Monday, July 21, 2014

Emmaus City Liturgy | Sunday, July 20, 2014 – Why We Should Love Jesus' Church and What She is For (Special)

Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 Christian Reformed Liturgy Sacred Journey Church Pastor Todd Murphy



For previous special Sunday liturgies, click on the links below:

This post will feature the themes, verses, sermon notes, and hymns and songs (audio and lyrics) we enjoyed together during this Sabbath gathering.

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.


 Welcome and Shared Moments of Celebration
  Prayer of Thanksgiving 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.) 


By Page CXVI (original by Thomas Ken) 

1674 A.D.


Praise God from whom all blessings flow. 
Praise Him all creatures here below. 
Praise Him above ye heavenly host. 
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Glory to Thee my God this night 
For all the blessings of the light.
Keep me, O keep me King of kings
Under the shadow of Thy wings.

Lord, let my soul forever share 
The bliss of Thy paternal care.
‘Tis heav’n on earth, ‘tis heav’n above 
To see Thy face and sing Thy love.
Amen, amen. (x4)


Why We Should Love Jesus' Church and What She is For

What does it mean to be a Christian? What do we mean when we say someone is "saved"?
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be My people." Jeremiah 31:31-33

Do we see ourselves as part of a people whom God has chosen to write His way of living on our hearts through the work of His Son and His Spirit so that we represent sent Him well as His family on earth?

What do we call God's new covenant people today? How do we recognize them?
Often, within the 21st century American church, we can take a post-Enlightenment philosophic route of recognizing it by ideas, doctrines, buildings, steeples, religious language, etc.

But, according to how Jesus discipled His followers and said He would build His Church, how should we recognize the Church according to how God sees her? Would it be more as an identity (i.e. in Christ as an adopted child in God's family) and as a way of life in following Jesus that impacts our humility, our attitudes, our service, our compassion, our holiness, our forgiveness, etc., so that we reflect the Way, the Truth, and the Life Jesus embodied? 

Why do you think the early Church leaders would write something like "extra ecclesium nulla salus outside of the Church there is no salvation"?
We know this statement can be taken to the extreme, but let's try to set aside our 21st century American prejudices for a moment. Imagine what it would be like to be a new Christian in the first or second century. You've chosen to follow Jesus and it is a calling on all of your life. In fact, your life may be taken because of it at any moment. Your family may have rejected you. Your occupation may no longer be available to you. How was joining with God's family a more holistic salvation in this time?

Now think for a moment if you have met anyone who you know that became a Christian without any connection to another Christian. Even in moments of God's special means of grace (i.e. a Muslim having a vision of Jesus) that we have heard of, that person then looks to be connected with the family of God. Recently, I heard a story of a tribal African leader who began to feel the conviction that the gods his tribe worshiped were idols and that there was only one true God. So he began a pilgrimage through the jungle and came upon a road where he met a man who had run out of gas. He asked the man, "Can you tell me about the one true God?" The man was a missionary of Jesus. God loves to use His Church and connect His family because He Himself is a family as Father, Son, and Spirit.

God inspired writers to record His story in the Scriptures so the good news will save and send His Church. God instituted the sacraments of baptism and communion to mark His Church. God gives His Holy Spirit to empower His Church. 

As God always has, He continues to work in and through His Church for His glory and to work His plan of redemption and salvation of His people.  

Why should we love the Church? Because Jesus came to save His Church.
"She will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). 

"Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the Church of God, which He obtained with His own blood" (Acts 20:28). 

Jesus gave careful attention to His Church and continues to care for her through His body and His Spirit because He redeemed her (i.e. bought her back) with His very own blood and saved His people from their sins. 

What does it look like to be Jesus' Church? 
"Jesus came and told His disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age"  (Matthew 28:18-20). 

If we, as Jesus' Church, follow His commands in appreciation of His love for us and with adoration in our love for Him, then we listen to what He says when He says go to others, make disciples, baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teach them how to obey all of Jesus commands, and trust Him when He says He will be with us through it all. 

What are the rhythms of Jesus' Church as they disciple? 
"All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer" (Acts 2:42).

Often, when we are asked to define Jesus' Church, we typically point to individualistic beliefs or ideas to provide definition instead of sharing about who Jesus is, and who the Church is together in Him, to define who we are and what we do because of Him. Based on passages throughout the Scriptures (ex. John 13:35, Acts 2:42), it is what we are devoted to doing for others and with others, and how we are doing these things (i.e. in love, we become disciples among others, make disciples with others, baptize others into name of family of God, pray together, fellowship together, eat together, partake of the sacraments together, teach each other how to obey everything Jesus commanded, pay careful attention to each other's lives, care for each other) in light of who we are in Jesus (i.e. family of God, body of Christ, temple of the Holy Spirit, community of learners) that defines His Church.

"By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35).

God has decided that the Good News of Jesus is for His Church, to His Church, and through His Church. The head of the Church, Jesus Himself, has determined that His body should be part of His work in extending God's love to others. He gave us His Spirit so that we would have the strength in our weakness to do this. He has called us to love His family in need of redemption as well as our enemies in need of redemption. One part of His body is not to forsake the other, but work together to build up His Church in strength and maturity according to means He has given us.

Here are three challenges for learning to live in the image and likeness of Jesus together as His body:

(1) Jesus loved and gave Himself for His Church – He sacrificed Himself and died for her. He calls us to do the same, but what does that look like to Jesus? 
"Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of His body, that is, the Church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all His energy that He powerfully works within me" (Colossians 1:24-29).

  • How do we suffer for the sake of Jesus' Church?
  • Do we rejoice that Jesus has called us to suffer for His Church?
  • What are we willing to do to present ourselves and others "everyone" as mature in Christ?

(2) Jesus will not forsake His Church so neither can we if we say we love Him. 
"Whoever has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him" (John 14:21). 

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left" (Hebrews 10:24-26).

  • Do we equate our love for Jesus with obeying Him?
  • Do we equate our love for Jesus with loving who He loves?
  • Do we consider that not sinning includes spurring on each other in Jesus' Church toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, and encouraging one another?

(3) Jesus is in the Church-building business, so if we follow Him and what He is doing, so are we. 
"And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18).

"So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church" (1 Corinthians 14:12).

"Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ" (Ephesians 4:11-13).

  • Do we believe Jesus will continue to make His Church strong enough to overcome the gates of hell?
  • Do we strive to excel in building up His Church (i.e. not slandering her, separating from her when it's convenient, or abandoning her) by the power of the Holy Spirit?
  • Do we consider that measuring up into the fullness of Jesus occurs in us when we work to build up Jesus' Church?

O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus 
By Enfield (originally by Samuel Trevor Francis) 
1875 A.D.


O the deep, deep love of Jesus
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean In its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me,
Is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward
To Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus
Spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth
Changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones
Died to call them all His own!
How for them He interceedeth
watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus
Love of every love the best!
'Tis an ocean vast a blessing
'Tis a haven sweet of rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus
’Tis a heaven of heavens to me!
And it lifts me up to glory
For it lifts me up to Thee!

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!


Apostles’ Creed
 390 A.D.

 I believe in God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, our Lord,
 Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried;
He descended to the dead.
The third day He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, And the life everlasting.

Prayer of Mission

Song of Benediction
 By Ike Ndolo (original by John Wesley Work II)
1901 A.D.


Wade in the water,
Wade in the water, children,
Wade in the water,
God’s going to trouble the water! (x2) 

See that man all dressed in white,
God's going to trouble the water!
The leader looks like the Israelite,
God's going to trouble the water!
(Chorus Repeat x2)

See that man all dressed in red,
God's going to trouble the water!
Looks like the band that Moses led,
God's going to trouble the water!
(Chorus Repeat x2)

If you don't believe I've been redeemed
God's going to trouble the water!
Just follow me down to Jordan's stream
God's going to trouble the water!
(Chorus Repeat x2)


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