MISSION WOODS CHURCH
Worship February 28 2021
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  • Come Christians Join To Sing (Madrid)
  • As The Deer
  • I Lift My Eyes Up
  • In Christ Alone
  • As we approach this morning’s Word, I want you to think about this season of Lent.
    Many have asked what is the meaning of Lent, and we know it is a season on the church calendar. That season is 40 days long, with its climax during Holy Week, and ending on Saturday in silence after the crucifixion. And we know that Easter morning shatters that darkness.
    Yet literally, the word Lent means “lengthening.” It can be traced back to an Old English word that simply referred to the season of Spring and the lengthening of days. Since the liturgical season of penitence or reflection on our sin always fell during the springtime, the two became synonymous, and so now we have what we in the church call Lent.
    And the days are definitely getting longer. In just two weeks we will “Spring forward” and enter Daylight Savings Time on March 14th. Having lived in different latitudes I think we should just stay the same, others think we should stay on Daylight Savings time.
    Regardless, there is more daylight each day as we move further from those short days of the year in December. Each day of our Lenten season there is more day-light for us to live in.
    As we read our Scriptures for this week, I want to invite you to allow the Holy Spirit to shine light into your life. Letting God’s light in as we move through this season.
    Our Old Testament Reading comes from Genesis 17 this morning, beginning at verse 1.
    Genesis 17:1–7 ESV
    When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.
    Genesis 17:15–16 ESV
    And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”
    Our New Testament reading comes from Romans 4:13-25
    Romans 4:13–25 ESV
    For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
    Finally our Gospel reading, Mark 8:31-38:
    Mark 8:31–38 ESV
    And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
    This is the Word of our Lord,
    Thanks be to God.

    Spring Cleaning

    Let’s pray:
    God, your are Holy, your are righteous, you are sovereign, and yet to identify you as such seems to distance you from our lives. You are not distant, you are present. As we reflect on your word this morning, God, we invite you to speak. Speak to us as a Father instructs his child. Speak to us as a mother tenderly affirms and encourages her child. God we come as your children created in your image, in need of instruction, affirmation and encouragement. Speak Lord, for your children are listening. Amen.
    We live in a world where, even as Christians, we get pulled so far away from what is really important. Lent is a time where we get to do a bit of Spring Cleaning. We get to have our annual check-up and really look at what’s going on in our hearts and in our minds. What are we craving? What are those things that are pulling us away from what is intended to be our First Love?
    And the timing is perfect, if you think about it. We’ve just come into a New Year, where so many people start their year with resolutions to live a better life in this world and for the next. And as they say, most people within a month have lost all sense of those resolutions. And then sometime in February, we as Christians are afforded a second-chance if you will. We enter the Season of Lent, a time of penitence which is just a fancy way of saying we examine ourselves and allow God to remind us of what Holiness is.
    It is a time for us to draw near to God and God will draw near to us. (James 4:8).
    And so we being our Spring Cleaning.
    If you’ve been doing our Lenten devotional you’re no doubt gaining an understanding of just how messed up things have gotten in our world. The injustices and inequities that we see around world are stark, they are frightening, and must give us pause. We must ask ourselves, “How am I perpetuating such injustice?” and “What can I do to make a difference.”
    The challenge for us all is that we want to begin working on ourselves, but as we read the Scriptures we have to identify that it’s not by works of righteousness that I’ve done, but it’s according to God’s mercy that I am saved (Titus 3:5& 6). In Ephesians 2:8- 9 we’re told.
    Ephesians 2:8–9 ESV
    For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
    How easy it is for us to think that somehow we’ve earned our salvation. After all we’re so religious and all…we attend church, we read our Bibles, we pray... And yet as we read in our Gospel reading these were the very people who rejected the Son of Man.
    Mark 8:31 ESV
    And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.
    This didn’t sit well with the disciples, least of all Peter. Peter takes Jesus aside, such a noble thing, and rebukes Jesus. But then Jesus seems to call out Peter infront of all the disciples!
    Mark 8:33 ESV
    But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
    This is shocking in itself, Jesus referring to Peter as Satan! But in its context it is even more shocking. It was only 4 verses earlier we read,
    Mark 8:29 ESV
    And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.”
    How do we get from a profession of faith, “You are the Christ!” to a powerful rebuke, “Get behind me, Satan!”
    It comes down to where our treasure lies. We know that where our treasure lies, there will our heart be also, (Mt 6:21).
    So, after rebuking Peter in front of all the disciples, he calls the crowd and his disciples to him:
    Mark 8:34 ESV
    And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
    Denying oneself is a key part of Lent. It is why people give up things during this season. Some give up chocolate, or Social Media is a popular one now. Some give up a soft drink or caffeine. Some choose to take on added disciplines such as prayer, or Bible study, or service.
    The Lenten disciplines are challenging in that we can become caught up in what we’re doing for God instead of focusing on God. In other words, we can be focused on the fact that we’re praying or studying the Bible rather than the one we’re praying to, or whose word we’re reading.
    “If anyone would come after me, let them deny themself and take up their cross and follow me.”
    Deny - who would want to deny themself? Deny themself what? Food? Drink? Social media? Popularity? Even in our denial we tend to focus on ourself, the key is that we deny ourself we give ourself up.
    Take up your cross - what is your cross?
    For too long I think we’ve thought of this simply as a burden, thus we choose a “Christian discipline” such as fasting, prayer, Bible study, etc. But a cross is more than a burden, it is a painful death.
    We are called to die.
    When a person in our military dies in service to our country, we will often say, “They gave their life.” Jesus calls us to that kind of dedication.
    Mark 8:35 ESV
    For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.
    Once again, we’re being called to that eternal perspective. To give all that we have that others might know the love of Jesus the way we do, or even more than we do.
    Jim Elliott famously wrote in his journal shortly before being martyred by the very people he was attempting to reach with the Gospel,
    Elliot: “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
    Jesus said,
    Mark 8:36–38 ESV
    For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

    Spring Cleaning

    We live in a messed up world. Anyone who denies that has closed their eyes to the sin around us.
    Our call is to holiness. Our call is to live a righteous and holy life before our Lord in a world that is filled with filth.
    Our call is to be faithful.
    Yes, you will fail. And God is waiting there to forgive just like a parent watching their baby learning to walk. It’s literally baby steps.
    I’d like us to do a song here as we prepare to close in prayer. My hope is that it might be a song that creeps into your mind throughout the week, it’s a simple song written by Scott Underwood.
    It goes like this:
    Holiness, holiness is what I long for
    Holiness is what I need.
    Holiness, holiness is what You want from me
    (And then it substitutes the words Faithfulness)
    Faithfulness, faithfulness is what I long for
    Faithfulness is what I need.
    Faithfulness is what You want from me.
    (And finally we substitute the word Righteousness)
    Righteousness is what I long for,
    Righteousness is what I need.
    Righteousness is what you want from me.
    We’ll help you with the chorus.
    Let’s sing it together and then we’ll pray.
    SING
    Please pray with me:
    Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord, God Almighty who was and is and is to come
    You invite us here to pray to you, not because of anything we’ve done, but because of your love for us and the Way you opened through Your Son Jesus who paid the price for each and every one of our sins.
    God, we long for Holiness, Faithfulness, and Righteousness, and we confess we don’t know how to live those things. We want to, we’d like to say they were true of us, but when we look at our lives, when we consider the thoughts that pass through our minds, we know that’s not true.
    So God we turn to you. We ask you to illumine our hearts, our minds, the depths of our souls and remind us of your love for us. Remind us once again that we are your children that we might turn to you. Remind us that we are disciples dearly loved by you, so much so that You gave Your one and Only Son to bring us to you again.
    God, we want to draw near to you that you might draw near to us. Make it so Lord. Make it so. We pray this through Jesus Christ, AMEN!
      • Genesis 17:1–7ESV

      • Genesis 17:15–16ESV

      • Romans 4:13–25ESV

      • Mark 8:31–38ESV

      • Ephesians 2:8–9ESV

      • Mark 8:31ESV

      • Mark 8:33ESV

      • Mark 8:29ESV

      • Mark 8:34ESV

      • Mark 8:35ESV

      • Mark 8:36–38ESV

  • The Greatest Thing
  • Benediction Song

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