Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, May 4

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, May 4

The current cultural climate in the United States has an uneasy fascination with war. In some sense, many Americans are very tired of war. The specter of nine years of military intervention in Iraq and the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan haunt even the most ardent warhawk. More than a decade of sending troops to the Middle East has turned culture-at-large against the idea of US involvement abroad. This can be seen in the current administration’s repeated and emphatic “No!” to any questions concerning the military support of Ukrainian resistance to Russian encroachment. They are simply mirroring the thoughts of a war-weary nation.

Despite this, America can’t take it’s mind off war. It is the topic of our best-selling books, top-grossing video games, and blockbuster movies. Despite our weariness with the reality of war, we are engrossed with the fantasy and drama of it. We groan at the  thought of sending more young soldiers to mountains of Afghanistan but we don’t hesitate to reenact it while playing Call of Duty on the Xbox. War has become the car-wreck that the American psyche can’t help but rubber-neck.

If we are honest, we often treat sin in the same way. We feel the effects of sin and are wearied by them. Death, sickness, broken relationships, and addiction send us into lamentation over sin’s cruelty. However, we are tempted to return to it. Though put-off by the reality of sin, we are drawn into the fantasy of it and the joy, pleasure, and security we think our pet sins will provide. Though we see the damage of this cancer of the soul we put off treatment so as to pretend it won’t hurt us and we can go on with our lives.

In this sermon series we have looked at the Kingdom of God through the lens of Luke’s gospel. Of course, speaking of a kingdom presupposes a king.  This Sunday we see that Jesus is this king and that He came to make war. Throughout his life, Jesus rolled back the effects of the curse of Satan’s rule as a rightful King fights to reclaim his throne. And, as we remembered during Easter, the death knell to the dominion of sin was Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Because we are His people, we are to follow after Jesus in doing war with sin. We do not give into its fantasy but instead fight its reality. Just as we follow after our King in this war, we emulate the posture this warrior took of a suffering servant, knowing that our true reward comes not in temporal pleasures, but when we are finally granted at our battle’s end to be in His presence for eternity.

THE WORD

Scripture: Luke 17:1-37
Sermon: Join The King’s War On Sin

SONGS

A Mighty Fortress is Our God (arr. Traditional)
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Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken (arr. Indelible Grace)
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For All the Saints (arr. Indelible Grace)
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Song of Preparation: In the Hours  (arr. Indelible Grace)
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Song of Response: Lead On King Eternal (arr. Indelible Grace)
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QUESTIONS

1.Have you ever been tempted to sin by the actions of someone else? What about their actions tempted you? Are there certain areas or habits in your life in which you may tempt others to sin? How might you fight that and instead encourage others towards holiness?

2.Quickly take an inventory of the ways in which God has blessed you this month. Are you more frequently grateful to God for these blessings or quick to complain about what He hasn’t given you? How might you engender gratefulness to God in your daily life?

3.Are there certain habitual sins in your life that you have neglected to combat? How does scripture speak to the necessity of fighting for holiness and what encouragement does it offer?

THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM

Baptism is a sacrament which signifies and seals God’s covenant promise to be a Father to His own and to their children. It visibly represents the way this promise is carried out in the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the life of those in whom the promise is fulfilled. It is a sacrament which belongs to any in whom there is reason to assume that the promise is being fulfilled, that is, on any professing their faith or setting up a household of faith. We believe that baptism belongs to the children of believers when a household of faith is set up and the conditions of prayer and worship are met. These bring evidence of the Holy Spirit’s presence in the hearts of children as well as in the hearts of their believing parents. Because we have visible as well as historical evidence that in a Christian home children may grow in the true nurture and admonition of the Lord, we believe that the sign and seal of the Lord’s presence (Baptism) belongs to such children.”

               – Rev. Dr. G. Aiken Taylor

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