that Paul do – 21:22-24? What did they hope this would accomplish?
- What had they already decided regarding Gentiles? Where have we studied this – 21:25?
- Study cross-references and explain exactly what this purification involved. What do you think about the decision of these men and Paul? Explain.
That’s a Fact!
What is a FACT? A fact is a statement that we know to be true.
Facts are different from opinions – an opinion is your belief about something, and it might not be true for everyone.
It is important to be able to tell the difference between a fact and an opinion.
Example: Dark chocolate candy is better than milk chocolate candy – fact? NO, actually that is my opinion.
Example: The world is round. Fact. We know that is a true statement from pictures of earth from space.
In Acts 21:30ff – The Apostle Paul is in trouble, and people are angry at him.
30 Then all the city was stirred up, and the people ran together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and at once the gates were shut. 31 And as they were seeking to kill him, word came to the tribune of the cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion. 32 He at once took soldiers and centurions and ran down to them. And when they saw the tribune and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 Then the tribune/commander came up and arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains. He inquired who he was and what he had done. 34 Some in the crowd were shouting one thing, some another. And as he could not learn the facts because of the uproar, he ordered him to be brought into the barracks. (ESV)
The tribune, was a Roman soldier and commander, he did the right thing – people were yelling, shouting different things about who Paul really was. This solider had to stop the yelling, get Paul out of harm and figure out what was fact and what was false about Paul.
The Book of Acts is full of eyewitness testimony about things that really happened – facts!
Acts 2:32: God has raised Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses to the fact. (CEB)
Acts 3:15: You killed the author of life but God raised Him to life and we are witnesses to this fact. (BSB)
Acts 23:11 The following night the Lord stood by him (Paul) and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.” (ESV)
Remember: A fact is a statement that we know to be true.
- There are 66 books in the Bible.
- The Bible tells me to love God and love my neighbor
Here is a way to remember FACT – Faith Accepts Christ’s Truth – when Jesus tells us about who he is – we can believe what he says!
When the Bible speaks about Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection to save us from our sins – the Bible is making true statements of FACT. You and I can believe what it says – it is not opinion!