Thank you for joining us virtually and digitally for worship this week. We all pray that this resource will assist you in your worship of the Lord this week. We also pray it will connect you, at least a small way, to your church family.
We wish you God’s blessings as we share this time together.
– Your Oxford Baptist Church Staff
SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER
April 19, 2020
All the doubt in the world cannot wash away our inheritance from God . . . an inheritance of love, refuge, and strength.
WELCOME TO WORSHIP – Rev. Aho
MUSIC FOR WORSHIP – Adult Bell Ringers
M. Keller – Guide Us, O God of Grace” © 2006 AGEHR, Inc
CALL TO WORSHIP – Maci and Mia Satterwhite
(This may be read in unison or shared between readers in your home)
Come into God’s presence with joy.
In God, we have an inheritance that is imperishable.
Come into God’s presence with hope.
In Christ, we have an inheritance that cannot be defiled.
Come into God’s presence with longing.
In the Spirit, we have an inheritance that never fades.
Come into God’s presence with love.
In God, we have an inheritance that brings new life.
HYMN OF PRAISE – “How Firm a Foundation” FOUNDATION
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said, to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?
“Fear not, I am with Thee, O be not dismayed, for I am thy God, and will still give thee aid.
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.”
~John Rippon’s Selection of Hymns, 1787 (PD)
SCRIPTURE READING – John 20:19-31; Acts 2:14a, 22-32
O God, your Son remained with his disciples after his resurrection,
teaching them to love all people as neighbors.
As his disciples in this age,
we offer our prayers on behalf of the universe
in which we are privileged to live
and our neighbors with whom we share it.
Take a moment of silence now to consider the prayers you have for yourself, your family, your community, your church, and our world. Offer those prayers to the Lord before concluding the Prayers of the People with:
Open our hearts to your power moving
around us and between us and within us,
until your glory is revealed in our love of both friend and enemy,
in communities transformed by justice and compassion,
and in the healing of all that is broken. Amen.
MUSIC MEDITATION – Cindy Joy, piano
“Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart”
arr., M. Hayes
© 2006 Lorenz Publishing Co.
MESSAGE – Rev. Aho
Earlier in our service, we shared two scripture passages, one from John and one from Acts.
In John, we follow the fear-filled disciples through two Sunday evenings. We begin on Easter Sunday evening, and the disciples hide behind a locked door. Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection were both unexpected and unprecedented. They did not know what to do, so they waited in fear.
By Acts 2, we have fast-forwarded several weeks. Fifty days later, the disciples speak with authority about Holy Week. In his sermon, Peter enthusiastically interprets Holy Week and proclaims the power of Jesus’s resurrection. But back in John 20, the disciples are far from there. Their actions are thwarted by fear and uncertainty, which leads one to wonder, what happens between John 20 to Acts 2? Of course, there were post-resurrection appearances, but beyond that, things changed. What can we see in the disciples’ transition? And how might the things that changed aid us, our faith, and our call to be faithful today? This question leads to two quotes.
The first quote is from my favorite hymn, “God of Grace and God of Glory,” by Harry Emerson Fosdick. The last line of each stanza contains the refrain, “Grant us wisdom, Grant us courage.” I pray these words often, and especially when I consider moving forward in faith.
The second quote is from Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful, and you will accomplish your objective. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
In John 20, the disciples are locked in a room and lack wisdom, courage, and enthusiasm. But in Acts 2, they have all three in spades. So, what happened? And what can we learn?
First, of course, they saw Jesus. The resurrection appearance and Jesus’ ascension into heaven were significant. But considering that on the first Easter, they did not understand the implications of the resurrection, the disciples cannot piece together their knowledge with their faith, and thus, lack wisdom. Since wisdom is, in part, applying knowledge in a way that evokes action, the John 20 disciples are trapped without wisdom. Fifty days later, In Acts 2, Peter uses his knowledge in a way that points towards wisdom. This shift reflects a critical transition.
In John 20, the disciples also lacked courage. They were, understandably, full of fear. The body of the crucified Jesus was missing. This sapped all their courage, not just their wisdom. Of course, acting from a place of courage without wisdom reminds us of the Garden of Gethsemane when Peter cuts off the ear of a soldier. Peter exhibits courage without wisdom, but back in John 20, the disciples lack both.
Finally, as we fast forward seven weeks to Acts 2, Peter applies knowledge that borders on wisdom, stands with courage in the face of mischaracterizations, and preaches with tremendous enthusiasm. He is excited to proclaim the good news. This excitement continues through Acts as he enthusiastically proclaims the gospel, the church grows exponentially, and the apostles sow seeds that change the shape of salvation for the world.
To that end, through the post-resurrection period, the disciples grow in the three traits: Wisdom, courage, and enthusiasm. These traits serve as a bridge from the locked doors of Easter, to enthusiastic preaching on Pentecost.
In fifty days, the disciples met the resurrected Jesus and applied knowledge in a way that cultivated wisdom.
This wisdom gave them courage beyond fear.
And the cultivated wisdom and courage led to such enthusiasm that the good news quickly reached beyond Jerusalem and into the world.
Today, in a way, we, too, are stuck behind locked doors in uncertainty. We want to be excitedly proclaiming and living. And even though the stakes of our situation are different than the disciples, in our times, we too must cultivate wisdom, courage, and enthusiasm. As people who would rather be with others, sharing life, faith, work, and fellowship, our path forward must be marked with a faithful balance of all three traits. To move forward will require wisdom, not just knowledge. It will demand courage beyond fear. And appreciating our new situation will take enthusiasm tempered by wisdom.
Misguided wisdom, courage, or enthusiasm can lead us to bad places, but a balance of the three, is how we move forward in faith, just like the disciples did. To that end, may our prayers today be:
God, grant us wisdom and courage for the living of these days so that we may also cultivate an enthusiasm for your love that is worthy to be shared.
Taking up an offering is an act of worship and a part of our service each week. It is important to remember that our offering not only supports the ministry of the church but is an expression of our thankfulness for all God has given us. We give today because God first gave to us.
May the Lord bless you and keep you;
May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
and give you peace through experiences with the Holy Spirit that cultivate wisdom, courage,
and enthusiasm for today and for the path that lies ahead.