At the end of Luke 17, Jesus described his future return as a fulfillment of the hope of his followers and as a day of dreadful judgment poured out on those who oppose him. The text for this Lord’s Day (Luke 18:1-8) continues the theme of the Lord’s return. In it, Jesus tells a parable to instruct the disciples to continue to pray, “Thy kingdom come,” even though the coming seems delayed. Pray with confidence that He will come and vindicate his people.
The hymns selected for this service, including the Christmas hymns, anticipate his return to rule.
PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP
Call to Worship: Micah 6:6-8
Hymn 111 Angels from the Realms of Glory
Note: Our first hymn acknowledges the Christmas season with words appropriate to call us to worship: “Come and worship, come and worship, worship Christ, the newborn King.” The fourth verse clearly heralds the gospel message made possible at Christ’s first coming. The last verse declares the believer’s hope, the climax of the gospel story: “Suddenly the Lord, descending, in His temple shall appear.”
Hymn 120 Who Is He in Yonder Stall?
Notes: This Christmas hymn provides one of the most detailed accounts of the life of Jesus. We sing, “O wondrous story!” It calls us to humbly fall at his feet and “Crown Him! Crown Him, Lord of all!”
Scripture Reading: Micah 4:1-5:5a
Note: Israel had fallen under God’s severe judgment for her idolatry. God broke the kingdom in judgment. But God revealed through Micah that in the latter days, He would defeat Israel’s enemies and restore the kingdom to his people. This he would accomplish through a new King who would arise from Bethlehem. Israel’s hope is also our hope.
Hymn 13 Rejoice, the Lord is King!
Notes: Charles Wesley’s exuberant hymn calls us to rejoice and give thanks because Christ is our King. Jesus reigns and “his kingdom cannot fail.” He shall come, defeat his foes, and all our sins destroy. Thus we “rejoice in glorious hope!”
Message: The Unjust Judge: A Study in Contrasts
Pastor Steven Thomas
Hymn 92: Joy to the World!
Note: Isaac Watts wrote this famous hymn as a description of Christ’s reign in his future kingdom. We, however, have popularized it as a Christmas song. It anticipates Christ’s future eradication of the effects of sin and expresses our longing for the day when all nations will extol the “glories of his righteousness.” This is the climax of our glorious gospel message.
Prayer Response: Joel Owen
Benediction: John Miles