February 23, 2020
We’re in week five of Matthew, introducing John the Baptist and covering the baptism of Jesus—His journey “through the waters.”
Why are we in Matthew? The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the earliest biographies of Jesus, presenting Jesus not as a mere historical figure, but as “good news” for the world that should reshape every part of life. Here’s how you can prepare for this Sunday:
1. Read our text, Matthew 3:1–17.
“Prepare the road, clear out the obstacles, the King is coming back!” This was the cry of John the Baptist. Many in Israel had turned from the heart of God. The people were busy building religious systems and social structures that were distorting God’s instructions, harming God’s people, and tarnishing God’s name in the world. John’s mission was to prepare them for the return of the King. He called them to turn back to God and to experience washing and renewal through baptism in the Jordan River. Through this baptism, John was calling the people to remember the Exodus when God brought them out of slavery, through the waters, and into the promised land.
So when Jesus comes on the scene asking to be baptized by John, He’s not trying to obey some arbitrary law. He is leading a new people into a new Kingdom through a new work of liberation. It’s like a whole new Exodus. In the baptism of Jesus, God declares “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” This declaration of Fatherly love would encompass all who follow Jesus with repentance and faith.
2. Read, pray, and sing through the service:
CALL TO WORSHIP: Isaiah 40:3–5, Greeting:
To those who feel unprepared and scattered,
to those who feel on top of the world,
to those who don’t feel spiritual enough,
and to those who can’t see a way forward—
may you hear and respond to Jesus’ kind invitation today:
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Prepare The Way ( Louie Giglio, Charlie Hall)
Great Is The Lord (Joseph Pat Barrett, Daniel Bashta, Ben Smith) / Build My Life (Barrett, Kable, Martin, Redman, Younker)
CONFESSION OF SIN: From The Worship Sourcebook:
God of mercy, whose Son, Jesus Christ,
longs to gather us in the wide embrace of His love,
we confess that we have been wayward children.
We have disobeyed Your commands;
our ears have been deaf to Your call;
our hearts have been cold to Your love.
In thought, in word, and in deed,
we have hurt others and dishonored Your name.
In Your great mercy receive us yet again
as Your well-beloved children,
not because we are worthy but for the sake of Him
who loved us and gave Himself for us. Amen.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON: 1 Peter 3:18a
Way Maker (Osinachi Kalu Okoro Egbu)
GREETING, SERMON, RESPONSE & COMMUNION
I Am Loved (Jonathan Smith, Jason Ingram, Mack Brock) / Through and Through (Will Reagan)
Before The Throne Of God (Charitie Lees Bancroft arr. Citizens & Saints)