GATHERING BEFORE GOD
August 31, 2014
Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost
GREETING AND PREPARATION
Leader: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you!
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: Your steadfast love, O Lord, is better than life.
People: Therefore our lips will praise you.
Leader: We will bless you as long as we live.
People: We will lift up our hands and call on your name.
Leader: For you have been our help
People: and in your presence we sing for joy.
— From Psalm 63
PRAYER OF INVOCATION
IN CHRIST ALONE
In Christ alone my hope is found.
He is my Light, my Strength, my Song.
This Cornerstone, this Solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
Here in the love of Christ I stand.
There in the ground His body lay,
light of the world by darkness slain.
Then bursting forth, in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
sin's curse has lost its grip on me.
For I am His, and He is mine,
Bought in the precious blood of Christ.
No guilt in life, no fear in death;
this is the power of Christ in me.
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man
can ever pluck me from His hand.
‘Til He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ, I'll stand.
THIS I BELIEVE
Our Father everlasting, the all creating One
God Almighty, through Your Holy Spirit
Conceiving Christ the Son, Jesus our Savior
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
I believe in You
I believe You rose again
I believe that Jesus Christ is Lord
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
JESUS PAID IT ALL
I hear the Savior say,
Thy strength indeed is small
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in me thine all in all
Lord, now indeed I find
Thy power, and Thine alone
Can change the lepers spots,
and melt the heart of stone
Jesus paid it all,
All to him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow
And when before the throne,
I stand in him complete
Jesus died my soul to save,
my lips shall still repeat
O praise the One who paid my debt,
and raised this life up from the dead.
O praise the One who paid my debt,
and raised this life up from the dead.
CALL TO CONFESSION
Leader: If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened; he has given heed to the words of my prayer. Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me.
- Psalm 66:18-20
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
People: Creator and Redeemer, to know you is the fulfillment of our deepest longing. How foolishly we seek completion elsewhere! We pursue idols that leave us empty and lost. We fail to love you with our whole heart, soul, and mind. We fail to love our neighbor as ourselves. Forgive us, Almighty God, for our idolatry, for our unfaithfulness. Forgive us for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ. And grant that from now on we might serve you in the newness of life. Amen.
WORDS OF PARDON
Leader: Be strong and do not fear! Your God will come to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy...And we, the ransomed of the Lord, will enter with singing. Everlasting joy will crown our heads.
— Isaiah 35:1-6
SONG OF RESPONSE - TRISAGION
Holy God. Holy and mighty.
Holy immortal One, have mercy, have mercy on us.
Holy God. Holy and mighty.
Holy immortal One, have mercy, have mercy
Have mercy, have mercy on us.
PASSING THE PEACE
THE WORD OF GOD
Matthew 7:13-28 NRSV
13Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. 14For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
15Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus you will know them by their fruits.
21Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?” 23Then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.”
24Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. 26And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell and great was its fall! 28Now when Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astounded at his teaching.
Minister: This is the Word of the Lord.
People: Thanks be to God!
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Sermon series: Finding Freedom: The 10 Commandments
Sermon title: Living Freedom
Speaker: Paul Burkhart
A moment’s thought shows how this makes sense. When you think of the qualities that characterize the God of the Bible, you probably think of his love, mercy, forgiveness, creativity, faithfulness, generosity and so on. When you think of the best people you know, those who seem most fully human, examples of humanity at its best, you probably end up thinking of the same kind of things – these are people full of love, mercy, forgiveness, creativity, faithfulness and generosity. Again, the more like God you become, the more fully human you are… Sometimes, we worry that if we really took Christianity seriously we would become weird and eccentric. [But Jesus] reminds us that to come closer to God is to fulfill our true humanity, that to submit to Jesus as Lord is in fact the most liberating thing we can do. It is not to become abnormal and odd, it is in fact to become the most normal people there are.
— Graham Tomlin, The Provocative Church
The spiritual life is a stern choice. It is not a consoling retreat from the difficulties of existence; but an invitation to enter fully into that difficult existence, and there apply the Charity of God and bear the cost.
— Evelyn Underhill, The School of Charity
Q: Since no one in this life can obey the Ten Commandments perfectly, why does God want them preached so pointedly?
A: First, so that the longer we live the more we may come to know our sinfulness and the more eagerly look to Christ for forgiveness of sins and righteousness. Second, so that we may never stop striving, and never stop praying to God for the grace of the Holy Spirit, to be renewed more and more after God’s image, until after this life we reach our goal: perfection.
— Question 115, Heidelberg Catechism
THE 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.
THE LORD’S TABLE
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
Minister: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Minister: Lift up your hearts!
People: We lift them up to the Lord!
Minister: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right to give him thanks and praise.
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:
People: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. 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.
Minister: Together we proclaim the mystery of the faith.
People: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
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!
WORDS OF INSTITUTION
Minister: Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.
People: Therefore let us keep the feast.
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.
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.
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.
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!
People: God, our Father, we thank you for permitting us to take part in your holy mysteries; through the working of your Spirit, may the life of Christ turn our fears to freedom and help us to live for others. May the strength of Christ lead us in our living, through whatever joy or sorrow awaits us. To Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be glory and praise forever. 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
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.
SENDING INTO GOD’S WORLD
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
Minister: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, who was, who is, and who is to come. God be your comfort, your strength; God be your hope and support; God be your light and your way; and the blessing of God, Creator, Redeemer and Giver of life, remain with you now and forever.
Minister: Let us go forth in the name of Christ.
People: Thanks be to God!
HOME GROUPS ARE RESUMING NEXT WEEK!
The primary way which the Liberti community connects together is in neighborhood-based groups that meet throughout the week. The new semester of home groups will begin the week of 9/7, so now is a great time to sign up for one! To find a group near you and to sign up, click here.
LIBERTI KIDS VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
As fall approaches, we are in need of additional volunteers to join us as we care for the growing number of families in our community. You can do that in a few different ways: 1) by providing a meal to families for the first 4-5 weeks of their new baby's life, or 2) as a teacher or helper in a kids class on Sundays. We want to be welcoming to families - especially those families that have not yet heard about the love of Jesus - but we need your help! For more information, or to sign-up to serve in one of these ways, please email Ashley Somers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have been coming to Liberti for a while and would like to learn more about us and our beliefs, you are invited to attend our next in-covenant class, which will be held after church on September 21. This is an opportunity to meet staff members and get connected, and it is also the first step in the membership process at Liberti. For more information and to sign up, please email email@example.com.
LIBERTI BLOCK PARTY - SAVE THE DATE
Mark your calendars for the evening of Sunday, September 28! We’re throwing a block party in Center City to celebrate the purchase and renovation of the First Baptist Building. You won’t want to miss it! Click here to learn more.
YOUTH MEET & GREET WITH CARLOS
Youth and parents of youth, please join us in room 215 on Sunday 9/7 at 12:15 PM for a pizza lunch with Carlos, our new youth director, and his wife Charlotte. Carlos will share a brief history of his background and vision for youth ministry at Liberti Church.
Undergraduates - join us after church on Sunday, September 14 for lunch. This is a great chance to meet other students at Liberti and get connected to our church. If you plan to come, please rsvp to Jen Wise at firstname.lastname@example.org.