December 2, 2018
We’re in week 13 of Ephesians and week one of the season of Advent. Advent (which includes the four Sundays leading up to Christmas) is a season of waiting and longing, designed to help us cultivate awareness of God’s actions—past, present, and future. While we hear the Messianic prophecies of old and reflect on how we have seen them fulfilled in Christ’s first coming, we also hear the prophecies of His second coming and cry out from our hearts for His return!
You can read more about the season of Advent here. Additionally, over at The Christian Year, we’ve recorded some songs and shared some prayers and artworks to help you prepare for the season and anticipate Christ’s coming.
Lastly, although we’ve started the season of Advent, we continue our series in the book of Ephesians. As our society continues a trend toward self-centered and superficial worldviews, where many have adopted a watered-down view of God that that leads them away from the glory they were made to enjoy. Ephesians shatters this diluted view of God by putting the weight of His glory in our faces in a way that is overwhelming and life-transforming. Here’s how you can prepare for this Sunday.
1. Read through our text, Ephesians 6:5–9.
Next in his letter, Paul draws out implications for institutions of labor. He calls the one who is employed to obey the employer with sincerity, just as they would for Christ Himself. This means far more than merely working when people are paying attention or working to get approval from others. The call is to receive one’s work as a responsibility given by God Himself and to do good work for the good of others in order honor God, knowing that He sees and will reward His children accordingly. Similarly, employers are to represent God in the way that they lead their employees, knowing that they too will give an account to the one Master in heaven who sees all and judges all without partiality.
2. Read, pray, and sing through the service:
CALL TO WORSHIP: From Psalm 130; The Apostles’ Creed:
I believe in God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth,
And in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate;
was crucified, dead and buried;
He descended into hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost;
I believe in the holy Catholic church;
the communion of saints;
The forgiveness of sins;
The resurrection of the body;
And the life everlasting.
Be Thou My Vision (Mary Elizabeth Byrne, Eleanor Henrietta Hull, Reuben Kendall, arr. Ascend The Hill)
Here Is Love (William Edwards, Robert S. Lowry, William Rees)
CONFESSION OF SIN: From Every Season Prayers by Scotty Smith:
Dear heavenly Father, as we begin the season of Advent,
we rejoice in the gift of Your Son, Jesus—
Immanuel, God with us and God for us.
Even as we trust in His finished work,
we long for the fullness of Jesus’ kingdom.
Until that day, grant us power to grow in the love of Christ.
For we are weak and foolishly prone
to look to people, places, and things to fill us up.
Grant us grace to mature in the likeness of Jesus.
For we are broken, and we cannot change our hearts,
left to our own resources.
Grant us joy in living to the praise of Your glory.
For we are deceived, and we spend too much energy
living for comfort and the approval of people.
Have mercy on us, O Lord; have mercy on me.
In Jesus’ loving and trustworthy name we pray.
O Come, O Come Emmanuel (John Neale, Henry Coffin, arr. Chichi Agorom, The Christian Year)
Oh God (Zach Bolen)
ASSURANCE OF PARDON: Romans 8:38–39
GREETING, SERMON, & COMMUNION
RESPONSE: Song & Prayer
This Is My Father’s World (Maltbie Davenport Babcock, arr. Gungor)
Before The Throne Of God (Charitie Lees Bancroft, arr. The Modern Post)