“The Certainty of Our Hope, Part 2”
TEXT: 1 PEter 1:3–5
ONLINE WORSHIP SERVICE (1.31.2021)
CALL TO WORSHIP:
As we draw near to worship, let’s rejoice in the God who rules the nations with justice! Psalms 99 says….
“Great is the LORD in Zion; he is exalted over all the nations.
Let them praise your great and awesome name— he is holy
The King is mighty, he loves justice—” Psalms 99:2–4
“This is Amazing Grace”
sanctity of life sunday:
Today, along with many other churches, we are commemorating Sanctity of Life Sunday, which is an annual event highlighting the importance of every human life in light of the annual anniversary of Roe vs Wade. Today we would like to take some time to celebrate God’s gift of life, grieve together over the many lives lost to abortion, point to the hope the gospel offers, and learn about ways we can partner with those ministering in this area.
To begin I’d like to read together for our affirmation from Psalms 139 which describes how God intimately knew us and considered us a person when we were still in our mother’s womb. Let’s affirm this truth together….
Psalms 139:7 Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.
13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Psalm 139 is one of the most obvious places in the Bible that affirms the personhood of the unborn child. Even before we leave our mother’s womb, God related to us as a person: knowing the days he has planned for us, carefully forming us, even thinking vast thoughts toward us.
Yet sadly, in our culture, there is another narrative alive and well that denies the personhood of the unborn child. Today we are being told that these precious little babies may be discarded as mere body tissue. In fact, in many cases this is encouraged as preferable or as the only way to move forward when faced with an unplanned pregnancy.
In America we have embraced this lie now for 48 years, almost half a century. It is estimated that in the United States alone we have killed 65.5 million babies. When we compare that number to the 6 million Jews that were killed in the holocaust, it should make us shudder.
Yet in the face of this atrocity, the church has the privilege of offering hope and healing. We the church, while condemning the sin of abortion, freely welcome any and all who may have been involved in an abortion. Why? Because Christ has welcomed us. And the same death on the cross that wiped away our sin is strong enough to wipe away the sin of abortion. So we say come on in and experience the riches of grace that Christ pours out on all who turn to him in faith and repentance!
But telling the truth about abortion and sharing the good news of the gospel is not all the church does in response to abortion. The church also has the privilege of reaching out and meeting practical needs. This looks like compassionately coming alongside women who are struggling with the responsibility of having a child and caring for its needs. This is most often done in Crisis Pregnancy Centers, where women and men can come to find caring individuals and free resources. And we praise God that there are almost 3 times as many Crisis Pregnancy Centers as abortion clinics in our nation. That means that compassion help is more readily available to women than abortion.
Yet to offer that help, it takes a lot of work, a lot of team work. So this morning we’ve invited on of our longtime ministry partners, Helen Johnson who is the executive director of Pregnancy Resource Services in Bremerton, to come and share with us what their center does and how we might be involved to help them with their mission. The video of Helen’s presentation is not available. However, here is a link to PRS’s website.
At this point I’d like to sing Amazing Grace, which was written by John Newton, a former slave trader. After making his living off of oppression, he repented and God forgave and rescued him. Even as we somberly contemplate abortion, John Newton reminds us that the ultimate solution is the grace that God pours out in the Gospel itself…grace that all of us who have come to Jesus have already experienced…grace that our nation so desperately needs right now.
prayer of repentance:
Lord we thank you for your grace! But even as we acknowledge your grace, we remember that it is your kindness that leads us to repentance. So on behalf of ourselves and our nation we repent….
- We repent for not valuing you and your honor above all things.
- We repent as a nation for making much of convenience and reputations and growing bank accounts and careers and fleeting pleasures. All these become idols when they are worshiped instead of you. We confess we too struggle against these idols. Forgive us for when we succumb.
- Lord we repent for where these love affairs have led our nation. Instead of being concerned about your image bearers, we have treated them as though they were possessions to be terminated at will, especially when they get in the way of our desires.
- Forgive our nation for running down this pathway of promoting, defending, and normalizing murder. Forgive us for ignoring your commands to protect and defend the vulnerable and the defenseless.
- Forgive us for growing apathetic toward the unborn, no longer listening to their silent cries for help, no longer speaking up for those who have no voice.
- Forgive us for any way that we have contributed to this culture of death. Forgive us of our sins.
And now Lord we turn to you and ask for help:
- Cleanse our nation of this scourge.
- Change the heart of this nation toward the unborn.
- Crush the deceitful lies of Satan that seek to destroy innocent life.
- Bring down the institutions that promote and defend abortion.
- Raise up leaders and institutions that will care for the unborn and argue their case both in public and private.
- Let your justice roll down and undo the injustice of abortion.
- And finally, lead each one of us in the response you have for us to this evil. Strengthen our resolve to pray and act according to your Word.
- Bring an end to this practice!
And now Lord, we lift our eyes to your heavenly throne room where you are seated at the right hand of the Father. Truly you and only you are worthy to advance history and accomplish your purposes and plans. Have your way. Let your judgments stand. And let us wait patiently for you to act (Psalms 37:7).
In your name we pray, AMEN!
“Is He Worthy”
Soften our hearts, Lord, to receive your word now. As your Word is proclaimed, may we joyfully hear you speaking over us. Complete all of your good purposes in us today….anchor us in your hope, direct our steps, renew our joy. Instruct us in your ways, show us who you are, and what you do! Cause us to be in awe of your salvation!
READ SERMON TEXT:
1 Peter 1:3–5
Pastor Mark Kernan
Title: “The Certainty of Our Hope, Part 2”
Main Point: Assurance of salvation requires more than a temporary period of personal faith and faithfulness.
I. The Parable (Mark 4:3-8)
II. The paradigm (Mark 4:14-20)
III. The Implications Regarding Perseverance
“O God of Our Salvation”