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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Everlasting love

19 April 2017

Opening Prayer/Worship

Hymn: O Worship the King All Glorious Above

Theme: King of kings

Topic: Everlasting love

Reading: Jeremiah 31:1-6
At that time, says the Lord, I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people. 
2 Thus says the Lord:
The people who survived the sword
   found grace in the wilderness;
when Israel sought for rest, 
3   the Lord appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
   therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. 
4 Again I will build you, and you shall be built,
   O virgin Israel!
Again you shall take your tambourines,
   and go forth in the dance of the merrymakers. 
5 Again you shall plant vineyards
   on the mountains of Samaria;
the planters shall plant,
   and shall enjoy the fruit. 
6 For there shall be a day when sentinels will call
   in the hill country of Ephraim:
‘Come, let us go up to Zion,
   to the Lord our God.’ 

This past Sunday, we celebrated Easter, commemorating Christ’s sacrificial death that reconciled us with God.  Easter is a reminder of God’s everlasting love for mankind.  In John 3:16, we are reminded of this important fact- that God loves us immensely.  Although Christian celebrations are opportunities to get together and celebrate with family and friends, and that is fine, the core message behind these celebrations should not be forgotten.  We should remember God’s gift of His Son Jesus Christ, not just during Easter but everyday of our lives; and that there is nothing that come between us and the love God has for us in Christ Jesus.  Christ is not only the King of kings, and Lord of all, but also the Lover of our souls, and His love for us is everlasting.

1) How will you describe God’s everlasting love to us?
Acts 10:34-43
Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.’

Romans 8:28-30
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. 30And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Colossians 2:9-15
For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority. 11In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision, by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ; 12when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, 14erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross. 15He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.

2) What are the lessons for us in John 20:1-18 regarding the everlasting love of God?
John 20:1-18
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’ 3Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb. 4The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10Then the disciples returned to their homes. 11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ 14When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ 16Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew,‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”  18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

3) What are some of the challenges to accepting God’s everlasting love?
     How do we overcome them?
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
Refrain: On this day the Lord has acted; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his mercy endures for ever. Let Israel now proclaim, "His mercy endures for ever." R The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation. There is a sound of exultation and victory in the tents of the righteous: "The right hand of the Lord has triumphed! the right hand of the Lord is exalted! the right hand of the Lord has triumphed!" R I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. The Lord has punished me sorely, but he did not hand me over to death. R Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter them; I will offer thanks to the Lord. "This is the gate of the Lord; he who is righteous may enter." I will give thanks to you, for you answered me and have become my salvation. The same stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. R This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes. On this day the Lord has acted; we will rejoice and be glad in it. R
Refrain: On this day the Lord has acted; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Romans 8:31-39
What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written,
‘For your sake we are being killed all day long;
   we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.’ 
37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Colossians 3:1-4
So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, 3for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.


Christ is not only the King of kings, and Lord of all, but also the Lover of our souls, and His love for us is everlasting.

Closing Prayer (Collect for Easter Day)
Lord of life and power, through the mighty resurrection of your Son, you have overcome the old order of sin and death and have made all things new in him.  May we, being dead to sin and alive to you in Jesus Christ, reign with him in glory, who with you and the Holy Spirit is alive, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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