Sermon Notes • December 27

An Option for the New Year

There are two radically different options for the New Year. Option 1 is described as follows in Ecclesiastes 1:9. Read that verse. Option 1 is that the New Year will simply be a repeat in one way or another of the old year because in the end nothing is going to be new. 

No one seriously wants 2021 to be a copy of 2020 but realistically, for the majority, the new year will be more of the same old. The particulars of 2021 may differ. We may see an end to the virus and many people going back to work but the emptiness of not feeling secure and fulfilled will remain. In 2021 they may be able to return to the crowds allowing them to temporarily take their minds off their loneliness, but nothing will really change. They will still feel an emptiness that nothing this world offers can fill. 

Praise the Lord there is a second option pictured in Revelation 21:5. Read that verse. That specific verse is a promise associated with the return of the Lord and therefore, still future, although 2021 could easily be the year of Jesus’ return since many of the signs He said would precede His return are in place. But that verse presents the reality that God is all about replacing the old with something new and better.  2021 can be a completely New Year, not different in terms of the ugliness of Covid-19 but a year with a new walk with the Lord. Christians ought to make the year ahead uniquely different and better because we enter the year committed to allowing God to move us forward in our walk with Him. 2021 can be a New Year for us in that we have another opportunity to realize the presence of God with us in each event of the year.

As a starting point, nothing can be new spiritually in 2021 if we have not taken advantage of the “New Covenant” promised to us by God Himself.We cannot not experience the newness God has for us in 2021 unless we have first experienced in our individual lives the New Covenant. A covenant was made when each party offered an expression of commitment that was viewed by all as binding. God said to the people of Israel, and later through Jesus to Christians today, that He would make a binding covenant with them, that He would be their God forever. While God has always remained faithful to His commitment to that new covenant, men have failed it over and over. God, however, never gave up on mankind. He had a way to change us so we can be seen as keeping our half of the covenant. God made a way so that our half of the covenant relationship was kept, not by us but by His Son whose birth we celebrated last Friday. There is nothing more critical to our present faith and future existence than that new covenant based not on what we do but what Jesus did for us. 

God made the promise of a new covenant through the prophet Jeremiah, Read Jeremiah 31:31-33. That New Covenant was further promised by Jesus to believers when He instituted the communion service. Read Luke 22:20. 

Option 2 for 2021 is to live not as those under a covenant that cannot be kept thereby making the same old the same in the coming year, but to live under the New Covenant and enjoy the blessings that covenant provides.

What should our participation in the New Covenant mean in the year ahead? Read how Paul described the impact of that covenant in II Corinthians 5:17. Paul was declaring that because of the New Covenant we can and should have a whole new lifestyle so the challenge for 2021 is to make that new lifestyle in Jesus more and more of a daily reality. It is a challenge to grow in a lifestyle that reflects the life of Jesus day by day.

The most comprehensive picture of the implications of enjoying the benefits and expectations of the New Covenant is found in Hebrews 10:19-25.  Read those verses and note the following key points: 

  1. “We have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus. Therefore we should draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith more and more.” A challenge for 2021 is to spend more time in worship and prayer.That includes the collective worship in church but more importantly a commitment to time with the Lord in our personal and family devotions at home.
  2. Hebrews added, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” The challenge for the New Year is to live with the assurance that no matter what comes our way, God is not only with us but will see us through. In 2021 we should learn to claim more completely the promises made available to us under the New Covenant.
  3. Then Hebrews adds, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Most Christians try to do that, but we all know there is always more we can do in practical ways to demonstrate that love. Begin 2021 by identifying someone to whom you can show your love in practical ways, knowing that when we do it unto the least of them, we do it unto our Savior.

The New Testament speaks of the importance of loving one another as a New Commandment to follow. Read John 13:34-35 and II John 1:5-6.  

  1. Finally,we are encouraged in 2021 to “not give up meeting together.” It would be exciting to see our Bible study numbers growing. 

We dare not waste the year ahead by simply repeating the same spiritual standards of last year. We all know we can expand in at least some area and perhaps in several.

The new covenant expects us to live differently in 2021 than we did before we made a commitment to Jesus. Read in Ephesians 4:22-24 how Paul described that new walk. 

God knows that growing spiritually takes work and that Satan will try to discourage us as we begin to move forward. God, however, has promised to walk with us as we seek to move that way. Read the promise God made in Lamentations 3:22-23. Every day He gives us the strength to move forward in our walk with Him.

Read a similar promise in Ezekiel 11:19, 20.  Moving forward in 2021 is not something we have to do on our own. God has promised us His presence and help if we allow Him to do so. Following the decrees of God means doing that which He wants us to do.

Interestingly, with the new covenant we are also given a New Song: Many of the verses in Scripture that talk of something becoming “new” refer to a “new song” that we will be able to sing as those who belong to God. Music is the joy of the soul and the medium of praise and living closer to our Lord will bring great joy to us in 2021. Read the following verses:  Psalm 33:3; Psalm 40: Psalm 96:1 and Revelation 5:9. Regardless ofwhat 2020 looked like, we will be able to sing that new song in 2021 if we are truly seeking to renew our faith and commitment each day,

As we move into a new year, we can live spiritually in 2021 simply as a repeat of 2020 or we can live as those desiring to apply more fully the benefits of the new covenant with God. Seeking to live under the New Covenant in 2021 means we will make a renewed commitment to spending more time with Him, loving one another more deeply, and meeting together to encourage each other. We do not have to live the new year alone but with the promise of God that no matter what comes our way in the year ahead He will be with us and, therefore, we have a new song to sing. The new covenant means we can live 2021 looking forward to the day when Jesus will return and establish a new heaven in which we will live eternally. 

A year from now, if the Lord does not return, we will look back on the year ahead and see either a repeat spiritually of 2020 or a year in which we have grown spiritually because we have chosen to live 2021 in light of the many new promises God has made to us.  

Sermon Notes • December 20

Lessons from Christmas

As one reads the Christmas story there are many lessons to learn from various individuals and how they reacted or may have reacted to the birth of the Savior.

Read Luke 2:1 Luke was concerned that was merely an historical note but think about the discussions that inevitably went on between Joseph and Mary. Try to picture the scene. Mary was at home feeling more and more pregnant every day. Joseph walked in and announced that word had just come that they had to travel to Bethlehem to register for a census. 

Think about it from Mary’s perspective. There could not have been a worse time to ride a donkey the 90 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem. 

Lesson 1: Following God is not always easy. Being in the center of God’s will does not mean everything will go the way we want it to go. Being Mary, the mother to be of Jesus, did not mean there were not going to be tough times.

God had a plan. He had announced that plan. Read in Micah 5:2 what God declared a century earlier. God did not make a mistake when He decreed that Caesar would demand a census. It was His plan, so He had to get Mary there. 

If it was not easy for Mary who was carrying the Son of God, why should we assume His call on us will always be easy and convenient? It is seldom convenient to help a neighbor, visit a hurting friend, or reach out to someone in need of encouragement. It is often not even convenient to stop and pray for someone. The issue for Mary was not one of convenience but of doing the will of God. It is the same for us.

Read Luke 2:7. Over the years people have debated the actions of the inn keeper. Some have vilified him for not finding a better room. Others have praised him for caring enough about a pregnant woman that he allowed them to sleep in his stall with the animals. The Bible neither praises nor condemns him so perhaps we should avoid that. 

Lesson 2: It is important to make room for Jesus in our lives. Jesus wants to have a place in our lives but most of us already have very busy lives doing things we feel we need to do for work and family. Every time we decide to find more room for Jesus in our lives, we find our inn, our lives, full to capacity with things that we have already committed to and often deserve a place. It is too easy to tell Jesus we cannot give Him a major place in our lives, but we can squeeze Him into our manger. 

One of the challenges of Christmas is the importance of continually evaluating our lives so we can find a proper place for Jesus. We need to find time to worship Him. We need to find time to spend with Him in prayer. We need to find time to learn from Him as we study the Word. 

Read Luke 2:8-14.  No one would have imagined God would announce the birth of the Messiah to shepherds. Shepherds were nobodies as far as society was concerned. They were not trusted by anyone and certainly not welcome in good society. God not only made the announcement, but they were privileged to see and hear the host of angels declare, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14)

Read Luke 2:15.

From the perspective of the shepherds that was not an easy decision to make. They were not going to be welcome in Bethlehem for various reasons. They were considered, by the religious elite, to be unworthy of such a visit. They lived in rags and had nothing proper to wear. They probably had not had a bath in weeks. They had absolutely nothing to bring as a gift. They were so poor they did not even have a drum to play for Him. But they went.

Lesson 3: We need to learn from them that we should not only find time to worship Jesus, but we should not hesitate to do so even when we feel inadequate. While the shepherds lacked all of the skills most feel are essential to worship, they went and were welcomed. In fact, their worship was so significant that God made a record of their visit so all generations would know they took time to worship.

You may not be able to sing like others, pray as eloquently as some, speak in the proper religious language but you are welcomed at the throne of God. In the end worship is not about the words we use but the attitude we have when we approach Him. If you have made Jesus your Savior, He has called you His friend and friends don’t worry about technicalities when taking to friends

Read 2:17 

We assume that they would talk about all they had heard and seen but, remember who they were. They were the least educated of all Jews. Not only were they uneducated, they hardly ever went to the temple and probably never even went to synagogue school. They lacked everything we assume is essential to being a witness for Jesus but still they spread the word.

Lesson 4: The secret to their witness was not in their eloquence or theological understanding but their willingness to simply tell what they had experienced. The celebration of Christmas should be a reminder to us that we must simply talk about what God has done for us. We don’t have to be theologians to talk about God’s love and the gift of His Son. Fewer and fewer in our community know what the real meaning of Christmas is but like the shepherds, we can share what we have been told about this child. 

Read Luke 2:20: 

It is so easy to fall into the “after Christmas letdown” feeling. The popular and upbeat music of Christmas is over. The bright decorations are taken down and put away. The friendly smiles and holiday greetings that brighten a day are gone. 

Lesson 5: The shepherds remind us that our real joy is not found in the trappings of Christmas, as special as they are, but in having revisited the manger and the Jesus whose birth we remember. 

The popular phrase, “Jesus is the reason for the season” should be expanded to say, “Jesus is the reason for every day.” The shepherds left the manger but continued to rejoice because of what they had heard and seen. We can put the Christmas decorations away for another year, but we dare not put Jesus away, to be briefly taken out again come Easter. Put the manger set away but not the Jesus of the manger.

There is a lot we can learn from the experience of those who were a part of the first Christmas. 

We can learn to follow God all the time, not just when it is easy or convenient. 

We can learn the importance of making room for Jesus a priority, not in a convenient place that happens to be available. 

We can learn worship is important, and of God’s willingness to accept our worship even if it does not appear to be as sophisticated as that of others. 

We can learn the importance of sharing our faith with those we come in contact with each day. Sharing is not debating deep theological truths but simply retelling what we experienced this Christmas as we re-visited the manger and the baby Jesus.

Soon Christmas will be over, the lights will be down, and the manger sets packed away, but the lessons learned, or the joy of Christmas need not be over because the One whose birth we celebrate will still be with us step by step as we enter into another year.

Sermon Notes • December 13

Messianic Prophecies in Isaiah

Introduction: Isaiah is quoted second to the Psalms in the New Testament. A part of approximately 47 of the 66 chapters in Isaiah are either directly quoted or alluded to in the New Testament. 

Isaiah 4:2 The idea of a root of David first appears in II Samuel 23:5 and was later picked up by Jeremiah and Zechariah. Isaiah made it clear that Jesus would not only be a child of Mary, but He would also be a branch of Yahweh, of the Lord, the covenant God of Israel. 

Isaiah declared the Promised One would include the concept of His humanity. The expression “fruit of the land” came initially from Numbers and Deuteronomy and carried the idea of that which springs forth from the earth, that is from mankind and in the case of the Messiah. We know from the New Testament that the one whose birth we celebrate at Christmas had to be both God to offer a sacrifice sufficient for all of our sins but also man so as to properly represent us on the cross. 

Isaiah 4:2 also noted that this promised one will be “beautiful,” “glorious,” the “pride” and “glory” of those who follow Him, those who are redeemed from the otherwise inevitable judgment that will befall them because of their sins. 

Isaiah 7:14: In order to be both man and God a miracle is needed, the miracle of the incarnation. To accomplish that Matthew recorded that a virgin named Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and conceived a child who was God incarnate. It took a miracle for God to become like us and still remain God. It took a virgin birth to produce the Messiah who would be both God with us and man like us so that He could become our redeemer.

Isaiah 9:6, 7 This promise records what the Messiah would do as the promised one of God. Isaiah was looking ahead under the inspiration of God to the day when Satan, our real enemy, would be contained and no longer a threat to us. Then the sins that now so easily beset us will no longer be a threat because we have been given victory over them. Isaiah called him the “Wonder-Counselor” or the one come from God who will lead His people in all wisdom and in a righteous rule. Then Isaiah called him the “Almighty God,” that is God Himself with all of God’s power and thus able to give victory over sin and death as well as victory over sin in our lives. He would be to us like an “Eternal Father” and one needs only consider the many traits of a good father from providing for his children to protecting, caring for, and loving them to appreciate this picture. Finally, Isaiah wrote He would be known as the “Prince of Peace.” The Messiah would bring peace with God, the peace that sinners desperately need. 

Isaiah 30:19-21: Isaiah was promising a Messiah who would be a teacher to the people. In Matthew 17:5 we read that God said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” The baby born in a manger 2000 years ago grew up to be the One who would speak the things of God to us in a special way. He would be the one who would make His nature and His will known to us as no other could ever have done. 

Jesus did not come to give us a holiday and make us feel all nice and happy. He came to confront sin. He came to provide a redemption from sin. He came to teach us how to live as those who are once again in a right, peaceful relationship with God. 

Sermon Notes • December 6

Waiting for Christmas Luke 2:21-29.

Christmas is coming and if you have children or grandchildren you know they can hardly wait for it to arrive. There is a Bible story associated with Christmas that tells of an adult who felt exactly like our kids do. He wondered if Christmas would ever arrive. 

The background to this part of the Christmas story is that, according to Jewish law, Jesus was circumcised on the 8th day and officially named Jesus, the name the angel said He was to have. That name means Savior and we know God gave Him that name because He came to give His life a ransom for our sins. He came to be our Savior. Christmas means little if we do not pair it with Good Friday and Good Friday would not be Good if we did not pair that with Easter. Jesus did not come merely to give us an example of how to live but to provide salvation for us. Read John 3:16. 

Read Luke 2:22. Luke skipped ahead from day 8 to day 40 in the life of baby Jesus. Mary and Joseph made the 50-mile trip from Bethlehem to Jerusalem for two Jewish ceremonies. The first, recorded in Leviticus 12, was for the requirement that each woman, Mary in this case, to go to the temple for a rite of purification following childbirth. 

The second reason for going to the temple was to consecrate Jesus as the first born to God. Exodus 13 records that God required the first-born son in every family to serve Him as a priest. God has always required our first and best, not our last or leftover because He deserves our best.  As the Old Testament time moved forward, God chose the family of Aaron to serve as priests. In a sense, God no longer needed the first born to serve as priests, but they still belonged to Him. God, therefore, provided a way in which the family could figuratively buy back that first born from God. It was done when the mother was at the temple for the rite of purification, thereby saving a trip to the temple.

A part of that ceremony was the presentation of a gift to God. Leviticus provided for a variety of gifts depending on the means of the family. Mary and Joseph, while they had become parents to the One who created the whole world, had next to nothing, so they presented the gift required of the poorest, a “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.” Remembering this helps us appreciate the reality that Jesus left the beauty and riches of heaven to be born, not in a palace or some mansion to a rich family but in a manger, to a family like ours. He truly became one of us.

Enter Simeon. Luke does not tell us a lot about him. Read Luke 2:25 Many assume he was an old man, in part because Anna, who was also at the temple, is described in the verses following as being old. The Bible does not give us Simeon’s age. The fact that we are given the age of Anna and nothing is said about Simeon may be an indication he was not that old. The Bible does tell us he was a devout man, that is a man who knew the Scriptures and sought to live by them. Because he knew the Scriptures, he knew the promises of God to send a Messiah to redeem His people and set up His kingdom. Like many Jews of his day, he longed for that promise to come true. The Greek word translated “waiting” carried with it the idea of “anticipation.” He was not focused on the idea that someday a Messiah would come but he looked for it on a daily basis. He was certain it is going to happen.  Perhaps it was comparable to today when Christians know the promises of Jesus that He will return. We all believe that will happen but only a few begin each day wondering if this will be the day He comes again. Simeon deeply wanted the Messiah to come. Luke went on to write, according to verse 26, “It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.”

Simeon was totally convinced that a Messiah was coming because he knew the many prophecies God had given and he was certain God would keep His promises. Many things, including His genealogy, place of His birth, and the visit of the Wise Men, had been predicted ahead of time. God is a promise keeper. He kept every promise concerning the Messiah’s coming and He will keep every promise He has ever made to us. Christians should never put a question mark where God has put a period. Simeon was not only told by God that he would live to see the promised Messiah but, according to verse 27, he was “Moved by the Spirit,” and “went into the temple courts” at exactly the right time. He arrived just when Mary and Joseph arrived with the baby Jesus. It was perfect timing, but then God’s timing is always perfect. Try and picture that scene. Mary and Joseph walk in and are greeted by a total stranger who said to them, “I am so glad to see you. God told me you and the Messiah were coming.” Then this total stranger reached over and took the baby from Mary’s arms. I’d have panicked if some stranger took my baby without permission. Maybe at that point Mary and Joseph were getting used to the unusual, although they never lost the ability to marvel at how God works. 

Luke wrote that Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismissyour servant in peace” Literally Simeon said that he had seen the Messiah and now he was ready to die. He was saying, “my life is complete. I could ask for nothing more of importance to seek so I’m ready to die.” If Simeon was an old man that was one thing but assuming he was not that old, he was saying that having met Jesus, his life was now complete. He was saying, “I’ve everything I could ever dream of so if this is the end I am satisfied.” 

Many individuals say, “Why can’t I just die?  Life has nothing left for me.” Simeon was not saying he wanted to die because there was nothing left but he was ready to die because life was totally complete. What makes one’s life complete is a personal relationship via faith with Jesus. Jesus asked the question about what an individual would really have if he gained the whole world and lost his soul. Simeon found his treasure in child who was in the arms of Mary. He knew his life was complete.

Read Luke 2:30-32. Luke wrote that both of Jesus’ parents marveled at what Simeon declared. They marveled that their baby was the salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations.” The message of Christmas is not simply that the promised one has arrived for Israel but for all nations. Jesus is not just a Jewish Messiah or Savior but the Savior of all who will come unto Him. Read II Peter 3:9. The message of Christmas is not one to be talked about just in the church as if Jesus is the unique Savior of Christians but the message of Christmas is that God wants everyone to know who Jesus is and what He offers to them. Read Romans 10:14 where Paul raises an issue that should be in the front of all our minds this Christmas. Are we going to be the ones who share the message of a Savior? It is important we share with everyone that the Jesus of the manger came to be personal Savior of each individual. 

Read Luke 2:34. Simeon told Mary what the history of the church has shown, men will either love Jesus or hate Him. Jesus Himself said during His ministry that, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”  (Matthew 12:30) We live in a society that wants us to believe that whatever one believes is true for that individual and maybe only that one. That is not what the Bible says. The Bible says there is only one way to God, not many ways as is commonly taught today. Read John 14:6 and Acts 4:12.If there are other ways to God apart from Jesus and His provision on the Cross, then the whole Christmas scenario was one huge mistake on God’s part. If whatever a man believes will get a person into heaven, then Jesus was foolish to leave heaven and dwell among us and certainly the Cross was unnecessary. 

Simeon concluded his address to Mary with the declaration that, “And a sword will pierce your own side too.” I doubt either Simeon or Mary understood that, but 33 years later it would all come together as she stood at the foot of the Cross and watched her Son die. Christmas has no meaning apart from Good Friday and there is nothing good about Good Friday if there was no Easter.

Note one more interesting aspect of that encounter. Verse 33 records, “The child’s father and mother marveled.”  One would think after all they had seen and experienced very little would seem marvelous to them, but it did.  One of the big dangers of Christmas is that it is so familiar to us that we can tell the story and not marvel any longer. What a victory for Satan that is! This Christmas contemplate again and again all God did for us when He came to dwell among us. Contemplate it over and over until you marvel at so great a love and so magnificent a salvation. That will make Christmas truly important.

Sermon Notes • November 22

Ephesians 20-22

On Thanksgiving Day, we give thanks, for our families, our health, our multiple possessions, and the freedoms we enjoy in this country. Most Americans will be thankful for those things, although we are deeply conscious that many in our society have far fewer of those things to be thankful for than we do. As Christians we know that every good and perfect gift comes from God so we will not only approach Thanksgiving with thankful hearts, but we will do so knowing the One to whom all thanks belongs. This Thanksgiving we should be sure add to our thank-you list some of the spiritual blessings that are ours because we are Christians. We should certainly add the blessings that are ours because of our relationship with God. We are richly blessed and therefore should give thanks because God has promised never to leave us but to walk with us each day. We are richly blessed and therefore should give thanks because He has promised us His strength and peace in all situations. We are richly blessed and therefore should give thanks for God’s promise to supply our every need. 

Ephesians 1:18-22 lists four things in relationship to the resurrection of Jesus that we should give thanks for. Read verses. 

Paul detailed 4 things God’s power did, each of which gives us something to add to our thanksgiving list. First, God’s power raised Jesus from the dead (verse 20a).  Second, it enables Jesus to sit at God’s right hand in the heavenly places, far above all competitors (verses 20b, 21).  Third, it will enable Jesus to put all things under His feet (verse 22a). And fourth, it made Jesus the head over all things for the church, which is His body (verses 22b, 23). Because each of them has tremendous implications for us today, each is worthy of being added to our thanksgiving list.

First, God’s power raised Jesus from the dead (verse 20a). We should be thankful that Jesus was raised from the dead since a dead God is no real God and a dead God cannot fulfill any of the promises He has made to us.

As Christians because the power of God raised Jesus from the dead we have so much more to thank God for than the fact that He is alive. Paul expanded on the implications of the resurrection of Jesus for believers in I Corinthians 15 where he wrote about the resurrection and how it assured believers of so much. Paul wrote that the resurrection of Jesus is God’s assurance that our sins can be forgiven, and we can spend eternity with Him. Read I Corinthians 15:13 and then verse 17-19. This Thanksgiving we can give thanks for the reality that our faith is not in vain, that what we believe is true and, therefore, can be trusted.

There is more. Not only does the resurrection give us an assurance that our faith is not in vain, the resurrection of Jesus also means that you and I can give thanks for the reality that those who knew Jesus as Savior and are not with us this year because they have passed on, are alive with Jesus. Read I Corinthians 15:20-22.  

We live in scary times when over a quarter of a million people have died of a virus that has taken a year to begin to get under control. People are dying but as Christians we can give thanks that we do not need to fear death because we have a God who is powerful enough to raise the dead to everlasting life.

Second, Paul said that the power of God enabled Jesus to sit at God’s right hand in the heavenly places, far above all competitors (verses 20b, 21). The imagery Paul used here can too easily be missed by us because we are not steeped in the culture of the early church, but it is a marvelous picture of the present position of Jesus. In ancient times a king reserved the seating around his throne for special individuals and the most treasured spot was at the king’s right hand. That individual occupied a position that was probably comparable to our Vice President, Chief of Staff and Secretary of State all wrapped up together.

The early church emphasized that Jesus was our High Priest and that He was seated at God’s right hand. No Levitical priest ever sat because his work was never done but on the Cross Jesus declared “It is finished” meaning that everything He came to do was complete. Redemption was fully provided for and available to all who would accept it. With His work completed He can now sit.

Knowing that salvation is fully provided for and freely available to all who believe is reason to give thanks. 

By itself that is cause for praise but that is only a part of the blessing seen in the picture of Jesus at God’s right hand. The fuller reason to give thanks is seen in what He is doing there for us. Hebrews 7:25 declares that Jesus is at the right hand of God so He can intercede for us. That means that Jesus is representing us to the Father. Jesus is there as our representative to declare that our sin has been covered by His sacrifice on the Cross.

As Christians we should continually thank God that we have an advocate at the throne interceding for us so that God’s blessings can continue to flow to us. Because Jesus is continually interceding for us, we can know with certainty that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.

Athird thing to thank God for this Thanksgiving is that the power of God will enable Jesus to put all things under His feet (verse 22a). People are constantly bemoaning the fact that everything seems to be falling apart. People wonder if crime and terrorism will ever stop. The world wants to know if we will ever have any real peace. Paul reminded us that history is going somewhere and that somewhere is the return of Jesus and the everlasting peace He will ultimately bring. We should be thankful because we know we are on the winning side.

Read Romans 14:11 on a promised day that is coming. Read Philippians 2:9-11. Where the implications of everyone bowing before a victorious Jesus is explained further. 

This Thanksgiving we can rejoice in the knowledge that history is going somewhere, evil will be judged, and that righteousness will be rewarded. As Christians we can be thankful that ultimately God holds the scales of justice. We win.

Finally, Paul told the Christians in Ephesus that God’s power was such that He made Jesus the head over all things for the church, which is his body (verses 22b, 23). What makes the church special? Obviously, the people who gather are an important part of it but in the end, what is special about a church is the presence of our Lord in it. We are His church, and His presence brings the peace and joy that are a part of who we are and what makes our fellowship so important.

Thanksgiving ought not to be a once a year event, although setting aside a special day serves as a reminder to think through all we have for which to give thanks to God is important. We have so much to thank God for in our families, our health, our possessions, and freedoms. But we also have multiple spiritual blessings to thank God for. We have the awareness that our God lives so not only is the fulfillment of every promise possible, but we too shall live forever with Him. We have the awareness that Jesus sits at the right hand of our Father interceding for us to assure that God can continually bless us with the things we really need. We have the awareness that we truly are on the winning side and that the day will come when our Savior will return to set up His righteous kingdom. And we have the awareness that we are His church and when we gather in His name, He is with us and that makes our worship so special.

This Thanksgiving we need to add our many spiritual blessings to the list of things for which we give thanks. 

Sermon Notes • November 15

Ephesians 1:19-23

Last week we began looking at some of the things that Paul asked his “glorious Father” in heaven to provide for the Christians in Ephesus. We noted that those are the things we need to ask God to provide for us and our families. Read Ephesians 1:18-20 to see what Paul prayed that the Christians in Ephesus would experience in deeper and more intimate or personal way. Note that he wanted them to knowthreethings, “the HOPE to which he has called you,” the RICHES of his glorious inheritance in his holy people” and the “POWER” that was available to them as believers.

Paul first prayed that the Christians in Ephesus would know the HOPE to which they had been called. Biblical hope is not wishful desiring but a looking forward with confidence to that which God has promised but has not yet been provided. For Christians, the ideas of faith and hope are inseparably intertwined so that where there is faith there is hope or confidence in the God who is glorious and therefore able to provide for us. Read Hebrews 11:1.  

Hope is always future. We don’t hope for what we have. For the Christian, that future hope that is ours is tied “to that which he has called you.”  There is a little saying that says, “Life without Jesus is a hopeless end, but life with Jesus is an endless hope.” 

Collectively we have been called to a fellowship of believers. The early Christians did not call themselves a church but rather an “ecclesia” or “called out” group. We are called to be His separated group that we call the church today.

Individually, in the short-term, the Bible speaks of various things we can have hope or assurance of, including our relationship with God. Read I Peter 2:9.  

Once we have accepted the call to the leave darkness and become a child of God, we always enjoy the hope or assurance of the presence of God with us. Read Psalm 46:1 Jeremiah 29:11. 

One long-term hope (or assurance as we would say today) is that we have been called us to spend eternity with our Lord. Read Titus 1:2. Christians think about the persecuted church and fellow Christians who are willing to suffer, even die for their faith because they know that that which awaits them is so much better. Read Romans 8:18. 

As Christians we have a hope for the future that includes not only spending eternity with God, but doing so with new glorified bodies, in the presence of our Savior and with those loved ones who have preceded us in death or will join us later. Heaven, however, is more than just existing forever. It is existing forever with God in an incredible place that we cannot even begin to imagine. Read Psalm 16:10-11andRomans 8:29. We have been called to a glorious future that is overshadowed by “eternal pleasures.”  

By itself, our hope should encourage us beyond measure, but Paul went on to write that he was praying that we would recognize “the RICHES of his glorious inheritance.” Some ancient texts translate this as our being God’s “glorious inheritance.” That is an idea that we do not think about often enough. We are God’s treasure. He created us in His image, so He could have a special relationship with us. When that possibility was lost because of sin, He paid an incredible price to purchase us back. It is to imagine that we are valuable to Him but think about it this way. I have children and generally they look upon me as one who is there for them and willing to help them whenever there is a need. I doubt that they think often enough of how valuable they are to me. They are worth more to me than anything I own. In the same way we are of infinite value to God and because of that He will do whatever He can for us.

There are other ancient texts that translate this to declare that we are rich in Jesus. Read what Paul wrote a little later in this letter, in 2:7 and in 3:8. Read Philippians 4:19. The challenge we all face as Christians is to discover just how rich we really are and then to claim those riches for our daily living.

The phrase, “the boundless riches of Christ” that Paul spoke of in Ephesians 3:8 is literally riches that cannot be fully understood because they are without limit. Picture this. Many of us live paycheck to paycheck, with perhaps a little extra for special things. It is estimated that Bill Gates earns as much as $10 million a day. Try to imagine getting up in the morning and having an additional $10 million in your checking account. I can’t even picture that kind of wealth. If Paul were with us today, he would say something like, “That’s nothing, imagine waking up to a whole new awareness of the riches you have in Jesus.” Read Lamentations 3:22-23. 

As an added note, while Bill Gates can talk of material riches God talks of spiritual riches. Jesus spoke, as a part of His Sermon on the Mount, of the difference and urged His followers, according to Matthew 6:18-19, not to store up earthly treasure that can be lost but to store up treasures in heaven because that is treasure that can never be taken away. We are rich in Jesus with the things that are truly lasting and matter in both time and eternity.

Paul prayed that the Christians in Ephesus would be conscious of the hope or assurances they have in Jesus. Then he prayed that they might realize just how rich they are in Jesus. Finally, Paul prayed that the Christians in Ephesus would know the “POWER” that was available to them. Paul said that the incomparable power of God is available for us who believe. Whenever we think of God’s power, we think of God’s power to create or the power of Jesus to perform miracles.  Read in verse 20 what Paul used to describe the power of God. Read Philippians 3:10.  

In verses 20-22 Paul detailed 4 things God’s power did. First it raised Jesus from the dead (verse 20a).  Second, it enabled him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all competitors (verses 20b, 21).  Third, it enabled Him to put all things under His feet (verse 22a). And fourth, it made Jesus the head over all things for the church, which is his body (verses 22b, 23). Each of them has implications for us today.

The purpose of Paul writing about the power of God’s power was to remind us that that same power is available to Christians. That power is a saving power that enables us to be forgiven of our sins and to be adopted into the family of God. It is also a power that enables us to live as God desires us to live. Read what Paul later said about that power in 3:30. 

As Christians we have the assurance that every promise God made to us will become a reality and that assurance is what Paul called the “hope of our calling.” As Christians “we are incredibly rich” with spiritual riches that provide for us for both time and eternity. And as Christians we have available to us unbelievable power needed to live each day as He would have us live

All of that combines to gives us reason to rejoice and seek to make each a reality in our daily lives. 

Bulletin • Sunday, November 8

MANBECK’S ZION EVANGELICAL

CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH

Worshiping the Lord in Spirit and Truth

November 8, 2020

A Year in Ephesians

Norman Dixon, Pastor

610-589-2034

Email: Dixonnorm@comcast.net

Web Site:  www.manbecks.org

Organ Prelude to prepare your heart for worship

Welcome and opportunities to Worship and Serve

Greet one another in the Name of Jesus          

Call to Worship – Psalm 103:1-4

* Opening Chorus #107                    Lord, I Lift Your Name on High

* Invocation

* Hymn #21                                   O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing

First Scripture:  Psalm 25:1-10

Praise Chorus #91                                             In Moments Like These

Persecuted Church:  DVD Central African Republic

* Prayer Hymn #581            ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus (marked)

**Pastoral Prayer

Offering of Tithes and Gifts to the Lord/plates in the back 

Shoebox Moment

Special Music – Ladies Chorus

Scripture:  Ephesians 1:17-19

Sermon:

* Hymn of response #526                                               The Solid Rock

*Benediction

* Recessional Response #235        Take the Name of Jesus (1st verse)  

Leave to Serve

  *Please Stand                                                **Please kneel (if able)

“God didn’t remove the Red Sea, He parted it.  

God doesn’t always remove your problems, but 

He will make a way through.”

ANNOUNCEMENTS

TODAY:

  • Building Fund offering  
  • Brief Official Board meeting                                           10:00 A.M.

WEDNESDAY:

  • Bible Study/Abraham (Genesis 19)                                 7:00 P.M.

NEXT SUNDAY:

  • Shoe Boxes are due
  • Stewards Meeting                                                            10:00 A.M.

LOOKING AHEAD:  

  • November 26 – Thanksgiving
  • November 28 – Newsletter
  • November 29 – Special Offering/Thank offering for the

                                  International Churches  

Statistics:  November 1, 2020

                                  Attendance:  Worship Service – 38

                                                                  Bible Study – 12                                                

                                                                       Offering – $1,517.00

  • Our Daily Bread for December-February are available.
  • If you didn’t get a copy of “The Voice of the Martyrs” magazine last week you can still pick one up
  • Pick-up shoeboxes if needed
  • Don’t forget to turn in hymn request slips.
  • Shoe Boxes are due at church on November 15.  The Church will cover the cost of shipping.

Wednesday, November 11 is Veterans Day.  

A thank you to all who served or are serving in the military.

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PRAYER CONCERNS

  • Florence (Al/moved to regular floor/needs all kinds of therapy/question of home or nursing home)
  • Lois (Bettys husband Gene, going to rehab)
  • Judy (kids today and world events/fear)
  • Jon R. (Mrs. Powell/lives in Ohio/cancer)
  • Ron Bachert (by-pass surgery)
  • Cosmo Hardenstine (continued growth)
  • Hannah Bossler (Type 1 diabetes/kidneys becoming compromised)
  • Pray for our service men and women
  • Those battling cancer:

Grace, 5 year old with leukemia

Pastor Lloyd Yeager (prostate cancer)               Bob Kramer

Mike Sis Sagusky Jake Wolfe           Rick Fidler

Cindy Segal (liver cancer) Carol Shira (last stages of cancer)

Bill (Deb another round of radiation)                     Tim McMillen

  • Military:  Keith Gillespie       Lois’s grandson, Kolby – Air Force

Ashley Somers, Navy     Caleb Reiter

  • Nursing home/Assisted living residents

               Grace Kimmel   Nancy Wildsmith          

  Edgar Bennett Fritz Lehr (Town Centre)

PRAISE: 

  • Carol Lengle (doing very well)
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  • Week Day Church School/CEF Good News Clubs in person/video)
  • Joe Toy (Street ministry in Philadelphia)
  • Jamie and Anita Farr (Wycliffe in Florida)
  • Robert and Bettina Schaeffer (L.I.F.E. Ministries in New York City)
  • Wagner’s & Stoltzfus’s (Rift Valley Academy in Africa)

Sermon Notes • November 8

Ephesians 1:17-19

Read Ephesians 1:17-19.  

Notice Paul described the God he was approaching in prayer as “the glorious Father.” Nothing will encourage us more when we pray than remembering the nature of the one to whom we are speaking. Here Paul remembered that the God he was asking to bless the Ephesian Christians was a “glorious Father.” God has both the resources and ability to do anything. If He desired to bless His people, He could do it. Remembering that, when we present our requests to God enables us to have confidence that He is able to answer us.

Paul noted that the God he was approaching was also their “Father.” In verse 4 of this chapter Paul said God was going to adopt us into His family, making God “our Father who is in heaven.”. Because God is our “Father” we can go before Him with the confidence that He will welcome us and will be anxious to answer. We are His children.

Paul requested his “Glorious Father” to give to the Christians in Ephesus “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” When Paul was asking God to enable the Christians in Ephesus to “know him better” he was praying that the Christians who knew Jesus as Savior would get to know Him in a deeper and more personal way. 

When we talk about knowing God better, we can be referring to a greater intellectual knowledge that comes through the study of Scripture. That should always be a goal of believers. Here, however, Paul had a different “knowing” in mind when he prayed that the Christians in Ephesus would know God better. The word Paul used for knowing is related to the Hebrew word used in Genesis 4:1. Read that verse. Paul was praying that the Christians would know God in a more personal way, in a more intimate way. 

Paul’s prayer request for the Christians in Ephesus was also his personal prayer for himself. Read Philippians 3:10. 

Paul went on in his prayer for the Ephesian Christians and asked that the “glorious Father” would give them “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation” and that “the eyes of their heart may be enlightened.”

Paul did not pray that they would receive the Holy Spirit but that the Spirit who is within would enable them to know God better. 

One of the ministries of the Holy Spirit is to make Jesus known to us in a deeper, more real way as He reveals more of God to us. The truth is that we cannot know God apart from His revelation. To an extent God has revealed Himself in His creation so the heavens declare His glory but in a deeper sense we can only really know God through His self-revelation in the Bible. Read I Corinthians 2:9-11. We have been given the Holy Spirit who alone can make known the things of God to us. He will do that primarily through Scripture, which is why every Christian should make the study of the Bible a priority.

Paul went on to write that he was praying that the Spirit would open “the eyes of our heart so it may be enlightened.” Paul was not suggesting our hearts have eyes but was using an image that combined the idea and seeing with that of seeing with the full self. With our eyes we see things and when we talk about our heart, we are talking about that part of us that enables both feeling and commitment. The imagery of eyes is one used in God’s Word to describe our seeing truth so we can respond positively to it. Read Matthew 6:22-23.  

Scripture stresses the importance of seeing the things of God. Read Psalm 119:18. Scripture stresses the importance of a commitment to what we see in God’s Word. In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians he used the imagery of the eyes to describe the importance of understanding the things of God. Read II Corinthians 4:18.  

Often, we say to someone, “Did you see that?” God wants to say to us “Did you see the spiritual truths that can enrich your life?” 

What specifically did Paul want the Christians in Ephesus to see? Read Ephesians 1:18-19. Paul wanted the Christians to knowthreethings. He wanted them to know “the HOPE to which he has called you,” the RICHES of his glorious inheritance in his holy people” and the “POWER” that was available to them as believers.

First Paul wants us to know more deeply the hope to which we have been called. Keep in mind that when the Bible speaks of our hope it is not talking about a wishful desire. Biblical hope is a certainty we have because of the promise of God. It is “hope” only in that it has not yet occurred, but we look forward to it with certainty because of our confidence in the one who promised it. Read Psalm 25:3-5.

The phrase “to which he has called you” is intended to challenge Christians to look beyond the present to the ultimate victory that is ours. Our ultimate hope to which God has called us is eternity with Him. Read Romans 5:2.  

We live in very uncertain days as has been demonstrated over the past 10 months as we have been impacted by the Coronavirus. In the midst of that uncertainty, as Christians we have the assurance that God is in complete control, that He will care for us as He has promised, and ultimately Jesus is coming again to set up His perfect kingdom. That is our hope, our confidence so we remember that ultimately this world is not our home, but our citizenship is in heaven. 

The Christians in Ephesus were living in scary times. The society in which they lived was hostile toward them. They faced a very uncertain future. If that sounds like today, well it is and the answer we have is the same as that which Paul gave to them, we have “HOPE to which he has called you.” Hope is a precious thing to have. 

By itself, that hope should encourage us beyond measure, but Paul went on to write that he was praying that they would recognize “the RICHES of his glorious inheritance.” 

We are so rich in Jesus. A little later in this letter, in 2:7, Paul wrote, in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” Still later in this letter, in 3:8, Paul wrote about the privilege he felt in being called “to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ.” There can be no doubt that we are truly rich because of the redemption God has provided for us in Jesus. We are children of God and therefore unbelievably rich in the things that matter. Read Philippians 4:19.  The challenge we all face as Christians is to discover just how rich we really are and then to claim those riches for our daily living.

Finally, Paul prayed that the Christians in Ephesus would know the “POWER” that was available to them. Paul said that the incomparable power of God is available for us who believe. Whenever I think of God’s power I think first in terms of creation. I cannot begin to imagine the power of a God who spoke and stars appear, who spoke and the earth took shape, who spoke and the land and oceans are divided. Then I think of the power of Jesus who said “rise up and walk” to a hopeless cripple and he walked again. I think of the power of Jesus who touched a blind man and eyes that had never seen could suddenly see everything. I think of Jesus standing at the tomb of Lazarus and telling him, after being dead for 4 days and having started to decay, to come forth alive. That, to me, is power beyond imagination. But when Paul wanted to describe the power of God, he wrote about the power God demonstrated when, according to verse 20, “He raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.” In Philippians 3:10 Paul wrote, “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection.” 

Think about Paul’s prayer. He prayed that the Christians in Ephesus, and by extension each of us, might know in a deeper, more intimate way the only true hope we have for both time and eternity. He prayed we might know in a deeper and more intimate way the incredible riches that are available to us because we belong to the family of God. And he prayed that we might know in a deeper and more intimate way the power of God available to us because we belong to God.

Is that the prayer we have for ourselves and our family? Are we willing to do what is necessary to gain that deeper and more intimate knowledge? 

Sermon Notes • October 25

Ephesians 1:13-15 The Holy Spirit and Paul’s Prayer 

Read. Ephesians 1:13-14.  The Holy Spirit is God in every way and, therefore, an equal member of the Trinity. That means that everything we can say about the Father or the Son we can say about Him. He is all knowing, all powerful, everywhere present, totally holy and totally loving and totally merciful etc. Because of that the Holy Spirit should always be addressed as a person, not a force. That does not mean He is a person in the same way we are, but He has the characteristics of personhood. Although a Spirit, He is described in Scripture as being able to think, love, be grieved etc. all of which are associated with personhood or personality. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is He, not it. 

The Holy Spirit was responsible for just about every aspect of our redemption except the sacrificial death of Jesus on the Cross. The Holy Spirit was the one who challenged each of us to become a Christian. He convicted us of our sin and prodded us to make a commitment to Jesus.  When we began to move that way, He gave us the faith to trust in Jesus and when we finally said yes to God, the Holy Spirit cleansed us from our sin and immediately took up residence in us. Since we made that decision for Jesus, He has been totally responsible for our Christian growth as we have allowed Him to work in us. The Holy Spirit is our true conscience and the one who gives us the desire and the strength to overcome temptation. 

Re-read Ephesians 1:13-14.  

Two critical truths are seen in those verses. First, the Holy Spirit dwells within every believer to bear witness with our spirit that we belong to God. If you are a Christian, you have the Holy Spirit within. You will never have more of the Holy Spirit than you have the moment you believe. You cannot have half of the Holy Spirit any more than you can be half saved.

The imagery of being sealed with the Holy Spirit is foreign to us but was not to the first century Christians. The imagery was taken from the practice of individuals who wanted to send a message. They would fold the message up and then close it with wax. To ensure that it was not tampered with and that the recipient knew it was legitimate, the sender then used his distinctive signet ring to seal it with an impression that said to all, “This comes from me.” Paul used that picture to tell us that when we make a commitment to Jesus, God sends His Spirit to dwell within us as a way of declaring to Satan that we belong to God. 

A second aspect of the ministry of the Holy Spirit is that the presence of the Holy Spirit declares that the believer truly belongs to God and that every promise God has made will be ours. Paul called Him a deposit guaranteeing that the rest will come. The actual term is the one from which we get the word surety or the escrow we place down when buying a house. Christians are given the presence of God Himself in the person of the Holy Spirit as an assurance that God intends to complete the deal and usher us into heaven. He is our down payment to assure us that God will not abandon us. 

ReadI Peter 1:3-4.  Peter went on in that chapter to discuss the inheritance we have and said, as recorded in verse 6, In all this you greatly rejoice.” Are you a happy Christian? We have been promised rich spiritual blessings. Jesus redeemed us from slavery so we can enjoy those blessings. Then God sent the Holy Spirit as proof that we are His. Knowing that, we can have faith and be filled with Joy. 

Moving on to verse 15, Paul finished his introduction, which was one long verse, and wrote another long sentence that is the rest of chapter 1. In that sentence Paul described what he thanked God for and asked God for when he prayed for them. He began by saying that his prayer was based what he had heard about them. That reminds us that our praying should be intelligent praying based on the life and needs of those we are bringing before the throne.

Biblical prayers help us see the kind of things we should be praying for ourselves and for others. In this case Paul’s prayer begins with thanksgiving and that encourages us to ask if others can be thankful for the same things in us.

Read Ephesians 1:15. What a combination of attributes to be known by, faith in the Lord Jesus and love for God’s people. Jesus was asked about the most important commandments. Read His reply, according to Matthew 22:37-39, 

Every Christian should be known both by what he believes and how he lovingly relates to others, especially those who are part of the family of God. The Christian life has two dimensions, faith in God and love for the brethren. The two should never be separated.

In Ephesians 1:1 Paul addressed the Christians as “saints,” a term applied only to those who had made Jesus their Savior. Here he wrote that he had heard of their faith in the Lord Jesus.

When we read that the Savior of the world is identified as the “Lord Jesus” we are reading more than a name, it is a description of Him. Both words have meaning in identifying the nature of our Savior.

The only “name” of our Savior is Jesus, or perhaps more elaborately, Jesus bar (son of) Joseph. That is the name God wanted Him to have. In Matthew 1:21 we read that the angel of God spoke to Joseph after he learned that Mary was going to have a child. Read what the angel said to Joseph in that verse. They were to call Him Jesus or in the Hebrew Joshua, which literally translated as Savior.

What is important to note here is that Paul did not simply say they had faith in the Jesus who is a Savior, but they had faith in the Jesus who was also Lord. He is the Lord Jesus

Of the 100 plus times “Lord” and “Jesus” are combined in the New Testament, only 2 occur in the Gospels. It was not until after Jesus’ resurrection that the title “Lord” took on real meaning. There are couple of reasons. The title “Lord,” was viewed by the Jews as a divine title. When, for an example, the pending birth of Jesus was announced to Mary and Joseph it was an angel of the Lord who spoke to them, that is an angel of God. While at His birth the angel said the baby would be called “Immanuel” which means “God with us,” it really was not until His resurrection that the disciples began to realize that He was divine.  It was not until after His resurrection that the disciples understood what John meant when he wrote “the Word who became flesh.”  It would, therefore, have been more natural to call Him “Lord” following that discovery. He is Lord because He is God.

But calling Him Lord was far more of a title that reflected the relationship we should have with Him. A slave always addressed his master as “lord” and the early Christians recognized that Jesus was to be the Lord of their lives. This is nowhere more evident than the way in which Paul introduces himself in Romans 1:1 where he wrote, “Paul, a servant or slave of Christ Jesus.”

In the New Testament the option was never to make Jesus Lord, He IS Lord. The challenge was to bow before His Lordship. Too often in the church today people want Jesus as a fire insurance policy that one takes out by faith to ensure that he doesn’t burn in hell, with any other relationship purely optional. That is not biblical in any sense of the word. The New Testament declares that if one wants Him as Savior one must also have Him as Lord. We cannot legitimately worship Him as Jesus the Savior and ignore Him as Jesus the Lord. 

Read Romans 13:14. The descriptive title “Christ” was used primarily when there were Jewish Christians present because that was the description of the promised Messiah. At the heart of Paul’s challenge here was to put on the Lord Jesus. The Savior of the world is Lord. He is Lord because He is God and because He desires to rule our lives so that He can give us real freedom. 

What a standard Ephesians 1:15 sets for us. We are challenged to be like the Christians in Ephesus and be known for our faith and love. We are challenged to follow Jesus not only as a Savior but as the Lord of our lives. Will you accept that challenge? 

Bulletin • Sunday, October 18

MANBECK’S ZION EVANGELICAL

CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH

Worshiping the Lord in Spirit and Truth

October 18, 2020

A Year in Ephesians

Norman Dixon, Pastor

610-589-2034

Email: Dixonnorm@comcast.net

Web Site:  www.manbecks.org

Organ Prelude to prepare your heart for worship

Welcome and opportunities to Worship and Serve

Greet one another in the Name of Jesus          

Call to Worship – Psalm 111:1-3          

* Opening Chorus #125                           How Excellent Is Thy Name

* Invocation

* Opening Hymn #87                                                 Fairest Lord Jesus

First Scripture:  Ephesians 1:4-11

Praise Hymn #456                                                         Find Us Faithful

*Prayer Hymn #692                                   God Will Take Care of You 

**Pastoral Prayer

Offering of Tithes and Gifts to the Lord 

offering plates in the back of the Sanctuary  

Special Music – Congregational Favorite 

Scripture:  1 Peter 1:13-16

Sermon:  “In love, adopted.”

* Hymn of response #574                                       A Child of the King

*Benediction

* Recessional Response #235        Take the Name of Jesus (1st verse)  

Leave to Serve

  *Please Stand                                                **Please kneel (if able)

“Doubts and fears crumble under the weight 

of God’s promises”

ANNOUNCEMENTS

  TUESDAY:

  • Official Board Meeting                                                        7:00 P.M.

WEDNESDAY:

  • Bible Study/Abraham (Genesis 15:2 – 16:16)                  7:00 P.M.

NEXT SUNDAY:

  • Special Offering (EC Missions General Fund)
  • Fellowship Brunch

LOOKING AHEAD:  

  • October 31 – Newsletter                                                    7:00 P.M.  
  • November 1 – Daylight Saving Time Ends
  • November 3 – Election Day
  • November 8 – Building Fund offering                 

Statistics:  October 11, 2020

                                  Attendance:  Worship Service – 37

                                                                  Bible Study – 10                                                

                                                                       Offering – $931.00

                                            Building Fund Offering – $215.00                             

  • Don’t forget to turn in hymn request slips.
  • Birthday card shower for Grace Kimmel. October 28 
  • Operation Christmas Child/Jen Flynn will drop our boxes off at the drop off site in Orwigsburg.  There are also Shoeboxes left over from last year.  They will be made available for those who would like to use them.

Thanks to everyone who helped with the Autumn Stroll.

PRAYER CONCERNS

  • Family and friends of Carol Mills who recently went to be with her Lord
  • Fritz Lehr (moved to rehab)
  • Ron Bachert (by-pass surgery)
  • Jim Price (had an accident with uninsured/unlicensed person)
  • Cosmo Hardenstine (over his birth weight/2 lb. 14 oz.)
  • Jon R. (Luke at E-Town and Granddaughter at Bloomsburg)
  • Judy (horse trailer disconnected with the horse in it/Judy and horse are okay)
  • Hannah Bossler (Type 1 diabetes/kidneys becoming compromised)
  • Betty (husbands health and salvation)
  • Pray for our service men and women
  • Those battling cancer:

Grace, 5 year old with leukemia

Pastor Lloyd Yeager (prostate cancer)               Bob Kramer

Mike Sis Sagusky Jake Wolfe           Rick Fidler

Cindy Segal (liver cancer) Carol Shira (last stages of cancer)

Bill (Deb another spot on her lung) Tim McMillen

  • Military:  Keith Gillespie       Lois’s grandson, Kolby – Air Force

Ashley Somers, Navy     Caleb Reiter

  • Nursing home/Assisted living residents

               Grace Kimmel   Nancy Wildsmith          

  Edgar Bennett  

PRAISE: 

  • Pastor Norm (beauty of creation with all the fall colors)
  • Deb (Her sister, Sue Ann was tested for Covid/came back negative)
  • Larue (Going through her mother-in-law’s stuff and found many little things that were funny and touching)
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  • Week Day Church School
  • Joe Toy (Street ministry in Philadelphia)
  • Jamie and Anita Farr (Wycliffe in Florida)
  • Robert and Bettina Schaeffer (L.I.F.E. Ministries in New York City)
  • Wagner’s & Stoltzfus’s (Rift Valley Academy in Africa)