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I love having missionaries at First Baptist Church. There is several reasons for this. For instance, pastors need to hear preaching too. I personally look forward to hearing from men of God as they exposit and apply the Word of God to me. Second, hosting missionaries (in the interest of full disclosure) gives me a nice break from my normal responsibilities. I can get ahead and do some much need administrative tasks. Finally, missionaries hold up for us the vital importance of evangelism and missions work. We not only see what God is doing through them in other parts of the world, but we also will be challenged in our own work of evangelism here in Granite Falls. We will hear again of the importance of serving Christ in other parts of the world.
Given the Eads presence, the worship service this Sunday focuses on making the saving work of Christ known. So I have selected for our call to worship Psalm 117. It’s the shortest Psalm in Scripture, but in its brief lines the Psalmist powerfully calls for all nations to praise Yahweh: Praise the LORD, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD! In this Psalm, the nations are called to glorify the Yahweh, the covenant God of Israel, because of his saving grace to his people. As we gather together for worship this Sunday, we do this very thing. We will praise the Lord because we have seen firsthand in Christ Jesus, the Son of God, that he is a gracious and saving and faithful God.
In the prayer service, we’ll look one final time at Nehemiah’s prayer for success. The service will begin with the hymn, “Thou Hidden Source of Calm Repose” (Red 376).
Dan Eads’s sermon is from 1 Peter 3. He has entitled it “Why Don’t We Witness?” He explains that the theme of the message is, “overcoming fear in evangelism, dealing with antagonism to our faith.” As you prepare, there’s really no better place to start than meditating on the passage itself. But first consider the words of the 17th century British theologian John Owen to ministers, which I think applies in a certain respect to us all: “Ministers are seldom honored with success, unless they are continually aiming at the conversion of sinners.” Now, read carefully and consider the text that will be before us this coming Lord’s Day:
8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For
“Whoever desires to love life
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit;
11 let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. (ESV)
This is the actual order of service:
Call to Worship: Psalm 117
Hymn 63 [Gray] Praise Ye the Father
Congregational Reading: Psalm 116:12-19
Hymn 293 [Red] Crown Him with Many Crowns
Ministry of Music: “Cast Thy Burden upon the Lord”
Scripture Reading: Exodus 40:16-38 & Revelation 12
Hymn 315 [Red] O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing This hymn is an exuberant text by Charles Wesley extolling the glory of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. It is certainly all about praise. Knowing that our solitary mouth is not enough to praise rightly our glorious Savior, we pray for a thousand tongues to go about this task properly! But I think the hymn is also about evangelism. Consider the second stanza: My gracious Master and my God, assist me to proclaim, to spread through all the earth abroad the honors of Thy name. The third stanza speaks of Christ who is music in the sinner’s ears. The fourth proclaims how Christ’s blood can make the foulest clean, and the fifth stanza tells how in hearing Christ’s voice new life the dead receive. This certainly describes well us in our state apart from Christ. But it is also reminds us of the power of the gospel of Christ to bring sinners to God.
Sermon: Why Don’t We Witness? from 1 Peter 3:8-17
Hymn 243 [Gray] Take My Life
During the Sunday School hour, Dan Eads will update us on God’s powerful working through the Word of God in Tanzania.