The sermon text for this Lord’s Day focuses on one of the New Testament’s most famous stories: the Good Samaritan. It is a parable that Jesus told in response to the question, “Who is my neighbor?” The story itself is the second half of a passage that began by teaching us, love God with all your heart by loving and following Jesus. Love for God is expressed in love for our neighbor. The parable of the Good Samaritan tells us what that looks like.
This year the Christmas season has special relevance because our current worship services focus the ministry of Jesus at his first coming. Throughout the month, hymns selected for the worship services will celebrate the advent of our Savior.
PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP
Call to Worship Isaiah 9:2-3; Luke 2:29-32
Hymn 87 O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Note: This hymn is a wistful prayer that reflects Israel’s centuries of longing for God’s promised Messiah. “Come Emmanuel,” who is “Rod of Jesse,” conqueror in the lineage of King David (Jesse’s son). He not only comes to reign, but to free his people from “Satan’s tyranny.”
Hymn 91 Once in Royal David’s City
Notes: Mary’s child born in Bethlehem so long ago was no ordinary baby. “He came down to earth from heaven Who is God and Lord of all.” He was the long-expected Messiah. This hymn reminds us of his condescension to the humblest of circumstances as he became one of us.
Scripture Reading Micah 4:1-5:5a
Notes: The Prophet Micah anticipated a day when God would regather his people Israel after centuries of willful rebellion against their God. On that day, he will give her a mighty King who shall deliver her from her enemies and be her loving Shepherd. In 5:2, he predicted that this King will be born in Bethlehem—a prediction fulfilled with the birth of Jesus.
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.
Message What it Looks Like to Love One Another
Pastor Steven Thomas
Hymn 120 Who Is He in Yonder Stall?
Notes: This Christmas hymn provides one of the most detailed accounts of the life of Jesus, “O wondrous story!” It calls us to humbly fall at his feet and “Crown Him! Crown Him, Lord of all!”
Prayer Response Mark Williams
Benediction John Miles