Getting Ready for Sunday :: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, September 2

Last Sunday, we finished our topical series on the church with a service on missions, and a sermon by Dr. Paul Taylor, the International Director for the Asia Pacific Region for Mission to the World. That sermon, along with the rest of the series can be found on Uptown’s Sermons page. This week we begin a new series on the book of Ruth called “God Provides a Redeemer For His People.” When we are lost in the struggles of daily life, particularly when tragedies strike, it is easy, almost automatic, to wonder if God still sees us or cares for us. We begin to doubt and fear that only blind circumstance rules our life. In the book of Ruth we are taught clearly that God, as our Redeemer, is not only aware of our sufferings, but that he is in the very midst of them, carefully weaving his tapestry of salvation through the Redeemer. Further, not only is God truly present for our redemption, but wonder of wonders, he works through all the joys and sorrows of our lives to even bring redemption to others.

THE WORD

Scripture: Ruth 1:1-7

Sermon: “Taking the Road Back to Bethlehem”

SONGS

Worship Leader: Jeremy D. Goodwyne

All Creatures of Our God and King (arr. David Crowder)
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Come Ye Sinners (arr. Matthew Smith)
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O Love That Will Not Let Me Go (arr. Chris Miner)
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In the Hour of Trial (arr. Jeremy D. Goodwyne)
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Offering: Marvelous Light
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Song of Response: Out of My Bondage, Sorrow and Night (arr. Greg Thompson)
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SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM

 As we once again are witness to the sacrament of baptism this Sunday, let’s be sure to remember our own baptisms. All the elements of public worship have both a corporate-ness and a personal-ness, and baptism is no exception. Scripture is clear that baptism is to occur to a believer only once, but this is not to say that once a Christian is baptized, they are through with that element. Every time we witness the sign and seal placed on a new covenantal member of Christ’s body, we should participate in this act of worship by remembering our own baptisms. According to tradition, the reformer Martin Luther, when he felt discouraged and oppressed by the Enemy, he would write or proclaim aloud the words “I am baptized!” and take new assurance in this thought. Here’s a brief reflection from J. I. Packer to consider as we prepare for Sunday:

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. ROMANS 6:3-4

Christian baptism, which has the form of a ceremonial washing (like John’s pre-Christian baptism), is a sign from God that signifies inward cleansing and remission of sins (Acts 22:16; 1 Cor. 6:11; Eph. 5:25-27), Spirit-wrought regeneration and new life (Titus 3:5), and the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit as God’s seal testifying and guaranteeing that one will be kept safe in Christ forever (1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 1:13-14). Baptism carries these meanings because first and fundamentally it signifies union with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection (Rom. 6:3-7; Col. 2:11-12); and this union with Christ is the source of every element in our salvation (1 John 5:11-12). Receiving the sign in faith assures the persons baptized that God’s gift of new life in Christ is freely given to them. At the same time, it commits them to live henceforth in a new way as committed disciples of Jesus. Baptism signifies a watershed point in a human life because it signifies a new-creational engrafting into Christ’s risen life.

Christ instructed his disciples to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19). This means that the covenant relation which baptism formally confers is one of acceptance by, communion with, and commitment to all three Persons of the Godhead. When Paul says that the Israelites were “baptized into Moses” (1 Cor. 10:2), he means that they were put under Moses’ control and direction. Thus, baptism into the name of the triune God signifies control and direction by God himself.

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