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Sixth Sunday of Easter: Acts 17:22-31; Psalm 66:8-20 or Ezekiel 43:1-7a; Psalm 115; 1 Peter 3:13-22; John 14:15-21

In our worship, we listen to the Word of the Lord.
Notice the importance of the Scriptures for both public ministry - ‘reasoning with them from the Scriptures’ and private devotion - ‘examining the Scriptures every day’ (Acts 17:2, 11).
We need the Word of the Lord on the Lord’s Day. We need the Word of the Lord every day.
God is not the ‘unknown God’. He has made himself known to us.
For many, He seems to be the ‘unknown God’. We must seek to lead them beyond a vague awareness of ‘the God who made the world’ to a real knowledge of Jesus Christ who died and rose again for our salvation (Acts 17:24, 3).
When our faith is grounded in the Scriptures, we will not think of God as the ‘unknown God’ about whom we can know very little. We will make it our ambition ‘to know Christ and the power of His resurrection’ (Philippians 3:10).
‘Let us press on to know the Lord’(Hosea 6:3).

In our worship, we hear the Story of God’s salvation.
‘Come and see what God has done’ (Psalm 66:5).
God invites us to look into His Word, to read His Story, the Story of all that He has done for us.
‘Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what He has done for me’ (Psalm 66:16).
God invites us to listen to the preaching of His Word, to let His Story become our story, to let His salvation become real in our lives.
We read God’s Word. We hear His Word.
This is our journey of discovery. We discover what the Lord has done for us. We discover how much He wants to bless us.
He waits to hear our prayer - ‘May God be gracious to us and bless us...’ He answers our prayer - ‘God has blessed us’ (Psalm 67:1, 6-7).
He wants us to ‘be glad and sing for joy’. He wants us to call ‘all the ends of the earth’ to ‘worship Him’ (Psalm 67:4, 7).

In our worship, let us pray the glory of the Lord will fill His Church.
This is not only about the glory of the Temple. It’s about ‘the glory of the God of Israel’. This is the greater glory - ‘the glory of the Lord filled the Temple’ (Ezekiel 43:1, 5).
God is not only concerned about the creation of a beautiful place of worship. He wants our lives to be ‘radiant with His glory’. This happens when ‘the Spirit lifts us up’ and brings us close to God - ‘into the inner court’ (Ezekiel 43:2, 5).
We pray that the glory of the Lord will fill the place of worship: ‘May the fragrance of Jesus fill this place.’ We pray that ‘the glory of Jesus’ will ‘fill His Church’. We are not only praying for God’s glory in the place of worship. We are praying for His glory in our lives: ‘May the beauty of Jesus fill my life... Fill my thoughts, my words, my deeds’ (Mission Praise, 462).

In our worship, let us give all the glory to the Lord.
‘Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to Your Name be the glory because of Your love and faithfulness’ (Psalm 115:1).
God loves us. He loves us with a faithful love, ‘an everlasting love’, a ‘love that will not let us go’. His love ‘never comes to an end’. Nothing can separate us from His love (Jeremiah 31:3; Lamentations 3:22-23; Romans 8:38-39; Church Hymnary, 677). What have we done to deserve such love? Absolutely nothing! We are ‘sinners’. We do not deserve to be loved by God. We have done nothing to earn His love. Love begins with God. It comes from Him.
How do we know that He loves us? Have we proved ourselves worthy of His love? No! - ‘God shows His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us’. ‘To God be the glory!’ (Romans 5:8; Church Hymnary, 374).

As we leave the place of worship, let us take the Gospel with us.
The world is preoccupied with outward appearances. As Christians, we should be more concerned with our inward attitude. ‘In your hearts reverence Christ as Lord’. Pray for His ‘attitude’ - ‘a tender heart and a humble mind’ (1 Peter 3:8, 15; 4:1).
We believe the Gospel - ‘Christ died for our sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to God’. Let’s share the Gospel - ‘Be always ready to give...a reason for the hope that is in you’.
How are we to share the Gospel? - ‘with gentleness and respect’(1 Peter 3:18, 15).
We must get the attitude right - ‘so that nothing will hinder our prayers’ (1 Peter 3:
7).
We need more than the ‘right’ prayers - words that sound good. We need the right attitude. The blessing will not come because our words sound good. It will only come when our attitude is right.

As we go into the world, let us pray that the fruit of the Spirit will be seen in us.
Those who love the Lord are called to a life of obedience - keeping His ‘commandments’, keeping His ‘Word’ (John 14:21, 23).
We cannot live this life in our own strength. Christ must make His home in us (John 14:23).
Once He has come to live in us, we are to abide in Him (John 15:4).
Jesus says to us, ‘Apart from me you can do nothing’ (John 15:5).
You cannot live the Christian life until Christ comes to live in you.
‘The Holy Spirit teaches us all things’ (John 14:26). Christ’s ‘words’ abide in us (John 15:7).
We are called to a life of fruitfulness (John 15:5, 15) - ‘the fruit of the Spirit’: ‘love, joy, peace...’ (Galatians 5:22-23).
Jesus loves us (John 14:21). He gives us His peace (John 14:27). He gives us His joy (John 15:11).
Love, Joy, Peace: Let this ‘fruit’ be seen in us. Let it be shared with others. ‘Love one another... Go and bear fruit... love one another’ (John 15:12, 16-17).

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