Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, April 26, 2015

In history whole people groups have hated others for no reason. It may have begun with a simple annoyance, but eventually the hatred that people feel for others has no rationale. The nazis come to mind in their hatred of the Jews during World War 2 and racism comes to mind in America when many racist hated African Americans in the middle of the 20th century. In these situations you could take a random Nazi or racist from America and they would tell you that they hated the Jews or African Americans simply because of who they were. The oppression and injustice suffered by Jews and African Americans during these time periods was great. 

When we look to the Church throughout the last two millennia we have been hated and oppressed by an enemy that simply hates us for who we are. Granted the church has seen relative times of peace throughout its history such as the American church in the 20th century. However, fundamentally the world will always hate the church because it first hated our Lord. As Christians we are belong to a people group that is directly identified with our King, the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore the world will always hate us because of who we are. As the persecutions of Christians begins to be picked up more and more by the national and global media we can begin to fret as the church. Not only are we worried for our brothers and sisters around the world, especially those in ISIS controlled areas, but we look at the state of our country here in the United States. The peace and worldly security we have for the most part enjoyed for the majority of our country’s history has begun to unravel. 

As these situations of Christian persecution and even the threat of persecution escalates we can begin to feel as though our enemy is gaining ground and surrounding us from all angles. When we look upon the situation with our eyes we can grow in fear, but by faith we can trust the Lord  that he will deliver us from the hands of our enemies. A great illustration of this is the story of the Exodus. When the Israelites had come upon the Red Sea Pharaohs army pursued them and cornered them against the sea. Miraculously the Lord opened up the Red Sea and delivered them from the hands of their enemies. To the eyes of the Egyptians it looked as if they had the Israelites in their hands, but the Lord delivered his people. When we look to our enemies we should have a hope that God will do something just as miraculous. We should not only hope that he would save us from embarrassment or persecution because that may not be the case, but he may use the persecution that we go through to grow us and mature us in the faith or he may even use the persecution to be a witness to others so that they turn to him in saving faith. We know that God works out all things for his glory and for the good of those that love him. This is his promise, therefore we can seek to be faithful in the midst of trial and we can seek to love those who hate us because the Lord has already delivered us from our greatest enemies of sin and death. 

THE WORD

Scripture: 1 Samuel 18:1-30
Sermon: God Protects His Chosen

SONGS

Forever (Chris Tomlin)
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Isaiah 43
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Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken (arr. Indelible Grace)
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All Must Be Well (arr. Matthew Smith)
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Song of Preparation: Whom Shall I Fear  (arr. Chris Tomlin)
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Song of Response: O God, Our Help in Ages Past (arr. Traditional)
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