In the sermon this week, we will make a tough comparison with an unlikely person to hear about while studying Luke. It may be strange, but it will be powerful. Our music this week will focus on The power of God, to save, to redeem, to free, and to empower. His grace so amazing that He has bestowed on us, our need to keep our eyes focused on Him, and His holiness that compels us to bow before Him in awe. Lets look at the songs we will be using in worship this week.
This is Amazing Grace:
What amazes you most about God? Is it his creative power — massive mountains and tiny molecules and raging oceans and every single living thing? His justice, promising to punish every crime and eradicate every evil? Or is it his timelessness — never beginning and never ending?
John Piper has said that the apex — the highest and most brilliant point — of the glory of God is the grace of God. Out of all the amazing things there are to know and love about God — and there are an infinite number of things — God’s own word names grace as the greatest. Ephesians 1 says God works and saves for the praise of the glory of his grace.
This is amazing grace. If we’re not amazed by it, we haven’t understood it. If we’ve stopped being amazed by it, we’ve forgotten what it really means. Everything good we receive from a holy God is undeserved. But he didn’t stop at giving us good things. In love, God sacrificed his very own Son to adopt us and to shower us with the riches of his grace. This means we have something remarkable, stunning, extraordinary, indescribable, breath-taking — something amazing — to sing about for all eternity.
It is Well
Will your circumstances dictate your worship, or will your worship dictate your circumstances? This is one of the chief struggles of the Christian life and the central theme in the timeless hymn, “It is Well with My Soul” which we sang last week. This week we introduce a new song, based on the great old hymn. When you read passages like this one from Psalm 121 what does it stir up in you?
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills–From whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.”
Do you feel the weight of what the psalmist is saying? God is so concerned with you, He is so committed to your good, that the sun won’t even be able to shine on you unless He wants it to. He has so much power, and uses it all for our good and His glory.
Every time you have a worry, when you have to make a big decision, when things don’t go the way you think they should. Remember the opening line of this new song, “grander earth has quaked before” in other words, bigger fish have been fried, and although its hard, we can trust that the God of amazing grace will take care of us.
Holy Holy Holy:
There are a few hymns (a fancy word for songs) that have transcended time and have been left to us to sing today. To me, there aren’t many that provide quite such a compelling and power picture of God in all His holy splendor than Holy, Holy, Holy.
In 325 AD, Church leaders convened in the town of Nicaea in Bithynia to formulate a consensus of belief and practice amongst Christians. What resulted was the Nicene Creed, a document passed on through the ages as one of the pillars of church doctrine. The primary function of this creed was to establish a firm belief in the Trinity, countering the heresy of Arius, who believed that Jesus was not fully divine.
It was this creed that inspired Reginald Heber to write this great hymn of praise to the Triune God, with the intent that the hymn be sung before or after the creed was recited in a service, and on Trinity Sunday – eight weeks after Easter. The words evoke a sense of awe at the majesty of God, and call on all of creation – humans, saints and angels, and all living things – to praise the Godhead three-in-one.
As we sing this hymn together we look back at the hundreds of years of this hymn being sung by Christians around the world, and join with them to proclaim the truths in these words.
If you are a spotify user, you can use the player below to listen to these songs throughout your week so that you come prepared to do the work of worship.
It is my prayer that as we gather together this Sunday, we would glorify God, and be made more into the image of His Son. That is our greatest hope and desire. So prepare your hearts, by listening to these songs, by re-reading last week’s text, and praying prayers that maybe go like this:
“God of all grace, you have given us a holy responsibly to worship you in spirit and truth. Help me to be ready to receive Your words this week. Whether it be through the songs that I sing, that I truly learn to believe them and live like they are real to me, or it be through Your word preached, that I would be receptive to what you are teaching me, and teaching us, and would go and live it out. Help me be the change that You desire in the Chattahoochee Valley, and keep me from selfishly holding back my time and resources by only focusing on temporary things, but instead devote myself to the eternal. So that my neighbors, friends, family, and enemies would come to know the saving grace of King Jesus. Amen.”
I can’t wait to gather together with you this week, to worship God, and to fellowship with the gathered saints. I hope you feel the same.