Probably one of the most memorable parables that Jesus ever told is the one in Luke 15:11-32 on the “prodigal son.” This parable continues Jesus’ theme from the previous verses about lost sinners who repent. The reason why the parable of the prodigal son is so important is that it expresses the gospel in a nutshell. It highlights the core theological issues in Jesus’ messages: repentance, God’s unconditional love, and the joyful welcome of sinners. After all, Paul says, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim 1:15).
It is interesting to note that the actions of the shepherd searching for his sheep and the woman searching for the coin are nothing out of the ordinary. They do what we would expect them to do. Most of us would do the same! But the actions taken by the father in the third story are unique, marvelous, and divine. The sons in the story assume that their father’s love was conditional. But the parable shows that both sons were cherished by the father because they were sons, not because of what they did or did not do. This act expresses God’s unconditional love for all who are his “children” and call on his name for life.
Songs that we will sing this week are provided in a playlist here, and include the following:
- All I Have is Christ
- Your Great Name
- Speak, O Lord
Following on the heels of last week’s sermon on the “lost sheep” in Luke 15:1-7, this week’s sermon focuses on a parable about a “lost coin” (15:8-10). Note the importance Jesus places on a single sheep or a single coin using the argument from the lesser-to-the-greater to make his point. If a shepherd will go to this much effort to recover a sheep, and if a woman will go to this much effort to recover a coin, then how much more effort will God exert to find and recover a lost person. Life is infinitely valuable in Jesus’ eyes. He does nothing less than the action of God, taking the initiative in recovering the lost.
It is also interesting to juxtapose the “lost” passages in Luke 15 with the “kingdom of heaven” parables in Matthew 13. In that text, the kingdom is like a treasure hidden in a field or a pearl of great price. The cost of a field and the worth of possession pales in comparison to the treasure or the pearl. In this way, Jesus himself is the thing (or, person) most infinitely valuable—the source of all that we need and the hope of all that we long for in this life. Therefore, seeking the kingdom of Christ is worth more than anything else we should pursue. These texts often remind me of Proverbs 2:1-5:
My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
Let this be our aim as we gather again for worship! Songs that we will sing this week include the following, which you can listen to in a playlist here:
- It is Finished (Matt Papa)
- Only the Blood (The Village Church)
- Jesus, Thank You (Sovereign Grace)
- Sing to Jesus (Fernando Ortega)
- Your Love, Oh Lord (Third Day)
Pastor for Worship.
There is a tendency in worship—indeed, a temptation—for us to be very self-focused and introspective. This is not necessarily a bad thing in itself. We are called individually to examine ourselves to see whether we are of the faith (2 Cor 13:5), to confess our sins, and to come to Christ. But in the life of the church, the believer is no longer a singular member prioritizing his own life apart from the church, as if he could be extracted from the whole. Actually, Paul says that we are all members of one body (Eph 4:25), which fails to operate accordingly if its individual members are cut off, that is, if the members are not exhibiting love to one another in Christlikeness (1 Cor 12:12-27). Paul writes, “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it” (12:27). So we are the “body” first, and “members” second.
This theological point is evident in worship services too. There are many ways that a church member can show love on Sundays (“Outdo one another in showing honor!” Rom 12:10). But there is probably no better way to show love for one another than to speak the truth about God’s character to one another in our worship. Have you ever looked closely at Isaiah 6, where the Seraphim surround the throne room of God and sing his praises? “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts! The whole earth is filled with his glory!” (6:3b) But did you ever notice the preceding line of Isaiah 6:3, and to whom the Seraphim direct their praise? In this instance they do not proclaim to God that he is holy, although that is good and right to do (e.g. Psalm 96). In Isaiah 6, the Seraphim proclaim to one another that the Lord is holy. This is what Paul echoes in Ephesians 5:19. We are to be “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” In essence, this is what our worship should look like, and it is a good way to exhibit love—saying the truths about God to one another.
Pastor Caldwell’s sermon is from Luke 15:1-7 this Sunday. I exhort you to dwell on this amazing text before the service. Some of the songs we will sing “to one another” this week include the following. You can listen to these on a playlist here:
- Our Great God
- Lord, I Need You
- Sovereign Over Us
- A Day of Glory
Pastor for Worship.
The text for this Sunday is 1 Corinthians 13:1–8, which believers know well as the standard text in the Bible about Christian love. Paul writes in verse 2, “if I have not love, I am nothing.” This is an important point, especially for times when the church is gathered! All social, racial, and ethical boundaries are obliterated within the church because we are all the same in Christ. And so the church should be characterized as a loving group of people, unified in Christ. Indeed, Jesus himself said that the world will know that we are his disciples “if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). In 1 Corinthians 13:4–7 “love” is described helpfully in positive and negative ways:
Positive—Love is: patient, kind
Negative—Love is not: envy, boastful, arrogant, rude, selfish, irritable, resentful, rejoicing in wrongdoing
Positive—Love does: rejoice in the truth, bear all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Finally, verse 8 says that love is permanent: “it never ends” unlike “prophecies,” “tongues,” or “knowledge.” These characteristics are instructive for the church, and we should practice them at every possible opportunity. Ephesians 4:15–16 echoes this point. There, Paul instructs the church to be “speaking the truth in love,” so that we might “grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
Songs we will sing this week include the following, provided as free a playlist here by Scott Bacher. You can also buy the tracks individually through the links below:
- Always (iTunes, Amazon)
- Christ is Risen (iTunes, Amazon)
- Oh the Deep, Deep Love (iTunes, Amazon)
- Come to Me (iTunes, Amazon)
- Shine into Our Night (iTunes, Amazon)
Pastor for Worship.
In Luke 14:12-24, Jesus again addresses the Pharisees and scribes with whom he is dining. This time he tells them that radical generosity is required when one invites guests to a banquet or feast, especially to the poor, lame, and crippled. This statement seems to be getting at the cost of discipleship, which Jesus will detail in 14:25-33. The point is that even though some cannot reciprocate materially the generosity shown to them at the feast, we should still show them kindness in inviting them to the table. In doing so, Jesus says you will still receive a reward (or, blessing) “at the resurrection of the just” (see 1 Corinthians 15:12ff.). One particular guest becomes excited after hearing this, and proclaims “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God” (14:15)! Thus, the guest draws a connection between an invitation to a banquet and the banquet in the Old Testament that celebrates God”s reign (see Isaiah 25:6). A banquet invitation, then, is a symbol of God”s reign.
This guest, however, is overly confident in his own status as an attendee, and Jesus deflates his smug sense of security in the following parable. Jesus illustrates that there is a coming banquet, God”s banquet, in which those who were originally invited will miss. The original attendees make excuses for missing the feast, and thus the Master of the house replaces their invitations with those who are “poor and crippled and blind and lame” (14:21). And even though none of the original invitees are able to come to the banquet, “there is still room” (14:22)!
The “banquet” that Jesus speaks kazinomons of is not a local affair, but concerns the kingdom of God, which is present in Jesus, and which is yet to be fully realized. In the future, God”s banquet is Jesus” banquet. We see this in Revelation 19:9, the ultimate fulfillment of Jesus” parable in Luke 14: And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
The issues facing believers who read Luke 14 today are indeed weighty. So let us prepare for worship, lest we fail to meet the test! A selection of songs that we will sing this week include the following. Videos provided by Scott Bacher:
- Song of Moses (iTunes, Amazon)
- God Undefeatable (iTunes, Amazon)
- It is Well with My Soul (iTunes, Amazon)
- How Sweet and Aweful is the Place (iTunes, Amazon)
- All I Have is Christ (iTunes, Amazon)
What’s the first place that comes to your mind when you think of the mission field? The local park? A street corner? Maybe Africa? For most of us, the workplace is the last place we think of, but it is where we spend most of our time. This gives us a great responsibility as we put our faith out in the open and work with integrity and excellence so that our witness would be blameless (1 Timothy 6:1). Here are some ways that we can be good servants of Christ in the workplace as we seek to make his name known:
- Recognize the value of work
More than just a means to earn a living, God’s word has declared that our work is a holy calling. As we begin our workday, our hearts should recognize that our job is to be set apart as service not merely to men but unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23). This means we arrive on time, work with excellence and serve our coworkers in a way that is worth of the gospel.
- Use your lunch break
There’s nothing more contradictory to being a Christian in the workplace than spending all your time sharing the gospel while on the clock. Use your lunch breaks as opportunities to start a bible study or take a coworker to lunch. The atmosphere is more relaxed and coworkers may open up more outside of an office setting. And it may be a good idea to adorn the message by picking up the bill.
- Use holidays
My company, often in the festive mood, gives freedom to employees to decorate cubes, stuff stockings and cook delicious meals. This is a unique time to think up creative ways to share your faith.
- Build long-term relationships
A huge advantage of the workplace is the constant contact we have with coworkers. Rather than becoming irritable and annoyed as we witness the day-to-day habits of the guy in the cube next to us, the office is fertile soil to plant seeds and build long-term relationships. Use each day as a new opportunity to consistently invest time and truth into your coworker’s life.
Being known as a Christian in the workplace can be a heavy responsibility, but as ambassadors for Christ we are commanded to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19). As we pray for strength, we can be confident that God has a plan and purpose for us even in the workplace. Let us go to work every day seeking to be a witness to His grace.
Pastor Caldwell will delve into Luke 14 this week, beginning with the story of Jesus healing a man on the Sabbath in vv. 1-6, followed by a parable in vv. 7-11. The concluding verse of this section seems to give the main purpose of the passage: “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (14:11).
The “humble” person is not simply one who helps out the poor or who gives their seat to someone in need. In the Bible, true humility is to understand our plight in the world, and our need to trust in Christ and repent of our sins. We know this because Jesus quotes Luke 14:11 later in the gospel. In 18:13-14, a tax collector, with knowledge of gravity of his sin, says, “God, be mercifcul to me, a sinner!,” to which Jesus responds, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified…for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
John Calvin once wrote, “The Christian life is a race of repentance—not a race to attain repentance, but a race that is characterized by repentance.” Let us be characterized as people of repentance!
Songs we will sing this week focus on God’s grace, and will include:
- Here is Love (iTunes, Amazon)
- Psalm 62 (My Soul Finds Rest) (iTunes, Amazon)
- Sovereign Over Us (aaronkeyes.com)
- Trust You (aaronkeyes.com)
I look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday!
Pastor for Worship.
The worship ministry at Founders Baptist Church exists solely to bring glory to God through leading the people of God to declare the truths of God. This happens primarily through scripture readings, music, and prayer, week after week. We know that worship is not exclusively a song or the words of a prayer, but an ongoing, never-ending life of praise. Just as the angels perpetually sing that God is “holy, holy, holy” (Isaiah 6:3), so the church should proclaim to one another at all times that God is high and lifted up (Hebrews 13:15). Our goal is to be,
- growing closer to Christ and maturing in our understanding of God, and who we are in Him,
- improving musically/artistically/creatively,
- accountable for our commitments and faithful to live them out.
To that end, we want to offer a day annually where other members of the congregation can audition to be part of this ministry. On Saturday, November 2nd (between 9:00-12:00) we will hold open auditions for the worship team at Founders.
The steps for auditioning are found in the online application here: http://bit.ly/fbcworshipauditions
After completing the application, read through the following documents:
- Audition Notes for Applicants
- Helpful Tips for Worship Auditions
The following songs and chord charts will be used for auditions, which you may download by clicking “Read More” at the bottom of this page. Again, please read the application and above documents for further comments on these songs:
- Come Praise and Glorify: Come Praise and Glorify (chart)
- Show Us Christ: Show Us Christ (chart)
- Shine Into Our Night: Shine Into Our Night (chart)
- My Soul Finds Rest (Psalm 62): My Soul Finds Rest (Psalm 62) (chart)
- Come to Me: Come to Me (chart)
- Song of Moses: Song of Moses (chart)
Please prayerfully consider this opportunity, and if you are interested in being part of the worship ministry at Founders, I hope to see you on November 2nd!
Pastor for Worship.
Pastor Caldwell’s sermon text for this week is from Luke 13:31-35, where we read the familiar text of Jesus’ lament for the city: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, . . . How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!” He then declares, “your house is forsaken!” Jesus is likened to a frustrated mother hen. As a result, judgment is inevitable, although Jesus betrays a certain reluctance to mete it out. Israel (i.e. Jerusalem) is a hen’s brood, so to speak, which should remind us of the numerous Old Testament metaphors of God’s protection (Ruth 2:12; Pss 17:8; 36:7; 57:1; 61:4; Isa 31:5). The brood, however, refuses God’s protection and is exposed.
Jesus is God. He takes God’s role as the one who would gather Israel. But this requires ransoming and redeeming (see Jer 31:11), which God will accomplish through Jesus’ death in Jerusalem. At the end of Luke 13 Jesus quotes Psalm 118:26, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” which is a precursor or foretaste of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem in Luke 19:37-38: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.” This is a word of hope for the Israelites in the midst of Jesus’ lament. There is still time to repent!
These are some of the most familiar passages in the whole Bible, and so it will be comforting and exciting to learn from the Word together.
Songs we will sing this week include:
1. All Creatures of Our God and King (iTunes, Amazon)
2. Come Praise and Glorify (iTunes, Amazon)
3. Holy (iTunes, Amazon)
4. The Solid Rock (iTunes, Amazon)
5. Only the Blood of Jesus (iTunes, Amazon)
6. Lord, I Need You (iTunes, Amazon)
I look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday!
Pastor for Worship.
There is a new resource out from Crossway this week that looks to be very helpful: “The Gospel Transformation Bible”
ESV Gospel Transformation Bible from Crossway on Vimeo.
Here is a GTB Sample of the content of Bible.
One great feature is that if you purchase a print copy you will also get too the entire Bible. This way you wouldn”t have to carry it around in your book bag and can access the notes from any location where you have an internet connection.
We will have three of these available for purchase in the Media Center by next Wednesday, located near the west entrance of the Worship Center.