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This week, I have chosen for our call to worship another very familiar text, this time from the book of Romans. In the first verse of the twelfth chapter, Paul writes, I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. One of the common observations of this verse is that it refers to the practice of our daily lives as worship. That is, when we as believers live in such a way that we are a holy, living sacrifice to God, we worship God. Now if there is a sense in which all that we do, when done for God and his glory, is worship to God, then when we gather as God’s people explicitly for worship, that must especially be worship. Other New Testament passages make this very point (for example, see Col 3:16-17; 1 Cor 5; 14:16; 16:1-2; 1 Tim 2:1-2; Heb 10:24-25). But my interest is in another point that Paul makes in this verse. On the basis of God’s abundant mercies, we should give ourselves to God in consecrated living. In Exod 3, we have seen ample evidence of God’s mercy to his people and to Moses. Now God calls Moses to serve him in leading the people of Israel out of Egypt. When God calls us to do the impossible, we should give ourselves over to this task. We should consecrate ourselves to do whatever he asks us to do. For a few of us, that will be in “full time vocational ministry.” For the majority of God’s people, our response to God’s calling will be in some other realm of life. No matter what, however, it is an act of worship when we, out of the great depths of God’s kindness to us, give ourselves to live and work for him.
In the prayer service, we will recap some of the themes on prayer that we learned from the book of Acts. The main hymn we’ll be learning in the month of February is Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending.
Remember that, this week, instead of Sunday School, we will have a special quarterly service dedicated to Communion following the fellowship meal.
The sermon in the morning worship service this Lord’s Day looks at the Lord’s call of Moses to lead his people out of Egypt. Though none of us have Moses’ calling (his particular calling is one in a trillion), there do remain tasks and callings that God gives to each one of us to fulfill (1 Cor 7:24). Our responsibility in that calling is to answer with “yes,” and serve God to the best of our ability, trusting him that he will do through us what he has willed to accomplish through us. The reason we can respond this way to serving God is because of who he is as our God. These are some of the great lessons of Exodus 3:10-15, a passage that draws our eyes away from who we are and puts God and his essential nature on glorious display before our believing hearts. We these themes in view, here is our service order for this coming Lord’s Day (note to the wise: make sure you have a “blue hymnal” handy this Sunday):
Call to Worship: Romans 12:1
Hymn 17 [Blue] Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Congregational Reading: Psalm 52:1-3, 5, 8-9
Doxology: Gloria Patri, Red 436
Hymn [Insert] Hail! Thou Once-Despised Jesus!
Hymn 189 [Red] The Eyes of All upon Thee Wait
Scripture Reading: Exodus 2 & Colossians 4:7-18
Hymn 268 [Blue] How Firm a Foundation I chose this hymn for this service largely because of the second verse. In Exod 3:12, God responds to Moses’s question, “Who am I,” with a resounding reply: “But I will be with you.” This great and precious promise of Scripture appears not only here, but in many other texts as well. The hymn writer John Rippon captures this theme so well in this hymn: Fear not, I am with thee—O be not dismayed, for I am thy God, I will still give thee aid; I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, upheld by my gracious, omnipotent hand. Never let the weightiness of these words become numb to you. God is with us. As Jesus said, Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Whether God has called us as professors or plumbers, whether we’re wives or widows, what we can be assured of is that in that calling God is with those who are believers in Jesus Christ.
Sermon: The Sacred Name from Exodus 3:10-15
Hymn 317 [Blue] A Charge to Keep I Have