Your October 8th, Sermon & Ministry Resources
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Lectionary Readings — 19th Sunday after Pentecost, October 8, 2023
Exodus 20:1-4,7-9,12-20; Psalm 19; Philippians 3:4b-14; Matthew 21:33-46.
Call to Worship (based on Psalm 19)
Leader: The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
People: Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.
Leader: Let the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable to you, O Lord.
People: You are our rock and our redeemer.
Leader: The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.
People: The decrees of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple.
Leader: The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.
People: The ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
Leader: They are more to be desired than gold, even much fine gold.
People: Sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb.
All: Let us worship God, whose glory is declared in the skies and whose love is written on our hearts. Amen.
Opening Prayer (based on Matthew 21:33-46)
Gracious and loving God, the Vineyard Owner and Architect of our lives, we gather in Your sanctuary today, fully aware of the abundance You have poured into our lives. We come, humbled by Your ceaseless grace and overwhelming love.
Lord, we hear Your parable of the vineyard, the tenants, and the landowner in Matthew 21:33-46. It serves as a poignant reminder that all we have and all we are come from You. Yet, how often have we, like the tenants, been ungrateful and unfaithful stewards of Your blessings? Forgive us, O God, for the times we've kept the fruits of Your vineyard for ourselves, failing to share with those who are in need.
We remember the cornerstone, Jesus Christ, rejected by builders across ages but exalted by You. It is a stark reminder, Lord, that Your wisdom far surpasses ours. We are awed by the ways You overturn our worldly values, showing us that Your Kingdom is founded on justice, mercy, and love. May we, too, choose Christ as our cornerstone—the firm foundation upon which we build our lives.
God, we live in challenging times filled with injustice, anger, and division. We pray for the marginalized and the oppressed, that they may find justice. We pray for our leaders, that they may govern with wisdom and fairness, always keeping the cornerstone of Christ in view. We pray for ourselves, that our lives may be living parables of Your abundant and reckless love.
As we move through today's worship, let us be mindful of the vineyard You've entrusted to us, pledging anew to bear fruits worthy of Your name. As we offer up our prayers, our songs, and our very lives, may they be pleasing to You.
In the name of Jesus Christ, the Cornerstone, we pray. Amen.
Sermon Outline: [NOTE to Paid subscribers — scroll down for the full manuscript sermon].
Purpose: To show the congregation the ultimate significance and eternal value of knowing Jesus Christ. By examining Paul's transformation from relying on earthly credentials to seeking divine countenance, the message aims to challenge believers to redefine their concepts of success, righteousness, and life purpose, urging them to persistently pursue Christ.
Title: The Pursuit of Divine Dividends (Philippians 3:4b-14)
The Illusion of Earthly Accomplishments
An invitation to journey through Philippians 3:4b-14 to discover the surpassing value of knowing Christ.
I. Credentials Considered (Philippians 3:4b-6)
A. Paul's Pedigree
1. Righteousness Under the Law (v. 6)
2. Israelite Identity (v. 5)
B. Counting the Cost
1. Religious Rites (v. 5)
2. Zealous Acts (v. 6)
II. Christ's Countenance (Philippians 3:7-8)
A. The Divine Deduction
1. Loss for Christ (v. 7)
2. Surpassing Worth (v. 8)
B. Calculating Christ
1. All Things as Loss (v. 8)
2. Gain in Godliness (v. 8)
III. Righteous Renovation (Philippians 3:9-11)
A. Redefined Righteousness
1. Not Our Own (v. 9)
2. Faith in Christ (v. 9)
B. Resurrection Reality
1. Power of His Resurrection (v. 10)
2. Sharing His Sufferings (v. 10)
IV. Purposeful Pursuit (Philippians 3:12-14)
A. Persistent Pressing
1. Not Yet Perfect (v. 12)
2. Straining Forward (v. 13)
B. Proper Prize
1. Heavenly Call (v. 14)
2. God in Christ Jesus (v. 14)
The Divine Dividend: Knowing Christ Above All Else
An exhortation to abandon earthly credentials and take hold of the heavenly prize through a life of purposeful pursuit in Christ.
Full Manuscript Sermon Below for Paid Subscribers
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