Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, December 7, 2014

The Christmas season is advertised as a season of giving. Ads manipulate our emotions to think that we are not giving enough to our family or friends. We sometimes give out of a sense of guilt and it can be taxing on us. Most of the children around this time are not really thinking at all of how to give, but are wondering what they are going to get. No one asks the elementary school classes “what are you going to give this Christmas season?” If we are honest some of us are more like children in this way. I sometimes use Christmas to get the things that I need but am too cheap to buy like socks or shoes. If we look at our heart we realize that it is sometimes more consumed with what we can get rather than what we can give. Our ‘getting’ is seen as something that brings us fulfillment and our ‘giving’ is something that only drains us of time, energy and money.

The true Christmas message of God sending his son into the world offers us something that is totally different. We have been given something, it is a free gift of God’s grace. As Christians who have trusted Christ for salvation, we have received the ultimate gift which is eternal life. The revolutionary thing about this life giving gift is that we are called to give it. The gospel is not something that we hold on to so that no one else ever knows about it. It is something that we share with others so that they also may receive it. The interesting thing is that the more we share it the more we, in a sense, enjoy it. As we share the Word of God with others the more the fire grows inside us. In the economy of sharing the good news there is still receiving, but once we have received it we can’t help but share it with others. 

This week as we hear about missions we can reflect on this economy of the gospel more clearly. We should reflect on our own hearts and how we desire for others to know about Christ. We should think about how we can share with family and friends that we know who are not Christians. Sharing the gospel with others either next door or around the world is not simply a duty, but is spiritually life giving and as Christians we can find fulfillment and joy in telling others of our savior. 

THE WORD

Scripture: Matthew 28:18-20
Sermon: Missions: Joy To The World

SONGS

Come to Us Emmanuel (arr. Ordinary Time)
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O Worship the King
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God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen (arr. Traditional)
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Thou Who Wast Rich (arr. Ordinary Time)
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Song of Preparation: Go Tell It On the Mountain (arr. Traditional)
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Song of Response: Joy To the World
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THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM

Now, however, realizing that baptism in the New was what circumcision was in the Old, the Jew of whom we are speaking, saved in the early days of the Christian era, would also know that, in the Old Testament, circumcision as a sign of personal faith was applied not only to the believer himself, but also to all the boy babies in the home.

In applying this sign to the boy babies in the Old Testament, circumcision was still primarily spiritual and not just national. The sign was applied not only to Isaac who was the sole representative of the racial blessing, but to Ishmael as well. Deuteronomy 30:6makes it plain that the circumcision of the child was primarily spiritual just as was the circumcision of the adult. “And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.”

The Jew living in the early New Testament days would know something further. He would know that in the Old Testament there were two great ordinances the Passover and Circumcision. I Corinthians 5:7, 8, as well as the fact that Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper at the time of the Passover meal, makes it plain that the Lord’s Supper took the place of the Passover. Colossians 2:1112 and the other facts which we have considered make it evident that baptism took the place of circumcision.

These things all being so, it would be impossible for the saved Jew not to expect that, as in the Old Testament the Covenant sign was applied to the believer’s child, so also the sign of his faith, baptism, should likewise be applied to his child. Why should he expect less in this dispensation of fullness than he would have possessed in the Old Testament era? ~ Francis Schaeffer

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