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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Living faith

29 April 2015

Opening Prayer/Worship

Hymn: Take my life and let it be
Take my life, and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to thee.
take my moments and my days;
let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands, and let them move
at the impulse of thy love.
take my feet, and let them be
swift and purposeful for thee.

Take my lips, and let me be
filled with messages from thee;
Take my intellect, and use
every power as thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it thine;
it shall be no longer mine.
take my heart, it is thine own;
it shall be thy royal throne.

Take my love, my Lord, I pour
at thy feet its treasure store.
take myself, and I will be
ever, only, all for thee.

Theme: Believe in Jesus Christ

Topic: Living faith

Reading: 1 John 3:16-24
We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. 17How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? 18 Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. 19And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him 20whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; 22and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.

Action is tougher but a lot better than words, and the same goes with our faith in Jesus Christ.  It is a lot easier to say we believe in Jesus Christ than to put that faith to work.  The Scripture tells us to work out our faith with fear and trembling.  Faith starts with confessing that Jesus is Lord, but should then be reflected in our lives.  How do we put our faith in action?  We put our faith to work through allowing the Holy Spirit to guide our decisions, the things we do, and by emulating Christ our Saviour.  We demonstrate faith when we believe God’s promises to us regardless of our present circumstances.  Our faith is alive when we give no room to fear, lack of trust and unbelief but rather trust that God will do what He says He would do; for without faith it is impossible to please God.      

1. Describe living faith?
Acts 4:5-12
The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem,6with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7When they had made the prisonersstand in their midst, they inquired, ‘By what power or by what name did you do this?’ 8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers of the people and elders, 9if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, 10let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. 11This Jesus is “the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.” 12There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.’

Hebrews 11:1-6
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. 3By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible. 4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain’s. Through this he received approval as righteous, God himself giving approval to his gifts; he died, but through his faith he still speaks. 5By faith Enoch was taken so that he did not experience death; and ‘he was not found, because God had taken him.’ For it was attested before he was taken away that ‘he had pleased God.’ 6And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

James 2:14-26
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? 15If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, 16and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill’, and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? 17So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith without works, and I by my works will show you my faith.19You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder. 20Do you want to be shown, you senseless person, that faith without works is barren? 21Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was brought to completion by the works. 23Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness’, and he was called the friend of God. 24You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25Likewise, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another road? 26For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead. 

2. What are the lessons for us in John 10:11-18 regarding having a living faith?
John 10:11-18
‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. 16I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. 18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.’

3. Discuss the challenges to having a living faith. How do we overcome them?
Psalm 23:1-6 (BCP)
1     THE LORD is my shepherd; /
therefore can I lack nothing.
2     He shall feed me in a green pasture, /
and lead me forth beside the waters of comfort.
3          He shall restore my soul, /
and bring me forth in the paths of righteousness, for his Name’s sake.
4     Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; /
for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff comfort me.
5     THOU shalt prepare a table before me in the presence of them that trouble me; /
thou hast anointed my head with oil, and my cup shall be full.
6     Surely thy loving-kindness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; /
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
      GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
      As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Matthew 21:28-32
‘What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, “Son, go and work in the vineyard today.” 29He answered, “I will not”; but later he changed his mind and went. 30The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, “I go, sir”; but he did not go. 31Which of the two did the will of his father?’ They said, ‘The first.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, the tax-collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax-collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.

Philippians 2:12-18
Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure. 14 Do all things without murmuring and arguing, 15so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world. 16It is by your holding fast to the word of life that I can boast on the day of Christ that I did not run in vain or labour in vain. 17But even if I am being poured out as a libation over the sacrifice and the offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you— 18and in the same way you also must be glad and rejoice with me.


Our faith is alive when we give no room to fear, lack of trust and unbelief but rather trust that God will do what He says He would do; for without faith it is impossible to please God.

Closing Prayer (Collect for Fourth Sunday of Easter)

O God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make us perfect in every good work to do your will, and work in us that which is well-pleasing in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Faith in His Name

22 April 2015

Opening Prayer/Worship

Hymn: I could not do without thee

Theme: Believe in Jesus Christ

Topic: Faith in His Name

Reading: Acts 3:12-19
When Peter saw it, he addressed the people, ‘You Israelites, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we had made him walk? 13The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate, though he had decided to release him. 14But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, 15and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. 16And by faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong, whom you see and know; and the faith that is through Jesus has given him this perfect health in the presence of all of you. 17 ‘And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. 19Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out,

One of the several ways of expressing or describing faith in Jesus Christ is faith in His Name.  The Bible tells us that the name of the Lord is a mighty tower, and those who run to it shall be saved; also that at the mention of His name, all knees shall bow and every tongue confesses that Jesus is Lord.  At the mention of Christ’s name demons tremble.  His name is above all other names! Faith in the name of Jesus Christ is synonymous with faith in God.  When we say we have faith in the name of Christ we are simply saying that we know Him, and have put our trust in the Lord our Maker.  Faith in the name of the Lord means that we believe that Christ is alive, and that He will keep His promises to us.    

1. How is there power in the name of the Lord?
Proverbs 18:10
The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
   the righteous run into it and are safe.

Philippians 2:5-11
5Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
6 who, though he was in the form of God,
   did not regard equality with God
   as something to be exploited,
7 but emptied himself,
   taking the form of a slave,
   being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
8   he humbled himself
   and became obedient to the point of death—
   even death on a cross. 
9 Therefore God also highly exalted him
   and gave him the name
   that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus
   every knee should bend,
   in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue should confess
   that Jesus Christ is Lord,
   to the glory of God the Father. 

2. What are the lessons for us in Luke 24:36B-48 regarding having faith in the name of Jesus Christ?
Luke 24:36B-48
Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ 37They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38He said to them, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’ 40And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate in their presence. 44 Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ 45Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things.
3. In what ways do we put our faith in the name of Jesus Christ?
Psalm 4:1-8
Refrain: The Lord does wonders for the faithful.
Answer me when I call, O God, defender of my cause; you set me free when I am hard-pressed; have mercy on me and hear my prayer. "You mortals, how long will you dishonour my glory; how long will you worship dumb idols and run after false gods?" R Know that the Lord does wonders for the faithful; when I call upon the Lord, he will hear me. Tremble, then, and do not sin; speak to your heart in silence upon your bed. R Offer the appointed sacrifices and put your trust in the Lord. Many are saying, "Oh, that we might see better times!" Lift up the light of your countenance upon us, O Lord. R You have put gladness in my heart, more than when grain and wine and oil increase. I lie down in peace; at once I fall asleep; for only you, Lord, make me dwell in safety. R

Romans 10:5-15
Moses writes concerning the righteousness that comes from the law, that ‘the person who does these things will live by them.’ 6But the righteousness that comes from faith says, ‘Do not say in your heart, “Who will ascend into heaven?” ’ (that is, to bring Christ down) 7‘or “Who will descend into the abyss?” ’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).8But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. 11The scripture says, ‘No one who believes in him will be put to shame.’ 12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. 13For, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ 14 But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? 15And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’

1 John 3:1-7
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.3And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. 4 Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.5You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him. 7Little children, let no one deceive you. Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.


Faith in the name of the Lord means that we believe that Christ is alive, and that He will keep His promises to us.

The Collect for Third Sunday of Easter
O God, your Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread. Open the eyes of our faith, that we may see him in his redeeming work, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Eucharistic Prayer A
The Lord be with you.
      And with thy spirit.
Lift up your hearts.
      We lift them up unto the Lord.
Let us give thanks unto our Lord God.
      It is meet and right so to do.

It is very meet, right, and our bounden duty, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto thee, O Lord, holy Father, almighty, everlasting God, creator and preserver of all things. But chiefly are we bound to praise thee for the glorious resurrection of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; for he is the very Paschal Lamb, which was offered for us, and hath taken away the sin of the world; who by his death hath destroyed death, and by his rising to life again hath restored to us everlasting life. Therefore with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify thy glorious name; evermore praising thee and saying:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts,
heaven and earth are full of thy glory.
Glory be to thee, O Lord most high.
Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord:
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessing and glory and thanksgiving be unto thee, almighty God, our heavenly Father, who of thy tender mercy didst give thine only Son Jesus Christ to take our nature upon him, and to suffer death upon the cross for our redemption; who made there, by his one oblation of himself once offered, a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world; and did institute, and in his holy Gospel command us to continue, a perpetual memorial of that his precious death, until his coming again.

Hear us, O merciful Father, we most humbly beseech thee; and grant that we receiving these thy creatures of bread and wine, according to thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ’s holy institution, in remembrance of his death and passion, may be partakers of his most blessed body and blood;

who, in the same night that he was betrayed, took bread; and, when he had given thanks, he brake it; and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you: Do this in remembrance of me.”

Likewise after supper he took the cup; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink ye all, of this; for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins: Do this, as oft as ye shall drink it, in remembrance of me.”

Wherefore, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, we thy humble servants, with all thy holy Church, remembering the precious death of thy beloved Son, his mighty resurrection, and glorious ascension, and looking for his coming again in glory, do make before thee, in this sacrament of the holy bread of eternal life and the cup of everlasting salvation, the memorial which he hath commanded:
We praise thee, we bless thee, we thank thee,
and we pray to thee, Lord our God.

And we entirely desire thy fatherly goodness mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, most humbly beseeching thee to grant, that by the merits and death of thy Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in his blood, we and all thy whole Church may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of his passion; And we pray that by the power of thy Holy Spirit, all we who are partakers of this holy communion may be fulfilled with thy grace and heavenly benediction; through Jesus Christ our Lord, by whom and with whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be unto thee, O Father Almighty, world without end. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer
And now, as our Saviour Christ hath taught us, we are bold to say:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

The Breaking of the Bread
We do not presume to come to this thy table, O merciful Lord, Trusting in our own righteousness, But in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy So much as to gather up the crumbs under thy table. But thou art the same Lord, Whose  property is always to have mercy: Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, So to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, And to drink his blood, That we may evermore dwell in him, And he in us. Amen.

Alleluia! Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us;
Therefore, let us keep the feast. (Alleluia!)

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the world: have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the world: have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the world: grant us thy peace.

After Communion
Almighty and everliving God, We most heartily thank thee That thou dost graciously feed us, in these holy mysteries, With the spiritual food of the most precious body and blood Of thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ; Assuring us thereby of thy favour and goodness towards us; And that we are living members of his mystical Body, Which is the blessed company of all faithful people; And are also heirs through hope of thy everlasting kingdom.

And here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, Ourselves, our souls and bodies, To be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto thee. And although we are unworthy, Yet we beseech thee to accept this our bounden duty and service, Not weighing our merits, but pardoning our offences; Through Jesus Christ our Lord, To whom, with thee and the Holy Spirit, be all honour and glory, World without end. Amen.

The blessing
The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord: And the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be amongst you and remain with you always. Amen.

The Scattering
Alleluia! Go forth into the world,
rejoicing in the power of the Risen Lord.

      Thanks be to God. Alleluia!