In the sermon last week, I spoke of ways to grow our joy in the truth (1 Cor 13:6b). Among the suggestions was to grow your joy through corporate worship, and that we do this well when we come prepared to worship when we gather with the body of Christ. One of the beautiful things about corporate worship is that we come to it wholly fixed on magnifying the God of our salvation, not demanding anything in return for our worship, yet God blesses us as we pour out our praise before him. God has called us to worship him. He as our glorious Maker demands our worship. Moreover, it is only fitting that we declare the glory of a God so great as our Almighty God. In other words, we do not worship because it brings fringe benefits. Yet, God in his grace, has not only called us to worship, but has in his goodness ordained that it does actually bring us great benefit and grace. As we give ourselves to God in worship, Scripture tells us that we will be benefited by that worship. Such benefits are never the primary purpose of worship–God is worthy of our praise and gratitude. If we come for ourselves rather than to empty ourselves, we abuse the privilege of worship. Yet you can, from the promises of God, have a firm hope (in the Christian sense of that word) that God will graciously grow your joy as you give yourself to him in worship.
In our prayer service, we will take up the joyous responsibility of praying for one another. Though we have now moved on past the Lord’s Prayer, we still find ourselves in Luke 11 for the Scripture lesson. This week we consider the importance of persevering in prayer. We will return to the hymn we’ve been learning this month, “Let Christian Faith and Hope Dispel,” number 360-1 in Cantus Christi.
The sermon this week turns to 1 Cor 13:7 and the four remaining characteristics of love that round out the way of love in 1 Cor 13:4-7. This week we consider that love bears all things. Paul is showing us that genuine Christian affection embraces the life of cruciform suffering. Here is the service order for this coming Lord’s Day:
Call to Worship: Psalm 138:1-2
Hymn 321 [Red] O Worship the King
Congregational Reading: Psalm 138:3-8
Doxology: Diademata, Red 293
Hymn 267 [Red] When I Survey the Wondrous Cross Here is one of the English language’s greatest hymns about the cross of Christ. J. Gresham Machen said of this hymn that in it is “heard the accents of true Christian feeling” concerning Christ’s cross. Indeed, the tune itself is one of the church of Christ’s most ancient and well-loved melodies. The hymn reminds us that the cross of Christ is the world’s greatest demonstration of love: “Love so amazing, so divine.” Isaac Watt’s words are sublimely apt. Yet, when we behold this cross, we cannot be mere detached bystanders. The cross will not have it. “Did e’er such love and sorrow meet?” The cross demands an explanation, a response. For those of us who have received Christ by faith, for those of who have tasted this love, we have found that it is the very grounding of our own love. “We love him because he first loved us.” And it is for this very reason that we are able to bear all things for Christ’s sake. We take up our own cross because this cross has saved us. In Christ’s cross we have been granted eternal life. Thus the last stanza ends, “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, all.” Here, at the cross, we see why love bears all things.
Hymn 121 [Red] It’s Good to Thank the Lord
Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 25:23-44 & 2 Corinthians 1:1-11
Hymn 363 [Red] Lord, Thee I Love with All My Heart
Sermon: Bears All Things from 1 Corinthians 13:7
Hymn 354 [Red] If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee
In Sunday School, I will be taking questions. We call this “quodlibet,” which is Latin for “whatever.” So bring your questions, and I will try to answer them.