As Luke draws close to the conclusion of his book, he records Jesus’ words as he entrusted his followers with a message and mission. The message is the good news of forgiveness declared in the Scriptures and secured by Christ’s death and resurrection. The mission is global in scope, proclamational in nature, and empowered by the Spirit of truth.
The hymns selected for this service include Christmas carols that echo the themes of the sermon text and hymns that focus on our global mission.
PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP
Call to Worship: Isaiah 66:1-2
Hymn 92 Joy to the World!
Note: We have popularized Isaac Watts’ famous hymn as a Christmas song. But the composer wrote it to describe Christ’s reign in his future kingdom. 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.
Worship through Giving
Hymn 90 Hark, The Herald Angels Sing
Note: Charles Wesley calls all to listen to the message heralded by angels on the night of Jesus’ birth. The first verse intimates two elements of the Gospel according to Luke. First, this King came to reconcile sinners to God. That is why his death and resurrection form the essential prelude to the kingdom. And second, Christ offers the forgiveness he secured at the cross to all nations. Thus, the gospel mission brings joy to all.
Scripture Reading Isaiah 60:1-9
Note: Isaiah anticipated the future glory of Israel as her King, Jesus Christ, returns and establishes his kingdom (v. 1). The “light” of his kingdom will draw all nations to him on that day (v. 3). The Lord’s purpose in this great consummation of history is the glory of his name: “for the name of the Lord your God and for the Holy One of Israel.”
Note: In the sermon text, Jesus commissioned his followers to proclaim the message of Christ and the salvation he secured. This hymn begins with amazement that we mortals have the privilege of joining the angels to proclaim the praise of our mighty God. We are not only eager to hear God’s message but, in view of Christ’s “free redemption,” we resolve to break our “guilty silence” and declare His glory to others. “Silent I can never be, for salvation’s wondrous story . . . .”
Message: The Message Proclaimed to All Nations
Pastor Steven Thomas
Hymn Insert For the Sake of His Name
Note: In keeping with Luke’s ever-present theme, this hymn calls us to take the message of Jesus to the world. It expresses our resolve to “love the unloved” and “urge them to flee to the Lamb who was slain” to secure their forgiveness. Trusting Jesus’ delivering power, we rely on him to use our message to exalt his Name.
Prayer Response: Mike Towry
Benediction: John Miles