March 27, 2020 | 0 Comments
Once again, I write praying that this letter finds you well and trusting the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. I’m writing to help you think through how to spend the coming Lord’s Day well. As the COVID-19 pestilence continues to rage, it strikes me that it is important for us to understand from the Bible why there is disorder, disease, decay, and death in our world. More than understanding this, we should hope that in Jesus Christ such devastation will one day be fully and finally overcome. To that end, I’ve developed a template for worship at home based upon Romans 8:18-25 where some of these matters are addressed. Please know that this is simply a suggested template for worship. You can take up portions of this template or all of it as you see fit.
Template for Sunday, March 29, 2020
Call to Worship: God through his Word calls us to worship him. Read Psalm 34:1-4.
Prayer of Invocation: Offer a brief prayer asking God to attend your worship.
Praise through Song: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (14)
Praise God through Prayer: Offer a prayer praising God for who he is and what he has done.
Scripture Reading: Genesis 3:1-19
Consider John Stott’s connection between Romans 8:18-25 and Genesis 3:1-19:
[T]he creation was subjected to frustration (20a). This reference to the past must surely be to the judgment of God, which fell on the natural order following Adam’s disobedience. The ground was cursed because of him. In consequence, it would ‘produce thorns and thistles’, so that Adam and his descendants would extract food from it only by ‘painful toil’ and sweat, until death claimed them and they returned to the dust from which they had been taken. Paul does not allude to these details. Instead, he sums up the result of God’s curse by the one-word mataiotēs, frustration [John R. W. Stott, The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World, The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 238–239.].
Confess Your Sin through Prayer: Offer a prayer of confession for anything the Lord has brought to mind in your reading of Genesis 3:1-19.
Scriptural Assurance of Pardon (for those who repent and believe): Read Psalm 130:7-8
Respond in Song: 'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus (411)
Give Thanks and Pray for Understanding of God’s Word: Offer a brief prayer of thanksgiving for what God has done in Jesus Christ. Also ask God, through his Holy Spirit to give you a mind, heart, and will to hear, understand, believe, and obey his Word.
Read and Reflect on God’s Word: Read Romans 8:18-25
Two options: Answer and discussion questions on the passage or listen to a sermon and discuss questions on the sermon (see below).
- Answer/Discuss the following questions:
- Are there any major sub-sections or breaks in the text? Are there key connecting words (for, therefore, but, because) that indicate the logical flow of the passage?
- What is the main point or points? What supporting points does the author make?
- What does this teach you about God?
- How could you sum up the meaning of this passage in your own words?
- What should you apply to your life from this passage?
- Something you should start doing
- Something you should stop doing
- Something you should pray about
- Something you should praise or thank God for
- Something you should repent of
- Something that you should believe
- What is something that you would like to share with an unbeliever from this passage?
- Listen to a sermon on the Text:
- Present Suffering/ Future Glory (Rom. 8:18-25) by Dr J. Ligon Duncan III
- Hope for Groaning Believers and a Groaning Creation (Rom. 8:18-25) by Thomas R Schreiner
- Why Do Christians Suffer (Rom. 8:18-30) by Chad Van Dixhoorn
- Discuss the Sermon:
- What was the point of the sermon (as a whole)?
- What were the points of the sermon?
- Where from the text was the gospel preached?
- How would you share the gospel with an unbeliever from the biblical text?
- What applications were made in the sermon?
- What application do you need to make in your life from the sermon?
- What applications were made to the church from the sermon?
- How does this sermon encourage us to trust, pray, and obey God?
Respond in Song: Joy to the World! The Lord is Come (87)
*Note verse 3:
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
nor thorns infest the ground;
he comes to make his blessings flow
far as the curse is found,
far as the curse is found,
far as, far as the curse is found.
Close in Prayer: Offer a brief prayer thanking God for what you have learned about him, salvation through Jesus, and how you ought to follow in faith.
Receive God’s Benediction: Read Jude 24-25
Reflect: Take some time and reflect on what God has taught you in this time.
These are some of the things that you can do to spend the coming Lord’s Day well. If you’re a part of the church’s Facebook Group, then maybe you could share an edifying reflection from your time of worship.
As I close, I commend to you contemplation on these words from David Gibson:
When you experience nostalgia, your heart is longing for a more beautiful person than you have ever met or a more beautiful place than you have ever known. You think you’re longing for the past, but the past was never as good as your mind is telling you it was…What is in fact pulling on your heartstrings is the future: it’s heaven; it’s your sense of home and belonging that has just cracked the surface of your life, for just a moment, and then is gone. This fits beautifully with the message of Ecclesiastes…God has placed eternity in our hearts. We’re built for home, for a place we cannot see yet, and so when we get that flashing moment of nostalgia, it’s like tiny pinpricks of that eternal home breaking through into our present life. Wise people who understand how God has made us to long for him and for heaven don’t look backward when they get nostalgic. They allow the feeling to point forward. They look up to heaven and to home. [David Gibson, Living Life Backward: How Ecclesiastes Teaches Us to Live in Light of the End (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017), 103.]
With love for Christ, longing to be with you all again, but a greater longing for glory,
For the elders of ABC,
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