Monthly Archives: October 2014

Preparing for Worship – November 2, 2014

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This week, we continue in Ephesians. Specifically, Ephesians 2:11-18

11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

There is a lot in this passage to take in. A couple of beautiful sections that I love. First, v.13

13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

As we’ve seen in our study of Ephesians, we were lost and dead in sin, but because of God’s work through the blood of Jesus, we have been brought near. One of our favorite songs to sing, In Tenderness, has a few lines that capture this idea nicely:

Oh the love that sought me / Oh the love that bought me / Oh the grace that brought me to the fold of God

Another beautiful idea that we see in this passage is that Jesus is our Peace and through his work on the cross we have been reconciled to God (v. 16). The last song we will be singing is one that we learned last week, Hail the King, which has a beautiful line about how we are reconciled to the Father through Jesus.

While we were weak he died / Making us reconciled / To God for all eternal days

To prepare to worship in song together, check out these helpful links:

Nothing But The Blood (Listen | Purchase)

How Deep The Father’s Love For Us (Listen | Purchase)

In Tenderness (Listen | Purchase)

Mediator (Listen | Purchase)

Jude Doxology (Listen | Purchase)

Hail the King (Listen | Purchase)

 

See you on Sunday.

Preparing for Worship – October 26, 2014

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This week, we continue in Ephesians 2 with another beautiful expression of how our salvation is worked out. Take a look at Ephesians 2:8-10

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

One thing that is amazing about Ephesians is how much truth is packed into such a few short phrases. Upon initial observation of this passage, we see that:

  • We are saved by Grace (Grace: an undeserved gift)
  • We are saved through Faith (“Faith is a living, bold trust in God’s grace.” – Martin Luther)
  • Faith doesn’t come from us – it’s a gift from (He is the giver/we are the receivers)
  • We don’t earn salvation through our efforts/works (Otherwise we could take the credit)
  • We are God’s workmanship (He is the master craftsman)
  • We were created in Christ for good works (One of the purposes of our salvation)
  • Those good works were prepared in advance (God is the one who prepared and empowers our good works)
  • We should walk in those good works (The process of being disciples of Jesus)

Those three verses contain enough truth for you and I to meditate on and rejoice in for a lifetime. This week, I encourage you to memorize this passage (if you haven’t already) and meditate on it for the next several days in preparation for our gathering on Sunday.

To prepare to worship in song together, check out these helpful links:

To Praise Your Glory (Listen | Purchase)

Hail the King (Listen | Purchase)

By His Grace (Listen | Purchase)

Rock of Ages (Listen | Purchase)

It is Finished (Listen | Purchase)

See you on Sunday.

Preparing for Worship – October 19, 2014

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Last week, we saw what our identity was like before the regenerating work of Christ in our lives. It was bleak. We saw phrases like “and you were dead…” and “by nature children of wrath”.

Thanks be to God for one of the most important conjunctions in all of scripture in v. 4:

BUT GOD

Take a look at our passage for this week: Ephesians 2:4-7

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

If it were not for this conjunction in v. 4 – BUT GOD – we would be hopeless. Lost. Dead in our sins. But we see that God has been merciful and gracious to us. HE HAS MADE US ALIVE WITH CHRIST.

Hallelujah! That is truly Good news, isn’t it?

To prepare to worship in song together, check out these helpful links:

How Great Thou Art (Listen | Purchase)

My One Comfort (Listen | Purchase)

Psalm 18 (Listen | Purchase)

Jesus Paid It All (Listen & Download)

Made Alive (Listen | Purchase)

Grace Alone (Listen | Purchase)

See you on Sunday.

Preparing for Worship – October 12, 2014

slideInHimThis week we will be studying Ephesians 2:1-3

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

You may be thinking, “that’s not good news at all.” But in order to understand the good news of the gospel of Jesus, we have to understand the bad news. In order to understand our salvation fully, we need to understand the sin that we have been saved from.

This passage describes our state prior to salvation. It’s descriptive. It’s dark. It shows us how desperately we were in need to a savior. This week, I encourage you to consider the depths of the sin that Jesus has saved you from. Consider the fact that apart from the work of Jesus on the cross you and I were wrecked.

Jesus work on the cross was done in order to rescue you from that wreckage. Let that catapult you into praise.

To prepare to sing together, check out these helpful links:

Grace Alone (Listen | Purchase)

By His Grace (Listen | Purchase)

One Hanging On A Tree (Listen | Purchase)

I Stand Amazed (Listen | Purchase)

Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) (Listen | Purchase)

See you on Sunday.

Preparing for Worship – October 5, 2014

slideInHimThis week in Ephesians, we will be studying Paul’s thanksgiving and prayer. Chapter 1, verses 15-23.

15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

What an amazing prayer. After giving thanks for the Ephesian church, he prays that they would:

Have wisdom and revelation in their knowledge of God

Have the eyes of their hearts enlightened so they can know the hope to which they have been called

Know the riches of their inheritance in Christ

Know the immeasurable greatness of God’s power

Those would be fantastic things to pray for our church. Those would be fantastic things to pray for our families. Those would be fantastic things to pray for ourselves. What would the church look like if we prayed those things daily for one another?

The next thing Paul does is explode in words of praise about who Jesus is: above all other powers, above all names for all time, the head of the church.

What if we grew so much in our knowledge and worship of Jesus so that, like Paul, we had regular outbursts of praise about who Jesus is? May that be true of us.

To prepare to sing together, check out these helpful links:

Doxology (Listen)

We Are Listening (Listen | Purchase)

Stronger (Listen | Purchase)

Only Jesus (Listen | Purchase)

Jesus! (Listen | Purchase)

See you on Sunday.