November 15, 2020
We’re in week 11 of Matthew, and our topic this week is “Jesus & the Good Father” taken from Matthew 7:7–11.
We’re also just two Sundays away from the start of Advent on Sunday, November 29. Our series this year will be called Echoes of a Voice, focusing on paying attention to our haunted longings as we look to Jesus for their fulfillment. One of the ways we’re making space for this in this season is by hitting “pause” in a handful of ways: reflections on longings through the tradition of the Advent wreath, guided prayer, and guided fasting. We have a free guide for families and individuals that you can request a copy of here. We’ll send those out next Sunday, November 22 (or you can just pick one up at an in-person service).
Here’s how you can prepare for this Sunday:
1. Read our text, Matthew 7:7–11.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”
Jesus’ teaching here is simple and profound, but for various reasons it becomes much more complex in the experience of most of His followers. At the heart of it, He is encouraging His followers to lean into their identity as beloved children of God, and to trust that their heavenly Father loves them deeply and delights to give good gifts to those who ask Him. As simple as this is to describe, it’s complicated by our own experience. For many, it can be hard to relate to God as a good and generous Father because their experience with their own parents was not reflective of that kind of generous love. Jesus acknowledges this reality by saying that if even “evil” parents still generally seek to provide for their children, how much more will our heavenly Father give good things to His children. In our journey toward mature faith we are invited and encouraged to continually approach God with boldness as beloved children. Over time, we learn to value what He values and to trust that He always provides what is good for us, even when it doesn’t make sense from our vantage point. How can we be sure? Because if “He did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).
2. Read, pray, and sing through the service:
Don’t use Spotify? Click the song title below to see song on YouTube.
CALL TO WORSHIP: Psalm 139:1–2, 7–10
O LORD, You have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You discern my thoughts from afar.
Where shall I go from Your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, You are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there Your hand shall lead me,
and Your right hand shall hold me.
Heart Won’t Stop (John Mark McMillan)
CONFESSION OF SIN: Based on Matthew 7:7–11:
Jesus, You said, “Ask and it will be given to you,” and yet we do not ask. Forgive us for not coming to You and believing that You are kind enough to receive us and powerful enough to provide what we need.
You said, “Seek and you will find,” and yet we do not seek. Our restless hearts are slow to turn to You and seek You, our true home. Forgive us for seeking other things first.
You say, “Knock and it will be opened to you” and yet we do not knock. We ignore the open invitation to simply come and enjoy a life of communion with You. Forgive us for pounding on other doors but leaving Your door untouched.
Our Father in heaven, You say You give good gifts to those who ask. While we believe, help our unbelief!
ASSURANCE OF PARDON: 1 John 3:1
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.
How Deep The Father’s Love For Us (Stuart Townend, Charlie Hall arr. Chichi Agorom, The Christian Year)
PASSING THE PEACE
(Click to Read)
When we’ve met as a large group on Sundays, we’ve always had a time of greeting one another after singing. Many churches call this time “passing the peace.” In some church traditions, one person will say to another, “The peace of Christ be with you” to which the other person responds, “And also with you.”
While potentially unfamiliar for some, we felt that “passing the peace” during greeting times at home could be a powerful act in this age marked by very little external peace. In Isaiah 9, Jesus is described as the Prince of Peace. He wants His kingdom to be marked by this very peace! We want to “pass” to one another this peace that only Jesus can give, especially at a time like this.
It might feel a bit cheesy, but we encourage you to actually pray the peace of God over each other during our times. We encourage you to look into each other’s eyes as you say, “The peace of Christ be with you!” and have others respond with, “And also with you.” Be open-hearted to Jesus, asking Him to fill you with His peace.
SERMON & COMMUNION
Goodness of God (Cash, Fielding, Ingram, Johnson, Johnson)