Your August 20, Lectionary Resources
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Lectionary Readings — 12th Sunday after Pentecost, August 20, 2023
Gen. 45:1-15; Psalm 133; Rom. 11:1-2a, 29-32; Matt. 15:(10-20), 21-28.
Call to Worship (based on Psalm 133)
Leader: How wonderful it is, how pleasant, when we live together in harmony!
People: It's like a fragrant anointing oil that flows down, uniting us.
Leader: Or like the refreshing dew on the mountains where God has promised to bless.
People: It's in this unity that the Lord brings eternal life.
All: Together, we celebrate this unity, lifting our voices in praise to the One who makes us one. Amen.
Opening Prayer (based on Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32)
Let's pray together:
Gracious and Eternal God, who has not forsaken Your people nor cast them away, we gather before You in awe of Your unfailing love and faithfulness. As we reflect on Your words in Romans, we are reminded that Your gifts and Your calling are irrevocable.
In Your vast wisdom, You have bound all people over to disobedience, that You might have mercy on all. Help us, O Lord, to embrace the breadth of Your grace, to understand Your great compassion, and to humbly acknowledge Your mysterious ways.
We lift up our congregation, Lord. May we be a beacon of Your love in our community, reflecting Your mercy and kindness. Strengthen our bonds, deepen our faith, and guide us in our service to one another and to those around us.
May we be a people who stand firm in Your promises, recognizing that Your love knows no bounds, and Your mercy extends to all. With grateful hearts, we seek to live as faithful servants, honoring You in word and deed.
In the name of Jesus Christ, who embodies Your unfailing love and grace, we pray. Amen.
Sermon Outline (based on Matthew 15:21-28)
Purpose: This message aims to equip and challenge believers to pursue God's promises with perseverance, press through personal and cultural prejudices, plead with heartfelt persistence, and ultimately, to prize the promises and blessings that God bestows. The main points serve to engage and guide the congregation towards actionable faith, reflecting the transforming power of God's Word in everyday life.
Title: Persistent Faith: A Plea, a Pursuit, a Prize
Introduction to the Canaanite woman's story
The need for persistent faith in our lives
Connecting the woman's plea to our personal spiritual journeys
I. Pursue with Perseverance (Matthew 15:21-22)
A. The Woman's Cry for Mercy
A Cry from a Desperate Heart (Psalm 51:1-2)
B. The Intensity of Need
Recognizing Our Own Needs (James 4:2)
II. Press Through Prejudices (Matthew 15:23-26)
A. The Disciples' Reaction
Warning Against Judgment (Matthew 7:1)
B. Jesus' Initial Response
The Priority of God's Plan (Romans 1:16)
C. The Challenge of Cultural Barriers
Embracing Diversity in Christ (Galatians 3:28)
III. Plead with Persistence (Matthew 15:27)
A. The Woman's Humble Response
Humility in Prayer (2 Chronicles 7:14)
B. The Power of Faithful Persistence
Keep Asking, Seeking, Knocking (Matthew 7:7)
IV. Prize the Promise (Matthew 15:28)
A. Jesus' Commendation of Faith
Justified by Faith (Romans 5:1)
B. The Reward of Persistence
Reaping What Is Sown (Galatians 6:9)
Recalling the main points as calls to action
Personal application for daily living
Encouragement to pursue, press, plead, and prize in our walk with God
Closing prayer, inviting the congregation to take these steps of faith.
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