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GATHERING BEFORE GOD
November 16, 2014
Twenty Second Sunday After Pentecost  

PRELUDE

GREETING AND PREPARATION

Leader: The Lord be with you. 
People: And also with you!

CALL TO WORSHIP

Leader: If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins,O Lord, who could stand?
People: But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.

Leader: I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.
People: My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.  

 — Psalm 130:3-6, NIV

PRAYER OF INVOCATION


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ALL MUST BE WELL  

Through the love of God our Savior, all will be well;
Free and changeless is His favor; all is well.
Precious is the blood that healed us;
Perfect is the grace that sealed us;
Strong the hand stretched out to shield us;
All must be well.

Though we pass through tribulation, all will be well;
Ours is such a full salvation; all is well.
Happy still in God confiding,
Fruitful, if in Christ abiding,
Steadfast through the Spirit’s guiding,
All must be well.

We expect a bright tomorrow; all will be well;
Faith can sing through days of sorrow, all is well.
On our Father’s love relying,
Jesus every need supplying,
Yes in living, or in dying,
All must be well. 

On our Father’s love relying,
Jesus every need supplying,
Yes in living, or in dying,
All must be well.


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THIS I BELIEVE

Our Father everlasting, the all creating One
God Almighty, through Your Holy Spirit
Conceiving Christ the Son, Jesus our Savior

CHORUS
I believe in God our Father
I believe in Christ the Son
I believe in the Holy Spirit
Our God is three in one
I believe in the resurrection
That we will rise again
For I believe in the name of Jesus

Our Judge and our Defender, suffered and crucified
Forgiveness is in You, descended into darkness
You rose in glorious life, forever seated high

CHORUS

I believe in You
I believe You rose again
I believe that Jesus Christ is Lord

CHORUS

I believe in life eternal
I believe in the virgin birth
I believe in the saints' communion
And in Your holy Church
I believe in the resurrection
When Jesus comes again
For I believe, in the name of Jesus

CHORUS


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CALL TO CONFESSION

Leader: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

— 1 John 1:8-9, NRSV

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

People: Father in heaven, during the past week, we have not outgrown our need to confess our sins to you. We have not progressed to the point that we do not need your forgiveness. Our hearts, minds and hands still need your cleansing and renewal. For many of us, our awareness of our need for your grace has only grown stronger in the past week.

So forgive us of our many sins. Forgive us of our proud, stony hearts. Hearts that do not love you and do not love others. Hearts that are fearful, insecure and shrunken. Forgive us and cleanse us for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

SILENT CONFESSION

WORDS OF PARDON

Leader: All the prophets testify about Christ that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. 

 —From Acts 10:43, NRSV

SONG OF RESPONSE - TRISAGION  

Holy God. Holy and mighty.
Holy immortal One, have mercy, have mercy on us. 
(Repeat)

Holy God. Holy and mighty.
Holy immortal One, have mercy, have mercy
Have mercy, have mercy on us. 

PASSING THE PEACE


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THE WORD OF GOD

SCRIPTURE READING   

Matthew 18:21-35, NRSV   

21Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” 22Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.

23“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; 25and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. 26So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. 28But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’30But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. 31When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ 34And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. 35So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” 

Minister: This is the gospel of the Lord.
People: Praise to you O Christ!

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION 

SERMON
Sermon series: The Story of Everything (Apostles' Creed)
Sermon title: Forgiveness
Speaker: Jared Ayers


REFLECTIONS 

What I envy most about you Christians is your forgiveness; I have no one to forgive me. 

— Marghanita Laski, from an interview shortly before her death

Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die. 

 — Anne Lamott, from Traveling Mercies

When you deal intimately with human beings…you wonder at times if forgiveness is not as rare as hen’s teeth. People bury hatchets but carefully tuck away the map which tells where their hidden weapon lies. We put our resentments in cold storage and then pull the switch to let them thaw out again. Our grudges are taken out to the lake to drown them — even the lake of prayer — and we end up giving them a swimming lesson. How often have we torn up the canceled note but hung on to the wastebasket that holds the pieces. This is not to say that human forgiveness does not occur; only that it is rare and that much that passes for forgiveness is often not so at all. 

 — Lofton Hudson


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APOSTLES’ CREED

Minister: Let us say what we believe.

People: We believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. We 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 to hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended to 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. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.


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 THE LORD’S TABLE

THE GREAT THANKSGIVING  

The Lord be with you. 
And also with you.

Lift up your hearts now!  
We lift them to the Lord. 

Let us give thanks to the Lord our saving God.
It is right and good, always and everywhere.
To give thanks, to the Lord. 

Minister: Holy and right it is, and our joyful duty to give thanks to you at all times and in all places, O Lord our Creator, almighty and everlasting God! You created heaven with all its hosts and the earth with all its plenty. You have given us life and being, and preserve us by your providence. But you have shown us the fullness of your love in sending into the world your Son, Jesus Christ, the eternal Word, made flesh for us and for our salvation. For the precious gift of this mighty Savior who has reconciled us to you we praise and bless you, O God. With your whole Church on earth and with all the company of heaven we worship and adore your glorious name, saying: 

Holy, holy, holy, God of power and might.
The whole earth is full of Your glory,
hosanna in the highest! 
Holy, holy, holy, God of power and might.
The whole earth is full of Your glory,
hosanna in the highest! 

Minister: Most righteous God, we remember in this Supper the perfect sacrifice offered once on the cross by our Lord Jesus Christ for the sin of the whole world. In the joy of his resurrection and in expectation of his coming again, we offer ourselves to you as holy and living sacrifices. Together we proclaim the mystery of the faith.


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Your death, O Christ, we proclaim.
        Your rising celebrate!
Your coming Lord we await, to make all things new.
(REPEAT)

Minister: Send your Holy Spirit upon us, we pray, that the bread which we break and the cup which we bless may be to us the communion of the body and blood of Christ. Grant that, being joined together in him, we may attain to the unity of the faith and grow up in all things into Christ our Lord. And as this grain has been gathered from many fields into one loaf, and these grapes from many hills into one cup, grant, O Lord, that your whole Church may soon be gathered from the ends of the earth into your kingdom. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! 

 Praise to the Father,
praise to the Son, 
praise to the Spirit, 
Our God the Three in One.  

WORDS OF INSTITUTION

Minister: Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.         
People: Therefore, let us keep the feast. 

HOLY COMMUNION        

Minister: The gifts of God for the people of God.     

Gluten-free communion wafers are available at the welcome table in the front lobby of the church. Please pick one up prior to coming forward to take communion. 

Holy Communion, also called the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist, is the family meal of Christians. We invite all committed followers of Jesus Christ to partake of this sacrament: those who are baptized members of a congregation that proclaims the Gospel, who are at peace with God and their neighbor, and who seek strength to live more faithfully for Christ.


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PRAYERS FOR REFLECTION

If you are not a Christian, or if you are not prepared to share in this meal, we encourage you to spend this time in prayer. We hope that this time is helpful to you as you consider your relationship with Jesus Christ and with his people, the church. If you are unable to receive Communion, we invite you to meditate on one of the following prayers: 

PRAYER FOR THOSE SEARCHING FOR TRUTH: Lord Jesus, you claim to be the way, the truth, and the life. Grant that I might be undaunted by the cost of following you as I consider the reasons for doing so. If what you claim is true, please guide me, teach me, and open to me the reality of who you are. Give me an understanding of you that is coherent, convincing, and that leads to the life that you promise. Amen.

PRAYER OF BELIEF: Lord Jesus, I admit that I am weaker and more sinful than I ever before believed, but through you I am more loved and accepted than I ever dared hope. I thank you for paying my debt, bearing my punishment on the cross, and offering forgiveness and new life. Knowing that you have been raised from the dead, I turn from my sins and receive you as Savior and Lord. Amen.

PRAYER OF COMMITMENT: Lord Jesus, you have called us to follow you in baptism and in a life of committed discipleship in your church. Grant that I may take the necessary steps to be one with your people, and live in the fullness of your Spirit. Amen.


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BEFORE THE THRONE

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me. 

My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.

Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the Just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

CHORUS
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Praise the One,
Risen Son of God!


Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace,

One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God!

CHORUS


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COMMUNION PRAYER
    
People: Father, your table proclaims to us your undying love for us. This table tells us that you do not simply endure our presence. This table tells us that you delight in being with us. You have invited us to feast in your presence.

So we have eaten and drunk deeply of your love for us. May we interpret our lives through this table. May we understand that we are a people with whom you are well pleased. May this reality energize us as we move into our world. May we live out our lives as your deeply loved, anointed children. Fill us with joy as we labor for you in this world. Amen.

THE LORD’S PRAYER

Minister: Let us pray as our Lord Jesus has taught us:     
People: Our Father in heaven,
              hallowed be your name,
              your kingdom come,
              your will be done,
              on earth as it is in heaven.         
              Give us today our daily bread.
              Forgive us our sins
              as we forgive those who sin
              against us.
              Save us from the time of trial,
              and deliver us from evil.
              For the kingdom, the power,
              and the glory are yours, now
              and forever. Amen.


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SENDING INTO GOD’S WORLD

OFFERING       

DOXOLOGY 

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow
Praise Him, All creatures here below
Praise Him Above, Ye Heavenly Host
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost

Amen, Amen.
Amen, Amen.
(Repeat)


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BENEDICTION

Minister: May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 
People: Amen.

DISMISSAL

Minister: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord! 
People: Thanks be to God!


PRAYER REQUESTS 

This week, please pray alongside us for....

Our Church — Praise God for all of the ways that our community and those we are connected to responded to the opportunity to pray, serve and give as a part of the For the City initiative. Pray for God's goodness to be shown to Chester County through the Cityteam food drive packing on 11/17 and food delivery day on 11/20.

Our City — For our city’s medical professionals.

Our World — For those living in the Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Sao Tomé and Principe.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

FOR THE CITY INITIATIVE
We’re excited to have launched For The City this fall - our church’s initiative to pray, serve, and give to raise funds to restore the First Baptist building in Center City that our church recently purchased.  To learn more, and sign up to pray, serve, and give, simply visit libertichurch.org/forthecity

A NIGHT FOR THE CITY - TONIGHT!
Join us tonight at the First Baptist Building (1636 Sansom St., Philadelphia) as we conclude our For the City initiative and celebrate all that God has done and will continue to do through the purchase and renovation of this building.

IN-COVENANT CLASS 
If you attend Liberti and would like to learn more about our church and our beliefs, and begin our membership process, we invite you to attend an in-covenant class. Our next class will take place after church on Sunday, November 23. It will last about two hours, and lunch will be provided. For more information and to sign up, please email administrator@liberti.org.

CITYTEAM THANKSGIVING MEALS
Cityteam,
one of our ministry partners, will be providing families in need with Thanksgiving meals. They need volunteers to help pack (on 11/17 at 6:30 PM) and deliver (on 11/22 at 9:00 AM) these meals. For more information, and to sign up, please email Vito Baldini (vito@liberti.org).

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