Your July 23, Lectionary Resources
We utilize at least 3 of the Scripture Readings in our Resources for each week. 1 for the Sermon Text, 1 for the Opening Prayer, and 1 for the Call to Worship. Published weekly.
Lectionary Readings — Eighth Sunday after Pentecost, July 23, 2023
Gen. 28:10-19a; Psalm 139:1-12;23-24; Rom. 8:12-25; Matt. 13:24-30;36-43.
Call to Worship (based on Psalm 139:1-12;23-24)
L: O Lord, You have searched us and known us, understanding our every move.
P: Whether we sit or stand, Your watchful eye is upon us, revealing the depths of Your care.
L: From afar, You discern our thoughts, seeing the very essence of who we are.
P: In every word we speak, before it is even on our tongues, You know it completely, O Lord.
L: We cannot escape Your presence, O God, for You are with us in every high and every low.
P: Whether we fly on the wings of the dawn or dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Your hand guides and holds us fast.
L: Let us invite our God to search our hearts and know our anxious thoughts.
P: We ask You, oh God, to see if there is any grievous way in us.
L: With open hearts, we stand before the One who knows us inside and out.
P: Lead us, oh God, in the everlasting way, from darkness into Your marvelous light!
Opening Prayer (based on Matthew 13:24-30;36-43)
Gracious God, we gather in Your presence, recognizing Your divine wisdom revealed in the parables of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we reflect upon the parable of the wheat and the weeds, we acknowledge that just as the wheat and weeds grow together in the field, so do good and evil in our world.
We see around us, O Lord, the evidence of both the wheat and the weeds. There is goodness, love, kindness, but also, there is evil, hatred, and pain. We confess that sometimes we are quick to judge, eager to separate the wheat from the weeds. But, you, O Lord, are the righteous judge. You remind us to leave the judgement to You, for in Your wisdom and justice, you allow both to grow until the harvest.
In our own lives, O God, we acknowledge that we too are a mix of wheat and weeds, of virtues and faults. We are not yet what we shall be. We invite you, the divine gardener, to continue your patient work in us. Cultivate in us the wheat of love, mercy, kindness, and faithfulness. Root out the weeds of hatred, greed, selfishness, and unbelief.
We look forward to the ultimate harvest, where your angels will gather all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire. But the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
Grant us the courage and perseverance to live as wheat among the weeds, even when it is difficult. Empower us to be agents of your Kingdom, here and now, sowing seeds of goodness and love in our world.
In the name of Jesus, our loving Sower, we pray. Amen.
Sermon Outline (based on Romans 8:12-25)
Purpose: To illuminate the transformative shift from living under the obligation to our fleshly desires, to embracing our adoption as children of God, with its attending privileges and responsibilities. Furthermore, it seeks to help us understand our position within the larger context of creation's longing for redemption and the powerful hope that sustains us as we await the fullness of our salvation. Ultimately, the sermon aims to encourage us to live out our divine identity with conviction, enduring present sufferings with an unwavering hope in the future glory promised to us in Christ.
Title: Embracing Our Identity: From Obligation to Adoption and Hope (Romans 8:12-25)
I. Rejecting Our Debt to the Flesh (Romans 8:12-13)
A. No Obligation to Live According to the Flesh (Romans 8:12)
Recognizing the Fruitlessness of Fleshly Living (Galatians 5:19-21)
The Call to Crucify the Flesh (Galatians 5:24)
B. Life and Death: The Outcome of Our Choices (Romans 8:13)
The Fate of those Who Live According to the Flesh (Romans 6:23)
The Promise of Life for Those Led by the Spirit (John 10:10)
II. Embracing Our Adoption as Children of God (Romans 8:14-17)
A. Led by the Spirit: The Evidence of Sonship (Romans 8:14)
The Spirit's Guidance in Our Lives (John 16:13)
The Freedom from Fear in Christ (Romans 8:15, 2 Timothy 1:7)
B. The Confirmation of the Spirit: Our Assurance of Adoption (Romans 8:16)
The Spirit’s Testimony in Us (1 John 5:10)
The Witness of the Spirit with Our Spirit (Galatians 4:6)
C. Co-heirs with Christ: The Inheritance of the Saints (Romans 8:17)
The Privilege of Being God’s Children (1 John 3:1)
The Promise of Eternal Glory with Christ (2 Timothy 2:12)
III. The Groaning Creation and the Hope of Redemption (Romans 8:18-25)
A. Present Suffering Versus Future Glory (Romans 8:18)
Enduring Hardships with Hope (2 Corinthians 4:17)
Anticipating the Eternal Weight of Glory (Colossians 3:4)
B. Creation’s Groaning and Longing (Romans 8:19-22)
The Effect of Sin on Creation (Genesis 3:17)
The Hope of Creation’s Liberation (Isaiah 65:17)
C. The Believer’s Groaning and Hope (Romans 8:23-25)
Longing for the Redemption of Our Bodies (1 Corinthians 15:53)
The Power and Necessity of Hope (Hebrews 11:1)
Closing Thoughts: As we journey through life, let us remember that we are not debtors to our fleshly desires but adopted children of God, living with patience and hope amidst present sufferings, ever anticipating the glorious freedom that awaits all of creation in the fullness of our salvation in Christ.
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