This Sunday (9/25) is our monthly singing & fellowship night. There will be a meal afterwards for everyone to enjoy. Please bring sandwiches, chips & dips and desserts.
“A new command I give you: _______ one ___________.
As I have loved you, so you must _______ one ___________.
By this ______ ______ will _______ that you ______ my ____________, if you love one another.”
If you obey my commands, you _______ remain in my _______, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
My command is this: _______ each ________ as I have loved _____.
And this is his command: to ___________ in the ________ of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.
He _______ to that which was His own (people), but His own ________ ______ receive Him.
Yet to all who received Him, to those who ___________ in His _______, He gave the right to become children of God . . .
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not _______, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not _______, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not _______, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love _________ fails.
(Jn 1:12; 13:34-35; 15:10-12; 1Jn 3:23; 1Cor 13:1-8a)
According to the US Department of Labor, Labor Day is a national holiday in the US celebrating the social and economic contributions made by American workers for the prosperity of the entire country. Efforts to recognize the achievements of American workers began in the 1870’s, and became law in 1894. The Bible says “All hard work brings a profit…” (Prov 14:23), and we respect those who work hard and hold them in the highest esteem (1 Thess 5:12-13). Also, we ought to give glory to the one who gave us the idea of work, God (Gen 2:15; Jn 5:17).
Work is a God-given part of man’s life. Work was given before sin ever entered the world, and so, it is not a result of man’s sin. Work is part of God’s provision and purpose.
We used to sing a song (#230 in Songs of the Church) called – “I Want to Be a Worker.” This song helped us to remember and understand that certain aspects of the kingdom of heaven are best illustrated as a place of work, a vineyard (Matt 20).
I Want to Be a Worker
I want to be a worker for the Lord; I want to love and
trust His holy word; I want to sing and pray, and be busy every day,
In the vineyard of the Lord.
I will work, I will pray, In the vineyard, in the vineyard of the Lord;
I will work, I will pray, I will labor every day, In the vineyard of the Lord.
I want to be a worker every day; I want to lead the
erring in the way That leads to heaven above, where all is peace and love,
In the kingdom of the Lord.
I want to be a worker strong and brave; I want to trust in
Jesus’ power to save; All who will truly come shall find a happy home,
In the kingdom of the Lord.
Peace to you, this Labor Day, in remembering the words of 1 Cor 15:58: Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
2 The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. . . . 12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them (John 13:2-5, 12-17 – NIV).
The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted (Matt 23:11-12).
All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
“God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.”
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time (1 Pet 5:5-6).
Parents will be saying to their children, “Wake up, you don’t want to be late for the first day of school.” Some will be excited and dress in a hurry, others will be sad that summer and sleeping-in late have come to an end.
Children will be waking up Monday morning to start a new year of school. For some it will be their first time ever to attend school, some will see their friends they have missed since the end of school last May, others it will be their last first day of school, they will graduate in May.
Teachers have been working to prepare their classrooms, writing lesson plans, attending work days. Excited to begin a new year with new, fresh faces.
The church family will be back together after a summer of vacations, camps and a time apart. May we all be praying, seeking God in every aspect of our lives’.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
Do not be alarmed. You are not losing it. This is not a misprint or mistake. You are not experiencing Ground Hog Day (a comedy where a man relived the same day over and over). This is simply because several of you commented that you appreciated last week’s sermon and since there were no notes available last week, here they are in case you wanted them.
In calling the church in Corinth to be faithful in the spiritual disciplines that will keep them living lives empowered by the gospel (1 Cor 15:1-4) and overcoming the temptations they face (1 Cor 10:13), Paul uses the examples of athletes training for the Isthmian Games so popular in Corinth. The emphases, below, are mine.
1 Cor 9:24-27 (NIV)
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
2 Tim 4:7 – 8
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
The sure and certain reward of faithfulness to God is eternal and it is far greater than any temporary pleasure, success, or achievement that this world can hold!
David’s prayer in Psa 86 mentions much of what we have seen about God in our study of Philippians, this summer. This should help us know that our God does not change like shifting shadows (Mal 3:6; James 1:17). God has always brought joy to His people, listened to then when they call on Him, and in true faithfulness helped and comforted them. May God’s unchanging nature be an inspiration to us as we seek to be faithful to Him, in Jesus’ name, Amen!
1 Hear, O Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
2 Guard my life, for I am devoted to you.
You are my God; save your servant
who trusts in you.
3 Have mercy on me, O Lord,
for I call to you all day long.
4 Bring joy to your servant,
for to you, O Lord,
I lift up my soul.
5 You are forgiving and good, O Lord,
abounding in love to all who call to you.
6 Hear my prayer, O Lord;
listen to my cry for mercy.
7 In the day of my trouble I will call to you,
for you will answer me. . . .
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.
12 I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your love toward me;
you have delivered me from the depths of the grave.
14 The arrogant are attacking me, O God;
a band of ruthless men seeks my life—
men without regard for you.
15 But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
16 Turn to me and have mercy on me;
grant your strength to your servant
and save the son of your maidservant.
17 Give me a sign of your goodness,
that my enemies may see it and be put to shame,
for you, O Lord, have helped me and comforted me (Psa 86:1-7, 11-17)
We have discussed in some detail how this letter updates Paul’s dearest supporters (1:3-5, 7, 4:1, 17-18) of his current circumstances (1:12-13, 19-20) and offers them encouragement for the circumstances they face (1:29-30). The encouragement Paul offers them is bound up in their joy in the Lord. He reminds them sixteen times of this kind of joy! Paul joyously poured out his heart, message, and life for the benefit of these saints (Acts 16), and he confesses that all he has done and suffered for them may well be simply to enhance their own service to God. But even if this is true, he rejoices and wants them to be glad and rejoice with him (2:17-18). No wonder, he will refer to them as his “joy and crown” in the Lord (4:1).
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Php 4:4-7).
These four verses from Paul’s letter to the saints at Philippi hold one of the most practical commands of the entire letter for keeping a mind or attitude (cf. 2:5) that will sustain these saints with joy through all they suffer (1:29-30). The command is prayer (4:6). Prayer offers the saints an avenue of release from an anxious and worried mind, as it guards their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus with the peace of God which transcends all understanding (4:7; lit. excelling the mind of man)!
May God our Father grant all of us a prayer life that will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus with the peace transcends all we can ask, imagine, or face in this life. Amen!
“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? . . . says The LORD Almighty. (Mal 1:6)
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord (Eph 5:8-10).
14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven (Matt 5:14-16).
The Parable of the Two Sons – Which Son will we be?
28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’
29 “ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.
31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”
“The first,” they answered (Matt 21:28-31 NIV).
Philippians is a missionary report and thank you letter that encourages the saints in Philippi to hold on to their joy. Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Php 4:4). The word joy, in its various forms will appear something like 16 times in this letter, depending upon the translation. God’s promise of joy for His people has helped them to face the most difficult of situations in this world and yet hang on to their joy!
In between a message of inescapable judgment and a threat imminent destruction the prophet Isaiah gives a beautiful picture of the joy of the redeemed in chapter 35:
Joy of the Redeemed (Isa 35 – NIV)
35 The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, 2 it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the Lord,
the splendor of our God.
3 Strengthen the feeble hands,
steady the knees that give way;
4 say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
he will come to save you.”
5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
6 Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
7 The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
In the haunts where jackals once lay,
grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.
8 And a highway will be there;
it will be called the Way of Holiness.
The unclean will not journey on it;
it will be for those who walk in that Way;
wicked fools will not go about on it.
9 No lion will be there,
nor will any ferocious beast get up on it;
they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there,
10 and the ransomed of the Lord will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.