Order of Service, February 18, 2024


False teachers in the churches in Ephesus needed correction. In 1 Timothy 1:8-11, Paul corrected their misuse of the Law—it cannot contribute anything to our salvation. In 1 Timothy 12-16, Paul presented himself as an example of the saving power of the gospel of God’s grace given through Jesus Christ: by mercy and grace, God saved Paul, the very worst of sinners. And he did it apart from the Law.

Having laid out this argument and its deeply personal and moving exploration of the wonders of God’s mercy found in Christ Jesus, Paul broke out in a jubilant poem (song?) in verse 17. It is a response to the wonders of the gospel. It begins with a description of the One who saves us and ends with the appropriate response of those who have been saved.

Therefore, the elements of this worship service weave together a description of God’s majestic character that undergirds his saving works. It finishes with an anthem that offers Him praise and expresses our great wonder at the riches of his grace.



Call to Worship:     Isaiah 40:28-31

Note: This passage emphasizes the amazing gulf that exists between the majestic God and our weakness. Only God’s grace can span that gulf. Being lifted up, as on eagles’ wings (v. 31), is a well-known metaphor for gracious deliverance. See Exodus 19:4; Isaiah 63:9; Revelation 12:4.



Hymn 46       O Worship the King

Note: Based on Psalm 104, this hymn calls us to worship our great God, describing Him in language similar to the sermon text: the King who is glorious, almighty, loving, eternal, and gracious. He stands in contrast to us: “frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,” but in him we trust and he never fails.

Worship through Giving

Hymn 23      Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise

Note: With lyrics that echo our sermon text, we exalt God for his transcendent character. He is beyond our ability to grasp fully. But we can know him truly because he graciously makes himself known to his people.

Scripture Reading      Psalm 57:1-11

Note: In this Psalm, David cried out for the Lord’s mercy. His immediate concern was physical salvation because he was in danger. This differs from Paul’s mention of the Lord’s mercy in 1 Timothy 1:16, which refers to God’s mercy given in spiritual salvation. Yet, both David and Paul see the end goal of God’s mercy as His glory and praise:

“Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!”

Pastoral Prayer

Hymn 21      Fairest Lord Jesus

Note: This hymn proclaims that Jesus is dearer to us than anything in creation. “Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor, Thou, my soul’s glory, joy, and crown.”

Message: The Goal of God’s Mercy
Text: 1 Timothy 1:17
Pastor Steven Thomas


Hymn 26      Great God of Wonders!

Note: This hymn, based on Micah 7:18, is a fitting response to the God who accepts us because Christ, our propitiation, represents us before that throne of grace. What a wondrous assurance we have that our sin can never deplete his grace!

Who is a pard’ning God like Thee?
Or who has grace so rich and free?

Prayer Response:      Mark Buhr

Benediction:      John Miles