The Apostle Paul had a very specific Theology of Absence. In 1 Thessalonians 2:17-20 Paul gives us that Theology of Absence in the same way that much of Scripture is written—through the events of normal life, in this case, of his own life. He had been separated from the saints because of trouble in the city related to the new church (Read the account in Acts 17:1-10), and experienced what we are now experiencing—unfortunate separation from the church. However, as Paul said, we might be separated in person, but not in spirit. Join us therefore today in a service of sorts, without the physical presence of the Church.

For a entire sermon, providentially preached just before the first glimpse of lockdown, and dedicated to Paul’s Theology of Absence, click here: “Maturity 101: Enjoy Fellowship” from 1 Thessalonians 2:17-20.

This is the fourth Sunday in which we cannot meet together. As we did earlier this month, I want to offer you an entire service as we would normally have it. May every head of each household worship together with their family in person, and together with the rest of the church in spirit..


OPENING SONG

Behold Our God” by Sovereign Grace
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OPENING PRAYER

“O Lord our God, we long for the day when we will be delivered from this world to see you seated on your throne. Please accept our worship from our homes today for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

ANNOUNCEMENTS
  1. Until the lockdown is lifted, all church meetings will be cancelled.
  2. Remember to pray for one another. The virus-related trials of those in our congregation include: working in essential services more likely to be exposed to the virus, health problems adding to the fear of contracting the virus, loss of income, employment uncertainty, loneliness, and I’m sure a few more that have not asked for prayer, but are nonetheless still suffering.
  3. Remember that our website has a new article or two every day with exhortations and counsel for our daily walk with the Lord. We also have a WhatsApp group on which the pastor, and only the pastor, posts reminders for our minds as we live by faith each day.
PASTORAL PRAYER

Pray with us:

“Our Heavenly Father. You are holy, set apart from sin, set apart from everything created (Matt 6:9). You have a kingdom that is coming where you will reign over all things, and of that kingdom there will be no end (Matt 6:10a). May your will be done here on earth, as it will is done in Heaven, and as it will be done in your kingdom (Matt 6:10b). In all your lofty transcendence, you still know our daily needs. Give us our daily food to eat (Matt 6:11). Forgive us our sins that we sin against you, for you are a forgiving God and have made us a people who understand forgiveness and even practise it ourselves to one another (Matt 6:12). The world is full of temptations to sin Lord, so please keep us from the temptations that come from our own desires, and even if they come from Satan himself (Matt 6:13).

Lord, we are yours. If it were not for your salvation, we would never have received the blessing of righteousness. Help us live righteously each day this week. Provide us with our daily bread. Protect us from evil. Keep us healthy. But Lord, more than all of this, make us sense your great glory. As we continue our days through the trials of this life, may we always remember your greatness and strength, your wisdom and love, your purpose and plan. Use us, to be the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to others. Use us, to be the salt of holiness and love to our families, neighbours, friends, and yes, even to our enemies.
For Jesus’ sake, Amen”

SCRIPTURE READING AND PRAYER

Open your Bibles and read Psalm 24.

Then pray with us:

“Our Heavenly Father, this earth and all in it is yours (Ps 24:1). You have created it all, and established it by your good purposes (Ps 24:2). And yet, in all your transcendent glory, you are pleased to make yourself known to us and have made it possible for us to approach you in your holiness (Ps 24:3). Lord, please forgive us where we have sinned against you; for only then can we truly worship you (Ps 24:4). How wonderful it is for us to know that not only do you bless us with forgiveness, but you bless us abundantly and even grant us your righteousness through Christ (Ps 24:5). May our entire generation seek you, for you have proven yourself to be faithful in love to those whom you have chosen (Ps 24:6).
Lord, make your glory known in the earth. Show your strength and might; show yourself as our deliverer. Come and put an end to sin and the effects of sin in this world. Come with your hosts of armies and show your glory to all. (Ps 24:7-10). Amen”

SINGING

The three songs for today are all selected to set our minds on God and our faith in him. The first song is a wonderful affirmation to ourselves of the truth which we believe by faith. The second song is very different. It is a prayer of direct address to God from our low points in life.

By Faith” by Keith and Kristyn Getty

The Valley” by Sovereign Grace Music

Our third song is a old familiar hymn, relishing in the peace that comes from God no matter what life is currently like.

It Is Well with My Soul” by Phil Webb, Grace Community Church

Pray with us as we transition to the preaching of God’s Word:

“Thank you Lord. Thank you for the gift of faith. Thank you for giving us peace, even through the valley of darkness. Thank you that you accept our worship in Christ Jesus. Teach us now, through your Word, for Jesus’ sake, Amen.”

SERMON

The sermon audio and preacher’s notes can be found here:

Imitate the God-fearers” by Andrew Zekveld

CLOSING SONG

How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” by Fernando Ortega

BENEDICTION

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Romans 15:13 (ESV)


To participate in our daily ministry, feel free to join our WhatsApp group where we receive daily exhortations from the pastor.