Our text is Acts 20:1-16.
The book of Acts again and again demonstrates the need for believers to encourage one another. Three times in our text in Acts 20:1-16, the Greek word parakaleō is used. We will see that Paul’s “Paraklete” Ministry models encouragement and comfort and aid to God’s people. Paul gathers the disciples together to encourage them with the promises of God. He sets out on a journey to encourage the churches that had been planted in various regions surrounding Macedonia. He’s the visiting evangelist who isn’t raising money for himself as so many do, but he’s raising money for the poor saints in Jerusalem. As we observe Paul’s example, we should examine our own commitment to a “paraklete” ministry of encouragement.
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 coloring page to accompany this message: Children’s Bulletin and Encourage One Another coloring sheet.
Service for Family Worship:
Call to Worship:
1 Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! 2 Who can utter the mighty deeds of the Lord, or declare all his praise? 3 Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times! (ESV)
Almighty God, High King of heaven, as we bow before you this morning we are in awe of you. We worship and adore you. You are the standard of perfection. All things are subject to you and are sustained by you. You are sovereign, all powerful, all knowing—you are holy! You judge perfectly and carry out your will with infinite precision. And yet with all your great power, with all your incomprehensible attributes, you draw near to us and love us with perfect love. And we know that we are loved and accepted unconditionally because we are united to Christ by faith.And you have told us in your word it all began with you. That from before the foundation of the world you have loved your own with an everlasting love. And because you are holy, and just wrath has been poured out on Jesus Christ on behalf of your people, your favor has now been turned upon us. But even if you had never done anything for us, you would still be infinitely worthy of our praise. So we worship you this morning, and we thank you for giving us eyes to see your beauty, for hearts that love you, and for ears that can hear your voice through your word and by your spirit. Amen.
In the month of October, our congregation will be singing Psalm 100. Charles Spurgeon wrote, “A Psalm of Praise; or rather of thanksgiving. This is the only psalm bearing this precise inscription. It is all ablaze with grateful adoration, and has for this reason been a great favourite with the people of God ever since it was written.” He continues, “To the occurrence of the word ‘thanksgiving’ in this place [verse 4] the Psalm probably owes its title. In all our public service the rendering of thanks must abound; it is like the incense of the temple, which filled the whole house with smoke. Expiatory sacrifices are ended, but those of gratitude will never be out of date. So long as we are receivers of mercy we must be givers of thanks. ” from The Treasury of David, by Charles Spurgeon, www.spurgeon.org/treasury/treasury/ps100.htm
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.” (ESV)
Almighty and most merciful Father, although we are your children, we have often erred and strayed from your ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. So we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. Father, have mercy on us and forgive us for the totality of our sin as you define it. By the power of Holy Spirit, enable us to delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your name. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon: Ezekiel 36:25-26
25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (ESV)
God acts unilaterally to save us. The promise of the Lord is to save all who come in faith to him, but it is he who gives that faith as a gift, he makes our hearts new and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. In an act of double imputation – the Father removes our sin through the atoning sacrifice of the Son by imputing our sin, our guilty record of law-breaking to Jesus, then the Lord gives us that alien righteousness, crediting to our account that perfect record of law-keeping and holiness of life of the Son of God. What a saving exchange!
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.
1Christ was under the power of death for a time; he incurred the full penalty for the sins of God’s people.
2Catholic is defined as God’s universal church.
Encouraging Words (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: 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)
(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.
John Keble was born in 1792. He was ordained as a parish pastor in 1816, was appointed Vicar of Hursley in 1835, and remained there until his death in 1866. Keble was Professor of Poetry at Oxford University from 1831 to 1841, and was the originator and subsequently one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement. Keble College at Oxford was founded in his memory. One of the things that he is known for is the wonderful accuracy and vividness of his descriptions of natural scenery. Our hymn reflects that. Based on Psalm 93, it pictures for us the sovereign care of the Lord over all creation. The call is to come in awe, in wonder and worship Him.
Pastoral Prayer: (Click here for the Pastoral Prayer)
Sermon: A “Paraklete” Ministry
When it comes to translating hymns written originally in Latin or Greek, John Mason Neale (1818-1866), sometimes called the “prince of translators,” has no peer. Neale was a student of worship in the early church and one of the first to translate ancient Greek and Latin texts into metrical English for singing. Fifteen of Neale’s hymn are in our hymnal, like: “All Glory, Laud and Honor”; “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and “Of the Father’s Love Begotten”. Our hymn is an 1851 translation from 7th century Latin verse and it is full of references to Isaiah 28:16, Ephesians 2:20-22 and 1 Peter 2:4-7, directing us to see Jesus Christ as our eternal hope and the sure foundation of our salvation.
Benediction (Click here to hear this week’s benediction)
Questions for Further Discussion
1. How do you encourage others in your personal life and in the church?
2. How do you stay alert during worship? How do you actively listen to the sermon?
3. What does the hope of resurrection mean to you?
4. Have you ever made plans to travel, then been forced to cancel everything at the last minute – how did you handle it?
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me”? Do you believe that – that words can’t hurt people? I don’t!
Words can hurt people. But in the same way that words have the power to hurt, they also have the power to heal and help and make us feel good and encourage others!
Paul uses his words to do that in Acts 20:1-2, Paul sent for the disciples and, after encouraging them, said goodbye and set out for Macedonia. 2 He traveled through that area, speaking many words of encouragement to the people,
When we use our words for good, we can help and strengthen and encourage people. In another video we did a couple of months ago, we looked at Barnabas, Judas and Silas, Paul’s missionary friends in Acts 15:32 which says – Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers. Barnabas and Silas and Judas were doing what 1 Thessalonians 5:11 tells us: Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
God wants us to encourage one another and build one another up. To use our words to help, heal, and show people we care about them.
Here are some words that can encourage others – “Great job!, You’re awesome!, You’re kind, I believe in you, You are important, You make me smile, You are a good friend!”
Jesus encouraged others, Paul did too – I want to encourage others – do you?
We can encourage others by what we say and do, we can encourage others to worship God, to pray, read the Bible, live in ways that please GOD. Let’s use our words for good, to build others up!
Maybe you can find someone this week who needs to be encouraged? A neighbor, a friend, a person that you know in school, or even someone in your own family.