Wednesday, September 14, 2016

1 Thessalonians Series: The History-Altering, World-Changing, Life-Transforming Gospel + Saturday, September 10, 2016

Welcome! Bienvenido! Akwaaba! Mirë se vjen! خوش آمدید

Bem-vindos! 歡迎光臨!
We have the privilege to love and serve this city as His Church – His family of servants and ambassadors – in multicultural communities who are learning how to humbly follow Jesus in every area of life, to graciously love our neighbors, and to generously serve our city for the glory of God and for the life of the world.

Emmaus City welcomes you and invites you to hear and respond to the gospel, the history-altering, world-changing, life-transforming good news that Jesus is King – our Savior, Healer, Redeemer, Reconciler, Champion, Friend – and that He is bringing the joy and justice of God's Kingdom to Worcester.

Bible Passages Acts 17:1-10; 1 Thessalonians 1


This church was still very young and in need of learning much about the gospel (1 Thess. 3:10). Yet word about what was going on in Thessalonica spread. Their “turn from idols” to worship God got the attention of a lot of people, even in a crowded religious marketplace. Thessalonian duties of all kinds were connected to a regional or patron deity. A group of people turning away from the gods of the Greco-Roman era was serious in their city. Forsaking the worship of any of these gods could hurt your business, your social standing, and your family relations. It was not a personal belief, but a public action. + John Byron, The Story of God Commentary: 1 Thessalonians

Seeing things upside down is a lived way of knowing, a kind of “thick” knowledge explicitly tied to a set of practices, not merely beliefs, that are concrete evidences of a world turned right side up. In Acts, Luke has narrated three core church practices that generate the tension: (1) confessing Jesus as King, (2) joining His active Kingdom mission to the end of the earth, and  (3) assembling together as His Kingdom citizens called “Christians” as His Church. Seen together, these three core practices constitute the practical-theological pattern that produces the dissolution of patterns basic to Graeco-Roman culture (e.g. confessing and sacrificing to the gods) that is nothing less than the necessary consequence of forming Jesus’ life-giving communities (Read Acts 17:1-9 again to see example.) + C. Kavin Rowe, World Upside Down

Work, labor, and steadfastness are all terms Paul uses to describe his preaching work (1 Cor. 3:13-15; Phil. 1:22), his missionary activity (1 Cor. 4:12; 2 Cor. 11:23; 1 Thess. 2:9; 1 Tim. 4:10), and his steadfastness through trials (Rom. 5:4; 8:24-25; 15:4; 1 Cor. 13:7; 2 Cor. 6:4; 12:12). Jews in particular were using pistis (“faith”) as a way of referring to pledges of loyalty within a covenantal relationship. Pistis (faith) was the whole package of their commitment to the Messiah and their complete trust in Him with His community, and the Thessalonians were embodying this covenant loyalty to the Gospel through their work and labor to strive on together by the Spirit through affliction.  + John Byron, The Story of God Commentary: 1 Thessalonians

"The Thessalonian believer's participating in God's gracious work through Christ and the Spirit is not focused upon or localized in a single form of human response, that is receptive faith (or "faith in Christ," a phrase which appears nowhere in the letter); rather it is depicted as spread over the whole range of human life, active and passive, attitudinal and bodily, inner and outer, personal, social, and political." Their assembly as a whole exhibits a similar pattern of faithfulness as that of Jesus in his rectifying display of covenantal faithfulness to the God of Israel ...  their pistis (i.e. faith) displays a life pattern of participation in the missio Dei and may be characterized as an "initial and ongoing cruciformity, grounded in the faithfulness of King Jesus." + Andy Johnson, The Two Horizons New Testament Commentary: 1 Thessalonians

Eucharist | Thanking God for Communion with Christ and His Church

Jesus’ Prayer for His Disciples

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 our daily bread
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 the evil one.
(For Yours is the Kingdom,
The power and the glory forever. Amen.)

By Stuart Townend
2007 A.D.

Come, people of the Risen King,
Who delight to bring Him praise.
Come, all and tune your hearts to sing
To the Morning Star of grace.
From the shifting shadows of the earth
We will lift our eyes to Him,
Where steady arms of mercy reach
To gather children in.

Rejoice! Rejoice! 
Let every tongue rejoice!
One heart, one voice,
O Church of Christ, rejoice!

Come, those whose joy is morning sun
And those weeping through the night.
Come, those who tell of battles won,
And those struggling in the fight.
For His perfect love will never change,
And His mercies never cease,
But follow us through all our days
With the certain hope of peace.

(Repeat Chorus)

Come, young and old from every land,
Men and women of the faith.
Come, those with full or empty hands,
Find the riches of His grace.
Over all the world, His people sing,
Shore to shore we hear them call
The Truth that cries through every age;
"Our God is all in all!"

(Repeat Chorus)

God I Look to You
By Bethel Music
2013 A.D.

God I look to You 
And I won’t be overwhelmed.
Give me vision
To see things like You do.

God I look to You,
You’re where my help comes from.
Give me wisdom,
You know just what to do.

And I will love You, 
Lord, my Strength!
And I will love You,
Lord, my Shield!
And I will love You,
Lord, my Rock!
Forever all my days,
I will love You, God!

Hallelujah! Our God reigns!
Forever all my days, Hallelujah!

May Your Power Rest on Me
By Sojourn Music
Original by Isaac Watts
Early 1700s A.D.

Let me hear my Savior say
“Your strength shall return.”
Then I’ll rejoice in my weakness
As I lean on Your grace, 
As I lean on Your grace.

May Your power rest on me.
You are strong when I am weak.
I can bear all things 
When temptation springs
For You sustain me all my days.

Let me know my Savior’s face.
Let my hope be secure.
Then I’ll rejoice in my weakness
As I lean on Your grace, 
As I lean on Your grace.
(Repeat Chorus)

Once from the Lord withdrawn
I thought that I could live my life alone.
Leaving the solid ground, 
I sank beneath His wisdom.
The harder I tried to climb, 
The closer I was to find
How great is my weakness.

(Repeat Chorus)

Though the trial still goes on, 
Your grace will be my song!
For I can bear all things 
When temptation springs
For You sustain me all my days.

In Christ Alone
By Keith Getty and
Stuart Townend
2001 A.D.

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song.
This Cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe.
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
'Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied,
For every sin on Him was laid,
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain.
Then bursting forth in glorious Day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost it's grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine,
Bought with the precious blood of Christ!

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me.
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands our destiny!
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand!
'Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand!

Land of the Rising Son 
By Ike Ndolo
2012 A.D.

The dark is groaning,
The tomb is reaching out.
Oh, but they can't have me!
Oh, but they can't have me!
The crows are circling,
The jackal waits in the dark.
Oh, but they can't have me!
Oh, but they can't have me!

I belong to the land of the rising Son
Where the grave is no more,
The war has been won!
I belong to the land of the rising Son,
I belong to You, I belong!

The world is in my bones,
It makes me wrestle with You.
Oh, but You have claimed me!
Oh, but You have claimed me!

No matter how far I've gone,
Even to the devil's table.
Oh, my God, You've claimed me!
Oh, my God, You've claimed me!

(Chorus Repeat)

Through my wandering,
And my failing,
And my doubting, I belong!
Through the fire,
And the darkness,
Through the sadness, I belong!
I'm just a rebel,
Who's tired of fighting,
So I'm laying down these arms.
The sun is rising, the sun is rising,
The sun is rising!

(Chorus Repeat) 

Heidelberg Catechism
Q&A 1, 1563 A.D.

What is your only comfort in life and death?

That I am not my own, 1
but belong with body and soul,both in life and in death, 2
to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. 3
He has fully paid for all my sins
with His precious blood, 4
and has set me freefrom all the power of the devil. 5
He also preserves me in such a way 6
that without the will of my heavenly Fathernot a hair can fall from my head; 7
indeed, all things must work togetherfor my salvation. 8
Therefore, by His Holy Spirit
He also assures meof eternal life 9
and makes me heartily willing and readyfrom now on to live for Him. 10


Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole 
spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it. + 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Next post: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-16: Bold and Gentle + Saturday, September 17, 2016


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