“God is really among you.” This is the confession of the unbeliever struck to the heart by the Word of God proclaimed by the servants of Jesus Christ. It is a striking confession, is it not? Would an unbeliever confess such a grand statement if they came among us? This confession is not simply about the invisible, real, spiritual presence of the Holy Spirit in the assembly of the body of Christ, but it is an assertion that the believers they witness worship the true God, that they are men who confess the truth of the Gospel and that this confession of theirs is both vital and true. It is as much to say, “You are the ones who actually know the one true and living God, for all that you profess about him and his Son is true.” “God is really among you,” is a profession of faith, a confession that what Christians preach and believe is true. If men come into our assembly looking for material, scientific evidence of that which is by nature immaterial, they will be surely disappointed. But they should see, in the realities professed and proclaimed and sung and prayed in our assemblies, the truth of the Gospel. And when they profess faith in Jesus Christ, yes, they will say, “God is really among you.” And he is. What a unspeakable privilege it is to be God’s people, that he deigns to dwell with us. Our confidence that he does is all through our faith in the promise that by receiving the Gospel we are united to the beloved Son, who by his amazing grace renders us acceptable and pleasing to God our Maker.
In the prayer service, we’re going to devote the entire time to corporate prayer. I’ll be contacting different men to lead in prayer. We’ll sing some hymns as well. I am looking forward to our time together even as I write this. What a joy it is for me personally to pray with you, brothers!
In the worship service, we will be looking at the power of God’s Word when it is faithfully proclaimed. After looking at the ill effects of tongues upon unbelievers, Paul shows the power of preaching the Gospel in 14:24-25. The unbelieving sinner who enters the assembly and hears the Word proclaimed will be converted, and thus proclaim, “God is really among you.” It is this theme, along with the truths of advent and the power of the ministry of the Word, that the hymns for our service reiterate for our worship and instruction.
Call to Worship: 1 Timothy 1:17
Ministry of Music: “On this Day Earth Shall Ring”
Hymn 240 [Red] Joy to the World!
Congregational Reading: Psalm 3
Doxology: Doxology, Red 437
Hymn 226 [Red] Comfort, Comfort, Ye My People The Gospel of Jesus Christ that God has graciously brought to us strangers and aliens is truly good news. This hymn captures it so well. “Comfort, Comfort, Ye My People” is a paraphrase Isaiah 40. The author is Johannes Olearius. The great Catherine Winkworth translated this hymn into English. The hymn uses the themes both of advent and the power of the Gospel. It reminds us of what good news has come to us in Jesus Christ. “Speak ye peace, thus saith our God.” “Speak ye to Jerusalem of the peace that waits for them.” What is that peace? The word of the Lord is preciously comforting: “Tell her that sins I cover, And her warfare now is over.” The words of the third verse are similar, urging men to turn to the Lord in the time of the Christ’s advent: “For the herald’s voice is crying in the desert far and near, bidding all men to repentance, since the kingdom now is here.” Finally, the Gospel’s glorious truthfulness is seen in the final stanza: “For the glory of the Lord now o’er earth is shed abroad, and all flesh shall see the token that his word is never broken.” The word of God that Jesus has come for sinners out to be loudly proclaimed indeed!
Hymn 246 [Red] Of the Father’s Love Begotten
Scripture Reading: Job 9 & 2 Corinthians 12:1-10
Hymn 242 [Red] Lo, How a Rose Eer Blooming
Sermon: God is Really Among You from 1 Corinthians 14:23-25
Hymn [Insert] God Himself is Present
No Sunday School; Christmas Fellowship, 4:00 PM