As Pastor John mentioned in last week's sermon, one of the gifts that Christ has given His church as the ordinary means of grace are the sacraments, and this coming Sunday, we will be observing the sacrament of baptism. Because of this, John will be taking a break from 1 Thessalonians, and we will be spending the service looking at, thinking on, and worshipping God for the promises that are made to children of the covenant.
For the Song of Ascent, we will be singing "You Holy Angels Bright." I chose this hymn because it speaks several times not only of our need to worship God because He has bought us with His blood, but also it speaks many times of our call to worship collectively as a body, which we are called to do as a covenant of believers. Then, for our Hymn of Praise, we will sing our psalm for this week, which will be the first eight verses of Psalm 78. The fifth, sixth, and seventh verses of this psalm speak of the law being given to Israel, and the instruction that it be passed down and taught to subsequent generations, as part of God's covenant with Israel, so that the nation would continue to obey His commands and worship Him. These three verses will be the Old Testament reading for this week, and as I usually like to do when a psalm is read, I wanted us to affirm what we will have just heard by singing God's Word back to Him in praise.
For the Hymn of Rejoicing, I chose the hymn "Jesus Paid It All." One of the things that we will look at in the sermon this week is that children of the covenant are sinners, and this hymn has beautiful language to describe our utter dependence upon Christ for our salvation. One verse says that it is God's power and God's alone that can save us, one verse says "For nothing good have I whereby thy grace to claim," and even the chorus reminds us that it is God who washes our sins white as snow.
After the sermon, we will sing a hymn that we have sung the last couple of times that we have had baptisms as our Hymn of Preparation, and I think it may not ever have been more fitting than it is this time. It speaks of God gathering His children safely into his bosom, that he holds them in the palm of His hand always, that He shows them grace, knows their sorrows, will never forsake them, and will preserve them in holiness. It is a beautifully tender hymn that will will serve as a beautiful set up for observing the sacrament of baptism. After the baptism, we will sing our usual hymn of response, "Wonder of Wonders, Here Revealed." In addition, the choir will be singing a setting of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing," in keeping with the baptismal theme.
Sermon: Genesis 17:9-10a Old Testament Reading: Psalm 78:5-7 New Testament Reading: 1 Corinthians 7:14 Hymns: Song of Ascent - "You Holy Angels Bright" (Trinity Hymnal, 18; verses 1, 4, 5, & 7) Hymn of Praise - Psalm 78 (verses 1-8) Hymn of Rejoicing - "Jesus Paid It All" (Trinity Hymnal, 308; verses 1-3) Hymn of Preparation - "Children of the Heavenly Father" (Trinity Hymnal, 131; verses 1, 3, & 5)