My Sure Redeemer: A service celebrating God's faithfulness to his trusting people
"Great Is Thy Faithfulness" (piano)<
"My Jesus, I Love Thee" (organ)
Psalter Reading: Psalm 111, read in unison
Hymn: "New Songs of Celebration Render" (Psalm 98)
[Tune: RENDEZ A DIEU; PH 28, RL W, TH14; concertato by Dale Grotenhuis available from CRC Publications (1-800-333-8300)]
We Celebrate Who God Is...
Reading on God's Word
John Calvin (1509-1564)
"Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?" (Isaiah 53:1)
And therefore we must be equipped and armed against this sight—put before our eyes by the devil—of so many men resisting the Gospel, even the greatest men and those with some reputation in the world. For then it seems to us not to be God's Word. And why? Because we pay too much regard to men. In this way our faith is shaken. So let us rise above all that is earthly and know that when God speaks, we must submit to him, and though none should be on our side but all against us, let us not fail to accept with a sincere faith what God declares. And, moreover, lest we should be surprised that men are so perverse as to fight against their God, against him who has created them, even him who has declared that he is their Redeemer, let us know that faith is not given to all, but is a singular gift that God keeps as a treasure for those he has chosen; and let us know that our duty is to cleave to him, knowing the while that none of us gains faith by his own effort, but God has enlightened us and given us eyes by his Holy Spirit, and in so doing has declared his power—that is to say, he has given us a lively feeling of it in our hearts, so that we know that the Gospel comes, not from men, but from him.
Hymn: "I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art"
[Tune: TOULON; PsH 248, PH 457, RL 366, TH 168]
Reading on Gods Sovereignty
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
I have often had sweet complacency in God, in view of His glorious perfections and the excellency of Jesus Christ. God has appeared to me a glorious and lovely Being, chiefly on the account of His holiness. The holiness of God has always appeared to me the most lovely of all His attributes. The doctrines of God's absolute sovereignty and free grace in showing mercy to whom He would show mercy, and man's absolute dependence on the operations of God's Holy Spirit, have very often appeared to me as sweet and glorious doctrines. These doctrines have been much my delight. God's sovereignty has ever appeared to me as a great part of His glory. It has often been sweet to me to go to God and adore Him as a sovereign God, and ask sovereign mercy of Him.
Hymn: "O God, Our Help in Ages Past"
[Tune: ST. ANNE; PsH 170, PH 210, RL1 TH 30]
Praise God for his attributes and decrees Anthem: "O How Amiable"
[R. Vaughan Williams]
... And How He Has Shown Mercy and Love to Us...
Reading on Justification
It was depressing even to think of it. "How long?" I asked the Lord, "how long will you be angry with me? Forever? Can't you forget my sins?"
You see, even if he forgot, I couldn't, and I couldn't believe he forgot, either. I felt trapped still by my past failures. So I cried to him: "Why not now, Lord—why not, at this very moment, put an end to this uncleanness?"
And the moment I said it, he answered. I heard a voice, a faraway voice like a child calling from a distant house, repeating over and over again, "Pick up the book and read. Pick up the book and read."
So I picked up the book. It was the letters of the apostle Paul. I opened it, and I read silently the first words on which my eyes fell: "Not parties, not getting drunk, not promiscuity, not quarrelling and envy—put off all those. But put on the Lord Christ, and stop encouraging your lower nature."
I needed to read no more, for instantly—by the end of the sentence—a clear, bright light shone into my heart, driving out the darkness of my doubts. It seemed so straightforward. When I put off the old, that I had longed to lose, then I put on the new, the Lord Christ, whom I had longed to find.
Hymn: "Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee"
[Tune: ST. AGNES; PsH 48a PH 310, TH 645]
Reading on Faith
Martin Luther (1483-1546)
Behold, Lord, an empty vessel that needs to be filled. My Lord, fill it. I am weak in the faith; strengthen me. I am cold in love; warm me and make me fervent, that my love may go out to my neighbor. I do not have a strong and firm faith; at times I doubt and am unable to trust you altogether. O Lord, help me. Strengthen my faith and trust in you. In you I have sealed the treasure of all I have. I am poor; you are rich and came to be merciful to the poor. I am a sinner; you are upright. With me, there is an abundance of sin; in you is the fullness of righteousness. Therefore I will remain with you, of whom I can receive, but to whom I may not give.
Hymn: "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God"
[Tune: EIN FESTE BURG; PsH 469, PH 260, RL 179, TH 92]
Praise and thank God for the gift of faith and for our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
Anthem: "My God Is a Rock"
... And Thank Him for Establishing the Church
We praise you, O God,
we acclaim you as Lord;
all creation worships you,
the Father everlasting.
To you all angels, all the powers of heaven,
cherubim and seraphim sing in endless praise:
"Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory."
The glorious company of apostles praise you.
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you.
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.
Throughout the world the holy church acclaims you,
Father of majesty unbounded,
your true and only Son, worthy of all praise,
the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the King of glory,
the eternal Son of the Father.
When you took on flesh to set us free
you humbly chose the virgin's womb.
You overcame the sting of death,
and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.
You are seated at God's right hand in glory.
We believe that you will come and be our judge.
Come then, Lord, and help your people,
bought with the price of your own blood,
and bring us with your saints
to glory everlasting.
[Te Deum (4th century)]
Hymn: "For All the Saints"
[Tune: SINE NOMEME; PsH 505, PH 526, RL 397; TH 358]
Thank God for his faithful saints in ages past, and ask him to cleanse and strengthen the church today.
Anthem: "God and God Alone"
Prayer for Unity
Philip Melanchthon (1497-1560)
To you, O Son of God, Lord Jesus Christ, as you pray to the eternal Father, we pray, make us one in him. Lighten our personal distress and that of our society. Receive us in the fellowship of those who believe. Turn our hearts, O Christ, to everlasting truth and healing harmony.
Postlude: "Now Thank We All Our God" (organ)
This service was originally held with Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church and Trinity Presbyterian Church of Asheville, and First Presbyterian Church of Weavervilk, North Carolina, It was submitted by Timothy Wilds, director of worship at Trinity. The hymns in this service were selected from the most recent editions of the following hymnals: The Psalter Hymnal (PsH), The Presbyterian Hymnal (PH), Rejoice in the Lord (RL) and the Trinity Hymnal (TH).