Friday, August 8, 2014

Emmaus City Liturgy | Sundays, July 27 & August 10, 2014 – Facets of the Gospel III: Union in Christ

Emmaus City Facets of the Gospel Union in Christ Sermon Series 2014 Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 Network of Missional Communities Christian Reformed Church


Emmaus City Liturgy – Facets of the Gospel III: Union in Christ

For previous sermon series notes, click on the links below:

The following post is unique in that I was a guest preacher when I preached on Union in Christ at Belmont A.M.E. Zion in Worcester, MA on Sunday, July 27, and I will be sharing a similar message at Redemption Hill in Lewiston, ME this Sunday, August 10. So this post will feature themes, verses, hymns and songs (audio and lyrics), and prayers that complement the sermon text, but were not necessarily part of the liturgies at both churches. 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.


 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.) 

Show Us Christ
By Sovereign Grace Music
2011 A.D.



Prepare our hearts, O God.
Help us to receive.
Break the hard
And stony ground.
Help our unbelief.
Plant Your Word
Down deep in us.
Cause it to bear fruit.
Open up our ears to hear.
Lead us in Your truth. 

Show us Christ. (2x)
O God, reveal Your glory
Through the preaching
Of Your Word
Until every heart confesses
Christ is Lord. 

Your Word is living light
Upon our darkened eyes,
Guards us through temptations,
Makes the simple wise.
Your Word is food
For famished ones,
Freedom for the slave,
Riches for the needy soul,
Come speak to us today. 
(Repeat Chorus) 

Where else can we go, Lord?
Where else can we go?
You have the words
Of eternal life. (4x) 
(Repeat Chorus)


Facets of the Gospel III // Union in Christ

Scripture Reading 

"I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in Him in all speech and all knowledgeeven as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you — so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord." 1 Corinthians 1:4-9


How many times does the New Testament use the words “in Christ”? 225+ = The expression "in Christ" (en Christo, en kyrio, en Christo Iesou, en auto etc.) occurs more than 200 times in the Pauline letters and more than 25 times in the John’s writings. Eastern Orthodox theology emphasizes the Incarnation as the starting point for our union with Christ. "In Christ God becomes one with us in order to make us one with Him; He stooped to take our nature, in order that we might be restored to become partakers of His nature."

1) Understanding Our Union in Christ | For you individually Are you uniting with Jesus in finding your identity and security in Him? 

Right from the very beginning, Paul is explaining to us that the way in which we deal with all the pride, and problems, and divisions, and sins in our own lives, in the church, and in our city, is remembering that the baseline truth about us is that, not just that we are struggling and striving to live in a city, but that we are living out our life with Jesus as those who are in Christ as His Church. We are driven by the fact that we are in the Lord Jesus and He is with us in this together.

Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ // Romans 6:5-11

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Apart from our union with Christ every effort to imitate Christ, no matter how noble and inspired at the outset, inevitably leads to legalism and spiritual defeat. But once you understand the doctrine of union with Christ, you see that God doesn’t ask us to attain to what we’re not. He only calls us to accomplish what already is. The pursuit of holiness is not a quixotic effort to do just what Jesus did. It’s the fight to live out the life that has already been made alive in Christ. If I had to summarize New Testament ethics in one sentence, here’s how I would put it: be who you are.” – Kevin DeYoung

Hidden with Christ in God // Colossians 3:1-4
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Jesus lives in you // Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 

"One man or woman may have a greater faith than another, but no one has a greater Christ than another.

  • Where do you hide when your life doesn't turn out the way you thought? Do you pull away into your own thoughts and judgments? Do you turn to joining in being with others who provide comfort and escape? Or do you turn to resting in Jesus and what He has done to join with you, providing righteous judgment ("It is finished.") and holy comfort ("I will send You another Comforter")?
  • What does it look like for you to be to be dead to one thing and alive to another?
  • How could seeing your life hidden with a loving God who not only gives you value and saves you from self-focused judgment, but also is with you, shaping how you see everything, including yourself?  

2) Understanding Our Union in Christ | For Jesus' Church Are you uniting with Jesus in loving His bride?

Christ and His Church // Ephesians 5:25-32
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

"Although there are many metaphors in the Bible for our union with Christ (vine and branches (John 15), body and members (1 Corinthians 12), foundation and building (1 Peter 2), they all point to one reality – our marriage with Christ. In eternity we will not be branches or a building or members; we will be a bride at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb." Elyse Fitzpatrick

But do we love Jesus’ bride? Do we love that we are His and He is ours? Do we show that we are His by how we love one another?

Jesus Love in Us // 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

"If we really hope for the kingdom of God, then we can also endure the Church in its pettiness." – Karl Barth

Christ Brings His Church Together by the Spirit // Ephesians 2:11-22

11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

"Nothing heals like the awareness that God’s love is large enough to embrace a church full of misguided failures, among whom I will ever be numbered." – Andrew Byers

  • If you are a follower of Jesus, how are you cherishing and nourishing who He loves? 
  • Do you see why you would to go to His Word in order to participate in what Jesus' is doing so that you can see His Church washed clean? 
  • How would you ask God to participate with His Spirit in being united to Jesus with His Church, as well as being built up with her?

3) Understanding Our Union in Christ | For our neighbors and our city Are you uniting with Jesus in joining His mission? 

“We need to go backwards to what Christ has done to go forwards into what we are to do.”

Christ’s Example of Humility Toward Others // Philippians 2:1-13

if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

"'Nothing good of the Spirit ever comes naturally or easily.' The missional push and incarnational way of giving your life for others sound really nice, but the reality is that living this way means you don’t get what your flesh wants. You don’t get to keep all the money. You don’t get to do whatever you want with your time. You have to share your house, your stuff, your money, your kids. You have to exchange your ambitions for God's, your kingdom for his, and you must be available for God to interrupt your nicely scheduled day with needs that will cause you to pull your hair out. The principle is indisputable: the great things of God cost us our life. The more missional you want to be, the more incarnational you’re willing to be, the more you release your people out into the world, the more you desire to equip and empower young leaders, the more effective and faithful you want your church to be … the more you’ll have to die to your self." – Hugh Halter and Matt Smay

Jesus in Us for the Glory of God // John 17:15-23, 26
I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. … I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them." 

Christ's work impacts us, and our oneness with Him in all that He has accomplished transforms our identity and life so that we can faithfully and courageously pursues others in love and hope with Him so that many more will know what they could have in Him. All the blessings of God are bestowed upon us when we are in Him and He is in us.

Benefits of Union with Christ:

  • In Jesus, we are given His infinite worth through His redemption and taken out of our slavery and idolatry
  • In Jesus, we are given His perfect righteousness by faith so there is no more condemnation from God or others
  • In Jesus, we can rest in dying knowing He will make us alive so that we are freed from the laws of nature and death
  • In Jesus, we receive the Father’s love and blessed assurance of infinite approval and acceptance
  • In Jesus, we are God’s dwelling place with His Church because He has given us His Holy Spirit to make us more like Jesus together
  • In Jesus, we are given the ability to overcome and persevere when life is hard because we know we are never alone
  • What blessing above would or does mean the most to you? 
  • Would you be willing to pray to better understand what it would mean to see how Jesus might live through you? 
  • How could better understanding how God works in you and through you to accomplish what Jesus has come to do embolden you to share His good news with others?

In My Place
By Village Church Music

2011 A.D.

In my place, 
He stood condemned.
He who knew no sin
Became sin for us
That we might become
His righteousness. 

Bearing all my sin and shame,
The punishment and blame.
He conquered the grave
That we might become
The heirs of grace. 

In my place, Jesus died,
The spotless Lamb
Laid down His life.
The wrath of God was satisfied.
In my place, Jesus died.
(Repeat Verses 1 and 2, Chorus) 

 Nail pierced hands, bleeding side,
His body bruised, my God crucified.
A crown of thorns, dying cries,
His flesh was torn,
My God crucified. 

Hallelujah, what a Savior! (4x) 
(Repeat Chorus)   
2013 A.D.

Once my heart was lost, tangled deep in sin
Wandering far from grace, and veiled in shame;
Yet with boundless love You have brought me home.
Now my greatest prize: to know Your name.

Knowing You, Jesus, only You
There is no greater aim.
In Your presence here my joy is found.
There is no higher gain!

Oh my soul cries out just to know You more
To be fettered by unfailing love.
Though the fires may flash, mighty thunders roar
Still my hope’s secure in Christ above.
(Chorus Repeat)

Your love is higher, Your glory brighter,
And my hope is set on You!
My greatest longing is found in knowing
That my hope is set on You!

May my life be steeped in unceasing praise
‘Til in death we’ll meet on heaven’s shore.
Oh that glorious day, ‘tis Your face I’ll see
And in Your arms I’ll sing forevermore.
(Chorus and Bridge Repeat)


Prayer of Mission 


"My the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." 2 Corinthians 13:14


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