Thursday, May 1, 2014

Emmaus City Liturgy | Sunday, April 27, 2014 – Covenant & Kingdom IV: God Blesses Again

Emmaus City Church Liturgy Covenant and Kingdom First Sermon Series Part 4 Worcester MA Acts 29 Soma Missional Communities


Emmaus City Liturgy – Celebrating Jesus and Being Part of His Story

For previous liturgies, click on the links below:

These posts will feature the themes, verses, hymns and songs (audio and lyrics), and prayers we enjoy together each Sabbath gathering. Key notes from the sermons will also be included.

Curious to know more? Want to spend some time with us? Don't hesitate. Contact us and come join us. In the meantime, enjoy the readings and listening to the songs below.


Celebration Moment 

Welcome and The Lord’s Prayer
From Jesus in Matthew 6:9-13

Our Father in heaven, may Your name be kept holy.
May Your Kingdom come, may Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need, and 
Forgive us our sins as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from evil.
(For Yours is the Kingdom, the power and the glory forever. Amen.)


Come Thou fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace!
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above.
I'll praise the mount, I'm fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer hither by Thy help I come.
And I hope by Thy good pleasure safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wandering from the fold of God!
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander Lord I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love!
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above!

I am bound for the kingdom, wonʼt you come with me?
Hallelujah, we sing!


 God with Us // Covenant and Kingdom IV
  God Blesses Again

Scripture Reading

Genesis 1:28
Genesis 9:1, 7
Genesis 12:1-10


After the three terrible episodes of human fallenness in Genesis 3-11:

  • The falling away from trusting God of Adam and Eve in the Garden
  • The sinfully destructive generation that began with Cain and concluded with the flood
  • And the sinfully constructive generation of Babel

God still keeps coming with blessings, one for the many, so that people from every tribe, tongue, and nation will be blessed.

1) Covenant (Relationship): God blesses to bring life where there is no life 

" ... it is precisely the barren woman who comes to represent the one on whom God's true blessing rests. God delights to work out his redemptive purposes through those whom the world deems weak and helpless, unable to contribute meaningfully to society. Such people are often the only ones humble enough to be open to God and His mighty purposes of grace. ... "Abraham had no child but was promised a family. He had no soil to cultivate but was promised a land. He was promised blessing, but he experienced famine in the land. He lived with promise but experienced only toil upon the earth the Lord had cursed (5:29). In short, Abraham was forced into dependent trust in the Lord. Then as now, it is in the crucible of life, when all hope seems to have fled, that the path is cleared for God to work supernaturally. It is precisely at the moment when we despair and think we have nothing to offer the Lord, that he works on our hearts and through our lives." Willem VanGemeren 

Where do we find emptiness? Where do we see areas in our lives where there is no hope? Where do we shut off the possibility of God to work? Because here is the God who takes dead things and brings them to life. Here is the God who takes barren people and fills them up with His Word and His Spirit and tells them to go to places they've never seen and trust that He'll be with them to bless others.

2) Kingdom (Responsibility): God blesses to invite us to join Him in providing glimpses of the reverse of the curse

"The fivefold repetition of the word 'bless' is deliberately set in opposition to the fivefold occurrence of the word 'curse' in Genesis 1-11. God's curse or judgment on humankind has meant their loss of freedom (3:14-16), their alienation from the soil (3:17-19), their estrangement from one another (4:11), and their moral and spiritual degredation (9:25). The repetition of 'bless' in Genesis 12:1-3 declares that through Abraham, God is at work to reverse the effect of judgment on his creation. Though sin has brought God's curse on creation, God is still at work to recover his purpose of blessing for all that he has made, and Abraham is to be the medium of divine restoration for the whole world."
Craig Bartholomew and Michael K. Goheen, The Drama of Scripture

" ...  God's people are a 'so that' people; they are chosen 'so that' they might know God's salvation and then invite all nations into it. ... Thus Abraham, his family, and the nation that will issue from him are chosen to participate in God's mission: to enjoy God's redemptive blessing and to walk in the way of the Lord 'so that' the nations might participate in that blessing." Michael K. Goheen, A Light to the Nations 

God gives us His promise to bring restoration. Sin and death do not defeat us with this God. He has a better vision. But we will be faced with barrenness and famine that will help us keep our reliance and dependence on Him to do only what He can do. Because when He shows up, His plans blow our expectations out of the water.
3) Covenant and Kingdom: God blesses us to keep us focused on His promises rather than our circumstances

“The incidents featuring Egypt and Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 12 – 14, which can be so quickly passed over as we read Genesis, and the records of the wandering of Abram and Saria reveal a world full of danger where alliances with chieftains were the only means of securing peace and protection. It is difficult for us to comprehend how insecure the world was for them. In most places there was no civil law – no protection of person or property. Without the presence of strong allies, individuals and their households, however numerous, would quickly fall prey to others. The only option for security were either to live in (or near) the newly emerging walled cities of the region or to make Covenants with others ensuring mutual protection and support. We know a Covenant was much more than a simple friendship because a Covenant entailed two groups (families, households, tribes) actually becoming one." Mike Breen
There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God’s commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of Almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Being the sent family of God will require that we trust in the God who is bigger than our circumstances. He was made a way for us to experience His resurrection life. Will we turn to Him, moving from unbelief to belief in what only He can do? Or will we keep striving in our own strength or give up because our vision is only about how far we can take ourselves?

Or will we listen to the one who says, "Go" and trust that He is almighty and worthy of our obedience and faith?


In Genesis 14, Abram meets with Melchizedek, king of Salem. Melchizedek offered Abram a meal – always a sign of friendship in the world – of bread and wine. Then, following the convention of the day in combining priesthood and Kingship, Melchizedek blessed Abram. Abram responded by giving one tenth of his property to Melchizedek. 

In Hebrews 7:1-4, 27, the author writes, “For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever. ... He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for His own sins and then for those of the people, since He did this once for all when He offered up Himself." 

Jesus meets us in the journey and battle of life and offers us restoration at His table so that we will be strengthened to go in His name again to make disciples in our neighborhoods and city.

(Read Emmaus City's Purpose and Prayers for Communion)

If You say go, we will go.
If You say wait, we will wait.
If You say step out on the water,
And they say it can't be done,
We'll fix our eyes on You and we will come.

Your ways are higher than our ways,
And the plans that You have laid
Are good and true.
If You call us to the fire,
You will not withdraw Your hand.
We'll gaze into the flames and look for You.

Your presence is all I’m longing for
Here in the secret place.
Your nearness is all I’m waiting for here in the quiet place,
Here in the secret place.

My soul waits for You alone
Like the watchmen wait for dawn.
Here I’ve finally found the place
Where we’ll meet, Lord, face to face.

I’ve finally found where I belong,
I’ve finally found where I belong, In Your presence.
I’ve finally found where I belong,
To be with You, to be with You.

I am my Beloved’s and He is mine,
So come into Your garden and take delight in me,
Take delight in me.
Delight in me, delight in me.

Here in Your presence, God, I find my rest. 
Here in Your presence, God.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul!
Worship His holy name!
Sing like never before, O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name!

The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning.
It's time to sing Your song again.
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me,
Let me be singing when the evening comes! 

You're rich in love, and You're slow to anger!
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind!
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find! 

And on that day when my strength is failing,
The end draws near and my time has come.
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore!

 2008 A.D.

Joining the mission of God,
 we are sent
 with the gospel of the kingdom 
to call everyone to know and follow Christ
 and to proclaim to all
 the assurance that in the name of Jesus 
there is forgiveness of sin
 and new life for all who repent and believe.
The Spirit calls us 
to embrace God’s mission 
in our neighborhoods
 and in the world:
 to feed the hungry,
 bring water to the thirsty,
 welcome the stranger,
 clothe the naked,
 care for the sick,
 and free the prisoner.
 We repent of leaving this work to a few,
 for this mission is central to our being.

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26
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